Posted tagged ‘Engine Company’

Vehicle Fires….


We had a car fire a while back that presented a unique hazard. It was a good reminder that vehicle fires may not always be relatively uneventful and certainly have their own list of hazards. The problem we encountered was involving a newer style VW convertible bug. It was fully involved and seemed to have been torched by someone tossing something under the dashboard. The garage looked as if it was also becoming involved and an 1 3/4 was pulled. The problem arose while the hose was being flaked. Two small explosions occurred within the first few minutes. They were loud enough to catch your attention and sounded similar to when tires pop during  car fires. The first one was not much of an issue but the second one sent a fairly large piece of debris flying over our heads across the street and landed on the sidewalk on the opposite side. This was about 35 feet away from the vehicle.

When the fire was knocked down we discovered what the small explosions were. We found the entire airbag assemblies from under the dashboard had exploded and dislodged sending one across the street, and the other one was found a few feet from the car. It had the air bag, the mounting hardware and the gas cylinder all still connected as one large piece of debris that came out of that vehicle like a rocket. I am sure other people have experienced this, but I just wanted to throw it out there as a heads up because it is worth thinking about. Anyone had something similar?

Below are a few videos that I have saved over time regarding some of the other problems we may run into.

Portable Ladder or Portable Stairs?



Here is an idea to keep in the back of your mind if you encounter the same problem. These companies had a fire on the top floor of a 1  1/2 story house a few months ago.  The house is located in a neighborhood on the eastern edge of downtown that has its fair share of urban decay. When advancing the line they found the stairway leading up had some damage. Enough damage to require some assistance making the top floor. The Engine had pulled back and advanced up an exterior ladder that was in place to the top floor and made a knock down. While the Engine made their way up, the Truck company was able to place a 16′ ladder in place over the area of the stairs that was damaged. This provided a sturdy and safe way to secure another route of egress for the Engine upstairs, and access for the Truck that ended up helping them confine the fire to its room of origin. Once the fire was knocked down it turned into the main pathway for the remainder of the incident.  This is where remembering little tricks that have been passed down to us pays off. Well done on thinking creatively and looking out for each other with a little ingenuity. Thanks for sending in the photos for everyone to share.

Video Training: Structure Fire With Rescue


This video starts out a little slow because it shows the response  to the fire, however if you skip to the on-scene footage it is worth the wait.  The truck arrives in the video at about the 1:30 mark.  This video has been around for a couple years and provides some good training footage, it originates in Columbus Ohio. The first photo we have posted just gives you a clear day time view of the street and occupancy.

A couple things to notice in the video. It appears that when the rig arrives there is already at least 1 engine and 1 truck on scene. The engine is getting a line flaked out and the truck appears to be getting ready to make a search of the floor above. There does seem to be a slight delay in getting water to the line, with that said we are not sure if it was a problem at the pump, or just a normal delay from performing a reverse lay to the hydrant. The video captures some good fire development and the speed at which it can be knocked down. We will let the video speak for itself.

Something that stands out to us is how much everyone is counting on each other. The truck crew is heavily relying on the engine to make a knock down and the engine crew is relying on the truck crew to make the rescue so they can focus on extinguishment. Obviously the citizen (unconsciously) is relying on both crews if they have any chance of making it out of this building.  If either crew would have not done their part on this fire,  the outcome could have been much different. From our research we found that  the first arriving units had no reports of victims trapped.  This victim was pulled out unconscious with some 2nd degree burns but had reportedly survived the fire.

We welcome any thoughts or discussion on this video, please keep it productive and related to learning as much as we can.  I think we can agree that videos only give us a small look at these scenes (that we were not on) and it becomes very easy to pick apart the things that went wrong. However they present a greater opportunity to discuss lessons learned, what went right and what we may change next time.

We think this specific video brings up some excellent points such as: Search priorities? Ladder work/Egress ladders? Where do you take the 2nd line? Ventilation on this structure? Bringing your own water or not?….and many more.

Ray McCormack – Full Day Class in January 2010


A couple of guys who have been working to put this class together sent us over some information and the attached flier. Ray McCormack will be teaching a class on two different topics as follows:

Engine Company Errors- The Dirty Dozen

Line Boss- About the Engine Officer and Hose work

These classes will be limited to the first 100 people who sign up and only cost 50 dollars for the full day class. A tip of the hat to the two guys (twoknuckleheads) that spent the time and energy in making this class possible. Please review the attached flier and hang it in your firehouse if you would like to help spread the word.

A detailed description on the classes and registration information can be found in the attachment. If you are interested please do not contact IRONSandLADDERS rather use the email address found on the flier. We do not want to be responsible for you losing your spot before the class fills up.  



Update: 50 out of 100 spots have been filled

Update: 75 out of 100 spots have been filled

Update: 90 out of 100 spots have been filled




Tactical Safety: “Examining the process of firefighting to see if there is a better and safer way to operate”


At the last FDIC Lt. Ray McCormack gave a speech that had an immediate impact on the fire service. To some it was an attack, and to others it was motivating. I for one didnt believe Lt McCormack was advocating unsafe firefighting and would agree his message was saying something much different. I believe he was saying the way to operate the safest is by knowing and studying our craft. To remember how important (even if it seems redundant) hose stretch drills are. Even how basic tool maintenance correlates with how you handle them on the real thing.  By treating it as your trade, and attempting to cut off the dangerous thought process that the basics of our job have somehow become less important.

Lt. McCormacks recent articles have been released almost every week since June and really sum up this thought process. Read the articles and take anything and everything that can apply to your own daily operations.  Thank You to for posting these articles. 

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