Cellar Fires and the Cellar Stairway

Issue 7 and Volume 141.

FEATURES Cellar Fires and the Cellar Stairway FIREFIGHTING TACTICS The cellar fire presents the firefighter with a most serious fire attack situation. This is due in no small measure to the limited prospects of ventilation and the fact that the attack team, to initiate the extinguishment effort, must descend into the cellar in the face of heat and smoke produced by the fire. Within the context of the fire attack, the cellar stairway takes on considerable tactical significance. It’s the attack team’s only route into the cellar and its only means of egress. It’s also the primary channel of fire extension and ventilation. In light of the tactical significance of the cellar stairway, and, hence, of stairway operations, we must consider the relationship between the cellar, as fire compartment, and the cellar stairway relative to fire dynamics; the hazards the stairway holds for the attack team; and procedures that might…

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