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Thread: Texas Firefighter Killed at Blaze

  1. #1
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    Jan 2002

    Texas Firefighter Killed at Blaze

    Texas Firefighter Killed at Blaze
    Funeral Information Below

    Updated: 01-02-2007 10:56:07 AM

    Tiara M. Ellis TIARA M. ELLIS
    The Dallas Morning News (Texas)

    Dec. 31--From the time he was old enough to walk, Phillip Townsend toddled around the Denison Fire Department. And he grew up to become a firefighter, just like his father.

    The younger Mr. Townsend, a 31-year-old father of three, was killed Saturday morning while doing the job he grew up loving, Denison fire officials said.

    He died after part of a building collapsed on him and the Denison fire chief as they battled a blaze.

    Mr. Townsend and Chief Gordan Weger, 54, were driven to Texoma Medical Center in Denison, where Mr. Townsend died and Chief Weger was treated and released.

    Firefighters were called to a blaze at a shopping center in the 900 block of South Crockett Avenue about 8:45 a.m. The fire appeared to be coming from an appliance store in the strip, Denison police spokesman Mike Eppler said.

    "We had a couple of firefighters at the front of the building, including the chief and Phillip," Lt. Eppler said. "As they fought the fire, the awning on the front of the building collapsed on top of them."

    A justice of the peace pronounced Mr. Townsend dead at 10:38 a.m., Lt. Eppler said.

    After Chief Weger was released from the hospital, he immediately went to the fire station and returned to work, Assistant Fire Chief Don Coley said.

    The cause of the fire was under investigation. A team of state fire marshals was expected to join the investigation Saturday.

    At least three other area fire departments helped fight the fire. As news of Mr. Townsend's death spread, more departments offered assistance.

    "We have had agencies from down in the metroplex, Plano, McKinney, Lewisville, Denton. Plus, all of them in Grayson County have already been here to assist and offer help," Chief Coley said.

    Mr. Townsend had been a firefighter for about a year and was studying to become certified as a paramedic.

    "He was the most pleasant, always-with-a-smile, hard-working, do-anything-you-ask-him kind of person," Chief Coley said. "You could not have asked for a nicer kid. He was just a pleasure to be around."

    Mr. Townsend's father, Larry, is still a firefighter in Denison.

    The Denison Fire Department, which consists of 54 certified firefighters, last lost an employee on Dec. 23, 1989. Firefighter T.O. Fulce was working a fire when he died in the line of duty.

    Visitation at for Firefighter Townsend is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 1 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Fisher Funeral Home 604 W. Main Street, Denison, Texas 75020.

    Funeral Services will be held Tuesday, Jan. 2, at 1 pm at The Truth Tabernacle Church, 3411 Hwy 75 S. Exit 67, Denison, Texas 75020

    Fire departments wishing to participate in the funeral services need to be at the church by 12 noon.

    A processional from the church to Kemp Cemetery in Kemp, Oklahoma will follow services.

  2. #2
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
    Townsend, Phillip

    Age: 31
    Cause of Death: Caught or Trapped
    Rank: Firefighter
    Nature of Death: Trauma
    Classification: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes

    Incident Date: 12/30/2006
    Duty Type: On-Scene Fire
    Incident Time: 08:45
    Activity Type: Advance Hose Lines/Fire Attack (includes Wildland)
    Death Date: 12/30/2006
    Fixed Prop. Use: Store/Office

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Denison Fire Department
    700 W Chestnut St.
    Denison , Texas 75020
    Chief: Gordan Weger

    Initial Summary:
    Firefighter Townsend was severely injured while performing fire attack duties on a hose line at a working commercial structure fire. An awning on the front of an appliance store in a strip mall collapsed on top of Townsend and Fire Chief Weger. Although fellow firefighters were able to rescue both from underneath the rubble, Townsend, who was reported to have been trapped for thirty minutes, did not survive and was pronounced at the hospital. Chief Weger was treated for injuries at the hospital and released.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    In honor of Firefighter Phillip Townsend and care of his three surviving children, any donations can be sent C/o Denison Fire Department, 700 W Chestnut St., Denison, TX 75020.

