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St. Louis Park Fire Reaches 5 Alarms, Firefighter Injured

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The story as updated Wednesday morning

June 7 – More than a dozen fire departments were called to condominium complex fire in St. Louis Park on Tuesday, just as temperatures broke historic records.

The fire was reported at 4625 Minnetonka Blvd. around 3:30 p.m. and it brought auto aid from Edina and Richfield.

Firefighters found flames showing from the second floor of the three-story Nachez Place condominium complex. The fire extended from the second floor to the top floor before crews contained the fire.

St. Louis Park Spokesman Jamie Zwilling said that two units received extensive damage. One-third of the building had smoke damage.

The fire was under control in 30 minutes.

The fire quickly escalated to five alarms, bring about 15 departments and more than 75 firefighters.

“It reached five alarms because of the excess heat,” said Zwilling. About the time of the fire, the mercury hit reached 102 degrees.

A Golden Valley firefighter was transported to the hospital suffering from heat-related injuries, according to Zwilling.

Hennepin EMS Spokesman Christopher Kummer said they dispatched three ambulances and three supervisors to assist evaluate residents and monitor firefighters.

The following departments responded: Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Eden Prairie, Edina, Golden Valley, Hopkins, MAC Fire, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Richfield, Robbindale and Wayzata.

Residents Rescued by Ladder in Eagan Apartment Fire

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June 6 – Firefighters rescued several residents from their decks as fire damaged a large apartment building in Eagan on Monday evening.

Units were called to the LeMay Lake Apartments at 3025 Eagandale Ave. at 6:16 p.m.

When firefighters arrived, they found heavy fire showing from the main entrance to the three-story, 106 unit building. The fire was extending into the third floor commons.

According to scanner traffic, firefighters used a deck gun to knock down the heavy fire conditions.

Firefighters rescued several residents, whose escape route was blocked by flames, by ladder from their balconies.

“Crews did a good job with a quick attack preventing the fire from reaching the attic area,” said Eagan Fire Chief Mike Scott.

Two firefighters were treated at the scene of heat exhaustion by HealthEast crews.

“With the extreme warm temperatures, I called for additional assistance,” said Scott. Mutual aid was received from Apple Valley, Mendota Heights and Rosemount.

Firefighters were on the scene after midnight, checking for hot spots.

The occupants were not allowed to return to the building because of the smoke damage.

Scott said the fire started near the main entrance, but the exact cause has not been pinpointed.

Edina Fire Chief Talks About Operations at Fatal House Fire

April 19, 2011 Leave a comment

April 18 – Edina Fire Chief Marty Scheerer talked with Twin Cities Fire Wire today about Monday morning’s house fire that claimed the life of a 54-year-old woman.

“It was a routine fire, except for the tragic loss of the resident,” Scheerer said.

Edina fire crews were called to 5300 block of Oaklawn Avenue at 4:47 a.m.

A police officer, who is also a paid-on-call firefighter in Edina arrived moments before firefighters and performed a quick size-up of the home. He found heavy smoke from throughout the from the 1 1/2-story home and flames showing from the A/B-corner in the basement.0

As Edina Engine 83 arrived, residents informed responders that three people occupy the home and were home. In rapid succession, the second and third alarms were called.

Engine 83’s crews stretched a handline in the front door as Richfield Engine 1 laid a supply line to Engine 83.

“As firefighters made their way in the front door, they found the victim and removed her to an ambulance.”

As crews made their way inside the structure, they encountered an area where the floor burned through. They retreated and gained entry through an egress window in the basement on the D-side of the home.

“We wanted to get a hold on the fire,” Scheerer said. “We had found the one victim and because of the time of the day, we wanted to try to find the other two who were supposed to be home.”

Firefighters made a push into the basement and contained the fire to the basement area.

As crews performed primary and secondary searches of the home, they found that the fire burned through the floor in two rooms. Scheerer estimates a hole about two feet in diameter burned through the living room floor in the front of the home.
A second hole, about six feet in diameter, burned through the kitchen on the B/C-corner of the home.

The fire was declared under control in about 30 minutes, but crews had extensive overhaul work to do. The flames burned through the exterior walls on the A/B-corner of the home and crews had to tear through lathe and plaster to stop the spread eof fire.

Firefighters from Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Hopkins, Richfield and St. Louis Park responded to the fire, along with Hennepin EMS. The Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s Office was called into to assist with the investigation of the fire.

Scheerer said that the department recently brought on a fire chaplain. “He handled the situation really well,” Scheerer said of the chaplain’s interactions with the victim’s family.

“He was spectacular and really helped the family and assisted us in dealing with the tragic situation at hand.”

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Video: Minneapolis Store Fire Reaches 2 Alarms

April 12, 2011 Leave a comment

April 11 – Fire crews battled a commercial building fire early Monday morning.

Crews were called to the Lyndale Grocery & Deli at 2551 Lyndale Ave. S. at 12:05 a.m.

