UPDATE: AFD’s Capt. Jeffrey Bowen fatally injured in Biltmore Ave. fire


UPDATE, JULY 28: Asheville Fire Department’s Capt. Jeffrey Bowen, a 13-year veteran of the department, died today, July 28, after battling a blaze at 445 Biltmore Ave. Another firefighter, Jay Bettencourt, was taken to Augusta, Ga., for treatment. According to information released at a 5 p.m. press conference, the building was older and not required to have a sprinkler system. The exact age of the building, and the exact circumstances behind the fire have not yet been released. Bettencourt and Bowen were working as a team, searching for people in the building, when Bowen called out “mayday” over the radio. Six other firefighters were also injured, and treated at Mission Hospital. Captain Bowen was 37 years old and leaves behind a wife and three children.

The last time an Asheville firefighter died in the line of duty was 1982.

Asheville City Council member Jan Davis said at the conference, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”

EARLIER TODAY: Fire fighters tackled a blaze on the top floor of the Mission Hospitals building on 445 Biltmore Ave., the location of the hospital’s cancer center, among other facilities, earlier this afternoon. Eyewitnesses told Xpress that the fire is probably electrical in nature and that the buildings are evacuated. At 3:20 p.m., the city of Asheville reported the fire is contained, but Biltmore Avenue will remain closed throughout rush hour as crews work the scene.

Fire fighters tackled a blaze on the top floor of the Mission Hospitals building on 445 Biltmore Ave., the location of the hospital’s cancer center, among other facilities, earlier this afternoon. Eyewitnesses told Xpress that the fire is probably electrical in nature and that the buildings are evacuated. At 3:20 p.m., the city of Asheville reported the fire is contained, but Biltmore Avenue will remain closed throughout rush hour as crews work the scene.

Photo by Katy Brooks

Biltmore Avenue is shut down due to the fire, which the Asheville Fire Department claims to have under control, and will remain closed throughout rush hour. Buses are using temporary detours. The AFD reports that eight firefighters were taken to the hospital for injuries received while fighting the fire.


Photo by Arnie Paulson

SHARE

13 thoughts on “UPDATE: AFD’s Capt. Jeffrey Bowen fatally injured in Biltmore Ave. fire

  1. Jeff Fobes

    Twitter feed:
    13:49pm @brepass: Listening to 445 Biltmore fire on scanner app, 2 down & saved, “everyone out of bldg now” praying for all, #scary #avlnews

    13:33 pm @blogAsheville: WLOS: fire shuts down Biltmore Ave #avlnews

    13:33 pm @sharky530: WLOS ABC 13 News :: Top Stories – Breaking News: Fire At Medical Building In Asheville: http://t.co/HC1E9Q0

    13:19 pm @AshevilleFD: Update ” AFD crews working a 3 alarm structure fire at 445 Biltmore Ave. Crews are reporting progress .

    13:17 pm @davidforbes: Reports from someone nearby scene of 445 Mission fire that blaze is serious, about to flood top floor w water

    12:57 pm @AshevilleFD: “Update ” 3rd Alarm AFD crews working a structure fire at 445 Biltmore Ave. Heavy smoke conditions reported by crews . #avlnews

    12:49 pm @AshevillePolice: Structure Fire at 445 Biltmore Ave. Fire and Police are on scene. #avlnews

    12:46 pm @jatkin02 RT @AshevilleFD: “Structure Fire” AFD crews working a structure fire at 445 Biltmore Ave. Heavy smoke conditions reported by crews .

    12:39 pm @AshevilleFD: “Structure Fire” AFD crews working a structure fire at 445 Biltmore Ave. Heavy smoke conditions reported by crews . #avlnews

  2. Jeff Fobes

    More Twitter feed:
    15:53pm @asheville: We now have eyewitness video from the Biltmore office fire: http://t.co/vhOLhtD

    @jatkin02: Not a bed building, @avleats @mxnews, but one floor is a cancer clinic with outpatient chemotherapy services. #avlnews

    15:32pm @mxnews: Major fire at Mission Hospitals building contained, Biltmore Ave closed through rush hour http://bit.ly/p2aVYa #avlnews

    15:31pm @AshevilleNews: RT @wlos_abc13: The Asheville Fire Department says 8 firefighters are in the hospital after a fire.. http://fb.me/McUmWG8r

    15:29 @msholin: other towns’ fire trucks and cars still on sirens heading to fire. Downtown Biltmote area a parking lot

    @City of Asheville: Biltmore Ave closed through rush hour as crews work Mission Hospitals fire scene. Fire contained #avlnews

    14:57pm @_tatuaje_: 4 alarm fire could just represent additional cars on scene carrying chief or deputy & not additional ladder trucks #avlnews

    14:54pm @DavidForbes: Word from people on the scene that Mission Hospitals Fire is now 4-alarm, firefighters injured. Trying to get confirmation #avlnews

    14:52pm @brepass: 445 Biltmore. Scanner: “fire almost out, going to start ventilating building” #avlnews

    14:51pm @99KISSCountry: LOCAL NEWS: Firefighters Injured In Office Building Fire http://ow.ly/5PN0D #avlnews

    14:46pm @AskAsheville: That is wild. RT @maryimagesmith: Stuck in traffic- flames coming from top floors of 445 Biltmore Asheville. #avlnews #avl

    @joelladuncan: Another pic of hospital fire taken from St Joseph’s. @AskAsheville http://t.co/a3nVD1f #avlpics #avl #avlnews

    14:50pm @brepass: 445 Biltmore. Scanner: “fire almost out, going to start ventilating building” #avlnews

    14:27 pm: @SocialLifeAvl: Avoid Biltmore and McDowell. Bumper to bumper traffic #avlnews

    14:09 pm @MissionAVL: Patients w/ appointment @ 445 bldg tomorrow, call 213-2222 Opt #2 to reschedule or find out where u need to go for appt. #AVL #AVLnews

  3. Jeff Fobes

    More Twitter feed:
    1646pm RT @MissionAVL: Visitors should approach hospital from McDowell st. since Biltmore closed to all but emergency traffic due to fire.

