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Pre-arrival video: Rowhouse fire in Baltimore, MD.

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Video from Rick Rumbarger of a rowhouse fire Saturday afternoon at 1725 Poplar Grove Steet in Baltimore. Thanks to Nicholas Eid for th alert on this one. Here is the description with the video.

The house had a rehab started several months ago, but appeared to have stopped. Front door was slightly ajar and squatters were living in the house. Video starts at conclusion of long 911 call and after neighboring houses were alerted and front door was kicked in to check for victims.

MA Baltimore 1700 Poplar Grove rowhouse fire

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Comments - Add Yours

  • waheid

    Well done BCFD. I don't think I ever saw a truck arrive on the scene, raise the aerial and have a man opening the roof so quickly.

  • FMCH

    WTF is the guy from the Truck doing without his SCBA going to the roof?! In this day and age, that's pretty stupid.

    • BmoreCareful

      I hear that you are anxiously awaiting for Baltimore City to hire EMT Ambo drivers so you can watch real firemen in action and not on YouTube.  The job announcement should be made soon. Good Luck!

      • FMCH

        Ah yes, an ad hominem attack, because I have the audacity to question why the guy went to the roof without his SCBA at a row house fire that looked to be pretty well off. Shame on me.

  • Anonymous

    Truck driver was on it!!!!

  • Harvey Glick

    Gotta love the 2 civilians that pointed out the fire.

    • Mick Mayers

      "Hey, fire department! The fre is here! Yeah, the place with all the smoke coming out of it!" Yeah, that guy was making me laugh a litle too.

  • Fire21

    Man going to the roof with the saw…no SCBA and his coat wide open.  Saw a couple guys with the SCBA waist straps undone.  Looked like an excellent operation, quick setup and quick suppression.

  • Dave M

    Nice job on the video

  • Mike Monroe

    That was a brilliant move the Truck driver pulled.  Going up on a roof with no SCBA is bad enough, but the roof of a previously burned out row house???    Outstanding…  What a bonehead move.  For all you rookies out there who think that was bad ass, think of how bad ass it would have been if he had fallen through.  It only takes an extra 30 seconds to put on your SCBA after you set the jacks and position the aerial….   

    • BmoreCareful

      If the vacant was priviously burned out then why did the fireman go to the roof to cut a hole?  I hear Clorox Wipes are spectacular at cleaning up messes left on keyboards, you might want to try it Mike Monroe.  Also so how I used the term Fireman?  Thats something you are obviously not.

    • Jeff Dostalek

      And you wonder why we have firefighter deaths. Its pathetic

      • Mark too

        Actually, the fire service has far more LODDs from vehicle accidents and health/medical related issues than actual offensive fire ground operations.

  • Bigjim

    I'm just guessing here, but I figure it's not the first rowhouse fire these companies have been to.

  • Jerry Duval

    I agree FMCH.  Going to the roof these days is not always necessary.  All they should have done is put a fan in the door.  Guess they have never heard of positive pressure ventilation in Baltimore.  Remember brother risk a little to save a little risk a lot to save a lot.  Obviously this is a vacant the guys filming even said they checked.  Remember Brothers Every Body Goes Home!


    Jerry D.

    • anonymous

      Sure, and we always know that when a civilian that does not live there tells us no one is in there, that they are always right.  How does he know everyone got out?  Maybe one of the squatters was unconscious and he was unaware of that.  


      That is why we search.

    • anonymous

      PPV in an old ordinary construction row home which has not been well maintained would be a poor use of PPV.  For every UL study saying you can't spread fire, there are videos on youtube of people sticking fans in doors and having rapid growth of fire beyond what is preached by people who think PPV is the one size fits all for every structural fire.


      PPV has it's place, but early on in that type of building is not the place.


      Also, in those old rowhomes, it is common to have fire spread to the exposures via the cockloft.  The best way to open up the cockloft and try to get the fire to move upwards instead of sideways is by cutting a hole in the roof.  That also creates a SAFER working situation for those who will be pulling the ceilings below as it will reduce chances of a backdraft and improve visibility.  



      • Lieu

        The UL studies say you can't spread fire with water, they never said anything about PPV. They are currently studying the effects of PPV. 

        On the PPV point though you are correct. Put the fan in the door with the wrong vent point, water not ready or other factors and you sure can push or intensify fire with the Fan. PPV is not for every fire. 

        This video does back up one of the UL studies though. The door to the unit on fire was left open. Watch how that ventilates and feeds the fire prior to FD arrival. I always try to close the door before my 360 or while laying hose. 

        Finally as far as the no SCBA and other PPE. If thats how Baltimore does it that's up to them. If I did that on my Dept my ass would be chewed and prob written up. Plus, I hate breathing that crap. 

        Nice job though and nice stop.

      • Anonymous

        Flat roof !


    • FMCH

      Jerry, I'm OK with roof ops, just bewildered that the guy had no SCBA, and as others have pointed out, his coat looked wide open.

    • Jeff Dostalek

      All they had to do is pull the plywood from the upper windows

    • 8truck

      How many of the approximately 100 firefighter deaths that occur yearly are from vertical ventilation?

  • Fedup

    Its a rowhome….it has brick firewalls between each unit….the driver dropped the saw and stepped onto the brick front wall, grabbed an axe to sound and made his way back with the saw… he had to throw his stick close due to the D exposure being vacant and possibly having a compromised roof, it being a row home all the smoke was in the front of the dwelling, with no side windows, the driver was maybe in the smoke for a few seconds. Im sure if it was pumping he would have grabbed a bottle, but he used JUDGEMENT!! Which is more dangerous, 10 seconds of light smoke or delaying the vent and burning up some pipemen?   No secondary means of egress? How about to the B and D exposures? Which as I said are separated by a brick firewall. That driver did by himself what most departments need an entire truck company to do, in a fraction of the time.  This is bread and butter and a job well done.   

    • anonymous

      In the BCFD, the first ladder goes to the front, and the second ladder goes to the rear.  So, besides being able to walk to ther roof of one of the exposures, the second due ladder ladders the building from the rear which would provide another means of egress.

  • Ga FF

    Wow, 17 minutes, fire out, truck companies front and rear, GREAT job BCFD!

  • Jack

    Look at all these keyboard safety officers and subject matter experts. Grow up and grow a set. If you did everything the way the NFPA & IFSTA manuals told you to do them, the joint would be on the ground before you had water in the line. Thats the way trucks have operated for over a century. How do any of you know that they didn't do building inspections or sweeps in that block the week before and KNEW the structural integrity of the roof because they KNOW their district! Instead of criticizing a place you know NOTHING about, how about getting off your high horses and take the time to learn WHY things are done that way. I agree there are "things to discuss or learn from," but seriously… As a very senior man always says, "ya, okay… Get the bleep away from me and go hide in the corner where you belong, dopes." 

  • Fire21

    None of you guys who criticize safety measures would make it on my deprtment.  Our firefighters AND officers are committed to our people and the citizens, not buildings.  By doing things safely AND quickly, we save the vast majority of structures we work at.  And it's rare that we have an injury.

    97 firefighters have died so far this year due to a variety of causes.  It's our job as a brotherhood to work to prevent such numbers by doing everything we can to keep each other alive and out of hospitals.  Good luck to those of you who feel the old way of fighting fire is adequate.  The dinosaurs passed on too.

  • Fossil

    they opened up and had the fire knocked down quickly. Great Job.

  • MidwestFF

    Great stop by Baltimore, aggressive and methotical, solid job. Thank you roofman for a teachable moment.

  • FOBS

    Looked pretty darn good to me, that truck engineer knew his stuff!

  • Shane

    BCFD did a good job fighting the fire. However, who would want to put there HEALTH at risk. I have two great kids and I would not want to go home and tell them I got cancer beacuse I was stupid and did not wear the gear that was suppose to protect me. Its not just about the on-scene effect, its the long term.If you want an early death then go right ahead and not wear your gear thats your choice but that is being freaken selfish to your families. Furthermore, to the crews that will have to put their lives on the line to rescue you when you go down. its not a matter of if but a when.

  • Anonymous

    Everyone has there ways. This is how its done. Most of you critical folks on here are probably nothing but chiefs and or t shirt firefighters. You would probably be just as happy to stand out front and watch is burn then pat each other on the back and tell stories about your big fire. As for the vacant statements you don’t know its vacant till its searched jack ass. And for the positive preasure guy if you ever put av fan at the front door before the fire is knocked and I am on the pipe I will kick your ass and fill out your transfer. The most adequate way of venting smoke and heat is rapid vertical ventilation. If you don’t understand that then I’m glad you are where you are and not in my FD. This was an everyday bread and butter Baltimore fire. Should we be careful? Sure but being too careful is more dangerous then safe.

  • Gil

    Just another row house fire in a city. Nothing to get all worked up over. It would have played out the same way in DC.

  • Volunteer for life

    Ya i wanna get on a roof with no scba. If the city didnt supply them the union would be crying. Its a row house take 30 seconds put the pack on.They also make imagers to check and see if there is extension to the cockloft. Fdny and dc never go to roof with out scba. Yes I know what im talking bout check out the work on Kentland's website. We see more work then 90% of these paid co.

  • Me

    What good does it do to wear SCBA if your not using the air in the bottle. That is one of the biggest false securities we have. If it's so bad underneath you; then you shouldn't be up there. I have been on plenty of roofs and a bottle does nothing but get in the way

  • FMCH

    Fuuny thing about all you who complain that I ( and others ) asked WTF the guy didn't have his SCBA on. What would you be saying if the news reported he was injured because he didn't have it on? Sorry, he should have had his pack on.

  • Mike Mal

    Great job of aggressive firefighting!  Glad to see some departments still can fight a fire.  It's refreshing to see a job well done.  If all the safety commenters were in charge we'd be watching the block turn into a parking lot.

  • Anonymous

    #SMH you guys are silly

  • Truck Driver

    So let me see if I have this right… to all of you "safety minded" folks commenting on the lack of SCBA, had the truck driver had his BA on this would ok?  Because, had he put the thing on I'm going to guess there is a 99% chance he would not have been on air.  No difference there?  I always wear my SCBA when going to the roof to work but I will go on air as needed.  Call me selfish, inexperienced or stupid as you wish but I can tell you I am none of those.  You talk risk vs. benefit, experience and PRD (that’s prime recognition decision making, in case you didn't know) it would tell me the risk at that time was lower and those actions were justified.  I am sure this department works very much like mine (because we are neighbors) in that every person on every rig has a very specific job to do and if your job it not done things could go very wrong for many other people.

    So, have you ever put your life in the hands of another man, or held theirs in yours?  Deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that roof, you need me on that roof.  We use words like honor, courage and tradition.  We use these words as the backbone of a life spent risking ours to save theirs.  You use them as a punch line.  I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man that rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very service that I provide and then questions the manner in which I proved it.  I would rather you just say "thank you" and went on your way.  Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a saw and head to a that roof.  Either way, I don’t give a damn what you “think”. 


    • R1

      best post of all of them!

    • Fire21

      I have respect for hopnor, courage and tradition, but tradition is what's been killing our brothers and sisters for a couple hundred years.  When we keep doing the same thing the same way, not making room for improvements, then we get caught working behind the curve.  I do believe that doing the old things on old buildings is pretty much ok…except old buildings have today's furnishings.  Completely different buring characteristics.  Science proves that smoke causes cancer, hence SCBAs. Why would anyone not take advantage of the available protection?  Would you enter a fully involved room without it?  Without bunker gear?  Without gloves?  Why go on a roof where you may or may not need it, without it ready to use?  Geez, at least take it along!

    • AbsoluteReality

      "Either way, I don’t give a damn what you “think”. "

      A VERY Reveiling quote by one of the many dangerious children who form the other IAFF ….

      Inbred Amalgamation of Featherbedding Frat-Boys
      .     “Live to Serve, Serve to Live” (Ourselves)     .

      • R1

        Truck Driver was making a joke AbsoluteReality. it was a quote from a movie. look it up

    • Thinking you’re a rookie.

      Ok. Defend his coats being wide open…. Might as well be up there in a job shirt and a baseball cap. Seriously….???  With age comes wisdom hopefully you'll get old one day. Stop burying our brothers with this hero crap. A house isn't worth the life lost…. 

