“Were just trying to do the best we can.”Engine 42 Lieutenant Catches Boy and Provides Training Questions for Engine Companies

Rescues at Roxbury apartment reminds us of the need for training under antagonistic conditions and the value of teamwork.

The rescue of a six-year old boy dropped from the thrid floor during Boston's six-alarm fire is making the news, especially the quick thinking of Lieutenant Glenn McGillivray. The initial companies on the scene did an outstanding job in rescuing at least 15 occupants after a man had attempted suicide by explosion in a first floor apartment.

The Boston Herald has an interview with Lieutenant McGillivray of Engine Company 42.
Below is an excerpt and the video interview.

“As we approached Westminster Avenue, I saw heavy smoke on the street. We pulled up to the front of the building, and I observed heavy fire that was evident in the first-floor window on the corner, and approximately nine occupants of the building who were screaming to be rescued from various ledges and windows.-"

Boston Herald: Firefighter Describes Saving Boy, Others
For some departments, training has become so routine – or stagnant – that smoke house or burn building evolutions are so stale members could do them with their eyes closed. When arriving prepared, ready to "Expect Fire", even the best crews can become too focused on one part of a scene. The good work by Lieutenant McGillivray should also be partnered with the work of the rest of the engine company members. When faced with occupants in windows – and no truck on the scene – that first floor fire still needs to have a line stretched. (Note: Engine Co. 42 is also quartered with Rescue 2 and the District 9 chief)

If you are an Engine Company officer consider the following:

  • Is my crew capable of sizing up the scene, selecting and stretching the proper hoseline without my direct supervision?
  • Could my engine driver handle giving the initial or additional sizeup information if I am busy with immediate obvious rescues?
  • Can my crew stretch the initial hoseline and throw a ladder or is this asking too much?

If you are assigned to an Engine Company consider the following:

  • Should the entire crew be focused on the obvious rescue?
  • If assigned the Lineman (Nozzle) position, does my officer have to tell me what line to pull?
  • When was the last time we trained on running a line and throwing the ladders carried on our engine?

WHDH: Suspect arrested after apartment explosion, fire

We encourage and support constructive dialogue and debate. View our comment policy.

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2 Comments

  • Chris Husont says:

    I personally believe in the philosophy  performing what will make the biggest impact. If the fire can be knocked down with a quick attack then perform that first. If you cannot elimate the fire hazard then perform resuces via ladders first.
    It's all based on the proficeny of your crews just like mentioned above. If your crew needs to have a babysitter the entire time then thats how you have to operate. If you can multi-task then thats even better, but make sure everyone knows their roles to avoid duplicated and wasted time/efforts.
    "Put the fire out and everything gets better."

  • Richie Kirrstetter says:

    The Boston Fire Dept. is a well trained & well oiled machine.  The Lt. did a great job, when lives are at stake it is your first priority.  Like the FDNY Boston FD were all over that job.  Well done Brothers.  I recieved a Dept. Medal while on the FDNY OVM position for catching a woman that had to jump.  After the catch you proceed to the job at hand. 
    Tip"O" the Helmet Brothers

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Backstep Firefighter

“To provide a point of critical thought about certain acts and events in the fire service while incorporating behavioral education and commentary in a referenced format.”
Comments
John Pignataro
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Bravo sir ...This battle began in the early 1990's having been a career DC Fireman for 30 yrs and a still active volunteer fireman for 37 the mentality has changed since 1977. Your article is clear and to the point but I am afraid the fire service maybe lost to the folks who preach the…
2014-08-23 01:12:28
Ben Waller
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Actually, the "Women and children first" idea cane from the sinking if the HMS Birkenhead. Now known as "The Birkenhead Drill", this stemmed from the ship beginning to sink, an inadequate number of lifeboats, and the Royal Marines and soldiers on board being called to formation and standing in ranks while the ships crew put…
2014-08-21 11:25:14
Ron Ayotte
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Bing-freaking-o!
2014-08-21 02:49:30
Brian Gary
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Very well written. I couldn't agree more with your statements. The problems are many, but they perpetuate and increase with every new class of recruits that are poisoned with the idea that anyone who feels unsafe has a responsibility to act and stop whatever is going on. When I came on, my instructors told me…
2014-08-21 02:04:23
Ric Jorge
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Atta boy David, customer service or customer satisfaction? The line is fine, and more often than not we can accomplish both with action, and a kind demeanor.
2014-08-21 01:41:12
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