Thorsby firefighter injured in house fire

Published 11:02 pm Monday, April 13, 2009

A Thorsby firefighter was injured during an early morning fire Saturday when he and a fellow firefighter were leaving a burning home.

Thorsby’s Lt. Adam Whatley and fellow firefighter Payton Paden, entered a Julian Circle home at 1:30 a.m. Saturday to subdue a fire that apparently had begun in the basement.

Upon entering the house, the two sprayed water on what they thought was the blaze and worked their way down a hallway. After spraying water, the two stopped and then used a thermal imaging device to help look through the haze and smoke.

“When they looked through the device, the saw the fire flash over from the basement,” Thorsby Fire Chief Lee Gunn said. “Once they saw the temperature spike, the two dropped the hose and got out.”

It is when the fire flashed up from a nearby stairwell that Whatley sustained second degree burns on part of his back, his side and wrists.

Gunn said Whatley was transported by ambulance to Shelby Baptist where he was treated in the emergency room and released.

“If it had not been for that thermal imaging device, I don’t know what would have happened,” Gunn said. “But, because they were able to see the temperature of the fire spiking from the basement and get out, the injuries were limited.”

Gunn speculated the temperature of the area the firefighters were working was between 200-300 degrees, but when the fire flashed from the basement, firefighters saw temperatures close to 1,000 degrees.

He also said Whatley’s turnout gear, or firefighting clothing, did show signs of heat and that the burns could have been caused from high temperature steam from spraying the hot fire or exposure through gaps in the gear.

Gunn said the house was a complete loss and that no other injuries were sustained.