High Rise Fire Fighting Operations

Houston (Texas) firefighters followed the “textbook approach” in fighting a blaze at a high-rise building on the 27th floor Monday night August 30, 2010 when a 4th Alarm was transmitted for operations at a high rise building fire, deploying nearly 175 firefighting personnel. Seven firefighters were injured with non life-threatening. A broken pipe hampered firefighting operations leaving companies without a water source for a half-hour before they could resume structural fire fighting operations.

The fire was located at the JPMorgan Chase building (formerly the Gulf Building) at 712 Main Street, a 36-story structure, which dates to 1929 and was once the tallest in Houston. Reports indicate the building was being retrofitted with a sprinkler system that had yet to reach the upper floors. Go here for a link to the building profile.

 A Mayday call was transmitted due to a firefighter who became separated in a dark and smoky stairwell but was promptly located.

Additional links; HERE, HERE and HERE

For those of you operating in response districts with low and high rise structures, how effective are your companies and are they adequately trained to address a multiple alarm fire on an upper floor?

Notable References;

  • Highrise Office Building Fire, One Meridian Plaza, HERE
  • High-rise Office Building Fire One Meridian Plaza Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  1991, HERE
  • LAFD, EXECUTIVE SUMMARY – FIRST INTERSTATE BANK BUILDING FIRE, Here
  • USFA Report TR-022 LAFD Interstate Bank Building Fire, HERE
  • Cook County, Illinois Administration Building Fire, 2003,NIST Report  HERE
  • FDNY, New York City Deutsche NIOSH LODD Report outlines high-rise fire recommendations, HERE
  • High Rise Apartment Fire LODD, Texas, 2001, HERE
  • FDNY OPERATIONAL ASPECTS OF HIGH-RISE FIREFIGHTING, HERE
  • An Examination of FDNY High Rise Operations and SOP as part of a Risk Management Plant for Operational HERE

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Chris Naum

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