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Jacksonville Units Respond to Third Alarm High Rise Fire in Towson (Fire Box 1-32)

May 11th, 2008

Just before 1300 hours on Mother’s Day, units from the Towson fire station responded to 500 Virginia Avenue for a fire alarm sounding in the Virginia Towers high-rise residential building. When units arrived, they discovered an electrical fire burning underground adjacent to the building, which extended into a second-floor electrical room. Interior crews reported heavy smoke, requested a full fire box and a priority response from BGE. As the smoke intensified, command requested an additional two engines and one truck and a medical strike team and began evacuating residents of the lower floors. These additional request brought Jacksonville’s Engine 471, Ambulance 475, and Air Unit 478. A portion of the estimated 300 residents, many of them seniors and/or handicapped individuals, were evacuated while others told to shelter in place. Crews monitoring carbon monoxide levels reported readings were at 600 parts per million on the 11th floor at one time during the incident. The incident escalated to a third alarm response, bringing about 25 pieces of equipment and 120 fire personnel to the scene. E471 and A475 assisted with smoke removal and evacuation efforts while AU478 filled air bottles in the staging area. This is the second electrical fire at this building in the past nine months, with the last incident occurring in August 2007.

Jacksonville Units: E471, A475, AU478
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