Smoke is a Fuel

Smoke is Fuel and when this Fuel is superheated in a closed up structure, it needs O2. So be ready when forcing entry or opening up horizontally to provide the equalizer.

Water is the Equalizer that keeps Heat, Fuel, & O2 mixing together.

Water on the Fire!! Smoke is ONE STEP from being FIRE. So FLOW WATER ON SMOKE!!

Fires HYPERVENTILATE TODAY because of todays fuel loads and not the building. Yesterday’s Buildings have the same fire as tomorrow’s buildings in relation to live fuel load. So it’s the FUEL that is the problem and how we allow this fuel to combine with heat and oxygen. So take the heat away with GALLONS PER SECOND before the Fuel & Heat combine with oxygen.

Buildings were yesterday’s enemy. Oxygen is tomorrow’s ENEMY. The Fireground is changing and how we ventilated in the 80s and kept the nozzle closed until we observed the orange stuff will not provide a good outcome tomorrow.

Death On The Nozzle is real. The answer is still going inside but understanding today’s fire-growth and how to KILL IT!

Look at the center top of photo. It shows a orange glow from the rear. This tells us the interior is superheated and primed to lite off. Size-Up is critical.

Photo Credit. JJ Cassetta


Smoke is a Gas. Gas is a Fuel & when this fuel is superheated it will Flash when mixed properly. 

Equalize it with WATER!

HROC 2016 Stretching & Flowing

The Fourth Annual High Rise Operations Conference is almost SOLD OUT!  Less than 50 Spots Left. Will be the Biggest and Best Year so far.

Free Shuttle from Pensacola Airport and Back. FREE BEER  and Great Food Specials each day. Rooms at the Pensacola Beach Hilton Convention Center for $95 a night using GROUP CODE “PBH” (850) 916-2999 mention High Rise Conference when booking. The Hilton is almost SOLD OUT so reserve room asap. They do not charge for room until you stay. Free to reserve.

LA HR Fire

Day 1  Lecture All Day

Opening  Curt Isakson

Keynote-Bill Gustin, Miami Dade

High Rise/Standpipe  Fire Tactics “Numerous Speakers throughout the day”

Day 2 Lecture All Day

Opening Curt Isakson

Keynote Jim McCormack, FDTN & Indianapolis Fire Department

Mid-Rise, Low Rise/Standpipe Operations in all buildings, Search & Truck Functions

Day 3  Hands-On Tracks and Command & Control Track

Attendees will select track on Day 1

Firefighter Track, Officer Track, Chief Track, Urban Operations Track, Suburban Operations Track, Survival Track.

List of some of the Speakers/Instructors for HROC 2016.

Ray McCormack, FDNY

Bill Gustin, Miami Dade

Dave McGrail, Denver

Kevin Story, Houston

Jerry Tracy, FDNY

Rick Kolomay, Carol Stream

Mike Lombardo, FDTN & Buffalo

Jim McCormack, FDTN & Indianapolis

Bob Morris, FDNY

Mike Ciampo, FDNY

Tim Klett, FDTN & FDNY

Daryl Liggins, OakLand

Dennis LeGear, Oakland

Bob Pressler, FDTN & FDNY

Steve Robertson, Columbus

Eddie Farley, Pittsburgh

James Ellis, Pittsburgh

Gabe Angemi, Camden

Curt Isakson, Escambia

and many more not listed.

Link to Register




7 Rescued by Ladders



“What are you going to do at 3:00 in the morning when you get that call with people hanging out of windows with an active fire?”

We’ve all heard or said that in regards to our training and preparation at some point in our career. It’s safe to say that it can be considered cliché because it is mentioned so often. But, without a doubt and with no debate, it is true!

On July 20, 2016 my department responded to a report of smoke in the building. It was not a fire in the building, not multiple calls—just smoke in the building. It was a multi-family building and those are notorious for food on the stove or dry cooking calls. It was 3:45 in the morning and complacency would have been easy to give in to. Knowing what we just mentioned and the time of day, it could have been easy for crewmembers to not be completely dressed, especially with out hot and humid weather.

As it turned out, training, pride and doing the right thing ruled and I’m not surprised. I’m fortunate to work with great firefighters and officers.

When the first companies arrived, they had a large, 20-unit apartment building with two stories on the east side and three stories on the west side. Police, just prior to our arrival, reported heavy smoke conditions. The first company found heavy smokes conditions and people yelling for help from balconies on both sides of the building from the second and third stories.

The first two initial companies, one being an ambulance, immediately sized-up the situation and put life safety first and started deploying ground ladders. The first due captain and his firefighter entered apartments that did not have balconies occupied to check for victims while the ambulance crew went from balcony to balcony getting victims to the ground.

The third and fourth companies assisted with deploying additional ladders to more victims. The first company did find some victims inside their units and led them to the balconies for rescue.

The first due captain was aware enough, based on his ability to read the conditions and his familiarity of the building from pre-planning for fire, to radio that the fire was in the basement (ground floor on the west side). That proved valuable for the IC to get the fifth company to deploy an attack line to the fire.

We have a helmet cam video that has not been released yet, but the work was solid, communication was done only when necessary, everybody was calm and they knew what they needed to do. A total of seven persons were rescued, five by ladder from five different balconies.

The rest of the incident went well with the fire being confined to the area of origin. The open stairwells allowed heavy smoke and heat to fill the only means of egress for occupants. Many of the apartments were smoke filled from attempts by occupants to exit their buildings.

This fire would not have gone as it did if it were not for the training and engagement of our officers and members on a daily basis. Just a month prior to this fire, multi-company drills were performed based on very similar scenarios. In addition, when coming on shift, our officers believe that this call would happen at 3:45 in the morning and that they would have fire and victims. They were prepared and it showed.

Moving ladders from balcony to balcony is not easy if you don’t regularly train and drill with them. Our two ambulance firefighters moved a 35’ ground ladder to multiple balconies on multiple sides of this building. Our paramedics are cross-trained and we expect them to be firefighters whenever possible, without utilizing them, rescues would have been delayed.

This fire went to two alarms and all companies were utilized and our mutual aid companies were critical to the success of this incident.

The purpose of sharing this is not to talk about how good my guys are, (they are), but instead to impress on everybody that reads this just how important training is. How important being prepared for and expecting fire when called is. It might not be today or tomorrow, but someday you will be tested and you better be ready. You just never know when you will get that call at 3 in the morning with people hanging out of windows and balconies.

Thanks to Chief Jason Hovelman for sharing from Engine House Training

High Rise Operations Conference 2016

December 6-8, 2016 on Pensacola Beach at the Hilton Gulf Front Convention Center. Hotel Rooms at the Hilton for $95 a night.


Huge Party everynight with 600 other Firefighters and Live Music.

Some of the Instructors

Ray McCormack, Dave McGrail, Bill Gustin, Jerry Tracy, Mike Ciampo, Mike Lombardo, Kevin Story, Bob Morris, Darryl Liggins, Curt Isakson, Steve Robertson, & alot more.

Captain Bill Gustin will open the conference with a Keynote you will not want to miss.

This years theme

Stretching & Flowing and doing this 18 Floors up. Where else can you pump and operate off a full fixed fire suppression system? Students ride the elevator up to the floor below and HOOK UP & GO UP!!

Conference is over 2/3 Sold Out. Spots are going fast and the price goes up to $350 on July 4.  More info at link below and a copy of last years brochure

High Rise Operations Conference 2016