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Interstate Bank Building Fire;

LOGISTICS

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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