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  1. #41
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    Dalmation 90, walk a mile in the shoes of the man before you speak for him. Lets look at the basics for a moment. 30 years ago fires were fought in a way far different from now. Then fire fighters wore canvas coats, hip boots and leather helmets with little else. They fought fire by skeeting water in windows. Those were accepted ways of doing business with the equipment of the day. Today the fire service has the best PPE ever developed, boots that are becoming better by the day, glove technology that improves every week, SCBA that tell you everything about you and the environment your in, etc. Today we push to the seat of the fire to contain and extinguish it while other crews are ventilating and searching for occupants. Then most products inside an average house where Class "A" combustibles. Today they are more often than not a derivative of petrolium. Then flashover, backdrafts and explosive fire spread were rare. Today it is not a matter of if they will occur, but when and to what degree. This is all relevant to the points you try and avoid in your attempts to prop up your positions. Back then accountability, the IMS, etc. were unheard of in structural fire fighting. Today they are common if not mandatory in most departments with some being law. Back then most departments had more companies with more men on them to get the job done. Today alot of cities have fewer companies with fewer men on them to do the same functions in environments that are far more likely to go bad quicker. Don't the citizens we are sworn to protect deserve the same level of service, as a minimum, today that they recieved back then? I think so. We as a fire service today are led by people who mandate that we do more with less. Who drop buzz words and catch phrases like "Aggressive interior attack", "State of the art" and "Cutting edge technology" like they are candy and with little understanding of them. These are the men and women who are trying to turn our careers into white collar office jobs which they never have been and never truly will be. In my department we are expected to take advantage of the PPE, SCBA and equipment available to us and be ready to rock and roll when we arrive. No BS'ing around and you hit the ground running. The mindset of a fast attack on tank water, going further, faster and staying longer is instilled into us from the beginning. Then when something goes wrong people from places near and far start with their "expert" opinions. The fire at McDonalds mentioned earlier is a good example. Those fire fighters hit the ground running and were doing there jobs. Even IF the Chief had an assistant on this fire, the fire ground was understaffed from a task oriented point of view. There were and are set tasks that need to be accomplished and these tasks take a certain number of people to achieve them in an acceptable time frame. The 1st arriving Engine Co. (E76) and 1st arriving Truck Co. (L76) arrived within seconds of each other. The initial IC (L76 Officer) decided that an offensive attack was in order given the conditions presenting upon his arrival. Contrary to what you believe, there was no HEAVY FIRE from the building. There was a small amount of fire showing from around a roof vent with a heavy smoke condition from the building. Small insignificant grease and other type fires have presented like this time and time again requiring no more that a portable extinguisher and a fan. You then take fire fighters who are oriented department wide to getting INSIDE to do their job (Not stand outside) and expect them to change for this one fire for no better reason than because you think so and/or your inexperince with these types of fires. Fires like this one had been fought time and time again with these tactics which had been proven sound under fire before. Then when something goes wrong you and others want to say they were wrong and "they should have done this" or "they should have done that". Ladder Co. 76 had 1 fire fighter on the back to perform Truck Co. functions on the fireground. He was doing exterior forcible entry, ventialtion, setting up lights etc. because his entry partner was outside as the IC. Had there been 2 fire fighters on the back of the rig then they would have been inside to assist the injured fire fighters when things went wrong and they needed help. It is inconcievable to me how you can do this. How many high rise, fast food business, MD and SFD fires have you been to? How many have you been in command of? Its kinda different when your hot, can't see and you have to work huh? You mention floor plans. I'll have you walk thru the same building everyday for a month. Then for a week you don't go inside it. A day later I put you inside it at 03:00hrs with smoke down to the floor. I bet you a dollar to a dozen donughts that the door to wall distance you remembered is vastly different from what you percieve when your in there. That the location of the serving counter is 4 feet further in than you remembered it being. The passage way to the prep area is supposed to be somewhere else closer than where you find it and so on. Now go in a different building (How about a McDonalds) 4 times over the course of one year. You gonna know your way around like Rand-McNally? I think not. Don't try and say that all floor plans are the same for all type structures and that they should know them from memory. Your only kidding yourself. As for your other "expert" opinions, attempt to impress someone else. Please don't continue to spew forth the venemous and rancid comments from far, far away about an incident you know nothing about, you were not at and with questionable information you gleaned from the internet, rumors and one sided reports. Your ability and desire to regurgitate this information only serves to cheapen the memory of those lost and those that continue to do the job day in and day out.
    Last edited by STATION2; 11-02-2002 at 12:52 AM.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry


  2. #42
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    One more thing real quick: For the record, my comments on these forums are my opinions and mine alone. They are not representitive of any department, organization our association I am a member of. They are not intended to offend, aggravate or demean anyone. Like myself, everyone is entitled to their own.

    HFD838, what quandrant, district or station do you work in if you don't mind putting it on here? If so, e-mail me.
    Last edited by STATION2; 11-02-2002 at 01:00 AM.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

  3. #43
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    xxxBut to "out" them here is irresponsible and unnecessary.

    The Union went on a national attack against the mayor and the fire chief. Did the Union really think there would be no reply? To send Firehouse.com two stories packed with lies and falsehoods. What is left for the elected officials to do that offer up ALL THE FACTS????

    The UNION has opened pandoras box, and now you are going to watch guys lose their jobs over this event and others get prosecuted for false reports. Can’t happen look at the Houston PD chief right now.

    XXXXIn house is one thing, here the facts need to be passed on as I said and let it go from there.

    Nah, wouldn’t be right. Not after the IAFF president came out and said NIOSH singled out staffing when in fact staffing was one of just 11 findings. And you and I know, 4 guys times three is 12 and 14 or 15 could have made the floor not 4 it was a choice made by so called experienced professionals

    xxxxx I know alot more than you think about who made up the adhoc internal report writing group.

    Really tell us about it. Who made up the city report, the state report eth NIOSH reports???? What are their agendas. Where in these reports were the facts as the international association of fire fighters president and HFD union president say WHITE WASHED??? Isn’t the real white wash not telling the truth about what really happened?

    xxxI disagree with the downplaying of the manpower issue in the internal report as well as the state fire marshals report.

    Where is it understated? It is one of 10, 11 or 15 points depending on the report.

    True or false, one incident commander with a clue of what is going on could have said 6th floor companies move down to the 5th floor to support the attack. In what 60 seconds the problem is over right? So command having a clue isn’t as significant as staffing?

    The company officers cold have told everyone on their rigs to go up right? Problem solved, just as significant as staffing or having a clue right?

    Turing your radio on the right channel saves the day right?

    Listening to what you are told to do saves the day right?

    Following Sops saves the day right?

    Getting out of your truck and taking 11 minutes to get where other crews traveled in 6 saved the day correct?

    First in rig saying well the IC won’t send us help and getting on the radio and saying the floor is clear deck gun or ladder pipe the involved unit form the exterior we are withdrawling until we have sufficient resources saves the day right?

    Taking 60 minute bottles saves the day.

    Taking any spare bottles would have saved the day.

    Closing the apartment door lie you are trained saves the day.

    Bring your imager with you saves the day.

    One guy wearing gear instead of street clothes saves the day.

    Following the 1970 UBC/UFC saves the day.

    Using a piercing nozzle saves the day.

    Command actually tracking personnel and assignments saves the day because the RIT team would have been their as would E-3, right?

    Dispatch could have called a second on report of multiple calls and the problem goes away.

    SO ONLY ONE IS REALLY SIGNIFICANT??? I DON’T THINK SO. And none of the reports aggress with you.

    Fried said, when all else fails put the fire out.
    xxxx To bad downtown didn't spend so much time blaming us and spend more time fixing some of the problems.
    Ok you’ve got 9 chiefs, 4 appointed untouchables. So what are 5 guys supposed to do? Have any constructive ideas? What do you suggest?
    xxxxxBut as we all know we are to busy fighting among ourselves to take a good hard look at the problems and fix them.
    How is admin fighting the troops in the field? Sure we can all see the Unions attacks.
    xxxx. But I all so have said that like the chiefs downtown you have forgotten what it's like out on the streets and in the station.
    So, what do you suggest? What needs to occur?
    xxxxBut if you have any influence with the chief’s downtown then maybe you could have them come spend some time again on the front lines and get back in touch with us and why they are here. So we can start to fix some of the problems that even you have stated.
    Any examples you can give of what is broken??

    XXXXAs for the McDonalds fire, I was there and staffing WAS a problem
    That is wonderful! You left out the staffing of all of the ambulances, so you had more than four per company. True or false the life expectancy at a McDonalds at 2 in the morning is ZERO? So what excuse are you going to use now, here I’ll give you a few FACTS.
    There were not signs of entry into the store on arrival TRUE OR FALSE?
    The only life hazard in McDonalds was the firefighters and company officers that command allowed to work under a heavily involved truss space RIGHT?
    Does Mr Brannigan one of the required texts for promotion in HFD say you don’t belong on or under a truss? Having 70 some odd firemen died doing just that? Are the rules of Physics different in HOUSTON?
    Does every McDonalds in the U.S. have the HVAC system on the roof?
    What fire service text book does it call for sending three hose lines through the same door way?
    How many doors are on a McDonalds? Why is it one of those doors was never opened with90 firefighters on scene?
    Why is it 1/3 of every crew did not participate in fire ground activities?
    Why is it the crew died inside without their captain?
    With two portable radios per rig why is it the two people who died don’t have a portable radio but their captain who is not anywhere near his crew does and so does their EO equipment operator out in the street?
    Why is it the captain never knew his crew was missing until 15 minutes after the collapse? What does a captain in HFD do? Is the EO in charge of crew safety or the individual firefighters? Why was the first accountability on a 3000 foot building done 30 minutes into the call?
    Why is it firefighters crawl under the panic hardware and push bars on tubular doors? Can’t that be removed?
    You were there why didn’t anyone apply any water from the exterior to stop the fire spread until it was way to late?
    Oh that door that never got opened, one HFD firefighter crawled around inside without a radio because the EO and the captain outside needed it more than her, and she came to the door because she knew how many doors there are in a McDonalds and she got to that door to find it locked, thank God the pros at HFD forced that door 1 hour and 10 minutes into the fire to find her lifeless body.
    Yeah I have the video from all angles on this too, you know 3 guys to operate a deck gun at McDonalds in HFD and 6 to stand on a turntable at Four Leaf? Staffing was a real problem wasn’t it? How about the crawl in and 16 watch, yeah that is on video too, and 1 in 4 guys in turnout gear. Oh what is that line in Back Draft, oh yeah, “you’re doing it wrong!”
    Heck that was the Union president turned chief, you couldn’t possibly have a staffing or training problem, he was your guy!!!!!!!!!
    Why like Lardsville wasn’t someone charged for their stupidity on the McDonald’s event?
    Maybe HFD should stop blaming staffing and look at what the heck is wrong with every engine and ladder company crews, ever chief and captain and why command can’t command.
    When you are running four engines, two ladders, two ambulances, a chief and a safety on all structure fires with 30 guys or more, no one in the rest of the fire service is going to accept staffing as an issue. Then you got another 30 on the 2nd and the third. Three alarms on a McDonalds? What the hell is wrong with you? 99% of the worlds volunteers don’t get that in an hour, 60% of the nations fire service gets 9 or less on just three rigs. 90 friggin guys and you get two firefighters killed? Give me a break! Yeah t was staffing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!
    MAYBE YO OUGHT TO LEARN HOW TO DO YOU JOBS!
    xxxxThe DC (I know him personally and he is an excellant IC)
    So he let’s them go in under a well involved flaming truss. That makes an excellent IC?
    He doesn’t keep track of his people that makes him a good IC?
    He doesn’t require his Captains to maintain contact with their crews, that makes him a good IC?
    He allows three lines through the same door and 12 guys so none of the lines can move, that makes him a good IC?
    He allows 1/3 of the members on the fire ground not to wear protective clothing?
    Allows his officers not to support department regulations on protective clothing?
    He won’t have any of his thermal imager equipped crews, 2 to 6 depending upon the time to take a look at the involvement in the building, heck flames were through the roof on arrival and he lets crews go in? To do what, you are going to have to reroof the place anyway, all the water is trashing the place weather you are inside or outside, spraying water the place was history. So the only other options were to get firefighters hurt and or dead.
    It takes him one hour to determine how many are missing that makes him a good IC?
    And he himself is standing next to the building under the eves, in the smoke in shirt sleeves that must be what makes him a pro IC?
    That kinda crap will get you kicked off a volunteer fire department!
    xxxHe was by himself and expected to handle Strategic Planning for the incident, Accountability, Water Supply, Resource Management, Staging (When it went to a 2-11), etc. But we don't need Chiefs Assistants or whatever you want to call them.
    Not exactly true, the first in ladder took command with silly HFD rules that means the other three guys with the thermal imaging camera on board are not allowed to act because they don’t have an officer. So the IC has three helpers when the DC arrives if he is as you say way over his head he can keep all four guys with him and manage the event. Did he know! You do that at high rise fires.
    Your UNION and your District Chiefs asked for 4 guys per rig not the return of the long gone Chiefs drivers, the booster drivers, etc. If you ask for four and that is all they asked for and you get it you either need to be happy, or learn from it for next time. Pretty hard to go back to the public and say we mean 5 or 6 oh yeah and these other 20 guys and I mean we want 6 and 33 other guys, oh and the ambulance I mean the squad guys and a few more ambulances, I mean what we really need well I think we really mean is. ….
    xxxxThis is where I get mad at the manpower issue. Taking away the chiefs e/o
    That happened a decade ago when the union and admin agreed to go to four shifts instead of three shifts. If you remember the promise was a better trained department. So that doesn’t effect this fire, there were six chiefs and two aids command before the May Days.
    XXXXXand the booster e/o is wrong for so many reason.
    Well, that happened after Four Leafs, this July to be exact. Doesn’t have any effect on 4 on an engine or truck does it?
    xxxxxxThe other night durning the storm an engine company was screaming for a rescue boat and a booster, but dispatch told them they had no one to drive the booster...but again we don't have a manpower problem do we???? From what I heard they had 6 people trapped in high water. Hope they all made it out.
    Gee, I almost cried reading the above, 656 guys per tour. Cross manning specialty apparatus especially in a rain storm like a brush truck is one of the most common assignments in the fire service. You don’t staff your boats either.
    If boats are real importantly how about put them on a motorized chassis like real fire departments do?


    As for the McDonalds fire, I was there and staffing WAS a problem.
    E-76 - 4
    E-73 - 4
    E-75 - 4
    E-10 - 4
    L-76 - 3
    L-75 - 3
    D-10 - 1

    XXXXX22 Firefighters and a Chief on the initial alarm and staffing was a problem? How many firefighters does it take to hit a hydrant and stretch a line -- even if you're going inside with a line, it's not like fast food restaurants have the most difficult floor plans to crawl through.

    Dalmation, What is wrong with you? Have you ever fought a McDonald’s fire? You just don’t understand! These guys are having to fight fires without a contract! There average salary is barely $35 an hour. They can only sleep 2/3rd of each shift. They are having to work almost 7 shift a month leaving them barely 23 days off to work as part-paid firefighters in the surrounding fire departments for 10 to 13 dollars and hours without benefits or life or hazard insurance(like Lake Worth where the guys died as volunteers and wanted their city job to pay retirement and disability). Of course in the suburbs the staffing is 2 or 3 but that is alight because they’re off. And one or two rigs is all that will get there the first 10 to 15 minutes.

    xxxxx Provided you even go in -- I'd hope most of us finding heavy fire in a fast food restaurant at three in the morning would use one engine, one ladder. Hit the hydrant, wait a couple minutes for the a/c to predicatbly come through the truss roof, open up the pipe and hydraulically overhaul. There's nothing in there to save.

    There you go again! Have you ever fought a working McDonalds fire with 30 guys? NO! HFD is a very aggressive interior attack fire department, even if a building is fully involved a primary and secondary search has to occur no matter how many firefighters have to die!

    See if no one is out their looking out for the troops and they aren’t thinking which seems to be the case on these two fires, then you have to have deaths. Everyone was a hero, it couldn’t have been avoided, if it could the UNION would have said so. After all it is the political office for the fire department.

    XXXXThe only possible manpower issue was lack of Command staff.

    Impossible the union would have said so if that was the case. Can we take a moment here and bow down towards union hall and then carry on? How dare you a volunteer thing you could have fought this fire and left a smoking hole in the ground like HFD and not lost two fire fighters.

    See what the new chief is up against?

    No wonder the Union wasn’t going to let the Fire Chief speak at the International Fire Chiefs this year, the truth hurts!

  4. #44
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    Dalmation90

    I am sorry you have such a problem with this issue. One would think based on the response that it was you who wrote the reports.

    As for your lack of interest in RIT, I get the impression that you are a veteran of many years and have never had a fire do the unexpected or a building do the unexpected. Quite frankly there are times in our profession the **** HAPPENS.

    Your commitment to the BASICS is commendable!! I wish every firefighter in this country and around the world took your approach. Reality is they don't. We should always prepare to do the job, but all the emphasis in the world on basics will not prevent the fire from taking unexpected turns, the owners of buildings from modifying the structural components or terrorist from setting us up.

    So a simple commitment to rescuing our own I don't think is to much to ask.

    Be safe
    Michael R Rehfeld
    IAFF Local 1311
    Baltimore Co. Fire

  5. #45
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    So a simple commitment to rescuing our own I don't think is to much to ask.
    Amen Brother...except you are both right...The Basics and RIT should be the same thing. Every guy certified as FF1 (or whatever you want to call it) ought to have the basics of saving himself(herself) and our own. Period.

    As for the rest of this, I read with interest. Not having any first hand knowledge, I will defer to those from Houston.

    Remembering those that have fallen,

    Dave

  6. #46
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    I wasn't at these fires, so I jave no specific comments on them. I have three general comments.

    1.
    Lets look at the basics for a moment. 30 years ago fires were fought in a way far different from now...
    The main difference is that we know ALOT more about fire today than we did 30 years ago. AND we kill more FF per capia (based on the much lower number of fires) than we did 30 years ago. I am not advocating turning fire fighting into a white collar job, but maybe it's this macho BS attitude that prevents us from changing tactics and results in killing our own. Any other industry would devote a ton of resources to cutting the deaths. Some here seem to say it's a price we pay.

    2. I think that one of the weak points of the NIOSH reports, as well as other well-meaning government agencies' reports is that they are not into fixing blame. They are into "fact finding" and "recommendations". While it may make people feel good, it does nothing to jold people accountable. i would bet that if you studied all the NIOSH reports, there is a boiler-plate recommendation about staffing in each one. Unfortunately, the union jumped on it this time out of their own self-interest.

    3. Dal, the profanity is very unbecoming. I am surpirsed at you.

  7. #47
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    Default HFD and NIOSH Report

    Manning is always an issue with regards to safety and fireground performance - as it should be. However, it does sound like the H.F.D. needs some serious re-training in their High Rise SOP's. You could have had 300 firefighters on that scene and it wouldn't have made a difference in the outcome because the proper and basic fire ground rules were not followed.

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    Default Different City, Similar Incident

    The attached is from the St. Thomas Times-Journal in St. Thomas Ontario Canada. An inquest is presently being held into the deaths of a Fire Captain and a building resident during a fire in Jan 2001.


    " In other testimony Thursday, the positive and negative impacts that helped influence or helped sustain the fire damage were revealed.
    John O’Halloran, who co-ordinated the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office investigation presented his findings.
    In terms of negative impacts, O’Halloran reiterated much of what has already been revealed throughout the inquest.
    - Firefighters were not properly informed of a confirmed fire on the third floor. There has been varying testimony as to whether Redman was aware of where the fire was.
    - Firefighters rode the elevator with a civilian, instead of taking the stairs. St. Thomas Fire Department guidelines state that an elevator should be taken to two floors below the fire and then stairs be used. And if the fire is on the third floor or lower, stairs should always be used.
    - At least one firefighter was not wearing proper equipment. Redman did not have proper breathing equipment on and two firefighter helmets and a pair of gloves were retrieved from the elevator after the fire.
    - The number of responding personnel was not sufficient. Only seven firefighters initially responded to the call and after quickly realizing they would need help, Redman immediately requested a full call-back.
    - There was a lack of vehicle access to one side of the building. Fire trucks were not able to reach the far end of the building, impeding rescue efforts of those residents.
    On the positive side, the high level of automatic fire detection at 200 Chestnut, including early detection and sounding of fire alarms, and the quick alerting of the fire department, were noted. O’Halloran also said the solid wood doors on the units helped prevent the spread of fire."

  9. #49
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    The Mayor and Fire Chief validated the staffing issue when they MANDATED four per apparatus the day of Jay's funeral!

  10. #50
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    Default It ain't easy!

    Wow - when things go wrong in this profession it causes an awful lot of 'hurt'! It ain't easy! It is beyond doubt that procedures failed at this fire but - it ain't easy!! Arriving first-in on a fire like this; three man crew; person reported trapped in the fire apartment; confusion caused by fire's observed location (not the first time and won't be the last - it was a big building); wind shifts at vital time causing a blow-torch effect....damn! It ain't easy!! I have experienced ALL these variables at high-rise fires but NEVER together at the same incident! These poor people had a whole bunch of stuff to contend with.

    With hindsight we can all sit back and see where the approach could have (SHOULD HAVE)been actioned according to procedure. Manning levels? Procedures? Air bottles? TICs? Staging? But when events occur such as they did - it ain't easy!!

    Three things stick out here -

    1. It took FIVE MINUTES to despatch the first response to the scene from TOC (Time of first call for help) - THAT'S TERRIBLE!!! That's a manning problem surely?

    2. Operational support and back-up to the fire floor was restricted due to confusion in fire location and poor communication coming from the fire floor itself.

    3. The blow-torch effect is something that has to be seen to be believed! It's something that can severely hinder procedure for a few minutes.

    There are MANY factors that will come out of this fire that we MUST ALL learn from if we have high-rise in our despatch area. This same fire could have occurred anywhere with the SAME outcome! Preventing it happening again? It ain't easy!! 'What if' ALL procedures were followed by the book and no confusion had been allowed to develop? That wind-shift might STILL have caused loss of life.

    This job ain't easy.........

  11. #51
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    Sorry Station2, but I'm not the one trying to obfuscate to protect my position. My position is the one supported by the reports. Are they all wrong?

    Dalmation 90, walk a mile in the shoes of the man before you speak for him.

    Who am I speaking for other than myself?

    Lets look at the basics for a moment. 30 years ago fires were fought in a way far different from now. Then fire fighters wore canvas coats, hip boots and leather helmets with little else.

    Take a look at this http://www.mortlake.org/Mortlake/App..._Apparatus.htm

    Up first is our 1927 Packard. The box on the running board had a matching one on the other side. It's a Scott Airpack. Since we retired that truck in 1953, we've been wearing airpacks up here at a little rural fire company in Connecticut for over fifty years.

    Why twenty years later people still had a hard time wearing them, well, I can't speak for that.

    They fought fire by skeeting water in windows. Those were accepted ways of doing business with the equipment of the day.

    That was acceptable 30 years ago, in the 1970s? Reference the airpack above. Or a nearby department that had OBAs. Kinda wish I had online a photo of Chief Ennis, who retired in 1965, directing the airpack guys advancing the line into a house fire.

    Was even at the local fire school yesterday. Four story burn tower and 2.5 story burn house had a corner-stone dates of 1956. You don't need that stuff if you stay outside. You need that stuff if you're training to go inside and get to fire.

    Sorry to bust any myths, but squirting water in windows was not standard or acceptable practice 30, 40, 50, or more years ago.

    Today the fire service has the best PPE ever developed, boots that are becoming better by the day, glove technology that improves every week, SCBA that tell you everything about you and the environment your in, etc. Today we push to the seat of the fire to contain and extinguish it while other crews are ventilating and searching for occupants.

    Yep, no doubt about it gear is much better (if unfortunately bulkier) than ever before.

    Of course, we've had axes for ever and K-12s since, what the early 1960s? What were we venting for if not to push to the fire?

    Then most products inside an average house where Class "A" combustibles. Today they are more often than not a derivative of petrolium. Then flashover, backdrafts and explosive fire spread were rare. Today it is not a matter of if they will occur, but when and to what degree.

    Ok, at some point in the fire service we have to recognize when things are "new."

    It is true we have a higher fire load today than in the past from plastics -- which started becoming common after WWII. That was a change for 1960s firefighters, not todays. Whoops, am I doing it again, busting myths? Our building are higher fuel load than pre-WWII. Not pre-1980s.

    A similiar one that people keep saying is a "new" development is energy efficient windows. When was the first energy crisis? 1973. It was a new issue for 1970s firefighters, not those of the 21st century. (Hey, did I bust another myth?)

    This is all relevant to the points you try and avoid in your attempts to prop up your positions.
    What am I trying to avoid? My position isn't the untenable, unsupported one.

    As for relevancy, they ain't 'cause they're myths.
    30 years ago, hell 50 years ago, going inside in SCBA was accepted practice.
    30 years ago we didn't wear the same quality gear -- maybe at a cost of higher minor injuries?
    30 years ago we did vent -- so those guys in canvas & hip boots could push in on the fire.
    30 years ago we had lots of plastics in houses -- certainly any room you bought all new furnishing for in 1970 would have the fuel load of plastics equal, if not more, than today.


    Back then accountability, the IMS, etc. were unheard of in structural fire fighting.
    Accountability was unheard of?
    IMS was unheard of? All incidents are managed. There's a Chief, there's a Deputy, down to Lieutenants. Hell, since the 1950s up in this corner of podunk Connecticut we've had Chiefs, Officers, and Apparatus all using common radio frequencies and unit designations so you knew who and how to talk to each other.

    Today they are common if not mandatory in most departments with some being law.
    Isn't it sad someone had to mandate that fire departments had to have a command structure 'cause so many had screwed up.

    We won't get into U.S. accountability systems. They account for bodies, not lives.

    Back then most departments had more companies with more men on them to get the job done.
    In the early 1970s?

    I have a handful of Fire Engineering and Fire Chief magazines from 1967. Did a quick check today -- they were talking of four-man engines back then, not 5 or 6. Maybe back in the days before three and four platoons fire companies typically ran the higher staffing, but it's not been common since the 1950s at the latest.

    Interestingly aside, they also bemoan the lack of manpower (career & volunteer), while talking about things like Hazardous Materials, medical care, and foam. Not much different than today.

    Today alot of cities have fewer companies with fewer men on them to do the same functions in environments that are far more likely to go bad quicker.
    Bad quicker than wood frame cities that would burn to the ground? We used to see that on a regular basis. Fewer companies, fewer men thanks to less fires, better buildings yielding smaller fires, expanding cities spreading out their forces thinner, expansion in platoons.

    Bad quicker if you over-commit yourselves?

    Don't the citizens we are sworn to protect deserve the same level of service, as a minimum, today that they recieved back then? I think so. We as a fire service today are led by people who mandate that we do more with less.

    More with less, or more with the same?

    Who drop buzz words and catch phrases like "Aggressive interior attack", "State of the art" and "Cutting edge technology" like they are candy and with little understanding of them. These are the men and women who are trying to turn our careers into white collar office jobs which they never have been and never truly will be. In my department we are expected to take advantage of the PPE, SCBA and equipment available to us and be ready to rock and roll when we arrive.

    That's the way it should be.

