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Firefighters escape house fire as floors collapse

Firefighters escape house fire as floors collapse

Colorado Springs Gazette via YellowBrix

October 28, 2010

COLORADO SPRINGS – The collapsing floor in front of Paul Jensen didn’t fool the firefighter for a second Wednesday night.

Jensen and another firefighter escaped injury while fighting a fire that tore through a northwest Colorado Springs house.

A homeowner and his sister arrived shortly after 7 p.m. to find smoke coming form the man’s house at 2235 Kirby Court, said Lt. Stacy Billapando, Colorado Springs fire spokeswoman.

Firefighters believe the fire started in the basement, spread into the structure’s walls and started eating away at the main floor of the house.

Jensen, a firefighter with Engine 12, was crawling around on that floor — a common practice to deal with poor visibility — when it started to give way.But Jensen was ready.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Engine 12 company was training at the Olympic Training Center, where vacant buildings were purposefully set on fire to provide more realistic training conditions. The exercise has been ongoing for about a month.

“That’s why we train — know when to back out,” said Jensen, who escaped with a fellow firefighter.

Because of the weakened floors, firefighters had to fight the Kirby Court fire from outside, delaying progress. An hour and a half after it started, flames continued to burn on the second floor.

The cause had not been determined. The homeowner was able to stay the night with family in the city.

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