Before you blister me for being heartless, read the entire post...

I have spent the last 36 hours going over the fire
that took the lives of Captain Broxterman and
Firefighter Schira and as every hour passed I have
become more disturbed about not only what happened
leading to their deaths, but also why none of the
questions I have seem to be obvious to other
seasoned members here. (Art, Siren, Ed...excluded)

Nine years ago I lost a mentor, brother and friend
in a fire due to structural collapse. Brian was a
guy that I would have followed into anything
without any worry that he was leading me into an
untenable situation.
He and two others still died when the building they were in
collapsed. He knew the signs and sounds of an
imminent collapse, what he didn’t see was the blow
torch that was working on the rafters from a north
wind ripping thru vent holes in the attic. Due to
a combination of wind, dry conditions, and
building position, that roof fell in a fraction of
the time it should have taken to fail. And 3
firefighters lost their lives trying to save a
church.

I keep looking for the point where water was put
on the fire and as of yet have found disturbing
information that says the line crew were calling
for water only seconds before collapse. This was
at 0635. Twenty Five minutes after the first 911
call, and 11 minutes after arriving on scene.
This alone is enough to rise more than a few red
flags, but it is the 25 minutes from dispatch
until collapse that concerns me most. While it
seems fairly fast when you are on scene, 25
minutes is a long time to subject structural
supports to direct flame contact.
How many floor joists are rated to stand up under
heavy fire conditions for 25 minutes with an
unknown amount of dead load??? None that I am
aware of…
From photos the house appears to have been built
in the 1970’s or 80’s. How is that significant you
ask? Simple, instead of traditional nails to
attach the joists, many homes in this period were
built with gusset plates. Not exactly the same
thing as a nail. Long before a wooden floor joist
fails, the gusset plate would have lost its bite
on the wood and failed.
Now look at those 25 minutes of free burn again.
Would you put your crew in a house that has been
involved in fire for 25 minutes, how about 15
minutes, or even 10?
We are not talking room and contents here. This
was a house heavily involved, and a basement at
that. How much of the structural support had
eroded in those 25 minutes? Could you even see
what condition the house was in before making
entry?

Now, the $1 million question. What information led
an experienced line officer into a heavily
involved structure with no life hazard present?
Did IC know the occupants were out of the house?
If so why was a line crew headed into the basement
with no water supply?

We have all made bad calls and pushed the
envelope...I know I have and have scars to prove
it. But, I am, or at least have been lucky on more
than one occasion. The thing I took away from
those close calls was hard earned knowledge,
something Captain Broxterman and Firefighter
Schira will not have the opportunity to do, but we
should.

Again, with all this said, I do not pretend to know what happened any more than what reports have said about the fire. What I do know, is we lost
two promising young firefighters Friday that we can’t replace.

To Robin and Brian: May the LORD bless you, and
keep you; May the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; May the LORD turn his countenance to you and grant you peace.

Stay Safe,

Allen Wahlström
NASCCFD

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Allen, you are not alone in asking the questions, I'm sure many have.

Answers to the question of "why were they in there at all" may have to wait for the NIOSH report, or they may never be known.

But I agree with you: let us honor their memory by learning from their misfortune.

When I first heard about the incident Friday morning, I immediately began a web search for any and all information as to what had happened. It wasn't long before I turned up a news story that had key words like "basement fire" and "fell through the floor". Those words painted enough of a picture for me.

A year ago we almost lost one of our members. He fell partway through the first floor of a house with a small fire in the basement. The fact that it happened next to a window and there were others who pulled him to safety made it an "oops" and a learning experience rather than a LODD.

Going forward, I've made a personal committment to know the type of building construction BEFORE anyone makes entry. If it's cheap construction or unknown, no one's going in unless there's a rescue situation. We'll fight it the old fashioned way - stick the nozzles in the window and blast away. People may argue that that's not the way to save the taxpayer's property, but guess what? Property can be replaced; people cannot.

To Robin, Brian and Brian: rest in peace. Some day the rest of us will finally learn.
Being patient enough to read your comment, we are utterly appalled. You mentioned one powerful word bestowed upon yourself that I am glad you have, "LUCK". I hope you retain it for your lifetime left as a Firefighter in the EMS family. I also would like to ask you to put yourself in that casket next to my brother, and imagine someone writing this about you after you were gone in such a horrible tragedy. Again, I hope you retain your luck. As a 22 year firefighter who lost his partner that day, I say to you, "SINCE WHEN IS FIRE SAFE". As we speak together, on behalf of COLERAIN FD, SHAME ON YOU.