    But obviously it didn't happen in Captain Jahnke's incident. Firefighters who made it to the fire floor were not wearing PPE. SCBA were not filled. Equipment like TICs weren't used. Better equipment like 60 minute bottles weren't used. Four guys out of fifty made it to the fifth floor fire. Is that being ready to rock and roll?

    Manpower was not the problem. If you had eight guys make it to the fire floor, and they all ran out of air in eight minutes 'cause they had underfilled cylinders, we might be counting more bodies now.

    No BS'ing around and you hit the ground running. The mindset of a fast attack on tank water, going further, faster and staying longer is instilled into us from the beginning.

    Hopefully you also train to think about the situation. Rushing into
    a highrise is not the same as rushing into an occupied single family structure.

    Then when something goes wrong people from places near and far start with their "expert" opinions. The fire at McDonalds mentioned earlier is a good example. Those fire fighters hit the ground running and were doing there jobs.

    Then you better get better job descriptions. Putting yourselves under heavily involved trusses when there it is reasonable to believe neither life nor property is in danger is simply unacceptable.

    A McDonalds, closed, at 2am has very low life safety. With any heavy fire, the property damage is complete -- the health department will condem the facilities and stock, the insurance will total the building no matter how much is "saved," and any intangible business records are backed up to corporate each day.

    Even IF the Chief had an assistant on this fire, the fire ground was understaffed from a task oriented point of view. There were and are set tasks that need to be accomplished and these tasks take a certain number of people to achieve them in an acceptable time frame.

    The 1st arriving Engine Co. (E76) and 1st arriving Truck Co. (L76) arrived within seconds of each other. The initial IC (L76 Officer) decided that an offensive attack was in order given the conditions presenting upon his arrival.


    Ok, so we got 7 guys, one being an IC.

    Contrary to what you believe, there was no HEAVY FIRE from the building. There was a small amount of fire showing from around a roof vent with a heavy smoke condition from the building. Small insignificant grease and other type fires have presented like this time and time again requiring no more that a portable extinguisher and a fan.

    Well, bit confused. Fire showing from a roof vent might be grease. Fire showing around a roof vent indicates you have fire taken hold in the roof. Between pre-plans and training you should expect these buildings to have unprotected truss roofs. Any fire in the roof is going to be an event.

    You then take fire fighters who are oriented department wide to getting INSIDE to do their job (Not stand outside) and expect them to change for this one fire for no better reason than because you think so and/or your inexperince with these types of fires.

    Ok, so if these fires are usually handled with an extinguisher and a fan, how did firefighters end up dying? I'd assume you send in a crew with an extinguisher, they pull the ceiling, say OH SHCNIKES, and retreat.

    Fires like this one had been fought time and time again with these tactics which had been proven sound under fire before. Then when something goes wrong you and others want to say they were wrong and "they should have done this" or "they should have done that".

    Proven lucky, not sound. There's a big difference.

    Commercial truss roofs, heavy fire kills. Hackensack was big when I joined the fire service 17 years ago. We've known it for a long time. Francis Brannigan keeps writing articles on dangerous buildings and stupid decisions all the way back to WWII sixty years ago.

    Ladder Co. 76 had 1 fire fighter on the back to perform Truck Co. functions on the fireground. He was doing exterior forcible entry, ventialtion, setting up lights etc. because his entry partner was outside as the IC. Had there been 2 fire fighters on the back of the rig then they would have been inside to assist the injured fire fighters when things went wrong and they needed help.

    What does your ladder driver do at a McDonalds fire? Standby on the turntable in case someone shows up on the second floor window?

    It is inconcievable to me how you can do this.
    What is the driver doing?

    What is the engine crew doing? Are they stretching a line, I don't know why they would if the IC thought it was a small fire that an extinguisher could take care of.

    What, for that matter, what would change if you were first due to the McD's from a single-engine house. I'm sure we'd all love to run out of stations with two 5 man engines and a six man truck. The reality is most career stations are single engine houses. You think 7 guys is a manpower problem, what happens when you only have four and a engine, or even from the Engine/Truck houses -- what happens when the engine's working one call and the truck arrives alone with three. You have to make good decisions based on your resources on hand, not what you should have in theory.

    Your story isn't adding up. If it was a fire you typically handle with an extinguisher, how could those first 7 guys not handle it?


    How many high rise, fast food business, MD and SFD fires have you been to? How many have you been in command of? Its kinda different when your hot, can't see and you have to work huh?

    Fires, a fair number. Less than many, more than most. SFDs, MFDs, commercial buildings, agricultural buildings, buildings from a 12x12 shed that kicked our butts to a 600x50 that we stopped in it's tracks. Been to fires that have gone south, been to fires that everything clicked. Been to calls that amazed, been to calls that my New Yorker got chucked across the street in frustration.

    Been around enough to see how to run an incident, what works, what doesn't. Been around enough to see screws ups that we were our fault, that were other companies faults, that were simply unanticipated.

    Command? None, for the entire incident. Initial command & apparatus placement several times until relieved by an officer, relatively often.

    Last structure fire, two weeks ago, afterwards I was getting kudos from a retired Chief and newbies saying they wanted to see me get bunked up since they couldn't figure out how I got geared up (drove a support truck to the scene behind our attack piece), got in an airpack, and got the nob on the attack line and had it in the door so fast. My answer was "practice." The better answer was practice in the skills, and the experience to size up the situation while getting bunked up. Sometimes it's clear what needs to be done. Other times I've had to stop, clear my mind while taking a breath, and then key a mic with orders before leaving the driver's seat of the truck.

    You mention floor plans. I'll have you walk thru the same building everyday for a month. Then for a week you don't go inside it. A day later I put you inside it at 03:00hrs with smoke down to the floor. I bet you a dollar to a dozen donughts that the door to wall distance you remembered is vastly different from what you percieve when your in there.

    This may sound cocky or trite, but I come from a computer gaming generation. It may sound weird, but when I'm in the dark, I'm fighting the fire like I play Doom. Remember which way I was going, listen to what's happening.

    I mentioned floor plans not to know them in advance, but because they're easy to remember when you're doing it. I can think of many, many more complicated places to crawl through than a restaurant (although the tables can be a bitch).

    That the location of the serving counter is 4 feet further in than you remembered it being. The passage way to the prep area is supposed to be somewhere else closer than where you find it and so on.

    No, it's not -- because I have the skills, training, experience, and ability to follow my way in. I've also had the experience of getting disoriented, and having to sit down, slow my breath, and start listening to the scene around me and make a plan to work my way back out. It's incredibly scary to find yourself in that position, I and I felt myself feeling very lucky afterwards and very appreciative of the advice of an old Chief who had years earlier taught me what to do when you get seperated and disoriented.

    Please don't continue to spew forth the venemous and rancid comments from far, far away about an incident you know nothing about, you were not at and with questionable information you gleaned from the internet, rumors and one sided reports. Your ability and desire to regurgitate this information only serves to cheapen the memory of those lost and those that continue to do the job day in and day out.

    Bull****. I will not dishonor those by not learning from what happened. If those reports are one-sided, where's your reports? Or are they just union press releases focusing on a single, minor issue?

    Sorry, I'm not venemous or rancid. But what I'm passionate about is not letting younger firefighters get fed a line that manning was the cause of this.

    We have to adjust our manning to what we have. We have to have our equipment ready. We have to follow standard procedures.

    Would more manning help make most operations more efficient? Yes. But we have to recognize limits. Some situations dictate a rapid attack to keep the situation from getting worse. Some situations you're already at, "This is bad..." and you have assemble the forces to attack bad before you make a difference.

    Then we can be in the strong position, if not one glorious and press worthy, of explaining how a bad fire got worse waiting for us to assemble to resources we needed to attack it without undue risk. And then hand the press the supporting materials of your efforts to get more manpower and let them crucify the Mayor & Council.

    We're not and should not be in the business of trading lives for lives.

    Matt
    Last edited by Dalmatian90; 11-03-2002 at 08:53 PM.

