Firefighting, Leadership, News

Richmond Fire Department Version of Protestors Setting Fire, Blocking Firefighters Differs from Police

Fire Department PIO shares details on firefighters being blocked

(Richmond Fire Department)

FirefighterNation Staff

RICHMOND, Virginia – WTVR has an additional report on the protest house fire story from May 31 that highlighted protestors blocking firefighters from responding to an occupied house fire.

The public information officer for the Richmond Fire Department presented a different version of events from what Richmond Police Chief William Smith stated about the response.

FirefighterNation: Richmond Police Officers Rescue Child in Fire, Rioters Blocked Firefighters

Police Chief Smith spoke about the incident, telling reporters that protesters intentionally set fire to an occupied building on Broad Street.

Chief Smith said protestors had “intercepted fire apparatus several blocks away with vehicles and blocked that fire department’s access to the structure fire. Inside that home was a child.”

WTVR reported that Smith stated “officers were able to get those people out of the house. We were able to get the fire department there safely.”

Smith also said that police officers had to “force our way to make a clear path for the fire department.”

Fire department PIO Lieutenant Chris Armstrong told WTVR that based on his investigation, the 911 call initially came in as being on Broad Street, but it was a fire at 309 N. Monroe Street.

Lieutenant Armstrong said there was a car fire on Monroe that extended to the exterior of a nearby building. The fire died not extend to the interior of the structure.

Armstrong told WTVR that when firefighters arrived, a father and son were already outside “unharmed.”

Armstrong confirm that a fire truck was halted trying to get to the scene. Details of how that were different from Chief Smith’s version.

Armstrong said burning trash cans forced the fire truck to slow down, and a single protester blocked the truck and refused to move.  Someone also threw something at the fire truck, according to Armstrong.

Armstrong added that more protesters started coming toward the fire truck, but police in riot gear arrived and the protesters ran away.