Fighting a "high-rise" fire

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Although Monday night's fire at Centennial Bank Stadium wasn't that big, there was nothing small about what it took for the Jonesboro Fire Department to put it out.

Training kicked in Monday night for the Jonesboro Fire Department as they were called out fight a high-rise fire at Arkansas State University. It's a situation that calls for different skills and supplies.

Eric Simmons with the Jonesboro Fire Department said high-rise buildings in Jonesboro are more common than some might think, as "high-rise" simply defines a building three stories or higher.

"We have different types of hotels, we have grain bins out at Riceland, things at ASU, dormitories," Simmons explained.

But when it comes to fighting a fire in a high rise building, the challenges change.

"The main challenge I guess is just getting water to the floor you need it to be," Simmons said.

In most high-rise buildings, safety codes require stand pipes. You've likely seen them in stairwells of multi-story buildings. They allow a fire truck to connect to the outside and pump water up to the specific floor.

"Then we just hook our hose here and go to wherever the fire is," Simmons said.

In those situations, firefighters use "high-rise packs" that they carry up flights of stairs. Generally, they are 50-100 foot hoses to attach to those stand pipes. Simmons explained that this keeps the firefighters from running a hose through the stairwell of the building.

Thatwasn'tt the case Monday night though. No stand pipe at the press box meant utilizing JFD's ladder truck to put out the blaze.

"We'll just raise it up and on the front of that, we have a connection that we can hook hose into, come in through a window or a door or whatever may be up there that we can bring the hose in," Simmons said.

Simmons told Region 8 News that handling these types of fires comes down to training.

"They practice tying into these, they practice pumping into these," Simmons said. "The guys do a lot of company training to just try to hone their skills."

Simmons said high-rise fires don't happen very often in Jonesboro but it's best to have the training and be prepared in case one does happen, like it did Monday night.

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