Thread: Garage Fires

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    Default Garage Fires

    It has always been my (and others) tactic for garage fires is to make the attack from the interior (the unburned area). Only recently have I questioned this. Here's why.

    1. We recently had a FF burned while trying to access the garage via the home's foyer and kitchen. Between the kitchen and garage was a "mud room" and the two doors could not be open at the same time. He was trapped for several seconds and had his hands burned to the point where grafting was required.

    2. We have new condos with an elevated entry, between the first and second floor. The garage is on the 1st floor which would require us to go DOWN stairs and open the door to the garage to initiate the attack. When the door opens we would be in the chimney!

    I have since decided that garage fires will be attacked from the outside. Two FF will make entry to ensure the fire has not extended into the living space and ensure doors are closed, and then the attack can be made with a straight or solid stream directly from the driveway.

    I am a firm believer that an improper stream (fog) can indeed push for into unburned areas, but a solid or straight stream would work with limited potential for spread. And if so we have an interior team ready for such an occurrence. Proper GPM is also important, and 125 is a minimum.

    What are your thoughts?

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    I tend to like advancing a line into the house to verify the firewall/door is still intact. If the separation is good this crew can take a safe position outside the immediate area while another attack line (high flow smoothbore) knocks down the fire from outside. Attacking through the interior into the garage space opens the home to the smoke and heat. If the separation has not held, then this first line attacks the fire.

    This method does a few things for us. First, it puts a line inside the house between the fire and most egress points. Second, it confines the fire to the garage or the area just inside the mudroom, kitchen or breezeway. Of course another crew needs to get upstairs to check for extension as the space between the garage ceiling and the home second floor can be a corner cutting place for carpenters. "out of sight, out of mind" or "can't see it from my house" are two common phrases I heard a lot in 11 years of residential construction. Now with truss voids, the heat trapped in a garage space can cause early failure.

    We also use 150 gpm as a minimum for structural attack, with a true target of 180 gpm. The driveway line likely should be heavier in flow, I'd call for a 2.5" most days, possibly our 1.75" with a Vindicator at a higher flow like 275 gpm.
    Last edited by RFDACM02; 09-13-2009 at 09:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    We also use 150 gpm as a minimum for structural attack, with a true target of 180 gpm. The driveway line likely should be heavier in flow, I'd call for a 2.5" most days, possibly our 1.75" with a Vindicator at a higher flow like 275 gpm.
    How do you get 275 GPM out of a 1-3/4" line? When the TFT automatics appeared in the late 80's we always joked about the 300 GPM that they promised - I know it's possible but at what pressure?

    Thanks for the garage feedback. Good info.

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    I would also place a crew and line internal and advance only if it can be done safely, other wise they are there to cut the fire off only if needed. We always make entry from an exterior door (largest possible) then use 1.75" with high flow nozzles. I would also have a third group checking for attic extension as most of the houses here are ranch style and the garages attic are attached.

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    We try to do this and it's not for everyobne but it has worked for us. While the back step is leading out a 2 1/2 the officer will take a quick look inside or if we have a second company arrive at the same time then they would go inside and check to see if the door held or failed. If it's just the officer this is done pretty quickly just take a look for smoke or flames and get out but if the second company is there they bring in a line with them so if the door fails or has failed we shut the outside line down and now attack from inside out. The garage service doors are fire ratd for an hour or 2 and to this day we have not had an issue doing this method. This biggest thing to remember is GPM vs BTU's and if there is a way to vent the garage vent it.

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    It sounds to me like you have thought this out and came up with a good solutions. When I first starting reading I thought oh no. But then when you stated you send a team in the home to check the fire break/door/wall between the house and garage I instantly changed my mind. Good work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 16Scott View Post
    How do you get 275 GPM out of a 1-3/4" line? When the TFT automatics appeared in the late 80's we always joked about the 300 GPM that they promised - I know it's possible but at what pressure?
    I'm NOT pushing the Vindicator product, and have never used it, but if you want more detailed reading, here's two in-depth reports:
    • FDNY Vindicator Nozzle Fire Nozzle Evaluation Report[B]
      Summary - Based on the extensive testing performed on the Vindicator fire nozzle from First Strike Technologies, Inc. the following summary is provided.
      1. The Vindicator nozzle has to date performed completely to the manufactures specifications. In fact, in numerous cases, it does more than what is promoted.
      2. The Vindicator nozzle provides superior heat absorption compared to our current 15/16ths tips.
      3. The Vindicator nozzle provides faster fire knockdown or control times compared to our current 15/16ths tips.
      4. The Vindicator nozzle provides less nozzle reaction with more flow compared to our current 15/16ths tips.
      5. The Vindicator nozzle provides a wider flow range than our current 15/16ths tip.
      6. The Vindicator nozzle provides the same 88% of its flow to the target as our current 15/16ths tip.
      7. The Vindicator provided an increased impact to the target than our 15/16ths tip.

        All things considered, the results clearly point to a simple conclusion. The Vindicator may not be a traditional looking nozzle but it has shown that it simply outperforms what we currently are using when it comes to the basic necessities for fire Suppression.
    • Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service
      Vindicator Nozzle & Hose Evaluation Report
      September 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by 16Scott View Post
    How do you get 275 GPM out of a 1-3/4" line? When the TFT automatics appeared in the late 80's we always joked about the 300 GPM that they promised - I know it's possible but at what pressure?
    I also I'm not pushing the Vindicator as a product, but we own one and decided to play with it a bit to see what it's all about. We found we could easily put more GPM down range than with our 100 psi fog nozzles or even the 15/16" SB.

    Vindicator Heavy Attack on 100' of 1.75":
    EP: 160 GPM: 250 (easily handled by 2 FF standing and advancing)
    EP: 185 GPM: 275 (within PSI capability at 200')
    EP: 210 GPM: 300 (maybe 200 ft? before exceed hose test psi)
    EP: 300 GPM: 375 (OK this was excessive, but we had to see)

    15/16" SB on 100' of 1.75""
    EP: 300 GPM: 300 (maxed out hose test pressure @ 100 ft.)

    Elkhart SM-20F on 100 ft of 1.75":
    EP: 200 GPM: 175 (standard PSI/GPM for current engine ops)
    EP: 250 GPM: 250 (difficult for two FF, 150 ft. likely max psi)

    All the test were done with the same hose, as I recall our Ponn Supreme, making the ID nearly 1.96" so there's slight advantage hose wise. But we found and all personnel agreed the Vindicator had the best flow range and was readily handled by two firefighters up to the "normal" 2.5" with 1 1/8" SB tip. We are switching to one SB 15/16" and one Vindicator with a third line with a 100 psi Elkhart for those rare fog jobs (LP gas leaks, ember patrol). Our 2.5" line are all tip out with 1.25" SB for the 325 flow.

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    http://www.fireengineering.com/videos/index.html
    look at season one garage fires

    4 man crew:
    Drop one at the hydrant, Then, I put a 2.5" or 3" with blitzfire line to the garage with 1 man (assisted by a OICw/ irons), OIC does walk around and occupant interview, Hydrant man completes hydrant and goes to the front door flows and masks up with 1.75" and a hook. OIC goes in with man from hydrant who is now on 1.75".

    We usally set the exterior line first IF....
    -there appears to be no breach in the garage house wall
    -all known occupants have left the building
    Originally Posted by madden01
    "and everyone is encouraged to use Plain, Spelled Out English. I thought this was covered in NIMS training."

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    I don't know why anyone would open an interior door between a burning Garage and a house Unless there was already extention
    The interior Line is to prevent extension not make a path for it.
    21/2 Smooth bore from the exterior and if you can push it away from the house even better

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    Like the others we have some Vindicators,Butt ugly nozzle that makes you go WTF? BUT they work. And WELL. As far as a sunken garage,if it's involved,I've been known to take a saw and make a "door"in the end opposite the overhead door,large bore nozzle or personal monitor in the opening,knock down the heavy fire and finish up with the 1.75. But 275 thru a 1.75 isn't hard to do with the RIGHT nozzle.Be wary of the usual garage "gifts"like Propane cylinders.paint and thinner cans and remember to ALWAYS prop the overhead door unless you remove it. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captaincvfd View Post
    I don't know why anyone would open an interior door between a burning Garage and a house Unless there was already extention
    The interior Line is to prevent extension not make a path for it.
    21/2 Smooth bore from the exterior and if you can push it away from the house even better
    I agree with this post. Although, I can't remember the last attached garage fire we had, so I can't swear to what was done.
    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."

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    I was not there (ominous statement)[just got home from an appendectomy when the tones dropped] but, our last garage took some interesting twists:

    1. Positive pressured (PP fan) the home from the front door to abate smoke travel.

    2a. Stretched line to interior for extension watch/ attic ladder to get up and check fire wall.

