1. #51
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    Firefighting is an art and a science

    A Craft

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    A key factor on this fire is that they had fire showing from B side, 1st floor.

    This isn't a basement fire alone, and this is where you start to stretch resources real quick for small departments.

    Was it just light fire, coming through plumbing chases under the kitchen sink or similiar, and able to be hit real quick from a line in the front door?

    Is it heavier fire from a hole in the floor?

    Is it heavy fire coming up the basement stairs and through an open door at the top of the stairs?

    If it is heavy fire, how confident are you can knock it down faster than simply chasing it around an open floor plan around a center stairwell that's typical in a cape?

    If you have heavy fire in both basement & 1st floor, that fire has several ways it could outflank or undermine one or two hose crews -- you need a lot of teams to cut off the fire.

    You go in the front door, cut left, extinguish the fire in those rooms...but are you risking having heavy fire from the basement door trying to go clockwise around and get behind you and up the stairs?

    You go in the back door, you move to extinguish the B side rooms, but risk the fire cutting you off by coming up the basement stairs you've just passed. You stay at the basement stairs and don't go by them, fire in the B side rooms goes unchecked and up the stairs.

    You go with a head on attack in the basement door, you risk pushing a good amount of fire in the several minutes it takes you to manuever to knock down the basement fire.

    There simply isn't an easy consistent answer I can find on this one -- at the very least if your serious about believing there's life on the 2nd floor, you need lines to the front door to keep the fire already on the 1st floor from going up the stairwell, you need a line to the rear to keep heavy fire from coming up the basement stairs if the door is compromised, and a big line to knock down the basement -- whether it's advanced from the outside in or down the basement stairs.

    I think from a practical perspective, I'd move a big line on straight/solid stream in the basement to knock down the bulk of the fire. #2 line would go to the front door to knock down 1st floor fire. This fire is beyond my department's capability at this time to simultaneously attack & search for life "by the book", I'm not going to have the manpower early on to move in the 4 or so lines it would take to surround & cut it off; I don't have enough top-shelf FFs I'd trust do aggressive searches above this fire, so our best bet is to put the biggest effort towards getting the quickest knockdown on the largest volume of fire that's most threatening the structure -- and that's the basement. And I'm betting it's fastest to do that by moving a 2.5" in through the outside basement door rather than trying to wind it through the 1st floor & down the stairs, and I'd prefer the faster knockdown of the 2.5" flow over a more manuerverable 1.75" in this situation.

  2. #52
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    You are right, everything is scenario dependent. Tactics should be based on conditions observed.

    To many what ifs in the one paragraph. Remember, we don't deliver mail here. What if my aunt had testicles???

    PS: I would go right through the front door, with my can, and right up to the fire place. This accomplishes three(3) things at a minimum:

    1. I have placed the line(can) between the fire and trapped occupants and searching brothers.
    2. I have placed the line(can) in such a manner that they protect the primary means of egress (the front door).
    3. I have protected interior exposures(other rooms/floors)

    Seriously Cap, Happy Holidays.

    By the way, for all those who are wondering about my aunt w/ the testicles question...she would be my uncle.
    Kevin M. Fitzhenry
    Captain, Rescue Company 1
    City of Bayonne (NJ) Fire Department

  3. #53
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    Some info on the TIC issue, SIZE-UP -

    Without the TIC the picture on the left shows a working fire due to the smoke conditions, but beyond that your info on the fire conditions is limited.

    With the TIC the picture on the right shows a lot more information. Every window is bright white indicating high heat levels through out the structure. The window farthest to the right is "haloing" so there is a good chance the main body of fire is in the 3-4 corner. The attic and gables are also showing bright white which would indicate the heat/fire has extended into those areas. There does not appear to be any heat at the base of the structure, so it does not appear to be a basement or crawl space fire.

    Remember the TIC may work very well on Size-Up, or it may not work at all. It depends on a lot factors, Building Construction, Weather Conditions, and most importantly the ability of the user to interpret what they are looking at. Remember to verify the info you think you have gotten from the TIC by other traditional means. This will lessen the chance you build an Incident Action Plan based on bad info.

    Good Luck, Stay Safe,
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    Mike Richardson
    Captain, Training Officer
    St Matthews FD, Louisville KY
    "aka TIman"
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    TI Training = www.safe-ir.com

    The information and views above are in no way associated with my employer, and are strictly my own.

  4. #54
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    Excellent, excellent discussion.
    I don't have anything to add. I just want to read more.
    Mike R.; that's a great image that you attached.
    CR
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    Some more info on the TIC issue, Basement Fire -

    The picture attached is a classic thermal image of a well advanced basement fire in an older house. It is also a very good example of why you should use the TIC.

    Firefighters who were sounding this floor were getting a good response indicating the floor was still intact and they could not locate any burned through areas or holes. This is because the flooring was substantial solid hardwood/planking. However given the well advanced basement fire it was not the flooring that failed first, it was actually the supporting structures that held it up. As it turned out in this case it was the early warning provided by the TIC that allowed them to get off of the floor before the collapse. As such it is preferred to use the “best of both worlds”. Basic Firefighting – sound the floor, probe for holes, feel for the heat in the floor. Thermal Imaging – look for high levels heat and look for burned through areas.

    As with Size-Up the thermal imager may work very well, or it may not work at all. Once again it depends on a number of factors, Building Construction, Fire Conditions, and most importantly the ability of the user to interpret what they are looking at.

    Good Luck, Stay Safe,
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Mike Richardson
    Captain, Training Officer
    St Matthews FD, Louisville KY
    "aka TIman"
    richardson@stmatthewsfd.com

    TI Training = www.safe-ir.com

    The information and views above are in no way associated with my employer, and are strictly my own.

  6. #56
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    Originally posted by torichardson
    Some more info on the TIC issue, Basement Fire -

    The picture attached is a classic thermal image of a well advanced basement fire in an older house. It is also a very good example of why you should use the TIC.

    Firefighters who were sounding this floor were getting a good response indicating the floor was still intact and they could not locate any burned through areas or holes. This is because the flooring was substantial solid hardwood/planking. However given the well advanced basement fire it was not the flooring that failed first, it was actually the supporting structures that held it up. As it turned out in this case it was the early warning provided by the TIC that allowed them to get off of the floor before the collapse. As such it is preferred to use the “best of both worlds”. Basic Firefighting – sound the floor, probe for holes, feel for the heat in the floor. Thermal Imaging – look for high levels heat and look for burned through areas.

    As with Size-Up the thermal imager may work very well, or it may not work at all. Once again it depends on a number of factors, Building Construction, Fire Conditions, and most importantly the ability of the user to interpret what they are looking at.

    Good Luck, Stay Safe,
    The flaw with sounding alone is that often, the floor IS intact. The failure will be in the strucural support members under the floor. This weakness will usually not be picked up when "sounding" the floor.

    I agree with the Chief. Great pictures and discussion.

  7. #57
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    Default Would a hoseline in the basement push the fire upstairs

    As I think about the positioning of the 1st hoseline in a fire like this, I'm wondering about whether a line attacking the fire in the basement would push the fire upwards.

    I've seen hose streams, especially wider fog streams push fire horizontally. That's the basis for the extinguishment of pit fires with fog streams. However, I've not seen horizontal streams push much fire vertically. I would think that if you're hitting the base of the fire, you're likely to cut way back on the generation of heated fire gasses. That should limit vertical extension.

    Does this match other folks experience?
    Proud to be honored with IACOJ membership. Blessed by TWO meals cooked by Cheffie - a true culinary goddess. Expressing my own views, not my organization's.

  8. #58
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    As I think about the positioning of the 1st hoseline in a fire like this, I'm wondering about whether a line attacking the fire in the basement would push the fire upwards.
    The fire is going upwards, no matter what you do, especially if the basement door is open. Use of straight streams will minimize much of the "pushing," but the steam expansion will still happen. It has to go somewhere.

  9. #59
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    but it will also most likely get you killed in the second type of house (unfinished basement ceiling, manufactured wood I-Beams with OSB floor covering). For the second house you need another Basement Fire Strategy.

    Straying off the subject a little bit I have to ask if anybody else has seen OSB used for a subfloor? I'm not doubting anyone but I have never seen it in New Jersey and I work in the construction trade on my days off.

    If it is used is there any code that states how thick it must be. I believe that Regular Plywood can be 5/8" if the joists are 16" on center but must be at least 3/4" If the Joists (in this case they are usually box floor trusses) are 24" on center.
    DKK
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    Skipper,

    It was used for a while here in Massachusetts, unknown if it is still allowed or not. I would imagine it was 5/8" for the 16" OC because it is "supposed" to be the same as plywood.

    On a similar note, we had a fire in a basement kitchen at a local resort. For span they had used TGIs or plywood trusses so that they could have a big open area. The fire was in a cooking unit that was on the first floor in another kitchen. It burned down into the ceiling void space and eventually caused the failure of two of the TGI joists. The floor in the immediate area was spongy, but all around was very sound. The TGI failed after a very short exposure to flame. (Place was occupied, alarmed, and smoke was noticed immediately)

    Dave

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    On the issue of OSB for Sub Floor/Building Construction:

    TruckSkipper’s and HFD66truck's comments bring up a very good point, Building Construction/Code Requirements.

    OSB is definitely used here in KY for a sub-floor, I have encountered it in a number of structures.

    Is it a legitimate construction practice that meets code? That one I am not real sure of, but I will be asking our Fire Marshall for some more info.

