OT: Six Firefighters Presumed Dead in Warehouse Fire in Worcester, Mass.

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From: Sparky, Captain@Rescue.One Time: 06:26 PM EST

A fire in an abandoned warehouse has apparently claimed the lives of six firefighters. It has been reported that the building was used by homeless people and they have been known to light fires in the building to keep warm.


For tips on avoiding house fires see

Fire Fighting 101

-- Sparky (Captain@Rescue.One), December 04, 1999


I want to feel bad and all but someone was reckless and caused himself to get lost and then compounded his error by luring others in to join in his recklessness. was his last name kennedy? that is a reckless crowd.

-- billburke (bilL@here.com), December 05, 1999.

Bill, the building was five stories high, filled with a maze of cubicles as it was formely a cold food storage facility.

Upon arrival, a man who owns an adjacent store told the first responding firefighters that one of his workers, a homeless person, was in the building.

Life safety is the first priority at a fire and whereas if the building was deemed to be vacant, it probably would have entailed a "Surround and Dround," tactic. No one goes into the building and you use the large Deck Guns to deliver streams of water into the building.

The two-man team who entered the building were not "reckless," they were trying to save a life.

They had made it to the third floor when their bells on their breathing apparatus started going off. You supposedly have five minutes to get out before you have no air but you do not always get a full five minutes! I've had my air run out in two or three minutes.

In a fire you can not see six inches in front of you and remember this brick building had no windows. One of the first two called in with his radio and said, "We are running out of air and can't find a way out." This is a risk that every firefighter takes and it is part of the job. No one causes themselves to get lost.

Four other firefighters responded to their brothers call for help and went in to try and save them. This is also part of the job.

At this time all causes of death are unknown. It could have been smoke inhalation as a result of running out of air or a portion of the building could have collapsed on them.

"This reckless crowd," are the people you will count on to save your life if you are ever trapped in a structure fire.

Show some respect!

-- Sparky (Captain@Rescue.One), December 05, 1999.

Sparky, I agree with you about some things. I do think, however, that at a fire MY life safety is most important. If there is not enough support (manpower, backup SAR or RIT, hoses, etc) for the SAR then it should not be attempted. If the building looks like it will not be able to support the victims life, at least until I can get to him, then it should not be attemted. I do not feel that it is my job to risk my life to save a corpse. I would probably have gone after my own team though.

We are taught to look at our gauges. If the bottle alarm goes off and you are that deep then you've had it (our alarms are set for 1/4 tank). Hell, in a crappy situation with some major exertion (can you say any SAR) I've seen guys go through a WHOLE bottle in under 10 minutes. If anyone on our team reaches half a bottle the SAR team MUST leave for more air. If the alarm goes off then it becomes an emergency.

We have had several close calls. One man was seriously burned during a fire that flashed saving a corpse. Two men had a building collapse on them during a SAR. Luckily they were in a doorway and made it out alive (no RIT or backup needed in those days before SAR was attempted).

I do feel for the firefighters that died. And for their families. However, we (all of us other firemen) should look at this and remember that we are not super human. We really should remember that half a bottle is for going in and half going out.

-- anonymous (anonymous@anonymous.com), December 05, 1999.

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