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  1. #21
    Firehouse.com Guest


    With all the talk about McDonalds, I guess I should comment on my recent encounter in South Jersey. This is the one mentioned by several other posts in this forum.

    On the morning of Feb 4, 2001 both my station and our sister station were alerted for a building fire at a typical stand alone McDonalds. First arriving officer advised of a working fire and requested the second alarm. First in engine (3 blocks from the incident) attempted an interior attack (heavy thick smoke pouring out the doors) and was shortly backed up by the second in engine. Truck crew performed horizontal ventilation and started to perform vertical ventilation. Even after aggressive interior attack and ventilation, in less than 5 minutes conditions deteriorated quickly, and the evacuation was sounded and defensive ops took place. Within five minutes of the evacuation, fire was already blowing through the roof and interior was fully involved. About five minutes after that, roof collapse into the structure (due to fire/heat damage and huge HVAC unit). It became a giant rubbish fire (future parking lot) after that. A third alarm was struck to assist with H2O problems for the master streams.

    Points we learned...we had several FF pass McDonalds within 5-10 minutes of dispatch and saw nothing! Fire was riding between the roof and drop ceiling for a while prior to FD arrival. It was incredibly FAST MOVING with no chance of getting it with an interior attack due to the rapid deterioration inside the structure. Upon quick realization of this, we promptly evacuated and went defensive.

    Unofficial story which is still under investigation...grease had little to do with its spread or its cause. It was electrical somewhere in the rear of the structure above the drop ceiling. About 30-40 minutes prior to 911 call, employee thought they smelled smoke but it was dismissed and thought to be the cooking grills/fryers. Then someone decided to look above a ceiling tile and surprise...fire above. From there it QUICKLY ran the entire drop ceiling from back to front.

    All involved in the incident were very lucky on scene and no one was injured and/or killed. Looking back it only makes one think about what happened in Houston FD and the LODD associated with the McDonalds there.

    We are going to submit digital photos to this site and have them posted in about a week from now on our site. Feel free to check them out or contact us if you have any further questions about the incident.

    Rescue Captain
    Pennsville Fire & Rescue Co.1

    [This message has been edited by Cmalla1 (edited 02-15-2001).]

  2. #22
    Firehouse.com Guest


    On the subject of the NJ McDonald's fire. Read the article associated with the photos there are some interesting points to notice regarding the rapid degradation of the structure's condition.

  3. #23
    Firehouse.com Guest


    One thing to remember about most McD's (and for that matter most fast food restaurants) The back door is usually barricaded like Fort Knox (even when employees are present) It wouldn't be a good idea to put firefighters on an interior attack without providing them a second way out. Force that door!

    In most McD's there is usually a storage room to the back right of the main hall leading to the rear door. It would easy for a firefighter to get disoriented and trapped in this room which usually has a chain link security cage inside it (someone might steal the Dixie cups, you know)

    I believe I heard that one of the Houston LODDs was found next to the barricaded rear door and the other was in the storage room. When the kitchen roof collapsed, it cut off their hose line and left them trapped in the rear of the building.

    I suggest everyone get out and pre-plan all the restaurants in their district. If everybody is out, an exterior attack is indicated and as Al Bruanacini would say "Another satisfied customer! Remove the pre-plan from the file!"

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