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How I spent my summer vacation

Well ... how I spent my weekend, anyway ... (warning! fire pic spam!)


Four fire departments were needed to control a fire that heavily damaged a house near Kimmell Sunday.
The Ben Miller residence, at 1993 N US 33, turned out to be unoccupied at the time the blaze broke out at about 11 a.m., but firefighters didn't know that at the time. Albion and Cromwell firefighters arrived to find heavy flames coming from the large, two story wood frame structure, and had to beat back the flames while searching the residence for victims. Noble Township fire units quickly came to assist, and later on an Orange Township fire truck, which had come from Rome City to cover Albion's empty fire station, also responded to the scene.
The cause of the fire, which is believed to have broken out on the first floor and spread quickly upstairs, is undetermined and remains under investigation. Part of the building's downstairs was being remodeled, but it wasn't known if that was connected to the fire.
Most of the family's belongings were damaged or destroyed by flames, smoke and heat, and it wasn't certain if the structure itself could be salvaged. The American Red Cross was called to the scene to assist the family.
About half a dozen fire department tankers shuttled water to the scene, which is far from the nearest hydrant. Firefighters were hampered by a live power line that burned through and lay arcing near the house, and by warm and humid weather, and one firefighter reportedly fell partially through a weakened floor. However, although a Noble County EMS crew assisted at the scene, no serious injuries were reported. It took about 45 minutes to bring the blaze under control.
The exact number of firefighters who worked at the scene was uncertain, but 20 Albion firefighters responded, manning two pumpers, two tankers, a rescue truck and a command vehicle. Fire departments from as far away as Thorn Creek and Churubusco were involved in standbys. Also assisting at the scene were the Noble County Sheriff's Department, which had to shut down US 33 for a time, and an Indiana Michigan Power crew.
The fire was one of three that Albion fire units responded to in a 12 hour period, including a barn fire that also damaged a house in Green Township, and a railroad car fire on the CSX tracks near Kimmell.

That was the big one for the Albion FD, but earlier that morning:

A rolling coal fire brought fire trucks to a CSX Railroad crossing near Kimmell early Sunday.
It wasn't certain how the coal, being carried by a CSX freight train, caught fire, or where. It was extinguished by Albion and Cromwell firefighters when the train crew learned of the blaze and managed to bring the burning car to a stop right at the CR 500W railroad crossing, according to the Noble County Sheriff's Department. Fire units were originally paged out at 7:53 a.m., but confusion about the train's location originally led dispatchers to believe it was near Avilla. Once the location was confirmed, firefighters arrived to find coal burning near the rear of a car.
Firefighters used a foam-like additive to their water, allowing it to soak into the piles of smoldering coal, and a thermal imaging camera to locate hot spots. They were able to get the blaze under control about 20 minutes after arriving on the scene, although the train reportedly stopped again in Garrett to have more hot spots extinguished. No injuries were reported.

and the previous night ...

A Saturday night fire in Green Township destroyed a barn and damaged a house, but no injuries were reported.
Flames that engulfed a barn at the Tim Troyer residence, 3475 S 500 E, were discovered at 10:42 p.m., according to the Noble County Sheriff's Department. The large barn was destroyed by the blaze, and radiant heat damaged the nearby two story wood frame home before firefighters were able to bring the situation under control.
The cause of the blaze was undetermined, and remained under investigation.
Churubusco, Albion, Avilla, LaOtto, and Huntertown fire units responded to the call, remaining on scene for over three hours. The Noble County Sheriff's Department was also called out to assist in traffic control, which was complicated by several tankers that had to shuttle water to and from the scene.


And now, the pics:
What would you have thought, seeing this as you arrived on the scene? I thought someone must have been upstairs, and used the chair to break out a window and escape. But it was actually the first crew upstairs, trying to ventilate the smoke and superheated gases while doing their search. This was a no-no: every inside team is supposed to take forcible entry tools with them.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

A hose crew waits for water from the next in tanker. The traffic cones are being used to mark the location of a live power line downed by the flames, and if you look closely you can see it arcing.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The Rapid Intervention Team, standing by in case a firefighter gets trapped or lost inside. Behind them you see the tanker shuttle in operation, which is why US 33 had to be closed down. The nearest hydrant is several miles away -- they were refilling from a lake.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Dude, this is NOT what we mean by "burning a disc". This is, however, what we mean by heat damage.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Speaking of heat -- most of the damage you see here is from heat, not flames -- it's on the opposite side of the home from where the fire broke out. Firefighters first entered from the door to the kitchen: the "unburned side".
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Overhaul -- we're searching out hidden, smoldering embers, doing an investigation, making a report, and in general just resting up. Half an hour inside a burning building is about the max, before a body needs some rest and rehabilitation.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Comments

( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
synaptikchaos
Jul. 10th, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC)
And you said there's no action in Albion!
ozma914
Jul. 10th, 2006 10:20 pm (UTC)
Guess I was wrong; not only is there action in Albion, but in small towns like this, fire is a spectator sport! Not that I don't understand that; I'd be watching too, if I wasn't busy.

but we really have had a very unusual rash of fires, recently. It was like this when I first joined the fire department, but not so much for the last decade or so. Guess the fire prevention message isn't taking hold with the latest generation.
(no subject) - synaptikchaos - Jul. 10th, 2006 10:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ozma914 - Jul. 11th, 2006 05:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - synaptikchaos - Jul. 11th, 2006 08:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ozma914 - Jul. 12th, 2006 06:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - synaptikchaos - Jul. 12th, 2006 03:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Jul. 10th, 2006 07:44 pm (UTC)
Wow! Do I sense a little criticism of the tactics used by some of the crews? What a mess.
ozma914
Jul. 10th, 2006 10:25 pm (UTC)
Not some of the crews -- I've done it, too. When you're on a hose team, it's so easy in the excitement of the moment to grab the nozzle and head on in, without getting into a compartment for a tool. That's why many of us carry Maglights in our coat pockets -- worst case scenario, they're tough enough to get you through window or door glass. (We also have self-rescue rope and door wedges in our pockets.)

It's time for apparatus designers and firefighters alike to have tools mounted in the passenger compartment, so you can grab then while you're jumping out the door.
kazzy_cee
Jul. 10th, 2006 07:44 pm (UTC)
Wow! Do I sense a little criticism of the tactics used by some of the crews? What a mess.
kazzy_cee
Jul. 10th, 2006 07:45 pm (UTC)
Oh poo - double post because I wasn't logged in! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!
(no subject) - ozma914 - Jul. 10th, 2006 10:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ozma914 - Jul. 10th, 2006 10:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
curiouswombat
Jul. 10th, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC)
Woah! You guys have been busy!
ozma914
Jul. 10th, 2006 10:27 pm (UTC)
We sure have, much busier than usual. We actually average just under one call a day -- but that includes everything: car crashes, medical assists, false fire alarms. Actual fires have really picked up. This is a business in which more customers is not a good thing.
Being much busier than usual - curiouswombat - Jul. 10th, 2006 10:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
fired up - ozma914 - Jul. 11th, 2006 06:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: fired up - curiouswombat - Jul. 11th, 2006 08:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: fired up - ozma914 - Jul. 12th, 2006 06:11 am (UTC) - Expand
deborahw37
Jul. 10th, 2006 08:24 pm (UTC)
Water and arcing power lines!!!



once again I'm reduced to *eeep*


ozma914
Jul. 10th, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm just shocked.

:->
kathyh
Jul. 10th, 2006 09:28 pm (UTC)
Yikes. That all looks ghastly. What a weekend! I expect you're glad it's over.
ozma914
Jul. 10th, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it was a long one. Not the longest I've ever had, but long enough!
cbtreks
Jul. 12th, 2006 12:11 am (UTC)
A shame about that house - it looks like it was a nice one. I wonder how old it was. Glad you're all ok!

(And on a sort-of-not-quite related note, how's your friend doing that was hurt this past winter?)
ozma914
Jul. 12th, 2006 06:17 am (UTC)
The house was of balloon construction (meaning fire could spread easily through open areas between walls), which would put it in the area of 50-75 years old, or maybe a bit older. It was a nice looking place, too. The decrepit old pieces of junk never seem to catch fire.

My friend's doing very well, he's been fitted with an artificial leg and he's getting around just fine. He's back to teaching! He's not the type to dwell on his problems.
myfeetshowit
Jul. 13th, 2006 03:03 am (UTC)
Didn't anyone tell Albion that the fireworks were supposed to stop after the 4th?

I'll bet you're ready for some rest and relaxation.

Not that you'll probably get it!
ozma914
Jul. 13th, 2006 04:35 am (UTC)
R&R
Since Sunday all we've had is one fire that turned out to be a brush pile burn the owner didn't bother to notify us of, one car crash that was fairly minor, and a couple of first responder runs. So, not too bad. I have three meetings this week, but at least that's something known about in advance.
kazzy_cee
Jul. 13th, 2006 06:35 am (UTC)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Hope you're going to be spoiled by your girls! Have a relaxing day if you can!
ozma914
Jul. 13th, 2006 06:49 am (UTC)
thanks! :-)
A relaxing day *would* be nice ...

But I've got a day to go yet -- at least, I *think* it's the 13th. Truth is, I haven't been thinking about my birthday much. I guess I kind of blacked it out, now that I'm "Giles Age". I'm going to drag them down with me to see Superman Returns on Friday. :-)
Re: thanks! :-) - kazzy_cee - Jul. 13th, 2006 06:54 am (UTC) - Expand
what day is it? - ozma914 - Jul. 13th, 2006 07:05 am (UTC) - Expand
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

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