Both of the Newport firefighters injured March 23 when a wall collapsed on them have been released from area hospitals and are recovering at home, said Carl Faulk, Newport Fire Department chief.
Joseph Volk and Rich Diamanti were fighting a fire at a home on Volunteer Drive when the wall fell on them around 4:15 p.m. March 23. Each had leg injuries and required surgery.
Firefighters from Newport spent time with both men over the weekend at their homes and both are doing better, said Faulk.
“They are with family and doing better,” Faulk said.
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Newport is a mainly volunteer department with paid firefighters during the day. Both Volk and Diamanti were working paid shifts at the time of the fire.
No one else was injured in the fire, including the homeowner’s son and dog who escaped the fire. The family said it operated a petroleum equipment repair business at the home.
Neighbors heard popping sounds that sounded like shotgun blasts during the fire and believed there may have been explosions inside the home and attached garage where the fire started, but investigators have not determined that anything inside the garage exploded. Sounds could have been paint cans, a lawn mower, a water heater or other items that burst during the fire, officials said.
The home was a complete loss and the heat of the fire coupled with the widespread damage means that it is possible fire investigators may never know the origin of the fire. State and federal agents with expertise in fire causes are assisting local officials in trying to determine the fire’s cause, but the involvement of those officials is not indicative of a criminal investigation.
The fire remains under investigation, county officials said.