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Lets go back for a while and practice on some more residential occupancies we all may have. 

The exterior load bearing walls are wood with brick veneer.  It was built about 1900. there are four apartments on each floor. Three stairs serve the building. One of the "A" side, one the "B" and one on the "D" sides as well.  There is no egress in the "C" side. 

All units are believed to be occupied with an unspecified number of occupants.  However, while returning from runs and other trips, firefighters have observed many children playing on all sides of the building.  

There is no floor plan of the building.  A quick scan from three sides of the building as you arrive is your only indication of floor and apartment layout. All apartments have access to two separate stairs for egress. 

The fire occurs at 0630 hours.

The video shows all four sides of the building.  

Your crew (what ever that normally is as it relates to staffing) is assigned Search.  An 1 3/4" line has been taken through the front door by the first on scene crew that was assigned "Attack". Again, your crew was assigned search.   

  • Where would you enter the structure
  • Where would you start your search
  • Where would you search next and so on (Divisions and Quadrants)
  • What method of search would you use
  • Any other pints you wish to make. 

Here is the video. Remember, it shows all sides of the building so give it a few seconds.

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Comment by Kevin Dippolito on March 28, 2014 at 3:04pm


We'd arrive with 4 FF's, do a quick 360 and split up - 2 would throw ground ladders and 2 would begin searching. We'd start with the fire apartment on division 2, and after clearing that apartment we'd move to the neighboring apartment on the C/D corner, then the other two on division 2. Assuming the rest of our crew has now joined us, they would be directed to search division 3, starting with the one directly above the fire apartment on the A/D corner. If air management permits, we'd join them on division 3, and hopefully by the time we are done searching division 3 we'd have more FF's to assist with the search and they would take division 4 since our air would most likely be running low.

Stay safe,


Comment by Skip Coleman on March 15, 2014 at 6:12pm
We will be moving on in a day or two.
Comment by Skip Coleman on March 15, 2014 at 6:10pm
Thanks Justin. Good call on removing the victims. Stairs are almost always better than windows. Especially from three or four floors up.
Comment by Justin Renner on March 13, 2014 at 1:50pm
I don't have much else to add and I'm on the same side as Grant and Jon. We're running with 3, as said before is perfect number of FF's for an oriented search(w/TIC). Entering the "A" side behind the Attack team. If the fire apartment can be searched it would be done first. If conditions do not permit this, then the "C/D" apartment would be done first and go back to the fire apartment when conditions improve. 100% agree with checking all starwells prior to ascending to the next floor. The search would continue to the 3rd and 4th floor on the Delta side of the complex before moving over to search on the Bravo side. I would focus most of my attention on the "A/D" corner apartments. Note the smoke on DIV 2 "C/D" apartment window, could inticate that apartment door was left open, either victim egress or down victim in stairwell. No fire escapes or balconies means victim removal will need to be done through window or stairwell with least amount of smoke conditions. What appears to be smoke and possible fire in the cockloft would make search and removal of persons in all DIV 4 apartments a priority.
Comment by Skip Coleman on March 7, 2014 at 7:52am
Great Grant. Someone taught you well. That's why the oriented search works so well in these situations. It allows you as the oriented person an opportunity to think of things like the progress of the search, fire conditions and air management instead of sweeping under beds and in corners. Thats the searchers job.
Comment by Grant Schwalbe on March 6, 2014 at 9:37pm

I'm with Jon.  3 person crew.  Oriented Search, Making entry by following hose line.  Start on Div 2 A-D and C-D apartments first.  Then move up to Div 3 and then 4.  I need to pay attention to all the stairways too.  Over 35% of the time victims will be found in the path of egress.  This can mean the stairs including those from Div 2 to Div 1.  I was taught early on that we need to as sine enough crews to complete primary search within 1 bottle.  If my crew is slowed by heavy smoke conditions or forcible entry issues I need to ask for more help from IC.

Comment by Skip Coleman on March 6, 2014 at 3:42pm
Very good Jon. Seems well ( and quickly I hope) thought out. As far as developing a plan. Normally, concentration while walking up to the point of ingress is usually all that is needed. Don't need something written and voted on by the rest of the crew. Just a down and dirty vision of what probably to expect at this fire and then be prepared to go to plan B if needed.
Comment by Jon Nickerson on March 6, 2014 at 1:40pm

I'm rolling in with a 3 person crew, being assigned search I would enter the structure following the attack line to meet with the interior crew (assuming they are on the fire floor), I would ask what areas they have searched, then continue my search of the fire floor using a TIC directed search. I would then continue to division 3 and division 4, focusing primarily on the units on the AD and CD quadrants, then back down to division 1. I'm guessing that the two egress points we would be using, would be the exits on the A and D side. I would then shift my focus to the AB and BC quadrants. Until there is an all clear, I would want two handlines to be deployed to cover egress points on side A and side D in the stairwells, while attack is knocking down the fire room. In an ideal situation, there would be more than 1 search team assigned to this incident, but I'm playing with what I am given.

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