This trailer is giving firefighters every ‘sign’ possible that it’s dangerous to approach. The driver should be questioned immediately about the contents of the trailer. Use extreme caution when opening rear doors of tractor trailers using the reach of the longest pike pole. For suppression, open the rear doors and consider using the tank water of 2 engines side by side, blocking off all traffic, using a monitor to direct over 1000 gallons into the trailer. When numerous placards identifying hazardous materials are present, request the hazmat team.


When you arrive on the scene of a tractor trailer fire well involved, you should immediately request police for traffic control and upgrade the assignment. Remember the rescue of trapped occupants is your top priority. Check for placards on the trailer or ask the driver what the truck is carrying.

The VIDEO above was a fully involved bobtail truck fire and running fuel fire that resulted in igniting a nearby commercial trash compactor. Prepare for foam operations, and request additional companies for speedy dry, dry chem extinguishers and water supply. Dyke, divert, suppress, and protect exposures when threatened by running fuel. On approach, cool the fuel tanks, sweep away any running fuel, and be aware of tires exploding.

Apparatus placement is extremely important considering these fires are usually on highways/main roads with heavy traffic. Park uphill, upwind and block or divert traffic if possible. Make sure you stabilize the tractor trailer if it can safely be done by simply chocking the wheels. READ MORE…


Have you ever thought about how many propane tanks are located in your response area? Considering propane tanks supply LPG to barbecue grills, food trucks, forklifts, heaters, cars, buses, sanitation trucks, RV’s, and handheld propane torches, there may be hundreds of propane cylinders in your response district. Small 20 lb tanks are commonly used for gas grills on residential properties, while larger LPG storage tanks are located at commercial businesses, hardware stores, gas stations, industrial areas, and underground.

Every firefighter should be familiar with the dangers or propane, NOT just company officers and members of the hazmat team. The nozzleman on the engine company is the one who is closest to burning vehicles, dumpsters, and buildings. It’s especially important for the urban fireman to become familiar with the properties of propane, and how to deal with leaks vs fires involving tanks and cylinders.

What is propane?

Propane and butane are the two major LPG gases extracted and used in the gas industry. About 70% of propane is processed from natural gas. Propane is colorless and odorless in its natural state, but a commercial odorant is added so it can be detected if it leaks. The most common used odorant is ethyl mercaptan.

LP-gases belong to a family of chemical compounds known as alkane hydrocarbons, meaning they are made up of hydrogen and carbon atoms only. Propane is 1.5 times heavier than air. The combustible materials in propane are carbon and hydrogen (hydrocarbons). The oxygen needed to burn propane vapor is obtained from the air. Air is made up of 20% oxygen, 79% nitrogen and 1% other gases. Any ignition source must provide enough heat to the mixture of fuel and oxygen to raise the temperature of the propane to its ignition temperature, which is between 920°F and 1,120°F. The flammable limits (explosive range) for propane: LEL 2.15% UEL 9.60%


When responding to a reported LPG barbecue grill fire involving a propane tank, the initial company officers concerns should be exposures, and the possibility of a BLEVE. Upon arrival, try to determine what’s burning, where it’s burning, whether the relief valve has activated, exposure issues, and the size of the tank. This will help determine the initial actions on apparatus placement, strategy and tactics. The gas grill fire may turn out to be a grease fire or food burning with no threat to the propane tank. It’s possible the hose leading to the tank regulator may be burning and the flame is being fed by the propane from the tank. These can easily be handled by extinguishing the fire with an ABC fire extinguisher, water can, removing the oxygen by closing the lid of the grill, or closing the cylinder valve supplying the tank (righty-tighty). Stretch a handline to protect exposures such as exterior siding, overhead awnings, or a deck. Use a 30° fog pattern in the vapor space of the propane tank if the cylinder is threatened by flame impingement.

REMEMBER: Never extinguish an unisolated pressure fed flammable gas fire unless the fuel source can be isolated. Leaking gas can migrate away from the container and may find another ignition source.

