Firefighting, Leadership

“Nothing Showing” Does Not Always Mean No Fire Inside

Issue 7 and Volume 170.

By Marc Aloan On a seemingly normal afternoon, units are dispatched to a report of a structure fire. It has been a rather busy day, and this is just one of many active incidents in the jurisdiction. The first engine arrives at the dispatched address and observes three sides of the structure from the cab. The officer of the first engine relays its arrival to the dispatcher, “Nothing showing on a one-story, wood-frame structure,” and that he is establishing command. Based on his initial findings, the company officer cancels the rest of the assignment. After further investigation, the odor of smoke is noted near the structure, and soot-stained windows are found on the alpha side. Realizing there are signs of a working fire, the company officer is now forced to request that the cancelled companies be put back on the alarm and to play catch-up on a fire that already…

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