View Poll Results: Primary Attack Line?

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  • Through the FRONT

    56 93.33%
  • From the REAR

    4 6.67%
  1. #51
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    Default Front Door

    heres a good example...a neighboring department gets banged out for a housefire everyone out....i was near the area and seeing i knew we would be next out i stayed out of the way until my pager tripped and i knew what we were bringing. We were toned for airpack personnel, engine, and tanker. As i pulled up a fire chief from a neighboring department that was on his way back from training was in front of the residence and I pulled up 2nd. We noticed two propane tanks on the side of the residence with heavy fire out the kitchen window above the tanks. As the fire dept. pulled up the dummy ran to the side of the house and instead of cooling the tanks put the nozzle in the window and pushed the fire through the whole house! I wanted to choke him! We had a kitchen fire going good that we couldve knocked down by entering THE FRONT DOOR OF THE RESIDENCE! Needless to say this fire dept is not the greatest fire department with lack of training and lack of calls. Maybe 30 a year with 20 of them a local buisness fire alarm. ALL I DID WAS KEEP MY GUYS SAFE while they were out there my main concern. The fire department was back out there 5 hours later for a rekindle. SO....use that front door get it knocked down push it out a window. Most of the time you can get a better idea of where you are by going into the front door of most residences as well.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rossco
    I saw a 90 foot long home, and assuming a front yard truck placement with a 50 to 75 foot setback, by the time you stretch a line around the back, there isn't enough left on most preconnects to advance very far into the dwelling. Thanks
    You don't use a preconnect as your standard lead out, do you? If you do, this is why you shouldn't. We have preconnected crosslays (200' 1/34) but they will usually only get used (although there is great variation between different districts as to how they use them) if you have a smaller house, right on the street and you get good engine placement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nail200
    Proby,

    The Primary entrance is not typically the reason why you would decide to use it for the avenue of attack.

    There are a number of issues you want to consider as you do a size up to determine the best avenue to attack from.

    Where is the fire - Generally you attack from the unburned side. I try to do this but, I've run into situations where we were having difficulty navigating to fires due to obstacles and extreme heat which has caused me to switch gears and go directly to the fire room.

    Building construction - The building may dictate how you will enter. A cinder block commercial structure with no windows may leave you few options.

    Rescue - Rescue situations may cause you to direct your efforts in such a way as to get a line between the victim and the fire. Of course you'll be intent on not pushing the fire onto the trapped victim.

    Hazards - Hazards such as electrical lines, propane tanks, fuel storage areas etc... may influence your decision on where to attack from.

    Resources - Resources available and their anticipated arrival will have an impact on your tactics. This also applies to water supply.

    Firefighting is a dynamic job. There are few absolutes. When you cast your tactics in concrete you are setting yourself up for a fall. Scenarios with variables such as this one is a terrific way for you to pick the brains of fire fighters around you that might have more experience.

    Good luck and have fun fire fighting
    I don't disagree with anything you said, though I would mention to a proby that using a primary entrance is a consideration in line placement also...All of the above mentioned factors will influence line placement, but in the event of a possible rescue, victims will often attempt to exit via normal means of egress. Given the floorplan in this NIOSH report...which is very similar to houses in my area (Dallas suburb)...it is realistic to expect a victim to attempt self rescue out the front door with a fire involving the back of the house. A line through the front door to protect a quick search and possible extinguishment attempt is perfectly justified IMO. The wind should have been noted in everyones mind before the alarm even came in. Under hoseline protection in a house such as this, if the primary search is complete in the area inside the front door and conditions are such that a fire attack isn't possible....there is nothing wrong with backing out and adjusting your attack plan. It's unfortunate that in this case someone didn't make it out. The failure is more complex than the wind, since it appears he was closer to the door than the rest of his crew who made it out. The wind certainly was a factor as it led to a hasty retreat as the crew was being overrun....this probably led to them losing accountability with the LODD.

