Firefighting, Truck Company

It’s Just a Pile of Leaves

Issue 10 and Volume 162.

By Michael N. Ciampo It is not uncommon for fire departments to pull up to a pile of burning leaves during the fall season. Many communities have leaf removal collections where residents rake their leaves to the curb for pickup. These leaf piles can catch fire in a number of ways—from a carelessly discarded cigarette, youths up to mischief, or an automobile’s catalytic converter heating the leaves to their ignition point. Although these fires may seem insignificant to the seasoned veteran, they can be a real learning experience for others. Firefighters who haven’t had much nozzle experience can turn a small pile of burning leaves into a calamity of errors if they don’t operate the nozzle properly. You’ll see it time after time: Water is started in the line, and the nozzle firefighter stands there staring at the flames; he quickly pulls back on the bail, and the discharged air…

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