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Old 12-29-2010, 10:27 AM   #15
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To Driver,
You seem to have taken offense to my previous post & I most surely meant none. In regard to 'surround & drown', that is most definitely NOT the policy of most fire depts. & NOT the policy of FDNY. Witness, the 343 (yes, three hundred & forty three) firefighters that perished in the twin towers on 9/11.
jodann, I hear that and that's why I was questioning the way your message came across, no need to come across with the 343. Our training films and exercises covered all the things that you spoke about. When we would respond to "The Village" on the west side of town on an EMS call, they would fling 1/2 pints or bigger glass bottles filled with water (hopefully) down toward the machines plus it was a false call. Have not been shot at since Vietnam.

We did a lot of pre-fire planning in our first due districts so we got to know most of the buildings in an area and what the hazards are. I did that a lot, drawing out floorplans and listing hazards. There were some building that were really nasty. I would expect that doing this type of pre-planning in a city like NY or Chicago would be next to impossible. During a 20 year career with FDNY you are just not going to have a lot of time to do that type of activity.

I'm not at all sure how the Chicago 1st in units were tasked and who said what but if there's a civilian outside the structure that said that there was someone in the building, firefighters are not going to look at one another and say that's too bad. I'm sure we'll read more about this incident later on. Wooster, MA also comes to mind when those firefighters were lost in an abandoned ice house. I can't figure out why even though there was a report of vagrants in the structure. I understand the vagrants got out.

There have been many firefighters lost in these types on incidents and as regrettable as that is, it's unlikely that from this point forward that we are not going to loose any more firefighters.

Be safe and take care.
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:08 PM   #16
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Not to belabor the point, but here's an abandoned warehouse with at least 8 deaths. For those not familiar with making life and death decisions in seconds, think how that Incident Commander (IC) feels this morning as he wonders if those lives could have been saved had he let his men (and women) into the building. You can make all the policies and plans and slogans in the world, but in real life someone is making that decision within seconds of arrival on the scene.

Had the IC allowed an aggresive interior attack the lives might have been saved, OR there might have been more firefighter deaths. We'll never know for sure. We do know that someone had to make the decision in both fires. And I'll bet both of them wish they could make a different decision.


New Orleans (LA) Warehouse Fire Kills 8


Dec 28, 2010
Eight people were killed by a large fire in an abandoned warehouse today in New Orleans, Louisiana. The victims were apparently homeless people who were trying to keep warm around a burning barrel; two others survived. There may be more victims in the rubble, according to fire officials.
New Orleans (LA) Fire Department Supt. Charles Parent told WWLTV.com that the department has a program to check and close abandone buildings to prevent this type of tragedy, however it is difficult to guarantee that all such buildings are closed because there are so many of them in the city.
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Old 12-29-2010, 02:54 PM   #17
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Again, to Driver.
This will be my last post on this subject as there is a difference of opinion & I'd rather not get into a cat fight. I just wanted to respond to your statement that there was "no need to come across with the 343."

On that subject I will vehemently disagree & it can all be summed up in two words. They are "NEVER FORGET"

Respectfully yours, jodann
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Old 12-29-2010, 03:15 PM   #18
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On that subject I will vehemently disagree & it can all be summed up in two words. They are "NEVER FORGET"
You see if we were talking over a cup of coffee this wouldn't be happening. All 343 are my heroes. I will "Never Forget!"
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:37 PM   #19
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I take it that none of you heard the TV interview of one of the line officers. He stated that this time of year, many homeless take up residence in these delelict, empty, buildings and that they have to consider that someone might be inside.

The two main instructors in the fire science degree program I took many years ago here in the Northeast were both old timer, one a city dept chief and the other a smaller city dept chief and associate editor of Fire Chief magazine. They told us if there was a chance of someone being inside that rescue was the first responsibility. That was back in the mid 1970s. I think today, with the manning level problems that many departments are having, risk assessment is becoming much more important that it was when larger crews responded. In the small city department where my son is a line officer, two men at the main station and two at the second station. That is it. They have to make a assessment before going into a known delelict, empty, building. If it is not safe to perform a search before the initial fire attack, I doubt it will be done unless it is a know fact that some one is inside..

I think that it does not matter what the assessment was at the fire in question. Higher authorities will sort that all out. The fire service lost some great guys. They were doing what they were trained to do, and not taking time to question orders. IAFF Local 2, 2 FF's have lost their lives, 4 FF's are still in critical condition, 10 other FF's are hurt, 16 FF's became trapped in a roof collapse in a commercial building fire the last I knew.

I think all our hearts and prayers go out to them and their families, and their brothers in the Chicago Fire Department. It was a sad day for everyone in the Fire Service!
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Old 12-31-2010, 06:43 PM   #20
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Wow, this is really going a bit off topic, but I do find the difference in opinions from professional firefighters on the forum thought provoking. But I believe we are all saying the same thing. Since the inception of the Fire Department by Ben Franklin and friends over 200 years ago, we are not finding any new ways to die on the job, and we need to honor those who have by learning from their lessons.

I think we all have a different opinon of whether or not we would make an offensive interior attack on one of these derelict buildings. I believe it hinges on many findings by the first due officer. I know as a line Battalion Chief, I would be assessing many things while in route and at scene; firstly my resources available to mitigate the problem, time of day, what's burning, and how much involvement upon arrival by the first company. If I have light to moderate smoke showing, I would definitely have a crew(s) enter the building with a thermal imaging device, and under protection of a hose line if at all possible. or if the building is already charged with heavy smoke and some fire showing, I would probably hesitate to send personnel in, and probably only if there were occupants rumored inside. If the building was well involved with fire, I would not send in crews due to the question of structural integrity of the building, and the risk vs. gain by the actions taken. If it is that hot and infused with super heated gases, and crews cannot gain any ground without large efforts in ventilation, then what can I expect for outcome of the folks inside the building without the advantages of bunker gear and SCBA, well you get the point.

What was my point..... it is that as mentioned earlier, we do not know what the IC encountered upon arrival, and what decisions were made that he or she will have to live with for the rest of their life. No two fires are alike, many are similar, but all are unique. We must analyze every fire fatality so we do not repeat it. We owe it to our crews. Remember Hackensack NJ?

Yes, we all knew the risks when we signed up for the job. As long as I can remember, we have killed 100 firefighters a year, every year. Let's make 2011 the year we break that trend. I apologize for the lengthy post.
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