Saint-Louis firefighter died fighting fire in house identified | “It weighs extremely heavy” | St. Louis News Headlines
ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – A Saint-Louis firefighter died on Thursday while fighting a blaze.
The fire department received a call around noon about a fire in a two-story brick building in Block 5900 of Côte Brilliante. The firefighters managed to extinguish the fire on the ground floor and proceeded to the second floor. The fire became too intense and the firefighters decided to come out.
As they retreated, the roof collapsed, burying two firefighters. One of them was trapped under an “enormous amount of debris” of heavy wood and bricks and carried “the weight of the collapse on his person”. The firefighter was later identified as Benjamin “Ben” Polson.
Firefighter Polson was killed by the collapse and debris, not the blaze. The second firefighter was taken to hospital. The St. Louis Fire Department later said the second injured firefighter, along with another, had been treated and released from the hospital.
“This kind of event takes a huge toll on the entire fire department,” said St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson. “We are a closely related service. You can’t handle this. There are no words to describe how firefighters are feeling right now. Just a terrible situation.”
Jenkerson said they were examining the conditions of the building and what led to the fire and total collapse, noting that the department knew some buildings in the city were unsafe for firefighters. However, the ministry still assumes that seemingly vacant buildings are occupied, as people tend to use them for shelter.
“The City of St. Louis Fire Department does a job every day in buildings that many departments consider buildings we shouldn’t go into. They made the right decision to ‘get out’ and unfortunately due to the condition of the building they were caught in the collapse, ”Jenkerson said.
The house is a total loss. The building to the east of it suffered some damage.
“We are paid to protect lives, to take a risk,” Jenkerson said. “We are taking the risk and sadly and terribly the risk we took today was not worth it. We lost a firefighter.”
Saint Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones tweeted, “St. Louis mourns the loss of one of our brave firefighters @STLFireDept in the line of duty this afternoon. Our city is praying for their families and our entire department after this devastating tragedy.”
“This incident is a sobering reminder of the real dangers our first responders face every day as they fight to keep our communities safe,” said Chief Ron Battelle, Executive Director of The BackStoppers. “Losing a first responder is heartbreaking for all of us, but we’ll make sure they are never forgotten. “
The BackStoppers contribute to the expenses of the firefighter Polson. The non-profit organization helps families of first responders killed in the line of duty or suffering catastrophic injuries. Donations to the organization can be made online here or by calling (314) 692-0200.
Copyright 2022 KMOV. All rights reserved.