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    Exclamation 5 FF's injured; Loudon County, VA

    A house fire in Loudoun County, VA has injured six firefighters. Two of the firefighters have been flown by helicopter to the MedStar Burn Unit at the Washington Hospital Center. A third was later taken by ground to the Burn Unit after initially being transported to Loudoun Hospital Center at Landsdowne.

    Two other firefighters with lesser injuries were also taken to the Landsdowne facility. Another firefighter was treated at the scene. The injured are a mix of career and volunteer firefighters.

    Mary Maguire, a spokesperson for the Loudoun County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management, said the house fire assignment was dispatched around 1:00 to 43,238 Meadowood Court. The neighborhood is located east of the Town of Leesburg.

    Maguire said the first units went on the scene "with fire in the attic that was rapidly spreading." No residents were home at the time of the fire.

    Maguire said shortly after 7:00 PM they are still unable to provide specific information about who was injured, their conditions and the circumstances of the injuries. She also cannot confirm our report the firefighters are being treated at the Burn Unit. Maguire will only say they were taken to the Washington Hospital Center.

    Sources familiar with the incident tell STATter 911 it appears the roof came in as crews were operating on the second floor. The most seriously injured firefighter was seen rapidly exiting a second floor window with flames all around him. Reports are his gear and facepiece suffered significant heat damage. No details on the extent of his burns, but the firefighter was able to talk with crews who treated him until the medevac helicopter arrived.

    Maguire confirms an interior attack was underway when firefighters were suddenly forced to bail out of the structure. According to Maguire, all firefighters made it out on their own and none had to be rescued.

    A mayday was called. A second-alarm was dispatched.

    The home is of lightweight construction.

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    Hopefully just a close call..

    Thoughts and prayers with those involved.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Hopefully just a close call..

    Thoughts and prayers with those involved.
    I second that. I hope for a quick and full recovery.
    Captain

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    Default From today's WaPo

    House Fire In Loudoun Injures Six Firefighters
    Resident Apparently Out When Blaze Guts Home

    By Nikita Stewart and Martin Weil
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Monday, May 26, 2008; B01

    Three firefighters suffered serious burns and three others were also injured yesterday in an effort to quell a raging blaze that tore through a house in Loudoun County near Leesburg, authorities said.

    Firefighters arrived about 1 p.m. on Meadowood Court in the Potomac Station development to find the attic of the house burning fiercely, said Mary L. Maguire, county fire department spokeswoman.

    After four firefighters went inside, she said, "things started to deteriorate rapidly. They called for a Mayday," an emergency distress call.

    "They were in trouble, and they were getting out," she said. "As they did, those injuries occurred."

    The most seriously injured were sent to the burn unit at Washington Hospital Center, where their conditions were described as stable last night by Maguire.

    One firefighter was being kept overnight at Inova Loudoun Hospital at Lansdowne. The four hospitalized firefighters were all based in Ashburn, Maguire said.

    Another was treated at Inova Loudoun's Cornwall campus and released, she said. A sixth firefighter was treated at the scene.

    Details of their injuries and how they occurred were not immediately available.

    Some neighbors said the blaze appeared to have gutted the two-story Williamsburg colonial, leaving it uninhabitable.

    The cause of the fire could not be learned immediately. Neighbors said investigators were going through the first floor of the house last night.

    The fire, which apparently broke out shortly before 1 p.m., was engulfing the house as firefighters began arriving, witnesses said.

    "It was huge," neighbor Diana Stumm said. "I've never seen anything like that. It was awful."

    After smelling smoke and hearing a commotion, she said, she looked out to see "flames coming out the rooftop."

    Then, she said, "the roof was just totally on fire. Flames were coming out of the windows, billowing out and up on the roof."

    "There was black smoke everywhere," said another neighbor, Vera Stewart.

    Nearby resident John Steedman said that when he became aware of the fire, a rear sunroom, a back deck and a rear fireplace were "almost engulfed in flame."

    He said tongues of flame "were starting to lick out of the house and up onto the second story roof."

    "The whole roof was in flames" within minutes, he said.

    As firefighters arrived, Steedman said, some forced open the front door, while others set up a hose line to fight the blaze from the rear where the flames appeared to be most intense.

    Roland Smith, head of the community association in the 1,491-house development on the eastern edge of Leesburg, praised the efforts of firefighters.

