Wednesday, October 17, 2007

You Make the Call!

As mentioned earlier there will be a new addition to the blog called... You Make the Call!

Based on the picture above ask yourselves the following questions:

• Identify the construction features of the building that will help to increase or decrease fire spread.
• List any construction features that may impact the safety of crews operating in or around the building.
• Identify size-up information. What does the situation tell you?
• What is the Benefit to be gained by taking the Risk?
• Is this a Go or No Go situation?

Are there any other considerations to assist our decision to Go or No Go? Is there anything else to add? We hope to make this a frequent topic on this blog.
As always if you have any pictures or ideas to submit please send us an email at Thanks to JJ Walsh (Batt 7/A) for the info above.


Anonymous said...

1)Type 5 or ordinary construction, most likley vinyl sided, and trusses.
2)The weakness of the the roof structure due to the amount of fire invovment. High collapse potental.
3)2 story SFD with Fire in control of the attic space. Fire has self vented on David. 2nd floor needs to be ventilated as a priority along with coordinated fire attack.
4)Most likley no one is alive on the second floor. If crews can get in and attack with no signs of collapse there is a chance of saving some of the structure. The problem is no truck work happening at this time. The windows need to go or the roof vented near baker side and the ceiling needs to be pulled fast.
5)This fire is a boarder line no go. If it all comes together quickly, truck and engine work, then maybe there will be some save of the structure, but crews need to able to exit quickly if the fire gets beyond thier capabilities.

Anonymous said...

"Hey man, surround and drown."
Retired 30+ years in fire service

Anonymous said...

How can you say, "Most likely no one is alive on the second floor."? I think collapse will happen rapidly without too many signs. Nothing precludes the FF's from conducting VES with ground ladders on the 2nd floor. Agree with number 5 it is border line no go. I'm interested in reading what other tactics someone would use.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1, surround & drown is certainly an option but do we owe anything to property conservation without undue risk?
Anonymous 2, I believe low oxygen levels and high heat conditions would be such that no one could survive on the second. No places of safe refuge. Collapse would be "sudden, general and tragic", so does that eliminate VES as an option?
Search the first, make the stairs and quickly check coditions on the second. If you have to fight no go. Maybe bedrooms quad A and B with VES but no more.

Anonymous said...

1) Type 5A lightweight wood frame

2) Fire has vented thru the gable end(which is a good thing). No indication of fire on 2nd floor from this picture. All of the smoke is coming from the soffit and ridge vent.

3) complete lap--good size up
house size- 2500-3000sq ft
roof size- low pitch=less air space
ridge and soffit vent=attic space well vented
Fire thru roof--No
Roof Sheathing intact

4) Size-up indicates well vented attic fire. We can easily get a search of the second floor in. We also can take hoseline in and go to work on the attic. We will need to access the attic to place a direct attack on the fire. Indirect will not work because the fire has already vented. Minimize risk by avoiding large spans such as great rooms and concentrated loads such as chandeliers and HVAC units. If fire vents thru the roof, move attack to a quadrant with less fire and access attic from there. Hoselines must be placed on same level as fire. FF's need to make everything wet. Wet stuff on the red stuff. Have ladder at window closest to point of attack that can be used to escape if necessary. The insulation in the attic covers the bottom cord of the trusses thus protecting them from the fire.(for a while). The insulation will remain inplace until the drywall below lets go.

5)The Benefit of going to work on this fire is
1-Complete search
2-Reduce water damage to the basement and 1st floor.
With a better understanding of building construction and fire behavior in these type structures we can operate in a offensive mode and maintain crew safety and flexibility as the incident progresses.

6) Go upon arrival, maintain situational awareness, and switch to No-Go if necessary.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments of the 5th poster.

Although we have nothing more than the photo to go on, based on the single photo, it is most certainly a "go." A good size-up and lap of the structure is a must, but absent a picture of the rear, we should all feel comfortable on attempting a knock at this fire.

The thought of writing off potential victims in this fire is criminal. There is little to no fire on the top floor, making conditions in the house very favorable for survival. Based on smoke conditions, I would be surprised if conditions on Floor-2 were not clear.

Collapse potential in this scenario is relatively low. The suggestion to attack the fire in a less involved quadrant (bedroom) where you are "more" protected by compartmentalized studd walls is a good tactic.

