Residence Fires: Starting in the Cellar

Issue 5 and Volume 140.

Residence Fires: Starting in the Cellar Paul McFadden’s Volunteers Corner One of the least appealing tasks a firefighter ever faces is to go underground to extinguish a fire. The transmission “Be advised: The fire is reported in the cellar” often makes the adrenaline flow just a bit faster. Because most of us live in areas where private dwellings dominate the structural population, I will confine my remarks to cellar fires in single-family occupancies. As with all fires, size-up is going to be the first and most important step you’ll take. The rules of firefighting— locate, confine, and extinguish—are satisfied much more easily when the fire shows itself. Cellar fires don’t! They hide until it’s almost too late for an aggressive attack. For this reason, the firefighter must be able to recognize the telltale signs of a cellar fire and put fire experience and knowledge to work as fast as possible.…

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