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Helmet-cam video: Three homes burn in Highland Park, Michigan. One person dead.

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This is the latest video from Highland Park, Michigan Firefighter Scott Ziegler (HPZ1442). It is from around 10:30 Thursday morning. The fire took the life of a man whose body was found in the middle of the three homes that burned. Here is news coverage of the fire and below is Scott’s account with the video:

Called to report of a fire in an occupied dwelling around 9am. We arrived with a crew of 6, to find one house fully involved with the houses on both sides involved as well. As you can see here We dumped our monitor on the middle home while I stretched our bundles for each exposure home. With only one good hydrant in the area being right in front of the scene, our OIC decided to pump off our ladder so that we could use elevated stream for the middle home(which was to far gone to sustain life or make entry) and make an interior attack with hand lines on both exposures. While setting up tower operations our truck would not go into pump and it took several minutes to fix that problem. You will see me make a quick check on the 1st floor of the left side home for any occupants, was radioed outside as all occupants were accounted for. I then went to an exposure line which as you can see has no pressure at first. Knocked down some fire from the outside before making entry with firefighter Tikkanen into the right side exposure home. At this same time 2 other firefighters are making an interior attack on the home to the left, while tower operations are taking care of the middle home. We made entry through the window since the door was barred and locked together with several large chains. That door was eventually opened by one of the guys working exterior. We had heavy fire in the 2nd floor with part of the roof burned off the back side of the house, and heavy fire coming from the house next door. We knocked down most of the 2nd floor while attempting to hold off fire coming from the center home. Once both our low air alarms started to go off, our chief made entry to tell us we had fire in the basement which we assume came from the house next door when the outer walls fell down. My camera must not have had a full charge because I did not get anymore footage after changing my first bottle. Him and another firefighter made a push on the basement while we changed our bottles. Both firefighters from the left side home have finished up putting out that fire and have joined us in the right side home where we still have fire in the void spaces and attic. An attic ladder was brought in to knock down what was left up there, and we got reports from OIC that the basement had took off again. Myself and my Sgt went back to the basement where we found extreme heat and heavy fire towards that back side of the house. Unable to make progress pushing through the basement heat we went upstairs and put it out through a basement window. The 4 of us fighting this fire went through 4 and a half bottles each. We worked at this scene until 730pm mopping up hot spots. It was a long day Unfortunately shortly after our arrival we were told there was possibly a man in the center home who had not gotten out. We fully feel that the outcome of this fire could not have been different based on the conditions when we arrived. The center home was fully involved and through the roof. We did in fact find the body of a man, which you can read about on myfoxdetroit. We are very upset at the loss of one of our citizens and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family. This video was edited down from about 40 minutes of footage. I only take out some sound (language or sensitive material) and anything that you cannot hear or see for long periods of time. I used a FireCam 1080 to film this video. I did my best to explain this fire in order to maybe cut back on the Key board firefighters making their usual comments. I may have forgotten to mention some things. If you dont like the way we did or do something…dont do it were you work.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Dom

    That is what I call being dealt a losing hand.

  • FMCH

    Damn brother. You guys at HPFD are the epitomie of the issues facing the American Fire Service. Thanks for the videos, and stay safe.

  • Harry Rampe

    Fire,fire everywhere.Best interior vidio i have seen.Nice job guys.

  • Former Chief

    Scott, awesome job. I’ve been in the fire service for 37 years. The amount of work your department does with your limited staffing, staffing that in my opinion borders on being criminally negligent, is amazing. None of us like to loose anyone, we always take it personally. But sometimes, they are beyond saving when the bells hit. Just make sure you and your fellow firefighters go home in one piece after every tour. Stay Safe Brother.

  • BH

    Just curious… This is the third or fourth video I’ve seen of you guys skipping the door and going through a window… Is there a reason you don’t force the front door of these buildings beside? If I know I’m going in there with absolutely no back-up, I think I’d rather have the bigger means of egress.

    • HPZ

      I agree with you on wanting to have a bigger means of egress. In this particular video the door was barred and the bars were held shut with a rats nest of chains…it would be the forceable entry teachers dream stump the student scenario. We figured it quicker to go through the window. Someone eventually opened that door while we were inside. On the other 2, one on florence that door wasnt opening without power tools which on that given day we had no working saw. The door to that house was sealed shut from the inside. We actually took some time after the fire was out t figure out how to get the damn thing open…we never got it open.
      The colorado street fire we went through the window as well. I remember having the tip handed to me and the firefighter saying “im going to get this door”…he took to long so we went in through the window again. Maybe its impatience. I will admit I am not proficient on the latest forceable entry techniques.

      • Mark too

        I work under similar conditions and we catch our share fires, but probably not as many working fires overall as you guys are seeing. We typically call back our off-duty personnel for fires and sometimes mutual aid from the neighboring VFDs. Out of curiosity, do you guys routinely get any sort of backup on your fires?


    Great work! Great video! Stay safe!

  • PPFD

    You all are the tops!
    I look forward to your postings

  • ThatGuy

    I think everyone should take this video and learn from it. 6 dedicated firemen with 3 houses on fire and they put that shit out without hesitation. Kudos to the Highland Park Fire Dept for being one of the real fire depts. this country and its; yard breathing, street squirting, pussies can learn from.

  • Joe

    Street squirting pussies? While I agree these guys do a good job, I do believe I see some street squirting in this video as well. Just one of the tactics that can be used on the fireground.

    • Legeros

      I’m guessing the ghosts of firemen past probably get a good laugh at the SCBA use, and have their own derogatory names.

      Can’t wait to see what science, experience, and new traditions bring in the next generation(s) of structural firefighting.

  • FLFF

    Great job, Scott and crew. You guys did more with just six people than most do with ten crews standing around outside jawjacking. Usually when I see “helmetcam” I just keep moving because there’s usually nothing but a start and a finish with nothing much in-between to see. You guys dida great job of making entry and putting a realy hurting on the fire on the upstairs of that exposure for as long as you had air.

    Bravo Zulu!

  • Commenter

    When you show up with 6, Chief RECEO rules supreme, which is exactly what these fine men did.

    Dump the monitor – knocked the fire down in the building of origin, so that a rapid search of the exposures can be made. Fire streams to protect the exposures. Large volume stream to fight the fire in the original building.

    Great strategy, and good tactics. Would occur faster and more effectively with the right technology. Dump the Monitor: pump and roll, remote controlled deck guns or bumper turrets, class A foam. Rapid Search: Positive Pressure Attack, Thermal Imaging Cameras. Exposure Protection: class A foam; aspirating (vindicator) nozzles, ultra high pressure, or CAFS; preconnected portable monitors (blitzfire). Forcible Entry: diamond bladed rotary saw can cut metal or wood, and can make that porch window into a door real quick.

    6 men: IC, MPO, Team 1, Team 2.
    IC size up & plan: Exterior Defensive on center building, rapid search of exposures.
    MPO dump the monitor
    Team 1: PPA entry to worst exposure, rapid search. Next building.
    Team 2 (IRIT): Water supply then portable monitors to foam and protect exposures, ladders and saws to allow egress.

  • Anonymous

    Curious…does HPFD get any type of auto aid? If not, how does mutual aid work there?

    It’s always enlightening how much gets done with 6 guys, 2 engines and a truck…there are so many areas who are blessed to have at least 4-5 engines, at least 2 trucks, ambo’s, couple chiefs, safety officer, squad, RIT company, etc. on a fire like this.

    Great job once again and stay safe