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Warren firefighters rescue man from burning mobile home

Officials say string of recent structure fires a reminder to check gear, maintain training

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published January 24, 2020


WARREN — Fire officials are hailing the work of the city’s first responders who have been busy with a string of structure fires over the last two months.

On Jan. 17, two Warren firefighters rescued a man from a burning mobile home at the Twin Pines mobile home community on the north side of 11 Mile Road, east of Van Dyke Avenue.

According to Warren Fire Chief Tim Morgan, the call came in at 8:44 p.m. and units were on the scene in the 6800 block of North Street within five minutes.

“This was a huge save,” Morgan said. “They pulled up to smoke billowing out of every orifice of the trailer. The neighbors said somebody should be in there and that they’re disabled.”

Officials said Sgt. Hans Sievert and Sgt. Thomas Baumann, of the Warren Fire Department, entered the burning mobile home and located the 68-year-old resident, who was slumped over in the bathroom with the door closed. Given the amount of smoke in the structure, the closed door likely helped save his life.

Warren Fire Commissioner Skip McAdams said Sievert and Baumann worked together to carry the man out of the trailer, through extreme heat and smoke.

“In my 37 years of service, to pull someone out of a single-wide trailer and actually have them come out as a viable patient with an opportunity for survival, it is amazing in and of itself,” McAdams said. “The construction of these mobile homes, especially the older models, is such that if they become engulfed in flames, there’s usually nothing left. The fact that the person survived the fire in one of these, and as of yesterday (Jan. 21) was still alive, was a testament to how great a rescue it was and how coordinated the efforts of the team were.

“It takes a team to put them in the position to make the rescue. It’s a testament to their determination to protect lives and property. This one stands out to me. They put forth a maximum effort,” McAdams said.

Another house fire in the 12400 block of Georgiana Avenue, near Eight Mile and Schoenherr Roads, on Jan. 15 resulted in a firefighter’s injury.

“He got a small burn on his shoulder. It got hot upstairs,” Morgan said. “He’s doing OK. He went to the clinic, got checked out. He’s all right.”

The call came in at 7:32 p.m., and units were on the scene until about 9:20 p.m. Morgan said the house is owned by the city, but was apparently occupied in some capacity. That situation remained under investigation at press time. There were no civilian injuries.

On Jan. 19, firefighters were called to the scene of yet another fire, this one in the 23000 block of Columbus Avenue, near Nine Mile Road and Hayes Avenue. Morgan said firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the attic and eaves.

“It looks like it was a rental. The resident stated they’ve been having electrical problems,” Morgan said.

No injuries to civilians or firefighters were reported.

Other recent fires included a house fire on Roan Drive, near 11 Mile and Hoover roads, on Jan. 13.

“For whatever reason, the number of fires has picked up here recently. It’s too early to say it’s a trend that will carry on or that it’s indicative of what’s to come,” McAdams said. “We have experienced a significant number of serious fires in the city.”

McAdams and Morgan said that serves as a reminder to reinforce training, inspect equipment and review the list of 36 “high hazard sites” in the city. Those include places where significant amounts of flammable or hazardous materials are stored.

“Given the high volume of EMS calls and the low volume of fire calls, it’s easy to forget about the fire side of our job,” McAdams said. “As firemen, we’ve got to be prepared for all of it. That’s fire, EMS, hazmat — the whole gamut. It’s easy to forget some parts of our training.

“We just want to make sure we stay on top of our training. It demands it,” McAdams said.