Dwelling Fire Video Discussion

Take a look at this house fire video and then let’s discuss a few points. These guys appear to have done a pretty nice job especially considering that it looked like the first due engine only had three firefighters. The first 50 seconds is just a response video, skip to that point and start there. While you watch, consider the following points:

• Size-up

o Officer gets a view of sides A, B, and D while arriving

o There is one window of fire on side D and there appears to be fire coming from a window in the same room on side C (you can see the fire above the roof line on arrival)

o Time of day. Cars are in the driveway, are people home?

• Engine Considerations

o Water supply: Would you go in on tank water or wait for the hydrant connection to be made?

o The first line is stretched quickly and it appeared each member had an assigned role.

o The line was charged OUTSIDE of the house.

o The engine leaves the front of the building open for the ladder company.

o A back-up line was stretched and charged.

• Ladder Considerations

o Portable ladder positioned in the front of the building. Ladder position is good with the tip even with the sill.

o It appeared another ladder was taken to the side or rear.

o It appears the primary search may have been done before the engine arrives. Upon arrival you can see what looks like a Fire Dept vehicle parked on the left.

At the 7:33 and 7:43 minute mark members throw some items from the windows. This is not ideal but sometimes is necessary. Be sure when throwing things out of the building to make sure no one is below or on the ladder under that window.

Please feel free to jump in with questions, comments, and suggestions as we discuss this fire. As is standard with all of Brotherhood Instructors LLC’s blog posts, WE WILL NOT POST UNSIGNED COMMENTS. You are entitled to your opinion and to disagree with us and the firefighters in the video as long as you do so in a constructive manner to promote learning.


  • Terrence M Doyle says:

    Excellent communications by crew of arriving First Due Engine. Although a small crew, each member knew what their initial task was. Very professional on arrival, setting up for arrival of truck. I really hope there was some sort of communication made prior to items coming out the window. Looked to me like no one even looked before tossing it down the ladder. Pretty risky ! Overall, great job by all hands !

  • laurence delorme says:


    after watching the video,i have some questions:why not to park the 2 cars away? then,the firefighters would have more space to put the ground ladder on the garage and work.

    i saw a man who did not wear bunker gear,i think,it is the owner of the dwelling:he can stay so close to the house while the firefighters did their job?pull hoses, and put ladder…

  • Brandon says:

    One thing our area deals with on this type of dwelling is the hidden walk out basement on the 'C' side of the structure. Big priority for us to get the 360 done prior to entry. IC was on scene first and may have already done this for first arriving engine.

    Crews moved with purpose and got water on the fire quickly. Also the driver was able to charge the line and get his own hydrant which was a good job as well.

  • FFBryan says:

    A very good example of a typical suburban structure fire. Large front yards make it difficult in many ways for crews with limited manpower(also typical in suburban settings). This situation makes for longer hose stretches and diminishes the use of aerial ops. My hats off to the first arriving engineer/chauffeur. He was faced with a heavy degree of multitasking. He even made to hustle over and throw a ladder for a second means eggress for interior crews. Great job to all.

  • Brad says:

    What about the Chiefs SCBA on the garage roof?

  • Thanks for the great comments Brothers! Brandon brings up a great point about the walk out basements. A 360 needs to be done whether the officer does it himself or someone else does and relays the info via radio. In this case hopefully either the IC or the member who went to the rear to throw the ladder passed along any vital information.

    I think the engine driver did a nice job as well. Everyone acted in a professional with decisive action. The large front yard may have negated the use of an aerial device and the building type probably didn't require it anyway. Pulling past and leaving room for the ladder is a good habit to get into and can never hurt.

    In a perfect world, 3 engines, 2 ladders, and the chief would have all arrived simultaneously. This video is a perfect example of the real world and this company did a nice job especially considering what they were given to work with.

    Chris Collier
    Brotherhood Instructors, LLC.

  • Steve Gardner says:

    Looks like a nice knock down. 360 seems like the only fault if any. If you think about it it doesn't matter who does the 360 if I am the one that is going in then I am going to do a quick walk around before I go in for the simple fact that they may not see everything.

  • T. Saunders says:

    Outstanding communication by officer before arrival. Good knock down. First ground ladder appears to have a steep angle, if time is taken to put them up put them in a usable state. Don't go back to the rig to get your hand tools, take them with you when you get off. Some one stated proir to the engine get on scene that ceilings need to be pulled. How about the "spectators" on the garage roof? This was a top floor fire and possible attic fire, how about roof work on main roof over fire?

