Ten Minutes in the Street: On-scene, with Engine 13….

You’re dispatched to a commercial building address in your first-due area along with the Truck Company for a report of smoke coming from the building. As you (Engine 13) and Truck 2 respond, another alarm goes out for a reported structure fire with civilians in distress….( take a look at the concurrent Ten in the Street Scenario-Second Alarm that we’re posting along with this scenario HERE). Since you didn’t have enough to do….

Your box alarm assignment is just one and one (Engine and Truck) with a staffing level of five personnel on each company (yah, I know…it’s a real good day on staffing today). You arrive and are on-scene with Engine 13 and find “some” smoke issuing from the Bravo side (office) and from the Delta side. Both sides have access limitations due to secure fencing.
The building is a commercial building, approximately 100 feet wide x 140 feet deep. It appears to be a single story; however you can see the grade slope downward on the Bravo Side to the rear: looks like another level in the rear. The Delta side also has a secured fence that separates a vacant exposure structure, which appears to be a vacant convenience store. Smoke is getting more pronounced..you might say, heavy smoke showin’ at this point. You’ve got command in the absence of a commanding officer. A chief’s enroute, but due to the other alarm, is going to be delayed (either a greater alarm Battalion Chief, or a mutual aide chief is coming). You have additional resources you can call for.

Here’s what you have:
• 100’ x 140’ Unoccupied (Appearing) Building, 14, 000 SF. Circa 1940’s built Type II construction.
• Masonry perimeter walls, appears to be a heavy wood timber gable truss roof…
• Security Fencing on both Bravo and Delta sides
• Apparent vacant exposure structure on the Delta side.
• Appears to have multiple levels due to grade change on the Bravo side
• Heavy smoke showing…
• Forcible entry will be required to gain access
• You have other resources available, But they are not enroute
• Hey what about the 360? …what’s up with the Charlie side….?
• You have another alarm that was dispatched while you were enroute, that sounds like a job with possible civilians’ in distress… so a number of other companies are being dispatched to that call…

• You’re the officer of Engine 13, On-scene with some showing, assuming command….
• What are you going to do?

o We’re looking for the usual…IAP, resources, safety, strategy, tactics, limiting factors, risk, operations, construction or occupancy hazards…..

Check out the Ten Minutes in the Street: Second Alarm scenario HERE, it’s the other incident that’s happening across town that we mentioned above, while you were enroute to this alarm….

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Occupancy...Fuel, lubricants, oil products....
Request greater alarms- Even with the other Box that was transmitted, we have a limited units on scene and will be needing the help. Put the request in for additional Tower Ladders/Engines - This would be strictly a "Surround and Drown" Operation, No need to put FF's Lives at risk. With the amount of smoke showing, it wont be long until this fire vents itself, Protect the exposures in the meantime until your additional units arrive. If theres a slight possibilty someone is in there... dont risk trying to be a hero- Wood truss in that commerical bldg will not last long-
The exposure building on the D side appears to be a gas station that went under when the EPA required upgrades for all below-grade fuel tanks, and the fuel tanks were subsequently removed. Either that or there's a very large sinkhole back there.

It would help to know what the sign on the A side of the structure said to help determine the type of occupancy. Is it an old garage, an old print shop, or an old feed Co.? Without knowing the fuel load inside the structure and it's apparent lack of occupants, I would fight this defensively from the outset.

Once I establish IC, if Truck 2 isn't an aerial I would request that additional resource and emplace Engine 13 off of the corner of A/D and use the deck gun or a portable master stream appliance to cover the exposure on the D side. If Truck 2 is an aerial truck, then I emplace it at the corner of A/D and use Engine 13's deck gun from the B side. Additinally, I would have the windows on the B and Csides removed and use Positive Pressure Horizontal Ventilation through the large door on the A side. Once the smoke is pushed out a Large diameter hoseline can be used to push more water into the interior atmosphere without deluging the building since we still don't know what is being stored inside.

No one goes in, or on, this one without a need to perform search and rescue.

Thanks, that makes a difference.
I'm late getting to this, but I thought that the structures on Side D looked a lot like fuel-loading drive-through loading docks for tankers.

The big hole is typical for old fuel tank remediation.

Even without Chris's update on the occupancy, this occupancy screams "petrochemicals" while it's whispering "HAZMAT". Especially with the apartment fire across town, I'm going to send the minimum assignment to this one, declare it DEFENSIVE, and let the fire conduct urban renewal for us.

We might not fight this fire at all - no runoff to deal with that way. If we do decide to fight it, I'm going to get a truckload of plastic sheeting and duct tape from a nearby home improvement store, line the crater, and get public works to help us build diversion dams to put the runoff in the crater so we don't contaminate our town's drinking water with the runoff.
I like the plastic and duct tape idea. I would bring in hazmat as well as dnr. Set up a containment ( or use the plastic and tape), then surround and drown. Also agreed. Nobody goes in or on. unless confirmed trapped persons. Which I doubt due to the lack of employee vehicles. Sorry, there IS one on the "B" side, which seems to be absent from the first photo which leads me to believe it's likely a volly in his pov.
We might not respond our hazmat team - the hazmat problems at this scene are Operations level, and virtually every firefighter here is trained to that level. I don't see anyone suiting to the Level A/Technician level on this scene.

