Engine 51 Responds to Fatal 3-Alarm Apartment Fire

Just after midnight on May 30, 2007, units were dispatched for a reported building fire at 7109 Donnell Place in Forestville. Unit in units to the Holly Hill Condominiums found heavy fire conditions on rear of the building. These buildings were three stories from the front and four stories from the rear, with a terrace level apartment.

1st Alarm units:

Engines 231, 271, 371 and 291; Trucks 26 and 17; Rescue Squad 8; Battalion Chief 3

Working Fire Dispatch:

Ambulance 269, Medic 25, EMS 14

Volunteer Chief 17A (Baylor) was the first command officer to arrive and requested the 2nd and 3rd alarms immediately with a special request to insure that at least two tower ladders were on the call. This brought the following units to the scene:

2nd Alarm units:

Engines 51, 381, 462, and 222; Trucks 20 and 32, Towers 33 and 43, Rescue Squad 47, Water Supply Company 25, Air Unit 45, EMS 1, Canteen 1 and Battalion Chief 1.

3rd Alarm units:

Engines 451, 331, Paramedic Engine 42, and Engine 92; Trucks 28 and 55, Rescue Engine 18 and Battalion Chief 4.

After about a fifteen minute aggressive interior attack, command ordered the building evacuated. Conditions were deteriorating rapidly. During the evacuation, one member of Engine 271 was separated from his crew and ran out of air. He was located and removed to safety. He spent several days in the hospital before being released. Command was eventually assumed by the Duty Chief (Rourke).

After the fire was darkened down by master streams, crews redeployed to the interior to mop up and finish searches of the building. Crews were unable to re-enter portions of the building because the structure was compromised. Crews would continue to operate for hours.

Shortly after dawn and the crews were able to shore the building up, fire investigators entered the terrace level apartment where the fire originated and discovered the body of an adult male. The cause of the fire is believed to be discarded smoking material. The fire caused $1,250,000 in damage.