The fire at the downtown RISE Doro apartment building isn’t completely extinguished but Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department Capt. Eric Prosswimmer said crews are now down to one ladder, one engine and one fire chief.
When the fire first broke out late Sunday night, over 100 firefighters rushed to the luxury apartments days away from opening on East Adams Street to battle the massive blaze.
Prosswimmer walked News4JAX through the heroic efforts firefighters showed for over 24 hours.
He said crews began fighting the fire inside the building before they were ordered to leave for safety reasons.
“Within probably 11 minutes of pulling everybody out, or the last person coming out. We had three ladder pipes, right on that corner, shooting water down on this fire,” he said.
Using several resources and equipment, crews attempted to close in on the first but that didn’t work.
“It was to the point where it really didn’t matter. There’s nothing we could have done would have stopped it. To stop it on that floor is a victory,” Prosswimmer said.
He said there were scenarios in mind they wanted it avoid.
“The 7th floor, that’s what you’re looking at burnt down. We stopped it from going further down. We were worried that as it got to a certain stage it was going to drop down to the next floor and then we will have to chase it around that next floor and then go that way. That was our worst case scenario which meant we could have been each day fighting a different floor,” Prosswimmer said.
JFRD experienced a shift change while they were tackling the fire as well, but crews worked together to ensure everyone was taken care of.
“We look out for each other. The earliest shift change that I saw take place here was at 6:45 a.m. We’re not required to be at work until 8 a.m.,” Prosswimmer said. “They get there early enough to make their exchange, but they drive down here in their personal truck with all their gas. They go into the scene, find the crew, do a swap with them and say, ‘Take my truck back to the station and leave the keys there, so you can go home.’”
Roads and businesses in the “collapse zone” near the building will remain closed.
The fire left the building unsafe, and officials said there’s a possibility it will have to be demolished.