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  1. #21
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    These things are always hard to tell from pictures, but I'd have to agree with Memphis. If the common stairwell is uninvolved due to a closed door in the fire apartment, I'm going to leave it that way, at least initially. If that is the only common stairwell for that particular group of units, then once you open that door you are comprimising the evac. stairwell for everyone else. Also, why go around and force enty on another door if you have a wide open one already? Like I said, hard to decide from pics, but that's how I see it.
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  2. #22
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF View Post
    These things are always hard to tell from pictures, but I'd have to agree with Memphis. If the common stairwell is uninvolved due to a closed door in the fire apartment, I'm going to leave it that way, at least initially. If that is the only common stairwell for that particular group of units, then once you open that door you are comprimising the evac. stairwell for everyone else. Also, why go around and force enty on another door if you have a wide open one already? Like I said, hard to decide from pics, but that's how I see it.
    Chicago, your assessment is correct. These buildings have a single stairwell for anywhere from 8 to as many as 16 units.
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  3. #23
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by needlejockey View Post
    Sorry Harve, but I'm having trouble visualizing what you are saying here. Are you talking about applying the stream inside or outside? I'd appreciate a little more on this. I think I know what your getting at, but I'm not 100% sure.

    Thanks.
    Outside.

    Nozzleman is standing to the left or right of the window that the Fire is venting from, AND standing immediately beside the wall, but back about 20-30 feet along the wall. He/She ( gotta be P.C.here ) directs the stream up the wall so that it wets the area over the window that the Fire is venting from, WITHOUT PUTTING WATER IN THE WINDOW, or interfering with the Vent process.

    In the opening photo on this thread, the Nozzleperson (how's that for P.C. ) would be standing against the wall at the point where some latticework is propped against the brick portion of the wall. The stream would be applied to the exterior wall area above the Flames. Hope that helps.

    Memphis - There is no smoke around the Stairwell because the Glass is still in place. Check the difference between the two photos, as the Truckies had opened up the stairwell by the time the second photo was taken.
    Last edited by hwoods; 12-16-2006 at 03:43 PM.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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  4. #24
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    Thanks. That's pretty much what I had in my mind, just wanted to make sure.
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  5. #25
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Memphis - There is no smoke around the Stairwell because the Glass is still in place. Check the difference between the two photos, as the Truckies had opened up the stairwell by the time the second photo was taken.
    Chief,

    I understand, but if there was that much heat and smoke in that common area it would either crack the glass and vent itself or al least push smoke through the cracks around the door.

    Even after it is opened up, there is not very much or any smoke at all visible in the common area of the stairwell.

    My point of the post is not to say who was right or wrong or place blame or even defend the actions taken. Like I said - go to fires, learn your lessons, and apply them where and when you can. You cannot however in my opinion say that every fire should be tackled the same way because its what the book says or how you handled the last one.
    RK
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    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  6. #26
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    MemphisE34a:
    Looking at the first picture it is difficult to tell a lot about conditions in the stairwell other than no fire being visible. The entire front is glass which appears to be darkened from the inside. If you look carefully at the second photo (wide shot of the front,) you can see the inside of the entrance door and the interior of the stairwell is in fact nicely soot stained.

    In this area, most engine companies arrive before the truck; most carry a hydraulic forcible entry tool like the Rabbit Tool or Hydra-Ram and do their own forcible entry. The doors in these buildings are typically not too formidable. A hydraulic FE tool will make short work of them, even with a couple of locked deadbolts. I have to believe the small investment in time (less than half a minute) is worth having a properly placed hoseline.

    I agree with you that the exterior line directed towards the roof is pointless and that this fire calls for a line on each floor and the attic. Getting a line to the attic quickly is usually the key to keeping the roof from burning off these buildings.

    I also agree with your statement that "you cannot...say that every fire should be tackled the same way", but I do believe that there are some basic principles of firefighting that we should agree on most of the time. These are the basics: Locate, Confine, Extinguish, in that order. We canít cross our fingers and hope that the stairwell door is closed or uncompromised; we have to place our line to make sure the stairwell is protected. What if this were an apartment in the rear of the building, would we stretch a line around and go through a patio door then too?

    We must also consider that most occupants enter and leave their apartments from the front (stairwell) door. They donít use the patio doors because these canít be locked from the outside. Most occupants who are capable of self-evacuation, if overcome, will be found on their way to the door they normally use.

    Hwoods:
    Chief, as you know, the spandrel spaces in these places are often not much more than a few 2X4ís and a half sheet of T111 siding, contributing greatly to our auto exposure problem. I agree that hitting the fire at an oblique angle here is worthwhile.

    Thanks for the responses, it's interesting to hear the different perspectives.

  7. #27
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    I have had a trio of fires in garden style apartment/condo buildings.

    The potential for hidden fire spread is beyond belief.

    The first: Fire in an apartment, got into the cockloft. The temperatiures were in the single digits and the winds were very blustery. The fire took possession of the cockloft rapidly. The only thing that stopped it from going into an adjoining building was a trench cut and big lines. The first due company reported the fire knocked down, and they were coming out to change bottles. My Engine was 2nd due, I struck the 2nd alarm on arrival. The Deputy pulled in behind us an ordered the 3rd. The LT. on the 1st due engine asked "WTF is going on.. the fire's knocked down..." I told him to look up.. he had a "holy s***" moment. The Chief of Department arrived and struck 4th alarm.

    The second: Reported "electrical" odor in a unit on the 3rd floor of a gadren style condo. We took it on a still, the cops reported seeing smoke from the eaves, the assignement was filled out. On arrival, there was no smoke in the halls or anywhere, but it was coming from the eaves. When we entered the apartment of the resident who reported it, there was smoke puffing out of the outlets in the kitchen area. I sent a few firefighters to check the unit directly below, when they touched the wall to feel for heat it, it caved in and they had heavy fire blowing out. That fire went to 2 alarms. The fire started with a malfunctioning electrical outlet and followed the utilty chases throughout the building.

    The third: 2 in the afternoon on a hot and humid summer day. A resident reported smelling "something burning" outside of her building while she was out walking her dog. Thinking it ws an outside fire, a single engine was dispatched as per our protocol. The LT struck the second alarm on arrival when the window failed and fire was blowing out of the window and into the soffit of the cockloft.

    Fire in a garden apartment: Big lines, hit it hard and fast.

    Most of these building were built under codes in the early 1960's with wonderful things like aluminum wiring, thin walls and hollow core doors.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 12-16-2006 at 06:33 PM.
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  8. #28
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Backstep,

    You see a heck of alot better than I do I guess, because I do not see any of that. Maybe you have inside information being local from the news reports or perhaps you know people who were there.

    The problem with critiqueing photographs is that they represent a fraction of a second in time.

    I see a reflection in the windows. After they are opened I see no smoke venting and shadows. I would think that soot staining as you see would result in some kind of smoke in that area.

    How do we know that prior to going to the patio, the officer did not open the door to the common interior stairs and see that their was little or no smoke and that the door to the fire apartment was intact and make a decision to attack the way they did??

    I 100% agree with you that locate, confine, and extinguish are sound objectives and need to almost always need to be accomplished in that order. I in fact cannot think of a time that you would vary from that, but I don't want to say never - know what I mean.

    From my view, I think these folks could have very well accomplished those tasks.

    Just for the record, I also didn't see the wide open fog pattern you described in your original post. Are you sure your not seeing things to try and justify your position?? =))
    RK
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    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a
    You see a heck of alot better than I do I guess, because I do not see any of that...
    The problem with critiqueing photographs is that they represent a fraction of a second in time...
    Just for the record, I also didn't see the wide open fog pattern you described in your original post. Are you sure your not seeing things to try and justify your position??
    Seeing things to try and justify my position? LOL. Thanks. The intent of my original post was to create some discussion about tactics, not to argue for the sake of arguing.

    Yes, photos represent a fraction of a second in time but they also don't lie. So you're saying that we can not or should not use photos for training or critique purposes because "they represent a fraction of a second in time"?

    If we don't agree about what they did, thats fine, you're entitled. If you don't see what I see that's fine too, and if by some chance you just don't get it, Guess what? That's fine. Be safe.

  10. #30
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs up And Now........

    Backstep, do you happen to know the Photographer who took those shots?? He's been a friend of mine for years....
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  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Backstep, do you happen to know the Photographer who took those shots?? He's been a friend of mine for years....
    Chief,
    If it's the the same person I think it is, wasn't he a Captain at Rescue Hose Co. back when they were in the house on West Street? I only met him a couple of times and this was probably in the late 70's, early 80's, but a dedicated guy and a true gentleman as I recall.

    The thing about getting old is I can remember 30 years ago pretty well, but I can't remember where I put my glasses five minutes ago!

  12. #32
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    Backstep FF...You see more in the photos than I can. The glass in the common area may be soot stained, but I can't see it. The glass is certainly dark, but in such a uniform way that it looks like tinted glass. In the second picture where the door to the common area is open, I don't see any soot staining at the top of the door area on the metal header where I'd expect it.

    I do enjoy the conversations that are started by throwing a photo up, however, I don't think you can assume as much as you have. It's worth discussing the possibility that the common area was left unprotected, but its not a certainty based on their attacking the fire through the patio.

    I agree with some of the others that they may have visualized the area...and made a conscious decision to not go that route so they could leave the door to the fire apartment shut...thus maintaing a "clean" area to do evac's of other apartments. If mainpower allows, a line to protect this area is a good practice. They may have done that...I can't tell.

