Fire Engineering Training Community

Where firefighters come to talk training




















I had to share this and certainly think that this is something most departments don't see on a regular basis. Something different to discuss from a training standpoint and definitly presents new and difficult challenges to an already difficult job.  Heavy snowfall year in the Sierras of California with 20 foot snow banks on either side of a well involved home with no access around the structure without laddering the snowbank and stretching lines to the rear of the building in 4 feet of fresh snow.  No water supply readily available due to buried fire hydrants. No one home at the time of the fire.  Difficult access into a well established neighborhood due to single lane heavy snow conditons.  Secondary powerlines were only several feet above the snow banks and at times and in some neighborhoods the powerlines are buried under the top of 30 foot snow banks.


This photo shows the attached garage in front of the main house that is not visible in the photo or from the street.  Snow on the roof is about 15 feet deep. This caused some concerns about the possibility of early collapse after being exposed to fire.  The propane tank that supplies the gas to the home is an above ground tank under the snowbank to the left about 20 feet under the snow. 


Spring can get here anytime now.

Views: 1512


You need to be a member of Fire Engineering Training Community to add comments!

Join Fire Engineering Training Community

Comment by Mark Wadsworth on April 6, 2011 at 11:42am
Thanks for the comments from everyone.  Weather sure makes a huge impact on matter where you are.  Snow in the forcast again for tomorrow....blah.  We are now facing issues with above ground propane tanks that are leaking from the weight of the snow but are confronted with a delima of safety once again with no easy way to access the tank to shut it down without creating a confined space environment with a hazardous atmosphere.  Any thoughts or experiences from you confined space folks out there?
Comment by Art "Chief Reason" Goodrich on April 4, 2011 at 8:14am

Well, it got up to 84 here in central Illinois yesterday.

And if that wasn't bad enough, the wind was blowing at 30 mph sustained with gusts up to 45.

Thank God, we made it through the day.

Temp set a new record for this time of year.

Comment by Mark Wadsworth on April 3, 2011 at 5:21pm

About 6 feet from the all time recorded record. Don't ever remember a winter like this since I have lived up here. I bet western NY sees some heavy snowfall also...mother nature sure is letting us know who's boss for sure. I am assuming your department deals with this or a version of this on a regular basis too?
Comment by Mark Wadsworth on April 3, 2011 at 5:18pm
holy cow Jeff,  that is a lot of stuff going on with you.  So glad to hear that you are on the mend and are going to return to duty.  I would be interested in exchanging numbers so we could talk some more.  All the best to you and your continued recovery.  You take care of yourself.
Comment by Mark Wadsworth on April 2, 2011 at 6:54pm
Jeff....good to hear from you.  Been away from the site for a while....lots of snow and the problems that go with it for sure.  Hope all is well with you.

Policy Page


The login above DOES NOT provide access to Fire Engineering magazine archives. Please go here for our archives.


Our contributors' posts are not vetted by the Fire Engineering technical board, and reflect the views and opinions of the individual authors. Anyone is welcome to participate.

For vetted content, please go to

We are excited to have you participate in our discussions and interactive forums. Before you begin posting, please take a moment to read our community policy page.  

Be Alert for Spam
We actively monitor the community for spam, however some does slip through. Please use common sense and caution when clicking links. If you suspect you've been hit by spam, e-mail

FE Podcasts

Check out the most recent episode and schedule of

© 2024   Created by fireeng.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service