Firefighter Burned Fighting Commercial Furnace Fire

February 23- A Seattle Firefighter will be moved to the burn unit overnight at Harborview Medical Center after suffering 1st and 2nd degree burns while fighting a furnace fire at a commercial building on Harbor Island.

Just minutes after 9 a.m., firefighters were called to a metal business located in the 3400 block of 13th Avenue SW for reports of an explosion of a furnace used to melt metal. When firefighters arrived they found a commercial furnace the size of an SUV on fire. Workers reported a catastrophic failure of the furnace causing it to smoke, shoot flames and spew molten metal. Those flames started at least one spot fire more than 20 feet away from the furnace.

The firefighter manning a hose line in the smoky building stepped into a two-foot deep slag pit that is designed to catch molten metal.  The unmarked and unsecured pit was full of boiling water. The boiling water made its way into the firefighter’s boots causing 1st and 2nd degree burns to his lower legs. A Mayday was called and fellow firefighters quickly rescued the injured co-worker.

Medics treated and transported the injured firefighters to Harborview Medical Center. The firefighter who is in his 30’s is in satisfactory condition. He was been employed with the Department since 2006 and works at Harbor Island Fire Station 36.

A worker at the plant also suffered several spot burns on his torso, face and head. AMR transported the man in his 30’s to Harborview Medical Center in stable condition.

It took about a half-an-hour to control the fire and about 50 minutes to completely extinguish the flames.

Fire investigators ruled the fire was accidental, caused by a failure in the induction furnace. The damage estimate is $85,000. The building was turned back over to its owner.