Interstate Bank Building Fire;
The logistical considerations involved in this operation
were massive. The 10th floor was used as the Staging Area
for personnel and equipment. Crews would return to the Staging
Area to rest and change air cylinders and then to await
reassignment to a fire floor. Companies went into action
with full air cylinders and returned to the Staging Area
when they were out of air. The companies operated for approximately
20 minutes in each cycle and had approximately 20 minutes
to rest and change air cylinders.
Without elevators, every piece of equipment had to be carried
up the stairs, including approximately 600 air cylinders.
Every firefighter entering the building carried hose, nozzles,
and other tools up to the 10th floor. A stairwell support
operation, with nine companies assigned, spent over two
hours moving equipment from the street level, through an
underground tunnel from a parking garage across the street,
up to the lobby, and then up the stairs to the Staging Area.
Crews working below the fire worked under deteriorating,
adverse conditions. Smoke began to fill the 10th and lower
floors, and windows had to be broken for ventilation. Water
cascaded down the stairways and through the ceilings; and
electrical power, including emergency lighting in the stairs,
was lost. The operation continued for so long that even
handlights failed due to battery consumption.
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