On the other hand, the hazmat team can be useful for air monitoring, water quality monitoring, and decon, especially prior to the arrival of state and/or federal hazmat and environmental resources.

I'm not sure I'd use the "drown" part of surround and drown on this one. I'd be more interested in using ladder pipe streams to cool the thermal column and keep my flying brand problem to a minimum while letting the building and the petrochemical products burn as quickly and completely as possible.

Indirect water application seems to be a better idea than any type of direct attack on this one, but I'm also basing this on my community's resources and environmental expectations.
Large volumes of firefighting water on this fire equals large volumes of contaminated runoff, which multiplies the hazmat problem. I'm not sure I'd use that tactic on this one - it makes the FD and the municipality part of the private company's liability for resulting environmental damage.
This is why these posts are so great. Always something to think about. Things that may get overlooked.
Force me to rethink my approach. Look at other ideas. Like I've said in other posts, I'm just getting into the tactical side of firefighting instead of grabbing the hose and going. I am comfortable working inside with the fire, now I want to expand my knowledge. I am going to try to get more involved in these posts and may put out some seemingly sensless ideas, so be easy on me, still learning.
Thanks Ben for pointing out the thermal column and flying debris. guess I may have some tunnel vision when looking at the whole picture in the past, present and future aspects of planning.
first thing i noticed like everyone else is the big runoff on the charlie side. Appears to me that the smoke showing looks like a class A fire with no combustible liquids involved as of yet. Also it doesn't appear to be occupied. Here is where i get into a spot where i am torn because of lack of fire tactical knowledge. I would like to get a look inside with a search group and get an internal can report along with some vertical ventalation, but the safety of firefighters is also a big concern so we could go with some master streams and hit the building with big water also protecting the exposure on the delta side. if any of the more experienced fire fighters could lend me some knowledge i love to learn as much as i can....thanks be safe brothers
Putting a lot of water on this fire is going to create a lot of contaminated runoff regardless of whether or not the petrochemicals are involved in the fire or not at this point. There is obviously a lot of heat in order to generate the volume of smoke that is showing. Big Water equals Big Hazmat Runoff Problem for this fire.

Two rules here...

1) Hazmat doesn't have to burn to be a problem.
2) Adding water to a hazmat Hot Zone is rarely a good idea.
Wow there is a lot going on this morning in this town. I have just joined this group and this is the first time I have had an opportunity to view these scenarios. I must admit that I also have the advantage of reading the valuable input of those that have already responded to these incidents.

My initial assessment of this incident was also that this was some type of fueling facility given the large crater on C side where it appeared that underground tanks had been removed, and the filling structure in front of the tank truck near the back of the crater. It appears that the immediate exposure on the D side may have been part of the same business given the way the security fencing is aligned, and is also unoccupied at this time. The structure off the CD corner to the rear however does appear to be occupied in photo #3. Given what I can see of the fencing these individuals may only have one way out passing around the fire building and across B side to the street. Reading the smoke in photos 4 & 5 but not knowing the time lapse between them, I see high velocity turbulent smoke that is very dark indicating a heavy fire load burning at very high temperatures. As in every event life safety of firefighting personnel and potential victims is first priority. I would be concerned with water supply as it appears to be a mixed commercial/residential neighborhood across the street on A side, and there is no mention of a hydrant nearby and none are visible in the photos.

I would position myself at the BA corner near the bush surrounded parking lot (establishing an ICP) and have Engine 13’s crew proceed to evacuate the people from the occupied structure CD behind the crater and return to the ICP. I would position Truck 2 on A side in the street near the AD corner and use their master stream devices to cool the rising smoke, ash, and embers to keep it form spreading across the street to occupied structures. I would have Engine 13 establish a water supply and feed Truck 2. I would request an additional Truck, two Engines, an Air Truck, and at least one Medic unit from mutual aid knowing it would be a delayed response given the severity of the incident across town. Given the uncertainty of what fuels are burning everyone on the fireground would be required to use SCBA. I would position the Medic/Rehab approximately 100 yards up wind.

I agree with previous assessments that the best course of action here is to allow the unknown fuels to burn off while protecting exposures. I would employ the master stream device off Engine 13 on the AB corner. Positioning the second in Truck on the D side of the D exposure would allow use of the master stream to protect both the D side exposure and the building behind the crater. The next in Engine would be assigned to establish a secondary water supply and feed the second Truck. The third Engine would be held in reserve to address any flying embers or ash that may escape, as well as relief manpower. The EPA should be notified so they can monitor air quality, but I would not tie up the Hazmat Unit unless run off became a problem or overhaul reveals unstable chemicals remianed after the fire was out.

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