I just got back from my first hoarding fire.  Stuff stacked to the roof, and not good usable stuff either.  The smoke was to the floor and it was hard just moving to the involved room.  Put my back out pretty badly.  I was curious to know of some of your experiences and if any of your jurisdictions have found a good way to deal with the problem either fire fighting or code enforcement.  thanks

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actually, we saved the whole dang thing.  we advanced a line and kept the fire to the room of origin and kept it a contents fire.  we did not know the state of the house before making entry as the smoke was too thick.  Otherwise we may have done the surround and drown thing.  After throwing my back out upon making entry and then using two more bottles, surround and drown would have saved me a lot of pain.  Sitting on my butt for a week was not all bad though, as i found that the whole EMERGENCY! series is on Hulu for free!

Hilarious! About the television series that is. Sorry to hear about your back. Hope you never have another episode with that.

You never know what's inside unless you've been there or heard tales...

Sounds like you guys achieved a nice stop on the fire.

Stay safe.

These definitely make for tough fires. But I disagree with those who say the rules automatically change and that we should go full defensive. Protection of life and property still applies, although risk vs reward formula changes a bit. Could be a shut-in type occupant present. These fires can still be attacked from interior. Advance must be slowed down. Stream should be operated well ahead of nozzle team; pressure is your friend. You could even try a quick knockdown from exterior window or door, before entering. Fire will not be "pushed". Watch out for highly piled objects that can fall onto members, possibly trapping them or blocking egress. Truck members should try to address this while line advances. Also, the collected contents make for a heavier load than most residences were designed to carry, especially once it's wet. Collapse could be a factor so committment of personnel should be minimized, consistent with safety.

If equipment or staffing limitations are too severe, then yes I would say go defensive.

Thanks for the reply John.  I have kind of flip flopped on the tactics we should have used upon reading the replies to my thread.  We realized later that we could have knocked down the fire through a window before we made entry, and in hindsight it would have been a good plan.  We knew where the fire was but did not know if it had extended, and going interior was the only way to find out.  We were pretty short staffed at first but felt more confident as a few more folks showed up along with my squad Captain.  It was just firefighters at first.  Given the conditions of the house the State fire Marshal said we made a good stop.  Looking back, I don't think we would do it differently tomorrow.  Except for getting myself hurt.   

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