Cutting the Truss Roof.. Should We?




Getting on and Venting a TRUSS Constructed roof is a big question? Can it be productive? Can we minimize the risk? What tools are the minimum? What are some considerations? Does your FD VENT TRUSS ROOFS?


Look at all photos above. Do you think they made a difference by venting the roof?

14 thoughts on “Cutting the Truss Roof.. Should We?

  1. It is not about the truss but what is under it, not under it or setting on it.

  2. Without being there its hard to say but it appears fire was already threw the roof on arrival therefore in my opinion a pointless use of manpower to do something already achieved by fire.

    • What I gather from looking at the bottom picture, what I assume to be the first picture taken on scene, is this:
      Looking at the flag in the front yard, the wind is blowing pretty hard from left to right (bravo to delta). It’s dark so the occupants are most likely at home, not at work. Since they are not standing in the front yard pointing, I’m assuming they are in bed (on the delta side of the structure). Reading smoke, most of the smoke is coming from the bravo/charlie corner and being blown toward the delta end. The fire doesn’t appear to have vented through the roof but more likely from an opening on the charlie side of the structure.

      With life safety our primary goal, I want to make a stop before fire gets into what I assume are the bedrooms on the delta side of the structure. I DO want a truck company on the roof to vent the roof and keep or draw the fire towards the bravo side of the structure. That will assist fire attack teams in making a stop in the center of the strucure and allow search and rescue teams time to clear the structure.

      Answering the initial question, I do think a positive outcome was achieved by venting the roof.

      Now, my questions. Where did the fire start? What time was the fire? Were the occupants home? How much of the structure was lost from the incident?

      CMT / TFR

  3. Vertical ventilation is a time tested, effective tactic in diverting smoke and fire gasses away from life and undamaged areas. The question should not be yes or no, but when, based on a sizeup like the one our Brother Curt made above. Better to train and be ready than not.

    • I think absolutely vertically ventilate these buildings. Be smart about it, but cut them. If you can get your aerial to the roof, then there is no worry, cut it from the pic above has fire coming from the hole. Any fire going through the roof, is not beating the guys inside

  4. Yes cut the roof but not unnecessarily. It needs to be a top priority with incoming units and done fast. Size up dependent if course. I don’t recall of hearing about a catastrophic failure of residential roofs recently not to say it doesn’t happen…venting in the above photo was appropriate. Dangerous? yeah. Was it productive and potentially saving the structure? yeah, It’s still there….I’m sure the family is thankful!

  5. I am all for venting on SFR fires. The overwhelming fear of light-weight truss construction, has many IC’s gripped in fear over roof ops. Rightfully so, they are dangerous. But with a good knowledge of the construction in your district you can make the call with confidence. Even with light weight truss, if we can get to the roof early enough, we can vent over smoke instead of fire. There is less chance of falling through. Yes we will draw the fire a bit, but the crew inside is going to appreciate the relief, and the conditions under the roof deck should also improve.
    As always let the conditions dictate your tactics.

  6. This was a side Charlie fire that looked to be extending to the attic towards the Bravo side. Venting to draw the fire away from searching crews towards the delta and Charlie quadrants was a bread and butter tactic at this incident. The aerial to the roof and the 2 roof ladders used to distribute the weight of the firefighters was absolutely correct. Good job brothers!

  7. I think ventilation is warranted in the above scenario ! Yes there is burn through ! note I said burn through, not a self vented fire! The fire is looking for a way out ! I think a lot of the apprehension in lightweight roof construction comes from the large span commercial construction, we forget that in residential there are shorter spans and they are supported by interior walls. And if one truss fails, the whole system doesnt fail! I know its not used as much on the east coast, but we use the LA trash hook as a sounding tool to see if the roof can support the ventilation crew,,,,,the force applied through the tool is approx 400 pounds per square inch….we dont want to vent over fire, but close to it for the best results ! Remember if it is not a safe roof to be on top of, then is it a safe roof to be under? Later brothers, love the Discussion !

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