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.