Ten Minutes in the Street

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Interactive Scenarios, Where YOU Make the Call

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Ten Minutes in the Street is back, bringing you insightful and provoking street scenarios for the discriminating and perspective Firefighter, Officer and Commander; where you make the call. You don’t have to have any special rank to participate in this interactive forum, just the desire to learn and expand you knowledge, skills and abilities in order to better yourself, create new insights, while sharing your experience and perspectives to help you and others in the street in making the right call; so everyone has the opportunity of going home.


Ten Minutes in the Street: “Three For One"

Volume 10, Number 9

An alarm of fire clears the airways, as the communications center dispatches a first alarm assignment for a report of a structure fire in a single family residential occupancy in a new neighborhood. Most of these residential structures were built between 2005 and 2010. They vary in size from 2500 SF – 3500 SF. They are closely spaced and are Type V constructed with wood clad or vinyl siding.

The first alarm assignment is comprised of three engine companies, two truck companies, a rescue (or squad) company and an EMS unit. Companies are either from one department or are a balance of mutual aid units. All companies are four staffed. There are two chief officers responding, and a RIT/FAST Engine is being dispatched as additional radio transmissions indicate numerous calls coming in reporting three different address locations, with others indicating large plumes of smoke in the area.

The first-due engine and the district chief arrive and find not one, but three residential houses in varying stages of fire., three for one....

·         House #1 is the most involved with rapid fire progression, extending to both exposures on the Bravo and Delta sides.

·         House #3 is the Bravo Exposure,

·         House#2 is the Delta Exposure.

·         The area has adequate hydrants and water flow and pressure.

·         It’s a weekday around 1300 hours and the heat index is 105 degrees F.

Let’s look at the first ten minutes of this operation;

·         What does Command do, after establishing Command?

·         What are the Strategic needs for this alarm?

·         What are the immediate concerns for the development and initiation of the IAP?

·         What are the Tactical needs and how can they be effectively deployed?

·         Who needs to do what, when?

·         Give us your insights: what would you do as either the Commander or the First-Due Company Officer/

·         How are your reading this fire incident Strategically or Tactically?

·         How will these buildings react over the course of the next ten minutes?

·         What’s the worst that can happen after ten minutes….?



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The PDF for the scenario is attached
Command does a quick walk around and calls a additonal alarm.

Strategic plan, hold it to the 3 involved units

As the engine officer I am gonna have both riders stretch there own big line, in my department preconnected portable monitor and 2 1/2" hand line between exposure 2 and exposure 2a, and exposure 4 and 4a (buildings 3 and 2 respectivly) while my pump operator get a water supply and protect exposures A1 and A2 across the street. I would have 1st truck access from side 2 (building 3 side) it's the most involved and most likely to extend at this point, and next truck on the side 4 (building 2 side) and set the sticks up to protect exposures and fire attack, I would have each of them lay in if they could, and if not would have the next 2 engines one each lay out from each truck after dropping there company.

There will be no interior work and any of these 3 buildings, and as comapnies arrived I would have them actively checking the next exposures and stretching lines to the rear.

Next 10 minutes not matter what we do, all 3 of these buildings are on the ground. Story over, marsh mellso and camp fire stories while proteting exposer and getting the main body K/D.
Have to agree with you Chris all 3 will probably be going to the ground...Definitly starting the defensive by protecting the houses next to both 2 an 3
Perhaps we might get a look inside dwelling #2 (which appears to me to be eminently savable) to see if anyone is home before committing to burning it down?
Just a thought, if you had a mounted deck gun on top of the Engine why not leave in place and use right away. No waiting on lines to connect to it. Then hand lines (2.5) deployed along with Truck companies. That's if you think you have a good angle to the fire. Just a thought
I gotta agree with you WP just because it's 1300 hours doesn't mean that there may not be occupants in the structure. And dwelling 2 looks like it's the most salvageable at this point. I would put a crew on dwelling 2 and go defensive on 1 and 3 and just protect exposures on those sides. Plus if you can get good knockdown on 2 you don't have to worry so much about the exposures on that side, just the 3 side. When the second engine crew gets there I would have them deploy water curtains on the 2 and 3 side just to cover exposures. When rescue or the ambulance units get there have them set up a rehab area after all it is 105 degrees. That should just about cover the first 10 minutes. What could go wrong after that is anyones guess hydrant could run out of water so then shuttle ops would have to commence immediately, gas lines could feed the fire, there's a lot of potential.

