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hex0rz

Structure Fire

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So, what the hell. I might as well tell a story while I got time. The beginnings of another day have come and the sun is rising as I type.The nights winding down and its about midnight. I had decided it was bed time and I should go to bed anyways as the wife prefers me to go to bed with her. Suddenly, the pager starts buzzing and beeping as it always does whenever a 2nd alarm tone goes out.Dispatch gets on and notifies 2nd alarm and that there is a mutual aid structure fire on said street. Well, that put a stop to all the sleep this morning. I get up and race to put the clothes I just took off back on. I kiss the wife goodbye and tell her I love her. She gives me the usual quick lecture about being safe, and off I go. I get in the vehicle and speed off to the station doing 5 over in this quiet town. I get 2 blocks away before I get stopped by a passing train. Took about 8 min for the train to finally pass. Off I go!I pull into the lot, racing into the bay area and to the office to get the scoop on the situation. 6-8 people are already waiting around for the update. The on-duty Captain gives orders for the 4 people that showed before me. Darn, I think. All the effort for nothing...Last one to show comes back in, and asks if I have been on a fire. I said yes, and the captain says, dont hesitate, get geared up! I ran back out and throw on my turnouts and get into the rescue vehicle. 5 of us respond to the incident and it was about a 15-20 min drive to the incident. Updates trickle in on the radio about the fire.2-story dwelling with a 20x30 shop fully involved. Supposedly, through dispatch the fire started with a wood stove in the shop and fire extended to the dwelling. First engine on scene responds that it is fully involved. Our on-duty crew responds in an engine while we are en route.I take the steps to mentally prepare for the incident and go through all the training I received to be an effective person for the operation. Occassionally joking around to keep the stress level low. Multiple tones come out for ILS response but no word on any trapped individuals.We eventually arrive on-scene. Seems like we were out in BFE. We drive up a somewhat steep inclined driveway that winds back and forth, wondering when it is we will arrive at the scene. Suddenly we make a bend and see light from the flames emanating from the structure. Flashing lights and scene lights disturbing the dark woods. The long windy road made for a unique situation as it was inclined and icy.The final result of the response was:-5 Engines-2 Sheriffs-1 ALS response vehicle-1 Ambulance-1 Rescue vehicle-1 Chief, IC vehicleWe check in with IC for our tasks at hand. IC reports to pack up and head on over for assignment. We arrive about 1/8 mi up the road to the dwelling to check in with IC. We are assigned for an initial defensive operation. We take turns on a 1 3/4" handline with a smoothbore. Flooding water into the dwelling on the second story trying to extinguish the flames flickering out from within. The shop was next to the house and was constructed of sheetmetal and I-beam. Flames starting to dance from the right side of the shop that sheltered many questionable things.The homeowner must have been in the iron working trade or took pride in some sort of heavy machinery operations, repair and fabrication. Multiple cylinders of unknown gasses and right at the entrance, an oxyacetylene cutting setup. The shop door were closed, and had no way to pry them open to make any attack on the shop.We eventually got enough of the fire put down to allow us to do our primary search of the dwelling. 2 of us volunteers go in and complete the task and turn up with no trapped victims. The fire dept in charge of the district send two of their men to do an interior attack of the 2nd floor. After manning the attack line on the outside, me and my partner were assigned to begin the first stages of salvage and overhaul. We go on air and head up, looking for the hot spots. Digging around looking for those tell tale red embers. We work to the point of having to leave the dwelling for a rehab and a bottle exchange.I give an update to the chief on the situation and another 2-man crew goes up to further the salvage/overhaul operation. Once again, they come down, me and my partner go up. This time, we come in with a thermal imaging camera, looking for the hot spots, the technological way. I get assigned with the axe to tear out sheetrock on the ceiling and wall. As my partner mans the line. Another volunteer came as well and was assigned the task like me.We once again, drain our bottles of air, and are forced from the IDLH environment. At this point, a career man makes the call to finish the overhaul/salvage operation as there is no more danger of a re-ignition of the fire. We rehab once again and switch our bottles out. Now, me and my partner get assigned a unique task.The homeowner suffered from some sort of trauma, as he was evaluated by the paramedics. He needed his hearing aids though. We were assigned to trudge through the house looking for a needle in a haystack. We eventually find them on the kitchen counter. Still in good shape actually. But definitely not in the place they were supposed to be at.We go back into rehab once again. We receive news that another firefighter monitoring conditions on the shop and the attack, inhales phosgene from a refrigerator. Thankfully, he did not suffer anything serious from doing so.Our dept. was assigned no further tasks, and we began our cleanup on the incident. This guy was setup with a bad layout. All of the responding vehicles only had one way in and one way out. When you start stacking vehicles, theres no way to hold any water tender operations. Although, with all 5 engines present, we probably had about 8K gallons of water.The first due engine closest to the dwelling was able to draft from a nearby pond. If this homeowner did not have this pond on his property, located like it was, he would have been a cooked goose! His house was not a total loss. His shop is definitely a total loss. Although, only his 2nd story of the house will need doctored up.All in all, from response to finishing the cleanup at the station, it was a 5 hr ordeal. No reason for me to go to sleep considering it being so late in the new day. Might as well stay up and share my story of how I missed some good sleep!BUT, this make it fire no. 4 on my list and I finally got to man a hoseline and see an operation from A-Z. Not only that but also get to do some interior attack and be the major contributor to the salvage and overhaul operation.

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I am astonished your man didnt die or have permanant injuries from the phosgene. "We go back into rehab once again. We receive news that another firefighter monitoring conditions on the shop and the attack, inhales phosgene from a refrigerator. Thankfully, he did not suffer anything serious from doing so." that stuff is nast nasty stuff, it was used as a chemical weapon in WW1. article about a guy who was welding with brake cleaner still on the surface and inhaled a iddy bitty portion of phosgene and basically effed him up real bad permanantly. http://www.brewracingframes.com/id75.htm

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..on a seperate encounter, I myself have also inhaled a slight amount of phosgene. Needless to say, it stopped me from continuin my work, instantly. Without a doubt, one of the worst things I have ever experienced...

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It was not a white puff of smoke, like in the article. It was more of a brownish green color. I was aware that I could encounter the gas, so I took the precautions to avoid it. But, the sudden change in wind direction caught me off guard... Once I saw it and took a little in, I just stopped breathing and held my breath so I would not inhale anymore and got out of dodge.I had a bit of a scratchy throat for a bit, but that was it...

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