Blaze at Tucson strip club posed additional hazard for firefighters

2014-02-19T08:57:00Z 2014-02-19T08:57:18Z Blaze at Tucson strip club posed additional hazard for firefightersKimberly Matas Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 19, 2014 8:57 am  • 

A fire this morning at a midtown strip club has left the building condemned, a fire official said.

Crews responded at 4:50 a.m. to a fire at TD's Showclub, 5822 E. Speedway, east of North Craycroft Road, after multiple passers-by called 911 to report heavy smoke coming from the building.

In the entryway of the club fire crews encountered thick smoke from floor to ceiling creating “near zero visibility conditions,” said Capt. Barrett Baker, spokesman for the Tucson Fire Department.

When firefighters entered the main room, “the whole stage area and a whole bunch of stuff around the stage was completely on fire there was flame everywhere,” he said.

In addition to the smoke and flames, firefighters were concerned about a drop ceiling suspended by wire and concealing utility lines.

“With those drop ceilings, when things fall down out of there you get a whole bunch of wires dangling. If that catches on the air packs of the firefighters or they get tangled up in those things,” it can be hazardous, Baker said. In other cities, “there have been a lot of guys who’ve died getting tangled up in those stupid wires.”

Because firefighters encounter drop ceilings in buildings, TFD has training to deal with that specific hazard, Baker said.

While two crews were battling the blaze from inside the showclub, a ladder crew was on the roof cutting a hole to vent the smoke and heat and improve visibility for those working inside.

A total of nine units and 23 firefighters responded to the scene. It took 17 minutes to bring the blaze under control.

The cause and origin of the fire are currently being investigated. Building Safety was on scene but a damage estimate had not been made. The building did sustain smoke damage throughout and will be closed for an extended period, Baker said.

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