1. #1
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    Default What are the Warning signs No1?

    Have a look at the photo below, the call came into a four storey terraced house that had been knocked through 4 houses to make hostel type accomodation. Nothing showing but a strong smell fo smoke on arrival (5 minutes after call) Construction is Brick with timber floors, plasterboard walls with interconnecting doors through several courses of Brick between the original Houses.

    This photo was taken about 1 hour after arrival...
    1. What do you think happened
    2. What is happening at the time of the photograph
    3. What are your tactical options now

    The fire occurred early in January, the temperature is around 35f
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    Last edited by SteveDude; 10-17-2005 at 04:43 PM.
    Steve Dude
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    Heavy smoke showing from at least one,maybe two of the ground floor rooms, up through the floors and under the eaves of the roof suggests burning through the differing floor levels to the roof. 9/13.5m ladders placed suggests open/breached windows on the ground floor allowing oxygen enriched air to be entrained to the fire, with it has to be anticipated a reasonable fuel load in a knock through dwelling. I would venture that a good old flashover occurred about the time the windows/door went in to allow crews to access/assist ventilation of the lower floors. With luck, this will have been before offensive operations were undertaken, allowing everyone to "take a step backwards" and think (and breath) again. With the expectant loading of premises such as these and the relative ease that fire will spread via gaps in floors/walls, very soon you could be looking at a very involved building with difficult accessibility and opportunities to locate the seat of the fire. Although it will upset some of the purists, as with my last post, defensive, with 70mm lines and the aerials branches is the way to go here.
    United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.

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    At first glance my question is, why isnt this building better laddered? Im concerned with the volume of smoke comming from the second floor with little to none comming from the 3rd floor and again medium smoke from the 4th floor. Has complete horizontal ventilation been obtained and have crews started opening the roof? Because it appears that the second floor is vented yet the 3rd floor remains intact and the 4th does as well. An hour later is quite along time to have that much smoke still pushing from the windows. Have crews been operating here for that whole time? Was this a redispatch to a previous assignment? Is water being applied or the smoke whiteish due to the ambient air temperature? No matter what is currently going on or what has already happened to have this picture an hour into the job is not a good sign.

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    Heavy smoke, and although it is tough to determine from a still photo, it looks like faily slow moving smoke, mostly white in nature..... I'd have to partially agree with martinm and consider the involved rooms defensive, but I would pinch it there. Attack like to the neighboring apartments, all floors and including attic space which I'm guessing is shared/nonwalled in the above attic. Try to preserve the right hand half of the structure.

    If possible, also set up crews to the left of the involved rooms, and just surround/drown. It looks like there is a sudden stop in the rood area, so possibly you guys already did this but if I had the personnel for it, after setting up the defensive team on the Delta side I'd trench cut the roof (does not look like a high-risk of a false or second roof).

    That apartment is lost, but try to save the rest.. Just my three cents worth.

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    What actually happenned here was a failure to anticipate... completely. I wasn't on the job, but it caused a lot of red faces...a fire started in some wiring in a roon on the ground floor of one of the houses. By the time the Crews fetched the TIC and started opening the walls in the location it was travelling hidden elsewhere. Bit by bit they were chasing it without anticipating it was running away from them, after a period of time it started breaking out, but by that time no 'Plan B' was in place.

    The fire eventually burnt right through two of the houses.... not a good thing to happen especially if the reputation of the Brigade and indeed the Stations in this area is first class. At the time of the photograph the first floor (second floor US) has broken through and is fast finding an air supply prior becoming fully developed.

    The point I was trying to make.... We have over the years coped admirably without Truck Companies.... 99/100 times our combined approach works well. But this was an example of when agressive 'opening up' of a structure was required. We don't have the equipment required, so ther wasn't a lot that we could do. But I'm sure if a weel equipped US Ladder Truck pulled up things may have been a lot easier.

    Now, you have the information you need. So, pulling up again, what would you have done (Truck Co Ops) to assist the Brothewrs in London?
    Steve Dude
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDude
    What actually happenned here was a failure to anticipate... completely. I wasn't on the job, but it caused a lot of red faces...a fire started in some wiring in a roon on the ground floor of one of the houses. By the time the Crews fetched the TIC and started opening the walls in the location it was travelling hidden elsewhere. Bit by bit they were chasing it without anticipating it was running away from them, after a period of time it started breaking out, but by that time no 'Plan B' was in place.

    The fire eventually burnt right through two of the houses.... not a good thing to happen especially if the reputation of the Brigade and indeed the Stations in this area is first class. At the time of the photograph the first floor (second floor US) has broken through and is fast finding an air supply prior becoming fully developed.

