Last Sunday night, I had just finished a late supper and was preparing to edit up some images from a recent shoot, when I heard Bourbon Fire Department toned out for a commercial structure fire on Main Street in the downtown area. I quickly looked up the address on google earth maps and it showed the address dispatched at the east end of the street. I grabbed my camera and flash and headed for the truck with Missy, as the dispatcher had also stated there was heavy smoke showing, reported by police on scene. Enroute, I called our local newspaper editor Jim, and told him what I had heard…he told me he would also be there in a little while. I arrived in Bourbon and drove to the fire station, wanting to park near it but out of the way of anticipated heavy traffic on Main Street. As I had entered the city limits on the South Service Road, I had smelled wood smoke and there was a heavy haze hanging in the area near the intersection of Hwy J, as well. I found some open parking area across from the fire station and parked, observing fire trucks near the Bourbon Police Department, in the middle of Main Street, rather than at the east end of it. I also noticed a dark smoke hanging in the area of the street as well…still too far away to tell which building was involved.
I walked up to Main Street and then found Assistant Chief Jared Boast setting up Command Post in their Rescue Truck across the street from the building housing Uncle Ernie`s Bar and Grill….a local eatery that was well known and well liked in the area…a place I had only heard about but had never tried out myself. I called Jim and updated him on the location and where he could easily find parking. He pulled up a few minutes later. Here is how the building looked on my arrival…..
…heavy smoke rolling out the front door and a second story window on the west side, as firefighters were setting up their trucks and laying hoselines to prepare for water supply…
….Sullivan`s Ladder Truck 852 showed up soon after and Command decided to reposition it from the front of the building to the east side in the parking lot…
…and Sullivan`s crew joined up with Bourbon`s interior attack crew at the front door…..
…a few minutes later, as Nolan was setting up Ladder 852, Bourbon`s attack crew came out of the building and Sullivan`s crew entered the building…Bourbon`s crew had found fire in the back of the building in the kitchen area, yet it appeared fire had extended into the second floor….
…Sullivan crews entered the building checking for additional fire as there was more smoke coming from other areas of the building by now…a ground ladder was set up at the front of the building to a second floor window and Cuba`s Ladder Truck was positioned at the front of the building on the northwest corner….
…very similar in design to Sullivan`s Ladder Truck, built by the same manufacturer, just a different color, Sullivan`s red and Cuba`s decked out in their school colors and mascot….
…by this time, the smoke was beginning to get thicker and heavier, still dark brown in color….
…I walked back down to the east end to find the smoke getting thick in front of the building as well as the east side, and banking down, as firefighters brought more ground ladders to raise to the windows in front on the second floor….
…enabling firefighters to open the second floor windows in an attempt to locate the fire…as heavy smoke poured out of the second floor window on the right, another ladder was raised and crews accessed the window on the left side as well….
…the smoke continued to thicken up as firefighters continued to seek out the fire believed to be located inside the building….
…and within a few minutes more, heavy fire broke out through the roof of the building above the firefighters in the windows and quickly spread across the entire roof from front to back….
…firefighters scrambled to re-position hoselines and ladders to more effectively attack the fire from a defensive position at this point….
…I took one more photo at the west end of the block and then walked back to the east end to see what efforts were being made to contain the surging fire….
…and found several firefighters manning a large diameter hoseline in the parking lot behind Sullivan Ladder 852….and another line manned at the rear of the building to protect the storage building farther back….
…about this time, Cuba`s Ladder Truck pipe came into play on the northwest corner of the building and began pouring water on to the roof….
…I walked around to the rear of the building and found firefighters digging a trench under the BNSF railroad tracks and laying a large diameter hoseline in the trench, going to the hydrant at the bottom of the hill, which was a known eight inch water line. I walked around to the parking lot between the Police Department Building and fire building, to find Sullivan`s Ladder Pipe in play as well, and firefighters attempting to knock down heavy fire at the very back of the Ernie`s building…..
…Dave Konys can be seen climbing up the ladder and operating at the top in the next few images….
Union`s Ladder Truck showed up soon after and positioned behind the blue storage building behind the fire building, adding a third ladder pipe to the fire attack….
…and pretty soon, all three Ladder Trucks were pouring water on to the increasing blaze on the roof of the building….
…I cannot remember a fire this size and magnitude in the Bourbon Fire District that required so many Ladder Trucks to bring under control…..
…in the next image, you see Konys descending the ladder…he told me a few minutes later on the ground, that while up there, he was unable to see a thing down below except for the heavy smoke swirling around….
….I then walked to the other side of the building, still in the back…and let me say walking past Union`s Ladder Truck was an adventure on its own…those strobes are soooo bright you cant see anything in just a few minutes….on the west side of the building, firefighters had taken advantage of the lower roofline of the pantry building and were on it in force, attacking the fire through the second floor windows of the Ernies building….as was Cuba`s Ladder Truck Pipe in support…..
…I then walked back to the front of the building….
…many times the firefighters were able to knock down the fire, and as soon as they did, the water pressure would drop dramatically, requiring Fire Command to request a Tanker Task Force…and as soon as I returned to the front of the building, I noticed several tankers from many departments doing just that…shuttling water from a hydrant outside of Bourbon to drop tanks located at both ends of Main Street….
Bourbon`s new Police Chief, Rick Wise, was on scene by now, as I noticed him walking around the fire trucks providing scene security…..
…I then walked around to the southwest corner of the scene, the back of the building where firefighters were again attacking the fire from the pantry building roof….
…soon after this the fire was knocked down once again and this time it looked as if the firefighters had the upper hand with adequate water supplies on hand, thanks to the tanker shuttle. Kudos to the many firefighters who at the scene and behind the scenes at the water hydrants who were helping with water supply.