Five Minutes in the Street: The View from the Front Seat

Let’s take some time to discuss the mission critical issues related to effective observations of an occupancy and the building structure upon arrival. In this case, we have nothing showing from the curb side of the street, however what is it that we’re seeing? Whats obvious, what isn't. What are our concerns related to what I see, or what I can assume. Look over the image depicted.

Let’s start some discussions and dialog related to any number of the company operational assignments that may ne necessary to be assigned and carried out.

Let’s also discuss and identify the;

• Let’s also discuss and identify the;
• Building features
• occupancy,
• projected construction type(s),
• construction systems,
• fire loading,
• occupancy load,
• live safety
• layout,
• volume,
• configuration,
• movement challenges,
• laddering issues,
• ventilation profile,
• suppression profile,
• building and occupancy risk profile and factors,
• manpower, staffing and company needs,
• apparatus placement, positioning, access
• forcible entry,
• access, egress,
• hazards
• risks

Or anything else you'd like to point out and get some feedback on....

Are you starring to get the picture? This is an open forum for critical observations, discussions and assumptions. It’s the “What if….” We may throw some issues affecting a fire or other response criteria later, for now, let’s see how well you can assess, analyze and profile this occupancy…….

I've added an aerial view to further along more discussion. Again, this is a single family occupancy....

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At first glanced I noticed a few things that will affect operations at this occupancy.

First the shear size of the occupancy...this will more than likely require more than our preconnected lines, and a primary search will be lengthy and victim rescue difficult.

Second the building appears to be of baloon frame construction which we all know what that means for fire spread not only vertically but laterally.

Third the exterior looks to have to different coverings the front looks like stucco and the back looks like vinyl siding. This could mean that the back was added on later or that the house has been renovated either way this could contribute to the avenues of fire travel and how long a fire will burn in this occupancy. An old plaster an lathe room will hold alot of fire for a longer period of time vesus todays sheet rock rooms.

Fouth the pitch of the roof will make it very difficult to vertically ventilate a top floor fire without the assistance of a ladder truck....truck access looks to be minimal if any so vertical vent might be out of the question.

Lastly the porch roof will be a great jumping off point for VES operations.

Well thats what I have for now. I tried to approach it from the arrival of myself as a company officer on an incident and only looked at the picture for about 30 to 45 seconds and these were the things that jumped out at me.
This is a Single family Residential occupancy ...
BTW, very nice, insightful comments thus far......
This is a really large single family home, with the addition of the 3 car garage and the rear of the home. Stink pipe risers on the roof can indicate new construction or a renovation of an older home. I think the latter is true in this case. Garage looks like there may be an apartment above, taking note of the side window. Children may be in this home, basketball hoop makes me suspect this. Front may be stucco over brick or wood frame,(know the construction types in your first due area)the back half is likely vinyl sided wood frame construction.
Now to the problems here, distance from water source(hydrants?) to the truck, and from the truck to all areas of this monster, how many floors and square feet to cover for search and rescue. where is the fire located, what does access look like inside, needed resources based on fire size and whats left to burn. Roof profile, vent profile, steep shingled roof with lots of laddering options and escape routes. Access around the structure appears to be adequate for an attack team(2 engines and 1 ladder). Has many first floor windows for access if needed, egress as well. To sum it all up 1) the building, size and use 2) the fire, how much and where from 3) life hazards,occupied or unoccupied. 4) arrangement, single level, mid rise, high rise ect. 5) resources, manpower and apparatus on scene, responding, or projected, based on the conditions. These factors will all have to be considered for any fire in this big structure.

Thanks for doing this, great training tool.
Rick westerman
Can you say Grizwald!

