On Thursday morning, Camas-Washougal Fire District Firefighter Ron Nickles and Gary Horst did a quick knock on a fire in an upstairs bedroom of a two-story townhouse. Up to that point there was nothing out of the ordinary. It’s when Horst opened a bedroom window to start ventilation that things began to happen. The firefighter told Emily Gillespie at The Columbian in the process of opening the window he knocked something off the sill that apparently contained a flammable liquid that burst into flames, engulfing Firefighter Horst:
“I was a human fireball,” Horst said. “I started yelling, ‘Ronny put me out!’ That’s what I kept saying over and over again.”
“I couldn’t figure out what happened, we already had the fire out,” he (Nickles) said, recounting that the room turned bright orange for a second time. “Gary just turned into an instant ball of fire. … He looked like Nicolas Cage in ‘Ghost Rider.’ ”
What he admits was probably only a few seconds felt a lot longer to Horst.
“I remember it was getting very warm. I was wondering why he wasn’t putting me out yet,” he said.
Having already put out the fire they were dispatched to, Nickles had dropped his water hose about 10 feet away from him. He grabbed the nozzle and quickly doused his partner with water.
Firefighter Nickles was uninjured thanks to his PPE and having the flames quickly extinguised. The fire apparently started when the resident used a lighter to look for something under a bed because there was no flashlight handy.
Also on STATter911 …
- Early pictures: Gresham, Oregon firefighters save man behind bars. – November 30, 2012
- Helmet-cam video: House fire in Highland Park, Michigan. – June 1, 2012
- Arrival video: Fatal house fire in Belmont, NC. – May 27, 2013
- Command post arrival video: House fire in Aloha, Oregon. – January 17, 2012
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