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    Default Black Sunday NIOSH report

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...4&sectionId=46

    I think the link worked, I hate computers. Anyway, I usually dont find too much to complain about with NIOSH reports, but it seems that no one who wrote this report had any idea about firefighting procedures and tactics.

    According to the report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the first fire officer at the scene of the Brooklyn fire checked the front of the private home and the two sides, but failed to check the rear. There he would have found an exterior stairway to the basement, where the fire was located.

    Instead, the officer led Sclafani and other firefighters in the front door of the house and down an interior stairway, which was the only route for heat, flames and smoke to escape from the basement, the report said.
    There is a reason the 1st due engine and truck go to the front door. Ijust want to see if anyone wants to comment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl

    There is a reason the 1st due engine and truck go to the front door. I just want to see if anyone wants to comment.
    Would it be to put the handline between the fire and any possible victims? Truck to search for victims in the most used living/exit areas? It's always easy to Monday morning quarterback. That was a very sad day for the FDNY. RIP Brothers Lt. Meyran, Lt Bellew, and FF Sclafani. Continued best wishes to the recovery of FF Jeffery Cool, of Rescue 3, and FF Eugene Stolowski and FF Brendan Cawley of Ladder 27.
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    There is a reason the 1st due engine and truck go to the front door. Ijust want to see if anyone wants to comment.
    Since it is a guideline for our first due engine to stretch to the backdoor, I will not comment. I donít know FDNY guidelines, and have a very difficult time with people who second guess the first due boss' decisions.

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    Let me start over.....so we dont have to monday morning quarterback this. What are your dept's SOPs for basement fires?
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    First line in the front door to the the basement stairs. Second line as backup on the first floor. Exterior vent the casement window, sliders (real nice if is a walk out basement) or the Bilco doors. Crew on first line makes the basement once vented.
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    We don't have a policy directly for basement fires. But our first due officer, 9 times out of 10, would also check 3 sides of the building and then take the 1st hoseline inside and down the basement stairs. The only question that I have and it won't ever be answered is what caused the FF to slip, fall and not be able to get back up. After reading the NIOSH report and looking at the photos, it appears to be some weird or different dimensions for the basement stairs instead of being a constant width. I would be interesting in recreating those set of stairs and doing some RIT training to see if the same difficulties are encountered getting the ff out, much like people have redone the denver drill or columbus drill.

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    I was actually going to post a thread about this exact topic last night after I read the NIOSH report. It appears they somewhat blame the officer for not entering the rear staircase, where the fire was. Apparently NIOSH has no clue as to the functions of a truck company, and the need to search the probable areas in which victims could have been overcome, i.e. interior stairs. I don't work for FDNY or have any affiliation, but I'm pretty sure their 1st line is stretched to the interior stairs at cellar fires, at least to confine it if they can't make the cellar from there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasper45
    Since it is a guideline for our first due engine to stretch to the backdoor, I will not comment. I donít know FDNY guidelines, and have a very difficult time with people who second guess the first due boss' decisions.
    Just curious. Is that just for basement fires or standard practice for all of them? If so, why?
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    Quote Originally Posted by HalliganHook111
    I was actually going to post a thread about this exact topic last night after I read the NIOSH report. It appears they somewhat blame the officer for not entering the rear staircase, where the fire was. Apparently NIOSH has no clue as to the functions of a truck company, and the need to search the probable areas in which victims could have been overcome, i.e. interior stairs. I don't work for FDNY or have any affiliation, but I'm pretty sure their 1st line is stretched to the interior stairs at cellar fires, at least to confine it if they can't make the cellar from there.

    The first line is to be stretched to protect the interior stairs, unless you can see the fire, conditions permit and you have a direct route...otherwise the second line is stretched to desend into the basement. And that extinguishing line....should not stop on the landing stairs into the basement....push down all the way to the floor and get out of the flue....chances are, conditions will be much better.
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    ok nevermind I just noticed it has a label that says stair width to basement
    is this how most basements are laid out in NY?

