Lake Township Fire Chief Todd Walters Tuesday commended a township firefighter for his quick reaction that saved a fellow firefighter from serious injury – or worse.
About 55 firefighters from five departments responded to an explosion and fire March 16 at Tri-State Expedited Service, Inc., Cummings Road.
Chief Walters said Matt Winkle, a fireman with the Lake Township department, and Randy Roslin, a Northwood firefighter, were checking for hot spots in the building’s attic area after the fire had been subdued when Roslin began falling through the attic floor.
Winkle, working about 15 feet away, was able to crawl over and grab the straps of Roslin’s gear, as Roslin was holding onto a ceiling rafter.
Chief Walters estimates Roslin was about 25 feet above ground level.
A Rapid Intervention Team quickly set a ladder straight up under Roslin and a team member climbed up to reach him.
Chief Walters said the ladder by itself wasn’t long enough to reach the dangling Roslin. He said Roslin, a former member of the Lake Township department, didn’t sustain any serious injuries.
He estimated the damage at about $250,000 to the building and contents.
The emergency call for assistance came in around 4:50 p.m., the chief said, adding the township’s automatic response agreement with the Allen-Clay Joint Fire District, which was adopted in November 2010, proved to be worthwhile.
Under the agreement, the Lake and Allen-Clay departments automatically receive a call for assistance from each other to respond to structure fires in their jurisdictions. The departments provide the intervention teams and other equipment to each other during the fire runs. Typically, the intervention teams set up outside of the structures on fire to assist endangered firefighters inside.
In addition to the Allen-Clay and Northwood departments, fire departments from Troy and Perrysburg townships assisted and the City of Perrysburg department provided back-up, chief Walters said.
He said the fire apparently started when a Tri-State employee was incorrectly fueling a boat in the building.
The man was found outside the building when emergency responders arrived, according to the chief, who said the man had burns on his face and arms.
Township paramedics transported the man to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center.
Paramedics are stationed at the township administration building at the corner of Cummings Road and State Route 795 – a short distance from the burning building.
Mark Hummer, the township police chief, was also in the building and responded to the scene where he volunteered to drive the ambulance to the hospital while paramedics tended to the burn victim.
“First time I drove an ambulance in 25 years,” Hummer, a former emergency medical technician with Perrysburg Township, joked during the meeting of the township trustees.
Chief Walters said the ambulance was already leaving the Tri-State property when he and fire crews were arriving.