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The first thing im thinking about when i roll up on this is:

Narrow open long halls.

You are a little too late with the concerns with water if you are already sitting in front of this looking at flames. The best you can do about water is to put second due on water supply.

Your first job is going to be primary search.

You need to think of the design of the building while considering the era of construction and style of it.

Because you may be heading in for primary search without other engines or crews, you need to be very careful of fire spread in any structure, but in these older buildings and homes, there are often narrow hallways and rooms that dont make sense when compared to the way we design homes today.

By the look of the age of the structure, if it truely is a very old home, Im thinking about Safety and what it will be like inside for my crew or the next crew.

These older homes often have long narrow hall ways with with strange turns and no doors on them.This is a fire spread hazzard if it is this type of design. This will be similar to an older apartment operation.

I agree 100%.  Too many people see fire and automatically assume defensive.  Trying an offensive attack at first won't hurt anything.  Many of you would be surprised what one or two hand lines can knock down if you know what you're doing.  Unfortunately most departments don't get the hands on experience anymore so they follow their text books word for word.

Agreed regarding the lumber. This house predates lightweight construction by decades, however...I've never seen this structure before, so I can't begin to commit to anything based on one photo and the scenario given. I may or may not commit to an interior attack following a risk assessment. We are all familiar with the priorities we've been given. I've been involved in many very emotional conversations during the last few years about risk versus benefit. Last week we met with a tearful former chief of a major metropolitan department that has lost eleven of its finest in the last fourteen years. We talked about the many chances that have been taken (20/20 hindsight) as a result of tunnel vision. It would break my heart to see such a beautiful house lost to fire, but it would destroy me for life if one of my colleagues got seriously hurt or killed trying to save it.

I'm not ashamed to say I would hesitate - just long enough to weigh the benefit against the risk and make an informed decision.

Norm, I hear what you are saying. I admire your honesty and your reason's.

Why can't first due establish their own water supply? According to our SOG 1st due has fire floor, 2nd due has basement, 3rd due establishes water supply(we use humat) and back up 1st due, 4th does same with 2nd, 5th is RIT.  However even though 3rd and 4th official establish water supply, every 1st and 2nd due engine lay out or take their own hydrant.  I've never one in my career not seen that.

2nd due has basement?

Why can't first due establish their own water supply?

In one of the responses the OP made, he said this structure is located in a non-hydrant area. Water supply would be an issue here.

Of course First due pulls a supply line to the fire.

The thought is pulling down to a fire and realizing that you are going to need more on this type of structure as has been stated in many above posts. If you think you need more at that point, that will be second or third dues responsibility. 

You pull a supply line to a fire, but your first responsibility will be primary search.

A good IC will take charge of all these things while you are preforming primary search.

That is why i say you are a little too late to change what you brought to the fire if you are sitting in front of it. That will now become the Job of the IC.

As stated in other posts above, if there are no hydrants, that also will become a job of the IC.

If you are pulling up to any structure with smoke or flames showing, the best thing you can do if you think you need more water or even tankers, is to put out a call, and then put second due or IC in charge of that worry. 

Your first critical job is to worry about Primary Search.

Yep.  If it's a basement fire most chiefs won't even let the first due engine put the fire out.  They protect the interior stairs and the search operations going on above.  2nd due pulls a live to the rear and goes in through the basement.  Many of our row homes have access to the basement from outside.

It sounds weird at first but works out great.  We usually have five engine companies on scene in a matter of minutes.  So there's no delay in getting water onto the fire.

Water Supply and access:

>If no hydrants, how long till water supply is up and running vs amount of tank water available on scene

> I'm going to need many additional sections of attack hose....apparent distance from road to front door is going to restrict ability to effectively use preconnects. I would consider using LDH and water thief to make better use of preconnects.

>immediate upgrade to 2nd and possibly 3rd alarm for equipment and additional manpower


>will be done and tactics adjusted accordingly (not going into much of those...trying to use just info OP provided)

> if residents confirm everyone is accounted for I would consider defensive only attack based on difficulty laddering structure, inadequate water supply for initial ops, length of attack lays to get to structure

Not trying to tabletop the entire incident just listing initial thoughts and concerns based on info provided.


Number one concern. Is everyone out of the house and safe! 

Is SOG that 2nd due always has basement? Or only if fire is indicated there? It seemed like you were saying always.


We also will often have 1st line protect interior stairs while 2nd line gets fire in basement via exterior entrance.

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