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Caught on video: Firefighter wrestles with hose & falls. Civilians grab line & start putting out fire until they run into trouble..

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Fire Critic Rhett Fleitz found this unusual video and made this comment on his blog, "Let’s just say that if this had happened to me, I would hope NO ONE witnessed it!". This occurred at a house fire at Sycamore Street and Oak Grove Avenue in Knights Landing, California. The date of the fire is unclear. Here's what chespiritochavo, who posted this video to YouTube, has to say about what happened:

I rolled up to this house on fire. Fire engine rolled up about 8 minutes later. Some not even in there turnouts(uniforms). One firefighter got owned by the hose. A resident (probably the homeowner) stepped in and took control of the hose and put out the fire. Nobody was in the house and nobody got hurt, except the firefighter that failed.

Firefighter falls

On a different fire in Knights Landing in September, the Daily Democrat wrote that neighbors complained about the department's response time, claiming it took over an hour for firefighters to respond. But the a Yolo County dispatcher and a volunteer firefighter from a neighboring department made it clear that was not the case. Here are excerpts from the article:

"I actually was the dispatcher on that," said a member of Yolo County Dispatch who didn't want to give her full name.

According to the dispatcher, the call of a structure fire at 4254 Second St. came in at 11:48 a.m. Thursday, and "Our very first unit was on scene at 11:59."

"That is simply not even close to being true," said David Martin, a volunteer firefighter with the Robbins department and one of the first on the scene in Knights Landing.

In an email, Martin told The Democrat that firefighters were fast and well organized Thursday, but were also hampered because the house was "packed full of stuff."

Firefighter knocked down 2

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Doug Young

    What the hell here of late you all have been showing the Keystone cops of the fire world.Why was their what seemed to be a rookie on the line by him self. As they say you can't fix stupid.

  • Scooter

    Well don't even know where to start on this one… I guess at least I got a good laugh out of this… at least the down FF had the best idea of going to hide on the side of the house out of view.  Sad that this type of firefighting goes on… all departments paid or volunteer should be able to perform the basics.  Thank goodness for the "big" citizen to handle the hoseline to put the fire out….. Strike Da Box! K

  • WTF part 2

    For Sale : One red fire truck. Our dept doesnt need it anymore because we just wear t-shirts. Best offer

  • Volunteer for life

    Look DC we can ship your leader to Cali this is a perfect marriage.

    • ukfbbuff

      What? Shipping him out here, he'd "Fall Flat on his Face". he hasn't completed any of the Ca. State Fire Curriculum for Company or Chief Officer.

      Ellerbe, would be back to "Square One' in his career.


  • Mongo

    Get that guy an application and some proper fire fighting training, they could be a very useful member to your department.

  • on the job

    WOW, one video I watch and say these guys are good, then the next like a what a joke !      You cant make this sh*t up.

  • Anonymous

    It would apeer as if maybe the pump was  pumping at to high of pressure. I have been on the line and pumped on a lot of fires and unless you weight 80 lbs soaking wet this should not have happened. 

  • Career&Vollie

    Actually I would say that the nozzle pressure was very high. If you continue watching the video you can see the civvies getting their ass kicked by the nozzle reaction.


  • FFHinkle

    Dang, I had to watch it more than once and just realized the D/O had a rubber mallet hitting the steamer cap to get it off before he hooked the LDH up… There's a short cut to that.  Unfortunately these guys probably lack a good instructor that can step up and help out.  If it is volunteer than that guy that could help is probably at his career station nearby sitting on the couch.

  • slackjawedyokel

    Im curious as to what happened after he beat the steamer cap off the intake.

  • Mason/Dixon FFR

    Did anyone else catch the pump operator attempting to remove the steamer cap while the pump was under pressure?  WTF !!

    • cappy

      using tank water it's at a vacum. pressure on discharge side

  • JustSayin’

    Don't worry…

    Things will get better once the Pump Operator opens the eye of the pump….

    (could be wrong … was there a vlave on that intake.???)

  • Capo

    When was the last time they hooked into that engine?  Dude was beating on that fitting like a rented mule!

  • Keystone FD

    Take a closer look:

    The 5" is filled with water before the 5" is disconnected from the load in the bed.

    The attack line is still in the bed while charged and cleared by a civilian

    The pump operator is removing a steamer cap with ear handles to connect a storz fitting from 5"

    Volunteer or paid this is shameful. Thank goodness some bystanders figured it out.


  • Hawk

    The video ended too quickly, I was curious to see what happened when the pump operator took that steamer cap off while pumping from his booster tank. I didn't notice any 6" X storz adapter out either.

  • NJ FF

    I have taken steamer caps off while pumping . Prior to piston intake valves I was taught how to tamden pump a hydrant , by cranking down inlet pressure to just above a vacum, take the cap off then place 6"nst adapter to 5" storz to the steamer . Place 5" hose between first engine and second engine . Re open hydrant all the way . Now second egine will be able to pump a second supply line with residual water.

    If you are pumping from tank water your intake pressure will be zero so you can easily take the steamer off .

  • Fire Dude

    Severe lack of training in that department!

  • Fire21

    I find it interesting that the story derides the lone firefighter for losing control of the hose, yet doesn't mention that 2 bigger civilians lost control of it too.  At least the firefighter did the right thing…he held onto the hose and got the nozzle shut down.

    I was taught early in my career that if you have to use a hammer, get a new gasket.


  • ukfbbuff

    It appears their was excessive pressure in the attack hose line and the Driver/Operator was more intent on gettig his supply line hooked up.

    Lack of situation alwarness made it difficult to attack the fire and  its obvious that he was going to have problems once he got the steamer port cap off to try and hook up the hydrant supply line.

    Back to the basics for him.


  • RJ in florida

    Holy god what a cluster…this video should be mated with "the worst fire department" video because this one is a close second on what NOT to do…(i do want to see what was going to happen when the driver got that steemer cap off)

  • CVFDRegularCG

    We all have moments where we hope its not caught on video. Here's many in just a short video. Please don't let this be one of my days!

    Apparently only 2 people arrived on scene in the BRT (both front doors open). The big fellow in red shirt and black hat apparently opened the discharge valve and presumably not the pump operator, as he never checks or adjusts the pressure.

    Fifteen seconds later, the nozzle is opened and blows a huge blast of air into the structure as is evident by the tree on the Bravo side lighting up. I'm thankful he was taken down by the nozzle before he got hurt by his own actions (we are our own worst enemy).

    The hydrant guy's job could have been eliminated had the inept pumper operator quit making love to the Storz fitting.

    The first SCBA in service is the firefighter that jogs into view and goes to the cab of the truck. 5 firefighters on scene, only two in full dress and only one of them bothers to go for an SCBA.

    Surprised they didn't pull the booster line off the top as their go-to line. Or park on the Alpha side so the pump operator could see his crews.

  • oldman

    This cant beca California fire – they sprayed water and i never heard the chainsaw.

  • Fire21

    According to Wikipedia, the 2010 census reported that Knights Landing had a population of 995.  Obviously these guys don't see a lot of fire.  I'm sure more training would help performance, but I gotta admit…all training and no action is very boring.  Easy to lose your enthusiasm for the job.  As I commented on another video from a small town department…this might be the biggest fire of their career, and if it's a cluster, I can understand why.

  • km000

    Where the hell was the Benny Hill music for this one!?

  • Big Mose

    All training and no action is a bogus reason for things going as badly as this incident went.  Airport crash guys train continually.  And, when things go bad on them, they perform.  Pretty poor example of firefighting, but unfortunately is becoming the norm in the American fire service. 

    If you can't control the nozzle, either partially close it or shut it off until you get some more bodies. 


  • Firedryvr

    What happens to a volunteer department that becomes the “fork and knife club ” , that knows how to put on a hell of a BBQ, but can’t even perform the basics on a simple room and contents fire….wow…training anyone ? Physical fitness anyone? Professionalism anyone? Once again proves that in many cases, you get exactly what you pay for…..