On this episode, I interview Firefighter John Dantuono of the Lakeside (New York) Fire Department. Lakeside is located west of Syracuse. The all-volunteer fire department serves a population of about 15,000. Listen in as John discusses how he responded to a mutual aid residential dwelling fire and fell through a weakened floor. As he notes, the only thing that kept him from falling all the way through was his SCBA.
Length: 45 minutes
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The house that was on fire was a vacant, dilapidated structure with a fire on the second floor. John was part of a crew that was looking for fire extension on the second floor of this large farm-style house. While on the second floor, John separated from his partner – by his estimates – approximately 20 feet or so, and entered a room where the floor was weakened – not from fire, but from rot. With no warning, John fell through the floor and was caught by his SCBA bottle. This resulted in a Mayday and John’s successful rescue. During this interview, John will share some valuable lessons learned, including:
- The importance of not being complacent and letting your guard down. Simply because you are in an environment that does not contain a lot of smoke and fire, doesn’t mean you are not in danger.
- John recalls hearing someone announce the structure was in poor condition and the floors had been compromised – yet he still fell through a weakened spot.
- At the time, the department did not have a mayday policy and firefighters were not trained to a standardized mayday procedure.
- Typically a Rapid Intervention Team is identified by the dispatcher at the start of the call. John does not recall a specific department or company being names RIT for this incident, even though there were over 40 firefighters on the scene.
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