Arrow points to window where the Berkeley firefighter was at the time of the mayday transmission and as conditions inside began to worsen. (department photo)
On Friday, September 30, 2016 the Berkeley Fire Department sent a full assignment response to a reported structure fire at 2345 Channing Street in Berkeley.
Upon arrival of the first in Berkeley units, the fire quickly escalated to a second alarm and eventually extended to a Mutual Aid Structure response, effectively a third alarm. As the fire conditions grew worse, there was a reported partial roof collapse. At this point, IC elected to “abandon the building”.
At approximately 0:50 minutes into the fire incident, Incident Command issued the “abandon the building” broadcast over all three radio channels (B1, CMD 11 & TAC 31) due to rapidly changing fire conditions witnessed on Division 3 from the ICP located on the Alpha side.
During the evacuation of personnel and just prior to conducting a roll call, personnel on the exterior Delta side of the incident reported a firefighter positioned on a third floor windowsill on the Delta side (Seconnd floor as seen from the Dana Street side) ready for rescue as a “mayday” was simultaneously broadcasted from his portable radio. Suppression crews on the exterior Delta side immediately repositioned the hose streams to provide protection from flames above the firefighter while ground crews positioned an extension ladder to the bottom of the windowsill.
The firefighter successfully self-rescued down the ladder and taken immediately to the rehabilitation group already established near the ICP for medical evaluation and treatment by EMS personnel. He was uninjured.