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Helmet-cam: House fire in Windber, PA with evacuation ordered due to water supply issues.

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Video from KPaul77 aboard Truck 3-1 from the Richland Fire Department at a house fire on Tuesday afternoon at 105 11th Street in Windber, Pennsylvania (Somerset County). Here’s the description with the video: 

Truck 3-1 officer Sgt. Kyle Paul. 2nd due truck and 3rd arriving unit. Truck crew was originally assigned to open up and search for stairs leading to division 2. Due to lack of water supply crews were evacuated out until a water source was established. Truck crew entered a second time and vented division 2.

Melanie Gillespie, WJAC-TV:

“The fire was already ahead of us, which made it very hot inside; which made it more difficult for crews. So, we had to have a lot of back lines to back the other guys up,” Windber Fire Chief Aaron Cicon said.

Two firefighters were sent to the hospital for heat exhaustion and dehydration as a result of being on the roof.

“Everybody’s not used to the heat again. People went down pretty fast. It took two alarms to get enough guys here to cover, and because of where we’re at here, people aren’t too close so we had to pull from pretty far distances,” Cicon said.

The chief called the fire fast-moving and told 6News it started in the kitchen.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Anonymous

    What a f*@cking spazz!

  • Anonymous

    Wow, this guy if a f@#cking spazz!

  • Anonymous

    What water supply problem? They had enough to hit it from the outside…

  • agates1272

    The ff with the cam really needs to SLOW DOWN, and get himself under control. If the entire department operates this way, it’s no wonder they sent people to the hospital with heat exhaustion.

    I know all to well the adrenaline rush that goes with the job. But you have got to maintain yourself. This is how stupid mistakes get made, and people get hurt.

    On another note, WHY IN TEH WORLD would you start venting more of the structure and encourage further fire spread WHEN YOU HAVE NO WATER??

  • agates1272

    So my first comment was based on watching the first five minutes of the video. After watching the rest, all Ihave to say is WOW. I don’t even know where to start….

  • chief 511

    What a cluster.I think guys use the cameras to pretend their FF

  • My Mom

    Just cause you have a truck, doesn’t mean you know how to do Truck work. This is painfully obvious.

  • 95%er


    which leads to the next obvious question….why?

    why run around like crazy?
    why are you and everyone else there so excited?
    why vent the windows when you have just been told their are water supply issues?
    why crack the roof 30 minutes into the fire when the fire is knocked down?
    why crack the roof 45 minutes into the fire when the fire is really knocked down?
    why climb the aerial after you have been so exhausted you needed someone to help you take your SCBA off MID CLIMB?
    why cut the roof all the way down to the eave line?

    look, i know you guys were trying, but sometimes you can try too hard. This was a bread and butter fire and didn’t require super-heroes.

    calm down.

  • Just A Fireman

    Why not just walk inside and open the windows instead of breaking the glass. At that point I knew this guy was a complete idiot.

    • Tree

      But we GOTTA BREAK WINDOWS! (Not)
      A department near me gets downright dangerous if you even suggest taking out windows. Even if you specify that you only want certain windows taken out, they’ll have them all broken if you don’t watch them…

  • Just a Probie

    I notice a lot of guys with helmet cams seem to do a lot of freelancing. Yes, there are some great team efforts by guys that wear a helmet cam and ignore the fact that it’s there, but more and more they are the exception. We seem to see more videos of guys like this one; running around playing FF, but not really getting anything done. I think if I were in command I’d make it mandatory to review all helmet cam footage after an event and start stripping people of their privilege of wearing them at the first sign of “FF Reporteritis”.

  • Capt

    And just how many vent holes do you need? The last 2 was after what looked like knock down. I think that guy was gonna cut the whole roof off if no one stopped him!!

  • Anonymous

    Tits on a bull.

  • Anonymous

    . . . tits on a bull.

  • Division 2

    I don’t know much about what it cost to have a roof replaced. I rent and haven’t ever had to deal with it. I’m also not trying to be a jerky here….but if the fire is “under control” which I think I hear someone say about the 10min mark…is there a need to cut the roof? I understand that smoke can damage the house..but it seems like that smoke is already in the house. Wouldn’t cutting the roof once the fire is out be more harm than good? Honestly, we rarely ever cut roofs where I am. Limited man power and such keep us from doing it. I did learn about it in school though…and it seems like I was taught that it is a coordinated event with an attack crew. I understand that when a hole is cut smoke and heat rise making it easier for the attack crew. I see holes cut after the fact on videos fairly often and I’m just wondering if there is a solid reason. I assume I am missing something. Could anyone clue me in? How does it help once the fire is out? Risk vs. Benefit wise. It seems risky and damaging. What do we get out of it? Thanks.

  • 33 years,still doing it

    Well meaning****slow down it is not your emergency!
    The new you tube fireman are going to sink themselves with cameras.Putting incidents on film is not always the best move. This could/will someday end up as evidence in court,your comments as well!!!!!!!!!!! (rehab) your comment shows a lack of experience and leadership in the current fire service.
    I will not comment on further because I do not know what the first arriving unit officer found upon arrival.
    If they were to vent div #2,throw a ladder to the porch roof. This will keep the path of egress clear in case of an emergency. ,vent,enter isolate, search. A 2,2 and 1 fire !

  • 33 years,still doing it

    Sorry,@9min 44 seconds === I can not find the window ! Refer to my above comment FRONT PORCH ROOF VEIS,just a thought.
    I guess drivers/pump operators do not throw ground ladders.
    As far as COMMAND ===WHAT A JOKE !!!!! When you change your fire ground operation (OFF to DEF ) and evac a building PLEASE conduct A PAR so you know the following 4 items.
    1 who are they
    2. where are they
    3. what are they doing
    4. have condition changes (pos =neg)
    Please do this, many families will thank you.

  • VolFFinNC

    When he was on the aerial ladder with the white helmet it’s hard to make out but it sounded like the white helmet told him to get over there on the roof with him..and a few seconds later helmet cam guy is..well sounded like trying to psyche himself up to actually get on the roof.

    Hanging out on the roof after the vent holes were already done with and looked like fire mostly knocked down, then they get mad at the interior guys for spraying water on them when they didn’t really need to be up there anymore anyways.

    Like always though I wasn’t there so I don’t know the full story of why they wanted to cut what seemed like the whole roof off the house.

    Also like Just a Probie said I’ve noticed a trend about the “freelancing” in videos. I see it on scenes I’m at too and none of the guys have any helmet cameras or anything like that so it’s not just guys with the helmet cams.

  • David S.

    Ah,what!! comments from an commerical on tv. Do these ffs have any idea on what they are doing I think not. Im sorry dave these videos have got to go to painful to watch.

  • Hallman 30

    All too often people are quick to point out the flaws in these videos acting like they know it all. I take these videos as a learning experience. Besides, not every fire you go to is going to be perfect. Someone usually messes up at some point or another. These videos can be used to correct those mistakes and learn from them.

    With that being said… The ff should have made a cut further away from the ladder and worked his way in. It would have made it alot easier. Also, those front windows should never have been smashed but you can hear in the video someone telling him to do it.

    On a good note atleast crews made an interior attack except for when they were having a water supply issue. Good call to whoever hit the evac tones and pulled those guys out right away. Majority of departments hit it from the outside the entire fire because they want to be “safe”. Seems like fairly aggressive fire departments. I know if me or my family was trapped in a fire I would want guys running and trying their best to do their job.

    Don’t worry about the haters guys. Keep doing what you do and they will continue to do what they do from behind a keyboard

    • 95%er

      Kyle, isn’t that you in the video?

      BTW, I don’t think there are any haters here. You post a video and people are going to critique it.

      Question for you..What did YOU take away from your experience at this fire? What would you do differently?

