On Monday, December 16th, 2007 we had a two alarm fire right across the street from fire headquarters. The fire was noticed by the Captain and one of the firefighters, who were on the apparatus floor. The home was a 2.5 story wood frame, balloon construction that had been renovated a few times and had apartments on the 1st and second floor with a smaller unit in what was once the attic space. The fire hadn’t activated the buildings smoke detectors, as it was in the ceiling of the second floor unit and the walls/floor of the attic unit. During the fire attack, the crew bringing the second attack line into the building recognized a rapid buildup of heat on the second floor and the company officer ordered the evacuation signal to be sounded. The second floor flashed over just after everyone got out. A head count was taken and fire operations began again.
Situational awareness pays off! There was little or no fire on the second floor when the company officer recognized the rapid heat rise. All we lost was a couple of lengths of hose and a nozzle instead of firefighters!