Maine Firefighters Hurt in Stair Collapse

Three Biddeford firefighters were injured including one who broke a bone in his back when a set of porch stairs collapsed during a rescue call Monday.

Firefighters were called to an apartment building at 35 Bacon St. at 7 p.m. for a report of an unconscious person. Five firefighters responded in all, two on an ambulance, three on an engine.

The patient was carried from the second-floor apartment and had just reached the ground level when the stairs pulled free from the landing outside the entry door, fire officials said. Three firefighters were on the stairs when they collapsed, falling about 10 feet, and all three were hurt, according to a release from Local 3107 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the union representing the rescue workers.

One of the firefighters, a captain, suffered a crushed vertebrae, said Fire Chief Joseph Warren. Another dislocated a shoulder, may have torn a rotator cuff and suffered a back injury. The third is in severe back pain, he said.

The firefighters were treated and released from Southern Maine Medical Center.

"The injuries are serious. I don't think they're career ending," he said. Warren would not identify the firefighters involved, the patient or the patient's medical condition.

The stairs were built about two years ago and a permit had been issued for the construction, according to Roby Fecteau, the city's code enforcement officer. He said the porch appeared to be in good repair but that weather had damaged it over time.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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