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Helmet-cam video: Detroit house fire.

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Video from detroitfire3916 of a house fire on Wednesday in Detroit. Here’s the description with the video:

E-46 stretching on a dwelling, we had another one going 1 block over & called for a seperate box alarm. This dwelling was going through out & required 2- 1 1/2″ handlines, first line made entry on the first floor & second line was taken thru the dormer window.


Comments - Add Yours

  • Commenter

    Cool Video.

    Reverse lays are stupid and slow. The engine pulled up at :27, the firefighter flowed water from the sidewalk into the building at 2:36. That’s 2:11 seconds longer than it would have taken to engage the pto and hit it with a pump & roll bumper turret. If it’s going to take DFD 131 seconds to get water (a paltry 125 gpm or so) from outside the building, they may as well close some firehouses and come from another mile away. And don’t give me the “leave the front for the truck” or “find a good hydrant” arguments: You don’t need an aerial on a bungalow, Detroit motor city has wide streets anyway, and the driver charged the line from tank water to get it charged as fast as he did.

    What a ridiculous, silly, and dangerous tactic. Bumper turrets aside, forward lay puts you and your equipment right there, right now. Detroit’s streets are wide enough to let the second due forward lay to the first. Just drive to the scene, the OIC does his size up, the FFs get to Blitzing / KTF’ing (water 20-30s after arrival, if that), once the the size up is complete (60-90s after arrival), transition to interior attack on a building the IC has seen 7 sides of and that you’ve already dumped 30 seconds worth of water into.

    Even if you insist on laying in, you lose 10-15 seconds in arrival time, and one man for a minute or two. Drop the man, drive to the location, and you just have one fewer man to help KTF / Blitz for a moment, but you’ve got 500-750 gallons to do it with, before switching over to the hydrant for the interior attack.

    Reverse Lays are stupid for timely interior attacks. If you want roll up, blitz it, and then drive off to a hydrant leaving a monitor nozzle on a purely defensive op, maybe, but not for anything where speed and reliability is important.

  • Fire21

    I don’t necessarily agree that reverse lays are stupid, but I do agree that I don’t like them. I’m sure there are instances where that might be that only tactic available. But having the engine at the site is most desirable, at least to me. The text said that another fire was occurring a block away, so perhaps a 2nd due wasn’t available for some time…maybe that’s what necessitated the reverse lay. Anyway it sure did seem like a long time to get water flowing. But it was a very narrow field of view, being from a helmet cam, so there were probably other things going on that we can’t see.

  • Scooter

    30 second stretch vs a 2 min stretch…. Strike Da Box! K

  • Capt 452

    If you worked in a city you would know of such a thing as a “dry or bad plug” believe it or not they have them. Do you know how to drop a Detroit bundle?? I teach it and would be more than happy to teach you if you were interested. It is a pretty interesting set up Detroit has

  • Jim

    It looked to me like they stretched two lines in two minutes.

  • Pingback: Detroit Engine 46 Making the Hit in this Helmet Camera Footage Just One Block From Another Box Alarm | The Fire Critic()

  • 15HOOK

    It’s good to be the pipeman sometimes.Nice work DFD.

  • Cappy

    This appeared on par with what has been occuring in Detriot for a long time. It is what it is…..

  • Commenter

    Capt 452, I have worked in a city, and have had bad hydrants. I doubt for a second that the pump operator in this video pulled off to a hydrant, opened and tested the hydrant, and THEN charged the attack line. You and I both know he pulled off, broke the supply, attached it, charged it, and then found out whether or not the hydrant worked. If he tested it first, it would have been another minute before they had water in the front lawn.

    That’s why laying in, or laying out, or whatever is something of a waste for the first in company. It takes too long to do it right. We all carry 500 gallons, and if the geography of our districts required it, we could carry 1000 gallons on a single, or 2500 or more gallons on tandem axles. Make a fast attack off of tank water, knowing that you don’t have an established supply. Make the 2nd due come in, TEST THEIR HYDRANT, and lay to you. Or from you. Or to you and from you.

    If you know you’re going somewhere with delayed backup, you can lay in yourself and hope the hydrant works, but you better find out long before you get to 1/4 tank. If it doesn’t, evacuate the building at 1/4 tank, and go with plan C. Get everyone out, break the lines, and reverse out to a good plug. To do that first is a horrible waste of time. You can’t claim seconds count and then take minutes to get water on the fire after you arrive.

    • Capt 452

      Commenter so you are basing all your judgment on this video totally once again on what you have no idea are facts?? You were not there nor was I, YouTube search Detroit fire when you have two or three days to kill and find one video that the operator does not follow their procedure on “stretching”. Sorry but I personally believe if you have a suspicion that you cannot get it with your tank water (this incident clearly not) then you better have an alternative plan IE water source. Jim you are correct two lines stretched and in operation in two min, my only thing with Detroit has always been why not lead off with a 2 ½ with so much fire showing but there is no way I would ever question their tactics.
      Stay safe all happy Sunday!!!
      Capt 452

      • Commenter

        Actually Capt 452, I’m somewhat familiar with Detroit’s tactics. I wasn’t there, but, by the amount of time that transpired between the engine pulling off, and getting the line charged, I’d be very surprised if the driver didn’t just charge the line off of tank water rather than open the hydrant, close the hydrant, and then break his line and make his connections and charge the attack line.

        I know you should always have an alternative to tank water; I also know that waiting 2 minutes to get water on the fire isn’t worth any amount of water supply. Fires go out because of instantaneous flow, not sustained flow; At the very least, Detroit should ‘dump the monitor’ prior to reversing out. If they’re going to wait 2 minutes, they might as well do it after they deck gunned it for a minute.

  • Steve in NJ

    Detroit handles more fires in a day than I go to in a year so I’ll refran from adding my two cents on their tactics. It seems to work for them. God speed brothers.

  • Commenter Critic

    No!!! I believe commenter probably didnt work in a city…and isn’t familiar w/ detroits tactics. Commenter is another critic hiding behind his computer. No balls to leave name just bash some of the hardest working guys on the job. PS DFD forgot more about fighting fires then you’ll know. 2min from curb to water is pretty good. Commenter I doubt you’d even have your mask on in 2 let alone advancing.

  • Commenter

    2 minutes from curb to water is entirely unacceptable. Too bad you’re too awestruck of the big city boys to call a spade a spade. There’s a female explorer from hamstead that could get water out of a drop tank faster than Detroit gets water on a fire. Google it.

    • FireCapt


      You do realize that that is a vacant with no exposures. As per commissioners order, they’re in no hurry to streach and put the fire out rapidly, let it burn as much as possible before fully extinguishing. That’s the procedure ordered by the commissioner.

      After 33+ years on the job , given a graver situation, the elapsed time would be less and I know that for a fact!

      On another post, which is awaiting modration according to the posts, I explained why they do a reverse stretch. If it’s not showing, I’m going to add it below. As I also alluded to in another post. Why not come to Detroit and teach them how the job should be done. Apparenty your expertise is to vast not to come and share it.

      You stated this ” Detroit motor city has wide streets anyways”. Well sorry to inform you of this fact. A lot of Detroit has streets that are just barley 3 cars wide, mostly in the older sections of the lower east side (except for 3 little pockets) all the way to Grosse Point, all of the southwest side from Warren to the river and from the city limit to Corktown and the central part of the city From the Blvd to just north of downtown. There are other small enclaves that contain these small width streets. This means that in those areas (which comes close to 1/3 of the city) cars are allowed to park on each side of the street because of a lack of driveways so space is precious. So this statement “. Detroit’s streets are wide enough to let the second due forward lay to the first” is not exactly true as you state.

      Many of the areas that were built up in 1948 and later do have some wider streets but again, most of the other older sections don’t have those wide streets.

      When they pull up you can barely get the apparatus doors open and when you place the truck someone must make sure the truck is in position to lower the outriggers between cars. Many times they must short jack the truck.

