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  • #16
    hwoods, thanks Chief. The points you mentioned are all 100% accurate and pertinent to this situation.
    IMO, the first photo shows a classic example of how not to fight fire in this type of building. Hoseline placement should support a strategy of maintaining the interior stairway and confining the fire to the apartment of origin. The initial attack hoseline should have been stretched through the main entrance and attacked from the fire apartment’s “front door”, the stairwell entrance.
    I have seen many occasions where the door from the fire apartment to the stairwell was left open. Attacking from a patio door such as we saw here can push fire out into the stairs and cook any occupants who are trying to make their way down, as well as the brothers who will be making their way to the upper floors. I would also strongly question their use of a wide fog pattern. Massive air movement is being introduced into the apartment with this stream as well as copious steam production that would be lethal to anyone still inside.
    I guess what bothers me is this is a bread and butter fire. This department has dozens of similar apartment complexes, they should simply and honestly know better. Garden apartment fires are challenging even when we do everything right. They are full of vertical voids and we often end up chasing the fire through the void spaces and into the attic/cockloft. It has been said that there is no such thing as a “room and contents” fire in a garden apartment because it is almost certain that the fire has already extended.
    Any officer in my department who attacked this fire from the point shown in the photo would, at the very least, get some intensive high-decibel remedial training if not outright disciplinary action.

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by dday05 View Post
      BackstepFF

      Looks like a nice job!!!!! How was your water supply, do you have hydrants or do you run a water shuttle ? And or both? Are you from West virginia?
      This fire wasn't in my jurisdiction, it's a nearby town, but I know that they have a good hydrant system on adequate water mains. West Virginia? No, but I went canoeing there once, I don't talk about it much. Pretty country and those fellas sure can pick a banjo!

      Comment


      • #18
        We Agree...........

        BCarey - Dean Drive?? Been There, Deck Gunned That.....

        BackstepFF - Your remarks on hoseline placement are in line with my views. I would not totally rule out going thru the patio door IF the door to the common stairway was closed and not compromised AND a covering line was in place to protect evacuation efforts. In the first photo in your post, another area of pressing concern is the Fire venting from the bedroom window and going up the side of the building. "Leapfrogging" is a common means of Fire spread in these structures, and must be dealt with in a decisive manner. In this case, application of water from a hose stream that is directed PARALLEL to the exterior wall, and a floor above the point where the Fire is venting, will provide a "Water Curtain" effect, without compromising ventilation. With an aggressive attack in the Fire apartment, the "Water Curtain" stream would not be needed more than a few minutes. Additional lines above the Fire should be placed as quick as resources allow, and aggressive Truckies should be opening everything as fast as possible consistent with safety. Any exterior areas that were subject to flame impingement (wall over that window) must also be opened from the outside as well as inside.
        Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
        In memory of
        Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
        Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

        IACOJ Budget Analyst

        I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

        www.gdvfd18.com

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by hwoods View Post
          In this case, application of water from a hose stream that is directed PARALLEL to the exterior wall, and a floor above the point where the Fire is venting, will provide a "Water Curtain" effect, without compromising ventilation.
          Sorry Harve, but I'm having trouble visualizing what you are saying here. Are you talking about applying the stream inside or outside? I'd appreciate a little more on this. I think I know what your getting at, but I'm not 100% sure.

          Thanks.
          Fir Na Tine
          Fir Na Au Saol

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by BackstepFF View Post
            hwoods, thanks Chief. The points you mentioned are all 100% accurate and pertinent to this situation.
            IMO, the first photo shows a classic example of how not to fight fire in this type of building. Hoseline placement should support a strategy of maintaining the interior stairway and confining the fire to the apartment of origin. The initial attack hoseline should have been stretched through the main entrance and attacked from the fire apartment’s “front door”, the stairwell entrance.
            I have seen many occasions where the door from the fire apartment to the stairwell was left open. Attacking from a patio door such as we saw here can push fire out into the stairs and cook any occupants who are trying to make their way down, as well as the brothers who will be making their way to the upper floors. I would also strongly question their use of a wide fog pattern. Massive air movement is being introduced into the apartment with this stream as well as copious steam production that would be lethal to anyone still inside.
            I guess what bothers me is this is a bread and butter fire. This department has dozens of similar apartment complexes, they should simply and honestly know better. Garden apartment fires are challenging even when we do everything right. They are full of vertical voids and we often end up chasing the fire through the void spaces and into the attic/cockloft. It has been said that there is no such thing as a “room and contents” fire in a garden apartment because it is almost certain that the fire has already extended.
            Any officer in my department who attacked this fire from the point shown in the photo would, at the very least, get some intensive high-decibel remedial training if not outright disciplinary action.
            Although I agree with most of what you said and agree that you can apply lessons learned from similar previous events, you still have to treat every incident as a singular event.

