TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Two firefighters battling a blaze at an apartment complex near downtown Toledo were killed on Sunday, city officials said.
Firefighters Stephen Machcinski, 42, and James Dickman, 31, were killed while fighting the fire in the six-unit building, Toledo Fire Department Chief Luis Santiago said at a news conference Sunday night.
He said that Machcinski was a 16-year veteran, while Dickman had been on the job for only six months. Both worked together at the same firehouse in the city.
Santiago said that the fire department will fully investigate the blaze, which was reported around 3:30 p.m.
Dr. Maneesha Pandey, a deputy coroner for Lucas County, told the Toledo Blade that autopsies are scheduled for Monday.
Ray Abouarab, the building’s owner, told the Blade that there were seven tenants in six apartments in the building on Magnolia Street near the Huron Market and all are believed to be OK. One tenant told him that her pit bull puppy wasn’t able to escape the fire.
The firefighters were attacking the blaze when they became disoriented, a battalion chief told WTOL-TV.
Santiago said that after the two firefighters suffered injuries inside of the building, fellow firefighters made “valiant efforts” to remove them and begin life-saving measures.
The firefighters were placed on stretchers and taken to Mercy St .Vincent Medical Center, where a large crowd of Toledo Fire Department personnel gathered.
“Everyone is just numb right now,” Dan Desmond, vice president of Toledo Firefighters Local 92, told the Toledo Blade.
Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins asked that flags be flown at half-staff throughout the city on Monday.
“Please keep these families, the extended families of police officers and firefighters, the administration and the leadership in your prayers,” Collins said at a news conference. “The next few days are going to be really challenging.”
Amanda Aldrich, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross of Northwest Ohio, said that five adults from four apartment units and an adult and two children from a house next door were placed in shelters overnight.