First Arriving Network
Powered by the First Arriving Network, Reaching 1M+ First Responders Worldwide

Helmet-cam: Roof-ops view from three-alarm Darby, PA building fire.

Do you want to sell a rig? Click HERE to find out how with

Previous video from the fire here and here

Helmet-cam video from OneNineTruck (Landsdowne Fire Company) of the three-alarm fire on April 13 in Darby, Pennsylvania (Delaware County) that we covered when it occurred. Here’s some of the description with the video:

After being on scene performing Rapid Intervention for a few minutes forcing doors and cutting garage roll ups, the crew was replaced for RIT duties and were then asked to go to the roof and ventilate. The crew broke into two groups and quickly and aggressively trench cut the roof from alpha side to Charlie side.

Comments - Add Yours

  • Fire21

    Nice trench!! I submit that unmanned unmoving monitors don’t put out any fire. All they do is lob water into one spot, thus flooding either the floor or the basement. The only place I can think of that an unmanned unmoving monitor should be used is as protection for an exposed tank that could BLEVE. Even then, a sweeping stream over the tank surface is better than a steady stream.

  • fyrecapt

    Maybe the white helmet with the RIT on his back should be one the ground in case their is a RIT activation. Unless of course they have a bunch of FF’s already to go.

    • CHAOS

      If you read the description Dave posted below the video, you might notice that they were originally on scene as the RIT, but, were then sent to the roof and another unit was given RIT duty.

  • Just A Fireman


  • Cappy

    Man… What an effort on the roof ops. That wore me out just watching!!

  • 95%er

    is this a new technique?
    trench the roof of the detached exposure?
    hadn’t seen that done in any of the manuals or books.
    but always willing to learn a new technique.

  • http://none Engine 5er

    Trench cut? This is an exposure building. Were there crews inside checking? Pulling ceilings? Opening walls? Maybe a few inspection holes on this roof would do it. However, good thought with handline on this roof.

  • Barney Miller

    Painful to watch. And I promise myself EVERY TIME! “no more PA helmet cam videos” Sheesh They are ALL ALIKE….Dumba$$ tactics, water in windows cutting unneeded…if the observation hole showed nothing the 40 foot of improper trench will show nothing (just as it did)Now FF H. Camm can say I cut trenches all the time……See…..It produced NOTHING! I now know how Lewis Black gets his material/ delivery style.

    • FirefighterUD74

      almost sounds as if you know everything and you were there! That building may have appeared to be an non attached exposure, but it was very well attached. And if you would have seen the end result of this fire you would have realized that this trench really did save that building. It did its job.

      • Barney Miller

        Well Hick, normally when a trench is cut it is at the middle of or a determined point of the building TO BE SAVED. In my 20 or so years this calculated maneuver is done by skilled truck companies in concert with skilled line crew in place. Usually not done on the EDGE of a building. But having a whole 2 years with your blue light and of course 20 years of experience…. you would know that FIRE and or turbulent smoke come from a trench vent. Good luck in upper lower middle Darby Wacker. Read some of the other posts before you deem me the bad guy. This video is proof that you are behind the curve in your knowledge and or experience.

      • Anonymous

        Well Hick, normally when a trench is cut it is at the middle of/ or at a determined portion of the part TO BE SAVED. In my 20 plus years, this calculated maneuver is done with a skilled truck company popping the trench in concert with a skilled line crew(s) in place. Not done on the EDGE of a building.But having a whole two years with your blue light and of course 20 years of experience….you would know that FIRE and or turbulent smoke com from a proper trench vent. Good luck in lower/upper/middle darby there WACKER. Read some of the other posts before you deem me the bad guy. this video is proof that you are behind the curve in your knowledge and or experience. Now go take a picture of yourself in your “we fight what you fear” tee shirt so you can feel good about your self. @ Do truck work, just because you watch the rescue me series every weekend does not make you a fireman!Get a clue and shut your mouth ROOKIE!

    • DoTruckWork

      Sorry you dont like our PA helmet cam videos “Sheeesh whata d0uche bag”…

  • Just A Fireman

    Agree with Fire21, stingers were a waste of time. Put the stick in the large opening and have at it. Much more effective. I think the white helmet was wearing his father’s gear.

    They obviously had no idea what they were getting themselves into here. Put a crew in the exposure.

  • JW

    Wouldn’t all of that effort have been put to better use with exposure protection both exterior and interior? And if the Chief of their fire company is using the saw, then who is in command of their personnel?

    • BH

      You’ve got to be pretty naive to think he was the only chief officer onscene.

      • JW

        Not being naive. He would appear to be in charge of: Roof Ops, Vent Group, Roof Sector, etc.. So if he is in charge of this area/task and he is doing the cutting, then who is in charge of the personnel on the roof and who is looking out for their safety and monitoring the job at hand?

        • 1Ladder6

          WOW. Looks like another key board firefighter here. There was an darby captain who had Roof Sector. Reminder, this was a Darby Borough fire. This chief cutting here was part of the rit team and they were put to work and asked to trench it. They did their job and got down because the building was evacuated due to its expsoure walls colapsing.

          • JW

            whatever you say Yeadon boy.

  • Learn something new

    The point is that the fire co. is naive for putting up the video and thinking that they did a hell of a job…because if they knew what a poor tactical job they did, they would not bother posting them.

  • Capt Dick

    That was embarrassing and if they knew any better they would delete this ASAP. Totally uncalled for and improper strategy . I can’t wait to join my uncle the attorney on our Northeast tour. We gonna be rich!!!! Keep posting em boys !

  • tell me about your fire…

    I’m not here to pick a fight or judge. I just want to learn. I’ve never seen a trench cut, but this does seem an unorthodox use of it compared to what is taught.

    What I want to know is how well did it work in preventing the cockloft of that building from catching fire? The smoke at the end looks moderate, but was it enough to cause trouble if unvented? (thinking of that recent backdraft/smoke explosion video from New Jersey) Was there a better way to monitor and vent the cockloft of that building? Was the trench overkill? How hard is it to open a cockloft from below? Were there openings into the cockloft on the outside that could be pried off?

    I would like to hear from people who were there or people whose bread and butter fires are ordinary construction. What was the thought process behind this? No being nasty, please.

  • urban fire 0604

    Barney Miller is the typical KEYBOARD firefighter. His comments are one of the issues with today’s fire service. Zero knowledge of what actually happened or occurred prior to the video being posted.

  • D.Haberle

    I’d like to point out, that none of you were at this fire (with the possible exception to 1Ladder6). Personally I DO NOT CARE Barney Miller, and others. If you want to Monday Quarterback this video… Fine, but there is absolutely NO REASON to be a complete A$$ about it. Make your point, Move on. Read other peoples points, move on. We are all adults here, Right? You might just learn something. I know this video was posted to educate fire personnel how to properly make a trench cut. Also, Understand this is not fire school. If “delco” does something one way, it might not be the way you would do it.

    @tell me about your fire.
    From the roof jobs I’ve been on, And the many classes I’ve attended. Trench cuts are done like how we did them in the video. Its alot of cutting, pulling and knocking down ceilings. This fire taught me that to pull off a “correct” trench cut. It kicks your A$$, and cleaning the saw after being used like that is a complete B^tch.