Thread: Garage Fires

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    Default Garage Fires

    I know that this has been visited on these forums before, but I haven't seen a lot of tactical situations as of late, so here's one...How would you fight the garage fire below with what you have? Do you blitz the garage to knock it down and send someone upstairs to search (as the bedrooms are most certainly above the garage in this type of house)--or, do you take the line through the front door and protect the primary means of egress and search crews as they operate above the fire?

    As an addition to this--how do you fight fires in split-foyer homes?

    Remember--we're here to learn...Thanks for the input...
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    Assuming no surprises and adequate personnel.....

    (1) As search crews are packing up and preparing to enter, stretch enough line to enter the front door and still reach the fire from inside, but take the nob to the outside of the garage door.

    (2) Do a quick burst (less than 5 seconds) into the garage to slow it down a bit - use wide fog and try to aim so that fire/smoke is not excessively pushed through any rear doors, thus avoiding pushing it significantly into the rest of the house, and then follow the search crew into the house through the front door or other chosen viable entry point.

    (3) While search is in progress, attack fire from interior, to push it out the garage door.

    (4) Back up and check for upstairs extension immediately.

    Off the top of my head. Looking forward to other replies so I can learn something else new today.
    Last edited by RLFD14; 03-02-2005 at 07:46 PM.

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    At least three 1 3/4 lines, one for the garage and one to enter the living area. A third streached and the crew standing off to the side where they can back up or assist either of the other lines. I do disagree with the wide fog pattern and a quick burst. A wide fog will push,and a quick burst will just make steam. Straighten the stream, hit the fire, and sweep the ceiling with the stream. You have lots of reach with a straight stream so you can start hitting the fire from a good distance away, them move up as it gets knocked down. Also,drop your tank right away. The 500 gallons you carry can accomplish alot and will easily knock this fire down considerably.
    If there is an interior door,I would say leave it closed until the fire is out. It's acting as a fire door holding back fire and smoke in the garage area. Opening this door,even with a line,will at the very least allow smoke to enter the residence area. I feel a line should be brought into the living area and charged,but only used if the fire enters there.
    Last edited by len1582; 03-02-2005 at 08:13 PM.

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    Normaly we fight a garage fire from the house side as to not push fire inside, but from what I see in that photo, its a blitz attack with a 2 1/2 or small master stream (Bltzfire) if you have one from the outside, while advancing at least an 1 3/4 from the house side.
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    1st engine will lay in from hydrant and have 2 guys pulling 2 1/2" crosslay to garage. Officer and 1 other FF will pull 1 3/4" inside to find/protect door between garage and rest of house. Last FF, after opening hydrant will join the 1 3/4" line relieving officer of that. We know there is one there, we don't know it's condition and we want to keep fire in garage. 2nd engine will perform truck work and search/vent/ladder etc. 3rd engine will drop a guy at hyrdant to charge 1st engines line. Rest of crew will probably go into truck work and assist.
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    Well you most always want to protect the primary means of egress and you want to protect crews above the fire. This scenario is a prefect set up for a blitz attack. Meaning hit the fire with your deckgun with a short burst (remember you only have 500 gallons) this should knock a great majority of the fire down. While the operator is hitting the fire with the deck gun you should stretch an 1 3/4" line trough the front door to check extension up the interior stairs and into the garage for final extinguishment. Squad will search begin primary search. 2nd engine lays a supply line to the 1st engine and then they can stretch a backup line although a backup line on this fire will most likely not be needed. 1st truck can help search VES the upstairs, since there is no need for vertical ventilation of this structure. 2nd truck RIT assingment. You will also want to look at the soffit over the garage to see if it has extended into the attic. This should be a real straightforward job.
    Last edited by Squad1LT; 03-03-2005 at 10:30 AM.

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    This is a great discussion. While everyone has a different idea, and it all gets the job done, there's no argueing and insulting. This is what the forums are all about.

