Submit Your Close Call / Near Miss
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Vincent Edenfield Photos
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Our department made a full alarm response to a report of mattress fire with flames showing in an apartment complex. The apartments were originally built in 1971 with renovation in the mid 1970s changing the flat roof structure to a pitched roof. On arrival, incident command reported heavy smoke showing from the second floor on the A side, and initial attack engine was ordered to advance lines. Two lines were taken to the door. A two man ALS rescue was assigned to accompany the attacking engine company for a total of five personnel to make entry and stretch line; the Lieutenant kept a crew of three including himself to make the actual entry. At the Lieutenant’s direction, the third man – a rookie firefighter – carried a TIC with him and the Lieutenant brought a breaching tool. The crew made entry and advanced the line, reporting heavy black smoke but no fire. The Lieutenant attempted to breach the ceiling above him, failing to punch thru what was later determined to be plywood decking covered with sheet rock. The Lieutenant then asked the TIC firefighter what conditions were; the TIC firefighter telling the Lieutenant that the fire was moving around them and getting behind them. The Lieutenant ordered his attack team to retreat approximately seven feet, where he again attempted and failed to breach the ceiling and was advised by the TIC firefighter that the fire was now behind them. The Lieutenant reported that at this point, the temperature in the apartment rose dramatically and he made the decision to make a complete retreat from the structure. The Lieutenant reported that as his crew turned to make the exit, they heard the ‘evacuate’ signal on the air horns of on scene apparatus and the incident commander (person reporting this near miss) advising to evacuate the structure. The Lieutenant also reported that as he personally exited the structure with his crews in front of him, he felt the ceiling caving in and falling on his back. A PAR was performed immediately with all personnel accounted for and uninjured. Further firefighting operations were committed to at this time from an exterior/defensive positioning. Exterior operations were severely hampered by restricted water supply and structural layout of the complex.
The most important lesson learned from the near miss was the value of a TIC carried with the attack crew. The particular crew that was the initial attack consisted of two veteran and very aggressive firefighters (the nozzle man and the Lieutenant) and a rookie firefighter who wanted to ‘keep up’. This crew’s nature is to attack fast and hard, and without the information from the TIC, may have gone deeper into the structure in search of the fire. In review of the fire, it was determined that the use of the TIC to recognize the dangerous conditions and the fire’s unseen movement is what kept this crew in a manageable range to the exit when conditions soured. The information provided by the TIC and the rookie firefighter’s training in interpreting that information saved our department from serious injuries including possibly one or even multiple LODDs. It is highly recommended that a three man attack team should always include a trained TIC firefighter.
The second lesson is to further consider unusual and older structures in the size up, and not let the initial visual of the scene funnel an incident commander into an expected single or double room & contents fire. The investigator has determined that the fire had actually been burning for an extended time before reported to 911, and due to the structure’s roof renovation, had compartmentalized the fire in a common attic space with no fire walls. When units arrived on scene, it was a very short time when the fire broke thru the roof, racing the entire roof of the structure quickly; the hidden fire already well advanced beyond initial conditions. The rapid change from a single room & contents fire to fully involved was an unexpected side effect of the structure. Further, reports to the investigator support the theory that the resident unintentionally spread the fire thru the fire apartment when removing a blanket from the reported mattress fire. This information was never provided to incident command till well after the fire started, several hours into the incident.
A third issue was the water supply available in the complex. The apartment complex is supplied by a private hydrant system branched off a main at the entrance to the complex. Due to recent fire incidents in our city involving private hydrants and low water supply, personnel were naturally suspicious of the two private hydrants in the complex, and were not surprised when supplied water was less volume than needed or expected. Our department uses five inch supply, but was unable to secure a line to the main road due to congestion in the complex, and the narrow drives the complex presents. Mutual aid resources did lay a supply to the main road hydrants on the city system, but were never able to provide adequate water supply to meet needs on the scene. Future operations will be met with even more skepticism toward private hydrants and operational task of providing LDH supply from the city mains. Since our department is a small three company department, we do not have the option of putting several pieces of apparatus on scene to provide ample tank water, and rely on mutual aid assets to provide the balance of first alarm and all alarms after that.
Friday, April 8, 2011
I was onboard the Ladder Truck going to a Chimney Fire, on arrival I begain the Truck duties associated with my riding position. Command requested that someone goes to the roof to check the Chimney, at that time the First Due Engine Company had arrived and took our 28ft extention ladder off the Truck and fully extended it to the roof and the Tillerman brought the 18ft Roof Ladder, I took the responsibility of going to the roof and was givin the Roof Ladder and the Chimney bombs to carry up, the 18ft to reach the pitch of the roof because of the roof's steep pitch. I was about 3 rungs prior the the tip of the 28ft and was about to extented the Roof Ladder when the fly section of the 28ft came down because the fly section was not locked and was stored back to carrying. I came back to the ground level, I extended it back and locked the fly section and continued my duites of going to the roof. Luckly I was not injuried in the process.