If there’s no fire visible and it’s only an LPG leak (detected by smell of ethyl mercaptan odorant) eliminate any sources of ignition (pilot burner, cigarettes, lighter, electric motors, switches, flares, static discharges, cell phones) evacuate the area, and ventilate nearby structures using PPV. Use a CGI (Combustible Gas Indicators) to determine the level of flammable vapors in the area, determine the source, and control the release. Take readings in nearby structures and basements as a precaution. REMEMBER: Propane is heavier than air and will settle in low areas. (Propane vapor density is 1.52 at 60°F.)

TIP: Propane flammable range is 2.15 – 9.60. Each cubic foot of liquid propane will boil off 270 cubic feet of propane vapor.

Any decision to approach a propane tank showing direct flame impingement on its vapor space must be made on a case-by-case basis after evaluating the hazards and risks, and determining if an adequate water supply has been established. If you arrive to hear a jet engine sound, evacuate the area, stretch a line, and prepare to take cover. The relief valve has activated and a high pressure flame should be visible. Most likely the cylinder valve connection is cross-threaded or leaking. Any flame impingement on the vapor space will heat the propane tanks shell; the tank will have to be cooled to prevent a BLEVE. From a safe area such as the corner of the home or a garage, wearing full PPE, cool the cylinder with a line before approaching to shutoff the flow of propane gas, or play it safe and just cool the tank and let the LPG burn off. Again, decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis as tanks can fail within minutes of direct flame impingement.


Firefighters should be aware that a functioning PRV (Pressure Relief Valve) on a burning propane tank is not a reliable indication that the tank is safe to approach or a reliable indicator of when or if the tank may fail.

TIP: A propane tank contains liquid and vapor. Fire heats the tank shell in the vapor space area more rapidly than the liquid area.  By the time steel reaches 1,800°F it has lost 90% of its strength. A propane tank will eventually relieve pressure either through a split in the tank in form of a jet flame, or the container fails. In most cases, the PRV will function early in the fire. If the valve handle has melted away, a pair of vise grips can be used to shut the valve, BUT it would be much safer to just let the gas burn off while cooling the tank from a safe distance.


This propane tank fire was caused by a cross threaded hose connection. The leaking gas caught fire and raged around the tank outlet. The tank was connected to a grill that was up against the home causing the siding to melt. An 1 3/4 hoseline with a fog nozzle should be used to go back and forth cooling the tank and extinguishing the exposed siding of the house until a second line is in service. If upon arrival to a gas grill propane tank fire with exposure to the home you notice the relief valve is activated and the jet engine sound is present, KEEP BACK a good distance and cool the tank from an area of protection such as the side of a house, behind a garage or large vehicle. If the home is starting to catch fire, go for a 2 1/2 line for more reach from the safer distance. Upgrade the incident to a full structure assignment and request Hazmat response.

TACTICAL OBJECTIVES: The primary tactical objective is to cool the outside of the portable cylinder protecting the shell and reduce the pressure to the point that the pressure relief valve closes and the cylinder valve can be manually closed. The secondary objective is to protect exposures, extinguish any structure fires, check for extension, and monitor nearby structures for propane gas.

TIP: Propane pressure regulators are designed to control propane vapor pressure. They reduce the higher gas vapor pressure inside the storage container to a lower and more constant pressure, which is necessary to operate gas appliances like heaters, stoves, safely and efficiently. NFPA 58 requires the use of two-stage regulator systems for most fixed installations in buildings. NFPA also requires that all 20lb cylinders be equipped with an OPD (Overfill Protection Device).


Vehicles: Propane is often transported via railcars and delivery trucks. Other vehicle uses are LPG vehicles, forklifts, buses, food trucks, and RV’s. LPG powered passenger vehicles must have their PRV’s vented to the outside of the vehicle. They are required by NFPA 58 to be identified with a diamond shaped label on the lower right rear of the vehicle with the letters “PROPANE” on the silver or white reflective badging.

First arriving officers should immediately suspect and be aware of propane tanks on RV’s, forklifts, and food trucks. Transport trucks with large storage tanks are obvious, and LPG passenger vehicles have badging placards on the back (pic above). Some vehicles could have 20 lb LPG tanks located in the trunk, or in the bed of pickup trucks. Unsuspecting firemen may be approaching a dangerous situation if they’re not aware of hidden propane tanks being heated during a vehicle fire. One sign is an activated relief valve or pressurized flame with a loud jet engine sound. Like any modern day vehicle fire, be cautious when approaching vehicle fires. If the occupant is present, ask him/her if there are any gasoline/propane tanks or any other hazardous materials in the trunk.

If called to investigate an odor of propane gas in a parking garage or parking lot, check to see if there are any LPG vehicles. Once identified, use CGI’s to investigate the source and obtain readings. Evacuate people from the area, control ignition sources, identify the source of the leaking propane, and stop the leak if it can safely be done. The fuel tank will usually be in the trunk and will need to be opened to access the tank valves and fittings. DISCONNECT THE BATTERY before you open the trunk. The contact switch for the truck light is a potential source of ignition.

If the LPG powered vehicle is heavily involved in fire, prepare for a possible BLEVE. Evacuate the area, request police for traffic control and from a maximum and safe distance, protect any exposures from the vehicle fire or pressurized flame coming from the vehicle (although rare, the PRV can fail). When the PRV is properly activated, it should not be an indicator that a BLEVE will not occur. After a risk/benefit analysis, unless there’s an occupant trapped in the burning vehicle or in immediate danger, let the LPG burn off; the vehicle can be replaced.


How many times during an entire career will the average firefighter respond to a propane leak or fire involving a forklift? These are extremely rare incidents, but they do happen. First arriving crews must quickly and carefully determine whether or not the propane tank is involved, rescue priorities, exposure problems, evacuation, and requesting additional resources if needed.

Forklifts are powered by motor fuel service propane cylinders that are usually configured to supply liquid propane to the engine rather than the vapor. They can have as many as five openings in the service end of the cylinder. Fittings may be threaded or flanged. Each service valve opening is marked for either vapor or liquid service. Most cylinders are equipped with a PRV (Pressure Relief Valve) set to function at 375 psi. If the forklift is on fire and the tank is threatened by heat or flame exposure, stretch two handlines and cool the tank while extinguishing any fire involving the forklift. Wet any exposure combustibles if necessary. Keep a safe distance, evacuate any workers nearby and let the LPG burn off while cooling tank from maximum distance. Extinguish the fire involving the forklift (NOT THE TANK!) and apply a 30° fog at the vapor space for several minutes before making any decision to approach and close the tank supply. Contact the local propane marketer for technical assistance in removing and disposing the cylinder.

TIP: Motor fuel cylinders can rupture under fire conditions even if the PRV (Pressure Relief Valve) is not functioning.

Dumped Tanks: In urban areas, 20 lb propane cylinders are often dumped in alleys, dumpsters and vacant lots. Be suspect of tanks or disposed cylinders in dumpsters, garages, sheds, and even basements during structure fires.

Firefighters arriving to a dumpster fire should assume that hazardous materials may be present and approach with caution. If you hear hissing sounds coming from a well-involved commercial dumpster, it might be a relief valve blowing off. Although propane emergencies and BLEVE’s are rare, preparing for them by being proactive can save firefighters from injuries.

Close Call: Watch Propane Explosion During Fire In Maine-Click Here.

This explosion engulfed a forklift with the operator barely escaping with his life. See the full story and more video at The Blaze.


Above: The first due engine found a fully involved fire in a camper trailer with propane tanks venting and fire extending to the garage. Firemen were able to quickly control fire and extinguish the fire approximately 20 minutes after arrival. Quick action by fire department personnel prevented the fire from extending to the residence, and the possibility of an explosion of the propane tanks.


Be careful when approaching a fire involving an RV. The propane tanks can be anywhere, including under the vehicle. Use caution and locate them to see if the relief valve has activated, or fire is threatening the tanks.

DO NOT always assume that the activation of a relief valve will prevent a BLEVE. See VIDEO here.

