In the history of the fire service, March 25th is a bad date. Actually, to start with, today was the funeral of FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo, a mother of five, who was killed in the Line of Duty when a career criminal overtook the ambulance she was driving and ran her over.
Additionally, a friend of mine sent an email listing numerous losses that have happened on this date. As I was reading through it I wondered what else may happen today. It wasn’t long after that we turned out for a first alarm fire in a fast food restaurant. More on that later.
Captain Al Frye of the Roslyn Rescue Fire Company (NY) was killed in the Line of Duty when a DUI driver slammed thru traffic cones as crews were training.
Happy Land Social Club arson fire killed eighty-seven in New York City, most of the victims were ethnic Hondurans celebrating Carnival.
A fire and explosion destroyed an Atlanta, GA five-story office building in the center of the business district.
Los Angeles, CA a six-floor hotel fire killed six of the estimated 150 who were in the St. George Hotel at 115 E. Third St. when the fire started at 3:00 a.m. in room 312. The hotel’s second floor fire hose was so rotted it was not usable, and a weight-balanced fire escape ladder at the rear, leading from the second floor to the ground, was wired up.
Steilacoom, WA one man died and two injured when Western State Hospital for the insane that was destroyed by a fire in the three-story brick building; 230 inmates were able to escape.
A coal mine explosion killed 122 miners near Centralia, IL.
Milwaukee, WI fifteen firefighters are overcome by smoke at the Saddlery Factory fire.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire left 146 dead in New York City. The fire began on the eighth floor and quickly extended, lack of exits prevented escape, many would jump to their death.
6 firefighters are killed when a roof of the four-story structure collapses during a fire at the Middleton Manufacturing Company in Milwaukee, WI –
There’s more – but in digging thru history, this wasn’t such a good date-however…..every one of the above incidents since the loss of Captain Frye have taught us lessons. Be in fire operations, prevention, tactics or roadways survival. The goal is to learn and not repeat history.
Perhaps the best way to remember those killed in the Line of Duty is to study and learn what went right-and what went wrong-and not repeat the what went wrong part.
So what about that fast food restaurant fire today?
Initially smoke showing with a working fire upgrade by the first arriving company officer, and then not too long after, heavy fire conditions. It was in there burning for quite a while-we found it with TIC’s, tools and trained firefighters. So today, due to exhaustive training at all levels (from chiefs to probies that never stops), the incident commander, and the division fire officers made the right decisions to “pull’em out” and go defensive- – -and not long after, very predictably, there was a catastrophic, predictable collapse.
Not a scratch on anyone. Not the employees, who were out on the first due companies arrival. And not a scratch on any Firefighter from any of the departments operating.
Not sure there is a better way to honor those Firefighters who have lost their lives in collapses, especially in what we all know as “fast food” style structures.
The restaurant will be replaced as they always are, and in this case, everyone who operated at the fire will be able to attend the grand opening. 3/25 is a bad date in fire service history but just a little better today.
Although we’ve shared this opinion many times before, in this case, especially to the younger members of The Secret List-never miss a chance to learn and study “what happened” in the past-the next fire you turn out on may have some critical similarities. To those in leadership roles, educating, training and sharing those lessons with those you supervise is probably item 3 on your job performance evaluation.
Here are numerous reports that can be learned from.
This fire in particular was on many of the minds operating today:
A No Cost “Do It Right Now” On Line Training Opportunity: