Archive for the 'Outside Functions' Category
Derek Brown from Madison (WI) Firehouse 7 sent in these photos of new style of roof construction he and the crew ran into in their first due. The building in the photo is a two-story day care facility that features an interesting style of roof construction.
The building has steel trusses with corrugated metal sheet decking directly over the truss system.
On top of the corrugated decking there are fire rated 2×4’s acting as a purling. Over the purling is fire rated 3/4′” plywood. The roof will be finished off with traditional tab shingles. Once completed the roof will look no different than an ordinary shingle roof.
Accomplishing a vertical vent on this building would be interesting if the style of construction was not know ahead of time. A good carbide tip on the chain saw should get right through the entire assembly, but will certainly take a bit longer than traditional plywood or OSB decking.4 comments
Kirk Candan and the crew from FDNY Ladder Co. 129 came across this door while checking the surrounding properties at a manhole fire in Flushing, Queens. As you can see from the outside, you have a metal outward swinging door with the hinges exposed and a Fox Police Lock in its usual middle of the door position. There are no other bolts or locks visible from the street.
Once inside you can see that the Fox Police Lock is poorly mounted on two pieces of plywood.
Additionally four large slide-bolts, two on each side of the door, extend past the frame when locked.
In the above photo it appears there is a decent gap between the door and the frame, but when the door is properly closed and locked the gap tightens up. The crew from Ladder Co. 129 decided that using the forcible entry saw to cut through the slide bolts would be their approach after attempting conventional forcible entry.1 comment
About a year ago the FDNY, Underwriters Laboratory (UL), and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) did a study on ventilation and what effect it has on a fire. Here is a great 2 minute video about VES and the effects of closing the bedroom door and not closing the bedroom door. It’s a great visualization of conditions when someone leaves the door open and does not isolate the bedroom. Even thought we feel you shouldn’t have to add the “I” and corrupt the acronym VES, the isolation step is in fact one of the most important components of performing VES. Click here if the video is not showing up below.11 comments
David Wolf from Cy-Fair (TX) found another reason why we should always expect the unexpected. He found this garage converted to two bedrooms on a house fire. They needed to make entry to the garage, but found the garage door locked. They cut the door with a rotary saw, only to find wood studs and drywall behind it. They cut the studs, breached the drywall, and found two bedrooms in the garage space.
Here are a few things to think about while doing an interior search: Typically there will be a 4″ drop from the interior floor level to the garage floor level. Many laundry rooms are between the interior of a residence and the garage, meaning to get from inside the house to the garage you commonly have to walk through the laundry room. While preforming a search if you turn towards side “A” you may be heading towards a garage. Also garages tend to lack windows and secondary egresses. Signs like these could give you good clues that you may be searching a “two bed garage.”1 comment
Lieutenant Chris Wells from Dunn’s Corners (RI) sent in this photo of something they recently ran into on a single story seaside residential structure fire. Upon arrival crews found the building heavily involved, but were able to knock it down within 10 minutes. The truck crew quickly went to work on the roof, opening up a vertical vent (shown by red arrow). When they tried punching through, they found a flat membrane roof underneath (shown by yellow arrow). The second roof was close enough to also be cut with the saw. Once the second roof was opened, the crew tried pushing through again to find ANOTHER separate asphalt flat roof (shown by green arrow.) They already had moderate smoke coming rom the hole, and decided to abandon the vent. Within minutes of abandoning the roof, fire was visible from the vent hole. Once the fire was out, it was found that the fire had gained access between roofs three and two, creating a cockloft effect. Crews were able to knock this fire down by making an attack from the gable end of the roof.
Another interesting part of this story is that the fire was started by POT on the stove. The occupant was cooking 4lbs of butter and mixing in marijuana buds. He passed out in his bedroom, and another occupant awoke to find the fire on the stove. While trying to remove the flaming POT from the stove, the occupant caught the living room on fire and received second and third degree burns on approximately 50% of his body.No comments
Alex Newman sent in these pictures of an interesting supplemental lock he recently came across. Alex was a firefighter with Escambia County (FL) prior to leaving to join the military. Even though he’s currently deployed, he’s still thinking like a firefighter!