Sources: Propane Emergencies 3rd Edition  UrbanFireTraining


When it comes to elevator jobs in the fire service, firemen are usually called upon to remove passengers who are stuck in a stalled elevators, or control the elevator during a fire or alarm activation. But once in a while a rare event occurs involving the elevator or the EMR that we weren’t expecting. Below are some of those events:


ELEVATOR CRUSH: According to the Daily 49er, the campus newspaper at Cal State University Long Beach, Annette Lujan, 47, of Huntington Beach, California, was killed around 9 a.m. Tuesday while trying to escape a stuck elevator. Lujan was on her way to work at the Office of University Research in the Foundation Building when the elevator became stuck between floors. Lujan apparently attempted to pry the doors open and climb up to the next floor to escape, when the elevator suddenly and unexpectedly moved down, crushing her. Click here for the full story.


SMOKE CONDITION INCIDENT: After arriving to a high rise building for an alarm activation, a mechanical odor was present on the first floor. The fire alarm panel indicated a smoke detector activation in the subdivision and the EMR. When we descended the stairs and opened the door, the hallway was filled with smoke. The smoke had a fireworks odor and was traced directly to the EMR. The elevator machine room had a hydraulic reservoir which was smoking from being overheated, possibly from an overheated sump pump or motor. When hydraulic fluid reaches 180 degrees, it starts overheating which caused a smoke condition in the building. The power was shut down, elevator repair and building maintenance notified. After ventilating the hallway area the alarm was reset.

Click here for an article with a similar incident in Amarillo Texas.


ELEVATOR MOTOR FIRE: Elevator motor fire temporarily disrupts Black Friday shoppers.

Black Friday shoppers were evacuated from Sears and other businesses at Century III Mall in West Mifflin after an elevator motor caught fire.

A large amount of smoke was reported in the mall shortly before 9 a.m. The fire was reported by a maintenance worker who was servicing the elevator, authorities said. The worker called for help when he noticed heat coming from a door to the elevator’s workings. c

Click here to read the full article.


SHUNT TRIP ACTIVATION INCIDENT: Not all firefighters know what the blinking fire helmet on the elevator control panel means; they should! It means do NOT use the elevator, or get off the elevator immediately. Even if you are in phase 2 and believe you have total control of the elevator, you don’t. If the fireman helmet starts blinking it could trap members in the elevator. The helmet is flashing because a shunt trip breaker has activated, which shuts down the power to the elevator even if you are in phase 2 operation. If there’s fire or smoke in the shaft, you will have to force your way out. When a smoke/heat detector in the EMR (Elevator Machine Room) or the hoistway activates prior to the activation of the sprinkler head, or if the systems detects water flow from a discharged head, a signal is sent to the shunt trip. This means there is fire, smoke or water in the EMR or hoistway. Take the stairs and notify the IC via radio that there’s been a shunt trip activation and the elevators are not to be used.

March 2012: Arriving to a twin tower high rise residential building complex for a working fire in an apartment of the West building, a water main break was occurring in the East building. The fire began on the third floor of the West Tower around 3:45 p.m., activating the building’s smoke alarm. The East Tower suffered a simultaneous water main break, causing gallons of water to flow into the elevator shafts and down to the plaza level.

Arriving firefighters found heavy flames in the West Tower apartment as water flooded the elevator shafts and knocked out the electricity. The shunt trip was activated as was the blinking fireman helmet. Water cascaded down the hoistway filling the shaft with water. Had firefighters been on this elevator they could have been stuck inside. Luckily the fire was on the 3rd floor, not the 17th or 18th floor, so they were using the stairs.

Click here for the story.


An elevator equipment room on the roof of the historic Pioneer Endicott building in downtown St. Paul started on fire Tuesday.

Smoke started billowing from the top of the building around 12:15 p.m. and flames were visible. But the fire was extinguished within half an hour. The 127-year-old building, which was recently restored, contains 234 apartments.

“The fire damaged a part of the roof structure and there was some water damage to the building’s interior,” Mike Zipko, a representative for Pioneer Endicott Buildings, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, one firefighter apparently suffered a back injury while on scene. All of the residents were able to safely evacuate the building.”


