Lessons learned from an apartment fire collapse and mayday in January
Glendale Fire Department
On January 16, 2020 at 1448 hours Glendale Fire Department resources were dispatched to reports of an unknown type fire at 140 Carr Drive. When the first unit arrived on scene (E23) they reported a two-story Pre-33 Center Hall with smoke showing on the initial size-up and victims trapped on the second floor on a follow-up report. The fire was in the fully developed stage and was located in the lower portion of the structure with heavy smoke throughout the first and second floors. It would later be determined that the building also had a basement with active fire.
FirefighterNation: Rescues and Mayday at California Apartment Fire
The first arriving companies not only encountered a fire problem they encountered an immediate rescue problem. As other resources began to arrive on scene the first on scene Captain (IC) deployed the additional resources to support an offensive posture in the rescue mode, requested a water supply, additional resources and set a staging location. During the fire it was not communicated until approximately seventeen minutes into the incident that the fire was below the first floor in the basement area and firefighters were attempting to conduct firefighting and search and rescue operations on the first floor with fire below them.
During the firefight, there was a lost/separated firefighter that lost contact with his company for an extended period of time (approximately two to three minutes). The company was transitioning from an interior assignment of search and rescue operations on the second floor to an assignment exterior on Sub-Division 1 (basement level). Members involved attempted to make contact via the radio, but were never able to get out. No “Mayday” or “E-trigger” for a lost or missing firefighter was initiated by any of the involved members and the Incident Commander (IC) was never informed of the situation.
Forty minutes into the firefight the first floor collapsed, a Glendale Fire Captain and Glendale Firefighter that was attempting to rescue the Captain fell through the floor from the first floor into the basement. The firefighter suffered multiple soft tissue injuries and required surgery to remove some debris from his left wrist. The Captain suffered second-degree burns to both wrists and was treated and released from a local area hospital and received follow-up care from Grossman Burn Center. Both employees have made a full recovery and are back to full duty.