3 Springfield firefighters injured battling house fire

A flashover, described as a rapid explosion of flame, could be responsible for injuries.

Three Springfield firefighters were injured Sunday afternoon as they battled a house fire on Rice Street, fire officials confirmed.

Initial reports said five firefighters were injured, but a statement from the city later Sunday revised the total who required treatment.

ExplorePHOTOS: Springfield firefighters injured fighting blaze

The fire happened in the 600 block of Rice Street at the intersection of Tibbetts Avenue on the city’s southeast side.

One firefighter was flown by CareFlight to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, where the extent of his injuries were unknown. Two other firefighters were taken to hospitals for treatment for their injuries and later released, according to the Sunday evening statement from the city of Springfield.

Four adults and one dog were safely out of the house at 603 Rice St. when firefighters arrived. The American Red Cross providing assistance, according to the city.

“We had a fire here at this house on the corner of Rice and Tibbett Street here in Springfield,” Assistant Chief Matt Smith said from the scene. “During the fire, the fire possibly flashed over and several firefighters were injured and transported to the hospital. I do not know the extent of their injuries at this time.”

Smith said the three-alarm fire was extinguished after roughly an hour of fighting it.

“We do not have a cause yet,” Smith said from the scene. “The investigation has just started just now.”

The firefighters were on the second floor attacking the fire. That is when the fire suddenly took off — referred to by Smith as a potential flashover — and firefighters were ordered to evacuate, according to Smith.

“During the evacuation, there was either a flashover or collapse of some sort. I don’t even know those details yet,” Smith said.

The city’s release said: “Two teams of firefighters were on the second floor of the structure when the internal conditions rapidly changed. Extreme heat caused crews to make a swift exit, during which time one firefighter fell down a flight of stairs and two others sustained minor injuries.”

Smith did not have a damage estimate or know if the house was a total loss.

“I don’t know — I have not been inside yet, but I would say it is not economically feasible to repair it,” Smith said.

No other injuries were reported, the statement from the city said.

Firefighters around the country have faced more flashover events, which happen when gases get superheated in a room and ignite suddenly, causing a rapid explosion of flame. They are dangerous to firefighters, who can face injury or death from flashover events.

About the Author