FAILURE OF THE DOOR GIBS: Police rescued an 11-year-old boy who fell three floors down an elevator shaft. Most likely horsing around, one of the boys hit the elevator hoistway door with such force breaking the door gibs and falling in the shaft. This is a common problem happening all over the US.  Click here for the story.

Visit the “door gibs” section on the elevator rescue page at UrbanFireTraining.Com to see more door gibs failures and other freak accidents involving elevators.

Be prepared for those rare event elevator calls. Know the main components of an elevator, especially interlocks, door restrictors, safety circuits, door gibs, power shutoffs and car door operators. You just never know when you’re going to get that call!


Why are meters exploding off houses by the 100’s at a time? Why are fires happening no matter where smart/digital meters are being installed?

The situation with smart meter fires is worse than we thought — and now we know why. This new investigative video tells all.


In August 1996, a deputy chief in a New Jersey department responded to a fire in a fast food restaurant. All involved reported during the subsequent investigation that it was “just a routine fire.” Per the report, the fire started in the flame broiler and spread to the fat fryer. It spread through the exhaust fan and ductwork to the roof, and upon the first engine’s arrival, that it did have visible fire on the roof.

The deputy chief responded from home to the scene. He was seen outside of the building, near the back door when a large cloud of smoke from the fire banked down toward him. He was not wearing an SCBA. He later reported he inhaled some of the smoke, held his breath and walked out of the cloud. He was immediately attended to by a BLS crew on scene and rapidly transported to the hospital. At the hospital he was in severe distress, and almost needed to be placed on a ventilator. However, he improved and was discharged after two days. Ten days after the incident, he was at home when he collapsed. EMS found him to be in cardiac arrest, and efforts to resuscitate him were not successful. The medical examiner reported that the cause of death was “marked tracheobronchial inflammation, alveolar hemorrhage and pulmonary edema due to smoke inhalation containing phosgene.” Phosgene? Where did that come from? Isn’t phosgene some old chemical weapon?


Immediately after the incident, the department initiated an investigation into this “routine fire.” What was found was that the fire spread to the roof through the exhaust ductwork above the hamburger broiler, where it was drawn into the rooftop AC unit. The automatic fire suppression had activated but was ineffective in extinguishing the fire because the grease buildup in the ductwork blocked one of the dispensing nozzles which resulted in rapid fire spread. The heat burst the cooling coils releasing Freon gas (12 lbs) into the fire that thermally decomposed into acid and phosgene gases. The toxic gases were drawn into the building and mixed with smoke and gases from the fire which vented out of the rear of the building where the chief had been standing.

This fire fueled by grease in the hood and ductwork eventually spread to a rooftop air conditioning unit and a hose containing Freon 22 that had ruptured. (There were no devices to shut down the AC unit during fire) When this substance (chlorodifluromethane) is exposed to heat and decomposes, several substances including hydrofluoric and hydrochloric acid, chlorine gas and phosgene are produced. Phosgene is a toxic gas, considered a pulmonary irritant. Its structure includes a carbon, oxygen and two chlorine molecules. It was used in World War I as a chemical weapon.

Today, exposure can occur in the manufacture of dyes, resins, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. It is also created in the heating and combustion of chlorinated organic compounds. This is how this chemical was found on our “routine” fireground.

Phosgene is slowly dissolvable in water. This means that when it is inhaled, it does not dissolve in the mucus membranes of the airway quickly, so it can travel into the lower airways. If it was rapidly dissolvable, it would do so in the upper airways and its effects would occur there. Once it dissolves, it turns into carbon dioxide and hydrochloride acid in a process called hydrolysis. The hydrochloric acid causes inflammation and death of cells in the lower airways and the lung itself.

Who would’ve though that a fire in a fast food restaurant had phosgene present? Do we even consider HVAC fires as dangerous?

