West Central apartment fire

Brian Schaeffer, Assistant Chief, 509.625.7002

Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 10:48 a.m.

Incident #: 2014010512

Issuing Officer: Bob Green/Battalion Chief

Narrative: The Spokane Fire Department dispatched firefighting crews and their apparatus to 1024 W. Boone at 10:41 p.m. on February 28th for a reported structure fire at that address. Engine 3 reported that there was visible fire showing from a second floor window at the rear of the 2 story wood/framed apartment building. They confirmed that they were going to advance a pre-connected lead inside the building in an attempt to get at the fire that was rapidly starting to grow in a second floor apartment. The fire was quickly up-graded to a working fire which added an additional Ladder Company to the incident.

As additional resources were arriving on scene they were given assignments that included roof ventilation, search and rescue, a back-up hose lead to protect the crew from Engine 3 who were now inside and fighting their way through the stubborn fire that was being pushed by the extreme winds that were developing outside. A second fire attack lead was ordered to assist in the fire fight, a water supply was established, a Safety Officer was assigned, exposure protection assignments were made, and a Medical Division was established as there were reports of a tenant who may have jumped from a second floor window. Additionally a Rapid Intervention Team was assigned in case any fire fighters became lost or injured inside the structure.

The Incident Commander requested a second alarm to get more fire fighters to the scene because the intensity of this now wind driven fire was continuing to escalate and the severe cold temperature was creating problems not only in the self contained breathing, but also taking a toll on the fire fighters themselves. The ground around the structure and the street out front were covered in ice, making the entire area hazardous for the fire fighters. A truck from the Street Dept., loaded with sand, was requested to help with fire fighter footing, an STA bus was requested so the displaced tenants could get out of the freezing weather, and the Red Cross was requested to assist the tenants with temporary lodging.

After a couple of hours of persistent and aggressive fire fighting in terrible weather conditions, the fire fighters were able to get the fire knocked down and to a point in the incident where some of the resources could be released to return to their Stations. A fire watch was set up to maintain a Fire Department presence at the scene throughout the night. There were reports of possible injuries to one or two of the tenants and one fire fighter was slightly injured when he slipped and fell on the ice covered ground. The fire damage to the second floor and the roof of the building is severe and the decision on the building’s future will have to be decided by the owners.

Cause: Under investigation by the Spokane City Fire Dept's Special Investigation Unit.

Damage: Severe fire damage to the second floor and the roof structure. Smoke and water damage to the basement and first floor.

# Firefighters Responding: 40

Dollar Loss: $ 100,000

Other Agencies Responding: Fire District 1, Spokane Police Department, Spokane City Street Dept., AMR Ambulance, STA, Red Cross