    TruckSkipper, you may not see this type of construction where you work at in NJ because it may not meet the Code requirements in your area. HFD66truck, you may see this in your area because it does meet the code requirements or no one is enforcing the code issue. Obviously everyone needs to consider what type of Building Code/Code Enforcement that thay have in their area. There are some places that follow and enforce BOCA and NFPA Codes to the letter. However, I am sure many of you also know of places where they could not tell you who BOCA or NFPA are.

    It can be hard to tell what type of floor you are crawling in on at 3:00 AM, that is why it is very important for you to really know what types of construction you have in your “1st Due”. The building construction you will face will vary widely based on a number of factors, age of the structure, code requirements, and upgrades or remodels just to name a few.

    Per the earlier discussion, your strategy & tactics have to match the building construction. Unfortunately a lot of people are not considering this and it is one of the major reasons why we are losing a lot of Brothers to STRUCTURAL COLLAPSE. You have to know as best you can if you are fighting fire in a “5 minute structure” or a “15 minute structure”.

    Your only option maybe to make some “educated” guesses based on what you see during your Size-Up at 3:00 AM, but it obviously helps greatly when you can also add information from pre-plans, previous experiences, and knowledge such as building code requirements.

    The second the fire starts, is the second the clock starts ticking. The building is only going to last so long before something fails. You have to ask the questions, What will fail first? How will long will it be before it fails? If you can’t get answers that you are pretty confident with then the best option maybe to keep the Brothers out of harms way.

    Good Luck, Stay Safe, Happy Holidays,
    Mike Richardson
    Captain, Training Officer
    St Matthews FD, Louisville KY
    "aka TIman"
    richardson@stmatthewsfd.com

    TI Training = www.safe-ir.com

    The information and views above are in no way associated with my employer, and are strictly my own.

  12. #62
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    I must again apologize for taking this thread further off the subject.

    As far as the use of OSB in my experience goes, I had first seen it used as vertical sheathing in class 5 construction. It wasn't even used on roofs because as I was told it didn't hold up well to the moisture and weather extremes.

    Of coarse they use it on roofs now but that's probably because they made improvements not because it's cheeper.
    DKK
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    "Above all, an assignment to a truck company should be considered a promotion."

    Chief John W. Mittendorf-1998

  13. #63
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    ... how am I the first to post this???

    ------------------------------------------

    Fire company may disband

    Tuesday, January 13, 2004

    Action may result from scathing state review of firefighter's death in 2001
    By STEVE LEVINE
    Courier-Post Staff
    WEST DEPTFORD


    Municipal business administrator Gerald White said Monday that state findings into the death of firefighter James Heenan three years ago could lead to the revocation of the Verga Fire Company's jurisdiction to fight fires, in effect a disbanding of the company.

    Heenan, a Verga firefighter for 17 years, died from injuries sustained in a Jan. 1, 2001 fire in the Verga section of the township.

    A state report last month laid blame for Heenan's death at the feet of his own company, in particular his fire chief, John Casciano.

    "That is a potential outcome of this," White said of the possibility to revoke Verga's jurisdiction.

    White's remarks came during a meeting of the municipal Emergency Services Coordinating Council, a body composed of fire chiefs from the township's four companies, other township officials and at least one resident.

    The scathing state report, issued Dec. 16 by the Division of Fire Safety, found that Casciano gravely misjudged the house fire that cost Heenan his life.

    It also faulted Casciano for not taking advantage of a thermal imaging camera on scene in sizing up the blaze and found that his decision to introduce a so-called fog stream into the fire may have actually killed him.

    Heenan suffered severe burns and languished on life support until March 25, 2001. He was survived by a wife and two boys.

    Following the fire Verga officials did not cooperate with state investigators and their records had to be subpoenaed.

    While Casciano did not respond to numerous phone calls from the Courier-Post following the report's release, he stated publicly at Monday's meeting that he thinks it is flawed.

    "We don't feel it's worth the paper it's written on," said Casciano, himself a member of the council, on behalf of his department.

    Though Heenan was a highly seasoned firefighter, his backup, James Miller, did not even hold a basic firefighting certificate. In fact, of 22 firefighters on the Verga department's roster at the time, only five, including Heenan and an officer, were certified to fight fires, state investigators found.

    Heenan's widow Patti told the panel that losing him was simply unnecessary.

    "Everyone was supposed to have training," she told the board.

    Regarding the removal of non-certified fire fighters from the township's four departments, she said "we need somebody to step up to the plate."

    White said a township official may soon have that authority. The board was expected to approve new duties for township fire official Jim Trautner to enforce certifications but those duties would not take effect until township committee adopts an ordinance to do so.

    The council had taken no action on the measure by press time. If it does township committee will have to ratify the action by ordinance.

    White said township officials have no authority over local fire chiefs other than "the power of the purse" - their funding - and control over their department's jurisdiction to fight fires.

    He said township committee may remove Verga's jurisdiction to fight fires but could not say when or if that would happen.

    ----------------------------------------

    Stay Safe

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