Issue 4 and Volume 158.

BY STEVEN S. RUETZ AND BRYN BAILER On January 14, 2004, at 0932 hours, the Tucson (AZ) Fire Department (TFD) responded to a report of a building fire at a former cold-storage warehouse in an industrial section of downtown Tucson. The building was being renovated into luxury loft apartments, and sparks from a welder’s torch touched off a fire that quickly escalated into a two-alarm fire. But, January 14 was no ordinary day. That day, TFD would have the unexpected opportunity to unveil its new fireground tool. That tool was COBRA (Critical Observations from Building Risk Analysis). Two TFD fire inspectors developed this computerized, photography-based preplan project as part of a pilot program. With COBRA’s assistance, fireground commanders could visually size up a structure before actually committing personnel to interior operations. 1 Click here to enlarge image 2 Click here to enlarge image 3(1) “South Elevation” slide in the Icehouse…

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