In Episode 22, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner and FSRI Advisory Board Member Adam Thiel discusses tactical considerations to avoid getting caught in the flow path exhaust while fighting a basement fire.
Basement fires can be difficult to control and extinguish once they have gotten beyond the incipient stage. Access and ventilation opportunities are usually limited, floor plans are often anything but standard, and fuel loads can be large including the structural members of a floor. Advancing down the interior stairs as a first tactic may work well during the incipient or growth stages of a fire, but when a fire has reached ventilation-limited conditions or has already flashed over, pushing down the interior stairs may not result in a faster knockdown and control of the fire. While you are fighting your way down the stairs, everything may get worse for the occupants behind and above you and the building’s integrity is being compromised by the fire.
To learn more, visit these FSRI research project pages associated with this consideration: