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  • Fornell: It Rained, They Burned - Devil's Night 2013

    By Capt. Dave Fornell - Tuesday November 5, 2013
    The scene on Detroit's Beals Street the night before Halloween was typical. Steam floated off a firefighter's gear, wet from a previous fire hours ago, as he worked a 2-1/2-inch line by himself, trying to keep rolling fire in a vacant building from...
  • Fornell: The Firefighting Blitz Attack

    By Capt. Dave Fornell - Monday August 5, 2013
    Don’t you get really getting tired of seeing first-arrival videos where the engine pulls up and it takes a good five minutes to get water on the fire? I know, some will argue that the officer has to make a 360-degree assessment (true) before...
  • Is There Anything Wrong With 1 1/2-inch Hose?

    By Capt. Dave Fornell - Saturday April 6, 2013
    A few months ago, I received a request from a firefighter researching the possibility of his department converting from 1-1/2-inch to 1-3/4-inch attack lines. I field these requests a few times a year and usually find that an organization is about to...
  • Fornell: Hydrant Hook-ups, Chicago Style

    By Capt. Dave Fornell - Monday January 14, 2013
    While looking through Chicago fire photographer Steve Redick’s collection of photos he shot a few weeks ago at 4-11 alarm fire, something caught my eye. While the rapidly spreading fire consumed the large warehouse building on Chicago’s West Side...
  • Even Devils' Night Has Fallen On Hard Times

    By Capt. Dave Fornell - Tuesday November 6, 2012
    Thirty years ago, hundreds of fire buffs from around the country made an annual pilgrimage to Detroit to witness the fiery day before Halloween named "Devils’ Night." It peaked in 1984 when more than 800 fires were set and followed with between 500 to...
  • Firefighting Doing More With Less

    By Capt. Dave Fornell - Wednesday September 19, 2012
    An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines contradictory terms. Some examples are "authentic replica," "boneless ribs" and "fresh prunes." Two of my favorites are "free with purchase" and "doing more with less." In the first instance, we must...
  • So You Think Your Department is Progressive?

    By Capt. Dave Fornell - Tuesday September 4, 2012
    I had to admit that the new station, located in a rapidly-developing area, was magnificent. Features such as multiple drive-through apparatus bays with 14-foot doors, a decontamination area, a complete PPE cleaning system, a clean workshop for SCBA...
  • Are You Prepared for Fast Spreading Fires?

    By Capt. Dave Fornell - Monday July 30, 2012
    Last month, I was in Boston to give a presentation, and was being shown around town by a local firefighter. “That’s where the Bellflower Street Conflagration started in 1964,” he said as we were driving down Boston Street. The fire began on a rear...
  • Detroit: City on Fire

    By Capt. Dave Fornell - Wednesday July 11, 2012
    As the Detroit engine pulled in the alley, they found the almost-new Cadillac DeVille fully involved. The license plates were torn off indicating the car might be stolen. While the fire was being extinguished, the officer found the owner’s handicapped...
  • Firefighter Safety: Don't Play with Trains

    By Capt. Dave Fornell - Friday April 6, 2012
    It seems like every week we read about an emergency responder being hit by a vehicle while working an incident scene on a highway. And, with each incident, we seek to ratchet up responders' awareness of operating in dangerous environments; making sure...