By Rita Reith
Indianapolis firefighters responded to a recent fire in a body shop business that presented a number of challenges.
Firefighter issues included difficulty with interior access due to multiple renovations of the existing building Rapid fire progression caused interior conditions to deteriorate, making offensive attack ineffective. Command ordered defensive attack and master stream operation.
Crews used large amounts of water used to extinguish fire, which quickly flooded the intersection of Keystone Ave and Washington St. as drains became clogged with debris and drainage could not keep pace with the output. Firefighters were operating in a “pool” of sorts, burying hoselines and equipment underneath 10-12 inches of water, which made work difficult and dangerous.
Power lines around the structure were carefully monitored– until secured–as flames threatened to burn through the live lines and drop them into the pooled water where firefighters worked. This was the second this morning fire for the crews, who had just finished battling a large vacant residence fire around the corner on Tacoma hours earlier.
RITA L. REITH is a battalion chief with the Indianapolis (IN) Fire Department and serves as the agency’s public information officer.