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Video: Arrival of fire chief to apartment blaze

The chief is able to knock out most of the fire before handing over the line to another firefighter

By FireRescue1 Staff

NATALBANY, La. — Video shows a La. fire chief arriving to the scene of an apartment blaze.

The Natalbany Fire Department chief is the first to arrive, followed by a firefighter and a pumper truck at the Monday fire.

The chief is able to knock out most of the flames before giving the line to the accompanying firefighter. reports that details about possible injuries and cause were not readily available.

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Erich LeRoy Erich LeRoy Friday, December 07, 2012 5:51:21 PM that bitch is burning!
Ray Kulpa Jr. Ray Kulpa Jr. Friday, December 07, 2012 5:54:23 PM no scene security by PD? lovely
Michael A Booth Michael A Booth Friday, December 07, 2012 6:02:51 PM awsome job by the cheif.I have been in that position befor only one on truck. Had more help coming but just have to remember to keep a cool head and get the job done.
Jim Doodle Ramous Jim Doodle Ramous Friday, December 07, 2012 6:07:32 PM Awesome job!
Karl Deweese Karl Deweese Friday, December 07, 2012 6:12:00 PM Some thing I don't understand. Why had no one checked the resident to the right of that fire to see if any one was in side. And is it just me but I just seen one person on that truck and it took him the whole video time to get geared up! Just saying. Great job on the Chiefs side though!
Larry Karp Larry Karp Friday, December 07, 2012 6:17:38 PM Doesn't anyone else think the chief should have geared up? Is it really ok for firefighters to fight a structure fire even from the exterior without gear? What's inside that unit? chemicals? pressure tanks? Flammables? Right, we don't know. Nice job on the knockdown but would his community have to pay his medical bills if he got injured?
Brock Hansen Brock Hansen Friday, December 07, 2012 6:19:27 PM Why was that chief anywhere near that fire without his ppe? And what took the other firefighter so long to get his gear on?
KD Photos KD Photos Friday, December 07, 2012 6:26:27 PM OK! Chief had no head gear on atleast for his safety to protect his face! No one went to unit to the right to make sure no one was inside! And the one man on the truck seems to have taken a little time to get geared up. Is it just me seeing the pros and cons here?
KD Photos KD Photos Friday, December 07, 2012 6:29:17 PM OK Fire Fighters! Watch the video and tell me what you think.... I think it speaks for itself on a few things.
Bruce Dash Bruce Dash Friday, December 07, 2012 6:34:23 PM My stomach hurts from watching this video. So glad they showed so many things we all can learn from. The bigggest issue is if the Chief Officers are doing this , we have many not learned the Incident Command System at all. A funding issue or training issue?
Russell Bunger Russell Bunger Friday, December 07, 2012 6:38:43 PM Probably a small rural town that has a small PD or is served by a Sheriffs Department. No one may have been in the area. ANyone notice the guy who got out of the car, seemed to be the one who went over and was running the pump panel while the ff got bunked out.
Allen John Cameron Allen John Cameron Friday, December 07, 2012 6:47:32 PM SIR! GEAR! You are serving in a leadreship role, and must set the example! Would you let a probie do this? Then don't TEACH it to the probies! (Ours are learning from you, too!)
Dean Kaitschuck Dean Kaitschuck Friday, December 07, 2012 6:49:07 PM Don't hash the political stuff or liability boys... enjoy the fact he was American enough to do what was right and work the fire... :) I would have too. Wouldn't you?
Shieldon P. Guy Shieldon P. Guy Friday, December 07, 2012 6:57:58 PM If I'm not mistaken it took him 3 minutes to gear up.
Gordon Graham Gordon Graham Friday, December 07, 2012 7:07:14 PM I'm loving all the harsh comments. He did what he did, since when do we fight fires by the books? Everyone can say what you want but he did what he thought was right. Not everyone serves a department with 4 full time guys on a truck. There's not always going to be back up. He did an outstanding job of putting a stop on the fire that could have taken the whole building
Dean Kaitschuck Dean Kaitschuck Friday, December 07, 2012 7:10:04 PM Would you let the building burn up the whole block while you waited for other incoming companies??
