The Green Bay Metro Fire Department has made significant changes in their operating procedures based on firefighter safety research results. This week we received yet another example of how they are putting the pieces together from various grants to evolve fire department operations in their jurisdiction.
Responded to the report of “something burning” in the basement.
Arrived to find a medium sized, single story single family ranch style home with a moderate amount of dark grey smoke pushing from around the basement window on the CD corner. 360 revealed smoke also pushing from the sill plate and siding on a “family room” addition on the C-side of the home and also pushing from the other basement windows. The entire home was charged with moderately dense smoke down to the floor. The sole occupant was outside upon the first units arrival.
This ranch home had a” walk-up” basement and the only access to the basement interior stairs was located through a door on the D-side. I opened this door and encountered “dark grey and brown smoke” down to the floor and “high heat conditions”. The floor covering was ceramic tile. Aware of the inability to accurately assess the integrity of the floor with the TIC or by “sounding the floor” with hand tools and the inability to effectively “spike” the floor with an axe or haligan based on the NIST basement study the decision was made to break the basement window on the CD corner and apply water from the exterior. When the basement window on the CD corner was “taken” a large amount of black smoke vented. Based on these conditions water was applied into the basement window and a Truck company opened the sill plate/siding area on the “family room” addition located on the C-side. Dark grey and brown smoke were venting with significant velocity from this location. The attack line was relocated from the basement window and water was applied to this opening. A later arriving Engine company performed another 360 and saw fire venting up from the floor and around a HVAC duct in the family room addition on the C-side. A Truck company forced an exterior door and cut a hole in the floor. A second attack line applied water into this opening. After several minutes of flowing water into these two openings and the smoke condition improved greatly. The integrity of the floor was assessed via the basement window on the CD corner and also through the other two openings the Truck Company created. Incident Command determined that the floor integrity was sound and crews could enter to finish extinguishment. Crews safely entered the basement and completed extinguishment.
The area of origin contained building supplies including asphalt shingles, rough saw lumber, rubber tires for a go-cart and other paper products. This fire load contributed to the dense smoke and high heat initially encountered by the first arriving units.
Capt Joel Krueger
Green Bay Metro Fire
More photo’s from the incident can be found here: Green Bay Metro Fire Department – Basement Fire