Two firefighters escaped injury when they accidentally fell into the rancid water of the swimming pool while fighting a fire Friday afternoon at the old Holiday Inn on the south side of Joplin.

The Joplin Fire Department responded at 4:14 p.m. Friday to a report of a fire in progress inside the vacant hotel property at 3615 Hammons Blvd.

Firefighters encountered heavy smoke coming from the enclosed pool area, where a large pile of wire had been set on fire. Due to the amount of smoke in the relatively confined space of the pool, visibility was an issue, and two of the firefighters fell into the pool.

The department said in a news release Monday that the weight of the firefighters' gear heightened the peril of the situation before both were able to pull themselves out of the pool without injury.

The fire, which was brought under control by 4:55 p.m., is believed to have been caused by someone trying to burn the insulation off copper wiring they were tearing out of the building.

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