Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Roof Collapse Takes Three Oregon Firefighters

  1. #1
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,030

    Roof Collapse Takes Three Oregon Firefighters

    Roof Collapse Takes Three Oregon Firefighters
    One Career, Two Volunteer Firefighters Die in Auto Body Shop
    ............

    Courtesy KGW.com
    Northwest NewsChannel 8
    11-25-2002


    COOS BAY, Ore. -- An explosive fire at an auto body shop in downtown Coos Bay killed three firefighters on Monday when the roof of the building collapsed, authorities said.

    Witnesses said they heard a loud explosion and saw the roof of the body shop cave in.

    Coos Bay fire chief Stan Gibson said one of the dead was a career Coos Bay firefighter and the other two were Coos Bay volunteers.

    The three were killed when the roof collapsed while they were on the second floor, he said.

    "Firefighters climbed some stairs leading to an upper floor when a rafter dislodged and the roof caved in on the firefighters," added Coos Bay police Capt. Eura Washburn.

    Officials identified one of the victims as Robert Charles Hanner, 33. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Bay Area Hospital in Coos Bay, nursing supervisor Linda Dufner told KGW. The other two victims died at the scene.

    Coos Bay Mayor Joe Benetti told the Associated Press that Hanners was the father of six children. In all, the deceased firefighters left behind 11 children between them.

    Hanner's cause of death will be determined by a medical examiner, Dufner said.

    The names of the other two deceased firefighters were not released Monday night. Several other firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation, but were not hospitalized.

    Gibson said the three killed had seven, eight and 15 years of experience as firefighters respectively.

    He told a press conference that eight firefighters were inside the shop when other firefighters on top of the building said the roof was weakening.

    The multiple-alarm fire began at Far West Truck and Auto Supply store on South Second Street about 3 p.m. and blazed for nearly one and a half hours.

    The fire paralyzed downtown Coos Bay, where power was shut off, telephone lines were tied up, and businesses were evacuated.

    Firefighting crews from neighboring towns also converged on Coos Bay to help fight the flames.

    Both police officials and the mayor's office said it appeared that the fire was accidental. Arson was not suspected.

    Investigators said that Kim Macfee, the owner of the body shop, smelled an unusual odor, climbed on the roof to investigate and discovered the fire.

    "An exhaust chimney for the machine shop had caught the attic on fire," David Vandre, a relative of Macfee's, told kgw.com. "It's a total loss, the only thing left is four walls."

    Anita Woods, a manager of a nearby business, said that she heard explosions coming from inside the concrete building while the fire was burning.

    Other witnesses also saw the roof cave in and said the building was gutted.

    "It was a very small building that was engulfed - shooting out flames," said Linda Cornwall, who lives just a couple of blocks from the fire scene.

    "It's one of the worst fires I've ever seen in Coos Bay," the life-long Coos Bay resident told kgw.com.

    "There were massive flames," echoed Chris Blondell, another resident who works nearby. "The flames got out of control."

    He said you could see the thick, black smoke and heavy flames filling the downtown sky at the height of the fire.

    "You could definately hear some kind of explosion (as the roof collapsed)," Blondell told KGW.

    Andrea Herrera was standing about 100 feet away when she watched the roof fall in. She went to watch the fire because her 20-year-old boyfriend, a volunteer firefighter, was fighting the blaze on the other side of the building.

    She said firefighters came running out of the building right before the roof collapsed, then stood on the street, counting heads.

    "The flames were 50 feet in the air, and you could hear the windows shattering," she said.

    The Oregon State Fire Marshall is investigating the incident.

    Fire departments from across Oregon called Coos Bay Monday night, offering to help the grieving department cover their shifts over the holiday weekend.

    Benetti said the scene at the fire was a solemn one, with the firemen who escaped the blaze in mourning and in shock.

    "I asked one, 'What can we do?' and he said, 'Not much. We will just start going through the mourning process,"' Benetti said. "He said one of the firemen who lost their lives was his best man three months ago."


