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Thread: Two Evanston Firefighters Killed in Town House Blaze

  1. #1
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    Two Evanston Firefighters Killed in Town House Blaze

    Two Evanston Firefighters Killed in Town House Blaze

    Evanston
    Associated Press

    Two Evanston firefighters died Monday and three were injured, apparently from an explosion while they were searching for children believed to be in a burning town house complex.

    Thirty-eight year old Robert Henderson and 23-year old Jacob Cook, both volunteer firefighters, died in the blaze.

    Authorities said none of the occupants of the housing complex was injured.

    Eric Quinney is chief administrative officer for the mostly volunteer Evanston Fire Department.

    He declined comment on a possible cause of the fire, saying an investigation was continuing with help from the state fire marshal's office.

    However, he said the firemen were injured from an explosion inside one of the homes.

    Quinney says initial reports were that some children were possibly inside the burning complex.

    He says as crews went in to knock down the fire and search for the children, a large explosion occurred, causing the injuries.

    One of the surviving firefighters was flown to LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    Two others were treated at Evanston Regional Hospital and released.

    Fire stations all over the state will be flying their flags at half-mast until after the funeral Saturday in Evanston.

    http://www.kgwn.tv/home/headlines/1489052.html

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    Wyoming Community Mourns Firefighters' Deaths

    By MEAD GRUVER
    The Associated Press

    EVANSTON, Wyo. (AP) - Thinking that children might be trapped inside, volunteer firefighters Jacob Cook and Robert Henderson rushed in to a burning town house. Their bravery cost them their lives.

    Cook, 23, and Henderson, 39, died Monday from injuries they suffered in an explosion inside the home.

    "We've lost two brothers,'' said Randy Chandler, one of several fellow firefighters who stopped by a makeshift memorial that had sprung up outside the fire department.

    The men went inside the town house when bystanders told them children might be inside. As it turned out, all the occupants had safely escaped.

    The cause of the explosion, which injured three other firefighters, remains unknown.

    Cook, who had been married only a few weeks, and Henderson, a married father of three, were the first firefighters killed on duty in Wyoming since 2003, when 16-year-old volunteer Anndee Huber died in a fire truck accident.

    Wednesday, all across town, flags remained at half-staff. Businesses had put out donation cans for the families of the dead firefighters. Evanston, population 11,500, lies about 80 miles northeast of Salt Lake City in extreme southwest Wyoming.

    Friends and fellow firefighters remembered Cook and Henderson as loyal public servants, outdoor lovers and dedicated family men.

    Cook had been a volunteer firefighter since February 2003 and was determined to learn more about his avocation, his colleagues said. The rail car repairman had recently tested for his second round of firefighting certification.

    'He was a young guy, had a young family,'' said Don Casper, an emergency medical technician who tried to revive Cook on the way to the hospital. "Very dedicated, loved emergency services - absolutely loved it. Lived for it, in fact.''

    Henderson, a tank sergeant in the first Gulf War and a volunteer firefighter since 1994, was a maintenance worker at the Post Office.

    Ellen Menke, a family friend, said Henderson often took his sons, 12 and 8, hunting and ice fishing. She said he helped with their soccer teams and Boy Scout activities.

    "He was very involved in his kids' life,'' she said.

    http://www.nvfc.org/news/2005-wyoming-mourns.html

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    Evanston rocked by firefighter deaths; probe continues

    By MEAD GRUVER
    Associated Press Writer

    EVANSTON, Wyo. (AP) -- A day after two volunteer firefighters lost their lives in a fiery explosion, investigators resumed the search for clues into the cause of the town home blaze and ensuing blast.

    The victims of Monday's fire were Jacob Cook, 23, who had been married only a few weeks, and Robert Henderson, 39, a married father of four. Both were Evanston residents.

    The two died from injuries suffered in an explosion after they went into a burning town house to attempt a rescue of children reportedly trapped inside. As it turned out, all occupants had safely vacated the complex.

    "It's a situation where we've lost members of our family," Eric Quinney, chief administrative officer for the Evanston Fire Department, said Tuesday. "At this point, the shock is still in play and we're trying to come to grips."

