Boise firefighters experience close call

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- It happened in the blink of an eye.

Fortunately, alert Boise Fire Captain Randy Christiensen saw it coming and radioed warning of imminent collapse.

As fire crews backed away, the burning house collapsed almost on top of them, splattering some firefighters with burning debris and knocking a few of them to the ground.

Firefighters scrambled to help their colleagues.

Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan says Christiensen's training and experience saved the day.

"He saw trusses starting to sag, and walls bulging," Doan said. "We could have had firefighters trapped underneath here. It was chaos for a little bit, because we did think we had one trapped under there."

But everyone answered the roll call, and there were only minor injuries. | Watch the Video

Fifty-five firefighters had responded to the rare three-alarm blaze. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

They were in defensive mode, meaning they stayed outside of the burning house because it was unoccupied.

Their goal was to keep the fire from destroying surrounding homes and they succeeded.

But the dash cam video from a battalion chief's truck shows how constant training -- and an experienced eye on the fire -- can make all the difference in the outcome of an inferno.

(Since the Boise Fire Department was founded in 1876, five firefighters have died in the line of duty.)