Learn Something

I debated myself on whether I should post this video or not. I don’t like to be critical of fire departments and how they handled a call. I, and many others have made poor decisions on the fire ground over the years and we will likely make unintentional mistakes in the future. After all, we are human.

But, the more I thought about it the more I believe that there is just too much to learn from here. Notice the word learn? This video is being shared as a learning tool and to show how easy it is to fall into the trap of thinking it will never happen to me.  We have all been there and done that and this video will hopefully provide as a reminder of what we need to consider on the fire ground.

So, I ask you, what is to be learned here?  What lessons would you share with your crew and fellow firefighters?  Be constructive and not critical.  Remember, you never know when the camera will be on you and I know I am not perfect.

Let’s learn something that will keep us safe and make us better and thank the guy who filmed and posted the video for the experience.

Stay safe and be careful.


  • brad clements says:

    I’ve been waiting to see some comments from more experienced people than myself. I’m just finishing FF1 training and have been in a volunteer department only since March. That hardly qualifies me to say anything at all.

    I suppose you’d call this critical, but the best I can come up with is a list of things my FF1 instructor would yell at us about.

    1. doesn’t seem to be much urgency in running an attack line and entering the door. Perhaps they were a 2nd truck at the scene, or maybe us probie/trainees are hustling unnecessarily

    2. would be good to carry a full set of irons to the door from the truck on the first trip (possibly he didn’t expect to find it locked if they’re 2nd on the scene)

    3. hard to open the door with just a haligan. Gloves and visor are not optional

    4. I only saw the end of the ladder setup, but seemed to have one guy putting it up in an odd manner. Should it have been set up earlier?

    5. the 2nd hose line (white line), looks like they entered without it being charged. I’m not sure what their SOP is, but we’re told to charge and purge all lines before entering

    6. low air alarm at 5:47, but no one leaves until 7:15 (could have been later still, not sure what cuts were made in the video).

    7. At 9:15 or so, I see a person w/o helmet in the collapse zone just outside the door.

    What’s the policy on evacuating the building? I don’t think I have the guts to negotiate with my chief on that. Perhaps this person was also a chief?

  • Marques Bush says:

    Brad, Great initial statements I hope to add something that will be helpful.

    On the issue of running the line with urgency I actually think they were ok for the simple fact it is very easy to get really amped up at a fire like this because most times it is not seen very often, but yes I can agree there needs to be a little more pep.

    Having a full set of irons great idea although he does have a few options here since it seems the casing around the door is wood. Unless it was it was a double keyed lock he could have saved some energy and just knocked out a glass panel and unlocked the door.

    The ladder setup definitely could have been better and can be addressed during a company drill.

    What I learned from this video is simple. Critical Thinking training is vital to the fire service and also a continued emphasis on strategy and tactics. Commercial buildings just off of the shear potential of the fire load should be attacked with 2.5 inch handlines with at least a minimum of and 1 1/8 tip. It can not be said enough GPM’s are needed to overcome BTU’s. Also what are we risking here. Look at the fire in the cockloft and the big “Girls” sign on the roof. With the volume of fire I see and no life hazards suspected call for a couple of trucks and knock it down. The owner has insurance I’m sure. I do not want to rant. Great video Jason

  • Heavy Rescue 2 says:

    When command tells you to evacuate the structure, leave. Conditions inside were not showing the conditions outside that will lead to roof collapse.

  • Bones McGurk says:

    Brad, good thoughts but I think the main point is what you are fighting on the inside is NOT what is going on in the big picture. I have 20+ on the job and I’ve done this myself. You think you’re hitting it but you are wrong. If you’re doing interior attack and you’re not moving every few minutes, you’re not as effective as you think you are. I would have been mad at getting ordered out but would have hugged the Chief after I exited and saw what was REALLY happening. Great learning video.

  • Stone says:

    1- suggest maybe another entry point, not feeling too good about being under that heavy porch with fire impingement.
    2-Minimum staff? = 2.5 Easily manned by one dude, reach and penetration of the stream (solid or straight stream!) can do alot of work.  Big fire needs big water punch
    3-Irons or tools every time, correct team work with the tools, PPE all the time
    Lucky nobody was hurt.
    In my opinion, NO commercial fire with heavy attic burn through(granted the building is vacated) is worth putting FF's under the truss.
    Thanks for sharing, good stuff!

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Jason Hoevelmann

Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal with the Sullivan Fire Protection District, a combination department, and a career firefighter/paramedic with the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District in North St. Louis County.

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I am a volunteer lieutenant in a rural department and I work full time on a medic unit. This article is very powerful and was a very good read. I love to train and train harder everyday that I'm at work or at the volly house and when I'm not there I'm constantly reading articles…
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