At 04:50 on the 18th of July 2019 Newark Division of Fire & EMS units along with mutual aid companies were dispatched on a residential structure fire at 268 Moull Street, Newark, Ohio. The initial assignment for this residential fire was: 1 chief, 2 ladder, 3 engines, and 2 ems transport (medic). Upon arriving at the scene Command was established and reported a working fire with Rescue 1 assigned to initiate an interior attack. A 360 survey was completed, and a walkout basement was discovered and announced to all units. Crews radioed that this was a basement fire shortly after entering the front door and that there was a hole in the 1st floor. Command redirected units to the rear basement entrance for fire attack due to the reported hole. A primary search had been initiated due to the uncertainty of occupants inside the home. Fire knockdown was accomplished and search crews reported that they were continuing their search. An all clear was given on the basement and first floor; however search crews reported that they had fire in the walls on the 2nd floor. Smoke conditions coming from the eaves had not lessened and it was apparent that fire was extending through the walls into the attic space. To this point it had been broadcast four times that there were holes in the 1st floor. Engine 2 officer (victim 1) exited the structure and advised BN1 that although there were multiple holes in the floor, there was only one burn hole; the rest were from the HVAC grates being absent for floor refinishing. Victim 1 had stepped into an HVAC hole, causing his injury, but stated that the structure was still solid.
L3/E52 (Victim 2) struggled to locate the fire extension on the 2nd floor and ultimately decided to exit the building due to increasing heat conditions and known fire below them on the fire floor. While exiting the 1st floor, Victim 2 stepped on the edge of the burn hole and the edge gave way sending him into the basement. L3 transmitted a Mayday and the RIT crew was deployed. Victim 2 was located by RIT 57 seconds after the Mayday was broadcast and had him out of the building at 1 minute and 37 seconds post Mayday. The structure was emptied and BN1 gathered all on scene companies in the front yard to relay the information that the firefighter was not injured and allow everyone on the scene to take a deep breath. Crews worked methodically to locate and extinguish extension from the bottom up, which proved to be extremely labor intensive. Efforts were hampered by slow/poor response following requests for more resources.
– RIT crew must be made up of a minimum of three firefighters to facilitate extraction if necessary
– The rear door on the first floor should have been used following the initial attack attempt for access to the first and second floor.
– Crews need to be assigned to keep watch on the seat of the fire even after knockdown to ensure there is no reignition.
– Command needs to make sure that ALL companies who are given interior assignments are aware of current conditions, both fire and structural, prior to making entry.
– Personnel need to exercise good radio discipline with regard to volume; this issue specifically created communication difficulties.
– Egress ladders that are thrown must be left in place for the duration of the incident.
– Crews involved in a Mayday should be replaced, and not allowed to continue to perform tasks on the fireground.
– It is best to call for more resources early in an incident when the crew is already known to be fatigued.
– An additional command level officer, who is immediately available to respond, should be dispatched at each additional alarm, even if this requires mutual aid.
– Alterations to the fireground radio traffic model should be considered, that separate responding units from units that are operating on scene.
– The Incident Commander should be operating in a quiet, climate controlled environment with access to multiple radios and CAD resources to effectively and efficiently run the fire ground.
– A 360 by the Incident Commander is invaluable to provide them with the best information available about the fire conditions and structure on their arrival.
– CAD needs to be adjusted to dispatch additional units, rather than counting resources that are not yet on scene toward the additional alarm.
– 2nd alarm companies dispatched following a Mayday should not be cancelled if the situation is resolved quickly and should be utilized to replace units involved in the Mayday.
AFTER ACTION REPORT: 268 Moull St AAR