1. #1
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    Default Somebody Help Me Here

    I just finished reading this story:

    Questions Follow Texas Blaze that Injured 6 Firefighters
    FRED DAVIS
    The Beaumont Enterprise (Texas)

    Dec. 20--The fire that injured six Beaumont firefighters Monday would have been attacked differently had the first trucks on scene known the occupants weren't home, Beaumont Fire Chief Pete Shelton said.

    "I can assure you it would have been handled from an exterior attack," Shelton said.

    Jack Maddox, Beaumont fire marshal, said neighbors told the first units arriving at 8:53 a.m. that a woman who baby-sits her grandson lived in the house and there was no reason for them not to be inside that morning.

    That prompted the firefighters to enter the house and perform a rescue operation.

    The grandmother, Nu Truong, and her 1-year-old grandson, Kevin, left the house at 8:30 a.m. to go to the store.

    "The two responsibilities for a firefighter are to save lives and fight fires," said Maddox, "and saving lives comes first."

    Beaumont fire officials also released a timeline of Monday's events, indicating that the first two units responded in just under six minutes to 2180 Neches St., despite receiving an initial address placing the fire six blocks away in the 1200 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.

    Maddox said a passing motorist called the fire in at 8:47 a.m. but gave her location instead of the fire's location.

    A neighbor called in the correct address at 8:50 a.m.

    Shelton said average response times for the 12 stations citywide is "about five minutes, maybe higher in some places."

    But the delay, which might or might not have added a minute or two to the response time, didn't lead to the flashover that fully ignited the house's front room in flames, according to Shelton.

    "No, I don't think so," he said.

    However, Jay Lowry, a former Charleston, S.C., firefighter and fire marshal who operates the Web site firefighterhourly.com, said time is a huge component when dealing with a flashover.

    "When you increase your response time, fuel is being burned," Lowry said, "and I mean couches, chairs, mattresses, etcetera.

    "If time didn't matter, we wouldn't see departments trying to reduce response times or cities building more stations."

    Shelton said the department is going to do everything it can "to make sure something like this doesn't happen again."

    Starting today, Maddox and Fire Captain Earl White will conduct interviews with the units and firefighters involved to get an exact account of what happened.

    "We want our guys to learn from this," Maddox said.

    Cody Schroeder, who was seriously injured Monday, remains in stable condition at UTMB in Galveston after receiving burns to 40 percent of his body.

    Maddox believes the 27-year-old will go back to firefighting duty once he's healed.

    "I'm fully confident of it; he's a good, strong guy."

    Schroeder, who joined the fire department in October 2000, lost a kidney in a training accident at the LIT fire training academy after falling from a ladder.

    Shelton said Schroeder showed no signs of being in pain Monday.

    "He's got a high tolerance level."
    If I read this correctly, the chief is saying; had the neighbors been out front of the house and stated "Nobody is home", they would have initiated an exterior attack and would not have attempted a primary search?

    Am I wrong in thinking that you fight the fire the same way regardless of what the neighbors say?

    Am I wrong in thinking "What would the Beaumont FD have done if nobody was out in front of the house"?

    Am I wrong in thinking if it was a fire worthy of exterior attack if no one was home then it was a fire worthy of exterior attack if somebody WAS home?

    Am I wrong in thinking that the Beaumont FD is being led by an idiot?
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    It is becoming more and more common to hear of departments that will not initiate an interior attack if there is no life safety risk. I think it can go to ridiculous extremes at times, but it is THEIR method, their city and their public they answer to.
    Drew Lyman,
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewOnFire View Post
    It is becoming more and more common to hear of departments that will not initiate an interior attack if there is no life safety risk. I think it can go to ridiculous extremes at times, but it is THEIR method, their city and their public they answer to.
    Great. But that doesn't answer any of my questions.

    Here's a new question. I have been beat up here because I don't think it is worth risking a life for the remote possibility that a skel is in an obviously vacant building. Moving beyind that, how would one tell if an obviously maintained and lived in house is occuppied or not? (Yes, the question is rhetorical.).
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    George.

    1. Correct.

    2. Correct.

    3. Correct.

    4. Correct.

    5. Absolutely.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    I don't understand why on a fire that they said they would not have gone in on if no one was home, was OK to send guys in to search without a hose.
    No one was inside after a search of the home, so a three-man suppression crew, which included Shroeder, began to attack the fire at the rear of the house.
    I think they have problems way in excess of low manpower.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingKiwi View Post
    George.

    1. Correct.

    2. Correct.

    3. Correct.

    4. Correct.

    5. Absolutely.
    Ditto! I concur!
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingKiwi View Post
    George.

    1. Correct.

    2. Correct.

    3. Correct.

    4. Correct.

    5. Absolutely.

    Yup.

    Just to add, the safety of the firefighters comes first. Then the occupants. If interior is able to be done then do it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingKiwi View Post
    George.

    1. Correct.

    2. Correct.

    3. Correct.

    4. Correct.

    5. Absolutely.
    Ok so the keyboard is definatly fried after it was submerged in a mouthful of Mt. Dew.


    That was F'ing HILARIOUS!


    By far the funniest thing I have seen in a long time.


    Thanks Kiwi.
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    OK, I'm missing something.

    I personally think that if conditions are favorable for an interior attack that can save a structure, do it. I didn't join the fire department for the excitement of medical calls.

    That said, why is it stupid to not conduct an interior attack on a structure, after a primary search has been done, and the house is found clear, IF that is your department's SOP?

    To me, what would be stupid is to break and bend your SOPs. If they say, "We don't enter a structure after life safety has been taken care of." Then to ignore that procedure is dangerous. It sets the standard then to bend or break any SOP that you feel is wrong.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by DrewOnFire; 12-20-2007 at 10:30 PM. Reason: grammar
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    The interesting thing about SOP's.

    They are a thinking persons guidline, and a maroons rules.

    Ever seen two fires exactly the same?
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingKiwi View Post

    Ever seen two fires exactly the same?

    Yes. At the burn building at the Academy. And that might be the problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingKiwi View Post
    The interesting thing about SOP's.

    They are a thinking persons guidline, and a maroons rules.

    Ever seen two fires exactly the same?
    Not saying that you shouldn't use tactics based on the unique problems faced at various fires.

    I'm not even defending an SOP that says "No interior attack on a house with no life safety issues." Personally I think that's a stupid rule.

    What I am saying that if your department says no to an interior attack under the circumstances given, then why is it stupid to follow that SOP?
    Drew Lyman,
    "Dear Chief, much has happened since we talked last..."

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    I have to further support the fact that this is pretty commonly taught risk management practice these days. Once again, often the difference between the more aggressive urban US depts, and the other 80% of North American FD's in existence.

    While it is sometimes debated here, I have seen the "Risk little to save little, Risk a lot to save a lot" theory taught as a cornerstone principle in most of my strategy and tactics training over the last decade. Based on many of the course I have attended, the Chief was right in line with the messaging.

    You don't have to agree, unless you want to work for him.
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    Let us look at the first two questions asked by George.

    If I read this correctly, the chief is saying; had the neighbors been out front of the house and stated "Nobody is home", they would have initiated an exterior attack and would not have attempted a primary search?
    So you believe bystanders 100% with what they tell you? What where the fire conditions in the structure, I defy you to find it stated anywhere what the state of the structure was on arrival at the house. Was it smoke filled? Fully involved? Venting?

    If the damn house is blowing flames out of every window and the roof are you going to commit your people? THAT is what a 360 degree size up is all about, or I thought it was.

    Am I wrong in thinking that you fight the fire the same way regardless of what the neighbors say?
    No he is not wrong, there is only ONE way to beat the fire, put more water on than heat being generated.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingKiwi View Post
    Let us look at the first two questions asked by George.



    So you believe bystanders 100% with what they tell you? What where the fire conditions in the structure, I defy you to find it stated anywhere what the state of the structure was on arrival at the house. Was it smoke filled? Fully involved? Venting?

    If the damn house is blowing flames out of every window and the roof are you going to commit your people? THAT is what a 360 degree size up is all about, or I thought it was.



    No he is not wrong, there is only ONE way to beat the fire, put more water on than heat being generated.
    I guess we didn't see eye to eye at first. Got your point now. The story said that they did do a primary search for victims. I suppose you could infer from the way the reporter makes it sound is that they wouldn't have searched if the neighbors told them it was empty?

    I don't think this is what the chief was saying, he was probably saying that after a search was conducted they'd have gone defensive.

    The reporter, who probably has no fire experience, was getting a story written about injured firefighters. The parts of an interview with the chief used to back the story are not the whole picture. The were just the bits that supported the point that a bunch of firefighters got injured.

    I guess. I dunno.
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    "Dear Chief, much has happened since we talked last..."

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    Arguing with people on the internet is like running in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still retarded.
    If you believe that, please leave this job now. Winning in the Special Olympics takes an effort and focus that most people could not comprehend giving of themselves.

    Arguing with people on the internet takes nothing more than exercising your finger muscles. Most people even leave their brains and heart behind.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    A Google news search of this incident revealed some interesting things:

    1. FH.com, shocking as this may be, put their own misleading headline on this story. The healdine on the story in the The Beaumont Enterprise was "Experts examine the what-ifs of house fire that hurt six Beaumont firefighters; w/VIDEO".

    2. Shelton was the Interim Fire Chief and he is retiring Jan. 2008.

    3. There are contentious contract negotiations going on now with e BFD and they are using this fire as a means to garner public sympathy for their side. Chief Shelton states in this article http://www.southeasttexaslive.com/si...d=512588&rfi=6, that additional staffing would not have changed the outcome.

