Remembering FF Martin McNamara, LODD 11-29-2003

Today we remember Lancaster, MA Firefighter Martin “Marty” McNamara, who was killed in the Line Of Duty 11-29-2003.

“Firefighter McNamara and members of his fire department responded to the scene of a structure fire involving a 2-1/2-story wood balloon frame residential building that contained multiple apartments. Two additional 1-1/2-story buildings were attached to the rear of the main building. Firefighters found a working fire. Firefighter McNamara was assigned as a part of a crew that advanced an attack line into the basement of the structure. After a series of explosions, the firefighters were forced to leave the building. Once outside, a headcount was completed and Firefighter McNamara was discovered missing. Firefighters immediately reentered the basement; they could hear the chirp of Firefighter McNamara’s PASS device but could not reach him due to fire conditions. After the fire was controlled, a rescue team entered the structure and located the body of Firefighter McNamara. The cause of death was listed as smoke and soot inhalation. Firefighter McNamara also suffered facial burns prior to his death. Three other firefighters were injured in the fire; including a deputy chief who suffered severe smoke inhalation during an attempt to rescue Firefighter McNamara. The cause of the fire was identified as the overheating of a power strip and extension cord in the basement.”

The Training topic from this LODD is PPV. “Many believe that a gasoline-powered blower should be in place during the initial stages of fire attack. While there have been studies that demonstrate some benefits of this tactic, we believe that there are many potential downsides that must be considered before starting the fan. Like the Bresnan distributor, high-expansion foam, and the piercing nozzle, positive pressure is a tool that has a time and a place on the fireground. It must, however, be used with due consideration of some critical factors. “

According to John Mittendorf, in his book Truck Company Operations, you may not want to use positive pressure:

-With balloon frame construction

-With attic fires

-When the location of the fire is unknown

-During vent-enter-search operations

-During search and rescue

-During overhaul

Recommendations from NIOSH Include:

-Fire departments should develop and implement standard operating procedures (SOPs) addressing emergency scene operations, including specific procedures for basement fires.
– Fire departments should ensure that ventilation is closely coordinated with the fire attack.
– Fire departments should ensure that a Rapid Intervention Team is in place before conditions become unsafe.
– Fire departments should develop and coordinate pre-incident planning protocols with mutual aid departments.
– Fire departments should implement joint training on response protocols with mutual aid departments.
– Municipalities should establish one central dispatch center to coordinate and communicate activities involving units from multiple jurisdictions.
– Municipalities should ensure that companies responding to mutual aid incidents are equipped with mobile and portable communications equipment that are capable of handling the volume of radio traffic and allow communications between all responding companies within their jurisdiction.

Please, don’t let Martin’s Death be in Vain, Read the Reports and Drills, and more importantly do something about it. Go out and drill with the PPV, and discuss with your crews when to use and when not to use it.


Never in Vain Drill HERE

Article from Billy G HERE



Firefighting Today Weekly Roundtable – A Discussion about the Kill The Flashover Project With Joe Starnes


This week the panel will listen to Joe Starnes to get a perspective on what Kill The Flashover IS and Is NOT about.

We go live Sunday (11-30-14) at 20:00 est.

You can watch us on YouTube HERE, or the Events Page HERE, or interact with us using #fftktf, you can also leave a YouTube Comment.

Cocoanut Grove Fire 11-28-1942

“Official reports state that the fire started at about 10:15 p.m. in the dark, intimate Melody Lounge downstairs. A young pianist and singer, Goody Goodelle, was performing on a revolving stage, surrounded by artificial palm trees. It was believed that a young man, possibly a soldier, had removed a light bulb in order to give himself privacy while kissing his date. Stanley Tomaszewski—a 16-year-old busboy—was instructed to put the light back on by retightening the bulb. As he attempted to tighten the light bulb in its socket, the bulb fell from his hand. In the dimly-lit lounge, Tomaszewski, unable to see the socket, lit a match to illuminate the area, found the socket, extinguished the match, and replaced the bulb. Almost immediately, patrons saw something ignite in the canopy of artificial palm fronds draped above the tables (although the official report doubts the connection between the match and the subsequent fire).
Despite waiters’ efforts to douse the fire with water, it quickly spread along the fronds of the palm tree, igniting decorations on the walls and ceiling. Flames raced up the stairway to the main level, burning the hair of patrons stumbling up the stairs. A fireball burst across the central dance floor as the orchestra was beginning its evening show. Flames raced through the adjacent Caricature Bar, then down a corridor to the Broadway Lounge. Within five minutes, flames had spread to the main clubroom and the entire nightclub was ablaze.
As is common in panic situations, many patrons attempted to exit through the main entrance, the same way they had entered. The building’s main entrance was a single revolving door, rendered useless as the panicked crowd scrambled for safety. Bodies piled up behind both sides of the revolving door, jamming it to the extent that firefighters had to dismantle it to enter. Later, after fire laws had tightened, it would become illegal to have only one revolving door as a main entrance without being flanked by outward opening doors with panic bar openers attached.
Other avenues of escape were similarly useless: side doors had been bolted shut to prevent people from leaving without paying. A plate glass window, which could have been smashed for escape, was boarded up and unusable as an emergency exit. Other unlocked doors, like the ones in the Broadway Lounge, opened inwards, rendering them useless against the crush of people trying to escape. Fire officials later testified that, had the doors swung outwards, at least 300 lives could have been spared. Many young soldiers perished in the disaster, as well as a newly-married couple.
As night deepened, the temperature dropped. Water on cobblestones froze. Hoses froze to the ground. Newspaper trucks were appropriated as ambulances. From nearby bars, soldiers and sailors raced to assist. On the street, firefighters lugged out bodies and were treated for burned hands. Smoldering bodies, living and dead, were hosed in icy water. Some victims had ingested fumes so hot that when they inhaled cold air, as one firefighter put it, they dropped like stones.
Later, during the cleanup of the building, firefighters found several dead guests sitting in their seats, with drinks in their hands. They had been overcome so quickly by fire and toxic smoke that they didn’t have time to move.”

Cocoanut Grove Fire

Boston Historical Society 

Video Interviews

Many Reports of the Fire HERE


A Great Podcast HERE with Captain Rick Connelly from BFD about the Fire

11-27-14 Run Down

Through The Lock Forcible Entry for Show-front Windows HERE

Its all about the Touches HERE

SA Matters Radio show 31 HERE. All Past Episodes HERE

The Wrong Side of History By Lt. Brad French HERE

Second Part of Going Through the Lock HERE Part 1 HERE

Good Post HERE about “New” Science and Such. Another Really good Read HERE about the rest of the UL Studies.

This Week’s Humpday Hangout HERE about Training and FDIC.

Dumb things Firefighters Say HERE

The “Nothing Showing Debate”

Amongst the debates in the Fire Service, one sticks out to me the most, the Nothing Showing Debate. There are some out there that suggest we get rid of the term “Nothing Showing” from our Brief Initial Report (BIR).

I personally believe we should NOT eliminate this term. We should say what side of the building we are reporting from, as well as that this is only an exterior view.

NIST & UL have shown, as well as countless YouTube videos, that fires go Ventilation-Limited quicker, usually before our arrival, causing us to see “nothing showing”. There is a video out there of a test burn in Chicago, which there is no smoke or fire showing, the initial arriving crews open the door, and a large amount of smoke then becomes visible form the second floor, and the fire “re-ignites”.

If you have members that are slowing down, or De-Gearing because we say this term, the problem is NOT with the term itself, it’s with the complacent ridden, non-training attitude, and Leadership of your officers and department heads. Members should ALWAYS be in a “combat Ready”, “expect fire” Mindset.

So what do we do about this? I personally think it comes down to 1 thing… TRAINING! Officers and Firefighters alike must be trained and educated, and we must break this complacent mindset that Nothing Showing means it’s a False Alarm, or nothing going on.

There are countless examples over the years of department’s being complacent, thus getting into trouble and Not being Ready when they pull, up at the building they run 5 times a day for Burnt food, and Automatic Alarms and suddenly find heavy fire blowing from the 15th floor. YOU ARE ALREADY BEHIND THE 8 BALL!

The Point is you must be ready for the WORST POSSIBLE fire of your career, on EVERY run you respond to. You Must “Expect Fire”!

Until Next time Train Hard, and Stay Safe.

11-25-14 Daily Run Down

Good Read HERE about oriented VEIS, a Case study, as well as some data. No Matter the size of your department VEIS could be a viable tactic, granted you have good training behind how, when and where to use it.

What is the Risk for Using Ground Ladder rescue at Multi-Family Dwellings? Read This! Also HERE is the EFO paper behind the idea.

Nice video, HERE, on the Triple Layer and an alternative method for stretching the hose in a area with little space.

Drill HERE on RIT Rescue using the Attic Ladder Also Read THIS for Some more Firefighter Rescue Drills

The Fundamentals of Going through the Lock for Forcible Entry is discussed HERE

There are Many Construction Concerns with Adhesives in Manufactured Lumber HERE

Today we Remember the Line of Duty Death of Firefighter Maurice Bartholemew, from Pensacola, FL FD. PLEASE take some time to read about the incident, BUT ALSO WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT IN YOUR OWN DEPARTMENT. Do Not Let Maurice’s Death be in vain! READ THIS

Remembering Firefighter Maurice Bartholemew LODD 11-25-00

Today we Remember the Line of Duty Death of Firefighter Maurice Bartholemew, from Pensacola, FL FD.

PLEASE take some time to read about the incident, BUT ALSO WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT IN YOUR OWN DEPARTMENT. Do Not Let Maurice’s Death be in vain!

“Firefighter Maurice Bartholemew made the ultimate sacrifice on 11-25-2000 while making the initial interior attack assigned to the nozzle. Engine 5, his company, was first to arrive at a 1200 sq ft house fire with entrapment. Maurice stretched the first attack line and advanced through the front door and down the hallway. He advanced to the last bedroom on the left and that is where the nozzle was located after the fire was extinguished. The initial attack line never made it to the fire. While he was in this room a PPV was started at the front door and conditions started to change. The Officer and door firefighter exited and once outside realized he had not followed them out. He some how got off the line and searched his way right into the main body of fire. It was nearly an hour before he was located.

This FIRE is not uncommon in the American Fire Service and happens multiple times a year. The problem is we do not study and share what happens. We must share and learn from each and every one of them. Engine Tactics must become a priority and the Instructors of this Great profession must make Engine Training a top priority. Firefighters are getting killed more and more on the initial attack line. Their last words sometimes are its hot and we can’t see.”

HERE is an Article

HERE is the NIOSH Report


Line of Duty Death 11-19-14

Arthur “Art” E. Treon

County Fire Coordinator Treon responded to a working multi-family dwelling fire. While operating as fire coordinator, Treon began experiencing chest pains and difficulty breathing and was transported by EMS to Cape Region Medical Center for a suspected heart attack. Fire Coordinator Treon was admitted for possible pneumonia but subsequently passed away at approximately 2230hrs on 11/19/2014 from a nature and cause of injury still to be reported.

Cape May County Office of Emergency Management,  Cape May Court House, New Jersey.

Fatality status is provisional and may change.

Age: 62
Rank: County Fire Coordinator / Deputy OEM Coordinator
Classification: Career
Incident Date: Nov 18, 2014 20:19
Date of Death: Nov 19, 2014
Cause of Death: Unknown
Nature of Death: Unknown

11-21-14 Rundown

Do You know what to do when one of our own goes down inside a fire building? Take a Look at Firefighter CPR while in full turnouts HERE. GO OUT AND TRAIN WITH THIS! Watch This Fireground Close call when Lt. Mike Polaski Went into Cardiac Arrest while fighting a basement Fire in Columbus, Ohio HERE

As the cold weather is upon us here in the North, Take some time and read some Cold Weather Tips HERE (more to come about this)

Make sure to catch the upcoming webcasts by FDIC, Fire Engineering, and Firehouse. The top 20 Tactical Considerations from Research is on 12-23-14 HERE, Duty to Act on 12-16-14 HERE, Red Flags on the Fireground on 12-11-14 HERE

We have all Heard the saying “don’t Truss, the Truss” But do we really know what it means when we are on the Fireground Read This, and Go through all the Resources HERE

Refresh on Ground ladder Selection and Use HERE

Do you have a plan on fighting School Fires? With all the other “normal” Fireground Hazards, there is an increased life hazard, especially if School is in session, Read THIS

Test your knowledge with this simulation of a Vacant Multi-Family Residential HERE

The Engine company and the power of 1 HERE

Weekly Company Drill on Oriented Search HERE

New Drill HERE on New Construction and New Tactics

Today’s Training Tip: “We try to not fight the fire we have now, but fight the fire we’ll have in 10 minutes.” -Clark Lamping

Line of Duty Death 11-20-14

Samir “Sam” P. Ashmar

Several hours after responding to a medical call, Fire Marshal Ashmar was found in cardiac arrest at his residence. Ashmar was treated and transported by fellow responders to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest where he succumbed to his injury.

Upper Macungie Township Station 56, Inc.    Allenton, Pennsylvania

Fatality status is provisional and may change.

Age: 51
Rank: Fire Marshal
Classification: Volunteer
Incident Date: Nov 20, 2014 12:30
Date of Death: Nov 20, 2014
Cause of Death: Stress/Overexertion
Nature of Death: Heart Attack

New SLICERS “Stuff”

There has been a couple of articles posted this week pertaining to new science, flowpaths, and SLICERS.

All i’m saying is look at and read them, if you agree or disagree. This is just another Tool in the toolbox. Take this stuff back, and See What Works For You. 

A Fire in an occupied dwelling back in time, water on the fire was the same whether in 2006 or 2014

The Facts on SLICE-RS

Who Looks after the Victims?

Line of Duty Death 11-18-14

James Foote

Upon returning inside of the station to get warm after cutting down two trees on the fire department grounds, Firefighter Foote fell ill and collapsed. Medical assistance was provided by fellow responders and Foote was transported to Cobleskill Hospital where he later passed away of a heart attack.

Summit Fire Department, Summit, New York

Fatality status is provisional and may change.

Age: 57
Rank: Firefighter
Classification: Volunteer
Incident Date: Nov 18, 2014 19:51
Date of Death: Nov 18, 2014
Cause of Death: Stress/Overexertion
Nature of Death: Heart Attack

Line of Duty Death 11-16-14

Alejandro Castro

Pump Operator/Paramedic Castro was found unresponsive while on-duty inside of Brownsville Fire Station 8. Castro had succumbed in the fire station to a nature and cause of fatal injury still to be determined.

Brownsville Fire Department 

Brownsville, Texas

Fatality status is provisional and may change.

Age: 40
Rank: Pump Operator/Paramedic
Classification: Career
Incident Date: Nov 16, 2014 22:30
Date of Death: Nov 16, 2014
Cause of Death: Unknown
Nature of Death: Unknown


Line of Duty Death 11-15-14

Richard Weisse, Sr.

A short time after responding to a school fire alarm, Firefighter Weisse suffered a medical emergency and passed away. The nature and cause of death are pending further investigation.

Department Information

St. James Fire District
St. James, New York

Fatality status is provisional and may change.

Age: 59
Rank: Firefighter
Classification: Volunteer
Incident Date: Nov 15, 2014 11:00
Date of Death: Nov 15, 2014
Cause of Death: Unknown
Nature of Death: Unknown

Line of Duty Death 11-15-14

Christopher Hunter

Lieutenant Hunter responded to his last alarm at 0305 hours on 11/14/2014. At 0152 hours the next day Lieutenant Hunter suffered a cardiac arrest at home. He was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Department Information

Cinnaminson Fire Department, Cinnaminson, New Jersey

Fatality status is provisional and may change.

Age: 38
Rank: Lieutenant
Classification: Career
Incident Date: Nov 14, 2014 03:05
Date of Death: Nov 15, 2014
Cause of Death: Stress/Overexertion
Nature of Death: Heart Attack

11-15-14 Run Down

The number of firefighter injuries declined 5.1% last year. In 2013, 65,880 firefighter injuries occurred. A breakdown showed 29,760 occurred during fireground operations, while 11,800 happened while doing other on duty activities. Another 12,535 were hurt at non-emergency incidents.The leading type of injury was strain, sprain or muscular pain (55.3%), followed by wound, cut, bleeding, bruise (13.8%). Regionally, the Northeast had the highest fireground injury rate. Read the Full Report HERE. Firehouse Article HERE

New Drill HERE on One Person Forcible Entry with an Aluminium Wedge

What would you do if you have a fire in an old auto garage? Test your Knowledge HERE

Are you ready for a fire on your Main Street? Read This

How to utilize Roll-up doors for entry and egress during Fire Operations 

Do you know what some of the Clues and Cues are of a Hoarder Fire? Read This

Read HERE about Pros and Precautions of using the 2 1/2″. Also Read HERE about the Last Call Foundation

The Residential Building is our Enemy, We need to know our enemy Read this! Also along the same topic, if you don’t have it, Consider 25 to Survive: Reducing Residential Fire Injury and LODD. ITS WORTH IT.

Renewing the Fire Service Tradition, Starts with you 

NIOSH Releases West, Texas LODD Report

NIOSH has recently released the LODD report from West, Texas in April of 2013, which killed 10 Firefighters in an Ammonium Nitrite Explosion.

Contributing Factors Include:

  •     Non-recognition of the hazards associated with ammonium nitrate
  •     Limited pre-incident planning of commercial facility
  •     Fire quickly spread to an un-controllable size
  •     Approximately 40-60 tons of solid ammonium nitrate unexpectedly detonated
  •     Responders working within blast radius at time of explosion
  •     Large non-sprinklered, wood construction, commercial structure

Key Recommendations Include:

  •     Fire departments should conduct pre-incident planning inspections of buildings within their jurisdiction to facilitate development of safe fireground strategies and tactics, especially for high hazard / high risk structures and occupancies
  •     Fire departments should have a written risk management plan, use risk management principles at all structure fires and especially at incidents involving high risk hazards
  •     Fire departments should develop, implement and enforce a written Incident Management System to be followed at all emergency incident operations
  •     Fire departments should ensure that fire fighters wear a full array of turnout clothing and personal protective equipment appropriate for the assigned tasks
  •     Fire departments should ensure that fire fighters are trained to standards that meet or exceed NFPA 1001 Standard for Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications.

Please Take some time to Read the NIOSH Report HERE

Article from FFN HERE

FR1 Article HERE

OSHA also Cited the Plant for some Safety Violations HERE


Line Of Duty Death 11-12-14

James Bethea

At 0028hrs, firefighters responded to a vacant rowhouse fire. Lieutenant Bethea, the safety officer, arrived at the scene at 0043hrs. A few minutes later, the fire was deemed to be under control and by 0334hrs, all units were recalled to fire stations or other emergencies. Around 0700hrs, a former auxiliary firefighter who drove by observed that Bethea’s fire department SUV was still at the scene. Officials returned and found Bethea’s body in the basement of a vacant home next door to where the fire occurred. Investigation into the incident and cause of death continues.

Department Information

Baltimore City Fire Department
Baltimore, Maryland

Fatality status is provisional and may change 

Age: 62
Rank: Lieutenant
Classification: Career
Incident Date: Nov 12, 2014 07:00
Date of Death: Nov 12, 2014

Cause of Death:

Nature of Death: Unknown
Activity Type: Scene Safety

RFB- Never Forgeet

11-12-14 Run Down

New Drill HERE about the Kinked Hoseline, and how to overcome it.

2 Part series HERE and HERE about the 8 Fundamentals of Extrication.

Great articles from Captain Dave LeBlanc about our psychological and physiological response to stress. Part 1, Part 2

Check this article about Fire Restive Floor and Ceilings HERE

Take a Read HERE about how the Coconut Grove fire of 1942, still has many lessons learned.

Good ideas for some indoor drills about SCBA Drags and Removal’s HERE

How do we implement SLICERS, as well as New Fireground Tactics HERE