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    Originally posted by len1582
    I do disagree with the wide fog pattern and a quick burst. A wide fog will push,and a quick burst will just make steam.
    I agree and see what you mean, but I am not quite ready to give up on my plan, either . I did not make it clear that in my intended approach that the fog should be used as close to the fire as possible so the fog enters the seat of the fire as closely as possible instead of mainly hitting it from the outside (but after looking at the pic again I think that would mean some melted face shields, oops). Steam is exactly what I wanted to give this quickly-building fire some pause. And then again, going back and forth, I never liked garage fires because you never know what is in there that will surprise or kill you, I like staying clear from them when possible. I'm all full of conflicts today, I guess.

    There are many ways to go about this, good discussion!

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    Originally posted by RLFD14
    I agree and see what you mean, but I am not quite ready to give up on my plan, either . I did not make it clear that in my intended approach that the fog should be used as close to the fire as possible so the fog enters the seat of the fire as closely as possible instead of mainly hitting it from the outside (but after looking at the pic again I think that would mean some melted face shields, oops). Steam is exactly what I wanted to give this quickly-building fire some pause. And then again, going back and forth, I never liked garage fires because you never know what is in there that will surprise or kill you, I like staying clear from them when possible. I'm all full of conflicts today, I guess.

    There are many ways to go about this, good discussion!
    Using a wide or even moderate fog on this fire is going to result in rapid steam conversion -- as you can see, the heat and flame have already been venting, so when the water reaches that point that's where it will likely convert. And it doesn't do you any good right there; the water needs to reach the base of the fire. Not only that, but with the in-close approach the risk of serious steam burns for your crews grows immensely.

    The earlier post regarding a stream deflected off the ceiling would be a far more advantageous tactic. In the terms of the late Andrew Fredericks, the breakdown of that stream into large drops of water would act like an August thunderstorm. Those drops then fall to the fire's seat, and on the way down from the ceiling is where steam conversion will occur. Not only is that where the steam will do the most good, but it also manages to keep the operating crew safe.
    That crew, by the way, can operate from a more distant location because of the improved reach of a stream. Safer is better when we have a choice.

    Since so many of us run with short staffing or volunteer units I thought this would be worth mentioning: this fire is particularly difficult for a three- or four-man first due engine to tackle because of the various possibilities that must be considered. Hazardous materials in the garage? Fire spread to the connected home, or to the nearest exposure? Persons trapped in those rooms upstairs? Low staffing means that it's dang near impossible to prepare for, check on and deal with any or all of these concerns in addition to getting water supply and making initial attack. Better hope that your second and third due aren't far off.

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    My call on this one is a blitz attack with out a doubt followed by quick and aggressive interior operations to check for and cut off any extension and do primary searches. While the blitz attack is being done the lines are being stretched and personal are preparing for the interior ops. Above is a link to a topic in this formum about blitz attacks. The very last post is my thoughts on it and this is a primary example where a blitz attack is a great call. Remember the quicker the fire is knocked down the quicker the situation improves for everyone. Big water fast best accomplishes this.

    http://cms.firehouse.com/forums2/sho...threadid=64426

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    I will join the blitz attach side of the fence. I would send a line into the front door of the home with the goal of protecting as much of the interior as possible as an exposure. If necessary, this crew would peform a primary searh while a back-up crew addressed protecting the exposure. I would want a second line on the "B" side to protect the exposure(s) on that side. While these are deploying, I would want to directat least a 1 3/4", but probably the 2 1/2" straight stream at the seat of the fire with the goal of at least darkening it down, if not completely putting it out. Considering the volume of fire, I do not believe a fog stream would accomplish the task as quickly as a straight stream that has a better chance of reaching the center of the fire. As the fire diminished, I would direct the exposure lines into the fire to finish extinguishment.
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    I won't dissagree a blitz can knock this down pretty good. But an inch and three quarter line,or 2 1/2, can give you 200+ GPM with manuverability to hit where the fire is. It's not only the amount of water, it's where and how it's applied. We have an officer and 3FF's on an engine...and one is handcuffed to the pump pannel.Our blitz will be a handline,knock the fire down,then possibly repossitioned into the front door if needed immediately and the second engine doing what needs to be done. This could change,who knows.

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    Wow... that looks real familiar... I had one very similar to that the first overtime tour I had as a newly minted LT.

