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  1. #1
    Captain Gonzo
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool April fire scenario

    Here's a fire scenario for April...

    It's 4:25 AM and you are the officer responding on the first due engine to a fire alarm activation from a condominium complex. There is also a ladder and rescue responding from headquarters.

    The complex consists of two buildings, shaped like an inverted "T". It is a protected wood, 3 story garden style apartment complex converted to condos in the early 1980's. While en route, you can see a glow in the sky. Fire Alarm reports multiple 911 calls and has filled out the assignment with the additional engine company and a deputy chief, also responding from HQ. The total manpower in response at this point is 11 personnel.

    As you approach the complex from the west, you observe a heavy fire condition on the top floor and it has extended into the cockloft. The winds is blowing from the north at 15 to 20 mph and driving the fire through the common cockloft and towards the second building.

    Okay...what would you do next?



    ------------------
    Firefighters: rising to accept the challenge!
    Captain Gonzo


  2. #2
    Dalmatian90
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Thought for the day:

    Panic is only a good option if
    1) Your the first to panic, and
    2) You run in the right direction.

  3. #3
    Firekatz04
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Well, I'll jump in here. "Engine 1 to dispatch, respond the 2nd alarm to the scene, also give me 2 ambulances at this time", and advise incomming units of your conditions. Have ladder co set up it's ladder to provide rescue and "make the 3rd floor" to start evacuations in the fire bldg. Engine 1 deck gun to handle what it can from the exterior, Engine 1 crew to "make the 3rd floor" with 2 1/2 hand line to buy time for rescue. 2nd engine to provide water supply to engine 1 and to start a second deuce and a half to assist them.
    HOPEFULLY the BC WASN'T DELAYED, cause I'd SURE LIKE TO PASS COMMAND right about now and GET BUSY!!!
    OOOPS! Ok, here's the "post edit stuff...
    We just had a similar job to this in our county the other day, read about it on the "home page" here... 3 alarmer in Pa.
    PS, their FIRST trench cut (3 ft.)didn't hold so they had to make a 2nd LARGE trench cut (about 20 ft. wide). IT held!

    [This message has been edited by Firekatz04 (edited 04-01-2001).]

  4. #4
    John_Ford
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Engine 6 is on scene with a 100' by 100' t shape garden apartments with heavy fire second floor rear. Engine 6 is leading out with a 2 1/2" on side 2/3rear, second engine drop a line and bring a 2 1/2 into side 3/4 of the building. Truck 1 drop a line and get the roof. Rescue 1, you have search on the second floor rear. Orders of Captain 6, gimme a second alarm, people in the building. I need 1 and 1 above the second. Make sure one is a tower ladder. Captain 6 is passing command to Deputy 1

    [This message has been edited by John_Ford (edited 04-01-2001).]

    [This message has been edited by John_Ford (edited 04-01-2001).]

  5. #5
    51Truck_K
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Wink

    Trucks don't drop lines, K.

  6. #6
    Engine69
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Red face

    Ok, if I understand this correctly, we have two 3-story residential structures that are NOT connected. One is on fire and the other is not. I also assume that by "protected" you are indicating a sprinkler/stand-pipe system in the structure.

    That being said, I would order the second alarm. I would assign the first engine to establish water supply with a hydrant and to immediately make connections to the standpipe. I would order the ladder to position itself to prepare for potential rescue if needed, and to also be able to protect the exposure (the other building).

    I would then send in a crew with either an attack line, or a high-rise pack if there are fire department connections inside the building. I would not engage a master stream from the engine, since I have always been taught not to use a master stream when you have people inside the building below where it is operating. The purpose of this interior line would be to get between the fire and potential occupants. They will also be able to assess the extent of fire spread and conditions within the structure.

    My next due engine or rescue crew would be assigned to search and rescue. Once this is well under way, additional support would be assigned to attack the fire.

    My actions at this point would be determine by the reports from the interior companies. If they are able to isolate the fire from inside, I would handle it pretty routinely. Establish ventilation, begin salvage, extinguish the fire and overhaul. If the fire is banking downward in the structure and the interior crews are not able to make any kind of stop, and search & rescue operations are complete, I would order the crews out and go to a defensive mode. Trench cut the roof if possible and make a stand at that point. In this case, I would use the master streams from the aeriel and the engine as effectively as I could to make the stop.