    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...8&sectionId=39

  2. #2
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,030
    Hanners, Robert Charles (Chuck)

    Age: 33
    Rank: Firefighter/Engineer
    Status: Volunteer
    Incident Date: 11/25/2002
    Incident Time: 15:00
    Death Date: 11/25/2002

    Cause of Death: Caught or Trapped
    Nature of Death:
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Activity Type: Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack
    Fixed Prop. Use: Store/Office

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Coos Bay Fire Department
    150 S 4th Street
    Coos Bay, Oregon 97420
    Chief: Stanley L. Gibson

    Initial Summary:
    Died as a result of an explosion and subsequent roof collapse while working a fire at an auto body shop in downtown Coos Bay.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    Coos Bay Firefighter's Memorial Fund (Accepted by US Banks) Acct. # 153654447124


    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application....cfm?p_id=1358

  3. #3
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,030
    Common, Jeffery E.

    Age: 30
    Rank: Firefighter/Engineer
    Status: Volunteer
    Incident Date: 11/25/2002
    Incident Time: 15:00
    Death Date: 11/25/2002

    Cause of Death: Caught or Trapped
    Nature of Death:
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Activity Type: Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack
    Fixed Prop. Use: Store/Office

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Coos Bay Fire Department
    150 S 4th Street
    Coos Bay, Oregon 97420
    Chief: Stanley L. Gibson

    Initial Summary:
    Died as a result of an explosion and subsequent roof collapse while working a fire at an auto body shop in downtown Coos Bay.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    Coos Bay Firefighter's Memorial Fund (Accepted by US Banks) Acct. # 153654447124


    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application....cfm?p_id=1359

  4. #4
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,030
    Carpenter, Randall E.

    Age: 46
    Rank: Lieutenant
    Status: Career
    Incident Date: 11/25/2002
    Incident Time: 15:00
    Death Date: 11/25/2002

    Cause of Death: Caught or Trapped
    Nature of Death:
    Emergency Duty: Yes
    Duty Type: Fireground Operations
    Activity Type: Advancing Hose Lines/Fire Attack
    Fixed Prop. Use: Store/Office

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Coos Bay Fire Department
    150 S 4th Street
    Coos Bay, Oregon 97420
    Chief: Stanley L. Gibson

    Initial Summary:
    Died as a result of an explosion and subsequent roof collapse while working a fire at an auto body shop in downtown Coos Bay.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    Coos Bay Firefighter's Memorial Fund (Accepted by US Banks) Acct. # 153654447124


    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application....cfm?p_id=1360

  5. #5
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,030
    Lt. Randall E Carpenter(Career)

    Age: 46

    Lt. Carpenter had been a firefighter for over 20 years, over 13 of which were served with the Coos Bay Fire Department (CBFD). He leaves behind two adult daughters.

  6. #6
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,030
    Firefighter Jeffery E. Common

    Age: 30

    Firefighter Common had eight years

  7. #7
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,030
    Firefighter R. Chuck Hanners

    Age: 33

    Firefighter Hanners had 13 years

  8. #8
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,030

    Community in Shock Over Deaths of Three Firefighters

    Community in Shock Over Deaths of Three Firefighters

    Chief 'Never Thought it Would Happen Here'


    Andrew Sirocchi
    Courtesy TheWorldLink.com
    11-27-2002

    Soot and water still covered Coos Bay Fire Chief Stan Gibson's yellow gear late Monday night when he stared, deadpan, away from the burned-out warehouse that killed three of his firefighters. It wasn't supposed to happen in Coos Bay, he said in a stunned voice.

    "I never thought it would happen here," the weary chief said, after darkness set around downtown and artificial lights shined on the blackened building.

    Less than 24 hours ago, firefighters with hats in hand and heads bowed formed a single line before the devastated blue structure that once housed Farwest Truck & Auto Supply. Draped in American flags, the bodies of two Coos Bay firefighters were ceremoniously carried out, honored by fellow firefighters and mourned by families, and placed into waiting ambulances. A third firefighter, also of Coos Bay, died after initially being rescued from the blaze earlier during the fight.

    Robert "Chuck" Hanners, 33, a Coos Bay resident, died at Bay Area Hospital after being taken from the fire. A volunteer with eight years of experience, he never regained consciousness after being dragged from the blaze. Randall "Randy" Carpenter, 45, a Coos Bay resident and a career firefighter for 15 years, died inside the building. Jeffery "Jeff" E. Common, 30, a Coos Bay resident and volunteer for 12 years at Coos Bay and North Bend, also died inside the burning building.

    "I worked with these people. I cared for these people," Gibson said, taking a personal moment that allowed for a glimpse beyond his duty and professionalism.

