Charlotte, N.C. - It was just before 11:30 pm Friday night on May 6, 2005, when a smoke alarm sounded, alerting firefighters to a fire that broke out in the apparatus bay of Charlotte Fire Station #8, located at 1201 The Plaza.
While investigating the alarm, members discovered their own apparatus floor was filled with smoke. The Captain of Engine 8 quickly contacted fire dispatch and notified them of the fire. Nearby fire companies were quickly dispatched and arrived to find heavy smoke conditions pouring out of the fire station commonly know as the "The Whitehouse" that is located near Central Ave., protecting the Plaza-Midwood area of Charlotte.
The 8 Charlotte Firefighters who were on duty when the fire broke out escaped unharmed and worked feverishly along side the arriving firefighters to stretch hoses and stop the blaze. Numerous hose lines were advanced into the fire station to stop the blaze that destroyed Engine Company #8, which is one of two trucks housed at this fire station that opened back in 1948.
Quick action by members of the Charlotte Fire Department kept the fire from reaching the main part of this fire station.
Charlotte Fire Officials put damage estimates to the fire truck, equipment, and station at approximately $500,000.
The 35 plus firefighters who responded worked throughout the night to clean and repair the damaged station as Charlotte Fire Investigators examined the destroyed fire truck that has been in service since 1994.
No injuries were reported and the cause of the Friday night blaze is still under investigation.
Both fire companies, Engine #'s 8 and 64, will remain in service as a reserve truck was delivered overnight to allow the Plaza-Midwood firefighters to remain at their watch as the fire, smoke, and water damage is cleaned up.
Thanks to the building having a sprinkler system, the major damage was held to the compartment of Engine 8. Engine 64 which was less then 3 feet from the burning engine sustained no physical damage and was able to start up and drive out on its own power.
Additionally the sprinklers kept the fire from spreading into the 57 year old building. While the apparatus bay floor suffered heat and smoke damage, the intense fire never spread anywhere else.
During the mists of the fire, a oxygen bottle in the cab of Engine 8 exploded and separated part of the cab of the engine. The initial concussion was enough to buckle both bay door, shatter one wire reinforced window and completely blow out another.
By 2:30 am, the crew of Engine 8 with the help of Engine 64 returned to the station with Reserve Engine 77 and by 4am, Engine 8 was back in service.
Until the repairs can be completed, Engine 8 and 64 are being stationed at Station 15 and Station 1 and continue to cover their response area.