    2b. Attack w/ second line through garage door already up w/ 1.75 (small incipient fire)

    It was an arson job that fell flat on its face. It smoked the garage up but never really took off. They did NOT brace the door to my knowledge...a point made clearly after the fact, but they did get the extension line in place to protect the main structure.

    I do not know how effective the pp fan was or if it really would have helped or hindered the operation should there have been a breach between the garage and the fire wall.
    A coward stands by and watches wrongs committed without saying a word...Any opinions expressed are purely my own and not necessarily reflective of the views of my former departments

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    First line through the front door of the house to the garage, attack fire. Driver vent the garage by taking out windows. Second engine take line to the floor above check for extension. First truck split into two teams; first team search, second team remove garage door vent windows on upper floors.

    You have to protect interior stairs, therefore place the line between fire and possible occupants.
    PGFD

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    Quote Originally Posted by allpro View Post
    First line through the front door of the house to the garage, attack fire. Driver vent the garage by taking out windows. Second engine take line to the floor above check for extension. First truck split into two teams; first team search, second team remove garage door vent windows on upper floors.

    You have to protect interior stairs, therefore place the line between fire and possible occupants.
    While your last statement is very true, opening the door between a garage and the house to attack the fire has made the house part of the fire, whereas it may have been merely an attached exposure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    While your last statement is very true, opening the door between a garage and the house to attack the fire has made the house part of the fire, whereas it may have been merely an attached exposure.
    What happens when you start pushing hot gasses through the rest of the house from an exterior attack? How do you know the door separating the garage from the house is intact? Going into the house and putting a line between the home and the fire is the safest method of survivability for occupants.
    PGFD

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    Quote Originally Posted by allpro View Post
    What happens when you start pushing hot gasses through the rest of the house from an exterior attack? How do you know the door separating the garage from the house is intact? Going into the house and putting a line between the home and the fire is the safest method of survivability for occupants.
    Here's what I said in the first response to the original poster:
    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    I tend to like advancing a line into the house to verify the firewall/door is still intact. If the separation is good this crew can take a safe position outside the immediate area while another attack line (high flow smoothbore) knocks down the fire from outside. Attacking through the interior into the garage space opens the home to the smoke and heat. If the separation has not held, then this first line attacks the fire.
    My only concern with your method was where you said take the line in and attack the fire. If the wall/door is intact you'll have to open the door to make the attack, exposing the home to the heat/smoke/fire.
    Last edited by RFDACM02; 09-24-2009 at 01:05 PM.

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    One question with the interior line:
    If the door to the garage has held, do you pull the interior ceiling adjacent to it?

    On one hand, I'm thinking if the fire is going to penetrate it will do so at the door/frame, not through the fire-rated drywall above the door header. Pulling the ceiling on the house-side may only result in unnecessary damage.

    On the other hand, the garage is on fire, damage is a secondary concern. Pull the ceiling to make sure it doesn't get into the void.
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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    One question with the interior line:
    If the door to the garage has held, do you pull the interior ceiling adjacent to it?

    On one hand, I'm thinking if the fire is going to penetrate it will do so at the door/frame, not through the fire-rated drywall above the door header. Pulling the ceiling on the house-side may only result in unnecessary damage.

    On the other hand, the garage is on fire, damage is a secondary concern. Pull the ceiling to make sure it doesn't get into the void.
    This would be an A-1 place for a TIC. I'd also expect the search crew to get in above the the garage/house ceiling on the second floor and report any extension.

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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    One question with the interior line:
    If the door to the garage has held, do you pull the interior ceiling adjacent to it?

    On one hand, I'm thinking if the fire is going to penetrate it will do so at the door/frame, not through the fire-rated drywall above the door header. Pulling the ceiling on the house-side may only result in unnecessary damage.

    On the other hand, the garage is on fire, damage is a secondary concern. Pull the ceiling to make sure it doesn't get into the void.
    if you dont have a TIC, then use of your old schol senses is paramount. open up when you think there maybe a breach of the fire rated assembly. put a line on the second floor and access the attic space.

    i will most of the time put the 1st line to the garage and then one inside (split crew of 5). inside holds while outside does the extinguishment.
    Originally Posted by madden01
    "and everyone is encouraged to use Plain, Spelled Out English. I thought this was covered in NIMS training."

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    I have to agree with everyone else, while you want to send someone into the house to ensure there is no extension. Unless the door or firewall is already compromised leave everything closed and knock it down from outside.

    Just make sure you get the garage doors and windows open. That way the heat will have a place to go and won't be trying to push down the house door when you hit the fire.

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