    [This message has been edited by Engine69 (edited 04-01-2001).]

  7. #7
    Halligan84
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Extra alarm prior to arrival. As stated previously, for this time and occupancy, life hazard is a top priority. The fact that involves the top floor helps us here because it exposes the fewest residents, requiring less search and more evacuation (PD). Need a line upstairs quick on the original fire. 2nd line to the next exposed apartment to the north where you think you can catch it, if it's past you, don't waste time, keep moving down. I'd like to get the roof open, but with a total of 11 guys and the amount of work that needs to be done inside, that isn't gonna happen real quick. I'm going to pull the ceilings and get the lines into the cockloft from below. As the extra alarms arrive, we're opening the roof, getting into more exposures, continuing to search and stretching back up lines.

    For those of us in the Philly area, we got a pretty good primer on this kind of job last
    week thanks to Norristown FD (PA) and Action News. They carried live footage through most of the 5 o'clock and just about all of the 6 o'clock newscast of this very kind of fire. L-shaped 3 or 4 story, built in the
    60's or 70's and just running! They had a tough job, fire reportedly started low and got the roof and just took off in 2 directions. Watching it from the helicopter view for an hour or so, I can only say I'm glad it wasn't me trying to stop this thing!..

  8. #8
    Captain Gonzo
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Update for those with questions...the buildings are conected by the common entryway/stairwell which goes to all floors.

    There are no sprinklers/standpipes, the building is classified as protected because of the firewalls and the fire alarm system.

    The 95% of the complex is not owner occupied, most of the units are rented.

    ------------------
    Firefighters: rising to accept the challenge!
    Captain Gonzo

  9. #9
    FFD#30
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question

    A few quick questions:

    - What is the accesibilty to the building? (i.e. front only?)
    - You gave us a total of 11 for the 1st, what is the staffing breakdown per truck?
    - Assuming this is Hydranted, what is the quality of the hydrants. How many available?
    - Only two buildings in complex?
    - How close are your 2nd alarm companies?

    Thanks

  10. #10
    Captain Gonzo
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    On this date, you are at minimum firefighter staffing level. You have ten firefighters on duty. All of the groups officers are in, so total personnel on duty is 10 and 4 (Deputy, Captain and 2 Lieutenants). The staffing level is 2 and 1 on the Engines (three engines in service), a Ladder and Rescue, both with two firefighters.

    The access to the building is via one driveway that leads to the parking area. It is on the east side of the buildings. There is a small dead end street on the west side that allows access to half of the fire building.

    There are two hydrants...both are on the same street, opposite sides of the street in front of the complex. Both have excellent pressure.

    The personnel breakdown on the still alarm is 2 firefighters and an officer on the Engine, 2 firefighters on the Ladder and 2 on the Rescue. The Ladder and Rescue are responding from HQ. The second engine filling out the 1st alarm assignment(also responding from HQ) has 2 firefighters and an officer and the Deputy is responding in the car.

    The second alarm companies are have to travel about 6 miles to get there. With the staffing this at minimum, the Engine had 2 firefighters and an officer. The 2nd alarm Ladder is about a mile and a half away, but will have to be manned by off duty personnel recalled for the incident. The reserve engines will be manned on the 2nd and mutual aid will be coming from the surrounding communities to cover.

    I hope this helps make the scenario clearer.

    [This message has been edited by Captain Gonzo (edited 04-02-2001).]

