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Stockton Fire Video Revisited: The Pressure Inside

Fire department releases another view of January vacant building fire



You may recall the fireground video from Stockton California where the local news station reported that the chief had some questions about the actions of his firefighters on that video. The story gained attention in two ways; the chief criticizing his firefighters in public and the firefighters on the roof of a vacant building.

Bring in the Dead Horse?

Below is video from the YouTube channel ‘SFDTrainingDiv’ which gives us a better view of the fire building, dispatch and fireground audio and more. Viewers get to hear the 911 calls and the initial dispatch. The editing does a good job of synching various video footage with the audio in real-time.




Take note of this,

“- we got a report of two kids inside this building; Engine 9 is forcing entry and making a fire attack.”
Engine 9 Officer

During the initial attack the Engine 9 nozzle team has a problem,

“Emergency traffic, Engine 9, we need pressure on our inch-and-three quarter line,”
Engine 9



“Engine 9 Driver, this is Command, they need pressure on the inch-and-a half.”
Note: Engine 9 is running a 1-3/4” hoseline. Engine 2 is running a 1-1/2” hoseline.




“Command …Engine 9, still don’t have enough pressure.”

“Engine 9 this is Command, I copy. Back out till we get pressure in the line.”

“10-4, we’re backing out.”



According to the video we now have three lines stretched and two are operating inside. There is no sudden or immediate report of an undesirable change in conditions, so why do you believe the call to evacuate was given? Remember the initial video showed the ‘Charlie’ or rear of the building.



“Control to Command, alert tones; all personnel off the roof.”

“Command evacuate the building, all personnel evacuate the building.”

“Evacuate the building, evacuate the building.”
Unknown unit

Ask yourself and your shift the following:

What would our size-up and initial communication of a fireground such as this?

If additional information indicates possible persons inside, does our alarm assignment (number of companies) automatically change or do we need to make the request? If we have to make the request, what companies do we ask for?

Based on our staffing, how many hoselines will we have stretched and operating (there is a big difference between the two) by the time all the initial companies are on the scene?

Do we (as the engine company) expect our truck (or other company designated) to be searching ahead of us or alongside of us?

How do we (as the nozzle team) communicate our water supply problems? Do we speak to ‘Command’ or the engine driver?

When facing a drop in pressure, and unchanging fire conditions, do we drop by to an area of refuge, continue forward or completely withdraw from the building? Why?

Does our PAR consider how deep a company might be inside the fire building? Does it matter if we give it while we are still inside?


Bill Carey is the online public safety news/blog manager with PennWell Public Safety, or more specifically FireRescue Magazine/,, and Bill started in the fire service, as a third generation firefighter and has served as a volunteer sergeant and lieutenant at Hyattsville. Bill’s writing has been on, Fire Engineering, FireRescue Magazine,, the Jones and Bartlett 2010 edition of “Fire Officer: Principles and Practice”, The Secret List and His recent writing on firefighter behavioral health has been nominated for 2014 Neal Award for Best Subject-Related Series.

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