At about 1:45 PM on Tuesday, February 11, 2004, as Edina fire crews were involved in an in-service tactical rescue training at fire station 1, an alarm was transmitted for a possible structure fire in a house under construction.
Normal staffing of 6-10 on weekdays, was nearly twice that number with off duty personnel in for the training.
Engine 81 responded immediately, reporting smoke could be seen in the area. Tower 90, Medic 1 and 2 and Engine 83 went in service, as dispatch indicated they were being flooded with calls.
Engine 81 requested a full first alarm, bringing Richfield E-82, R-77, Ch-1 and 2, and St. Louis Park E-1, R1 and Ch-4.
The home was located on a cul-da-sac, at the end of Long Brake Trail, near the far southern boundry of the city. Up on a hilltop, with a huge setback, fire was already showing through the main roof line of the large, split level, 3-story structure.
First arriving, E-81 and crew spotted at the foot of the driveway and advanced a 2-1/2" hand line nearly 350' up the long drive.
E-81 crew, led by Lt. 64, requested a second alarm bringing additional units from Hopkins, E-2 and R-1 and Eden Prairie, E-5, L-1, Hr-22 and 33. E-83 took a hydrant about a block away and pumped to E-81 as the crew pulled a 2nd 2-1/2" line St. Louis Park assumed R.I.T.
Tower 90 was redirected to the rear of the home, via access from Shaughnessy Road, a cul-da-sac to the rear. Again, a 300' set back and steep hill made access difficult, and prohibited the use of the aerial platform. T-90 layed its own LDH supply and pumped two 2-1/2" handlines at the rear.
Richfield Eng-82 arrived and supplimented the attack. Eden Prairie L-1 and Hr-33, helped in the rear as well, pulling a 2nd 2-1/2" line, bundles and laddering.
Edina Ch-3 (Tom Schmitz) took rear sector, and directed activities to control the massive fire now burning across the entire roof line. Edina Chief-1 (Marty Sheerer) assumed command.
A third and subsequent fourth alarm were requested bringing additional units from cities already on scene, Minnetonka E-1 and Bloomington E-6 and R-1, as well as move-up crews to cover vacant stations.
Although the home was occupied, no one was home at the time of the fire.
Crews were also hampered in the fight by large amounts of construction materials, scaffolding and 100 lb. propane tank, on all sides of the structure. Also, on the front sector a natural gas meter was involved in fire below grade, adjacent to the entryway. Utility crews had to dig for a shut-off at the base of the drive near E-81. Crews had to stand by and wait as the utility tried to control the gas fire which was impinging of the residence.
Crews also made entry via the rear on two sides and made attempts to extinguish fire which had taken nearly every room of the structure.
No injuries were reported and HCMC paramedics stood by and covered the city for Edina. First units began clearing the scene by 4:15 PM. A standby/ fire watch was posted through the night. Fire Marshall (Tom Jensen) was investigating.