GENERAL ALARM JOB ON DOWNTOWN BLVD
At 7:19 PM on October 31, 2016, firefighters were dispatched to the 200 block of Downtown Blvd for a reported explosion with fire. Engine 5 and Ladder 3 arrived on scene at 7:22 PM. Captain Brian McCall of Engine 5 reported that three buildings were involved in heavy fire. One building had collapsed completely into itself and out on to the street. Deputy Chief Michael Manning then requested a 2nd Alarm to the scene and a 3rd Alarm to stage. He also requested a collapse rescue unit from the Liberty County Fire Dept. to respond to the scene to assist. Tower Ladder 1 and Tower Ladder 2 then placed their aerials in operation and began battling the blaze from their towers. All attacks on the flames were made from defensive positions around the blaze. No firefighters were allowed to enter any buildings to engage the flames. The flames would rage on in all 3 buildings all night and the fire would not be officially declared under control until 6:23 AM on November 1, 2016. Unfortunately, 4 people who lived in the building did perish in the fire. The cause of the fire has been determined to be a gas pipe that was leaking caused an explosion. All mutual aid that was needed to assist were firefighters from Rochelle Heights, Liberty County, Lego Twp, North Lereado County, Buena Vista, Portage County, Lego Regional Fire Authority, Riverwoods, Westbrick, Jackson Twp, South Palm and St Lego.
MAIN STREET BUSINESS BURNS TO 3 ALARMS
At 4:32 PM, Engines 13, 6, 9, 12, Tower Ladders 2, 4, Squad 3, Rescue 1, Battalion 2 and Deputy 4 were dispatched to 204 Main Street for a working fire in the "Varsity Sports" sporting goods store. The store is a 2 story brick building with a sporting goods store on the first floor, offices, storage and a sewing room on the second floor. Engine 13 arrived on scene at 4:35 PM. Lt John Kendrick gave a size up over the air and observed heavy smoke pushing from the first and second floors of the building. Firefighters from Engine 13 stretched a 1 3/4" hose into the first floor to initiate an interior attack on the fire. At 4:37 PM, Squad 3 and Deputy Chief Michael Manning arrived on scene. Squad 3's crew headed in to begin a primary search of the first floor. Deputy Chief Manning requested a second alarm to the scene (Engines 7, 15, Tower Ladder 1, Battalion 1). Also due to the heat wave currently occurring in the Jakeland area, rehab teams from Jakeland University Medical Center and Westbrick Fire Department were requested to the scene. Engine 6's chauffeur established a water supply to feed water to Engine 13, while the rest of the crew stretched a second 1 3/4" hose into the building. Engine 6 would head up to the second floor. Before an attack could be made on the fire though, flames raged out of control and flashed. Firefighters from Rescue 1 searching the second floor were forced to evacuate. Lt James Vernon was forced to go down a ground ladder head first in a controlled fall. He would however hit the pavement and break his collarbone. Once all firefighters were out of the building, a third alarm was requested (Engines 1, 4, Ladder 3, Squad 10). The remaining 2 engines and 1 ladder (Engines 2, 5, Ladder 7) were moved up to the South Main St firehouse to stage. Off duty firefighters were then recalled to man the reserve engine and ladder at the Eagle Ave firehouse. Flames in the building eventually vented through the roof. Tower Ladder 2 and Squad 3 placed their aerials in operation and used their master streams to combat the blaze from above. The blaze was declared under control at 7:46 PM. At 8:33 PM, Deputy Chief Manning officially declared the fire extinguished with overhaul complete and all hot spots cleared. Other Agencies that operated at the scene were Jakeland Police, Jakeland University Medical Center EMS BLS/ALS, Jakeland Building Dept. and Westbrick FD. Agencies that provided coverage at empty firehouses were Riverwoods FD, Lego Twp FD, Portage County FD, Jackson FD, St Lego FD and Rochelle Heights FD. Two firefighters were transported to Jakeland University Medical Center with heat exhaustion. One was transported for a broken collar bone. The cause of the fire has been determined to be electrical. The owner of the store had left a wall air conditioner on while the shop was closed to help keep the shop cool during this heat wave. The air conditioner was plugged into an extension cord which overheated and started a fire.
