Flashover Causes Close Call in Illinois

An Illinois firefighter had a close call when a gable vent that he was opening up flashed on him on Saturday.
Hanover Park crews were dispatched to a reported house fire at 3:20 p.m. Engine 361 arrived to find heavy fire on the exterior and extending up the rear of the home to the attic.
The initial handlines were stretched to knock down the rapidly extending fire. A 2 1/2-inch handline was stretched up the interior stairs to control the fire. As crews performed a primary search they removed a dog.
"The first arriving truck and squad attempted to open the roof but evacuated due to structural weakness," Hanover Park Chief Craigh Haigh told Firehouse.com. 
Haigh said crews encountered difficult access to the attic. While working on the interior, they found 2-by-6 planking had covered the attic floor and crews were unable to break through it to hit the fire. "Due to the limited access and the rapidly extending fire, an exterior attack was utilized through the front and rear gable eves.," Haigh said.
As a firefighter worked to open a gable, the fire "flashed out of the opening," according to Haigh. "The firefighter escaped injury through proper use of his protective equipment as the fire flashed."
One the heavy fire conditions were knocked down, crews re-entered the structure to hit the hot spots. Much effort was needed to cut away the planking to douse the remaining fire.
Crews performing a final search of the home found a cat hiding under a bed.
Crews from Bartlett, Roselle, South Elgin and Streamwood worked with Hanover firefighters at the scene.
Chief Haigh reports that the fire was sparked by an apparent faulty fireplace.