Two alarm apartment fire in Wilmington

WILMINGTON, Del. - November 30, 2008 Wilmington firefighters were dispatched to the 1400 block of Pennsylvania Avenue for a report of a fire alarm shortly before 3:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

Responding units were notified that fire dispatchers were receiving several calls reporting a fire in the building. The building is a 16-story condominium complex with no sprinklers.

First arriving Engine Company 5 reported smoke and fire coming from a window on the seventh floor of the building. All responding companies were quickly committed to attack the fire and search for any occupants requiring assistance or rescue.

The firefighters contained the fire to the one original unit. The unit sustained heavy fire damage. The hallway on the seventh floor sustained heavy smoke damage. Two civilians suffered minor injuries and were transported to Saint Francis Hospital for evaluation and treatment. Several civilians were assisted from the building and were temporarily sheltered at the Westminster Presbyterian Church on West 13th Street, adjacent to the fire building.

There were no firefighter injuries. The fire was declared under control at 16:25 hours.

The Wilmington Fire Marshal's Office responded to investigate the cause of the blaze. The fire is still under investigation. The Department of Licenses & Inspections responded to assist at the scene. The American Red Cross was contacted to provide housing assistance for residents that were displaced by the fire.

Thirty residents were displaced for the evening. Ten of these residents required assistance from the American Red Cross.

The condition of the displaced residents' condominiums will be reevaluated tomorrow and some of these residents may be able to return to the building at that time.

The fire required a two alarm assignment. Fifty-five personnel responded to the fire. The following units responded: E5, E6, E3, E1, SQ4, SB2, T2, L1, R1, B5, B1, PA1, PA2, PA3, PA4, OEM1, FM10, FM13, FM16, F1, D2, F8, and NCC EMS. Additional off-duty Wilmington firefighters were called back to duty. Fire units and personnel from the Talleyville, Five Points, and Elsmere Fire Companies also covered city fire stations in case of additional emergencies.

The U.S. Fire Administration reports that the combination of working smoke alarms and fire sprinklers reduces the likelihood of death from a fire by more than 80 percent. Fire sprinklers control the fire immediately in the room of origin, help limit the spread of fire, and may extinguish the fire before the arrival of the fire department. This results in less overall damage to property from smoke, fire, and water than if the fire had continued unabated or if firefighting hoselines had been used.


Information from Wilmington Fire Department

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