Commercial Warehouse Fire
A fire at this commercial warehouse can pose challenges for the fire service.
You respond to a report of fire on the top floor of a nine-story commercial warehouse. The warehouse supervisor reports that after evacuating the building, two workers are reported missing on the seventh floor, and there’s a medium smoke condition. How would you answer the following questions?
- What incident command safety components do you put in place on arrival?
- What firefighter tools are available to assist with safely conducting a primary search?
- Will you need more than one Rapid Intervention Crew for this incident?
Results from our Last Issue
Jackson Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 responds to this Willow Point working structure fire in Jackson, N.J.
In our last issue, we showed you the house fire pictured here and asked you some questions. Here’s a sampling of responses:
- What are your orders to the first-due engine company?
- Evaluate the building and secure the utilities. The first-due engine should establish a water supply and secure utilities while assisting the incident command with the size-up.
- Have the quint secure a water supply and put the aerial master stream in operation.
- Tell Engine 1 they have a two-story townhouse with fire showing on the second floor and roof area on the A side. They will be the primary search team.
- Assess life safety issues and determine if there is anyone trapped in the house. If no one knows, initiate interior search if deemed safe. Do a 360 walk-around, disconnect/cut off power to the house, establish two attack lines, and form a rapid intervention team (RIT).
- What are your orders to the second-due apparatus (ladder, squad, rescue, tanker, etc.)?
- Raise ladders on the back side of the building and cut access into the attic. Once firefighters knock down the fire, move inside to complete extinguishment.
- Second-due apparatus would be a mutual-aid engine. Pull two 2” lines off the quint for interior attack. Stop ladder master stream operations on the structure and go interior. Use the master stream on the B-side exposure where the fire is extending.
- Establish vertical ventilation.
- Implement positive pressure ventilation (PPV).
- Use the Engine 1 preconnect to protect the B-side exposure. If the exposure is controlled, establish the line as Attack Team 1 on the A side.
- Establish a water supply line to the first-due engine and begin an interior attack.
- What are your immediate safety concerns for responding firefighters?
- head count of the responding police and where they are in the evaluation process
- occupants remaining in the building
- rapid ventilation of the attic space to remove heat to prevent structural failure of the roof and curtail the horizontal spread of fire
- roof collapse given the involvement of the attic
- respiratory protection
- to establish incident command and expand the incident command system as resources arrive
- additional manpower/rehab
- getting the Engine 1 crew out as soon as possible after the primary search
- securing gas meters and calling for electric shutoff
- utilities status
- structure weakness
- outside fuel source
- to establish an RIT
- What is your initial strategy — offensive attack, defensive attack, or combination?
- Defensive attack. Establish two 1-3/4” hand lines using F-500; this should knock down the fire and would be the safest position of attack.
- A combination. The first-due engine should establish hand lines for protection while containing the spread of the fire.
- A combination. Use an initial knockdown with an aerial master stream and/or a blitz attack with master stream followed by interior attack pending roof evaluation.
- Offensive attack. Establish/direct operational mode on the initial size-up.
- A combination. Use an offensive attack from the back of the structure. Set up a water curtain between the two houses to help stop fire spread to the next-door unit. Use a defensive attack on the outside of the structure away from the interior team.