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close calls

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  • close calls

    Just a question to see what the closest call
    you had was. A few months ago I was on a garage roof when I hit a rotten spot I would of went right through if it was not for the roof ladder. I had checked the roof before going on it and the rest of the roof was solid, I was just unlucky enough to find the bad spot.

    Put The Wet Stuff on The Red Stuff

  • #2
    From the category of "I know better than that" I was on a roof at a chimney fire. We had our roof ladder and the homeowner had a ladder on the roof. I stepped from ours to his only to make a quick leap back as it started to slide


    • #3
      Was in the bottom floor of a three story condo doing mop up when I heard a series of loud Pops!
      I told the CO on scene and he cleared out the building. Less than a minute later that side of the building collapsed.

      Way too close for comfort!



      • #4
        Let's see... We had a large apartment blaze back in May of `00. The fire had vented itself towards the number 2 side of the two story apartment building(16apartments, 8 on floor two, 8 on the base). Me and three other FF's were assigned to ventilate the roof/check for direction of travel towards the number 4 side(it was a bad command in the first place, but we do what we're told). It was the normal cheap construction, light weight wood frame truss, I'm not sure it was held together by gusset plates or not but I'm sure it was. Anywho, we sounded the roof, at the time it was ok, after about 3-4minutes our officer called us down as Command wanted to abort the ventilation task to start an interior attack with us. I was last to leave the roof, as I got onto the ladder, you could look down the oof and watch as the sections between the rafters began to bend inward, and I felt a massive amount of heat building up through my bunker pants/boots. To my knowledge, the fire had flashed over through the remaining portion of the attic, where we were, and collapsed the entire roof within minutes of retreating from it. Not exactly a close call, but I hope thats as close as I come to getting myself into that kind of trouble .


        • #5
          Responded to a single family wood structure at around 12:00 in the morning. With possible occupants inside I took a crew in to search the house. We entered the back bedroom were the seat of the fire was. Upon entering the room no flames just lots of smoke.I told the first FF to hold up and then turned to the second FF to enter the room to search. When I turned back around The first FF was gone, he had fallen through the floor up to his waist. As we exited the house through the front door within seconds the whole house lit up. We had just enough time to exit. The heat was so intense that it burned our attack line in half. That was as close to crisp as I want to get.


          • #6
            Three years ago we responded to a structure fire and had two guys inside with two more ready to go in.

            The house was two stories in the middle, one story gar. on one end and one story living room on the other; that's where we entered. Interior crew went in the one-story part and turned left up steps into the two-story part.

            One man came out (yeah, I know) to tell the other two to come with another line. Shortly after he went back in, the one-story part collapsed.

            I was at the door in a few seconds; all I saw was that attack line trailing off into a big orange hellhole. I started spraying water in there, hoping I could see something. Nothing.

            A few seconds (that felt like hours) later, both guys came running around the other end of the house. The collapse had blocked their exit but a 2nd door was on the back. One guy had a dislocated wrist w/2nd degree burns; other unscathed.

            That was a day I'll never forget.


            • #7
              Working at a 4 unit apartment building fire, fire in attic roof burnt off. Me and my partner were standing in the doorway putting our masks on. We were doing so because sections on the drywall roof were falling off the ceiling from water. As we were standing there i turned around to leave the room due to the ceiling falling as I did so a rather large section of roof fell right about my head, but it stuck in the corner and swung down like a huge pendelum. before i could move it swung right past me and hit my partner, luckly he saw it coming, tunred and braced for it. it knocked him over but thank god he wasn't hurt. plus there were about 10 firefighters right there, with 50 more running over to help.

              This is your brain... Pierce
              This is your Brain on drugs..... E-One


              • #8
                Take nothing for granted!

                2 Years ago, I was in a Vehicle Refuelling Garage (This was on an Eastern Canadian Military Base), I was a Canadian Air Force Firefighter.
                Anyway, I was with another firefighter and we were there to inspect the vehicles' fire extinguishers and safety equipment, (monthly inspection).
                I was new to the Base, so I wasn't familiar with the building and its interior layout. We inspected one vehicle - no problem....we then walked over to our last vehicle to inspect. I headed towards the back of the refueller to check out and sign off an extinguisher....didn't make it.
                The vehicle, was parked over a mechanics pit (an open pit in the floor where a mechanic can walk down into to work on a vehicle overhead). Unfortunately for me, I did not know that the pit was there & that the vehicle was not parked completely over the pit, there were no signs in the building warning of the "BIG HOLE" in the floor, the barriers that were normally used to warn / keep people out of the area were stored in another room (apparentely the people that worked in that area decided that most likely no one would be in the building during the weekend (Saturday afternoon at 1400hrs), the area also had inadequate lighting...........
                Yes, I stepped into the pit...fortunately I had a piece of steel railing (used to guide the tires of a vehicle, preventing it from falling into the pit), which was about 5" high to break my original fall; from there I bounced off and continued my fall into the bottom of the pit.
                Not sure of exactly how long I was in there, but I came too, crawlled my way up the stairs, got the attention of the other firefighter to help me. He contacted the Base Fire Department on the portable radio requesting medical assistance for a downed firefighter...........Summary: I ended up with multiple fractured ribs on my left side, slight bruising to my spleen, partially collapsed lung, tore a previously repaired hernia (had that sucker repaired 3 more times before it held), & in A LOT OF PAIN.
                Ended up with a three week "vacation" in the hospital, and off duty for 2 months, light duties for 2 more months.
                I am now out of the Forces and work as a District Fire Chief for the Halifax Fire Service.

