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  • Strip Mall Fires....

    Hello,

    I hope all is well...

    I'm a first year student and my teacher the other day was explaining how deadly strip mall fires can be. I was wondering if anyone has any first hand experience in dealing with a strip mall fire? What are some of the main hazards to avoid and be on the lookout for? The class ended early and we never returned to the topic but it was one of the more interesting lectures he has given this semester. Where I reside there is a large amount of strip malls in the area and I'm certain that when I become a firefighter I will end up battling one. I'm also going to try and ask the teacher to return to the topic but last time I asked he blew me off. My friend who is a firefighter told me about this forum and to give it a try so any helpful advice would be awesome. BTW nice to meet cha....

    thanks

  • #2
    Hazards of strip mall fires....
    Lightweight steel construction. Most of these strip malls have all of the HVAC equipment on the roof... which is lightweight corrugated steel over lightweight steel web trusses.

    Variable fire load.

    Lack of fire detection and suppression systems give any fire a good head start.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    • #3
      Also lightweight truss/crap construction resulting in less tenable durations for interior ops. They're popular because they're cheaply built = disposable construction.
      Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

      Comment


      • #4
        businesses moving in and out and expanding can give the building a very interesting interior layout as walls are put in or deleted to suit the current tenants. Also the use of the occupancy can change over time, so if sprinklers are present they might not be adequate.
        Last edited by nameless; 11-02-2010, 12:48 AM.

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        • #5
          Here is a good tactic picked up from Chief Laskey.

          When venting the front of a strip mall, leave one window intact for each two windows you take out. Reasoning: there is not much structural support on the front side of a strip mall (all windows, not much structural support). These windows you leave intact will be the indicator for the structure weakening, when they crack and break on their own the front side of the building is about to come down. The other sides are usually masonry and you'll see signs of damage on them.
          ~Drew
          Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
          USAR TF Rescue Specialist

          Comment


          • #6
            Lots of unknown materials stored inside

            Extra doors blocked

            Extra doors secured in some manner

            Doors blocked on the inside and no signage on the outside designating it blocked

            No fire protection systems

            People sleeping in them at night

            Security bars, roll down doors, etc on front side
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZdEH...e_gdata_player

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by mrpita View Post
              Also lightweight truss/crap construction resulting in less tenable durations for interior ops. They're popular because they're cheaply built = disposable construction.
              Not only that... They are cheaply built but they paid the lowest bidder to build it :-)

              Also I've seen them with false windows to try and dress the buildings up.. It's a lot more common than you would think.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by FiremanLyman View Post
                Here is a good tactic picked up from Chief Laskey.

                When venting the front of a strip mall, leave one window intact for each two windows you take out. Reasoning: there is not much structural support on the front side of a strip mall (all windows, not much structural support). These windows you leave intact will be the indicator for the structure weakening, when they crack and break on their own the front side of the building is about to come down. The other sides are usually masonry and you'll see signs of damage on them.
                I like this.
                IAFF

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have a copy of our 37 page manual on strip shopping center fires. If you want a copy, let me know.


                  Originally posted by MadFireFighterBill View Post
                  Hello,

                  I hope all is well...

                  I'm a first year student and my teacher the other day was explaining how deadly strip mall fires can be. I was wondering if anyone has any first hand experience in dealing with a strip mall fire? What are some of the main hazards to avoid and be on the lookout for? The class ended early and we never returned to the topic but it was one of the more interesting lectures he has given this semester. Where I reside there is a large amount of strip malls in the area and I'm certain that when I become a firefighter I will end up battling one. I'm also going to try and ask the teacher to return to the topic but last time I asked he blew me off. My friend who is a firefighter told me about this forum and to give it a try so any helpful advice would be awesome. BTW nice to meet cha....

                  thanks

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Couple of questions - first why do you call yourself madFIREFIGHTER bill if you are not yet a firefighter ? And second (I know I am going to get bashed for saying this ) - If you are going to be a fireman - about all you need to know about strip mall fires is listen to your officer. Dont put the cart before the horse --- learn the tasks first --- tactics second and strategy third. Dont be the guy that can spout out some strategy he learned on the net , but fumbles around trying to couple hose.
                    ?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
                      Couple of questions - first why do you call yourself madFIREFIGHTER bill if you are not yet a firefighter ?
                      Because "Angry Bombero Willie" was taken.
                      IAFF

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FiremanLyman View Post
                        Here is a good tactic picked up from Chief Laskey.

                        When venting the front of a strip mall, leave one window intact for each two windows you take out. Reasoning: there is not much structural support on the front side of a strip mall (all windows, not much structural support). These windows you leave intact will be the indicator for the structure weakening, when they crack and break on their own the front side of the building is about to come down. The other sides are usually masonry and you'll see signs of damage on them.
                        that's pretty smart, I like it.


                        Originally posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
                        And second (I know I am going to get bashed for saying this ) - If you are going to be a fireman - about all you need to know about strip mall fires is listen to your officer. Dont put the cart before the horse --- learn the tasks first --- tactics second and strategy third. Dont be the guy that can spout out some strategy he learned on the net , but fumbles around trying to couple hose.
                        You are because generally in college, especially one geared towards fire protection tactics and strategy is taught. So saying "I'm new, I'll listen to my boss" isn't going to make the teacher happy. It'll be a waste of time and a waste of money. Read the guy's entire post before you start giving him bad advice.

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                        • #13
                          So listening to your officer is bad advise ? Learning the basics also ?
                          ?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
                            So listening to your officer is bad advise ? Learning the basics also ?
                            besides the fact its obvious, its just useless to a college student who's discussing tactics for a fire. maybe you should tell him the first step is to get dressed and get in the fire truck

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              A Training Site

                              MadFireFighterBill,

                              Check-out vententersearch.com and you will see some additional concerns with Strip Malls. There's stuff listed there that hasn't been listed here. The lists here are dead-on.

                              Even in Strip Malls that do have fire protection systems there is no guarantee that they are active at the time of the fire. Example: The Westfield Galleria Mall fire in Roseville.

                              As far as what you are learning, keep on..... Understand the tactics and strategies because they are the why and when part of the equation. As a newer FF though the what and who, will be given to you by your C.O. There is nothing wrong with understanding why you C.O. is giving that order.
                              "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

                              Life on the Truck (Quint) is good.....

                              Eat til you're sleepy..... Sleep til you're hungry..... And repeat.....

                              Comment

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