Update: Cause released on fire that injured 2 fireman
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The State FIre Marshals Office says an electrical panel malfunction is to blame for a fire that sent to firefighters to Lee Memorial Hospital Friday morning near downtown Fort Myers.
“Boom,” yelled Willfredo Rios.
He says when he saw two firemen running towards an unstable building attempting to fight the blaze; he says he “thought they were gone.”
The fire broke out at Palm Avenue and Blake Street near downtown Fort Myers at an old fraternity house.
“Flames going up, and up,” describe Elizabeth Marquez, who lives across the street from the destroyed building.
“That all I saw was up,” said Marquez.
Our Fox 4 crew arriving on the scene just moments after firefighters contained the blaze, smoke was still rising from the roof.
Dozens of firemen were still in action as an intense scene led to injuries.
The battalion chief in command of the response effort tells Fox 4 it was when two firefighters walked up to the outside of the building, attempting to fight the blaze that a concrete façade became unstable and crushed them.
“As the fire burned away the structure behind it, the weight gave way and they weren’t able to get out of the way in time,” said Battalion Chief David Tilton.
“We quickly evacuated the firefighters out of the area,” Tilton said, “We got them medical attention and sent them to the hospital.”
The two firefighters were trauma alerted to the ER at Lee Memorial Hospital.
The Chief of the Fort Myers Fire Department identifies the two injured firemen as Shane Ramey and Tony Price.
Price is said to be recovering in the ICU in “fair” condition while Ramey is recovering quickly in “good” condition.
Both men are expected to make a full recovery within a couple of days.
“Every time I thought it was off, you would see the flames come back up,” says Marquez.
The battalion chief tells us he’s just glad no one was seriously injured, adding the odds were stacked against him and his team before even arriving on the scene.
“It had a very long head start,” said Tilton, “we just didn’t stand a chance.”
No one was inside of the home at the time of the blaze.
Fire officials say the building is a total loss.
The state fire marshal is currently on the scene investigating the cause of the fire.