  11. #11
    FFD#30
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    Ok, I think I'm ready to give it a shot! After hearing numerous calls the 1st alarm should be rounded out. While enroute, after a 'glow in the sky' strike the second alarm because of the high life hazard. With that in mind I would start two BLS and two ALS ambulances for several reasons, one because of the possibility of injuries that you will not have time to deal with, and also depending on the weather a place for your displaced residents to reside away from the incident. Upon arrival my first due engine will hit the close plug, which from your describtion I believe will be within 50' of my engine placement which will be towards the end of the dead end street close to the fire building outside of the collapse zone. This should put us close to the Front Hallway door. After doing my 360, My jump seater will be stretching a 2 1/2 line to the apartment of origin. The truck company will be back into the complex road in order to get the most out of the ladder (rearmount with bucket?) putting its rear to the edge of the fire building. The Truck Co's first objective after apparatus placement(which will be difficult with # of resident vehicles) will be outside rescue of occupants from balconies, windows, etc. Whether the bucket or ground ladders be used. With the arrival of the Rescue, They will be assigned interior rescue. After determining which apartments are priority I'll have them stretch a 1 3/4 line to have protection while searching because of the fast burning nature of garden apts. Hopefully by the time all these activities go into motion my 3rd engine will be establishing a 2nd water supply, to in the future provide exposure lines and supply the ladder if we go defensive. The 2 man crew will go to the first in engine to pull an additional 1 3/4 line to cover the stairways to the 3rd floor where our first engine and rescue crews are operating. At this time I'll pass IC to the arriving DC and take interior ops.
    Considerations for the IC:
    The closet engine which will be the first on the second alarm will stage on the main road out of the way with the hopefully the first rescue, we want to keep the apparatus on the complex road to a minimum. The 3rd engine crew of 3 will come to front to do search on the 2nd floor. (I'll utilize the cops on scene to clear out the exposure building, as long as it is not on fire!) Hopefully by 10-15 min into the incident the second ladder crew with call-in guys is arriving they will be going to roof to trench to the gutter ahead of the fire in front of the fire wall they will not open it up until my 4th engine crew and 2nd rescue are inside ahead of the fire with pike poles and BIG water to cut it off.
    Hopefully upon transfer of IC a third alarm assignment would be sent. From that pool of manpower RIT would be established, secondary searches, and all exposure lines(other than the deck gun on the 2nd engine)as well as crews ahead of the fire wall checking for extention (because we all know not to trust fire walls) would be operational.
    Also Big Fires usually bring alot of chiefs out of the woodwork, put them to work. For example... Aide to the DC(accountability), water supply, SAFETY, exposures, Rehab, Resources(Air & Light).
    Hopefully this is somewhat on track, constructive critizism is welcome

    Stay Safe

  12. #12
    HallwaySledge
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Talking

    Cap, I'm a strong believer in the KISS principal so I won't be long winded.

    1. Upgrade the alarm

    2. Position the Tower Ladder for master stream ops

    3. Do your walk-around (probably just to either side of the inverted T since the whole building would be too large) while your Engine Company stretches a 2 1/2 to the entrance ahead of the fire.

    4. I am assuming by Rescue Company you mean a Heavy Rescue or what we in the Midwest call a Squad Company. So, have the Rescue assist your Engine stretching the 2 1/2 to the top floor.

    5. Split the Tower Company and have one team initiate vertical ventilation if the roof is safe, and have the other team initiate evacuation and search of the top floor assisted by one or two members of the Rescue if you can afford them.

    6. Pray the Box Companies get there fast.

    ------------------
    The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not reflect those of my Department or it's Administration.

  13. #13
    oz10engine
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    First thing request a 2nd alarm, I think everyone agrees on that. I think the key is to keep it basic and simple, remember we only have a few ff's. Have the 1st engine establish a water supply and lead off with 1 1-1/2 or 1-3/4. The smaller the line the greater the maneuverability and the easiest to get into service with limited manpower. Garden style apt buildings are compartmentized with alot of turns to make with the hoseline so I think a 2-1/2 attack line is unrealistic and impractical with limited manpower. In this type of building you are putting out a room here and a room there, not the whole thing at once. And remember most fires go out with a little water and alot of smarts. Iwould have the ladder company take care of any obvious rescues. If there weren't any have them start searching and hook some of the ceiling to let the engine get to the fire in the cockloft. The rescue company would search, and the other engine company would establish a separate water supply and and pull a second 1-1/2 or 1-3/4 and report to the fire floor. Have the engine company on the 2nd alarm check the exposure building, and have the other 2nd alarm units stage and use them as needed.

  14. #14
    Dalmatian90
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    My department usually has good turn-out for structure fires...but for a fire alarm at 04:30 11 firefighters/officers responding initially would not be unheard of!

