1. #1
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    Default McDonalds resturant fires

    Opinions on fighting fires in McDonlads type resturants. Is it worth the risk. I have been informed today that, they are self insured and can rebuild cheaper the repairing. Why are we fighting them?

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    Umm...because it's our job?

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    Light weight construction, heavy roof loads, company says they would rather rebuild.....why go in and take the chance??? You wait and do nothing at other types of calls, or I at least hope you do. With no life hazard, why would you risk it....

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    Are we talking about a trash can fire with a smoked up bathroom or a fully involved kitchen with black smoke pouring out the eves and fire visible above the roof line? There's a lot to consider before advocating a blanket "we don't fight fires at McDonald's" policy. Occupied or unoccupied? Day or night? Water supply? Enough manpower on scene to mount an interior attack? Capabilities of your fire department? You should observe all the safety precautions you would with any other commercial structure with a truss roof. I can't imagine why the insurance status of the building would cross your mind.

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    The other thing about these buildings is that you can access (put water into) just about anywhere from the outside or 3 steps from a doorway.

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    Default Good Question

    There were two LODD's in Houston that occurred at a McDonalds.

    Do yourself a favor and read the niosh report.

    http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200013.html
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    If you Google McDonalds and fire fatalities you can find several. I understand day/night big/small...all of that. Trash cans are obvious no brainers (or should be!) I'm talking about 9 or 10 guys showing up with a fire. When do you write it off vs. being another article for NIOSH? Just looking for thoughts, currently our philosophy is fight it. Mainly the post is for conversation to get folks thinking. Just to clarify the insurance quote, it doesn't cross my mind. I just thought it was an interesting fact.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sslively View Post
    If you Google McDonalds and fire fatalities you can find several. I understand day/night big/small...all of that. Trash cans are obvious no brainers (or should be!) I'm talking about 9 or 10 guys showing up with a fire. When do you write it off vs. being another article for NIOSH? Just looking for thoughts, currently our philosophy is fight it. Mainly the post is for conversation to get folks thinking. Just to clarify the insurance quote, it doesn't cross my mind. I just thought it was an interesting fact.
    I think that if you read that niosh report, I actually did a case study for my fire department and used it as part of a strategy and tactics drill, you will see the recommendations.

    Basically, evacuate if the trusses are involved with fire of any duration and ensure vertical ventilation for fires involving a ceiling/roof/attic area (this also helps command evaluate the integrity of the roof).

    We (firefighters) seem to get in the most trouble when fire is over our heads and we either don't know it, or don't realize how quickly those trusses will fail.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    I think that if you read that niosh report, I actually did a case study for my fire department and used it as part of a strategy and tactics drill, you will see the recommendations.

    Basically, evacuate if the trusses are involved with fire of any duration and ensure vertical ventilation for fires involving a ceiling/roof/attic area (this also helps command evaluate the integrity of the roof).

    We (firefighters) seem to get in the most trouble when fire is over our heads and we either don't know it, or don't realize how quickly those trusses will fail.
    Good call. Good drill.

    Two things to remember, though.

    1. These buildings are usually built like crap with numerous concealed chases in the kitchen area.
    2. The fire can be over your head very, very quickly (even if the building is sprinklered). Get that drop ceiling out of the way ASAP in order to make your evaluation.
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    Went to a fire at a Burger King about 10 years ago. It was a minor roof fire, no structural damage.

    Rather than repair it, they tore the whole thing down and rebuilt a new one within a matter of weeks.

    As others have said, these types of structures are cheap.

    Also worth noting: many of these fast-food joints have basements. I was surprised to find this out.

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    In addition to trusses, light weight construction, roof loads, etc don't overlook ductwork. The fire can run throughout the building even before you get there. If the building stands alone, set up your lines and do what you have to do. If it's attached ( middle of a city block or strip mall ) you need to get into your exposures quickly to look for extension. If it's a mixed occupancy, BK on first floor with 1, 2, or 3 floors residental above you really have your work cut out for you. There's a suppression system in the BK but not in the apartments above. 3pm or 3am? Now you have to decide if your current assignment is sufficient or do you need to call for additional resources.

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    Of course, it helps if the captain actually acts like a captain.

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    Nothing good about a well involved, stand alone Mac's Steakhouse from a firefighting standpoint. These things can burn fast and are built like crap.