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    After reading the report I was very curious as to why ventilation was not even mentioned in the actions by on scene personnel. I'm not sure if it was just missed or it wasn't asked during the interviews and investigation. I still feel that had they had proper ventilation along with the attack it may have made a difference even though the loss of crew integrity was in my mind the main factor. The ventilation question still bothers me.

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    Kayakking,

    Point noted and agreed with.
    Last edited by Nail200; 10-11-2005 at 01:12 AM.

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    Okay, having now read the NIOSH report again, I have to note a few things:

    1. To say there was any credible report that the house was not occupied would be false. The report says that about the same time as the first entry was being made, a neighbor stated to the IC that if there was a car in the garage the resident would be home. And the original call came in from a telephone company worker, again not someone with a direct connection to the home. So far we have heard from no one in the house.

    So, I guess I still agree with the initial actions including a primary search. Now, I would agree that this would not be an immediate rescue warranting skipping the two-in-two-out procedure, but a primary search is one of our tactical priorities.

    2. Sadly, there are mistakes made everyday, and this time they may have contributed to a firefighters death. We should not focus on blame, yet on critical thinking and decision making.

    What were the Dept.'s policies regarding personnel assignments? What about a probationary firefighter? Who is responsible to hold their hand? The Lt. stated that he thought the proby "may have been feeding hose" at the door? Proper assignments would at least tell us where the proby was supposed to be.

    3. What happen to the TIC when everyone was bailing out? Could whoever was carrying this tool could have directed everyone to the door and ensured no one was left behind?

    4. Pulling the hose out after the fact certainly could have created a worse problem if the firefighter could have found it and used it to lead him out.

    This line would not have been in there though, if the initial crew had backed out with it.

    5. The second line went to the rear. This cannot be called a back-up line, as if anything it couldbe used in an opposing manner. (and may have been)

    6. If the NIOSH report is correct in placing the victim in the diagram facing into the building (away from exit) and in the same place where the line was, he must have been somewhere else when eveyone else bailed. Was he in the bathroom or office searching? It seems difficult to belive that if he had contact with the hose prior to its removal that he'd let it be pulled out without him.

    7. What evacuation procedures were in place in the dept.? Do they sound airhorns? Is there a radio transmission? Does everyone carry a radio? I saw no mention of radio traffic from inside to out or vice versa?

    Believe me, it is not my intention to "brother bash" but you have to question whether we should use this tradgedy to change our tactics on when to search and when not to? Nobody mentioned that they wouldn't attack the fire, are we to go defensive if we do not see a car in the yard or get a specific report of victims?

    While the wind may have been a contributing factor, it may not have been too.

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    I only "breezed" the report.However,I'm always concerned when I read of a Room/bldg "Flashing"within 3-7 minutes of arrival. This usually is factored by improper/or lack of vent work,improper size up or incorrect/lack of communication from the entry/first line team. Granted, I work in the Northeast with a mix of industrial,mill,balloon,farmhouse and some modern buildings. But somebody('s) missed the picture here. If conditions are so hot that the stream is vaporizing two feet from the nozzle,your helmet is melting,your ears sting thru the hood or the wall surface is falling off in 4x8 sheets it should be telling you something.And that something is:Either you've chosen the wrong weapon(line too small)or you've entered an area you might want to think about retreating from: Quickly! And it doesn't say in the report that the stream was vaporizing near the nozzle.My point is that the crew should have had a or several signs that conditions were headed south. A TIC SHOULD have been able to show some sign of the extent of the fire/heat conditions.And every crew needs to know/learn when to say when. This was certainly a tragedy,but one WE can learn valuable lessons from. Thanks Paul for posting it. T.C.

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    I dont have the experience to comment on the scenario from an operations point of view, other than to support the 360 view while the guys are gearing up. I can say that, because I've done the walk with the Chief before. It helped then, so it should work again later.

