Initial Attack on an Abandoned Building in Stockton

Crews arrived on scene to a single-story, abandoned building with heavy fire showing from the Alpha side.

Helmet cam video from Engine Company 2

Stockton Fire History Originals

On December 25th, 2020, Stockton Firefighters responded to reports of a structure fire on Channel Street. Crews arrived on scene to a single-story, abandoned building with heavy fire showing from the Alpha side. Crews made entry to the property and initiated fire attack. Firefighters determined the Charlie side as the best access to the interior of the structure and repositioned the line for entry. The main fire was knocked down within 15 minutes of the initial 9-1-1 call.

Stockton Firefighters routinely respond to fire in buildings that are abandoned. The philosophy of the department is that the fire started somehow, and that there may be Life threatened inside the structure. Within reason, crews that arrive on scene to these fire will commit to an aggressive interior attack to save any possible life and remaining property.

The Stockton Fire Department Engine Operations Manual states:

“The vast majority of boarded up structures should be considered occupied, abandoned structures. As with any first in district, pre-fire planning is essential, however, for fires in abandoned buildings it must be an ongoing process. Changes occur to these structures more rapidly than other structures due to vandals, homeless looking for shelter (squatters), neglect, or previous fires. Many hazards are associated with these buildings, with life hazard being the priority; they should be treated as occupied structures during the initial attack.”

“Squatters get into these buildings from inconspicuous places, usually in the rear of the structure, as such, initial access and fire attack is considered advantageous using this location. Abandoned structures typically stay more secure in the front as vandals or squatters don’t want to be seen.”

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The Stockton Fire Department consists of 12 firehouses that protect 350,000 citizens. Stockton Firefighters respond to approximately 50,000 emergencies annually; including an average of one working structure fire a day.

Stockton Firefighters are proud to serve and protect the citizens and City of Stockton, CA.

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