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  1. #21
    MembersZone Subscriber E229Lt's Avatar
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    It also says Casciano made a critical error by not using thermal imaging equipment - provided by the state to all fire departments for determining a structure's safety - during "size-up, initial rescue and fire suppression operations."
    Very unlikely a TIC would have indicated a floor ready to collapse.

    Finally, the report says, a decision to introduce a so-called fog stream - water - into the basement, forced fire and superheated gases back down on Heenan after the floor collapsed, causing injuries that led to his death.
    Let me get this straight, a firefighter falls through the floor into a burning basement and the introduction of WATER led to his death?

    Just how many people on this thread would have avoided the use of water into the area where a member just fell into a fire? I am not defending the Chief, nor am I agreeing with the State Division of Fire Safety. Put me on a jury and the two items above would create more than reasonable doubt about the States ability to define proper actions.


  2. #22
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    Default Did the 1st line go in the wrong door?

    From the report:

    It should be further noted that the basement had an exterior door that was nearly at grade level on the Division C side near the Division B / C corner.

    Since the chief's size up showed:

    Following this, he proceeded to conduct a scene size-up by walking around the structure, noting that fire was visible from a kitchen window on the Division B side near the Division B / C corner, and also from a basement window on the Division B side near the Division B / A corner.

    And the A/C's size up showed:

    Both observed heavy fire coming from the kitchen window on the Division B side near the Division B / C corner, and also from a basement window on the Division B side near the Division B / A corner; these reports were consistent with the conditions earlier reported by Casciano.

    I'm wondering why they didn't take the 1st hoseline to the ground level door on side C and attack the fire in the basement 1st. That, coupled with taking out the basement window on side B might have helped reduce the vertical extension of the fire. (I can't be certain from the report if those windows had self-vented.)

    I understand that in some Cape Cods you don't have exterior basement doors and have to fight your way down an interior stairs, but that doesn't seem to have been the case here. Having the first line go to the lowest fire doesn't put a line between the fire and the occupants who may be sleeping upstairs. That's the only downside I see to this approach.


    Separately, I understand Bones' concerns about accurate record keeping at the state level. About 10 years ago, Ohio was loosing or mis-processing 30-40% of all EMS recertifications. State standards are a great idea. However, state rule making and administration is subject to a wide variety of political and beaurocratic distortions.
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  3. #23
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    Lt,
    Excellent points - especially concerning wetting down a trapped firefighter. Some additional thoughts:
    1. Maybe the issue was the use of a full fog pattern. That will disturb ventilation much more than a narrow fog directed directly onto the FF.
    2. If the floor collapsed, I'm guessing that there was now a large hole, so there should have been some vertical ventilation - or at least the possibility of it if the fog pattern didn't cover the entire hole.

    Another point: if the FF had sounded the floor with a tool vs w. his hand, was it likely that he'd been better able to tell it was about to collapse?

    In my mind, the biggest contributor was taking the 1st line above the fire instead of into the basement.
    Last edited by Ohiovolffemtp; 12-18-2003 at 11:04 AM.
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  4. #24
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Cool Hey Artie,.............

    Must be your latest photo in your avatar........ OK back to business. My first inclination would be to try to get a line to someone who fell thru a roof, floor, etc. Getting a line in there, vs indiscriminately pouring a lot of water everywhere, seems reasonable. All of us are taught that you never put water thru a hole in a roof, floor, etc. because that inhibits proper ventilation, but I'd try it anyway if it gave a brother a fighting chance. The point about whether a TIC would see a collapsing floor is interesting, to say the least. Gives me an idea for our next "donated structure" live burn. Stay Safe....
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  5. #25
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    The point about whether a TIC would see a collapsing floor is interesting, to say the least. Gives me an idea for our next "donated structure" live burn.
    I think the point was that it would have detected the presence of a heavy body of fire under the floor immediately inside the rear door. A reasonable IC could then have deduced that the floor inside that particular entrance may not be safe. I might be wrong, but I don't think the point was that it would detect an unsafe floor.