    This morning, the sun rose above a soggy, charred warehouse, revealing the blackened cavity of the store carved out Monday by flames and cordoned off today by yellow police tape. One day after a soaring fire that burned and boomed with explosions, sending thick, bluish-black plumes into the air, the acrid stench of wet smoke still clung to Second Street.

    "This is a dangerous job. We know somebody's going to die, but we just never thought it would happen," said an exhausted Lt. Randy Miles, sweat and tears mingling on his face.

    It was early Monday afternoon when firefighters responded to a general alarm at 340 South Second St. and found what appeared to be an ordinary call -- light, yellow-brown smoke indicating an average fire but belied the ferocious fire to come.

    Owner Kim Macfee said he and employees noticed a light smoke in the store shortly after 1 p.m. After checking the building's rooftop, Macfee said he thought nothing was wrong, but the smoke continued to grow.

    By 1:45 p.m., Macfee said the smoke thickened and after calling the fire department and grabbing important data, he, about eight employees and several customers walked out of the store and waited for the fire department to arrive. All were uninjured.

    "It started next to a stove in the back, up in the ceiling," Macfee said.

    Officially, Coos Bay fire hasn't released information about how or where the fire began.

    According to Gibson, the initial response inside the building included two teams of four firefighters, one on the first floor, a second in the attic. A third group walked atop a rooftop that became spongy and malleable from the searing heat.

    The incident was dangerous but not out of the ordinary, Gibson said.

    "The fire was a fire that we routinely handle," he said.

    Unable to find the source of the fire and feeling the increasing temperature, firefighters on the inside became concerned that the blaze was burning in a dead zone between the roof and the top floor ceiling.

    Gibson surmised that when firefighters tried to carve an opening in the building's ceiling, trapped gases that had heated found the oxygen they needed to flash into a blaze. The ceiling, floors and walls combusted immediately and possibly caused a rafter to dislodge and cave in on the men.

    As the roof fell, Coos Bay firefighters in yellow gear and North Bend crews in black dived out of the building and sprawled along the curbside to count who had been left inside.

    Men were missing.

    "Get in there!" yelled a firefighter manning a hose at the building's entrance.

    Other men pushed on, while explosions popped with balls of flames at each side of the door. Macfee, speeding continuously around the front of his burning building, yelled at firefighters trying to save remnants of his engulfed store.

    "Get those men out of there," and "let it burn," Macfee said, knowing that explosive flammables cornered the auto supply store.

    In what appeared to be organized chaos, men wielding foot-thick fire hoses sat in rows on the asphalt of Second Street, punching out windows that hadn't been blown out by the heat with pressurized water. Flames roared through the missing rooftop as caustic smoke from burning chemicals and auto supplies soared into the air.

    Coos Bay fire engine No. 8151, gleaming red with its ladder fully extended, poured gallon after gallon of water atop the building, onto flames to be momentarily quenched and then burst once more. North Bend's ladder engine crew fought from the building's rear while other tenders and machinery cornered the boxy structure on every end. Eight agencies in all responded to the fire, some as support to back up those fighting the blaze and others to help directly.

    Meanwhile, charred pieces of soaked building material that flew high into the air with the flames were carried by the wind and fell on hundreds of onlooking residents, many of whom had tears in their eyes.

    When firefighters' fears heightened -- when they could feel the fire's heat but couldn't find the blaze and the rooftop began to melt -- everyone was ordered out, Gibson said. Teams were switching from an aggressive response attacking the blaze to a defensive position.

    "There was an evacuation order," Gibson said. "Why the firefighters didn't evacuate will be determined by the investigation."

    Miles, who was fighting the fire from the rear, said he heard two evacuation orders come out but no one ever heard any distress calls.

    The investigation, conducted jointly by several agencies, including the Oregon State Police and state Fire Marshall, also will determine why the fire burned so hot, so out of control and so quickly.

    Jon Eck, a 27-year veteran volunteer fireman said the department has had experience dealing with large fires like the one that destroyed Farwest.

    "We've had bigger fires. We've had collapses," Eck said. "Each building is a little bit different. This one, I'm sure, because of the chemicals, was better fueled than some."

    The fire is being considered accidental.

    "I can say preliminarily that the fire at this time was not believed to be arson," Gibson said. "There is nothing suspicious about it."

    Yet it began roaring in seconds.

