“I had FIRE ALL OVER ME……my gear saved my life.. …and the lives of my crew….!!! On October 19, 2005 at 03:30 we responded to a reported building fire on Oakwood Street. A full Alarm assignment was sent consisting of three engine companies one ladder company a squad and a Battalion Chief. The 1st arriving engine reported a 2 story old apartment building with smoke showing in Divisions A and D. Engine 3, consisting and my two firefighters, Larry, Josh and myself (Ricky). We were given the assignment to search the 2nd floor. My crew and I gathered our equipment, a set of irons, a can and a TIC, and we proceeded to the 2nd floor. As I entered through the front door I saw that smoke conditions were light and there were no flames showing from the fire room located on the 1st floor. We made our way to the 2nd floor via the interior stairs. The smoke conditions were light to moderate and the heat was very low. We crawled about 50 feet down the hallway (the building is 100 feet long) we met up with Engine 1 who had just rescue a 7 year old child from the end apartment on the 2nd floor and were now stretching a 1 line to the 2nd floor. I informed the firefighter in charge of Engine 1 that he needed to reposition his line on the 1st floor where the fire apartment was. I was unaware that this line was the initial attack line that had been delayed in being deployed because of the rescue. We continued to search apartment units on the 2nd floor. We had forced the door to the 1st apartment we came to. After searching we moved on to the 2nd unit, we began to force the door to it when I noticed my ears began to get really hot through my hood and earflaps. The heat was rising at an incredibly fast rate. I told my crew to drop all their tools and run fast back to the stairs. After I told my crew to evacuate, I wanted to ensure they were in front of me. We made our way back to the stairs and began to exit. 1 FF slipped and fell down the stairs, while the other firefighter made it down okay. As I watched the exit from the top of the stairs I really noticed my ears tingling. I covered my left ear with my gloved hand and as I did I noticed I was surrounded by fire. I had fire all over me. I bailed down the steps as fast as I could and got out. Once out I began looking for my crew. My heart sank when at first I did not see my Firefighter. I spotted him and my 2nd firefighter standing near the front porch of the fire building. 1 was okay reporting only pain in his ankle from the fall. My 2nd firefighter had received 1st degree burns on the tops of his ears through his hood and earflaps. I received 2nd degree burns to my left ear, neck and face. I was transported to the E.R. My helmet was burned, my turnout coat was destroyed, my communication equipment on my SCBA face piece was melted, and my hood sand radio also received damage. My emergency escape rope bag had burned off my body and was found later in the hallway. Wear your gear….you cannot out run a flashover! My gear saved my life and the lives of my crew.