Kan. firefighter who suffered possible heart attack at apartment fire still in hospital

The Wichita firefighter was rushed to the ER with complaints of upper back pain after a fire that resulted in multiple firefighter injuries


Amy Renee Leiker
The Wichita Eagle

WICHITA, Kan. — A Wichita firefighter who suffered a possible heart attack while battling an apartment blaze Sunday night remains in the hospital.

The firefighter was rushed to the emergency room with complaints of upper back pain after a fire that damaged a house-turned-apartment at 12th and Jackson was under control, Wichita Battalion Chief Jose Ocadiz said.

The cause and origin of the fire remain under investigation.
The cause and origin of the fire remain under investigation. (Photo/Wichita FD)

"We were able to get him to the hospital and into medical care," Ocadiz said.

The firefighter was still in the cardiac intensive care unit Monday and is undergoing tests.

He is among four firefighters at the 12th and Jackson scene who were hospitalized for treatment of various conditions Sunday, Ocadiz said in a Monday morning phone call with The Eagle. One was evaluated for a shoulder burn and released. Another was admitted to and remained in the care of Ascension Via Christi St. Francis Hospital on Monday for treatment of unspecified burns.

Another firefighter was evaluated for a shoulder injury, Ocadiz said.

The fire was reported shortly before at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Two civilians were also hurt at the fire scene including a man who tried to run into the burning house as fire crews were unfurling water hoses. Ocadiz said firefighters and Wichita police officers restrained the man for his safety. He was transported in critical condition to St. Francis for treatment of burns and smoke inhalation.

The other civilian was evaluated and treated on site. Ocadiz did not know the nature of that person's injuries.

The cause and origin of the fire remained under investigation Monday. It damaged three floors of the house including a cellar, causing around $65,000 in damage overall. Ocadiz said its unclear whether anyone was living there — the original 911 call indicated someone might have been trapped inside, he said — but firefighters found no one when they searched the interior.

Ocadiz said the home had what's known as a balloon frame — a cheap, quick construction framing method in the late 1800s and early 1900s that used long continuous studs running the height of a structure. That kind of framing poses an especially difficult situation for firefighters because unobstructed passageways in the walls allow fire to spread quickly once it gets inside.

"The crews on scene did a very good job in staying focused on search and rescue and extinguishing the fire," Ocadiz said.

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(c)2020 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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