Ten Minutes in the Street

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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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Absolutely we need to get inside #2. It is the #1 priority on this fire.
Thank God you said that, Ben. It seems there may be very few here who grasp that concept.
Here's my take on this one...

"Dispatch, Battalion 1. I'm on scene of a group fire involving three large single-family dwellings. Give me a 3rd alarm. The center and Bravo exposure dwellings are DEFENSIVE operations due to heavy involvement and lightweight engineered construction. The Delta exposure building will be searched OFFENSIVELY, but may also go DEFENSIVE. The Command Post is in the front of the circle at the corner of Walk and Don't Walk."

RECEO-VS Profile

Rescue - hopefully everyone is out of House #2, but we need to check it - quickly.

Exposures - that's the rest of the problem here, as WestPhilly already covered.

There's no confinement, extinguishment is going to be way on the back side of the BTU curve, overhaul will be a continuation of the surround and drown exposure protection, there will be little or no salvage, and everything on fire is already vented.


Rescue from #2 if necessary
Cover all exposures
Brand Patrol
Adequate manpower for a prolonged operation

On this alarm, here are my assignments, assuming that I'm the first chief.

Battalion 1 - Establish Command, fixed CP at the entrance to the circle far enough away from #2 to avoid any unnecessary radiant heat at the CP.

Engine 1 - Establish Water Supply with 5-inch LDH, position between #2 and the next exposure on Side D, and put a portable monitor on the B side of House#2 to slow that fire.

Engine 2 - Establish Water Supply with 5-inch LDH, position one exposure to past #3 and wet down the unburned B-2 exposure.

Engine 3 - Position on the opposite side of the circle from the fire, advance a 2-1/2 handline between the two houses in the circle and protect both of them. Call for another line if needed.

Engine (RIT) - Split the crew - Officer and nozzleman survey the rear of #2, then help the driver and hydrantman establish the tool cache near the CP.

Truck 1 - Search #2, then set up ladder pipe to help protect the D-2 exposure.

Truck 2 - Set up ladder pipe to help protect the B-2 exposure and/or the houses in the circle, depending on what happens so far.

Battalion 2 - Division C, stay away from the fire, don't fall into the pond.

Medic 1 - Establish Triage behind the houses in the circle if necessary. If not, establish Rehab on the side of the CP away from the fire.

Rescue 1 - beef up the search of #2, then GET OUT. Once #2 is searched, change SCBA cylinders, then beef up RIT.

Second Alarm

Engine 5 - Handline inside #2 if it's tenable, to the rear if not. Driver establishes water supply to Truck 1.

Engine 6 - 2nd handline inside #2 if it's tenable, to the rear if not. Driver establishes water supply for Truck 2.

Engine 7 - Stage one block away, assignment Ready Reserve.

Truck 3 - Stage one block away, assignment Ready Reserve.

Battalion 3 - Safety

Battalion 4 - Water Supply

EMS Battalion - Rehab/Medical Group Supervisor

Medic 2 - Transport standby

Medic 3 - beef up Medical/Rehab Group

Medic 4 - Ready Reserve Medic with Engine 7 and Truck 3.

Third Alarm

Engine 8, Engine 9, Engine 10 - brand patrol
Battalion 5 - Brand Patrol Group Supervisor
Division 1 - Briefed, Battalion 1 passes Command, then Battalion 1 assumes Accountability.

Further Actions

Get a Weather Report
Monitor Wind - direction, speed, changes
Monitor Temperature
Get the Water Company to pump more volume and pressure to this hydrant grid
Request Fire Marshal and Investigation Team
Lots of police help.
Have the cops get a par of all the construction people whose vehicles are in evidence.
Interpreter - some of the construction people will likely have a language barrier.
Red Cross for additional Rehab support
Emergency Management for resident shelter
Mayor/City Manager notified
Hazmat and State Environmental Department for air monitoring downwind

Think about aerial observation with another Battalion Chief and a helicopter.
If water supply is inadequate, think about drafting from the pond.

Recheck EVERYTHING to make sure the plan is working.

Get out of #2 as soon as it's searched unless the visible fire is all there is and it can be knocked down IMMEDIATELY.

