GARY | One Gary firefighter was taken to a hospital burn center in Chicago on Tuesday and two were treated locally after being blown down the stairway of a burning, vacant two-story building.
Capt. Timothy Haines, a 21-year veteran of the Gary Fire Department, was taken by ambulance to the Loyola University Hospital burn center in Maywood, a fire official said. Haines, who is in stable condition, suffered second-degree burns to his left hand, a burn on the top of his head and a cut on his head, Division chief James Stanton said.
Firefighter Jonathan Kalina, a seven-year department veteran, was treated at a local hospital for a contusion on his left arm, Stanton said.
A 14-year department veteran, Engineer Robert Grady, also was treated locally for burns to his ears and neck, Stanton said. The fourth firefighter in the stairwell was not injured.
The firefighters were in the storefront building at 1545 Delaware St., which has apartments on the upper level, when they were blown down the stairs by a flashover, Stanton said.
The department received a 911 call reporting the fire at 1:30 a.m., Stanton said. It was extinguished within an hour.
Stanton said the point of origin and the cause of the single-alarm fire are under investigation. There was no damage estimate available, he said.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said she is praying for the recovery of the injured firefighters.
“This is just further evidence of the sacrifice that all firefighters and public workers make on our behalf,” Freeman-Wilson said. “It underscores the importance of: one, safety; two, making sure they have the adequate resources; and three, the debt of gratitude that we owe them.
“We have been working to get equipment,” Freeman-Wilson said. “We have been working to get apparatus. We have been doing this all in the face of the compromised budget. It’s a real juggling act.”