A Woodbury police officer suffered a minor injury while breaking a window to save a pet from a home that caught fire Dec. 23, and the fire department also broke out a new tactic to battle the blaze.
The call about the house fire, at the 2500 block of Timberlea Drive, came in at 2:20 p.m., and crews were on scene just a few minutes later, said Todd Johnson, Woodbury fire chief.
The fire appears to have started in the garage, and the blaze engulfed a boat in the driveway, as well. The cause remains under investigation. The homeowners were away at the time.
Still, many of the family’s possessions were saved because firefighters used an “exterior offensive attack,” Johnson said.
“It was successful in this case,” he said.
The ranking firefighter responding to the scene makes the call on whether to use traditional defensive tactics—“surround and drown the fire,” Johnson said—or attacking the main part of the fire from the outside before going in with smaller hoses and dousing lesser flames.
“We can save those family memories, or in some cases, those family pets,” he said.
The Woodbury Fire Department has made the method, which is not unique to the city, a focus of recent training, Johnson said.
“We can’t control when a call comes in or how big the fire is, but we can minimize the damage,” he said. “That’s important.”
Firefighters from Oakdale and Cottage Grove also responded.