THATCHER, Arizona – Two Thatcher firefighters were hospitalized, one with serious burns, after being injured during a live burn exercise.
The Eastern Arizona Courier reports that one firefighter was taken to Mt. Graham Regional Medical center for burns on his knees, while another was taken to the Arizona Burn Center at Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix. The two were participating in a exercise involving a house donated to the department for training.
During the training a crew entered the structure from the rear intending to extinguish a room on fire. Unknown to them their hoseline had been burnt through. As they exited the house, one of the firefighters received burns to the hands and knees. Firefighter Josh Curtis was taken to Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center for treatment of his injuries.
During their exit they became separated from one another. Captain Rob Casillas was reportedly unaware that the others had followed the hoseline out to the exit and he returned inside to find the others. Unable to locate the other firefighters, Casillas began to exit the room when a flashover occurred. It was initially reported that Captain Casillas suffered second-degree burns to his hands, head and back according to Thatcher Fire Chief Mike Payne. The Courier adds that Casillas’ burns were much more serious than reported and that he is expected to receive skin grafting operations for third-degree burns.
Chief Payne stated to the Courier that the firefighters were appropriately dressed for the training and that a backup safety hoseline was in place. The incident is said to have taken place so quickly that by the time they realized there was a problem the backup hoseline was of no use. Payne added that when they realized firefighters were injured, a mayday was called and all the firefighters were accounted for outside.
The Courier reported that some firefighters had concerns about a lack of safety protocol at the training. Chief Payne stated that he will hold his judgment until an investigation of the incident is completed.
Comment Now: Post Your Thoughts & Comments on This Story