“Would you take the RIT for me?” he asked. The rapid intervention team on the incident was a rescue company from Carbondale.
“Sure, just get me a portable,” I said and he immediately handed one to me. I went over and met my crew. They seemed like good guys, and they had the right equipment with them.
At that point, we decided to take a look at the underside of the second floor to see if it would be safe to put a full crew up there to overhaul. Following the stairway back to the first floor, we entered the main room beneath the bedroom. We shined our lights on the underside of the floor above, evaluating the extent of the fire damage. It was significant, and with the amount of damage to the carrying beams, it became evident that a full company could not be safely accommodated on the floor above. Then we started to look around and evaluate how much fire remained on the first floor and how extensive the overhaul operations would be. Still in the back of our minds was the possibility that the owner’s body was still somewhere in the building. We knew it was impossible that anyone could have survived that fire.
As we worked our way toward the door to the rear hallway, our hand lights passed over and quickly returned to a form partially lying against the wall next to the door. Unfortunately, we now knew the location of the owner. Apparently he had come downstairs and found the fire. As conditions deteriorated rapidly, he collapsed before making it out the back door.