Superior Fire Department
The night of February 2, 1979, tested the entire fire department to the fullest. When the first engine pulled up to the “Old Armory” apartment building, flames were coming out of several windows. At least 22 of the apartments were occupied and it seemed as if no one was outside yet. Crews evacuated people from the first floor and raised several ladders to rescue people from the other two floors. Two tenants even climbed down the inside of a ladder from a third floor apartment to escape the heat and smoke. A cry for help led Firefighter Leonard Rouse to the back of the apartment building where he got a boost up to the fire escape to look for a man who was reported to be still inside. Firefighter Rouse entered a broken window on the second floor and climbed through the heat and blinding smoke to make a search of the apartment. He found the unconscious man and began to bring him over to the window. Before Firefighter Rouse was able to complete his rescue, his mask ran out of air and he had to leave. After Firefighter Rouse left, Firefighter Mike Johnson entered through the same window and with great effort was able to get the man outside to awaiting help. Richard Senn was taken to the hospital and recovered from his burns and smoke inhalation.