Flashover Injures 4 New Orleans Firefighters


The New Orleans Fire Department said four firefighters were injured Saturday morning while trying to contain a blaze in Lakeview.

A contractor working on a neighbor's home alerted the homeowner of seeing smoke coming from the foundation and attic of a house at the 300 block of 12th Street in Lakeview, NOFD said.

The homeowner immediately called 911, and NOFD said it dispatched six units carrying 20 firefighters to the scene at 7:21 a.m.

The crews arrived within minutes, and firefighters said they saw heavy smoke billowing from the attic of the two-story house.

While crews were in the attic attempting to find the source of the smoke, they said that a flashover engulfed them in flames, injuring four firefighters and a NOFD captain with various second- and third-degree burns to their hands, necks and ears.

"The type of flashover that occurred in this fire is one of the most feared phenomena in fire suppression. Firefighters generally have less than five seconds to exit the area of occurrence," NOFD Superintendent Charles Parent said.

A flashover occurs when oxygen is introduced to extremely hot smoldering fire and gas.

NOFD said the four injured firefighters were taken to Oschner Medical Center, and three of them have been scheduled to consult with a burn specialist early next week.

Parent said the firefighters' injuries could have been more serious, or worse, they could have been killed if it weren't for the training they received.

"We're grateful that our guys weren't more seriously injured. Their skill and training prevented what could have been a devastating catastrophe. We look forward to their recovery and return," Parent said.

Investigators said the fire may have been caused by a gas lamp near the front door of the home.

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