JFRD efforts continue for a third day at the RISE Doro, as talks on potential demolition begins

Firefighters spent a third day Tuesday, dousing the remaining embers of the fire that erupted at the RISE Doro apartments Sunday night.

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Captain Eric Prosswimmer with JFRD has been on the scene nearly non-stop since the blaze began Sunday night.

Though, he said he did finally manage to get some sleep Monday night.

According to JFRD, it’s not entirely clear how long crews’ efforts will need to continue.

“Until that, we feel it’s completely safe and not gonna be an issue,” said Prosswimmer.

As of mid-day Tuesday Prosswimmer told us the main objective remains dousing hotspots.

With firefighters still unable to move inside the building due to concerns of collapse, the process has been stop-and-go.

Crews were using thermal imaging drones to identify flare-ups as firefighters on tower trucks attempted to douse the areas with water.

“Even with the powerful ladder pipes that we’re shooting down with a lot of force, we can’t penetrate to get to the fire, so it smolders,” said Prosswimmer.

READ: RISE Doro: Jacksonville firefighters spray hotspots over a day after massive apartment fire sparked

JFRD is also keeping the environment in mind according to Prosswimmer.

“So, we’re not using foam or something that can be really harmful for the environment that could saturate, but then also go into the river and create a problem,” said Prosswimmer.

Given the lengthy operation and challenges faced throughout, we asked Prosswimmer whether any additional or upgraded equipment could have helped JFRD tackle the fire quickly.

While he didn’t have any specific gear in mind, he noted the department always looks back after major incidents like this one to evaluate what might be out there that could make getting the job done easier and more efficient.

“The city council, the mayor, they’ve been amazing to us in providing us the tools that we need. It’s because of fires like this, that they look at it and say, wow, maybe we do need that. You know, and each authority that we work with also says, hey, you know, that would have helped. We reevaluate after every call,” said Prosswimmer.

The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp announced they would postpone a pre-season job fair on Tuesday, due to ongoing street closures and efforts to put out the final embers burning at the complex.

Dr. Jeff Brown, a civil engineering professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, said the damage to the roof could pose a risk to nearby businesses.

“Any time the flooring system or the roofing system on a building is compromised, then that really puts your walls in danger,” said Brown.

The ongoing impacts of the fire on surrounding businesses are part of the reason why many in the community are already questioning when the burned-out hull of the RISE Doro will come down.

READ: Action News Jax learns that RISE Doro management company got a $6 million tax break from city

Brown noted the building materials used for the complex could complicate demolition efforts.

“Looks like it was a mixture of reinforced concrete a lot of wood interior in it as well. So, making that demolition in a controlled manner, I think it would be challenging,” said Brown.

JFRD has floated the idea of possibly beginning demolition even while some hot spots within the structure remain.

Prosswimmer said if it can be done safely it could be an option.

“They’re going to evaluate each situation. We’re gonna say, okay, what’s safe for the crews that are doing the demolition? What’s safe for our people? What’s the potential of it flaring up and being an issue?” said Prosswimmer.

On Monday, Mayor Donna Deegan expressed a desire to see the next steps move quickly.

She argued she doesn’t want to see a repeat of the Berkman II, which was an unfinished building that became an eyesore on the city skyline for more than a decade before its ultimate demolition in 2022.

Prosswimmer suggested a speedy demolition could also save the city money and resources that would otherwise be expended attempting to fully douse a ruined property.

“It’s ruined property. So, why would we risk anybody’s health and wellbeing or any future cost to the city in putting it out if it’s not necessary,” said Proswimmer.

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