1. #1
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    Default Cellar Fires....?

    Just wondering how the rest of the country and world handles cellar fires.

    What does your Truck Company do?
    Where does your first line go?
    Where does your second line go?
    Tactics you use?
    Staffing?
    Personnal Experiances?

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    Vinnie....two questions:

    - What's a cellar?

    - What's a truck company?

    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmleblanc
    Vinnie....two questions:

    - What's a cellar?

    - What's a truck company?


    HA HA Mutha...F'r... Basically....tell me how you handle this type of job.

    ps....Job= F-I-R-E........that's that yellow, red, and orange hot stuff w. black smoke....... .

    Vinnie

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by VinnieB
    HA HA Mutha...F'r... Basically....tell me how you handle this type of job.

    ps....Job= F-I-R-E........that's that yellow, red, and orange hot stuff w. black smoke....... .

    Vinnie
    No, all kidding aside, we don't have cellars around here....seriously. Water table is way too high for below-grade construction (We're just barely above sea level....remember all the New Orleans stuff you've been seeing the last few weeks? )

    Don't have truck companies, either. We don't have any kind of aerial devices (no buildings over 2 stories and very few of those) and as such we don't have any personnel assigned to primarily do "truck" functions....the traditional "truck" work such as ventilation, forcible entry,etc., falls to whoever the I.C. points to and says "Go do that".

    We've never really operated under the "I arrived on THIS apparatus therefore I do THIS job" philosophy, mainly because we're never sure exactly who or how many folks will show up. You walk on scene, you get handed whatever needs doing next.

    I was trying to be funny, but I was also being truthful....
    Last edited by dmleblanc; 10-04-2005 at 11:32 PM.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmleblanc

    We've never really operated under the "I arrived on THIS apparatus therefore I do THIS job" philosophy, mainly because we're never sure exactly who or how many folks will show up. You walk on scene, you get handed whatever needs doing next.

    I was trying to be funny, but I was also being truthful....
    Oh My man....that's what I want to here.....I know you were just breaking ballz...me too....! Have would your company handle such a fire.....if you don;t have cellars....then its null and void....

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    Default I'll play...

    What does your Truck Company do? Ensure entry to building, search first floor, horizontal vent (may do vertical through first floor if necessary).

    Where does your first line go? Interior stairs and waits for second line. Then goes down the stairs.

    Where does your second line go? Backs up the first line at top of stairs. Stays there to protect the interior when the first line goes down. If first line can't go, second line repositions to an outside "opening".

    Tactics you use? Gotta have the first line. Most of our cellars don't have exterior stairs. Horizontal venting of cellar windows as much as possible. May cut hole in first floor by window/door to vent. Someone also going to attic to check for the old balloon construction spread.

    Staffing? We roll our pieces with 5-7 each. Day time I'll get 2 engines and 1 truck. Night time/weekend will be 2 engines, 2 or 3 trucks and then misc vehicles. Total manpower will average about 30. FAST is handled by a mutual aid company.

    Personnal Experiances? The very first fire I was allowed entry as a Senior member was a cellar fire. Guy backing me up on the line never came down the stairs with me. Something about "plunging" down through the heat to the bottom floor hoping it's bearable makes me give A LOT of respect to cellar fires.
    "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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    Default

    no personal experiences. but from trainings, I would do the following:

    if there are cellar doors on the outside:

    2 lines in the front door. primary line goes down the interior stairwell. right before the hose team makes entry, 1/2 of the truck company opens the celler doors from the outside to vent, the other half does a search of the 1st floor.. primary hose team goes and puts out the fire. if they need mroe help, they call for the backup crew.

    now that I think about it, I'd probably also have a 3rd hoseline outside the celler doors (with the truck company). in case the interior stairs give way, the 3rd hoseline will need to assume to role of the backup line.

    Bones, good call about sending a guy to check the attic, that wouldn't have even occurred to me.

    if the cellar isn't accesable from the outside:

    same as above, except the truck crew vents by taking out windows in the cellar.

    also, have two ambulances standing by, the guys who go down the steps are going to take a beating. they are going to need to be checked out once they come out.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

    FF/EMT/DBP

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    We have a mixed bag of cellars/basements. A reasonable amount of them have bilco doors or some exterior access. You still have to decend through some nasty crap, but it isn't quite as bad as a narrow longer set of interior stairs.

