04/18/09 85 W, 1 I - + 12 - 11 Thursday's House Fire in Zebulon

Both NBC17 and WTVD have posted a few photos of Thursday's house fire in Zebulon, including a number of viewer-submitted shots. The two-story, wood-frame structure at 3004 Wild Iris Drive was fully-involved on arrival. Alarm time 5:03 p.m. Dispatched address Watsonia Drive and Proctor Street. Units on scene included Zebulon Pumper 94, Engine 91, Ladder 95; Hopkins Pumper 226; Wendell Engine 113; Eastern Wake EMS 61, EMS 68, District 6, and WC 1. See photos from NBC17, or see the photos from WTVD.

Kevin Bell/WTVD photo

What is the deal with people saying fully involved? Look at the pictures from the news sites and even this small one above. There is heavy fire in the house, but it is not fully involved. From NBC’s photos, there is a lot of house left. Fully involved is fire coming out of every window,door, nook, cranny and crack of the house, not heavy fire on one side or part of a house.
Mike - 04/19/09 - 09:47

I agree Mike. I can remember a fire at my old vollie department, where a size up on a house was given as “fully involved”. When we got there third in, I asked “this is fully involved Chief”? “Ok, well, let’s get inside this fully involved house and find out where all this smoke is coming from”!! It’s a training issue, plain and simple.
Silver - 04/19/09 - 10:32

It was “great” to see the cop car in front of the house in one of the photos. I guess he was there to flag down the fire eng, just in case they could’nt find it.
wheeler - 04/19/09 - 16:23

It is funny you say that Mike. I thought it was just me that wondered why people mark the fire fully involved when it is partial involved. When firefighters mark it a fully involved house fire, then I say to myself we are going all defensive. While we are on the subject on marking house fires, Why do people mark a fire “smoke showing.’ Is is it a lot? , little?,does look like a pot on the stove??? what kind of smoke? This drives me crazy. If you have alot of smoke then there is fire more then likley!!!
Smitty (Email) - 04/20/09 - 20:48

I have a better one…saying nothing showing from the outside. Aren’t all size-ups from the outside?? Now that drives me nuts!
Sizeup 101 - 04/20/09 - 23:07

On a positive note, good work keeping the street open for the ladder. That’s often difficult on a cul-de-sac.
Being positive - 04/21/09 - 07:38

“be advised”, “if you would please”, “raleigh central dispatch 1”, “when you get a chance”...all some of my favorite wake county radio idioms
J.Boggs (Email) - 04/21/09 - 11:20

Be careful with how you talk on radio—dispatcher might complain to personnel about your tone if not careful. Then—look out! Unbelievable reactions!
FYI - 04/21/09 - 13:10

Jason, you beat me to it. They all make me shake my head, but don’t forget the infamous “at this time”.
Silver - 04/21/09 - 14:13

“At this time…”, “Be advised…”, “If you would ascertain…” Yes, absolute classics.

“Nothing showing from the outside”.

My favorite size-up of all time- three engines, two ladders, on squad, two ALS ambulances, one battalion chief dispatched for ‘multi-story dwelling fire’. I was riding the front seat.

“Fire Alarm…..ENGINE 112…..on location, three story metal frame swelling, heavy fire conditions, assuming Highland Park command, sector 1. Return all other units to quarters”

ENGINE 112 from Fire Alarm, confirming cancel all responding units?”

“Correct Fire Alarm. Dwelling appears to be a Barbie house. We have a booster line deployed”
DJ (Email) - 04/21/09 - 16:57

DJ - 04/21/09 - 16:59

No one mentioning the first part of the size up? 10-23 code 2, condition red….house fully involved! My personal favorite that always makes me chuckle is the “E-X on scene nothing showing from the outside at this time!”
Wayne - 04/21/09 - 20:10

Code 2 Condition Red??? Are you kidding me? Please tell me you’re joking. WHEN IS THIS COUNTY GOING TO GET THEIR CRAP TOGETHER AND STANDARDIZE????????????? Wait, that’s a stupid question, it’ll take someone getting killed for them to review the way they do business.
Silver - 04/21/09 - 20:57

Nope, not kidding! I was listening to it on the radio. I don’t think it is so much about county standardization as it is people blurting out what they are more comfortable with when they encounter “A BIG ONE”, I guess it’s like we always say…“when the poop hits the fan, we say what we are used to saying on the radio”. I love listening to the radio traffic from around the county,it can provide hours of entertainment and laughter. I always love the one I heard while a department was on a structure fire and someone asked for the Thermal Imager and THE CHIEF’S reply was “ I’ll send it in but I don’t think it will work through all of that smoke” CLASSIC!!!
Wayne - 04/21/09 - 21:19

Stop bro, you’re killing me
Silver - 04/21/09 - 21:49

Standardize? To use your words, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Very little in this County is standardized; however, the funny thing is that we continue to bash those that do something different than we do. Different is the way we roll. Not right, but the way it is. Department X is wrong because their engine is number 1 or another is wrong because they used the term major working fire instead of working fire. We shouldn’t get caught up in the “if it ain’t my department’s way it’s a joke” crowd. Even if not exactly mainstream, most people have reasons (right or wrong) for the things they do. If things were standardized, then we could expect everyone to act (and react) the same.
Chris - 04/22/09 - 07:20

or how about, “she’s walking the dog…”
H2O - 04/22/09 - 08:00

We all describe things differently, based upon what we are used to, what we learned, or whatever. Does not make it right, wrong, or whatever. As long as we get some sort of idea what may be happening, I guess that is a good thing.
If I am en route to a fire and I hear anything like “working fire”, “major working fire”, “code 2 condition red”, or “she’s walking the dog”, while I may not know exactly what is going on, I have an idea that it is exciting to someone.

Would it be better if we could standardize our terminology? Sure it would. I have worked in a system where that happened and it worked. Can we get it done here? You tell me.

I do have one thing, though, on a more serious note.

Situation- EMS unit is responding ‘hot’ to an emergency (matters not what the emergency is, we are already running ‘hot’).

Action- Off duty EMS/fire/LEO on scene (or on duty EMS/fire/LEO) says “advise EMS to step it up”.

Dilemma- Do I engage the nitrous “at this time”, or do we deploy the wings and jet engines “at this time”?
(I had to add the “at this time”. My apologies.)

Reality- Guys (and gals) I am already on the way to you as fast as I can safely get to you. I’m on the way. Trust me. It’ll be OK. Do what you can, we’ll do our thing when we get there. Me personally, I am not going to drive any faster, take any more chances, or push the envelope any further. It matters not what is happening, or who is involved (unless it’s my mother, my wife, or my daughters- all bets are off at that point. But chances are, I won’t know it is them, so it will be ‘business as usual’).

I can’t do you any good if I am involved in an MVC on the way.

Don’t ask me to ‘step it up’. That is asking me to be ‘unsafe’ and to take UNNECESSARY risks. I am not going to increase the chance that my mother has to bury another one of her kids.

If you want to say something, give me a size-up on the patient. Are they breathing? Are they conscious? Give me a set of vital signs. Anything, I guess, other than ‘step it up’.

I know, I know…I am being sarcastic. I can’t help it, I am in a ‘mood’ today. Still, no need to say “step it up”. We already are.

DJ (Email) - 04/22/09 - 11:40

No Chris, I’m not kidding you. This county supposedly adopted clear text for a reason. If you know me, you know out of all people, I’m open to trying new things on this job. But when it comes to a size-up, one that just tells me that you see red means nothing. That’s been a problem in this county for years. NO STANDARDIZATION!!! I’m Chief “A” and want to call my units trucks and engines, and there’s Chief “B” who wants to call his pumpers and squads. That was just a start. Chris, use your own advice. Take a look at other combination based, county run organizations that use standardization for bread and butter operations. I’ll give you a few places to start; Prince George’s County, MD; Prince William County, VA; Montgomery County, MD. They answer a heck of a lot more alarms than good ol’ Wake County, and it works. Agencies in this county can’t even come up with a standard for helmet colors. One department uses red for an officer, while another uses red for firefighters. It would work a lot better if people would drop the “my ball” attitude. If a majority of your funds are from the county, then you should be standardized by the county system (if they ever had one).

Unfortunately, it’ll take someone getting hurt, and a “Routley-type” report to be done here before things would change. Sad, but true…
Silver - 04/22/09 - 14:15

Don’t misunderstand – I fully support standardization. Unfortunately, I’ve been a part of far too many standardization attempts here, only to see the “Standardization = Everybody change to do it our way” mentality cause it to fail. We’ve all got to be willing to learn from others, be willing to give and take, and, consequently, to keep something bad from happening. I think that once that’s done, the “standard” way would eventually become second nature (much like Code 2, Condition Red is for some who’ve been around awhile). My point is this – our current lack of standardization results in people using whatever works for them-right, wrong, indifferent. After the many failed attempts to standardize, it now appears that not adopting standard ways of doing things simply necessitates that people do it their own way.

In the end, we’re probably saying the same thing – to be most effective, it’s time we standardized things in this county. To any who try to get that ball rolling, good luck.
Chris - 04/22/09 - 17:54

Silver - 04/22/09 - 21:28

A couple of things that may have been overlooked… When the Chief arrived his first view was from the rear of the structure where it probably appeared to be fully involved. Next, how about the stop on the fire to keep the D Side exposure from becoming involved?
Brandon Hopkins (Email) - 04/23/09 - 11:14

Your right Brandon, the original house was pretty much a write off due to the extent of the fire. It was very close to involving the D side. Luckily they only lost some siding (on the D side). Looks like another good case for the county to zone more room between houses.
gen3fire - 04/23/09 - 11:51


I feel your frustration with these bloggers. Keep in mind most of them have little to no experience and are just being critical to make themselves look good (especially the annoyomous ones). You guys in Zebulon did a great job and keep up the good work.
John McAdams - 04/23/09 - 20:00

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