In part-1 of this 2-part interview, I talk with Captain Eric Dreiman, Indianapolis Fire Department about his survival of a flashover event that resulted in multiple burns.
Length: 44 minutes
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On November 14, 2014, Indianapolis Captain (then Lieutenant) Eric Dreiman was assigned on Ladder 19. His station was dispatched at 1159 hours to a reported residential dwelling fire on Holly Avenue, about a half mile from the station.
On arrival the crew had heavy fire showing on the rear of the house and one occupant who had escaped reporting that her son was still inside. Dreiman, along with Firefighter Brian Kincaid made entry to conduct a primary search. Engine 19 was stretching an attack line and would soon follow… or so they thought.
The engine experienced a short delay in getting the line charged. Dreiman and Kincaid advanced into the house on the search. There was a sudden change in conditions and Dreiman made the decision to retreat.
As the approached the front door, the fire flashed over. Kincaid was exiting on to the front porch. Dreiman was behind Kincaid and was exposed to extreme fire conditions that burned his gear and burned him. Upon exiting, their gear was on fire and they had to be extinguished by the engine crew.
Listen to the amazing near-miss story where, if their decision to exit was delayed by only a few seconds, it would have likely resulted in a double line-of-duty death.
Observations and lessons learned included:
- Avoiding the “routine” call mindset.
- Wear all your gear properly.
- Train on fire behavior.
- Learn how to read smoke.
- Participate in flashover training.
- Don’t take the engine line advancement for granted.
- Realize when civilian lives are no longer savable.
- Understand you can suffer from auditory exclusion while operating in a high-stress environment.
- Time distortion can impact your awareness.
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