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    Just curious. Is that just for basement fires or standard practice for all of them? If so, why?
    It is entirely because of the construction of many of our private dwellings. Seventy-five percent of the city consists of 2 1/2 story wood frame homes, at least that is how they are officially listed. For firefighting purposes they are three story multiple occupancies, with full basements. Each building consists of a first floor, second floor, and an attic, which are almost always used as an additional living space; each floor is around 2,000 sq. feet.
    In each of these styles of structure, there is a back stairwell that gives access to all floors, from the basement to the attic. This stairwell is the only access to all three floors and basement, barring modifications. Our logic is that since these homes are all balloon frame, rapid access to all floors is essential. Fire travels very fast through the walls, due to open chases, age of the structures, as well as the plaster and lathe. A basement fire becomes an attic fire very quickly.
    As such, we try to secure the rear stairwell on these types of buildings with our first hand line. These structures were all built around the same time frame, and are nearly uniform. Since these buildings make up the majority (65% last year) of our working fires, our guidelines were developed based on them.
    Our guidelines do give the officer discretion to deviate should the need rise, though. We will also base our operation on where that first line is placed, so we don't oppose.
    Last edited by jasper45; 07-02-2006 at 10:04 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firefighter2230
    ok nevermind I just noticed it has a label that says stair width to basement
    is this how most basements are laid out in NY?
    No....There is no standard uniformity to basements because of renovations, and time period in which they have been built. Though Generally we can expect a single block to be the same...but the next block over may be different. And on any block you might have a 2.5 story single family PD and next to that, what appears to be the same house, is actually a 3 family MD, with the acces to the basement from the 1st floor covered over and the stairs removed. Some, landings I have encountered can fit an entire company and some can barley fit 1 brother.....it all depends on the building....and its owners.
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    If anyone should "Monday morning quarterback", it is NIOSH. I believe that their Firefighter Fatality reports are crucial to identifying problems and recommending corrective actions so hopefully, mistakes won't be repeated.
    What struck me about this report is that it mentioned that a size up was not done on the rear of the structure. I only mention this because it reminds me of a fire that occurred in Keokuk, IA in December of 1999. The officer of the first arrival saw three sides and not the back. Heavy smoke showing, victims on the porch roof screaming "my babies, my babies". Naturally, the focus became the victims on the porch and those still inside.
    But, had someone gone to the back of the structure, they would have discovered fire blowing out the back.
    Entry was made through the front, two were recovered and during the attempt to get the third child, a flashover occurred and three firefighters died.
    In the NIOSH report, it stressed the importance of sizing up all four sides to a structure.
    My question is: had the size up to the rear of this structure in Brooklyn been done, would the tactics have changed? Would entry have been made at that below-grade basement entrance or would entry still be made down the interior stairway?
    Did I read the article correctly that this structure was partitioned as a two-family dwelling?
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    I was at the fire. What the report fails to mention is that we have an Outside Vent Man (and in a peaked roof PD, which this was) the Roofman both went to the rear. One of their jobs (which they did do) is to report the conditions they found to the officer. What they reported back there would'nt have changed how we operated. The line still needs to be stretched to the interior stairs, to protect the 1st floor and interior stairs, and if possible an attempt to push into the basement. If the push into the basement cant be made, they try to prevent the fire from advancing up to the 1st floor (containing it to the basement) while a second line finds a way to extinguish it from the exterior. This is what was going on in this incident. What happened to Rich happend while he was asending the basement stairs (and we still dont have a clear understanding of what exactly caused his facepiece to come off)
    I can tell you that some information in the report is inaccurate, and some significant information is not included. The officer they criticize is an excellent and experienced, calm officer, who's judgement I would trust any day over the people we sat with in interviews from NIOSH.
    The house was a two family, but had nothing to do with the job. The 1st floor occupants had the 1st floor and basement (open stairs to the basement) while the second floor was occupied by a different family, with a seperate exterior entrance.
    Last edited by MattyJ; 07-03-2006 at 09:46 AM.

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    MattyJ is it typical of the PD's in that area to have such different widths for the basement staircases or was it remodeled that way?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GFDLT1
    MattyJ is it typical of the PD's in that area to have such different widths for the basement staircases or was it remodeled that way?
    The only thing typical is how un-typical they are. This house was'nt that old, it was a regular staircase, packed with ****. The flight of stairs going directly into basement was'nt too bad, but they used the side-wall for storing stuff, plus there was boxes and a heavy steel coat rack on the half-landing.