    Aerosol cans, paints, hydraulic fluid, paint thinners and motor oils were only some of the fuels that fed and accelerated the fire, making small explosions pop into bursts of flames and burning so hot that adjacent store employees said they could feel it 50 feet away.

    It was after 2 p.m. when customers and employees at the nearby Salvation Army building were evacuated but most already had noticed and were monitoring the fire.

    Steve Reed, warehouse supervisor, was atop the Salvation Army building when flames first seared about eight feet in the air from the burning auto store. Reed was putting out chunks of burning embers being blown from Farwest that landed atop the Salvation Army.

    The massive blaze ended, sending ripple effects throughout the downtown community. An influx of telephone calls blocked many people's cell-phone communications. Street lights and signals were turned off when a main power line was cut to help firefighters in their attacks. Coos Bay Police officers on duty were stationed at each intersection near downtown to direct traffic. Police Chief Chuck Knight said off-duty officers were called in as reinforcements.

    As the firefighting efforts died down with the building in total flames and smoke, some firefighters overcome by emotion collapsed on their knees in tears. Others, angered by the losses, shoved at equipment outside the building.

    Meanwhile, many took refuge in the Bay Area Enterprises Thrift Store across the street from the burning building. In the end, all joined together as a unit and helped to cool the blaze and retrieve and identify the bodies of their comrades.

    Smudged in soot and wet from fire fighting, Miles called the losses staggering.

    "These three leave 11 children behind," Miles said. "For me, that's crushing."

    For a city recently honored with a Silver Medal of Honor by the League of Oregon Cities for its safety and lack of injuries, the three deaths struck Coos Bay's fire department hard. It was a first painful blow for Coos Bay fire and an unprecedented one.

    "No one can recall any other fatalities," Gibson said.


    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...6&sectionId=39


    Firefighters, above, mourn the loss of two others who died inside the Farwest Truck

  9. #9
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,030
    Firefighters from several departments pour water on the Farwest Truck

  10. #10
    Administrator Neil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    South West
    Posts
    3,303

    Hidden Fire Likely Burned for Hours

    Investigators: Hidden Fire Likely Burned for Hours
    Flue Heat is Source of Blaze

    Andrew Sirocchi
    Courtesy TheWorldLink.com
    11-28-2002

    A fatal blaze at a downtown Coos Bay auto parts store on Monday began when flue heat ignited wooden beams and trapped a fire in concealed spaces between the ceiling and roof of the boxy structure.

    State Fire Marshal Robert Garrison said Wednesday that grease being incinerated in a furnace at a parts-cleaning operation at the Farwest Truck & Auto Supply store caused the combustion of roofing materials that burst into flames when they came in contact with a supply of oxygen.

    "That fire probably burned for many hours without being detected," Garrison said. "Consequently, it had done extensive damage to the construction of the building, especially the roof, without being seen."

    Once the blaze began in earnest, aerosol cans, paints, hydraulic fluid, paint thinners and motor oils stored at the auto supply accelerated the massive blaze that sent caustic black plumes shooting hundreds of feet into the air. Explosions burst in pops of flames and burned so hot temperature increases could be felt 50 feet away.

    Two volunteers and a career firefighter with the Coos Bay Fire Department were killed when a roof collapsed and trapped the men inside while they were fighting the blaze.

    Robert "Chuck" Hanners, 33, a Coos Bay resident, died at Bay Area Hospital after being found near a stairway and taken from the fire. A volunteer with eight years of experience, Hanners never regained consciousness after being dragged from the blaze. Randall "Randy" Carpenter, 46, a Coos Bay resident and a career firefighter for 15 years, died inside the building. Jeffery "Jeff" E. Common, 30, a Coos Bay resident and volunteer for 12 years at Coos Bay and North Bend, also died inside the burning building.

    On the day of the blaze, owner Kim Macfee said he believed the fire began on the mezzanine level of the store and the fire marshal's report appears to corroborate his suspicions.

    "It started next to a stove in the back, up in the ceiling," Macfee said on Monday, when he took a break from agitatedly running before his burning building.

    Macfee said thickening smoke in the store had concerned him and after calling the fire department and grabbing important data, he, about eight employees and several customers walked out of the store and waited for the fire department to arrive. None was injured.

    Firefighters responding to a general alarm at 340 S. Second St. found only light, yellow-brown smoke wafting around the building, indicating at the time an average fire that hid the ferocity with which the blaze would progress.

