YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Two Youngstown firefighters are recovering after being injured in two different house fires only a day apart.
One of those fires started around 7 p.m. Saturday on Manhatten Avenue. Lt. Robert Class was hurt fighting the fire.
“He fell through a floor, the first floor, caught himself before he went through, but he injured his shoulder doing it,” said Battalion Chief John O’Neill.
The fire was quickly brought under control and Class was taken to St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital for a dislocated shoulder.
He is now back at home recovering.
Neighbors of the house say it is vacant. A cause is still under investigation.
Class wasn’t the only firefighter who was injured on the job though. On Friday, Lt. William Palmer fell through two floors of a house on Kensington Avenue.
The fall knocked off his breathing mask, causing his lungs to get seared by superheated gas and smoke.
“In the olden days, you had regular wood and common fabrics. Now, there are so many plastics involved in the construction of homes,” said Battalion Chief Silverio Caggiano.
Those plastics combined to form the superheated, toxic gas that injured Palmer’s lungs.
Across the country, nearly 35,000 firefighters are exposed to those dangerous chemicals every year.
But, Caggiano says firefighters know the risks they are taking every day.
“We walk into houses and we don’t know what we are going to find, what people have done to them. We try to be careful but these are the things that can happen to take an unexpected toll,” he said.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, falls are the second most common cause of line-of-duty firefighter injuries. The most common is overexertion.
Caggiano says Palmer is still recovering at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital from being put under for treatment.