    In this particular area we have buildings over 100 years old,... new, and everything in between. Many times they are modified, and are often packed with debris and junk. So we are often faced with very old narrow stairs that 1 fireman alone has to squeeze down, 1 at a time. In any basement fire, we attempt to gain access via the interior stairs, if conditions prevent this, we control the basement interior stair door,while a second line attcks the fire from another route. In this fire, the conditions of the interior stairs grew worse AFTER the line was already started down (remember the fire was originally in the rear of the basement), when conditions grew worse, we withdrew, and it is then that Richies facepiece came off, but we still dont know why,...knocked off, snagged on debris???? But.. Had his facepiece not come off, it would have been a typical basement job, with our proper and typical tactics used.

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    MattyJ's assesment pretty much sums it up. Definately some oversights in that report. The officer and companies followed our procedures to a T by all accounts, and it certainly appears these NIOSH persons didn't familiarize themselves with the PD section.

    FTM-PTB

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    I'm glad to see I wasn't crazy to think NIOSH was wrong to expect any exterior cellar opening to be the primary point of entry. I was certain FDNY was confident in their officers and tactics. This makes NIOSH look stupid and I'll have to keep more salt around for when their reports come out!

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    Hmm, should NIOSH be writing reports based on a "national" standard, or on the department involved's standard?

    Take for example, a high rise fire attack. Many departments do not follow the same procedures FDNY follows. IF they were writing a NIOSH report, should it follow FDNY procedures or a more generic procedure? I think that would make the report "wrong" in some people's eyes, yet "right" in other people's.

    Just putting this out there for discussion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    Hmm, should NIOSH be writing reports based on a "national" standard, or on the department involved's standard?

    Take for example, a high rise fire attack. Many departments do not follow the same procedures FDNY follows. IF they were writing a NIOSH report, should it follow FDNY procedures or a more generic procedure? I think that would make the report "wrong" in some people's eyes, yet "right" in other people's.

    Just putting this out there for discussion.

    If they are going to take the time to investigate an incident and do the report, then I believe that they should take both the national standard and departmental standards in account. When they critque the incident they should do it by the department's standards. If the event isn't covered by the department's own standards, then they should revert to the national standard. I think that people might learn more or that the report will could better be utilized by the department to corrects its errors (through training or whatever) if NIOSH uses the department's standards.

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    After reading the report, I still fail to see where:
    the first fire officer at the scene of the Brooklyn fire checked the front of the private home and the two sides, but failed to check the rear. There he would have found an exterior stairway to the basement, where the fire was located.
    caused a firefighter fatality.
    From the time line in the report, it appears that the strucure was being venting in cordination with the fire attack.
    1344- line stretched to stairs, second line stretched to entrance, Ladder 103 forced open the exterior basement door on Side #3.
    Preparing to attack from the unburned side. Preparing to vent/venting.
    1345- first water, Ladder 107 vented the middle and rear basement windows on Side #4
    Continued venting ahead of the handline crew. Entry/Stairwell control.
    1346- operational size up a radio report from rear of structure, tasks performed indicating a possible tactics change- attacking from the rear.
    1346+- interior crews access the situation, interior officer orders crews out.
    1347- exit, firefighter seperated
    1348- company par, officer notices firefighter missing, immediate MAYDAY and FAST deployment. Obviously some very compitant officers here.
    Right up to 1347, this appears to be a fairly straight foward basement job, with excellent continuous size up, radio reports and accountability.
    I still fail to see how not walking to the rear was a factor- what am I missing?
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    Wouldn't attacking it from the back side basement have pushed the fire up the stairs onto the ground and second floor. Same reason we avoid attcking a garage fire from the big door at the end of the driveway. Attacking it from the unburned side, the ground floor, would push the fire back onto the burned side. While the stairs would provide a chimney effect, venting could also occur on the open side of the basement via the door or windows.



    On a side note my grandparents condo building has 2 floors on the front side and 7 on the back side. With no vehicle access around back and around 10 units or so per floor.

