St Pete fire crews walk away from potentially deadly fire - WFLA News Channel 8

St Pete fire crews walk away from potentially deadly fire

Posted: Updated:
St. Pete firefighters responded to this  home at 494 44th Avenue North. St. Pete firefighters responded to this home at 494 44th Avenue North.
ST PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

St. Petersburg Fire Rescue District Chief Timothy White knows his firefighters could’ve been seriously injured Sunday morning while responding to a fire at 494 44th Avenue North.

“The crews who initially arrived on scene saw a single family home, fully involved with fire,” said Chief White.

When crews typically arrive on a fire scene, they do a “360” or walk around the structure to examine what they’re dealing with. Before firefighters could do that Sunday, they were stopped.

“Immediately after getting on scene they begin to get word that there was an occupant or citizen on scene or in the back yard who had a fire arm,” said White.

“They didn't get any water on the fire at that point because the threat of the actual individual was the most important at that time. We had to move to a safer location,” added White.

Police tell us the homeowner, Paul Sibley set fire to the home and later threatened them with the gun. Sibley was shot by officers. He’s expected to be okay but is facing charges of attempted first degree murder of a law enforcement officer and arson.

Related Content: Armed St Pete man shot by police after torching house

The threat left firefighters in a tough predicament.

“We were concerned about it spreading. A fire that size in a residential neighborhood with a tightly packed house, it was definitely a concern of fire spread,” said White.

“We were able to take protective positions close enough to begin applying water form a remote location, which is what directly stopped the spread to the other homes.”

White called Sunday mornings fire a “curveball” but he is thankful that his crews walked away from what could’ve been a deadly situation.

Copyright 2014 WFLA.  All rights reserved.

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