    Thank you Paul for both the scenario and the NIOSH link. Overall even though I am not going to participate in the running of the situation, I learned some things from this. Hopefully I'll remember some of them when/if the time comes.
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  9. #59
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    Hello All:

    Warning: This will be long!

    I am chiming in a bit late as usual, but I will go on. I did browse the NIOSH report as well read most of the threads. There are definitely a few things here that can and have been discussed. I will throw down my thoughts. Please remember, this is a tragedy! Everyone should learn something from this thread or the firefighter has died for absolutely no reason. We aren't second guessing what was done or bashing the department or members involved, but looking at ways to avoid this in the future.

    I voted to make entry and stretch through the front door. After reading the report and quite a few of the posts I came to this conclusion: I think Paul (and others) have an VERY valid point. An attack using the wind at your back would be the ideal option and probably would have had a different outcome on this fire. If there were no fences to cut through, no rear entrance fortifications, and no building on either exposure then that option would work great and I would use it. Most departments in the country probably have the option to stretch to the rear. Some however do not.

    I work in an area that it is just not an option on 99% of our buildings. You cannot get from the front to the back without going through or over an adjoining building or cutting through steel fences, etc... When/if you finally do reach the rear, they are usually more heavily fortified than the front. I based my answers and decisions (and hopefully stir a bit of discussion) on what I would have done if I was the IC using the tactics that I use here BUT THE MANPOWER that is available in the report.

    I acknowledge what everyone has said about the wind and the location of where to start your attack. There is some great learning tools here, and I hope that many members viewing this thread will see options as well as some limitations that can be added to the "mental tool box" that some call a brain.

    Overall Considerations:

    1) You are arriving in a "high-security" neighborhood. There are bars on the front (and I would immediately assume all the way around). At the very minimum an extra ladder company (or ladder company operating engine) should be ordered to the job for the sole purpose of removing window bars from the windows.

    2) Wind in comparison with access problems. In this case it probably would have been good to stretch the first line to the rear door if it is totally accessible.

    3) This is a HUGE PD (private dwelling), if I did the conversion right it is 100x40ish feet! I would assume (as did others) that trusses are probably present. You could make this decision on arrival by noting the size and age of the house. If you "always" assume that there is a truss present, you are erring on the side of safety. Assume that there are trusses present until confirmed that they aren't.

    4) Obviously you wouldn't know the floor-plan on arrival, but if you are operating a hose line in the living room area and you aren't hearing any "close" walls (stream hitting the walls) or you can see on a TIC that the room is that large, you might want to think that there are some major renovations eliminating some load bearing walls. Granted, there are some huge houses out there with large rooms, but if you err on the side of safety, you shouldn't get jammed up!

    5) This is a very tough building. There are bedrooms with no windows and bedrooms "out of pattern" from what we see normally are confronted with on most PDs. This should also be an indication of "major alterations" to the building and should be reported on the radio for the IC (and all) to hear.

    Truck Company Considerations:
    My department operates with the truck company entering to locate the fire prior to the Engine company advancing into the fire. We have our own reasons for that, and I will not get into them right now. Engine/Ladder 1 (whatever that is) arrived with the chief two minutes prior to the first due Engine. I am assuming this is a company that has the capability to operate as a Ladder Company. With that the case, we would split them into an inside/outside team concept. It should be noted that every FF does have a radio.

    The Boss & Can FF (Inside Team) would start forcing entry into the front door (gated entrance) to make entry into the house. The Roof & Chauffeur (Outside Team) is responsible for the walk-around, getting a look at the rear, and they are also the "2 out". In this scenario (since it is a peaked roof PD) the Roof FF would not go to the roof and would team up with the Chauffeur to vent opposite the hoseline and VES the bedrooms. The Outside team on their way around the building might also tear off a couple of window bars after/while they are making their way around since a hose line is delayed and they should not vent. The 360 degree survey would be radioed back to the boss which would include the moderate to heavy wind condition in the rear. They should both be VERY careful NOT to vent windows since:
    A) There is a wind condition
    B) There is no hose-line present
    C) The intensity of the fire could overrun the Inside team

