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Pre-arrival video: Initial attack at five-alarm fire in New Orleans’ Tremé neighborhood.

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A week ago today a fire that started in a home undergoing renovation in New Orleans spread to another home being renovated next door. Before it was over embers spreading downwind ignited six more homes in Tremé in the area of North Robertson Street between between Esplanade Avenue and Kerlerec Street.

The video above by , passed along to us by frequent New Orleans visitor Vito Maggiolo, begins before the arrival of the fire department. The first unit on the scene is the safety officer who was in the area and reported the fire.

The video below by  shows some of the homes that were ignited by the blowing embers.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • mdff

    I really thought they knew what they were doing but…Chief needs to pull completly out of the way. 1st engine great job laying in, I think you should of pulled past the fire so the truck company can access. Layed out 100′ of LDH then it took 6 minutes to get water. Don’t forget the deck gun.Video #2 Panic and Realization that the whole neighborhood may go up in flames.
    Vacant wood frame, surrounded by other vacant and occupied wood exterior building , coupled with wind equals a bad day.

  • charlotte

    Wow, where to begin. How about apparatus placement, hose stretching, and securing a water supply. Good job by the first due engine to lay in, but what took so long with everything else?? Spaghetti mess deploying the line off the back of the rig. What a disaster. I’m not even going to get into truck company placement and work because I’m not one of them, and I could care less about them. Basic engine company ops, maybe this is something that I take for granted, but these guys need to go back to the basics.
    I know that these guys see WAY more fire than where I’m from, but c’mon…. it looks like this was their first ever.

  • Crowbar

    Wow! I’ve seen some spaz camera work before but this one’s a prize winner.

  • slackjawedyokel

    invest in a “pony” section of LDH. It seems like the basics are being lost. I always had better luck getting ahead of the fire.

  • NJ firefighter

    second engine gets first water on the fire . Not good

  • jon

    a hydrant approximately 200 feet away and a good forward lay in, but no water on the fire until 5:50 into the video?? that is shameful.

    they’ve got an almost immediate water supply and a huge amount of fire. if they don’t use the deck gun for this, what do they use it for?

  • EastCoastLt.

    Wow nice to finally see the first in engine lay into the scene…well almost-fail-

    Could have pulled way past the house to the 4 side and left room for the 2nd due engine and more importantly the truck. Big city who clearly brain farted on this job.

  • Sally

    Yikes!! I love NOLA, but I’m not gonna move there now, just in case I need to call 911.

  • D Schaefer

    I’m suprized at the attack on this fire a large city like N.O they did a poor job with attacking this one.

  • Scooter

    Wow WTF was this? WAGON PIPE WAGON PIPE! and run a line into exposure D. This fire grew greatly after they arrived…. way to long to run lines and go to work K Strike Da Box! K

  • Schmidty

    Let’s be honest. Cities like New Orleans see their fair share of fire. However, the guys I know in busy departments are quick to say “we don’t need to train because we stay busy with the real thing.” I don’t know if that’s what happened in this case, but it’s something to be concerned with in departments like NOFD.

  • Chief 62

    From a command point of view ths was a cluster period from the first view of the Fire SUV showing up. It started with the stupid placement of that truck, at least park all on one side then the aerial could have got by, you think. And what the h occurred with that lame first engine, drop your line and at least clear the bottleneck, the engineer obvously didn’t factor that in, even though that obstacle was there prior to him on scene. Think about something other than what you normally do. Lots of firefighters totally unprepared for the eventual firestorm you think, dry wood offgassing, close exposures,no plan, the outcome anywhere is the same and should be very predictable.

    This is an excellent video to highlight how simple errors in judgement have the dominoe effect and ultimately screw up what should have been a textbook defensive exposure operation using truck or ground monitors coupled with the aerial devices. What totally amazed me was even though in the first couple minutes of this clip, no one even considered getting that first engine the hell and clear. Are these New Orleans firefighters not used to firefighting or do they just one thousands of EMS calls. Firestorm firefighting tactics are completely different than routine bungalows, without a plan to predict and project where that fire will be 5 minutes down the road the end result was panic and disorganization. I hope there PIA was productive and some very valuable lessons were learned. In my 38 years plus I have honestly never been present on something like this cluster and hope I never am. Train, train and train more, practice evolution, know your response district, have an alternate plan in place prior. In defence of my command colleagues down there, the initial poor decisions re:initial apparatus placement greatly affected the overall operation. Size-up grade F.

    • Not leaving just yet !

      First arriving engine co. will make or break your operation. This highlighted my statement.
      Drop a supply line pull up between the 2 fire building and let a wagon pipe EAT.
      Drag a 2 1/2 to Charlie side and handle the diagional corners.
      If this had been done the first arriving truck would NOT have been blocked out.
      We all can have a bad day.
      I tell my guys,be sure before you act,let your actions be looking one step ahead.
      Remember, there is ALWAYS some clown out there
      to film us in some way.
      Be safe my friends !!!!

