Attic Flashover: What’s Behind the Hidden Blast?

Issue 3 and Volume 167.

BY SEAN GRAY In “Attacking from the Burned Side Can Save Lives” (Fire Engineering, November 2011), I briefly mentioned the line-of-duty deaths (LODDs) and near misses associated with fires that burned on the exterior and into the attic space, causing a flashover. These fires can be extremely dangerous because the true conditions are hidden in the attic space and firefighters are not expecting the sudden change of conditions when the flashover occurs. Although the fires originate on the exterior, the action killing and injuring firefighters around the country is the flashover in the attic. Many times during size-up, the smoke conditions and location will confirm an attic fire. The next questions you should ask yourself follow: 1. How did the fire get into the attic space? 2. Can I safely extinguish it? 3. Where should the initial hoseline be placed? Safety is our top priority, and over the past few…

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