The anatomy of a fire call
BVFD Communications Officer Dan Chiasson explains moment by moment, how firefighters responded to a recent car carrier fire
On Monday, August 21, at approximately 9:30 pm, Baddeck Volunteer Fire Department members received a call on pagers and FIREQRVS (an emergency alert app), to proceed to the Ultramar Card Lock Diesel Fill Station on Highway 105 just west of Baddeck. Fifteen Volunteer Fire fighters and all four fire trucks were on site.
Upon arrival, Chief Darren Macaulay took command of the fire scene. An auto hauler transport truck was fully engulfed in flames as well as some of the cars located on the two-tier hauler closest to the cab.
Baddeck Detachment RCMP took command of road traffic, freeing all fire fighters to extinguish the fire. The driver and passenger had successfully escaped from the transport vehicle. Though the carrier was parked between a building and a diesel fuel fill station, the burning cab of the carrier was ahead of the tanks, reducing the risk of immediate danger.
Every firefighter directing water on the fire wore breathing apparatus gear.
Water was directed onto the fire through hoses located on pumper fire truck No. 2 and tanker fire truck No. 3. Water on fire truck No. 1, a small pumper, was held in reserve. In such a scenario, three firefighters are required to handle each hose - one firefighter attends to the pump on the truck, a front firefighter directs the water spray on the fire and the back firefighter, also holding the hose, creates stability, assists in moving the hose direction and reduces the work for the front firefighter. The fire was fought from both sides and from the front of the carrier.
Several of the cars on the front end of the carrier were destroyed. The building with contents beside the carrier was saved but the extreme heat caused some damage to the front of the building.
Diesel fuel leaked from the transport truck and mixed with the water. Several firefighters created a line of granular liquid absorbent to assist in containing the contaminants.
Once the heat and power of the fire was reduced, the hoses were reconfigured to add foam to the water to knock down and smother the remaining fire. When hot spots returned, firefighters reapplied foam, killing the fire completely.
Firefighters commented that the new turnout gear provided greater protection, comfort, reduced heat and water exposure, as well as greatly increased flexibility. These advantages lead to less fatigue.
When firefighters returned to the station, all equipment and hoses had to be collected and stored. Back at the hall, the truck tanks needed to be refilled, many firefighters required their boots and gear to be washed down. All of the hoses needed to be laid out so they could drain remaining water. Due to the contaminants on the ground, all the hoses needed to be cleaned. Next morning, the hoses were pressure washed before being properly stored on the trucks in readiness for the next call.
Call successfully completed!
The remains of a car carrier and a destroyed car are seen on a flatbed the day after they caught fire at the Ultramar Card Lock Diesel Fill Station on Highway 105 outside of Baddeck. Photo by Andrew Brooks / The Victoria Standard.