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The photo attached is from a fire at a multi-unit conversion with 7 seperate units. Upon arrival @ 0230 hours the entire front porch was involved with fire and the front door had been left open by occupants trying to flee. Reports were of possible victims still inside. Where does the first line go and the fire attack begin?

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Great post!!!

Making calls like this from a single picture is difficult due to not being able to get the "Big Picture". But you can always talk about some common fire ground tactics that would apply to this type of situation. The common answer is "The first line should go between the fire and any possible victims.". Unfortunately circumstances may not allow for this to happen. Here are a few of the factors that may prevent it.

If the side yards are so filled with junk that making the stretch is nearly impossible.

A heavy duty fence that if forcible at all would be very time consuming. This could be a tall heavy timber of masonary wall or fence.

Short staffed engine companies

Rowhousing that does not allow you to access the rear of the building.

The list could go on and on but you get the picture.

In my department, I have myself, my operator, and one Firefighter. The amount of time it would take our company to pull lines to the rear of the structure would allow the fire to burn much longer and grow much more than if we put quick water on the front of the building. Different nozzles may push some fire, but again I don't think the amount of fire that could be pushed would be more than if the fire was allowed to free burn for that extended amount of time.

My vote for US would be to pull a big line to the front of the fire building and attack with a straight stream or smoothbore nozzle. While darking down the fire, I would have the operator pull an 1 3/4" handline so once the main body of fire was knocked down, we could enter with a more manuverable line and complete extinguishment. I would love to take the 2 1/2" line interior for the whole fight, but with a total of 15 personnel on-duty in the entire city, multiple companies on the same line quickly taxes resources. The additional companies could begin an aggresive search for victims once the 1 3/4" was moved in and a single company could continue the extiguishment.

I am sure this is not what many would do, but those with limited resources will probably see where I am coming from.

I look forward to seeing what others have to say on this post.

Great post!

The fire attack begins in the front. Knock down the porch and move in.
Lieutenant: The first line should be your exposure line and for egress... I listened in your LINE BOSS class!!!
Our Policy is
Rescue, Exposures, Containment,Extinguish and OVer Haul Thanks BRO
Todd I am sure you listened but your confusing several concepts. In this photo there is no exposure and the main egress is blocked by fire. The first line should be used just as I said.
Lieutenant- Well Now that you mentioned the photo that I did not see before I made a comment I change my mind! As I take my foot out of my mouth. I would like to put the first line to the back of the house and push it away from the rest of house. Did I miss anything
Thanks for the replies, I posted this because I wanted to find some others ideas, I was on the knob at this job and we are taking a beating by the whining truckees. The truck made entry through the rear on a search, we took the first line, a 1 3/4" with a smoothbore 15/16" tip. I tried to sweep the front porch from the A-D corner and not push too much fire inside.

The truck was on the second floor when we opened the line and pushed some heat and fire up towards them, they are whining that we should have gone through the back also, I defended my position with the info from Lt. McCormacks article of the line through the front door to protect the main egress and the stairs that were about 15 feet straight back through the front door, and the amount of time it would have taken to stretch to the rear and advance to the front of the house. It would have been difficult to knock the main body of this fire from an interior position. I stand by this idea and would begin my attack from there again.
One thing you have to remember is i myself think its crazy but there are still some people that think a fog pattern is the answer to everything and in this case if there ways anybody inside and you tried to use that application they have no chance i think that straight stream preferable smooth bore needs to be stressed in this situation but i will disagree with trying to drag a line to the back of the house to time consuming and with the right nozzle you will push very little if any fire anywhere
Ricky Of course I agree with what you did. I think this idea of unburned to burned has somehow gotten twisted and your photo is a perfect example of why the line needs to be taken from the front and not the back. I also have a sequence of pictures porch fire and quick knock down from the front. When you deal with apartment fires you do not have a choice of entry points unless you use a window or fire escape which would be crazy and a big waste of time. Remember protecting egress is key. When searches are being conducted above and the fire is being knocked down conditions will change, however the search will be safer because the fire is knocked down quicker.
Well put Loo...
Hey Ricky,
Sorry thia may be way late. I am behind you 100 percent. Sort of like the BRother Eric that responded i too am limited on personnel. We put 18 on a first due assignment, but regardless the success will be determined by the actions of the first due company. I too stratch to the front (A side, Almost, Always) to protect egress. Remember our priority is life safety. I am a straight or solid stream fan and feel you did a good job. I would have made the choice of the 2 1/2" and then we bring a 150" bundle to extend from the tip to complete extinguishment. Anyway, i do have question on why the truck guys are busting your chops. I don't know all the factors, but it looks like the volume fo fire you had and the steps only 15' in that they may have been blocked by fire initially. Is it common for you guys to enter a interior stariwell and pass fire with no line in place to protect egress? In my opinion this would have been a VES job for us. Ground ladders in place, VES the bedrooms and then at least you got the door for protection form extending fire and this steam that you are getting beat up about. The truck is partly responsible for their own safety too. Remember though, if you know you got crews going above you got to aggressively get to the stairs and protect that egress.


I would go for extinguishing the fire - always remember, it's worth to save savable life. This picture paints dire conditions inside the structure, unless victims had retreated towards the back, closing doors between themselves and the fire. My approach would be to attack the fire, thus relieving conditions for those still alive inside, and if staffing was adequate, send a search team towards the C side for possible VES (ALWAYS coordinated with the front attack team!). In any case, I agree with Eric in that it's hard to make calls based on a single picture.
I looked at this picture for a while and I agree with the line to the front approach. It is quick and will pay the big results. This business about pushing the fire around is more fiction than fact. It the GPM being flowed is far greater than the BTUs being produced the fire goes out! What some people fail to understand is that the fire does not need to go all the way out instantly. If 80 percent is removed and all that is left is small spots we can move in and get them. If you can't move in becasue your fire flow is inadedquate it really does not matter where you begin the attack. The "attack from the unburned side" is a principle not as rule. We have a habit of taking principles and making them into rules-not a good idea in my opinion.
In looking further into the picture and playing "what if" I notice very little evidence of fire inside. What if most of the fire is on the porch and you eat up a few minutes trying to make the back and in the mean time things light up and really change?
What if you try to get it from the back/inside, what does that do to prevent the fire lapping up the front and getting into the second floor or sofit? What if you insist on making the attack from the back why would you not have one man hit it with the deck pipe to knock things down before you enter?


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