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  • Rekindles

    Kind of a repeat of the Roundtable in Fire-Eng this month.

    How many of your departments have SOPs regarding rekindles? Do you leave an engine company on scene for some time after overhaul is complete?

    Anyone ever had to deal with the embarassment of a rekindle? Is it an embarassment or just something that comes with the job?
    Mike DeVuono
    FF/EMT

    "There are few atheists inside a burning building."

    These are my opinions and not those of my department.

  • #2
    Mike..the answer to your question is yes and yes.

    At structure fire scenes, we will usually have detail an engine company to remain while the investigation is being conducted and to mop up if anything should happen to flare up.

    Rekindles are embarrassing ...but I think that with thermal imaging, there will be far fewer rekindles. It's a part of the job.

    [ 08-07-2001: Message edited by: Captain Gonzo ]
    ‎"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
      Rekindles are embarrassing when you don't expect them!

      On any major fire, their is a chain of custody until the Fire Marshal's Office is done -- at least a firefighter on scene, if it's criminal then a State Trooper gets an overtime job babysitting the building until State Fire Marshals obtain a search warrant (no, they don't need one, but as soon as they suspect it may be criminal, they'll get one just to cover themselves fully). Then the Town & State Fire Marshals are on scene and will call us back for hotspots/rekindles.

      The FMs don't mind, since less overhaul & destruction may make rekindles more likely, but also makes investigations tougher, so it's a balancing act.

      And on major fires, we'll often arrange for a crew to return, say at 10am the next morning, to wetdown & overhaul new hotspots -- no need to tone out, since the crew already knows to meet and head out there.
      IACOJ Canine Officer
      20/50

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      • #4
        Mike DeVuono

        How many of your departments have SOPs regarding rekindles?

        Both of them do, basically it just says put the fire out before you bring the big red truck back to the house.

        Do you leave an engine company on scene for some time after overhaul is complete?

        Depends on the size of the fire. On big fires we do what Dalmation90 does, or sometimes we'll just send a company out every few hours to see what's up.

        Anyone ever had to deal with the embarassment of a rekindle?

        Nope, but I do have this embarassingly big bridge that is occupying a big chunk of property - I'll make you a good deal on it!

        Is it an embarassment or just something that comes with the job?

        Personally I think it is an embarassment. After all there is really no such thing as a rekindle. The reality is we didn't completely put it out the first time.

        Captain Gonzo

        ...but I think that with thermal imaging, there will be far fewer rekindles.

        Good point Cap, our rekindles dropped dramatically using TICs (used to seem like every other fire rekindled) and then dropped again with Class A foam. In the year or so we've been using foam, I can't recall the last time we went back to a rekindle, maybe once or twice.
        It's only my opinion. I do not speak for any group or organization I belong to or associate with or people I know - especially my employer. If you like it, we can share it, you don't have to give me credit. If you don't, we are allowed to disagree too (but be ready to be challenged, you may be on to something I'm not). That's what makes America great!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by mongofire_99:
          . In the year or so we've been using foam, I can't recall the last time we went back to a rekindle, maybe once or twice.[/QB]
          Are you running foam on all your structure fires? I've seen videos that show Class A foam working very well on heavily involved structures. Seems to work really well.
          Mike DeVuono
          FF/EMT

          "There are few atheists inside a burning building."

          These are my opinions and not those of my department.

          Comment


          • #6
            What is a rekindle? I don't believe there is such a thing, if the fire "rekindles" it was because you didnt extinguish it. True? Open up to clean wood, use the TIC, Class A foam, but don't call it a rekindle if you are sloppy and do poor overhaul. I see alot of poor overhaul happening.

            [ 08-08-2001: Message edited by: M G ]

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            • #7
              Class A foam, Thermal Imager and good overhaul!!!!

              We recently did have a fire where we maintained a fire watch throughout the night. We were doing a 2 day training burn on an aquired house. After the first day, we did a limited overhaul (so we could still burn the next day) and had somebody come back and check it every hour. It would have looked very bad to have a "rekindle" on a training burn!

              A few years ago, before TICs, we did have a large apartment fire that we ended up going back to. We did an extensive overhaul, but were still concerned, due to the huge amount of cellulose insulation used in the building. Before we left, we advised the apartment management to have them maintain a fire watch on the building, and check it every 10 minutes. No problem -- since they were hiring a security guard to watch the building anyway. Well, about 0200 hrs, we were called out -- with fire through the roof!! According to the guard, he checked it at 0150 and saw nothing, came back 10 min later and the whole building was on fire. It later turned out that he fell asleep.

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              • #8
                Yes we do keep an engine there throughout the overhaul, and throughout the Fire Marshalls investigation. We also use the thermal imaging camera with 2-3 different crews to go through and check the whole structure. As far as rekindles being embarrassing? Yes and No. I see all of your points on this as far as you not putting out the fire completely, sloppy overhaul, etc. But remember fire is a living breathing thing of nature and we cannot always predict mother nature's next move. Sometimes a rekindle just happens and you have to go back and do your job all over again. I have seen rekindles in houses where the house has been checked a bunch of times by different crews, by the Fire Marshall, Chief, Asst. Chief, etc. and no one can explain what happened. If you know it is sloppy work that caused it then yea that should reflect poorly on those involved or those in charge..however you look at it. If no one can figure how or why then it is just a freak of nature and you put it out and move on. Stay safe out there boys.
                Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!

