1. #1
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    Unhappy Palm Bay F/R Engine catches fire while in quarters

    Wow...Second Fire Station fire in less then a year in Brevard County

    Fire truck up in smoke

    Passer-by alerts firefighters inside station

    BY J.D. GALLOP
    FLORIDA TODAY
    Damaged pumper. Two fleet technicians at the Palm Bay Fleet Garage off Malabar Road examine a pumper truck heavily damaged in a fire early Monday morning at Fire Station 91 in Palm Bay.

    Palm Bay Fire Station 91, was damaged by fire in an early morning blaze Monday that heavily damaged a pumper truck. The station was formerly named No. 3.

    Wilson Matias was on his way to work early Monday when he spotted thick, black smoke billowing from inside Fire Station 91.

    He rang the doorbell, screamed frantically and called 9-1-1 before the four firefighters inside woke up.

    "I was just concerned about the firefighters inside," the 32-year-old said. "They put their lives on the line for us . . . I just did what I had to do."

    No one was hurt, but the cab of a $250,000 fire truck was reduced to a burned-out hulk. About $50,000 in radio and other gear also was destroyed, and the station building sustained about $40,000 in smoke and water damage.

    The 5:43 a.m. fire was traced to a battery charger that apparently overheated in the station's truck bay.

    "The sprinklers kept the fire contained, and everything worked the way it was supposed to," said Palm Bay Fire Chief Larry Hellman, standing outside of the station Monday.

    "It took a while before the heat could build up to the ceiling and activate the sprinklers, but absolutely, lives were saved by (Matias') actions and the sprinklers."

    The Station 91 firefighters -- still dressed in T-shirts and shorts -- escaped their living quarters in the concrete building and used a brush truck parked in the back to put water on the blaze.

    "I'm still a little sick about it," said Lt. David Ginsburg, who was sleeping in the station at the time.

    Dispatchers woke him with a phone call, alerting him to the fire. He then woke the other firefighters and found the truck bay filled with choking, floor-level smoke.

    The firefighters' living quarters and an adjacent office were not damaged. "This is our house. I was the one who got into a fire not getting out of one. It's a gut-wrenching feeling," Ginsburg said.

    Another fire engine was brought in the driveway while the fire-gutted engine was towed to the city's garage nearly two miles away.

    The cabin, which seats five, was reduced to a blackened heap of twisted metal and bare wires.

    The emergency lights melted, as did portions of the aluminum roof, which dripped to the floor and formed piles resembling Hershey Kisses.

    The most interesting item to investigators, however, is an orange extension cord now melded into the charger's jack on the driver's side.

    Ferrara, a Louisiana-based company, manufactures about 300 similar fire engines a year and sold the truck to Palm Bay. Company representatives said they have no reports of any other problems with the truck model or the electrical charger.

    "It is unusual," said Robin Hurst, the southeast regional manager of sales for Ferrara. The company is sending two electrical engineers out to examine the truck.

    Palm Bay fire officials also say the city's other fire engines will be inspected to see if they have similar problems with the chargers. An investigation is ongoing.

    Monday's incident was the second blaze to hit a fire station in less than a year. Last May, a Melbourne firefighter cooking French fries left the fryer unattended while responding to a call. No one was hurt but the station's kitchen was damaged.

    "The bottom line is that it was an accident and it shows we're not immune," Ginsburg said of Monday's fire.

    Ginsburg said he and the other firefighters reported problems with the same truck late Sunday.

    "Right after the Super Bowl, we had a medical call but the engine wouldn't start," Ginsburg said. Ginsburg and the others thought the problem was resolved when they were able to go out on another call about 1 a.m.

    "When we got back, everything looked normal. The mechanic said he was coming out to see it in the morning," Ginsburg said.

    For Matias, who works at MC Assembly in Melbourne, it was chance he witnessed the fire. He was working an overtime shift and was taking a different route to work.

    Now the city plans to honor him at the Feb. 17 city council meeting, something the father of a two-year-old son says is unnecessary.

    "I'm not a hero," he said.

    "It was just the right thing to do."
    AJ, MICP, FireMedic
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    This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.

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    The silver lining... they get a new truck!
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    Yeah, maybe something other than a Ferrara!
    "I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we know the work which a fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling."

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    Thumbs up

    The sprinklers kept the fire contained
    "It took a while before the heat could build up to the ceiling and activate the sprinklers, but absolutely, lives were saved by (Matias') actions and the sprinklers."
    Good Job to Palm Bay Fire for putting these items in their firehouse. Hopefully, more stations will follow this positive example.
    "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?

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    Good Job to Palm Bay Fire for putting these items in their firehouse. Hopefully, more stations will follow this positive example.
    Yes, thats nice. Perhaps next time they will included smoke detectors
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    Haha if they're using Detroits they'd be tripping the detectors on every run!
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    Yes, thats nice. Perhaps next time they will included smoke detectors
    Don't know about smoke detectors in an apparatus bay, but we have Heat Detectors tied to central station monitoring and sprinklers are going in with our upcoming addition. But like the article said, it takes a while for the heat to fill a large area like an apparatus bay to set off these devices. Granted they help in the long run, but I would have to guess there effects are somewhat hindered by the expanse of an apparatus bay (let me clarify... our apparatus bay is 4 vehicles, wide open, no partitions... just big open space)

    PS.. Does this shed any light on Ferarra naming their chassis model 'Inferno'?

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    I don't know how long the link will be "active" but there are a couple of pictues:


    http://www.flatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dl...27/1006/news01

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    A company that is only a couple of miles from mine lost their engine, ladder, and substation due to a problem with a battery charger. They lost a lot of items, but they have a new station and trucks. They were able to save some things. The call to the station was originally an AFA.

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    You don't need a smoke detector in an apparatus bay. You need them in the sleeping quarters! If this guy didn't drive by these guys may have been dead when the sprinklers activated.

    The sprinklers kept the fire contained, and everything worked the way it was supposed to," said Palm Bay Fire Chief Larry Hellman, standing outside of the station Monday.

    "It took a while before the heat could build up to the ceiling and activate the sprinklers, but absolutely, lives were saved by (Matias') actions and the sprinklers."
    The State rests.

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    You don't need a smoke detector in an apparatus bay.
    You dont? Hmmm, seems like a perfect example of why you do. Look back at fires in firehouses and where do a lot of them start? Apparatus bays & kitchen. We dont have sprinklers but we do have 110v interconnected detectors (and an Ansul system in the kitchen).

    My concern now is the battery charger. We have them on all our rigs
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    Originally posted by Dave1983


    You dont? Hmmm, seems like a perfect example of why you do. Look back at fires in firehouses and where do a lot of them start? Apparatus bays & kitchen. We dont have sprinklers but we do have 110v interconnected detectors (and an Ansul system in the kitchen).

    My concern now is the battery charger. We have them on all our rigs
    An apparatas bay is one of those locations where a smoke detector may not be an appropriate means of protection. There are too many opportunities for false alarms: engine exhaust, exhaust from operating power tools, etc. Heat detectors and sprinklers may be the appopriate means of protection.

    I'll bet you don't have smoke detectors in the same area as the Ansul system, do you? Of course not. Becuase an exhaust hood would be a place prone to false alarms.

    Regardless of what is in the apparatus bay or the kitchen, it is completely inexcusable to not have smoke detectors in the sleeping quarters. ANother example of the fire service holding themselves to a lower standard than we hold the general public.

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    ANother example of the fire service holding themselves to a lower standard than we hold the general public.
    Thanks George... I wish you were standing with me over the weekend when I had a 'discussion' with the guy responsible for buildings and grounds at my firehouse. It was the simplest thing as an exit sign out and when I got on his case about it he stated "I replaced the bulb 3 times in 4 months, I give up on that thing. Besides we know how to get out of here, we're here enough!"

    Holy mackeral was there almost a need for law enforcement! I hate to sound so picky, but after shaking my head in disbelief at his statement and taking a deep breath... I gave him the Departments Home Depot Credit Card and told him to buy a new sign. I more or less told him similar to your statement "How can we inspect a business in town, cite them for an Exit sign out, fine them if they don't fix it in time, yet we can maintain a public safety building that doubles as the occassional place of public assembly and not follow the same rules!"

    He more or less grumbled and walked away, but as of 7:45 this morning the new sign is up and he is talking to me so he must have gotten over it.