            In this fire the door from the apartment to the common interior hall was most likely not left open. This is evident by the fact that there is NO smoke what-so-ever coming from the area leading to the interior stairs. If it was not left open, then it was most likely also left locked and dead-bolted which would increase the amount of time it would take to ultimately get water on the fire. Whether planned or not, entering where they did with a closed door did in fact protect the common interior stairs by extinguishing the fire in the apartment and preventing the fire from extending through into the common area. Again this is evident in the photo where after knocking down the fire on the first floor, they did in fact return to the common stairs and I assume proceed upstairs. Even at this point there is no smoke in the common area. I would assume they never opened the apartment door. In this situation, going through the common area and entering through the apartment door would have most certainly made matters worse in that common area.

            Had there been heavy smoke or fire in the common area, then I agree your tactic would be the only way to go.

            As far as the exterior stream directed at the fire in the attic, they are accomplishing nothing. We typically deploy 2-3 lines on these types of fires in order to extinguish the main body and cut off extension in the attic.
            RK
            cell #901-494-9437

            Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

            "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


            Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

            Comment


            • #21
              These things are always hard to tell from pictures, but I'd have to agree with Memphis. If the common stairwell is uninvolved due to a closed door in the fire apartment, I'm going to leave it that way, at least initially. If that is the only common stairwell for that particular group of units, then once you open that door you are comprimising the evac. stairwell for everyone else. Also, why go around and force enty on another door if you have a wide open one already? Like I said, hard to decide from pics, but that's how I see it.
              I am a complacent liability to the fire service

              Comment


              • #22
                Uh Huh.......

                Originally posted by ChicagoFF View Post
                These things are always hard to tell from pictures, but I'd have to agree with Memphis. If the common stairwell is uninvolved due to a closed door in the fire apartment, I'm going to leave it that way, at least initially. If that is the only common stairwell for that particular group of units, then once you open that door you are comprimising the evac. stairwell for everyone else. Also, why go around and force enty on another door if you have a wide open one already? Like I said, hard to decide from pics, but that's how I see it.
                Chicago, your assessment is correct. These buildings have a single stairwell for anywhere from 8 to as many as 16 units.
                Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
                In memory of
                Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
                Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

                IACOJ Budget Analyst

                I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

                www.gdvfd18.com

                Comment


                • #23
                  OK, I'll Try...........

                  Originally posted by needlejockey View Post
                  Sorry Harve, but I'm having trouble visualizing what you are saying here. Are you talking about applying the stream inside or outside? I'd appreciate a little more on this. I think I know what your getting at, but I'm not 100% sure.

                  Thanks.
                  Outside.

                  Nozzleman is standing to the left or right of the window that the Fire is venting from, AND standing immediately beside the wall, but back about 20-30 feet along the wall. He/She ( gotta be P.C.here ) directs the stream up the wall so that it wets the area over the window that the Fire is venting from, WITHOUT PUTTING WATER IN THE WINDOW, or interfering with the Vent process.

                  In the opening photo on this thread, the Nozzleperson (how's that for P.C. ) would be standing against the wall at the point where some latticework is propped against the brick portion of the wall. The stream would be applied to the exterior wall area above the Flames. Hope that helps.

                  Memphis - There is no smoke around the Stairwell because the Glass is still in place. Check the difference between the two photos, as the Truckies had opened up the stairwell by the time the second photo was taken.
                  Last edited by hwoods; 12-16-2006, 03:43 PM.
                  Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
                  In memory of
                  Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
                  Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

                  IACOJ Budget Analyst

                  I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

                  www.gdvfd18.com

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Thanks. That's pretty much what I had in my mind, just wanted to make sure.
                    Fir Na Tine
                    Fir Na Au Saol

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by hwoods View Post
                      Memphis - There is no smoke around the Stairwell because the Glass is still in place. Check the difference between the two photos, as the Truckies had opened up the stairwell by the time the second photo was taken.
                      Chief,

                      I understand, but if there was that much heat and smoke in that common area it would either crack the glass and vent itself or al least push smoke through the cracks around the door.

                      Even after it is opened up, there is not very much or any smoke at all visible in the common area of the stairwell.

                      My point of the post is not to say who was right or wrong or place blame or even defend the actions taken. Like I said - go to fires, learn your lessons, and apply them where and when you can. You cannot however in my opinion say that every fire should be tackled the same way because its what the book says or how you handled the last one.
                      RK
                      cell #901-494-9437

                      Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

                      "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


                      Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        MemphisE34a:
                        Looking at the first picture it is difficult to tell a lot about conditions in the stairwell other than no fire being visible. The entire front is glass which appears to be darkened from the inside. If you look carefully at the second photo (wide shot of the front,) you can see the inside of the entrance door and the interior of the stairwell is in fact nicely soot stained.

                        In this area, most engine companies arrive before the truck; most carry a hydraulic forcible entry tool like the Rabbit Tool or Hydra-Ram and do their own forcible entry. The doors in these buildings are typically not too formidable. A hydraulic FE tool will make short work of them, even with a couple of locked deadbolts. I have to believe the small investment in time (less than half a minute) is worth having a properly placed hoseline.

