A veteran Indianapolis firefighter was seriously injured in a fall on the fireground during a structure fire early this morning.
Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) units were dispatched at 1:25 a.m. to a working fire in a vacant double residence. Crews found heavy fire showing from the front of the structure, and conducted an offensive attack, rapidly bringing the fire under control, according to information from IFD Battalion Chief and PIO Rita Reith.
Captain Brian T. White, 45, is a 22-year veteran of the IFD and is currently assigned as the Executive Officer for Battalion 5. Approximately 10 minutes into the incident, crews had the bulk of the fire knocked down and little to no visible fire remaining on the exterior. With the interior of the vacant home littered with excessive debris and the stairs untenable, ground ladders were deployed to the front side of the structure, allowing crews to make entry to the second floor.
Captain White was in the process of entering the structure to conduct a primary search. The firefighter ahead of him ascended the ladder onto the porch roof and went into the second-story window. Captain White, right behind him, stopped before entering the window to pull a piece of plywood off the exterior and, in those seconds, the porch roof gave way.
Firefighters who witnessed the fall said that Captain White fell about 10 feet and landed on his head. The on-scene Rapid Intervention Crews made immediate contact with the now unconscious firefighter and removed him from the scene, packaging and placing him into IEMS Medic 3 within minutes. He was transported Emergent to IU Methodist Hospital and regained consciousness while en route. Shortly after his arrival to the ER, Captain White was alert, oriented and talking with physicians.
As per standard protocol with regard to a serious injury, the IFD Post Incident Team and the Significant Injury Team will review both the injury to the firefighter and the firefighting operations. All existing standard operating procedures were being followed, however the IFD will examine the events leading up to the injury and possible lessons learned.
Captain White remains in stable condition at IU Methodist Hospital. Doctors have asked that for at least today – he is allowed to rest and that visitors refrain from coming to the hospital. He has family members with him and is being well taken care of.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.