  • Steve Gardner says:

    I need to add one more thing to this. Did all five go in on the initial attack? What about the 2 in 2 out or was the next truck close by? We are a POC dept. with 3 full time that rotate 24/48 and with us you never know who or how many show up. So we usually make sure that there are at least 2 out.

  • Nick Morgan says:

    Overall it liked look a good job! Efficient suburban firefighting tactics were carried out and the fire went out quickly. I can't add anything new to the discussion. I wish all fires went this well.

  • Michael J Lopina says:

    There was someone on the scene prior to the engine arriving. If you listen to the radio traffic, you can hear whoever is there giving very specific instructions on what is going on and what he wants done while the engine is still responding. It appears to be the guy in the shorts and t-shirt walking around that a few people commented on is the IC as he has at least one radio on him that he can be seen talking into. I am assuming he did the 360 and reconned everything while waiting for the engine. I am assuming he is off duty or a call back chief/officer and perhaps he did not have his gear with him. As far as the attack goes, this is about as close as perfect as you can come. They did an outstanding job. Also, this is a lightweight truss roof so perhaps their SOP is no roof work when fire is possibly involving the trusses. Instead, they open the gable vents. Not the best but it is better than nothing.

  • Ryan says:

    I think a better hose deployment would have benefitted this crew. Instead of stretching the hose line all the way back towards the street, maybe use the coil method and get a lot of hose inside the front door to make an easier advancement to the fire, which looked like it was in the C quadrant of the house..

  • Cory says:

    I think they did a pretty good job, the scene went pretty smooth from the way it looks in the video.

    On my dept. We ride 3 our engines at Elkhart, I know our crew would have made an offensive attack, I personally would have pulled what we call our "Elkhart load" (basically Chicago's skid load) which is 400 feet of 2 1/2" dead load with a smooth bore nozzle connected to 100 feet of 1 3/4" with a Elkhart Brass Chief nozzle with a spin off to a smooth bore which is what would be used. But the chauffeur (Nick Hintz) would help the nozzle guy (me) with deployment off the back of the rig so he would know how many sections are off so he would know what pressure to pump at. But on the question of would you go on tank water or wait for a hydrant, we would go in on tank water we have 750 gallons which is plenty for this fire, in the end you might use a little more by the time it is completely out but 750 is plenty for a knock down.

  • Cory says:

    Ladder placement I wasn't there but I think maybe placing the ladder on side Alpha a window or two to the left might have been a better idea, also if they need to bail out I would have angled the ladder a little more for a easier decent.
    The Elkhart load is as said 400 feet of dead load (not connected to the engines discharge) with a 2 1/2" smooth bore nozzle Nick took the pistol grip off since it really isn't needed. But connected to the 2 1/2 is 100 feet of 1 3/4" with a Elkhart Chief nozzle with a spin off tip to a smooth bore. This has became my first choice for a line to pull due to it's versatility. Most cross lays are 200 feet and are either 1 3/4" or 2 1/2", with this load you have the best of both worlds. If you need the 2 1/2 for a knock down you simply just spin off the 1 3/4 use the 2 1/2 and when done you can connect the 1 3/4 and be on your marry way.

  • John says:

    I would just watch streching the line near the vehicle's tires, in the case it would hang up the strech. Other than that great job.

  • Chris says:

    Nice Job…..

    Just a few thoughts. Chase your line, almost got caught under tires of cars in driveway. It also It would only take a few extra seconds, but instead of running to the front door walk up and take ur time to size it up…how many windows on second floor, any window on 4 side, what are smoke conditions, ask people in front yard if it is there house and where did fire start? and while walking up carry a ladder and throw to second floor. All that would add 15-20 seconds and give you a bigger picture>>>still a nice job, just a few thoughts we all can learn something from every job.

  • Kelly says:

    Yeah, getting the line thrown behind the car tires was a potential problem. My preference is having all the line lined up in front of the door. I would have liked the second line pulled earlier to protect the egress. Did a good job leaving room for truck and getting ladders to the second floor. All in all a good job.

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We specialize in the basic fundamentals of firefighting. While we believe that hazardous materials, terrorism, emergency medical and the various rescue disciplines are essential parts of the Fire Service, we also think that the basic fundamentals of firefighting have been overlooked in recent years. We are here to help turn that trend in the other direction.

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