    Chances are the fire has already extended into the area above the garage, due to the amount of fire visible. A second alarm in this situation is not out of the question.

    Two deuce and a half lines into the house, coordinate the fire attack between the the garage division and division one (aka the 1st floor), attack from the unburned side and push the fire out.

    Have the truck company check the attic area for extension.

    Through overhaul of the garage area. If it's typical, there is everything in there but a car!
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    This is definitely a blitz attack candidate if there ever was one. A 2 1/2 to knock down the garage and two 1 3/4's, one for the interior and the other for the B side exposure. All of our engines have 1000 gal tanks so we could dump the tank and probably have this knocked down before the 2nd engine arrives.
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    From the picture provided,it appears the largest volume of fire is in the attached garage to the front. There also appears to be light, gray smoke from eaves of the second story, as well as from the eaves near the A/D side (possible balloon frame?). As stated above, if the fire can be knocked down quickly, many of our other problems are lessened or solved. A 21/2" line with a smoothbore (1" tip) to the garage entrance should be the initial line. This will extinguish a lot of fire. It is unknown if there is a door leading from the garage to the interior of the house. If occupants are home, then we can ask them; however, as pointed out earlier, by opening this door and trying to push the fire "out" from unburned to burned, we allow heat and smoke to immediately enter the house, causing needless damage to the contents of the house. As Chief Keenan (FDNY) has said in his fire attack articles, never in his 30 years has he seen a smoothbore handline "push" fire through a house, which is one of the reasons why he always advocates attacking a fire from the front door if possible. Also, let the drywall and door in the garage do their jobs; however, the picture does show that smoke, if not fire, appears to have already made its way through the house. After the initial 2 1/2" to the garage opening from outside, a second line (1 3/4") with pike pole should be brought through the front door to protect interior exposures/egress, as well as checking the attic for extension. A truck company must immediately assess vertical ventilation after coordinating with the interior crew. A rescue squad will enter with the interior crew to perform search and rescue. Depending on further reports of exposures or rescue, a third line can be pulled to back up the interior line, which should occur ASAP, or may have to protect exterior exposures. Fortunately, we have the resources at our dept. to fight the fire this way.

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    I agree with frygrunt.............blitz it wiht a 2.5 to lead off then get the smaller lines in to check for extension. I agree with Gonz as well that it has extended into the next floor. The best thing to do if you can get it done (as was also previously mentioned) try and knock it down and then push it back through the garage. Good discussion.
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    It seems most agree this is a perfect situation to perform a blitz attack. What surprises me is how many choose to do so with a 2.5" vs a prepiped deck gun. The first engine pulls in front of the house. Before the hanlines are finished being stretched the driver / pump operator can dump 250 to 500 gallons into the garage which is most like enough to knock the bulk of the fire down. As I stated in a thread on blitz attacks our department has the luxury of 1000 gallon tanks on all our engines. Also all engines equip there deck guns with stacked tips with the primary size being set at 1 3/8" or 500gpm at 80psi. One person can effectively knock the bulk of this fire out in less then one minute. Do not get me wrong the 2.5" line as its place in the blitz attack arsenal but imo this is not one of them. Remember big water fast. What is faster then a prepiped deck gun in this particular situation. I know it works as I have made the call several times and as recently as about a month ago.

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    I'm not arguing the blitz,as I mentioned earlier, but my dept has some older rigs that have a bit of wear and tear and there can be difficulty and delay getting water into the stang on the rig. The quick,definate way for us on some rigs is drop the tank through a handline. You work with the cards your dealt.

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    One thing to remember if you do use the deck gun for a blitz attack is to run up your engine pressure before you open the valve for the deck gun. When you do this the stream will be reaching its target as opposed to wasting water by running the stream all the way up the yard while you are running up your engine pressure.