Related: A year after the above incident, 2 firefighters were injured from exposure to a refrigerant gas while responding to a man who had reported trouble breathing. The man had cut coolant lines to remove a compressor from his old refrigerator so it would be lighter and easier to move out of the apartment. When the coolant lines were cut, it had released sulfur dioxide, which was used as a refrigerant prior to 1950. Sulfur dioxide is a very toxic, irritating gas with an odor similar to burning sulfur. Inhalation can be deadly; fortunately for these 2 firefighters they are alive, but still have difficulty breathing after a few weeks of skin irritation, blurred vision, rash, coughing, nose bleeds and breathing difficulty.

Again, who would have thought?  Below, Milwaukee FD hazmat team remove a refrigerator from the University of Wisconsin.


On Friday, July 14, 2000, a refrigerator began leaking sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas when an employee accidentally damaged the freezer coil while defrosting the unit.


Firefighter killed at dumpster fire.

LODD report


The fire started in the early afternoon, sending up billowing clouds of thick black smoke which could be seen from miles around. Firemen were in attendance shortly after 1pm, and were able to extinguish the flames within the hour.

George Dalmon, who was in Hove Town Hall at the time of the fire told the Brighton Argus: “There was big black smoke billowing out, it looks quite major. Everyone has been evacuated out of the building. Somebody said something about it being a solar panel.”

A woman passer-by told reporters: “There’s lots of acrid smoke which is so bad that lots of passers-by are covering their mouths. The smoke seemed to be coming from the back of the building. You can see the smoke from at least half a mile away. It’s thick black smoke, it’s got to be quite a substantial fire.”

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said the Town Hall is currently undergoing renovations, and that consequently only a few staff and building contractors were inside at the time. They added that everyone was evacuated immediately with no casualties.

“The source of the fire is believed to be an electrical fault with a solar panel on the roof,” they said, adding “An investigation is underway. Brighton & Hove City Council will check all solar panels on all council buildings following this incident.” READ MORE…





Fire escapes have saved many lives over the past 100 years. They are definitely more dangerous nowadays because of age, neglect and corrosion, but some fire escapes are still in good condition and require annual or five year inspections. Most fire escapes are constructed of iron or steel and range from 35 to over 100 years old. They are common in older residential and commercial structures, especially taxpayers and multi-families.

Many fire departments in large urban areas still use fire escapes for entry, rescue, ventilation, portable standpipe operations, egress and access to upper floors. Due to safety concerns, some fire departments prohibit members from using fire escapes altogether, but that doesn’t mean their members shouldn’t be familiar with them. READ MORE…


Elevator rescue assignments are common calls for departments with numerous mid-rise and high-rise occupancies. The fire department is dispatched for elevator calls involving passengers stuck in the elevator, medical emergencies, power outages, pins and crush injuries. Most elevator incidents are routine “stuck in the box” calls requiring the power shutdown to the stalled elevator and a safe method of removal. But what about those rare occurrences involving elevators? All firemen should be prepared by having some basic knowledge of elevators and safety procedures, especially if being assigned to a support role. READ MORE…


Fires in parking garages are low frequency events, but when they do happen, we want to be prepared Most fires in parking garages are vehicles burning inside. These PG fires can be difficult and will have some structure fire similarities. When one or more vehicles are burning inside of a fire-resistive structure, it requires a structure assignment response. If a single engine company dispatched to a reported vehicle fire with no additional information, they may arrive to find a few heavily involved vehicles with exposure on an upper deck of a parking garage. More resources are going to be needed.

Fires in parking garages don’t always involve a burning vehicle, as electrical fires can also occur in parking garages and originate in storage areas, mechanical rooms, EMR’s, offices or solar panels. Additional incidents from EMS, stuck elevators, burst pipes to natural gas odors will also require a response from the fire department. When attempting to locate the source of a natural gas or propane odor inside of a parking garage, check for parked CNG/LPG vehicles nearby. They require badging on the vehicle to identify CNG/LPG. It’s possible that a release is coming from a cylinder in the trunk area.

