Canby Park blaze collapses part of house, kills 2 firefighters

A house fire in Wilmington killed two firefighters/(Mike Phillips/WDEL)

Smoke detectors helped a family of six escape the Canby Park home in which two Wilmington firefighters were killed and two others were critically injured early Saturday morning.

Smoke alarms in the home, located at 1927 Lakeview Road, started going off before 3:00 a.m., as the family slept, according to NBC10.

"We were like, 'Wake up, wake up, it's a fire!'" said Winter Brooks, who lived inside the home. "It was really scary."

After the first unit arrived, a report was transmitted of heavy fire from the rear, and another engine was dispatched.

Firefighters entered the home and tried to save the family members, who they thought were trapped in the basement. They didn't realize the entire family had gotten out safely.

As the firefighters remained inside, the first floor of the home, which investigators said was soft and brittle, had collapsed.

Lt. Christopher Leach and Sr. Firefighter Jerry Fickes then fell through to the basement and were trapped inside.

At 3:14 a.m., a Wilmington firefighter declared a "mayday" and officials directed more resources to assist them.

Several key moments have been transcribed from the more than 28 minutes of chatter, as provided by Broadcastify:

@3:04 "Command to fire board, I got firefighters trapped...mayday, may (transmission cuts out)..."(seconds later)..."Firefighters trapped on the first floor. Mayday has been declared. All units out."

@6:06 "F1 to fire board, has the mayday been cleared?..."(seconds later)..."F1, I do not believe it has been cleared. The last transmission I had was two still in the basement as two tried to make access."

@21:26 "Fire board, I need an ALS for the male firefighter at Prospect and South Union...."(seconds later)..."Received, on Prospect and South Union."

@21:43 "Command to Battalion 9, you have a male firefighter?..."(seconds later)..."Engine 5 nozzle is in the back of the ambulance. They're assessing (for) ALS , Prospect/South Union. Looking for Trooper 4 (State Police Aviation). Trooper 4 is in the, uh, park. They're going to utilize Trooper 4."

Several firefighters searched through the home and eventually found Leach and Fickes dead.

Four other firefighters were injured during the fire.

Two of the survivors were still in critical condition as of Monday morning at Crozer Chester Medical Center Burn Center, according to Wilmington Fire Chief Anthony Goode. Two others were treated and released from Christiana Hospital.

Funeral plans for Leach and Fickes were still pending Monday morning. Mourners who might be interested in attending eventual services could track arrangements at

Mourners convene Monday morning outside of the office of the Delaware Division of Forensic Science (Mike Phillips/WDEL)

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