It’s an early evening. There’s been some activity and buzz, but nothing notable. The radio crackles, the tones and bells come in, and with the printer simultaneous chattering and the dispatch alerting your company for a reported structure fire at an address you know all too well. You’re first-due, and as the Engine Company rolls down the street, you can see by the glow, you’re in for some work.
• The Engine comes to a stop short of the address,
• You can see that there’s heavy fire on the number two floor of a two story row frame residential.
• It appears there’s fire on the number one floor as well, and its evident the windows have been blown out.
• The dispatcher indicates the call originated from across the street.
• Additional calls are indicating the fire may be communicating; dispatch is attempting to gain more information from the caller, as to what unit they are calling from.
• You have a four staffed Engine Company, the hydrant just happens to be right across from your location, mid-way in the block on the chauffer’s side.
• The occupancy is a two story type III brick and joist, SFD. There are sixteen (16) total units in the row from the end unit to the unit break along the row.
• You have three additional engines a truck and heavy rescue company on the initial alarm assignment. RIT/FAST Engine is enroute along with the normal compliment of BC’s and other staff and command units. An ALS EMS unit is also enroute
Let’s discuss strategies and tactics;
• Where’s the fire going?
• What’s the expected fire behavior within this type of occupancy?
• Strategic IAP?
• Risk Profile…?
• Safety Considerations?
• Tactical Assignments?
• Needed Resources?
• Suggested Alarms?
• Fire Suppression and Initial Fire Attack?
• What’s your game plan…..?
• What should you plan for strategically?
• What is mission critical tactically?
• You add and expand…give us YOUR perspectives….
Some will disagree, but if I'm by myself with a four-firefighter engine, we're laying 5-inch supply line in, leaving one firefighter to charge the hydrant, and the nozzleman and I are going to a Transitional attack with a 2.5 inch handline with a 1-1/8 smoothbore tip. We can put 250 GPM through the upper window - no one is alive in there. That will buy us time to get help and protect the rest of the row houses and the people in them.
I know some will disagree, but it's been a long day and I'm thinking that four of us can work strategically and tactically at the same time when we pull up on this one.
We don't have enough help to make rescues, protect all of the exposures, or to completely confine the fire, so our best bet is to slow the fire down as much as possible...and the Transitional attack is the best way to nail the visible fire, maintain some mobility, and buy the time we need.
Oh, and this one is a 2nd alarm on arrival, especially at night.
Hey...you're relief is already on the way...they could hear the "stress" in your radio report upon arrival....
Let's see what the troop start saying.....
I'll add this, since you've already touched upon it...the second due engine is five minutes out, as is the first-due truck company ( all four staffed...) or did they eliminate some staffing at that last budget meeting, or is that second due engine coming from a closed down station due to a brown-out...or mutual aid?....hummm......
ur talking about LAFD....my truck company is on brown out and so is our pump.....
so sad...the engine is so busy now.
ok i would do the same. Lay a supply line to the hyrdant and have my hydrant member do all his stuff, take my nozzel member and myself and hit the fire with 2.5 inch hose with complete spray nozzel. (Our new 2.5 inch complete spray nozzels, have a little more reach and width then our smoothbores.)
I would give a size up "engine 1 to OCD, we have a 2 story single family with heavy fire showing from 2nd floor via the front. Go ahead and give me 2 more engines, 1 truck and an arson investigator"
my mission would be to kepp the fire from spreading. the building that is in fire is gone. so my mission would be to keep the fire from spreading.
These places usually present extension problems in 2 ways, either combustible attached porches or through the cockloft. Aside from early 2 in / 2 out considerations this should be a pretty straight forward fire. Opening up from the outside will give a quick knock, but also reduces visibility when the crews do get to the 2nd floor and may seal the fate of anyone that was holed up in the bathroom or back bedroom on the 2nd floor. Establish a water supply and get a 1 3/4 line inside and up to floor 2. 2nd engine is picking up the hydrant and stretching a back up line. 3rd and 4th lines are going to the exposures. Need a primary search right away, finish the horizontal vent on Side C and probably pop the top, depending on how fast the engine makes the knock and if the fire is in the attic. With some quick work of the first engine and truck this fire is usually under control in 20 minutes or so.
Lateral spread across the porch is certainly a valid concern with these properties. Our dwelling in question doesn't seem to have one, which is a plus. Often incomplete combustion builds up under these porch roofs and once heated flash quickly posing danger to those awaiting water in the line prior to moving in. First due engine with 4 needs to get a quick knock on this. It's pretty much routine. Although we normally make a forward lay with 5" (and run a quint first-due so taking the front does not hinder aerial or ladder operations), here we have a narrow street, so we don't need to restrict acess for the other companies. We could backstretch an LDH. It all depends on our hose bed options. We could just as well make a reverse lay, stretching off the static bed and sending the engine ahead to locate another hydrant, leaving the front for a truck.
There are wire limitations visible, and look to be ready to drop from fire impingment. With the next-due engines some time away yet, securing a water supply IS vital, even though the quicker we get water the better. These dwellings are not very long in length, so we even though we may have only the front rooms going, and we may have victims on division 2 in the rear, we also have fire on floor 1 as well, so survival is in question. BUT we have only 4, and we gotta slow the fire and attempt a search . So...stretch the 1.75 to the front, try to locate and protect the stairs while extinguishing the first floor, or knocking it down. Agreed anyone in the rooms off the second floor are deceased where the fire is located. Getting through a unit on either side with a 24' to attempt a VES through the rear to search rapidly is a priority.