Unfortunately, as I speak on the behalf of our local Fire department that lost a GREAT leader to which I have the privelege of knowing personally, and after all the runs throughout this township that is the largest township in the state of Ohio, this fire department has lead a path of succession time and time again, in trainings, and round the clock fire runs.

In order for you to properly assess this, you would have had to be there. POINT BLANK.
You are right, you do not know the whole story. It was a long lay, terrible conditions, and it was still considered a rescue entry at the time. You are absolutly wrong on your 25 minutes of water. That is simply untrue. As a firefighter working for COLERAIN for 14 years, for a monday morning quarterback you might want to reconsider a new line of work. If you are going by a news report or the clip of mayday call, then perhaps you need to reassess your duties and calling. Your anger towards your loss doesn't bring them back anymore than you putting shame on our brothers. A church collapse is far different than a house collapse. But one thing in common, you can't bring back those that perished by speaking in their name.

Sincerely, with deepest regret to the men you just stomped on from a thousand miles away.

Kari & Felipe C,
Colerain Fire EMS
you said it, "Rescue mission".

The home was built in the 90s, not the 70s or 80s. He is self-misinformed. And if you go by the media, well even the normal joe knows that is just plain stupid. It was also strong wood structure. Also, the firefighters were in the basement, when the floor fell upon them. NOT above.

Only those that were there would know and fellow family.

You both seem to not have learned one thing. Not one situation is like another. As a firefighter, you should know that. You also have "questions". Questions that neither of you can answer. I'm sure Mr. "Wally" new alot more about his fellow brethren that lost their lives, long before the media and the world.

Sincerely,
BEHALF OF COLERAIN TOWNSHIP FIRE
Exactly, and therefore, it was still considered a rescue. The call was made for "MORE" water. And, you only hear about 2 firefighters on interior, not others. Wait for the report fellas. There's a difference between posed questions suitable to the demands of the job and "learning" from harsh lessons that happened to our department, and posting opinions of answers not yet known to those outside of the incident that is still under investigation. We have an awesome deligate that will redefine the moments and reinact for learning in the future.

There is a fury in all of those that lost on 4.4.08. It is important to keep calm and learn appropriately and post when the time is right and educated.
there are plenty of situations to truly follow on this forum. There are plenty of scenarios on this site alone that are educational. let alone other countless operational sites. The VA case for example, in April 07. That is a great guideline to watch for reference and discussion and "OPINIONS".

It is important to have the facts before opinions, questions should always arise, especially right now during this hard time for our fire department.
WAY TO EARLY to be armchair Quarterbacking. However when the facts are in, and you find out the answers to your questions then learn from it. It's not unfair to ask questions before then Just don't pass judgement. And as for the guy heading out the door tonight, If you don't know how to do your job then you should sit out until you do.
FF Families, Etc.:
If you are so appalled, maybe you should take all of your emotion and put it somewhere other than here. If you are the PIO for your fire department, then I would also think that you should be with the families and not here.
And were you with Capt. Broxterman and FF Schira at the time? No? Then YOU don't have any right to rip Allen or anyone else who wants to look at this and ask questions and discuss it in a civil manner. Allen isn't criticizing the fire department; he's raising critical questions. Go over to Goldfeder's site, because he is asking some of the same questions. He broke it over there, based on news media reports. Go show HIM some outrage. And keep your outrage handy for the investigators, because they are going to ask the same hard questions.
You are just like the rest of us here, troubled by two more LODDs, more questions than answers and wantings answers as soon as we can get them.
Don't come here and tell any of us that we are "stomping" on anything. If you don't have the stomach for honest and open discussion, then stay there.
Allen, me, Joe, WestPhilly and anyone else has every right to open discussion on this latest tragedy. If that is too much for you, then don't participate.
What is "appalling" is that you would use this time to attempt to stifle and suppress open dialogue.
Excuse me for not buying for what you're selling. I know Allen agonized over starting a discussion thread and I warned him about people like you. And thanks to you, I was dead nut on.
Now; if you don't mind, we are going to discuss this. If you have something constructive, please bring it to the discussion. If all you have is indignation or whatever it is you're feeling, then it won't be useful here.
I have offered my condolences to the families and fire department.
We have to learn from this or it's for nothing.
Art
Chasefire:
You're right.
I have not seen any judgment passed here.
However; questions should be asked now, because if we "wait" for the reports from, say, NIOSH, state OSHA, fire marshal's office and any other agency involved, it could take several months or over a year to see those reports.
It is important NOW to find out if there were any failures in equipment, because that is so critical in the here and now.
Tactically, I see no reasons why questions cannot be asked based on the information that is available AT THE MOMENT. Is everyone of the mind that the media can't get anything right? Because, most of the time, it is US giving them the information. I worry about the media outlets who don't contact the information officer for their info.
What I suspect will happen is that many theories will be floated in Colerain Twp and at all of the other firefighter websites until someone close to the incident will step up and answer some meaningful and important questions. But, I wouldn't believe it until they can prove their credentials.
When someone comes here and says who they are, I immediately dismiss them if their profile is not only absent of key information but EMPTY. That changes my whole line of thinking.
To anyone hesitant to discuss this tragic incident because they don't want to be accused of being insensitive, I will only tell you that I have been to many firefighter funerals over the years and frankly, I am tired of seeing brothers and sisters dying.
Their home departments will honor them for the way they lived, but the national fire service will remember them for how they died. And that brings us right back to here.
It should be done and it should be done with respect.
TCSS.
Art
We'll (FASNY) be offering a program in the fall to address some aspects of these questions....

