COLLAPSE ZONE: Fully-involved house fire on Boise Hill Road in Boise, Idaho shows collapse just after 0:26/5:00 (CREDIT: Boise Fire Department).
Boise Fire Department responded just before 9:00 p.m. MDT Thursday August 1, 2013 to a house fire on Boise Hill Road.
From Boise Fire Department …
“This is a perfect example of hard and consistent training paying off in the field and saving lives ” says Boise Fire chief Dennis Doan. “Identifying the imminent collapse of the structure and reacting immediately saved firefighters from serious injury or potentially even a fatality in this case.”
What Happened: Boise firefighters battled a fast moving, spectacular fire in a large, 3-story home on the northeast corner of W. Hill Road and Castle Drive in northwest Boise overnight. A passerby called 911 reporting the fire at 9:30 p.m. Responding fire crews saw smoke a half-mile away and quickly called for a second alarm before even arriving on scene.
Firefighters immediately went defensive on the fire, meaning when they arrived the flames were so extensive and aggressive they did not attempt to go inside the home. Neighbors told assisting Boise Police officers the home was being remodeled and no one was living there at the time.
Collapse: Less than 15 minutes into the battle, a firefighter on the north side of the home told commanders there were signs the largest portion of the structure was about to collapse. The Battalion Chief acting as Incident Command called firefighters away from the structure just as the first side collapsed. Immediately what’s called a “roll call” was done by fire command, a radio check from each firefighter on scene to insure no one was trapped then 3-story wall came down. Fortunately everyone was accounted for and unhurt. The 5,000 square foot house continued to collapse as firefighters worked hard to keep the flames from spreading.
Embers Sparked Two Roof Fires: The flames shot so high into the air during the peak of the fire, the roofs of two homes south of Hill Rd on W. Holli Hill Dr caught fire. A 3rd alarm had already been called and those resources were assigned to help neighbors put out those fires, already being doused with garden hoses when firefighters quickly assisted and knocked the fires out. Boise Police officers had gone door to door in the neighborhood just south of the fire alerting neighbors to the flying embers.
Remodeling causes fire to burn quickly: The home was being remodeled and the interior was nearly gutted. Some interior walls had no sheetrock, meaning the fire could move quickly burning the large homes structural support causing the quick collapse.
The raging fire also caused minor damage to two smaller outbuildings on the property just north of the house.
Boise, Idaho is the capital and most populous city (212,303) of the U.S. state of Idaho, as well as the county seat of Ada County.
Boise Fire Department — fire.cityofboise.org
Boise Fire Department runs monthly swiftwater rescue drills on the Boise River.
The fire department shows complete respect for the public they serve with full-spectrum public outreach in place, including an elaborate official website, Facebook account, Twitter account, and a YouTube account.