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First, the building:
• Three story multiple dwelling, Type V (dimensional lumber) with brick veneer
• 20 units per floor
• Center hallways, elevator equipped
• 75’ X 200’
• There is a stairwell at either end
• The east stairwell is accessed from the main entrance via the center hallway
• The west stairwell is accessed from the center hallway or has an exterior entrance
(1st floor)
• Main entrance is on the A side, off-set to the B side (not in the center of the building)
• There is a full basement with wood storage units, laundry room, boiler room
elevator mechanical room, electrical room
• The roof is peaked (6/12) with gable ends with a common attic.
• This building is not sprinklered
• It is stand-pipe equipped. The bad news, the stand-pipe connections are in the
center hallways, about 75' from the east (B side) stairwell, not in the stairwells.

Now, the scenario:
• Friday, 0230 hours
• Light wind and 35 degrees
• Fire is on the third floor, in the last unit before the west stairwell, on the D side.
• On your initial size-up and 360, you have one bedroom that has self-vented
• Your initial response is 3 engines (4 men), 2 trucks (4 men) and a Battalion Chief

You are the Officer on the still engine, have at it. Here is what I'm looking for you to include:
- Initial size-up
- Rescue profile
- Orders for second companies
- Your actions
- Of particular interest to me is which stairwell would you use and why.
- Tell me about your line selection process and deployment plan.

Views: 444

Replies to This Discussion

Ok, I'll give this a go, as the first in engine we are going to hook our own plug per multi family SOP, take 2 1/2 to the 3rd floor via the west stair well and attatch a wye and hose bundle to make our attack into the fire appt. 1st due truck will secure the east stair well for evacuation starting with the 3rd floor, while the 1st due truck driver will set the stick to the 3rd floor fire appartment for rescue if needed. 2nd due engine will bring a backup pack up and attatch to the FDC which the 2nd due driver will pump to. 2nd due truck will assume inside truck opps and start venting and opening up the fire appartment and other areas as needed. 3rd due engine will assist with evac and rescue as needed. Hopefully a quick knock down from first in will relieve the need for rescue outside of the fire appartment. Please tell me where i went wrong on this one, we dont have appartments like this in my first due or second due areas.

A few question to clarify. What size line, nozzle, flow etc... is the "hose bundle". By connecting to the FDC, do you mean the standpipe connection on the floor below? Playing the devil's advocate for the sake of discussion. Which stairwell is the 2nd line going to operate in? Are you going to vertically vent? Why did you select the west stair for the initial attack, rather that the east thereby placing the line between the fire and the occupants and protecting their exit and evac stair? How did you address the rescue profile? What about RIT/RIC ? How did you determint the initial and second hose stretch? Length, size, gpm?

Again, not a critique, just looking for your thought process.

Thanks for the reply.

The hose bundle is 1 3/4 with a 15/16ths tip on it. The FDC that the second in will pump to is the main one for the building to supply the stand pipe. The second line will operate from the stand pipe, i choose the west stairwell to keep the initial attack line out of the way of evacuating occupants and with what we had showing i opted for a fast attack with a probable room and contents or small appartment fire. As far as rescue, the first in hose team will provide a primary search of the fire appartment while making the attack, once seconds crews start to arrive they can begin checking other appartments. I determined the initial lead outs from SOPs and building type. If the first in crew found any significant extention then the second hose crew (the one attaching to the standpipe) will bring up 2 1/2 for their line. As venting goes, if the fire breaks into a cockloft area we would sent a crew to the roof to cut it off, out goal is to confine it to origin and maintain by pulling cieling in the connecting appartment. RIT is one of those things that will be established when the people are there to do it. We all know that most rescues of FFs are handled by crews working in the same area anyway. After thinking about it i would possible request a special for an additional company since we do have a large number of tenants to deal with and needing to get them out while not tying up to many companies.
First I want to thank you for the increase in manpower LOL!!

Anyhow, I'll give this a shot as a pipeman.

1. Time of day, weather, construction and occupancy, I'd get an additional alarm going. If it turns out they're not needed, I'm good with that. The 360 may indicate an immediate rescue and may reveil any fire into the attic space.

2. Are there occupants already fleeing? What stairs are they using (mostly)? I would definately have to consider protection in place on floors 1 and 2. Depending on conditions at the fire apartment, a slower, more controlled evac of the #3 floor may be better.

3. I would have my crew bring the can, irons, hook, TIC and two 1 3/4 (100') with one smoothbore and 50' of 2 1/2" with wye. I believe 3 guys can carry this. my driver would proceed to FDC for standpipe and start to establish a water supply. 2nd engine establish seperate water supply and proceed to side with fire venting, (not sure if that would be A or C, trying to picture this building). 1st Truck to same side as 2nd Engine to the roof area a couple apartments over from fire apartment. 2nd Truck to #3 floor for search, evac, extension check etc. 3rd Engine with same tools and hose as 1st Engine to the #3 floor to backup and assist 1st Engine. Pass Command to BC.

Now for the hose stretch, The length of this building would max out my hose packs if tagged at the floor below's standpipe and stretched to the far end and then brought all the way back. I would have to assess the fire apartment and decide if my crew can safely use the stairs at the west end (nearest the fire apartment) to stretch from. Is the apartment door intact and protecting the hall? It may be practical to force an apartment a couple doors down and drop the 2 1/2" down to 2nd Engine and tie 1 3/4" off and stretch from there.

Looking forward to some feedback fellas
Todd and Brandon,

Perhaps you missed the location of the standpipe connection. This is part of the problem with these buildings and the fire's location. There is no connection in the stairwells and the only connection on each floor is in the hallway about 75 feet from the east stairwell. This complicates the west stair lead-out by eliminating the use of the standpipe system. What are your thoughts?

The other point you both agreed upon was to attack from the west stairwell. I am interested in your thoughts, in more detail as to why? Don't mistake the questions for disagreement, I'm just looking to fully explore the issues. So feel free to explore your thoughts.

How do you view the issues of:
- With your choice, you are not stretching the line to place it between the fire and the occupants
- The line placement as it related to protecting the occupants exit stairwell.
- Both of you advanced 13/4" lines. What are your flows and required pressures if working off the standpipe?
- Is that your only option?
- Vertical venting
- Other options for hose stretch, Todd mentioned dropping a line or raising the line.....

Great thoughts, keep exploring.


I initially had a different type of appartment in mind. We dont have many enclosed appartments here and i was thinking of a more open style, with open breeze ways. So if this is lets say a 3 floor walkup style all enclosed then yes i can see going for the east stairwell. If it is like what we have here then i want to go west to make a fast attack on the fire and keep my lines away from evacuating occupants. As far as the standpipe, my first line will come up the stairs and be wyed from a 2.5. If enclosed we will use the standpipe first in. The pressure we need is 60-70 at the outlet since we will be using 1.75" hose with a 15/16ths smoothbore tip, this should give us about 185gpm. I dont feel we ever have only one option on the fire ground, I took this scenario to my company (about a 2hr discussion) and many options were presented. On the vertical venting, that will depend on our truck company and the IC. We use closest unit alot here, not jurisdictional, and if Austin FD has anything to do with it no one will go to the roof. We however are more progressive and aggressive and would probably send a company to the roof to cut the fire off if needed. After reading what Todd said he brought up a good point that we discussed alot as a company, the integrity of the fire appartment door will have alot to do with our tactics. If its holding we will take some more time on the other appartments, if not we will make a fast attack. BTW thanks for the challenge on this Art, its really got me thinking about some things we have not encountered alot!
Hey Brandon,

Thats the point, a good discussion and a company table-top drill. You are correct, this has fully enclosed stairwells and center hallways. I didn't mean to direct you off of the west stairwell attack, just for discussion. As you know, there are several "standard" tactical guidelines to consider as you select and deploy that initial hose-line. However, the time required to accomplish the lead-out, the complexity of the lead-out, the rescue profile and construction type may cause you to select a lead-out that does not follow :the book".

"The book" on this may lead many to choose the east stairwell as the attack stair for several reasons:
- Because the fire is at the far end of the hallway, the line will protect almost all of the remaining occupants
- The likely route of exit from the third floor will also be the east stair because the fire is right beofre the west stair (depending on the hallway conditions). The line from the east stair will protect that exit.
- This will have you attacking from the unburned side.

The down sides are several:
- The fire apartment is nearly 200 feet from the east stair.
- The standpipe is 75 feet into the hall on the floor below. Making this a very Long standpipe stretch.
- There is no exterior entrance directly into the east stair. It os accessed from the main entrance, making this a more difficult lead-out if you disregard the standpipe. Now, if you only have 150 feet of 13/4" past your 21/2 or 3" with a wye, the wye or 21/2" playpipe has to be well down the hall on the fire floor. question is, are you OK with forgoing the advantages of the east stairwell in favor of the west stairwell for the following reasons:
- Speed of the lead-out and getting water on the fire much faster.
- Avoiding the standpipe and hand stretching up the west stairwell from the exterior door into the stairwell.

