When the roof caved in during a massive fire at the old Hobby Lobby building in northwest Oklahoma City, it sent three firefighters tumbling several feet to the ground.
Corp. Jimmy Poplin, Corp. Josh Pearcy and Bo Woodard were battling a three-alarm fire at a strip mall near N.W. 10th Street and Vermont on Monday when the roof collapsed. The men crashed down from the second story of the building. News 9 photojournalists were right there and captured the frightening scene.
Despite the dangerous fall, all three men only received minor injuries. By Wednesday, they were back at work. Now the brave men are sharing their story about what happened inside the burning building. They said it happened so fast, there was no time to think.
"You hope it never happens to you, and you hope it never happens to any of your buddies, but it can and it does, unfortunately," Poplin said.
Pearcy agreed. "There wasn't a whole lot of time for anything. You know, this could go real bad and luckily once we hit the ground we looked around at each other and found out that we were all okay."
In the midst of the smoke and flames, Woodard – who'd only been on the job 10 months -- looked through a window and saw his father, who is also a firefighter, staring back at him.
"I was able to make eye contact with him and signal that I was okay," Woodard said.
The crew immediately began working to free themselves from the rubble.
"I was a little more entangled that these other two guys were," Poplin said.
Firefighters carried Poplin out on a stretcher. Pearcy and Woodward had bumps and bruises, but all said they are thankful to work another day ,
Firefighters initially called the fire suspicious. Investigators have not determined yet what started the fire.