Must See Pictures: Explosion Caught on Camera in Camden, N.J. Injured Battalion Chief

Courtesy / WUSA




All pictures above are by Steve Skipton, the New Jersey editor for Click here to see the entire series from Steve and Keith James.

An explosion Friday afternoon about three minutes after Camden, New Jersey firefighters went to work at a house fire at 231 Grand Avenue. Battalion Chief Tony Phelps was first on the scene reporting a 2-story, occupied, end-of-row dwelling with heavy fire from the first floor.

Steve Skipton, the New Jersey editor for was also on the scene. He captured the events in a series of pictures that begins at 12:16:18.

Engine 11 is the first company to arrive behind Chief Phelps. Engine 11 would normally be second due, but sources say that Task Force 3 (Engine 9/Ladder 3) was out of service due to mechanical problems.

From the pictures is appears two firefighters from Engine 11 take a line into the first floor to attack the fire that is venting from two windows in Quadrant D.

Chief Phelps is seen observing the fire from the lawn on Side A at 12:28:55. At 12:29:37, Skipton's photo captures flying glass and other debris from what witnesses say was an explosion on the second floor.

Chief Phelps was injured by the flying debris. He was treated and released from a local hospital. The two firefighters inside apparently were not hurt.

A second alarm was transmitted for the fire.

Al Ashley, president of Fire Officers Union Local 2578, told the Courier Post that the explosion was a backdraft.

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2 firefighters inside uninjured !!!

Thank God , sometimes luck is on our side !
I guess that's why even Chiefs need to wear their PPE on the fireground.

This is the point some of us were trying to make earlier during the 'Amazing Video: Firefighters Catch Man Jumping from Second Floor' thread. Everyone on a fireground needs to wear PPE. How bad would the BCs injuries been had he at least not been wearing a helmet. You need all that protection when pulling hose and carrying ladders.
You say the explosion was caused by an backdraft?
so the second level sealed off from the frist floor?
It could have been a laundry room, or some similar interior room, which backdrafted...

Thats amazing they didn't get hurt, hope the Chief is ok an not injured to bad.
Although I feel bad for Chief Phelps, I firmly believe his protective clothing (or lack thereof) would have helped.
First of all and thankfully the fire chief and the interior companies were not seriously hurt. Luck was clearly on thier side on this alarm. The outcome could have been entirely different. However with that aside, this incident and series of photopgraphs illustrates why there are no routine calls. It futher reinforces why we need to wear full PPE and why SAFETY must become futher institutionalized and a part of the job.

We strive to provde the highest level of protection to our firefighters, we promote and preach safety and banter the safety tag line all around, we talk about everyone going home; yet everyday, we place ourselves in harms way, either directly or indirectly, by lack of focus, inattention to detail, assume nothing is going to happen to us; oh, its just another routine fire/job, complacency....etc.

The fireground is a hostile environment. It can change in the blink of an eye, or in this case in the time it takes for a picture frame to capture an image. Think about your PPE use on the incident scene....set the example, maintain the standards, don't assume...nothing is routine.....Let's learn some valuable lessons from this incident.

A speedy recover to Chief Phelps.
God is LODD, everyone is ok with the exception of minor injuries, that could have been prevented with the proper PPE, everyone goes home.
It was that means natural Gas related or electric? Which one!
Good Photos....keep it up and stay safe...

With regards,

Pares hTrivedi
This is yet another reason why all fire personnel should wear their proper ppe on the firegrounds.

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