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Helmet Cam: Firefighter Close Call with Acetylene tank at Building Fire

Several things caught my eye in this video. Early on in the video, an acetylene tank off gases due to the fire just as firefighters open the door to the building. The firefighters quickly back up and regroup.

This acetylene tank raises the biggest question though. If indeed it only off gased due to the heat and did not rupture, shouldn’t they have trained a hoseline on it to keep it cool. It is obvious that they don’t have enough water for the fire, they could at least keep the tank from rupturing if it hadn’t already.

The Grove Fire Department in Oklahoma battled this fire with other mutual aid departments.

Let’s be clear, these guys didn’t have a chance with the 1 3/4″ line they had in their hand. Our department would have hit this with 2 1/2″ lines and aerial deck guns, although the outcome might have been similar if we showed up with the same amount of fire. The building had fire end to end, it just needed some more oxygen. That being said, we have a municipal water system with hydrants everywhere…they might not. They might have been working off of tank water and water shuttles. It is hard to tell.

I would have picked a solid tip nozzle.

One thing is for sure, they should have opened that door sooner to get to work. After they do, they would have had a better futile effort by keeping the water stream trained on the interior of the structure.

It was a goner, that is for sure. As always, it is hard to determine the capabilities of the fire department and their resources just by one video.

Keep in mind that these questions are for thought provoking conversation.

What we can do is sit back and watch the video and think about how we might have done things in our department. How our resources, manpower, water capabilities, and other contributing factors might have played out if this fire was in our area. That is what these videos are great for.

Comments - Add Yours

  • paramedic253

    smart thing was done. find it backed off and let it go. six resorces were used. the building was failing.

  • Capt. Chaos

    True, obviously im not there, so I do not know what their supply is, what their SOP’s call for… any of that good stuff. Were not monday morning QB’ing here, but there are some technique issues that can be tweaked, and the one im noticing is the quality of the stream thats comming from that line, which I think might be due to the nozzle only being Half open. I agree, a 2 1/2 is what I would have called for myself, but thats me. Cool video. I did appreciate keeping controll of the door, I also felt like at this point, theres no need to approach the door when the fire isint knocking down with what your hitting it with. This construction is deffinatly not going to support a fire for long, so collapse could be iminent at any point. Thanks for the post!

  • Hallway Sledge

    I’m tired of it Rhett. Tired of watching the same things in different videos from everywhere. 1 3/4’s because its all we ever pull or because we’re scared of the big, bad 2 1/2″. Bad tactics and strategy. Guys risking their health and safety, or worse yet having their health and safety risked for them by their IC’s who are clueless. What I’m really tired of is the back-slapping, high-fiving, taking the time to put a soundtrack to our helmet cam videos and posting them to YouTube like we did something great after the big ‘ole fire we just kicked the crap out of. I know what the basic answer is, train them up. How do we get there, how do we convince them, how do we or they afford it? I’m not sure, but I’m tired of it.

  • Brian

    This should not be a proud video for that department. One small hand ling and an aerial stream that is equally ineffective. When you cant see conditions change, tactics NEED to. I can rattle of a few things off the top of my head (which everyone should have the same answers) ; bigger hose, more hose lines, solid bore, Master streams and ground moniters properly placed, more access holes (garage door or any park of the metal building) just to name a few.

    Of course we are not there and don’t know the area or the departments capabilities and manning. Hopefully everyone went safe and healthy.

    Local 2896

  • firecritic

    We have to continue pointing out the training issues, learning points, and explain how things could be done better…

  • firecritic

    Guys, sorry about the comments taking a while to get on here…I was not getting notified of new comments. I am fixing the issue now!

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