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LayTheLine

Video of Bus Fire

14 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

This is a short 3-minute video which I think is very educational. I've read and heard both sides of the argument about getting inside a fire and pushing the fire from the unburned side to the burned side. I've read and heard about transitional fire attack and the SLICE-RS concept about putting water on the fire as soon as you can and "reset" the fire; even if it's from the outside. Both arguments seem to have merit and it is very situational dependent. But watch this video and what happens when the firefighter puts water on the fire from inside the bus. The smoke, heat and steam obviously get pushed down to floor level or in this case even to ground level. It's a great video for really seeing the products of combustion being pushed. So I pose the question for discussion: Is it better to knock down the fire from any angle to reset it and cool the BTU's even though you may be pushing products of combustion on to trapped occupants, or is it better to take the extra time to get the hoseline in position by, for example going around to the backdoor, forcing entry and pushing the fire right out the living room picture window? 

 

 

 

Edited by LayTheLine
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I remember as a young lad riding the school bus that EVERY student thought that the fire drills were a waste of time (and, secretly the bus drivers would take bets on who could evacuate their buses the fastest!).  But, in all seriousness, those plastic seats will take off once there's enough heat energy in that bus.  One of the suggested videos at the end this one was a 12 minute video; it starts right after ignition (in the middle of the bus) and is fully involved by the 4 minute mark.  6 minutes in the situation is no longer tenable to life inside.  6 minutes is the mark that NFPA suggests that we arrive on scene.  Though the video above shows a bus fire where the point of origin is probably the engine compartment, depending on the situation we have to come up with a different plan of attack.  Pertaining to a bus fire, I would like to say that those fire drills pay off and everyone is off the bus and accounted for, that way we can just put the fire out like it was a shed or a sedan on fire.

 

1 hour ago, LayTheLine said:

...I've read and heard both sides of the argument about getting inside a fire and pushing the fire from the unburned side to the burned side. I've read and heard about transitional fire attack and the SLICE-RS concept about putting water on the fire as soon as you can and "reset" the fire; even if it's from the outside. Both arguments seem to have merit and it is very situational dependent....

LayTheLine, I understand what you're saying from a structural point of view.  I want to point out that NIST, the ATF, and FDNY have done complex studies with each other to identify the strengths and weakness for different attacks, including the semi-controversial transitional attack, for structure fires.  The studies, from what I've seen, don't really touch on vehicles fires, let alone mass transport.  The point I'm getting at here is that this is a vehicle fire, where we expect the vehicle to be totaled and cannot be saved, very much unlike a house or apartment building where we can save property.  Vehicle fires tend to be a complete loss of property, and we just put out the fire.  As for bus fires, we have to treat it as if someone is inside, but there are two important questions that have to be asked before we conduct an interior attack on a bus fire:  We have to ask the bus driver if everyone is off the bus, and is everyone accounted for.  If the answer to both questions is yes, then we attack the fire in a manner that is safest for us.  If either answer is no, then we take the calculated risk of saving a life (but keep it in the back of your mind of how fast that fire has spread and the toxic environment those victims have been exposed to prior to your arrival).

 

Bus fires are always going to be tricky, just as any vehicle fire.  Just remember that we, as firefighters, have three priorities: LIFE safety, PROPERTY loss prevention, and scene STABILITY, in that order!

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Posted (edited)

10 hours ago, LayTheLine said:

This is a short 3-minute video which I think is very educational. I've read and heard both sides of the argument about getting inside a fire and pushing the fire from the unburned side to the burned side. I've read and heard about transitional fire attack and the SLICE-RS concept about putting water on the fire as soon as you can and "reset" the fire; even if it's from the outside. Both arguments seem to have merit and it is very situational dependent. But watch this video and what happens when the firefighter puts water on the fire from inside the bus. The smoke, heat and steam obviously get pushed down to floor level or in this case even to ground level. It's a great video for really seeing the products of combustion being pushed. So I pose the question for discussion: Is it better to knock down the fire from any angle to reset it and cool the BTU's even though you may be pushing products of combustion on to trapped occupants, or is it better to take the extra time to get the hoseline in position by, for example going around to the backdoor, forcing entry and pushing the fire right out the living room picture window? 

