A Miami Firefighter escaped injury last week while fighting a blaze within an abandoned structure on L Street SE.
According to Fire Chief Kevin Trease, firefighters were extinguishing a blaze in the upper level of the residential structure when a stairway collapsed.
“Firefighter Eric Clifford was attempting to ascend the stairs when it gave way and fell into the basement,” Trease said.
Trease said Clifford dangled from a charged water hose until he was pulled to safety by two other firefighters.
“He wasn’t injured,” Trease said of his crewmember. “But it could have been a terrible accident.”
The home has been the subject of an ongoing dispute between the homeowner and city officials.
Detectives were called to investigate the scene.
According to the city’s engineering department, the home was one of many in the area that was damaged during the 2007 flood. Authorities say there were 36 inches of water inside the home.
The house had been vacant since that time, but the engineering department had issued the homeowner a rebuild permit.
City officials say the homeowner insisted that the home should be red-tagged for demolition. However, the home did not meet the criteria.
“The homeowner was scheduled to meet with city officials on Thursday for a demolition hearing,” Trease said. “But she didn’t show up.”
The house went up in flames shortly before 3 a.m. the next day. Authorities are calling the blaze “suspicious.”
“There are no utilities going to the home and no apparent natural cause of fire,” Trease said.