    • Rob

      Great movie line. I think most of the people suggesting he should have a pack on are also under the assumption that having a pack on your back also means having your mask on and breathing air. Now I am not a paid firefighter and I know how much you paid guys down play us volunteers but we do most of the same work you guys do just not as often. The difference is we have far less time to train than you do, so assuming you train on your job, I guess you should know your job. However, if you were on my fire scene, we would have a talk afterwards because I don't think you have your head on straight with this whole, this is how it's always been done attitude, and the extra time it took you to put on your pack would have allowed the row to burn, seems more than a bit exaggerated. No one is perfect, but somethings are just too blantant to blame on a lapse of sense. 

    • Fedup

      Love it

  • 19262007

    What is this Kentland?

  • lee

    is it standing and are people alive ….. the answer is YES …… coat open, no scba, ladder into the smoke YADA YADA YADA …….. it happens and i am sure your not perfect and neither am I ….. so stop playing monday morning QB please

  • 8truck

    Do guys always wear your SCBA? You critique another FF's ways but I can guarantee hardly any of you wear it when it supposed to be worn. I'm not only talking about when engaging in aggressive firefighting either. How many of you guys actually wear it during salvage and overhaul? Cancer can be caused by numerous other things from the food you eat while at the station to just being around the gear when doing tool maintenance/apparatus checks. The soot from a fire permeates through turnout gear and lays on the skin and then is absorbed. Also how many of you guys smoke? Do you criticize your fellow brothers for smoking? If you don't why not?

  • Aaron Marchanti

    What a bunch of clowns lol. The driver went to the roof by himself because that's part of our operation here in the BCFD. He didn't have his bottle on because… HE DIDN'T FEEL LIKE HE NEEDED it! That man goes on the roof enough to know what he needs and what to look for. I wouldn't want all you clowns on our wagon with all your safety bullshit and critique. This is Baltimore… We n we do a good job with what we got. 

  • Embers

    No wonder we kill over a hundred firefighters a year. Someone needs to read up on the statistics. 2012 was the fourth year firefighter deaths were below a hundred which I agree is to many. Is safety the reason for the firefighter deaths, again read up before you open up. Average over the past ten years has been 25 due to traffic accidents, eight on training exercises, 5 of those were cardiac related. Over half of the deaths in 2012 were a result of overexertion, stres or other medical conditions. How much efforts are being put into what is mentioned here. We many times do get lax in what we do in our careers. As brothers this needs pointed out within our own ranks of our own stations not by those watching videos and pointing fingers and before pointing fingers take a look at your hand and see how many are pointing back to "you". Truck Driver you put it very well and I do think I know who you are its no wonder your dad is so proud of you.

  • Anonymous

    So, look at who some of those companies were: 18 Truck, 10 Truck, 36 Engine. Thay do that every day. Really, every day. They can tell the difference between scary and not scary.

    No running around, no yelling on the radio. Everybody did their job.

  • Anonymous

    as many safty guidelines as this guy broke, the main point is that these guys avoided a 5 alarm fire row houses like that are known to cause huge problems. the fact that they put that fire out in 10 minutes deffinetly deserves a job well done

  • Anonymous

    So, the guy with the camera is on the phone with 911 as the video begins. That would mean that the first companies had about a 2 minute response time. Not bad. Good operation, too. Smooth, bread & butter.

  • Speed Saves

    Truckman behind the officer hopped off like it was a sunday parade, no SCBA, no helmet, no gloves.  Show up ready to do work.  

    Driver to roof real quick, vertical vent is great for stopping horizontal spread and lifting heat AFTER the fire is out.  Our first priority is for life — I'd rather see truckmen arrive and go to the windows rather than the roof — seconds count for making grabs & VEIS, you have a little bit of time before vertical vent is appropriate.  Four man urban truck?  2 man VEIS team, 1 man Forcible Egress/Aerial Opeator, 1 man OIC (interim IC until CHAOS).  Quite simply, even in rowhouses, vertical ventilation isn't the first priority of the thinking truckman.  

    Baltimore FD is fast.  They go to fires in these buildings daily.  They are good at the tasks they intend to do — but don't believe for a second that their sog's are the ideal set of tasks for your department, or even their own department.

    • Fedup

      BCFD SOPs are for a 2 man VEIS team, One man Roof/Aerial operator, Officer forecable entry.  So what are you talking about?  Most Baltimore row homes have a skylight above the open staircase in the center of the home. A quick smack gives you instant vertical vent to most of the structure. I never heard of your theory that vertical vent is for AFTER the fire is out, it just seems to happen that way because most departments operate SLOW AS DOG SHIT!! A good driver leans over the rear of the rowhome and ventilates the rear upper bedroom after taking the skylight, the saw is then used to either enlarge the skylight, vent over a top floor fire, or to cut away the cornice.   As you said…seconds count for VEIS&Making grabs, thats why our stepman and tillerman begin VEIS right away. There may have been some delay in this op, but there was a man opening the second floor very quickly.  More often then not BCFD truck men enter dwellings via ground ladders.  It would seem that according to YOU our SOPs are pretty spot on.  Do we know if these guys were coming from a medic run? Perhaps thats what delayed them from coming off the rig combat ready?  Where do you work?  

  • Anonymous


  • Volunteer for life

    Hey its real simple when you are engaged in a worker scba. The 60's are over.If anything went wrong every swinging you no what would be saying shoulda coulda woulda. Everything else this guy did was nice strong work.

  • slackjawedyokel

    the guy that suggessted using ppv/ppa on an old building that proably has chases and openings through out just amazed me. Sure the roof man should have closed his coat, but packing up is debatable -get on / get off -get it done. Some of you guys need to remember the glass house adage .

  • heavy2

    somebody sure needs a forcible entry class, is he serious. i see a mall, an axe 2 things that look like hooks and no haligan. best tool on the fireground next to the nozzle

  • Water on the Fire

    I always thought the SCBA was mandated for an IDLH atmosphere. The roof was clearly not IDLH. Think what you want but its not "required" if the atmosphere is not IDLH. If the roof collapsed and he fell I dobt the SCBA would do anything other than add to his injuries.

  • firefighter zero

    Watch a video about firefighter cancer and then watch all the times when no one wears scba on a roof or during overhaul.  

  • ISM

    Being a member of this mans department. This is funny as hell.  

  • Anonymous

    Soooo I just want to get this straight. Everyone who has replied so far can chime in:

    You probably don your SCBA and begin breathing air the moment you encounter a smoke condition, whether its inside, on the roof, or in the cab when the weather is keeping the smoke on the street level?

    You ensure that your PPE is cleaned, according to standard, after EVERY incident involving a product of combustion, to include vehicle fires, because studies now show that the heart/lung bill should include testicals, prostates, and vaginas because of the cancers being caused by carcinogens being held in PPE after incidents?

    You, exercise every day, eat right every day, and maintain a strict diet and exercise regiment to meet the exact standards of health required in the fire service?

    You, travel BELOW the posted speed limit while stopping not only at every stop light and stop sign, but wait for the light to turn green before proceeding or treat each lane as a stop sign as you cross because, as public servants, and having been trained, you are held to high legal standard as the driver of an emergency vehicle and are now expected to account for EVERY other driver on the road, not them account for you just because you have your lights and sirens on and considered guilty until proven innocent in most cases?

    On accident scenes you secure ALL traffic in the area of the incidnet, in both directions, based on not just the speed limit of the highway but 10 over that number because we all know no one does the speed limit?

    These are my curiosities because youre questioning a firefighter on his PERSONAL decision, based on experience in a department that, I would bet large sums of money on, fights more fire per capita than any jurisdiction in this county.

    And you question him him using FFLODD as an excuse, so for that to occur one must assume you follow ALL of these above mentioned standards or practices or condone anyone who doesnt because those above mentioned issues account for around 90% of ALL firefighter deaths and have for years.

    Firefighting doesnt kill all that many firefighters historically. Getting to the scene, citizens, and doing the job for years kills firefighters. If youre just stirring feces on Statter911 then have it, but those trying to speak like theyre knowledable, really should realize you make yourself look like a babbling moron.

  • ISM

    Isnt there a certain height to ride the front seat. 

  • Bruce Spranklin

    Looks like he sounded the roof with his huge dick! Great job Goof On The Roof!

  • Sally

    Ya gotta love youtube! Good job Balto City!

  • AddingTheBigNumbersUp - United Kingdom – 122 firefighter deaths from 1978 to 2008 – that is 4 per year

    UK population is 63 million. USA population is 316 million. The USA has 5 times the population of UK.

    If the USA had the same LODD rate as the UK, then the USA would lose 20 firefighters per year, not 100. The USA LODD rate is 5 times the UK LODD rate.

    • Art of Fire

      Your numbers are flawed. The rate is not based on the amount of FF's in the respective countries but on the LODD per structure fire. What are those numbers?

    • Art of Fire

      Also, how does the UK define a LODD? If it's only 4 per year that died involved in firefighting, then that 20 looks pretty darn close. And what's more, the US does a better job than the UK considering the US structure fire rate is higher.

  • urban cowboy

    Billy Golfeder has ruined  the fire service! 

    • tillerman10

      golf clap!

  • Anonymous

    And the UK is not nearly as aggressive as the us. They are defensive based. The north east in America has and always will be more offensively based than the rest of the country. Some Big cities throughout america , Detroit, are very aggressive but for the most part the rest of the country is more defensive than offensive. This is why our lodd is higher. If we sat around and watched the fire burn our lodd would be a lot lower too. As to the whole vacant issue, I’m know no one actually read the description on YouTube when it was posted. It said the house was known for squatters and the front door was open. Just because its vacant doesn’t mean its empty. We as firemen are in the service of protecting property. If we don’t go and try and make an attack then we are not doing out job. To All the people who say its a vacant don’t go in, would you tell the 19 hotshot firemen who died they shouldnt put out a forest fire because its just woods and not any life risk? I wouldnt because they are prtoecting property and life bv trying put the fire out. You cant criticize one job and not another.

    • Mark too

      The reason our LODD average is high really isn't due to our aggressiveness.  Most of our LODDs are not the direct result of offensive fire operations.  They are vehicular and medical related.  In addition, there have been changes to the definition of what a LODD is in the past 10-20 years.  As a result, we are now including deaths that occur at home and not just ones that occur on the fireground or in the station.

      Regardless, you can't make an accurate comparison of LODD rates unless everybody is using the exact same criteria to define them.

  • Volunteer for life

    Kentland is one of if not the buisiest fd in the world.We wear scba for a reason. Its a way of life for the fire service today. Anyone saying oh they do lots of work let him slide needs to retire or quit.

  • 19262007

    Oh Mighty Vfl,

    Where is this mythical Land of Kent, home of the Gods of Fire?  I have traveled long and far across Middle Earth, and lo, no sign of Kent Land.  I have heard tales of a magical land that is the territory of Prince George, holder of the mighty Hammer of Fire, and have been told that within these boundaries one will find the Land of Kent where only the Lords of Fire may dwell.  I beseech thee oh Mighty Vfl, enlighten me so I may find my way!

  • George Perkins

    1. "Volunteer for Life" what is your real name? See you posted 3 times and found a way to put Kentland on every one. This leads me to believe you aren't actually from there and just trying to stir the pot.  

  • Volunteer for life

    Listen co 33 has always caught a bad rap cause we have stood up to the county and ya we have paid dudes who ride with us. All I said is wear scba. Why wouldn't you at a worker?Put an application in may be you can get a shot at throwing ladders or stretching first due with us. If not we have a great website and you tube video's you computer fire girls can learn from.

  • Anonymous


    I went to your website and it says you average around 100 fires a year.  How does that make you 1 of the busiest?  Your ignorance or blatant arrogance disrespects the members of your department.  I met some of your brothers that also work for paid Dept's and they are some good jakes.  You open them up to respond to your ridiculousness.

  • todd

    this must be a joke. I have seen so many things done wrong with this and no apparant person in command either! Thanks god I work for a firehall that trains to high levels of safety for everyone and everything. You can't help if you are putting yourself at constant risk first. No mask on, breaking glass above guys at door below, going straight onto roof alone-no sounding…….the list is long. WOW


  • Volunteer for life

    Misled brothers merry xmas. Bottom line is wear your scba. Remember when the unions fought for them in 70's? So stop saying they did good job on the roof.No job is good when safety is not job one.

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