TOLEDO (WTOL) - A new study ranks the Toledo area among the top metropolitan areas with the most vacant homes. That creates a lot of challenges for firefighters.
And although firefighters at the Toledo Fire Department are used to responding to vacant house fires, it still comes with risks.
So far in 2018, about 122 of the building fires the Toledo Fire department have responded to have been vacant. That’s about 30-percent of their fires.
And if running into a fire wasn’t already dangerous, a vacant building presents new challenges. Often times the buildings are not structurally secure, making it more dangerous for firefighters.
“One of the dangers our firefighters deal with are entering those structures, as some of these are set up to burn quicker. We have holes in floors and holes in walls, we’re going into that unknown environment,” said Private Sterling Rahe of the Toledo Fire Department.
Additionally just because a home is dispatched as “vacant” does not mean there is no one inside.
“We may have people that are getting out of cold weather or the elements to seek shelter and that’s the only place they can so a vacant home may not be vacant to use as we would typically think about it,” said Rahe.
Nevertheless, TFD said there is always that possibility that someone is inside a burning building, especially when it’s cold out like this. And saving human lives is always their top priority.