On the Job – Indiana: 7-Alarm Fire Destroys Historic Buildings in Jeffersonville

Jay K. Bradish details a blaze that tore through seven commercial buildings in the historic downtown business district of Jeffersonville, IN.


On Jan. 11, 2004, a raging fire tore through seven commercial buildings in the historic downtown business district of Jeffersonville, IN. The buildings in this block ranged in height from one to three stories with brick walls and flat roofs. All of the buildings were built in the late 1880s or early...


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Jeffersonville Engine 2 was positioned on Spring Street and supplied by two 100-foot three-inch supply lines from a hydrant north of the fire building. This engine supplied Quint 1 with two 100-foot three-inch lines. Jeffersonville Quint 3 was positioned on Chestnut Street and was supplied with two 100-foot three-inch supply lines from a hydrant on Chestnut Street. Jeffersonville Engine 6, a 1,500-gpm pumper responded at 5:30. Positioned at the corner of Maple and Wall Streets, this engine hooked onto the hydrant with a five-inch supply line. (This pumper supplied Clarksville Engine 71 upon its arrival.)

By 5:32, heavy smoke and fire had enveloped the entire Horner building and flames were shooting out of the roof. The fire was now spreading to adjoining buildings via a common attic. Miles requested a third alarm at 5:34. The Clarksville Fire Department responded with 20 firefighters and Engine 71, a 1,500-gpm pumper; Engine 72, a 1,500-gpm pumper; Engine 85, a 1,000-gpm pumper; and Engine 86, a 1,000-gpm pumper. The New Albany Fire Department responded with Engine 1, a 1,500-gpm pumper; Truck 1, a 100-foot tower ladder, and Deputy Chief Car 2 with eight firefighters. Jeffersonville Engine 5, a 1,250-gpm pumper, responded at 6 P.M. and was positioned in an alley behind the Olde Towne Grocery.

0404job4.jpg Photo By John Gilkey/The Evening News
Jeffersonville Quint 1 operates a master stream on the Horner building. Seven commercial buildings were involved in the fire. There were no injuries to civilians or firefighters.

Firefighters at the rear of the building operated a 21¼2-inch attack line and a 13¼4-inch attack line from Engine 5. Jeffersonville Engine 3, a 1,500-gpm pumper, responded at 6:20 and was positioned at the corner of Chestnut and Wall Streets. This engine hooked onto a hydrant with a five-inch supply line and supplied Engine 5 with two 250-foot three-inch supply lines. Crews also operated a 21¼2-inch attack line in the alley from Engine 3.

Clarksville Engine 71 was positioned in the alley on the north side of the buildings and supplied by Jeffersonville Engine 6 with two 300-foot three-inch supply lines. Crews operated four 13¼4-inch handlines from this engine along with the deck gun. Clarksville Engine 72 hooked on to the hydrant at Court and Spring Streets with a five-inch supply line. This engine supplied New Albany Truck 1 with two 900-foot three-inch supply lines. Clarksville Engine 85 hooked onto a hydrant at Market and Wall Streets with a five-inch supply line and supplied Jeffersonville Quint 3 with two 800-foot three-inch supply lines. Clarksville Engine 86 was staged. New Albany Engine 1 hooked onto a hydrant at Spring and Maple Streets with a five-inch supply line and supplied New Albany Truck 1 with an additional 300-foot five-inch supply line. New Albany Truck 1 was positioned on Spring Street at the northwest corner of the building and placed its aerial master stream into operation.

0404job5.jpg Photo By John Gilkey/The Evening News
Firefighters assess the situation in front of the Horner building. Crews from a half-dozen departments in Indiana and Kentucky were called to the scene.

Miles requested a fourth alarm 6:35 P.M. The Louisville, KY, Fire Department responded with Engine 5, a 1,500-gpm pumper; Truck 2, a 100-foot tractor-drawn aerial; and District Chief Car 52 with 10 firefighters. The McCulloch Volunteer Fire Department responded with Engine 113, a 1,250-gpm pumper; Engine 115, a 1,250-gpm pumper; TeleSqurt 116, a 50-foot TeleSqurt with a 1,250-gpm pump and Chief 101 with 20 firefighters. This apparatus was staged on Wall Street and the manpower was used in firefighting operations. Utica Volunteer Fire Department responded with Engine 61, a 1,250-gpm pumper and TeleSqurt 69, a 55-foot TeleSqurt with a 1,500-gpm pump with six firefighters.

Louisville Truck 2 was positioned at the southwest corner of the block and placed its aerial master stream into operation. This aerial was supplied by a five-inch supply line from Louisville Engine 5 that hooked onto a hydrant at the corner of Spring and Market Streets. Jeffersonville Quad 2 also supplied Louisville Truck 2 with two three-inch supply lines. Utica Engine 61 hooked onto a hydrant on Maple Street and supplied two 21¼2-inch hoselines to Utica TeleSqurt 69, which was positioned in the alley behind the fire buildings. This aerial master stream was placed into operation.

0404job6.jpg Photo By John Gilkey/The Evening News
A view from the Spring Street side with Jeffersonville Quint 1 in operation along with other master streams. Damage from the fire was estimated at $7 million.