Close Calls: Firefighter Seriously Burned While Attempting Searches

T his month, we continue our coverage of a close call in University Heights, OH (see part one in the March issue). Our thanks to University Heights Fire Chief David Rodney and Firefighters Paul Nees, Tom Hren and Doug Robinson for sharing their story...


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In this fire – not unlike other single-family-dwelling fires – the issues of size-up, command, control, stretching primary and backup lines, searching, venting, accountability, communications and firefighter rescue, removal and treatment all come into play. When the UHFD members arrived, their quick size-up let them determine that the police were helping the victims, so while others might have been inside, the firefighters’ focus was (correctly!) getting water on the fire. Unfortunately, they had few other resources to do anything else.

An important aspect of this fire is that even though prompted, the responding command officer did not upgrade the run. The dispatcher (a veteran firefighter himself) suggested an upgrade, but the commander wanted to wait until he arrived on the scene. That is a decision he regrets and would certainly do differently today. When you have an incident that may need more resources based on what your dispatcher tells you, get help on the road immediately. If you arrive and determine additional units are not needed, send them home. n