'Get inside! Get Lt. Kelley!'
RADIO TRANSMISSIONS CRACKLED WITH DRAMA By Cindy Stauffer, Staff Writer email@example.com
Calm voices. Yelling. Commands. Chaos.
Emergency radio transmissions from the early morning hours of Feb. 18 tell the tale of city firefighters' efforts to save first two people, who ultimately died, and then one of their own from a raging house fire on East Madison Street.
Three firefighters arrived first and were the only ones on the scene for three long minutes.
Two of those firefighters, Lt. Andre Kelley and Tom Bender, quickly entered the burning building, bringing a hose with them.
Out on the street, another firefighter, Don Mohr, was providing water to them, unaware that the hose quickly burned through and was not providing water to fight a fire that was crescendoing into a flashover of flames.
Caught in a tidal wave of fire, Bender leaped from a second-story window but Kelley was trapped inside.
By this time, other firefighters were rolling up and leaping into action, getting water to the fire and saving Kelley.
Here is an edited version of their and others' transmissions from the fire, until the rescue of Kelley, who is now recuperating from burns to 40 percent of his body.
The times shown represent the time, in minutes and seconds, elapsed into the call.
n10 seconds: East Madison Street. Receiving multiple calls, possible people trapped.
n42 seconds: Report of people possibly trapped, second floor, front bedroom.
n1:28: Police are on the scene, reporting two trapped inside.
n1:33: Activate the second alarm, also Metro Red.
n2:06: Engine 3 is on the scene. Heavy smoke showing, side alpha, two-story brick, middle of the row.
n4:54: Get them hooked up to a hydrant.
n5:08: Engine 2 arriving.
n5:13: Engine 1 arrived.
n6:20: Engine 3, do you need water?
n7:00: Command, you got Engine 1 coming to back you up.
n9:23: Engine 3, do you have a report from the inside yet?
n9:36: Let me know when you are ready for water. (Yelling in the background.)
n9:45: Mayday, mayday, mayday! Lt. Kelley down on the second floor!
n9:52: Repeat that.
n9:55: Mayday, mayday, mayday! Lt. Kelley down on the second floor!
n10:02: Engine 2, get inside, get Lt. Kelley.
n10:10: (Yelling, sirens)
n10:17: On the (unintelligible) floor.
n10:18: Third floor.
n10:27: Let's get that fire, let's get some water on that fire.
n11:18: Truck 204 on the scene.
n11:25: Truck 204, bring your crew up here. Let's initiate a search for a downed firefighter, second or third floor.
n11:51: Turn on the water at the hydrant. Turn on the water at the hydrant. East Lemon Street hydrant, turn the water on.
n12:05: Water's on the way from the police department.
n12:29: Do we have water on that fire yet, Engine 3?
n12:38: We need hydrant water.
n12:41: The water's on, water's coming through the supply. Let's get some water on the fire, where is …
n12:50: Lt. Kelley, Firefighter Bender.
n12:59: Engine, where's Lt. Kelley?
n13:03: He's still on the second floor in the hallway. We're taking a line up those stairs now.
n13:14: Repeat, Bender, repeat.
n13:17: He was on the second floor in the hallway, at the top of the stairs. He was yelling for help. He needed a handline up there. That could be hard to ... (Yelling)
n13:31: I got RIT (Rapid Intervention Team) on the way. You're saying on the second floor?
n13:40: The last I heard of him, yes.
n14:17: Bender, what's your location right now?
n14:43: RIT ... 204 coming in.
n14:58: You need a firefighter ... Lt. Kelley, second floor, top of the steps.
n15:03: Top of the steps, second floor.
n15:52: Chief 905, at this time it's believed we have one firefighter trapped in the second floor.
n16:51: We have a firefighter in distress. Lt. Kelley's at the front door, the front door.
n17:00: Kelley's at the front door (yelling).
n17:23: Lt. Kelley's out of the building.
n17:26: Copy that. Is everyone else accounted for?n