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Best way to attack an attic fire

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  • voyager9
    replied
    Sally,
    I don't think you can be flamed for advocating tactics based on the fire conditions you see. There's a time to be aggressive and a time to be cautious. A well established attic fire in residential lightweight construction is definitely a time to be cautious.

    In general if the fire has already vented through the roof then we're probably going to start off defensive and hit it hard with master streams. It had time to burn through the sheathing/plywood so the state of those gusset plates is a real concern. If it looks like the fire has a good hold in the attic and is pushing, but hasn't vented yet then we will try a quick hit from the gable vent before possibly sending guys in. If it's not clear how much of a hold the fire has, then sending a team in to check is probably warranted.

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  • FyredUp
    replied
    I have been rethinking this topic since I saw it brought back to life today.

    First of all, fireslayer123...DUDE, if the piercing nozzle works for you I say FANTASTIC. Why so confrontational right off the bat about using it?

    Secondly, considering that so many roofs today are lightweight construction perhaps the tactic of getting underneath it and opening up isn't so smart anymore. If we are talking about a fire actually IN the attic space and attacking the structural members time is of the essence. Regular trusses with gusset plates don't survive active fire very long, and now with the glued trusses there is even less time, before we have failure and potential collapse.

    I am thinking that we need to look at smoke and fire conditions before we commit to interior ops. If we have active fire blowing out of the roof or gable vents, or if we have dark brown or black smoke pushing out of the roof vents or gable end vents entry may not be the smart tactic. Perhaps hitting the fire from the gable end to try and knock it down makes more sense, at least initially.

    OF COURSE, if we have victims inside we should make an attempt to get them out. The danger of attic fires is often hidden by the fact there is little or no smoke or heat in the living area of the home and this can lull us into a false sense of security.

    This is counter to how I feel about being an aggressive interior firefighter. But perhaps we need to take a second look sometimes.

    I am prepared to be flamed and called a safety sally...

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  • fireslayer123
    replied
    If you have the right tools, Take your digital thermometer and quickly locate the hotest area, then shove a 150 GPM piercing nozzle through the ceiling. If it hasn't vented, the steam will snuff it out. (If it has vented it will take a little longer.)
    Then you open up the roof. A lot of people poo pah piercing nozzles, and it is because most have never used one in the right application.
    It is like having a 150+ GPM sprinkler head with foam. You are also eliminating the possibility of a backdraft since you are not introducing air into a smoldering attic (if that is the case).
    We have used them for years. Some like them and some don't. The ones that don't, refuse to give 'em a shot, and the ones that do like them use them at every opportunity.

    Please don't try and tell me that you can't get 150 gpm out of a p.nozzle. We have tested them with flow meters and you absolutely can.

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  • CaptOldTimer
    replied
    Originally posted by GTRider245 View Post
    Anyone ever break out the ol' distributor nozzle for these things, or just when ISO comes?
    Distributors and or cellar nozzles have been long gone..

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  • GTRider245
    replied
    Anyone ever break out the ol' distributor nozzle for these things, or just when ISO comes?

    Leave a comment:


  • allpro
    replied
    simple

    Truck company pulls ceiling, engine company flows water.

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  • CaptOldTimer
    replied
    L-Webb, this job is dependent on how far it has progressed.

    Simple fire in the attic, push inside open the shuttle hole place a 1-3/4 fog nozzle in the opening with probably a narrow to wide fog pattern, wave it around and shut it down. Have the truck open the gables or vents on each end and then advance up to overhaul.

    We have a lot of older frames called row houses. No attic, but corklofts, I misspelled it so it show up.

    This has to be fought differently by opening the ceiling near the fire and basically shove the nob in there and apply a good fog pattern as you did for the attic. The truck may need to open up the roof on this one and possibly on the one with a regular attic.

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  • tree68
    replied
    Balloon construction? Check the basement. You may have a fire there, too...

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  • slackjawedyokel
    replied
    Like Fryedup said - in my neck of the woods , most are just attics. The "soupier" the better initally.

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  • FyredUp
    replied
    Double post. Nothing to see here.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 02-27-2011, 06:21 PM.

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  • FyredUp
    replied
    Originally posted by careyc1090 View Post
    Vent the roof then attack from below.
    Open up the ceiling, throw up a collapsible ladder through the hole and attack from the floor below.

    NEVER, EVER throw water from the roof into the attic when interior attack crews are trying to access the attic. You will only force heat and fire down on them.

    Depending on the extent of the fire, I may disagree with venting initially

    If the fire is blowing out of the end of the attic or through roof vents there I can see venting before initiating fire attack. If the fire is contained in the attic space and not taking control of most of, or all of, that space then I believe that venting is the wrong tactic. In that instance I believe that exploratory holes should be punched in the ceiling below to find the seat of the fire and a fog pattern should be injected up into the attic space. The closed, super heated environment will convert the fog to steam and either hold the fire from growing or completely extinguish it. At this point the roof can be opened to allow the steam and by-products to vent, or the gable end vents can be removed to allow venting. I have used this tactic a few times and it has been successful without doing either excess water damage or structural damage to the roof.

    Understand I am not opposed to venting the roof if it is truly needed, but I believe that many smaller attic fires don't need that and in fact it may actually be detrimental.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 02-28-2011, 02:57 PM. Reason: to correct a sentence that was severely messed up

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  • Rescue101
    replied
    Originally posted by careyc1090 View Post
    Vent the roof then attack from below.
    Open up the ceiling, throw up a collapsible ladder through the hole and attack from the floor below.

    NEVER, EVER throw water from the roof into the attic when interior attack crews are trying to access the attic. You will only force heat and fire down on them.
    True dat! We HAVE had to back them down on rare occasions and operate as in Post 30. NOT often but why beat your crews up when there is a better way? T.C.

    Leave a comment:


  • careyc1090
    replied
    Vent the roof then attack from below.
    Open up the ceiling, throw up a collapsible ladder through the hole and attack from the floor below.

    NEVER, EVER throw water from the roof into the attic when interior attack crews are trying to access the attic. You will only force heat and fire down on them.

    Leave a comment:


  • tajm611
    replied
    Originally posted by Luke Guidry View Post
    uhhhhh from the unburned side????
    How old are you?

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  • Rescue101
    replied
    Comment was in making a access way on Gable ends with small vents or no access. No more parking lots HERE than anyplace else. Different constructions requires different tactics but attic fires not easily accessed from INSIDE seem to calm down with a 1500 GPM short blast. Your experiences may vary. Excess time? Yup,if you can't get to it,you DEFINITELY will spend excessive time. Fast knock down,not so much. T.C.

    Leave a comment:

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