As the officer and two firefighters advanced the hoseline toward the mock-up, all seemed to go well at first The fire was being knocked down and it seemed to be so routine, until the crew neared the opening of the prop. A makeshift "draft curtain" (a device to collect heat and smoke to cause automatic fire protection systems to function) was added to the front roof line of the mockup to retain the heat and smoke to allow the protection devices to function properly.
GUEST COMMENTARY >>> By DENNIS L. RUBIN A Wake-Up Call F ire Prevention Week for 2009 held more promise Disaster nearly struck when the engine company airpacks were cleaned, inspected and placed back into than just about any other one that I can recall crew approached the dorm room mock-up to extinguish service. Only the one Nomex hood and glove that our over my career. There were the detailed plans the blaze. At this point, approximately five minutes officer was wearing was not usable. Both were “dis- for many demonstration events and a lot of additional after ignition, the room reached flashover. The rapidly sected” by our Safety Office to determine whether they work hours. There were many television appearances spreading flame front across the ceiling set the entire performed satisfactorily, in that this was the one where over the weekend, early-morning ones as well to talk contents of the mock-up on fire. This was the point for the second-degree burns occurred. Our safety chief, about our city’s fire prevention activities. The extra the attack crew to extinguish the blaze. Deputy Fire Chief William Flint, is conducting an investi- effort seemed to be worth it to get very important As the officer and two firefighters advanced the gation to help us learn from our mistakes. Look for this information out to our community. There were, how- hoseline toward the mock-up, all seemed to go well at report to be added to our website soon or obtain a copy ever, several major setbacks that would surprise and first. The fire was being knocked down and it seemed to by contacting him at firstname.lastname@example.org. dampen the spirits of many in the department. be so routine, until the crew neared the opening of the As final preparations were being made for the prop. A makeshift “draft curtain” (a device to collect heat Personal Reﬂections annual fire prevention celebration, the department and smoke to cause automatic fire protection systems to This was a very difficult day for me, both person- responded to a rowhouse fire late one afternoon. The function) was added to the front roof line of the mock- ally and professionally. I need to state that I take full and first-in engine arrived just a few minutes after dispatch up to retain the heat and smoke to allow the protection complete responsibility for everything that happened to report heavy smoke showing from the roof. Engine devices to function properly. The draft curtain was a during this fire prevention demonstration. Our members Company 5 moved in with a 1½-inch attack line to thin sheet of Plexiglas material. The Plexiglas sheet had engaged in extinguishing activities performed properly extinguish the room and contain the fire, while Truck begun to liquefy and drip burning hydrocarbon material and within our protocols. In fact, I am deeply in the ser- Company 2 vented and laddered the home. on the attacking crew. Within seconds, the three mem- geant’s debt. He insisted that all members properly use Minutes after the fire was located and attacked, bers were on fire. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! To their gear and because of his actions, the injuries were the companies made the discovery of an elderly add to a very difficult situation was the fact that the three very minor. I express my appreciation to our Community woman who perished in the blaze. The fire is under members were not aware that they were burning. This Relations and Public Education Division for doing a great investigation, with the likely cause being improperly is a great testimony to having the best turnout gear and job with the demonstration preparation and execution. discarded smoking materials. This situation may be wearing it correctly; however, my guys were burning and So, you are asking, what failed and caused such the 17th fire fatality for the Nation’s Capital (currently they didn’t seem to react to impending disaster. a graphic near miss? I would submit to you that simple the death is undetermined, awaiting the city medical The flames were on their upper torso and helmets every
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