Williamstown volunteer firefighter rolls out of burning house on fire after flashover

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A Williamstown volunteer firefighter is recovering after being caught in a ceiling collapse and flashover at a fire that broke out on Humes Ridge Road Tuesday evening.

Matt Combs is seen on the body cam of another firefighter rolling out of the burning building, still on fire.

“Matt’s coming out of the structure. His gear is on fire. You can see the fire dripping off from some of his helmet,” said Williamstown Chief Les Whalen.

Crews watered down the flames on his gear and then sent him to UC Medical Center.

Combs was treated and released. He was back at the fire station Wednesday for a short time, even though he’s still treating second-degree burns.

The video was from a body camera worn by Williamstown volunteer firefighter Jordan Jump.

“We're trying to get in and knock it down to get it under control,” Jump said.

As crews helped Combs, Jump headed to the side of the building with a hose for another attack.

The camera shows the intense fire, and as the water hits it, everything goes completely dark.

“It goes lights out,” Jump said.

Firefighters did not hear smoke detectors when they arrived. Whalen used the incident to remind people to check smoke and CO detectors.

He said just last week, a family was saved by a CO detector. They got the devices after they saw the news reports about a Crittenden family of three that died recently because of CO from a generator.

Combs gear was laid out on the floor of the Williamstown Volunteer fire station Wednesday, evidence of how hot the fire was.

His facemask was bubbled by heat, his helmet scarred by flames and his turnout gear scorched.

The reality of what happened and what could have happened sat in on Whalen as he picked up the helmet.

“I've known Matt since he was a toddler, my son's best friend,” Whalen said before emotions caught up with him. “We’re thankful for all the prayers we’ve received.”

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