On arrival, heavy smoke was coming from the one-story commercial occupancy on a tightly packed strip of commercial buildings.

Assistant Chief Cherie Penn said firefighters conducted an interior attack on the smoky blaze. The videos below show firefighter’s taking out the plate glass windows and entering the building.

Command requested a second alarm because of the fire building’s proximity of other structures, according to Penn.

Hennepin EMS crews stood by at the scene and no injuries were reported.

Minneapolis Firefighters Battle Stubborn Blaze

March 31, 2011 Leave a comment
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We updated this story on Friday at 9 a.m.

March 31 – Firefighters battled a stubborn two-alarm fire in a large apartment building in Whittier on Thursday afternoon.

Engines 6 and 8, Ladder 11 and Chief 3 were dispatched about 1 p.m. for smoke coming from a house in the 2500 block of 1st Avenue S. about 1 p.m.

On arrival, Engine 6 reported smoke showing from the basement of the large 2 1/2-story structure, which was occupied as a sober house. The crew stretched an attack line and Engine 8 deployed a backup line and assisted with securing a water supply.

Assistant Chief Cherie Penn told Twin Cities Fire Wire that firefighters were attacking the fire in the basement when a possible backdraft occured, forcing crews from the building.

In the video that we posted below, you can hear air horns sounding, shortly after “an explosion burst through the front door,” the YouTube poster wrote. “About 30 seconds into the video you can hear windows blowing out and see a huge amount of smoke pouring out.”

Ladder 11’s tower ladder was set up and Engine 6 laid a water supply line to the ladder truck.

Thick smoke then engulfed the 2 1/2-story wood frame apartment building as firefighter set up for exterior operations. Heavy fire on the D-side of the home caused the siding on the exposure home to melt.

Firefighters surrounded the building with handlines and portable master streams and poured water into the structure. The roof had collapsed and Ladder 11’s master streams were hitting the flames in the attic.

Ladder 11’s stream knocked a roof ladder off the structure and hit a firefighter working on the ground. He was treated by Hennepin EMS crews.

Penn said the fire was declared under control about 4:30 p.m. and the home was knocked down shortly after.

  • Assignment: Initial: Engines 6 and 8, Ladder 11 and Chief 3. Full Assignment: Engine 7, Ladder 3, Chief 1, Mobile Command and Salvage. Second Alarm: Engines 1 and 1 and Ladder 2
  • Chief Discusses Tactics Used at Bloomington Apartment Fire

    February 23, 2011 3 comments

    Bloomington fire officials talked with Twin Cities Fire Wire about tactics deployed during the major aparment fire earlier this month.

    Units from Bloomington Stations 1, 2 and 3 were called to 9840 Nicolett Ave. South about 4:45 a.m. on Feb. 8 for  a reported apartment fire.

    As fire units went enroute they were advised that police were on scene and reported several people trapped with rescues were in progress. Bloomington Assistant Chief Jay Forster  said that a second alarm was called at that time.

    Engine 1 arrived and reported fire showing from the rear of the three-story, 11 unit building. The building featured center hallways with stairwells at either end.

    Police officers started making rescues and, according to media reports, caught several children who were thrown from upper floor windows. Several resident’s jumped on their own.

    According to Forster, it appears that the door from the fire apartment failed. The flames quickly spread to the upper floors through the stairwells. The building did not have fire doors because of the fire code when it was constructed.

    Engine 1’s crew advanced the inital attack line to the first floor of the building and began rescue operations. The crew of Ladder 1 began throwing portable ladders to the residents who were trapped in their windows. 

    Water supply to Engine 1 was secured by Engine 2, whose crew and then stretched a back up hoseline. A third alarm was called, bringing all six Bloomington stations to the scene.

    “We had fire burning through the hallways of all three floor,” according to Forster. “Our crews made a real good attack and pushed the fire back.” He said at least five or six hoselines were placed into operation, with one being used on the exteior to knock down the heavy volume of fire in the rear.

    “I think most residents, if not all of them, escaped from windows.” Forster said “We figure the fire department rescued about 10 residents over ladders from various windows.”

    The fire was placed under control in about an hour, but crews remained on scene for several hours.

    Richfield Rescue 1 was called to help fill SCBA bottles. Eden Prarie and Metropolitan Airports Commission crews covered Bloomington.

    • First Alarm: Engines 1, 2 and 3, Ladders 1, 2 and 3. Second Alarm Assignment: Engines 4 and 5 and Ladders 4 and 5. Third Alarm Assignment: Engine 6. Mutual Aid: Richfield Rescue 1

    Fire Heavily Damages Chanhassen Duplex

    February 20, 2011 Leave a comment

    Fire destroyed one side of a Chanhassen duplex on Tuesday.

    The fire, at the corner of Ellendale Lane and Degler Circle, was reported around 3 a.m., according to local media.

    Fire consumed one side of the two-story structure, which media reported was undergoing renovation. Fire and smoke damaged the other unit.

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