Lebanon Fire District
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News Release
Firefighters work to put out hot spots on Thursday night.
Firefighters work to put out hot spots on Thursday night.
House Fire Challenges Lebanon Firefighters (Photo) - 10/19/21

A reported kitchen fire which spread through a home on Thursday night provided significant challenges for Lebanon firefighters called to battle the blaze. The fire at 37635 Rock Hill Drive was first reported by a resident on Central Avenue at 9:07 p.m. when they noticed the fully involved structure from their home. Fire officials believe that the fire had already been burning for a significant amount of time at the time of the call due to the heavy involvement throughout the two-story structure. 

LFD crews were on scene in less than 6 minutes from the time of call and reported a heavily involved structure. A resident was attempting to extinguish the fire with buckets of water from an above ground swimming pool when firefighters arrived, and crews quickly directed on-scene paramedics to the man for a medical evaluation. The male suffered mild smoke inhalation and was observed on scene until being released without need for transport to a hospital. The home and contents, initially valued at $325,000, were a complete loss. Twenty-one personnel on eleven fire apparatus responded, and the Tangent Fire District provided one water tender with two personnel for mutual aid. 

The structure was located outside of the city’s hydrant system which created the need for firefighters to establish a rural water supply using water tenders and portable water tanks. Two water tenders from Lebanon and one from the Tangent Fire District set up a water shuttle, dumping their water into the portable tanks set up on Rock Hill Drive and then driving approximately one mile to the nearest hydrant to fill up and return to the scene. This evolution ensured a constant water supply for firefighters working on scene who were flowing up to 300 gallons of water per minute onto the fire. The typical fire engine water tank holds roughly 750 gallons of water, which can be expended in less than two and a half minutes when flowing two hand lines. 

As firefighters worked the blaze, they encountered a heavy accumulation of personal belongings inside the home which made entry into the home nearly impossible in the heavy fire conditions. An initial report from the occupant indicated that there may have been up to seven people in the house at the time of the fire. Firefighters used a technique called VES (Vent-Enter-Search) to enter interior rooms from the exterior windows of uninvolved rooms and quickly search for victims before retreating out of the window and continuing to the next room. Crews were able to safely search two bedrooms before fire conditions forced them to switch to a defensive operational mode. No victims were found, and the report of people in the structure turned out to be unfounded. 

During the fire the entire second floor collapsed onto the first floor of the home, further hampering firefighter’s efforts to extinguish the fire and search for victims. One fire engine remained on scene overnight in the event of a flare up and crews returned early Friday morning to meet with the property owner and discuss the next steps. After evaluating the lack of stability of the structure, the Lebanon Fire Marshal determined that it would be unsafe for fire investigators to enter the building to perform a fire investigation. The property owner was consulted, and the decision was made to bring an excavator to the scene and use it to tear the house down so that firefighters could completely extinguish the fire, still smoldering within the home’s footprint. Firefighters finally cleared the scene around 8:00 a.m. on Friday morning, nearly eleven hours after the initial call. There were no injuries to firefighters at the incident. 

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