Steve Treimer Steve Treimer Friday, December 07, 2012 7:14:49 PM Who jumps in any engine without their bunker pants on, officer or otherwise? Takes 3 seconds to grab your helmet. FF1 teaches you to put SCBA on in 1 minute so it takes 2 in the real world, who isn't doing that in the back seat en route? Chief should be running the pump and commanding the scene, communicating. Yeah, we ALL want to eat fire but we KNOW better than to be cowboys today, when training helps us do the right things in the same amount of time.
Dean Kaitschuck Dean Kaitschuck Friday, December 07, 2012 7:19:16 PM Bruce, we never know the full details when responding to a news report such as this. Is it a staffing issue? Is it policy that Chief's don't carry gear in their cars, or is it a insurance/cost issue? Was there some other factor we can't think of before we place a judgment for this incident? I agree, the Chief should have had his gear, but also having fought many fires before, know he might not have had other incoming units or the amount of personnel luxury other departments get. (notice the second incoming unit was a Tanker truck. Was daytime staffing low?) My estimation is that he did more to save the spread of the fire to adjoining units, possibly saving more life and property, than if he had followed ICS principles to the fullest. Sometimes, we have to step in, and do rather than wait. My fear would have been had he NOT acted, what would the risk have been for spread to the other exposures. He fought it from outside, the smoke was above his head, he stayed low, and he showed good thinking and training for his actions. No matter the "proper" thing to normally do, he did what any competent firefighter would/should have done for my estimate. Having over 15 years experience in a major city department (IL) I can attest to the fact sometimes you have things that require unorthodox methods. Sometimes, we just need to think outside the box :)
Gary Bowker Gary Bowker Friday, December 07, 2012 7:28:38 PM Yep, the chief stopped the fire, but at what cost? Haven't we learned anything? If your running that short of personnel you'd better be showing up dressed for the party and able to place a game plan into action based upon your very limited staffing resources. With proper PPE in place, a quick 360, and a quick primary after knock down, this could have been a great example of doing the best you can with what youv'e got to work with.
Dean Kaitschuck Dean Kaitschuck Friday, December 07, 2012 7:30:52 PM 15146 Firestation RD. PO Box 337. Natalbany, LA 70451. County: Tangipahoa Fire Department Type: Mostly Volunteer. Number of Fire Stations: 2 -The population was 1,739 at the 2000 census. Based on proper information, BEFORE making a judgement, here we find the dept is volunteer, and a smaller department, justfying the chief's actions for not having daytime staff to properly proceed as a normal fully staffed department would have. My only professional addition would be the gear. Carry it in your vehicle, because you never know when you're going to need it. Before we judge, let's get on board for having more information than just what is presented before we armchair the fire boys. :) Google it! lol
Fredrick Hageman Fredrick Hageman Friday, December 07, 2012 7:41:26 PM Under the circumstances I would say that all did a good job and the building was saved. Gotta do what you gotta do.
Ed McKeown Ed McKeown Friday, December 07, 2012 7:42:48 PM Anyone else notice the guy who took over the pump? I have a feeling he isn't part of the department. Maybe another firefighter from somewhere else and just saw a need a jumped in. He seemed to get a little direction from the driver on the pump operation and then took over and even connected a supply line. Nice job.
Alex Gerarve Alex Gerarve Friday, December 07, 2012 7:42:48 PM I really love how some of you "brother firefighters" can make all of these perfect decisions watching one camera view. What you don't know or see is that there was a mother and her 1 year old son rescued from this scene. That might be why the Chief is doing what he is doing. He might be using his training "risk a little to save a little, risk a lot to save a lot" I think that this department did an outstanding job based on how short handed they seem to be. I also am glad that a mother and child were not lost because this chief had to follow all of the rules he read in a book. I sure hope that if my family is ever experiencing this type of emergency that this chief is the one who respondes and not some of you "Certified Paper Firefighters"! Thanks for your service Chief!
