By Rita Reith
Indianapolis firefighters faced a number of challenges while operating at the scene of a fire in a two-story commercial building on Tuesday, January 30, 2018.
A total of 15 Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) units were dispatched to the scene and found heavy fire showing. The fire went to two alarms, requiring the assistance of an additional 20 IFD units.
CSX ordered all trains into Indianapolis along the set of tracks south of building stopped. One passenger train was delayed.
Multiple fire apparatus pulling water from area hydrants–all at the same time–created a pressure supply and demand issue. IFD worked Citizen’s Energy to boost and maintain pressure to the area.
Firefighters had multiple civilian drivers disregard blocking, go around apparatus and drive over charged hydrant supply lines. One driver completely damaged the hose, requiring the hydrant to be shut down so replacement could be made. The driver got out of his car and became verbally aggressive toward crews, requiring the intervention of Indianapolis police officials.
Firefighters had to use chain saws to cut through trees that lined the southside of the structure along the railroad tracks in order to effect a handline operation.
IFD photographer Rodger Birchfield had just gotten into his parked vehicle in the staging area when he was T-boned by another driver who drove completely through the empty lot before hitting Rodger’s car. The driver claimed he wasn’t paying attention and then said he blacked out, again requiring the assitance of Indy police. Rodger was unharmed but significant damage was done to his car.
RITA L. REITH is a battalion chief with the Indianapolis (IN) Fire Department and serves as the agency’s public information officer.