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Crews rescue painter after commercial lift catches fire

Fire commercial lift rescue Parkland Theatre
Posted at 11:07 PM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-19 10:56:31-05

CINCINNATI — Crews spent the better part of Wednesday night trying to remove a lift truck that caught fire and left a painter trapped in an elevated bucket.

The Cincinnati Fire Department said firefighters were dispatched to Parkland Theatre after a commercial lift struck power lines, catching on fire. A painter was trapped in the bucket of the lift about 25 feet above ground. He was rescued with the help of a Duke Energy operator, only enduring some smoke inhalation.

CFD District Chief Todd Stegmuller said the fire happened across the street from Cincinnati Fire Dept. Station 50, so crews were quickly able to rush next door to put out the flames.

"They heard something happening and then people were pounding on the door," Stegmuller said. "They tried to extinguish the fire, but the electric was on the ground so they couldn't use water. So we used dry chemicals to try to control it until we get the electric turned off."

The painter was stuck in the lift for about 30 minutes as crews worked to help him. Because Duke Energy had to shut off the power for the crews, power was out for much of the neighborhood.

Donna Fliehman came outside when her power went out.

"It scared me," Fliehman said. "So I walked real slow. I didn't want to get too close."

Fliehman said she was shocked to see the historic building surrounded by chaos.

"A real nice theater," Fliehman said. "They put all new seats in was nice. I imagine it's pretty smoky right now."

The theater was built in 1881 and was recently being repainted for its reopening and the premiere of "Ghostbusters: Afterlife." Owner Ed Miller said the fire did not make its way into the theater, but did damage part of the bar. The power was cut to the entire building, including upstairs apartments. No one was seriously hurt, and Miller said they will try the premiere again Friday once everything is cleaned.

All power in Sayler Park was restored around 8 p.m. Wednesday minus the theater's, which will be restored once the lift is removed.

CFD said the estimated damage of the fire was $56,940.

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