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St. George Hotel Fire Report
1995

GREATER ALARMS

It was obvious that the 31 story Tower Building that faced Pineapple Street was
in immediate danger. The Incident Commander directed the fourth and fifth alarm companies to report to the Chief on exposure 3 to assist in evacuating and protecting the Tower Building.

A Battalion Chief was assigned to conduct a survey of the entire block. It appeared from the street that the Grill, Tower and the St. George Apartments were separate buildings.1 However, the survey determined that the interior had been inter-connected to create one large structure.

When the Incident Commander received this information he informed DC-1 of the building configuration and directed him to take charge of both Exposures 2 and 3 (Figure 9). The fireground was now divided into the Clark Street Branch, which included Exposures 1 and 2 and the fire building, and the Pineapple Street Branch, which included Exposures 2 and 3. Two Deputy Chiefs were assigned to direct operations in the two branches, DC-6 on the Clark side and DC-1 on the Pineapple side. The Incident Commander directed DC-1 to initiate a separate incident and to communicate directly with Brooklyn Communications to request resources.

The landmark status of the area mandated that the exterior of the buildings remain basically the same as they had been before they were consolidated.


ADDITIONAL ALARMS

A secondary Command Post was established at the corner of Hicks and Pineapple and a second alarm assignment was requested by DC-1 to report to the Pineapple Sector, which included the Pineapple and Crosshall Buildings. The equivalent of a third alarm was requested to assist the companies that were already operating in the Tower Building.

Additional alarms for the Clark Street side were transmitted as follows: the sixth at 5:06 a.m., the seventh at 5:09 a.m., the eighth at 5:28 a.m., the ninth at 6:15 a.m., the tenth at 7:17 a.m. and the eleventh at 7:20 a.m. The fire was declared under control at 7:09 a.m

A primary search of the exposures was a major challenge due to the large number of living units exposed. Although most of the residents of the Tower Building self-evacuated, the concierge was receiving calls from numerous residents requesting help. Other residents called 9-1-1 and their locations were relayed to the command post by Brooklyn communications. The Sector Commander prioritized these requests and assigned companies as they arrived or became available. Fires in several apartments had been ignited by the flying brands or radiant heat. In an effort to reach the areas most in need of intervention, apartment doors were forced open if heat was detected on the corridor side of the door. Entry ultimately had to be forced into 84 apartments in the Tower Building.

As more Chief Officers arrived, the Tower Building was divided into sectors. Several floors and companies were assigned to each Battalion Chief.

Some of the first companies into the Tower Building used the elevators to reach the upper floors. Some of the later arriving companies had to climb 20 to 25 stories to reach their assigned areas. The building’s two stairways became congested with hundreds of residents evacuating down while firefighters were advancing up the stairs, carrying their equipment. Smoke in the corridors and stairways added to the confusion. A specially trained high rise crew was sent to retrieve the elevators from the upper floors and to assure their proper use.

As more resources arrived and were assigned, a total occupant search was completed and all of the apartment fires were extinguished. Sixteen 2-1/2 inch lines were stretched from the standpipes into apartments to directly attack the fire in the Clark Building. The radiant heat from so large a fire continued to present a major threat and to tax the resources on the scene.

EXPOSURES


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