Retirement community fire

Brian Schaeffer, Assistant Chief, 509.625.7002

Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 9:53 a.m.

Incident #: 2013057036

Issuing Officer: AC Schaeffer

Narrative: On Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 07:36 AM, an automatic fire alarm was received from 2929 South Waterford, Touchmark on South Hill. As the incident was being dispatched, the Communications Center received information that smoke was visible on the first and second floors. The incident was upgraded to a full alarm and added 4 Engines, 2 Ladders and a Heavy Rescue under the direction of Battalion Chiefs Donahoe and Moline. The first fire company arrived within minutes from nearby Station 11 and reported smoke showing from the eves and second and third floors visible from the Pittsburg side.

First arriving firefighters sprinted into action by raising aerial ladders to assist those potentially in need and deployed hand lines to aggressively attack the flames while performing a primary search. Additional firefighters were immediately summoned including all three of the City's Ladders, to assist battling the blaze as the incident was officially upgraded to a working fire.

The 499-unit apartment complex was in compliance with Fire Codes including hard wired smoke alarms, smoke-activated magnetic fire doors and automatic sprinklers in building area, all of which assisted in saving lives and preventing the spread of fire and smoke. This serves as a good reminder for all to never block open fire doors as this allows smoke and fire to travel and impede occupants from escaping in an emergency.

One unit was involved in fire in the wall and floor areas and smoke was present throughout the floors. Over 40 firefighters extinguished the blaze in just 35-minutes and there were no injuries. There were no security doors, window bars or obvious non-fire factors to impede the residents from exiting all of the floors.

Firefighters are remaining on scene for several hours, assisting the residents and building managers.

Cause: The cause is under investigation and facility's management has done a wonderful job at assisting the residents with temporary accommodations.

Damage: The damage is limited to a wall and flooring on floor 1 and 2. Companies are still on-scene and residents will be able to reoccupy within the hour.

# Firefighters Responding: 40