SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA) — More than 24 hours after the Springdale Fire Dept. first got the call, the fire at A-Advantage Warehouse & Distribution continues to burn. Saturday’s updates featured a smoke concern and the identification of the firefighter who was injured Friday.
Large pallets fell on James Kehrli and cracked his helmet. His mask vibrated to let him know he was low on air and only had a couple minutes to get to safety. A group located him in the dark and pulled him to safety, said Kehrli’s wife, Silvy.
Kehrli’s ankle was broken in multiple places, and his wife said it’ll require surgery once the swelling goes down. Other than that, the firefighter is home relaxing.
“We really appreciate all of the love and support,” Kehrli said in a message. “God is good, and we are so thankful James is alive.”
The initial plan before Kehrli’s injury was to save the warehouse. After firefighters were instructed to pull out, the decision was made to contain rather than attack from the inside, said Capt. Matt Bagley.
“The tactic changed from aggressive interior firefighting to surround and try to prevent the fire from causing more damage to surrounding properties, firefighters or equipment,” Bagley said.
A main Saturday concern was the smoke that traveled toward an apartment complex on the other side of Randall Wobbe Lane in Springdale. The fire department advised people living in the complex to stay inside or go elsewhere but not to venture outside into the smoke.
Bagley said there’s not a definitive timetable for the end of the flames, as changing weather conditions and other factors could affect that timeline. He said the fire department is preparing to continue working at the site into Sunday and possibly for the next several days.
At this point, there’s still no idea as to what started the fire, Bagley said. It’ll take a post-fire investigation process to determine the cause.
“Until we can get in there to start sifting through things, we have no leads at this point,” Bagley said.