Firefighters use training to contain GR apartment fire

Firefighters on scene of apartment fire in Grand Rapids. (March 12, 2015)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A fire at a Grand Rapids apartment complex was knocked down quickly and no one was injured thanks to quick action from trained firefighters.

The fire started around 8:30 a.m. Thursday on the sixth floor of Viewpointe Apartments, located at 2745 Birchcrest Drive near 28th Street and Breton Road SE. Firefighters were able to contain the fire to one apartment and there was a minimal damage to the building as a result.

This apartment complex is well-known to Grand Rapids firefighters who use the high-rise building for fire training. In fact, the fire broke out just hours before their last class was supposed to begin at the building.

Grand Rapids Fire Department Battalion Chief Nancy Boss said their training paid off Thursday.

“It made a huge difference. We had minimal companies here to start with. They made an aggressive, interior attack. Got to the fire floor and put the fire out before most of these companies even arrived,” said Boss.

High-rise fires can be tricky for firefighters who have to climb the stairs to get to what’s burning, not to mention the fires burn much hotter.

“They’re concrete boxes…in essence…which makes it nice because the fire is contained to the apartment of origin. It has a lot of trouble getting out of that apartment of origin. But once it does, it can jump floors on you. So you really do have to make a good initial attack,” Boss told 24 Hour News 8.

The smoke from the fire creates the biggest dangers to residents. However, crews were able to use their training to stop the fire before smoke became a bigger issue, allowing firefighters to limit the people who needed to be evacuated.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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