A fire on this day took the lives of at least one from every rank.
The photo from yesterday is of 6 East 23rd Street in Manhattan. 44 years ago today a floor collapse took the lives of 12 members of the FDNY.
If you want to be technical, then the 23rd Street Collapse is the worst fire to have happened to the department excluding the terrorist attacks of 11 September. The firefighters killed in the collapse on 6 East 23rd Street did not know they were operating directly over the cellar fire in 7 East 22 St. The five inch concrete terrazzo floor acted as an insulator. It concealed the severe fire and heat below. The 3 inch x 14 inch floor beams spaced 16 inches on center were reduced in size and strength by the fire. The first sign of weakness was the sudden collapse of a 15 x 35 foot section, which plunged the ten firefighters to their deaths. Two other firefighters were killed on the first floor by a ball of flame.
So instead of “RIP” and “RFB” how about taking a look of at least one taxpayer, strip-mall and other similar structure with a basement in your first-due area or battalion and ask yourself the following:
1. What type of floor construction are we dealing with?
2. What is the fuel load?
3. What are the indicators of a floor collapse?
4. When was the last time we practiced a mayday for members missing in a collapse?
“Retired FDNY Capt. determined to remember fallen Bravest”, Daily News 2009
“50 Ways Firefighters Die”, Vincent Dunn
“Collapse of Burning Buildings”, Dunn
“Safety and Survival on the Fireground”, Dunn
“Collapse Search and Rescue Plan”, Dunn
“Cellar Fires”, Dunn
Worksheet: “Taxpayer Fires”, Dunn
Worksheet: “Cellar Fires”, Dunn