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Firefighter saves fellow firefighter when roof caves in

Reported by: Denise Rosch
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Updated: 4/09 6:10 pm

NORTH LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Two North Las Vegas firefighters are back on the job one day after falling through the roof of a burning home.

The City of North Las Vegas Fire Department responded to 3005 St. George Street Thursday afternoon for a reported house fire. The call came in at 2:58 p.m.

Mike Harris and Joe'l Adams are both veterans with the North Las Vegas Fire Department and have worked together about six years.

They were ventilating the fire at the four-plex near Civic Center and Cheyenne when the roof gave way. The men characterized what happened as "a bad day."

That bad day that ended with a very good outcome, and both men are fine.

When they arrived, fire crews found a single story, multi-family dwelling with smoke visible around the roof. Once crews gained entry into the house they reported heavy smoke and flames in the attic.

Harris and Adams were part of the outside crew who made their way to the roof and attempted to cut a hole in order to search for the fire and release some of the heat and smoke.

Within seconds, the smoke turned into a raging fire coming through roof. Adams fell into the roof with flames surrounding him.

Harris also partially fell through the roof; once he regained his balance, he immediately reached into the roof through the flames to grab his partner by his air pack, and with one hand pulled him from the flames.

"He's like get out there, get out of there," Adams said. "I looked up and said: 'grab me, grab me.' He thought I was on fire and I didn't feel any type of heat. He grabs my loop and yanked me out."

Once the danger was identified, fellow firefighters called for a firefighter MAYDAY, which is only done when a firefighter is in serious danger of injury or death.

"I've been working with this guy a long time; he would've done the same thing for me," Harris said. "We're not going to leave a brother behind."

The rescued firefighter’s protective firefighting clothing was partially on fire, but it protected Adams from serious injury. Both firefighters were transported to University Medical Center Trauma Center for evaluation. They have no serious injuries.

The holes in the roof of the building where the firefighters fell through are clearly visible from the street.

The occupants of the home were able to evacuate and did not suffer any injuries. A total of eight confirmed residents have been displaced due to the fire.

Red Cross assisted the occupants with their housing and personal needs. The building sustained severe smoke and flame damage and is considered a complete loss; the estimated cost of damage and cause are undetermined at this time.

The North Las Vegas and City of Las Vegas Fire Departments were able to contain the fire to the original four-plex, saving the immediately adjacent structures from any damage. The main fire was extinguished within 17 minutes of the first firefighter’s arrival.

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