Injured firefighter pulled from collapsed house; city and state investigate

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 6:46 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Sunday was a “close call,” according to State Fire Marshal Jason Baltic.

An experienced firefighter, Capt. John Hastings, responded to a vacant house fire at the 700 block of Crescent Rd. While inside, Baltic said a collapse pinned him inside and Mayday calls went out.

“If there is an injury or a death, then we come in and do an investigation. It’s not to blame anyone. This is just to say this is what happened and here is what we can do to prevent this down the road,” Baltic said. “I credit his training and the fire department. They had him out of that house in minutes.”

Hollie McClanahan watched the scene unfold from the second floor of her home as flames shot out of the house behind hers.

“I saw that they were pulling someone out and then I saw him I assumed it was someone they found in the house I didn’t know it was a firemen,” McClanahan said.

Firefighters pulled Hastings from the collapse within minutes, and he was transported to the hospital with injuries.

“He was pinned underneath it for a period of time,” Baltic said. “Definitely, just from hearing everything this was very, very serious.”

While Charleston fire investigators work to figure out what caused the fire, state fire investigators are investigating to find ways to prevent similar incidents.

“We call it the Close Call Investigations,” Baltic said. “We are working with them conjunctively on this.”