    4. There is a short video clip of the flashover at http://www.southeasttexaslive.com/si...d=512588&rfi=6 and an explanation of the video by a DC at http://www.kbmt12.com/news/local/12647741.html.

    Please understand that I am not criticizing the tactics used to fight the fire or the fire fighters who were involved. It certainly does not appear that this was a fire that warranted an exterior attack. Although I hate to judge a fire based on a one-dimensional view, this looked like it was nothing other than a R & C fire. Of course you are going to go in and get it.

    My problem is with a Chief who, when faced with a fire where several of his fire fighters are seriously injured, makes comments that sound, on their face, as if he is throwing his IC under the bus.

    The only place the BFD can go from here is up when this guy retires.

    I also pray for the recovery of these guys.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingKiwi View Post
    George.

    1. Correct.

    2. Correct.

    3. Correct.

    4. Correct.

    5. Absolutely.
    Are you saying that I am correct that I am wrong? Or just that my thoughts on this are correct? I don't know whether to be mad or thankful.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    George.

    Yes yes yes no yes um right, no yes your wrong, right, yes.

    Absolutely.

    I will sit on the fence now after my first response, which I thought was clear enough to start a bloody revolution ( Paul Revere flashbck, never mind).

    Absolutely.

    I think, although after taking legal council from my cat I might have to rescind this complete statement.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    It's hard to tell what the conditions were on arrival, how involved that structure was at any point..

    Sometimes it's a tough go/no go decision with no clear answer. Surely if you arrive and think it's one of "those", you have people telling you that occupants are trapped, AND you think it's possible that they are not already dead... well, you might give it a try.

    If the neighbors say noone is home... I don't treat it as gospel, but it's another piece of the puzzle. If the home is big enough, perhaps entry can be made on individual rooms (VES) or through a rear door... while the attack is being performed.

    From the very brief and limited view of the video, I think this was worthy of an interior attack... a search without a hoseline, probably not.

    It's tough, and I think that all of us will say that if we think we can save a life, then we'll go the extra step.

    As for the Chief's comments. It seems that there may be other non-firefighting things going on.

    I also agree that vacant buildings pose one of the greatests challenges to an IC. I drove by one today and as I was thinking of the strategy/tactics I would use at this vacant home, I also considered the question of vagrants (we don't have a large population of them, if any)....
    Last edited by ChiefKN; 12-21-2007 at 07:57 AM.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    There is a LOT that we do NOT know about this fire, and the video only made things worse.
    I didn't see what sized hose line they initially pulled, whether the PPV fan in the front yard was used improperly, etc etc. They are too many what ifs to be second guessing, and without more info, all we could do is speculate.


    That being said, if the Chief wants to do an EXTERIOR attack, that means, at least for us, conditions inside the structure are incompatable with life. Meaning, NO ONE is alive.
    So why send people into that enviroment in the first place?
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    Always love watching departments yank that damn fan out of the doorway when sh1t goes wrong.
    Just another one of the 99%ers looking up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Yes. At the burn building at the Academy. And that might be the problem.
    Excellent post.. and I 100% agree. when I went through I was like, um, this is great to feel the heat and all, and figure out who can take it and whatnot BUT.

    What about changing conditions?

    What about radio communication(s)?

    What about chaos on the fireground, mutual aid, etc...

    I have learned so much in my first year of responding then 10 years going to the "burn building".

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    The way I read it, it sounds like the IC was faced with a bystander who had intimate knowledge of the family and gave indication that it was highly probable that they were inside. Faced with this information, the IC may have committed to interior ops, using the "Risk alot to save alot" theory. We, atleast I, do not know the conditions on arrival and whether this was a good decision or not.

    And I couldn't agree more with HWOODS!!! Concrete, hay and pallets will come back to bite us, though maybe not as fast as old houses and gas will!

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    When did we all become scientific researchers with all these theories?? The only theory I was ever taught was how many gallons of water were needed to put the fire out. Which I would hope is our job. Maybe I'm not in line with this new "trend" to rename everything or come up with catch phrases.

    Which leads me to ask, why would any fire service "leader" question the actions of his IC? If my man is trying to fight the governing body for more manpower by threating to go defensive all the time that will back fire quickly. If I were the homeowner of this structure and I heard the fire department say they would have made a bare minimum effort to save my property, I'd be "slightly" upset. There are ways to fight for more man power out there then empty threats or hollow promises. Certainly better ways than throwing another firefighter under the bus for making a decision based on the evidence before him.

    The burn building thing? Maybe it is just my warped thinking, but I was taught that the burn building is NOT there to teach us fire. It is there to teach us the basics or reinforce the basics. It is not there to teach us how a fire moves or grows, or how it will react exposed to item 'x'. It is there to give us the chance to move hose, communicate in a smoky environment and give us a basic understanding of what we are getting into. It is the job of your officer and senior firefighters to teach the younger members the chaos of the actual fire ground. But that is just me.
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    'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.

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