On the 11th of November the engine I am assigned to was dispatched to a structure fire. Upon the arrival of the Battalion Chief it was reported that we had a single wide trailer that was 50% involved in fire, with exposures on the “B” and “D” side of the unit involved. Upon the arrival of E-319 (my engine) we were assigned to assist in fire suppression efforts. It was at this time I noticed that we had “live” power lines on the ground. The “B” side of the involved structure that were arcing.(Never reported on the size-up, 1st mistake) The first arriving engine had made an attack with a 1 3/4″ handline on the “B” side. (2nd mistake, big fire, use a big line, 3rd mistake was they were operatiing within 30′ of the power line) I was ordered by the B/C to have my crew pull a 2 1/2″ line and begin fire suppression. My crew was getting the 2 1/2″ line in place when I went to the first attack team and advised them of the power lines. They said they knew about them, but they were “safe” I called to command and requested that all personnel stay away from the “B” side due to the power line, and this request was granted and all F/F’s operating on the fire ground were given the order to stay away from the “B” side of the structure. The fire was extinguished without incident. The power company arrived on scene to secure the power to the line on the ground. Crews on scene saw the power company, and began overhaul operations. While they were operating on the “B” side of the structure, they were standing in puddles of water. When they started to advance on the “B” side the power line “jumpped” and crews operating on the “B” side were within 10′ of that line. Everyone that was near the power line started to point the finger and ask why wasn’t the power secured. It was reported by a late arriving Chief that the power company had secured the power. What he failed to ask the power company was did he secure the line that was down, or power to the exposures. It was at this time that the power company stated they had only secured the power to the exposures, and they were working on the line that was down. No one was injured, but everyone that was on scene learned a lesson in safety.
1. The first arriving uint needs to give a size-up that includes hazards on the fire ground.
2. Knowing what line to pull given the amount of fire upon arrival.
3. Before entering an area that has been identified as a hazard, make sure that it is now a safe area to operate in.
4. Never trust a power line that is on the ground, assume that all power lines on the ground are “HOT.”