Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fire Press Release

ISSUING OFFICER: Battalion Chief Bob Green
INCIDENT TYPE: Structure Fire
CITY: Spokane
ZIP: 99204

NARRATIVE: The Spokane City Fire Dept. responded fire fighting crews and their apparatus to W. 815 7th Ave. at 6:07 in the evening of August 21st to a reported structure fire at the 100 year old historical landmark known as the Corbin Mansion. First arriving fire crews reported smoke inside on the upper floor of the building and smoke was visible outside as it was issuing from the roof area at the same time. The Corbin Mansion is a very large and stately structure that has, over time, been remodeled many times and has had many various types of occupancies over the years. Currently it is being used as professional office spaces for a number of tenants. The building's stature and historical importance to the community was uppermost in the minds of the firefighters who were arriving on scene as they entered the building and searched for the cause of the growing amount of smoke that was beginning to spread throughout the upper floor. While fire crews searched diligently inside to find the location of the fire other fire crews were sent to the roof to be in a position to open the roof in case that became necessary. The combined efforts of the crews inside and those on the roof working in unison resulted in locating the fire which was burning and starting to spread through the large open attic space. As holes were being pierced through the ceiling from below and the roof was opened from above fire fighters were able to hit the main body of fire with their hose leads and get a fairly quick knockdown of the difficult to locate fire. Fire fighters then had to dig out all the remaining fire and embers from the insulation and the damaged structural members in the attic and then remove that debris from the top floor down to the parking lot 3 floors below. The fire in the attic did substantial damage to the structural members of the roof system in the center of the building; some of those damaged structural members were the sole support of a rather large heating and air-conditioning unit that sat atop those members in the attic space. Due to the damage done by the burning of those members the unit was in a very dangerous position and so it was shored up to prevent it's collapse by equipment from the Fire Dept.'s Urban Search and Rescue Team and left in place in the building until repairs to the roof system can be undertaken. Fire damage to the Corbin Mansion was contained mainly to the top floor and the attic above. A certain amount of collateral damage occurred as the search for the hidden fire progressed and there was some water damage on the lower floors due to the application of water on the top floor and its inevitable tendency to run downhill. Many older buildings such as the Corbin Mansion have been lost to fires in the past; fortunately for our community this building can be repaired. There were no injuries to civilians or fire fighters at this particular incident. Eight pieces of fire apparatus and Two Command vehicles with 28 fire fighters and 2 battalion Chiefs worked to find and extinguish this fire. The cause of the fire appears to be a malfunction in the already mentioned, large heating and air conditioning unit housed in the attic.
PROBABLE CAUSE: A malfunction in the heating, air-conditioning unit housed in the building's attic.
DAMAGE EXTENT: Fire damage was confined to the top floor and the attic space, smoke and water damage were present to some degree on all floors.
MUTUAL AID: None Given