Idaho Falls Working:Video of Basement Fire with Trapped Occupant

Fire reportedly blocked the normal basement exit.

This July house fire video from Idaho Falls captures moments when firefighters are met with an occupant trying to escape from the basement via a small window. It should not be easy to critique this incident since we don’t know all of the details and local reporting was sparse, but do use the video to consider your own initial actions when faced with an obvious rescue.

Notice first how calm the scene appears. No panicky shouting and running back and forth wearing a path in the yard. Notice also the tool selection brought to where the occupant is; three different types of saws. Notice also that it appears the other primary tasks are being addressed as well by additional companies (hoselines stretched and in operation).

Ask if your shift, company and department would become distracted, fixated, by this type of scenario? How would your communication on the scene flow? What options would you exhaust in order to remove the occupant if normal methods failed?

“Fire rescue caught on camera” LocalNews8

FireRescue Magazine/FirefighterNation:
“The Importance of Rescue Preparation” Tippett Jr.
“The Elusive “Heroic” Rescue” Kertzie



A reminder, if Captain Anonymous and Firefighter Hindsight feel the urge to tell Idaho Falls what they did wrong, please read our comment policy below first before posting. Thank you.


Bill Carey is the daily news and blog manager for Elsevier Public Safety (FireRescue Magazine/Firefighter Nation, JEMS and LawOfficer sites.) Bill also manages the network and is a former volunteer lieutenant with the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George's County, Maryland.

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

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  • Marques Bush says:

    This would not be an easy one because the erge to take care of the victim would really be taking over, however an assesment of the fire is very much due. I like how they left one person with the occupant just a little curious bases off of the video was an assesment done in relation to fire and the victim. I would still say they did a good job. They multi-taksed as we normally have to do and got it done. In my world life is pretty easy as we send a 5,1,and 1 to residentials so the first truck or rescue squad would have addressed the trapped occupant and everyone else would have followed there arrival assignments. Sorry to down play it but we train a lot with a somewhat fair amount of work to balance it all out. I may would have thrown in a " Holy Shit " for good measure! LOL! Great post Bill! Before people think I'm being a smartass with the " Holy Shit " it is only for grins I compelety understood the Brother from Chicago and would have said the same had I saw what he saw!

    • Bill Carey says:

      You bring up a good point Marques about your assignments. If you rely strictly one volunter, home response, would your first arriving crew bring enough staffing to run a line and remove the occupant? If not, how do you identify your needs and properly communicate them to the incoming companies?


      Bill Carey

  • Marques Bush says:

    Bill as a fromer Volunteer professional, if I arrived first I would have ensured that the occupant was not being crushed and communicated to the rest of the units responding the size-up and rescue situation. If the occuoant was just stuck and not trapped I would try to get an Idea of the fire conditions in relation to the occupant. As a volunteer this looks like it is during the daytime and guys have obligations to their families and maybe busy so I'm going to ask for extra manpower upon arrival, I can always cancel them later if I don;t need them. First due piece to arrive if a pumper I want them to put the fire out provided we have two people to make entry, if not hopefully EMS is onscene so I can leave care with them pack out and make an attack. Gonna give the cops a quick pump lesson. If you hear the truck screaming I'm out of water, pull this cord and honk this horn 3 times. Hope that gives an Idea.   

  • Marques Bush says:

    I would also like to point that predetermined assignments can still give you a guide for managing home response as folks arrive. Just my two cents.

    • Bill Carey says:

      Another good point. I run into a many people who believe that home response and predetermined assignments don’t mix, that you can;t really have guided plans because you don;t know how many people will show up and their training levels. That is really not a good excuse, since having those plans gives you and idea or priorities that need to be met and tasks that need to be filled. A good incident commander can use them and keep track of them as the scene and staffing evolve and adapt his strategy accordingly instead of continually playing catchup.


      Bill Carey

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