Slide Show from a Structure Fire- April 12, 1998

A single alarm structure fire on Easter Sunday with auto mutual aid between two departments.

Dispatch Info Three engines and an aerial were dispatched at about 10:40. Boulder Rural Engine 1, Boulder Rural Engine 7, Boulder Engine 6, Boulder Engine 5, Boulder Rural Med 1, and Boulder Rural Med 2 respond to location on a structure fire.
First Arrival Assistant Chief Beaty was first on scene. His arrival report was something like this: "Boulder Rural C-2 is arrival at location. We have a single story frame and brick residence with smoke showing on the south side. Please issue a second tone to Boulder Rural for a working structure fire, tone BES for air support, and AMR non-emergent for a stand-by ambulance. This will be location command and I will be investigating."
Second Arrival Firefighter Jeff Nieusma was second on scene. He arrived in his private vehicle as Assistant Chief Beaty was on the radio. He donned his PPE and performed a 360 degree check of the occupancy looking for the source of the fire and any hazards. The smoke was definitely coming from the south side eaves but there was no obvious point of origin discovered by looking through windows and doors. The power was shut off and Nieusma was assigned to operations.
First Engine Arrival Boulder City Engine 6 was the first engine on scene. Nieusma assigned their crew to pull their fast attack line, enter through the front door, and look for the fire in the right rear corner. The crew went in, found no fire and came back out. The fire was contained in the attic.

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The building was laddered and the attack crew, joined by firefighter Randy Nelson, went to the roof to ventilate.

hose in road
The second engine, Boulder Rural Engine 1, driven by Engineer Mike Roth, laid in a water supply line...

...and joined the ventilation efforts. The roof teams were rewarded with smoke and fire from their vent holes. Firefighter Christy Hanby is pictured above walking, and Firefighter Doug Cupp is pictured tending the hose at the ladder.

The Boulder Rural (volunteer) Fire Department and the City of Boulder (career) Fire Department worked side by side to extinguish the fire. "The operation went smoothly and all the departments worked together very well," said Battalion Chief Thomas from Boulder Fire.

The incident commander was Assistant Chief Mike Beaty (BRFD). His command team included Battalion Chief Dan Thomas (BFD) and Sarah Scales (BRFD) doing accountability.

While the teams on the roof were cutting vent holes...

...firefighter Byron Thomas and firefighter Courtney Parker setup positive pressure ventilation...

CAFS attack
...and firefighter Dave Sittner and firefighter Heather Bowles entered the building with a compressed air foam attack line to find access into the attic.

bottle change
Boulder Engine 6's crew came off the roof to brief operations. Boulder Engine 5's crew was ready to help while Jim Corbin from Boulder Emergency Squad helped with the air bottles. BES sent enough people and rescue units to assist with rehab, air supply, and lighting in the basement. Thank you, BES, for your continuing support!

Firefighter Courtney Parker received some information from Operations sector (Nieusma).

...and took his partner (Byron Thomas) to a new assignment.

Rehab was under a small shade tree in the neighbor's yard.

The Safety Officer (Chief Bruce Mygatt), with help from a firefighter with a gas detector, determined the building was safe to occupy without air bottles.

window The fire damage was limited to the outside of the building...

looking up
...and the attic. Looking up into the attic from one of the bedrooms, you can see the fire damage to the trusses. You will also notice that the crew cutting the vent hole did NOT cut through the 2x4's. Outstanding work Lt. Webb!

hall This photo is taken in the hall. The door to the bedroom pictured above can (barely) be seen on the right, half way down the hall. You can see the same vent hole. Notice the fire damaged truss.

What caused this tragedy?
The homeowner was burning some weeds out of the gravel. The wind blew the fire into the juniper bushes. The juniper bushes caught fire and burned HOT and FAST. Since the junipers were so close to the house, the heat went right into the attic through the overhang above them.

How could this tragedy be prevented?
*Homeowners should be careful what they plant against the building and under overhangs such as soffits and decks.
*Don't burn next to your house.
*Plant fire resistant, low bushes.
*Be careful how close together you let your trees and bushes get on your property, especially in the mountains.
*Homeowners can do a great deal to mitigate their property to prevent fire from spreading from the outside to the inside of their home.

For information on what you can do to protect your home, please contact your local fire protection agency.