Magnolia Springs firefighter suffers third-degree burns during building collapse

Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 7:50 PM CST
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FOLEY, Ala. (WALA) - A Magnolia Springs firefighter is lucky to be alive after a roof collapsed on him Sunday night. He’s been in the hospital since being treated for burns. It’s something they train for but hope never happens.

Video from the dash-cam onboard a Magnolia Springs Volunteer Fire truck caught the intensity of the fire as crews arrived on scene to assist Foley Fire Rescue. Within minutes, two Foley firefighters and two Magnolia Springs firefighters were inside the home battling the fire and searching the house. Then, the call came to evacuate the structure. Captain Michael Purvis and his partner were on a hose when that call came.

“Turned around and started noticing the ceiling was falling in on us and once the ceiling fell in, the entire roof fell in and uh, it hit me in the helmet, went down the side of my body and kind of pinned me to the floor,” recalled Purvis from his hospital bed on Tuesday. “The guy that was with me, the way I understand it by talking to him is he saw that I was on fire and started spraying water in my direction.”

The home on Tempest Drive caught fire around 8:30 Sunday night. Five people were home at the time. It was an 11-year-old boy, fire officials said who saw the fire and got the rest of the family out. The fire started in the garage and quickly spread to the attic.

“The rapidly changing conditions caused the trusses to give way and breaking through the ceiling and in turn, knocking one of our firefighters down,” said Fire Chief Kaylan Driscoll with Magnolia Springs Volunteer Fire Department.

Captain Purvis said everything happened very fast, and with his adrenalin pumping, he didn’t even realize he was hurt.

Captain Michael Purvis is recovering at USA Burn Center from burns to his legs, stomach and face.
Captain Michael Purvis is recovering at USA Burn Center from burns to his legs, stomach and face.(Michael Purvis)

“I knew something happened. I knew very heavy weight had hit me because I remember seeing the ceiling fall and I remember a lot of weight on me and then I remember seeing a nozzle and I remember seeing my partner,” said Purvis. “He was maybe two or three feet away from me and I remember crawling back to him and standing up. We grabbed each other and looked at each other and like, we got to get out of here.”

Purvis suffered first, second and third degree burns to his legs, face and stomach. The worst was to his lower stomach where he thinks burning wood went under his jacket during the collapse, causing severe burns. He had a skin graph Tuesday and is recovering at the USA Burn Center in Mobile.

The home was a complete loss and the homeowners are staying with family in the area Foley fire investigators said it began somewhere in the garage but they’re still trying to determine the cause.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family whose home was destroyed.


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