There does not appear to be an open foyer in this house, but that should certainly be a consideration when choosing to enter through the front door. While catastrophic collapse of the roof assembly is not as frequent as some have been led to believe, consideration of centrally located HVAC units and large chandeliers should be a concern over the large span foyers and family rooms. A good survey of the roof should reveal the potential of these concentrated loads and can be avoided by laddering a less involved bedroom/quadrant and attacking the fire from these well-protected, least loaded areas.

The most important tactic is to "direct attack" these attic fires. In-direct may get you the comfort zone you need to get up in the attic, but to put this out, you need to be at the same level of the fire. That means getting up in the attic, adjusting to straight-stream, and putting the water "directly" on the fire - not directing your stream from floor below and spraying the neighbors house.

Get your attic ladders in fast, or use furniture or even "a boost" from another firefighter to get up there.

Although some of these houses may be big, think about the actual fire load in the attic. Unless the homeowner is using an attic as an un-designed primary storage area - unlikely in the McMansions due to an equally large basement - the attic has 2x4's and sheeting. No furniture, no clothing, no obscene amount of fuel. A well placed stream and an educated firefighter can put most attic fires out with a cross-lay.

Can we apply direct-attack to every attic fire? No, but this fire should be a no brainer; bread & butter. Good judgement and a well thought size-up will allow you to "safely" extinguish this fire.

Anonymous said...

Number 5 and 6 I agree with you both, great size up and on target information. If given a Side Charlie photo, may change your game plan. I suggest for everyone reading this to do so. Paint a few different Side C scenarios and plan your tactics accordingly. Take photos like these, your own personal experiences and also both good and BAD information past down from others and hit the mental replay button in your head. Burn it several different ways. I know you may not feel the heat from this, but it will lay the ground work for any split second decisions you may need to make in the future.

A little bit more about this fire. We need to consider the information we get or DON'T GET when we arrive. Is everyone out? Ummmm well haven't heard that mentioned and few comments were made about no survivability on the second. Well given the estimated time of the FD's arrival and the conditions. I think you are writing off your attempts to possibly save someone too soon. The comments on the in depth construction type and getting the water where it counts on this particular fire from #5 and #6 are good common sense approaches and also based on their own experiences and seeing and putting out THIS particular kind fire. If given this information or had any doubt if someone were still in this house..., our JOB would be to pull them out.

There are several things that need to come together fairly quickly here (and they have been mentioned) to make any rescues successful. Getting the wet stuff in THE RIGHT places of the red stuff (#5) is going to afford you the time to make this happen and greatly minimize property loss. I think the fire service as a whole lacks in truly demonstrating the knock down power a modern 1 ¾ nozzle, especially when you make every ounce of water you have coming out of it work to your advantage and furthermore when two are working side by side.

Everyone knowing their jobs it’s a GO!

Anonymous said...

To those who are willing to write off any rescues on the second floor, I would like to know what you are seeing from this picture that would make you arrive at that decision.

What I am seeing is a big fire in the attic space with no/very little involvement of the second floor. I also believe if further photos of the other sides were provided, it would definitely be in the realm of possibility this began as an exterior fire that extended up the vinyl (gasoline) siding and extended into the attic.

This is most definitely a go situation IF the crews are competent to stretch some lines quickly and get the ceilings down throughout the second floor. A tactic for consideration if engine and truck arrive at near the same time, engine pulls two lines and works with 1 or 2 truckies hooking the ceiling. Second engine assists first arriving crews. Should get a good knock on this conflagration in short order.

If nothing else, a good search of the residence should be performed before any consideration can be given to going defensive.

Anonymous said...

How about some good old fashioned firefighting. Hoselines to the second floor, search and pull ceilings. A good aggressive crew could put a stop on this one.Way too soon to consider surround and drown. Also, very little smoke seems to be issuing from the second floor windows, it is likely a viable person could be rescued. I agree that writing off any victims would be criminal from what we see on this picture.

FireFleitz said...

The fire is in the attack, sure there is probably smoke on the second floor, but all of that smoke is coming from the attack. The fire is over the garage. There needs to be a quick attack of the fire in the attack while crews search the second floor, then the first floor.
I agree that writing off the house would be criminal. However, it will be up to the crews inside and the IC to correctly identify changing conditions. Plus, you never know what the walk around will unveil. Fire might be coming from the second floor windows on side C.

Also to take note that it is during the day and the garage door appears to be open. Are there cars in it? Is it the weekend?

Anonymous said...

I second the good old fashioned firefighting. Standing in the yard is for the neighbors, not the fire department.

Anonymous said...

