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  1. #1
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    Default WWYD: Sign says it's booby trapped...

    Inspired by a large sign I saw on someone's front yard today...

    Call comes in at oh-dark-thirty.

    On arrival, you have flames showing from the single family residence, let's call room & contents and then some (i.e. it's extending).

    Neighbors are there, but no one from the house is there to meet you in the yard...

    And there's also a big 3' x 4' sign in the front of the house that reads,
    "Attention Thieves:
    This house is booby trapped."

    (There was actually some more...but I couldn't read it all driving by!)


  2. #2
    Forum Member RyanEMVFD's Avatar
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    Proceed with caution. Hope the neighbors have some information that could be useful. Find out if law enforcement has a premise history or information at this residence.
    NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
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    Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.

  3. #3
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Someone crazy enough to post this on a sign has probably booby trapped the house, so don't be a booby and try to do interior firefighting. As a matter of fact, would we want to even do exterior ops? How is it booby trapped and what is it booby trapped with? What is the threat to us?

    Sound like a good time to practice exposure protection!
    ‎"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."
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  4. #4
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    I would be going pretty defensive ...........water in windows etc ......if there are people in there .............they sealed their own fate.
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  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    I agree that there would likely be some unacceptable risks in that premise, so you would not likely be crucified for being conservative.

    On the CYA side of things, I would probably assign a crew to save that sign though.


    But also, if faced with known victims in the structure, and assuming they're still presumed viable, you can sometimes follow the military model for dealing with potential small-scale booby traps. Make a hole where there shouldn't be one, and let something else do your probing for you (i.e. hose the absolute crap of of each room to disturb anything dangerous before you enter, and probe thoroughly with a pike pole.). Back in my CF days, my favourite form of dangerous "house-clearing" used to be with the shoulder fired rocket. If it won't go off after that disturbance, I am not likely to set it off myself.

    We face the dangers of booby traps everyday, especially in clandestine drug labs, gang houses, drug dens, etc, which are not always obvious. When it comes to your attention that you may have one of these places, it should definitely cause you to reevaluate your strategy, but it may or may not make the fire unattackable.

    And for the local crew, pay the guy a visit and see if it is real or not. It may be a bluff, and he may be willing to take you on a tour to prove it. If he says yes it's real, tell him in no uncertain terms that you will not enter his house to save him or his family, and have the Chief and/or Police deliver a letter to same. Then mark it on the map sheet with a little skull and cross-bones symbol or something.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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  6. #6
    Forum Member HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
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    what if we put a twist on this. how do u know an arsonist didn't put the sign up, light the building, and hopes the sign will act as a deterent to prevent any firefighters from going inside to rescue the trapped residents or put out the fire?
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by DrParasite
    what if we put a twist on this. how do u know an arsonist didn't put the sign up, light the building, and hopes the sign will act as a deterent to prevent any firefighters from going inside to rescue the trapped residents or put out the fire?
    To me it doesnt matter at all who put it up, if it's there on arrival I'm stopping in my tracks and fighting from the outside. Period. As far as I'm concerned the sign is all the reason I need to not enter.
    FF/NREMT-B

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  8. #8
    Forum Member PattyV's Avatar
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    Well there is nothing you can do if an arsonist has put the sign up. but i would go talk to the guy and tell him that if he wants to keep his booby-traps then he should invest in a VERY good sprinkler system and buy a lot of smoke detectors
    "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.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrParasite
    what if we put a twist on this. how do u know an arsonist didn't put the sign up, light the building, and hopes the sign will act as a deterent to prevent any firefighters from going inside to rescue the trapped residents or put out the fire?
    I researched this. In the history of man, this has happened exactly NEVER!

    If the sign is there, the house burns down and people inside die. I would not risk my FF for this.

  10. #10
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    Angry What an idiot

    I agree with exterior only, way exterior. No way would I want to be close knowing this clown may have a shotgun rigged behind a door. The redneck probably has a wife and kids in there too.

    With the Meth problem we have here, I worry about booby traps just about everywhere. Anyone else seen some of the surveillance and security these people are using now? I was told the last one they busted here had an elaborate ventilation and filtration system to prevent odors from being noticed.

    Dal, I think in or out of district, the first thing you should have done is hit the brakes and call the State Police. Thieves might be the least of his concern. Keeping EVERYONE away sounds more likely.