    The inside team if they have made entry before the Engine arrives would enter and start to search for the fire and any victims. Personally, I would put a hole in the ceiling right inside the front door to check/confirm the presence of trusses (TIC works great here). The officer (in this case) would probably have the irons, and the "Can FF" would have a 6' hook & 2 1/2 gallon pressurized water extinguisher. Once the fire is located, it is attempted to be confined with the can. This would probably be next to impossible in this case since the large open area allows the fire to extend in all directions. There is probably no door to close to contain the fire spread. The best action of the Inside Team at this fire is probably to meet the Engine company and bring them to exactly where the fire is. A limited search would be conducted, but probably not completed due to the sheer size of the building.

    If the Engine Company was stretching/advancing as the truck gained entry, then the fire would be located, the Engine would advance to the fire, and searches would commence behind the line. This would be the most likely scenario since it would take a couple of minutes to force the gated front of the building. During that time the Engine Company would have their line stretched and ready to go (especially if it is a preconnect). We don't use preconnects, but they said that preconnects were stretched in the report.

    I would definitely try to delay the venting of the building (on the windward side) as long as possible due to the wind. It looks like the venting in the report was done with the stream and not necessarily on purpose, but it did have an adverse effect on the fire. The inside team would probably have to back out at this time if a window failed before a line was in place. If ventilation was desperately needed, I would try the exposure 1, 2, and 4 (A, B, and D) before the rear. After the fire is knocked down, the rear can be opened up.

    Engine Company Considerations:

    There are many things here that should be discussed about Engine company operations.

    The first due Engine arrived two minutes after the first due truck. The truck company should be well into their operation on the front gates and might even be inside searching for the fire. A 1 3/4" line with a 15/16th solid stream tip would be started to the front door from the rear bed of the Engine. Upon the arrival of the 2nd due Engine, they would assist the 1st due Engine in stretching their line and getting into operation.

    The 3rd due Engine would stretch a 2nd line to the front door and stand fast as a backup line and FAST/RIT team. They would also have to assemble the tools to operate as the RIT/FAST Team. As the IC, seeing that all of my companies are going to be committed, I would transmit a 2nd alarm. When the 4th due Engine arrived, they would take the backup line. I would not remove the 3rd Due Engine from RIT/FAST since they have an idea of where everyone is operating.

    The stretch into the front would be my option since that is what we almost always do. Reasons have been stated to why we do this. Reasons include: Protection of interior stairs (usually right by front door), protection of searching members, (most likely went in front door) and ease of the stretch (less time, less hose, less effort). If a stretch is committed to the rear, fences might have to be cut and the rear might be more heavily fortified than the front (which is already pretty substantial). All of this would cause a substantial delay in my area.

    They state in the report that preconnects were used. Most preconnects are 200'. You must take into account that in a building of this size, a 200' preconnect will not leave you much room to attack the fire once you get it stretched to the rear (if that is your decision). You will eat up about 150' before you even reach the rear door. Remember that at a PD (private dwelling) fire, you should have enough hose to cover the entire building. Stretching off of the back bed is probably the better option if you want to stretch to the rear door. A 2nd Engine company will probably have to assist you in getting a line stretched to the rear door.

    I am stretching to the front. I don't have the option of preconnects so I will be stretching from the rear bed. One FF has to estimate the stretch. It might be the nozzle FF, The Chauffeur or the Boss, but someone has to do it! If it is my job, I am giving 3 lengths for the building (turns, obstructions, etc...), probably 2 lengths from the front door to the rig, and one length for good luck. I would probably pull off 5-6 lengths for this fire and the engine would then continue to the hydrant. If there was ANY indication of fire in the basement or if it was a question, I would add 2 lengths to cover the basement. A good rule for PD's is to take the lengths required on the 1st floor (100' building would need 3 lengths with turns & obstructions) and multiply it by two (6 lengths) to make the basement. This is probably too much hose for most fires, but if the stairs are located in the rear and the fire is in the front of the basement, you will need it.

