Central Street Deck Fire Extends to House
At 05:07 hrs, the Essex and Essex Junction Fire Departments along with Essex Rescue and Police were dispatched to a reported structure fire at 22 Central Street in the Village of Essex Junction. First reports were that there were occupants trapped on the second floor. Two police officers arrived on scene to discover the fire consuming the delta (right) side of the residence, including a porch with fire progressing into the eves and second floor of the structure. They were able to confirm within a few minutes that everyone had in fact made it out of the residence on their own.
Utility 61 arrived on scene with the Fire Chief establishing the Central Street command, reporting a two story wood frame multi family dwelling with fire showing. Engine 5 and 15 Engine 2 arrived on scene simultaneously, with each engine grabbing their own hydrant for water supply. Command tasked Engine 2's crew with fire attack on the exterior, while Engine 5's crew was tasked with interior fire attack on the second floor.
The crew from Engine 5 had to stretch the 1 3/4" hand line to the rear of the building and throw a 24 foot extension ladder to a window in order to gain access to the second floor (due to flame impingement on the exterior stairwell where the bulk of the fire was located). Before ascending the ladder, the nozzle firefighter quickly extinguished visible fire along the eves in the rear of the building. While that was occurring, two firefighters cleared the window and entered the second floor to find zero visibility but minimal heat. The hose line was advanced up the ladder, and a rapid primary search was conducted, which was negative (no occupants located). The nozzle and backup team advanced the line to the kitchen area of the second floor where minimal fire extension was found, but quickly extinguished.
At this time, the crew from Engine 2 had extinguished the exterior of the building and advanced their line up the stairs to the kitchen area of the second floor, meeting up with the members from Engine 5. With smoke banked down and the great probability of fire extension into the attic, the firefighters went to work opening up the ceiling in the kitchen. After some time of pulling the ceiling (which had blown in and fiberglass insulation), firefighters were able to see that flames had spread only a minimal distance into the attic, and the area was thoroughly wet down.
Crews spent the next hour continuing to extinguish hot spots as well as thoroughly overhaul the burned areas. The fire was believe to have started due to the improper disposal of cigarette butts, however it is still under investigation. All units were clear of the scene and in service by 07:50 hrs. Apparatus that responded were Engine 5, Utility 61, Ladder 3, 15 Engine 2, 15 Engine 3, 15 Car 12 and Saint Michael's College Engine 8 stood by briefly on scene before diverting to station coverage at the Essex Junction Fire station. Thankfully, no one was injured during the incident!