The loud air horns blasts and “Everyone Evacuate the Structure Immediately” repeated multiple times is something that will make your stomach start to churn. All I knew is the conditions that I could see, but it was obvious that someone else had additional information that required the need for the evacuation. Honestly, my first thoughts were “who’s hurt?” or “have conditions changed that much on the outside of the house?”
Around 10:30 PM last night, Kingsport Firefighters (B-Shift) were alerted of a possible structure fire on Ashwood Avenue in the Highland area. While responding, they were advised that KPD Officers on-scene were confirming the fire was visible. Crews arrived on-scene to find fire visible from the C-side of the structure. The fire was knocked down with an aggressive interior attack, and it seemed to be rather routine until Ashwood Command was advised of explosives that were allegedly being stored inside the residence.
Evacuate! Evacuate! Evacuate!
Those words came over the radio, and everyone quickly evacuated the structure. A PAR (Personnel Accountability Report) was then conducted to ensure that everyone had copied the radio traffic and had evacuated the structure. Due to the contents of the residence, the fire crews switched to a defensive attack and prepared to protect the surrounding structures. Several houses nearby were evacuated for safety, and fire apparatus was repositioned. Firefighters used ground monitors to flow large amounts of water of the near-by structures to prevent the fire from spreading.
While some citizens may not understand, we always preach to “risk a lot to save a lot.” As difficult as it is for others to understand sometimes, there is no amount of personal belongings that are worth our men and women to get hurt/killed over. Throughout the next few hours, firefighters continued to cool the near-by structures to prevent the fire from spreading. Thousands of feet of supply line and attack lines spread throughout the street for the majority of the night. The house was a total loss, but no injuries were reported on the fire scene.
I must say that I work with a great group of brothers and sisters. They help keep me safe, and ensure that we all go home at the end of our shift. If we can all do that, then no matter how much sleep we get, how busy we are, or how bad our shift has been…we can walk away saying it was a success. Everyone busted their tails last night on the fire scene, and we couldn’t have done it without the assistance from the Dispatchers, Kingsport PD, Sullivan Co. EMS, Kingsport, Life-Saving Crew, and other agencies that assisted in various ways.
Responding KFD Units: Chief 3, Engine 1, Ladder 1, Fire-Rescue 12, Engine 2, Engine 3, Engine 6, and Engine 8