  3. #3
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
    Cause of Blaze in Texas Firefighter's Death Sought

    Updated: 01-02-2007 02:12:21 PM

    Courtesy of the Herald Democrat

    Denison Fire Marshal John Weda has been working with several investigators from the Texas State Fire Marshal's Office to determine the cause and point of origin of Saturday morning's fire that killed Denison firefighter Phillip Townsend.

    The fire at 900 S. Crockett also destroyed three businesses and left the old building a skeleton of its former form. While firefighters from Denison and several other agencies battled the blaze, Mr. Townsend and his fire chief, Gordon Weger, attacked it on the south end. There was no sign of active flames, only dark smoke that was rolling from the south end to north end when the awning over them collapsed and buried both men. A multitude of firefighters and bystanders worked together to rescue them, but Mr. Townsend was later pronounced dead. Weger suffered a dislocated shoulder and a gash on his head and went back to work later Saturday.

    Jay Evans, supervisor for the state fire marshal's office, was one of several who appeared in Denison as early as Saturday afternoon. Another state fire marshal, Ed Cheevers, said Texas legislation passed about four years ago requires that the State Fire Marshal's Office become involved in investigations when there is a fatality involved. Cheevers works out of the Fort Worth office and is no stranger to fire departments around Grayson County as he handles all investigations when called in by fire departments with no fire marshal of their own.

    Evans said they went through the building Saturday and Sunday and have determined that there is nothing that would label this fire as "suspicious," answering the main question on everybody's mind, spoken or silent.

    The cause of the fire may remain classified as "undetermined," Evans said. The reason for that, he explained, is because the electricity in the point of origin is so far gone they can't get a good trace on it. Also, the 2-foot by 4-foot boards are also demolished. They have collected evidence to be forensicly tested and will continue their study into the cause when they get the results of that, but Evans said he didn't hold much hope for an actual determination.

    "We will continue to examine to find the cause, but it might never actually be pinpointed," Evans said.

    The point of origin, however, has been determined to have been in the attic of the south end.

    "It traveled quickly because it got some air," Evans said. Earlier, Weda has said the wind blew Saturday from the south to the north. "Once heat gets cool air, it accelerates. First, it was moderate to light smoke there, but when it traveled across the attic, it became a backdraft. It reached a flammability (temperature), and the smoke turns black," Evans illustrated. "At that time, it disintegrates 2'x4' and 2'x6' boards in minutes. In this case, those boards, which we found disintegrated in the attic, caused the front wall to fall in and the awning was the first thing that fell."

    The first flames came through the center section, Denison Fire Capt. Troy Baker said at the scene, and Evans confirmed that. He said the building was 135-feet across and as the winds continued, the flames traveled and exploded until the entire building was taken.

    Like a fire's backdraft, word of Mr. Townsend's tragic death rapidly spread through fire departments across Texas and Oklahoma, as indicated by the many telephone calls that flooded lines at Denison's Central Fire Station from that time until now (Sunday), said Denison Fire Captain Dennis Snider. "We've had calls from D-FW Airport FD, from Frisco, Euless," he said as he listed many others from North Texas and Bryan County, Okla.

    Local fire departments, voluntary and paid, are offering their physical assistance through the difficult time, as well as their emotional support.

  4. #4
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    Denison, Texas

    Thumbs up������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Thank you

    I was Phillips girlfriend and his youngest childs mother. I just want to say thank you to everyone who has been there for the family. Phillip was a very loving man. He was my best friend and the one who I was going to spend the rest of my life with. My two children loved him so much. He was a hero to us long before that day. My daughter Kassidy loved him. He took her in to raise as his own. That was the day I knew he was really the one. He loved her so much. My son Tristian is a spitting image of him. From the shape of his eyes the Townsend nose of course, down to his toes. I will thank the lord everyday for giving us our son. Looking at him, I know that I will always have a huge part of Phillip with me. Those kids and I are lost without him, but I know that one day we will be reunited with him. The support from the community and the brotherhood has been wonderful. Thanks to Pottsboro fire dept, whitesboro and Haz-co fire school. you guys have been there for us and I am so thankful to have a them as a part of our family. With lots of love, Tresa Kassidy and Tristian

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