Seaside Fire Video (Ladder Rescue)

Here is the first 3 parts of a 5 part video showing a fire out of Seaside California. This first due company had their hands full with a well involved fire and active rescues required. It looked like they had at least one adult and one child pulled out of this fire. This is a great set of videos to challenge yourself with priorities and how you would try to handle the same situation.

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6 Comments on “Seaside Fire Video (Ladder Rescue)”

  1. BV Says:

    Great videos and thanks for sharing. As you heard, Seaside doesn’t have truck companies and must order from Monterey a few miles to the south. I used to live near here in early 90’s and don’t remember much high density housing. So its not like our district where we have 1000’s multiple family type dwellings and we are in and out of hem 25 times a day. So having said that:

    Great job by this crew knowing their district and the tactic for this structure: VES. I didn’t put a clock to it but they got the kid out quickly and gave it the best chance for survival. The officer did an excellent job hitting his benchmarks under the circumstances. I don’t believe he was able to pass command until he was going interior on the terrace side. I also noted he had to calculate what resources he needed by piece and add– “2 more engines and one truck from Monterey”. This is probably normal to them but certainly worth noting that this wasn’t a 4, 3, and 2 chief response among other working fire resources our companies are used to having assist.

    It seems obvious but, I thought it was very smart that the company didn’t try to transitionally attack the fire prior to going in for VES. (On the other hand, I think appropriate after from the bumper line. Now, seeing he blow torch on the other side prior to fire attack I’m not convinced of any significant change.) Looking at the smoke from both windows it seemed obvious that the door to the bedroom was open and introducing any stream could have decreased best chances for survival from a time standpoint at minimum.

    Couple of footnotes: 1) glad they were able to stop the cop from running away with the baby. I don’t know where the ambulance was staged (if it was there at all) and fire personnel needed and did address CPR from what I heard. 2) The hydraulic ladders are nice for storage but not nice for quick deployment. Im not sold on two person throws and the officer shouldn’t have to tell his member where and how to throw a rescue ladder but I’m not there and it could be a new person. 3) From a distance, my perspective is I sure would want a broader ladder compliment if the truck company is an auto or mutual aid assignment. 4) I can’t be sure if they were three or four on the rig? 5) Unsure why second pumper didn’t have apartment lay established but… CPR, hydrant, etc being addressed so not judging by any means. The first in pumper was blowing and going to say the least.

    Finally, these 3 parts of the videos show what knowing your district, strategies and tactics for your district, personnel, and sop’s can create positive outcome. (I don’t know the life status of baby but positive in the fact that this crew worked quickly with positive tactic outcome in reference to time and resources available). It would’ve helped them tremendously to have a chief there quickly to assume command and a truck company of FOUR on the initial alarm. I think it would’ve expedited fire control. Look forward to seeing the last two vids and see total scene outcome.

    • Some good points BV, this becomes a much different fire for a smaller department than for those of us who are lucky enough to have at least a 3 engine and 2 truck for most apartment buildings. Same priorities, we are just not going to be able to accomplish them the same way. Tough call, they had their hands full. With an engine and a truck arriving together you can stay very disciplined and have fire attack not get thrown to the side for the sake of rescues. In this case there is a good chance that the lady being carried down the ladder could have died had they not put fire attack aside for a minute. I completely agree on the hydraulic ladder rack setup, its no big deal until it is a big deal like pulling up to this exact situation they had in this video. We sometimes sacrifice combat ready rigs for the sake of stuffing more crap in the compartments. It was very hard to see the exact situation at the window but it looked as if the citizens had already identified the victim in immediate distress, however what a great fire where VES would have saved another life had she just lost consciousness at the window and been laying below it. People are going to go opposite of the fire and when their main egress and secondary egress is already well involved, nothing screams VES more than that scenario. Great reminder of why we sweep before we sound below the window also, if they collapsed, it’s where we are going to find them.

      If we pulled up on this together as an engine and a truck and the truck could focus on search and VES, the engine could remain focused on an apartment lay and fire attack from the courtyard side. Good example of a fire where application of water from that backside did very little and would be a waist of time for an engine to get focused on, instead taking the extra minute to stretch an apartment lay to the front side and hit the base of the fire, it would pay off in the long run. Front side fire attack made everything better for additional victims, prevented other units from becoming involved, protected additional VES operations and prevents attic extension through the soffits. Water through the back window would not prevent most of that. Wasn’t the option that Seaside had in this video, but it makes you appreciate what we have when we arrive with an engine and a truck with 8 people on it.