I also think the line drop or raise from another apartment is an option. Would that be on the fire floor or the floor below?

Regarding ventilation, these are very large wood frame buildings with large pitched roofs and common attics. Does a top floor fire "require" vertical venting?

Thanks again, keep beating this up. I used these buildings because these are real issues in many places. They have a serious occupancy problem combined with construction that is not favorable and a poor standpipe layout and so on.

Thanks again,

Morning guys,
With the standpipe near the middle of the common hall is why I am thinking either stretch from there or from the exterior door at the West stairs. My thought is the length of stretch from the standpipe to the East stairs and back down 200' of hallway (both with the possibilty of occupants fleeing in the opposite direction of the stretch) would be longer than the hose packs my company has with them. The time to make this stretch is another factor, depending on conditions.

With that said, if the fire is being contained to the fire apartment by the door, I believe the more effective stretch is the West stairs. not by the book but the use of the east stairs may provide enough time for the fire to grow and intensify, causing further problems down the road. Our initial approach would be from the East stairs so we could assess conditions and so forth and then proceed from there. If the conditions are such that we can't make the attack effectively with what we have initially, that would be relayed to incoming command and other units that we would be in the rescue/evac mode to start with.

I'm not thinking of opening the roof unless fire is confirmed in the attic space. It seems opening the roof and pushing ceiling may cause the fire to be introduced into a space it may not have entered otherwise. Again the overall conditions are going to dictate the extent of actions. The fire is already getting to the outside via the window. the Truck will have a good vantage point as to whether the fire is entering through the eaves on the exterior and can make the call to command and take the appropriate actions.

The thought of dropping the line(s) from an adjacent apartment came from "FlashTV", I think a dept. in Calif. maybe, has a training video demonstrating this tactic. Coordination is the key and the ability of the first in officer to determine what is going to produce the best results in an appropriate amount of time. The line would be in a position to protect the point of egress and the time would probably be quicker than the East stairwell.

Having two 100' 1 3/4" lines outside the fire apartment (1st and 2nd Engines equipment) should provide the flow to extinguish the room and contents and cover the exposure apartment.
Hello all, here is what I would due. The 1st engine would lead out up the west stair well with their skid load ( 500 feet 2.5 finished off with playpipe and 100 feet 1.75) I would start with the 2.5 and knock down main fire and then finish up with the 1.75. The 2nd engine would help the 1st engine get that line in service. When that is done they would go get the back-up line that should be 2.5. The 1st truck splits the crew 2 men go with the 1st engine for entry and search of fire apartment. other 2 men set-up stick to the 3rd floor for venting and rescue. The 2nd truck would sent all men inside to start search of fire floor. All the people would be sent down the east stair well. On my initial size-up ( I know I should of started with that) the alarm would get up graded. This fire is screaming for roof vent but because rescue is more of a priority, horizontal vents would be used to start, then I would send the 3rd truck to the roof. I forgot about the 3rd engine, their job is to help get the lines in place. I know this was very simplifed but I think it is a good start.

Thats what I'm looking for...your thought process and reasoning for each step. As you said, the west stair stretch, although not by "the book", will get you to the point of attack quicker and contain /extinguish the fire faster. A judgement call to be sure, it doesn't always go by the book.

Regarding the roof, perhaps because these buildings are common in my area, and we have had some "practice"...and maybe a parking lot or two......we would open the roof ASAP.

The dropping or raising of the line is done in many places, either the hose "pack" is carried up and dropped or a rope is dropped and the line hauled up. In either case, were you looking at the floor below or the fire floor to bring in the line? I have seen it both ways, just looking for your thoughts in this situation.

As far as the size line, some departments come-off any standpipe operation with 2 1/2" and others 2" or 1 3/4". The usual arguements will be made for each. You have to work with what you have available. I was just wondering if the 1 3/4" is your only option or if you could deploy a 2 1/2" based on fire volume etc....

Great response Todd, hope you and your crew got something out of the discussion.


Thanks Chief,
I was talking fire floor as far as hose drop to engine. This is all dependant on conditions. The West stair landing, floor #2 or mid landing may work.

As far as the roof opening goes, we don't do alot of vertical venting here for various reasons I suppose. I would say if the attic space was charged with smoke it would get opened, eventually. Definately after the fire is knocked down. If fire has gotten into the attic, vertical venting and ceilings in adjacent apartment(s) pulled for extension prevention. If this is trussed, does that change things for you? Does non involvement (fire) still get ASAP attention? Is there the risk off involving the attic with fire and compromising the top floor?


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