Asheville blaze kills one firefighter, injures 10
The Foundation is currently following the events happening around the Asheville Fire Department’s recent events.
From the City of Asheville
A 13-year veteran of the Asheville Fire Department was fatally injured today while responding to a four-alarm fire in an office building.
At about 12:30 p.m., fire crews responded to a call at 445 Biltmore Ave., which houses medical offices near the Mission Hospital campus.
Capt. Jeff Bowen, 37, went into cardiac arrest after succumbing to intense smoke and heat. Bowen has been with the department since 1998. He lived with his wife Stacy in Alexander. They have three children.
Seven other firefighters were transported to Mission for treatment of heat exposure and other injuries. One other firefighter, Jay Bettencourt, was transported to a burn center in August, Ga., for treatment. He was in stable condition at the time of the transport.
Fire Chief Scott Burnette spoke about the pain of losing Capt. Bowen.
“We are devastated by the loss of our brother Jeff,” he said. “He dedicated himself to protecting the people of Asheville, and this is a terrible tragedy for our city, for all of us in the Asheville Fire Department, and most importantly, for his wife Stacy. We are praying for her, and offer our deepest condolences to all who knew and loved him as we did.”
“Jeff was a hero whose sacrifice will be forever honored.”
Mayor Terry Bellamy has ordered that flags at all city buildings be flown at half-staff until further notice.
“I am deeply saddened by the death of Capt. Bowen, who today made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” she said. “This is a tragic reminder of the daily risks the heroic men and women of the fire department face each day, for our safety.
“My fellow council members and I send our thoughts and prayers to his loved ones and to his colleagues in the Asheville Fire Department, who are mourning this terrible loss.”
The building where the fire occurred is owned by Biltmore Condominium Associates. It broke out on the top floors, and more than 200 people were evacuated.
No civilian injuries were reported, and Mission Hospital was not impacted.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The city has not experienced a four-alarm fire in at least the last 30 years. Some 60 Asheville firefighters ultimately responded to the call. They were assisted by fire crews from departments in Buncombe County, as well as Asheville police.
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ASHEVILLE – One Asheville firefighter has died after a fire in a medical building near Mission Hospital. Eight other firefighters were taken to the hospital, many suffering from heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation.
Fire crews were called to the building at 445 Biltmore Avenue just after noon, Thursday. Flames could be seen shooting from windows on the fifth floor of the building, which houses private medical practices and clinics. Dozens of employees, patients, and visitors were evacuated.
Around 13:30 hours, a “Mayday” call went out over fire radio and there were reports of “firefighters down”. A few minutes later, commanders ordered all crews out of the building so they could account for everyone. Firefighters then attacked the fire from the exterior, shooting water into the windows. The fire was extinguished just before 15:00 hours.
The identity of the firefighter who died has not been released. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Asheville Fire Department’s Capt. Jeffrey Bowen, a 13-year veteran of the department, died today, July 28, after battling a blaze at 445 Biltmore Ave. Another firefighter, Jay Bettencourt, was taken to Augusta, Ga., for treatment. According to information released at a 5 p.m. press conference, the building was older and not required to have a sprinkler system.
The exact age of the building, and the exact circumstances behind the fire have not yet been released. Bettencourt and Bowen were working as a team, searching for people in the building, when Bowen called out “mayday” over the radio. Six other firefighters were also injured, and treated at Mission Hospital. Captain Bowen was 37 years old and leaves behind a wife and three children.
The last time an Asheville firefighter died in the line of duty was 1982.
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