Later during the investigation it was determined that they had been given zero instruction on what to do, how to do it, or how to recognize dangerous smoke and fire conditions. They both thought that I was joking when I told them the room was close to flashover, because they didn’t think they would be placed in that situation. Prior to the fire, I had voiced my concerns to the IC about the instructor and had also voiced my concerns to my Lt. (who was outside safety) about the IC because he would not listen to us and would not allow us to stay inside and instruct the fire attacks. We came within seconds of killing two of our personnel (one of whom quit over it and the other is now a career member with us) due to lack of training, inexperienced instructors, and an IC who refused to listen.
It is imperative that fire departments shed the “Good old boy” system, and stop placing poorly trained and inexperienced people in positions of authority, just because they have taken a few classes and a certification test. A piece of paper does not substitute for an experienced, trained, firefighter. Start training for the low frequency, high risk incidents. Train every day like your life depends on it because it does depend on it, and learn something new everyday. Understand and be great at the basics before everything else, or you may not survive long enough to get to the everything else. Realize, train for, and equip your personnel for the fact that every time we are engaged in firefighting, someone may get hurt. Pay attention, BE PROACTIVE with training and firefighter safety. Treat every incident as the one that might kill you. Train hard, be safe, God bless you all.