      One man high shoulder ladder throws should be a requirement everywhere. This is a great example of where it could have been put to use. If one person could handle the ladder placement and rescue, once you ensured they could handle the rescue themselves I would have no problem leaving that citizen there for a second to foot the ladder. Frees you up to either assist the burned baby or to finish stretching the apartment lay if you are still waiting for other crews. I am with you, I am not bashing them, I am really rambling out loud of things that I can take for myself to improve. I think overall they had a lot on their hands, and are very short staffed. They did get a lot done in a matter of 5 to 10 minutes.

      The last two videos or on his channel, I only posted three of them because they had the most to talk about.


      • BV Says:

        My gut is they maximized the resources and did a nice job. The video also lends itself to what potential for failure is present to our companies when we arrive short staffed– especially on truck companies. Engines not as complicated because we have redundancy in our engines vs trucks and poaching one personnel for engine work is easier from a skill set and functionality standpoint. More importantly, we are not practiced on short staff situations which will prompt multiple alarms just to get enough bodies there to help. Never want to use addition by subtraction to get enough personnel to a fire– especially multiple dwelling fires.

        Good stuff to think about as we seem to run short on the truck for some length of time everyday?!$(6$&. Had the woman been incapacitated by the smoke, two teams of VES ladders needed to be quickly working while ladder deployment and “combat readiness” are the only place time may be reduced if all things are equal. Counting on one team, one ladder may be minutes if rescue is a 200 lb human. The other person perishes while FD on scene. Obviously not this scenario but thinking out loud for when we short staff ourselves.

        Great points regarding the details of VES and the woman. Putting a hook through someone’s head is bad practice. And under these conditions we all will, potentially, revert back to our lowest level of training.

        Thanks and Keep ’em coming I&L’s

  2. TRUCK 4 Says:

    I couldn’t agree more with the both of you. I can never stress the need for proper training and the use of single person high should ladder throws. Clearly the lack of distance to carry the ladder, the knowledge that citizens have located a victim for you, and the obvious point that this person is in immediate danger of becoming a statistic due to fire condtions should point out to a well trained firefighter that an immediate single person throw to this window should be done ASAP. While that is being done, additional size up and rescue tactics should be considered by the officer. A proper 360, or as much of a 360 as possible should be done to assign the other in coming companies. After watching the video a few times, I think the lack of knowing what conditions existed caused the second in Engine Captain to delay making that call for the apartment lay, again that is my observation. The initial Engine Capt. made a good decision to use the bumper line to try and control the fire until additional companies and hoselines could be stretched and put into operation. As mentioned before, that bumper line was getting eaten up by the volume of fire and BTU’s being produced and did minimal to control/contain the fire, but I do believe that it did keep it from burning through the soffit and getting into the attic.


    P.S. I looked up Seaside FD, their staffing is “3 or 4 person Engine and 3 or 4 person Truck.” The FD operates out of a single station and daily staffing, according to their org chart, is supplemented with Reserve Firefighters but the program appears to be “on hold.” So they are a very small FD and rely heavily on Auto/Mutual Aid during large incidents but was unclear of the daily staffing as to what rigs are staffed.

  3. Kromo Says:

    I’ll try to be brief, cause you’ve both made several great points already. I doubt I’ll surprise anybody with my 2 cents, but this is a shining example of why fire departments MUST have the proper staffing and resources to do the job.

    Under the circumstances, and not having been there, these guys appear to have done great work with the resources they had. Not having enough members on scene initially means they have to choose and prioritize what they want to accomplish. They, unfortunately, don’t have the luxury of assigning rescue to one company and fire attack to another while allow a third company to perform required medical evaluation and treatment. That would be the optimal situation, but it seems clear they didn’t have those resources when they arrived. So, I say great job given the situation. But, it should drive home the point to fire fighters, and more importantly, to local decision makers that in order for us to be most effective, we must have to resources to accomplish all of the those tasks simultaneously. We can’t expect positive outcomes on a consistent basis when we have to perform those tasks in succession, rather than in a coordinated and concurrent fashion. If we don’t get there quickly with the right amount of people to make a difference, then nothing else really matters.

    When the situation shown in these videos occurs, the best chance for our citizens is a fully staffed, trained, resourced and equipped fire department. We cannot rely on bystanders to foot ladders and stretch hose lines. And more importantly, decision makers cannot cut corners by spreading our resources thinner without expecting the outcomes to suffer as a result.

    Sorry for the rant, especially when I said I’d try to be brief. . . . .

  4. Pa State Cop Says:

    I was there TDY when they had this fire. Truck was OOS and they were running with two (2) engines. Auto/Mutual aid were Monterey Airport Engine, Fort Ord Engine, And Monterey City Truck. Child was recovered on the Entrance side in the courtyard. Forget if it was PD or a citizen who made the grab. Very intense Situation for the guys. Great job by all and great outcome.

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