You’re first-due at a residential occupancy for a report of a fire on the number two floor. Sure enough, it’s pretty obvious upon arrival on scene, you confirm a working fire. Observations validate that you have heavy fire on the number two floor; Alpha-Delta side with the likelihood of extension. This is more than just a residential occupancy. The structure is in fact a multiple occupancy, it’s a late Saturday morning and you don’t have a good feeling about this.

You have a four staffed Engine Company, with a mixed crew of seasoned and new personnel, with the second due engine coming in right behind you. (this is a good day..) The first-due truck company has yet to call enroute. As the first-due officer, what’s your size-up and risk profiling of the building, the fire and the incident action plan (IAP) needs? Let’s categorize some of strategic and tactical mission elements for discussion;

Risk Profile and The Size-up

·         What is the Construction Type and characteristics? Describe the building.

·         How would you characterize the degree of observed fire involvement and its expected behavior?

·         What does reading the smoke tell you?

·         What is the probability of fire extension; where, when and how?

·         Occupancy Load Projections?

·         Fire Load Projections?

·         Survivability Profile for trapped or distressed Occupants?

·         Survivability Profile for your companies?


Incident Action Plan

·         Describe the basis for you Incident Action Plan (IAP) Real Simple-What are you going to do?

·         What needs to be done first-Strategically; What, why and where?

·         Resource Needs?

·         Time Considerations?


Tactical Objectives and Tasks

·         OK, you’re the Company Officer on the Engine Company; YOU know what the engine company’s function and responsibilities are. So what are you going to do from a Tactical perspective?

·         What can you do with the resources immediately available ( Two Engine Companies; Eight (8) staffed personnel-some new, some veterans, with a hydrant picked up at the corner upon arrival)

·         What is the projected fire flow needs for this size fire, based upon a street side five minute deployment time to get line(s) in place?

·         What else do you need in a timely fashion? What will happen if you don’t get it when you need it?

·         Describe the challenges to the Engine Company crew related to stretching lines into occupancies such as this and how you expect the lay out to be? What’s typical of these building types and occupancies.


Address any or all of the questions posed. Time’s a wasting, the fire isn’t going

to go out on its own..ohh by the way, that rookie looks like he’s ready to pull an

1.75 line off the rear bed…..


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But would there be any savable victims in the location that you would be using a deck gun on? Especially in this scenario?
Engine Captain Missouri,

I hear you - different manning and equipment, different tactics. You stay safe, too.


Of course not, but a master stream device from the exterior can wreak havoc in locations where there are savable victims. If you have the manpower and equipment, get a handline up to the 2nd floor (through the interior) between the fire and trapped occupants. I've used 1 3/4" lines many times on occupancies such as this and with that volume of fire - or more. Handled aggressively, that size line will extinguish the fire and protect the guys crawling down the hallway looking for occupants in the 2nd floor rear and 3rd floor.
Size up-
Engine 811 has arrived to a 3 story residential wood frame structure with visible flames on the second floor, engine 811 will be establishing 10 minutes in the street command all units switch over to tac 1 and stand by for the plan, engine 811 will be in mobile command mode.

Basements? (looking for signs that there is a basement. i.e. Window wells and entry doors. Could be Balloon framing
? now i have to worry about attic fires?)
Victims? (outside or near normal paths of egress)
Hazards? (Power line is nearby will the ladder be utilized? Propane Tank outside? Animals? Random would-be hero's?)
Flame location? Second story? A-B corner, PPV attack? V.E.S.?

All units from command, we have a working fire on the second story A-B corner with A-side being primary entry side.
this will be a transitional fire attack with a stand-pipe advancement (repeat), engine 811 has established a water supply and will conduct fire attack, sar, iric and accountability This is a balloon framed structure with a basement and balconies also has overlying power lines and exposures.

upon arrival my guys will not leave the cab until I've given them an order, even if it means they are sitting in the cab as I conduct the 360. With the established water supply I will not worry about how fast the deluge will use whats in my tank so we will hit the fire room with the deck gun as my senior pulls the 2 1/2 Blitz line and I grab the tools and pull the pre-connect. By this time the hydrant man should be there or the 2nd due company has arrived making the next officer stationary command. hydrant man will be establishing iric and reports to the engineer to prepare the secondary attack line uncharged to the door so he could help shag hose.

Secondary company is a luxury for our department and the passing of command when the next "Officer" has arrived makes our job Sar/Fire attack. if the rescue profile is high it will be announced and the OSHA rule is going to be skipped, the hydrant man comes in to help the officer while nozzle man keeps the fire in check to allow safe extraction.

Secondary line will be advanced uncharged to the top of the stairs to keep the hallway and means of egress intact, charged at the top of course.
Philly, agreed on your opinion of master streams vs. savable victims.

In the flashed over portion of Floor 2, there are no savable victims.