    "It presented itself as a very small fire without much smoke showing because the fire was being contained," Garrison said. "There was heavy damage done to the roof before firefighters ever arrived."

    Initial reports following the blaze indicated that a response inside the building included two teams of firefighters inside the structure and a third group on a rooftop that became spongy and malleable from the searing heat.

    Unable to find the source of the fire and feeling the increasing temperature, firefighters on the inside became concerned that the blaze was burning in a dead zone between the roof and the top floor ceiling.

    "You have wood framing exposed to extensive heat and combustibles and eventually you have a fire," Garrison said. "It's as simple as that."

    Fire Chief Stan Gibson provided initial speculation that when firefighters tried to carve an opening in the building's ceiling, trapped gases found the oxygen they needed to flash into a blaze. The ceiling, floors and walls combusted immediately and possibly caused a rafter to dislodge and cave in on the men.

    Evacuation orders had been issued. However it remains unclear why the three men did not leave. Garrison said that part of the investigation has not yet been addressed.

    A secondary investigation into the fire is being conducted by the Oregon Occupational Safety and Hazards Administration, a standard any time firefighter fatalities are involved in a case. Findings from that investigation are not expected to be reported several for months.

    Firefighters late Monday lined the devastated blue structure that once housed Farwest and ceremoniously carried out the bodies of two Coos Bay firefighters draped in American flags. Since the catastrophe offers of support from fire agencies statewide began flowing to Bay Area firefighters. A dozen Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue volunteers already are staffing the city's three fire stations and crews from Siuslaw Rural Fire District and Douglas County Fire District No. 2 also arrived Monday night to help relieve local firefighters and provide additional coverage.

    In addition, fire crews with Medford, Clackamas County, Klamath Falls, Portland, Jackson County, Ashland, Roseburg0, Eugene, Springfield, Grants Pass and Rogue River also are scheduled to take over shifts through Dec. 3. World Photo by Lou Sennick

  11. #11
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,030

    Coos Bay Fire Leads to Charges

    Coos Bay Fire Leads to Charges


    LARRY BACON
    The Register-Guard

    Updated: 01-30-2003 06:00:10 PM

    COOS BAY - The owner and the installer of an industrial oven blamed for causing a fire that took the lives of three Coos Bay firefighters last November were arraigned Monday afternoon on charges of criminally negligent homicide.

    Jonathan Edward Inskeep, 58, and Verlin Glen Villines, 61, both of Coos Bay, each face three negligent homicide charges for the Nov. 25 deaths of firefighters Randall Carpenter, Jeffery Common and Robert Hammers.

    The three died in a blaze in the Farwest Truck and Auto Supply building at 340 S. Second St. Shortly after the fire, state Fire Marshal Bob Garrison said the fire started in a machine shop, Automotive Machine Services, which operated as a separate business in the back of the Farwest building.

    The propane-fueled oven in question was used to clean greasy auto parts, which were placed inside and heated to temperatures as high as 1,400 degrees, according to the Kansas company that manufactured it. Inskeep owned and operated the business, and Villines is believed to have installed the oven, according to the fire marshal's office.

    Garrison said previously that the fire started when a vent pipe from the oven ignited the wood structure in the back of a mezzanine that occupied part of the upper portion of the 13,520-square-foot building. The firemen died after a slow-burning fire in the mezzanine wall and ceiling exploded into flames and part of the roof caved in.

    Coos County District Attorney Paul Burgett said Monday that a grand jury returned an indictment against the two men Friday as the result of a two-month investigation by the Coos Bay Police Department, the Oregon State Police, the fire marshal's office and the district attorney's office.

    "The charges stem from evidence showing that an oven used to bake and clean auto machine parts was improperly installed and operated thus causing the fire in question," said a statement released by Burgett.

    The city building inspector had previously said the oven had been installed without a permit. The business was issued a certificate of occupancy by the city in July 2001.

    Inskeep and Villines were arraigned Monday by Judge Martin Stone and were released on their own recognizance. They entered no plea. Another court appearance is set for March 3 at 8:30 a.m. Villines could not be reached for comment. A woman who answered the phone at Inskeep's home said he had nothing to say.

    Criminally negligent homicide is a class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $100,000 on each count.



    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...8&sectionId=46

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •