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Residential Fire Injures Seven Firefighters: Wind Driven Conditions Suspected | Buildingsonfire.com

Residential Fire Injures Seven Firefighters: Wind Driven Conditions Suspected

Fireground Operations, View from Alpha-Bravo Corner street side. Photo by Billy McNeel.

 

Residential Fire in Prince George’s County (MD) Injures Seven Firefighters: Wind Driven Conditions Suspected

Apparent wind driven condition contributed to rapidly escalating fire conditions resulting in extreme fire behavior during initial fire suppression operations being coordinated at a single family residential dwelling (SFD) fire Friday night February 24th in Riverdale, MD. At 9:11 p.m. firefighters responded to a house fire in the 6404 57th Avenue, according to published reports and the new release from Prince George’s County (MD) Firefighters.

PGFD companies arrived to find a one-story with basement, single-family home with fire on both levels. A review of public records indicates the SFD was built in 1967 of dimensioned wood frame construction consisting of a single story with a full basement with 780 square feet of occupied floor space. The house foot print was approximately 30 feet x 26 feet and had a low profile gable roof. A review of building (birdseye view) aerial images suggests that a moderate grade change from the Alpha division to the Charlie division is apparent with walk-in basement access.

 

Street View A-D. Screencapture Googlemaps

Firefighters initiated an interior attack from the Alpha Division when an apparent sudden rush of air fanned by high winds entered from the rear of the house (Delta Division), either from a door or window being opened or broken out, the news release said.

The rapid influx of air from the sustained winds into the interior room compartments combined with the already progressing fire conditions creating a “fire ball’ within the structure’s interior rooms where companies were operating engulfing the firefighters. Firefighters tried to escape and commanders immediately called for an EMS Task Force and Fire Task Force.

 

 

 

A review of internet published archival weather data for the general area (Riverdale/College Park, MD) during the period of 20:55 hrs. and 21:15 hrs., recorded wind speeds of 13.8 – 20.7 MPH with wind gusts of 27.6 – 36.8 MPH. gusts of MPH. (wunderground.com HERE)

 

 

At this time two firefighters, Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Fighters Ethan Sorrell and Kevin O’Toole remain in critical condition at Washington Hospital Center. A third fire fighter, Riverdale Volunteer, Michael McLary also remains hospitalized for injuries. Four other injured fire fighters, three from Riverdale and one from College Park, were released and sent home last night according to the latest reports.

Other Media Links:

 

For more insights and information on Wind Driven Fire Conditions, incidents, research and lessons learned, here are a few mission critical links;

  • Wind Driven Fire Articles on CommandSafety.com, HERE

Prince William County (VA) Fire Rescue Kyle Wilson LODD Report-Remembrance and Learning’s HERE

  • Looking Back at The Cherry Road Townhouse Fire, Double LODD; DCFD 1999
  • Wind Driven Mansion Fire
  • Heavy Fire in 10,000 Square Foot Huntingtown (MD) Mega Mansion Injuring 9 Firefighters
  • A video of one of the wind driven fire experiments showing the pulsing flames out of the window. Pulsing Fire(83 MB)
  • A video of one of the wind driven fire experiments showing the deployment of a Wind Control Device (WCD). WCD Deployment. (40 MB)
  • A 4-view video of one of the wind driven fire experiments on the 7th floor. Governor’s Island Wind Driven Fire (368 MB)
  • A 4-view video of one of the wind driven fire experiments conducted where the wind control curtain is deployed. The video is 4 times real time. WDF Curtain Deploy (486 MB)
  • An 8-view video of experiment number five conducted at the Large Fire Building at NIST’s Gaithersburg Campus which examined the impact of a WCD on a wind driven fire. The video is 4 times real time. Experiment 5-Oct View (450MB)
  • An 8-view video of experiment number eight conducted at the Large Fire Building at NIST’s Gaithersburg Campus which examined the impact of externally applied water, solid stream and fog stream, at 160 gpm. The video is 4 times real time. Experiment 8- Oct View (419MB)
  • NIST Fire Fighting Tactics Under Wind Driven Conditions: Laboratory Experiments
    • A series of experiments was conducted in our Large Fire Laboratory to examine the impact of wind control curtains and externally applied hose streams on a wind driven fire. The results from these experiments will allow us to better understand the fire dynamics within a structure and provide guidance as to the important measurements needed in the future experiments in a high-rise on Governor’s Island in New York City.
    • Fire Fighting Tactics Under Wind Driven Conditions Report, HERE
    • Reference Data HERE

 

  • NIST Wind Driven Fire Study
    • Smoke and heat spreading through the corridors and the stairs of a building during a fire can limit building occupants’ ability to escape and can limit fire fighters’ ability to rescue them. Changes in the building’s ventilation or presence of an external wind can increase the energy release of the fire. This can also increase the spread of fire gases through the building. In some cases, such as the Cook County Administration Building fire in October 2003, the fire gas flow, into the corridors and the stairway prevented fire fighters from suppressing the fire from inside the structure. This fire resulted in 6 building occupant fatalities and fire fighter injuries in the stairway. The Fire Department of New York City has experienced many wind driven fire incidents which have resulted in fire fighter fatalities and injuries, as have a number of other incidents nationally that have resulted in increased research into this operational and tactical challenge.
    • What tactics or tools are appropriate for use with a wind driven fire and how should the tactics or tools be implemented? Positive Pressure Ventilation (PPV) is being used by fire departments on smaller structures, such as single family homes, to control the fire flow by introducing pressure from the front door and venting the house through a strategic exit opening. If done correctly, this tactic can remove significant amounts of heat and smoke from the structure, thus improving the fire fighters’ working environment and improving the chances of survival for the building occupants. NIST has completed several studies which have a two fold impact: 1) providing guidance on the safe use of PPV and 2) characterizing and validating the modeling of PPV with a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) computer model, so that the model can be used as a training tool for the fire service.
    • This project extends previous work for ventilation under wind driven conditions. There are many questions regarding wind driven fires. For example can these PPV fans be used successfully under wind driven fire conditions in large structures? Large structures, such as high rise buildings, provide additional challenges to fire fighter and building occupant safety: increased travel distance (exposure time), more complicated egress path, and potentially larger fires. In 2002 there were 7,300 reported fires in high rise structures.
    • Other tactics incorporating devices, such as wind control devices (WCD) to control the ventilation conditions or the use of a “high rise” nozzle from the floor below the fire floor have been tried by the fire service under “real fire” conditions with varying levels of success.
    • A comprehensive free DVD set from the NIST includes a presentation video that explains PPV, examines the results of NIST’s PPV research, and closes with a focus on the use of PPV tactics in high-rise buildings. All of the NIST PPV reports referenced in the presentation are included on Disc 1 of the set. All of the videos from the high-rise fire experiments are also provided with a user-friendly, graphic menu that can be used on a PC or a DVD player. NIST, with support from USFA, DHS, and fire departments across the country, has taken engineering principles and applied them to fire service PPV tactics in order to improve fire fighter safety
    • NIST References HERE and HERE

    NIST Fire Fighting Tactics Under Wind Driven Conditions: Laboratory Experiments

    • A series of experiments was conducted in our Large Fire Laboratory to examine the impact of wind control curtains and externally applied hose streams on a wind driven fire. The results from these experiments will allow us to better understand the fire dynamics within a structure and provide guidance as to the important measurements needed in the future experiments in a high-rise on Governor’s Island in New York City.
    • Fire Fighting Tactics Under Wind Driven Conditions Report, HERE
    • Reference Data HERE

 

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