By TARA ALATORRE
PHOENIX – Four Peoria Fire-Medical (PFM) firefighters are in stable condition after becoming injured in an explosion that occurred on the evening of April 19, in North Phoenix at an Arizona Public Service (APS) battery storage facility.
Surprise Fire-Medical and PFM firefighters responded to an emergency call around 8 p.m., reporting a fire at the APS McMicken Energy Storage site located near Grand Avenue and Deer Valley Road.
Shortly after the PFM hazmat team arrived at the building, which is a lithium battery storage facility for APS, it exploded injuring firefighters from Peoria and Surprise, according to a Peoria spokeswoman.
The explosion caused chemical burns and all four PFM firefighters were transported to the hospital, some in critical condition, officials said.
At the time this was written all four firefighters were in stable condition with two being discharged, stated PFM Public Information Officer, Michael Selmer.
Engineer Paramedic Justin Lopez, who has over 12 years of service, suffered the most severe injuries with skull fractures, a collapsed lung, rib fractures, a fractured right leg with possible vascular issues and multiple burns and lacerations all over his body. Lopez was transported with life-threatening injuries, but he is now in stable condition, according to Selmer.
PFM updated its Twitter recently, saying that Captain Paramedic Hunter Clare (15 years of service), firefighter Matt Cottini (12 years of service) and firefighter paramedic Jake Ciulla (3 years of service) all suffered from multiple injuries, burns, lacerations and fractured bones, but are all in stable condition now.
Cottini was discharged from the hospital on Sunday and is expected to make a full recovery, while Clare and Lopez will remain under observation, according to PFM’s social media.
The incident is still under investigation.