New York Firefighters Respond to Building Collapse

On March 1, 2003, at 20:30 hours, Syracuse, New York firefighters responded to a reported building collapse. Upon arrival, members found that the roof of a corner grocery store had caved in.


Syracuse, New York -- Firefighters were kept busy this past Saturday night in the central New York City. At 20:30 hours, the Syracuse Fire Department responded to a reported building collapse.

Upon arrival, members found that the roof of a corner grocery store had caved in. Due to the warm weather, the snow load on the roof was too much for the aging building. When the roof caved in, it pushed out the top of the walls on sides two and four. The structure was well known, as it had been vacant for several years. The utilities had been previously cut to the structure. No injuries were reported, even though the exposure 2 and exposure 3 homes were within 8 feet of the collapsed walls.

At 23:38, companies were dispatched to a reported fire in a back alley. On arrival, members had smoke showing from a 3 story ordinary construction building. Companies began an aggressive interior attack, but after only a minute, District Chief Don Johnson ordered everyone out of the building. The front windows of the 2nd and 3rd floors were boarded up. The first floor occupancy was a commercial business. And, thick heavy brown smoke was pushing from the cornices of the structure. Chief Johnson immediately asked for an additional engine and truck to the rear alley of the building. Outside operations commenced shortly after and thousands of gallons of water were dumped into the building in short order. The fire darkened down quickly, but due to the collapse of the center portion of the roof, hot spots on the second and third floors were stubborn and not easily penetrated by the master streams.

Units remained on the scene throughout the night. Fortunately, the temperature was above freezing. During the height of the firefight, four engine companies, three truck companies and the rescue company were operating all hands. Two additional engine companies came to the scene as relief later in the incident.