Friday, April 9, 2004

Firefighter injured while fighting Melbourne church fire

MELBOURNE - A firefighter was seriously injured early today after falling down a flight of stairs while fighting a fire at a church, officials said.

Firefighter Shane Potter, who started working with the Melbourne Fire Department in January, was taken to Holmes Regional Medical Center where he was treated for shoulder and back injuries, officials said. He was in stable condition. No one else was injured.

"They were backing out from the fire because the heat got intense," said Assistant Fire Chief Greg Anglin, spokesman for the Melbourne Fire Department.

Potter "got tangled in some debris and fell down a flight of stairs," Anglin said.

The fire was reported about 12:13 a.m. today at St. Peter's church at 3005 W. Florida Avenue, drawing at least seven fire engines from Melbourne, Palm Bay and Brevard County Fire Rescue.

About half of the church, actually a former retirement home turned church, was destroyed by the fire which started in the upstairs area, officials said. The building was being used for storage, officials said.

Melbourne police were also called out to direct traffic around the site. It was the third major structure fire handled by the agency in less than 24 hours. The other two blazes, both involving homes, happened on Thursday.

Neither of those fires is suspicious. A state fire marshal was still at the church today trying to determine what happened there.

Anyone with information is asked to call 259-1211.

- J.D. Gallop, FLORIDA TODAY


I dont personally know Shane, but I sure as hell hope he gets better soon.