8 Detroit firefighters hospitalized after burning building collapses
Two firefighters had been trapped; one escaped on his own, and crewmembers worked for nearly an hour to free the other
UPDATE: (11:04 a.m. CDT)
DETROIT — Detroit police officers are looking for a serial arsonist after five fires were started throughout the city in the last week, including one that sent eight firefighters to the hospital, WWJ reported.
Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News
DETROIT — Eight firefighters were hospitalized Thursday after a burning house collapsed on the city's east side, officials said.
Flames were reported around 12:45 p.m. at the vacant building on West Hollywood Avenue near John R, said James Harris, the Detroit Fire Department's chief of community relations.
At some point as crews battled the blaze, the building collapsed, trapping two firefighters, he said.
One escaped on his own, but officials worked nearly an hour to free the other, Harris said.
TV footage from the area showed a mass of firefighters working to clear debris to dig farther into the collapse. Footage showed the firefighter was freed and put on a stretcher.
Harris said the firefighter was talking to rescuers and was conscious during the effort, which required moving about a couple of feet of debris.
The two trapped firefighters were transported to Detroit Receiving Hospital along with six others who reported medical emergencies, Harris said.
"Detroit has the finest and bravest firefighters anywhere," Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement on Facebook. "That was on display today on Hollywood Street, when a vacant house at which they were fighting a fire collapsed and trapped one of their partners. Fighting heat exhaustion, they kept working until he was brought out safely. We owe all of our firefighters a deep debt of gratitude for the work they do every day.
Seven of the firefighters hospitalized were expected to be released by Thursday night, while the eighth was listed in temporary serious condition, Harris said. Other details were not immediately available.
Crews remained at the scene at 6 p.m. As many as 50 firefighters responded, Harris said.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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