As passersby watched the fire at the Circle K gas station many assumed firefighters were concerned about an explosion from the gas pumps that were within a few feet of the flames.
“All gas stations within CCFR have emergency stop buttons that almost immediately cut off gas flow and power to all of the pumps,” explains Central County Fire & Rescue Chief Russ Mason. “Our biggest concern at this scene, and many fires we face, was the collapse of the building that could injure victims and firefighters.”
With the advancement of building materials, structures that were once made of steel are now constructed with lightweight, quick-burning, engineered wood. “This material burns quicker, and can cause a structure to collapse relatively fast,” says Mason.
Proper fire scene management helped ensure the safety of all of the first responders at the Circle K fire. “When we arrive on scene the first thing we do is assess the situation,” says Mason.
With large air conditioning units, and other heavy equipment on the roof that could cause a faster collapse, firefighters knew time was limited to search the building for victims, and to move dangerous items such as propane gas tanks that were near the entrance of the building.
“Our number one goal is the safety of victims and firefighters,” says Mason. Because of this, no one was inside the building as it came crashing down as a result of the fire.