Back before super stores, mega malls and big box stores, consumers in many towns purchased their clothing and household goods from stores located on respective “Main Streets”. These stores had large display windows that advertised what shoppers could find once inside (Think Ralphie from the movie A Christmas Story staring at his Red Rider BB Gun). Because many of these Ordinary Constructed Type III structures were built specifically as retail these display cases had what best can be described as a stage or an elevated platform to assist in displaying items, many of these were constructed right over the basement and as such, the paneling under these display windows at street fronts can sometimes be removed easily to offer easy ventilation and stream operation points for cellar fires because the flooring was omitted during the construction because the building was probably built specifically as mercantile.
A below grade fire in an attached ordinary constructed building can be a “block long” campaign; many fire departments have little experience when dealing with these, the key is to have advance building knowledge and a firm grasp of building construction. Safety will always be our first and foremost priority before launching any operation and tactic. But; if you know ahead of time that access to the below grade area can be accomplished easier than hammering through a solid wooden floor inside a smoke filled store above a possibly raging fire this rarely used tactic might just save a building or two.
Next time you walk through your “Main Street” buildings’ below grade areas make sure you look up to see if in fact the flooring changes near the front show room windows, then get back and train on your distributor nozzle!
|The floors located beneath these “bump outs” can be easier to open than the flooring further in on the first floor interior to vent or extinguish fires below grade; when surveying buildings in your response area check these areas to ascertain easy excess below in the event of a basement fire.
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