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    I must say I just learned something a bit unsettling and I certainly didn't expect it at all.

    Here is a copy of the response to a letter requesting the expereince (particularly of the firefighting nature) of these NIOSH guys.


    All of the investigators with the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program (FFFIPP) have been formally trained in specific fire-service courses. In addition, all have either a bachelor's or Master's degree in Occupational Safety and Health or an Engineering discipline. One of the FFFIPP investigators was a volunteer fire fighter for a couple of years.
    In addition to overseeing the FFFIPP here at NIOSH, I am a volunteer fire chief here in the Morgantown, West Virginia area.
    I hope that this provides sufficient information to your request.

    Sincerely,

    Robert E. Koedam M.S.
    Supervisory Safety and Occupational Health Manager
    Chief, Fatality Investigations Team
    Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation Program
    FACE Program
    Surveillance and Field Investigations Branch
    Division of Safety Research/NIOSH



    A former volly chief and a fomer volly with a couple of years! What a wealth of experince! Neither of these guys would amount to a probie in my department, any I've worked in or any that my friends are employed by.

    In the past I thought there were some expereinced former FD members on this pannel...I see now my impression was incorrect. I think it clearly shows why their report proposed so many tactically inncorect recomendations. I think they do a so-so job of summarizing the incident...however now I really have to question how they think they have any ability to judge the quality of the operation. From now on I'll read the funnies in lieu of NIOSH reports...at least I'll get something out of the funnies

    FTM-PTB

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    They've increased their firefighting experience from the last time I knew Fred

    I do read the NIOSH reports, but I go right for the narrative and draw my own conclusions.

    Yes, maybe the narratives may miss details or important items...but my gut says usually you can follow what went wrong in them.

    Which in this case, like MattyJ said earlier...something happened in the stairwell and we don't know what. Is there anything to take away from this incident? Maybe not -- I haven't seen anything that says "Ah ha...we could fix this..." Reminds me of Stapleton's quote, "Somedays you're going to make parking lots and there's nothing you can do about it." While this is certainly more tragic, we will always have deaths that in the end come down to sometimes firefighters will die and there is nothing we can do about it.

    Other NIOSH reports I've read, you could usually tell from a firefighting view what went wrong...with a few head scratchers...even if the NIOSH recommendations where blathering on about something completely not germain to the problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED
    I must say I just learned something a bit unsettling and I certainly didn't expect it at all.

    Here is a copy of the response to a letter requesting the expereince (particularly of the firefighting nature) of these NIOSH guys.


    All of the investigators with the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program (FFFIPP) have been formally trained in specific fire-service courses. In addition, all have either a bachelor's or Master's degree in Occupational Safety and Health or an Engineering discipline. One of the FFFIPP investigators was a volunteer fire fighter for a couple of years.
    In addition to overseeing the FFFIPP here at NIOSH, I am a volunteer fire chief here in the Morgantown, West Virginia area.
    I hope that this provides sufficient information to your request.

    Sincerely,

    Robert E. Koedam M.S.
    Supervisory Safety and Occupational Health Manager
    Chief, Fatality Investigations Team
    Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation Program
    FACE Program
    Surveillance and Field Investigations Branch
    Division of Safety Research/NIOSH



    A former volly chief and a fomer volly with a couple of years! What a wealth of experince! Neither of these guys would amount to a probie in my department, any I've worked in or any that my friends are employed by.

    In the past I thought there were some expereinced former FD members on this pannel...I see now my impression was incorrect. I think it clearly shows why their report proposed so many tactically inncorect recomendations. I think they do a so-so job of summarizing the incident...however now I really have to question how they think they have any ability to judge the quality of the operation. From now on I'll read the funnies in lieu of NIOSH reports...at least I'll get something out of the funnies

    FTM-PTB
    So, with the quality of the investigators coming into play, which in turn would bring into question the quality of the investigative report, then what are we to use going forward as an official inquiry that will yield information that departments like mine can learn from?
    If the recommendations that would normally populate the NIOSH report are at the very least brought into question for inaccuracies, then the information that we would normally take away from the report are of little benefit.
    I mean, would Chief Billy G's firefighterclosecalls be a more definitive source?
    Some help, please.
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