Additional slack in the line will be pulled up from behind the hole and extended in to the hole to the floor below. A member that is going to initiate the rescue will slide the hose, just like sliding a pole, in to the hole This is an extremely dangerous operation and a lot of variables will have to be taken in to account.
"BEEEEEP! Attention Engine 42, Engine 50, Engine 55, Ladder 19, Ladder 57 and the 56 Battalion, respond to a phone alarm, Box 817 for a reported structural fire at the address 61 Rogers Ave., between Monroe and Washington. Battalion 56 be advised we are getting multiple calls on this... we are assigning Rescue 1 and Squad 2 on the initial box. Sounds like you're going to work."
As all units are acknowledging the dispatcher you are trying to place the address in your head. This neighborhood has mostly single family dwellings, ranch types splattered with two-story split ranches. Your chauffeur makes the turn going south on Monroe and you can make out the smoke. You turn to your people on the "back step" and let them know, it is indeed a working fire. Turning on to Rogers Avenue, you pick up the microphone and transmit to the dispatcher.
"Engine 42 to central dispatch, we are on scene with a working fire. We have a one-story, wood-frame building with fire showing out two windows on the exposure one/four side of the building."
The engine comes to a stop and you're off the rig, the building is about 50 feet by 25 feet and you bark out some orders, (not that you need to, the crew is stretching already), and make a quick 360 degree survey around the building. As you're coming back around the front of the building Engine 50 is arriving and deploying to help get the first line in operation. The nozzle and back-up men are ready and you call for water with a "10-4" reply from your chauffeur. The line is charged, the door is forced and you start your advance. As a team you move in about 10 feet and can see the fire around the other side of the wall. The nozzle man opens the line and using the reach of the stream starts to knock the fire down and advance. All is going as it should. It seems as though you will have this fire out in short order when the nozzle man falls sideways and has to back down on the bail to control the nozzle. What's going on here? The back up man is hanging on to the line and climbing out of a hole in the floor. A small section of the floor collapsed under the weight of the back up man and the can man from the first due truck, and now the can man has been pitched into the basement of this dwelling.
"MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, Engine 42 to the Battalion with a MAYDAY."
All seems to have gone eerily quiet. The battalion is calling, you still have fire in front of you and at least one member, maybe more, have fallen through a hole in the floor. Is everyone in position? Are all of the companies on scene? Do we have fire below us? Is there a Rescue, Squad or RIT on scene?
When a member goes down on the fireground, it seems that mayhem erupts. This is not an intentional action, but...it is really the fault of the members and officers. Most of us are type "A" personalities and helping people is what we have been trained to do. The first thing that needs to be done by officers and members on the scene that are not already assigned a duty on the fireground is stand fast. Yep. Do nothing. Have some self control. That may be the hardest thing to do at this time but by self deploying and getting "in to the mix" you may be complicating an already complicated and stressful situation. We all have assigned teams to go and rescue our people in distress. In addition we have rescue and squad companies that train on this evolution every day. By adding more firefighters, it could very well cause additional complications.