    Firefighters who responded also came from Hamilton, Leesburg, Sterling, Lucketts and Fairfax County, Maguire said.

    Neighbors described the house as about 10 years old with a brick front, peaked roof surfaced with asphalt shingles, and vinyl siding.

    Heat from the flames was intense enough to melt siding on adjacent houses on the two-block street, which has a cul-de-sac at either end and an intersection in the middle.

    It appeared that no one was at the house when the fire broke out. Stumm said the woman who lives there had gone to Leesburg with her mother to buy plants.

    When the woman returned, Stumm said, the neighborhood had been closed off by authorities.

    "That's how she found out," Stumm said.

    Stumm said the woman kept three cats who habitually remained indoors. All apparently fled the fire, she said, and neighbors were searching for them yesterday evening.

    She said the woman works in accounting and was planning to spend the night with her mother, who lives in Leesburg.

    She said the woman was able to retrieve papers from a severely burned automobile in the carport of the house.
    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
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    I'm not quite to my FF1 yet (two more weeks), so pardon my ignorance, but if if was verified there was no one inside, and fire was showing through the roof on a Type 5 construction home, why would there be a need to enter? Wouldn;t a better plan would be to protect the surrounding exposures and roast some marshmallows until it burns down?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GaiusPaul View Post
    I'm not quite to my FF1 yet (two more weeks), so pardon my ignorance, but if if was verified there was no one inside, and fire was showing through the roof on a Type 5 construction home, why would there be a need to enter? Wouldn;t a better plan would be to protect the surrounding exposures and roast some marshmallows until it burns down?

    It's hard to say without having more information. Think of all the things you assess when doing your size up, based on your question, you only have 3 items.

    And who confirms that everyone is out? We do.
    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 GaiusPaul View Post
    I'm not quite to my FF1 yet (two more weeks), so pardon my ignorance, but if if was verified there was no one inside, and fire was showing through the roof on a Type 5 construction home, why would there be a need to enter? Wouldn;t a better plan would be to protect the surrounding exposures and roast some marshmallows until it burns down?
    Just walk away and come back when you have at least had some rudimentary training. You don't know what you are getting yourself into.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    It's hard to say without having more information. Think of all the things you assess when doing your size up, based on your question, you only have 3 items.

    And who confirms that everyone is out? We do.
    That's a good point, thank you.
    Last edited by GaiusPaul; 05-29-2008 at 07:21 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GaiusPaul View Post
    I'm not quite to my FF1 yet (two more weeks), so pardon my ignorance, but if if was verified there was no one inside, and fire was showing through the roof on a Type 5 construction home, why would there be a need to enter? Wouldn;t a better plan would be to protect the surrounding exposures and roast some marshmallows until it burns down?
    You've cited your ignorance, let's just leave it at that. Your experience is nothing and your response shows that. Just my opinion of course.
    FTM-PTB-RFB
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    Just walk away and come back when you have at least had some rudimentary training. You don't know what you are getting yourself into.

    And that's probably the best advice you'll get, and very wise at that. So take it! Once again, just my opinion. Bye now.
    FTM-PTB-RFB
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    Hey Gaius,
    As chief noted, we are the only ones that make the call regarding an all clear within a structure. I can see how you would think that fire showing through the roof would be just cause for a defensive attack but an attic fire can be stopped from the interior. If the crews are aware that they have fire overhead certain precautions can be taken to avoid injury while getting to the seat of the fire. For instance, if the fire has vented itself on the backside corner of the house (the 3-4 corner), you have a good chance of stopping it from running throughout if you are able to get ahead of it from the front of the house and make a good push. While you are making the push to the back, another crew can do a search for victims that may be in the tenable areas as they are now protected by a hose line.
    Of course, there are a ton of strategies for these types of fires. I would recommend that you print the article out and have a discussion with your class and instructors and see what they think. Keep the injured brothers in your head while you train and learn and never forget that this is a dangerous job. Good luck with school and keep the questions coming.
    Best of luck with the recovery boys.
    -Rob
    Last edited by rpferry; 05-30-2008 at 12:17 AM.
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    Hope for a quick recovery. Prayers and thoughts with all included.
    ~But with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26~

    ~The very worst fire plan is no plan. The next worse is two plans. ~

    ~Stay Safe! Everyone Goes Home!~

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    Quote Originally Posted by fyrmnk View Post
    You've cited your ignorance, let's just leave it at that. Your experience is nothing and your response shows that. Just my opinion of course.
    Captain,
    No disrespect but maybe you could offer the kid some advice on tactics and strategies instead of calling him ignorant. Ignorance is only cured through ascertaining knowledge. I can only imagine what 18 years on the job has shown you and it would be nice to hear about it.

