7 firefighters, 3 residents transported following apartment fire
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Ten people were hospitalized following an apartment fire Wednesday. WSMV 4 spoke with one man who jumped from the balcony of his home to escape the flames.
Seven firefighters were transported with heat-related injuries, and another firefighter had minor burns. In addition, three residents were taken to the hospital with unknown injuries.
The fire was reported around 2:30 p.m. at Foxcroft Apartments on Paragon Mills Road. When crews approached the scene, they could see smoke from Nolensville Pike.
Crews noted that heavy smoke was coming from a breezeway of one of the buildings as soon as they arrived. NFD said a second alarm response was called on the fire for manpower due to the heat outside and the working conditions for first responders.
“Incident Command wants to ensure that there is enough personnel to rotate until the situation is under control and the response will be downgraded,” said NFD officials.
“I look outside, and it was dark,” Lazaro Gonzales said. “Smoky dark. It was real dark. Flames kicked in. I was like, ‘my building is on fire.’
Gonzales’s home, where he lived for three years, is gone. “It is hard,” Gonzales said. “It is really hard. “I know it is material stuff, but it was all the memories and pictures of my kids when they were born.”
Gonzales and his three little girls were home Wednesday afternoon when their building at the Foxcroft Apartments in South Nashville caught fire. “I got my 4-year-old in the back room with me asleep, and my 7-year-old and 9-year-old,” Gonzales said. “First thing I did, I went in and grabbed my four-year-old and threw her out of the balcony. I got my two others and did the same thing.”
While the building was engulfed in flames, Gonzales tried to return for their four pets. “By the time I reached them, I couldn’t breathe,” Gonzales said. “I had to crawl to the balcony and just jump off myself.”
Gonzales and his daughters landed on white containers below his unit. They are all okay, but the same cannot be said for some other residents. Three were taken to the hospital. Seven firefighters were also hospitalized. Most of the firefighters were transported because of the extreme heat.
“You are spraying water onto a fire which contains steam,” Nashville Fire Department Public Information Officer Kendra Loney said. “Steam is hot. “You are already amping up how hot it is. You have the body temperature and gear and adding the steam element, so these conditions are not ideal at all.”
Gonzales’s wife was at work during the fire and returned home to see their unit gone. The family does not know where to turn next. “Me as a father, I don’t know,” Gonzales said. “I don’t know where to start or what to do.” A fundraiser for the Gonzales family has been set up here.
A shelter is set up for these residents at the Croft Middle Design Center on Elysian Fields Road.
In a press conference, NFD PIO Kendra Loney confirmed that ten people in total, seven firefighters and three residents, have been transported with mostly fire-related injuries. One of the victims reportedly had burns on their neck. The three residents were confirmed to be two adults and one child. The conditions of the victims are unknown at this time.
Firefighters also attempted to make the entrance to see if any residents were still inside; however, the building quickly collapsed, causing crews to evacuate. A third alarm will likely be called to provide more crews at the scene because of the heat.
Metro Nashville Public Schools provided two air-conditioned buses for firefighters to help recover while fighting the fire.
Building B, the building where the fire occurred, has 20 units. Initial 911 calls indicated there could be residents trapped inside apartments. Firefighters checked one apartment where one of the calls came from and confirmed no one was inside. However, when approaching a second unit where a call was received, firefighters had to retreat because the ceiling collapsed.
The American Red Cross has set up a shelter for tonight at Croft Middle Design School, about a mile from the apartment complex.
Firefighters will resume the interior search when it’s safe to proceed.
To offer aid to residents, click here.
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