As usual, some of the posted stories on the house fire in Roanoke on Monday morning are not entirely acurate. I’ll try to set the story straight and throw in a few more pics. Rhett posted a nice piece over on the Fire Critic , unfortunately; some of his facts were off (imagine that Statter). Here’s the video again…
We (Engine #13) were 1st in but the ladder shown in the video is indeed Ladder #5 (not Ladder #7). Engine and Medic 5 were out of service training. I’m not sure where the Ladder was before the incident but I do know they must not have been in house. Medic 5 cleared from where ever or what ever they were doing and responded in on the initial assignment. Later, Engine 5 cleared from their detail and also made the scene. So, here’s the details…
Medic Unit 5 actually arrived first and began to give a size up. I (Engine #13) was about a 1/2 block behind them. We arrived with pretty much what you see in the video “showing”. A 3 story, wood frame, residential structure. Nothing from side Delta and heavy fire and smoke from second floor windows, sides Alpha and Bravo. Side Charlie unknown at this time. It was also evident that the fire had and was extending into the attic.
I knew this house. I had been inside several times while assigned to Station #9. I knew there were elderly folks who lived there and that they were not always in the best of health. I also knew that they had a wood stove and they used it. They kept that stove going year round. June, July, August … the stove was burning. It was kind of odd, even for someone as cold natured as I. It maybe even worried me a bit so we even stopped by one day and installed smoke detectors (our Department has a program where we give and install free smoke detectors). It’s a good thing we did!
The 81 yr old home owner was home alone at the time of the fire. He was alerted by the upstairs detector and made it out without injury. As far as the fire, we had a decent amount showing and it was extending to the attic. On arrival, we didn’t see anyone in the yard so we went offensive.
Boots (Todd Harris) made a good stretch and we made our way up the steps and down the hallway to the fire room. We stretched dry and as soon as we were in position, Georgie (Lt. George Perdue) had us water. PERFECT! I had assigned Medic 5 to establish “2 out” and requested Engine #2 lay in. Ladder 5 must have been right on our heels and got in to conduct the searches. Battalion 1 from the South Side had arrived and established Command.
Boots made a good knock down of the fire room and we began looking for the attic steps. Unfortunately, there were none. Companies began to pull ceiling to gain access plus, we had companies throwing ground ladders to the Alpha side. We were able to get a ladder to the dormer from the porch roof and made the attic from there. We did NOT attack the fire from the porch roof as some stories indicate.
We were well under control and overhaul operations were under way. The ceiling was insulated with blown type insulation which is a pain in the butt to deal with. Pull the ceiling and it goes everywhere and covers everything. Soak it and the weight collapses the ceiling causing even more undue damages. There’s no right or wrong nor an easy answer.
That’s Captain Phil “Triple D” Dillon on the left, notice he’s covered in the insulation. Captain Dillon is assigned to Lucky #13 on B-shift but was paying back a day to Captain Martin over at Station #3…. yea…. Clayton missed ANOTHER one! So, the Investigators arrived and did their thing. The fire room was shoveled out and washed down. The conclusion was related to the wood stove. Companies were cleared from the scene and placed back in service. Ladder 5 remained to assist the Investigators and mop up.
I have heard that later that night, companies returned for a small fire in the attic in the Charlie / delta corner (opposite from the fire room). I’m checking with the local weather service to verify lightning strikes in the area around that time .. LOL. I will post more on the topic of what Rhett is calling a “rekindle”. So, there ya have it … summed up but straight from the horse’s (or jack-asses) mouth. Solid work by all members! No injuries to civilians or members, property and family treasures saved plus a smoke detector program that worked! Companies / units on scene were.. Engines 13, 2, 3 and 5. Ladder 5. Medics 5 and 2. Battalions 1 and 2. RS1, Support 2 and Investigation 1. Here are a few more random shots from the scene…
Ok.. I’m gonna stop here for now. I’ve been out of town today and then up watching the Victoria Secretions TV Special. I’m back on tomorrow and will try to get a post up. I have several items I need to cover … one of the top ones being my AXE Body wash and Shampoo review. We’ve been using the product for a week or so now and are ready to bring you the results.
Thanks for reading / following … I hope you are having as much fun as I am. Don’t forget to use the new tool bar at the bottom of the page to share on FB and twitter.
I’ll see ya tomorrow.. until then, stay safe and in house!