Firefighters Describe Escaping Uptown Fire

Updated: 01/10/2013 8:01 AM By: Jay Kolls

Firefighters have seconds to react to save their lives and others. The fire destroyed the Uptown condo complex on Lake Street two weeks ago. The flames were so intense and the heat got so bad it knocked firefighters down. There was a flashover on the second floor of the three story building and the entire structure eventually collapsed from the heat and the flames.

Captain Loren Hillesheim tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he thought for sure there "would be fatalities in there." But, remarkably, the firefighters and residents all made it out safely before the building collapsed. Just before the wall came tumbling down, firefighter Brian Jacobsen pulled a man from the second floor onto his ladder and safety. Fortunately, there were no crews, or residents, on the second floor when the flashover occurred.

Radio calls from that fire show how quickly the flames spread and the heat intensified because within minutes a third alarm was sent out. The residents of the fire are still in temporary housing and there have been two fundraisers at Amore Victoria restaurant on Lake Street to help those who lost everything in the fire.