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  1. #1
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Springtime scenario...

    Okay, kiddies, it's time to shake out the cobwebs out of our brain buckets and get back to thinking!!!

    It's 02:00 hours, about 45 degrees, a moderate wind blowing from the north...and the power is out!

    Fire Alarm recieves a call from a motorist on a cell phone stating that he can see a "glow" coming from a building on the top of a hill.
    He states that he doesn't know what the street name is, but he just passed two car dealerships. The "hill" is the location of a commercial/industrial zoned area.

    The tones go off, and everyone is rolling. Your first alarm assignment is 2 Engines with an officer and two firefighters, a Ladder company with three firefighters, the Rescue with two firefighters and the Deputy Chief for a total of 12 personnel on the first alarm. Your other Departmental resources are an Engine staffed with an officer and two firefighters and a Ladder staffed with two firefighters. The Department has two unstaffed reserve engines in the substations.

    You are in command of the 1st due engine company. As you pull out of the station, you look to the south and can see the glow in the distance. You arrive on scene...your fire building is a sprinklered, class 2 fire resistive structure, concrete block walls with brick fascia, a lightweight steel truss roof supports, steel decking with a rubberized roof surface. The HVAC units for the building on the roof. The building dimensions are 200' by 200' with two commercial occupancies separated by an interior fire wall. Each company has half of the building. The occupancies are a landscaping supply company and a pool supply company...lots of hazardous materials are stored on the site due to the nature of the businesses. (ammonium nitrate fertilizers and chlorine come immediately come to mind!)

    Side A of the building houses the showrooms for both occupancies. Sides B and D have a windows in the office areas. Side C is the loading docks and garage area for company vehicles. The showroom and office areas of both occupancies are separated by another interior firewall.

    From the preplan info and district familiarization, you know the building is sprinklered, but something is drastically wrong... the fire is through the roof! The Deputy Chief orders you to drop dual lines at the hydrant and proceed to the fire department connection to augment the sprinkler system. The second due engine will tie into the hydrant with a soft sleeve and pump to your engine. You arrive at the FD connection and notice that the water motor gong is not operating. The PIV valve for the building is in the open position...

    Okay, what are you gonna do next...
    (besides saying Holy ****!)?

    Have Fun!!!
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 03-12-2002 at 11:28 PM.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY


  2. #2
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Hehehe...

    Me being the numbers geek did check, and indeed the Wachusset Reservoir at 395' elevation so opening valves to that system isn't gonna make most hills in Gonzo land...

    So I guess I'd first call dispatch and tell them to get the public works director on the phone, and tell him he has five minutes to call back with an ETA when the emergency generators at the pumping station will finally be on!

    Well, that's one part of the answer...who wants to to continue?

    -----------------------
    That situation is always a bit worrying to me -- the water system we're on, we sit 5+ miles away from the gravity-fed storage tanks, and at that barely below their level. So we're dependent on the backup generators at the wellfield and in one part of our system on an additional booster pump to get decent flow if the power goes out! Well, OK -- we'll just lay a long line to a pond, but dang, you know it's gonna screw up the first 10 minutes of the incident while the Chief doesn't quite believe the Engine that they have no water coming out of the hydrant!

    ----------------------
    Anybody wanting to check out a really cool water system can go to:
    http://www.mwra.state.ma.us/water/html/hist1.htm . The only reservoir & transmission system that really rivals it in the US is probably Los Angeles; indeed Boston has about twice the water storage of New York City!
    Last edited by Dalmatian90; 03-13-2002 at 01:06 AM.

  3. #3
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    First of all I would fill in the box with the remaining co's in town and strike 2nd right away with MA. If the building is sprinklered, water gong is not sounding, and fire through the roof I would start thinking either A: explosion or rapid, heavy fire spread rendered sprinklers inoperable or B: vandalizing of the system for arson purposes. Also with the power being out any alarms or master box in the building COULD be rendered inoperable delaying notification. Due to the fact that the building has numerous HazMat concerns, as well as lightweight steel trusses, I would go defensive from the start due to high probability of collapse from prolonged fire exposure in the cockloft and the presence of the heavy HVAC units on the roof. Also if I knew there was ammonium nitrate I might consider evacuation if there are homes nearby ie:Texas City!. Putting Cos. in the building is
    not a wise choice. I would ask the deputy again whether he wanted to tie into the FD connection because if the sprinklers didn't hold the fire and the gong isn't operating it might be a safe bet to say that they aren't working. Try to get the help I needed there fast to take hold of the situation, Mutual Aid cos. and State HazMat team for afterward.
    P.S. Gonzo, did this incident really happen?

