Kansas City firefighters working on a Saturday morning house fire experience a flashover and mayday call.
Kansas City firefighters were battling a house fire this morning in the 5600 block of Holmes Road when a “flashover” briefly trapped members working on the search.
Firefighters reportedly had made their way up the stairs when the flashover occurred.
“Dyer said there may have been a flashover in the home, but that he couldn’t say that definitively until there had been a full investigation. A flashover happens when an area of a fire suddenly ignites.“In the past 10 years, every significant firefighter injury that we have sustained in fire combat has been a result of a rapid change of conditions,” Dyer said.”
A mayday went out and the three trapped members were quickly rescued. During the recovery, one firefighter had his facepiece dislodged. The three injured firefighters reportedly suffer from steam burns, smoke inhalation and other minor injuries.
The interview of Chief dyer reveals that companies were responding to a reported bedroom fire and that “given the time of day and report from inside the structure” the primary search would have utmost importance. Firefighters attempted to “make the second floor” to search for occupants. Firefighters had advanced a line to the second floor when they experienced “a sudden change in fire conditions.” The suspected flashover burnt the line in through.
On the stairway, the firefighter nearest the top took refuge on the second floor while the others went back down to the first floor.
A second hoseline outside “that was charged” was put into place, darkening down the fire and allowing the firefighter on the second floor to escape. The most serious of the injured firefighters is the one who on the first floor, had his facepiece dislodged.
Lessons Learned Minus The Quarterbacking
1. The backup line is a must.
2. Be aware of all your surroundings. The second floor bedroom or that apartment opposite the one you are forcing entry into may be your area of refuge.
3. Expect sudden changes in the fire’s behavior.
4. Practice your mayday.
“3 KCMO Firefighters Hurt Battling House Fire”, KCTV5
“3 firefighters injured battling house fire in Kansas City”, NBC Action News
“Chief: ‘Flashover’ May Have Happened While Firefighters Climbed Stairs”, KMBC
“In the past 10 years, every significant firefighter injury that we have sustained in fire combat has been a result of a rapid change of conditions,” Dyer said.
Google Maps, street view of fire building (left) and hydrant (at time of image) on Side Alpha.