Wilmington Officers treated on scene after fire rescue


Two Wilmington police officers were treated for smoke inhalation after responding to a weekend fire at an apartment complex on First Street.

The incident happened in the early morning hours of Saturday, Oct. 8.

The Wilmington Police Department and the Wilmington Fire Protection District responded to a structure fire at a multi-unit apartment complex in the 300 block of N. First Street. While en route to the scene, dispatch advised of heavy smoke emitting from an apartment and the fire originated from a bedroom.

According to a release from the WPD, Officers Curtis Knippen and Eric Runions were first on scene.

“Displaying exceptional and brave action, risking life or bodily injury in performance of duty, [the officers] ran inside of the burning building and began evacuating tenants from adjacent apartments,” the release stated. “None of the tenants sustained any life-threatening injuries as a direct result of the gallant efforts of both officers.”

Officers Knippen and Runions were each treated from smoke inhalation and subsequently released at the scene.

While conducting fire suppression duties, Wilmington Fire Protection District personnel were alerted to an occupant still inside their apartment.

Forced entry was made into the second-floor apartment window and the occupant was rescued via ladder after the tenant’s normal means of egress from the apartment were cut off by heat and smoke conditions as a result of the fire.

In a joint statement, Fire Chief Tim Zlomie and Police Chief Joseph Mitchell stated that “our strong partnership of collaboration and training led to a response that ensured no casualties were the result of the fire.”

Residents displaced by the fire were temporarily relocated to the ESDA building for shelter and assisted by the Red Cross.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Wilmington Fire Protection District.