      This is one of the reasons way the reverse lay is used and is the SOP for all companies. You pull in, streach and the truck comes in second to gain access to the front with the heavy rescue squad right behind the truck. The truck and squad carry the vasy majority of all the tools that would be needed. The engines actually carry much less.

      The second in engine will usually back down to the squad and the chief usually ends up parking on a lawn somwhere.

      • Commenter

        Capt, I’m glad the Detroit guys can determine that an abandoned house is, in fact, vacant before the set foot on the scene. Must be nice. In the rest of the world, we like to arrive with the mindset that maybe, just maybe, we should do our job like someone’s life depends on it.

        If the commissioner wants them to burn down, and you know they’re vacant, why bother with an interior attack at all – there’s risk of costly injury to the guys. Why send a complete assignement? Why not just send 2 engines to set up monitors? All in all, if true, DFD’s SOP to drag their feet on vacants and then commit to an interior attack seems really really stupid.

        Single lane streets with heavy parking are even more of a reason to lay IN to the building rather than to try to lay OUT to a hydrant. What do you do if a car is double parked? If a cop decides to stop mid block? If a car is parked on the hydrant? If you can get the ladder truck to front of the building, you can have the 2nd due lay to the first. Yes, the 2nd due might have to hand stretch 100′ of hose from the supply line to the attack engine, but they have time to do so – the first engine already has put water on the fire. 1st pulls in and “dumps the monitor” or pulls slightly past and stretches. Truck pulls in behind, and usually gets front of building. 2nd due pulls in 3rd, and connects supply line to the first due. Squad stays out at cross street – they can get released when the search is done. One lane fire.

        I don’t need to go to Detroit, I can lay my vast knowledge out right here on the internet.

        Don’t need too many tools at a fire: ladders, a fan, saws, lights, hooks. All on the ladder truck. The squad can park at the end of the block.

        • FireCapt

          Look commenter, every vacant and abandoned structure is searched unless fully envolved as this structure is, so don’t even go there. Dumping the monitor (if it happens to be working properly) is standard and done quite often, even though the Commissioner would has a let it burn mentality (slower application of attack lines, which I don’t agree with). As far as second due stretching to the first in, the second due engine can be as far as 7-10 minutes out (that’s a long time to wait for another engine to stretch in order to get water to the first due), that’s just a fact and nothing more.

          Whether you agree with the tactics isn’t my problem. The firefighters operate very effectively and aggresively. They do the best they can with what they have and unfortunately response times have increased dramatically over the last 5 years and each year it gets worse. Like I stated, please come and give them your vast knolwedge.

          To be honest, most of the apparatus shouldn’t even be in service because breakdowns are a common occurrence and has been for years.

          You continue to post yet no one knows who you are or your background. Here’s short list of mine.

          Retired as Capt. after 33+ years.

          Worked as FF and Officer on Engines, Trucks and Heavy Rescues.

          B.A. Fire Science degree.

          B.A. Public Administration degree.

          Staff and Command School

          Trench, confined space, high and low angle rope rescue Tech.

          Haz-mat operations cert.

          and more fires in residental, commercial and industrial structures without death or serious injury to any of my crew than I care to remember.

          You live in your perfect world but Detroit and it’s elected and appointed leaders don’t even know what that word means and don’t care either.

          Take care and have a good day.

  • Commenter critic

    Couldn’t find female explorer…probably well rehearsed…not awe struck by big city boys just wondering what are you trying to prove by your comments ???? About DFD??? Why is there always a peanut gallery ??? If anything should get fixed .. its guys like you! the one different guy that argues the sky is green…the one who HAS to prove a point …the one who infects all our firehouses across the country and btw a reverse lay is a tool in the tool box has its place where it works and doesn’t …DFD has a crap hand delt to them they do well with what they have to work with its not just two minutes to water it was two minutes stretching masking up and advancing the line to

  • Ryan, Chicago Fd

    I like how commenter is arm chair quarterbacking the Dept that goes to more fires then any other city. Who gives a shit how they do it the fire went out and nobody got hurt ya wistle dick!