On Sunday morning (01/28/2024) shortly after 0500 Engine 12 was dispatched to the area of Old Churchman’s Road and Churchman’s Road for a smoke investigation. Engine 12 arrived in the area and located an abandoned hotel with smoke showing from windows on floors 2 and 3. Engine 12 immediately requested a box assignment (1211) be filled, stretched a 2.5 inch attack line and secured their own water supply.
This hotel has a documented history with incidents that Christiana has responded to since it has become abandoned. Trespassers have forced entry several times and are found squatting inside. Therefore, the company has conducted pre-plans of this building and as a result most members have a good understanding of the interior layout and already knew the hydrant on the property was out of service. The company is also aware that an exterior stairwell door was welded shut in additional attempts to keep trespassers out. However, those trespassers appear to have utilized ground ladders to force entry to windows and gain entry that way.
Engine 12 began working on forcing entry to the front door, which was difficult because the door was reinforced with plywood. Ladder 12 arrived shortly after the box was transmitted. The inside team assisted with forcing entry, while the OV (outside vent) firefighter went to the rear and was able to report fire showing from a room near the C/D corner, 2nd floor from the top. Battalion 12(Consalo) arrived and requested a 2nd alarm assignment be transmitted, bringing several New Castle County fire companies to the scene. Engine 12’s crew began stretching their attack line to the fire floor. The fire was located in two rooms and a portion of the hallway. The fire was extinguished and further extension was negative. Engine 12 was assisted on the initial attack line by Engine 21-5. It is common that the first two engines at a fire using 2.5 attack line will be partnered for smoother control of the line. Ladder 12’s inside team began primary searches on the fire floor and in conjunction with mutual aid special service companies over 60 hotel rooms were searched. There were no firefighter or civilian injuries.