When engine companies are dispatched to vehicle fires, it’s important for them to request additional manpower once it’s determined to be inside, or on top of a parking garage. They should be familiar with the protection systems that are in place, the FDC location, and any other attached occupancy present. Knowing if the parking garage is under a residential high-rise, at a train station, or attached to a mall entrance will tell company officers what other problems to expect when arriving on scene. Most parking garage fires will have vehicles burning inside of them so in addition to your :parking garage concerns such as standpipe locations, access, location of fire, wind conditions, reflex time and vehicle exposures, you will still have your vehicle fire hazards to consider such as compressed air cylinders, airbags, struts, batteries, magnesium, and running fuel fires. Always wear your SCBA and face piece when fighting vehicle fires whether inside of a PG structure or on the street.

Not all parking garages are fire resistive. Some will require a defensive attack.\

A single vehicle fire with easy access will not be a difficult job compared to several vehicles on an upper deck.

This parking garage had 8 cars burning inside at Disney.

REMEMBER A vehicle burning inside of a fire-resistive parking garage is just as dangerous than a room and contents fire in a fire-resistive high-rise apartment. The dangers with an apartment fire are life hazards, limited ventilation, and high heat from confinement. The dangers with a vehicle fire in a parking garage are low ceilings, running fuels, exploding struts, airbags, batteries and magnesium. Both fires will also have extended reflex times. Click here for more…NEW SITE LINK

Video  —  Posted: April 18, 2015 in Suppression, Vehicle Fires


RAILROAD EMERGENCIES: Fire departments respond to a variety of railroad emergencies at the platform, along the tracks and inside of the train station. Companies can be dispatched for train fires, EMS calls, alarm activations, pin/crush extrication, suicides, derailments, elevator/escalator rescue, gas/electric incidents, bomb threats/terrorism and structure assignments within the station or attached occupancies such as parking garages or restaurants. READ MORE…

SCENARIO: You’re in your 5th year as a firefighter and it’s your first time acting as company officer on Engine 4. At 18:15 hours you are dispatched along with another engine and ladder company to a reported “train fire” on the platform at your local train station. You arrive to find this:

1. As the first due company officer, what are your initial actions for this incident?

2. What are your strategy and tactics for this incident?

(Please use the comment section)

Watching this video, you knew it was coming. The fire was burning the service line on arrival and you knew it was coming down.

Good job quickly setting up the mercury gun for an exterior attack, which looked like the only option. The apparatus placement was clean and they set up lines away from the energized service line.

AGAIN: You know right away that it’s a matter of time before it comes down. At 3:45 it starts. The IC, safety officer, pump operator, someone watch the service lines. If this had rested on the fence it would have energized the entire front yard fence putting firemen in contact with the fence in danger.

First due company officers AND DRIVERS seeing fire venting out of the front windows should ALWAYS watch the service line on approach (and when near the front of the structure making entry). If an energized service line makes contact with the 1st due engine, it’s OUT OF SERVICE and water application will be delayed. Take the few extra seconds on approach!

Don’t forget the service lines in the rear…

A 2 alarm fire ripped through an apartment building on the 500 block of Bellevue Ave in Trenton, N.J. The fire started in a 3rd floor apartment, extended into the cockloft and through the roof.

Video from the rear of the building.

April 8, 2015
Captain Dern had a restful evening after surgery performed on Tuesday, April 7th.  His pain is well controlled.  The surgeons are planning for another surgery later this week.   Captain Dern was able to visit briefly with fellow firefighters this morning and appreciates the overwhelming support.  The family would like to thank publically “Community Tissue Services” for their donation for yesterday’s surgery.  Fire Departments across the country continue to hold fundraisers in support of the Dern family.

Support: Click here for updates on Captain Dern and make a donation.

Video  —  Posted: April 8, 2015 in News

WESTLAKE – Two people were rescued from a burning six-story commercial building in the Westlake district, authorities said today.

The man and woman were rescued by ladder from the fifth floor of the building in the 1500 block of West Olympic Boulevard. Both declined hospitalization, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said.
A firefighter was hospitalized as a precaution after strong exertion in difficult fire conditions, Humphrey said.
The fire was reported around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday and knocked down by 170 firefighters in 81 minutes, Humphrey said, adding that the presence of so many firefighters reflected the fire’s major emergency status.