    The point I was trying to make.... We have over the years coped admirably without Truck Companies.... 99/100 times our combined approach works well. But this was an example of when agressive 'opening up' of a structure was required. We don't have the equipment required, so ther wasn't a lot that we could do. But I'm sure if a weel equipped US Ladder Truck pulled up things may have been a lot easier.

    Now, you have the information you need. So, pulling up again, what would you have done (Truck Co Ops) to assist the Brothewrs in London?
    What would a truck company do to assist? Quite simply put, their job. At this point with fire on multiple floor it is highly important to both fully vent this stucture horizontally and vertically. Taking the windows and opening the roof will go along way towards helping the engine company catch back up. A good hook man on every floor opening the walls and ceilings to allow the engine companys to finally gain a foot hold. We had a job not to long ago that might have turned into this situation had it not been for a good engine officer who recognized the need for a TIC, called for a ladder company and we found a small fire in the basement wall started by improper wireing. It was quickly located, opened up and put out. Now had it been a lazy or less knowledgeable officer he might have just told the occupant to call his electrician to deal with fuse box problem. The original call was a report of smoke from the fuse box which wasnt apparent when then engine arrived. The officer just felt something wasnt right and hiked us out. It definitely saved face and alot of potential property damage.

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    for a good engine officer who recognized the need for a TIC
    Cant stand the idea of having a rivalry between engine and truck firefighters. Well done to the officer for being mature.
    "There are only two things that i know are infinite, the universe and human stupidity. And im not so sure about the former."

    For all the life of me, i cant see a firefighter going to hell. At least not for very long. We would end up putting out all the fires and annoying the devil too much.

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    I've also been in the embarrassing situation of chasing fire throughout a building due to not opening up aggressively. We spent 3 hours lazily chasing a slow moving fire through a 2 story sports stadium building one night, and eventually lost the entire building. The fire was started externally in some rubbish, and there just seemed to be no urgency in opening up at all - even after it was recognised that we had fire in the walls. Considering that the building was all-wood construction I just couldn't understand why there was no urgency at all, and it's got me beat as to why the boss never called for the TIC which was just 5 minutes away. We were special called above the initial response of two pumps (for extra water) so we missed the first 10 minutes or so. I've been on a few jobs that have been embarrassing, but this one is the one that I probably wish that I could forget the most.

    It's job's like this that make me wish we ran truck companies. Like Steve I've had the opportunity to see how FDNY and other large U.S. departments operate, and I can see advantages to their methods.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDude

    The fire eventually burnt right through two of the houses.... not a good thing to happen especially if the reputation of the Brigade and indeed the Stations in this area is first class. At the time of the photograph the first floor (second floor US) has broken through and is fast finding an air supply prior becoming fully developed.
    Hey that's MY station Looks like a Sutherland Avenue job .... definitely just north of the station. Steve, these fires have been breaking like this for years. When you said 'an hour on scene' I knew it was hiding! I would be interested to trace the fire's route in this one. The TIC SHOULD have been brought in with the first crew in! I totally agree Steve, this is where the truck concept excels. This isn't a one off! My book of 1992 is full of pictures and incidents like l this, including this very street/area!

    Note the difficulty of placing the cage between the trees - common to this area and even more difficult at night.

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    [QUOTE=monksown]Heavy smoke, and although it is tough to determine from a still photo, it looks like faily slow moving smoke, mostly white in nature..... QUOTE]

    I'd have to disagree with that. I'd say there is plenty of velocity to indicate the smoke in that room is very hot. The outside temp probably has an influence on the smoke color on the outside, but that room is getting ready to flashover.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PFDTruck18
    At first glance my question is, why isnt this building better laddered? Im concerned with the volume of smoke comming from the second floor with little to none comming from the 3rd floor and again medium smoke from the 4th floor. Has complete horizontal ventilation been obtained and have crews started opening the roof? Because it appears that the second floor is vented yet the 3rd floor remains intact and the 4th does as well. An hour later is quite along time to have that much smoke still pushing from the windows. Have crews been operating here for that whole time? Was this a redispatch to a previous assignment? Is water being applied or the smoke whiteish due to the ambient air temperature? No matter what is currently going on or what has already happened to have this picture an hour into the job is not a good sign.
    PFD, I would say that part of the reson the building is not better laddered is due to the fact that: Aerials in the UK are usually only crewed by two FF, also the aerials do not carry the array of ground ladders that they do over here. In my time with the LFB, we would ladder the building for a rescue, or if we required to gain access to an upper floor because the stairs were not available, seldom was a ladder placed as an additional means of egress, I suppose that the different construction of most of the buildings usually ensured that the built in stairways were sufficient. Just the way that things were/are done over there.

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