Firefighter injured stopping man from running into burning room

Firefighter injured stopping man from running into burning room
Paramedics tend to Capt. Joe Smith, who injured his leg trying to stop a man from running into a burning room. (Photo courtesy Forest Grove Fire and Rescue)

FOREST GROVE, Ore. – A fire captain was injured trying to stop a man from running into a burning room on Thursday morning in Forest Grove.

The fire started in the bedroom of a house around 11:30 a.m. When firefighters arrived, they saw smoke and learned people were inside the burning home.

Firefighters made their way into the ground floor and found several people inside. Two of them were men who were trying to run up the smoke-filled stairway to extinguish the fire, according to Forest Grove Fire and Rescue spokesman David Nemeyer.

Captain Joseph Smith, a 25 year fire veteran, hurt his leg when he tried to tackle one of the men inside the stairwell, Nemeyer said.

The men were eventually taken out of the home and Smith went on fighting the fire under his own power, according to Nemeyer. He was later taken to the hospital to be evaluated by a doctor.

The fire department later tweeted that Smith was released from the hospital and possibly tore a muscle in his calf.

During the rescue, firefighters also managed to help get a wheelchair-bound woman out of the house.

Once everyone was safely out, firefighters got into the bedroom and extinguished the fire burning the bed. The heat was so intense that it melted the smoke alarms that first alerted the residents, Nemeyer said.

Investigators said the fire was ignited by a discarded cigarette that ignited the bedding. The fire then spread to the rest of the room.

Six cats were also rescued from the house.

Nemeyer said firefighters hope people learn two valuable lessons from this incident. First, he said that all cigarettes should be discarded in a safe container outside of your house. Second, he said if a fire starts you should leave the building right away and not go back in under any circumstances.

“Please let firefighters do their job and use their life-saving skills and tools,” he wrote in a news release about the fire.