    Problem is some (like ours) are open and occupied 24/7. You at least need to do a quick search, if nothing else.
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    Did any one catch in that report that they only ride one firefighter on a ladder?
    FF/Paramedic

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNFF319 View Post
    Did any one catch in that report that they only ride one firefighter on a ladder?
    In addition to the officer and driver. Also several of the other ladder's had 4 person staffing
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    I still remember a fire tactics class I had with Dick Silva in 1983. He stated McDonald's had a perfect fire record: they lost every one of them.

    Was IC at a fire in a regional chain restaurant a few years ago (one floor, light weight truss), building was a total loss.

    They scraped off the slab and rebuilt with sprinklers. For the shrubbery only. The company refused to put sprinklers in the structure.

    I already know what value the company places on the building. Once we account for the occupants, and if I am IC, it is nothing more than a rubbish fire.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNFF319 View Post
    Did any one catch in that report that they only ride one firefighter on a ladder?
    I'm assuming that's the one on Houston.

    We used to ride 3, but that changed after Captain Jahnke's death in 2001. Pumpers and trucks were often riding 3 each. I'd hazard to say that most of my fires as a pipeman were on apparatus with 3 guys. We now ride 4 and 4.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KenNFD1219 View Post
    I still remember a fire tactics class I had with Dick Silva in 1983. He stated McDonald's had a perfect fire record: they lost every one of them.

    Was IC at a fire in a regional chain restaurant a few years ago (one floor, light weight truss), building was a total loss.

    They scraped off the slab and rebuilt with sprinklers. For the shrubbery only. The company refused to put sprinklers in the structure.

    I already know what value the company places on the building. Once we account for the occupants, and if I am IC, it is nothing more than a rubbish fire.
    I share the same sentiment as my Brother from Naugatuck, CT.

    Another thing to watch for is the former stand alone fast food joint that has been converted to a different use.

    We had an Arby's, a Wendy's and a Taco Bell in town that are now bank buildings and a dry cleaners. Same hazard, different occupancies!
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    In my opinion the initial dispatch for a McDonalds should be three engines, two trucks, a dozer, front end loader and some dump trucks. The longer you fight the fire the longer you are delaying the building of a new restaurant. Get everyone out, look good for the media and don't get hurt.

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    I investigated a fire in So. Jersey in a chain restaurant. Fire was reported while the business was open and had a decent waiting list for tables; about 8:30 PM. Fire originated in the kitchen as a result of a grease fire that outran the suppression system. Building was sprinklered except for the attic space (where the fire quickly traveled to). Combo FD with a heavy initial response and more than adequate water supply.

    Time from 911 call to roof collapse was 19 minutes.
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    Let it burn. Its replacement will be on the back a truck before you even get dug out of the rubble.

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    All of the McDonald's restaurants in our area have been torn down and completely rebuilt in the last five years. When they rebuilt, all were sprinkled.
    Glad to see Ohio's fire codes working for us.

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    Post And...............

    Like most here, any preburn time on the trusses, Everybody Out!. The MAJOR problem as I see it, is the Load on the Trusses. Lightweight Construction fails under Fire Conditions fast enough, but when you load them up with more stuff like Air Handling Equipment, etc. the increased load leads to even faster failure. I'd like to see some research into Truss Behavior under Fire Conditions UNDER INCREASING LOADS. My thinking is a Truss Roof carrying a 20 pound per square foot load will fail faster than a Truss Roof carrying a 10 pound per square foot load. Any thoughts on this??................
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Like most here, any preburn time on the trusses, Everybody Out!. The MAJOR problem as I see it, is the Load on the Trusses. Lightweight Construction fails under Fire Conditions fast enough, but when you load them up with more stuff like Air Handling Equipment, etc. the increased load leads to even faster failure. I'd like to see some research into Truss Behavior under Fire Conditions UNDER INCREASING LOADS. My thinking is a Truss Roof carrying a 20 pound per square foot load will fail faster than a Truss Roof carrying a 10 pound per square foot load. Any thoughts on this??................
    I don't see how anyone could argue otherwise, Chief.

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    I'm glad to see the feedback. Please don't fprget that alot of these are also built with basements.

    Stay safe and keep training!!

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