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Morning Blaze Lands Firefighter In Intensive Care

Morning Blaze Lands Firefighter In Intensive Care

A utility worker for Davis Cable Technologies drags out a replacement line in front of a trailer home that caught fire early Monday.

Killeen Daily Herald

March 08, 2011

HARKER HEIGHTS — A mobile home fire at the corner of Beeline Lane and Amy Lane early Monday morning sent one Harker Heights firefighter to the hospital and displaced four adults.

The four adults are currently being taken care of by the American Red Cross.

The firefighter remained in the Scott & White Intensive Care Unit in Temple with fellow firefighters by his side on Monday evening, Fire Chief Jack Collier said.

“We are just going to monitor the situation and hope and pray he is going to be fine,” Collier said. “And I think he will be. … This is an inherently dangerous business.”

The fire department was dispatched to the blaze about 8:15 a.m. Monday. When the unit arrived, heavy smoke and flames were already showing from the building.

The firefighters started a defensive attack on the blaze after determining that there was no one inside the home, Collier said.

The injured firefighter was spraying water on the building from outside when the fire suddenly changed directions because of the wind, Collier said.

The injured firefighter and another individual were engulfed by the heat and smoke, and the firefighter’s breathing apparatus somehow slipped from his face, Collier said. As a result, the firefighter inhaled smoke and suffered burned airways.

“Burns to the airway are considered very, very serious, so (Scott & White) is going to watch him to see if he has any other complications,” Collier said.

One of the residents of the mobile home, Justin Grosz, was in Kempner at the time of the blaze, but rushed back to Harker Heights, because he knew his mother was sleeping in the home.

“She was actually able to kick out the back and get out,” said Julia Fry, Grosz’s girlfriend.

Grosz said he was thankful that all of his family members were OK, but they lost so many personal effects.

“Now we have to start from scratch,” he said.

The family had been through another fire about two years ago, when their mobile home adjacent to this one caught fire, Grosz said. That fire was electrical, and this one probably was too, he added.

“The last couple of days we have been hearing the breaker pop,” he said.

The family called an electrician to come out to work on the mobile home, but eventually “that front half of the house just quit working,” Grosz said.

It was the front portion of the home that originally caught on fire, said David Nielsen, a neighbor who was awakened by the blaze earlier that morning.

The fire department was still investigating the fire Monday, as well as the reason the firefighter’s breathing apparatus failed to stay on his face, Collier said.