The Pocatello Fire Department responded to the Laabs Apartments located at 1119 North Main Street for a structure fire just after 2 a.m. Friday, January 12. When crews arrived, most occupants had self-evacuated. At that point, firefighters began search and rescue operations for the apartments closest to the fire. With zero visibility due to the smoke, Firefighters Stan Tharp and Griffin Jory made entry into the residents having to crawl and feel their way through the intense heat and smoke. While doing the initial search, Tharp and Jory located two occupants who had been trapped and unable to self-evacuate due to the fire blocking their exit. Firefighters were able to rescue the two occupants who only suffered minor smoke inhalation. Crews were able to get the fire extinguished quickly and power was shut off to all units as a safety precaution. One unit is a total loss and the two neighboring units had significant smoke damage.
The City of Pocatello would like to thank everyone who lent a helping hand during these events. The Fire Department for saving lives and the Pocatello Police Department for assisting in evacuations, securing rooms at Super 8, and providing traffic control. Plus, due to the frigid temperatures, Pocatello Regional Transit responded with a heated transit bus to provide immediate shelter for the evacuated residents. Valley Mission covered the cost of the hotel rooms for the residents over the holiday weekend and the American Red Cross also assisted with the displaced residents by covering the cost of lodging for the holiday, incidentals, and assistance with the coordination of community partners. Super 8 provided the rooms at a discounted rate and provided free breakfast. The Salvation Army provided lunch and dinner over the weekend, and St. Vincent de Paul offered clothing to residents who lost theirs in the fire. The City of Pocatello Building Department assisted in re-establishing power, so the residents whose apartments were not impacted by the fire could return home as soon as possible.
“I would like to thank everyone who assisted with this fire. The city departments and community rallied to help these individuals in their time of need. This was an excellent example of the collaboration and coordination of several departments and organizations working together,” said Pocatello Fire Chief Ryan O’Hearn.
The fire remains under investigation.