When Chris asks what's the worst that can happen after ten minutes, he's almost certainly thinking about a roof collapse in dwelling #2 with firefighters inside. As I see it, whether to commit companies to the interior of this dwelling for search and/or suppression activities is the only real decision to be made. The rest is obviously a matter of exposure protection.
In my opinion, with the amount of BTU's being given off by structure #1, unless I could get some big water on flowing on this structure in a hurry (ie deck guns or pipes), anything but a quick search in the other two structures will be pointless.

Exposure protection for the houses on each side of structures 2 & 3, as well as the ones across the street would be in order. Apparatus placement on the street would be a concern if we are to use ladder pipes. Heat exhaustion is also a major concern, so a rehab area is a must. I would pull at least a 2nd alarm, but probably a third for manpower.

In my area, we have many places such as this and an engine or two to the rear to draft from the pond and use the big guns from the rear as well.
Perhaps we might get a look inside dwelling #2 (which appears to me to be eminently savable) to see if anyone is home before committing to burning it down?
Since #2 is at this point the only tenable building, a primary search certainly needs to be the priorty. Life safety, fire control, property conservation...
Risk a lot to save.. well we all know..
Granted the roof on #2 will soon not be there, but in a calculated fashion, all efforts must be on #2. I don't think we need to believe that #2 will go to the ground. At least not until the wreckers take it down after the fact.
With 16 members on scene pretty much at the same time, there would be lots of people to get the ball rolling. Keep in mind, that many things can be done simultaniously. Exposure protection can be started while the Primary search on of #2, is getting underway. Once the search is complete, and the all clear is given, concentrating efforts on #2 could still save it from going to the ground.(again, no external operations while crews are inside ) For sure a second and third alarm would be struck, thereby ensuring enough exposure protection is in place, plus crew rotation/rehab. Even a 4th alarm could be considered. Better to have them started and have to turn them around than to wait til its too late to order the help right? (of course I am talking big city here)
Since the hydrants are all good, lots of water and pressure, exposure protection is next. Even the buildings across the street are in danger. With 105 temps, and that fire load, radiant heat should / would be a concern and extra lines would be set up for that purpose as more crews arrived. Also, apparatus placement is something to remember too, for the same reason - radiant heat.
Lets not forget the water supply from the pool or pond, if accessible, it could be handy. For this scenaio though, it was stated that hydrants were adequate. Judging from the direction of the plume, wind at this initial point doesn't seem to be a factor so thats a bonus. Of course that could change quickly too.
Havng the two chiefs on scene, is excellent. ONE incident commander, other sector commanders.. More might be an advantage too.
Accountablilty, since so many personnel will be on scene, we need to know WHO WHAT AND WHERE they are at all times. Staging manager... well anyway, this is a great scenario.. and with todays buildings, no one should ignore this. THIS IS HAPPENING in many places, far too often.
Thanks Chris for doing this.
Now I look forward to reading and finding out what I missed and what I could have done better.
2 things need to be taken into account, The heat and engine placement.

First thing I would so is Call for 2nd alarm and covers for all stations (even if thier not mine)

1- I would stage all engines except the first who would bring a line so I set them up as needed. Have the trucks come in from different sides or place them at the corners depending how long they are. Big fire big water so nothing less then ladder pipes and 2 1/2. One hydrant is okay but two are drawing from the same line (6"-8"-12"?? probably a 6" main) 3rd engine goes to the pond to draft and supply one ladder and engine. No need for RIT because no one is going in. Set up my rescues in support of ladders at each corner.

2- My key thought is to save what I can. The exposures of 2 & 3 even across the street. Have someone patroling the area for field fires of embers on roofs. Knowing the construction I would have a trucks set up a stream between each house, 2-4 and 3-5

3-You have a large volume of fire putting out alot of heat. Its already 105. How long will members last. Call for additional alarm and covers for everyone. Covers will be my third level relief so I would want them on the road if things get away. Call for rehab unit is there is one or ladies auxilary for cold drinks. At the ten minute mark I would change crews and start the 10 steps of rehab ;o)

4-I would check inside of exposures 4-5 for any fire on the inside. How embarassing would it be to leave and find out the curtains were on fire inside. Also at the 10 minute mark I have at least 2 2 1/2 lines and two ladder pipes flowing to protect exposures. An Unit on patrol for embers. 2 engines 2 trucks and 2 rescues in front 1 engine at the pond.
A lot of good points already mentioned. It appears to be these homes are new, and they went quick! They don't appeared to be wind driven fires from the look of the smoke plumes as mentioned already. These types of new homes of light weight construction are killers.

Like Christopher has mentioned in previous post, if you get a chance too take a look on how these homes are being built, you'll have a better understanding of how little time you have! Risk vs benefit. Strategic and tactical training can only help you to have a positive out come on fires such as these.
There is some video and more pics of this fire on VAfirenews.com.

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