Mobile Ventilation Unit Incident Report

North East Mall, Hurst Texas
Tuesday, September 17th @ 00:25 hours

On September 27, 2005, DFW airport dispatched its 60″ Mobile Ventilation Unit (MVU) on a mutual aid call with the Hurst Fire Department. A fire had started in a clothing store inside the North East Mall in Hurst, TX. The interior of the indoor mall was filled with smoke near the location of the fire. The MVU was called in to assist with smoke control and removal.

Mutual Aid Response
The fire in the North East Mall’s Hollister Clothing Store filled the entire 200,000 sq. ft. structure with smoke. Hurst Fire Department requested mutual aid from the following: Bedford, DFW, Euless, NRH, Richland Hills

At the request of the Hurst Fire Department, DFW Fire Rescue dispatched Unit 38 (Mobile Ventilation Unit) to Northeast Mall. Upon arrival, DFW Units were advised that the fire was out, but there was a significant amount of smoke remaining inside the structure. DFW was instructed to set up for a ventilation operation near the Food Court Main Entrance.

MVU positioned at loading dock outside food court.

Thirty minutes (approximate time needed to obtain pressurization of the structure) into the operation, there was a visible difference in the movement of the smoke. Approximately one and a half hours into the operation, smoke was cleared from the majority of the main corridors and anchor department stores. Firefighters positioned portable electric fans near some of the smaller stores to clear any trapped smoke as Unit 38 maintained positive pressurization inside the mall.

Food court entrance just prior to introducing 118,000 CFM from Unit 38 (MVU).

The total ventilation operation was completed in four and a half hours. Without the assistance of the MVU, an operation of this magnitude would have taken more time and resources, potentially resulting in greater property loss. With the exception of the Hollister Clothing store, Northeast Mall opened as usual the next morning.

Initial effect of air movement due to Unit 38 ventilation operation.

The MVU proved very effective for removal of the smoke inside the shopping mall. Without the assistance of the MVU, smoke removal would have relied on natural wind currents and a large quantity of small PPV blowers. The MVU greatly reduced the amount of time required to clear the structure of smoke.

By using basic PPV techniques, the fire department was able to control the movement of smoke and prevent excessive property damage to clothing and other merchandise. The exhaust openings chosen allowed the smoke to be directed the shortest distance to the outside while minimizing smoke exposure to adjacent stores.

Food court and corridor 30 minutes into the ventilation operation.

This incident is an example of an airport fire department partnering with local departments to provide a high level of service to residents and property owners. By sharing their resources and experience, DFW, Hurst Fire Department, and the other departments involved greatly reduced the potential for property loss and prevented the disruption of an important commerce center in the Hurst community.

Report prepared by the DFW Airport (TX) Fire Department.

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