                RE: Never take anything for granted!

                Still a little sore at times


                • #9
                  Dispatched to a fire at local auto parts store. Upon arrival we found about half the building involved. A Lt. and myself were inside trying to keep it from getting into the area that all the oil was stored in when we heard several shots, like a .22 rifle, ring out and something hitting the walls behind us. This is when we discovered that there was also spray paint in the same area and the cans were exploding. My partner and I made a fast exit to find the bottom of one paint can embedded in his helmet. Needless to say nobody stayed inside after that just too dangerous.


                  • #10
                    Let not forget MVA's. I have had several close calls with people on the road while directing traffic. We had one FF get hit once and the person didn't even notice until the cop and a few other guys stopped him at the other side of the scene. We had one guy that actually had to dive over a guard rail because of someone not paying attention and almost hitting him. Fire (and big holes) aren't the only danger!


                    • #11
                      Two years ago today (03/17/1999)we were dispatched to a structure fire in a single family Cape with a report of people trapped. My Engine company was first due and we had heavy fire showing on arrival. We pulled a 2 and a half and started attacking the fire. When we beat it back a bit, we attempted to gain entry into the house through the front door to look for victims.
                      As we were going in, a piece of plaster came off the ceiling and knocked my helmet off I usually have my chin strap on, but this time, I did not). It landed on the front steps. As I bent over to pick up my brain bucket, the rest of my crew went in...and then fell through the floor into the cellar!

                      Fortunately, they landed on a work bench and were able to raise their hands through the hole in the floor. Pure adrenaline took over as we yanked them out of the burning cellar. The victim and his dog were found just a few feet away from the back door.

                      After the fire was out and investigated by our Department's Fire Cause and Origin Team and the State Fire Marshal, it was determined that the fire started from a cigarette that fell into an overstuffed chair. The chair was right in front of the cold air return for the heating system, which used the space in between the floor joists covered with a piece of sheet metal. The fire got sucked into the return, burning out the joists and the flooring and spreading the fire throught the cleaar and house. If they fell a few feet further in, we could have been looking at three firefighter fatalities. Four firefighters were treated for injuries from that fire.

                      The medical examiner stated that although the bodies of both the elderly gentleman and his dog were burnt beyond recognition, they died from smoke inhalation. Ironically, it was the second time that members of this family died as a result of a fire. 14 years ago, the two of the man's grandchildren died in a house fire in my community. I was on that call, too, as a member of the Rescue.

                      Firefighters: rising to accept the challenge!
                      Captain Gonzo

                      [This message has been edited by Captain Gonzo (edited 03-17-2001).]

                      [This message has been edited by Captain Gonzo (edited 03-17-2001).]


                      • #12
                        Back in 1982, I had been on the job, maybe 6 months. Anyway, we were dispatched to "smell of natural gas in the structure". The old timers told me not to worry about getting all "tucked in" as it was probably nothing. Boy was I glad that I was still so green that I wasn't careless !! My partner and I got off the pumper and listened as the homeowner anxiously told us that he had smelled the gas after a local contracting company had begun installing an inground pool at the neighbors. We agreed to check it out since the utility company had a 20 minute eta (don't they always?) All I remeber next is that I opened the door for my partner and BOOM !!! I was blown across the street, my coat was torn half off of my body, one boot was in a tree and my helmet was on the garage roof of the house across the street. My partner was almost 15 feet to my left in almost the same state. The house had been blown off of its foundation and thankfully the homeowner and pump operator were badly shaken, but unhurt. it turned out that the contracting company had hit the line but failed to report it, thinking that the gas would just dissipate. Well, it almost dissipated my partner and I !!! Oh...... I was so mad !!!! Anyway, there have been other close calls but none so unnerving as this one; so now, when the tones drop for "smell of natural gas in the structure" the young ones may laugh at me, but I won't let my guard down one second until the utility company says it's all ok.

                        Blessings to all of you!!!


                        • #13
                          July 17th, 2000:
                          Propane Tanker with 36 000 Litres of Propane rolled in the south end of our district. As I showed up in the second truck I noticed a 3-4 jet of propane coming from a rupture in the tank. The chief, who was in the first unit, already ordered the evacuation of the area.... which is what my truck was there to do. Meanwhile, the cab and marker lights on the tanker where still blinking... there was about 100 vehicles backed up, each with their engines running... people where walking towards us wanting to what happen... and a nearby street lamp on (as it was 2230)

                          At the time I didn't feel a thing except that I was told to get everyone out ASAP. Later, however, I realized how close we where to having front row seats to biggest light show Vancouver Island, and maybe even British Columbia would have ever seen.


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