    Regards,
    -Rob
    Greater love has no man than to lay his life down for a friend.

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    Hopes and prayer for a speedy recovery. Stafe safe brothers and sister. 5 months into the year and we've had 50 LODD's.
    GFD748 First in... Last out.. Everyone goes home.... Do the best job you can and do it safely

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpferry View Post
    Captain,
    No disrespect but maybe you could offer the kid some advice on tactics and strategies instead of calling him ignorant. Ignorance is only cured through ascertaining knowledge. I can only imagine what 18 years on the job has shown you and it would be nice to hear about it.

    Regards,
    -Rob
    Maybe the kid did learn something. Maybe he learned Rule #1 about being a FNG in the firehouse.

    Sit down, shut up and pay attention.

    He is not worthy of learning anything else until he learns that.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    Maybe the kid did learn something. Maybe he learned Rule #1 about being a FNG in the firehouse.

    Sit down, shut up and pay attention.

    He is not worthy of learning anything else until he learns that.
    and we wonder why we have trouble recruiting and retaining people....
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Default Firefighter Death Trap

    I never read this paper, but the front page caught my eye as I was heading out of the train station:

    http://dcpaper.examiner.com/dc/?haspdf=1
    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
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    rpferry, thank you so much. So a residential, pitched roof will not fail all at once?


    Gerogewendt, I appreciate your experience, and the whole point of my post is because I want to learn. I apologize it's below what you would deem worthy to talk about.

    What IFSTA is teaching in their curriculum is that lightweight steel and wooden trusses fail after 5-10 minutes of fire above 1000 degrees, and you would generally not enter unless ensuring life safety. I'm trying to put together the "textbook" answers to actual events.

    I'll be sure to watch what I post around here.

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    I thought this was interesting:

    DCExaminer Article


    WASHINGTON (Map, News) -
    Firefighters are blaming construction materials used in newer houses for the speed with which fires are racing through the buildings — and giving them less time to battle the flames and escape injury.

    Six firefighters were injured Sunday afternoon battling a fire in a Leesburg home in which lightweight construction materials — including vinyl siding, plywood and lightweight wood supports — were used.

    The materials are being examined as a cause for the speed of the fire as the Loudoun County fire and rescue Department starts an extensive investigation into what happened.

    Top national researchers led by Underwriters Laboratories in Chicago are studying the issue with a $1 million federal grant. The study, now in its final stages, is designed to evaluate the stability of lumber used as well as the methods firefighters use to kill the flames. The National Institutes for Standards and Technology and the University of Maryland also are studying the issue.

    “Lightweight construction saves money, it saves time, but there is a consequence,” said Adolf Zubia, the chief of the Las Cruces Fire Department in New Mexico and chairman of the life safety section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. “Significant injuries and deaths have occurred dealing with buildings that have collapses.”

    Cigarettes outside the Loudoun County house set off the blaze. Firefighters searching the house, surprised by how fast the flames overwhelmed the attic and roof, were injured as they tried to escape, said Chief Fire Marshal Keith Brower, who pointed to the lightweight construction as a key component in the spread of the fire.

    “We get a fire, it makes its way to the attic and then we get the huge collapse,” Brower said. “We've had two or three of these prior to the incident. They get in, they have two minutes of firefighting and we're pulling them out.”

    Montgomery County fire officials described a recent Potomac blaze in which discarded cigarettes started a fire that overtook a home in minutes.

    “It comes down to the fact that less mass means it's going to burn easier,” Division Chief Michael Love said. “It's just awesome to see how quickly a structure can be consumed when it is made of these lightweight materials.”

    An exhaustive report following the death of Prince William County firefighter Kyle Wilson last year highlighted lightweight construction as a reason the fire intensified so rapidly and was blamed as a factor in the death.

