Garage Doors

This video shows an important lesson about garage doors. Make sure to have your sound turned on to hear what happens toward the end. We actually received multiple emails and phone calls telling us about this video. Thank you to all who took the time to let us know about it. -Jimm-




16 Comments so far

  1. jimm January 2nd, 2007 6:51 am

    I didn’t want to spoil the surprise ending by putting my observations on the main page. Obviously the heat contained at the upper level of the garage heated up the springs. The springs started to elongate and loose shape resulting in gravity taking over. A garage door is actually quite heavy without the assistance of the springs to offset the doors weight. Just because the door is open when we get there doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way. –Jimm-

  2. Tim January 2nd, 2007 3:00 pm

    I have seen this video before. Thank you so much for posting it. I might have been mistaken, but I thought that this was the one where the FD’s radio activated the garage door opener and caused it to close. Either way, it’s a great example of disabling the rail or locking it in place with a tool/vise grips!


  3. jeff January 2nd, 2007 3:55 pm

    This video shows the importance of securing doors prior to entry. This should not downplay the necessity to adequately secure all entry points. When hasty retreats are needed the last thing we should have to contend with is something impeding our egress such as a front door jammed closed with hose lines underneath. This would be just one more reason to have a door man present to assist in advancing as well as a point of contact and for maintaining our interior members egress point. If memory serves me correct a few years ago we lost some of our brother firemen in California due to this very reason working in a residential structure. Like Tim mentioned in his post vice grips clamped securely to the track is a good quick method to securing the door. Many residential doors have openers with sensors that raise the door when resistance or the sensor beam has been broke due to an object in its way. When resistance is met with the vice grips the door should return to the top if functioning properly and if not should just wedge in place. It is recommended to clamp at the highest point possible. Another quick alternative is a hook placed in the track. In commercial settings many times the track has holes large enough to hang your hook from. As you make entry you can also use a smaller door wedge to jam in a track hole. One last thought is to take your halligan or other tool you may have and bend the track inward towards the opening to jamb the door up. Remember in any case you should perform these techniques at the highest point possible giving our members a very large unimpeded egress point. Stay safe JP

  4. effd2763 January 3rd, 2007 10:28 pm

    This fire is used in my county academy as a what not to do. The chief in the video taught the class. The door opener shorted and slowly closed the door if my memory serves me right. Its been 11 years since that class. If you listen you can hear the banging and screams from inside. With luck on their side, these brothers all went home that night.

  5. MP January 4th, 2007 7:08 pm

    great video. it seems like when you hear some tones going off the door begins to close at that time. not to beet a dead horse but we have to insure these doors are secured prior to entry. also i love the way the chief just walks by as the door is closing.

  6. AJ January 5th, 2007 11:58 am

    Did I hear the Chief tell them to “get out” and then turn around and say “I can’t get them to come out”? Wow! We wonder sometimes why we are paramilitary. Why we have a rank structure. This could not be a clearer example why we do this. I don’t know how command broke down of if he ever really had it. You must have trust in your IC and when He/She says “get out” DO IT! If they had followed his first order this would have been a non-event bread and butter job.

  7. Mr. Jiggy-fly January 7th, 2007 12:38 pm

    I agree with the earlier comments regarding securing the door track with vice grips or a STEEL-HANDLED hook (fiberglass or wood handles are apt to break under the 300-500+ pounds you’re asking them to support)… I’ll also throw out a couple other points to prompt further discussion:

    Point #1: If we make entry for a garage fire by lifting/opening the garage door we are creating a void space above us between the door and the ceiling/rafters/TRUSSES. I’ve seen several cases where the fire gets “trapped” above the open garage door and you can’t get a decent angle to hit it from the floor level. Plus, if you entered through the door there may be fire above and/or behind you that you may not be aware of, and may have to make a 180* turn with the nozzle to get to it. (Apologies for the engine talk on the VES site!! LOL).

    We alse risk the door panels falling on us as they burn, or the tracks deform from heat, or the rollers come off, etc… Consider CUTTING the garage door rather than raising it.