Scott Thompson Scott Thompson Friday, December 07, 2012 7:47:55 PM You must alway drive in your gear. More than once we have been dispatched out to a job when we were out in class Bs. If you watch the vid. The operator has his bunkers on under A min. And was flowing water. He then was setting his truck up the once he got his pack he has it on in under a min. Looks to me like they did what they had to do not all department have Chief officers who will pick up a hose with or without gear and I know for a fact not all departments have the 4 man rigs with 30 stations. Welcome to the real world of deal with what you have with what you got.
Steven Guilbert Steven Guilbert Friday, December 07, 2012 7:53:45 PM Wow ! thats all I can say ! Your a training Officer ? IAFF ?
Alicia Gerarve Alicia Gerarve Friday, December 07, 2012 8:03:25 PM Yes Steven he is a training officer and a great one at that so back off and shut your mouth !!!!! Any department would be lucky to have him !!!!!!!!
Barry Roberts Greer Barry Roberts Greer Friday, December 07, 2012 8:19:30 PM Chief putting himself at risk is one thing, but if he's knocked out of action and can't direct operations because he is wearing no PPE, then he's helping no one. Had similar experience as first on a nozzle at an asphalt plant tank fire. I wore PPE. Backup arrived and walked right up next to me wearing no protection. If the fire blew out toward us, he'd be fried and neither of us would be of use. He'd be down, and I'd be dragging him out of danger. He helped no one. I yelled at him to get gear on, so he left and returned wearing a turnout coat. Nothing else. A very fine line separates a fool and a hero.
Robert Homman Robert Homman Friday, December 07, 2012 8:27:22 PM While watching the video, does give some "talking points" the chief did an awesome job. Probably should not have walked in the building without PPE but the work he did outside was stand up and bought occupants times along with saving the building. Having "been there done that" in the volunteer setting there is only so much you can do. One guy on a truck does not bode well for anybody. One comment I saw was risk a lot to save a lot.....too many times that is what it comes down to. Good job to all involved.
Brandon DeVore Brandon DeVore Friday, December 07, 2012 9:03:33 PM No comment about fire chief and no gear lol
Justin Alvarez Justin Alvarez Friday, December 07, 2012 10:49:48 PM Dont know the ENTIRE story, but IMO if your a by the book "certified paper firefighter" you have no business having a uniform. the things the books left out was the human factor and the unorthidox/extreme situation sections. No amount of book time or training can 100% accurately prepare you for real life situations. more i would like to say but i wont...A+ Chief!
Paul Schewene Paul Schewene Friday, December 07, 2012 11:31:04 PM The Chief did the following... 1.) 3 sided initial arrival assessment 2.) Personal size up of the entire situation, including resources available, what the fire was going to do without immediate action, and what it would do if action was taken. 3.) Executed decisions for life safety, incident stabilization and property conservation, while minimizing risk to himself, the public, and the responders. You can fight a fire SAFELY in a JOCK STRAP if you recognize what you CAN safely do, so attired, and what you cannot...and behave accordingly, with DUE REGARD for the risks. On the other hand, you can sit on your butt... waiting for resources to arrive... pulling gear on... playing games like firefighters do today stretching supply lines and taking all day to get it done... while the fire merrily continues to double, if not triple in size, every minute... creating GREATER RISKS to firefighters and public. The Chief did A HELL OF A JOB, across the board... and did it without brain-dead heroics... It's people like that fire chief that I'd want on ANY scene where it was MY bacon on the line. I'd gladly work under him any day of the week, in any situation, just from what I saw of how he handles himself when the situation isn't optimal.
Andrew Melvin Andrew Melvin Saturday, December 08, 2012 1:02:02 AM You can't do a primary without three other firefighters; he did a great job of getting it under control and not letting it spread. I come from a small volunteer department where this stuff happens all the time. Get over the whole "books" part of your training and do what is right!
Tom Whittier Tom Whittier Saturday, December 08, 2012 4:08:03 AM A million years ago I was an on-call FF/EMT then a Union Jake and training officer blah blah. Did the Chief fail to use PPE, activate the ICS, blah blah blah? Yup. Did he put himself in harms way? Yup. did he get the job done with out any further damage or death? Yup. Many of you see the good in this but for those finger pointers, go back to watching Emergency with an IFSTA book on your lap. If you haven't done something stupid on the fireground yet then you haven't been on the job long enough. Boils down to 40 square miles, 1700 people, volunteer department closest mutual aid 20 minutes away. Saving lives and kicking ass is what its about. And the pump operator? The guy's doing the job of 2-3 all at once while people are screaming what have you because the biggest residential building in town is on fire and there's a report of people trapped. Job got done, lives and property saved...leave it at that. Good job Natalbany FD.
Joanne Folks Joanne Folks Saturday, December 08, 2012 5:43:09 AM Alex, what a good way to say it. Young firefighters forget that the Chiefs are in their position for a reason. They were fighting fires before all the new gear and the multiple trucks and the young firefighter were even born. Fires and rescues did not start just 10-12 years ago. When the "old schoolers" as they are sometimes called, do things a little different or give advice about a scene it is not because of their rank. It is because they have been there before many times and know what they are talking about and they still know how to do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Life sometimes can wait for someone to put on gear. Wisdom is not taught in a classroom, it is taught through life experiences.
Edward M Williams Edward M Williams Saturday, December 08, 2012 7:21:50 AM Sometimes you "adjust" on the fly, just ask Allen West about that.
Gary Bowker Gary Bowker Saturday, December 08, 2012 9:48:43 AM Young man, I don't know how long you've been in the fire service, but I hope you have a long and healthy career. Going home to your family is what's right.
Matt Stumpf Matt Stumpf Saturday, December 08, 2012 10:13:45 PM Guess what. We don't. We burn our own gas, leave our paying jobs, haul ass and if we get hurt we use our own medical insurance and get fixed so we can do it again. That's how we roll in South Louisiana back in the sticks. As a matter of fact, that's how we roll all over the country in little 8 man volunteer departments. Good job chief and kudos from district 6 Livingston.
Robert Bickle Robert Bickle Sunday, December 09, 2012 6:36:09 AM Firefighting and war fighting are very similar. In the end, it's about winning the battle, minimizing collateral damage, and bringing your team home in one piece...sometimes you got to improvise if you are to do that.
Nathan Enyart Nathan Enyart Sunday, December 09, 2012 8:21:38 AM Some of you need to get it together cupcakes! WE do what we need to do to get the job done. I have done this crap before. I am still here. OUr old Chief has done this back in the day. Used to be you could put your SCBA's on and crap while enroute to the scene so now you can't. SO you do what you gotta do. Chief did what he had to do. knocked down the fire till he could get his men on the attack line. NOW if he would of waited everyone one would be saying what took so long to get water flowing. Why didn't someone do something. So it's a no win situation.
Tom Whittier Tom Whittier Sunday, December 09, 2012 8:38:58 AM 25 years in Public Safety Gary
Larry Karp Larry Karp Sunday, December 09, 2012 9:43:28 AM Wow, what an attitude Matt, you must really be a firemans fireman. Haul ass and don't worry if you get hurt? You're one fireman or officer I don't want to have lead me into an IDLH atmosphere. It's that ultra macho attitude that gets firefighters killed in this country. How about take a step back, evaluate the situation, put on your protective gear and and make a calculated decision whether to fight the fire interior or exterior all based on your training. Tha'ts how we fight fires when we actually have training and care about the well being of our partners and our families. I say bad job chief, he could have spent 30 seconds to put his gear on.
Joy D. Burns Joy D. Burns Wednesday, April 09, 2014 10:18:49 PM I work not far from this. A girl who works with me lived there. The Fire Chief comes into where I work alot. I say great job cause no lives were lost and the building was: about 30 yrs old, made of pine and from what I've been told generally a slum. Was a fast moving fire-she was able to get herself and her yougest child who wasn't at school out but they lost all their possessions. The Natalbany Volunteer Fire Dept is a small department but these guys work their butts off. I know cause I'm always seeing them responding to accidents, fires, etc all day. Very brave men and woman.

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