CONCORD (CBS) – Three Concord firefighters escaped a fire inside their own station early Wednesday morning.
The firefighters were sleeping on the second floor of the West Concord station when they were woken up by smoke detectors and a haze of smoke around 12:45 a.m.
They called the main station for help and the chief said all three got out “just in time.”
“You’re being woken up out of a sound sleep and the fire is not down the street,” Concord Fire Chief Mark Cotreau said. “The fire is at your place.”
The firefighters escaped and called for help. They could not fight the fire on their own because flames blocked them from accessing their equipment.
“We’re very fortunate they were able to exit the rear door of the building, but they were not able to get into the apparatus floor or to access any of their gear,” Cotreau said.
Cotreau said the fire started on the first floor near one of the trucks, but the cause is not yet known and may take several days to determine.
“The investigation is focused on the center bay, where most of the fire damage is,” he said.
One engine was heavily damaged. Another engine and an ambulance both have smoke and heat damage.
According to the chief, the gear damaged runs about $3,000 a set and the engines cost nearly $500,000 apiece.
It’s not just the money, though. Firefighters say the helmets that were burned were special to them.
“We go through a lot of calls with our helmet. Typically when you retire, your helmet is awarded to you. It becomes sentimental to a lot of us.”
“I don’t think anything is a total loss,” Cotreau said.
Engine Four, which sustained the most damage, was towed out and inspected Wednesday morning.
While crews spent the day salvaging gear and cleaning trucks caked with soot, the overnight shift moved into a warehouse at the Concord Municipal Light Plant.
“This is home for now,” said Lt. Billy Nelson. “We have pretty much everything we need; we’re just doing things a little differently.”