Too Soon?

Before anyone starts picking up stones, think about how you're damaging the possible lessons learned.


I’m thinking it, but not supporting it. I imagine some of you are thinking it too. Maybe you’re dreading that it will eventually come. You’re probably already tense, knowing that soon, maybe even before the funeral, before any immediate investigation conclusion, someone is going to say it.

We know it is coming. Any of us who read the news, watched the videos, listened to the audio, we know it is going to eventually happen.

It will be written somewhere; maybe a forum or a blog, or maybe some crusader will write an editorial.

“It” is this:

“Why were they doing a secondary search in such deteriorating conditions?”

I know why, you know why. A occupant was reportedly still inside. Unfortunately in the over-the-top, eliminate all risk thoughts of some safety will be distorted as will strategy and tactics. The potential for lessons learned will be biased, ignored and overly criticized based on opinions created in the aftermath. Once that begins we become polar opposites, each side essentially no more correct than the other, all ‘fact’ tinged with either bravado or cowardice.

Despite the crews and chief officers actually there making a collective decision, and despite a safety officer doing a 360 of the fire building and not noticing any signs of imminent collapse, Captain Anonymous and Firefighter Hindsight will quickly let the Worcester Fire Department know what they did wrong. I don’t mind if someone questions actions with respect towards the subject and others in the dialogue and in the spirit of learning but we’ve seen how it goes. For me Worcester did what was expected based on what they faced. As time passes though we’ll see this fire used, or abused rather, to support blanket guidelines in the name of safety. Perhaps we’ll see it used to support VSP. This does nothing to promote safe, smart firefighting. Instead all it does is create further divisions in our culture.

The day after, investigators and others are picking through the debris to see if the reported victim was actually inside during the fire.

Lord help us if he wasn’t. It will get ugly.

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

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  • Dalmatian90 says:

    I heard the Chief say "secondary search" in the TV interview that morning.
    I don't know if that was stress by the Chief, or if he chose to simplify it — the public would understand "secondary" to mean a second search; if he said what I suspect was more accurate — "a second primary search" the public would've scratched their heads at the odd language.
    I haven't listened to the tapes, and I have read all the articles.  So maybe I missed something and there was a meticulous, thorough, time-consuming search going on…but I seriously doubt it.
    Discussing this around the kitchen table, especially with inexperienced members, it's important to understand the difference between a secondary and primary search; and conducting a second prioritized, rapid search for victims in immediate peril is a different situation then a true secondary search.

  • Mick Mayers says:

    Great post. Haven’t listened to the audio yet, figure I will in time. Don’t know what was going on but if the thungs I read are accurate, there was a credible report of an occupant. Risk a lot to save a life, right?

    God bless our fallen brother and his family. Help the WFD get through this and let them know we are with them if they need us. All you trolls, why don’t you let the emotion cool a little before saying something stupid. It is, after all the Christmas season. Have some respect for these guys and their families.

  • Bill Carey says:

    One comment slipped in, but we know Dal's identity from other sites.

    Just a reminder, Captain Annymous doesn't ride here. If you want to weigh in, man up.

    Bill Carey

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Backstep Firefighter

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