    This would be my preference, even if it was a longer lay to get around the back. In this case I would commit an interior crew to the living area where the cellar stairs come up to confirm door is closed and ensure no extension at that point.

    Enter through the bilco doors and while the outside crew takes the windows. We have found this method to get the nasty stuff billowing out the windows while keeping smoke damage in the living area to a minimum.

    If its straight interior job then a line down the stairs and 2 backups. Backup A is the primary backup with Backup B being present for immediate deployment to protect the means of egress if Backup A is put in service.

    Its good to see and I agree, I like to add an extra ambulance to basement fires just do to the abuse the interior guys take gaining access.

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    Default i hate basements

    1. Pray it is only a boiler/furnace malfunction

    2. Try to open up the basement as much a possible

    3. Get the truck to the upper floors quick, check for extension.

    4. Big Line stretch, if manpower allows

    5. If heavy fire is showing, quick nock from outside, then in.

    6. Get the truck to the upper floors quick, check for extension.

    7. Second line to help out basement

    8. Third line to the above floors.

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    My way...take the downwind windows to vent, 1-3/4 down the stairs quick as possible, line charged without water flowing and as soon as you reach the bottom of the stairs, get off to one side and out of the chimney effect of those damn stairs. Then let er rip! I hate gettin steamed goin down the stairs so I wait to flow water. And I hate havin to fight my way down the spout of a blow torch when they take the upwind windows. As a matter of fact, I hate basement fires!

    God bless and take the ceiling as you go.

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    Default

    We always use a charged line going into the basement. What little vent can be done is taken care of by the RIT or one of the trucks. A backup line is always placed to assist the primary fire attack team.

    In my district, one of the trucks needs to get up into the attic ASAP. We're working in all pre-WWII balloon frame triple deckers. If its already running the walls, it's not going to be a bread and butter job. We'll be chasing it around the house.

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    Smile Do You?

    Does anybody have experience using a piercing nozzle?
    Into a wall to knock down vertical extension?
    Into the basement through the floor to cool it enough to enter?

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    The basement/cellar fires I have come across have been of the variety that the cellar/basement door is wide open, due to the fact the homeowner hears the smoke detectors go off, can't see anything...check the cellar/basement, see the cloud coming up the stairwell and they leave the door open!

    The truck company vents the basement/cellar windows.

    1st line goes down the cellar stairs, with the crew crawling down the stairs backwards.

    2nd line enters and assists the 1st in crew.

    If the structure is a balloon frame..that's an entirely different animal!

    The truck goes to the roof and opens up.. if it's in the basement, it's in the attic too!

    Have another engine company pull a line to the attic for extinguishment.

    Overhaul the snot out of it on all levels.. rekindles are a bitch!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Default Piercing Nozzle

    BERWYN- Never used a piercing nozzle on a basement and I dont think you would get enough flow from the thing. Great for car fires but in this case we use a celler nozzle from time to time. We will cut a hole in the 1st floor with an ax as close to over the fire as possible. Extend the celler nozzle down the hole and let her have it. The flow from this nozzle is much greater than the p-nozzle due to the larger openings and the head spins around like Linda Blair on a bad day . The openings are pointed in different directions to give a spray in many directions at once.

    God bless and pull the ceiling as you go.

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    Many basements in Philly have little to no windows and as such its difficult to vent these fires. Fogging up the steps and then out a window can be used. In more emergent situations it is also easy to remove a few steps in the stairs to the second floor (should they occur over the basement stairs) to vent to the first and second floors, this acts like opening the roof. You can also open the first floor wall that encases the basement stairwell which should also rapidly vent heat and smoke. Basements with heavy fire usually (should) get a hole cut in the first floor. Chain saws work well for this but make sure you pull any carpet up first. It is also possible to vent the porch floor should the basement extend under the porch. Most important thing to remember is TOP DOWN VENTILATION. For hoselines, 1 3/4 down the stairs, suck it up (this job isnt for wimps). Unless of course you have easy access from outside.

