Fire Engineering Training Community

Where firefighters come to talk training

February 19, 2010
Two firefighters will remain hospitalized while two others will be going home later Thursday after they were injured by a backdraft while battling a blaze in a South Side Back of the Yards neighborhood home.

Two firefighters were taken to University of Chicago Hospital and two others were taken to Holy Cross Hospital after suffering injuries about 2:45 p.m. fighting a fire at 4855 S. Paulina St., according to Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford.

As of 5:30 p.m., Langford said the two firefighters at U of C would remain hospitalized for at least another day and possibly longer, one with burns and possible airway injuries and the other with airway injuries.

Both were listed in good condition, he said. "They're OK. There's nothing life-threatening."

The two firefighters at Holy Cross were to be released from the hospital later Thursday, he said.

The fire started in one room of a 1-1/2 story coach house, Langford said. One of the firefighters was on a ladder and the other three were going up the stairs to enter the front of the building when the backdraft occurred, he said.

"The fire basically comes to the oxygen when you open the door," he said. "It kind of explodes in a cloud of smoke, flame and debris with some pressure behind it."

A firefighter in the basement had extinguished the main blaze, Langford said, and it looked like the fire was out. A backdraft occurs, he said, when a small amount of fire remains but is dying out from lack of oxygen.

"The fire can go out from being starved for oxygen, but like a living thing, it seeks out oxygen. When they open the door to make entry, the fire and pressure build up and it rushes out at them." He called it a "classic backdraft."

He said by most measures the Paulina blaze was not considered large, but it goes to show "there's no such thing as a small fire."

The fire was fully extinguished quickly but caused extensive damage to the house, Langford said. The cause and origin were not immediately known.

  • Currently 0/5 stars.

Views: 328


You need to be a member of Fire Engineering Training Community to add comments!

Join Fire Engineering Training Community

Policy Page


Our contributors' posts are not vetted by the Fire Engineering technical board, and reflect the views and opinions of the individual authors. Anyone is welcome to participate.

For vetted content, please go to

Fire Engineering Editor in Chief Bobby Halton
We are excited to have you participate in our discussions and interactive forums. Before you begin posting, please take a moment to read our policy page. -- Bobby Halton

Be Alert for Spam
We actively monitor the community for spam, however some does slip through. Please use common sense and caution when clicking links. If you suspect you've been hit by spam, e-mail

FE Podcasts

Check out the most recent episode and schedule of

© 2021   Created by fireeng.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service