    16:46pm @mvwilliams: unconfirmed: RT @threebigbangs: Fire was started by generator on top of the building that melted through the old spray-on concrete

    1644pm RT @MissionAVL: Our thoughts & prayers go out to the 8 injured firefighters, & friends and family of the firefighter who was killed

    1642pm RT @MissionAVL: Asheville Fire Depratment will give newsbriefing at 5 pm at City Hall. re Chief to hold 5pm press conference. City Hall, 1st floor.

    1628pm @missionAVL Patients with Carolina Internal Med at burn site (445 Biltmore) urged not to come in today

    1628pm RT @mvwilliams: Firefighter death in Biltmore Ave fire: unconfirmed witness report that it was heart related

    1622pm @mvwilliams: Firefighter death in Biltmore Ave fire: unconfirmed witness report that it was heart related

    1620 pm RT @Ashevegas: a firefighter hasn’t died in the line of duty in Asheville for at least 20 years, according to my recollection.

    1620pm RT @gordondsmith:My thoughts are w/the family of firefighter who lost his life today. Several..injured r in hospital. Heartbreaking

    1619pm WLOS TV 13: Firefighter has died in Biltmore Ave medical building fire http://www.wlos.com/

    1619 pm RT @Ashevegas: i have unconfirmed information that Asheville firefighter who died was a captain with the Fire Department.

    1618pm RT @Ashevegas: WLOS just sent mobile text alert that one firefighter has died in connection with today’s fire at Mission.

    1602 pm: RT @211wnc: Thinking of friends @AshevilleFD working 3 alarm structure fire at 445 Biltmore Ave. http://bit.ly/pPqmcg

  4. Rebecca Sulock

    Capt. Jeff Bowen helped organize a mustache-growing event to raise money for Eblen Charities last Christmas season, according to the Citizen-Times. Firefighter Jay Bettencourt also helped organize the drive (Bettencourt was seriously hurt in the fire today as well).

    From the story, by James O’Shea:

    “City firefighters are growing out their ‘staches to raise money during the holiday season. The Asheville Firefighters Association has always raised money during the holidays and donated it to the needy. This year they decided to add a little twist, and maybe even a little moustache wax, to the holiday giving.

    The firefighters selected three families to support through Eblen Charities. They plan to raise $500 for each family and hope Eblen will purchase a Christmas meal for the family and gifts for the children.

    ‘Firefighters have a rich tradition of creative facial hair, going back to the days when they would actually use facial hair to filter out smoke from a fire,’ Local 865 Vice President Scott Mullins said. ‘Of course, we’re much more focused on safety now, but the contest is a good way to raise money and remember the history of our profession.’

    More than 120 firefighters have grown mustaches and donated $5 to the cause. About 80 of the firefighters don’t normally sport facial hair.

    Women within the department are also doing their charitable share: They have already collected more than $1,000, including matching funds from the Asheville Firefighters Association. The firefighters hope to reach the $1,500 goal before the Dec. 10 deadline.

    Engineer Clint Brown, Capt. Jeff Bowen and firefighters Rick Miller and Jay Bettencourt played instrumental roles in the ‘stache bash.

    ‘Funds that we are raising will have a significant effect on these families’ lives,’ Brown said.”

  5. Susan Andrew

    So sad about Capt. Bowen, who lost his life as he was doing his job, searching for anyone who might have been trapped in the burning building. Our thoughts are with his wife and children, who must now carry on their lives without him. Our gratitude won’t ever fill that hole, but: thank you, with all our hearts.

  6. Chris White

    RIP brother Bowen! OUr thoughts and prayers are with the family and our brothers of the Ashville Fire department.

    Chris
    Houston Fire Department

  7. Jeff Fobes

    Tweet from Asheville City Councilmember Gordon Smith on Friday, July 29 at 3:48pm:
    “AVL Firefighter Jay Bettencourt, injured yesterday at the Biltmore Ave fire is in being discharged from hospital and in good shape.”

  8. Locked doors, stand pipes not delivering water…inspector didn’t know this beforehand.??? Building management didn’t know???
    This was a death trap waiting to happen.

  9. michael beckham

    Hello everyone…. my name is Michael beckham,Jeff was my neighbour and a brother to me we grew up together in san bernardino ca. Jeff had always been an all star in life he would push you to yur limits and get everything out of you he could. Jeff had no wasted moments in his life he was always pushing forward he new what he wanted at a young age an that was to be a fireman. Me an Jeff did a lot we surfed,rode mountains with are snowboards we rode bikes an skate boards. I was 2years younger then Jeff but he dident care he always looked after me.Even though we lost touch an I dident get too say buy I’m still greatfull to have had him as a friend an older brother!!!! I’m always gonna remember you captain Jeff you are what we should strive to be. Love you man…. gonna go hit the water an ride a wave for you

  10. Thomas Pack

    I know everyone has an opinion, but I think the state is sticking there nose where they don’t belong. Do what you need to for Jeff, he gave all.

Leave a Reply