Friday, October 7, 2011
When Franklin fire Lt. Kyle Lovelace saw the smoke coming out of Smith's PH Bistro in Franklin on Monday morning, he quickly could see where not to send his firefighters.
"Reading signs, kept them from going upstairs," he said.
That turned out to be a wise move when an apparent backdraft rushed through the building, sending fire and smoke flying out of the building and into the firefighters inside the front door, Quincy Pearson and Brad Brown.
Firefighter Describes Escape From Backdraft
"(Pearson) felt the heat change on his body through the turnout gear. He felt the heat change and he saw the black smoke press down onto the floor, so he seen those warning signs of a blast and ordered us out," Lovelace said.
The warning came just in time.
Outside, Kyle Henry was filming the fire when the apparent backdraft happened. The video shows the rush of smoke and the upper-story window screens being thrown across the street.
The video also shows the firefighters crawling hurriedly out of the building.
"I seen (Brown's) helmet light coming through the smoke and I just kept hollering at him to let him know, 'This is the right direction, we're going right and keep coming. Everything's fine outside,'" Lovelace said.
The fire was Brown's first. He was in such a hurry to fight the fire that he initially left his helmet on the truck and had to go back to get it.
Lovelace said Pearson's experience likely saved both firefighters' lives.
"Nobody wants to leave the building once you get in there. It's a pride thing, and you don't want to be the one who evacuated the building," he said. "But (Pearson) quickly recognized that condition change and did what he needed to do."
Henry's video has since been shown across the nation, airing several times on CNN alone.
"You see the video, you see something different every time. It's all shocking again, like 'Wow!' Lovelace said. "You kind of sit back and think, 'Wow, this got lucky.'"
None of the firefighters were hurt battling the blaze, which has since been ruled arson.
"You want to help, and you want to mitigate the hazards you come across and that's what drives us to do (the job) ... Just the love of helping people," Lovelace said.