                        I agree with you that the exterior line directed towards the roof is pointless and that this fire calls for a line on each floor and the attic. Getting a line to the attic quickly is usually the key to keeping the roof from burning off these buildings.

                        I also agree with your statement that "you cannot...say that every fire should be tackled the same way", but I do believe that there are some basic principles of firefighting that we should agree on most of the time. These are the basics: Locate, Confine, Extinguish, in that order. We can’t cross our fingers and hope that the stairwell door is closed or uncompromised; we have to place our line to make sure the stairwell is protected. What if this were an apartment in the rear of the building, would we stretch a line around and go through a patio door then too?

                        We must also consider that most occupants enter and leave their apartments from the front (stairwell) door. They don’t use the patio doors because these can’t be locked from the outside. Most occupants who are capable of self-evacuation, if overcome, will be found on their way to the door they normally use.

                        Hwoods:
                        Chief, as you know, the spandrel spaces in these places are often not much more than a few 2X4’s and a half sheet of T111 siding, contributing greatly to our auto exposure problem. I agree that hitting the fire at an oblique angle here is worthwhile.

                        Thanks for the responses, it's interesting to hear the different perspectives.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          I have had a trio of fires in garden style apartment/condo buildings.

                          The potential for hidden fire spread is beyond belief.

                          The first: Fire in an apartment, got into the cockloft. The temperatiures were in the single digits and the winds were very blustery. The fire took possession of the cockloft rapidly. The only thing that stopped it from going into an adjoining building was a trench cut and big lines. The first due company reported the fire knocked down, and they were coming out to change bottles. My Engine was 2nd due, I struck the 2nd alarm on arrival. The Deputy pulled in behind us an ordered the 3rd. The LT. on the 1st due engine asked "WTF is going on.. the fire's knocked down..." I told him to look up.. he had a "holy s***" moment. The Chief of Department arrived and struck 4th alarm.

                          The second: Reported "electrical" odor in a unit on the 3rd floor of a gadren style condo. We took it on a still, the cops reported seeing smoke from the eaves, the assignement was filled out. On arrival, there was no smoke in the halls or anywhere, but it was coming from the eaves. When we entered the apartment of the resident who reported it, there was smoke puffing out of the outlets in the kitchen area. I sent a few firefighters to check the unit directly below, when they touched the wall to feel for heat it, it caved in and they had heavy fire blowing out. That fire went to 2 alarms. The fire started with a malfunctioning electrical outlet and followed the utilty chases throughout the building.

                          The third: 2 in the afternoon on a hot and humid summer day. A resident reported smelling "something burning" outside of her building while she was out walking her dog. Thinking it ws an outside fire, a single engine was dispatched as per our protocol. The LT struck the second alarm on arrival when the window failed and fire was blowing out of the window and into the soffit of the cockloft.

                          Fire in a garden apartment: Big lines, hit it hard and fast.

                          Most of these building were built under codes in the early 1960's with wonderful things like aluminum wiring, thin walls and hollow core doors.
                          Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 12-16-2006, 06:33 PM.
                          ‎"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

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Backstep,

                            You see a heck of alot better than I do I guess, because I do not see any of that. Maybe you have inside information being local from the news reports or perhaps you know people who were there.

                            The problem with critiqueing photographs is that they represent a fraction of a second in time.

                            I see a reflection in the windows. After they are opened I see no smoke venting and shadows. I would think that soot staining as you see would result in some kind of smoke in that area.

                            How do we know that prior to going to the patio, the officer did not open the door to the common interior stairs and see that their was little or no smoke and that the door to the fire apartment was intact and make a decision to attack the way they did??

                            I 100% agree with you that locate, confine, and extinguish are sound objectives and need to almost always need to be accomplished in that order. I in fact cannot think of a time that you would vary from that, but I don't want to say never - know what I mean.

                            From my view, I think these folks could have very well accomplished those tasks.

                            Just for the record, I also didn't see the wide open fog pattern you described in your original post. Are you sure your not seeing things to try and justify your position?? =))
                            RK
                            cell #901-494-9437

                            Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

                            "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


                            Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by MemphisE34a
                              You see a heck of alot better than I do I guess, because I do not see any of that...
                              The problem with critiqueing photographs is that they represent a fraction of a second in time...
                              Just for the record, I also didn't see the wide open fog pattern you described in your original post. Are you sure your not seeing things to try and justify your position??
                              Seeing things to try and justify my position? LOL. Thanks. The intent of my original post was to create some discussion about tactics, not to argue for the sake of arguing.

                              Yes, photos represent a fraction of a second in time but they also don't lie. So you're saying that we can not or should not use photos for training or critique purposes because "they represent a fraction of a second in time"?

                              If we don't agree about what they did, thats fine, you're entitled. If you don't see what I see that's fine too, and if by some chance you just don't get it, Guess what? That's fine. Be safe.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                And Now........

                                Backstep, do you happen to know the Photographer who took those shots?? He's been a friend of mine for years....
                                Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
                                In memory of
                                Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
                                Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

                                IACOJ Budget Analyst

                                I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

                                www.gdvfd18.com

                                Comment

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