Ala. Firefighter Collapses During Apt. Fire MAYDAY

Sept. 17, 2013
An Anniston firefighter lost his SCBA mask while entering a smoky apartment complex fire and fell to the floor unconscious.

Sept. 16--An Anniston firefighter was recovering today after collapsing in an apartment complex fire he and 12 other firefighters responded to Sunday evening.

The fire occurred on the 400 block of South Allen Avenue. Four apartments were damaged but no residents were injured, a press release said.

Anniston fire Capt. Joel Roberts said 13 firefighters were sent to the scene around 6:48 p.m. Sunday. When they arrived, heavy smoke was visible from the front and the back of the apartment complex, according to the captain.

Firefighters entered from the back of the complex but had to stall because a firefighter lost his mask, according to Anniston fire Chief Tony Taylor. Taylor said the mask may have gotten caught in debris from the building.

After the firefighter's mask was pulled away from his face, he fell to the floor and briefly lost consciousness, Taylor said. A mayday alarm was activated to signal that the firefighter was down, and the department was forced to stall its progress until the firefighter was safely out of the building, the press release said.

The firefighter was taken to Regional Medical Center for treatment by Anniston EMS and was released around 9:30 p.m. Sunday. He has no lasting injuries and is expected to return to work Wednesday, the chief said.

After the firefighter was taken to RMC, the others were able to put the blaze out within 15 minutes. The fire began in the kitchen of a ground-floor apartment, Taylor said.

The press release said there was heavy smoke and fire damage to one apartment and light smoke damage to at least three others. Firefighters put three families in touch with the Calhoun Cleburne Chapter of the American Red Cross Sunday evening to assist the families with the damaged apartments, the release said. Depending on the case, the Red Cross can give families things such as shelter, clothing and food.

According to Matthew Carrier, the emergency services specialist with the Calhoun Cleburne chapter of the American Red Cross, the local chapter assisted 12 adults and 12 children over the weekend.

The fire was caused accidentally, according to the press release.

Staff writer Madasyn Czebiniak: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @MCzebiniak_Star.

Copyright 2013 - The Anniston Star, Ala.

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