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NEAR MISS REPORT RUNAWAY AUTO FIRE

Aerial 2 and Rescue 2 were recently dispatched to a vehicle fire on State Road 112 (the Airport expressway) West bound at N.W. 37 Ave. As we entered the expressway at N.W. 27 Ave, we discovered that the vehicle fire was actually behind us; on the down hill slope of the 27 Ave overpass bridge. he vehicle, a SUV, was on the right shoulder of the expressway and uphill of where we entered.
Fortunately Road Rangers had stopped all West bound traffic which enabled us to back the apparatus in the far left lane in order to position it uphill of the burning vehicle. We chose to back in the left lane to avoid the front of the burning vehicle. This would reduce our risk or being struck by an exploding bumper or strut and to keep the apparatus out of the vehicle’s path if it should roll downhill. As we were backing the apparatus, I told the crew that the first thing we must do when we reach the vehicle is to chock its wheels to prevent it from rolling downhill. Seconds later the vehicle started to roll. It crossed all three lanes, struck the left guardrail, crossed all three lanes again and came to rest against the right guardrail. We were very fortunate that the burning vehicle did not strike any firefighters or Aerial 2.

Apparatus positioning is a critical consideration at vehicle fires and accidents. Ideally, we want our apparatus spotted uphill and up wind of the fire or accident and to serve as a barrier to protect us from on-coming traffic but this is not always possible. For example, had this vehicle fire occurred in the eastbound lanes, we would have to choose between spotting the apparatus to serve as a barrier; positioning downhill of the fire, or positioning uphill of the fire, which would expose personnel to oncoming traffic. In this case, the traffic cones, warning sign and electric “Fusees” issued to each battalion and fire company could be placed downhill to protect personnel. Placing warning devices will require the response of an additional unit, which should be requested if it is not on the original dispatch.

There is no such thing as a “routine” vehicle fire. Complacency at vehicle fires can result in a careerending injury or a line of duty death.

Thanks to Capt. B. Gustin for sharing this “Near Miss”.

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Calendar

Sep 29-30, 2011 Intelligent Firefighting “Be Aggressive . ..Don’t Be Stupid”

With Capt Bill Gustin, Miami Dade Fire Rescue Double Tree Milwaukee City Center Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Sep 29-30, 2011 Intelligent Firefighting “Be Aggressive . ..Don’t Be Stupid”

With Capt Bill Gustin, Miami Dade Fire Rescue Double Tree Milwaukee City Center Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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