On June 24, Suffolk Department of Fire & Rescue was alerted to a structure fire in the 100 block of Franklin Street in the Olde Towne neighborhood.
This historic section of downtown Suffolk has many homes and buildings from the 1800s. While en route, dispatch received numerous calls for fire and smoke showing from an abandoned structure.
Battalion 1 reported a large two-story house with smoke showing from the front second floor and attic. The initial response included two engines, a ladder, a rescue and battalion chief.
Exposure protection lines were pulled and a defensive operation was started as the original structure had heavy fire showing from the rear. Within two minutes, fire had consumed the entire building. At the four minute mark, it was totally involved, and catching the exposures on fire as well.
Command quickly requested a second-alarm, and eventually the call went to four alarms as the other exposures caught fire. At one point, three houses were burning, a large two story detached garage, and four private vehicles.
Ladder 3 and Ladder 5 operated their elevated streams while crews on the ground worked hard to prevent the fire from spreading to a large church. Over personnel from 10 engines, two ladders and additional apparatus worked into the early morning finally extinguishing what would become one of the largest residential fires in the department's history.
Three firefighters suffered burns from the radiant heat and had to be transported along with three others who suffered from heat exhaustion. All are OK.