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    Default No life hazard???

    Disclaimer: This isn't a comentary on the Depts that responded to this alarm..I have no idea what they did or didn't do...this is about the circumstances presented to them when they arrived. I have no reason not to believe they did the right thing. In fact the article hints that this may be so.

    Read the following news article....does anyone else see a lesson to be learned from this fire?


    Teen dies in Walden fire
    Valley Central senior Joe Savage was 17

    By Greg Bruno
    April 07, 2007

    Times Herald-Record
    Walden – Joe Savage wasn’t supposed to be there. As flames tore through his family’s two-story Colonial early yesterday morning, the Savages assumed their middle boy was out. The Valley Central High School senior had plans to stay at a friend’s house Thursday night, family members said. But when firefighters pushed through the smoke at 31 Alfred Place, they found Joe Savage, 17, burned and not breathing in a downstairs study. He was pronounced dead before sunrise.

    Firefighters from companies in Walden, Coldenham and Montgomery kept the damage limited to the basement and the kitchen.

    By late afternoon, wafts of smoke hung in the air and thick, black stains scarred the house's yellow siding. Easter decorations smiled brightly from the picture window.

    Speculation swirled as to why Joe — a popular kid and "awesome" skateboarder — had opted to leave his friend's house and return home.

    Joe and his brothers, Steven, 19, and Daniel, 15, had recently pooled money to buy a wide-screen TV and video games; some family members figured Joe just plunked down in the game room in the basement when he got home.

    Marissa Savage, 23, remembered her brother as a guy who was "loved by everybody."

    Joe's full name was Guisseppe Antonio, Marissa said, but friends took to calling him "Joe the Fro" when he started growing out his hair for Locks of Love, a program that provides wigs to cancer patients. He donated a bagful a few months ago.

    "I understood him and he understood me. I don't know what I'll do without him," Marissa said.

    There was one thing, though, Joe never got around to. Marissa said her "little brother" had planned on getting a tattoo; the legend was to say: "Live each day as if it was your last." "Now, I am going to get it," she said.

    FTM-PTB

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    But it was vacant...... the parents said so..... the bystanders said so...... we assumed it was....... it's hot in there....... scary and smokey....... risk a little to save a little....... we can hit it with a monitor right through those windows...... if anyone was in there they are probably dead anyway....... my safety is job number one, right?......... I'll be in the front yard if you need me, I think there is a problem with my courage, uh, I mean bottle........
    Last edited by ChicagoFF; 04-09-2007 at 08:30 AM.
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    Was hoping someone else saw this, I was checking out an online paper in NY and saw this. What a great reminder that no structure is "clear" until we clear it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wag11c View Post
    Was hoping someone else saw this, I was checking out an online paper in NY and saw this. What a great reminder that no structure is "clear" until we clear it.
    DING...DING...DING! We have a winner!

    It's a shame that not everyone (not mentioning any names) feels the same way.
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    This area is only about a half hour from where I live and I too was very curious when I first read the paper in the local news. As a local volly and a career guy this is a tough one to read. I have to wonder what those guys were doing!!!! Maybe someone had a "problem" with their cylinder??? On the other hand maybe they did make a push into the basement. It is possible that they missed the boy while doing a search or even just advancing the line?

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    Wink

    This career is about courage. Yet so many are afraid to put us in harms way or put them selves in harms way. That really fires me up, there is no excuse for that. like Chicago said "Risk little save little
    most of us took an oath to give ours to save theres if neccassary. Its amazing how many forget what there getting paid to do. Courage goes along way. Always make sure never assume. Cause as they say assumtion makes an *** out of you and me.
    Last edited by chattfiremike; 04-09-2007 at 12:03 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED View Post
    Disclaimer: This isn't a comentary on the Depts that responded to this alarm..I have no idea what they did or didn't do...this is about the circumstances presented to them when they arrived. I have no reason not to believe they did the right thing. In fact the article hints that this may be so.

    Read the following news article....does anyone else see a lesson to be learned from this fire?
    Yep, I see it. Never take a victim's word as the absolute truth. All ways do your job. And again IT'S NOT CLEAR, UNTIL WE SAY IT'S CLEAR.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF View Post
    But it was vacant...... the parents said so..... the bystanders said so...... we assumed it was....... it's hot in there....... scary and smokey....... risk a little to save a little....... we can hit it with a monitor right through those windows...... if anyone was in there they are probably dead anyway....... my safety is job number one, right?......... I'll be in the front yard if you need me, I think there is a problem with my courage, uh, I mean bottle........
    Not for nuttin' but are you just stirring the pot to stir the pot? I've read the article three times and could find nothing in it to suggest that the companies that responded did anything less than a perfect job. I know their is a number of individuals on these forums that would take the less aggressive approach, would skip the search, hit it from the outside, blah, blah, blah. The lesson from the article is that we should never take someone else's word that a structure is clear, we should clear it.

