Vandalia firefighter injured at Effingham fire scene

-A A +A
By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

One of five Vandalia firefighters who provided mutual aid assistance for a fire in Effingham on Wednesday afternoon sustained facial burns.

According to Vandalia Fire Chief Merle Adermann, Zac Stombaugh was treated in the emergency room at St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham and released after sustaining first-degree burns, and possibly some second degree burns.

Stombaugh and Adermann were among the five Vandalia firefighters who responded to the request through MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) 54 for assistance for a fire at Wesselman’s Roofing and Central Illinois Construction, as well as nearby houses.

Adermann said that Stombaugh was spraying water as firefighters hosed down embers when a container of solvent either burst or was knocked over, causing the solvent to be ignited by embers.

The flash fire knocked Stombaugh onto his back, with flames on his turnout gear and helmet.

Two Vandalia firefighters with him quickly came to his aid, Adermann said. Jason Paslay jumped on top of Stombaugh to smother the flames, and Tom DePaolo grabbed the hoseline that Stombaugh had been using and began spraying him.

Paslay and DePaolo were assisted by other area firefighters at the scene in pulling Stombaugh out of the area, and he was taken to St. Anthony Memorial Hospital by ambulance.

In addition to Stombaugh, Adermann, Paslay and DePaolo, going to Effingham to provide assistance was Stombaugh’s father, Steve Stombaugh.