Johnston (IA)– Two Safe After Overnight Residential Fire

TWO SAFE AFTER NIGHTTIME RESIDENTIAL FIRE. Along with mutual aid companies, firefighters from the Johnston Grimes Metropolitan Fire Department in suburban Des Moines, Iowa stopped a heavily-involved early-morning garage fire at 6116 Northwest 61st Avenue, in Johnston. Crews found flames showing well above the roof when they arrived shortly after 4:45 a.m., in April of 2018. The two occupants of the house at the time of the fire managed to escape without injury.

There was significant structural involvement in the attached garage. A well coordinated, focused attack held damage to a minimum in the remainder of the dwelling– primarily smoke and moisture penetration.  Nevertheless, an unusually heavy fuel-loading of stored materials in and above the garage, and the labor-intensive chore of breaking up those irregular bundles of combustibles from below kept crews engaged well into the morning.

A MODEL OF INNOVATIVE, SYSTEMATIC CONSOLIDATION. Johnston Grimes Metro stands as an outstanding model of far-sighted planning for future fire and emergency services in the face of rapid urban growth. They are an unusually effective integration of the two previously separate suburban fire departments of Johnston and Grimes, Iowa. Formally unified by the two cities in 2016, the resulting agency covers 30 square miles in two counties, from three stations, with a staff of over 30 full-time and 30 part-time officers and emergency responders. Their organizational vision statement calls for the timely expansion of existing services to meet the needs of their evolving communities– services based on industry best practices, research-based training and operations, and a data-driven decision-making process.

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