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Video: Ground ladder collapses, crew falls

Firefighters preparing to ventilate a house fire fall when their ground ladder gives way

By FireRescue1 Staff

QUEBEC — Video shows firefighters battling a house blaze with two firefighters using a ground ladder to climb to the roof of the home.

When the two firefighters try to access the roof for ventilation, the ladder suddenly gives way sending both firefighters to the ground.

Other firefighters rush to help; the extent of their injuries is unclear.

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.
Farrell Hyman Farrell Hyman Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:06:38 AM This is why you need someone on the bottom holding the ladder.
Patrick Senerchia Patrick Senerchia Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:07:23 AM What are they making the roof for?
Farrell Hyman Farrell Hyman Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:08:06 AM do you mean why are they cutting the roof?
Walter Cascone Walter Cascone Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:08:15 AM I don't understand why they were making a hole, the house had already vented...
Jeff Hester Jeff Hester Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:09:28 AM Lets see- Snow and ice on the driveway, two people on the ladder- with NOBODY butting the ladder. Sorry for the injuries, but you had twenty other people in the garage and no one could grab the bottom of the ladder. Not safe.
Peter Muir Peter Muir Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:11:14 AM Foot the Ladder and then that don't happen! tut tut tut.
Deborah Tinter-Dietrich Deborah Tinter-Dietrich Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:14:50 AM Okay 101..... Really? Where were the others spotting the ladder for them? And why..oh why..oh why..were they cutting another place in the roof for ventilation? When it was already vented? And why oh why..were there firefighters there in the garage..underneath..try to use their pike poles to.vent the ceiling? Really? I belive I need to come and teach some safety to this fire department....
Ben Zoppa Ben Zoppa Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:15:06 AM I don't know if this is a lack of discipline, training, leadership, or all three, but this was completely avoidable with this much manpower on scene. I will be showing this at training tonight....
John Lang John Lang Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:15:16 AM Ok not to monday morning qtrback. But who was chief in charge and why would you allow anyone on that roof after its vented. Also why wasnt the ladder either secured or footed by another ff? Safety is allways everyones job. Injuries like this should never happen. This was preventable.
Tony Snyder Tony Snyder Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:15:39 AM what are they doing. the fire is thru the roof.self vented. there is no fire in the garage so why would you ever think of cutting a hole there. hint hint the snow on the roof isn't melted. this is the stupid shit that kill people killed.
Jarrett Carey Jarrett Carey Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:18:37 AM Back to Recruit school and NPQ basics....HEEL THE LADDER!
Scott Mewborn Scott Mewborn Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:24:42 AM WOW, The last thing I want to be is a Monday morning quarterback but DANG! Where to start hum Why would you want to vent that roof? it's already vented and why so many people waling around doing nothing and why wasn't someone healing that ladder? If I were that home owner I would have been really mad at what the firefighters weren't doing. They helped burn that home down.
Jared Clark Jared Clark Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:31:07 AM I'm sorry to say, after seeing this video the accident was inevitable.
Terry Moody Terry Moody Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:37:08 AM Another one for STUPID FIREMEN TRICKS. And people wonder why we have SOPs.
Daniel O' Connell Daniel O' Connell Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:48:54 AM Looks like they were trying to get at some fire in the ridge area, the guys inside the garage are pulling stuff I'm guessing they were trying to vent? or find fire in the ridge to fight? not sure doesn't make any sense with the roaring inferno in front of them...oh and no leg lock for #2, no using the roof ladder, noone footing the ladder...why no master streams at the roof too? What a mess....ah Canadians for ya....
Daniel O' Connell Daniel O' Connell Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:50:24 AM Adding insult to injury looks like the saw landed on #2 there when they fell. Nice.
Daniel O' Connell Daniel O' Connell Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:51:35 AM why no C-spine precautions either? What's up with the medical training of these guys?
