This is where those of you who have the experience and the expertise can offer your advice and share your war stories. I find that the retelling of "this is what happened to me" real-life stories are an education in themselves.
Have at it!!
I'll start. Not really a 'war' story per se, but it might help someone out in the future.
We have an apartment complex which, for awhile, was notorious for kitchen fires due to electrical issues. The fires would typically spread into the attic fairly rapidly, which would turn a kitchen fire into a pretty decent fire involving 4 or more units.
During one of the most recent fires, we found that some of the units have had extra sheet rock added to the ceilings in an attempt to keep fires from spreading into the attic so rapidly.
This particular fire had started in a bedroom, and had self-ventilated through the bedroom window and was getting into the eaves. We knew on arrival that we would have fire in the attic. We about beat ourselves to death trying to open up a double layer of 3/4" sheet rock. What made it tough is that most of the fire went out the window and the ceiling was virtually uncompromised.
The lesson we learned was to soak the sheet rock once the fire was knocked down. Once it softened up from the soaking, it made it much easier to pull it down, exposing the bigger body of fire in the attic.
haha, been there, done that. Had a double layer 5/8 firerock on the ceiling a couple of times. (2 hour fire barrier) as you stated the fire will flashover blowing the windows out and extending above anyway. Go figure
Try before you pry. How many times do we as firefighters hear this? At one particular multicar MVA we were served a lesson by a probie at O dark thirty or so. We arrived on scene to find 2 cars, a pickup truck and a semi involved in a MVA on the interstate. Upon arrival all occupants other then one were self extricated from the vehicles with a variety of minor injuries. While we were assesing patients and checking the vehicles for more victims we had a probie yell over we had an entrapment and unconcious victim in the front car. We proceded to pull a set of spreaders and cutters and had another line run with the extra spreaders. We got to the car and the LT tried the door handle on the passangers side with 0 success. My partner and I on the drivers side checked the driver for injuries through the glass whil my partner pulled the handle of the door. Magically, the door sprung open causing both of us to lose our balance and land on our rear ends.
Morale of the story..... Try before you pry. We were saved a lot of work thankfully but time was lost when we pulled tools. Luckily this person was transported to the ER where they were released 24 hours later.
I still am reminded about taking a seat on the job during an extrication.
Nice. I have a similar story involving a car on fire. The fire was pretty much in the engine compartment only, and the Rook decided to smash the drivers door glass with a Halligan. After literally bouncing the tool off of the glass repeatedly, the officer on the engine walked up to the door and pulled the handle. It opened.
any one who has been through ff1&2 has learned but maybe not tried the hydrolic ventilation, we usually have a very limited water supply so this doesn't get to happen on interior, but during clean up on a mutual aid call I was ale to use it and man it was great. what had happened is i was on the nozzle trying to soak the ashes and hitting a few hot spots and had another hose line on the other side of the structure, as both teams would hit the different spots lots of smoke would change direction and usually head for me, by simply changing to a med to wide fog pattern (which is why i love the fog nozzle over the smooth bore) for just a few seconds it pushed the smoke away from me for a few minutes so i could switch back to straight stream for the clean up, the other guys didn't know about this so they ate smoke till the gentle wind pushed it back at me. plus by only doing this for short periods it conserves water.
speaking of conserving water, a very large misconception is that it takes alot of water to fight fire, while have abundant amounts of water is wonderful you don't have to flow 150 gpm out your nozzle, usually 90 or some times less will do the same thing all though before others jump on me about this the higher numbers do allow for greater reach, but when inside you can reach across a room just as easily with 60 gpm and knock out the fire just fine. plus the less water damage the better the P.R. and again let me state again that if you need more then use it but you may want to try to use a little less when possible believe me, it works
It should be noted that with a fog nozzle, the amount of steam generated is the same as with a smoothbore nozzle. The issue lies in that because of the smaller particles of water (more surface area to absorb the heat) , the water will vaporize into steam almost immediately. Because of the hydraulic principles the fog nozzle operates on, in a closed room that steam will rise to the ceiling, roll back to the wall, and down on top of the nozzle team. Anyone who has ever had this happen to them knows that yoda ears is a painful experience, and the burns can be much more severe if the conditions are right. In addition, because the water is immediately vaporized, the majority of your flow will not reach the seat of the fire, so the team is actually wasting water because it is not attacking the source of the heat in the room. (And by the way, changing the pattern on an adjustable nozzle does not change the flow rate - it is based solely on pressure which should not change). I am working on an article for Fire Engineering on this exact topic, so I'll be sure to keep you posted.
