This is the fire that injured two firefighters the day before last. The video is pretty chilling. Watch closely as one firefighter comes out the front door. He has apparently lost his helmet in the midst of the battle to get this fire under control. Don’t pay much mind to the conversation of the bystanders. Their not exactly right. It is hard to see but there are hose lines already inside the first floor. While it did take a while to get this fire under control, below is a picture of what the fire looked like AS THEY ARRIVED. Note the front door: the fire has totally flashed over and is down to the floor. The fire is all the way through the property as indicated by the heavy smoke coming from the rear visible above the roof.
At this point in the job the first floor has been knocked down. With that much fire, the radiant heat is tremendous. The firefighter who is seen exiting was most likely the one burned and that ‘s why his head is smoking. The sad and disgusting part of this, is that he is now vulnerable to being disciplined by the department for getting burned. He will most likely be transferred as a result of his heroic efforts. One resident was rescued and transported to the hospital and will survive.
Make no mistake about it: this is an awesome example of urban firefighting at it’s finest. The first in engine company, Engine 22 was delayed because they were out answering a medical call. The next closest company, Engine 58 was almost three miles away. In this part of the city we are underserved by the fire department as companies are spread far and wide. Luckily Engine 22 was able to go available and respond before Engine 58 got there.
At the point where the video picks up the Chief (one of our best veterans) had pulled the men out to redirect the attack from the exterior since they were obviously taking a beating. That’s why the guys making the video think that they are just then getting water on the fire. Sometimes eyewitnesses don’t understand exactly what they are seeing. You can tell by the white smoke and steam coming from the first floor that a good amount of progress has been made.
This fire was complicated further by a large amount of fireworks in the basement. They were reportedly exploding while the firefighters were inside. So as we can see, what we do is for real. A recent study conducted by a government sponsored consulting firm was released. Their recommendations in many instances are amateurish, impracticable and foolish. Apparently events like this never factored into their research. I’ll post more about the study later. Back to the barn tonight. Stay safe.
Photo: Shawn Zacconi, from Philly Fire News