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    Lightbulb "Doors blew closed after FFs enter"

    http://www.middletownjournal.com/new...7040.0299.html

    Don't know if I pasted this right but sounds like a good case study on several topics.

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    Stay Safe & Well out there....
    Last edited by CaptOldTimer; 02-24-2004 at 03:32 PM.

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    Watch out for the signs. Puffing and sucking smoke around the doors and windows and the roar that is coming from inside the building.
    If you hear a roar, it's probably already too late. True backdraft situations shouldn't roar before the door is opened, as the fire itself has died down, waiting on an influx of air/oxygen. I would think a roar would be better attributed to a free-burning fire that is still consuming oxygen.

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    The article says that they had a fan going (I assume it was a smoke ejector as opposed to PPV) so they were getting some ventalation and it would probably not be a true backdraft. Sounds like just a lot of fire load and not enough openings to pull air in from.

    They probably could have used some vertical ventalation, but it sounds like it's a good thing there wasn't anybody on the roof.

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    WOW!

    “I could see the building ‘breathing.’ Smoke would come out the windows, then disappear inside,” Kennedy said. “That means the heat is getting intense.”

    Let's review what causes this:

    Most building fires are "Oxygen-limited" -- the size of the fire depends on how much air it can get, they have plenty of fuel.

    Breathing buildings have plenty of heat & gases ready to burn, just too little Oxygen. They get a little in, intensify, pressure builds, puffs out, fire consumes the O2 and/or smoke displaces the O2, fire contracts from lack of 02, sucks in a little fresh air...

    “We had a fan at one end trying to get some ventilation, but the pressure was building so much that the smoke was going over it the opposite way,” Kennedy said. “I just knew there was way too much smoke and heat. I had to pull them out.”

    I'm reading that actually as a PPV -- wouldn't be a bad tactic necessarily if you've already written off part of the building, you can try and keep the fire out of the uninvolved part with PPV backing up guys with handlines. Doing so you know the fire's going to intensify, but hopefully only what you've already written off. When you have enough fire building up that the smoke is forcing it's way out against the fan, I think that qualifies as being, "Under pressure."

    Don't know about the true backdraft stuff...you very well could have had a remote room or something that let go and backdrafted, along with heavy fire building in other areas. Could've been a propane cylinder too

    Sounds like a good job in a bad situation -- woodworking shop, no sprinklers, smoke showing. They came, they saw, figured out real quick they were seriously out-gunned, and got the hell out of Dodge.
    Last edited by Dalmatian90; 02-24-2004 at 03:24 PM.
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    Just curious, but why wasn't the door blocked open when you entered the room? A wedge would have worked quite nicely there. And it would have given you a clear exit for a hasty retreat, if nothing else.
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    Good points Dal. I have a hard time picturing a building with that much heat. Agree that they did the right thing by getting out when they did, and recognizing that it was time to go. I've heard stories from just before my time about neighboring chiefs wanting to go interior in building that were already lost. It's hard to admit that you've lost a building.

    ChiefR reminds me that its time to find an old inner-tube and re-stock wedges.

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    I would first like to say im not a big fan of nitpicking and arm chair quaterbacking, but this topic is too important not to comment on.

    It is highly unlikely that that fire experienced a backdraft, and the size-up and tactics used on that fire was the cause of the fire/collapse. I just went to a class taught by an FDIC instructor called Reading Smoke and the Art of First-Due by Dave Dodson. And the main things that I got out of it deals exactly with this fire scenario. The IC stated:

    "“I could see the building ‘breathing.’ Smoke would come out the windows, then disappear inside,” Kennedy said. “That means the heat is getting intense.”"

    This statement is half true. In a large structure if you have the same color and pressure coming out of different openings you have a deep seated fire. The reason that the smoke was exiting the building and reentering the building was due to lack of ventilation not because the fire is hotter. If the fire was hotter the smoke would have ignited once it reached an oxygen source. And the smoke is iginiting due to being over it's flammable range and it gets lean enough to ignite when it vents. So the smoke wasnt hot enough yet. I would guess that inside deeper that it was, but not where it was venting to the outside.