Conside 4th alarm for manpower if needed due to weather/heat.
From the looks of it, 1 and 3 are definate losers. I'm not writing 2 off just yet but the next 10 mins will determine the loss or save on it. My plan of attack is this:

Engine 1 grab a hydrant on the way in. Once on scene, pull off a 2 1/2 and begin attacking house 2 while attacking house 1 with the deck gun to knock down some of the heat being put off by this one.

Engine 2 will lay in from another hydrant in the area and pull up in front of house 3 and begin an exterior attack on it with a 2 1/2

Engine 3 will send it's crew with engine one and pull off a back up 1 3/4 line to house 2.

Truck 1 and Rescue 1 will search house 2 for occupants.

Truck 2 will run a 3 inch supply line from Engine 2 to itself for a water source, raise its stick and begin assisting E1 with attack on house 1.

Engine 4 will stage in front of the last house on the B side.

EMS will stage and rehab at the intersection by E4.

Now all that being said, I would call for a second alarm upon arrival and possibly a third due to size of fire and the extreme temperatures outside. One other point that I missed is that I will not put any apparatus directly in front of house 1 for any reason. The heat coming off of this house is going to be intense to say the least.

Wind direction and weather conditions should be closely monitored due to the close proximity of these houses in this area.

Utilities should be shut off as soon as possible.

Like I said, 1 and 3 are on the ground for sure, but I'm not too sure that I would count 2 out just yet.

As soon as the next alarm assignments start arriving then start rotating out firefighters to rehab.

Just my take on the situation. Probably some things I wouldn't normally do but I'm used to the volly way of life. Few hydrants, no trucks, limited water supply, and tanker/tender shuttles....lol. Gotta love rural America!!!
This looks like VA Beach.... Behind the ball before leaving the station.
A few more questions about how to handle this incident...

1) What factors would make you consider protecting exposures without fighting this fire versus protecting the exposures then trying to extinguish thefires in the unsavable structures?

2) Manpower and additional alarm apparatus permitting, is it a good idea to try to inject a ladder pipe stream upward into the thermal column to cool it, or would that require positioning the aerial too close to the fire?

3) Once you go completely Defensive on this fire, do you still need to maintain RIT/FAST or not. Why?
Looking again at the last 2 pics you can see that in the bext to last the view from the street shows the side between 1 an 2 there side of 1 is not engulffed yetand in the last from the rear both structures are engulfed,as well as fire showing at the top of number 2, without seeing the front of the structure at that time its hard to say if I would want to comit crews to attempt a stop on that one, Not saying it could be saved, just need a better over all view from the front. If number 2 is more of a radiant fire starting then hit agressivly and make a stop. # and 4 alarms would not be out of the question. By the way Love these scenarios, they definitely make you think, Thanks Christopher
I'll try to answer those Ben.

1) First off, the weather conditions would be a big factor for protecting exposures. I know here in Indiana the weather can change in an instant. One good wind gust out of nowhere and that fire is making its way around the block. The more I look at the pics, the more I think number 2 is gonna be unsavable so I'm seeing 3 houses that are going to be losers.

2) As far as a ladder in the air, that's a good question. Of course it can't be placed in front of house 1 due to the extreme heat. I haven't used trucks too much in the past so this one has me thinking...lol.

3) I would still maintain RIT/FAST due to outside temps, size of the fire, and the fact that there are 3 structures involved. Just because its a defensive fire doesn't mean that everyone is safe. Things still happen to us when we go defensive as well. I can name some but I won't because I don't want to think about them.

As usual Ben, you've made me think. Thank you sir. Now I'll be thinking about it at work...lol!

Stay safe brother!!!
It's "obvious"? I don't have much experience in these matters. Could you enlighten me?
I have a little experience, but probably not enough to enlighten you.
We run two on an engine and this scene is way too high class for our first due, but we would do our usual. Lay in, try and get a good position to use our deck gun to protect exposure 3a. This would leave room to position our next apparatus, a quint, to set up in the upper corner between exposure 2 and 2a. Of course we call for a lot of help, don't forget the food wagon. I'm glad we don't have many (any) of these developments in our first due. It seems like these dwellings don't get going often, but when they do, they spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E!

That's obvious.

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