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    Bull****. I will not dishonor those by not learning from what happened.
    Maybe the best statement of the whole debate...
    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
    "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
    George Mason
    Co-author of the Second Amendment
    during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
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  13. #53
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    Station TWO
    xxxxThey fought fire by skeeting water in windows.
    Like the way the Four Leaf Towers fire was fought.
    xxxx Today the fire service has the best PPE ever developed, boots that are becoming better by the day, glove technology that improves every week,
    And your FD still doesn’t wear it all.
    xxxxSCBA that tell you everything about you and the environment your in, etc.
    And when not full don’t last long, and when you don’t take the right bottle you die, ala four leaf towers.
    xxxxToday we push to the seat of the fire to contain and extinguish it while other crews are ventilating and searching for occupants.
    You actually trust your own crews in HFD after reading the FLT report? Dang 50% didn’t even
    complete their assignments! Or tell command they wouldn’t either. Command never bothered to support the request of the attack crew, it was an absolute free for all anything goes! Only 1 hour 40 minutes to spray water on a fire that is not too bad for Union Professionals.
    xxxxToday they are common if not mandatory in most departments with some being law.
    Oh really, explain the accountability system in effect at McDonalds and at FLT fires. You don’t have an accountability system at HFD do you?
    xxxx In my department we are expected to take advantage of the PPE, SCBA and equipment available to us and be ready to rock and roll when we arrive.
    So what happened at FLT fire? Guys without gear, approved by their captions on the fire floor seen by chiefs and safety officers. Just a great big party their right????
    xxxxxNo BS'ing around and you hit the ground running. The mindset of a fast attack on tank water, going further, faster and staying longer is instilled into us from the beginning.
    Not exactly, your SOP say during sizeup to select a strategy, interior or exterior based upon safety. So, if you never responded to McDonalds would the damage have been any greater? NO! But two died to that end.
    xxxThen when something goes wrong people from places near and far start with their "expert" opinions.
    You only bring them in when in the eyes of your own elected officials and leaders are deemed as incompetent. McD and FLT are examples of those feels in your own government. Heck you all even forgot a guy in a house fire to find him an hour later.
    xxxxxthe fire ground was understaffed from a task oriented point of view.
    Yes only 27 guys onscene in 4 minutes. Must have been horrible. The almost whole world is happy with 7 on first alarm. Maybe you ought to consider becoming volunteers.
    XXXXThere were and are set tasks that need to be accomplished and these tasks take a certain number of people to achieve them in an acceptable time frame.
    Like 27 guys to get out the thermal imager and see it was throughout the attic? DID YO KNOW NO FIRE DEPARTMENT IN THE US or the WORLD HAD MORE IMAGER THAN HOUSTON?? AND ON TWO LODD FIRES DIDN’T USETHEM ON ATTACK!!!!!!!!!!!!
    xxxThe initial IC (L76 Officer) decided that an offensive attack was in order given the conditions presenting upon his arrival.
    You mean the officer who wouldn’t use the imager. Yeah he put everyone’s tail at risk for what??
    XXXXXContrary to what you believe, there was no HEAVY FIRE from the building.
    No, not at all the roof just collapsed on its own crushing a firefighter, there were only 3 1 ¾ inch lines inside at the time, SOUNDS like a real small fire to me!
    xxxxxThere was a small amount of fire showing from around a roof vent with a heavy smoke condition from the building.
    And that was a truss space, no one looked in huh? All that time no one saw any fire, no one looked right?
    XXXXSmall insignificant grease and other type fires have presented like this time and time again requiring no more that a portable extinguisher and a fan.
    SO EXPLAIN THE THREE 1 ¾ INCH LINES IN USE PLEASE! Was the extinguisher missing on the rig?
    xxxxYou then take fire fighters who are oriented department wide to getting INSIDE to do their job (Not stand outside) and expect them to change for this one fire for no better reason than because you think so and/or your inexperince with these types of fires.
    So, one month later the same fire at McD occurred in the city and it was allowed to be exterior and no one complained. Why? Better sizeup.
    XXXXThen when something goes wrong you and others want to say they were wrong and "they should have done this" or "they should have done that".
    Well if people don’t die no one cares how you fight the fire. You invite over site when you are dangerous about the way you do your jobs!
    XXXX Ladder Co. 76 had 1 fire fighter on the back to perform Truck Co. functions on the fireground. He was doing exterior forcible entry, etc.
    You are so full of it! There were three doors, two had the glass broken out, they were not forced. The door where the firefighter was trapped behind wasn’t opened for an hour!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Forcing means pulling the lock on an aluminum channel door, one hour into the fire crews were ducking under the center rail because the dor wasn’t opened.
    xxxx He was doing lighting. Sorry 3 of the first four engines never turned on their flood lights nor did the first two ladders. So what was he really doing? At FTL the tower finally after 2 hours turned his on.
    Xxxx He was venting????
    Really tell us how you vent lightweight construction, with heavy truss involvement and not see the HVAC unit on the roof and not warn companies? Oh that is right he didn’t vent either.
    xxxxbecause his entry partner was outside as the IC.
    Gee only one guy on the rig….. did the driver fall off on the way there? Why did he need to enter???? The guys on the 4 man engine can’t pull the heavy styrofoam ceiling panels at 8 feet?
    XXXXXHad there been 2 fire fighters on the back of the rig then they would have been inside to assist the injured fire fighters when things went wrong
    Then who would have vented? Forced entry? Put the lights up that never happened? Strung blowers?
    xxxand they needed help.
    Would you like to go down to the coroners office with me tomorrow and ask him if he lied about the firefighter being crushed by the HVAC??? Nothing anyone could do about that, however, that door the ladder did not force would have made all the difference in the world, she would have gotten out by her self. You guys believe your Union political officers and are thinking poor you and dogging it at every fire. Go into any HFD station and listen to the bittching!~ Poor us poor us poor us.
    xxxHow many high rise, fast food business, MD and SFD fires have you been to?
    Enough to know that you guys suck!
    xxxxYou mention floor plans.
    Come on it was a 3000 square foot building!
    xxxxYour only kidding yourself.
    No one is buying it sport, 27 guys and you couldn’t command a fire, couldn’t open the doors, couldn’t spray water and killed two firefighters!!!
    xxxxYour ability and desire to regurgitate this information only serves to cheapen the memory of those lost and those that continue to do the job day in and day out.
    Actually, your effort to defend their actions is a slap in the face of the dead.

    Now onto four leaf towers
    xxxxx The Mayor and Fire Chief validated the staffing issue when they MANDATED four per apparatus the day of Jay's funeral!
    NFPA 1710 does not require four firefighters on a fire truck. Per NFPA 1710 their were 4.15 members per at FLT!!!!
    XXXX Arriving first-in on a fire like this; three man crew; person reported trapped in the fire
    So why would you go to the fire floor with only two of your guys if staffing is important???
    xxxconfusion caused by fire's observed location (not the first time and won't be the last - it was a big building);
    There was no confusion by L-28 or E-3 as to the fires location but both officers being their saw the fire could like anyone else count to five and see flames and heard dispatch say the fire was on floor 56 , 10 times before their arrival onscene.
    Only E-3 officer says he didn’t know the fire was on floor 5, even though the dispatch was heard, the face to face conversation was video taped where he was told and shown what floor to go to. So sounds like a cover up, especially when the members of his team all knew the fire was on FIVE.
    xxxxwind shifts at vital time causing a blow-torch effect
    The blow torch effect is an over blown theory. The injuries on both firefighters don’t support it either. And withdrawling to a sprinkled hallway makes it hard to get burnt. If this so called blow torch thing really happened why did apartment burn for another 2 hours???
    The increase in fire volume was clearly a function of not applying any water on the fire. You know shutting the lie off and running away, leaving the twi firefighters without support. Three firefighters all said the line was needed to keep the fire from coming over the rescue crews head. So you have to ask, then why did you shut it off without telling them?
    xxxx These poor people had a whole bunch of stuff to contend with.
    Here lets all take a test. QUESTION: If you don’t apply water on the fire it gets”
    a. Bigger
    b. Smaller
    c. Makes more smoke endangering occupants and gets bigger
    d. Kills the people in the apartment, gets bigger, endangers more people in the building and hurts firefighters.

    xxxxxxWith hindsight we can all sit back and see where the approach could have (SHOULD HAVE)been actioned acc

    xxxxOperational support and back-up to the fire floor was restricted due to confusion in fire location and poor communication coming from the fire floor itself.
    Untrue Command knew what floor E-2 was asking for help he started and ended his transmission saying on floor 5. The poor communication was Commands one way communications with E-3 and Command said go to floor 5.


    xxxxThere are MANY factors that will come out of this fire that we MUST ALL learn from if we have high-rise in our despatch area.
    There is no learning occurring when the firefighters Union won’t standup and say our guys messed up and shift the blame to a staffing only argument.
    xxxx'What if' ALL procedures were followed by the book and no confusion had been allowed to develop? That wind-shift might STILL have caused loss of life.
    Can you do positive pressure ventilation without a vent opening? NO you can’t have a blow torch effect with out an outlet for the wind.
    Last edited by Firewalker1; 11-04-2002 at 09:42 AM.

  14. #54
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    NIOSH recommendation #1 SOPs) are followed and refresher training is provided

    So what are they talking about? The SOPS say:

    First engine take all your guys with you not 66% like occurred in this event. Take spare bottle up, they didn’t. Where your protective clothing, didn’t happen either. There was no doubt they were going into a working fire, you could see it blocks away. Of course other rules state have full bottles, almost none of the crews did. Wear your gear, make sure your equipment is safe and useable the captain didn’t do that or insure his crew did. And never leave your own crew without checking out or notifying command.

    All companies, if you are housed with a medic or ambulance take them too, increasing staffing as a two piece company by 40%,

    First in ladder take your entire crew with you not like this fire 66%. Take your gear, don’t leave your imager and spare bottles like they did on this event.

    3rd in engine go where you are told not where you want to go, stay in contact with command if you are having trouble fulfilling your assignment. Take the 2nd in engines excess firefighters, which did happened in this event. Turn your radio to the SOP channel like you have to every fire you’ve fought for the last 20 plus years, didn’t happen this fire.

    The 4th engine and ladder by SOP are supposed to drop off spare bottles on the 3rd floor, they never did that. So from that point on everyone has to go 5 floors down and 5 floors up to change bottles.

    The 5th engine immediately proceed to the resource staging floor two floors below the fire with four firefighters, one spare SCBA and a spare bottle for all members. If you have an ambulance assigned to your station have them come up too, increasing staffing 30 to 40%. Of course, E-11 stayed with their rig, never setup a RIT team and a RIT was never ever created at this event. The spare air pack and bottles which would have been so handy never made it either. Think how fast the 5th floor guys short of air could have simply put the spare air pack on and returned to the fire floor, could have told RIT there are only two guys up there without hose line support. But of course, at that point of the fire per SOP there would have been at least 13 spare bottles on the resource floor.

