Tragic news from Toldedo on Sunday. Two firefighters died battling a fire in a small apartment building. This from The Blade:
Two Toledo firefighters were killed on Sunday while battling an apartment complex fire in North Toledo — the city’s first firefighter fatalities from an active blaze since 1981. Stephen A. Machcinski, 42, and James Dickman, 31, died of injuries sustained while fighting a fire at 528 Magnolia St.
Private Machcinski had more than 15 years of service. Private Dickman was appointed to the department in September. His fire class of 51 recruits, sworn in on Sept. 3, has not yet had its graduation ceremony. Privates Machcinski and Dickman were among the firefighters who went into a six-unit apartment building after a blaze was reported at 2:47 p.m.
A despondent Fire Chief Luis Santiago, at a news conference Sunday night at the downtown headquarters, said that inside the burning building the two — who were both assigned to Engine 3 — suffered fatal injuries.
Firefighters went into the building to look for Privates Machcinski and Dickman, who were lost in the fire for several minutes, according to radio traffic.
“After what could be described as valiant efforts” the two were pulled from the still-burning building and other firefighters “began immediate … life-saving’’ attempts, Chief Santiago said. The two were then taken to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center where they were pronounced dead.
Mayor D. Michael Collins, at the news conference, said firefighters and police officers are different in that “they run into harm’s way instead of running away” from it.
After the news conference, Mayor Collins said Mr. Dickman’s parents, who live in Mansfield, Ohio, were escorted to Toledo by the Ohio Highway Patrol on Sunday.
Firefighters could be seen removing the second firefighter from the back part of the building still engulfed in smoke around 3:30 p.m. The firefighter, laid on a stretcher, was taken away by Lucas County EMS.
Over the next two hours, firefighters doused the smoking structure with water. Flames occasionally erupted from the roof.
Lucas County records show the two-story, mixed residential and commercial building has been owned by Ray and Mariam Abouarab since 1992, when the sale price was $36,000. Its current value is $101,500. The primary structure was built in 1877, according to county records.
Several fires have been reported at the 137-year-old North Toledo building several times over the past two decades — including in December, 1996, December, 1998, and September, 2002.
Six residential units are located adjacent to and behind the Huron Market carryout. The owner, who watched firefighters work to put out the fire, said seven people lived in the units and none were injured. He said he recently spent about $2,500 to fix the plumbing on the residential side after this month’s deep freeze caused problems.Another apartment building Mr. Abouarab owned caught fire twice within in a six-month period a decade ago. That five-unit complex at 809 North Huron St. — which Mr. Abouarab sold in 2007, according to county records — was on fire in August, 2002, and again in January, 2003.