Firefighters, city workers battle two blazes in two days

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published November 2, 2015

 With assistance from Department of Public Works employees, the Royal Oak Fire Department extinguished this dump truck fire on Oct. 29 in the Royal Oak Department of Public Services garage on Campbell Road near 12 Mile Road.

With assistance from Department of Public Works employees, the Royal Oak Fire Department extinguished this dump truck fire on Oct. 29 in the Royal Oak Department of Public Services garage on Campbell Road near 12 Mile Road.

Photo provided by the city of Royal Oak

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ROYAL OAK — Fire Chief Chuck Thomas credited his firefighters, along with city employees, for handling two blazes that happened within days of one another last week.

No one was injured in either fire, Thomas said.

“In both cases the firemen did a really good job,” he said.

The Fire and Police departments responded first to a condominium fire shortly after 8:30 p.m. Oct. 27 in the 1900 block of Seabright Court — near 14 Mile and Crooks roads — after a woman called 911 to report smelling smoke inside her home.

City officials said two police cars arrived first and made sure that the resident was out of her unit. They also confirmed that her home was on fire.

Thomas said that upon arrival, firefighters entered the home as officers notified neighbors in the complex.

Officials said officers had to force entry into one connecting unit after being unable to make contact with the resident inside. Police said the lights were on in the unit and a vehicle was parked outside. The officers said smoke was apparent inside the unit.

Police did not find the resident to be home when they forced entry; however, police did remove the resident’s dog from the condominium.

Police later determined that the resident was at a neighbor’s house during the fire.

City officials said the fire was contained quickly and was believed to have started in the basement from an electrical source; however, the official cause was still under investigation as of Nov. 2.

“That takes time,” Thomas said.

Thomas did not have a dollar value of the estimated damage.

City officials said that those on the scene made sure that any displaced residents had arranged for accommodations for the night.

The second fire took place Oct. 29 in the City of Royal Oak Department Of Public Services garage, located on Campbell Road near 12 Mile Road.

Thomas said the fire was contained to one new city dump truck in the garage. The truck, valued at more than $100,000, was used for road repair, leaf collection and snow removal.

“We were lucky the DPS call was contained to the one fire,” he said. “The sprinkler system went off and contained the fire until the firemen got in to fully extinguish it.”

Thomas said it was a difficult job for his men, as the smoke in the building banked down from the ceiling to the firefighters’ knees, making it nearly impossible to see.

“I want to commend the firefighters and DPS workers on the scene for the fantastic job they all did,” he said.

Thomas said the DPW employees quickly put the lights on and opened the doors to ventilate the building.

“As with anything in the city, it takes a lot of teamwork,” Thomas said. “We are very grateful to the DPS workers who remained on the scene and helped.”

An engineer checked the structure of the building and said it was safe to re-enter, according to Department of Public Services Director Greg Rassel.

Thomas said the other trucks in the garage were soot-covered, but he believed they were otherwise OK. A cause of the fire had not yet been determined.

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