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  1. #1
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    Default Attic Fire Attack

    Assume the following scenario.
    1. Attic fire in single story ranch house.
    2. No walk up stairs to attic, but there is either a set of pull down stairs or a hole in the ceiling with a cover allowing access into the attic.
    3. Upon arrival, fire is not through the roof, but burning in a 10 X 20 foot area immediately around the pull down stair/hole in ceiling.

    Questions:
    1. Access: is it best to access through the pull down stairs/hole in the ceiling? In essence, the hose crew will have to go through the fire to get into the attic, unless they bounce the stream off of the underside of the roof to knock down the fire before going into the attic. Or should the attack crew open up another hole away from the fire?

    2. Manpower: Considering the tight operating conditions of most holes/pull down stair access (or through the ceiling joists if you go that way), is it OK to send one firefighter into attic with the nozzle, with the second in visual and voice contact immediately below? Personally, I think it is better to send two up to work as a team, to help with maneuvering the hose and bringing a hook or other tool to ensure any pockets are opened up/extinguished. This may involve the nozzle man going up first, making a knockdown and then signaling to the back up man to enter the attic for assistance.

    Thanks for reading.
    Last edited by JD1234; 10-15-2007 at 09:26 PM.


  2. #2
    makes good girls go bad BLSboy's Avatar
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    PULL CEILING.

    5 ft dry wall hook with D handle on the end, and a 6ft Holliken Hook, NY Roof Hook end work beauties.

    Screw the "regular" pike poles, you just cant get the same "bite" as you would with a drywall hook, or NY roof hook
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  3. #3
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Most times, when pull down stairs are involved, we are using an attic ladder instead. We know the condition of our attic ladder.

    And I have no problem with 1 guy at the top of the ladder while the other guy is in the attic space itself.


    Also, single story ranch with attic fire, don't be afraid to open the roof.
    "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?

  4. #4
    Forum Member KEEPBACK200FEET's Avatar
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    Is there standing height in the attic? In my experience attic fire's can be wicked hot and dangerous if there is no floor in the attic. If I only had truss cords to walk on, I'd be weary about bringing both of us all the way up to begin with. I would have no problem as a nozzle man entering the space by myself if it were limited access. We too automatically use an attic ladder anytime that there are stairs involved. As long as I knew that my backup man was doing his job either at the access to the attic or on the ladder, then it'd be fine. My priority would be to shimmy myself up into the space, knock down the fire, and put it out. I'd use whatever the easiest way of doing this is.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Opening the roof. It goes without saying that you open the roof only above the fire, and not on the other side of the house while the fire is still burning. Right? I've never understood the theory of cutting "exploratory" holes to see if fire is burning in the attic on the opposite side of the house. The nozzle team should be able to determine if there is extension with the thermal imaging camera. Yet, I see plenty of fires where there are multiple holes cut in the roof in different locations.

  6. #6
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    We pull the ceiling and insulation down with a couple of hooks and hit it from below.

    The only reason this wouldn't work is if the attic floor has had plywood installed on it. If that's the case then you could pull the attic stairs down , set up the attic ladder , climb 2 steps up and hit it from there. I can't see sending a guy up into an attic that may only have 4 - 5 feet of head room.
    He will have no place to go if the attic flashes.

  7. #7
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    You have 2 options here in my opinon.

    1. Open the roof above the fire in the attic.

    2. I would go with this option, at least in my dept where we are thin on manpower. Screw putting someone up in the attic. Have your crew pull the handline into the hallway and let one man handle the line himself. Use 2 or 3 other FF's and pull the hell out of the ceilings. Pull the ceilings in the hallway and in the rooms on either side of the hallways. This way your nozzleman can put the fire out without trying to wrestle with the hose as he is in the attic or falling through the ceiling if he steps off a rafter. I truely believe that you can open a ceiling faster and put the fire out then sending someone up a ladder and through a small *** hole.

    Get back to the basics and open the house up!

  8. #8
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    Attack through the attic opening from below using an attic ladder. If you need (and you should) to vent I would see about opening the vent openings at each end of the roof. This will give you the venting you need on the fire as described. Any bigger, then cut the roof over the fire. While pulling ceilings if you have the man power start salvage operations. You will have to watch your wind speed and direction when opening the eve vents, may cause the fire to spread from one end to the other to rapidly. Once fire is knocked down set up PPV and use TIC to complete overhaul looking for those small embers that get under insulation and come back to life to bite you in the arse later on.

    T.J.

  9. #9
    Forum Member WBenner's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    Take a 1 3/4 Attack line with an attic ladder. One man stay at base of ladder while Pipeman goes up and attacks the fire. No need for firefighter going all the way up in the attick. Using short burst knock the firedown. At the same time have a crew ventilate the roof just above fire. The hot gases and smoke have to go somehwere. What about salvage the water that some just pour on needs to go somewhere aswell.

    Set the PPV fan up at the main door this will help in Ventilation.

  10. #10
    It looks hot in there PureAdrenalin's Avatar
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    1. Pull line
    2. Charge Line
    3. Vent above fire
    4. Pull ceiling
    5. Extinguish.
    6. Overhaul

    Does it really get harder than this? This is a simple scenario, where we need to do the same things we do at all fires.
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  11. #11
    Forum Member johnny46's Avatar
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    Pull some ceiling decently close the fire, throw up an attic ladder and put it the hell out.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD1234 View Post
    Assume the following scenario.
    1. Attic fire in single story ranch house.
    2. No walk up stairs to attic, but there is either a set of pull down stairs or a hole in the ceiling with a cover allowing access into the attic.
    3. Upon arrival, fire is not through the roof, but burning in a 10 X 20 foot area immediately around the pull down stair/hole in ceiling.

