The above video gives us a great chance to read smoke prior to fire department arrival. It is a great example of turbulent smoke an indicator of impending flash over. Without immediate water delivery and a cooling of the interior compartments the fire will surely reach a flash over state.
It appears that the arriving engine company elected to use an exterior attack, and then go interior once more firefighters arrived. This technique has been branded as “transitional attack”.
Some have panned this technique as not keeping with the truest sense of the fire service, that not making interior attack every time makes someone less of a firefighter. A wise fire captain told me that in todays fire service knowing when not to go in, is more important than going in. Meaning simply that the construction, staffing, fire loading, etc. are different and in order to defeat the problems of today, we must make sound tactical decisions based on a true fire and structural assessment. After that we must adjust the tactics we use to meet the needs of our problem.
Taking this video at face value you can not argue with the success of the technique utilized…a well advanced fire, producing three-dimensional, turbulent smoke was knocked down and the smoke production reduced. While the initial assessment of a rescue profile would be minimal, the rapid reduction and production of smoke by this technique could make a rescue viable in some of the rooms adjacent to the main fire area.
Every technique has its place and time, this fire with what appeared to be a reduced initial staffing level screamed transitional attack. Even a beefed up staffing level it would have been a great option.
As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!