    Let's see...let's start strategy in some sort of order:
    1) Make sure people are evacuated starting on fire floor and working away
    2) Confine fire to original building
    3) Limit damage to original building

    Tactics:
    1) Tell dispatch to re-tone for a working structure fire and fill out the assignment for a 1st alarm, plus special call 1 Tower, 1 Ladder, the Rapid Intervention Team from a neighboring town, and move-up the 2nd Alarm companies to staging at the 1st Alarm stations, and next four due Ambulances to quarters. Might as well blow tones for everyone all at once.

    The First Alarm & Special Calls will eventually bring 4 Engine-Tanks, 3 Engine/Hose-Tenders, 3 Rescue (equipment) trucks, 1 CAFS unit, 2 Ladders, 1 Tower, and one Ambulance, but we're probably 12-15 minutes before everyone arrives after time-of-tone.

    Sending the Second Alarm companies to move-ups get them closer, but gives the Chief a little bit more time to get the fireground organized before pulling them in. And, if things go very well, you might not need them. Second Alarm would basically move up 6 Engines or Engine-Tankers as the aerials normally on it have already been special called to the scene. In our area, we'd also probably be reverse laying long supply lines, so a pause in apparatus arriving between the 1st & 2nd alarm clear the roads for the Hose Tenders heading for water.

    2) I'm assuming the fire on the top floor is predominantly confined to the room of origin and extension to the attic space. 1-3/4" line w/Task Force Tip 200gpm nozzle and 1-1/2" line w/Piercing applicator to 3rd floor hallway.
    -- Pump operator to set 210 psi discharge pressure once lines are in position (200psi to get 200gpm from the TFT, plus an extra 10psi for elevation)
    -- 1-3/4" crew -- knock down if the fire starts extending to the hall.
    -- 1-1/2" crew -- use piercing applicator into the attic through the hallway ceiling to try and steam that space. Heck, assuming the door to the fire apartment is still closed, and the walls are just sheetrock, poke it through and try to knock down or slow down the fire apartment with steam.

    We've now deployed 6 people -- Chief, Pump Operator, and 4 on the lines. #7 is driving the engine, and is reverse laying to water. That gives us 5 "truckies" to work with still on the initial arriving resources

    3) Aerial operator -- position aerial, man the turntable. Be prepared to make "pick-off" rescues if any one shows up at a third floor balconey.

    4) Four remaining firefighters to third floor, do a rapid primary search then drop down to second floor, etc to clear the fire building.

    What we've done in the above is address life-safety by 1) placing a hoseline to protect the hall, 2) reducing the chance of collapse and/or extending time to collapse of the attic by disrupting the fire in there with the piercing nozzle, 3) with hoseline providing protection against unchecked fire growth initiated a search of the building.
    ------
    As additional resources arrive

    5) Vent crew, working from Aerial, to cut vent hole(s) on the leeward side of the fire building roof, before the exposure. No time for a trench cut, but hopefully the holes will vent enough to reduce the spread into the exposure.

    6) Stretch 2-1/2" lines (2) to the third floor of the exposure, plus a 1-3/4" line. There job is to keep the fire out of the exposure. My gut is telling me once we begin to open up the fire building to attack the fire, we may see the wind try to whip it into the exposure.

    7) Conduct another sweep of the fire-floor in preparation for opening the apartment and trying to attack the fire.

    8) Stretch 2-1/2" lines to the fire-floor.

    9) Open up the hallway ceiling, make sure if there is a large volume of fire it's knocked down before entering the fire apartment.

    10) Open the fire apartment and knock it down. If the 1-3/4" already up there can't do it, then they back off and the 2-1/2" crews take over flowing 350gpm/each. May see one directed into the attic, one into fire apartment.

    11) Simultaneous with the fire-floor attack conduct thorough searches of other floors. Smoke shouldn't be too bad (we're below the fire), so they shouldn't take long. But in case we lose the fire-floor and pull out, let's make sure there's no one on the lower floors!

    12) Position the ladders & tower for waterway operations in case we need to pull out of the fire-floor and go to surround and drown.