  4. #4
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    This was not an incident, and the building is fictional...it's just an exercise to get people's minds working again after "woodyworld"!

    We do have a building that is similar...same occupancies, same construction, smaller size, different layout and built into a hillside that is accessible from only the A and B sides. Only one half is presently occupied, the other will be shortly!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  5. #5
    Forum Member Lewiston2FF's Avatar
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    I would make the FD connection, and call in second alarm, from exterior size up determine if fire is threatening the hazardous materials in the loading dock area, if not set up a monitor to for a water curtain. (hopefully materials are in sealed containers)

    Like Puffy said, lightweight trusses with HVAC on them and fire in the cockloft, not a good idea to do an interior attack. I also like the way that Dal is thinking, power is out so the pumps for the water dept/authority may be down, minimal water pressure, if that is the case you arent going to get much of anything out of the hydrants, so start calling for tankers (our water dept, doesnt do much in the way of emergency assistance)While I was working with the Water dept to figure out what was going on.
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

  6. #6
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    The FD connection is not going to be of much help so resources can be committed elsewhere.

    1. Don't kill any firefighters and prepare for the long haul

    2. If its on a hill, runoff of chlorine and hazardous materials is possible so evac the lower area's using your state of the art fire department bus. Any explosions could spread the debris.

    3. Big fire = big water plus big personnel commitment

    4. The roof is like Iraq's government-fixing to fall- due to the aptly mentioned truss+HVAC combo plus heat.

    5. Remove the deputy from command.

    6. Stay safe.

    Okay, not a full layout like usual but I am in a short mood today.

  7. #7
    Senior Member shammrock54's Avatar
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    I would get a second and possibly third alarm, depending on your mutual aid response, first. Then I would get ladder pipes set up to cover exposures and start surround-n-drownd ops. I would watch the HVAC an ensure all appartus and personnel were out of the way of its collapse. Try to locate HAZMAT and keep the fire from reaching that part of the building(if it already hasnt). Also in relation to the HAZMAT I would have all personnel on the FG in SCBA(those not in smoke area dont have to be plugged in, but have it on incase you suspect dangerous gases) and check on the chemicals to ensure that if the chlorine does become chlorine gas or any other toxins in the building that could harm the crews are checked out. Call for a HAZMAT team, and call over to Stow and the Fire marshalls office for investigation, especially into the non working sprinkler system(cyoa).Thats my what I can think of right no but I'm only a FF ,so how'd we all do Cap?
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  8. #8
    Senior Member shammrock54's Avatar
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    Now that I looked back and saw that you mentioned the wind I would stage or move all units upwind of the building or at least away from the direction the wind is blowing. To keep out of the possible HAZMAT gases and smoke that could come from the chemicals stored in the building. plus if checking the HAZMAT book or talking to the HAZMAT team have the PD drive around the area downwind to see that windows are closed in the houses, they should be for this time of year, but some of us diehard m******* think 45 is warm. Call stop @ those homes w/open windows and have them closed. If theres no major HAZMAT concern, you were safe and didnt scare the town @0200, if it is a major HAZMAT concern part of your area evac procedures are already complete.

    I might be off on this but I'm trying cover all the bases.
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  9. #9
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Keep those ideas and thoughts coming...I'll post mine when we have a few more responses!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  10. #10
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    Question ...where's the fire??

    What is my size up of the interior? Do I have an obvious fire below the trusses or could this be a metal roof deck fire? If I do have fire showing on the floor level, which side is it on...A, B, C, or D?
    What percent fire involvement do I have? Is the building already lost? If not, is there any chance firefighters could make entry into the warehouse area and remove chlorine or ammonium nitrate if it's not involved already?

    Assuming the plugs have pressure, I would pump into the FDC. There are not many reasons why the gong wouldn't be sounding and for water to not flow from the drain...unless the valve is shut, there is an occlusion in the line, fire is above the heads so they didn't open, or what??? Even with an explosion or rapid fire progression the gong would probably sound unless the gong itself or the couple of feet of pipe below it were impacted. If there is an occlusion in the line or the PIV is installed wrong and possibly closed, pumping into the FDC will provide water on the system side ahead of a possible occlusion.

    If the building is lost I would consider everything from unmanned monitors to letting it burn out and not using water at all. Of course, basic HAZMAT applies...upwind and uphill... consider evacuation and sheltering-in-place for residents.

    Our PPE provides limited protection against these chemicals, if the building is lost I wouldn't jeopardize anyone's health to put water on it. With a brisk wind...LET IT BURN.

  11. #11
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    Just a thought. I looked up chlorine and ammonium nitrate on the internet for chemical interactions. It seems there are interactions between the two, but it doesnt say what the interaction is or how hazardous it is. Anyone have any further information?

    steve
    Last edited by leatha4eva; 03-17-2002 at 03:53 PM.

