At a fire both the engine and truck are needed to extinguish the flames and make rescues of trapped people. If the fire is advanced, the engine has to knock down the flames before the truck can begin its search. On September 8, 2017 at 0334 hours, Engine Co. 302 and Ladder Co. 155 “the Vipers Nest” were directed to respond first due for a report of smoke at 123-60 147th Street in Queens. As Engine Co. 302 reached the corner of 147th Street the company saw heavy fire coming out of the front window of a house half way down the block. The fire was in a 2-½ story peaked roof private dwelling and was also venting from the exposure 2 and 4 sides. A frantic woman at the front gate informed the members that her three kids were trapped on the 2nd floor. LT. Brendan Corrigan of Ladder Co. 155 transmitted that information over the radio to make all members aware of the urgency of the situation. The fire had extended to the exterior siding and was consuming the outside of the house and was auto exposing to the second floor via the front and side windows. The fire was also extending to the siding of exposure 2. The intense fire prevented the members of Ladder 155 from initially entering the house. FF. James Hurson, the roof firefighter, surveyed all sides of the fire building and found only one second story window with which to place a portable ladder because of three cars on the exposure 2 side and rear yard. FF. Hurson forced the side door and determined that there was no fire in the basement and transmitted that information to LT. Corrigan. FF. Hurson informed FF. Gerard McManus, the outside vent firefighter of Ladder 155, to bring a 24-foot extension ladder to the exposure 4 side. They climbed the ladder to the second floor hallway into difficult conditions.
Once the nozzle team of Engine Co. 302 was ready to begin its attack, LT. Gregory Damato ordered the ECC Christopher Cavalcante to start water. The rig was not yet connected to a hydrant, so FF. Cavalcante supplied booster water while finishing the hookup. LT. Damato informed the nozzle firefighter Kerron Ware to sweep the front of the house and exposure 2 to limit the amount of heat and fire that was auto exposing the 2nd floor. After knocking down the heavy fire on the exterior, Engine Co. 302 made an aggressive push into the first floor and quickly advanced through the clutter while knocking down the heavy fire. This allowed LT. Corrigan and FF. Mark Ackerman, the irons firefighters of Ladder 155, to crawl to the second floor through high heat and zero visibility to search for the trapped occupants. LT. Corrigan ordered FF. Ted Parente, the can firefighter, to remain at the base of the stairs to monitor conditions. LT. Corrigan heard cries for help. Engine Co. 302, which was still on booster water, continued to advance deeper into the first floor where there was a room in the rear that was on fire. LT. Corrigan and FF. Ackerman split up and LT. Corrigan quickly found two of the three sisters in the middle bedroom. As LT. Corrigan was removing one of the victims, he located the third victim and informed FF. McManus. As the engine made the rear room FF. Cavalcante informed the officer that the company was now on hydrant water. LT. Damato dropped back on the hoseline to make sure that the fire had not flared up behind the company. At the base of the stairs LT. Damato heard FF. Ackerman struggling to remove one of the 10-45s from the second floor. LT. Damato instructed his control firefighter, James Terry, who was detailed from Ladder Co. 158 to assist FF. Ackerman with the removal. LT. Damato returned to his nozzle team, and since the fire was knocked down, had FF. Ware and FF. Christopher Armstrong, the backup firefighter, bring the hoseline to the base of the stairs to the second floor. The advancement was delayed because LT. Corrigan was in the process of removing a victim down the stairs. LT. Damato ordered FF. Armstrong to assist with the removal of the victim. Once the stairs were clear LT. Damato ascended the stairs on his hands and knees due to the high heat to assess the fire conditions before committing the line upstairs due to only having FF. Ware on the line. Engine Co. 302 decided to bring the hoseline to the second floor because there was fire on the second floor. A second hoseline was not available, and Ladder 155 was upstairs removing victims in difficult conditions without the protection of a hoseline. As LT. Damato reached the second floor, he saw FF. McManus having difficulty removing an unconscious victim who was caught in debris. The fire had extended from the front bedroom into the second floor hallway. LT. Damato assisted FF. McManus in freeing the victim so she could be removed down the stairs. Once the stairs were clear, FF. Ware started to aggressively advance the hoseline to the second floor by himself while FF. Cavalcante pushed the line in at the front door. When FF. Ware reached the second floor, FF. Armstrong and FF. Terry reentered the house and resumed their positions on the hoseline. The hoseline was then advanced on the second floor to extinguish the fire in the front room. Matt Wilkinson, the chauffeur of Ladder 155, completed a primary search of that room and then went to the attic to assess conditions and conduct a search. A short time later Battalion Chief Robert Bohack of Battalion 51 reported that heavy black smoke was issuing under pressure from the attic, and he ordered members out of the attic. LT. Damato informed BC Bohack that the engine would advance the hoseline into the attic to protect FF. Wilkinson and extinguish the fire. When the members reached the attic they were met with fire and high heat.
By now the members were physically exhausted, but they pushed on and found the energy to advance into the cluttered attic and put out another room of fire. Once the attic was extinguished, high heat remained because the exterior siding was still on fire. The nozzle team of Engine Co. 302 leaned out the window to extinguish the fire. At this time LT. Damato realized that the vibralerts of his members were going off. BC Bohack provided relief for Engine Co. 302 and they exited the building.
For acting in the highest tradition of the FDNY, with combined actions in extinguishing a heavy fire on multiple floors and rescuing three people from a private dwelling, the fire officers and members of Engine Co. 302 and Ladder Co. 155 are being honored tonight.