Ohio Firefighters Bail Out to Escape Flashover

Four Columbus firefighters were trapped last night on the second floor of a Hilltop house, requiring two of them to break a window and jump to safety.

Those two firefighters were treated late last night at Ohio State University Medical Center for burns on their heads, necks and hands, as well as possible injuries from the jump, said Fire Division Battalion Chief Doug Smith. The injuries weren't life-threatening, he said.

The other two firefighters dived down a staircase to get out the front door of the house at 125 Whitethorne Ave., Smith said. They were treated at the scene.

Smith wouldn't release any of their names last night.

When firefighters arrived around 8:20 p.m., there was heavy fire on the first floor. Firefighters went inside, initially thinking the resident was home, but Smith said she wasn't.

The firefighters who were searching the second floor got caught in a "flashover," Smith said, which happens when layers of hot smoke cause temperatures to suddenly rise, sometimes by 300 to 600 degrees.

Even with protective gear, it is too hot for firefighters to stay inside, Smith said. Two firefighters broke the window and jumped 20 feet onto a driveway.

The inside of the two-story house was gutted. Smith said investigators are trying to determine the fire's cause. He said it's believed the fire started on the first floor.

McClatchy-Tribune News service