We first saw this video on Backstep Firefighter. An excellent video surfaced this week that addresses some very critical decisions that must be made in seconds at this early arriving apartment fire in downtown Mamaroneck, New York. I want to preface this discussion by saying that the Fire Department in Mamaroneck did an OUTSTANDING job in getting several things accomplished simultaneously with very limited manpower. They were confronted with a very complex situation, including a complex laddering problem that they overcame without hesitation.
It appears that the first due engine has arrived to a heavy fire condition in at least one room on the second floor of a three story apartments over stores "downtown-type" building that is common across the entire North American region. In reality, this fire could have happened in nearly ANY TOWN in North America. So since it COULD HAPPEN in your town, here are a few questions to discuss the incident.
There is a visible victim at the top floor window in obvious distress. As we say at every Brotherhood Instructors, LLC course, I am going to step out of my "FDNY Manpower Fantasy World" and attempt to stir a discussion that applies to the other 95% of the firefighting world. You are arriving with an "now-standard" engine staffed with THREE (including the boss). If you have a total of four, you are extremely lucky, and feel free to answer accordingly. The next due engine and/or truck is 4-5 minutes out. How and when are we addressing the following concerns from the video:
1) Do we stretch the line to confine/extinguish the fire first or do we go for the ladder rescue? Why? What are the pros and cons of each?
2) Can you split your company to get both accomplished at once? If so how? What are the implications?
3) What sized portable ladder (if it was available on your engine) would you use to reach the 3rd floor sill?
4) What are other options to the portable ladder in the front?
5) What size attack line are you pulling to attack this second floor fire?
6) What are the forcible entry concerns at this fire? Type of door, locks, etc…?
Please copy and paste the questions into your reply below, and answer using your name & department. Keep in mind that we have a lot of young firefighters on this blog that read our posts to learn, so if you have something throw it down even if you think it is very basic. To the young guys: DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS!
Now take a look at the photos below (bing.com, birds-eye-view) for some added size-up discussion. Unless you were intimately familiar with this building during inspections, EMS runs, water leaks, etc… this building can cause you some complex problems.
1) The fire is located on the 2nd floor, but the 3rd floor is only about 1/2 or 3/4 the depth of the building. Does this now become a top floor fire? How are you getting to the lower level (2nd floor roof) in the rear? How would you communicate this?
As a Roof Firefighter, in my opinion your game plan has now changed. I would be expecting to go up there and force a skylight, scuttle and/or bulkhead and do a perimeter survey. This won't be the case at this job. This is a perfect scenario to drive the point home of crawling or probing with a tool in front of you in a limited visibility condition. If you do not in this case, you can take a 1 story fall to the rear roof, rendering you injured or worse.
2) Note the potential VES opportunity that may be available on the Exposure 2(B) roof. It appears from the overview photo that the window in the A-B (1-2) corner may lead to the same room that the victim is trapped. There are also similar VES opportunities in the rear (2nd floor roof) if needed.
Feel free to add further questions or stir discussion. Remember, we strictly moderate our blog discussions. Keep it professional and to sign your posts. NO UNSIGNED POSTS or posts that simply bash the department (which would be very hard in this case) will be allowed. Stay safe!