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                • #9
                  So long as we have our B-shift, there will be rekindles...

                  ...anyone else out there have a B-shift? I was hoping maybe we could skip it and have a D-shift instead.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Mike DeVuono

                    Are you running foam on all your structure fires?

                    It's the CO's call. I try too, but not all the preconnects are plumbed for foam.

                    Fire Chief has a pretty good comparison on straight water, Class A and CAFS in this months issue too, not as far as rekindles, but extinguishment.

                    hctrouble25

                    I have seen rekindles in houses where the house has been checked a bunch of times by different crews...and no one can explain what happened.

                    In my experience, it's a result of a little known phenomenon called urban renewal, some call it arson...

                    Especially the two day later rekindle...
                    It's only my opinion. I do not speak for any group or organization I belong to or associate with or people I know - especially my employer. If you like it, we can share it, you don't have to give me credit. If you don't, we are allowed to disagree too (but be ready to be challenged, you may be on to something I'm not). That's what makes America great!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Good point Mongo! We have dealt with arson first hand this year. Our firehouse is located next to an old quarry that has been shut down for years and is located adjacent to some train tunnels and tracks...lots of kids back there riding their 3 and 4 wheelers, and lots of fires get started back there using wood and railroad ties. We have gone back there a couple of times this year...one for a fire started in an old abandoned garage..as we responded in on foot with extinguishers we saw the kids take off on their 4 wheelers..and a second time for a search of a 16 year old who had gone missing. Our Assistant Chief found him face down in some bushes with a broken neck. He had driven his 3 wheeler over the cliff and it didn't have working brakes on it so he had no way to stop himself. I sometimes wonder where the parents are when these kids are setting fires and playing in dangerous areas. If a fire got out of control back there in the quarry no one would know until half the woods were burned down....there are about 15 miles of tracks, woods, etc. back there behind our firehouse! I guess it will take something like a serious fire to get the parents to wake up and see what is going on. After this particular fire the Troopers went around asking questions in the neighborhood and of course all the parents were ****ed that the cops were pointing fingers at their kids. Hello? We found about a case of empty beer cans, about 10 empty cig packs, etc. back there right by where the fire was started. Luckily the fire was small and 3 of us were able to put it out and no one got hurt. Some days this job is so much fun! haha
                      Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Man I hate that word...."rekindle".

                        In my neck of the woods, its seem like the better we do with overhaul...the more we get criticized of "breaking stuff".

                        "Look what those f'n firemen did to my house!!!!!.....they did more damage than the fire"

                        We actually had a business owner start to "throw down" with us because we were checking for extension in a room and content fire at a rundown motel. We were in the process of pulling the ceiling and some paneling of the wall and he went "off"

                        Oh by the way......."he lost!"

                        Me personally....I know that we are doing our job and doing it well.

                        If we don't overhaul well and the place lights up again........those same people that criticized us "for overhauling" will criticize us for not. Probably the same people that complain about how fast we drive....until they need us.


                        Sometimes you just can't win.

                        Oh yeah.....I almost forgot. We finally got a TIC a few months back. I think that rekindles will now be a thing of the past.
                        Smile....it ain't all that bad!!!!!!!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mongofire_99:


                          In my experience, it's a result of a little known phenomenon called urban renewal, some call it arson...

                          Especially the two day later rekindle...[/QB]

                          Yeah...

                          Like in Philly around Thanksgiving time last year...4 alarmer in a corner warehouse one night...wouldn't you know it rekindledinto a four alarmer at the warehouse nextdoor the next day
                          Mike DeVuono
                          FF/EMT

                          "There are few atheists inside a burning building."

                          These are my opinions and not those of my department.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You really think rekindles exist? I don't I think it's either as mentioned earlier arson as in relit or a poor excuse for extinguishment of the already there fire. As for the question of leaving someone there we have to have someone on scene until the police can secure the scene. As for an entire crew probably not but we will have a fire watch set up with 1 man for sure and if need be he can call back the required equipment to complete the job. As for having to deal with it yes I have and it is embarassing but as a for being part of the job I don't think so.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I definitely believe "it aint out till its wet and out." A previous post mentioned cellulose insulation. Many years ago we realized that this stuff is a problem. It will appear to be out but because of its makeup when it dries out will start back up. I am aware of a fire in another town that it took over 30 hours before it was suddenly through the roof. The first fire was a relatively simple fire. There was also a controlled test of cellulose insualtion in an Indiana lab that had a rekindle approx 54 hours later. They allegedly walked into there office in the morning to find it filled with smoke due to reignition. This was after the office personnel had worked next to the test setup all day the previous day and noticed nothing. Just be careful when you have a fire to get the stuff all out, out of the building. I also know of a case across from a large Illinois town's fire station that they went back seven times. In their defense at that time no-one was aware of this problem. It turns out it was an insulation contractor's own home.

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