Rescues garner recognitionOne year ago Wednesday, flames ripped through an apartment building at 2202 John Ave., trapping several people inside.
By: Shelley Nelson, The Daily Telegram
One year ago Wednesday, flames ripped through an apartment building at 2202 John Ave., trapping several people inside.
In an upstairs window, firefighters spotted a woman with two small children. South of the window, two more tenants were spotted. In all, seven people were trapped in the upper floor of the building.
As flames licked at the back of the building, firefighters wasted no time to get the residents out.
Wednesday, the firefighters who came to the rescue of the people trapped inside are among those who to be honored for their effort as the Superior Fire Department recognizes outstanding service and swears in a new firefighter, Jeremiah Glonek, to the ranks.
Fire Department personnel Jim Rigstad, Vern Johnson, Jeff Allen, Lane Halverson, Howard Huber, Bob Archambault, Tom LeSage, Andy Knutson, Bob Swanson, Steve Edwards, Steve Matheson, Rick Rugg, Lindzi Campbell, Mike Hoyt, Jeff Baker, Steve Smith, Dave Johnson, Erik Sutton, Bruce Smith, Joel Tinker and Scott Gordon are slated to receive letters of commendation for their efforts during two separate rescues in the last year.
According to Fire Chief Tad Matheson:
While acting Capt. Archambault and Firefighters LeSage and Knutson battled the apartment building fire, Capt. Johnson, Motor Pump Operators Allen and Halvorson, and Firefighter Huber brought a ladder to the window where the woman and children were waiting rescue. After the children were brought safely to the ground, they returned to help the woman escape the burning building.
At the same time, other tenants of the building were instructed to break windows and climb out onto the porch roofs to escape smoke and flames. Capt. Swanson, Motor Pump Operator Edwards and Firefighter Steve Matheson used a ladder to bring the remaining four tenants to safety.
With reports screaming was heard in the basement, Johnson and Halvorson entered the burning building and searched the basement, then proceeded to check the first and second floors. No one was found. They went into “very smoky conditions” again when someone questioned the whereabouts of another tenant who lived in the apartment where the fire started. No one was home.
Residents of the basement and first floor managed to escape the building on their own.
Fire department staff in the Nov. 1 rescue turned recovery at Kimmes Construction are also being recognized for the effort to protect other lives while recovering the bodies of four men who perished in a well.
Capt. Campbell, Motor Pump Operator Hoyt and Firefighter Baker responded initially to the site.
Recognizing the potential for a confined space rescue Baker responded with the vehicle equipped for the specialized rescues. Campbell assessed the situation and Hoyt tried to establish contact with the men in the well. After discovering lethal levels of hydrogen sulfide within the well, Campbell established a hazard zone to prevent further injury as fire department personnel prepared to recover the bodies of the four men in the well.
“This tragic incident reinforces the need for ongoing training for high-risk, low occurrence, technical rescue incident,” Matheson said. “Without strong leadership, teamwork and proper training, we could have easily seen responders become additional victims. The entire on duty shift did an exemplary job of handling this tragic and highly technical incident.”
Contact Shelley Nelson at (715) 395-5022 or snelson