Joe Pronesti: A Main Street Success Story

Winchester, Kentucky fire shows just how well training can pay off in a small department

Around 10 PM last Thursday June 1st, the Winchester Kentucky fire department which operates out of three fire stations and protects roughly 28,000 citizens responded to a fire on their Main Street, and as with many other fires that occur around the country this website posted raw video from the event.

FirefighterNation: Rescues at Kentucky Apartment Fire

While many fire videos can be looked at with a critical eye, this event really struck home with me in the fact of how well executed two particular tactics appeared to have taken place that we all must consider when combating a “Main St” aka Type III ordinary construction or Type V wood frame occupancy fire.

Apparatus Spotting

When you look at the video, you will see a rescue being performed by the firefighters utilizing their tower ladder; it appeared to be dead spot on and provides us with a lesson in training with our truck apparatus on actual buildings in our response area or jurisdiction. A lesson to all of us especially those in leadership positions is this, get your crews and apparatus OUT OF THJE STATION and into the streets, don’t be afraid of spotting your apparatus in different positions. Go out to your main streets, strip malls, schools, etc. Utilize a drill night where you take your apparatus out and throw your aerial ladders, what’s the scrub area, or wire/tree hazards? The only way to know is to get that million dollar ladder out of the station and into the streets and I don’t mean your front ramp!


Exterior Hit

Now this section is strictly for those of us who run with less than adequate resources so I do not want to start an inside vs outside debate, what I do want you to take away from the video is the question of how fast can your department place a big line or deck gun into service to apply fast water? 

Main Street building fires require an all-out blitz of personnel and effective strategy focusing on getting ahead of the fire, if you don’t have 30-40 people on a first alarm and pull up with let’s say ten people your tactics are limited in these buildings and quick water from the most advantageous position is the best water and perhaps also the most advantageous way to protect savable victims as was the case in this fire, remember the construction of the building leads to numerous voids and rapid spread.

In the news video link a chief from Winchester comments on how the crews training really paid off and contributed to a successful outcome, I couldn’t agree more and also would like to congratulate them on a job well done and also add that the raw video should be utilize in a positive way to motivate all of us into training on the “Main Street” fire.


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