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Randolph Firefighter CLOSE CALL caught on the Fire Helmet Camera

Randolph NJ - Firefighter Allen Bell from Dover Fire Dept. in New Jersey captured this CLOSE CALL video of a firefighter who had to bail out of a 2nd floor window while conducting a search for a missing resident. As conditions worsened, the firefighter made it to a 2nd floor window and called out for a ladder. This put firefighter Bells RIT team into action by grabbing the nearest extension ladder to assist the firefighter. This video shows the firefighter falling from the window to the ground and other firefighters carrying him to the front of the house. This video should be used as a training tool. There are several training classes and videos offered that show proper technique in "ladder bail outs". You and your dept. should learn these techniques so this does not happen to you. His injuries were minor, but he could have suffered worse injuries. Also, the FC3 Fire Helmet Camera ( was used in the video and shows that this camera can be another "tool for the helmet", and if used properly, can assist in training, review and investigation. Below is the story from the Randolph News.

RANDOLPH -- A stubborn fire swept through a two-story house this morning, killing a woman and injuring a township firefighter, authorities said.

Norma Miller, 84, lived in the wood-frame house on Carrell Road with two of her sons, both of whom were able to escape from the house unhurt, firefighters said.

One firefighter, whose name was not released, was injured when he fell out of a second-story window. He was caught by fellow firefighters and taken to Morristown Memorial Hospital. He was not seriously hurt, Randolph Fire Chief William Wagner said.

The blaze began about 11:30 a.m. in a first-floor bedroom, and flames spread through the ceiling, according to Wagner and the Morris County Prosecutors Office. The brothers were on the first floor when the fire began, and their mother was upstairs and unable to get out of the house, said Capt. Jeffrey Paul, a spokesman for Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi.

Smoke billowed out of the house and could be seen hundreds of yards down the road.

At first, I thought it was fog, said Emerson Crooks, a neighbor. Then, I opened the door and smelled smoke.

Firefighters from a half dozen municipalities responded to the scene and pumped water into the second floor of the home for more than three hours trying to put out what was described as a stubborn blaze.

This is the longest burn Ive seen in 15 years, said Randolph police Lt. Chris Giuliani.

Wagner said firefighters had to use flame-retardant foam from the Brookside Fire Department in Mendham to put out the blaze.

We could not get the water to stick long enough to the wood, the fire chief said late this evening. If it werent for Brookside, wed still be battling the fire.

The cause of the blaze has not yet been determined, and is being investigated by the Morris County Prosecutors Offices Arson Unit along with Randolph police, the Morris County Sheriffs Office Criminal Investigations Section and the Newark Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Miller, who was the mother of a third son, Star-Ledger news and wire editor Jim Miller of Montgomery, was remembered as a generous and friendly neighbor.

She was a nice lady, Crooks said. She was always outside, cleaning and fixing up things. Its a real shame.

Wagner, the fire chief, is a parishioner at the same church Miller attended — the Mount Freedom Presbyterian Church. She was a real nice lady, Wagner said, adding that Miller sang in the church choir.

Wagner said he called the pastor, Linda Gaden, to inform her that one of her parishioners had died.

This was the first fire fatality in Randolph in more than 20 years, the fire chief said. The family dog also died in the fire, officials said.

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Comment by Eric Myers on March 26, 2010 at 1:03pm
I am glad this is a close call and not a LODD. Table top critique is appropriate. Not on the open forum. The disorientation sequence could probably answer a lot of questions you guys are asking as to why he was alone. I wasn't there so I don't know the story. I would love to read the report as to what went wrong. Michael D. I am very impressed with your departments proactive approach to air management. We are getting there, but not there yet.
Comment by Michael Dombroski on February 18, 2010 at 3:43pm
I find it very interesting when I see firefighters escaping from burning structures alone. Procedures down here just do not allow that to happen. We ALWAYS work in pairs, no matter what, without exception, ever, when we enter a structure involved in fire. It is extremely rare, and a grave error on someones part to get seperated. Should that happen we activate our pass alarms and we are found, or we immediately leave the structure and a search and rescue operation is commenced for the lost member. Any entry into buildings is strictly controlled through an entry control officer (ECO). he has radio contact with each member/team who has entered the structure. We hand in tally's to the ECO with our name, cylinder pressure and a calculated time due out, based on our cylinder contents. The ECO records our working location and assigned task so we can be found. When we enter a burning structure without a hose line, say for search and rescue, it is termed "un-supported" and support for that crew with a hose line to protect the escape route is given a high priority. These measures might sound time consuming and "over the top", but we do them every time, and have done for years, so it's just part of the deal and we are good at it. It works for us and we have a great safety record. I know it is easy to talk about "the way we do things" and assume those nasty incidents won't happen to us. I'm not assuming for 1 second that a similar system would work in every department, as conditions and operating procedures are different. I also know that on the incident ground things do go wrong, and the best laid plans can be foiled instantly. However I just can't help but think that things are a little loose, and procedures for the safety of firefighters lacking when I see things like this. I feel for the brother concerned, I hope he is ok. I also feel for for the others in attendance who are no doubt affected by such close calls.

Keep up the good work and look after each other.

Mike D
Comment by Michael Bricault (ret) on February 17, 2010 at 12:06pm
-My first question after watching this video is, Was the member that bailed out equipped with a personal escape system? Many firefighters at this incident can be seen wearing bail out harnesses but it is not clear if the affected member was wearing one.
-If he was wearing an escape system was he in fact trained in the proper use thereof? And if so trained, has it been established as to why the member decided to wait for a ladder as apposed to using his personal escape device?
-If the involved member did not have a personal escape device what is the reasoning behind depriving firefighters of such necessary gear?
-In the video clip the member appears exhausted at the point the camera pulls focus on him the moment he prepares for the ladder slide and the fall seems inevitable at that point.
-As to the operation, it appears that there are plenty of firefighters on scene and yet the structure is not sufficiently vented. Why is that?
-The video also clearly shows that the ladder was not raised at a shallow enough angle for the firefighter to properly and safely perform the ladder slide maneuver. Why is that? Where there obstructions preventing the proper placement of the ladder, was the crew panicking, was the crew not trained in this maneuver?
-Some points are already clear after watching the video, other points need more information.

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