As anyone goes to the roof, double check your Ladder before climbing. Learn from my mistake.
Monday, April 4, 2011
We had a structure fire in a balloon style farm house undergoing a remodel. Heavy fire was burning in the second and first floors in the rear of the building. A sudden collapse of the secod floor, pancake style occurred during he fire extingusihment that was defensive at the time of the collapse.
LESSONS LEARNED: No warning was provided prior to the sudden collapse of the second floor on to the first floor. A limited initial response held the fire suppression to an exterior fire attack that was transitioned into a defensive attack by the IC. At no time did anyone on the fire ground expect the second floor to drop leaving the walls of the second floor hanging from the second floor ceiling.
Monday, March 28, 2011
While performing interior fire suppression inside of a residential garage on 3-27-11 three firefighters experienced minor injuries following an explosion from an unknown source. Two members were inside the structure preparing to exit and the third was just outside the door when the blast occurred within feet of the firefighters. All three rapidly exited the structure and were transported by ambulance to a local hospital for a precautionary evaluation of potential hearing loss/ear injuries.
They were fortunate to be utilizing good crew integrity and accountability skills as they were quickly able to exit the structure to safety as an intact crew. This served as an important reminder to maintain crew accountability at all times, use all of your PPE properly, and have an escape plan at all times. Everyone went home!
Friday, March 11, 2011
A firefighter in Ocean Grove, NJ was injured when a stack of cinder blocks collapsed onto him. The stability of the pile was weakened when water used to suppress the fire was flowing by on sandy soil. When the wall of blocks collapsed, it covered the firefighter up to approximately his waist. Although three RIT teams were on scene, a nearby crew of firefighters quickly freed the firefighter, who was then immediately treated by EMS. He was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center with a leg injury.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
On January 25, 2011 Shaker Heights Fire Department units along with units from Cleveland Heights, South Euclid and Beachwood were operating at the Chelsea Apartments, 3330 Warrensville Center Road Apartment, for a working kitchen fire. The fire was in apartment 508 on the fifth floor.
The initial unit on scene, Engine 216, reported that they had a grease fire that had extended into the cupboards above. They had heavy smoke with a little heat or fire. E216 reported that a sprinkler had activated above the fire which had kept the fire confined to that area.
Captain Zugan was Incident commander and located at street level in front of the building at the rear of his vehicle (C263). Captain Zugan reported that during the overhaul stage, for a period of 2-3 minutes, he noticed there was a problem communicating on the Channel 2 – Fireground (Zone 29 Eastcom – Channel 2). During this time no one on the fireground was able to communicate. Captain Zugan reported hearing only interference noises like buzzing and clicking. Capt. Zugan observed different radio ID’s appearing on the MARCS radio in the rear of C263 but was unable to hear any voice communication.
Inside the building, Lt. Sepesy was operating directly under a flowing sprinkler head. He also heard the interference. He turned his radio off and then back on at which time the interference immediately stopped. Lt. Sepesy reports that his radio was totally soaked from operating under the sprinkler. Lt. Sepesy reporting hearing the transmit tone sounding on his radio.
Fireground communications then became fully operational again and there was no further issue throughout the incident.
Analysis / Discussion:
After reading the complaint forwarded by Capt. Zugan (Exhibit A attached). Lt. Sepesy’s radio was obtained and held in quarantine. We secured his radio in the state it was given to us. We examined it visually only without altering it. It is a Motorola XTS 5000R with a model NMN6193C remote speaker microphone attached.
SHFD Portable Radio ID #: 6178
XTS5000 MDL II Portable 700/800
Model # :
Remote Speaker Microphone Model #:
Remote Speaker Microphone Serial #:
We inquired into the water proof characteristics of this radio and speaker/mike combination. We found that the radio meets military specs and is submersible. The remote speaker/microphone is rated water resistant only.
The team investigated the condition of the cross band repeater on C263 to see if it could have played a part in the interference. The cross band repeater on C263 was found to be off. This cross band repeater only operates between two radios, one in the VHF band, and the other in the UHF band. If the repeater had been activated during the incident it would not have effected the operations on fireground channel 2 (770.1625 Mhz.).
We investigated whether any mutual aid companies had any radio equipment activated while they were on scene. No other communities had active repeaters that would have interfered with the operations on fireground channel 2 (770.1625 Mhz.).
There are two 700/800 MHz MARCS radios in the back of C263. They were both found to be in working order.
