Reading the Fire 15

Developing and maintaining proficiency in reading the Fire using the B-SAHF (Building, Smoke, Air Track, Heat, and Flame) organizing scheme for fire behavior indicators, requires practice. This post provides an opportunity to exercise your skills using a video segment shot during a commercial fire.

Residential Fire

This post examines fire development during a residential fire in New Chicago, Indiana.

Download and the B-SAHF Worksheet.

Watch the first 30 seconds (0:30) of the video. First, describe what you observe in terms of the Building, Smoke, Air Track, Heat, and Flame Indicators; then answer the following five standard questions?

  1. What additional information would you like to have? How could you obtain it?
  2. What stage(s) of development is the fire likely to be in (incipient, growth, fully developed, or decay)?
  3. What burning regime is the fire in (fuel controlled or ventilation controlled)?
  4. What conditions would you expect to find inside this building?
  5. How would you expect the fire to develop over the next two to three minutes

In addition, consider how the answers to these questions impact your assessment of the potential for survival of possible occupants.

Now watch the video clip from 0:30 until firefighters make entry at 3:05. Now answer the following questions:

  1. Did fire conditions progress as you anticipated?
  2. What changes in the B-SAHF indicators did you observe?
  3. How do you think that the stage(s) of fire development and burning regime will change over the next few minutes?
  4. What conditions would you expect to find inside this building now?
  5. How would you expect the fire to develop over the next two to three minutes

The crews working in this video appeared to achieve fire control fairly quickly and without incident. However, consider the following tactical and task related questions:

  1. It did not appear that any member of the first arriving companies performed a 360o recon and size-up (they may have, but this was not visible in the video). Why might this be a critical step in size-up at a residential fire?
  2. It appeared that two lines were run simultaneously (the first line to the door ended up as the back-up line, possibly due to a slight delay in charging the line). How should fire attack and backup roles be coordinated?
  3. Fire attack was initiated from the interior (unburned side). What would have been the impact of the first line darkening the fire from the exterior (prior to entry)?
  4. Were there any indicators of potential collapse (partial) of the roof? How would you manage this risk when working in a lightweight wood frame residence with observed extension into the trussloft? What factors would influence your decision-making and actions?

Reading the Fire

See the following posts for more information on reading the fire:

Ed Hartin, MS, EFO, MIFireE, CFO

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2 Responses to “Reading the Fire 15”

  1. Stefan Svensson Says:

    Great clip!
    I think they’re doing a pretty good job. I would probably get the first line on the fire (from the outside, just to knock it down), add some PPV and then go inside with a line. Is there a suspended ceiling (or some kind of small “attic”, I’m not sure what you call such a space in English)? If so, I would probably have added a fog nail/piercing nozzle to the roof. But again, it seems as if they’re doing a pretty good job. The development of the fire is a bit slower than I would expect: the “attic” is probably the main problem (it would be a problem in Sweden).

  2. Jerry Says:

    First, I think the arrival of the first engine compared to the second is a good example of the importance of getting off the truck ready to go to work with all your equipment.
    Secondly, a quick transitional attack from the outside of side A, followed by a interior attack may have improved heat conditions inside for the interior attack team.
    In my opinion, the back up line should have staged on the front porch to protect egress and to keep the fire in check. With a manufactured home, lighter weight construction materials, and what appears to be gust of wind pushing the fire up the roof, the back-up team keeping an eye on the fire from the outside might not be a bad idea.

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