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Three Firefighters Injured In Paint Store Flashover

Three Firefighters Injured In Paint Store Flashover

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The Herald-News via YellowBrix

July 02, 2010

JOLIET, IL – Republic Avenue was shut down Thursday afternoon as a Dumpster fire spread into a nearby building.

The blaze was reported around 12:45 p.m. on the south end of 251 Republic. Formerly a large paint store, the building now houses Joliet Economy Furniture in the front, with a performance auto shop, medical technology company and electrical contractor under the same roof.

“The building is divided into several units, and we were worried it was going to jump over into each one through the roof,” Deputy Chief Ray Randich said. “We got on the roof and cut trenches in it ahead of (the flames) so if the fire went up it wouldn’t carry over.”

The blaze was quickly upgraded to a “2-11 fire,” which Battalion Chief Brian Lucca explained calls out extra equipment and an off-duty shift in to assist.

“The fire flashed over inside, and everyone was ordered out. There were significant flames which melted the hose line at the door,” he said.

All firefighters were accounted for and returned to the rear unit, which contained a substantial amount of paper and appeared to be a records area.

“(The smoke was so thick) I couldn’t even see what was in there when I was back there,” one firefighter said.

The fire was brought under control after an hour and a half.

Two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion and taken to Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center, a block from the scene. Both were released after being evaluated. One returned to duty; the other went home for the day, Lucca said.

Another firefighter injured his knee battling the blaze. No civilian injuries were reported.

The building is “heavily damaged” in some areas. Arson investigators were at the scene Thursday afternoon.