    Also, I think the point about the hose streams is two fold. First, there were at least 4 streams operating on him or into the basement while he was trapped. Second, those streams were operated on the fire as well as the victim which may have hampered the rescue effort and also greatly increased the steam production of the main body of fire. It certainly semed to me to be rasonable that the line in the K was used in the way it was-to protect the fallen FF.
    . If the floor collapsed, I'm guessing that there was now a large hole, so there should have been some vertical ventilation - or at least the possibility of it if the fog pattern didn't cover the entire hole.
    When the structural members collapse under a floor, in my experience, a huge gaping hole did not immediately develop. The materials and contents no top were more than likely still intact. There would be a collapse which would be akin to a "lean-to" or other similar shape. The contents would then slide into the void. The hole would come later.

  6. #26
    MembersZone Subscriber E229Lt's Avatar
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    CONCLUSION
    The death of firefighter James Heenan can be directly attributed to a cumulative effect of three factors. Firstly, the IC did not properly analyze the fire conditions, and FF Heenan was ordered into the structure through the first floor Division C door, putting him directly over the seat of the fire. Secondly, there was a failure to utilize the proper equipment prior to entering the structure – namely a thermal imaging camera and handtools to sound the floor for stability. Thirdly, the introduction of the fog fire streams into the hole in the floor and through the exterior basement windows pushed the fire and superheated gases back down upon FF Heenan, thus causing the burn injuries that ultimately led to his death.
    After one full read through, I gleened:

    Fire from basement was venting out the B/A corner. Entry was made from the C side. How does this indicate entry above the "seat of the fire"? I would need to know the location of the rear door. If it was on the C side near the C/D corner, it would seem a better choice than the A door since fire is venting below at the B/A corner.

    While I do not have a problem with the line directed into the hole which he fell through, the two lines operated into the basement from the B and D sides is troubling.

    This is considered to be contrary to all recognized practices, including those found in Essentials of Firefighting, which contains the following caution: “Warning: Never operate any type of fire stream through a ventilation hole while firefighters are still inside the building. This stops the ventilation process and places interior crews in serious danger”. Additionally, it lists one disadvantage of fog streams as “When improperly used during interior attacks, they can spread fire, create heat inversion, and cause steam burns to firefighters”.
    I believe this quote is used totally out of context. It is meant for normal fire Ops. not this situation. The very words "Never" and "Always" should be stricken from 99% of all fire related text.

    Aggressive tactics were utilized due to one glaring fact from the report:
    a working structure fire with victims possibly trapped inside the private residence

  7. #27
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    I believe this quote is used totally out of context. It is meant for normal fire Ops. not this situation. The very words "Never" and "Always" should be stricken from 99% of all fire related text.
    Damn! One more thing we agree on.

  8. #28
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Hmmm, interesting thoughts 229.

    You have a hole in the floor the FF fell through.

    The fire's natural desire is to vent through that hole, drawing more fire to that area.

    A fog line operated into that hole will tend to push the fire away from that area (which is why we normally don't operate fog patterns into vent holes).

    Of course, operating opposing lines into the other windows is going to push the fire back towards him. Opposing hoselines.

  9. #29
    Forum Member Lewiston2FF's Avatar
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    OMG, George and Artie agree again! Three times in one year! What is the world coming to?

    Anyway to the point, I am thinking George is correct on the hole in the floor, It would have failed such that the flooring material would have created a lean-to effect. This does not make for efficient ventilation. I know when I was taught ventilation, I was taught to clear the hole, I know this is semantics but I would have considered this a rescue hole not a vent hole.
    I am inclined to agree with Artie, I would have been dumping water down that hole if I saw one of my brothers go through it.

    Those are just my 2 cents worth.
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  10. #30
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    I would rather the crews working inside bring the TIC with them as opposed to leaving outside for the IC to use. In my department, our first 2 (soon to be 3) trucks have TIC's by the officers seat and it is that persons job to grab it and use it. Our Chief's arrive on scene prior to the trucks (most times) and they don't have TIC's in their cars. The Chief's give their initial size up and before we make entry, the officer has the TIC in operation.

