UPDATE: Firefighters released from hospital

Joe Gibbons & Andrew Robinson
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Published on August 17, 2014

It was unsafe at times for firefighters to try and fan flames inside a home on Goodridge Street Saturday, making the use of the fire department’s aerial bucket a necessity.

Published on August 17, 2014

The scene of Saturday evening's fire on Goodridge Street was a haze of smoke at times.

Published on August 17, 2014

A look at the clouds of smoke billowing up into the sky as the result of a fire at a vacant home on Goodridge Street in St. John's Saturday.

Published on August 17, 2014

An unidentified member of the St. John's Regional Fire Department takes a break at the scene of Saturday's fire on Goodridge Street. Three firefighters were eventually taken to hospital to receive treatment for heat exhaustion.

Published on August 17, 2014

A firefighter douses the side of a home on Third Street in Mount Pearl with water.

Published on August 17, 2014

A member of the St. John's Regional Fire Department carries a bird cage containing a small bird that was safely rescued from the basement apartment of a home on Third Street in Mount Pearl Saturday.

The St. John’s Regional Fire Department has confirmed all three firefighters who were treated in hospital for heat exhaustion Saturday night have been released.

Two of the firefighters were released from a St. John’s hospital last night, according to Don Byrne, Deputy Fire Chief of Operations. The third firefighter had an overnight stay and was released late this morning.

“But all have been checked out and deemed OK,” said Byrne.

The firefighters were taken to hospital while crews battled the second of three structure fires that occurred in the St. John’s metro area between late Saturday afternoon and early Sunday morning.

The first fire involved a home on Third Street in Mount Pearl where people occupied the main floor and a basement apartment. A fire at an abandoned house on Goodridge Street in St. John’s proved to be the most serious of the three, as firefighters worked to control the blaze for several hours Saturday night.

The third fire happened on Empire Avenue early Sunday morning. According to Byrne, the fire started in a basement apartment.

“There was extensive damage to the basement apartment and a lot of smoke and heat damage to the main floor area of the house.”

There were no injuries. Those who were inside the basement apartment had already left the house when fire crews arrived on the scene at approximately 4:30 a.m. No one was home on the main floor when the fire started.

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(Earlier story)

Three St. John's Regional Fire Department (SJRFD) firefighters were taken to hospital for treatment of heat exhaustion Saturday while battling a major fire on Goodridge Street in the centre of St. John's.

It was just one of two serious fires crews had to contend with in the span of just over an hour over the Saturday evening supper hour.

Crews from the Mount Pearl and Brookfield and Central fire stations were dispatched to 22 Third Street in Mount Pearl around 5 p.m. when several 911 calls were received of smoke issuing from the residence.

Acting Shift-Supt. Rick Mackey told reporters at the Mount Pearl scene, "At 4:43 p.m. we received the call stating that there was a fire here on Third Street. Our trucks arrived about three minutes later and rapidly put water on the fire, extinguished it fairly quickly and had it knocked down in just several minutes.

"The fire was confined to the basement area and as well it extended to the exterior of the building where the heavy body of the fire was too and the police investigators will determine the actual cause of the fire.”

Mackey added there were five trucks on the scene and some sixteen firefighters who battled the elements.

As well, the heat from the fire melted the exterior siding on the adjacent home at 20 Third Street and firefighters had to use axes and pike poles to haul the siding off that home to ensure it didn't extend inside the home using their infrared heat detection cameras and checking inside the home as well.

Firefighters rescued two birds cages from the home. They were believed to have contained Parakeet's in them and they were handed over to their owner by firefighter John Coady when the resident arrived home to her basement apartment residence.

Just over an hour later, firefighter crews were once again called to battle another but more serious fire at 12 Goodridge Street. Crews were on the scene for several hours before the last firefighters and first on-scene crews from the Central Fire Station returned to their station just past midnight early Sunday morning.

Having fell victim to a fire on Christmas Eve on December 24, 2010, Saturday night's fire saw the abandoned home completely destroyed by the heavy fire, smoke and water.

Said Deputy Fire Chief Don Byrne, "The original call we got for here was just after 6 o'clock and the first trucks arrived here in about two minutes. On arrival, they were met with heavy smoke here and fire on the lower west side of the home and the basement was fully involved.

"Right now the first floor is (unsafe) for us. We were up on the second floor and that's all lattice . . . . . it's a wooden ceiling, so its very tough to get in through and the fire had travelled in the outside wall and up into the ceiling space. 

"We pulled our guy's outside the house because it wasn't safe and we have our aerial device set-up there and we're just going to contain it by using that," added Deputy Chief Byrne.

He said the 15 firefighters in the initial call of the three-alarm fire "have really taken a hard beating here because of the heat that was inside and they are being replaced by fresh crews from two other stations. 

"Eastern Health paramedics checked out a number of firefighters for their vitals and to make sure they are all OK and we got a couple of guys a bit on the stomach sick side a little overcome from the heat and exhaustion."    

The media scrum took place just after 7 p.m. As smoke and fire continued, Deputy Chief Byrne said the fire was under control at that point and the firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading to the nearby homes.

But as the night wore on and darkness set-in, crews were still pouring water down into the structure as flames lit up the area of Goodridge Street, protruding from the roof and sides and front of the home near the eaves. Two firefighters in the aerial bucket poured gallons of water down into the flames. 

Once the fire was significantly knocked down, a chain saw was used to cut away additional sections of the front of the home. This allowed firefighters to give a good soaking inside the roof area of home and its interior. Fire crews had the upper hand by approximately 11 p.m. with the loss stop (all-out) given minutes later.    

Just before 10 p.m. Saturday night, Deputy Chief Byrne told The Telegram that the three firefighters were still at the hospital emergency room being treated and were being given intravenous liquids to help them recover and their conditions were improving. 

As for the cause of the fire, he said it has to be thoroughly investigated. The scene was turned over to the RNC when the last firefighters left there just after midnight. 

Jgibbons@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Central Fire Station, The Telegram

Geographic location: Mount Pearl, 22 Third Street, Goodridge Street 20 Third Street Eastern Health

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