    Major assignments to be filled:
    Incident Commander
    -- Operations
    ----->Fire Floor (under Ops)
    ----->Evacuation (under Ops)
    ----->Exposure (under Ops)
    -- Resource & Staging Officer
    -- Water Supply Officer
    -- Safety Officer
    -- Interior Accountability, at each building & exposure entrance
    -- RIT Officer
    -- Rehab Officer (for FFs, includes med checks)
    -- Triage Officer (for civilians & FFs refered by Rehab)

    Outside Agencies:
    -- Power Company
    -- Town & State Fire Marshals
    -- Town First Selectmen (a/k/a Mayor; coordinate Town resources, I'm especially thinking School Buses to a shelter right now).
    -- Possibly Natural Gas or Propane Gas company, as appropriate

    -----------
    Now, ***IF*** things are going well as far as fireground organization, but we're losing the firefloor/attic still, I'd be tempted to try a very advanced tactic that needs excellent coordination. I'd also need part of the attic on the windward side by the stairs to be intact so we're not worried about a collapse right over the special tactic's team.

    Stretch a 4" line and deck gun with a 1000gpm solid bore tip to the fire floor, windward side. I don't want them on the leeward, where the attic above them has been involved with heavy fire & heat for awhile now. While that's being positioned, make sure the Chief in the exposure understands whats going on and pulls anyone who might be in the attic out, and has the troops on the third floor of the exposure prepare for a possible sudden increase in smoke and/or steam being pushed at them. Evacuate the rest of the firefighters from the firefloor, and let loose with the deckgun inside the firefloor, basically using it to rip down the hallway ceiling and attempting to knock down the attic fire. If handlines failed, and this fails, then we'll just have to wait for the roof to burn off and turn the aerials on it.

    Matt

  15. #15
    Dalmatian90
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Whooops...

    I'm laying in bed last night, and realized I had a mistake in my reply!

    I said set the pump pressure to 210psi to get 200gpm through the 1.75" line. Which is fine the way I thinking, which is pulling our preconnect which is 150' long.

    Hmmm, 150' preconnect, fire on third floor of an apartment building...me thinks it won't reach. Time to grab the stair packs and stretch more hose!

  16. #16
    Brian Dunlap
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Capt. Gonzo....One Question...Upon Arrival does the Building appear to be or not to be evacuated ?

    Now after I arrived and cleaned the mess from my shorts................

    I would First Sound the Second Alarm and perhaps Special Call an additional Truck Company or Two to assist with the Rescue Operation. Life Hazzard would have to be My Main Concern. Based on the Fire Load and the potential Compromise of the Structual Members of the Third Floor and Roof Areas I would have to Limit the Entry to Rescue Only and go to a Defensive Operation with Deluge Guns and Elevated Waterways. Although I admitt in defensive Mode it may take longer to extingush the Bulk of the Fire before I can determine if it's safe enough to have crews Enter for interior Attack - Over-Haul- Salvage - Ect..Safety of the Crews is Most Important. I'm sure a Third Alarm would be transmitted bringing in additional help for the attack, over-haul, salvage, Operations. And of Course with major Home Loss the Notification of the Red Cross and Several Emergency Medical Services Units to tend to the Injured.

    I'm Not a Company Officer. I live under the Rule "Keep my Helmet Black, Seat me Backwards, and get me to the Fire !" But I'd thought I'd take a crack at the Scenario

  17. #17
    Captain Gonzo
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    The buildings are connected by the common entryway and are in the process of being evacuated!

    As soon as I get a few more replies, I'll post what happened... this was an actual incident that occured on March 25th, 2001.

    ------------------
    Firefighters: rising to accept the challenge!
    Captain Gonzo


    [This message has been edited by Captain Gonzo (edited 04-08-2001).]

  18. #18
    phyrngn
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I like the way Dalmation90 thinks...he's definitely a progressive fire attacker!!!!

  19. #19
    oz10engine
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    When you take a test and this is a test,what is the first thing they tell you. READ THE DIRECTIONS !! As the good Captain Gonzo stated " you are the first due engine officer with the deputy chief on the way." This means you set the job up as much as you can (usually 1st alarm cos. and call for help) until the deputy arrives, which will be shortly. Then it's his ball of wax. That's it. This is not a big fire. Don't put the fire out using the incident command system. Put it out with water, guts, and aggresive ffs.

  20. #20
    RJE
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    But if I remember the news correctly, this BECAME A BIG FIRE, due to high winds blowing it through the cockloft.

    I'm glad they don't have those kinds of buildings around here. (Only apartments of that style are new, in suburbs, and due to modern codes, have firestops in the cockloft).

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