    The 6th engine, oh who cares they didn’t do what they were assigned to do either.

    So was it a staffing issue when 50% of the first 6 engines didn’t bother to attempt or even complete their assignments and never made an effort to inform command? Is it a staffing problem when plenty of resources are onscene to complete the simple task of putting out an apartment fire in a fire resistive building when the company officers and IC don’t follow SOPs and accomplish setting up a resource sector was never established, that RIT never happened, the backup was never provided, that no feed back to or from command was ever occurred until long after it was too late.

    And speaking of command aren’t they supposed to insure the tasks are carried out? If task one isn’t completed or staffed you continue to assign and verify until the task is completed. Not the case in this event.

    Lack of a command presence and working with officers you cannot trust to complete their assignments and keep command informed is what went on at this fire.


    FACT: NIOSH recommendation number #2 says keep team continuity

    Firefighters throughout the incident come and go alone.

    Two collapse out of air,

    Another abandons his fellow firefighter, still another becomes confused and tells his partner that and is allowed to go the wrong way to die, without his partner getting on the radio and asking for help.

    E-3 loses half his crew, all of which have portable radios assigned to them.

    Is this a staffing issue when you have by choice 50% of the staffing on the first two companies not come to the fire floor? Can you say don’t freelance!!!


    NIOSH recommendation #3 Fire departments should ensure that personnel are in position to maintain an offensive attack.

    FACT: The fire was never attacked from the interior. It was allowed to free burn.

    FACT: There is no greater example of loss of control of the firefighters onscene than the fact that a full 1 hour and 17 minutes passed before any effort was made with almost 100 firefighters onscene to put water on the fire. Only after 189 firefighters were assembled was the fire attacked. One firefighter and a nozzle knocked the fire down in less than 5 minutes when allowed to do so! The method employed to attack the fire cold have occurred 2 hours and 25 minutes sooner with a quicker knockdown time.

    I wonder if that means if 13 guys are assigned to the fire floor and 5 are supposed to be standing by in RIT and 4 more are on the way from the 6th engine that is what 22 firefighters THAT IS DOES NOT MEAN to begin with 4 then drop to 2??? Yeah that must be it! And it does not mean start early, wing it and not keep command informed or withdrawl your attack due to insufficient resources.

    In addition in means, IC if they ask they have a need and it should be your highest priority to fulfill that need even if it means stopping all the lower priorities of the fire. It does not mean for the IC to broadcast in the blind and never ask for and receive a reply.

    NIOSH recommendation #4 Fire departments should ensure that a lifeline is in place to guide fire fighters to an emergency stairwell. 5, 6
    FACT: No back up crew ever arrives. No backup line is stretched. Why?

    E-3 talked face to face with Safety who told him/them that the fire was on the 5th floor five fingers up, and told him the room number twice. Wonder why the FD is getting sued? The apartment owner saw the communication and the crews disorganized. Saw the fire burn for over two and one half hours without knockdown.

    At no time after being sent to be the back up crew did E-3 make any effort to tell command his crew would be delayed.

    At no time did command get a reply from E-3

    At no time did command decide to send another crew to back E-2 L-28 after loss of contact with E-3

    After 10, 15, 20 or 25, 30 minutes on the fire ground with no communications with one of your companies E-3 do you think command should have asked for a head count? Sent in a RIT team for E-3??? Or can they hold their breath longer than most crews?

    E-3 arrives on the third floor and hoods to a standpipe connection and doesn’t see anyone else on the floor. So why aren’t they asking for backup, why aren’t they talking on the radio, sending a runner? Something to talk to command? They have not heard a thing on their radio.
    Is this a staffing issue that 1/3 of the first 3 companies don’t make the fire floor to begin attack?
    Recommendation #5: Fire departments should instruct and train fire fighters on initiating emergency traffic (Mayday-Mayday) when they become lost, disoriented, or trapped. 2, 7
    FACT: Members continued to send useless information over the radio.
    Recommendation #6: Fire departments should ensure that a Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) is established and in position. 1, 8
    E-11 sat in the cab of their truck for 7 minutes ignoring SOP which says they are the RIT and should be in the building 2 floors below the fire. E-11 had 11 minutes to get into position.
    FACT: A RIT team was never established.
    Recommendation #7: Fire departments should ensure that a backup line is manned and in position to protect exit routes. 5
    FACT: No backup line is stretched. Why?

    E-3 talked face to face with Safety who told him/them that the fire was on the 5th floor five fingers up, and told him the room number twice. Wonder why the FD is getting sued? The apartment owner saw the communication and the crews disorganized. Saw the fire burn for over two and one half hours without knockdown.

    At no time after being sent to be the back up crew did E-3 make any effort to tell command his crew would be delayed.

    At no time did command get a reply from E-3

    At no time did command decide to send another crew to back E-2 L-28 after loss of contact with E-3

    E-3 arrives on the third floor and hoods to a standpipe connection and doesn’t see anyone else on the floor. So why aren’t they asking for backup, why aren’t they talking on the radio, sending a runner? Something to talk to command? They have not heard a thing on their radio.

    Recommendation #8: Fire departments should ensure that adequate numbers of staff are available to immediately respond to emergency incidents. 9
    FACT: The staffing problems were resolved over one year ago, all engine and ladder companies in Houston run 4 members. One of the biggest misconceptions about NFPA 1710 is that it requires four-person staffing of every rig. In fact, NFPA 1710's definition of company in section 3.8.1 indicates that the engine-company complement may arrive on different pieces of apparatus as long as they are dispatched and arrive at the same time, continuously operate together and are managed by one company officer. For example, a two-person engine and two-person medic dispatched at the same time and arriving together would be in compliance.


    The Union spin goes on to say the report, “repudiates an earlier explanation released by the City.”

    FACT: The HFD report also calls for following NFPA 1710 with 4 per ladder and engine as does the State report.


    FACT: Contrary to the headline of the FireHouse.com article NIOSH did not single out staffing in the death of a Houston Fire Captain. In fact, it the 8th of 11 recommendations offered. The city report made 27 recommendations and the state 32. None is greater than any other.

    NIOSH said, “NFPA 1710 recommends that a minimum acceptable fire company staffing level should be four members responding on or arriving with each engine and each ladder company responding to any type of fire.”


    FACT: NFPA is a guideline, Houston Fire Department chooses to run substantially more engines and ladders on a high rise fire than 95% of the nation’s fire service and requires a 2nd alarm on any confirmed fire. Thus at least 9 engines, 6 ladders, a heavy rescue, 6 chiefs, two safety officers, an ambulance, a medic squad, a senior captain, a rehab unit, and an air supply vehicle staffed with a total of 79 members.


    FACT: HFD response to Four Leaf Towers “arriving with” was 4.25 per company. With company officers making a decision to in their stations not to respond with 4.77 per company. The second alarm “arriving with” with 5.14 members. Somehow NIOSH left that out of their report. The spirit of NFPA 1710 is exceeded. The actual response was in the top two of any fire department in the nation.


    NIOSH goes on to say: “And ensure that adequate numbers of staff are available to immediately respond to emergency incidents”

    FACT: There was no delay in the response.


    NIOSH states: “It also recommends that for companies responding in high-risk areas, a minimum of five or six members responding or arriving with each engine and each ladder company.”

    FACT: NFPA doesn’t nor does NIOSH define a high risk occupancy. Is a partially sprinkled high rise building a high risk occupancy? With only three cities in the U.S. staffing engines and ladders with 5 or 6 members and over 80% staffing at 3 or it appears Houston is at the same level as the rest of the fire service.


    FACT: What the UNION leadership is not willing to tell you is the last contract they willingly signed and their membership ratified with the city puts an absolute limit on the staffing on engine and ladders companies of 4 members. The UNION did not walk away from the contract. They signed it. In addition, the union President has been quoted in the press over 300 times asking for ONLY four per rig. The city provided exactly what he asked for.


    NIOSH goes on to say about staffing: “Suboptimal staffing of arriving units MAY have delayed such an attack, thus allowing the fire progress to more dangerous conditions for fire fighters and civilians.”

    It clearly say MAY HAVE delayed the attack. That is non-sense because the attack started without delay, if anything crews not making their assigned areas of responsibility and following SOPs requiring 60 minute air packs ABSOLUTELY resulted in the abandonment of the attack. In no way was the attack delayed.

    NIOSH goes on to say: “Rapid and aggressive interior attack of structure fires, as close as possible to the point of origin, can reduce human and property losses. Suboptimal staffing of arriving units may have delayed such an attack, thus allowing the fire progress to more dangerous conditions for fire fighters and civilians.”

    FACT: There is no greater example of loss of control of the firefighters onscene than the fact that a full 2 hours and 31 minutes passed before any effort was made with almost 100 firefighters onscene to put water on the fire. Only after 189 firefighters were assembled was the fire attacked. One firefighter and a nozzle knocked the fire down in less than 5 minutes when allowed to do so! The method employed to attack the fire cold have occurred 2 hours and 25 minutes sooner with a quicker knockdown time.