    Point #2: Whether you lift the door or cut the door, try to pull the handle to release the door from the motorized operator track if you can… Use the TIC to help find it if it’s just a smoke condition. That will prevent any accidental opearation. Also consider killing power to the opener’s circuit if conditions allow.

    Point #3: There are a couple different types of spring systems that assist in lifting the door. One is a solid coil around a bar mounted horizontally above the door’s header. These are “relatively” safe. The older style uses two separate coil springs attached to a cable/pully system that runs overhead beside each track. These springs are “supposed” to have a safety cable run through them to prevent them from becoming missiles when they fail. If this type of door lifting springs are “loaded” (stretched) as they should be with the door down, consider finding a way to safely “disarm” them after the initial knock down is made. I can assure you that it is impressive when one fails and becomes projectile… I saw my dad almost get killed when one broke a few years ago!

    Check it out if you don’t know how garage doors work… Seriously, they’re dangerous. Be safe Brothers.

  8. Egan January 8th, 2007 12:08 am

    The above link is a report about a garage that killed a Firefighter.

    I know that other reports exist, but I can not find them tonight. Keep up the good work on the webpage.. Stay safe

  9. Kevin O January 9th, 2007 1:14 pm

    OK I know this may shock some of you. But even Firefighting for Idiots tells us to attack the fire from the unburned side!

    The first line should be stretched through the front door protecting the means of egress as well as the structure, to the garage via the interior garage door and pushing the flames, heat etc. out the door. If you stretch, as is shown in the video, you had better make sure the interior door is closed and fireproof or you will lose the house and any firemen (pardon, firefighters) that are searching inside. By stretching as is shown you are essentially opening up through an exterior window. Furthermore, it is by far safer to kneel at the interior doorway than to enter into who knows what. The next reponse you have that offers the opportunity to see what people store in there garage should frighten the boots of you. Fertilizer, oil, gasoline, LPG tanks, chlorine. Even my own house has the AC handler hanging from the cieling of the garage. Not to mention Christmas goods and a kayak.

    Back to basics.

  10. Dano 16 January 11th, 2007 10:42 pm

    Perhaps I am wrong but I hear a dog or dogs barking in the video. I wonder if the dog(s) are what the chief is trying to coax out of the garage?

    I would hope if he was trying to get his crew out there would be some signal to evacuate a building fire. Such as the long sounding of the airhorns etc?

  11. JR January 11th, 2007 11:41 pm

    KevO I have to agree. Basic Basic Basic everything does not have to be difficult.


  12. 52 capt. January 15th, 2007 5:51 pm

    First, I fail to see anyone standing in the front with FULL TURNOUT GEAR and PACKED ready to pull those firefighters out if things should go bad. Next, the garage door should have been secured before entry was made, and why not open the other door for safety reasons, like letting more smoke and heat out so the crew isn’t getting beat up as much.I don’t wish to comment on the attack lines because, I can’t tell from the video just where the fire is located. If the fire is in fact in the garage, we all know that the lines should have come from the inside of the home so they can push the fire away from the home, not from the outside in so we push the fire through the home.One last question,did the attack crew not have a radio with them? If my Chief said get out, Get out! He may be seeing something I can’t see from the inside. Great site guy’s. Be Safe

  13. Smokeetr50 January 17th, 2007 11:34 pm

    I agree with 52capt. The other door should have been opened as well for obvious reasons. Looking at the video I see some flame coming from inside the garage right before the door went down. If the fire was in the garage entry should have been made through the front door or a side door to push the fire and heat out the garage and not back into the house. There are a handfull of question marks in this video. Most have been touched on. PPE, Point of entry, Securing the garage doors, Better communication, etc.. Be Safe!!

  14. AFDKEEFE January 30th, 2007 3:29 pm


  15. Eric March 25th, 2007 6:47 pm

    We were show this video in firefighter survival and from what I gathered the door kept shutting because the frequinces of the radios were the same for the door. When they hit the tones the door begins to close.

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