METRO LOUNGE BURNS TO 3 ALARMS
Jakelands Bravest were dispatched at 3:23 AM to 158 Union St on a report of a working fire at the popular club "Metro Lounge". When Engine 5 and Ladder 3 arrived, they found heavy fire inside the club. Engine 5 stretched an inch and three quarter line into the first floor of the 3 story building to begin combating the blaze. Ladder 3 sent it's crew in also to begin searching for possible victims trapped. Firefighters were forced to evacuate however when it was discovered that a part of the first floor had collapsed into the basement. Firefighters then began dousing the blaze from the exterior. Ladder 3 and Tower Ladder 1 put their ladders in operation to combat the blaze through the windows. Flames continued to rage out of control however, and eventually spread to the second and third floors of 62 Monmouth Ave "Jakeland Bank". When it was discovered by members of Ladder 7 that the blaze had spread, a third alarm was requested to the scene. Firefighters from Engines 2 and 4 stretched more hoses into the bank building to the second and third floors while members of Ladder 7 searched the interior and began ventilating. Squad 10's crew headed up to the roof to ventilate and help prevent the blaze from spreading down the block. On the Union Street side, firefighters were able to prevent the blaze from spreading to the Wells Fargo bank next door at 156 Union St. The fire burned for 4 hours before it was completely darkened down from the exterior. Crews never made re-entry into the structure due to the structure being deemed unstable and in danger of collapse. Crews were on scene all day dousing hot spots and assisting investigators who were attempting to determine a cause for the fire. Once the investigation was complete, a wrecking ball was dispatched to the scene to raze the building. All units that operated at the scene were Engine 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 15, Tower Ladders 1, 2, Ladders 3, 7, Squads 3, 10, Rescue 1, Battalions 1, 2 and Deputy 1. Mutual aid that was needed to fill empty firehouses was provided by Rochelle Heights, Lego Twp, South Palm, Lego Regional Fire Authority, North Lereado County, Buena Vista, Westbrick and Riverwoods. A cause for the blaze is still undetermined. The blaze occurred shortly after the club closed at 3:00 AM. The owner of the club, Michael White, reported that he left the club at around 3:15 AM. Investigators have not stated whether the circumstances of the fire are suspicious at this time.
HISTORIC ROCHELLE HEIGHTS CHURCH BURNS
At 11:47 AM, the Rochelle Heights Volunteer Fire Dept. was dispatched to St Michael's Church on Rochelle Ave for a working fire. When the RHFD arrived, they found heavy fire consuming the church. Engines 7, 9, Tower Ladder 4 and Battalion 2 from Jakeland were requested to the scene to assist. Once Jakelands Bravest arrived, Tower Ladder 4 put it's tower ladder in operation to combat the blaze. Engines 7 and 9 assisted Lego Twp Engine 11 and Liberty County Engine 23 with establishing a water supply from outside the immediate areas water district. The fire was held to a 4 Alarm assignment bringing in firefighters from Rochelle Heights, Jakeland, Lego Twp, Riverwoods, Portage County and Liberty County. The cause of the fire is believed to be electrical in the church's rectory. For more information and pictures to go the Rochelle Heights FD website.
RAYMOND'S COFFEE SHOP BURNS ON TIDEWATER AVE
At 12:54 PM, firefighters were sent to 264 Tidewater Ave for a working fire. When firefighters arrived, they found heavy smoke coming from the first and second floors of the coffee shop. Engine 15 stretched a hose into the shops first floor to combat the blaze. Engine 2's crew then stretched a line to the second floor to combat the blaze. Firefighters on both the first and second floors encountered heavy fire, but were able to quickly knock down the fire. Engine 4 entered 262 Tidewater Ave to check for extension into the attached structure. Tower 2 and Rescue 1 searched the first and second floors while Ladder 7 vented. The fire was quickly brought under control and was held to the original fire building. There were no injuries at this incident. All units that operated at the scene were Engines 1, 2, 4, 15, Tower Ladder 2, Ladder 7, Squad 10, Rescue 1, Battalion 1 and Deputy 3. The incident was held to an All Hands assignment.