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~ LESSONS LEARNED ~
MY LAST WORKING FIRE
October 20, 2010 Approx 11:00
By Retired Lt Britton Crosby
(Photos by Mashpee FF Mike Evaul)
On October 20, 2010 I was working at the Marstons Mills Fire Station
(COMM Station 3) as the Lieutenant with 2 other firefighters (Judge & Simmons).
At about 11:00 hrs our (COMM FD) dispatcher alerted the neighboring Cotuit Fire Department
of a reported structure fire on Old Post Road in Cotuit not far from our district line.
Our station was second due on the run card and the 3 of us were automatically dispatched
with Engine 305 on the first alarm line response.
We were not far behind the first arriving Cotuit Engine 263 that was reporting heavy fire showing
from a large 2-1/2 story residence located a distance off the main road. Cotuit struck a 2nd Alarm
soon after arrival. Ultimately the fire went to a 3rd Alarm.
ORIGINAL POST OF THE FIRE WITH ADDITIONAL PHOTOS
@ 1110 hrs
We looked for a hydrant that was closest to the driveway and
laid a long 4" LDH supply line into the fire.
As we arrived on scene, a one story wing of the house (Side D as it would be known) was fully involved.
My pump operator (Judge) established a water supply for Cotuit and my firefighter (Simmons) and I
proceeded to the front door on Side A to meet up with the Cotuit Incident Commander,
Lt Pouliot, to see what he needed done.
The hose bed of COMM E-305 almost empty after laying a long 4"
LDH Supply line
into a heavily involved large house on Old Post Road, Cotuit.
Side A front door entry point
@ 1111 hrs
Firefighter Simmons masked up as we met with the Cotuit
Incident Commander at the front door.
Using hand tools, we were able to quickly breach the front door, as the masked up crew of 2 Cotuit
firefighters and firefighter Simmons stood-by ready to make entry with a charged hoseline.
As the door was opened, we observed a heavy black smoke condition on the interior.
Smoke filled |the doorway to the floor, with zero visibility
Interestingly and unexpectedly, the smoke did not push out at all.
I asked the IC if he had done a 360 yet. He had not had a chance to do so.
I was then tasked to do a quick 360 and attempt to ventilate on Side C,
opposite the entry point, to facilitate the interior attack.
I started the 360 quickly making my way clockwise around Side B to Side C.
The majority of the house still looked real good with little or no smoke showing to the exterior.
There was a raised porch/deck area with a sliding glass door on Side C.
Glass taken out of slide on Side C, but no smoke pushing out.
The Halligan easily took out the glass of the slider on Side C
closest to the main body of fire.
I was expecting to see a significant amount of smoke vent out as the glass broke, but oddly,
very little smoke vented the opening. Looking in, the interior was full of thick, black smoke,
much like what was observed at the front door, but again, it didn't push out.
As I continued just a little farther around on the 360, I got
a clear view of the main body of fire
which had fully involved that 1 story addition on the D side of the main house.
The fire had already burned off much of the roof of that addition and the fire was now
rapidly going up the outside of the exterior of Side D of the main house.
It appeared that all the windows in the main house were still
in tact at this point.
The fire was acting like an exposure fire that hadn't really gotten fully into the exposure yet.
If we could knock that fire down quickly, we might have a chance at stopping it.
I radioed a report to command and requested a hose line be
brought to Side C.
Command advised that there was no one else on scene yet to bring a hoseline.
I quickly made my way out to E263 and pulled an 1-3/4" line back through a hedge
toward the C/D corner. Once in position, the hoseline was charged and I was
able to quickly get some water on the fire, hitting that exterior wall as best we could.
Thankfully, we were able to get a pretty quick and effective knockdown of that
exterior wall fire, which slowed the fire down from getting farther into the main house.
My butt was dragging pretty good by the time the next
firefighter (Malone) arrived
and worked with me on the C/D corner to continue to knock down what fire could.
Side C / D corner @ 1112 hrs
That is me on the left bringing the hoseline from E263. The glass in the slider was already taken out.
Note no smoke is pushing out (no heat), despite the fully involved wing on Side D.
"Charge the line!"
Quick exterior knockdown.
@ 1116 hrs
The fire was knocked down pretty quickly and crews were able
to make entry into the house,
containing and controlling it from spreading throughout the main house.
Our handline was able to extinguish some small fires involving furniture through the slider.
When all was said and one it turned out to be a very good
considering the limited personnel and volume of fire in the first few minutes
@ 1117 hrs
We felt pretty good about a quick exterior knockdown, and took
a little breather
with the relief firefighter stepping up to the nozzle.
@ 1120 hrs
@ 1123 hrs
I didn't know at the time,
but as it turned out, this was the last working fire I fought in uniform.
Just weeks later, we made the decision to retire.
Thanks to Mashpee Firefighter Mike Evaul who happened to be on
and had a camera, my last fire was fairly well documented for the ages.