The incident began at 1840 when it was reported that a small amount of water had appeared at a floor drain with a smell of feces. Engine Company 2 was first on the scene and their investigation confirmed a backed up sewer line with shit showing. Command Unit 300 was called and a plumber was requested.
II. THE ATTACK BEGINS
Unit 300, having denied the request for a plumber, arrived on the scene at 1850 with a hand snake. Immediate application this device failed, whereupon Unit 300 ordered a 1 1/2-inch line laid from the hydrant. This line was first used on the outside sewer vent, but this proved ineffective. The initial line was then repositioned to the bathroom drain to attack the base of the shit.
III. THE ATTACK FAILS
Application of this high-pressure hose line caused an immediate and devastating extension of the incident to the utility closet drain. A back-up 1 1/2-inch line was laid from the apparatus room outlet to deal with this problem. The additional water, however, compounded the problem, which was water to begin with. Defensive mode was called at 1910.
IV. DEFENSIVE PHASE
Engine Company 2, now operating as two units, withdrew to positions in the locker room and hallway in the attempt to stop the shit there and save the rest of the building, particularly the kitchen and bunkroom. During this phase, the only effective tool proved to be the squeegees. Diking was proposed as there was a limit to the endurance of the engine company and Unit 300.
The incident was declared a loss at 1920 and a plumber was called. He arrived within 10 minutes, whereupon Unit 300 declared 10-8 and passed incident command back to Engine Company 2. Defensive operations continued while the plumber forced entry to the drain system. Entry was achieved at 1950 and use of a “Roto-rooter” machine was begun. Shortly, the water began to recede and the situation was declared under control at 2000.
VI. CLEAN UP
Clean up, employed most, shop vac, and the invaluable squeegees, began immediately. Cross-ventilation was established in the hallway with a large fan. The incident was finally declared terminated at 2050.
The command structure exhibited gross fiscal cowardice in their failure to adequately assess the problem and call a plumber in the initial phase. Unit 300 should be cited for his failure to attack from the unshitty side. In fact, the attempt to apply fire fighting techniques to a sewage situation was highly inappropriate. Engine Company 2 should be commended, not only for their correct size-up and proper request (denied), but for their superhuman efforts in a futile battle on the orders of their superiors.