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Raw video & fireground audio: House fire in Lehigh Township, PA.

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Video from Newsworking‘s Bill Rohrer of a house fire at 4798 Mulberry Drive in Lehigh Township, Pennsylvania (Northampton County) around 3:15 PM on Thursday. There were reports of lots of items stored creating a heavy fire load that hampered the interior attack. Here is some of the description from Bill’s video:

A passerby reported a house filled with smoke at 4798 Mulberry Drive in Lehigh Township, Northampton County around 3:15 PM Thursday afternoon.  There were reports of pets inside and possible entrapment. 

Chief 4751 arrived and reported a working fire in a 2-story single-family-dwelling. 

Crews were hitting the fire on the first floor but found heavy fire in the basement and was trying to hit that fire through the holes that burned through the floor.

Eventually, the fire extended to the second floor and then into the attic.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Scooter

    What happened? I was impressed made a good push through tough conditions and was starting to look good, smoke cleared on on the 1st floor, 2nd floor then heavy fire in the attic, hook a little and squirt a little fire goes out. (unless toung and grove with access problems to the attic?)

    Strike Da Box! K

  • Hayden

    Ventilation appeared to work against the confine fire principle.

  • cappy

    Vent worked just right.. just be ready with the engine company work when you open up with more than adequate fire flow on the seat of the fire.

  • Wilson Says

    There is so much wrong with what I just seen this FD do in this video that I can’t begin to put it into words. Unbelieveable!

  • Aardvark

    Looks to me like they put the vent hole at the wrong end of the house and it drew the fire across the whole length of the attic.

  • Sharppointy1

    I guess the best way to ask my question is to pretend to be the homeowner. What would you IC’s say to the question: “What happened? It was just a little fire in the basement when I called you?”. “lots of items stored” makes me wonder was it a hoarder house? The outside looked a little overgrown.
    Looked like there were lots of FF’s. I’m really curious how it ended up being I assume a complete loss.
    Thanks.

  • David S.

    Looked good from the beginning but things fell apart for lack of poor interior work IE: Pull those celings.

  • Fire21

    In the description under the video it says that holes burned in the first floor. It became defensive at that point, in my opinion. I never did see any flames on the 2nd floor, but then suddenly in the attic…was this similar to a balloon-frame structure? I’m wondering if there was concern about roof collapse once the fire got in there, and that’s maybe why they didn’t get after the attic from the 2nd?

    One thing that helped me decide to retire from officer ranks was that it got to where I could not understand radio transmissions from interior crews. That made it unsafe for those interior FFs. I found on this video I still cannot understand most of what those guys were saying. Voice diaphragms on SCBA masks haven’t helped a bit with my problem!

    As always, ‘m sure there were things happening that we can’t see.

    • dave statter

      As you make opinions on this fire, I would suggest you read the entire description that Bill Rohrer wrote with the video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1wa8uW9kTs

      Statter

    • Curly in CT

      If the interior crew leaders would lift their mask when transmitting important info, communications would improve. That’s what being done “in the real world” to minimize a problem. You won’t read about it in an IFSTA manual but it works. The mask voice amps are not real effective.

  • Mike

    I like command in the IDLH atomsphere, go sit it your buggy, typical blue lighter

  • Rescue5Squad

    1. Whats the point of cutting holes in the roof, if you dont even take a hook to knock out the cielings below. JUST BECAUSE YOU CUT A HOLE IN THE ROOF, DOES NOT MAKE IT VENTILATION!

    2. I dont know this Depts SOP/GO, but theres no way that command can account for anyone in the building if he is walking around with a radio. Its called: COMMAND CHARTS & Be Accountable at all times, or step aside.

    KUDOS to the guys inside! You took an un-necessary beating, and still made progres.

  • Rick

    Great Comments Guys, and yes this was one of those fires that challenged everything.

    The fire had a long head start before being reported. First crews in found clutter in rooms and hallways which hindered progress a bit. They came across a collapse to the basement and had fire extension to the second division (3 divisions of fire at once). They also removed the 2 family dogs which were located.

    Great progress was made when a structural deformity occurred to the second division above the basement collapse, this prompted a evacuation and overall conditions were discussed face to face for safety and to overcome scba voice amplifiers issues.

    Crews reentered all three levels and made great progress, when a ceiling collapse occurred on second division and another evacuation order was issued.

    A exterior attack continued and the roof area was evaluated and it was found to be only a drywall ceiling collapse in one room.

    Crews went back to work and made several exterior openings on the C/D corner to divisions 1 & 2 to extinguish areas of collapse. The second division crews pulled more ceilings to extinguish fire in roof area.

    As a note there was no access for a truck to reach the roof area due to soft ground and over a 105′ distance.

    This was a daytime call in a volunteer area. We responded 22 Firefighters with great skills that performed most interior work, and were assisted by 7 other departments to staff functions like 2 RIT teams, water supply, and mask services bringing 58 firefighters.

    • Eric

      Looks like just under 100′ distance from the road…

      Was the engine in the driveway then?

      Why was the initial attack not made direct to the basement, but instead through holes in the floor?

  • He

    Rick,
    Thanks for taking time to fill in the blanks. I’m very familiar with your 1st due area and the quality of your people. The first thing that came into my head when I came across this post was, ” I know these guys,,they run a tight ship”.

  • just thinking

    When a floor or other collapse occurs not once but x2 why do you send the living back in ? If the home was not insured I am sorry,if all go home I am HAPPY!!!!!!

    Not faulting just thinking,what good can be gained by going back in after a collapse has occured. A hard one to explain in court. (civil/criminal)

  • Rick

    Remember some looks can be deceiving, and the video only shows clips of this and that.

    The initial walk around found a fully charged smoke filled house with no indication of which level the fire was on. We had a structural brown smoke pushing from all levels & attic, and all windows were intact and soot & moisture stained.

    When the initial 2 attack lines entered they were on a search for victims, pets and fire. The first line in found a fire on division one with the hole to the basement, the second hand line then took the basement steps (the only basement access) and fought fire below. The third hand line entered from side A and went to the second division and found high heat & fire as well.

    All three attack lines using class a foam (less than 1%) made great progress when the simple hole in the floor grew to a deformity which prompted the evacuation. At that point all fire was held to the C/D corner of all three levels and crews needed to overhaul the collapse piles with long pile poles. This was not a complete gut job, but smoke and heat did the most damage prior to our arrival.

    When the crews exited there was a brief meeting to discuss structural stability which was not a concern. This was a platform built home with supporting walls below areas crews worked from. Crews went back to work and made additional progress, division two started to open ceilings when they had drywall come down on them. We pulled back evaluated and went back to work.

    I don’t mind answering constructive questions. Keep in mind these guys worked their tails off, love being able to do it, and are good at it. Remember there were no injuries or close calls here. I think some times it is more dangerous to work on our roadways vs fighting fire.

    If you can’t fight the base of the fire at its lowest point it will not go out. A well placed hand line will win every time.

    Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome!

  • Cappy

    Rick, Thanks for some real feed back on this one. Admirable job by all involved. Stay safe..

  • Wally

    Can’t forget all the vertical shafts in these places for cold air returns, plumbing, etc. that are compromised by additional work done by homeowners to run cable, phone, internet wires. makes portions of the building balloon frame. Must also be mindful that in rural areas most times the only water you have for a while is what you brought with you.

    residential sprinkler with a 300 gallon tank would have more than likely taken care of this in the basement. a little stink upstairs but still standing.