Peoria firefighters in stable condition after explosion at APS facility in Surprise

The Peoria Fire-Medical Department said four of its firefighters are in stable condition after sustaining injuries in an explosion at an APS facility in Surprise.

One of the firefighters was released Friday night while the others continuing recovering. In addition, four Surprise firefighters had been transported for evaluation only.

According to the Surprise Police Department, Surprise Fire-Medical Department units responded to the McMicken Energy Storage facility located near Grand Avenue and Deer Valley Road around 6 p.m. Friday after a citizen observed smoke.

Units arrived on scene and determined the situation was a possible hazardous materials incident and called for additional resources, a release states.

Peoria’s Hazmat team was assessing the situation when an explosion occurred from an unknown origin, according to Peoria Fire Captain Ken Wier. Four firefighters were injured and transported via air and ground to a Maricopa County trauma centers.

Peoria Engineer Mike Selmer told reporters at a hospital that it appears the injuries may have been related to chemical and/or inhalation burns.

Surprise police said the four Surprise firefighters were transported for evaluation only.

The condition of the injured firefighters is unknown. However, Surprise police said the injuries do not appear to be life-threatening.

“I would say at this point right now that I think everyone is going to pull through but I might be remiss to say that because I just don’t know exactly the extent of all these injuries,” Mr. Selmer said Friday night. “The mood is somber, we never like to deal with these kind of situations. It saddens us but we’re hoping for the best at this point for everybody.”

On Saturday, Peoria Fire said the firefighters were in stable condition.

Engineer Justin Lopez remains in the hospital but is awake and continues recovering, Peoria Fire stated on social media Sunday morning. Captain Hunter Clare underwent surgery and is recovering.

Firefighters Matt Cottini and Jake Ciulla have since been released from the hospital.

Agencies from Surprise, Peoria, El Mirage, Glendale, Goodyear and Phoenix were at the scene.

The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.

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