Remembering Hackensack and Gloucester

As we approach the July 4th holiday period, two significant LODD incidents previously occurred during this time frame that hold a number of lessons learned related to command management, operations, building construction principles and building...


As we approach the July 4th holiday period, two significant LODD incidents previously occurred during this time frame that hold a number of lessons learned related to command management, operations, building construction principles and building performance, fire behavior and the ever present dangers of the job.
 
Take the opportunity to learn more about these events, and expand your insights and knowledge base.
Take a moment to reflect upon the supreme sacrifice made by these heroic firefighters and the messages that lay within the pages of the incident case studies, reports and summaries.
There’s a lot of practical safety and operational information on these events along with a tremendous volume of information in the various text books on strategy and tactics, incident command and building construction.
 
Learn from the past so we don’t repeat it. Remember- NO MORE HISTORY REPEATING EVENTS!
 
The Hackensack Ford Fire & Collapse occurred nearly ten years AFTER another tragic LODD event involving a bowstring truss roof collapse; the August 2nd, 1978 FDNY Waldbaum’s Fire, Brooklyn, New York that took the lives of six FDNY firefighters.
  • Street Smarts for Safety and Survival…………Stay safe.
  • Additional Relevant Safety considerations, HERE and HERE
 
Twenty-Three Year Anniversary Hackensack Ford Fire and Truss roof collapse, Hackensack Fire Department. July 1st, 1988
 
Pause to remember our brothers who made the ultimate sacrifice twenty-three years ago, on July 1st, 1988 and the lessons learned from this event.
 
On July 1, 1988 Hackensack’s Captain RICHARD L. WILLIAMS, Lieutenant RICHARD REINHAGEN, Firefighter WILLIAM KREJSA, firefighter LEONARD RADUMSKI, and Firefighter STEPHEN ENNIS lost their lives at Hackensack Ford when a bowstring arch truss collapsed entrapping them in the area below.
The five firefighters were in the structure, a bowstring truss building, when the roof suddenly collapsed a 60-foot square section of the building’s wood bowstring truss roof collapsed, and an intense fire immediately engulfed the area. Williams, Kresja and Radumski were killed instantly, and four other firefighters escaped. Reinhagen and Ennis survived the initial collapse and found refuge in a tool room where they spent the next 13 minutes calling for help.. . despite heroic rescue attempts, succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning. Approximately 90 minutes after the collapse, firefighters located the bodies of their fallen comrades.
 
Three (3) building factors contributed to the collapse of this bowstring trussed roof:
• Alterations that consisted of a heavy ceiling of cementitious material on wire lathe;
• Auto parts storage in the attic; and
• The Fire burned for a significant length of time and was well advanced prior to detection.
• This roof collapsed 35 Minutes after the initial units arrived.
 
Remember:
• CAPT. RICHARD L. WILLIAMS, Engine Co. No. 304
• LIEUT. RICHARD REINHAGEN, Engine Co. No. 302
• F/F WILLIAM KREJSA, Engine Co. No. 301
• F/F LEONARD RADUMSKI, Engine Co. No. 302
• F/F STEPHEN ENNIS, Rescue Co. No. 308
 
NFPA SUMMARY
Hackensack, New Jersey Fire Fighter Fatalities July 1, 1988
Five fire fighters from the Hackensack, New Jersey Fire Department were killed while they were engaged in interior fire suppression efforts at an automobile dealership when portions of the building’s wood bowstring truss roof suddenly collapsed. The incident occurred on Friday, July 1, 1988, at approximately 3:00 p.m., when the fire department began to receive the first of a series of telephone calls reporting “flames and smoke” coming from the roof of the Hackensack Ford Dealership.
 
Two engines, a ladder company, and a battalion chief responded to the first alarm assignment. The first arriving fire fighters observed a “heavy smoke condition” at the roof area of the building. Engine company crews investigated the source of the smoke inside the building while the truck company crew assessed conditions on the roof. For the next 20 minutes, the focus of the suppression effort was concentrated on these initial tactics.
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