Dear PoPville – Was this a Fire Department Exercise?

Photo by PoPville flickr user ep_jhu

Dear PoPville,

I saw something strange out my window Wednesday night (10th and Otis NW) and I was wondering if PoPville knows anything about firemen drills on city streets- because that is the only explanation for what I saw. (either that or it was a weird comedic performance).

About 10:30pm, a firetruck came racing down 10th with lights and sirens full blast. The truck stopped in the the intersection of 10th and Otis and firemen in full gear came racing out and started unravelling a hose. They then dropped said hose in the middle of the street, got back in the truck, and raced down Otis to 11th. Then they turned around and came back down Otis (going the wrong way on a one-way), jumped out of the truck again, put the hose back in the truck, got back in, and drove away. It was quite perplexing. Have DC firemen been known to conduct hose-drop drills on residential streets?

Ed. Note: An email inquiring about this incident to the DCFD was not returned.

15 Comment

  • em

    Maybe they had a kink in their hose?

  • chinese fire drill?

  • It could have been that there was a fire reported at/near that location and, simultaneous to their arrival, an officer/chief already on the scene announced an “all clear,” so they just wound the hose up and went back to the station. Or maybe they had the wrong location and only realized it after unraveling the hose. Pure speculation though

  • Yes, that was most likely a drill. Fire departments often consider ‘false alarms’ as their defacto practice drills, but they do stage them as well.

  • Why do you find this perplexing? False alarms and real fires are not uncommon in my neighborhood – lots of row houses with bad wiring, so I see this a lot. They are amazing to watch in action – and if it was a drill so what? Don’t you want them to be prepared?

  • Not a drill. This is what the FD does for a reported fire. The hose laid in the middle of the street probably went to a hydrant. Then the truck drove to where fire was reported. If a false call, they go pick up the hose & go back to firehouse.

  • I’ve seen them do this in front of the 14th/ Newton firehouse, so I would have assumed it was a drill, too.

  • There’s an in-patient drug treatment center on Spring Rd between 11th and 13th and their alarm was going off on Wednesday night around that time. We could hear it from our house. It seems like it was a malfunction with the alarm (this actually happens quite frequently there) and not an actual fire or other emergency, but there were fire trucks parked at 13th and Spring for quite a while around then. I’d bet the ones you saw were responding to the same thing and arrived before the all clear was given.

  • Something similar happened this morning on N St. NW between 17th St. NW and 18th St. NW. The fire truck with sirens blaring went south down 17th St. NW and then west on N St. NW — the wrong way on a one way street — and stopped in the middle of the street at N St. NW and 18th St. NW. The firemen did not get out, they just sat in the truck with the lights still going but sirens off. They left not long after.

  • perhaps they had the wrong address

  • Sounds like they were setting a secondary hose line. Typically when DCFD gets a call for a fire, an engine heads to the scene, while a secondary engine arrives as well. The primary unit hooks up to the hydrant closest to the fire, while secondary unit runs a hose from the next closest hydrant as a precaution in case they lose water pressure or need a second hose.

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