Quick Burning Homes: Firefighters Must Go Back to Basics to Handle New Threats – Quincy, Weymouth, MA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 09, 2017

The way homes and furniture are now built creates a new challenge for local firefighters.

They’re changing how they fight fires and going back to basics.

Boston 25 News Anchor Blair Miller suited up with Cambridge firefighters as they trained, for a rare look the true dangers they face in these quick-burning homes.

“Every skill we learn perishes if we don't keep it fresh,” said Cambridge Deputy Chief Sean White.

White says they've long been taught to “open a fire”, by creating a hole in the roof of a home or business. But he also says that may no longer be the best plan of attack according to new research.

"We've had to really go back and re-invent the wheel and use our tactics a little bit differently and at different times,” he said.

He points largely to the way furniture and homes are now built, as the reason why.

“The fuels have changed. The synthetics that have gotten into the couches, beds and everything like that. They burn at such a higher heat release rate. When you open up those windows or roof too early, it stimulates the fire,” said White.

Into the flames

Firefighters are working on new techniques at a special training location in Quincy that simulates darkness, smoke and intense fire.

Side by side with them, Boston 25 News went up six flights in the training tower. Firefighters raced to hit the fire with water, then looked for a window to let the smoke escape.

“We need to get the cooling of the water effect on the fire first before we open and that's a big change for us,” said Deputy Chief White.

“Over time, things change and they have different scenarios and different ways to fight fires that help out,” firefighter Rick Feliciano said after the training. Communication was often a huge challenge. Crews learn to focus on relaying signals to work well as a team.

“If we're not very good at what we do and we don't do it well fast, then we're out of air and things don't go so well.”

After that training exercise, the group of firefighters reviewed what went wrong and what went right to make sure when a real fire happens, every firefighter comes out alive.

For more information, contact Lallis & Higgins Insurance.

Fox 25 Boston

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