    If someone at NJDFS is saying something different, that person needs to look at their own regs.
    Again, it was probably an office worker and not a "higher up".
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  11. #31
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    Bones, I was wondering when someone else was going to say that. our department has one camera, and generally the first due engine crew takes it with them. the chief doesn't have one, nor should the IC techically have it. according to ICS/IMS, that's the responsibility of the operations person. but that another issue. and I don't think the TIC would have been able to detect an unstable floor.

    I believe we are taught never to spray water from the exterior when there are FFs inside a building. this includes into vent holes and in from windows.

    also, I belive it's ICS 100 + Firefighter I + $5 to some agency = IMS Level 1.

    quick question about thiese reports. who is the one who fills out these reports? is it a committee of seasoned FD veterans? or it is a beaurocrat who has reaserched a lot about fire, but has never actually been in a building?
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  12. #32
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    Ohio,

    You have a fire in the basement...a line going through the front door to the basement puts the line between the fire and the most important chunk of real estate for people on the 2nd floor--the stairwell leading right out the front door.

    The first line must protect that interior stairwell at all costs whether in a securing/holding pattern or in an offensive manner.

    That is why I don't agree with your tactic of going in with the first line through the rear basement door. The only way I would bring a line through that basement door is if the first line went through the front door and was in place on the first floor protecting the stairwell.

    Remember, you must protect the brothers searching above the fire and any trapped/fleeing occupants.
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  13. #33
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    Default my 2 cents worth ...............

    In reading this I can offer the following.......we have a TIC and it is on the first due engine, so if I arrive on the scene I would do just what the Chief did, a 360 survey and trying to see if anyone has exited the structure. Certainly time of day would indicate a high probability of occupancy. I didnt have a problem with the entry they chose, and I would say if a FF fell through the hole............I would be shooting water in the whole unless there were some other FF's already making their way down there. I agree that I am not sure if the TIC would "tell me" that the floor was unstable.......also I would doubt I would take the TIC after the first due engine gets there and sweep the structure again before crews made entry. The attack team should have the TIC with them for sure.....or at least the back up line would have it. Also I dont know if the department was FT or combo or volly but this all happened within 10 minutes of dispatch ? So would manpower allow for a back up line yet? a RIT/RIC team ? I am not disagreeing you should NOT have them but I dont know the info to make that call. They appear to have some training issues. Safety Officer ? PAR/PASS system ? Emergency evacuation procedure ? these are some thoughts I wonder about, if they had them in place ........the bottom line is a FF died and I hope others will look both inwards and out to try and prevent this from happening in our own departments..........oh ya how can George be WRONG ???????? what is the world coming too ? and then he and Artie agree ???????? on man .......... you all be safe and to the above mentioned .......just kiddin ........
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  14. #34
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    To further expand on the NJ state requirements for FF1, below is a copy of the entire email I received from the Division of Fire Safety:

    "Contrary to popular belief, Firefighter-1 is not state mandated. This could change one day, but not at this time. The basis for training is PEOSHA requirements that all employees, including volunteer firefighters, be properly trained to do their jobs. Training requirements are based on accredited national standards such as those provided by IFSTA using national accepted standards like the NFPA 1001, which New Jersey has modified this standard to suit state preferences.
    To be State Certified Firefighter-1, an individual must, after completion of a approved class, apply for state certification. State certification is not mandatory unless you wish to act in a supervisory role in your department. IMS-1 (Incident Management System Level-1) can not be granted without state FF-1 certification. IMS Level-1 certification is mandatory for all supervisory personnel paid or volunteer.
    5:73-6.1(a) of the New Jersey Uniform Fire Code: All fire service personnel shall satisfactorily complete the two hour training module : ICS Orientation, Incident Command System of the National Training Curriculum by February 17, 1999"

    So from how I read it you do not have to be FF1 certified to be a firefighter in NJ. You do need to have ICS 100, if you took before February 17, 1999 you’re exempt from FF1 unless you want to be an officer. You’d then have to take FF1 in order to get into ICS 200 and IMS Level 1. Rumor has it the state doesn’t require FF1 because if they required it they’d have to pay for it…..so they use the backdoor.