A TRANSITIONAL attack (short burst, get knockdown, then shut down the deck pipe) on this one might work. I didn't advocate that, because I agree that it is important to get a handline inside, and using the deck pipe will delay the interior attack quite a bit.

Pulling a handline, charging it, hitting the fire and darkening it, then moving the handline inside addresses both sides of the issue.

If - as Chris points in one of his later responses - this is a modern engineered building designed to look like an old balloon frame, going inside with the fire this far progressed is a very iffy proposition.

I've seen a couple of engineered buildings come apart and collapse after only five or six minutes of heavy fire exposre like what is shown above. If you can kill the fire from the exterior, the minute or two that it takes are well worth it to enhance the survivability of both the firefighters and the potential civilian victims.

The fire is an immediate threat to any savable interior victims, but the collapse potential is a threat to both the civilians and to us. The trick is to know where to draw the line.

In this case, knowing the buildings in your first due can make that difference. If we're smart, the size up starts a long time before the fire does.
i agree with you i would choose a 2 1/2 attack line and nozzle
What about squatters? Still need to perform a life safety search once it is feasable to do so. I know this may not pose itself as a immediate concern but we must remember that we may have some situations come upon us in these hard economic times that we aren't used to seeing. Just a thought.
The life safety profile for squatters won't be any different than the life safety profile for any other unprotected occupant.

Occupants in the flashed over compartments are dead.

Occupants above the fire are at high risk.

Occupants on the fire floor are at high risk if there are no closed doors or other fire barriers, and are at low or medium risk depending upon the smoke conditions, alternate exit possibilities, handicaps, etc.

Occupants below the fire are at a low risk right now.

If you don't have the manpower to search a potentially vacant unit immediately, it makes more sense to kill the fire as a victim-saving measure, then to search the other occupancy later when you have more manpower or after the fire is knocked down.
First allow me to say that my department would give a size up slightly different than the one given by many other commenters, for example....

Central, Engine 12's arriving on scene of a 3 story wood frame structure, heavy smoke and fire showing on the A/B corner level 2, multiple dwelling structure. 849 is assuming command, Engine 1 catch the hydrant, Engine 2.....exterior ops, Ladder 1 take secondary.

Also, a first alarm assignment for my department is 3 engines and 1 ladder. Second alarm brings 2 additional engines.

At that point Command would attempt to establish a OAC (occupant accountabillity count), a primary search would begin with the support of Engine 12's 1.5" crosslay. Upon Enigne 1's fireground arrival a 5in supply would be obtained from the hydrant and tied into E12, then E1 crews would take over interior attack and E12 would become primary search with fire protection coverage at that moment. Upon E2's arrival exterior egress and RIT would be established. When L1 finally arrives, that unit would be put in place for whoever command has available to take the roof or dump windows on level 3 and search, then the ladder would be put in service as a roof top drown operation to cool the structure. The local county EMS agency responds 2 medic units to any structure fire reported.

When the second alarm is toned out (let's say E3 and E4) would respond to the scene and take over first due interior ops as needed as well as back up first due companies.

In the way of manpower, I know my comment here has seemed overcomplicated to some, but our dept only staffs 2 of 10 engine companies with 4 members, the other 8 are 3 member units. As for the dept's 2 ladder companies.... Ladder 1 is a single man unit unless PT members are working and Reserve Ladder 1 is never staffed unless a call in situation occurs.

Our Dept would immediately lay 2 interior 1.5" attacks and call for a second alarm upon arriving at this structure.
"When L1 finally arrives, that unit would be put in place for whoever command has available to take the roof or dump windows on level 3 and search, then the ladder would be put in service as a roof top drown operation to cool the structure."

Take the roof - why?? This fire is already heavily autovented.

Dump windows on level 3 - why??? The smoke there isn't heavy and breaking the windows will give the fire an easy exterior autoexposure route.

Roof top drown operation - why??? I'm thinking of Alan Brunacini's comment "Roofs are stupid. They shed ladder pipe water just like it was rain."

One other thing - this fire is at the D-A corner, not the A-B corner unless I missed something.
Seems like I taught Benny well before he moved to the high life in Hilton Head
Amazing, Greer finally got the internet? Good to hear from you, Chief.
I must try and defend the 1 3/4 line. Lets say this is 30x60ish, and we have a 1/4 involvment of one floor (for now) thats about 150gpm. With the speed and manuverability and being familar with the layout of such building, this seems to be an 1 3/4 fire for me. We run smooth bore with 15/16 @ 185. good agressive water application, with a self vented fire shoud be a home run.

Ben, why would the master stream delay the handline getting in place? with a 4 man engine company, one could run the monitor and the mpo and 2 stretching the line to the front door and maybe even starting up the stairs, or as I have had done before, no reason the mpo cant charge the monitor and run it him self if he prepositions it at the fire area.

Just a thought.

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