07/06/11 182 W, 2 I - + 5 - 4 This Afternoon's House Fire / Basil Drive

Engine 18 arriving at 2424 Basil Drive, which is almost around the corner from Blog Central. Two-story, single-family dwelling with 2,352 square-feet. Conventional construction, built 1985. Heavy fire venting from the roof. Crews entered structure, and worked inside until a partial roof collapse, if recalling radio traffic correctly.

Structure was evacuated and aerial operations were started, with Ladder 1 positioned on Hedgemoor Drive, beside the building. Defensive operations started some  15 minutes into the incident. Dispatched at 2:45 p.m. Two additional engines requested about 3:00 p.m. Controlled at 3:39 p.m. Cause determined as lightning strike to the roof.

Command located on front lawn. Rehab and medical monitoring on Basil Drive, in front of structure. Units on scene included: E18, E17, E8, E14, L1, R3, B4, C10, C20, C40, Bay Leaf A12 (replacing Raleigh A1), EMS 4, EMS 34, EMS 18, EMS 3, D4, T1. Plus additional manpower and relief companies, E16 and E6 (about 3:00 p.m.), E26 (from coverage, about 4:15 p.m.), L7 (about 4:55 p.m.). After-the-fact photos from Yours Truly forthcoming.

Why does it seem like over the last couple of years RFD arrives on scene and the first thing that they do is put the ladder into the air to put the fire out. They used to show up on a working fire and went inside and put the fire out, someone please explain the change in tactics.
Coffee Mug - 07/07/11 - 11:33

I agree Coffee Mug, Looking at the next biggest municipality in the county, I can’t think of the last time the Cary Fire Department used an aerial on a single residential structure. What happened to good old aggressive interior firefighting?
Mocha Latte - 07/07/11 - 11:37

Good point there coffee lovers, how come the County Departments get scolded by everyone for burning the roof off of a house and they do not have hydrants; then Raleigh burns a house all up when they have hydrants everywhere they go! not to mention these magical devices that are called Water Makers. If water supply wasn’t a factor, why does raleigh go exterior on every decently working house fire?
McLatte - 07/07/11 - 12:27

Maybe they had not hit all 6 points in their size-up yet! You can’t rush these things!
McDouble - 07/07/11 - 12:30

Hey now maybe they just forgot to lay in wet! Don’t hate on them, you might hurt their feelings
Caribou Coffee - 07/07/11 - 12:35

Well for not being there or familiar with RFD’s operations, as the IC or First in officer you must account for the presence of a light weight truss roofing system and how advanced the fire is. With the materials that are used in todays furnishings the fire has a tendency to get ahead of us more so these days than days of past. With that being said the fire may have been impinging on the roofing structure and having members operate under a roof that has been exposed to large amounts of heat and or fire is setting yourself up for potential injuries. Even in the description Mike as stated that the RFD started with interior operations and later moved exterior only after a roof collapse. All in all it looks like the guys and gals did a good job of getting the fire out, there is nothing wrong with using a aerial or master stream to knock down the main body of fire and then move in to “mop up”.
Watson - 07/07/11 - 12:50

See these photos… http://legeros.com/ralwake/photos/weblog..

Interior Attack Works

This is what 2 well placed 1 3/4 attack lines can do with out the use of a Ladder Truck, as you can see a good part of he roof is still there with very little water damage to the first and second floors.
Starbucks - 07/07/11 - 12:52


Aggressive Attack Works…here is proof of it. They didn’t do excess damage with a master stream. They got in and put it out. End of Story.
Port City Java - 07/07/11 - 13:01

...but still has an ugly mug. Allow the obvious reminder on perception versus reality, with regard to single-family dwelling working fires in Raleigh:

The number featured on this blog, is smaller than
The number photographed by myself and Mr. Wilson, which is smaller/far smaller than
The total number of single-family dwelling working fires in Raleigh for a given period of time.
Legeros, Who Doesn't Drink Coffee - 07/07/11 - 13:09

