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5 Ala. firefighters burned, injured during rescues in fatal fire

Montgomery Captain Donald L. Crenshaw, Jr. suffered second- and third-degree burns across 20% of his body as firefighters attempted to rescue three civilians


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By William Thornton

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Two Montgomery firefighters who were injured in a fatal Sunday night blaze were seriously burned and face “a long road ahead,” Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed said this afternoon.

Five firefighters in all were injured in the incident that happened about 8:05 p.m. Sunday in the 3400 block of Gilmer Avenue at a single-story residence. Crews arriving at the scene learned there were people trapped inside.

Three people were pulled from the house, with two taken to Baptist South. One juvenile victim was treated at Jackson Hospital but was pronounced dead.

“Late last night, Montgomery firefighters courageously ran into flames to rescue two victims trapped in a burning house on Gilmer Avenue,” Reed said in a statement. “We offer our condolences to those affected by this tragic loss of a child, and we covet your prayers for our two firefighters as they face a long road ahead. The next few days will be critical to their recovery, and we will continue providing our immense support and assistance throughout this difficult time.”

The seriously injured firefighters were identified as:

Capt. Donald L. Crenshaw, Jr., 45, a 22-year veteran of the department sustained severe second and third-degree burns across 20% of his body, particularly affecting his upper extremities, according to officials. He was transported to UAB for intensive burn care and fluid replacement. Though in serious condition, there is no current suspicion of respiratory compromise.

Firefighter Deandre M. Hartman, 34, has been with the department since 2016. He suffered extensive burns, particularly around his biceps. His eyes and lungs are also of concern, authorities said, prompting his airlift to UAB’s trauma ICU. He will remain sedated for several days and is expected to be hospitalized for four to six weeks, with neurological function tests to follow.

Also treated and released were Firefighter David O. Watson, III, 40, who suffered first and second-degree burns to his upper extremities; Firefighter James A. Christian, Jr., 22, who suffered first and second-degree burns to his upper extremities, and Firefighter Adarius Wesley, 25, who had significant second degree burns on both shoulders. He was released from Baptist South but will require further burn care, authorities said.

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