    Stay Safe

  11. #11
    Forum Member fireguy919's Avatar
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    Would be a defensive attack on the house. Sorry but by putting that sign up is says to me donít come in here. Few years ago a we had a nut job that was sick of his mail box getting knocked of the post. So what he did was made a little bomb to go off if the box was hit. We needless to say it did work. The next bunch of kids that hit it got a big surprise. The big boom made the young driver hit the ditch tear up his car pretty bad. The neighbors said it lit up the neighborhood wish I could of seen it. How ever after that I never underestimate the wack jobs out there.
    Training does not make perfect. Training makes permanent!

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrParasite
    what if we put a twist on this. how do u know an arsonist didn't put the sign up, light the building, and hopes the sign will act as a deterent to prevent any firefighters from going inside to rescue the trapped residents or put out the fire?
    Is that a gamble you would risk your crew for. If you was my officer and I seen that sign and told me to go in I would take the punishment for insubordination and not go in. Hope for the best expect the worst.
    Training does not make perfect. Training makes permanent!

    IACOJ probie

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    Quote Originally Posted by fireguy919
    Is that a gamble you would risk your crew for. If you were my officer and I saw that sign and told me to go in, I would take the punishment for insubordination and not go in. Hope for the best expect the worst.
    Kind of the way I look at it as well, for all we know there are claymores just inside the front door. anyone with half a brain knows there are nutjobs out there.

    A story goes with this...

    Earlier this year, I belive it was April, maybe May. A department to the south of me ws dispatched to a working house fire. Upon arrival crews found frire showing from the C/D corner, first floor, heavy smoke form 2nd floor. About 3-4 minutes into the incident a 'minor' explosion came from the basement, the IC questioned the property owner, only to find out that a previous was ex-military and had live anti-aircraft shells, as well as other live explosives as military memoribilia. The current owner was aware of them, but was afraid he would get in trouble for reporting that he had live ordinance.

    Now, imagine if the owner actually had intentions for using them against whomever. Scary, scary stuff.
    FF/NREMT-B

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  14. #14
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrParasite
    what if we put a twist on this. how do u know an arsonist didn't put the sign up, light the building, and hopes the sign will act as a deterent to prevent any firefighters from going inside to rescue the trapped residents or put out the fire?
    Know your territory, unless you are in the sticks of Montana or Idaho in one of those 2000 square mile departments, you should know if this is a dwelling with such signs there before or not. If it is a new sign, you still need to proceed with caution, risk nothing to save the structure, take a calculated risk if you see signs of life on the interior.
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    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

  15. #15
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    Fortunately for me, this particular house is almost inconcievable that we'd go to it.

    I have to qualify it with "almost" -- between our station and the 1st due station for this house is a good 15 miles, yet once I was on a structure fire they were first due & we were right on their heels 2nd due because of multiple, simultaneous calls in the region. So weird stuff can happen, and knowing your district isn't always the last word because sometimes you end up in places and just shake your head figuring you'd never, ever go there...

    ===================

    However, at least one house in our town many years ago the Deputy Chief took everyone on scene in groups of four or five on a tour after the chimney-almost-a-structure-fire was under control -- not Collier's conditions, but darn messy. Numerous firearms laying around, reloading stations & powder bags sitting in a bedroom, and the coup-de-grace -- the rear door had a switch, which turned on an old washing machine motor, which spun a few chainsaw blades cobbled together at knee heat and going around a pulley across the hall from the motor.

    (And absolutely nothing illegal going on -- family was just one of the local "characters")

  16. #16
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    The only thing i have ever heard of being remotley booby traped was the colliers mansion. It wasnt bobby trapped, but it had many dangers contained within the mansion.
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  17. #17
    Forum Member pkfd7505's Avatar
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    In our area which is VERY rural and has a history of Meth houses and stolen explosives from local rock quarries and mines, we would probably be no where near this residence. Last year someone found 18 sticks of stolen explosives which had been missing since the mid 80s and we were called. We sat at the station until the ATF showed up and cleared the scene, at which time the ATF asked us to respond and provide coverage while they disposed of the explosives. I do not remember the name of the explosive but I seem to remember it started with a T (no it's not TNT). It was gray and had the consistency of gelatinous play dough wrapped in a paper (much like the old TNT sticks), it was initially reported as a possible Mercury spill because one of the sticks was crushed and torn open. The important thing is to know, and stay, within your limitations. We are not trained for explosives disposal or removal and we are not a HazMat team, so given a warning like that sign, we would probably stay back. I donít see any reason to risk the lives of FireFighters in a situation that you are not trained to deal with. Of course, there are exceptions to most rules and each individual situation would have to be judged accordingly.

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