March 9, 2010
Squad Crew Handles Tough Basement Fire
As Rescue Squad 741B cleared an automatic fire alarm on Pooks Hill Road in North Bethesda, a few minutes after 10:00 a.m., it was dispatched on Box 6-07 for a house fire in the 5100 block of Wessling Lane, near downtown Bethesda. Five minutes later, they arrived first on the scene and reported smoke showing from Side A (the front side) with a confirmed working basement fire. They immediately requested the rapid intervention dispatch.
The crew of three forced entry to the front door to allow access for the first arriving engine company (Engine 706 from Bethesda) and shut off the gas meter, which was next to the door. As Engine 706 established a water supply, the rescue squad crew vented the basement windows from the outside and noted that fire was showing from side Bravo.
With heavy smoke conditions, heat, and zero visibility, the crew entered the house and quickly performed a primary search of the first and second floors, finding no one. The incident commander then chose to evacuate personnel from the interior of the structure due to a concern of flashover, and ordered a defensive attack. While this was happening, crews received a report of two unaccounted occupants – a babysitter and young child.
After about five to ten minutes, the squad crew received permission to re-enter the structure and complete a secondary search of the house, venting windows as they searched. The squad driver joined up with crews from Engine 750B and Aerial Tower 751 in the basement to complete the search of the sub-level. Engine 706 held the basement door with a charged line. Again, no one was found, and the babysitter and child were located in a neighbor's house across the street, out of harm's way.
The Rescue Squad was one of two Bethesda-Chevy Chase units dispatched. Medic 741F, staffed by two volunteers, arrived on the scene and established the rehab sector. Fortunately, no one was injured.
After the fire was knocked down, the squad crew, along with units from Bethesda, the National Naval Medical Center, the National Institutes of Health, Silver Spring, and Cabin John, stayed on scene and worked together to perform salvage and overhaul duties.
Read more of "The Squad in Action."
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