  12. #12
    Truckie SPFDRum's Avatar
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    theboxalarm: what is your sop/rogs on FDC's? There has been horror stories of fire departments being help liable becuase they didn't hook to the connection and the building was a loss (although in most cases, the building was in a defensive mode and a loss). Are you able to get around that? I agree with you on a waste of resouces, water, and manpower if the sprinkler system is defective. Thanks, Mark
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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    I don't know alot about sprinkler systems, but I think I have an idea about why they arent working. From what I understand from my class, sprinklers need fire pumps to boost the pressure to reach higher heads. But the power is out. First I thought yeah ok but there would be generators. But, I think I have seen and heard about generators being placed on the roof of buildings like these. So maybe they were damaged when the fire vented. Would this cause the gong to stop sounding after the pumps stop working? I'm not sure. I'm not a fire protection engineer . . . yet. What do you guys think? If I'm wrong, please set me straight.

    BTW, lets get more people in on "games" like this, this is fun!

    steve

  14. #14
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Call for more help. Follow along the lines of Hazmat worries first as it seems the fire is not going out quick. Yes, my first due would probably hit the FDC, if it's not working, the water will be flowing somewhere into the building, if it's stopped up and not flowing at all, you will notice that by your pump pressure. Work on the water supply (my Water Dept. guys are the best, the PD call them when requested and they respond within 5 minutes!) Would also have addt'l help lay supply lines up the hill for all the towers that are going to sit and spray around this one.

    Don't forget to call the Auxiliaries, gonna need lots of coffee and donuts before this one's over.

  15. #15
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    Lots of good stuff in the responses so far, but gah74 is the only one so far that mentioned the possibility of not applying water. The old Haz-Mat axiom of not doing anything that doesn't improve the situation...

    The number and quantity of chemicals that may be involved may be better being allowed to burn off an disperse into the wind, rather than to pump many gallons of soon to be polluted water that will run off (especially from the top of the hill and spread to who knows where). This is especially true if the building is basically gone. The big glow in the sky is usually a pretty good indicator that its beyond help before you got the call.

    Also consider the other chemicals that may be present. I think of pesticides when I think of landscaping and groundskeeping facilities. Our turnouts are not very effective against these chemicals, many of which can be absorbed through the skin. You know those ones that end in ...cide. That means to kill, like homicide, suicide,etc. Keep your people well clear, as your SCBA's may not be enough protection.

    Just another possibility.
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    There has been horror stories of fire departments being help liable becuase they didn't hook to the connection and the building was a loss (although in most cases, the building was in a defensive mode and a loss). Are you able to get around that?
    Yes you are right. However it is a tactical decision and made to preserve the forces needed for the fight.


    Hazmat and applying water came to mind but I dismissed it because I have already determined that there is no hazard . Of course this scenario could be different

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    Hey guys ,
    I don't know alot about the water systems up there , but it sounds like your gonna have to have some tankers, if you use water at all. The idea about letting it burn out may be the best. I've read almost all of the replies,and the one thing I still haven't seen was contact with the Electric Co. to find out the situation with the power to cut the pumps back on..............just a small thought from a redneck......
    Capt. Walker

  18. #18
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    FYI...no tankers!!!

    The area is fully hydranted....

    Anyone else want to jump in?
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  19. #19
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    I'm gonna post before I look at any replies,,,,
    Has Gonzo been talking to Brannigan about roof deck fires?

    I'd call for a 2nd alarm assignment, place engine companies front and rear and if I find no or low levels of fire below I would suspect a roof fire that is now self sustaining under the roof deck. If that is the case large water from below is needed to cool the roof deck and the bar joists above. Attack should be made from safe areas at exterior of building until assesment can be made.

    Now if I'm wrong and there is heavy volume of fire involving the interior and we have a water system problem I'd call for the county tanker task force with the 2nd alarm. Support the sprinkler connection despite the lack of water flow indicated and make a big water assault from safe areas as assesment is made.

    Metal bar joist roof with HVAC units with heavy fire equals collapse potential in both situations. Attack from safe areas until assesment indicates progress with the attack or that a fully defensive position is indicated.

    Ok, now I'm gonna read farther and see how wrong I can be!
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    Be safe Brothers.

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber E229Lt's Avatar
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    Surround and Drown

    The building's a total loss already.

    Fire through the roof, truss building, amoninium nitrate and an oxidizer.

    No fire exposure problem stated. Lay in a good supply of water, set up the "coward sticks" (Towerladders), call in EPA, or your equivalent, and start some air sampling and keep all members upwind and out of the collapse/fragmentation zone.

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