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The first fire was called into dispatch at 2:01 a.m. The reporting person stated that the house behind them was on fire and that flames were shooting out the windows. When firefighters arrived at the 1000 block of Canal Avenue they noted a small single-story home that was fully engulfed in flames.
Only two miles away and three minutes later, at 2:04 a.m., dispatch received another report of a structure fire at an apartment complex located at the 1400 block of Alice Avenue. The reporting person stated there were flames coming out of a second story window.
A neighbor began knocking on the other apartment doors in an effort to evacuate the occupants. When engine 2 arrived they reported a two-story apartment complex with smoke and flames showing from one apartment. The building had four apartments with four attached garages.
Firefighters reported having the Canal Avenue house fire knocked down by approximately 2:16 a.m., but the home was a complete loss.
The Alice Avenue fire was knocked down by approximately 2:29 a.m. The fire extended from inside the apartment to the attic and into the roof, but firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to the adjoining apartments.
One adult male was inside the Canal Avenue home at the time of the fire and was able to evacuate safely but was displaced from his home. He was taken to a local hotel for shelter.
The individual who lives in the apartment where the fire originated on Alice Avenue was not present when firefighters arrived. One adult female from one of the other apartments was transported by ambulance to the hospital with minor injuries. Seven other occupants were able to evacuate safely but were temporarily displaced. Reportedly, one of those seven individuals also went to a local hotel for shelter while others found shelter with friends and/or family.
There were no injuries to first responders.
“Although we’ve responded to seven structure fires since the first of January, none of them are related, including the two from this morning,” explains IFFD’s Public Information Officer Kerry Hammon. “One common factor in at least a couple of the fires is inappropriate use of heating equipment inside the home,” adds Hammon.
The Law Enforcement Chaplaincy of Idaho was dispatched to assist all occupants from both incidents. The Red Cross was contacted to assist with shelter and immediate needs.
Ambulance 1, ambulance 5, engine 1, engine 4, engine 5, ladder 1 and a battalion chief were initially dispatched to the Canal Avenue fire. When the apartment complex call came in, ambulance 5 and engines 4 and 5 were reassigned. Ambulance 4, ambulance 7, engine 2, and a chief officer also responded to the apartment complex.
Two additional ambulance crews were called back into service, and IFFD’s ambulance crew that operates out of Swan Valley returned to Idaho Falls to provide ambulance coverage for the rest of the city while other personnel were fighting the fires and providing patient care.
Intermountain Gas and Idaho Falls Power responded to both fires to secure utilities. Idaho Falls Police Department responded to assist with additional needs.
Fire Chief Duane Nelson states, “We are very grateful for the individuals who reported the fires quickly and that there were no fatalities. I cannot say enough about our staff and our dispatchers. Fighting one fire in subzero temperatures in the middle of the night is challenging enough, let alone two fires within minutes of each other. They all did a tremendous job,” adds Nelson.
The estimated damages are unknown at this time. The causes are under investigation by IFFD’s fire investigators. No other information is available at this time.
Media Contact: Kerry Hammon, Public Information Officer, (208) 612-8122, [email protected]