I think the most important thing one can share, beside a single tidbit here or there, soon forgotten.. I like to say You can respond to the same apartment 5 days or times in a row the same time of day for the same Issue and each and every time it will be differant, and has to be treated as such... no room to be complacent no place to "think" that since the Food on the stove yesterday did'nt char the cabinets that todays won't or the intoxicted tenant who suurvived the SMOKE banked down to the floor, will today survive at all.. We have a 5 building apartment complex each is a 6 story, No sprinklers, no standpipes that at one time was poor at best we were over there 6-10 times sometimes a night for MFA's, FOS, Mattress and beding fires etc.. as a new guy 2nd year on the job 1st year in my house, we were sent over on a BOX and as the 1st due truck's firefighter I was assigned to enter, search and hold with a can until lines could be stretched up 6 stories... so I was Masked up when I hit the 6th landing opened the door and found a moderate smoke condition in the hallway... I turned back and yelled down a flight to my "Officer" and the Engine Officer that I was sure glad I had MY SCBA on!! I moved down the hall and found the fire apartment , moved in and located a mattress and box spring and the wooden headboard burning, I took out the window and removed the burning debris, when the chief showed up, The Capt got yelled at for the window and he layed into me, And I said with all due respect chief did your expect me to remove the king sized mattress, box spring and headboard down the interior 6 stories ?? the building super showed up and he freaked at first, but while getting some supplies to board the window up another fire happened on the 3rd floor and he got scared when he was on that floor , Looked up and realized the smoke was to the floor in the hallway, and how everyone in the building began freaking out... he thought better of my removing the window if the smoke was that BAD...OMG..lol always wear your gear, what good are you if your not ready to work? and when your out and about returning from a call I am always looking , down the side streets in yard and garages in the rear cars etc ... A good firefighter pretty well knows his regular "smoke's"....things in his neighborhood that give off smoke, emit smoke odors, wood stoves, etc. If you smell something, stop or turn back around go around the block very often someone has a woodstove burning or something, but I've caught a few that way .... we were dispatched to an intersection that has 1 of two small areas of Brush that we can count on each season spring and fall, because its between the Boys and Girls club and high school so it gets LOTS of traffic , on the other side , we have 5 2 1/2 or 3 frame vacant dwellings we are going to a smell of smoke.... chances are we are gonna be doing something so we get there smell nothing see nothing ... and the chauffer turns right and right again , heading back to quarters (its 10pm) I said WOAH,, take a left we aint done yet, so we went a block south and caught a STRONG wiff of something burning wet wood smelling musty like a building, Kinda Pissed off the Driver starts driving fast we passed a residential apartment and I caught flames outta my eye, again woah!!! back it up... and he starts arguing with me, SO I layed into him... I told him when he was in charge of the company he could do whatever he wished however right now I was , so either back up/turn the rig around or get outta the cab NOW your relieved.... so ofcourse , we got the guys to back him up and found a car and dumpster loaded with construction debris (wood).... YOUR here to do a job while ON the rig and beyond act like it, and I dont really care if your missing the Game or YOUR favorite show....stay home then..... IN the Picture below Saturday afternoon, box in the south end we are 1st due upon arrival we find a "vacant" 2 1/2 frame scene of previous fires, My then rookie Firefighter's 1st fire after being assigned he grabs the preconect and turns and says which door? I say Chose one ( lol I dunno) so he kicks in the right and I kick in the left ( i was right ) I run up stairs and bang on the wall and tell him This side!! I advance in and its a little smokey but pretty clear, I turn the corner and the whole rear wall is either open flame or wide open from the previous fires.. the building was a favorite haunt for the druggies and rairly Actually Vacant... a couple weeks after we were there again in the evening and had a report of an open flame seen from the occupied house next door so we entered and went though expecting to find someone inside I found him lurking around a corner HE scared me because I knew he was there, and then he actually was SO I Yelled at him, and scared the crap outta my firefighter, he jumped and dropped his Halligan..lol the dreg jumped too.. But YOU never know.... definatly had to be there moment ..lol but I didnt know if he was armed and we continued up to the 2nd floor were he was smoking his stuff at the fire was out but we still had to check of course I am just glad I'm a big guy...lol