Hi everyone this is one of the more interesting articles I found browsing fire sites, Please take time to read through it. It is such a good reference tool!

FIREFIGHTER MICHAEL P. SMITH: Retired Firefighter Michael Smith of Ladder 58 died on Christmas Day in 2015. Michael worked at the recovery effort following the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Michael died of Cancer related to his work at the World Trade Center.

His death is categorized as “administrative line-of-duty.” There have been over 100 members of the FDNY who have died from being exposed to toxins at the World Trade Center. His funeral was on January 5, 2016. May he rest in peace.

TIP OF THE HELMET TO:

Engine 88 and Ladder 38 who hosted the plaque dedication to Firefighter William D. Koesterer of Engine 88 on January 8, 2016. Firefighter Koesterer died from Cancer. His death is considered “administrative line-of- duty.”

2086 Balentine Avenue, Bronx:

On the night of December 10, 2015, FDNY units would be challenged by a fire that many veteran firefighters would describe as a “career fire.”

The temperature was unusually mild for the month of December. At 2342 hours, the Bronx Fire Dispatchers started receiving telephone calls reporting a structural fire at Valentine Avenue and E. 180 St. in the Bronx. The Bronx Fire Dispatchers transmitted box 3146. Engines 48, 75, 46, Ladders 56, 27 and Battalion 19 were dispatched.

After box 3146 was transmitted, “numerous phone calls” were received at the Dispatcher’s office. In fact, 15 phone calls were received within one minute and thirty five seconds since the initial alarm was transmitted. They were reporting situations such as: “roof on fire”, “fire from roof”,

“flames and smoke coming from the 3rd floor”, “house on fire on corner of location”, “flames are everywhere”. At 2343 hours, the Bronx Communications Office (BXCO) sent the full 1st alarm assignment: Engine 42, Ladder 38 (FAST Unit), Rescue 3, Squad 41, and Battalion 18. While responding, units could see a rapidly rising column of smoke and fire at the roof level, indicating a shaft fire. At 2345 hours, Ladder 27 arrived at the box and transmitted a 10-75. Engine 48 and Ladder 56 arrived at 2345 hours as well.

The initial phone calls reported that the fire building was 2098 Valentine Avenue, a seven-story multiple dwelling. In reality, this was not the fire building and was apparent as the first due units responded. Battalion 19 quickly alerted the BXCO. The correct address of the original fire building was 2086 Valentine Avenue. It was a 3-story wooden, braced frame building, in a row of 5 row frames. It was the building on southern end of the row. Heavy smoke and fire could be seen from the top of the structure. The cockloft of not only the initial fire building was showing heavy smoke pushing from the cornice, but the entire row of buildings also had heavy smoke billowing out.

Ladder 56 under the command of Lieut. Kevin White, entered the original fire building. A cursory look at the first floor did not show any fire on this floor. He and his forcible entry team ascended to the 2nd floor. At this point, they found heavy fire near the air shaft between the fire building and exposure 2. There was heavy fire extending to the 2nd floor from the air shaft. Fr. Jacob Worstell of L-56 (Irons) began taking doors off non- exposed rooms and placing the doors over fire-involved door openings to confine the fire near the shaft. The members of L-56’s forcible entry team performed a primary search of that floor.

Engine 48, commanded by Capt. Ray O’Hanlon, stretched an 1 3⁄4” hand line into the original fire building. They discovered fire on the first floor and Fr. Marc Viscogliosi (Nozzle) and Fr. Nick Marchese (Backup) aggressively attacked the fire on the first floor. While operating on the first floor, L-56 called for another hose line on the floor above (2nd floor). As there were no Engine Companies available at the time, Engine 48 advanced their hose line up the stairs and knocked down several rooms of fire on the 2nd floor. Ladder 56 ascended to the top (3rd) floor which had a heavy fire condition. Primary searches were begun on that floor. B.C. Michael Sturgis of Battalion 18 eventually arrived as the 2nd due Battalion Chief. Knowing his limited resources, he ordered E-48’s hose line to the third (top) floor to extinguish fire there.

Engine 48 displayed great teamwork. They switched Nozzelman to Fr. Mike Smith, advanced the hose line to the third floor, and extinguished heavy fire.

Battalion Chief Michael Fahy of the 19th Battalion arrived at the fire as the 1st due Battalion Chief. He quickly sized-up the dramatic scene in front of him.

He saw the heavy fire condition in an occupied row frame building, rapidly extending to exposure 2 and the cockloft. He transmitted a 2nd alarm at 2348 hours.

Ladder 56’s Outside Vent Firefighter (OV), Matt Miller, went to exposure 2D to gain access to the rear yard. He climbed over a fence and saw the fire problem from the rear. Fire was rapidly spreading up the exterior wall of the original fire building and auto exposing. All five row frame buildings had a rear fire escape. He proceeded to the rear of the original fire building. Fr. Miller L-56 (OV) encountered a problem with the fire escape drop ladder. The drop ladder could not be activated on this building. So, Fr. Miller ascended the fire escape on exposure 2 so he could perform horizontal ventilation on the original fire building by reaching over with his 6 foot hook. As he was performing this task, he heard a loud “crack”. He turned around and saw heavy fire broke out behind him, out of windows on exposure 2A. He immediately transmitted this information to “Command”. He climbed down the fire escape, made his way to the street, and joined his forcible entry team in the original fire building.

