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Close Call? You be the Judge…Video: Firefighters Feel the Heat Venting the Roof in Uxbridge, MA

Two firefighters venting the roof at a house fire felt the heat tonight in Uxbridge, MA. They were venting the roof via aerial ladder when fire met them and their task was accomplished! The video states it was a close call…I don’t necessarily agree. After all, when you are venting the roof you are above the fire. The aerial operator backed them away from the fire as they began backing down the ladder.

It looked like solid work.

The video states: The 4 alarm fire was in Uxbridge, MA on Kasey Court shortly before 7:30pm on April 10, 2012. The original call came in as a grill on fire but when firefighters arrived, the fire had extended to the house.


Comments - Add Yours

  • Summit Rescue

    Just an idea, and looking for opinions. As we well know, moving a ” Straight Stick” aerial device while occupied by FF personnel is greatly frowned upon. OBVIOUSLY, in this case, it was unavoidable. We know from prior injuries, the personnel occupying the ” Stick ” can be injured in various ways by movement of the ” Stick “. Injuries that have occurred vary from FF’s being thrown from the Stick when it is abruptly moved to the left or right. Also, FF’s have been injured when there feet have been crushed between the overlapping rungs as the Stick is retracted. Would it be a ” Idea ” to have a audible warning device at the tip, my idea is a simple electric bell, that sounds whenever the Stick is being moved. It would serve double as a warning to personnel in the vicinity of the Stick as it was being deployed, and also as a warning to the FF’s on the Stick that it was being moved, and to get those feet off the rungs, and get there body as close to the fly as they can,, hopefully reducing injury. There can also be a manual button for activating the bell at the turntable in case the shit hits the fan while the Truckies are on the roof,and lose sight of the tip in high smoke conditions, at least giving them an audible signal in which direction the Stick is . Just a goofy idea.

  • Bill Carey

    How about expecting fire to come out of the hole we are cutting in the roof?

    Yes, retracting and extending can cause crush injuries, but rotation to the right, in this case, would have worked as well. Then there is simply backing down the aerial itself.

    Before we get into audible warning devices (not a bad idea, just needs proper context) and harshly interpreted safety rules about vertical ventilation, let us make sure we know what the end result will be once we make the cut and be prepared for all possible outcomes.

    Bill Carey

  • Jason Jefferies

    I’ve heard guys around my way calling a vertical vent that ignites a “Hot Hole” and they consider them somewhat dangerous. Dunno where that line of thinking came from, but whatever. When tasked with roof operations, the vent crew (as Bill aptly stated) should expect fire. Think about it this way: As a firefighter on the attack line making progress towards the seat of the fire, would you rather have that ignition happen through the vent or across the hallway ceiling you are advancing down? Just sayin..

    Rhett, thanks for posting this video. To those that think this is a close call, I suppose each vehicle they encountered on the road while enroute to this alarm should be considered a close call as well.

  • Sam Litzie

    I gotta say, from the video it appeared that the roof was almost thru when they were up there pulling at it, which tells me it was pretty much self vented, or about to. Then reading the smoke tells me that I don’t want to have my head over that hole…..

    We don’t know all the details of this situation but it looks like it could have been a lot worse…..but looking at it from an outsiders point of view, it probably could have been expected.

  • Nick

    Why not ask the guys on the ladder if it was a “close call.” Of course it was! The hero mentality that tries to justify this ridiculous behavior kills me. Pun intended! The house was venting itself. Those guys did barely anything that wouldn’t have happened in the same amount of time anyway. That dark, smoke chuggin out the “hole” they were trying to create is obviously flashover-ready. Basic fireground tactics, building construction and smoke reading skills should tell you that. Ask yourself this, did those guys make any positive change to the outcome of that incident? Or, did they nearly make a VERY negative outcome to that incident? Exactly!

  • Michael Paschal

    Looks like good work to me. Would have liked for the hole to be larger looks like thats what the guy on the tip is doing. Didn’t like moveing the ladder at all they weren’t in fire and were not in low visibility not belted to the stick and able to retreat(which is what they started doing) good way to get thrown off. Think the visual cought some by supprise, like the man said “Should have expected it.”

    • Michael Paschal

      If the roof was already vented we wouldn’t have had all the hot smoke and fire “venting” like it did as for the outcome I do not know how much positive change was made except for what the video shows, fire burning outside a structure instead of inside one.

  • Robby Owens

    Not a close call. When we vent above the fire we should expect fire to come out of said hole.

    Also they were venting the roof from the ladder which gave them a platform that was unaffected by the fire and had little chance (there is always a chance right) of collapsing while performing the vent.

    IMO this is what should be done and in no way was a “Close Call”

  • Fern

    Seeing how this was in the southernmost portion (Uxbridge shares a border with Rhode Island) of Central Mass, this is pretty much in my “backyard” of sorts.

    In my opinion, they did a great job venting. As soon as they opened up the roof, they have heavy, fast moving black smoke. That is really indicative of fire being close by.

    Yet the stick around and keep messing with what they opened. and you could argue that if the fire is visible on the exterior, isn’t that fire self-ventilating and therefore there is no need for a vent hole?

    Additionally, the way they were positioned, it could arguably be a close call. Then again, just finishing doing your business and pulling up your pants and then getting toned out for a run could also be considered a close call.

    And I’m with Bill, it looked a bit safer to just rotate the aerial instead of retract the aerial and risk crushing their feet. But I wasn’t there, and as such, I really can’t question their tactics or reasons because I don’t like to throw tactics under the bus just because it’s the easy thing to do.

  • Steve

    I’m going to say NOT a close call. 2 firemen doing their jobs opening the roof. The building is on fire, there is heat and smoke in the attic area that they want to remove, so they cut the hole and fire came out. Its not a close call, its another day at work. Look at the way the smoke and fire chug out of that hole, the fire is clearly not vented prior to the hole. Just because there is smoke coming out of the building doesn’t mean it is adequately ventilated.

    Geez, nice to see there are some other firemen out there, but a whole lot more cowards it seems.

  • BH

    If the structure was vented there wouldn’t be pre-flashover smoke coming out of a new hole. Looks like they were trying to expand the hole with their hook to make it even bigger. Not a bad thing

    Defensive? Seriously? a few hooks and a couple of lines on the second floor probably could have made a huge difference.

    Also, I disagree somewhat with rotating the ladder away from the roof. They clearly weren’t ready for it, and that plus a jerky ladder, as many of them are, makes for a firefighter thrown off.

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  • Chris Wilson

    I am kinda laughing at the comments the roof was already vented. If the roof was vented then this would not have happened, they would have had a free burning hole when they pulled up. The heat and smoke up there was gonna light off one way or another. If it comes out of the hole it doesn’t come down on the brothers in the building. Good job by the truck on opening up. This is not a close call, this is experience being built. If they were on the roof that would have been a completely different story.