Three Franklin (OH) firefighters were caught in what has been determined to be a smoke explosion at a structure fire involving a restaurant occupancy in what appears to be a building of Type III construction that published reports indicated was built in 1892.
Franklin (OH) FD Lt. Kyle Lovelace and firefighters Quincy Pearson and Brad Brown were caught in a smoke explosion while conducting interior fire suppression operations at which time conditions deteriorated and a smoke explosion occurred. Simultaneous with the recognition that something was not good; the crew immediately began to retreat when they were caught in the explosion. All of them luckily made it out unscathed.
According to published reports, "They reverted back to their training and did what they needed to do to get out," according to Fire Chief Jonathan Westendorf . "We have a flashover simulator and we spend a good amount time talking about it each year."
Reports have indicated Lt. Lovelace stated that when they arrived on the scene, he noticed smoke coming from left side of the building above the second floor and thought that it may be an attic fire.
They attempted to gain entry through the front door, but before they opened it they noticed a crack in the window and decided to gain entry through the rear. Lt. Lovelace, FF Pearson and FF Brown entered an alley covered by an awning connecting to freestanding structures. Westendorf later said his guys were fortunate to be in that location because they were isolated from the brunt of the blast.
The crew advanced about 25 feet when FF Pearson, who was on the nozzle, saw wisps of smoke and began to feel extreme heat.
Lt. Lovelace used a thermal imaging camera to locate where the heat was coming from, but right before he could tell Person, he started yelling at him to get out. They made it about 20 feet when the thick black smoke started banking down on them. As Lovelace exited under the awning, conditions quickly worsened and the smoke explosion occurred. Video of blast HERE
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Photo by Nick Graham Middletown Journal
Middletown Journal Photo Show from the Fireground, HERE
Aerial Image along South Main Street of the Building
Screenshot from video as smoke explosion occurs