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This is dash-cam video and radio traffic from the command vehicle at the December 7 house fire in Arcata, California that left one man dead. We previously posted video from this fire that threatened an apartment building next door. Here is the detailed description that Arcata Fire posted with this video:
Arcata Fire Protection District personnel responded to 210 H Street in Arcata, California on December 7th, 2013 at 5:55 pm after receiving a report of a residential structure fire with possible entrapment. Firefighters arrived within two minutes and reported a heavily involved single family residence with fire threatening to spread to a two story apartment complex.
The occupants of the house were unaccounted for so the first arriving crew made an aggressive attempt to enter through the front door and search for possible occupants inside of the burning home. The second arriving engine began extinguishment of the apartment complex and prepared for fire control of the burning residence.
The engine company that was searching for possible occupants inside of the main fire building was hampered by extreme heat and high fuel loading, specifically, furniture and personal belongings, inside of the home. The search crew had to exit the structure and reposition to the back of the home where conditions were more tenable.
The search crew used a tactic called Vent/Enter/Search (VES) to gain access into the back of the home and search for occupants. Battalion Chief Campbell reported, "The VES tactic is a high risk, aggressive maneuver where firefighters enter the burning structure without a hose line to search for trapped occupants. The crew searches all interior portions of the structure while fire is rapidly consuming the building. Firefighters on the outside are not able to put water on the fire during this time because that would cause fire to be pushed onto the search crew.
If you watch some of the other videos that are out there, it appears as though we are not doing anything as the house is consumed by fire. That is not an accurate observation, as we are trying to save a life by putting our crews inside of the burning building to find occupants. In this case, we intentionally did not put water on the main fire because it would have burned our firefighters. This buys time for the search crew to try and locate and remove any occupants. All the outside crews can do is protect exposures and wait for the search to be completed".
Arcata Fire exists to protect the lives, environment, and property of the communities it serves.