    I'm all for the discussions...so, please, if you have more pics...throw 'em out.

  13. #33
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BackstepFF View Post
    Yes, photos represent a fraction of a second in time but they also don't lie. So you're saying that we can not or should not use photos for training or critique purposes because "they represent a fraction of a second in time"?
    I am not saying that at all. I am saying that it would be a more thorough and true to life critique if you had the story that goes along with the picture.

    And I agree by the way that these kind of debates are good even when we don't know the entire story and maybe do not 100% agree. There could be an up and coming firefighter out there that reads our debate and notices or catches onto a strategy or tactic that maybe he or his department has not employed in the past. He could bring what he has read in this forum up at the next firehouse kitchen table firefight and see what the members of his company or station think about it, and so on it goes.
    RK
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    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  14. #34
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    while not specific to garden apartments, 2 of the last fires I was on reinforced the strength of energy efficient windows. The interior of both places was gutted, but the fire never caused the windows to fail. More notably, the breaking of the windows required some major league baseball type swings with hooks to clear the glass (thats a hell of a sound when they finally go). I tried taking a window with the knob on one before the outside vent guys made their way around and it just kept bouncing off (obviously a last ditch attemt in the absence of a tool but I wasnt willing to take a steam shower).

    Perhaps this stairwell is heavily charged but the windows are handling the heat well.

  15. #35
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    MG,

    A valid point to consider, but I can assure you that anything that costs extra , like energy efficient windows, will not be found on any apartments in my territory.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  16. #36
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Ok...........

    Backstep. Yup. Charlie is a Fixture in the AFD, been around forever.

    MG, valid points about the Glass, I've had a couple of run-ins with it myself.

    Kayak, Perceptive view on your part, I agree that the glass is probably tinted. I'll try to reach the Photographer and ask a few questions, since, as you said, the Aluminum frame isn't stained.

    Bob, good point on the expense of safety items. We get most improvements when they are mandated by legislation, instead of waiting on the "Goodwill" of the Landlords. One thing that has been beneficial about our Sprinkler Laws, when the cost of repairs to an unsprinklered property reaches 50% of the value of the repaired building, it must be fully sprinklered when rebuilt. And, any building renovation/remodeling work that hits that 50% mark will also trigger the sprinkler requirement.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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  17. #37
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Yup!.........

    The glass is tinted........
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  18. #38
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    I fully agree with all the tactical considerations you have discussed. It is always very tempting to hit the red stuff with the wet stuff without considering where the fire is being pushed. However, these considerations for me are aimed at compex Buildings.

    Once again, I am absolutely astounded that in one of the most advanced Nations in the World, buildings can be 'thrown up' with little regard for fire spread and the subsequent safety of the occupants and Firefighters. The photgraphs look very familiar to any number of small blocks of flats all across the UK...including those where my own Mother lives. Built anytime after the war the one startling difference is...You'd have to bomb them to get them going that well.

    Simply put, they are built from concrete with concrete floors and concrete walls between each flat (apartment) with either Breeze block, brick or plasterboard internal partitions. The likelyhood of lateral spread is almost impossible, but of course their is always a potential for auto exposure to the flat above if the fire is venting through the windows.

    The photos below show a reasonably serious Flat fire in a standard 1950's medium rise apartment block. You will see that the fire took the plaster off and left the walls down to brickwork. The fire travelled out of the room of origin because the door was open and along the hallway causing heat and smoke damage throughout. The fire was knocked down by a 2 man BA Crew using a single line of 1.75 with an akron Combi nozzle from a dry riser (standpipe) had the fire been in a lower block the fire would have certainly been tackled with a high pressure Hosereel (booster).

    In the post below that you will see almost total compartment destruction in a large open planned commercial office. The fire in this building spread fropm 7th to 11th floors due to auto exposure (it was a July fire and the windows were open as the building did not have a HVAC system) Despite the extension to several floors, crews were able to fight each fire from either end of each floor, eventually pushing in following a blitz attack from outside from aerial monitors the walls and floors remained intact.

    As an aside and adding to the smooth bore vs oombi argument we struggled on this job, this is where our Ackron Combi nozzles did not have the 'legs' for the job abd we badly needed hig flow smooth bore nozzles like our old Noble's





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  19. #39
    MembersZone Subscriber SteveDude's Avatar
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    Commercial High Rise, Extension by auto exposure only.



    Steve Dude
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  20. #40
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    The First series of photos is a day in day out 'bread and butter' job for UK Inner City Crews, any person at a reasonably busy Station should expect to see a handful of these every month in any combination of Low rise, medium rise or High Rise apartment blocks.

    The Commercial High Rise was a 20 Pump affair back in July 2003. In my 20 years I can only recall around a dozen Commercial High Rises that have gone beyond the floor of origin and only another two that went several floors like this.
    Steve Dude
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