1.) What is worth saving?
2.) When is a structure worth someone's life?
3.) Are we empowered enough as firefighters and human beings to speak up if we're hesitant to enter a structure or if we see something questionable that a line officer might have missed?
4.) Where is the line drawn between heroism and foolhardiness?

We have more up-to-the minute equipment and better safety mechanisms in place than ever before.... but guess what...we're still killing ourselves the same old way....no one's invented anything new in THAT department.

My thoughts and prayers go out to their families and their department.

Kari,
I fail to see the juncture at which Allen purportedly "stomped" on the memory of those lost. We understand the grief, and the feeling of powerlessness...but when we stop asking questions...we lose the opportunity to learn from tragedy....which is indeed senseless.
From FirefighterCloseCalls:
[quote]As sent on THE SECRET LIST: FUNERAL INFORMATION: Colerain Township, Ohio LODD’s. The joint visitation and services are as follows:

The visitation for Fire Captain Robin Broxterman and Firefighter Brian Schira will be held on Tuesday, April 8th from 1500-2000 hours at the Gwen Mooney Funeral Home (formerly the Jon Dietloff Funeral Centre) 4389 Spring Grove Avenue in Cincinnati.

A Mass of Christian Burial (service) will be held on Wednesday, April 9th, 1100 hours at St. Peter In Chains Cathedral in downtown Cincinnati. There will be a procession from the Mass to Spring Grove Cemetery (Cincinnati) for graveside services, traveling through Colerain Township.

Information related to transportation, housing, personnel staging, apparatus and personnel lineup etc will follow as soon as it is available. For those planning to travel to the area, use Cincinnati as your destination if by car, and the Greater Cincinnati/Northern KY International Airport as the closest airport
.[end of quote]
Amen! My husband works for Colerain and, although I am not personally knowledgable enough to offer a rebuttal to the post, I was appalled at the insensitivity and lack of correct information.

It's great to learn from mistakes and tragic events but I firmly believe there were no mistakes made by Robin, Brian or the crews on scene. Robin was a great captain, very well respected, and she knew her stuff. Colerain is an excellent department that trains extensively and consistently. With the funerals only a day away, it seems a little harsh to critique (especially based on misinformation) right now.
Thats where you are wrong. With the funerals tomorrow, next week or a month ago it is important for the firefighters who are on the job now to move on, and to learn from the situation at hand to not come to the same outcome. Was there a mistake? I DONT KNOW. Was someone at fault? I again don't know. Thats what this forum like all others started will hopefully do, review safety facts and allow us to communicate with one another to enable ourselves to be further educated. As chief said above, if you can't handle it, than leave. I also suggest you not babysit a social website when you have 2 families who need tending and your department has a lot to prepare for.
I think it is tragic to lose any firefighter, for any reason. To remain silent and never learn would only give us more funerals and LODD's to discuss for years to come.
God bless the victims, and may God give comfort to the survivors and families.

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