Fireground Safety

Mayday, Suffolk (VA) Firefighters Injured in Collapse

Suffolk firefighters at detached garage fire

Photos and report courtesy Suffolk (VA) Fire & Rescue

A Mayday was declared on the fireground after a Suffolk (VA) firefighter became trapped in a wall collapse at a dwelling fire.

Chief Michael Barakey of Suffolk (VA) Fire & Rescue and BC-3 James Broglin, the incident commander, offered an overview of the operations and incident.


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On Monday, March 11, 2019, Emergency Communications was contacted at 9:27 a.m. and the first units arrived on scene at 9:34 a.m. at the residence located in a rural area in the 100 block of Five Mile Road located off Godwin Boulevard/Route10.

View of breezway between garage and residence Residence not yet affected by fire

Chief Michael Barakey advised that upon arrival, crews found a large, detached garage and two vehicles was fully involved. Crews quickly began attacking the fire. A Mayday was called when a firefighter was working between the garage and primary residence and a wall collapsed, trapping her underneath the rubble. She was quickly rescued by fellow firefighters, and she and another firefighter received emergency medical assessment and treatment before being ground transported to Sentara Obici Hospital for further treatment. An adult female occupant also sustained a minor injury and received emergency medical assessment and treatment on scene before being ground transported.

Firefighters attend to injured colleague

The fire extended into the primary residence and the extensive heat also caused damage to a neighboring residence. Two adults were displaced and will be assisted by the American Red Cross. The fire was called under control at 10:26 a.m.

Responding units included Engines 4, 6, 9, Ladder 6, Medic 9A, Battalions 2 and 3, Tankers 1 and 9, FM-6, FM-5, Safety 1, Rescue 1, EMS 1, and Car 1. Suffolk Police provided traffic control.

The Fire Marshal’s Office is handling the investigation.

Chief Mike Barakey is a longtime contributor to Fire Engineering, FDIC International instructor, and author for Fire Engineering Books & Video. He will be teaching “Critical Decision Making: Point-to-Point Leadership for Fire Service Leaders” at FDIC International 2019.


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