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    jlcooke - Yes, ChicagoFF was just stirring the pot. He was repeating all of the comments that are always thrown out by other members on this site when we discuss whether a structure should be searched, even though it has been abandoned for years or because the homeowner says that everyone is out of the house. I found the comments funny Chicago, thanks for the laugh today.

    Wag or Fire55 did the local news say when they found the kid? I read it as they found him while doing a search and attacking the fire and not later on after it was out, but I am not priviledged to the local news coverage I could be very wrong. But none the less, the lesson to be learned here just as everyone else has said is the house isn't empty till we say that it is.

    Now I am going to go pop some popcorn and grab a few cold beers so that I can sit back and watch the action that is about to unfold on this forum.

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    and watch the action that is about to unfold on this forum
    My bet is there will be very little. Anyone that would come in here and post a differing view would know they are about to be attacked by the big boys, so why would they even bother trying to put something constructive in here? It wouldn't matter, they'd be quickly attacked. As was stated, no one knows from the article whether a push was made and the child missed or no push at all.

    The point was very simply made. The lesson from the article is that we should never take someone else's word that a structure is clear, we should clear it.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    The way I read this is that FRED and Chi.FF are reminding those of us who preach the true mission of the fire service to continue to do so as we already are, and to those who preach otherwise to take this tidbit and use it as a reminder. I didnt take it that either of them was slamming the aforementioned FD's

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    There's always the exception that proves the rule, and I'll stick to the rule in my area and it's demographics.

    In 8+ years here of saying when the homeowner, who appears to be of a credible state of mind, says everyone is out, everyone's out...this is the first actual example that's been brought up.

    I fully realize other areas will have other demographic issues.

    I can not think at the moment of any given fire what that would change in my company's strategy and tactics being told the house is clear.

    What will cause a change it is being told there is definitely a person trapped which means reserves can be legitimately committed -- call the reserves what you like, 2in/2out or a backup hose team depending on the generation -- a higher level of risk (for firefighter safety and the ultimate damage to the structure) will be accepted to launch operations out to the limits of the manpower.

    It would have been a much more interesting discussion had it been, "Gosh, there was no cars in the driveway at 3pm in the afternoon so we assumed no one was home and just hung back..."

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    I'm probably going to get slammed here, but I can't ignore this one....They were told by the family that everyone was out. Possible victims trapped, or even if it is unknown if there are any occupants, warrants an aggresive search. But when a family member (not just the neighbor or the landlord but a family member says that everyone is out, I'm going to err on the side of caution. We have to make decisions based on all available information, and if a reliable witness (i.e., a family member) tells me that everyone is out, I'm going to factor that into my tactical decision making.

    Let's change this news article a bit...

    "Two firefighters from XYZ fire department were killed battling a structure fire today. They became trapped in a basement while searching for occupants. The owner of the house stated that he told the fire department officer on scene that everyone had made it out of the house, but an aggresive search was conducted anyway"

    How does that one grab you? We are dealing with a FAMILY MEMBER, who is telling you that their own loved one is not in the building. Not "I'm not sure", or "I don't know if he's home tonight, he might be in there", it was HE IS NOT HOME.

    Go ahead,fire away if you will, call me a coward and a poor excuse for a firefighter, but I'm willing to take Mom and Dad's word for it that the kid is not home. Will we still search? Sure, if we can do it safely. Will we take the same level of risk as we would for a confirmed victim, a possible victim, or even an "I'm not sure if he's home or not"? Absolutely not.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmleblanc View Post
    I'm probably going to get slammed here, but I can't ignore this one....They were told by the family that everyone was out. Possible victims trapped, or even if it is unknown if there are any occupants, warrants an aggresive search. But when a family member (not just the neighbor or the landlord but a family member says that everyone is out, I'm going to err on the side of caution. We have to make decisions based on all available information, and if a reliable witness (i.e., a family member) tells me that everyone is out, I'm going to factor that into my tactical decision making.

    Let's change this news article a bit...

    "Two firefighters from XYZ fire department were killed battling a structure fire today. They became trapped in a basement while searching for occupants. The owner of the house stated that he told the fire department officer on scene that everyone had made it out of the house, but an aggresive search was conducted anyway"

    How does that one grab you? We are dealing with a FAMILY MEMBER, who is telling you that their own loved one is not in the building. Not "I'm not sure", or "I don't know if he's home tonight, he might be in there", it was HE IS NOT HOME.

    Go ahead,fire away if you will, call me a coward and a poor excuse for a firefighter, but I'm willing to take Mom and Dad's word for it that the kid is not home. Will we still search? Sure, if we can do it safely. Will we take the same level of risk as we would for a confirmed victim, a possible victim, or even an "I'm not sure if he's home or not"? Absolutely not.
    All I can say is that when we arrive, we will conduct a search, regardless of what any occupant tells us. Why? For obvious reasons. It isn't clear until WE clear it.

    I don't think your a coward, and I completely understand your point of view. I just don't happen to agree with it.




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    My post was not directed at this specific incident or department. They were general comments. As for searching and tactics, everything is interior until fire or building conditions force us out. Nothing is an automatic write off or assumed to be vacant.
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    The news did'nt really get into the firefighting tactics of wether or not the FD made or push or if they missed the child or whatever. That is why I only speculated as to what actaully occurred in my first post! Like I said either way it stinks for everyone and I don't want to monday morning quarterback such a tragic event. And like most others have posted on here I and none of the organizations I belong to would assume anything! We search vacants so we would certainly search a occuppied dwelling even if someone said no one is in there! I have heard civilians tell me a lot of things that usually turn out to be false or very inaccurate. Trust your instincts, training, and the men around you!
    Last edited by firefiftyfive; 04-09-2007 at 09:56 PM.

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    Lightbulb

    Hmm interesting thought it has merit but i also like the theory of its not clear till we say its clear. I was ranting a bit in my last post. Thats just from certain ummm... hmmmm. people i have to deal with in my own instances. But food for thought from the post above.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmleblanc View Post
    I'm probably going to get slammed here, but I can't ignore this one....[B]
    Let's change this news article a bit...

    "Two firefighters from XYZ fire department were killed battling a structure fire today. They became trapped in a basement while searching for occupants. The owner of the house stated that he told the fire department officer on scene that everyone had made it out of the house, but an aggresive search was conducted anyway"
    That has happend many many times where I am from. (Brooklyn recently) But until we do the primary and secondary searches there is no way to know for certain. Its our job to get in there and be sure. That's why we have the snazzy superman suits and batman equipment. I never have, will never take a "bystanders word for it". They are in a chaotic situation and are clouded. We are trainined to handle just that situation and with a clear head. Countless times have we been told "everyone is our", only to find a person or two still inside.

    I know the dept involved, the constuction common in the area, and I know the mentality in the county. But I wasn't at the fire and keeping in mind that the job was in the basement. From the pics on the net, it appears the PD was a split ranch which had maybe 2 way into the basement, either the interior stairs or from the indside of the attached garage (which most of the time is converted into another room). If that's were the fire started, it would have been tough to make it down there without a line...but nevertheless, an aggressive push would need to be made, potential victim or not.

    ps...I didn't find anything wrong with Chic-town's post. He speaks the truth, I would feel safe living in Chi-town knowing that a bunch of aggressive Firemen who live up to a high standard and motivated by a rich tradition are going to make every effort to find me in a fire. Wish I could say that for other towns represented on these forums.
    Last edited by VinnieB; 04-09-2007 at 10:12 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by firefiftyfive View Post
    Trust your instincts, training, and the men around you!

    Experiance too, thiers and yours.
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    Yup .... some of you have been waiting for me. C'mon admit it.... You just can't wait to see what words are gonna magically appear from my little keyboard .....

    Well, if the family tells us the house is clear, we are gonna take thier word for it. We will concentrate on interior firefighting operations, if it is safe to do so, possibly doing a quick search as we go, but the bulk of our emphasis will be on firefighting.

    In my 27 years, I have never had a situation where the family told us the house was clear, and it turned out not to be. Neighbors, have been wrong once or twice, but never family members.

    Again, this comes down to ...... and I'm gonna use those words ... risk a little to save a little. If the family says the house is clear, we are going to operate on that assumption, as we have no reason not to beleive them.

    Firefighting is about using information to make smart tactical decisions. We are not going to risk firefighters if the situation is marginal to search an empty house.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Firefighting is about using information to make smart tactical decisions. We are not going to risk firefighters if the situation is marginal to search an empty house.
    News flash!

    Firefighting is about fighting fire! Something you obviously are very, very reluctant to do, as has already been demonstrated by the myriad of your previous, "we ain't gonna go interior 'cause it ain't safe in there" posts!
    I honestly believe a 90 year old woman would be more likely to go interior, than you are.

