Fireground Safety

Backdraft, Mayday Declared at Troy (NY) Bowling Alley Fire

Firefighters manage hoselines in the street in front of a burning building


Firefighters contended with a backdraft and Mayday call while operating at the scene of a significant fire in a bowling alley in Troy, New York. Sidewinder Photography shared some fireground images along with operational details.

On May 8, 2019 at 9:44 a.m., the City of Troy’s Fire Department was dispatched for an alarm of fire at Alpha Lanes. The dispatcher stated they were receiving multiple calls of heavy black smoke coming from the roof and windows of the building. 


Videos: Alpha Lanes Bowling Alley Fire

Police units arrived on scene and assisted the store owner on the other side in removing all of the propane tanks from the side of the building. Firefighters immediately started to conduct an aggressive interior attack with a 2 1/2-inch handline to try to knock down as much heavy fire as they could. The department of public utilities was doing fire hydrant flushing nearby and firefighters were not getting the appropriate pressure to feed the apparatus on scene. Police had the department of public utilities stopped and close all of the hydrants up.

As firefighters were attempting to make an interior attack, command pulled them from the building. Heavy black smoke was banking down to the street level, making it nearly impossible to see, and heavy fire was blowing through the center of the building. As firefighters were evacuating the building, the front windows of the bowling alley exploded and a violent backdraft occurred, sending glass and heavy smoke and fire into the street at police and firefighters. 



A firefighter declared a Mayday, but the member was able to escape the building. Heavy fire violently rolled out of every portion of the front of the building. Firefighters stretched multiple handlines and switched to a master streams operation, placing multiple truck companies into the air.

Firefighters from Watervliet, Cohoes, Green Island, and the city of Albany assisted firefighters on scene. Firefighters continue to conduct master stream operations until the late afternoon and were able to bring the fire under control just after noon. 

Read the complete report HERE.


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