Video: Calif. firefighter falls waist-deep through floor while battling blaze

The video showcased the danger of fighting fires in vacant buildings, firefighters said


Michael McGough
The Sacramento Bee

STOCKTON, Calif. — Helmet camera video taken by Stockton firefighters from this weekend showed a case where things didn’t go exactly to plan, but crews were still able to extinguish a fire at a vacant building before it grew out of control.

The fire broke out at a boarded-up building about 1 a.m. Saturday, according to a Facebook post by Stockton Firefighters Local 456. It was ultimately determined to have been caused by a “mattress fire set by a vagrant,” according to the post.

The video showcased the danger of fighting fires in vacant buildings, firefighters said; one of them fell waist-deep into a hole from the first floor to the basement. Floors in these types of buildings are often weakened due to vandalism, and the building in the video had also burned in a previous fire, the post said.

The firefighter was not injured, and the crews extinguished the fire before it grew. The video also showcased how firefighters use axes to force entry into a burning building.

Falling through floors and roofs can prove tragic for firefighters. Fresno Fire Capt. Pete Dern in March 2015 fell through a roof while assessing the danger posed by a fire. Dern was severely burned, and an investigation in the months following led to sweeping changes in protocol for the Fresno Fire Department, as reported by The Fresno Bee in 2016.

 

Around 1 A.M. Saturday morning, Stockton Firefighters responded to reports of smoke from a building. Crews showed up to a boarded-up and secured building with fire in the structure, somewhere. Firefighters gained access through use of their hand tools, and eventually found the mattress fire set by a vagrant. These buildings are particularly dangerous because of vandalism- one firefighter fell waist deep into a hole from the first floor to the basement. This building had also been damaged as it already burned previously, creating a very dynamic situation if the fire had gotten any larger. Fortunately, crews worked quickly and extinguished the fire when it was small. Great job guys!

Posted by Stockton Firefighters Local 456 on Sunday, March 31, 2019

©2019 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

 

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