The blaze started in a bedroom/storeroom of the house (formerly the clubrooms of the Carisbrook Bowling Clkub) in
Members of the Carisbrook brigade were alerted via pagers to the fire at about 5.30pm on July 12 and the nearby Maryborough brigade was paged to provide support.
Carisbrook captain Ian Boucher said the brigade turned out both its pumper and tanker and were quickly on scene.
Mr Boucher said that when the brigade arrived there was flame and smoke coming from a window and smoke billowing from other parts of the house.
The occupant of the house had returned to find it on fire and had opened the front door and had been blown off his feet by the backdraft.
On arriving at the scene one room of the building was already fully involved but the presence of grey smoke pouring from the building was a sign that the fire was being retarded due to a lack of oxygen.
The brigade initially used an indirect attack to reduce the flame before members wearing protective clothing and using breathing apparatus were able to enter the building. One line (two lengths) of 38mm fitted with Protek branch was used by the BA operators while another line of 38mm fitted with fog nozzle was used by crews remaining outside.
Maryborough brigade member Peter Higgins and Carisbrook 1st Lt Jamie Herd used recently developed fire fighting techniques learned as part of “compartment fire behaviour training”. Lt Higgins (who is the Goldfields Group Training Officer) has been training in the new techniques under Ross Pollard in District 2 and was able to combine his knowledge with the local brigade to control the fire.
The techniques enable fire fighters to quickly identify whether the building can be saved before then entering the building to directly attack the fire.
The pair tested the partly opened door using pulses from a Protek nozzle to identify the “neutral plain” (the level to which the hot gases had descended).
Once they identified that the plain was about 1.2 to 1.5 metres above the floor they entered the building and continued to use pulses of water as hydraulic ventilation to cool the gases as they went. As the gases cooled the gases dissipated upwards.
They moved systematically towards the adjacent room where the fire had started. Once they had found the seat of the fire they used longer pulses of water on the flame to extinguish the fire. The hot embers were pencilled with a light stream of water.
Mr Higgins said the techniques used much less water, caused less damage to property and preserved the scene for fire investigators.
The incident was also a good example to the brigade of the use of the newer training techniques.
It also meant that by a direct attack that limited most damage to one room, the occupant was able to salvage some belongings when in the past most fires would end with the building destroyed.
Mr Boucher said it was a “good save” by the brigade.
The techniques learned from this fire would assist the brigade in the future when fighting structure fires in Carisbrook and surrounding areas, he said.