Expect Fire:Burbank Four-Alarm Dumpster


‘Relax, it’s just a dumpster.’


Video below is of what eventually becomes a four-alarm fire in Burbank, California.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the fire was reported at 1017 hours on 27 May 2013. The first engine company to arrive found an outside fire and a “heavy” smoke condition inside the attic space of an exposed carpet warehouse. Fire conditions inside caused a roof collapse at a later point.

Daily News Photos: Burbank Four-Alarm Fire

Story from above video by VerdugoScanner, "Around 10 o'clock Monday morning Burbank FD was dispatched to a reported structure fire in the 100 blk of S Glenoaks Blvd. T11 was first on scene and reported heavy smoke showing from the rear of the structure, and the long firefight began. The fire had started in the rear of the structure and extended into the building with heavy fire prompting a 2nd alarm response. The fire ripped quickly through the 1 story commercial prompting a 3rd alarm and eventually a 4th alarm with units assisting from cities all over the Verdugo system including Glendale, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Monterey Park, and Alhambra. It took a couple hours to knock down the fire which completely destroyed the building. Two firefighters were transported with minor injuries and were later released."

Consider for Discussion:

How is a dumpster or other outside fire reacted to by you and your crew you?

Does the dispatcher in your area seek additional information on these calls?

What is the typical assignment in your area? Would it change if it were reported as a "dumpster on fire up against a building"?

What you be your typical upgrade on the assignment?

How long in your area until the additional companies arrive?

How will the wait for additional companies affect your strategy and tactics?



Bill Carey is the online public safety news and blog manager with PennWell Public Safety, or more specifically FireRescue Magazine/FirefighterNation.com, JEMS.com, LawOfficer.com and FireEMSBlogs.com. Bill started in the fire service, as a third generation firefighter in 1986, on the eastern shore of Maryland and then continued after moving to Prince George's County. He served as a volunteer sergeant and lieutenant at Hyattsville where he met Chris Hebert and Dave Ianonne, the creators of Firehouse.com. Bill went to work for them back in 2001 and after they transitioned away to new, bigger projects, he was hired by them again in 2009. Bill's writing has been on Firehouse.com, Fire Engineering, FireRescue Magazine, FirefighterNation.com, the Jones and Bartlett 2010 edition of "Fire Officer: Principles and Practice", The Secret List and Tinhelmet.com.


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  • Kevin says:

    Hi Bill,
    Curious question here, why don't cities require dumpsters to be locked/secured. It would appear this fire happened during a holiday weekend, seems like a perfect time to lock it up to prevent an arsonist from lighting this on fire thereby saving a building and more importantly the safety of the firefighters. 

    • Bill Carey says:

      People have a difficult time with keys and locking/unlocking certain rooms and tracking who has those keys that locking dumpsters is more impractical than practical.

      Bill Carey

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