Oct. 24, 2016 – Boltonville, WI – On Friday afternoon, Oct. 14, the Boltonville Fire Department received a call for a house fire at approximately 4:45 p.m. The house is an exposed, raised ranch construction in a rural, non-hydrant area. Upon receiving the call Fire Chief Ken Ramthun’s son, Tim, immediately responded from his home with an X-Tinguish® FST.
The X-Tinguish® FST is designed for mobile total flooding fire suppression applications on land and sea. The FST is a highly effective tool for the suppression of early stage and fully-developed fires; preventing flash-over and back-draft.
The unit offers dual protection for firefighters as it will lower the temperature to under the self-ignition temperature of the fire gasses. The second safety feature is the aerosol itself; once it is active in the atmosphere, the fire gasses present are inert and cannot be ignited.
Boltonville Fire Department purchased two of these devices from Ten 2 Communications in Slinger, Wisconsin in spring of this year.
Both Tim and Chief Ramthun, each about 2 miles away, in different directions, could see heavy brown smoke which was growing rapidly in size and density.
Via cell phone conversation the two determined Tim Ramthun should go directly to the house and attempt an extinguishment of the fire with the FST.
Upon arriving on scene Tim reported brown smoke rolling out from the eaves and the windows on the first floor of the home which was brown in color from the smoke and heat.
According to Dave Dobson, retired fire Battalion Chief from Colorado, “Brown smoke is usually a sign that untreated wood is burning, meaning the fire has grown from being a room and contents type event to a structural event where the rafters and building itself are burning.”
After failing to gain access to the exposed basement area, where it appears the fire originated, Tim went to a garage entrance. Here the smoke was about 2 feet from the floor. He crawled into an area where he pulled the pin and tossed the FST inside. He then closed the door after which there was an immediate change in the smoke and heat level in the building.
Chief Ramthun requested two 1-3/4” hose lines deployed from their engine equipped with Compressed Air Foam System, one to the basement and one to the first floor. Approximately 130 gallons of water was used to extinguish a small fire, flush the hoses of the foam. It is estimated 30 to 40 gallons of water was used in the basement area near the electrical control panel.
“When I entered the house, I was amazed how the FST stopped the fire in its tracks,” said Chief Ranthun. “There was a couch next to the open stair case that had been on fire and about half of the back of the couch was burned off with no extension of the fire.
“I believe the fire would have consumed much of the house if the FST had not been deployed as it was another 4 minutes for the fire trucks to travel the distance to the residence,” said Chief Ramthun. “We had windows which were cracking from the heat and a few had already broken.”
The crew that entered the upper floor found no fire what so ever, even though there were signs fire was present in the room prior to the deployment of FST.
Rick Cohn of Ten 2 Communications stated this is at least the third deployment in the past 12 months of a FST that made a significant suppression of the fire and the reduced the need for huge amounts of water.
“The FST is way better for rural departments, even better than MABAS [Mutual Aid Box Alarm System]. Considering the limited manpower available during the day, distances to travel to a rural home from the fire station, and limited water, the faster we can control the fire and suppress it the better it is for homeowner,” said Chief Ramthun.