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Helmet-cam: Roof ops at San Bernardino, CA house fire.

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Previous San Bernardino video with victim pulled from house fire

Not much information with this one other than the description with the video:

San Bernardino City Fire Department working a multiple alarm structure fire.  Helmet camera footage of vertical ventilation operations conducted by T-221.

This video was posted today on YouTube by sharknut12. This is the same person who posted the helmet-cam video a little less than a month ago of the victim being pulled from a San Bernardino house fire that we first showed you. That video has almost 88,000 views and has been copied (likely without permission) and reposted to YouTube numerous times.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Scooter

    I am all for venting roofs but get it done and get off. Why waste time cutting 3 or 4 seperate holes. One good hole and done, get down. Strike Da Box! K

    • Marty

      this practice on the left coast is known as a “center rafter louver” cut…google it for supporting documents, it is a staple roof cut out there. We do these cuts here on the right coast on pitched SFD dwellings too, just don’t have a fancy name for it. If you notice bars are being cut on floor one, but windows aren’t being taken (no horizontal venting). With that said, all ventilation is achieved vertically and you are taught if heavy fire comes from your vent hole, keep cutting until it doesn’t.

      Tactically, just keep extending the first hole. Also, I would of cut on the windward side VS the leeward side of the first vent point (as the sawyer figured out when his saw choked out). But a great first person video of expecting fire from your vent hole, communication ‘under fire’ and “controlling the box” – not the other way around.

  • fyrecapt

    Strong work Berdo! Love the pressurized smoke pushing out…

    You can tell they are working with reduced staffing, only one saw going. Too bad, they need the staffing in that city!

    Good work again brothers!

  • Hozer

    I think that they should’ve cut 6 more…….

  • Mark

    I have a couple of questions. 1) How many holes does it take to put a fire out? 2) What is his purpose in cutting his vent hole? Make a cool video? Practice making holes? (Under one number makes multiple questions 1 question, sheesh)

    • SBFDCaptain

      Vertical ventilation gets the heat and smoke off of the crews working inside of the structure. It does not put the fire out. If pressurized smoke and fire continue to push out we cut more/bigger vent holes.

    • TruckCaptain

      On a peaked roof the fire will move up to the peak and then laterally. Cutting a strip,(not a trench) along the peak allows super heated gasses and most importunely higher pressure gasses to exit at its hight and most effective point. These guys did it right.

  • livindadream

    I agree with Scooter. Cut it big,cut it fast and get off.
    Nice job overall.
    Gotta love the helmet cam.

  • 8truck

    I’ve seen a few departments cut two holes but I didn’t see the need for the 3rd one. Who knows, maybe interior called for another cut.

  • http://msn retiredin sc

    I do not care how meny holes you cut with one saw(that is all you need on the roof and one hole the right size is good). But why in the h_ll with that much fire coming out of the vent holes would you stick around on the roof that close to the vent holes. The job is done get off the roof.


    Bunch of little holes always reminds me of a golf course.
    Why not cut a bigger one first time?? Open that puppy up; it obviously needed to vent.

    As a salty old cuss once told me,”When they come up here to patch the hole, they’re gonna bring a 4×8 sheet of plywood; make it worth their trouble.”

  • mdff

    Truck company working its a#@ off, where is the engine company putting the fire out.

  • fyrecapt

    I prefer to cut one large hole and get off the roof. I still see A LOT of depts doing the 4X4 hole. That does nothing for the interior crew. Make it big the first time… say at least 6ft long by 4ft wide…

    Still a good Job by SBFD. Hopefully someday you guys can back to full strength

  • Sharppointy1

    I’m happy to see those who know more than I are saying the same thing I did: “why are you cutting more holes when there are serious flames hungry to crisp you up right underneath you?” I wondered why the saw wielder didn’t go to the far end of the roof first, and cut back towards the ladder we saw briefly.

    I am no expert. not even a novice, but I was thinking why not cut one big ole hole right at the roof top and hightail it off of there?

    • SBFDCaptain

      This is how our department operates on a single family dwelling. Louvered opening/s over the seat of the fire.
      If pressurized smoke/fire are present, then keep opening up the roof to get the heat/smoke off of the crews inside!

      Bigger holes can come with bigger risks ie. structual integrity of the roof compromised, dropping that 4’x8′ sheet of roof on your firefighters below etc. etc.

      There are plenty of ways skin a cat guys :)

    • TruckCaptain

      good questions, You have to think about where the fire is in relation to the type of structure. once the fire has auto-exposed into the attic space. the fire will move to the peak and then laterally. A large 4X8 hole is fine as long as it is placed in the right orientation. If the long portion of a hole is from peak to eave, it buys you very little. (which is what we tend to do) A strip along the peak buys you the biggest bang for your buck. Downside is you must roll multiple rafters.

  • DCFD4

    No wonder these guys fall through the roof all the time. The fire already vented through the roof, so why go cut holes? They could have been much better utilized with hooks in their hands dropping the ceiling drywall so the engine could put it out.

    • Pedro

      At 0:55, It looks like the guy with the hook is pushing the ceiling down though the first vent hole, no? Maybe they didn’t have the type of manpower resources you are accustomed to having at the DCFD…

      • DCFD4

        My point was to pull ceilings from inside since the roof is well vented and some water needed to be put on the fire.

    • SBFDCaptain

      The video is deceiving, we had two seperate structures burning. The house next to the one being ventilated had burned through the roof and was written off.
      The structure being vertically ventilated was an exposure to the east side and had not self-vented (watch for the pressurized smoke once it IS ventilated)

      Out here on the west coast we DO NOT cut through the rafters. We roll the saw up over them and use the rafter to louver the roof section up… nothing dropping down onto the firefighters below.

      We will use roof ladders on a steep pitched roof…not as a cutting platform.

      As for time on the roof, 3 holes in 3 minutes and off… VERY impressive on any fireground!

      • TruckCaptain

        Nice job fellas

  • nbfrvollie

    Good job venting and not trying to knock here or monday morning quarterback but why no roof ladder we are taught to be on ladder while cutting

    • CHAOS

      Yeah, a roof ladder might come in very handy, especially when you start dipping that chain saw down as you cut across those already burning rafters.

  • Tower5Ladder

    REAL truckwork, by good firefighters! I am sure the delay, if there was one, (since the video is only 3 mins), was probably due to the bars on the windows, and doors, and gaining access.

  • Sally

    Get off the damn roof already!!! Just sayin’.

  • Bill

    Looks like good aggressive truck work to me. Not the way we’d do it here, but I think a lot of east coast guys are saying that when we see west coast videos and vice versa.

    Roof ladders are nice, but look at the way these guys are moving around. It wouldn’t do anything for them, but slow em down. Besides, they aren’t cutting the rafters, if anything they are scoring them. Think about stuff before just blindly following what some book tells you.

    They were only up there 3 minutes, not bad for the amount of cutting they were doing. I’m in the 1 big hole camp, but like I said East v. West. Besides, we cut 2 holes sometimes so its not even a big deal.

  • Anonymous


    • DCFD4

      I’m in the process of handmaking my cape now.

  • BH

    Roof ladder? Really? This is as close to flat as you can get.

    The Safety Sallies are out in force today.

  • Anonymous

    DCFD4 You probably don’t have enough training to go to a squad anyways!