1. #1
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    Default Tactical Options - Fire in Residential Block

    Brothers - loooking for your views and opinions on a query from a firefighter in MADRID.

    Fire involves one room of 5 room apartment on third floor of five-storey block. Access is via front stairway but door to flat is security bolted. No signs of fire showing from front of building but heavy smoke and fire emitting from balcony to apartment at rear. Engine crew stretching a line at the front but unable to gain access due to security door.

    Ladder company to rear able to stretch a line up a ladder to the balcony and attack fire - resulting action forces fire and heat into apartment with resulting damage to interior rooms.

    Questions -

    1. Would the tactical placement of a stretched line have been more effective if entered through the window/s adjacent and along from the balcony? The windows were blackened but there was no fire in these rear rooms and the firefighter has asked if such a placement would have resulted in a better attack, possibly preventing flames entering the rear rooms. There is no balcony or fire escape access to these windows off the balcony and entry would be by ladder alone.

    2. If the entrance doorway had NOT been security bolted would the fire attack have been more effectively sited from the rear (via the balcony) in an effort to maintain the entry doorway and protect the stairway to upper floors?

    Construction is not relevant in this scenario - line placement is the issue.
    Last edited by PaulGRIMWOOD; 08-24-2002 at 02:40 PM.

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    Wouldn't it just be easier to use your forciable entry team and force the door?
    Doc DC2
    ex-FDNY (E 74)

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    Hi Paul, basic line placement is to place the line between the fire
    and the most seriously exposed. Yes by taking line through that
    window you would be placeing the line between the uninvolved rooms
    the most seriously exposed and the fire and working in from there.
    Advanceing lines through windows would be a last choice
    tactic which brings us to question #2.
    No, when sizing up the whole building the fire apartment would be
    considered the fire area and the most seriously exposed would be the
    stairway and floors above and adjoining apartments.
    Going back to basic line placement would be
    through the front door and work it in from there.

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    A window is not often the best way into the structure. Your senario puts you on a ladder three stories up, rapid egress will be hard at best. The additional damage caused from attacking the fire from the involved side is acceptable considering the risk to us the other way.
    Also if the crew comes across a victim it will be hard to get them out the window with the line comming in. I've also found that if you bring enough water with you (flow) you don't push the fire, it just goes out. Smooth bore, vindicator or combination nozzle on straight stream is indicated. No fog patterns!

    On a side note I've not encountered a door in a residence that was not able to be forced. If they are common in the responce district then a rabbit tool may be needed. Otherwise I recommend FE practice with a good tool set up.

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    Default 10-4

    Thanx for these valid points. I could not agree more with the general consensus that a window entry at this level can make things difficult for basing a fire attack. A balcony entry offers a stable base from which to mount an attack; lay in and advance a hoseline/s; provide safer entry and exit points for firefighting crews; and remove occupants if needed.

    I made the point to the firefighter from Madrid that had the same fire been on the ground floor then a window entry may have been a viable option.

    If a balcony entry is used then might the furthest window be used as a ventilation or VES entry point? If so, would this opening more likely support the spread of fire into the apartment? Your point on flow-rate is acknowledged ADSN! However, if a window entry had been made I would have started out with a 'pulsing' fog-pattern to deal with the smoke and gases on the approach.

    Agree Kevin - the line placement is between the fire and most seriously exposed (Basic rule). I can see the firefighter's point in his question though - example: There was a recent high-rise fire here in the UK where the fire over-powered the line at the apartment door and spread out into the stairway. I am still trying to find out why this happened, but of course - the upper levels were compromised and occupants became trapped above the fire for several minutes!

    I also made the point on carrying suitable forcible entry tools - in London some years back we had the same problem. The security door I am talking of used metal bolts that came from inside the door right up into the door frame (I remember them in New York also). For some years we were not provided with the correct tools to open these locks and entry and access to such apartments was generally made via a window.

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    Being that I can't right click to quote, as for not being able to carry the right FE tools, always remember, one maul and a halligan tool, and entry into Fort Knox is possible
    Doc DC2
    ex-FDNY (E 74)

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    KEVIN37TRUCK: basic line placement is to place the line between the fire and the most seriously exposed...
    Advanceing lines through windows would be a last choice tactic...
    when sizing up the whole building the fire apartment would be
    considered the fire area and the most seriously exposed would be the
    stairway and floors above and adjoining apartments. Going back to basic line placement would be through the front door and work it in from there.


    johnusn978: Wouldn't it just be easier to use your forciable entry team and force the door?
    I agree with Kevin and John. The first line should be placed between the fire and the occupants or most severe exposure. The stairwell should always be protected. This is as basic as it gets. "Security bolted" is not an excuse, "can't" shouldn't be in the truckies vocabulary. What you describe sound like a Multi-Lock door. They are fairly easy to pop with the Hydra-Ram or Rabbit Tool it just requires a couple of different placement points and takes a little longer.

    There was a recent high-rise fire here in the UK where the fire over-powered the line at the apartment door and spread out into the stairway. I am still trying to find out why this happened
    Assuming it was an apartment with an ordinary fuel load, your answer probably lies in fire self-venting through a window and the wind doing the rest.
    Last edited by SquadHog; 09-08-2002 at 10:52 PM.
    "Go ugly early."

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    Squad - Security doors are often made of steel sheet with, as you say, multi-lock bolts that protrude into the door frame. I am uncertain of the politics in Madrid but when these first appeared in London some years back we were far from equipped to deal with rapid entry. There are now tools in the locker that assist such a process - a halligan certainly isn't one of them! During those early days we had little option other than to force entry through windows and balconies.

    As for the high-rise fire, I totally agree with the points you make, but would add, the available 'flow' at the nozzle may not have been sufficient to deal with the rate of heat release from the apartment - this is currently under investigation.

    Yes, tactical line placement is 'basic' and I again agree - but there is something to debated about a situation (as in the high-rise) where the escape routes were compromised because of this approach (no other option here). 'Real' world suggests that a common access stairway provides the normal entry point but there are occasions where balconies and windows MAY offer a viable alternative.

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    Wink

    Paul are your highrise building codes similar
    to ours? 2 or more enclosed stairways per floor
    which gives you an attack stairway and a evacuation
    stairway, even our low rise up to 7 stories built
    after a certain date mid 50's rings a bell,
    have enclosed stairways. I got to go with the wind and
    or low pressure. Solid stream of course ? What size hose
    you guys use in highrise.

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    Oh Keven......don't start me off on high-rise lol!

    The fire in Madrid occurred in a smaller residential structure that is typical to inner european cities - one staircase that may or may not have been enclosed. However, yes our modern high-rise codes dictate at least two enclosed stairways, similar to US.

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    Originally posted by Paul Grimwood
    the available 'flow' at the nozzle may not have been sufficient to deal with the rate of heat release from the apartment - this is currently under investigation.
    No question about that. Ideally the line should have been a 2 1/2" (or the metric equivalent) capable of flowing about 265 GPM. I won't go into the fog/smooth bore debate, but I'm guessing they probably had a considerably smaller line?
    "Go ugly early."

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    No question you are right Squad - 2 3/4" line here but many prefer the lighter 1 3/4" option for high-rise packs. London don't even dictate the size and leave the choice to the 'first-in'!! Flows through our 4" standpipes (common) are more likely to be half of what you suggest!

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