So a few points that must be considered when using this video as a basis for comparison:

1. The nozzle was set to a narrow to medium fog pattern, something we know will entrain air and push heat, smoke and fire. A straight or solid stream would not have had the same result, or to the same degree.

2. The issue of pushing products of combustion onto trapped occupants outside the fire room has been shown to be nearly negated with a proper solid/straight stream and little movement. Inside the fire room with actual fire out the window, the probability of survivability is next to nothing. 

3. One of the reasons we have such a wide spread of results from the "reset" stream is the misapplication. When you say "at any angle", it's really a perversion of the research showing the smooth/straight stream should be aimed into the opening with the stream entering the opening low and aimed sharply upward at the ceiling and held there with little to no movement to minimize blocking the venting from the same opening.

4. Positioning  a line to attack from the unburned side can result in delayed water on the fire, which we know is the real key to success. The sooner we can cool the fire and stop the production/spread of heat, the better. Also, going to the rear in residential dwellings often doesn't allow for the line to be placed between the fire and the stairs. 

 

In my opinion, the "outside hit" is a tactic that can work very well as long the conditions are right: a) fire must be self-vented from the fire room, b) the opening cannot be out of the way of the first line stretched so that it causes a delay in getting inside (unless it's totally untenable), c) charging the line outside cannot delay the stretch inside (fire on the third floor or above where a dry lay up may be significantly faster).

 

Basically, why would we not want to cool the fire faster if it's possible? Again, done properly, utilizing a straight stream or solid bore properly applied when it doesn't significantly (60 seconds?) delay the stretch in? Again in my opinion this tactic should not be called "transitional attack".  Transitional indicates a movement from one mode to another, but in this case the outside stream is not a defensive move, it's a "new" option in the offensive attack, that like other tactics should be utilized when conditions indicate and allow. Conditions dictate tactics.

 

All of that said, that video went totally different than I anticipated, they made short work of that fire.  

Edited by antiquefirelt
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we have it on the rescue in my department but why not attack from the outside using a navy low velocity fog nozzle.  i believe we have a 6 foot one, just the right height to go around the bus get the knock down and cool down.  then you can enter and mop up the hot spots. Just seems like this guy took a risk, especially if the fuel tank let lose, yes it's diesel but it will ignite.  
Image result for navy low velocity fog nozzle

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Always easy to say this from a chair at a desk, but it looks like it is on a slope.  Before they did anything, especially going in, they should have chocked it.  

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antiquefirelt - BINGO. You hit the nail right on the head with regard to transitional fire attack/SLICE-RS. I remembered about the straight stream but I reviewed videos on it and I realize I forgot a lot of the principles of that technique. I have never had the opportunity to try it on the fireground - it's usually food on the stove or a foundation job!

 

provfd - I too thought about chocking the wheels before the engine even appeared in the video.

 

Jybehofd - I agree that it may have been a little risky going in the bus, but I have to admit he achieved a quick knock down. The Navy nozzle has been relegated to the backroom, but that would be a good use for it.

 

Overall an impressive video in my opinion!

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oh no doubt it was a great fast knock down. 

 

just good to look at this video, take a moment and think.   Some really great ideas and observations.  

 

as far as the navy nozzle i know its something new guys don't know or haven't seen but i saw one on the rescue one day and was oh thats cool we have one.  i'm a commercial sailor and well we have a ton of them on the ship. and sold brass vary nozzles too...  they are a pain when salt gets in them though.  and we don't use fresh water in the firemain.  

 

but i like the video, shows alot of good things and again a great fast knock down. 

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By the time the first rig arrived that bus was toast. Presumably all occupants were out. Why even go inside? Seems like a big risk to try and salvage some part of a vehicle. Just hit it from the outside.

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2 hours ago, jasd said:

By the time the first rig arrived that bus was toast. Presumably all occupants were out. Why even go inside? Seems like a big risk to try and salvage some part of a vehicle. Just hit it from the outside.

 

You're going to have to go inside at some point, namely for overhaul.  And, since it's a metal tube full of plastic with a ton of windows, it's safe to say that you can enter a bus fire with minimal risk.  It's self-vented and there's just a bit of heat.  As long as all of the occupants are out and accounted for, the worst of your fears should be getting some melted plastic on your gear.

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12 hours ago, Jybehofd said:

we have it on the rescue in my department but why not attack from the outside using a navy low velocity fog nozzle.  i believe we have a 6 foot one, just the right height to go around the bus get the knock down and cool down.  then you can enter and mop up the hot spots. Just seems like this guy took a risk, especially if the fuel tank let lose, yes it's diesel but it will ignite.  

 

My department also carries a 6' Navy nozzle.  Since I've been here, we've used it a total of times.  Quite honestly, the only person I know who has used it in an actual fire is my brother-in-law, and he was a fireman in the US Navy.  I'm not going to say that the Navy nozzle doesn't have it's place in structural or vehicular firefighting because it can be used with dramatic results.  Unfortunately, I think that most firefighters would rather use the combination nozzles that we have become accustom to due to the fact that they are more adjustable and more maneuverable.  I prefer the combination nozzle because of the adjustability because fire behavior can change quickly on you.  I especially prefer it in a vehicle fire since you can attack the main body of fire with a straight stream and then go to a fog when stuffing the nozzle under a hood or into a trunk.

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While I think most would agree specialty tools like the Navy Nozzle, bayonet nozzles, or Bresdan Distributors have a place on apparatus, their uses are for a specific set of circumstances. In this case, even if you felt it was not safe to enter the bus, the rear door would have made an easy access point for a normal firestream. 

 

On evacuating the bus, does anyone know the procedure the drivers are taught (maybe not standard?). This looks like the perfect case for the driver to send kids out the back and check seat by seat on his way out the back as well? But, does the driver have to open the door, or can kids of any age do this in an emergency? If the driver has to go back and open the door, he may never get back to the front to check seat by seat... Something I'd never really given any consideration, but this discussion got me thinking. 

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I have a friend who is a school bus driver and school bus driver instructor - that's what got me started with this thread.

 

antiquefirelt - As a point of interest, the back emergency door can be opened from outside. But you bring up a good point of how to manage everything when it's one adult and especially 30 grade school kids!! This is the biggest challenge for bus drivers and from what my friend tells me, a lot more time is spent in their training on walking through how to evacuate a bus full of grade school kids, although they still go over evacuation for middle school & high school in training. I've attached two videos, each about 5 minutes long. The first one is a video that she shows to new candidate drivers as an introduction to safety and evacuation. The second one is a video made for the kids. They show it every year to 5th, 7th and 9th graders early in the school year. They don't show it to grade school kids as they don't want to frighten the kids and a lot of the stuff they're talking about (reaching certain handles) the little kids couldn't reach anyhow. So it's been thought through and hopefully the kids have been executed should you pull up on any school bus emergency.

 

For new drivers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy5aZwsGm8M

 

For students (a little corny but it could save lives!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNbld-7QJ7s

 

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LayTheLine: That's far more than I anticipated. I'll have to ask if we have a similar thing in our area. I never remember being part of or hearing about a bus evacuation drill, but alas, it's been a few years since I rode  in a yellow bus. 

 

 

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I recall this fire-as it occurred on my shift. The fire happened in the early Am, and the only occupant in the bus at the time of the incident was the driver. The driver was also the person who called 911, and took the video.

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