Pasco County, Florida Two Alarm House Fire

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 - 3:09 pm - Dispatch, while announcing the call, advised reported explosions inside the occupied house.

The incident was located in a rural setting of Engine 27's area on a ten acre tract. Personnel knew that the homes in this area were custom built and many went over 5000 sq. ft.

An additional engine and a larger capacity tanker were requested as units approaching the scene.

The first arriving unit advised a large residential 2 story home with heavy fire.

The home was closer to 3000 square feet and presented several obstacles for firefighters:

  • Heavy fire in the two car attached garage that contained one car.
  • Two geriatric residents requiring treatment for minor burns.
  • Fire already extending into the house and concealed spaces.
  • Set back off the road with limited access necessitating a courtyard lay over 300'.
  • A roof of two stories on a 12 x 12 pitch. Part of the residence was a high cathedral ceiling and part had a second floor bedroom.
  • A void space concealed air conditioning ducts that ran the length of the house.
  • No water supply within two miles.

Command was established. E27 Captain John Himmel and crew deployed a court yard lay with 2- 1 3/4" lines attached. E24 Captain Buzze and his crew deployed a second court yard also with 2- 1 3/4 lines. One of these had to be broken down and the two lines used as one long line to gain access to the second floor.

E36 Captain Dave Dechant and crew provided additional manpower.

D/E Frank McBee was assigned Water Supply Sector. He had a 4" supply line laid approximately 400' from the entrance to the property to the closest point where tankers could supply water and then turn around to depart for refill.

Command recognized how labor intensive the operation would be and requested a second alarm. Upon evaluating the potential for not stopping the spread of the fire in the void spaces and possibly turning into a defensive operation an additional large capacity tanker was requested.

Crews from E27 and E24 hit the main body of fire quickly and then entered the main house through a door on side D. R36 crew deployed a third line to Side C to cut off fire extending into the first floor of the house.

The photos will show how the construction of the house allowed the fire to enter the void spaces of the air conditioning duct and the small air space between the ceiling and the cathedral ceiling.

Interior crews were faced with high heat and had difficulty finding access to the void spaces. At one point, well in to the operation, the second floor bedroom lit up, having been ignited from fire hidden in the soffit.

B/C2 Tim Fussell assumed Command and B/C3 Greg Gude established accountability sector.

While the house sustained heavy damage and could be totaled, it was thought that upon arrival that it might be a surround and drown operation.

The aggressive attack by crews allowed many things inside the house to be salvaged for the homeowners.

Crews worked hard and made a very good stop.