Eight Detroit fire fighters hospitalised after burning building collapses, US
Eight fire fighters were hospitalised Thursday, 28 July 2022, after a burning house collapsed on the city's east side, officials said. Flames were reported around 12h45pm at the vacant building on West Hollywood Avenue near John R, said James Harris, the Detroit Fire Department's chief of community relations. As many as 50 fire fighters responded, Harris said. At some point as crews battled the blaze, the building collapsed, trapping two fire fighters, he said.
One escaped on his own but officials worked nearly an hour to free the other, Harris said.
TV footage from the area showed a mass of fire fighters working to clear debris to dig farther into the collapse. Footage showed the fire fighter was freed and put on a stretcher.
Harris said the fire fighter was talking to rescuers and was conscious during the effort, which required moving about a couple of feet of debris. “He’s conscious, he’s talking to us,” Harris said of the final fire fighter who was rescued. “We’re in the process of getting him out and getting him transported to the hospital.”
Harris said the final trapped fire fighter was underneath approximately a foot and a half of plaster and/or wood. “It’s our worst nightmare,” Harris said.
The two trapped fire fighters were transported to Detroit Receiving Hospital along with six others who reported medical emergencies, Harris said.
"Detroit has the finest and bravest fire fighters anywhere," Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement on Facebook. "That was on display today on Hollywood Street, when a vacant house at which they were fighting a fire collapsed and trapped one of their partners. Fighting heat exhaustion, they kept working until he was brought out safely. We owe all of our fire fighters a deep debt of gratitude for the work they do every day.
The search and rescue effort took more than an hour for fire fighters to rescue one of their own when the abandoned, vacant house burned and collapsed. “Originally there was three trapped. There were three firefighters trapped, they immediately removed two,” said Chuck Simms, Detroit Executive Fire Commissioner. He was wheeled out on a gurney, conscious, talking and we learned, after the police escort to the hospital is in good spirits.
“He's doing great. He was actually cracking jokes and laughing so that's a good sign,” said Simms.
The union president is a personal friend of the lieutenant and says there are no serious injuries for all of the eight firefighters injured. “Just shaken up, beat up. There's some cuts and bruises. Couple guys lost some teeth. A couple scrapes. On the head and stuff. Some twisted knees. But it could have been a lot worse,” said Simms.
Crews remained at the scene at 18h00.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, however, arson is suspected. There is now a $25 000 reward for anyone who knows who set the fire. Several fires have been set on the street and in the area over the past several days. Federal agencies like the ATF are now also on the case. Some of the homes in the area have been abandoned and vacant for years. Often, the only people inside might be homeless.
Source: The Detroit News, WXYZ Detroit