3 thoughts on “Commercial Building Fires

  1. Commercial fires are a much different animal than the single story wood frame residential structure (content) fires we respond to 99 percent of the time. “As the first line goes, so goes the fire” saying relates to residential fires. As resource management goes, so goes the commercial fire, is what I believe to be a critical initial consideration. Fighting a commercial fire can be a large scale event requiring coordination of a multitude of apparatus and personnel. There has to be a confident and competent Incident Command structure in place to orchestrate the resources throughout the attack as well as to continuously evaluate the result of the attack. There is NO DOUBT however, the fire only goes out if there are aggressive and capable Engine and Truck guys that can hump the hose and equipment through the heat and smoke to the source and apply copious amounts of water to the hot stuff. But, if this tactic is not coordinated, and all the crews operate independently of each other; possibly working against each other, the chance for success in greatly depreciated and chances for getting someone lost, overlooked, trapped, hurt or any other bad scenario is greatly increased. Resource management does not just happen, it has to be developed. Just as proficient firefighting skills have to be honed and tempered, so to does the Operational side of Command.

  2. We had a system in our Department whereby the following was used on commercial buildings: First off, let me say that we had our City completely Pre-Planned with the data in a computer and a printout provided by the dispatcher during the audible dispatch. Of critical importance on that printed pre-plan was what kind of construction supports the roof. Upon arrival, a 360 was performed if possible, if the decision was made to enter the building, the Company Officer allowed the crew to advance 5 feet, stop and the Company Officer performed an interior size-up. If conditions were such that they could continue, they would advance, however, the Company Officer was required to perform continous size-ups as conditions could change compared to what was noticed upon entry. We wanted to prevent “mission vision”. If at the five foot mark conditions were such for example that fire was attacking the roof supports, the crew was not allowed to advance past the five foot mark, fire was attacked from that position. All this info was relayed back to the IC so appropriate decisions could be made. This system paid off early one morning when we had a fire in a restuarant with bar joist roof supports. Crew was stopped at the five foot mark, interior size-up revealed that the bar joist was being attacked by fire, crew attacked with a straight stream from that position; about 30 seconds later, the roof failed. No injuries, no deaths. We also had apparatus positioning and water supply methods that allowed us to immediately go to a defensive tactic using master streams.

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