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    I like the blitz attack.
    1. Our deck guns already have smooth bore nozzles. I don't see a reason to switch it on this scene. If you have a fog already on your deck gun, I don't see a reason to switch it to a smooth bore (if you want to just turn it to straight stream or to fog).
    2. We have a water flow valve on the deck gun. Engineer gets the water pressure to deck gun operator(who operates deck gun). If deck gun operator waits for engineer to run up pressure, more water gets to fire.
    3. We respond with 3-4 FFs first due engine. One catches and connects hydrant, one hops up to control deck gun(we are trying to get our chief to get some blitz guns), and then you have a pump operator. If we have a fourth, stretch handline (maybe attack garage or prepare for entry depending on what the deck gun does...).
    4. Looking at picture of this house you need ventilation. Smoke is showing all the way on side 4(or D). And looks like it is coming from the eaves and a first floor window.
    5. If you got a lot of people on scene, lucky you. You probably will not use them to search above the garage until you darken the fire. Serious heat and fire damage to floor of second floor, I am thinking a fair amount of time has elapsed for this fire to spread.

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    Excellent discussions and all answers have merit - The keys to look for are extension, ease of attack, rescue stragedy, - hmm sounds like a scene size up. Foam would be a good initial attack - as it doesnt push the fire like water does, other than that have your hose lines ready to go, with back up lines, push the fire back through the garage.
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    What you see may not be what you get. Iíve seen quite a few of this style home (Splits & High Ranches) where the garage and lower levels have been converted into illegal apartments. Garage door still present with a sheetrock wall behind it, looks can and are deceiving. Iíve seen Splits where a door was installed on the down stairway to the garage and basement converting both into an apartment. The basement -- a bedroom, the garage Ė a living room & kitchen. Had one where a grab was made at the doorway to the rear of the converted garage on a High Ranch, unfortunately the victim succumbed to their injures a month or so later

    In todayís world with ever escalating housing prices and taxes people are converting more and more single family dwellings into illegal rooming houses turning them into FF and civilian death traps. This has and is a becoming a big issue in many metropolitan areasís (urban and abutting suburban areaís). This may not be a present issue or concern with some of you, but never say never.

    My initial engine tactics would be lines through the front door - one up and one down (protect the truckies performing their searches) and get that third line in place and ready to deploy. Truckies get the searches under way on the floor above garage (bedrooms), main level (kitchen-dining -living room) and lower level-basement.

    Blitz and/or attacking the fire from the exterior are tactics only to be considered when you know exactly what youíre dealing with (size-up) and have determined that no savable life is present within the structure. Or, the structure is unsafe and interior ops cannot be conducted

    Just one guys opinion.

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    Ok, Fellas great topic!! First off, any time fire is showing like this, you need to make it a policy to establish your own water supply. Also consider the time of day? Is there really going to be anyone sleeping upstairs in (what look like )bedrooms? Try to find out from bystanders if everyone is out of the house or if anyone is even home?

    Now its time to go to work. I believe a quick agressive head on attack through the front of this garage with nothing less then a 2 1/2 inch hose complimented by a solid stream tip is an appropriate answer. You will achieve the penetration to reach the seat of the fire as well as the necessary GPM to battle this large well involved fire. The interior of the house will need to be quickly accessed on the ground floor with an attack line to tackle any fire trying to escape into the house just incase the garage to house door was left open or if there is any visible extension.

    You really need to consider whether or not the upper interior floor is sound enough for several burley fireman to perform any kind of rapid primary search, as well as the above mentioned time of day, and any information gathered from on lookers. The fire is well enough involved that the floor is more then likely going to be comprimised somehow. Risk a lot to save a lot, risk a little to save a little. There probably gonna bull doze this house when its over. The fire is so well involved, its not worth sending a crew in just to fall through the floor into the garage only to find no one was home. However if you have any reason to believe that there is a viable victim near an exit path or just behind a door or window.... Then by all means get in there!!Great Discussion!!

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    Last edited by oldetown; 03-09-2005 at 01:24 AM.

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    This is a great discussion. A breath of fresh air, after reading some of the other Forum topics and posting's. This is what Firehouse.com should be about.
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    Thanks...I thought it would be a good post...time to get back into the "training" mode...awesome posts, keep up the good work! Everyone has a little bit different way of doing things, but it all accomplishes the same thing.

    Stay safe, and have a great day!

    Tim

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