I just got a few minuets this morning but I’ll guess this guy smoked the wiring. What a nightmare, might have a small service, a lot of older homes only had a 60amp box, there may also be some knob and tube. Anyways we are talking lots of wire and in the walls of the big balloon frame.
I see at least 3 vehicles at the structure as well, possibly more than one family at home as well.
The first thing I thought about the occupancy class of this structure was possibly an assisted living facility, such as ARC or a nursing home. This is huge, too huge for a single family, and judging by the cars in the driveway and the renovations, this could be an assisted living facility with numerous rescues possible. We have a few of these in our districts, large homes converted into ARC houses with at least 10 residents, than you throw in aids, nurses and other support staff like cooks and cleaning staff you could very well be depleting your initial resources on rescue alone. Just a thought to throw into this one.

I would figure balloon construction also, looks to be 3 1/2 story with 2 car attached garage with in-law apartment above it. Access to the building looks to be a front door on porch, maybe a side door next to garage door (Behind car) unknown for the "B" and "C" sectors. Good access the second floor via the porch roof.

Pretty much covered everything but I wanted to add the occupancy class idea.
Let me clear up any misconceptions; This is "only" a single family residential occupany. I've added an aerial view to further along more discussions. It is situated in a suburban setting. It is located on a sizable lot with a set back from the road.

Much of the observations dealing with the mixed built addition and extensions are interesting. Please add more narrative as to why you're thinking this. What's your best thoughts on the constuction systems and the potential for a mix. How does mixed construction systems affect tactical operations, time factors of operations and structural integrity AND fire travel/behavior, IF this were the case. How does the aerial view support or change your view points?

This structure has a number of challenges and impacts on fire operations. Lets keep this going, there's a lot to talk about..........Let me ask this also.."Was this an old house, made into a new and bigger house; or a new house that was made into a newer and bigger house..?"
Wish I could see more of the house next door, looking like this is a new home made bigger, judging the size and shape of the stucture next to Housezilla. Difficult for me to tell from the pics what construction type I'm looking at. This where knowing the make-up of the stuctures in your first due matters. The little dirt road to the left of the structure may be a service road being used by constuction crews , who may be putting the finishing touches on stately Wayne manor.Hey Chris where do you park your helicopter?
Was the front left of this house at one time the garage? Look like from the ariel view from Chris' helicopter, that may have been a driveway there. What do you guys think about that hypothosis?

Rick Westerman
The front part of the house I would guess is brick covered with a stucco like material, I would say this because of the window sills,they look like they are masonry. The front part is old balloon construction possibly with an old stone type basement, the rear of the structure is probably new light weight truss construction as well as the garage and the addition on the b side. The third floor is likely open, possibly all the way to the back, given the position of the dormer on the b side. There are rooms above the gararge, looks like an above ground pool in the back of the residence. Noticing the different sized/style of windows on the d side. A large family lives or lived here, holiday season a lot of people could be staying here. On the b side there looks to be a unpaved access road/driveway that could be used for vehicle access given the time of year ect. ( would be a nice place for the truck if you can get it there a/b corner). looks like a viranda on the back of the b side. If the front was on fire first eng in the primary driveway at a safe distance, if possible the truck to the a/b corner. If the back was going first engine to b side (again if possible) most likely good access off the viranda or from the c side by the pool. I would lay in from the street leaving room for the truck, again a/b corner. If this is a well involved fire it will be manpower intensive. To start with 4-triples 1-truck 1-RIT and that would be if there is a good hydrant down the street.
Great pictures and even better comments. Reading through I see many folks recognizing the possibility of timber frame and balloon construction. Again a great many stated the possible difficulties in ventilating such a structure.
I am pleasantly surprised that no one has mentioned PPV on this fire.
Positive Pressure Ventilation on a balloon frame Type 5 structure will make a first floor fire a fully involved structure.

That aside, I am most interested to see the interior stairs. Without the scaling windows common on an exterior wall staircase, I too am picturing a grand staircase. I'm also wondering if there is a second staircase near the rear of the house. Would be good to transmit over the air if you found one.

From the seat, smoke from any point or fire from the 2nd or 3rd puts me in an aggressive fire attack. At night even more so.

Thanks again, great shot.
I'll post a side view (Bravo side) in a day or so.....

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