As you can see in the image below the supplemental lock is secured with a “guarded” padlock.
Below, the lock has been removed, on the left door you can see the tab that the supplemental lock slides into. On the right door you can see the bracket where the padlock would go when its installed.
Below is the supplemental lock removed.
There are a few different options for forcing this set-up. Bolt cutters would certainly be the quickest, but only if they were readily available. Unless we knew this lock was present ahead of time, but that’s not likely. The tabs on the door are through-bolted and back plated, so the bolts are not likely to be “pulled through” the door by prying. The depth that the padlock is recessed might be the solution. The padlock looks shallow enough that the pike of the halligan could be inserted into the shackle. Once the halligan is in place, a few solid strikes with an 8lb axe would either defeat the padlock or hasp.
The rotary saw is always an option as well. In this case a small cut on the left side of the supplemental lock would defeat it’s attachment point on that door as shown below. Once that is complete, forcing the door traditionally with the irons (above or below the supplemental lock) would complete the task. The supplemental lock would remain attached to the left door, and swing out of the way when that door was opened.
Nate Quartier from Ormond Beach (FL) Quint 92 “B” sent in something they recently ran across in a local church. Crewmember Jim Peters noticed an odd looking piece of metal sitting on a table.
Upon giving it a closer look, they noticed it was actually a little drop bar for an exterior door. After some investigating they noticed all of the other exterior doors had they installed as well. The mini-bar (no, not that kind of mini-bar) simply drops into place on the lower knob-side corner of the door, and holds onto the inside of the frame.
The exterior of the door did reveal 2 small rivet heads for the bracket, however they might go unnoticed in the dark. They crew dropped the bar into place and began lightly “testing the door” and found it to be much more sturdy than it appears. Anyone good with the irons will still be able to get this door fairly easily, but it’ll put up some good resistance at the bottom. Removing the rivets by punching them through with the pike of the halligan might be a viable option.
Another thing to consider is if a crewmember encounters this supplemental lock from the inside while trying to make an escape of the building. What if the drop bar was padlocked to the bracket? Placing the halligan just to the right of the bracket and to the left of the “hook” that goes to the door, a clockwise twist should shear the bolts and defeat the lock. Or perhaps placing the halligan in the same spot and simply pulling back, using the halligan as a lever might be another viable option. We need to expect supplemental locks on every door, and be able to identify and visualize how to remove and defeat them, both from the outside and the inside. Just another reason why secondary means of egress should be established early in the incident, before they are ever needed.6 comments
Strong work from Columbus (OH) Ladder 23! They had a fire at a “Vacant” structure… They searched the structure and found a 8 year old boy inside, who probably would have not made it if it wasn’t for their actions. Reports are the ladder was first on scene and kept the fire in check with a few water cans.
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Captain Tony Carroll from DC Truck Co. No. 9 sent in this detailed write-up on security bars that Rescue Co. No. 2 recently found on an apartment building. Finding bars on the ground floor of an apartment building is not uncommon, however these bars are located inside the window. We have shown interior security bars before on the site, but Captain Carroll has a detailed analysis of this particular setup that we wanted to share. Click here to download the file.No comments
Kyle Rice from Christiana (DE) Station 12 sent in this interesting picture found on a non-fire related website.
Seeing this from the outside while performing a VES might be slightly confusing, and possibly dangerous. If the doors to the bed are closed, it could possibly prevent “reading” the conditions in the room prior to entering from the window. Taking the window would more than likely allow minimal smoke to escape, giving the appearance that there is little smoke present in the room. Fortunately, it should be quite obvious from the ladder that the bed in just inside the window opening, and that the bed is surrounded by this enclosure.
Finding this from the inside might also pose a few challenges, namely egress and search. If the doors were closed, and moderate smoke conditions present in the room, the window could go unnoticed as an emergency egress. It could also be confusing since an inside team might expect to see a window as soon as they make entry into the bedroom. Unfortunately a sloppy search team might miss the bed entirely if the doors were in the closed position.
Going into a search you should have some expectations in mind. You should “trust but verify” these expectations, but don’t get vapor locked on them. When you encounter something out of the norm, you should quickly determine what it is, what if any impact it may have on your operations, and continue the task at hand.2 comments