All firefighters injured during the fire Saturday at the 2500 block of Joppa Mill Road have been released from the hospital and are at home continuing their recovery, according to The Bedford County Department of Fire & Rescue today.
The department also stated that the fire seems to be accidental, according to an initial assessment.
All four firefighters taken to the hospital are expected to make full recoveries and return to active duty. There is no set date for their return, as the severity of their injuries varied but they will all be allowed to return, once they have been cleared by their physicians and by their chain of command.
The investigation into the cause of the fire and the circumstances surrounding the "mayday" incident is ongoing.
In order to maintain an objective view and ensure all details are investigated impartially, the Bedford County Fire Marshal's Office has requested assistance from the Lynchburg Fire Marshal's Office. The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office also will continue to provide assistance, as needed.
The names of the injured firefighters will not be released at this time, due to the nature of the ongoing investigation.
The initial assessment by Lynchburg’s Fire Marshall, Thomas Goode, is the fire was accidental in nature and caused by an overloaded circuit. This is based on observations during the walk through of the property and from statements taken from personnel at the scene.
"The Bedford County Department of Fire & Rescue would like to thank our partner agencies and the public for their generous display of support and camaraderie during our time of need," the department stated. "We were fortunate that this incident did not result in the worst case. There will be many lessons learned that we will share with the fire/rescue community in order to help prevent future tragedies. It is understood that our profession is inherently dangerous, but we can work together to learn from these incidents and help ensure we all go home."
According to the Bedford County Department of Fire & Rescue (BCoFR) today, one unresponsive firefighter was rescued from a house fire Saturday on the 2500 block of Joppa Mill Road in Bedford County, and she and three other firefighters were transported to the hospital.
The Bedford County & Town Joint E911 Center alerted area departments at 5:55 p.m. on Saturday to a possible structure fire at the 2500 block of Joppa Mill Road in Bedford County.
Crews from the Bedford Fire Department (Company 1), Moneta Fire Department (Company 8), Stewartsville-Chamblissburg Fire Department (Company 13), and Bedford County Department of Fire & Rescue (Medic 14-1 & Medic 14-6) responded.
According to the Bedford Fire Department, Bedford was first due, Moneta was second due, and Stewartsville-Chamblissburg was part of rapid intervention dispatch.
BCoFR stated that Bedford County Sheriff’s Office deputies reported fire showing from multiple sides of the house and multiple levels.
Bedford Fire Department stated that Engine 1 (with four) and Medic 14-1 arrived at 6:04 p.m. to find a single-story wood frame private dwelling with heavy fire showing from a corner. Engine 1 passed command and assumed fire attack group in the basement division while Ladder 1 conducted the primary search. Chief 8 arrived and established Joppa Mill command.
According to BCoFR, crews began their fire attack in both the basement and on the first floor.
During the initial attack, the crew on the first floor reported high heat and limited visibility and decided to back up in order to reposition. The crew encountered some difficulties due to the lack of visibility.
A “mayday” was declared over the radio and emergency alarms were activated.
The Bedford Fire Department stated that the "mayday" was declared on Division 1 approximately 10 minutes into the incident.
According to BCoFR, the incident commander cleared all radio traffic and immediately dispatched a Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) to locate the firefighters needing assistance.
The RIT crew located one unresponsive firefighter and immediately removed her from the house. Two other firefighters also were experiencing an emergency and assisted from the house.
Additional medic units were dispatched to the scene, and Lifeguard 12 was requested to air lift one firefighter due to the nature of the injuries and initial triage.
One firefighter was flown to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital, a level 1 trauma center, in Wake Forest, North Carolina. The other two were transported by ground to Roanoke Memorial Hospital, in Roanoke, and to Bedford Memorial Hospital, in Bedford, with non-life-threatening injuries.
One firefighter was treated and released the same day and the other was expected to be released this afternoon. The firefighter flown to Wake Forest is expected to be released sometime this evening.
Another firefighter was also transported to the hospital for non life-threatening injuries unrelated to the “mayday” incident. That firefighter was treated and released the same day.
Additional fire crews also were dispatched to assist with putting out the fire. Crews on scene continued to work to extinguish the fire throughout the “mayday” situation.
The Bedford County Fire Marshal (County 16), a Deputy Fire Marshal (1604), and members of the Bedford County Fire & Rescue Command Staff (County 1, County 3, County 4, and County 10) also were added to the incident.
The cause of the fire and the circumstances surrounding the “mayday” incident are being investigated by the Bedford County Fire Marshal’s Office. The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office is assisting with the investigation.
The Bedford Fire Department stated earlier in the day that the Lynchburg Fire Marshals Office is investigating the cause of the fire.
No injuries to civilians were reported.
According to the Responding Fire page, Joppa Mill Road was shut down for at least two hours.
Responding Fire listed the following units as responding to the fire: Bedford Fire Department with Engine 1, Wagon 1, Ladder 1 and Tanker 1; Moneta Fire Department with Command 8, Chief 8, Wagon 82, Rescue 8, Engine 8 and Tanker 8; Stewartsville-Chamblissburg with Brush 13A, Engine 13, Engine 131 and Rescue 13; Forest Fire Department with Chief 5 and Rescue 5; Bedford County Fire and Rescue with County 1, County 3, County 4, County 10, County 16 (FM), DFM 1604, Medic 14-1, Medic 14-2, Medic 14-5, Medic 14-6, Medic 14-8 and Medic 14-13; Huddleston Rescue with Medic 7-4; Moneta Rescue with Medic 8-4; Saunders with Chief 10; SML Fireboats with Air 11.
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