By BRANDY RICHMOND
According to scanner traffic, at least six firefighters were injured early Thursday evening in a structure fire in northeastern Clay County.
Volunteers from Van Buren Township Volunteer Fire Department were first called to a garage fire at 8245 N. CR 200 E, Brazil, at approximately 5 p.m.
Less than half an hour later, scanner traffic indicated ammunition was going off inside the building.
Van Buren firefighters were joined by volunteers from Jackson, Cory, Posey, Poland and Center Point departments.
While officers from the Clay County Sheriff's Department handled traffic problems, multiple units from Trans-Care Ambulance Service were toned out after a call for a medic at 5:35 p.m. and a report of "men down" at 5:40 p.m. That call was followed by requests for additional manpower from any available firefighters in the area. Flames from the burning garage eventually spread to the home of the Michael family.
Volunteers at the scene reported a severe backdraft (or explosion), just before 5:45 p.m., and asked Clay County Dispatch to expedite the previous request for medical help as approximately four firefighters had sustained injuries. While the severity of the injuries was unknown, they said no personnel appeared to be seriously wounded.
"You need any more manpower?" a volunteer asked.
"All we can get," a firefighter on scene responded after the explosion.
Firefighters helped guide volunteers fresh to the scene back to the burning buildings almost obscured by billows of smoke.
At 5:53 p.m., one volunteer held up his hands to assist Air Evac personnel attempting to land in a nearby field. After clarifying there were no patients in need of transport, the helicopter remained on standby.
A request for refreshments came at approximately 6 p.m., and a report from Poland Rescue 92 indicated a person with a possible broken wrist was in need of medical attention.
Two ambulances were at the scene, according to Clay County Dispatchers. One person was taken to St. Vincent Clay Hospital for a non-emergency injury, and one volunteer was suffering from possible dehydration.
The State Fire Marshal was called to the residence to investigate the cause of the fire, and at approximately 6:10 p.m., additional medical supplies and air packs arrived at the scene.
While firefighters continued to extinguish flames, traffic control concluded at 6:42 p.m. and some firefighters were returning to their stations around 8 p.m.