Interstate Bank Building Fire;
SEARCH AND RESCUE
Approximately 50 occupants were inside the building and
above the 12th floor when the fire broke out. These occupants
included cleaning and maintenance workers, the sprinkler
fitters, and a few tenants who were working late in offices.
The occupants became aware of the fire as smoke entered
the areas where they were working.
Five of the occupants from upper floors went to the rooftop
and were rescued by helicopters. Others attempted to exit
via elevators, some successfully and some unsuccessfully.
At least one group found themselves on the 12th floor and
had to crawl to an exit stairway in dense smoke and heat.
Most of the occupants successfully exited via the stairs
and encountered firefighters coming up the stairs as they
The Fire Department was able to account for all except
three known occupants of the building by comparing names
with the sign-in sheets maintained by security personnel.
Two of these occupants were on the 37th floor and one was
on the 50th floor. Helicopter crews were able to locate
all three at windows.
Due to the heavy smoke and heat conditions in all four
stairways, it was impossible to send search and rescue crews
to the upper floors until the fire was knocked-down at 0219.
The Airborne Engine Companies were unable to penetrate from
the rooftop until this time and were successful in rescuing
the 50th floor occupant at approximately 0230.
Crews working from below found the two occupants of the
37th floor at approximately the same time. One of these
occupants was unconscious and had to be carried down the
stairs to the ground level.
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