This is why you TRAIN, TRAIN and TRAIN, keeping focused, using skills and knowledge and imploying situational awareness. Routine calls, quickly turn into something entirely different than what we expect...sometimes the difference is life or death.</</i>b>

Montgomery County, MD: Rockville (MD) Firefighter Seriously Injured In Early Morning House Fire - October 2, 2008 - At 0127 hours Engine 31 was dispatched to a transformer fire in the 200 block of Frederick Ave. Engine 31 arrived on the scene with heavy smoke showing from a 1 1/2 story single family Cape Cod style house. The house fire assignment was filled for box 03-07 bringing Engine 231, Engine 331, Truck 3, Aerial Tower 23, Rescue Squad 3, Ambulance 38, and other Montgomery County Fire & Rescue units. Upon further investigation Company 3 units found a working basement fire with fire extending up the stairwell to the first floor. Engine 31 stretched an handline to the first floor and held the fire at the basement steps. Truck 3 began laddering the building and ventilation, while Rescue Squad 3 conducted a primary search.

Engine 231 stretched their handline to the rear of the home, down the exterior stairs, into the basement, and began knocking the fire in the basement. While performing the primary search operations on the first floor, the floor in Quadrant "D" gave way, sending Firefighter III Joel Rogozinski through the floor and partially into the basement.

Firefighter Rogozinski was able to catch himself before falling fully into the basement, however was unable to pull himself up out of the hole in the floor.

When Rogozinski had arrived on the scene, he conducted a circle check and noticed a basement window on side "D". When Rogozinski remembered this window, he chose to drop into the basement, then located the window and was able to rescue himself with assistance from firefighters outside. In the meantime, a mayday had been called by other firefighters on the first floor who witnessed the floor collapse and a firefighter fall through the hole.

Actions by crews on the scene mitigated the basement fire prior to the floor collapse, which allowed Rogozinski the opportunity to escape. The area he fell in and the window he climbed out of was heavily involved in fire just a few moments prior to the floor collapse.

During the event, Rogozinski suffered significant burns to his arms and legs. He was transported by Medic 239 to MedSTAR Trauma Center in Washington, DC. Firefighter Rogozinski has now been admitted to the Washington Hospital Burn Center ICU.

"How would YOU react in a similar situation?" Remember, this was only a small Cape Code stype house, with a "routine" fire.......

This was pulled from:

Remember: Building Knowledge=Firefighter Safety.

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I agree that is why we train. This is one scenerio where we are fortunate to not have lost another brother. Keeping in mind that there is no such thing as a "routine fire," interior operations and sounding the floors is back to the building blocks of SCBA/S&R training.
According to FireFighterCloseCalls this FF had to remove his SCBA harness (keeping his facepiece on) to squeeze through the basement window.

This points out the reason why it is imperative that all interior firefighters have completed firefighter safety and survival and mask confidence classes. And practice, practice, practice the self rescue skills whenever possible until it becomes second nature.
Very well put Chris, you cant ever over do your training, always expect the unexpected.
Great article, brother; thanks. Training, (I'm sure some experience), self-discipline and focus certainly saved the day in this case. And not just on his part.
As has already been said, "nothing is routine!" That's why we do 360 degree surveys upon arrival. I'm glad that this situation didn't result in another LODD. Stay safe people!
The FF Survival Course we teach, makes every firefighter in the classe get out of a standard size basement window just like this...

BTW: I have the audio from this fire/mayday. Email me and I will forward it.
I'd like to ask a question for any one, perhaps esp. Capt. 723 - how did he come to do a 360 walk-around? In my limited experience, only our chief does that - when my engine pulls up, I get orders like take your guys to the B-side door and relieve the nozzle crew. We go straight there and do as instructed.

What I'm saying is that despite my training, if I'd fallen, I'd have had no idea about the window. Am I missing something ? Are all of you doing 360's when your leaders are already on-scene? I don't question the value of a 360, but as a FF or truck officer I've never had that in my job description if arriving with a chief on scene. Thanks.

Excellent question and you beat me to it by 2 minutes.
Our 1st-due engine officer normally does the 360.
If another firefighter takes the fall, he/she may not know where the window is.

Chris, your thoughts?

I take it, after rereading the article, that FF Rogozinski was with the Rescue, and performed this circle check of the structure as the preliminary step in his primary search of the residence.
We had the same type experience in 2007. Early morning fire (06:00) between xmas and new years, heavy smoke reported by PD on patrol. fire in front room of two and a half story single family dwelling, we made entry thru side door to attack from rear toward front. I (engine Capt.) had thermal imager showing HEAVY FIRE in living room, and set the lads loose. When advance stopped I was pressing them to attack, when the (19 year old) nozzleman informed me there was no floor in the living room, and the seat of this fire was in the basement. TRAINING SAVED THE DAY. A lot of younger FF when they saw a room full of fire and they had the tip would of charged in there to save the day, and dragged the crew with them. I realized at re-hab this was the nozzlemans "cherry" fire (fist time on the tip). when the smoke cleared it was apparent how extensive the damage was, and how lucky we were to have had a nozzleman who followed his training, ( sound the floor) and kept his adrenilen rush under control. (bragging time; the nozzleman was my son)
The pictures are truly worth a thousand words. Thanks for the thought provoking post.
Even if you dont do a complete 360 degree walk of the structure, a lot of info can be gained just from walking up to the scene. You can see at least 3 sides of the structure before entering and get some info like location of windows/doors for egress, any ladders already deployed, second story windows with porch roofs or other areas or refuge, any signs of entrapment like sheets draped from the window or people at the window, location of fire, extent of spread, etc etc. I am always looking to see everything I can before entering, even If I dont get the chance to do the 360.
Good article, thanks for sharing and I am glad he is OK.

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