The alarm comes in at 3am for a house fire on Weinberg Place. The address is familiar to the company officer as the very narrow dead end street the rig can barely get down, full of connected occupied wood-frame row homes on both sides of the street with wires everywhere. Most people are home at 3am and the tiny street is jam packed beginning to end with parallel parked vehicles on both sides, so just opening the door and getting out of the truck will be an challenge. Prefire planning on this street has been done a few times; but not for what’s going to happen on this night.

The dispatch is starting to get numerous calls of 2 and 3 homes on fire and the first due engine sees the glow in the sky from a block away. As the Engine company turns onto the tiny street, it looks as if the last 3 houses at the end of the block and 3 vehicles are already heavily involved and residents are fleeing their homes running down the street screaming for others to get out with 35-40 MPH gusts blowing thick gray and black smoke towards the first arriving Engine. The engine cannot proceed any further than the 9th home, the beginning of the row, because of downed service lines arcing all over the street and the possibility of the apparatus getting torched. “Give me a 2nd alarm” the company officer radios to the dispatcher. No need to forward lay in as the engine can’t advance anymore than 75 feet from the hydrant at the corner. A supply line is pulled to the hydrant and the 2nd due engine. The deck gun is starts flowing blitz style, but it’s going in to the wind and cannot reach past the 8th home. Now the 5th home is on fire. The sky is lighting up, vehicles parts are exploding, turbulent smoke is igniting as it rolls over the porches and power lines are dropping all over the place with the wind whipping them around. The power company is requested to shut the power off to the neighborhood so 2 1/2 handlines can be used to attack the raging wind-driven fire as it consumes the row. The first due ladder company cannot make the street and the aerial is useless with all of the wires. This is not looking good. The smoke coming down the block at 30-40 MPH into the Engine which causes mechanical failure. The truck shuts down. Can it get any worse?

weinberg2

The rear of the last block of rowhomes.

weinberg3

The aftermath; the homes at the dead end.

This is just bad luck. During an entire career there are those 1 or 2 fires where everything was working against you and shit hits the fan. It’s no fault of the firemen, you just have to deal with mother nature and do the best you can. No civilians were killed. All the firemen went home. The fire eventually went out. These experiences will only better prepare us for the next fire where maybe only a few things work against us. That’s why we train, forecast and preplan those difficult streets and buildings.

That cold windy night on Weinberg Place, the Fire Department did a great job.

FACTORS:

*Delayed Discovery

*3AM Life Hazard-Occupied-Residents sleeping

*High winds with gusts of 40 MPH fueling fire in direction of unburned homes and apparatus.

*Tight narrow dead end street inaccessible for fire apparatus.

*Numerous power lines exposed to fire falling onto sidewalk, street, energizing parked vehicles and whipping around in the street with poor visibility.

*Wind tunnel effect from the 2 alleys meeting with the dead end street and blowing in the worst direction possible for firemen in the front of the buildings.

*All 9 homes connected wood-frames.

*Access to the rear of the homes all fenced in on the ends with no access to the rear in between them.

*Near zero visibility on the street in front of the fire building.

REMEMBER: Downed power lines will set a vehicle on fire. Firemen walking around in poor visibility with these lines swinging around or contacting pools of water can easily be electrocuted.

 

vacant10

With the recent rapid decline in our economy during the last several years including the increased epidemic of homelessness, we are seeing a large increase in hazardous vacant, abandoned and dilapidated structures in our urban and industrial areas. These structures are usually taken over by vagrants, vandals, gang members, drug users and copper thieves. The boarded up doors and windows are no match for squatters who easily remove the board ups and occupy these abandoned buildings. The age and neglect of these structures are further damaged by weather, especially in the northeast where rain snow and cold weather penetrate open doors, windows, and roofs. These buildings are loaded with combustible trash and clothing when occupied by squatters and are targets for arsonists and thieves who steal aluminum siding, copper pipes, furnaces etc… Others use the building for shelter during freezing weather using small fires inside for heat. These buildings are becoming death traps for firefighters across the U.S.

More firefighters are injured in vacant buildings than any other property according to the NFPA. There are many dangers that contribute to those statistics such as delayed discovery, holes in the floors, missing stairs, hoarding conditions and collapse to name a few. It’s important that these buildings are marked to identify them as hazardous. While driver training or returning from a call, take notice of these buildings and inspect them. Go out on a Sunday or training day and look for these buildings that your company members will be responding to. A placard and a can of spray paint is inexpensive and just may save the life of a firefighter someday.

The IFC (international Fire Code) provides a guideline for marking vacant structures. Your department may have an SOP/SOG that provides information similar to the IBC.

*A placard with an open square: Normal structural conditions at time of inspection.

*A placard with a single diagonal slash: There are interior hazards to the building and interior operations should only be considered with extreme caution.

*A placard with an ‘X’ in the square: Significant structural deficiencies in the building. Exterior firefighting operations only UNLESS a known life hazard exists.

The following buildings (13) below were all identified in just a two block radius in a city with 3400 vacant structures per 7.5 square miles.

