(Photo courtesy of the Hamilton, NJ Fire Department)
Today marks the 24th anniversary of the murder of Columbus fireman John Nance. I am reposting this in hopes some of you will get out in the bay and practice some ways to get a member up out of a hole, or just simply honor him by discussing the fire that took his life just a short time before he was to retire. Read the story of that fateful day below.
Think about it. You're dispatched as the engine company, along with a truck company, to a fire alarm in a commercial building at 2:30 am. Upon arrival, you have a decent amount of brown smoke showing from the front of an 110' x 50' single story, old, brick building that is currently being used as office and storage space for an auto parts manufacturer. After notifying your dispatcher to "fill the box" for a working fire, the truck forces entry and your crew starts to advance a line through the front door to investigate and locate the fire. Visibility is almost zero as you make your way down the hall, and you can feel a good amount of heat coming from below your feet. Just then, without warning, a member of the truck crew falls through the floor into a basement. You can still barely see him through the smoke, but can't reach him.
What are your immediate actions as the engine boss?
What building construction features should you have noticed/been looking for during your initial size up/360 that may have prevented this scenario from happening?
Is there anything you can do with the staffing/equipment on scene, or will you have to wait for additional companies?
What method(s) would you use to rescue a member who has fallen through the floor?
Have you (and your crew) ever trained for this type of scenario? (Columbus Drill)