Fire Behavior or Firefighter Behavior:Peaked Roof Ventilation in Charlotte, NC


Raw video shows a quick change in a decision to vent


Updated to add videos from WSOCTV

Make of it what you will; raw video below is of a fire in a daycare in Charlotte, North Carolina. WBTV has the details and additional footage from the scene.

WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

I'm not saying that we can judge them based soley on what we see in this video. It is plausible that conditions beforehand surely led to the decision to vent the roof and at the location where it appears they were beginning to cut. I am saying that no fireground is perfect and that I too have not been a perfect firefighter or fire officer. Instead, consider what we do see and how it relates, if you believe it might, to our education and training. This is on the heels of an earlier post on the subject of whose behavior it is that we are learning about [1]. Is this a matter of old tactics not meeting new fire behavior or is it a matter of firefighters possibly performing rote activities with little thought?

I'm curious what you think. Keep in mind, we've all been there at one fire or another; none of us is perfect but we all can continue to learn.

1. "Fire Behavior or Firefighter Behavior? Pennsylvania House Fire Video"

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Bill Carey is the online public safety news and blog manager with PennWell Public Safety, or more specifically FireRescue Magazine/,, and 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 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, Fire Engineering, FireRescue Magazine,, the Jones and Bartlett 2010 edition of "Fire Officer: Principles and Practice", The Secret List and

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  • Michael Melillo Jr says:

    It's easy to play Monday morning quarterback from an office or home. Unless you were there your comments are ignorant. Watch any fire with out sound or radio traffic and you can sit and say "should they do this or why didn't they do that" those men of Ladder 18 are all seasoned firefighters no rookies or look at me firefighters.. They do what needs to be done. All the people there busted their ass to get a job done and are all aggressive and experienced. I'm just saying before you put something up as an "Example off what not to do" maybe you should have the whole picture. Isn't that what they teach in ICS have the whole picture? As a member or Engine 28c in work with all there people a lot and trust what ever and how ever they do their jobs. Bottom line they all know what they are doing!!  

    • Bill Carey says:

      Thanks Michael.

      We didn’t post this as a shot at the crews in Charlotte and especially not as MMQBs, which we detest. Instead we posted it for smart discussion, not to bash the companies seen; we leave taht to other sites and blogs. Trust me when I say the contributors on this site have had themselves and their departments picked apart by Captain Anonymous and others in videos. Our point here, in this post, previous posts and future posts, is to encourage smart discussion. You’ll see that from the respectable comment and post coming from one of the members of Ladder 18 that was there.

      Bill Carey

  • Shan Raffel says:

    I don’t want to criticize the firefighters who are obviously brave and skilful. They are doing what they have been trained to do. I do question the “risk benefit” of the roof action. Particularly in light of the research coming from UL and NIST.

    If the action was dangerous and effective you could argue that at least there was some benefit. But research is showing that it is actually ineffective. I hate to see colleagues risking their lives taking actions that actually make conditions worse.  

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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.”

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