SCITUATE (CBS) – A Marshfield firefighter was hurt Tuesday after ending up trapped inside a burning home.
Lt. Joseph Kalinowski suffered burns on the back of his neck, and had to be airlifted to Mass. General Hospital.
The fire broke out at a home on Central Ave. in the Humarock section of Scituate around 2:30 a.m. As the fire spread to two other houses, crews from Marshfield, including Lt. Kalinowski, were called in to assist at the scene.
“I looked out my doorway and directly across the street was the explosion of a propane tank,” neighbor and retired Boston Firefighter Joseph Kerrigan told WBZ-TV.
Kerrigan called 911, put on his old fire boots, and ran to try and help.
“The building was fully involved… fully involved,” he said.
Lt. Kalinowski was inside one of the neighboring buildings that had caught fire when, Marshfield Fire Chief Kevin Robinson says with no warning, part of the structure collapsed.
“We thought we were going to step in there and knock this fire down. Something went wrong,” he said. “It wasn’t something we were doing that was risky. It was part of our job and unfortunately firefighting is a dangerous job and we were not trying to do it dangerously.”
Lt. Kalinowski was trapped in the collapse, and three other firefighters were also hit with debris.
“There was a structural collapse striking all four firefighters knocking them down and Lt. Kalinowski was trapped under the debris and was rescued by his fellow firefighters,” Robinson said. “The good news is that it appears the only injury that we’re still concerned about is some burns to his back.”
Kalinowski’s jacket was back at headquarters being inspected. Chief Robinson hoped to find clues to how the Lieutenant, who was fully suited, got burned.
“Hopefully this is the only time in my career that I witness something like that,” Robinson said of the fire and collapse.
Robert Kerrigan saw the rescue as it happened.
“They brought him down a ladder,” he recalled. “No way are we going to let one guy go down if we can help it.”
Lt. Kalinowski was conscious and alert when he was pulled from the burning two-story building. He reportedly was waiting to see a surgeon at Mass. General.
Investigators are looking into an electrical issue as the cause of the fire.