Consider more about what the picture is telling us. This is a Type 5 wood or light weight wood construction, vinyl or aluminum siding single family home. Light weight wood components will add to the fire load and subjects the structure to vertical and horizontal fire spread and early collapse. Solid wood frame will buy us a little more time before collapse. Two story on side A, but note the slope of the yard. It likely has a walkout basement on the David side. Master bedrooms are usually above the garage area, but this garage is set out from side A, and the second floor bay window in the A quadrant indicates this is probably the largest bedroom (master). What does the smoke tell us? We have light smoke at ground level on Side A. Little to no smoke at the second floor and large volume smoke at the roof and eaves. So far, the smoke indications should cause you to consider the possibility of a basement fire. All vertical voids begin in the basement, which could spread fire directly to the attic area, showing little to no smoke on the second floor. What does the smoke at the roof indicate? We have a variety of smoke colors at the roof. Our darkest smoke indicates our hottest locations. Black smoke under pressure can be seen on what appears to be the Charlie side, quadrant C, which may or may not be the seat of the fire. It is the darkest area of smoke, but may have spread from the Baker quadrant or side Charlie. It is not being filtered and just happens to have the right gas/air mixture to light off in this area as it vents. Gray to black turbulent smoke under pressure can be seen on the Charlie side, quandrant B. This may or may not be the seat of the fire. Smoke in this area may be filtered as it leaves the structure, causing it to show lighter in color. The smoke travel is evident from Baker to David. Gray turbulent smoke under pressure is seen pushing from the soffet area on side A, quadrant A. Based on smoke conditions, I would guess the fire began in the Baker quadrant, in the area of side Charlie. I would have to first rule out a basement fire, then I would consider the possibility of a fire on the second floor, quadrant C, side David, given the fact I have low fire in this areas. However, no visible smoke on the second floor causes me to doubt this. It may be melted siding or debris dropping down or vertical fire travel from below. As for victims, I would question witnesses or occupants about potential victims. Consider time of day and visible cars/signs of people. Individuals on the first and second floor are savable victims. The only time to rule out non savable victims is areas showing black turbulent smoke under pressure, which indicates temperatures of 1500-1700 degrees..Not Survivable to humans. Humans can only tolerate temperatures of 250-300 degrees for about 2 minutes. Considering a potential basement fire, the first floor can be searched cautiously, giving consideration for a soft first floor and potential floor collapse. Also note whether high heat conditions without flame in this area, indicating possible fire below. The second floor can be swept quickly to clear it. Also consider high heat conditions without flame and cautious consideration for the fire overhead (in attic) and signs of collapse. Place lines to protect the interior stair and place ladders for egress and/or VES, but I believe making the stairs is possible. After a good 360 size up, determine if lines can be taken to the second floor, pull ceilings, and extinguish the fire. Multiple 1 3/4 lines or 2 1/2 inch lines. It is possible for the indirect attack to work, since the fire venting is a rather limited size opening. Just another perspective. I think we all realize there may be more than one way to accomplish our tasks, some good, some not so good. We can second guess all day long. In the end, know your job, gain experience, always consider the risk/benefits, Do Not Be Complacent, and realize as officers, you are leading others. Make sure wherever you lead them, it is always in the direction of safety. Lastly, everyone is responsible for their own safety first...everyone continually size up and speak up if something looks odd.

Anonymous said...

In my comments above, I meant to say a walk out basement on side Charlie. Thanks.

FireFleitz said...

I just realized that I used "attack" instead of "attic" in the above comment. I should slow down while typing.

I guess I just had to clear that up so you guys don't think I am a complete idiot.

Anonymous said...

I would definitely say its a go unless your walk around revealved something else get it inside with a 2.5 w/ 1 1/8 tip and a few good truckies with hooks and if you aren't making any head way in about 15 mins you might need to change tatics.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see you take a 2.5 to the attic of this house. You are a better man than me. An 1.75 will put out a lot of fire.

Anonymous said...

The 2 1/2" line suggestion is possible. However, I agree much fire can be put out with 1 3/4" lines. If I were to stretch the 2 1/2, it would only be after I have an 1 3/4 line in place for protection. I would then advance the 2 1/2 line into position dry, then charge it. It does not have to go to the attic, only the second floor. A good truck team could hook ceilings and an attack can be made. Even getting the 2 1/2 or 1 3/4 fog to the scuttle opening would bring a good knock down using an indirect approach, since there is limited ventilation on the David end. As well, a solid tip on the 2 1/2 would make good headway from this position. Nothing wrong with having a big gone along side the 1 3/4 for bigger water, good impact and penetration.