Weather Updates

Firefighter rescued after floor collapse ‘lucky’ despite broken wrist

Updated: December 19, 2012 1:15PM

When “Mayday! Mayday!” came over the fire radio, everyone at the South Side house fire fell silent early Friday.

They wanted to keep an open line to a firefighter who disappeared when the floor he was walking on collapsed, sending him plunging down, said Fire Lt. Warshaw King, who was at the scene around 3:15 a.m. when the fire broke out at a brick three flat on the 300 block of East 73rd Street.

Two of his fellow firefighters found him below — suffering from a broken wrist and an injured shoulder.

They helped him to a window where two other firefighters lifted him to safety, King said.

“He was lucky,” King said. “The building was being rehabbed and there was lots of debris he could have landed on... a refrigerator, metal poles and chain link fencing, but he made a clean landing.”

One of the firefighters on the first floor who later described the incident to King said, “He was right behind me and I turned around and he was gone.”

“We definitely didn’t want to lose another one,” said King, a 27-year veteran who attended the funeral for Capt. Herbie Johnson last week after Johnson was killed fighting a fire.

King said he also plans to attend the funeral next week for firefighter Walter Patmon, who suffered a fatal heart attack at his Beverly firehouse Sunday.

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