At 8:28 a.m. Sunday, a small house on the 200 block of Gaile Avenue, just east of South Adams Street, was in flames. The Tallahassee Fire Department responded immediately to the call.
By 9:06 a.m., TFD tweeted a photo of smoke, hoses and two fire engines with the caption, “TFD currently working a fire on Gaile Avenue.” The next two hours would include fighting the fire, blocking off Gaile Avenue and conducting a search.
Stations 1, 3 and 4 arrived and confirmed that the house was fully involved. A fully involved fire means the fire, heat and smoke in a structure is so widespread that internal access must wait until fire streams can be applied according to this fire department terminology document.
Graham Reid, a captain with the Tallahassee Fire Department, was one of the first responders to arrive at the scene. Reid said, “Once the first unit arrived on the scene, he reported that the structure was fully involved and that we would be doing a defensive attack.
“We were able to go inside and make an interior attack to finish putting the fire out,” Reid added. “I’d probably say it took anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes.”
After quickly gaining control of the fire and confirming that city utilities cut off the electricity, TFD searched the premises for anyone caught in the fire. No one was inside the house.
“We did a primary and secondary search. All those searches came up clear. We’re pretty positive at this point that no one was inside of the structure,” said Reid.
Justin Huber was parked at the Sunoco on Gaile Avenue and Woodville Highway when he noticed the flames over the house. Huber said he called 911 around 8 a.m. Sunday.
“I pulled into the Sunoco here on Gaile Avenue and I saw that there was like a lot of smoke coming out from the house. I saw a guy leaving with his bike and the whole house was just engulfed,” said Huber.
A Tallahassee native and local floor specialist, Huber is familiar with the area. About the house, Huber added, “It’s been abandoned for maybe about 12 or 13 years. I’m not sure who the owner is. I know people have been staying there who probably shouldn’t have been staying there.”
At 1:40 p.m. TFD tweeted again saying, “The building is considered a total loss, and the cause of the fire is under investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.”
The tweet reconfirmed no one was in the house and that Leon County Emergency Medical Service, Tallahassee Police Department and City of Tallahassee utilities assisted with the response.