Engine Company, Firefighting, Truck Company

Getting Ahead of the Top-Floor Fire

Issue 7 and Volume 171.

By DANIEL P. SHERIDAN Top-floor fires are cause for great concern for any incident commander (IC). What sets the top-floor fire apart from a fire on any other level in the building is the common cockloft—the space between the top-floor ceiling and the underside of the roof (photo 1). In a building of Type 3 Mixed Construction, the common cockloft generally will be open and not fire stopped, covering the whole top floor. That area may be anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 square feet; bigger buildings may have dividing fire walls that extend to the top-floor ceiling, the underside of the roof boards, or the top of the roof boards, depending on the year it was built. (1) The cockloft—the space between the roof and the top-floor ceiling. (Photos by author unless otherwise noted.) This past winter was a busy one in my response area of the Fire Department of…

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