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Taking command: Industrial-park fire

Given the layout of the buildings, the contents and manpower available, how would you attack this fire?

This feature is intended to spark the sharing of ideas, information and techniques to make firefighters safer and more effective. The following video and discussion points must not be used to berate, belittle or criticize those firefighters. Rather, in the spirit of near-miss reporting, please use this feature as another teaching tool to help you better do your job. Please leave your comments below and use this material in your own department. I hope you find this Reality Training valuable; stay safe and keep learning.

Fires at industrial parks can present a variety of hazards and tactical challenges to responding firefighters and officers. Particularly in smaller complexes, one can find an auto body repair and paint shop next door to a carpet warehouse that is adjacent to a medical supply wholesaler.

These occupancies are generally in ordinary-construction buildings with masonry walls supporting the roof structure composed of lightweight steel or wood trusses. Or, they may be in metal-clad buildings over a structural steel framework.

In either case, the interior walls are usually constructed using sheetrock over wood or metal studs; some older buildings may have concrete walls separating occupancies.

Discussion questions

  • What is your evaluation of the tactical operations that you see taking place in the video?
  • What adjustments, if any, would you make if you were assuming command of this incident?
  • How does the concept of "big fire equals big water" come into play for this scenario?
  • What role does fire stream management and water management play in this fire scenario and why are those tactical concepts important?

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