Yes, you are right the interior attack is effective. I am a huge supporter of it. There is however several factors that must be taken into account before an interior attack is warranted, and going off of what Mike stated it was put into use. The ballgame changes when during an interior attack the roof (ceiling and whatever the homeowner has in the attic) starts to fall on your head, this is when the companies should be withdrawn and exterior operations started.
Watson - 07/07/11 - 13:11

The roof is gone…. but I see some ladders, good job.
Miller High Life - 07/07/11 - 13:24

Its to early to be drinking, but its nice of you to try and find some good in this.
AA - 07/07/11 - 13:28

Since there were clearly issues with raleigh units being on other calls (E8 on the assignment) it would seem logical to have Bay Leaf respond from their station at Lynn Rd and Lead Mine Rd. Why do the city and county not have mutual aid with each other? Bay Leaf Air 12 was right around the corner which is why they requested to respond in place of Air 1 from Raleigh. Why can Wake/Raleigh 911 not put a Bay Leaf engine on this fire as the first due engine? The County and City have the same multi-million CAD system and the same dispatchers, why is there such a fine line between County and City, Kudos to Bay Leaf for bringing their Air truck…. Didn’t Engine 28 just have a fire that New Hope was right around the corner for?
McLatte - 07/07/11 - 15:41

Wow, so much for brotherhood in the fire service…at least here in neighboring Wake County! Everyone who posts spiteful and critical comments with no real purpose other than jealousy or other reasons should be ashamed.

Problem for RFD is that they dominate the blog, as they should since Mike and Lee both reside there. As a result, they receive most of the critism from the other county departments with less runs and working fires. I encourage everyone to check themselves and to use a proactive and upcoming metro department like RFD to your benefit rather than a whipping post…perhaps you’ll actually learn something.
Nash Co ff - 07/07/11 - 15:50

So for all you coffee drinkers out there. This fire had quite a bit of a head start on us from the beginning, a mailman noticed it already burning as he attempted to deliver the mail to the residence. Also there was high-rise training going on at state campus that multiple units were at so the first alarm assignment included engines that would not normally respond to this call that had extended arrival times. The fire had already self vented through the roof as given by E-18 as part of the size up. There was no smoke or heat in the second floor and there were two 1.5” in the second floor flowing water into the attic. The chiefs made a good call by pulling the interior crews out at the right time as the roof partially collapsed. The interior conditions showed no signs of collapse. Try to have all the facts before you judge what did or didn’t happen.
Hates Coffee - 07/07/11 - 16:00

So if you lived in Raleigh, not Nash County, where im sure mutual aid exists, you would be ok with the fact that a department closer to your house was not dispatched?
McLatte - 07/07/11 - 16:04

McLatte, lets get back on track here. This is not about who should have responded to the call. RFD had plenty of units of the scene. The question was why they are so quick to put the ladder up and retreat from interior fire attack. And yes, you can be aggressive and safe at the same time and put the fire out from the inside.
Coffee - 07/07/11 - 16:05

As I said earlier, we were making and aggressive interior fire attack from the second floor into the attic the conditions were fine on the second floor no smoke or heat. I was standing up with no problems. I would have stayed inside for a while longer but the chief of the scene thought that the situation was unsafe and made the call to pull out interior crews. It was a good decision on his part because as I exited the structure I looked at the roof and saw some significant sagging and collapsing of the roof, that I could not see from the inside. It ultimately was his call and it was the right one.
Hates Coffee - 07/07/11 - 16:18

Last time I checked the order of priority was Life Safety, Incident Stabilization, and then Property Conservation. Why kill firemen for “pride?” I’ve seen it too many times, we bust our rump to put the fire out, overhaul, and salvage, just to ride by the following week to see an empty lot. At the end of the day we risk life and limb to save property, and all the’re gonna do is bulldoze her down. And for what reason, so they can still have that picture of grandma?? I love my grandma, but her pics aren’t worth a brother losing his life to save it. Aggressive and silly are too different things. Get in there, search it out, and do what you can with it once you determine it to be unoccupied. Just my opinion, but we all know about opinions!!!
Juan Valdez - 07/07/11 - 17:30

Juan, your use of the word ‘too’ is incorrect. You should use the word ‘two’ denoting a number. Your particular instance of ‘too’ indicates a higher denomination of something.
Dr. Diction - 07/07/11 - 17:49

1st: Obviously y’all didn’t read and missed the fact that heavy fire was venting through the roof UPON ARRIVAL.
2nd: Ladder is set up to prepare for defensive operation when they arrive on-scene regardless of fire conditions.
3rd: E16 is first-due. They were on a call when the fire call was banged out. Long response = head start.
4th: I/C noticed from Div.C the roof structure appeared to be weakening and collapse was imminent. Evacuation order given. Great call! Roof collapsed right after evacuation was completed.
You win some; you lose some.
Besides, every time I’ve read on here when people are attacking county units is because of bad tactics, not head starts.
RescueRanger - 07/07/11 - 17:56

Thanks for the correction doc!!! I let my emotions overtake my good “since”!! Lol
Juan valdez - 07/07/11 - 18:03

Ranger, please re-submit your comments using a beverage-themed screen name, thank you.
Legeros - 07/07/11 - 18:14

RR and HatesCoffee have it right.

Fire through the roof upon arrival. 1st attack line deployed. Search started. Ladder set up and outside duties conducted at same time of search. Second handline put into place. RIT established. Command transferred. Partial collapse of Div. 2 at the C/D and A/D corner of the roof simultaneously. Evacuation order given. All companies accounted for. Put up the stick and put out the fire.

Now, Sounds to me like 2 COMPANIES WERE FIGHTING THE FIRE, WHILE A 3RD DID AN INTERIOR SEARCH UNTIL PARTIAL COLLAPSE OF THE ROOF. Sounds like to me that that’s about as aggressive as you can get while still being safe.

Problems with how it went?....ask yourself….“hmmm what should happen when a roof patially collapses on a house with 3 companies inside?”...evacuate. Thats right. Fortunately, A.) None of the guys got hurt and B.) the primary had been completed when it happened.

Enjoy your coffee and armchairs quarterbacks.
For the record. - 07/07/11 - 18:26

So if “The fire had already self vented through the roof as given by E-18 as part of the size up,” then wouldn’t a larger line be more ideal?.... I guess the 1.5” line was just holding it back until the aeriel could put its 1000gpms into the house.
RedBull - 07/07/11 - 18:27

If ya’ll would get off your tales instead of sitting around with your coffee’s and Latte’s worrying about things that you obviously have no clue about and actually try to learn something then you might would have been able to pass the entrance tests and got hired by Raleigh. Obviously there are some hurt feelings for being scrubs.
vitamin water - 07/07/11 - 18:33

Just spit my coffee onto the screen when I read that. TIE IT UP!!!
Jake T. - 07/07/11 - 18:37

You’ll never find a better beer!!! Let’s look at recent fires where the same thing happened: Falls had a recent fire off Old 98 where they burnt the roof off. Same tactics used minus the ladder truck due to space. 2 1 3/4” lines went in, roof degraded, folks came out. Raleigh had one the other night off of Serendipity where they burnt the roof off. 2 lines went in, conditions got worse, folks came out. Same tactics were used with the ladder truck. Looks like we are using the same tactics in the county and the Big City. Why is anyone argueing what was done? Risk vs Benifit!!!! Risk what to save a burning roof? Firefighters? Not hardly. Get the primaries done, try and get it knocked if possible and pull out when making no head way. Larger line selection? Maybe. But how far out was the second truck and did 18 lay in wet or dry or even lay in at all? As for folks on here that think Raleigh always does it right, they don’t. As for folks that think county firefighters always do it wrong, they don’t. But RFD sees a hell of a lot more fire and gets the chance to hone their skills a lot more. How about we start asking why “this” or “that” was done and wait for an explination from someone that was on scene instead of going straight to bashing. That would probably be way more productive. I want to discuss and learn. Not bash and laugh. Just my very own opinion.
Samuel Adams - 07/07/11 - 18:50

Better beer found. - 07/07/11 - 18:57

It’s ironic that this thread appears directly above one that discusses Internet etiquette. Guess which forum contains only one post?
Bitter Beer Face - 07/07/11 - 19:24

This thread was the learning lab for that posting…
Legeros - 07/07/11 - 19:51

Aerial operations were utilized in Zebulon this afternoon, at a single-family dwelling (vacant) on East Horton Street. Story and small pics: http://www.easternwakenews.com/2011/07/0..

Ditto for Durham, which had a house fire on the southwest side, on Burnwood Place, with Chapel Hill assisting. They flowed water from on high as well. No news story on that one, yet.
Legeros - 07/07/11 - 20:39

Vitamin Water, pass entrance exam my ass. Raleigh Fire is not the end all be all. Scrubs? half of RFD are pay check firemen who got picked up due to being a minority….yea, good process, no love for the job. You may even fall into the category.
Arm Chair - 07/07/11 - 21:31

Mmmmm…I love coffee first thing in the morning with a dash of CoffeeMate Hazlenut creamer. For beer, I’ll choose a Corona or Guiness, depending on the scenario.
Silver - 07/07/11 - 22:00

Really arm chair?! So being a redneck with a rifle rack, red lights all over the truck, big johnson f.d. T-shirts make you better suited to a fire fighter. Last time I checked all RFD are “pay check” firefighters. It is a career after all.
Sam Adams ale - 07/07/11 - 23:58

From the sounds of it, Raleigh did a great job mitigating this incident in the safest manner possible. What people need to remember are those famous words that Chief Brunacini of Phoenix Fire Department once said, “risk a lot to save a lot, risk a little to save a little, and risk nothing to save nothing”. I think the incident commander of this scene did a fine job of living by Chief Brunancini’s rule. The one thing that I saw through the picture roll on this scene that I would advise Raleigh FD to be careful of is the fact that the hydrant wrench was left on the hydrant during fire attack. In the past I worked for Escambia County Fire Rescue in Florida and on a residential structure fire I was working,the hydrant wrench was left on the hydrant just like on this particular scene, and some old joe blow citizen came by and turned off the hydrant which left many fire personnel on that scene in danger. Other than that great job Raleigh, keep up the good work…and as always stay safe!!
DEER PARK - 07/08/11 - 00:05

I’ll be the one to ask the question. Why was Bay Leaf not dispatched to this incident? It sounds like they were closest based on all the units out on calls in training. As a tax payer I would personally want the CLOSEST unit coming. I really do not care if the truck says Raleigh, Bay Leaf, or anywhere else for that matter. They are trained to do the job so please someone answer why they were not sent? That’s absolutely ridiculous.
Going There - 07/08/11 - 09:50

Mr./Mrs. There, your taxes pay for specific services from specific service providers. Paying the city sanitation fee, for example, does not result in a Waste Industries truck collecting your garbage. At the fiscal level, the name on the truck is 100% relevant. All services must be funded, somehow.
$$$ - 07/08/11 - 10:13

Wow, the hatred needs to stop! We are all here to do the same job. Get over the paid vs. volunteer thing and start working together. I teach my kids to repsect eachother and my adult co-workers cant even do it!

My guess is that most of the ones on here bashing tactics have never been in a command role. They have never had the pressure of knowing that the decision that you make standing in the front yard affects many lives! More than likely, most of these folks should be washing a truck, cleaning a station, or reading a red book instead of trying to undermind the decision of a chief officer that has probably been in the fire service since they have been in diapers! Get off of your laptops and GO TO WORK! If you work hard enough, then one day maybe you can stand in the fornt yard and make those life or death decisions.

One more thing, I am about sick and tired of hearing about Prince George County and how they do it! This is Wake County! P.G. county is NOT the end all be all and just because they have alot of “cool” videos on youtube does not make them worthy of worship!
mountain dew - 07/08/11 - 11:37

$$$ you are wrong!!! just because you pay city taxes does not mean a city owned and staffed vehicle will do the service. In some areas a Waste Industries truck WILL pick-up you garbage uder contract. In some cities fire protection is contracted out as well. As we all know just because the govenment provides a service it does not mean the service is the best or the most economical.
Swamp Water - 07/08/11 - 12:25

[ Comment deleted. Guess we’ll take a time out. Send private mail to discuss any concerns. ]
Legeros - 07/08/11 - 13:07

@Deer Park: Maybe someone else can help me remember, but I believe the same thing happened to E19 on Tapers Drive. Maybe, about 6-7 years ago? They had a long stretch of hose, and one of the fine young citizens in that area decided to turn the wrench and see what happened…
rfburns - 07/08/11 - 21:50

@ Mountain Dew…. I agree with you on the career and volunteer bullshit; we all do the job no-matter what some of us do it because we love to; others do it because our family and lives rely on the paycheck…but DON“T go knocking P.G. county; yes Wake county is not P.G. but alot of departments look up to us because of our tactics and aggressiveness. I’ve seen a lot of people from Wake and all over the country come here to ride just to see what the hype is about and everytime they all leave surprised as hell at the way things are done…Whats funny really is that Wake county is very similar to P.G. as far as the county itself(i.e. water supply, closeness of stations, apparatus,and construction throughout the county) But what separates P.G. and everywhere else is the aggressiveness. Not saying Wake/Raliegh/Cary isn’t aggressive. It’s all about how every company on scene reacts, not once have I heard anyone call and ask for an assignment, we have General Orders that dictate what you will do all the way from the first due engine on the first alarm to the fourth arriving ambulance on the third alarm. For the most part every company up here is a bunch of go getters, sometimes we get a little carried away and have to be pulled out PHYSICALLY; but I haven’t seen one company here not make an attempt at trying to get in and get the job done. Yes like others we have to knock it from the outside first; but it’s very rare that you hear of the ladders going up for aerial ops. As for the fire on basil drive looks like a great stop was made; it’s easier to rebuild a roof rather then a whole entire structure. Just would like to see those windows taken out especially when you have ladders thrown to them. And to all others please do not refer to or bash P.G. county unless you ride with us. We’re under enough attention as is.

PGtruckie (Jameson) (Email) - 07/09/11 - 06:40


I was not bashing PG county and honestly I have never been there to see how you do things. I am sure that you have many great aspects throughout the county and many great firefighters! What I was trying to get across to some of our younger folks down here that spend a large amount of time on the computer watching Kentland videos and drooling over how it’s done up there is this… No great firefighter was ever made from youtube! Instead of bashing a superior officer and the decision that he made, simply because your “youtube experience” tells you that PG would have done it this way is wrong! I am NOT saying that everybody that has commented on this thread is one of those, but I am sure at least some are. There is too much websurfing in the firestation these days and not enough learning from the older guys. Again, if you have never been in command of a working fire, you have no right to question the decision of when to pull folks out! I would be willing to bet that a large number of the folks that have bashed the decisions that were made on this fire have less than 10 years experience, and they are questioning a chief with close to 30.

Be safe up there brother!
mountain dew - 07/09/11 - 08:44

Here is the simple bottom line, If you weren’t on scene to see what the IC saw, you have no room to Monday morning QB the call. We are all bad for this, all the way across the fire service. We sit in are climate controlled Fire Stations and watch videos on the internet, picking apart all the tactical decisions. Why??? I do it myself. I see a couple pictures of a fire and off to pick, pick, pick I go. This is unfortunately how many of us were brought up in the Fire Service. We need to learn from our mistakes…yes. However if no firefighter was hurt and the job was done to the best of our abilities with all the tools available to us….where is the problem. I have been there for great decisions that still lost a house and bad decisions that still saved a house. Use all the tools given to us and do the job. Stop attacking the decisions of the man on scene with all the facts in front of him.
Boylans Birch Beer - 07/10/11 - 05:08

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