    Upon entry, when we see the fire overhead or feel an extreme heat condition we will open up to cool the ceiling. We do not shut down until the fire is darkened down. Listen to the sound of the stream to judge ceiling height and room size. A rapid side to side or circular motion of the nozzle on the ceiling should keep the fire back or darkened down. Holding a solid stream (smoothbore) nozzle in one spot on a ceiling will usually not cool the ceiling, provide a knockdown or "darken down " fire. You must work the stream in the overhead. If the room starts to light up, I was taught to aim the nozzle straight over your head and start to back out. If you are advancing with the line open and you can't see anything, use the sound of the stream to find doorways to other involved rooms or windows crashing for vents. The stream accidentally finding the window was probably much of the problem at this fire.

    It states in the report that the nozzle was shut down a few times and that the Nozzle FFs hands were burning. If that is the case, the line should be opened up and working the overhead, especially if you are feeling heat through any of your gear. If an advance cannot be made due to rapidly extending fire conditions (from wind or anything else) then companies either have to hold the fire there and wait for a back-up line or start to back out. Here it sounds like the company should be starting to back out if they are not able to cool the room.

    I was also taught that under only EXTREME circumstances should a nozzle be dropped and the line followed out as an Engine FF. Granted, I have never been in a situation where I was receiving severe burns as a nozzle firefighter. I have been in quite a few very high heat and low rollover situations where the room was able to be cooled off by using the stream. I have received some minor burns (like most of us have) but nothing major (THANK GOD). In situations like this, it is critical that the Engine Company BACKS OUT of a fire with the nozzle operating to cover the retreat of everyone else. To drop the nozzle and follow the line out is leaving your only source of protection from the fire. It was stated to me once that, "If you arrive on an Engine Company, you lose your right to bail out and leave the nozzle!" Under MOST circumstances you MUST BACK OUT of a building and cover everyone else trying to retreat. The Engine members must also be disciplined enough to not pull the line out of the Nozzle FFs hands while backing out. Back out at the pace of the Nozzle FF.

    When a FF is reported missing, then a push MUST be made back into the building to find them. At this fire they also had opposing lines working in the rear opposite the RIT/FAST Team trying to make the rescue. The rescue was probably almost impossible due to the wind conditions and now the addition of the opposing streams driving the fire, heat and gases toward the rescue team.

    This fire truly is a tragedy. I hope something is learned from this fire by each and every one of us. Print this thread out and discuss it at one of your drills. I definitely learned from this incident. I would love to attack on the windward side of the building when wind is a huge factor, but many times I just can't do it.

    I have to throw this in here guys. PPV had no direct bearing on anything that went wrong here, but I want to use it as an example! This is part of the reason I don't agree with PPV on fire attack unless EVERYONE on the fireground is VERY DISCIPLINED, WELL TRAINED, and are AWARE of the LIMITATIONS and DANGERS of using it. When PPV is used, you are doing the same thing that happened here to the building. The only difference is the PPV here is natural. Any mistake (i.e. no exhaust, poor coordination), on a fireground when using PPV can turn many fires into something like this with little or no time to correct the problem before someone gets hurt or killed. Just remember when you put that fan in the door, you make that side the "high wind condition" windward side of the building just like what happened here. You give up your option to Vent, Enter & Search, advance hose, and rescue any victims on the opposite side of the house.

    For those that know, understand, use, drill and swear by it, I am glad it works for you. For those that are looking into using PPV, or have one and everyone is not fully aware of the circumstances surrounding it, this is what I imagine it is like being on the receiving end. It takes lots of training, use and discipline to use PPV. It can't just be thrown on the rig, pulled off and thrown into a door when you think it should be used.

    I DON'T WANT TO TURN THIS INTO A PPV OR NOT THREAD, I JUST TOOK THE LAST FEW SENTENCES TO EXPLAIN THE DRAWBACKS OF USING IT IMPROPERLY!