We conducted a test of a speaker/microphone of the same model number with water to see if we could cause it to fail. Attaching it to the same model radio, we immersed the head of the speaker/microphone in water and sprayed it with a garden hose. After approximately ten minutes the radio began transmitting intermittently and at some points locked into transmit for longer periods. The surrounding monitoring radios began to buzz and click. To further recreate the situation, additional radios were utilized to recreate other traffic trying to talk on fireground. Radio ID’s were observed on the display of the fireground radio in C263. There was no audio from the other radios simply the ID’s displaying.
The next day the same test was repeated. The results were the same. This time members were present who were on scene of the initial event. Members in attendance agreed that the sounds on the other radios were those that they heard that night. Furthermore Captain Zugan also agreed that the sounds and the ID’s flashing on C263’s radio replicated the conditions of the Chelsea fire scene.
On the second day of testing, another speaker/microphone was tested. The Motorola Remote Speaker Microphone model number PMMN4038A has a 30 minute submersible rating. It is recommended for firefighting use by Motorola. We tested one of these mikes by submersing it for approximately 50 minutes and spraying it directly with a hose. We could not cause it to fail and it worked perfectly at the end of the water test.
The suspect radio and speaker/microphone were sent out to Motorola Solutions for radio examination. We asked Motorola to look the radio and remote speaker microphone for any problems.
The radio was examined and found to be working properly within specifications. There was no sign of water intrusion into the radio. Motorola believes that there was nothing wrong in the radio that would have caused the problem that was encountered.
The remote speaker/microphone was examined by Motorola. They found that there were signs of water intrusion and corrosion inside the remote microphone. They stated that this could have caused a malfunction.
Our findings are that the heavy water drenching of a remote speaker/microphone that was water resistant only and not rated for the conditions encountered at this scene caused this communication failure. The drenching caused the microphone to lock into the transmit mode thereby causing interruption of communications on the selected channel.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
3 Engine Companies, 1 Truck Company, 1 Medic Unit, and 1 Battalion (Battalion Chief and Safety Officer) were dispatched to a reported structure fire in a house early Sunday afternoon.
A large column of smoke was seen by crews leaving the station and it was upgraded to a Working Fire-additional Engine and Medic dispatched to the scene.
The crew on the first arriving engine found a well involved fire on side C with an exposure already starting to catch due to zero lot line and many items between the involved structure and exposure. A 2 inch cross lay was deployed and while waiting on water at the back of the house a propane tank and two gasoline containers went off. Shortly thereafter water was to the nozzle and the fire was knocked down and access into the structure was made. The Fire Fighter that was on the nozzle commented that he couldn't see very well and another fire fighter looked and thought his mask just had water on it. When their air was low the firefighter from the first in engine and a fire fighter from the first medic unit exited the building and it was noticed that the fire fighter who had been on the nozzle was still having a hard time seeing through his mask. The fire firefighter with him then noticed that the face mask was bubbled up, the goggles were bubbled up as well as a few burn spots on the bunker gear.
The fire fighter was walked to the medic unit to be examined. 1st and 2nd degree burns were found on the fire fighter's shoulder, knuckles, and thigh. The fire fighter went to the hospital for treatment and will be off duty for a couple of weeks while healing up.
During fire fighting operations a 2nd Alarm was requested due to the exposure problem. An Engine Company and Battalion Chief from Addison assisted.
• The Fire Fighter was wearing all of his PPE- with his mask on when the fire event occurred- this truly protected his face from being burned
• Hose stream training earlier in the day caused the fire fighter's gear to be soaking wet. This probably contributed to the fire fighter being burned through his gear.
Monday, March 7, 2011
Engine 1101 was dispatched to a structure fire at 1243 a.m. While in route dispatch reported via neighbor that there were residents inside home smoke coming from roof line. Engine 1101 prepared for rescue being first due. Upon arrival Engine 1101 officer noticed a two story wood frame structure, two vehicles parked outside, burglar bars on the front door (not on windows), and police officers breaking window on alpha side yelling for residents. Eng 1101 was first on scene and initiated rescue mode. Eng 1101 officer and firefighter entered structure through the broken window and Eng 1101 driver began forcible entry on the front door with a K-12. Conditions on first floor were noted to be moderate smoke and light heat. Officer and firefighter searched the first floor with nothing found. Engine 1101 crew met Engine 1102 crew at the front door once they arrived and assigned them to fire attack. Engine 1101 found stairwell to the second floor via thermal imaging camera. Conditions on second floor were observed as having thick smoke and moderate heat conditions. Crew began search of second floor for occupants. Stairway led to a loft space and a hall leading to two bedrooms on the bravo side. Engine 1101 crew noticed there were no doors on any rooms in the second floor and doors were removed from doorways and leaning against walls in the rooms. The doors leaning against the walls gave the illusion that there were more rooms to access. Engine 1101 crew searched the two bedrooms with nothing found. While Engine 1101 was searching additional crew was starting roof ventilation operation. Roof team was on the first floor roof of a modified garage remodel, when they found a deteriorated roof conditions. The roof caved into the attic on the first floor, causing the fire to escape, becoming wind driven, and catching the second floor on fire on the delta side. Upon completion of search on second floor Engine 1101 crew was exiting their way back down the hallway where they were met with heavy smoke and rollover conditions. Upon entering the loft conditions then deteriorated to pre-flashover and crew had no time to search for stairwell. Engine 1101 officer broke out window on alpha side and radioed for a ladder to the window to prepare for bailing out. Engine 1101 Firefighter was braced low against alpha side interior wall of the loft, and took a step to the right, finding the first step of the stairwell. Firefighter yelled to officer that the he found stairwell and both members exited to the first floor and out the front door on the alpha side. Upon exiting the structure both members looked up at the second floor and found the loft fully-involved. Ladder was placed at the window by Command while Engine 1101 crew was exiting the structure via the stairwell. At this time fire was deemed defensive and PAR was taken for all units on scene. Engine 1101 driver obtained knock down of fire with deck gun. Fire moved from defensive back to offensive and crew re-entered to fully extinguish.