    Questions:
    1. Access: is it best to access through the pull down stairs/hole in the ceiling? In essence, the hose crew will have to go through the fire to get into the attic, unless they bounce the stream off of the underside of the roof to knock down the fire before going into the attic. Or should the attach crew open up another hole away from the fire?

    2. Manpower: Considering the tight operating conditions of most holes/pull down stair access (or through the ceiling joists if you go that way), is it OK to send one firefighter into attic with the nozzle, with the second in visual and voice contact immediately below? Personally, I think it is better to send two up to work as a team, to help with maneuvering the hose and bringing a hook or other tool to ensure any pockets are opened up/extinguished. This may involve the nozzle man going up first, making a knockdown and then signaling to the back up man to enter the attic for assistance.

    Thanks for reading.
    We would pull ceiling immediately with a d-handled rubbish hook and fight it from below with an 1 3/4" line. First, we'd pop a hole just inside the front door to insure we didn't have active fire burning immediately above us, then locate the seat of the fire and pop a larger hole (4x8) to extinguish it.

    Minimum teams of two persons and we likely fight it from below and not enter the actual attic space unless it was absolutely necessary. If unable to extinguish completely from below, in most cases a firefighter perched on attic ladder is capable of hitting the remaining hot spots.

    I have been on many attic fires over the years, they can be easily underestimated and require aggressive initial actions.
    Last edited by e46rick; 10-19-2007 at 11:40 AM.

  13. #13
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    if you are able to make a decent size up from the outside send a crew to open her up from the roof. That oughta give your guys underneath some "space" to work in there

    Heres a problem we encounter alot. Typically with an attic that has a scuttle for access, there will be alot of "decking" across the rafters for storage.

    Anyone have any tips when you shove through the ceiling and hit 1/2" plywood ?

  14. #14
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD1234 View Post
    Questions:
    1. Access: is it best to access through the pull down stairs/hole in the ceiling? In essence, the hose crew will have to go through the fire to get into the attic, unless they bounce the stream off of the underside of the roof to knock down the fire before going into the attic. Or should the attach crew open up another hole away from the fire?
    If the fire is in the attic, how are you surmising that the crew is going to "have to go through the fire." ITS IN THE ATTIC!!!

    Additionally, when you pull the stairs, if any fire comes down through the opening where the stairs just were,

    #1 - It won't be much.
    #2 - You have a hoseline. Spray the water there.

    Holy mackerel.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    If the fire is in the attic, how are you surmising that the crew is going to "have to go through the fire." ITS IN THE ATTIC!!!

    Additionally, when you pull the stairs, if any fire comes down through the opening where the stairs just were,

    #1 - It won't be much.
    #2 - You have a hoseline. Spray the water there.

    Holy mackerel.
    Umm, Memphis, with all due respect, I asked a question. Is the holy mackerel warranted?

    Maybe you didn't read my original post closely, and let me make it clearer. Upon arrival, it is clear that the area immediately above the pull down stairs is on fire. That would include the rafters, floor etc. Sure, a bounce of the stream off of the underside of the roof might knock down some of the fire, but if the contents on the floor around the pull down stairs are on fire, the nozzle man will have to either "go through the fire" or hold the nozzle over his/her head while ascending the ladder/stairs. Seems to me and the other posters here that pulling down the ceiling downstream from the fire and attacking it from there is the way to go.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeatherHed4Life View Post
    if you are able to make a decent size up from the outside send a crew to open her up from the roof. That oughta give your guys underneath some "space" to work in there

    Heres a problem we encounter alot. Typically with an attic that has a scuttle for access, there will be alot of "decking" across the rafters for storage.

    Anyone have any tips when you shove through the ceiling and hit 1/2" plywood ?
    That's a good question LeatherHed4Life. While not conventional, how about bringing the chain saw in to cut out the decking between the rafters? Better than ascending through a burning scuttle, no?

  17. #17
    Forum Member MasterMerlin's Avatar
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    We had a very simular fire last winter. The ceiling was 1/2" plywood with two layers of drywall as a fire break. The dwelling was a two story dormitory type structure with an attic containing the gas heating unit. The initial attempt to breach the ceiling did not work too well so we pulled the attic opening and hit it with the 1 3/4". This knocked the fire back and we were able to put the attic ladder into the opening and finish the job. Worked well for us.
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  18. #18
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    Anyone think of sticking a cellar nozzle through the ceiling and let it go? You'll be able to knock a lot down with that, then be able to visually check after a few minutes.

  19. #19
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    In this scenario...Is there a gable vent that could be opened up and the fire attacked from the side of the house, rather than through the interior?

    Depending on the size of the house and fire location in relation to the gable end and obstacles in the way...pull the vent, straight stream to darken down the fire, crew up an attic ladder or pulling the ceiling for overhaul.

    At least...it could be an option.

  20. #20
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    My attic floor is 1/2" plywood, glued and screwed down. Pulling the ceiling won't get you much access to the attic.

    Better than ascending through a burning scuttle, no?
    The stuff piled around the opening is not going to be that big a fire load that hitting it with water is not going to knock it down in the immediate area. You won't be going up through a conflagration. Hit it from below, move up a step, hit it again, move up a step, etc. It's not going to be that much fire.

    And a lot more effective/safe/efficient than trying to chainsaw openings above your head.


    Another possibility...stick a wide fog nozzle to knock down the area by the opening. You don't have to worry about steaming anyone as no one is up there. Short knock, then get up and put it out.
    "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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