    Ok, this took the better part of 4 hours to write, I have said enough!

    Anyone with any questions or comments please feel free to ask!
    Last edited by NDeMarse; 10-11-2005 at 08:38 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF
    You don't use a preconnect as your standard lead out, do you? If you do, this is why you shouldn't. We have preconnected crosslays (200' 1/34) but they will usually only get used (although there is great variation between different districts as to how they use them) if you have a smaller house, right on the street and you get good engine placement.
    The short answer is , yes. Preconnect or connected on scene, it gets the water to the fire. In a perfect world, we would do certain things different. Limited man power makes you change some of the ways you may otherwise do things. The average structure fire here first in would be a pumper with one operator on board. A few minutes later, 2 or 3 other people arrive, then maybe a tanker, and a second engine with 1 on board. It could be 30 minutes, as our members crawl out of the woodwork, before you get a descent crew on scene. We do with what we have, and because of this, a preconnect is just one less thing to have to do. Naturally, if it isn't long or large enough, we lay another or add on to it. Like mentioned above, nothing carved in stone, just plan A, then B and so on, and our plan A may differ from yours. Just like the mentioned idea of having certain seating positions in the apparatus, with preassigned duties. We can only dream of that, and around here, that would indeed be a perfect world.

    I have learned a few things from many posters in this thread, and look forward to more great threads like this one. Thanks Paul
    There goes the neighborhood.

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    Nate .........

    Did you ever think of writing a book on Firefighting Strategy & Tactics? Don't! Cos I think you just did! Nate, you have given great credence to this thread, along with some other great posters, offering some sound advice based on good experience.

    I would ask everyone to print Nate's great post out because he covers so many important points that are essential to any firefighter who wants to be as good as he/she can be at their job. If you read every word there is a heap of information in that post. Possibly the best post I have seen in over six years on this forum!

    Yes I know FDNY don't support any venting of peaked roofs and yes I appreciate they practise VES at every opportunity. This is not to suggest that other opinions and approaches here are wrong. You go with your department SOP and operate according to the culture that is based on sound traditions in your locality. But I have to say, this guy offers advice that will keep you safe if you only remember some of the basic points he discusses, like using the sound of the stream to assist you in locating your position, in relation to walls, doors and windows etc.

    I figured that possibly more would support the concept of a rear approach to this fire, with the wind at your back. I appreciate it was an FDNY firefighter who recognised the benefits because they, like me, have (as I said before) lost brothers of their own in fires that have been pushed .... or rapidly developed to some great disadvantage .... by an opposing wind.

    Nate .... your 'four hours' of work here might just save a life one day! We didn't even have to pay for this advice

    Great post!

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    Nate,

    To echo Paul's comments....thanks! I appreciate your contributions to this forum.

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    Wow, thanks for the kind thoughts guys!

    You wanted some opinions, that's all that I did. I just gave a ton of them!

    Everyone else did the same thing I did, just shorter.

    Great job all around.
    Good Luck, Stay Low & Stay Safe

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    Wow Nate... as a non-FF, you really opened my eyes...

    Thanks for your post.. I printed it out for further reading.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM
    Okay, having now read the NIOSH report again, I have to note a few things:

    6. If the NIOSH report is correct in placing the victim in the diagram facing into the building (away from exit) and in the same place where the line was, he must have been somewhere else when eveyone else bailed. Was he in the bathroom or office searching? It seems difficult to belive that if he had contact with the hose prior to its removal that he'd let it be pulled out without him.

    I don't usually chime in on these because I'm not a FF, but I did notice this and thought it might help you to point out that the description that accompanies the photo of where the victim was found states that he was facing the door.

    Photo 3. This photo shows (X) where the victim was found,
    facing toward the door. There was an approximate 4 foot
    distance between the brick column on the right and the corner
    of the wall on the left. This photo was taken from the interior
    of the house, looking toward the front door.
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