A Detroit firefighter was knocked unconscious this morning after he jumped from a 40-foot-high aerial ladder bucket as part of the Fisher Body plant collapsed, authorities say.
Arson investigators are on the scene as the fire continues to burn on the second floor of the large, vacant industrial building at Harper and Hastings, northwest of the I-94 and I-75 intersection.
“He initially was knocked unconscious,” said second deputy Detroit fire commissioner Craig Dougherty. “After a bit, he came to and he knew who he was, and he knew where he was.”
The firefighter, who has about 10 years of experience, was in the bucket with another firefighter, spraying flames into the second floor on the southeast side of the plant, Dougherty said. The second firefighter remained in the bucket and was uninjured, he said.
Mike Malewski, who works across the street, said he was indoors when he heard the “big boom” outside.
“They were spraying into those windows just below it,” he said, adding that after the boom, “I came out and everybody was scrambling.”
The ambulance transported the injured firefighter from the scene at about 8:15 a.m.
The firefighting effort paused, and firefighters stood quietly in the street as flames and smoke could be seen inside the abandoned building.
“Structural collapse is one of the biggest fears,” Dougherty said. “It hurts a lot of firefighters, kills a lot of firefighters every year.”
Shortly after 9 a.m., a hose placed on the ground was spraying the building from about 15 yards away.