AAR: Joppa Mill Mayday

This page is the designated repository for information and reports related to the "Mayday" incident at 2560 Joppa Mill Road, on May 02, 2020. Documents and related reports will be posted here for access and review as they have been cleared by the investigation panel and authorized for release by BCoFR command staff.

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UPDATE

This is an update on the incident that occurred at 2560 Joppa Mill Road on May 02, 2020. All firefighters injured during this incident have been released from the hospital and are at home continuing their recovery. All four are expected to make full recoveries and return to active duty. There is no set date for their return, as the severity of their injuries varied but they will all be allowed to return, once they have been cleared by their physicians and by their chain of command. The investigation into the cause of the fire and the circumstances surrounding the "Mayday" incident is ongoing. In order to maintain an objective view and ensure all details are investigated impartially, the Bedford County Fire Marshal's Office has requested assistance from the Lynchburg Fire Marshal's Office. The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office will also continue to provide assistance, as needed. The names of the injured firefighters will not be released at this time, due to the nature of the ongoing investigation. The initial assessment by Lynchburg’s Fire Marshall, Thomas Goode, is the fire was accidental in nature and caused by an overloaded circuit. This is based on observations during the walk through of the property and from statements taken from personnel at the scene. The Bedford County Department of Fire & Rescue would like to thank our partner agencies and the public for their generous display of support and camaraderie during our time of need. We were fortunate that this incident did not result in the worst case. There will be many lessons learned, that we will share with the fire/rescue community, in order to help prevent future tragedies. It is understood that our profession is inherently dangerous, but we can work together to learn from these incidents and help ensure we all go home. Additional details will be released as the investigation is completed. Questions can be directed to the Bedford County Fire Marshal’s Office at 540-587-0700.

PRESS RELEASE

The Bedford County & Town Joint E911 Center alerted area departments at 1755 hours, on May 02, 2020, to a possible structure fire at 2560 Joppa Mill Road in Bedford. Crews from the Bedford Fire Department (Company 1), Moneta Fire Department (Company 8), StewartsvilleChamblissburg Fire Department (Company 13), and Bedford County Department of Fire & Rescue (Medic 14-1 & Medic 14-6) responded. Bedford County Sheriff’s Office deputies reported fire showing from multiple sides of the house and multiple levels. Crews began their fire attack in both the basement and on the first floor. During the initial attack, the crew on the first floor reported high heat and limited visibility and decided to back up in order to reposition. The crew encountered some difficulties due to the lack of visibility. A “Mayday” was declared over the radio and emergency alarms were activated. The Incident Commander cleared all radio traffic and immediately dispatched a Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) to locate the firefighters needing assistance. The RIT crew located one unresponsive firefighter and immediately removed her from the house. Two other firefighters were also experiencing an emergency and assisted from the house. Additional medic units were dispatched to the scene and Lifeguard 12 was requested to air lift one firefighter due to the nature of the injuries and initial triage. Additional fire crews were also dispatched to assist with putting out the fire. Crews on scene continued to work to extinguish the fire throughout the “Mayday” situation. The Bedford County Fire Marshal (County 16), a Deputy Fire Marshal (1604), and members of the Bedford County Fire & Rescue Command Staff (County 1, County 3, County 4, and County 10) were also added to the incident. One firefighter was flown to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital, a level 1 trauma center, in Wake Forest, NC. The other two were transported by ground to Roanoke Memorial Hospital, in Roanoke, VA, and to Bedford Memorial Hospital, in Bedford, VA, with non life-threatening injuries. One firefighter was treated and released the same day and the other is expected to be released Sunday afternoon. The firefighter flown to Wake Forest is expected to be released sometime Sunday evening. Another firefighter was also transported to the hospital for non life threatning injuries unrelated to the “Mayday” incident. That firefighter was treated and released the same day. The cause of the fire and the circumstances surrounding the “Mayday” incident are being investigated by the Bedford County Fire Marshal’s Office. The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office is assisting with the investigation. Additional details will be released as the investigation is completed. Questions can be directed to the Bedford County Fire Marshal’s Office at 540-587- 0700.