An aggressive interior attack by Ladder 7 is credited in stopping an apartment fire and preventing damage throughout one of the Burnt Store Marina condominiums.
Just before 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, a first alarm assignment under the command of Battalion Chief James Parker responded to a reported fire at 3720 South Shore Drive inside Burnt Store Marina. Two maintenance workers in the complex heard the fire alarm going off and. upon investigating. smelled smoke and witnessed smoke coming from apartment 72-A, officials said in a statement released by the department.
When Ladder 7 arrived, firefighters made entry into the first floor apartment and found heavy black smoke creating zero visibility inside. In spite of the extreme conditions, firefighters Alejandro Castillo and Jeffrey Silcox along with Lt. Gerald Craig made an aggressive attack on the fire, using a fire attack line and the tank water carried on the ladder truck. Acting Engineer Jason Spinner deployed positive pressure ventilation fans to help reduce temperatures and enhance visibility, allowing the fire to be quickly extinguished.
The residents, who are seasonal, were not at home at the time of the fire but returned shortly after firefighters had arrived and extinguished the blaze.
"Preliminary indications are that the fire originated in the living room of the apartment and the fire is considered accidental, but remains under investigation," officials said in the release.
No damage estimate was immediately available but the apartment was uninhabitable and the occupants were able to secure an alternative location to stay. The Red Cross was not needed.
Firefighters urge residents to practice fire safety every day, but pay special attention to developing an escape plan that involves shutters and impact windows. Some tips to consider include:
Always know two ways to get out of each room. If the primary way is blocked by fire or smoke, you will need a second way out. A secondary route might be a window onto a neighboring roof or a collapsible ladder for escape from upper story windows.
Make sure that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out quickly, and that security bars can be properly opened. That includes knowing how to quickly unlock a window, even with your eyes closed or in the dark.
Practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed.
Windows and doors with security bars must have quick release devices to allow them to be opened immediately in an emergency. Make sure everyone in the family understands and practices how to properly operate and open locked or barred doors and windows.
Teach children not to hide from firefighters.
Source: Cape Coral Fire Department
One of the concerns noted by the firefighters was the hurricane impact resistant glass found in the apartment and many others in our region. Firefighter Silcox used a fire ax to break a window to help with ventilation to remove the heat and smoke.
"It took me ten swings just to get a plate-sized hole in the glass," said Silcox in the prepared statement. "It can be an issue when there is a need to get ventilation going."
As noted in a Cape Coral Fire Department media release from two days ago, hurricane shutters and impact rated glass are two important ways homeowners and businesses can protect their property during a severe tropical weather event including hurricanes and tropical storms.
"Unfortunately, as good as these protective measures are for keeping the weather out, they also create a dangerous situation of trapping people in should a house fire break out," officials said.
Source: Cape Coral Fire Department