DES MOINES, Iowa – The second major fire in downtown in six months required an army of firefighters to put it out. Fifty Des Moines firefighters responded to the Equitable building to fight a tricky and hard to access fire.
Captain Steve Brown says injuries are common, “We always have the injuries: the slip trip and falls, it’s the nature of the job but for five firefighters at one fire it’s very unusual.”
Two firefighters suffered from smoke inhalation and heat related injuries, three others were hurt while putting out the fire. Patrice Herrera’s husband, Mike, was one of them.
“When I answered the phone, I got the ‘your husband’s in the hospital. He was hurt in a fire,” says Patrice Herrera. “It was scary, scary for me and I’m sure for him it was scary at that time.”
Mike Herrera fell down a two flights of stairs and is being treated for thermal injuries to his lungs. He’s is listed in fair condition at Methodist Hospital where doctors plan to keep him for a few days. Patrice Herrera says her husband has been injured before on the job but says after this injury he is lucky to be alive.
“He would never hesitate going into a fire. He would never hesitate doing anything like that, that’s just who he is.”
Her husband also helped battle the Younkers building fire in March. The other firefighters injured alongside Herrera have been released from the hospital.