“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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Comments
Ron Ayotte
What is Experience?
Excelent post. Evey day of duty and every run should be a learning experience. Far too many firefighters just look at the duty tour and incident as what I like to call "the shampoo mode"... wet hair, apply shapoo, lather, rinse and repeat".. Our version is put on the gear, get on the truck, go…
2014-10-31 14:23:15
Bill Carey
What is Experience?
You're correct Ed. What did we do with that experience? Did we take as many lessons from it as we could or did we simply file it away as a run in the logbook. Thank you, Bill
2014-10-30 12:55:18
Ed
What is Experience?
Excellent post. The same question may be framed for other than working on the nozzle (e.g., if delivering pump operator training). In addition, even if you went to a lot of fires on the nozzle or as the first in company officer, what did you do with that experience? Reflection and integration of the experience…
2014-10-30 12:37:50
Bill Carey
Wanted: Honest Discernment in Our Fire Service Discussions
Thank you Ed.
2014-10-22 14:26:50
Ed Hartin
Wanted: Honest Discernment in Our Fire Service Discussions
Excellent article Bill!
2014-10-14 12:47:14
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