Radio transmissions were now reporting a heavy fire condition in exposure 2 and hose lines were needed immediately. Engine 46, commanded by Capt. James O’Hara, and stretched a hand line to exposure 2. There were radio reports from Ladder 27 of fire in an air shaft between exposure 2 and 2A. E-46 extinguished fire in the air shaft, and then they moved up to the 2nd floor and extinguished fire there. Ultimately, this hose line made it to the 3rd (top) floor to extinguish fire on the top floor and in the cockloft.

Ladder 56’s and Ladder 27’s Chauffeurs positioned their aerial ladders to provide access to the roof and access/egress to the upper floors. Ladder 56 drilled on these buildings and knew where to position the apparatus to overcome the obstacle of overhead power lines. Fr. Scott Doody of L-56 communicated with Fr. Matt Zimpfer of L-27 where to position their apparatus. Both aerials went to the roof and both Chauffeurs placed portable ladders to the 2nd floor of the two buildings.

Engine 42 commanded by Lieutenant Belgico Rodriguez advanced the third hose line to the top floor of exposure 2. It is there that they operated the third hose line with Ladder 27 and Engine 46. While Engine Companies operated, Ladder 27 performed a primary search and opened up the walls and ceilings so that the hose lines could extinguish the expanding fire. When Battalion Chief Mike Leanza of Battalion 27 arrived, he supervised operations in this building.

Ladder 56’s and Ladder 27’s Roof Firefighters gained access to the roof via aerial ladder. It was there they found a heavy fire condition coming from the air shaft between the original fire building and exposure 2. Fr. Thomas Brick L-56 (roof) radioed that there was heavy fire showing through the roof of the original fire building and exposure 2. They proceeded to vent the scuttles and skylights of these two buildings. Officers and Firefighters working in the fire buildings all commented how effective the vertical ventilation was at these buildings.

Lieut. Michael Conboy of Rescue 3 arrived with his company at box 3146. Initially, they sent a team to the roof to assist in vertical ventilation and the interior team went into exposure 2. They assisted in vent, entry, and search (VES) operations. Then, they were ordered to exposure 2B to determine the limits of fire travel. Lieut. Conboy reported that there was fire in exposure 2B and called for a hand line.
The first Tower Ladder to be dispatched was Ladder 58 on the 2nd alarm. The normal 2nd due Tower Ladder, Ladder 33, was out of service. Ladder 58 arrived and operated in the original fire building with Engine 88. While the inside team was operating, the outside team was setting up L-58’s apparatus to protect exposure 4.

While hose lines were being stretched and searches were being conducted, vertical ventilation
was being conducted on the roof. Fr. Brian Browne R-3 (Sq-41 Det.) and Fr. Jim Lowe R-3 joined the Firefighters already operating on the roof. The roof showed heavy fire in the rear.

The roof deck started to ignite as members were cutting ventilation holes in the roof. As they moved away from the original fire building, the roofing near the rear wall started to give way and collapse. Moving as quickly as possible, they crossed over away from the original fire building, cutting and ventilating the cockloft. Every hole that was cut showed heavy fire.

Division 7 was commanded by Deputy Chief Michael Gunning. The 7th Division arrived at 2350 hours. He received his briefing from B.C. Fahy and saw the heavy fire potential in front of them. At 0003 hours, Division 7 reported the following to the BXCO: “We have 4 lines stretched and operating. We have fire in exposure 2 and 2A. Transmit a 3rd alarm.”

Ladder 59 arrived on the 2nd alarm commanded by Captain Ed Boles. They were ordered to enter exposure 2A (a vacant building) and then to exposure 2B (occupied building). L-59 found a heavy smoke condition on the top floor of exposure 2B and called for a hand line. Engine 43 commanded by Capt. Paul Newman stretched an 1 3⁄4 inch hand line to the top floor to operate with L-59. Engine 45 commanded by Lieut. Scott Deo arrived and stretched a hand line to exposure 2A and operated there. Engine 75 had assisted in getting hand lines into
position in exposure 2. They then assisted Engine 43 in getting their hand line into position in exposure 2B.

Engine 50 commanded by Lieut. William Peponakis, arrived at the box as a 3rd alarm engine. They were ordered to stretch a hose line to the rear of the buildings to extinguish heavy fire moving along the rear walls and to protect exposure 3. Engine 82 assisted Engine 50 in the stretch.

Events were happening quickly. Hose lines were being called for at a pace that was difficult to keep up with, even with the third alarm recourses.

Fr. Brian Browne R-3 (Sq-41 Det.) was the senior Firefighter on the roof. He and the other members working on the roof kept cutting, venting and moving away from the original fire building. Finally, they arrived at the last building, exposure 2C. Fire was coming out of every hole that was cut and smoke was pushing out of every crevice. Fr. Browne told the members on the roof that it is time to evacuate the roof.

Fr. Doody L-56 (Chauffeur) was able to reposition the stick of an aerial ladder to assist in the evacuation of the members on the roof.

Article Continued in Part 2