‘Your Heart Sinks' Dallas Fire-Rescue Chief Describes Moments After Explosion

Three firefighters were critically injured in the explosion Wednesday; one firefighter was treated and released for a foot injury, the department says

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Three firefighters remain at Parkland Hospital Wednesday night in critical condition but are expected to make full recoveries after a Southeast Dallas apartment building exploded and partially collapsed.

Another was treated for an injury to his foot and later released. Dallas Fire-Rescue Chief Dominique Artis said it’s never something he wants to hear on the other end of the line. Four of his firefighters were in trouble.

“When you hear a mayday call from your firefighters your heart sinks because that means somebody is trapped or injured,” said Artis. “There’s no routine call. It can seem like it’s a routine call and it can always transcend into something that you don’t expect.”

Firefighters were called to the Highland Hills apartments just before 10:30 a.m. Wednesday after residents complained of smelling natural gas. While conducting their investigation, an explosion occurred leading to the partial collapse of a building.

Dallas Fire-Rescue crews caught in a natural gas explosion at a Southeast Dallas apartment complex Wednesday morning took to their radios to call dispatch for backup, declaring “mayday, mayday!” Eight people, including four firefighters, were injured in the explosion and resulting fire. Editor’s note: the radio audio in the video above has been edited for clarity.

Dallas Fire-Rescue Medical Director Marshal Isaacs addressed media along with the chief Wednesday afternoon.

“We are not going to get into the details of their specific injuries other than to say they were critically injured, but we are very optimistic that they will survive and have a full recovery,” said Isaacs.

DFR has not confirmed the extent of the injuries of the firefighters, but it was suggested they were burn injuries.

Dallas Fire-Rescue said the explosion will be a joint investigation involving multiple local, state, and federal agencies. In the meantime, those who watched the events unfold are thankful.

“I think they did an incredible job man,” said witness Timothy Davis. “It’s really dangerous and they’re some brave adversaries, so I tip my hat off to them.”

Besides the firefighters, three other people were also taken to Parkland but all are expected to be released by the end of the night Wednesday.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and Police Chief Eddie Garcia were also at the hospital visiting those injured and their families.

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