      • Legeros

        Is the person filming really a clown? I guess it depends on the value or harm of videos such as these…

  • GaFireFF 101

    Not to defend them but I watched the video again and it sounds like they are trying to get the pump to go in service on the first engine. Knowing the brand and type, I worked with an aerial that didn’t like going into pump just like that engine but the second engine didn’t do bad. Great point on the “minor” issues like the Chiefs placement really snowballed!

  • Big Mose

    These guys are terrible. Go back to the academy and learn how to lay a line.

  • dave

    uhhhh…….you’re all making these well-informed observations from where…..oh…from in front of a computer screen watching a video…..None of you have ANY idea why these things happened as they appeared to…from across the street and 100′ feet away from the building. Did any of you have the full audio of this fire before passing your judgements? You all spoke to these men after the fire and made fully informed observations? Were these men just coming off another job, maybe they were beat by this time? How many more questions should you ask yourself before you excrete your filth about the work these men did and not look like a fool?

    I GUARANTEE that if you had a video of one your fires, if you get em, you’d see it would look just about the same.

    Save the judgement of your brothers for when you know what your talking about.

    • 8truck

      It’s one thing to criticize tactics and things that cannot be seen but when they happen directly in front of the camera then what’s the problem. Constructize criticism never hurt anyone.

    • slackjawedyokel

      I agree no one is perfect, but simple things such as not looking to see if you LDH will reach the intake before you break it. come on, even a green rooky should know better.

  • Anonymous

    Dave, I usually would criticize the people that comment like you but you have laid into me about that. This time these guys at the NOFD are really sad. Basic FD opps not followed, I dont care how tired you may be. Most departments including the cheifs parking can be done better in there sleep.

  • capthoco

    Agree with a lot of the problems being pointed out. But not the ‘pump wont pump problem’. Charge the hydrant, open the deck gun or 2 1/2. Run off hydrant pressure until you figure it out. Worst case scenario the second engine pumps the plug and uses engine 1 as a manifold. No excuse not to put water on the fire for over 5 minutes when you have a good water source.

  • donnie gauthier

    1st problem== chief car in the way!!!

  • Robert Kramer

    Why does everyone think the 1st engine laying a supply line in is such a great idea?

    Not me, in an urban environment the first engine should commit to the fire, not the hydrant. It took what…..maybe 15 or 20 seconds until the next pumper was on the scene – they can supply the first. Then again, we don’t ever lay in – we lay out.

    Even with stopping, way to long to get water on the fire and the water they did get were ineffective streams. Perfect opportunity for deck guns. Preconnects here were a complete waste of time.

  • Trk19

    Heres a simple critique. Dont forget the basics of the job and dont panic!

  • Anonymous

    Those guys with the “green lines” should be given awards! They save that part of the city from burning to the ground. LOL

  • Cappy

    Dave, Your comments are spot on!! Easy to pile on when the brothers from way off somewhere else are not having a shining moment.
    By the way… I really hope all the brothers in the path of the approaching storm are directing some of their critical energy towards getting ready for a storm that will most likely be something they have never seen before. This will truly be the weather event of a career for hundreds if not thousands of firefighters.I was one of those that thought we were “ready” when hugo hit us in s.c. in 1989. Or when we worked at the gulf coast after the utter destruction of a hurricane. The collective destruction of these storms will test the capabilities of any fire department. Advice from someone who has worked a few major storms… GET YOUR FAMILY SQUARED AWAY NOW…. RIGHT NOW…. CALL A MEETING… HAVE A PLAN… BEGIN TO EXECUTE THAT PLAN AND HAVE YOUR FAMILY OUT OF HARMS WAY… LONG BEFORE YOU ARE CALLED ON TO HELP OTHERS IN NEED. THESE EVENTS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!

    • Robert Kramer


  • DCFD22

    The first problem I heard/saw was the 1st due engine crew smacking the window covers out without any line in service to mop up the fire. That was an easy one if a line would have been at the door and charged with someone willing to use it. It already flashed and was cooking along, they made it infinitely bigger by opening the whole place up with no line in place or wagon pipe ready to go. The 1st due wagon should have pulled between the two homes.

  • cbj

    Urban enviornment or not, with the amount of fire on arrival there is NO reason not to get the hydrant, especially since they passed it coming in.NOTHING is certain beyond the first engine (once it is actually on scene). Depend on another “soon (expected) to arrive engine” and your prolonging the water supply. A crew of 3 could put the deck gun in service quickly. A 200′ 5 LDH forward lay, keeping it curbside to keep the street reasonably clear. With a 4 person engine it’s simple. I just don’t get the placement here. What exactly would be the reason to NOT grab the water supply and use a master stream for the first engine? WHY use two engines to establish one water supply? The seond engine could drop a reverse (2.5″ handlines, portable master stream, etc.) and go to the next hydrant…even pull off the 5″ to use it for the aerial or tower. Use your pumps to your advantge.