Two CCFR firefighters fell into a water and debris filled maintenance pit while fighting a fire inside Hackmann Brothers, a heating oil supplier at 2929 North St. Peters Pkwy. around 3:45 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019.
One firefighter escaped the building on his own without injuries, while the other required help from the crews on scene to leave the building. The injured firefighter spent the morning at the hospital before being released with minor injuries.
Due to the nature of the business, there were petroleum-based products inside the building, which raised concern about a hazardous materials situation. There was no release of hazardous materials found. Residents may have smelled an odor during and after the fire. This is common with building fires, and was not related to chemicals or products stored in the building.
The 30 feet by 40 feet metal maintenance shed was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. Inside the shed there was a 5-6 foot deep maintenance pit built into the floor.
“The crew did not know the pit was there, and it almost caused a tragic situation. We had an intense few minutes after we received a mayday call from inside the burning shed, but thankfully it looks like everyone will be okay,” Brown says.
Firefighters from CCFR, the Cottleville Fire Protection District and St. Charles City Fire Department were able to extinguish the fire in approximately 45 minutes. A woman who lives in a house on the property escaped safely, and the home was not seriously damaged. CCFR fire investigators are investigating what sparked the blaze.
“When we get a call, we never know what we are getting into. It’s situations like these that remind us all about the importance of our daily training to keep our community and our fellow firefighters safe. The team knew exactly what to do when that mayday was sounded and stepped into action to save their fellow crew members,” Brown says.