We should have the stairway just inside the front door. I'm strapped here. I need a GREAT pump operator to help stretch the attack line, and the officer and one step FF will have to take the line in. My other step will have to take the 24' (or maybe the 14") through the exposure and and attempt the VES. Hopefully the driver can back stretch and at least begin to establish a supply.
Oh yeah, where is the 2-in, 2-out? Unfortunately the politicians never supplied the funding to staff us to keep within the NFPA's well-intentioned 'requirements' that often handcuff us, and cause the same debates that will result from this post.
With this type of building, you can count on fire spread through the cocklofts. Also the apartments on either side of this one have roofs over the porches. The first floor fire can spread using these.
Upon arrival I would lay a 5 inch for water supply and charge it. I would have dispatch contact the electric company to turn off the power to those overhead lines. Myself and the other firefighter would grab a 1 3/4 handline to start attack on the first floor. I would use the deck gun to try to knock down the fire on the second floor. Interior attack would be sketchy due to the amount of fire on the second floor. Collapse may not be too far off.
The next arriving engine company will start searching for fire extension toward the D side of the structure. Rescue will perform a search on the D side of the fire as well. The truck company will start pulling ceilings down on the D side to assist second engine in locating fire spread.
The third engine will start looking for extension on the B side of the fire. I would also call for another truck and rescue to search for civilians and fire spread on the B side.
The main thing is to get a handle on the fire and to make sure all people are out. It is night time so you can plan on alot of people to get out of there.
Well since this is pretty much all we fight in the city these things are like ovens. Drop a 3in line at the plug the OIC and pipe man will go in with a 1 3/4 second engine will pump the first engines plug and the crew will grab a line from the first engine. 3rd engine will set up rit 4th engine will take the rear and drop a line 5th engine will assist them 1st truck will take the front and open up 2nd will take the rear. Thats how we do it in the city every day thats what works
Pass the house and nose into the hydrant across the street.
Stretch a pre-connected 250'1 1/2" attack line off the rear
Enter the fire building through the front door
Extinguish visible fire on the first floor prior to pushing ahead to the second
Extinguish all visible fire on the second floor
Position on side A of the structure
Main aerial to the roof of the "D" exopsure
Ground ladders to the second floor of the fire building and exposures "B" and "D"
Provide horizontal vent side "A"
Access roof and provide vertical vent
Assist with opening up and overhaul
Lay 3" supply line from next closest hydrant Position on side A
Stretch 1 1/2" backup line of sufficient length to cover the first floor
Advance to the second floor to back up first line if necessary
Position in the alley Side "C"
If the apparatus can not make the alley drag enough ladders to cover the fire building and the "B" and "D" exposures
Determine if the structure has a basement and advise its conditions from the interior
Provide horizontal vent side "C"
Assist with opening up and overhaul
Lay a 3" line into the alley and position side "C"
If the apparatus can not make the alley, stretch an 1 1/2" line of sufficient length to make entry into the structure
Transmit a side "C" report (if no other unit has done so)
If there is an outside access to the basement level, enter and advise conditions (if no other unit has done so)
If the unit has no basement, report to exposure B1, check for extension
Complete 3rd Engine's water supply
Stretch an 1 1/2" line of sufficient length to make entry into the structure
Report to exposure D1, check for extension
The only resource I would need initially, which is standard on our box alarm assignments for a dwelling, would be a rescue squad.
Position out of the way side A
Perform searches of Division 1 and 2 of the fire building (exposures if necessary)
This is a single alarm fire. (4 Engines, 2 Trucks, 1 Rescue Squad)
An aggressive interior attack will extinguish this fire with minimal extension.
If you go into this situation expecting the cockloft to be involved and aggressively flank the spread from the beginning of the operation, the outcome will be positive in return.
Bailing water into a second floor window, be it from a handline or master stream device, only pushes the fire into voids while giving it more time to roam freely in spaces your water is deflected from. This single action alone will derail this simple operation and leave many wondering why your department resorted to using the alley ways to stop the fire spread instead of water.
I've never seen a solid 2-1/2 stream push fire anywhere, interior or exterior.
I'm talking about a transitional attackl not a defensive attack. The transition involves hitting killing the main body of the fire as quickly as possible, then moving in if the building is sound.
It buys time, especially when your department doesn't have the human wave of manower to throw at the fire.
Mine doesn't. We have 7 engine/medic companies and 1 truck. We'd send 3 engines, the truck, a medic, and the battalion chief to this one, and add another engine on the working incident.
With this much fire and the obvious burnout of Division 1, I'm going to be leery of the interior stairs.
If they're concrete, then fine, but lots of these are old, wooden stairs. Taking the line up them from the inside could be iffy unless you can ladder the stairs on the way.
Then there's the issue of the missing porch roof over the fire occupancy. That tells me that this may have been abandoned for a long time - maybe a crack house or occupied by squatters. That also tells me to be cautious with my people when we go inside.
Another warning sign - the meter for this occupancy looks as if it's been pulled and capped prior to the fire.
This one is looking more and more like a potential firefighter killer.
well i dont deal with this stuff much because i live in a rural area with no housing like this, but i will give my take on it. with the first in engine it would start a defensive attack with a crew of two on a 2 1/2 line lofting water in the second story window and 1 person attempting to hook in to the hydrant and get water established. second alarm deffinet. second in engine to pull 1 3/4 since first level fire doesnt seem as bad and start entry attack. if building is safe to enter do so. as well as use personnel to clear both apartments on each side at the least. pretty much it would not be a life saving issue, merely a defensive attack and save exposures. one thing that i see forgotton in alot of fires our department is called to is something i learned my first day of fire accademy. that is "we dont need to put our self in harmes way because we didnt start the fire we are just there to put it out and we will go home today." please critique as you may i am interested in any in put since like i said we have no housing like this.