Tuesday, September 24, 2013

CDC/NIOSH: Career Captain Sustains Injuries at a 2-1/2 Story Apartment Fire then Dies at Hospital

City Fire Department NIOSH Summary from November 2, 2012 LODD incident at 2.5-story apartment house ... Three primary factors ...

Opening a door is ventilation: Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) has conducted experiments that demonstrate the more ventilation openings that were made, the faster the fire room transitioned to flashover. This demonstrates that even in modestly furnished homes, fuel is not the limiting factor and that more air will create more burning and less tenability. Ventilating near the seat of the fire can localize combustion and temperatures within the house. Ventilating remotely from the seat of the fire will create a flow path which will expand the area available to burn and further decrease tenability within the homes. Allowing air into a ventilation limited fire low and letting the hot gases out high can create prime conditions for a flashover, even in a large volume like the two-story family room. More efficient ventilation can mean more efficient air entrainment which can lead to faster flashover times if water is not applied in the shorter tenability window

The victim was not wearing his hood or both structural fire fighting gloves and sustained thermal injuries to those unprotected areas. The inhalation injuries received by the victim may have occurred when the victim retreated from Sector 3 towards the kitchen and possibly dislodging his facepiece along the way. Note: There was a significant indentation in the drywall, at the corner, just past the space heater (see Diagram 2), that may have been made by the victim in a panic when he retreated to the kitchen area.

In this incident, TL39 and E49 were each riding with a position short. A full complement of personnel would have provided 2 additional fire fighters to aid in the ongoing size-up and to access fire behavior. Also, they would have provided a more efficient search and fire suppression, respectively.

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