Communication, communication, communication. Proper communication between crews either over radio or face to face has to be done in order to achieve the same goal safely and effectively. And proper cordination of back-up line is a must. If inspection hole was mabe on first floor location of fire would have been known and appropiate actions would have been taken.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
At 09:18 hours on March 1, 2011 we responded to a fire in an older Victorian residence with balloon construction. The fire was contained to a laundry room, and was burning inside the wall when crews arrived. The fire attack captain advised me that there was no visible fire in the room, and they discovered the fire as they began to remove the drywall. The laundry room was empty and there was gas and electric service to the house. Crews had shut off the gas and electricity shortly after arriving on scene. The only utility in the area affected by the fire was a gas line. The origin of the fire was near the elbow on the gas line near the shut off valve for the dryer, this was evident due to complete destruction of some wood members in the area and deep charring. There was an additional area of deep char near an elbow at the top end of the gas line, this was possibly and additional point of origin. We were unable to locate any obvious cause of ignition in the area of the fire, or the debris that was removed prior to the investigatorâ€™s arrival. We requested the gas and electric companies to respond and assist with the evaluation of the utilities at the residence. The gas company detected a small leak in the system and placed a plug in the meter. They did no test to see if the leak was on the gas pipe in the area of origin prior to plugging the meter. The house had an old knob and tube wiring system and was serviced by an electrical panel with knife switches and screw in fuses. There was Romex wiring added to this system, and there was no apparent ground according to the electric company. Under our direction the electric company energized the system to determine if there was electricity in the gas line. The electric company found there were approx. 25-50 volts at the gas meter, and 100-130 volts at the gas pipe in the area of origin. Based on this information the electric company disconnected the electric service at the pole until the electrical issue can be resolved. We contacted the property owner to inform him of the electrical issues, and informed Building & Safety of the issues at the residence.
Fortunately no one was injured at this incident; however the potential for electric shock or electrocution existed at the gas meter and the gas pipe in the area of origin. The captain who shut off the gas used a plastic utility wrench that he carried in his turnouts, this possibly prevented an electric shock or electrocution. The electric panel was in the laundry room, and the knife switches caused an additional hazard to responding personnel.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Thanks to www.FirefighterSpot.com for this closecall and reminder
Two firefighters in York, Virginia suffered minor injuries as a result of a chimney collapse during operations. One James City firefighter was released from the local hospital and the other firefighter refused transport to hospital.
This type of close call has been captured on video in the past. We should think during our size-up about the location of fire and the burn time. From the exterior it may appear as though the chimney is in tact when in fact it may be compromised on the interior. Know your construction and be in the habit of doing continual size-up
Close Call 3
Close Call 2
Friday, February 18, 2011
Fireground CREEP is a serious problem. Firefighters have a natural tendancy to want to GET SOME!
WE AS COMMAND OFFICERS MUST PICK UP HAND LINES DURING DEFENSIVE OPS, KEEP OUR TESTOSTRONE DRIVEN MEMBERS BACK AND REMEMBER WE RISK NOTHING TO SAVE NOTHING!
Video of the Explosion Courtesy of South Hampton Fire & FirefighterSpot.com
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Example of Saw Dust Fire Ball
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Two NY firefighters received burns while pulling ceiling in a 1 story machine shop. Upon investigation it was found that over 30 years ago the building was used as a cabinet wood shop. While the members were pulling ceilings looking for a fire in the cockloft the tin ceiling was pulled and saw dust fell and immediate burst into flames. Completely engulfing the firefighters. They were quickly tackled to the ground and the flames were extinguished.
Always wear complete PPE while operating inside a structure. Never pull ceiling without a charged line. Never assume that the occupany hazards are the only hazards, many buildings especially commercial building have a history.
Thanks to FirefighterSpot.com for this Video
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
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