Frankfort fire under careful watch

Crews continue to stay on the scene of a Frankfort fire as smoke is still emerging.

Posted: Jan 22, 2019 10:50 PM
Updated: Jan 23, 2019 3:33 PM

FRANKFORT, Ind. (WLFI) — Crews continue to stay on the scene of a Frankfort fire as smoke is still emerging. 

The Chief of Frankfort Fire Department says they could be out there for days watching over it carefully.

"Out of 37 firefighters we had 35 of them fighting this fire," said Chief of FFD John Kirby.

Flames first started to engulf a garage on the side of the building housing T & R Pet Grooming at 55 W. Washington Street, which is a total loss.

Typically eight firefighters from the Frankfort Fire Department respond to calls, but since this one could have gotten out hand the volunteers were called in and so was the Lebanon Fire Department.

"I mean they helped us tremendously and I can't thank them enough for their helped and their efforts," said Kirby.

Lebanon's efforts were able to keep the structure from falling over. Its ladder truck was able to provide more water to the fire and assist in extinguishing the back of the building.

Other buildings housing two families, a sports club and a mural titled the "History of Frankfort" have also been lost after the morning fire. Officials said it started around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The American Red Cross was dispatched shortly after fire crews arrived. Its job is to alleviate any pain people may be suffering from emergencies.

In this case, two apartments caught fire, but the people living inside did not know to use the aid of the Red Cross.

"We were just standing out here looking at the fire and this gentleman I struck up a conversation with says 'I live there' and I said 'oh well,' so the American Red Cross can obviously help in those situations when anyone has had a fire," said the disaster program specialist Kristina Chapman

The fire quickly spread through the building housing T&R Pet Grooming to the vacant second floor and as firefighters worked to contain the fire, it continued to spread to the next building over. During which, one firefighter was injured and taken to the hospital.

Firefighters on scene said the firefighter who was hurt was Greg Miller, a 30+ year veteran of the department. The firefighters said he was released from IU Health Arnett and is at home recovering after falling through the floor.

"We got in there and we got him out very quickly and our guys did a good job," said Kirby "I'm just really proud of everyone's efforts."

Red Cross also provided financial assistance to the five people without a place to live and it gave water, coffee, snacks and towels to the firefighters.

"It's always great to help our first responders," said Chapman. "It's always great to help the families. Anytime someone needs us we really want to make sure that everyone knows the call the Red Cross."

The nonprofit added neither apartment had a smoke detector even though it does install them for free. More than 4,000 have been installed in Frankfort over the last four years.

While firefighters were able to stop the spread of the flames from reaching the third building, everything in the first and the second are considered losses.

All Frankfort Fire Department shifts were called in to fight the fire. 

Indiana's state fire marshall, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Frankfort Fire Department are all assisting into the investigation which is currently ongoing. 

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