Written by Phil Cerroni
Plumes of smoke and towering flames confronted first responders at Eagle Crest Apartments on July 20. As the roof and upper floors were consumed like fresh kindling, firefighters’ fears were realized when they discovered the fire had already spread to the attic.
“Once it’s [a fire] gotten into the structure, our big concern is to keep it out of the attic, because if it goes up into the attic now you’ve got a wide open space for the fire to travel from one end to the other [of the building], so that’s what we attempt to prevent,” said, Rusty Wilson, the Assistant Fire Chief for Irving FD.
As IFD personnel scrambled to set up a defensive perimeter from which to fight the flames, other firefighters rushed inside the furnace in a battle to keep the searing conflagration at bay with hand hoses just long enough to search for survivors in the 24 units engulfed in flames.
The intense heat gained ground as one responder, despite his protective equipment, received minor burns and had to be evacuated to Parkland Hospital.
Retreating firefighters sustained another casualty when a responder fell as the structure began crumbling beneath him. He was also taken to Parkland.