Two months after I graduated from the fire service training academy, I was deployed to a fire in Castries, the capital of St. Lucia. The building was a three-story business complex, which had been in existence long before I was born.
Upon arrival at the scene, I saw heavy, dense smoke puffing from a metal pipe on the roof; I was asked to don my breathing apparatus to execute an offensive attack.
Shortly after our arrival, someone approached the incident commander handing him keys to gain access to the building. The incident commander ordered a crew member to open the door on the northern end of the building, which was also the windward side. The door was open and a rock was used to keep it in the open position.
Thereafter, the crew, which I was part of, proceeded to gain entry through the open door. We were approximately two feet to the door when I heard an explosion coinciding with the shattering of the widows. Immediately the flames grew and the building was instantly engulfed.
Lessons Learned: limit the amount of oxygen introduced to a fire that is puffing out smoke.