City firefighter injured in blaze

A fire damaged an apartment building Friday evening at 623 Fourth Ave., according to a post on the Altoona Fire Fighters IAFF Local 299 Facebook page.

The call came in at 7 p.m., and firefighters arrived on scene within two minutes. A total of 27 personnel responded.

The six-unit, three-floor building caught fire on the third floor, which was hard for responders to access, Altoona Fire Chief Tim Hileman said.

“(The fire) spread to between the third floor and the roof,” Hileman said. “Access to that area was a little bit difficult and it took us about 45 minutes to get the fire under control. Then, we spent a couple hours to make sure that it wouldn’t rekindle because the insulation was smoldering.”

The social media post said there was “heavy fire” on the third floor and smoke “pushing from all floors.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

One firefighter, who Hileman declined to name, suffered a minor injury in the blaze. That firefighter is “seeking treatment with his own personal physician,” Hileman said. “(The injured firefighter) is off work for right now, but we expect him to return very shortly.”

Hileman didn’t say the specific injury his colleague suffered, but said it’s typical for firefighters to suffer “twists, sprains and bruises just from walking around in the pitch black and the smoke.”

“You step on things, you twist an ankle, bang your knee or do whatever,” Hileman said. “He just happened to do one of those things.”

No others were hurt and the building “wasn’t totaled,” according to Hileman.

The scene was cleared about 11:30 p.m.

Mirror Staff Writer Andrew Mollenauer is at 814-946-7428.


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