    The "smart decisions" you should be making begin with NEVER believing a bystander is completely accurate...EVER! But then if you did that, you would have to go in and check for yourself. Unlikely!

    Thank God you don't work anywhere near me! I'd eat you for lunch!
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    [QUOTE=LaFireEducator;795501]

    Well, if the family tells us the house is clear, we are gonna take thier word for it. We will concentrate on interior firefighting operations, if it is safe to do so, possibly doing a quick search as we go, but the bulk of our emphasis will be on firefighting.

    In my 27 years, I have never had a situation where the family told us the house was clear, and it turned out not to be. Neighbors, have been wrong once or twice, but never family members. QUOTE]

    "Possibly doing a quick search"? What the hell does that mean?!

    In those one, or two times where the neighbors were wrong, how many victims were in there as you hit the fire with the deck gun?
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    I honestly believe a 90 year old woman would be more likely to go interior, than you are.
    Ordinarily I don't advocate trashing like that, but that mental pic is just plain hilarious!
    My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

    IACOJ--West Coast PITA

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    Quote Originally Posted by fireman4949 View Post
    News flash!

    Firefighting is about fighting fire! Something you obviously are very, very reluctant to do, as has already been demonstrated by the myriad of your previous, "we ain't gonna go interior 'cause it ain't safe in there" posts!
    I honestly believe a 90 year old woman would be more likely to go interior, than you are.

    The "smart decisions" you should be making begin with NEVER believing a bystander is completely accurate...EVER! But then if you did that, you would have to go in and check for yourself. Unlikely!

    Thank God you don't work anywhere near me! I'd eat you for lunch!
    What he said....

    If we can make it into the house we search it.
    If its to hot then we put water on it and then we search it.
    Lives are saved by getting the fire out ASAP and searching ASAP.

    I think that some of the guys have it backwards...My plan is to always search unless it is super obvious that it is to dangerous.
    Some people only search if it is obvious that it is safe. If you want complete safety then don't enter a burning building.

    Our job is to fight fire and save lives.

    If someone told me that the house was empty I would still search it. People just do not always know. How many houses have you searched that the people in the street are telling you that they know "for sure" that there are people inside...and there is no one.

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    Where in my post did I mention bystanders?

    Well, if the family tells us the house is clear, we are gonna take thier word for it

    As I said, not once in my 27 years has the family ever told us that the house was empty and that wasn't the case. Yes, firefighting is about using the information at hand to make decisions. if the information is reliable, and I would consider information from the family about who is in THIER house reliable, you use it to develop your plans. If I have limited personnel, and the family tells me the house is empty, I will take thier word for it as I have no reason not to, and use all my personnel on firefighting, interior or exterior, depending on the extent of fire spread, stability of the structure, water supply, experience level of my manpower, etc etc...

    Around here, in most of the neighboorhoods, neighbors, especially the rural areas (which is most of opur district) keep a pretty close eye on the coming and goings of those next door. They usually know if they are out of town or on vacation as often they will tell each other. It's just the nature of living in the country here where folks rely pretty heavily on the neighbors for security and keeping an eye on things as law enforcement coverage is pretty thin. While we do not take thier word as gospel, we do put a lot of faith in the information we get from them. Obviously it's not as reliable as if the homeowner says everyone has evacuated and we will still do a search if conditions permit, but once again, I don't think we have ever run into a situation here where a neighbor has said the house was empty and we found the situation to be otherwise.

    4949 ... How many times have you run into the situation where the homeowner has said the house is empty and that has not been the case?
    Is this a common situation in your part of the world?

    "Possibly doing a quick search"? What the hell does that mean?!
    Basically the 3rd man on the hose line teams will do a quick primary search of each room as they stretch the line. Again, the information we have from the family is the house has been evacuated.

    Risking lives of firefighters when information relaible, credible information from the HOMEOWNER leads you to beleive that the house is empty makes no sense if conditions are unsafe. If conditions are safe enough to make entry, utlizing limited manpower to do a search when the HOMEOWNER tells you the house is empty makes no sense. If we don't have to outr limited initial personnel to search operations .. we'll use them on firefighting operations. We can use them on RIT. We do not have the manpower to assign tasks that, given reliable information from reliable sources, do not need to be done.

    How many of you have run into the described situation? I doubt it's very common.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 04-10-2007 at 09:07 AM.

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    4949 ..

    Both times we went interior ... surprise!

    Once the search team found the victim, the other time the victim was located by the fire attack team. One was a save. One wasn't.

    Niether time did we take the bystanders word for it, as they were simply passerbys, NOT the homeowner.

    A different situation. A different response.

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