Dayton firefighter injured after stairwell collapses in burning house

A Dayton firefighter suffered non-life-threatening injuries after a stairwell collapsed during a house fire early Wednesday morning.

The firefighter was taken to a hospital for further evaluation, according to Dayton fire Capt. Brad French.

Around 4:43 a.m. Wednesday, firefighters responded to a fire near Edison Street and Shoop Avenue in Dayton’s Westwood neighborhood. When they arrived, they found heavy fire in a two-story house and received a report that people were possibly trapped inside, according to the fire department.

Crews began searching the home and using multiple hose lines to fight the fire. A stairwell in the home collapsed, injuring a firefighter and prompting a “mayday” distress transmission, according to fire officials.

“Crews entered, floor collapsed, stairwell collapsed on one firefighter,” Capt. David Thomas of the Dayton Fire Department said. “He had a leg injury and he was taken to the hospital. Should be OK.”

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The injured firefighter was removed from the house and all Dayton fire crews moved to a defensive position outside, French said. Crews continued fighting the flames from outside the house.

No other firefighters were injured. It was later determined the resident was not home at the time of the fire, French said.

“Crews transitioned from an interior attack to a defensive operation once the floors collapsed so that’s what took us a while to get this fire under controlled,” Thomas said. “And right now, we’re chasing fires in the basement floor that we can’t get to, so we’ve still got some smoldering going on down in the first floor floor ceiling level.”

The Dayton Fire Department Fire Investigations Unit is investigating the cause of the fire.

“Most likely it was unoccupied structure,” Thomas said. “They don’t think there was arson at this time, but they are investigating.”

A damage estimate is not yet available.