Thursday, August 15, 2013 – The following are statements made by Edina Fire Chief Martin Edwards to The Edina Sentinel Sports Reporter David Sharp after the St. Joseph Church fire had been knocked down and firefighters from outside of Edina were beginning to clear the scene.
“As soon as I could see the steeple smoke was coming out of it. From years of experience you know that’s bad. So I got on the horn and we got Knox City coming and Baring coming and then I got to the scene and saw what we had and I called Kirksville to get them on scene with their aerial truck. I knew we were going to need it. And I can’t thank them enough for coming. LaBelle and Lewistown came with their cascade system because we have these air bottles that we fill to go in so we can breathe. They brought their system in and filled our air tanks when we ran out. They filled them right back up on the scene. I just can’t thank people enough. For the amount of people that were here and what we had to work with it was hard to get to the fire, and we did, we got it. I’m proud of my guys. I’m proud with everybody that helped us.
“There were 60 to 70 firefighters on the scene not counting the citizens that were here to help. After it was over they grabbed the hoses and helped roll them back up. That’s greatly appreciated because that’s work when we’re tired. They served us a great meal, they were bringing us water, Gatorade and soda all the time. I can’t thank them enough. We live in a wonderful community here. People ought to be thankful. Nobody got hurt. We had a guy whose blood pressure went up and a couple of guys who got a little hot and when you get hot your blood pressure goes up. They had to have IV’s. I just can’t thank everyone enough.
“We’re not exactly sure where it started yet. We’re trying to get the smoke out of the church.
“The fire was contained to the southwest corner of the church. This was farther back from where the electricity was coming in. There’s one room in the southwest corner and we’re thinking maybe a light but we won’t know until we get in there until we can dig through it and find that light. The Fire Marshall is here and he’s a really smart guy. They can look at things and see exactly where it started,” stated Chief Edwards.