The structure above didn’t look as bad from the front as it did from the D and C side. From the front, you couldn’t see any signs of an open roof or partial collapse in the rear. The rear of these buildings are usually where vagrant traffic comes in and out.

Be cautious marking hazardous abandoned buildings where angry trespassing vagrants high on drugs are present, and who tend to act hostile towards firefighters.

If there are piles of trash in the alley between the homes , there’s plenty of combustible trash inside as well. Watch for needles as these properties are a haven for drug users.

Mark the building on one way streets in the direction of travel so they are more visible to first due companies. Marking the boarded up doors should be secondary as they can be removed. ID the building wall if possible.

Open windows will produce rotted floor decking over time. Rain and snow makes its way in through openings and weakens the floor. Vacant buildings with prior fires should still be marked. The crack house (pictured right) burned 3 times, finally going through the roof.

When doing inspections for dangerous buildings in your district, make sure the rear is checked. What may look okay from the front can be disastrous from the back. When you see high weeds, littered piles of trash and trees growing out of the home, chances are it’s a hazardous building. The reason homes are not demolished are usually due to the lack of funding to do so, or a problem involving the owner of the property.

Mark the buildings according to your SOP/SOG’s or codes and be safe!

6191790_600x338

When it comes to elevator calls in the fire service, firefighters are usually called upon to remove passengers who are stuck in a stalled elevator and 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:

2681810-1549125730

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.

28%20West%20State%20Street%201%20(Trenton,%20NJ)

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.

dt_common_streams_StreamServer_cls

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.

kingsburyelevator

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.

elevator+shaft

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!

 

 

meters-on-fire_410_282_c1

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?

murphys+law

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.

referloadingdockS

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.

200931p1

Firefighter killed at dumpster fire.

LODD report

Freeport firefighter Jason Miller reacts as flames shoot out the chimney of a Brown Road home in Pownal on Saturday, where firefighters from Pownal and Freeport responded to a chimney fire. Miller and Lt. Ken Coslet attacked the problem from the roof, using a weight and chain to clear the chimney of material that had built up, but not before flames erupted several times. No damage was done to the 19th century home, a fortunate reminder to homeowners who burn wood to be diligent about keeping chimneys clean and using only seasoned firewood.

It’s a cold snowy night at the firehouse when an alarm comes in for a structure fire a few blocks from the station. On arrival the first due engine officer riding in on a full structure assignment notices flames and thick smoke shooting out of the brick chimney on an ordinary constructed SFW. After giving his size up to the incoming Battalion Chief, he exits the pumper and hears a sound similar to a rocket or jet engine coming from the area of the chimney. The company officer instructs his nozzleman to stretch a line to the front door and grabs a dry chem extinguisher while informing the incoming ladder captain by radio to prepare for roof operations.

Chimney fires are rare incidents, but it’s critical that we prepare for them using a quick effective coordinated attack to prevent chimney fires from becoming an all out structure fires. A reported chimney fire should require a structure assignment response as additional manpower will be required to effectively mitigate a chimney fire. Most chimney fires are contained fires, but if not controlled quickly can extend to the roof, cockloft, attic, basement etc..

chimney2

Most chimney fires are caused by highly combustible creosote build up in the flue. Flames, sparks and fast moving dense smoke accompanied by a roaring sound are sure signs of a chimney fire. Chimney fires can burn up to 2000°F destroying  liners, bricks, masonry materials and contributing to fire spread in combustible parts of the structure. A well coordinated effort will be needed to extinguish the chimney fire before spreading to the rest of the structure. In the video above, the chimney fire extended to the structure. They worked safely from an aerial and roof ladders to extinguish the extended fire, saving the structure.

Engine Company: Stretch a line to the interior and quickly determine the source, whether it’s an oil burner, fireplace or a basement fire. In living areas, consider placing salvage covers/floor runners in the area to prevent doing further damage to the property. Using a water can to extinguish a small class A fire is acceptable if outside the container of fire involvement (smoldering debris). Fires at the base inside the container may require a dry chem extinguisher, which should draw the powder upward. Bring shovels and place any smoldering creosote/wood/embers into a metal bucket and take it outside and extinguish it. Send a company to the attic/cockloft to check for extension. Monitor CO readings in the structure after the fire has been extinguished and ventilate accordingly.

Ladder Company: Size up the chimney roof area for access and egress. It may take  up to three different types of ladders to access the top of the chimney. It may be safer to put the aerial ladder up or work off off a platform. Bring the chimney kit consisting of chimney sweep chains, mirror and TIC. Additional equipment such as hand tools/hooks, flashlight, chimney bombs (dry chem powder in bags) and a saw if needed. Remove the chimney cap, fencing (bird cage) and any other debri from the top of the chimney. Dropping the chimney bombs down the chimney is very effective as the bag will melt with powder being naturally drawn up the chimney. Lower the weighted chimney chains from the top of the chimney down the flue to knock the creosote off the walls into the base container area to be removed and extinguished. Check for extension at the base of the chimney where flashing may be present.

DO NOT LOOK DOWN THE CHIMNEY!

chimneyhouse_fire

Collapse of the chimney can seriously injure unsuspecting firemen below. Most chimneys in older cities are in poor condition and made of brick. Most of these bricks are cracked, lost their adhesiveness and are being held up by gravity. Establish a collapse zone under the area of the chimney.

