Sunday, November 8, 2009

If the ladder goes up...

I don't know if fire season has started and I missed the memo, or if it was just a hint of what's to come, but there were quite a few fires where I work yesterday. Sadly, I only got to go on 1 of them.

We were dispatched on the 2nd alarm (staging) of an apartment fire overnight. First crews onscene reported that the building was fully involved. On the way there, the radio traffic was buzzing as crews got water supplies on 2 sides of the building and set up for aerial operations on both sides as well. They went into defensive operations, conducted a PAR, then started flowing both aerials.

After knocking down the majority of the fire, a crew was allowed into a certain area with a 2 1/2". Another crew was detailed with checking for structural stability to see if we could send crews into other areas.

We sat in staging for roughly 5 minutes before being ordered to the scene to hurry up and wait. After some intense handshaking and hugs from guys we hadn't seen in a while, we were ordered to the command post, along with other crews for an assignment.

We ended up performing a secondary on a few apartments, and were going to do a primary on a few others, but all doors were locked and chief said not to worry about it instead of forcing all of the doors.

We were released from the scene shortly after. The fire seemed to be on the 2nd story and it also burnt the roof off. I think I heard them say 25+ people were displaced.

I've worked fires in that complex before. It's not a major tinderbox, but they (the fires) can get out of hand quickly if you don't act fast. Sadly, the first crews learned the hard way that a single crosslay will not really put enough of a dent into one of these to stop it.

Somewhat offtopic, we went through training for new SCBA's many months ago, but they weren't issued to us because of some issues the manufacturer had to deal with. How sad is it that now that some units finally got the new SCBA's, many, many people have dead battery issues? I have to include myself in this group and it irritates me to no end. We aren't allowed to change the batteries, and we don't have the correct tools anyway.

It's hard enough trying to remember what we briefly learned 6+ months ago, it's even harder when the pack and/or mask have dead/low batteries.

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