    FACT: The first three responding companies had 13 firefighters available to make the fire floor and attack the fire, only four went to their assigned positions. That was a choice made by the company officers not to take bring what was needed by SOP to do the job. You can’t blame lack of staffing for excess companies.


    FACT: The company officer is free to tell the ambulance crew or crews in his station to respond even when they are not on the dispatch. It is common practice throughout the city. Many ambulances from the stations respond with their engine and ladder crews even when not on the box the only rule prohibiting the response is when the department is in resource management which it was not in effect at the time of this fire.


    FACT: At least 56 firefighters were oscene and only two were on the fire floor. That is not a staffing problem it is a failure of the IC to manage his companies, a failure of 50% of the engines company captains not to make any real attempt to reach their objectives, it is about individual firefighters not caring enough to take their jobs seriously and follow the rules. Show us two fire departments out of the 27,000 in the U.S. with that many firefighters onscene who can’t keep more than two firefighters on the fire floor on a simple apartment fire. Most departments in the country run two 3 man engines and no ladder company probably would have put this fire out.


    FACT: With a confirmed fire in a 41 story occupied building at 5 in the morning with numerous confirmations broadcast over the radio to all stations and responding companies shouldn’t the ambulance crews who are housed in the responding ladders and engine stations who are all trained firefighters have to get out of bed and earned their pay?

    FACT: So what does the ambulances responding mean in real terms at this fire? 18 additional firefighters on initial attack and even more on the 2nd alarm. The first in Engine could have brought four extra certified and equipped firefighters with it. The first in ladder four. And the assigned RIT engine could have had 3 additional. The fourth engine 2 more and the first in 2nd alarm engine who was responsible for expanding the resource sector on floor three had 5 extra guys at its disposal.

    All that was required was for the company officer to think and act!

    Recommendation #9: Fire departments should ensure that the Incident Commander (IC) continuously evaluates the present weather conditions (i.e., high winds) during igh-rise fire operations.
    Fact: All command officers were inside the building. Please note for the so called blow up to have occurred there is no damage to the painted walls in the hall of the fire floor.

    Recommendation #10: Fire departments should establish and enforce standard operating procedures on the use of thermal imaging cameras for search-and-rescue operations.
    FACT: Thermal imaging cameras were assigned to all ladder trucks. Thermal imaging cameras with transmitters were assigned to rescue trucks, hazmat units, and the command van. No one bothered to carry them up until it was too late.

    Recommendation #11: The authority having jurisdiction shall ensure that the receipt and processing of alarms is completed in a timely manner.
    FACT: It was terrible and there is no excuse.

    THINGS NIOSH FORGET TO SAY
    Close the door when you are retreating.
    Fill your air pack to NIOSH standards not 3000 but 4500!
    Don’t leave your radio and light behind so you can’t call for help.
    When your buddy says he is confused, help him don’t leave him..
    Finding a downed firefighter when his exact position is known in 24 minutes in not acceptable.

    If you can’t carry out your assignment in a timely manner let command know.

    Communications in the blind is not communications

    If you don’t have sufficient forces don’t attack.

    If you don’t have a back up line, don’t attack

    If 50% of your crew bails, stop the attack.

    You need to apply water in less than 1 hours and 17 minutes on the fire.

    EMS workers should try to take less than 27 minutes to get to a trauma center in a major city.


    Air packs running out of air in 5 minutes means they could not possibly have been full.

    Engine 3 captain and L-28 captain felt sure other firefighters would find him “he was only 10 feet away” and left him, even though they were not low of air.

    The survivor had two small burns the deceased had hand and forearm burns so what is all this talk about blow torch effect and what possible difference did it make in anything?

    If you pull up on a 41 story high rise giving it 15 footers out 3 windows at 5 am consider asking for more than a 2nd.

    COMMAND NEVER TRIED TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE DOWNED FIREFIGHTER.

    Stay together as a team,

    Proper utilization of personnel is as important as proper staffing according the State report

    All firefighters should notify the command staff they are retreating or running out of air.

    Over 100 radio transmissions not related to locating the downed firefighter were made during the may day period.

    Accountability calls every 34 minutes accomplishes nothing.

    Command should have a presence and maintain and require updates

    Consider wearing your department supplied protective clothing when on the fire floor.


    Engineers not assigned to pumping or aerial operations should go with their crew.

    In essence a majority of this fire was a total free lance unencumbered by SOPs.
    The Union is being disingenuous.


    Here are some irrefutable facts the UNION is leaving out:

    The Union spin in the Firehouse.com article written by International Association of Fire Fighters says, “The report points the finger directly at the city’s unresolved staffing problems”

    FACT: The staffing problems were resolved over one year ago, all engine and ladder companies in Houston run 4 members. One of the biggest misconceptions about NFPA 1710 is that it requires four-person staffing of every rig. In fact, NFPA 1710's definition of company in section 3.8.1 indicates that the engine-company complement may arrive on different pieces of apparatus as long as they are dispatched and arrive at the same time, continuously operate together and are managed by one company officer. For example, a two-person engine and two-person medic dispatched at the same time and arriving together would be in compliance.


    The Union spin goes on to say the report, “repudiates an earlier explanation released by the City.”

    FACT: The HFD report also calls for following NFPA 1710 with 4 per ladder and engine as does the State report.


    FACT: Contrary to the headline of the FireHouse.com article NIOSH did not single out staffing in the death of a Houston Fire Captain. In fact, it the 8th of 11 recommendations offered. The city report made 27 recommendations and the state 32. None is greater than any other.

    NIOSH said, “NFPA 1710 recommends that a minimum acceptable fire company staffing level should be four members responding on or arriving with each engine and each ladder company responding to any type of fire.”


    FACT: NFPA is a guideline, Houston Fire Department chooses to run substantially more engines and ladders on a high rise fire than 95% of the nation’s fire service and requires a 2nd alarm on any confirmed fire. Thus at least 9 engines, 6 ladders, a heavy rescue, 6 chiefs, two safety officers, an ambulance, a medic squad, a senior captain, a rehab unit, and an air supply vehicle staffed with a total of 79 members.


    FACT: HFD response to Four Leaf Towers “arriving with” was 4.25 per company. With company officers making a decision to in their stations not to respond with 4.77 per company. The second alarm “arriving with” with 5.14 members. Somehow NIOSH left that out of their report. The spirit of NFPA 1710 is exceeded. The actual response was in the top two of any fire department in the nation.


    NIOSH goes on to say: “And ensure that adequate numbers of staff are available to immediately respond to emergency incidents”

    FACT: There was no delay in the response.


    NIOSH states: “It also recommends that for companies responding in high-risk areas, a minimum of five or six members responding or arriving with each engine and each ladder company.”

    FACT: NFPA doesn’t nor does NIOSH define a high risk occupancy. Is a partially sprinkled high rise building a high risk occupancy? With only three cities in the U.S. staffing engines and ladders with 5 or 6 members and over 80% staffing at 3 or it appears Houston is at the same level as the rest of the fire service.


    FACT: What the UNION leadership is not willing to tell you is the last contract they willingly signed and their membership ratified with the city puts an absolute limit on the staffing on engine and ladders companies of 4 members. The UNION did not walk away from the contract. They signed it. In addition, the union President has been quoted in the press over 300 times asking for ONLY four per rig. The city provided exactly what he asked for.


    NIOSH goes on to say about staffing: “Suboptimal staffing of arriving units MAY have delayed such an attack, thus allowing the fire progress to more dangerous conditions for fire fighters and civilians.”

    It clearly say MAY HAVE delayed the attack. That is non-sense because the attack started without delay, if anything crews not making their assigned areas of responsibility and following SOPs requiring 60 minute air packs ABSOLUTELY resulted in the abandonment of the attack. In no way was the attack delayed.


    The Union spins on firehouse.com says: “that the NIOSH report vindicates the claims of fire officers who have been demoted…for failing to back the City’s fatuous claims.

    FACT: NO one was demoted.


    The Union spin goes on to report, “that the earlier HFD internal investigation and report on the tower fire put the blame squarely on individual fire fighters, including Jahnke.”

    FACT: The NIOSH report, HFD report and Texas State Fire Marshal report all clearly list at least 10 items pointing the blame on individual firefighters. The fire department report made 27 recommendations.


    FACT: The first three responding companies had 13 firefighters available to make the fire floor and attack the fire, only four went to their assigned positions. That was a choice made by the company officers not to take bring what was needed by SOP to do the job. You can’t blame lack of staffing for excess companies.


    FACT: The RIT engine was onscene with 11 minutes to spare and never bothered to go to their assigned position and stayed on ground level. That is dereliction of duty not a staffing issue.


    FACT the 3rd engine and 2nd ladder did not as SOP states setup the resource floor with spare bottles requiring companies to descend and then ascend 5 floors for air versus two...


    FACT: Command did not insure companies were in place, filling assigned roles or keeping up with crew progress or lack of progress. They lost control of the incident and were late reacting not proactive.


    FACT: When fire floor companies asked for reinforcements Command did not see to it they ever got support, dooming the attack. That is a lack of utilization of staffing not a lack of staffing issue.


    FACT: Crews did not have full air bottles, did not take wear their assigned 60 minute bottles and failed to carry spare bottles aloft as clearly stated in department SOPS. That is not staffing related.