    And you are definitely correct on the heat vs. smoke detector. Our apparatus bays are Heat Detectors and our kitchen WAS 1 heat and 1 smoke, but has since been converted to all Heat detectors due to repeated false activations from some or our gourmet chef's

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    And you are definitely correct on the heat vs. smoke detector. Our apparatus bays are Heat Detectors and our kitchen WAS 1 heat and 1 smoke, but has since been converted to all Heat detectors due to repeated false activations from some or our gourmet chef's
    Well, we have smokes in the bays and have never had a false alarm problem. Perhaps thats due to the ventilation system and we dont run any gas powered equipment inside the bays. Same thing with the kitchen. Must be that BIG hood over the stove
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    Well, we have smokes in the bays and have never had a false alarm problem. Perhaps thats due to the ventilation system and we dont run any gas powered equipment inside the bays. Same thing with the kitchen. Must be that BIG hood over the stove

    But do you have a smoke detector in your sleeping quarters???
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    Dave - our heat detectors in our apparatus bays go back to pre-exhaust removal system so perhaps they would be able to be smoke these days. We'll see what the alarm tech says when we get to that phase of our addition and renovation.

    As for the kitchen, we have that same BIG hood with suppression system just like code requires. But s%&t happens in our kitchen and we were getting activiations of the smoke detector portion so we converted to all heat. Not being sarcastic, but it is great to know you don't have a problem in your kitchen with smokes, but we did so we addressed it the only other way code would allow.

    As for the rest of the facility, offices, meeting room, etc they are smoke detectors.

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    I'll tell you what, Dave. If what you are saying is true for a long period of time, I would have that fire protection system looked at. Even if you have the ultimate state-of-the-art HAVC equipment installed, it is highly unlikely that you have "NEVER" had a false activation.

    It may interest the rest of you that in NFPA 1550-Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Program, it erquires all fire stations to have operating smoke detectors in the sleeping, general work and storage areas. It requires CO detectors in sleepgin and living areas, and requires that the station be in compliance with NFPA 101 Life Safety Code. (NFPA 1550-9.1.3)

    That ought to take care of the exit sign.

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    I'll tell you what, Dave. If what you are saying is true for a long period of time, I would have that fire protection system looked at. Even if you have the ultimate state-of-the-art HAVC equipment installed, it is highly unlikely that you have "NEVER" had a false activation.
    George, Im not trying to be a smart a** or slam the guys in Palm Bay. I just thought it strange that they would invest the money in a sprinkler system but not include any detection devices.

    And as an inspector myself I'm aware of what the code says. But in Florida, there is an on going argument on if a fire station is considered mixed occupancy/residential under FSS, or the firestation definition of NFPA. The cities want the FSS (Florida state statute) followed, as its less restrictive and does not require things like exit lights, panic harware, emergency lighting etc.

    Now back to my department...The system is only about two years old, so let me re-state that in the two years since the system was installed Our kitchen/dinning room/day room is one big area. The detector is nowhere near the stove. That and the hood system are why I think weve had good luck so far with false alarms.

    Dave - our heat detectors in our apparatus bays go back to pre-exhaust removal system so perhaps they would be able to be smoke these days. We'll see what the alarm tech says when we get to that phase of our addition and renovation.
    Smoke detectors would not have worked for use either prior to the vetilation system.
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    Neither one of those codes say "no smoke detectors" does it?

    I agree with you about the sprinkler system with no detectors issue.

    My point about the kitchen was simply that you wouldn't put a smoke detector in or near the hood. It is an inappropriate application. The same is generally true with an apparatus bay. In general, the vent system doesn't go all the way out the door, so there is the potential for exhaust, especially diesel exhaust to get in the bay.

    In addition, I am sitting up here is snow, sleet, slush and ice. I do not appreciate having it rubbed in my face that there is a fire station where it is OK to run the tools outside 365 days per year!

    Stay safe.

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    In addition, I am sitting up here is snow, sleet, slush and ice. I do not appreciate having it rubbed in my face that there is a fire station where it is OK to run the tools outside 365 days per year!
    I apologize George, didnt mean for it to sound that way. I was born and raised in Ohio so I feel your pain. And if it makes you feel any better, it rains A LOT here. Its not all "sun & fun"

    Neither one of those codes say "no smoke detectors" does it?
    FSS "recommends" only battery smoke detectors. One of the situations where its a much more "relaxed"' code.
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    FSS "recommends" only battery smoke detectors. One of the situations where its a much more "relaxed"' code.
    That's pretty lame, but...

    Suppose the guys who worked there all chipped in a buck to buy a couple detectors? That might be worth the peace of mind.

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    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI


    That's pretty lame, but...

    Suppose the guys who worked there all chipped in a buck to buy a couple detectors? That might be worth the peace of mind.
    Yes it is, and thats why the cities like it

    Sure, why not. Perhaps the Local could pitch in as well (if they are union).
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