    We need to look at the use of PPV in this situation. The use of PPV was the cause of why those firefighter where almost hurt. When the smoke reenters a structure, like it was doing, it adds to the danger of the smoke igniting. When you have heavy smoke which they did on this fire and no heat which they also did in some parts of the building due to being able to see the smoke reentering without flaming on vent. This means that the smoke is too rich to burn. So the introduction of the PPV is what set the smoke off. The intoduction of air from the PPV brought the smoke in the building down into its flammable range making it leaner which caused the fire to rapidly increase due to flashover. These firefighters are really, really lucky that they didn't kill themselves. The smoke was telling them what to do and not to do. They did what the smoke said not to due, and are lucky to live to tell about it.

    The reason that the structure collapsed was probably due to a smoke explosion or just the violent flashover from the introduction to PPV in the cockloft.

    The important thing to learn and remember from this is to read what the smoke and building are telling you. To take classes like the one i took to learn what the smoke is really telling you. We also need to remember to use fundemental tactics in making a building behave. If those firefighters would have vertically vented over a second story fire, and not introduced PPV like they did. This incident wouldnt have happened.
    Last edited by dfd3dfd3; 02-24-2004 at 05:41 PM.

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    Did a web search, hoping to find a website for Recker with a pic of their building. No luck, but I did find this from another newspaper that paints in a bit more of the picture:

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/local.../0223fire.html
    Recker said he was in the office on the first floor when a tenant working on the third floor said he saw smoke.

    He investigated and found smoke coming from a second-floor mechanical room that housed a machine used to collect sawdust and other heavy particulates from the air.

    "I touched the door handle and it was hot," Recker said, standing in a vacant lot with family and friends watching the building burn. "That's when I said, 'We've got to get out of here.' "

    Firefighters arrived shortly before 2 p.m., Sauter said, and at that time "only a very little bit of smoke" could be seen coming from the upper floors. But in a matter of minutes, the fire spread throughout the building, engulfing it in flames.

    Minutes after arriving on the scene, fire officials realized the building could not be saved, Sauter said, so firefighters pulled back and focused on preventing the fire from spreading.

    "When I bought it, it was about to be condemned," Recker said. "The roof had collapsed and (friends) told me to let the city knock it down."

    Instead, Recker renovated the building, creating workshop and office space on the first and second floors.

    The third floor was rented as storage for a glass company, fire officials said, and the fourth floor was storage where Recker kept "a million antique trinkets," Fire Marshal Rami Khayo said.


    We've added from the other article:
    -- Building is 4 stories (I thought it was 2 from original article)
    -- Heavily renovated
    -- Light smoke

    I *suspect* part of the building was 1 or 2 story from the original article mentioning the roof blew off of the office portion of the building.

    At any rate, 40,000sf is gonna give you a 4 story building something like 100' on a side.

    Reading the original article, I was picturing a fairly long 2 story building with heavy smoke showing from a specific part of it. We still don't know when the PPV fan was employed -- but I agree with DFD3 it definitely could've contributed, more so now that I read it was a "squarer" building than I thought with lighter smoke showing. Like I said in my first post, it's a valid tactic to use PPV to keep a fire out of an uninvolved part of the building, but like all else PPV related you really have to have a good handle on the fire.

    I wouldn't be too quick to blame PPV though, kinda like running over a dead guy, he was already dead -- no fire alarms, no sprinklers, delayed notification, primary occupancy is a woodworking shop, fire seated in the dust collection room on the 2nd floor of a four story heavily (and recently) renovated building. Don't know the manpower situation, but they had 6 interior guys we know of, that would get stretched real thin trying to do vertical & horizontal ventilation as well as stretch a big hose line on a fire that sounds like it was primed to take off anyway.

    I guess what I'm trying to get to is, from what I'm reading, I'm not sure there was a good solution on this one other than what they did -- realize real soon they were in over their heads and head for the beach!
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