One civilian was treated for burns down the street from the flames, said fire Capt. Dan Curry. He said he was not sure if it was the man who had been rescued.

The fire appeared to be mostly on the fifth floor, burning up through to the sixth story in places.

People below the top floors were stuck, saying they couldn’t see because of the smoke and flames. Firefighters carried their equipment up and down the stairway, looking for people to rescue and flames to douse.
Some firefighters were assigned to go up each level looking for people, Curry said.
The 66,000-square-foot building, which houses mostly medical offices, was built in 1956, Humphrey said.

RIT Duty At A Basement Fire

Posted: April 8, 2015 in Rescue, RIT


TAKE YOUR PICK: Unfortunately, RIT duty at a room and contents fire in a small 2 story rowhome has come to this (Above Left).  Is it really necessary to pull out all of the equipment on the ladder truck at every fire and spread it out on a tarp in front of the fire building and then expect a RIT team to run past all the firemen already working inside and rescue the firefighter calling the mayday? The RIT ‘spread’ may look pretty and its purpose has good intentions, but should it be mandatory at EVERY structure fire?


BASEMENT FIRE: Members of the first due engine company at a working basement fire will have several major concerns when advancing to the interior door leading to the basement, such as the first floor collapsing into the basement, the stairs burning away while in the basement, or a hostile event such as flashover.

How often have you seen a collapsible ladder (attic, scissor) or 14′ straight ladder near the front door at a basement fire when interior crews were advancing the line towards the stairs? Should we wait for the attack team to fall through the floor or get trapped in the basement first, then request one while calling their mayday before we run to the truck and retrieve one? Whether it be the assigned RIT team, the pump operator, or the arriving chief, the collapsible ladder should be readily accessible near the entrance or command post.


TOOLS: In addition to a collapsible ladder (or a 14′ straight ladder) for rescue at a basement fire, grab a rotary saw and irons to remove metal bars on exterior windows if present, a hook to clear the window-frame, a sledge hammer to increase the size of window where masonry is present if necessary, a flashlight TED, the rit kit spare bottle with facepiece in case a trapped firefighter needs a bottle/mask exchange, and some rope or webbing to help pull trapped firefighters up through the exterior window.

COMMENT: What else would you bring as a member of the RIT team to a basement fire in a SFD?

See more:

The Power Of The Water Can!

Posted: April 8, 2015 in Suppression

Arriving to a well-involved basement fire, an extra man with a water can can take the basement window out and dump a water can into the basement in less than a minute while the interior crew is stretching in. This will create 567 cubic feet of steam, absorbing up to 23,000 BTU’s.


BTU’s- The amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by 1° F.

* 1 gallon of water= 8.34 lbs.

* 1 gallon absorbs 1,251 BTU’s when going from ambient temperature (62° F) to 212° F.

* 1 pound of water absorbs 970.2 BTU’s just changing from liquid to steam at 212° F.

* Water expands 1,700 times when converted to steam at 212° F.

* There are 7.48 gallons of water in one cubic foot. (1,700 divided by 7.48 = 227.27)

* 1 gallon of water will expand into 227 cubic feet of steam.

Modesto CA: Quick-thinking police officers and members of MFD’s Ladder #1 worked together to rescue 2 trapped civilians and 2 dogs by rolling a dumpster under the window of the fire apartment. When the fire department arrived, they threw a ladder to the window seconds before the trapped occupants were about to jump.

In just a matter of a few minutes, this vehicle fire spread up the vinyl siding to the soffit. The big pile of snow in front of the home could have been used by onlookers (or Modesto Ca. Police) to at least prevent the vehicle fire from spreading to the home before the fire department arrived.

At least one bystander removed the uncooperative occupant from the burning vehicle.

Video  —  Posted: April 8, 2015 in Rescue

What a well coordinated attack looks like. Water application and ventilation.

What an uncoordinated attack looks like. Breaking windows well before line charged.

Read the smoke. Pre-flashover warning. Windows being broken, no water applied.