    “From a fire safety perspective, we know that lightweight construction is going to fail quicker that the traditional materials,” said Melvin Byrne, division chief of the Virginia Department of Fire Programs and a Loudoun County volunteer firefighter.

    However, because of the cost of materials, especially the skyrocketing price for lumber, lightweight materials are essential, he said. “Without lightweight construction, none of us would be able to afford a house.”

    But not everyone is sold that it is a key problem, including the federal government.

    “We can't say this is a problem without more research,” said Ken Farmer, the U.S. Fire Administration's branch chief of leadership and prevention.

    Lightweight construction can be safe if prevention measures are taken in the construction, said Frederick Mowrer, a fire safety professor at the University of Maryland. Methods like coating the structure in Sheetrock can significantly reduce the speed of collapse.

    dgenz@dcexaminer.com

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    I have to disagree with you on this statement George. It seems like the lad asked a question in a perectly respectable fashion. I learned a whole long time ago that " The only stupid question is the one u don't ask" Try to teach rather than crticise or chastise. Attitudes like this can only undermine confidence of new people coming in and cause them to blindly follow insttructions


    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    Maybe the kid did learn something. Maybe he learned Rule #1 about being a FNG in the firehouse.

    Sit down, shut up and pay attention.

    He is not worthy of learning anything else until he learns that.

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    Back to the current topic...

    I'm sure that the lightweight construction played a major role in the outcome of this fire.

    As a new firefighter, keep reading! Read as much as you can, especially about the way these buildings are built today. It's only going to get worse as material costs increase and builders find ways to build even more cheaply.

    I shudder to think what the next generation of firefighters will find when they respond to fires... of course, the magic frisbee might just solve all these problems.

    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 Bones42 View Post
    and we wonder why we have trouble recruiting and retaining people....
    I don't understand. Please elaborate.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BryanLoader View Post
    I have to disagree with you on this statement George. It seems like the lad asked a question in a perectly respectable fashion. I learned a whole long time ago that " The only stupid question is the one u don't ask" Try to teach rather than crticise or chastise. Attitudes like this can only undermine confidence of new people coming in and cause them to blindly follow insttructions
    The lad was quesitoning the strategy, tactics and judgement of a professionally managed, highly respected fire department before he evenknows the combination to the friggin' firehouse door. That is not showing respect. A respectful way of asking for a FNG would be "help me understand", not "those guys were wrong".

    And you guys who don't like my "rules" can kiss my butt. They are repeated every day on these forums under other subjects and none of you ever say a word. You want to get uppity? Be consistent.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Thanks for that link Diane. This is a big problem in some areas in Canada, along with the municipal councils here allowing " zero lot line" developments. Here in some areas there is a total of 3m, about 10 ft, between homes. Very few are sprinklered. We had an extremely big fire in a condo development here last year, aided partially by building materials as well as setbacks. Edmonton Alberta is forunate in having a pro-active fire chief who has manged to get building codes revisited and hopefully updated. With increasing construction costs, at least here, FDs will need to be even more vigilant in size up and attacks to fires.


    Quote Originally Posted by DianeC View Post
    I never read this paper, but the front page caught my eye as I was heading out of the train station:

    http://dcpaper.examiner.com/dc/?haspdf=1

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    Quote Originally Posted by GaiusPaul View Post
    rpferry, thank you so much. So a residential, pitched roof will not fail all at once?


    Gerogewendt, I appreciate your experience, and the whole point of my post is because I want to learn. I apologize it's below what you would deem worthy to talk about.

    What IFSTA is teaching in their curriculum is that lightweight steel and wooden trusses fail after 5-10 minutes of fire above 1000 degrees, and you would generally not enter unless ensuring life safety. I'm trying to put together the "textbook" answers to actual events.

    I'll be sure to watch what I post around here.

    The biggest mistake you are making here, aside from telling a very respected fire department that they were wrong with no basis, is trying to apply absolutes to fire. You can't. Trying to apply absolutes like " X minutes until flashover", "X minutes until roof failure", "X minutes until my SCBA runs out" will get you killed. Of course you don't know that because you don't know anything yet.

    My very strong advice is to study very hard and pass FF1. Then, forget most of what you learned and pay attention to those senior members of the FD who have "been there, done that" and are willing to help you understand why fighting fire is a serious and complex business with no absolutes.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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