    Bones, no ICS 100 and ICS 200 do not = IMS Level 1. IMS Level 1 is given from the state with proof of ICS 100, ICS 200 and a letter from your Chief stating that you have at least 3 years in the fire service.

    After all of that, from what I’ve seen most company/department by-laws require members to have FF1 so even though the state technically says you don’t need to have it everyone with an ounce of common sense requires their members to have it.

  15. #35
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    Rumor has it the state doesn’t require FF1 because if they required it they’d have to pay for it…..so they use the backdoor.
    With all the screaming about "State mandate-State pay", you are probably dead on right.
    After all of that, from what I’ve seen most company/department by-laws require members to have FF1 so even though the state technically says you don’t need to have it everyone with an ounce of common sense requires their members to have it.
    This is also a true statement.

    I guess in this case it should be more troubling that the Chief Officers did not have this training.

  16. #36
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    With all the screaming about "State mandate-State pay", you are probably dead on right.

    There's few things in politics that get my hair up like the ninnies who cry the, "Unfunded Mandate" red herring.

    The State mandates you have a driver's license if you want to drive. I don't see them paying for the training, though.

  17. #37
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    I was able to get some time to read the entire report and the overwhelming and resounding tone of this report is that the qualifications of the chief officer is coming into question.
    As minor as it sounds, I cannot believe that this chief did not have a portable or mobile radio, even though he responded in his personal vehicle.
    When I served as chief, I had a department-provided mobile in my vehicle, a portable radio that was never out of sight and I even had a pager and a scanner at home.
    What good is size-up/assessment if you cannot communicate it to your first due? I realize that the report said that the chief went around the house more than once, but to me, it's just a walk in the neighborhood if he's not communicating what he sees.
    And how do we know that the back up did anything with the nozzle? Maybe it was already set to fog and he didn't know any better? Comes back to training.
    Fire commissioners are also held accountable, because with their affirmation of the election of the chief, they are saying that the chief is qualified to guide the fire department.
    The TI camera should be utilized as soon as it hits the scene. As a former chief, there is no way that I would ever carry it in my vehicle in order to do a size up, but I guarantee you that an interior attack will not be done until the camera is there and ready to go. Because if you go in for a blind search and the results are the same as here, I will assure you that the camera will be central to any investigation. If the department does not have a TI camera, then a recommendation will be included in their final report that the department get one.
    Training and the cost of it. Jesus. How many times have we discussed that one? Unfunded mandates? In my mind, basic/essential firefighting training should never cost a fire department ANYTHING! Specialized training? Perhaps a fee is charged, but regardless, cost/benefit should still be determined when training is discussed. If a firefighter does not have the essential skills, then how can he move into a leadership role and how effective is anyone who is not trained at a competent level?
    I know that the chief is taking the heat. That comes with the white hat. That is usually the first place criticism will go. That's just the way it is.
    It is very apparent to me that there is a renaissance taking place in this country. The public is expecting a competent effort from their public servants.
    We should expect the same.
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  18. #38
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    When the structural members collapse under a floor, in my experience, a huge gaping hole did not immediately develop. The materials and contents no top were more than likely still intact. There would be a collapse which would be akin to a "lean-to" or other similar shape. The contents would then slide into the void. The hole would come later.
    Here is a photo of a basement apartment fire we had a few weeks ago. The fire started in a garage that had unprotected floor joists. The collapse happened rather quickly, as there several heavy pieces of furniture, including a waterbed, on that end of the home. This photo shows the "lean to" effect that George mentions. I hate to say it, but anyone going into an inferno like this is probably not going to make it out, especially if heavy items, like the bed, slide down on top of them. This garage area had several old tires stored inside it, along with various fuels, paints, and oil soaked wooden work benches and shelves. Basements are a "catch-all" for many forms of unknown items, around here. Very dangerous. Unless someone was able to make safe access with a good view to an open basement (no partitions), I don't think a TIC could possibly show enough to know for sure whether the trusses/joists are gone.

  19. #39
    Forum Member ThNozzleman's Avatar
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    Whoops...here it is.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  20. #40
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    Here is another view from the garage door.
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