Tommy Shaw Tommy Shaw Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:55:04 AM Ok here we go on this one. Why decide to vent when fire is through the roof of the majority of the structure? There is also obvious collapse of a good portion of the roof. 2. Why cut a hole over the fully ventilated uninvovled garage space? 3. A ground ladder on an asphalt driveway with no tie off or somebody footing the ladder. This one is obviously a lost cause guys! Get some master streams into place and focus on saving the block! I think videos like these in the future could cause a laugh for insurance companies while they stamp a deny on your claim!
Joe Morphew Joe Morphew Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:58:13 AM wow. I hope they are okay, but this is like a video of what not to do, venting a roof that is already vented, no one holding the ladder on a icy driveway, this never should have happened.
Ken Gittens Ken Gittens Wednesday, December 05, 2012 10:00:17 AM Momma always said..."if you don't have anything good to say, then don't say anything". Taking mommas' advice
Stephanie Stultz Hankins Stephanie Stultz Hankins Wednesday, December 05, 2012 10:08:49 AM These guys need to go back through training... holy shit.
Ryan Allen Ryan Allen Wednesday, December 05, 2012 10:17:39 AM ummmm LADDERS 101.... FOOT THE LADDER.
Chris Petres Chris Petres Wednesday, December 05, 2012 10:28:15 AM
Rodney Shirley Rodney Shirley Wednesday, December 05, 2012 10:31:21 AM No need for a vent! And no on healing the ladder...I hope the safety Officer watched this and hope brothers are ok.
Kurtis Cook Kurtis Cook Wednesday, December 05, 2012 10:31:29 AM I could see the problem before they even clinmbed. Ladder angle was way off and not having someone heeling the ladder. That was a disaster waiting to happen.
Greg Embrick Greg Embrick Wednesday, December 05, 2012 10:39:27 AM yea snow and ice played fact but also there was no one holding the ladder at the bottom any firefighter knows when using ground ladders u always have a anchor man at bottom.
John Guerrera John Guerrera Wednesday, December 05, 2012 11:08:03 AM um where if the water hose?
Jarrod Monette Jarrod Monette Wednesday, December 05, 2012 11:15:14 AM officers besides doesn't make sense to me, typical french man, making us quebecers look stupid! should of never happened!
Michael Tremblay Michael Tremblay Wednesday, December 05, 2012 11:23:22 AM Uhm, the structure was already vented. This looks like a lightweight construction home, which means at this point, it is probably a defensive attack only. I see guys running a handline on the outside of the structure - why? The strategy should have been go through windows and safe portions of the house and try to push the fire into the area already involved. I'll bet this house went into the basement....
David Grace David Grace Wednesday, December 05, 2012 11:43:53 AM Stupid Queebs
Richard Speakman Richard Speakman Wednesday, December 05, 2012 11:47:06 AM well sorry guys I hope your ok but you couldve tied that ladder safety first,
Jonathan Upton Jonathan Upton Wednesday, December 05, 2012 12:17:54 PM if that had been me I wuold have whooped the person that set that ladder up.
Jack Kronemeyer Jack Kronemeyer Wednesday, December 05, 2012 12:33:00 PM Saw this yesterday... cant figure out why they were gonna vent there as the building was self venting through the roof anyways. Nobody heeling the ladder and there were firefighters inside the garage poking at the ceiling below where they were cutting. I dont understand this at all. In the beginning you see the only hose spraying the porch ceiling where there wasnt any fire yet.
Jack Kronemeyer Jack Kronemeyer Wednesday, December 05, 2012 12:37:20 PM Also only one hand on the vent saw as he is trying to cut through the roof.
John Splash John Splash Wednesday, December 05, 2012 1:14:18 PM I don't know if it's just me being paranoid, I would have had somebody at the bottom of the ladder, even if it wasn't snowy and icy.
Bill Waugaman Bill Waugaman Wednesday, December 05, 2012 1:16:56 PM Geez, sure hope those guys are OK. read all the below comments and concur that a vent hole was not needed and sure wasn't a safe angle to be working on. We all learn from others and take this to heart.
Patrick Senerchia Patrick Senerchia Wednesday, December 05, 2012 1:21:22 PM Yes making the roof means ventilation
Paul MacConnell Paul MacConnell Wednesday, December 05, 2012 3:13:54 PM Where is the firefighter that should be spotting the ladder?
Pedro H. Hinojosa Pedro H. Hinojosa Wednesday, December 05, 2012 3:31:52 PM Looks like they are venting in an area that is not even involved, and shows the importance of footing a ladder. Just get the deck guns out!
Carlos Alberto Hernandez Gonzalez Carlos Alberto Hernandez Gonzalez Wednesday, December 05, 2012 3:43:19 PM I get it!
Joe Summer Joe Summer Wednesday, December 05, 2012 4:24:21 PM Criminy!
Mike Mench Mike Mench Wednesday, December 05, 2012 4:28:09 PM two fire officers walked right by that ladder and never lended a hand holding ladder till someone else could take over never should have been on ladder the roof was already vented.
Chris Doolan Ottosen Chris Doolan Ottosen Wednesday, December 05, 2012 4:29:20 PM from one who knows
Jacob Charmstrong Jacob Charmstrong Wednesday, December 05, 2012 4:30:32 PM nobody was butting the ladder not there fault.
Wednesday, December 05, 2012 4:45:14 PM I can even believe people walked right by where TWO Firefighters were on a ladder and didn't stop to foot the ladder.
Glenn McMahon Glenn McMahon Wednesday, December 05, 2012 5:18:08 PM Foot the ladder guys! Hope no one was hurt bad. Stay safe. Bummer
Stephanie Stultz Hankins Stephanie Stultz Hankins Wednesday, December 05, 2012 6:10:25 PM Idiocracy
Rob Smith Rob Smith Wednesday, December 05, 2012 6:11:16 PM How's about putting the ladder at the proper angle to start with.
James Davidson James Davidson Wednesday, December 05, 2012 6:22:02 PM Junior Varcity
James Davidson James Davidson Wednesday, December 05, 2012 6:26:21 PM What not to do on a fire scene. So much wrong with this!
Justin Mack Justin Mack Wednesday, December 05, 2012 6:57:10 PM Did anyone also notice that both of them we past the tipping point at the same time. Almost above the roof line on the tip.
Harold Alley Jr. Harold Alley Jr. Wednesday, December 05, 2012 7:06:38 PM How come no one was footing the ladder. And why were they venting a roof that was already vented. This is a great example of what not to do. Lets learn from this.
Justin Edgerton Justin Edgerton Wednesday, December 05, 2012 7:22:38 PM only if you had some kind of shoe for the butt of the ladder, it would have made it "somewhat safe" all they had were two pointed but ends. would have been alot safer if they were on grass too.
Phillip Craddock Phillip Craddock Wednesday, December 05, 2012 7:40:16 PM Shame on not one but "TWO" CHIEFS not only for walking by the two FFs.that are on the ladder with no one too foot the ladder but also was a VENT truly needed at this point in the fire? the roof looked pretty well vented to me. I feel bad that the men got hurt but feel that these were injury's that were totally unnecessary. Shame on any Officer at this fire that was aware that this vent was taken place. Your lucky you didn't lose Two men.
Nick Jones Nick Jones Wednesday, December 05, 2012 7:46:08 PM Also, the ladder appears to be at an angle not estimated correctly. Most books say that it is supposed to be at an estimated 45o angle and this doesn't appear to be the angles I've seen on many fire scenes.
Richard Speakman Richard Speakman Wednesday, December 05, 2012 8:00:04 PM nick sorry some times you dont follow the books, the higher the ladder you go has to be farther out on the bottom because by the time you get to the top your climbing straight up
John Urquhart John Urquhart Wednesday, December 05, 2012 8:04:51 PM This is a structure fire, this is not a room and contents fire...This is lightweight construction...This is fire above the interior crews.....This is a defensive fire in our Department......This is an example of Command not Commanding......... There are numerous Company Officers and Chiefs with SCBA's on walking around with no focus on safety whatsoever...........This is a tragic mistake...............
Wednesday, December 05, 2012 8:48:33 PM the proper angle is 75 degrees.
Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:29:36 PM Ok, first the serious stuff. I hope those two brothers are ok. And I feel for the family who just lost everything. Now for the fun part. What is the purpose of cutting a vent hole when half of the roof is already gone? What are the two guys on the hoselines out front squirting water on? Watch the guy in the garage with the pike pole. How about the two chief officers walking around out by the garage, by the ladder, that nobody is heeling, that is against the house, that Jack built! When the ladder falls, there are about 5 guys in the garage, doing who knows what, while the house is burning like a MF. I agree with Pedro's comment, use the freakin deckgun. They are going to tear down the house anyway.From where this video starts, go to a master stream or two, a 2 1/2 on each side to protect the exposures, and let it go. Boys, all I can say is this one is a lost cause. Some of the guys running arounnd out front that are not doing jack sh#t could salvage some of the stuff in the garage. I keep watching this over and over as I post this, and it looks like there are handlines still inside, and I will assume that there are firefighters on them! I would venture to say that what is left of the roof is fixin to become intermingled with their bodies. I'm sure that I will catch some flack for my comments, but I don't give a rats ass. I've been doing this for over 20 yrs. and after you go to a few funerals of fallen brothers, you really learn to develop an attitude of let the shit burn! I am not going to say that I have not done some stupid stuff in my career, but as an instructor, I try to convey to the newbies, learn from my mistakes. I will risk alot to save alot, but you have to learn when to say when. This is real world, not some TV show! Go home alive and in one piece!
Jeff Rak Jeff Rak Thursday, December 06, 2012 6:01:31 AM The house was a loss, and they're playing on a snoy/icy peak roof with a saw, no one holding the ladder and two guys up top. Risk vs benefit here guys....C'mon, this is firefighting 101. Hope they're okay, it coulda been a LOT worse with that saw. Plus, the 20 guys that walked right by then while they were up there and no one saw a red flag?
Tony Gilding Tony Gilding Thursday, December 06, 2012 7:26:09 AM Should have been someone footing the ladder! No way in hell would that have happened on my department!
Noel Monin Noel Monin Thursday, December 06, 2012 8:34:11 AM To Nick; 45 degree is too shallow a slope for proper placement of a ladder. 70 degree is typical. A good rule of thumb; stand at base of ladder with toes touching the base, reach hands forward and you should be able to touch the rails-thus you can stand upright on the ladder and still hold on. In this case, the cause for the ladder collapse was simply a firefighter standing on it several rungs past the roof line. You can see that as he plunged the saw into the roof and put more pressure on the rung, the fulcrum of the roof line acted appropriately. It could be argued that even if it was footed, the forces may have still been in favor of the topside load. There are other issues regarding this scene as many others have pointed out, however, using a ladder as a footing past the point at which it rests will generally result in the "slide-out" effect that has injured many people, not only firefighters. I hope these guys can recover and return to duty with speed.
Robert Shapleigh Robert Shapleigh Thursday, December 06, 2012 8:56:17 AM Placement and use of the ladder were an accident waiting to happen!
Donna Williams Donna Williams Thursday, December 06, 2012 8:59:35 AM Everyone loves to criticize. How about hope you are both okay. The intent was to help. Sorry for the unfortunate accident.
Luis Berroa Luis Berroa Thursday, December 06, 2012 10:09:43 AM 1. No safety measurements in place. 2. The house is already lost. 3. It could have been worse. This is how we kill firefighters...
Thomas Callaway Thomas Callaway Thursday, December 06, 2012 10:42:21 AM How much fire has to be coming through the roof before you realize that it has vented itself?
Cathy Pankey Dixon Cathy Pankey Dixon Thursday, December 06, 2012 10:45:01 AM Jeff great minds think alike. I was about to say the same thing well about the snow, ice, ladder, 2 men not a good scene.
George Gesner George Gesner Thursday, December 06, 2012 10:49:31 AM Agreed: No reason to vent. Even after the initial cut there was no smoke coming out from the cut. I'm just guessing that's because about half the roof was already gone, which is a pretty good vent over the right place. The second guy up the ladder appeared to have started footing it - not sure why he decided to climb. The angle, though not the best, didn't seem to be the real problem. A slippery surface made footing a key element. Absolutely no reason for the vent or for the ladder, period!
Ken Reinert Sr. Ken Reinert Sr. Thursday, December 06, 2012 11:11:26 AM The I.C. needs to be held responsible. They are the 1 responsible for every stupid action that shouldn't be taking place on scene. Crap can roll down hill from him.
Joseph A. Kapp Joseph A. Kapp Thursday, December 06, 2012 11:11:45 AM That was a nice house. Oh and heel the ladder.
Kevin Keddy Kevin Keddy Thursday, December 06, 2012 12:28:57 PM I think its more like 70-75 degrees.
Dennis Thayer Dennis Thayer Thursday, December 06, 2012 12:35:08 PM I see several posts indicating that they needed someone to heel the ladder, while correct what they really needed was someone to be in CHARGE and to provide leadership! Oh ya, isn't the puropose of RIT so that someone is assigned to assist firefighters injured or in trouble? Instead the entire operation stopped and they completely (at leats for a short time) that there was a whole house burning.
David Shrader David Shrader Thursday, December 06, 2012 12:42:26 PM Well, the correct angle for climbing a fire ladder is approximately 70 degrees. The lower the angle, the more likely that it will slip out, as this one did. Agree it should have been footed, but what were they doing in the first place? The fire had self ventilated (hint: look for the heavy fire coming out of the roof) and there was no fire where they were. Venting there would only provide an oxygen source to allow the fire to progress through the roof to consume the area over the garage. All that with people in the garage? FUBAR
Tom Flint Tom Flint Thursday, December 06, 2012 1:22:31 PM What Happen to their training. Where was the Safety officer, Officer in charge? Does anyone in the garage pay attention to their surroundings? Before going up the ladder a heel person should be in place. SAFETY FRST EVERYONE GOES HOME.
Barry Cooper Barry Cooper Thursday, December 06, 2012 1:24:40 PM I don't know why they thought they needed to vent.
Brian Bird Brian Bird Thursday, December 06, 2012 2:21:36 PM I am not a monday morning QB and I try to never second guess things like this, but can someone tell me what they were trying to accomplish by venting the garage of a house that had self vented and was nearing full involvement? Read the smoke it I snearing flashover to the right..
Jeremy Espil Jeremy Espil Thursday, December 06, 2012 2:25:06 PM While I don't want to armchair quarterback, Besides the obvious about butting the ladder why the heck were they venting the roof?
Rob Deforge Rob Deforge Thursday, December 06, 2012 3:21:46 PM why the hell are you trying to vent when the place that is to far gone.and why are you venting a garage when1 other fire fighters are in side and 2 when you can pull down the inside.and from what I see some one could have been at the bottom af that ladder there was enough of them standing around.hope the two on the ladder are ok.
Ralph Kingsland Ralph Kingsland Thursday, December 06, 2012 3:40:18 PM OK rob you saw the same thinks (dum)
Rodolfo Carrasco Carrasco Rodolfo Carrasco Carrasco Thursday, December 06, 2012 5:30:07 PM aveces uno por tanta tecnica y profesionalismo se olvida de lo mas basico.............. Hacer pie en la escala.
Mary Helton Mary Helton Thursday, December 06, 2012 6:04:32 PM Praying that they are O.K.
Chance Winborn Chance Winborn Thursday, December 06, 2012 8:57:19 PM I'm guessing the need to ventilate the lone section of the garage not involved, was to ensure total loss... Oh and of course, on concrete or rock always heel the ladder.
Robert Taylor Robert Taylor Friday, December 07, 2012 8:54:06 AM Proper ladder angle is 75.5 degrees. The ladder appeared more correct when they started climbing so it had already slipped some. Two firefighters on a ladder with nobody heeling. We've got to watch out for each other and make safety a bigger part of the culture. The life we save may be our own!
Steve Kidd Steve Kidd Friday, December 07, 2012 10:30:05 AM Lets face it, the root cause of these guys getting hurt is a lack of common sense and taking action on the fireground based on tradition (cut a hole in the roof) vs total situational awareness by Command. Some comment that we shouldn't "Monday morning quarterback" . That is exactly what we should do to help prevent needless injuries.
Bruce Zwegat Bruce Zwegat Friday, December 07, 2012 10:53:16 AM Wow. Steve , you hit the nail on the head. Let's see.....1. No one butting the ladder...2.Ladder not tied off......3. WHY are they cutting a hole? The majority of the roof appears to already be self vented and partially collapsed.....4. You have a crew in the garage pulling ceiling with a handline to start attacking from below in a safer manner. ......5. Talk about total lack of Fireground awareness. It's not "Monday Morning Quarterbacking".......It's just asking the questions why this happened.
Patrick Senerchia Patrick Senerchia Friday, December 07, 2012 11:31:30 AM I didn't know others did not use that term
Tim Rohner Tim Rohner Friday, December 07, 2012 1:20:12 PM I agree. It's too late for that vent job.
Eddie White Eddie White Friday, December 07, 2012 1:39:55 PM Like many have already stated - The first thing to strike me was why ventilate? - the fire had already done that for them. Then of course the ladder not being heeled - but as earlier stated - where was Command? We in the fire service constantly train but I have seen too often we train on the more "fun stuff" and tend to forget the basics. The basics will bite us if we don't respect them.
Sarah Mufc Hewitt Sarah Mufc Hewitt Saturday, December 08, 2012 3:14:46 AM Oh my gosh!!!!
Saturday, December 08, 2012 6:49:38 AM bingo I am glad someone else seen this beside me
Robert Craig Wix Robert Craig Wix Saturday, December 08, 2012 6:26:16 PM Not only that, but the 2nd firefighter was leaning over the contact point with the roof, creating a fulcrum. This probably helped lever the bottom out from under them.
Michael Marushia Michael Marushia Saturday, December 08, 2012 6:36:36 PM First thing I told my wife when I saw the video! You don't vent a vented roof!
Scott Royal Scott Royal Saturday, December 08, 2012 6:46:42 PM That's not a collapse, that's human error with no one heeling ladder and it sliding. Collapse would be if it broke down.
Josh Reneau Josh Reneau Saturday, December 08, 2012 6:55:42 PM All I have to say is DUH!
Derek Sinesi Derek Sinesi Saturday, December 08, 2012 7:25:26 PM This has to be one of the dumbest things if have seen in a long time.
Bobby Kelly Bobby Kelly Saturday, December 08, 2012 7:36:22 PM always have a person at the foot of the ladder.
Joe Robinson Joe Robinson Saturday, December 08, 2012 9:37:44 PM where was the heeler on the ladder.
Tony Edwards Tony Edwards Saturday, December 08, 2012 11:24:08 PM Ladders not heeled and roof is already vented, this incident was totally preventable.
Paul Anderson Paul Anderson Sunday, December 09, 2012 6:21:15 AM An excellent example of why a ladder should be healed.
Robert Clark Robert Clark Sunday, December 09, 2012 9:28:31 AM Its all about doing the right thing all the time even a probie knows you always have someone there to foot your ladder no matter what the weather is due to the fact ya never know.

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