The Salisbury Millworks Fire occurred on March 7, 2008. As a result, we lost two Salisbury firefighters, Victor Isler and Justin Monroe, and several more were injured. This shook every fire department and every firefighter in Rowan County to the core. Firefighting is inherently dangerous and it will never be 100% safe, but there are things that can be done to minimize the risk.
Do not begin interior operations without a backup hose team ready to get the first team out if need be. And always establish a Rapid Intervention Team. This is a fresh crew of firefighters at the scene, ready with extra gear and whatever else they think they may need to rescue distressed firefighters.
It had been years since we had lost a firefighter in this fashion in the county. A fire is a natural occurrence of nature and when you go to fight it, it is an unforgiving foe. No one wants to have a building burn down, especially a firefighter, but we must realize that whenever we commit ourselves to go inside a burning building or get up close to a fire we must be able to prevail. If not, we must take a defensive stance outside of the building or from a safe distance.