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    Default Piercing Nozzle

    Quote Originally Posted by BerwynFD
    Does anybody have experience using a piercing nozzle?
    Into a wall to knock down vertical extension?
    Into the basement through the floor to cool it enough to enter?
    I would avoid using a piercing nozzle. You don't get the flow you need to extinguish the fire and you would be strictly guessing where the fire is, hoping you get the nozzle directly over the seat of the fire to even have a chance to put it out. I would consider the piercing nozzle a back pocket tool, even for a vehicle fire.

    I would have my crew descend down the stairs using a handline, waiting until they are at the bottom to start flowing the nozzle. Back up lines would also be deployed protecting the means of egress. Ventilation would be done by outside crews.

    If fire conditions are too intense, go defensive first. You can do a defensive attack from the exterior to knock the fire down and then send an interior attack team in to finish the job offensively. Ventilation is very important if you are going to use this tactic.

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    I wouldn't use a piercing nozzle in a basement....your going to create a TON of steam...that you are going to have to go down the stairs into anyway....its bad enough with the heat and smoke already....To me its easier to get down the stairs real fast...and move to the side....follow the truck to the fire then operate.....

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    Default What I like to say...

    follow the truck to the fire

    good to hear others say it as well.

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    Lightbulb How about this

    I see what you mean about flow. Most basement fires are localized around the furnace, or drier/laundry areas. Could you fill the compartment with steam from above? Before venting and interior overhaul, and after verifying there is no potential persons involved.

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    NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!!!!!!

    GPM puts the fire out. Make the damn basement and attack the seat of the fire. If you cant make the basement try a cellar pipe or bresnan distributor. A piercing nozzle was not designed for this purpose.

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    Default Outside the box

    The navy has worked on compartment fires for a long time. Filling a closed compartment wiht steam IS an effective way of knocking down a fire.

    No it is now the fastest, but it's safer than sending a crew down a dark hole, not knowing if you can get them out.
    T
    here are a LOT of risks going down there blind, for the stairs themselves to the crap that some people put in thier basements. I'm trying to figure the ways to avoid that whenever we can.

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    Ok, well next time you run into a house that is built like a ship then use steam but until that time it is neither safe or effective. If you dont wanna make the basement then surround and drown, I have seen it down routinely on the 6 O'Clock news, nothing like saving a foundation. My department on the other hand promotes aggressive interior attacks with well timed and accomplished ventilation. We dont have single family dwellings with considerable distance to other structures. We have rowhomes and if you dont make a stop, more than one family is homeless.

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    Unhappy no argument PFD

    I'm not trying to argue the point. I have, nor likely will, ever used this in a real fire. I'm just exploring the other options. I think it is worth looking at alternatives to hazardous tactics. Sometimes we don't have a choice.

    There was once a time when we didn't use BA's. Fire fighters were told to suck it up.

    Sometime being aggressive instead of tactical gets people killed. Our North American LODD’s are going UP. Learning and discoursing tactics gets no one killed.

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    Learning and discussing is the root of any good fire attack plan. Some ideas are just not as good as others. Our department has lost 3 members in the last 2 years from basement jobs and as such many companies have taken a step back and taken a second look at how we handle basements jobs. No first in company wants to give the job up to the second in company but sometimes its not only the safest way but most effective way of handling these jobs. Should you have a rear access to the basement many chiefs are now ordering the 2nd in company into service thru the rear. But its hit and miss. 1st in gets to the stairs and is ready to make the plunge, its hard to pull them back. The department did survey companies for the availablity of bressnan distributors and we actually went to a vacant where we hard 2 previous jobs and placed it in service to see what kind of water was thrown and its effective range. We all came away impressed with its capabilities. But old ways die hard and every basement job we have had since we still made the basement via inside stairwells with 1 3/4.

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    Well depending how many access point you have. Remember a cellar only has one staircase leading down and basement has more then one entry/exit. Normally the 1st engine would advance a line throught the bilco doors because its the easiest way to get to the seat of the fire. Your second line shoud should run throught the front door and hold the stairs.
    Firefighting is not just a job, its a way of life........
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