      Regarding the roof, I have to comment. Opening that roof did zero in terms of operational ventilation or visibility. On peak roof single family dwellings, unless the fire is directly in the attic space, horizontal ventilation is almost always preferred. By the time you got to the roof, the fire was knocked. All you did was cost your homeowner additional money over what the fire had already damaged.

      Keep up learning and working on being a better firefighter. We need more enthusiastic people in the service.

    • agates1272

      This comment is interesting, as it is the EXACT same comment posted above in the Facebook feed by KYLE PAUL. If I’m not mistaken, isn’t that the same KYLE PAUL that was wearing this cam and posted the video on YouTube?

      A little word of advice Kyle Paul (or Hallman 30, whichever you’d like to go by) If you’re going to wear a helmet cam and post the videos, be prepared to have it torn apart and critiqued. There are no haters here, only fellow firefighters who want to learn and teach.

      It’s easy to see in your video that you think you’re a badass, but that ego is going to get you or someone else hurt. You’re clearly a hard worker, and I applaud you for that. But you have to SLOW DOWN and take alook at everything happening around you. Stop freelancing, and and have a little respect for your command and fellow firefighters. You’re an officer–time to start acting like one and stop playing for the camera. But most of all, WHEN YOU POST A COMMENT, DON’T TRY TO PRETEND YOU’RE SOMEONE ELSE. All you’ve done now is make yourself look stupid.

  • on the job

    I think this firefighter with the cam was everywhere but the basement….LOL

  • cbj

    This IS a good “learning video” if you use it to instruct the inexperienced on discipline and self control. This young man may become a good firefighter providing e has the right instructors, mentors or with some experienced leadership. Without a doubt he appears to be aggressive and capable, yet out of control. Though it is difficult to remember everything over the course of my career I learned after my first job to calm down, follow orders and know my purpose…to stay calm under pressure! The roof cut was baffling and clearly he had no idea how to properly accomplish it. So why was HE directed to do it when there were those who seemed to lack a purpose sitting there? What was the purpose for the individual just sitting half way up the aerial? Toll taker maybe? the first few minutes were enough for me but I had to endure the rest. The white helmet was out of control himself, it would seem they lack experience. But the roof ops…terrible! They didn’t know where to start! The yelling, chaos in the beginning was to much to bear. Slow down, clam down, then go back and review this video and correct your behavior. The helmet cam wearer was obviously fatigued and yet HE had to go back up and cut? I can’t get passed that, let alone the lack of technique for the cut itself, and as for the reason to order that cut? PLEASE learn from this video. I commend the camera firefighter for his physical ability, which is what we all should have anyways. Now calm down, learn from your mistakes and you may make a decent officer in the future.

  • on the job

    CBJ….well said.

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  • Dmgdriver

    Years ago I worked with a line officer that was very much like helmet cam ff here. (From what I gather, this ff is a sgt with the fire company.) During training he was calm, cool, collected and a great person to learn from. However at a structure fire this man became a Yappy Yorkshire Terrier on meth. Just the shouting alone in a stressful situation causes additional stress. Working the line you don’t know whether there is a hazard somewhere, a man down, fire discovered someplace, or you have found a long lost friend. when everything is a hyper shout, there no way anyone can tell. Running from one place to another, back to the first place to another place then to the roof does nothing but expend energy and wears a person out. At that point, you make bad decisions and potentially put others in harms way. In this case when he went onto the roof a second time, and made the first cut close to the roof ladder so that all other cuts had to be made over the now weakened point. Sarge seems to have talent and knowledge, but dude, you need to slow down. keep calm and collected. start a task, finish a task, then move on. And remember that there are others in the department. Not everything has to be done by you.

  • panthermedic

    Gotta love western pa fire departments

  • Billy Bob

    It’s not ALL western PA fire departments. First of all, the helmet cam guy was assisting a neighboring dept. So not everyone in the video is with his dept. He is from a dept that believes they are the premier fire dept in the county, especially when it comes to truck work. Now, how could anyone argue that?