Using water to extinguish a chimney fire may cause spalling and will further damage the chimney. The best method is to use dry chem powder. If using a hoseline on the roof to extinguish a chimney fire, apply short bursts of water to the top as shown in the video above.

Advise the property owner to have the chimney serviced/cleaned/repaired and check CO levels before leaving.

Basementlightweight_5

Basement and cellar fires are the most dangerous fires inside a structure that firemen will face, which explains why basement fires have killed and injured more firemen than any upper floor fires have. Anytime you’re attacking a below grade fire from above, you will be advancing down a chimney of intense heat.

basefireee

There are several dangers the company officer will have to address before attacking a fire in a subdivision. Concerns for first due engine crews will be intense heat, limited visibility, floor collapse, stair burn through, hoseline burn through, entrapment, entanglement, limited ventilation, no secondary means of egress and the occurrence of a hostile fire event, especially in areas with taxpayers, lightweight construction and departments READ MORE…

Tunnel_fire_2

Fires in tunnels (including subways) can lead to the rapid spread of toxic smoke in minutes. Passengers stuck in their vehicles may try to outrun the toxic smoke containing asphyxiants like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, irritants such as ammonia, hydrogen chloride, particulates, nitrogen oxides, phenol, sulfur dioxide, carcinogens such as asbestos, benzene, styrene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other various deadly products lingering in a tube. Others may succumb by just sitting in a stalled vehicle or train car waiting for help. Travelers will not be familiar with the tunnel and in poor visibility may not see the emergency exits or shelter areas. They may be running with the wind in the same direction as the exhaust. Many tunnels and transit systems have exhaust systems to remove smoke and draw fresh air into the tunnel/station to keep egress routes clear. Unfortunately they are not always effective or working properly.

Fires in tunnels usually involve cars, trucks or trains. They are not that uncommon and can be a complete cluster you-know-what as you will have panic, confusion and gridlock from the unfortunate travelers stuck in the tunnel. Concerns for the first arriving company officers: READ MORE…

readsmoke2 readsmokepostflash

One of the most critical skills ALL firemen must possess in todays fire environment is the ability to read smoke. Experienced firemen have been reading smoke for years, but recently it has become more of a focused subject of training thanks to firemen like David W. Dodson, who authored ‘The Art of Reading Smoke.’

readsmoke54

Whether you’re the incident commander, engine company officer, pump operator, or probationary member of the ladder company, everyone on the fireground must have the ability to read smoke, and recognize the signs of flashover. (Rollover)

In the modern day fire service we may be responding to fewer fires, but we are also responding to hotter more volatile fire environments, thanks to low-mass synthetics (plastics) and increased fire loads. We can no longer rely on just experience alone, or the ‘old way’ of reading smoke. Though not an exact science, the ability to read the smoke can help us make better tactical decisions. It can help us determine the fires location, growth, toxicity, direction of travel and whether it’s going from a contents fire to a structure fire. Most importantly, it also help us predict hostile fire events such as smoke explosions, backdrafts and flashovers READ MORE…

SOLARBen-Hopper-Twitter-Fire-at-Hove-Town-Hall

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…

 

 

 

fireescapeNYdeath

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…

elevrescueDC

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 may be rare occurrences, but you don’t want to be caught off guard when a difficult PG fire happens on your watch. Most fires inside of parking garages are vehicle fires with structure fire similarities. A vehicle burning inside of a fire-resistive building is a structure fire READ MORE…

gasstation

“Service Stations” are defined as fueling stations and auto repair shops. A vehicle burning on a lift inside an auto repair shop is considered a structure fire. A vehicle burning at a gas station remote from the structure itself under a canopy attached to a gas pump is a vehicle fire with an exposure problem. A structure assignment should be requested. READ MORE…

SCENARIO: A police chase ends with a stolen vehicle crashing into the gas pumps and erupting in flames at the mini-mart. The police officer requests the fire department. A single engine staffed with 3 firemen and one officer is dispatched. Arriving on scene the officer informs you that the driver is still inside the vehicle. There’s no gas station attendant around (self service) but there’s an employee inside the convenience store working the register. You’re the first due engine officer on scene. What are your initial actions?

trainNYfiremoke_5col_color_l0_tx728_fsharpen

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)

There are many differences and few similarities between motels and hotels. From a firefighting standpoint, strategies and tactics in motels are similar to garden apartments and condo complexes. Multi-story hotels are similar to residential high-rises and mid-rises. Both have some level of fire protection with hotels more likely to be equipped with standpipes, pump rooms and sprinklers in each room. Thanks to the Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990 in addition to numerous tragic hotel fires with multiple fatalities (MGM Grand, LaSalle, Hotel Canfield, Winecoff Hotel) todays hotels offer more fire protection.

motel1400517217000-athenshotel

Motel fires are not rare occurrences. Motels will usually have less fire protection and most are NOT fire-resistive structures like many high-rise hotels are. Newer motels are being built with lightweight construction, older motels are mostly ordinary or wood-frame and have cocklofts/attic space READ MORE…

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.