Note from Tom
Recognizing the Durham Fire Department
The past 30 days have been an extremely busy time for the Durham Fire Department (DFD). While overall call volume is down due the department limiting responses to low-priority EMS calls, they have responded to 23 structure fires, which is a significant increase over the past several years. For reference, a typical working fire may require the response of around 40 personnel while more serious ones may require over 80.
One serious fire incident occurred on August 12 when DFD units were dispatched to a reported structure fire at the former Police Department Headquarters at 505 W. Chapel Hill St. The first unit, Engine Company 1 from our downtown station, arrived in the area and determined that the fire was instead located at 512 Gordon St. This unit found heavy fire conditions on a four-story, middle-of-the-row townhouse under construction.
The acting captain, Emily Hannigan, made the aggressive decision to use a 2 ½” attack hoseline, which DFD describes as very large, heavy, and unwieldy to deploy. Her firefighters expertly deployed, with the help of Squad 1 and Rescue 1, this difficult hoseline and used it to excellent effect in the first few minutes of the incident. Her decision and the actions of her crew stopped this fire in its tracks and helped save the majority of the building as well as the neighboring building.
I have learned that fires in buildings under construction are extsremely dangerous and difficult to control due to the open areas and easy fire spread. As we have seen around the country, most of these fires end as near total losses. The actions of the DFD that day (and the past several weeks) were exemplary and I applaud the work of Acting Captain Emily Hannigan and the rest of our DFD Firefighters.