It was brought up at a discussion at training about a quick window fog stream attack prior to interior attack on a confirmed room and content fire, what is everyones thoughts on this?

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This works great! Especialy when trying to steam to death anyone trapped inside.
Bad,bad,bad,very,very,bad idea.

Some years ago during a appartment fire. A Truck crew was inside doing a search. At the
top of the stairs on the 3rd floor. They saw the appartment of origin. The was a old lady
walking toward them. The hall had.lite smoke. As.she started to pass by the fire appartment.
Somone on a stick outside,sprayed water through the window. The old lady dropped dead
a few feet from the truck crew. She had been steamed to death.

The only reason GENERALLY to ever use this method rather then interior attack would be if its not safe to enter the building or your Department dosnt employ the use of SCBA and interior attack. The use of windows and openings to put water on a fire tends to create more damage by involving more spread of the heat and flames as well as steam throughout the house and people if they are inside. Just dont see any reasonable reason why a Department would use this method unless not properly trained or equipped.

This tactic as described by the OP is a modified blitz attack. Smaller departments with limited manpower on arrival or a delay in the ventilation or let's face it, in rural USA no ventialtion. It is only OK when you have confirmation that no civilians are inside. When the first arriving crew is short, Ie: (2) man crew and additional members are delayed. I have seen a few quick short burst of water; (not a full fog) but a 30 degree power cone convert to steam and reduce the advancement of unchecked fire growth, providing additional time to gather up enough manpower to then go attack from the inside to finish the job.


I am not a proponent of the tactic but if a two man crew arrives and the next arriving company is 5 - 10 minutes out, something has to be done.  If you attempt to extinguish it completely from the exterior, it usually pushes the fire. Quick short burst usually does not create forces great enough to push fire. This tactic does reduce the amount of fire or hazard the 2 man crew is going to see if they decide to advance post blitz without backup. It interupts the growth and potential flashover condition that 2 man crew might see without the blitz. Textbook yes, probably breaking law with the 2 in 2 out but extinguishment from the exterior is also going to make more damage.


And I agree with 55 Truck, used in an occupied dwelling it is a very quick way to kill unprotected civilians and burn protected brothers.


Decades ago before turn-out gear actually provided some protection it was a common tactic, the transisitional attack (as it was called back then) with the hose stream directed through the window, and then entering after a sufficient knowck-down. I remember this being the most common tactic during the late 60's into the early to mid 70's. Mostly with a 2.5" hydrant line.

When the use of "water fog" in finely divided droplets became popular it was mostly based on the often mis-understood writings of Chief Loyd Layman from...Parkersburg W.Va. It was developed from ship firefighting and subeseuqntly adapted by many municipal fire departments, most often under the wrong applications.


Now there are thoughts questioning the valditiy of the "pushing fire" approach. From personal experience I can say that during the early 80's it was quite common to have the nozzle on "fog" and it damned sure seemed like it did push fire!


There are too many variables here. The first one being, as mentioned are you CERTAIN the structure is unoccupied?  Agressive defensive firefighting is absolutely dependant on staffing (trained staffing!). Yet I agree also that the reality is arriving on scene with a grand total of two is probabaly more common that we think. It's probabaly a better choice to open the nozzle with the below mentioned short burst of water than forcing a door to an untenebale area, oroviding a fresh intake of air, and causing the fire spread from a position that you canny advance from due to lack of staffing.

I have trained on this and we have always called it a transitional attack.

It work well for getting a quick knockdown on a room & contents fire before enteering the structure or to get some water on the fire if you don't have your 2 in/2 out set up yet.

It is a good tactic to use when faced with a proper scenario to use it.

Jeff mentioned this as an old tactic before scba's were around and he's right. I have seen some old videos of this and the hose was stuck into the window a foot or so and whipped in a circle sort of like a combination attack. Then the crews would enter the structure for an offensive attack.

Like I said earlier, it's a great tactic when the situation fits and can be very effective.

I agree with everyone on this the training started out as ventilation, and ended up with a relatively new interior firefighter presenting this to the very new guys. I did not want to cause a major arguement because we are a mid size all volly fire department and I just got replaced as a officer due to popularity contest and no minimum training requirements for positions. Therefore, I wanted input from everyone here. I am open for all the imput everyone wants to add, and I appreciate all that have replied thus far.


Since you gave no further information other than to ask the question, I would say: No.

Assuming no obvious manpower shortage and you have a confirmed r&c, to me the obvious choice is to take a line in and knock down the fire. 

If the widow has been compromised and the fire is venting, then an interior knock shouldn't be a problem, a push into the room and the fire should be knocked down quickly. 

If, on the other hand the window hasn't been compromised, you may have a ventilation controlled fire.  Opening the window (horizontal ventilation) may cause rapid fire growth and flashover.  IF there is a victim in the room, steam will be their least concern.

Almost sounds to me like the person suggesting the exterior attack may not be comfortable taking a line inside. 

There are pros and cons to this method of fire attack and history as well.


First and foremost this attack should NEVER, and there is no exception to the NEVER here, be used when you have possible victims OR firefighters inside the structure.  If you do employ fog into a superheated atmosphere with savable victims, or firefighters in the structure you will severely burn of kill them.  Steam expands to 1700 times its volume in water at 212 degrees farenheit, and will expand more rapidly at the higher temperatures found in fires.  What does that mean to anyone inside the structure?  That steam will find the path of least resistance and move throughout the structure under pressure.


Secondly, the indirect attack that you are describing is born from the research done by Lloyd Layman during and after WWII while training firefighters how to battle shipborad fires.  He taught to inject fog into a super heated compartment, close and seal the door and let the steam work, then ventilate and enter to effect final extinguishment if needed.  He NEVER advocated being in the area of steam production or injecting fog into a superheated atmosphere where savable victims may be found. 


Thirdly, the method you describe can and has knocked down large volumes of fire in structures still mostly intact.  How do I know?  Because we used to practice this at training burns in acquired structures.  After we did a full day of room burns we would let the house get rocking and then advance with a 2 1/2 inch line with a fog nozzle capable of 250 gpm.  We would put the nozzle on a fog pattern, not quite all the way wide, hold the line 18 inches or so back from the nozzle stick it in the window whip it around for a few seconds, and move to the next window, repeat and move again.  Generally, after between 2 to 4 windows of fog application the main body of fire would be knocked down enough to enter and finish extinguishment with a smaller line. 


AGAIN, NEVER, use this technique if their is a possibility of savable victims in the building. 

If it's a simple room and content fire, get in their and push the fire, heat and gases out the window. These are the "Bread and Butter" fires. Even on a fog stream, your pushing the fire to the unburned portion of the structure. A room and contents fire should be knocked down with less than 750 gal of water. Now take into account a victim just outside the room, you just steamed them like a lobster whether the door is open or closed due to the psi from the hose line. The repercussions on the dept and you could be catastrophic.

Fireyladd....I agree completely! Aggressive interior attack SAVES LIVES!

750 GALLONS OF WATER?  SERIOUSLY?  How about less than 10, to maybe 100 gallons, depending on the fire loading in the room. 


How do you steam someone outside the room if the door is closed?  Heck one of the technoques for using an indirect attack is to inject fog into the superheated atmosphere of the room, shut the door, let the steam work, vent the room and enter to effect final extinguishment.  The door seals the steam in the room.

...unless the interior is flashed over, in which case there will be no lives to save.

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