    A third firefighter, Abe Wheeler, 39, remained in stable condition at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City with burns. He was expected to make a full recovery.

    Two other firefighters were treated and released from Evanston Regional Hospital.

    The fire swept through a complex of five town houses on the city's west side before being extinguished several hours later.

    Around town, flags flew at half-staff. Friends and relatives of the fallen firefighters created a makeshift memorial with flowers, flags and notes placed on the men's pickup trucks, which were parked across from the fire hall.

    "We love you Jake and you know it," read one note written in multicolored markers.

    Atop the cabs were the firemen's helmets, while their firefighting coats hung from the driver's side mirrors.

    "These two memorials out here are reminders that two of our own didn't come home last night," Quinney said.

    The Evanston Fire Department consists of four full-time firefighters and about 50 volunteers. Approximately 30 members battled the blaze, with help from about six or seven volunteer firefighters from nearby Bear River.

    The fire was reported at 3:11 p.m. Monday at 99 Colonial Avenue. It apparently started in an end unit. Three of the modern, multilevel units were heavily damaged.

    Few people were seen at the site Tuesday afternoon, and the driveway to the complex was blocked off as investigators prepared to sift through the rubble.

    A joint investigation involving the Evanston Fire Department and state fire marshal's office was under way.

    "They're at the scene right now as we speak, doing some of that work, trying to come up with that cause of not only the origin but of the explosion," Quinney said, "trying to help us understand what happened."

    "We're not ruling anything out," he said. "We're covering all the angles, from accidental to anything that might have foul play. ... There's a lot of possibilities, whether it's electrical, accidental, whether it was some sort of human involvement."

    A joint memorial service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Evanston High School.

    The community is reeling and will be for quite some time, Quinney said.

    "It's devastating because not only have we lost members of our firefighting family, we've lost volunteers," he said. "These guys are not paid for what they do. They do it for love of service, love of the community.

    "It's a devastating blow to the community as well as the firefighting family."

    http://www.casperstartribune.net/art...e8007b483c.txt

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    Henderson, Robert

    Age: 38
    Cause of Death: Other
    Rank: Assistant Lieutenant
    Nature of Death: Burns
    Classification: Volunteer
    Emergency Duty: Yes

    Incident Date: 04/18/2005
    Duty Type: On-Scene Fire
    Incident Time: 15:11
    Activity Type: Search and Rescue
    Death Date: 04/18/2005
    Fixed Prop. Use: Residential

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Evanston Fire Department
    1136 Front St.
    PO Box 640
    Evanston , Wyoming 82930
    Chief: Don Bodine

    Initial Summary:
    Assistant Lieutenant Henderson and Firefighter Cook were performing search and rescue operations inside of a working residential fire when from a cause still to be determined the townhouse exploded, killing Henderson and Cook and injuring several other firefighters.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    C/o Evanston Fire Department, 1136 Front St., PO Box 640, Evanston, WY 82930

    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application...eath_year=2005

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    Cook, Jacob

    Age: 23
    Cause of Death: Caught or Trapped
    Rank: Firefighter
    Nature of Death: Burns
    Classification: Volunteer
    Emergency Duty: Yes

    Incident Date: 04/18/2005
    Duty Type: On-Scene Fire
    Incident Time: 15:11
    Activity Type: Search and Rescue
    Death Date: 04/18/2005
    Fixed Prop. Use: Residential

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Evanston Fire Department
    1136 Front St.
    PO Box 640
    Evanston , Wyoming 82930
    Chief: Don Bodine

    Initial Summary:
    Firefighter Cook and Assistant Lieutenant Henderson were performing search and rescue operations inside of a working residential fire when from a cause still to be determined the townhouse exploded, killing Cook and Henderson and injuring several other firefighters.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    Firefighter Cook and Assistant Lieutenant Henderson were performing search and rescue operations inside of a working residential fire when from a cause still to be determined the townhouse exploded, killing Cook and Henderson and injuring several other firefighters.

    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application...eath_year=2005

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