Firefighter injured in fall in OTR building under renovation

Firefighter injured in fall in OTR building

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A firefighter was injured in an early morning fire in Over-the-Rhine on Monday.

Emergency crews were called to the 200 block of 15th Street at 5:30 a.m.

When firefighters responded to the scene they were quickly able to put out the fire that was on the first floor.

One firefighter fell through an open hole into the basement. The firefighter fell approximately 10-feet to the floor below.

“They were advancing the hose line to put the fire out,” Union President Matt Alter explained, “The next thing he remembers was being in the basement. He fell headfirst.”

Fire officials say he broke several bones and was taken to UC Medical Center for treatment.

On Tuesday, Cincinnati Firefighters Union Local 48 posted a message from the injured firefighter on its Facebook page.

“I just wanted to let everyone know that I’m doing ok. Broke quite a few vertebrae and parts of vertebrae, 6 ribs, finger and a bunch of scrapes and stuff. This one actually scared me pretty bad. Lucky to be here and able to move. Thanks for the prayers,” the injured firefighter said.

Firefighter injured in OTR fire.
Firefighter injured in OTR fire. (Source: Chris Riva)

Cincinnati Fire District Chief Matthew Flagler says the building was being renovated, the entrances were not adequately secured, and there was no protective railing around the opening in the floor where the stairwell to the basement had been removed.

“There are a lot of buildings in our district under construction,” Flagler said. “It’s more and more common we run into those type of conditions.”

Flagler says the fire department called the Cincinnati building department and fire prevention were called to the scene to evaluate.

Cincinnati City Director of Communications, Casey Weldon, says all the necessary permits for planned renovations at the property have been applied for to date.

“The Department of Buildings and Inspections will continue to monitor the construction and will work with the Cincinnati Fire Department to evaluate the safety of the building,” Weldon said.

The fire department did not know what liability falls on the building owner of the construction company working on the renovations. The investigation will also hold the person responsible if the fire was intentionally started.

“My understanding is this fire was potentially a warming fire,” Alter said. “That would be a set fire. Our fire investigation unit is investigating to determine the cause and the origin itself.”

Social Media post from Cincinnati Fire Fighters Union
Social Media post from Cincinnati Fire Fighters Union (Source: Chris Riva)

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Copyright 2020 WXIX. All rights reserved.