Southeast Side fire that injured firefighter intentionally set

Two families displaced by fire

According to the fire department, the fire that damaged a Southeast Side apartment complex and injured a firefighter Saturday was no accident.

Fire officials said the fire was intentionally set.

Fire crews reported heavy smoke and fire gushing from a unit at a complex in the 3200 block of Bolmore around 10:45 a.m.

"I could see flames, (they) started coming out of the doorway but the whole apartment went up. I was surprised at how fast the whole thing went up," said Don Wedley who was on his way to visit family when he saw the flames.

Firefighters say residents already had evacuated when crews arrived.

They say flames poured from an upstairs apartment.

One firefighter was caught under a collapsing ceiling.

"Firefighting is a dangerous job and he was exposed to some direct flames when part of the ceiling came down on his shoulder. His gear caught on fire, he's got burns on his left shoulder and less severe burns on his right shoulder," said acting Fire Chief Gabriel Ortega.

Ortega said the firefighter did not even realize he'd been injured and continued to battle the flames.

"With the adrenaline he didn't know he was as injured as he was. He kept fighting the fire and put that fire out," said Chief Ortega.

The fire fighter suffered first and second degree burns on his back and is being treated at SAMMC.

He's expected to be okay.

Fire crews got the fire out quickly, but not before it had heavily damaged the apartment.

The damage totaled out to $150,000.

About the Author: