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Balt. FD issues new direction on well-advanced structure fires, exterior attack

An internal memo following recent LODDs states that an exterior attack will be used regardless of occupancy, until certain conditions are met


The aftermath of a fire in Baltimore that killed two firefighters and injured three others. (Jerry Jackson)

Jerry Jackson

By Bill Carey

BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Fire Department is implementing changes to its firefighting procedures as outlined in a recently released internal memo on Nov. 1.

The memo states that firefighters must fight “well-involved structure fires” from outside the building unless they’re told to do otherwise by a battalion chief, WJZ reported.

Specifically, the new direction on these types of fires, states that fire companies will only initiate an exterior attack, regardless of the structure being occupied or vacant, until the following have been completed and confirmed:

  • A significant knockdown of visible fire
  • A complete 36-degree evaluation (or Side Charlie for rowhomes), including a report from the roof, when possible
  • A comprehensive risk/reward analysis is completed by the Incident Commander
  • The structure is sound for members to operate safely inside, as determined by the Incident commander

The memo goes on to state that the only time the above items will be deviated from is when there is a credible report of persons trapped in a survivable space and that a rescue can be done without causing injury or death of firefighters.
The new direction on fireground operations comes as the department is preparing to mourn the loss of Lieutenant Dillon J. Rinaldo this week. Rinaldo succumbed to his injuries during a rowhome fire that earlier claimed the life of Firefighter Rodney Pitts III on Oct. 19.

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