The Toledo Fire Department issued a brief report after investigating how a January 13 fire in an apartment building was handled. The report was ordered following the discovery of the body of 35-year-old Delano Fleming after the 12-unit building was demolished. The fire was reported at 3:45 AM at 3125 Meadowbrook Court.
According to the report, the fire started on the second floor and was rapidly extending to the third floor and attic. Firefighters rescued four children and an adult from the second floor and conducted a "high risk search" of the third floor without water. An adult on the third floor was also brought out safely.
A first floor search had not been completed when the order to evacuate came at 4:07. Left unchecked were apartment 37 and apartment 38, where Fleming lived. Firefighters were given indication by neighbors that everyone was accounted for but went back into the building after new information was received. Details from the Toledo Blade:
While the building was still burning, crews were told that “someone may be in the apartment on the left,” which was apartment 37.
Two firefighters and the on-scene commander went into the building to search 37. One firefighter went into 38 — which had an open door, the report states.
“It was dark and he [the firefighter] felt some heat in the hall near the bedrooms. He was unable to see any furniture from his position due to the darkness,” the report, prepared by Deputy Chief Gary Martin, states. “He did not search the apartment because of the belief that everyone was accounted for and they were inside to check apartment 37.”
“At that time, we still didn’t have any information that anyone else was missing, other than to go back after they were pulled out to check 37,” said Lieutenant Hertzfeld.
Below is earlier news coverage of this story.
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