Firefighter injured after fire rips through Elks Lodge

Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Blaze at Elks Lodge.

A firefighter was injured Monday evening after a fire tore through the Elks Lodge in Mountain Home, completely gutting the building.

Fire crews responded at about 9:45 p.m. to the blaze after flames were seen pouring out of windows on the south side of the building. The fire quickly spread through the ceiling and roof before firefighters drowned the flames, extinguishing the fire.

A team of firefighters had entered the interior of the building to knock down the ceiling inside with long axes when a light fixture broke loose, hitting firefighter Brian Reed in the head, knocking him unconscious.

Fellow firefighters Chuck Van Meer and Mitch Prouty pulled Reed outside where medical crews evaluated him before he was transported by air ambulance to Boise.

Reed was treated for a minor head injury and released from the hospital early Tuesday morning.

Fire Chief Phil Gridley explained, "We never put firefighters on the roof because of the danger of them falling through. These guys were taking out the ceiling when Brian was hit behind his right ear. It knocked him out cold."

"A RIT (Rapid Intervention Team) was quickly assembled to respond to the injury but the other guys already had him outside, " Gridley said.

Based on a preliminary investigation, Gridley determined the fire was caused by a burning plastic trash receptacle, possibly from still smoldering cigarette butts disposed of earlier in the evening, that had caught fire and caused two circuit breakers to malfunction, one in the walk-in cooler near the bar and in an electrical receptacle under the bar counter.

More than 50 percent of the building was charred, according to Gridley, and it is likely that the entire building will need to be rebuilt, with a damage estimate of $700,000-$800,000.

Local Elks President Lynn Fincher said that the facility had been booked solid with events through the end of the year.

"We are going to do what we can to help people who had events scheduled to find another place, " Fincher said.

The Lodge typically hosts hundreds of events each year, ranging in size from 10-319 people and is one of the few venues in the city capable of serving large groups.

"We will go on. The Elks will be here. We are thankful that there was only one injury," Fincher said.

The Elks Lodge started in Mountain Home in March 1963 and occupied a building downtown until June 1977, when the lodge moved into its current facility at 325 S. 3rd West. St. They have approximately 350 members.

The Elks meet on the second and fourth Tuesday each month and until further notice, meetings will be held at the Best Western hotel meeting room.

For more information, contact Lynn Fincher at 587-4129.

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  • I really appreciate the web site being up to date with the latest fire news. The rumors started spreading this morning and it's great to be able to get on the Mountain Home News website and get the information right away rather than wait until Wednesday. Thank you.

    -- Posted by artist on Tue, Sep 18, 2007, at 8:49 AM
  • I wondered what the helicopter was I heard last night. I hope that he is okay...

    -- Posted by mattnielsen on Tue, Sep 18, 2007, at 9:02 AM
  • I wondered what the helicopter was I heard last night. I hope that he is okay...

    -- Posted by mattnielsen on Tue, Sep 18, 2007, at 9:02 AM
  • Sure hope he's alright! Yes thanks to the paper for listing the names, I have a family member in this fire department and came here to assure he was ok.

    -- Posted by IdahoGirl on Tue, Sep 18, 2007, at 2:23 PM
  • Our VOLUNTEER fire department is one of the reasons why I picked here to retire. These fine people put themselves in harms way and do so without hesitation.

    I do have to say that I was listening to my scanner during this tragic event. I have to say SHAME, SHAME on the people that tried to get close to fire and had no business being there. Not only did they almost interfere with efforts but they caused valuable resources to be tied up corralling them. You know who you are and if you are not a part of the emergency team then step back and let them do what they have trained so hard to do. YOu may think you are helping but you are not.

    And for those that might think I have no idea what I am talking about, guess again. I responded to many local, national and worldwide emergencies over many years. I was always amazed at how the lookeyloos would get in the way and hinder efforts instead of helping.

    -- Posted by Dirtball on Tue, Sep 18, 2007, at 6:11 PM
  • To the Firefighters...job well done. To Brian Reed, hope you are doing good. To the Elks members, dont let this slow you down.To my mom and dad who are both Elks its not the building that makes the lodge...its the people...Love ya all Cat

    -- Posted by firecat on Thu, Sep 20, 2007, at 8:43 PM
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