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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Thank God the inside crews weren"t hurt. And as for the BC im glad it wasn't life threatening, however i hope he has learned a most valuable lesson. PPE is a must. I know Im "preaching to the choir" here, but PPE is not just for looks. We all need to stop and think how lucky we get every day. As Firefighters we sometimes dont realize the potential dangers of being outside. Truly God is on our side. God Bless everyone and Be Careful out there! Cole HVFD
That sucks!
Someone mention exterior crews? were was the R.I.T. If b/c is going to get that close he should have had on P.P.E. Not going to side line this one but Thank the big guy up stairs. Everyone have the courage to go home in the am. Be safe. Lagatta out.
WOW and the Firefighters inside were not HURT..Amazing!
That why EVERYONE NEEDS TO WEAR PPE IGNORANT MAN.He's lucky to be alive!!!
It is called complacency and it plagues firefighters everywhere! My question is. I didn't think backdrafts happened after the free burning stage. To me it appears to be a smoke explosions? Any thoughts? God Speed to Chief Phelps.
In our company "FULL PPE" is a requirement, not an option. If you do not have full ppe then you are a by-stander, no exceptions. From vehicle to structure each piece of your ppe serves a purpose and every incident is different so you have to be prepared for anything to happen,no matter what rank you hold. The only time we do not wear full ppe is on a brush or mountain fire then your ppe is different but still required if you are planning on being a part of the team.
some one had mentioned in an earlier post about backdraft not happening after free it possible that the so called "explosion" happened from the 1 or 2 windows to the left of the fire load, they appear to be darker then the ones above, and i would put my pay check on it that the room(s) were charged with smoke, and depending on what was going on inside....? and also take note to the location of the black smoke, and it was stated that the BC was hit with flying debris (glass?)
this is why at the 36 hour class they stress all at a fire be in turnout gear,thank god he's ok
Always wear proper PPE - even on the exterior! Be Safe.
Well just from the picture it looks like a smoke explosion.
There is a lot to be said about these pictures.
First. I am glad everyone is alive.

You have an attack line stretched in the door. Where is your R.I.T Team. Where is your truck company working on ventilation

In the three minutes that lapse in the photo I lean towards was there a proper size up. We have become so complacent to not wear full PPE on the out side. Judging from the photo if the attack crew got in trouble would the BC be able to make entry and attempt a rescue on his crew.

Unless you had victims inside this upon arrival why not start an initial knock down from the windows till your R.I.T team is place and the building was ready for Venting.


Granted I was not there but if a picture is worth a thousand words.......

This is definately something that should of/could have been prevented.

I just caught the last line where they say it was a back draft three minutes into an agressive interior attack. Does the chief not see the signs. Does the crew not see it. What was feeding this fire and was the interior crew making any head way on knock down. Really look into the pictures and you be the judge. Was this being fueld by something else.

Three minutes into a line being in the Bldg it does not appear we made a dent to the Seat of the fire. First photo looks like a room and content fire. house looks self vented.

So how do they come up with a back draft. Flashover Maybe....Backdraft I don't see it.

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