For instance, the phoenix fire of March 2001 started on an exterior dock just like the Charleston fire. Admittedly other fires have started from the interior of the supermarket but many vital survival observations and lessons can be learnt from phoenix disaster.
During the Phoenix supermarket fire incident, a fire engine attacked the fire from the exterior loading dock while a rescue company embarked on checking the interior of the building ensuring that all occupants safely evacuated the building (NIOSH, 2001). At the initial moments of the rescue mission, there was clear visibility within the building and the crew worked hard to check for extensions. As the crew advanced with a one-and-a-half inch attack line, they noticed that smoke was easing into the building from a storage area at the rear corner.
As the firefighters continued with their mission, they realized that they needed backup and communicated this to the incident commander. The commander gave orders to another engine crew to advance another one-and-a-half inch line through the building. At this very time, another engine crew from the loading dock entered the storage area to attack the fire. There were11 firefighters in the building when a second alarm team was on its way to the incident scene.
With time visibility levels within the main store began to reduce as a result of spreading smoke. The situation suddenly worsened as dense smoke filled the supermarket to the ground and the heat increased almost instantly (NIOSH, 2001). This necessitated the team's retreat. Meanwhile, the interior sector officer continued to give progress reports and updates to the incident commander of the worsening state of affairs and the decision to evacuate. This almost immediately led to the commander announcing emergency traffic. Within a short time, following emergency tones, the incident commander ordered that the entire store be evacuated.
The condition worsened quite fast. A first mayday call was broadcast during the evacuation by Brett Tarver, a firefighter. He made a declaration that he was out of air, offline and lost. This prompted the immediate ordering of the front rapid-intervention team to take action by the commander (NIOSH, 2001). The team consisted of a ladder and an engine. Another engine was also ordered to support the rescue mission from the front of the building, and yet another went through the loading-dock region. During this time several other mayday calls were received.
Post Incident Activities
In total, four firefighters got injured and were taken to hospital. A fire captain was saved from the scene unconscious and spent many days in hospital, but Brett died before the rescue team could reach out to help him. Following the incident, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and the Phoenix fire Department have both conducted in-depth investigations (NIOSH, 2001).
The investigations examined the following areas: incident command system, standard operating procedures, rapid-intervention teams, progress reports, air consumption, accountability systems, concealed systems and deep-penetration fire operations. According to report findings, the command organization was good; consisting of several sector officers and an incident commander. During the crisis, the command team reacted quickly and effectively.