    FACT: NIOSH report was wrong stating: “the back-up crew was sent to the wrong floor” Video evidence of the face to face communication with E-3 Captain and Safety 2 proves otherwise. And it does not excuse the crew from being on the wrong radio channel and not staying in contact with command and not telling command they are not fulfilling their assignment.


    FACT: The company officer is free to tell the ambulance crew or crews in his station to respond even when they are not on the dispatch. It is common practice throughout the city. Many ambulances from the stations respond with their engine and ladder crews even when not on the box the only rule prohibiting the response is when the department is in resource management which it was not in effect at the time of this fire.


    FACT: At least 56 firefighters were oscene and only two were on the fire floor. That is not a staffing problem it is a failure of the IC to manage his companies, a failure of 50% of the engines company captains not to make any real attempt to reach their objectives, it is about individual firefighters not caring enough to take their jobs seriously and follow the rules. Show us two fire departments out of the 27,000 in the U.S. with that many firefighters onscene who can’t keep more than two firefighters on the fire floor on a simple apartment fire. Most departments in the country run two 3 man engines and no ladder company probably would have put this fire out.


    FACT: The fire was never attacked from the interior. It was allowed to free burn.


    FACT: No discipline was ever handed out to any offending firefighters, officers or chiefs


    FACT: With a confirmed fire in a 41 story occupied building at 5 in the morning with numerous confirmations broadcast over the radio to all stations and responding companies shouldn’t the ambulance crews who are housed in the responding ladders and engine stations who are all trained firefighters have to get out of bed and earned their pay?

    FACT: So what does the ambulances responding mean in real terms at this fire? 18 additional firefighters on initial attack and even more on the 2nd alarm. The first in Engine could have brought four extra certified and equipped firefighters with it. The first in ladder four. And the assigned RIT engine could have had 3 additional. The fourth engine 2 more and the first in 2nd alarm engine who was responsible for expanding the resource sector on floor three had 5 extra guys at its disposal.

    All that was required was for the company officer to think and act!


    FACT: HFD SOP says clearly there are only two requirements for officers at a high rise fire.

    The first is “MUST keep their companies intact.” It goes on to say, “Fragmented companies create an accountability problem that will paralyze the entire operation.” The first accountability check was not performed until 45 minutes into the incident. That is exactly the problem at Four Leaf Towers and was envisioned by the members who wrote the SOPS.

    Second: “officer must tell the IC when the assignment is complete.” “If the officer cannot complete an assignment he must tell IC why.” These types of communications never happened until it was too late for the attack force.


    NIOSH goes on to say: “Rapid and aggressive interior attack of structure fires, as close as possible to the point of origin, can reduce human and property losses. Suboptimal staffing of arriving units may have delayed such an attack, thus allowing the fire progress to more dangerous conditions for fire fighters and civilians.”

    Fact: COMMAND NEVER TRIED TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE DOWNED FIREFIGHTER making the May Day..

    FACT: There is no greater example of loss of control of the firefighters onscene than the fact that a full 1 hour and 17 minutes passed before any effort was made with almost 100 firefighters onscene to put water on the fire. Only after 189 firefighters were assembled was the fire attacked. One firefighter and a nozzle knocked the fire down in less than 5 minutes when allowed to do so! The method employed to attack the fire could have occurred 2 hours and 25 minutes sooner with a quicker knockdown time.


    Finally, the Union leadership is condoning these unsafe violation of SOP day in and day out trying to spin the story to say it was totally staffing related. The Union needs to stand up and say yeah we made major mistakes and we will work with the Fire Chief to make sure these training, operations and personnel issues are resolved. Further the Union should expect its membership to be written up, reprimanded, disciplined and even discharged for the overall good of the Houston Fire Department if they fail to comply to written orders.

    It is high time for the Mayor to take the gloves off and empower the chief to clean house of anyone who will not follow the rules and regulations and stop this tragic trend of three fatal fires in four years.

    If everyone freelances and will not follow department SOPS and command won’t verify that assignments are being completed, who cares how many firefighters are onscene not focused on the strategic plan? That is known as freelancing. If the members can’t follow the rules and are not trainable they should be removed from the organization.

  15. #55
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    Firewalker 1, your so knowledgable and in the "Know", give me your background, history in the fire service, current assignment and number of years you have been doing your current assignment. I know your gonna say "What does that matter." But humor me and post your expansive resume before you go on with your long winded, machine gun style, speak and don't listen style of debate.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

  16. #56
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    Thumbs down Firewalker 1

    Firewalker 1

    My bet is that Firewalker 1 will not identify himself or
    his background. But, If you are afraid of what you are saying
    you probably would not want anyone to know who you are.

    NOT AFRAID
    David Crawford
    Captain
    Houston Fire Dept.
    Station 20 D

  17. #57
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    Dalmation 90,

    Mortlake and SCBA: Great, I'm glad you had them back then.

    K-12's: First used by FDNY Rescue Co. 02 on trials. Not widely used, fire service wide, until the '70's at the VERY earliest.

    IMS: Don't confuse a rank structure with an Incident Management System.

    Wood Cities that would burn to the ground: That were not filled with every variety of plastics in every form.

    McDonalds: Presented like a BS fire. I am not advocating the belief that every fire is the same for I know better then that. I am saying many fires before had presented itself like that. Spin it to someone else who you can confuse.

    Your turn.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

  18. #58
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    HFDCAPTAIN20, Your probably right. His "expansive knowledge" of fireground activities is probably limited. Probably from a support division. But he can tell everyone on the apparatus how to do it better. And I can only think of 1 "Sr. Dispatcher" who can be this much in the loop. You probably know who I am thinking of.
    Last edited by STATION2; 11-04-2002 at 10:54 AM.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

  19. #59
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    Station 2, I'm in the command staff. this is my 28th year. YOu know my rank. I have clearly dispelled all of your arguments with facts. Ihave video evidence to support all my claims.

    How much experience does one need to assemble 179 firefighters waiting 1 hour 17 minutes before applying water to a high rise fire and and stick a nozzle through a window and knock it down? Come on Station 2 you've been asked a dozen direct questions and there is no way you can defend your posts with facts.

    Tell us about the entire crew on top the engine watching it burn through the roof at McDonalds yelling at every one to get out. Tell me abot four guys on a ladder turntable watching the fireburn. If 7 guys before the evacuation are just watching how big a staffing problem didyo really have. Why is it at FLT at any given time half the firefighters were in the lobby and not at their assigned positions? What is the backup company doing watching the fire with the RIT team outside the building?

    You still want to defend these guys actions eh?

    NIOSH stated, “the fifth Engine Company dispatched on the first alarm arrived on the scene as the initial Mayday was called by the victim. The Engine Company’s response to the scene had been delayed due to the heavy rain.”

    FACT: That is simply not true. E-11 the fifth in engine assigned by SOP to RIT. Arrived just a few minutes after Ladder-28, they stayed with their apparatus for 7 minutes, they never attempted to establish rapid intervention 2 floors below the fire. They were on scene 11 minutes before the mayday and had a full 11 minutes to get to their position and never bothered. Command didn’t bother to ask if E-11 was at their assigned location. If Command won’t verify crews are in position doing their assigned tasks one has to ask what was Command doing?


    NIOSH stated, “At 0459 hours, District Chief 6 (DC 6) arrived on the scene and assumed lobby sector. The Engine 28 Captain (former lobby Sector) informed DC 6 that Engine 2, Engine 3, and Ladder 28 were on the fire floor.”

    FACT: E-28 Captain was not tracking E-3’s movements, E-3 had never told him or anyone else they were on the fire floor. E-3 never arrived on the fire floor to do there job in fact the Captain of E-3 lost half his crew. Engine 28’s Captains assumption presented as fact mis-informed command that all the players were where they were supposed to be. Command never verified by radio that his backup engine was in place.


    NIOSH reports, “At 0501 hours, the victim advised command that they were on the fire floor (fifth), had laid a hoseline, and would lay another.”

    FACT: Obviously the attack crew knew backup line was essential to proper highrise firefighting but never carried through with what they told Command they were going to do. In addition, they never told Command they did not complete that task. E-2 knowing a backup was essential should not have begun fire attack until the line was laid and staffed.


    The back up crew E-3 according to the NIOSH report, “The Engine 3 crew located and assisted a civilian to the elevator and down to the lobby.”

    FACT: Engine 3 had an assignment and chose not to fulfill it and did not let Command or the attack crews know. Citizens below the fire floor are not in any danger and certainly were not at this time. E-3’s freelancing insured failure of the search and fire attack plan. Engine 3 violated SOPs riding elevators as well.
    Last edited by Firewalker1; 11-04-2002 at 10:56 AM.

  20. #60
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    One sided arguments from information that was only seen by the priveleged few. If it is so "damning" then allow all to see it. I am speaking of your videotape footage with time stamping and audio tapes before they were coreographed to your side of the story. Throw it all out there and let everyone hear and see it. Oh, thats already been done hasn't it? Its called a NIOSH report and they list staffing as an issue now don't they? As for the Command Staff it is made up of the Fire Chief, Assistant Chiefs, Civilian Equivilants to the Assistant Chiefs rank and thats about it. I just went through the Divisions on the HFD web site and their are no Sr. Dispatchers listed as Division Heads. Which division are you in charge of? Oh, and I caught the change to your profile eliminating your rank. Have a good day.
    Last edited by STATION2; 11-04-2002 at 11:07 AM.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

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