Firefighters must realize the collapse danger of walls while operating at fires. No matter the construction, I assure you buildings can and will collapse after being attacked by fire. Hose streams can also assist in weakening walls or finishing them off after the affects of fire.
While operating on the scene, and more importantly when we arrive on scene we must place our apparatus out of the collapse zone and operate at a safe distance if a collapse were to occur. Parapet walls, cantilevered walls, fancy facades, awnings, and signs on the buildings all have a tendency to collapse or fall.
I just got finished reading the chapter on Michael Goff in “Last Alarm” by Jerry Laughlin. The book was published in 1986 and features 5 true stories about firefighters who died in the line of duty. Michael Goff, a Petersburg (VA) Sergeant was killed when a wall collapsed on him following an explosion at an apartment complex. The explosion also injured many firefighters, EMT’s, and civilians (some who had just been rescued).
Even if you are just beginning as a firefighter and have not had time to delve into building construction, you need to know the risks of collapse.
In the videos below, you will see a parapet wall collapse, a building collapse, and firefighters operating inside a 1 story residential after the roof has collapsed.
Parapet Wall Collapse in Brewster, Ohio
Building Collapse Collapse videos from large Pawtucket, Rhode Island mill fire.
Statter911 covered this video yesterday with an additional video and information on taking great video on scene of fires.
2 large fires that evening
Here is a bonus video of another fire in Brewster Ohio that they fought earlier in the evening
Firefighters inside after roof collapse
I must admit that I love fighting fire. However, it makes no sense at all to be inside this structure from my vantage point. That being said, maybe they saw something I didn’t. One thing is for sure, they don’t really do a lot of good in putting the fire out from the inside. I am not sure where this fire occurred.