Fort Riley firefighters provide mutual aid in Bluffs Apartments blaze

By Season Osterfeld, 1st Inf. Div. Post
Ft. Riley Post – April 21, 2017
Submitted by Newz Group – April 27, 2017

In the early morning hours of April 8, the Bluffs Apartments building b in Junction City, Kansas, caught fire. As the blaze started to take over the roof of the building, firefighters from Stations 3 and 5 at Fort Riley responded to a mutual aid request from the Junction City Fire Department.

At about 1:20 a.m., crews with Engine 5 and Ladder 1 responded to the request, said Lt. Cody Sims, Fort Riley Fire Department, who was a responder on duty at Station 3. The firefighters worked with other crews from the local area including Abilene, Geary County, Junction City and Manhattan to extinguish the fire.

“We arrived on scene at approximately 1:40 a.m. and we were released from the scene at approximately 6:45 a.m.,” Sims said. “I believe the fire was under control by approximately 4:30 a.m.”

Upon arrival, the Fort Riley crews assisted with protecting neighboring structures to prevent the fire from jumping to the buildings. Once the threat to neighboring structures was eliminated, the crews began supplying water to the Abilene Fire Department ladder truck. Additionally, the station 5 crew pushed into the interior to extinguish the fire. Shortly thereafter, the station 3 crew used the Ladder 1 to assist with advancing hose to the third floor and conducting overhaul and salvage operations on two apartments, Sims said.

“Fort Riley had many assignments while on scene,” said Capt. James Kennedy, Fort Riley Fire Department, who responded with Station 5. “The first assignment was exposure protection of the surrounding structures. Windy conditions and the high volume of fire exposures were a major concern. Other assignments were water supply to other apparatus on the fire scene. Engine 5 and Ladder 1 were connected to a hydrant approximately a block away. Engine 5 crews then were called to help with some interior work once the roof had burnt off. Crews went to the 3rd floor and extinguished an apartment that couldn’t be extinguished through elevated master streams and ground monitors. Engine 5 personnel also assisted with extensive overhaul of the building until being released.”

While the mutual aid request was necessary because the JCFD was unable to tackle a fire as large and fast moving as the Bluffs Apartments fire, it is also important for community relationships and partnerships for fire departments to work together protecting the people they serve and live with, Kennedy said.

“Mutual aid is important to Fort Riley and the surrounding communities,” he said. “These partnerships build a regional bond between communities through the professionalism of the fire service. No one community can handle fires of this caliber. Fire departments rely on these mutual aid agreements to assist the community. It is vital to the Soldiers and families on and off the installation to provide fire protection.”

Sims said the fire was also important for them to be a part of because of the Soldiers and their families who lived there.

“It is what we train for on a daily basis and also there were quite a few of the tenants at the fire building that were soldiers of Fort Riley and it is a great customer service that we provided them even when they’re off the installation,” he said.

Kennedy said he credited the professional demeanor and training of all firefighters involved for why the fire was successfully extinguished without injuries or damage to neighboring structures. He added this event can also be a teaching tool for future training.

“Training plays a key role in any event,” he said. “The crews on scene were very professional and calm during the event. This is what we train for, emergency situations are stressful and the FRFES (Fort Riley Fire and Emergency Services) remained professional and tactful due to the know-how and training.”


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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