Video of Whippletree Village Mobile Home fire. At 0:54 fire engine blasts signal interior attack firefighters to evacuate the structure. Later in the video, exterior and interior operations coordinate their tactics.
Wheeling Fire Department responded about 12:15 p.m. Saturday to a mobile home fire at 188 Phaeton Drive in the Whippletree Village. While firefighters approached the fire scene, they reported a large header; and upon arrival, firefighters reported a fully-involved house trailer. Vehicles were also reported on fire on the property. House trailers on either side of the involved unit were also threatened by the fire. Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove and Long Grove fire departments were called to the scene to assist Wheeling Fire Department.
NOTES FROM VIDEO CAMERA OPERATOR
Notice the Fire Engine Air Horn blasts at just after 0:49 — the signal for all firefighters to evacuate the building. NOW! It’s a little hard to hear because I am closer to a second fire engine running that was not sounding its air horn.
At about 5:15 and later Fireground command is communicating with an interior attack crew (can’t see them in the video). An exterior line attack crew comes to the backyard and they are told not to hit the fire in the ceiling because there is a crew inside. If the hose is turned on that ceiling fire while the crew is inside, those firefighters can be burned by the water that turns to steam as it hits the fire. They can also be hit by falling burning debris from the force of the water pressure. As soon as the interior attack crew exits, the firefighter in the backyard hits the ceiling fire and knocks it down.
At about 12:45 p.m. firefighters blasted air horns on fire engines — the universal sign for interior operating firefighters to evacuate the building. The firefighters then hit the fire from the outside with lines at the front door and side windows. When the fire diminished, firefighters resumed interior operations, but still had fire overhead in the ceiling. After firefighters, pulled down an exterior rear wall near the ceiling, the ceiling fire was exposed and the interior firefighters were ordered out of the building again because the firefighters at the rear of the house trailer could hit the fire better from the outside. Firefighters fought the worst of the fire until about 1:15 p.m. when the fire started to subside. The remainder of the afternoon, firefighters worked inside hitting hot spots inside the house trailer.
No reports of injuries. At least one van was destroyed. Another vehicle may also have been destroyed. Residents on either side of the trailer, but not the rear units, also had to be evacuated. Some pets were also evacuated. Firefighters checked neighboring house trailers carefully to make sure they did not ignite from the fire next door.
The Whippletree Management office provided coffee and shelter for displaced residents and firefighters. Several residents watched the fire from the street. A neighbor on Charabanc Lane said they heard a loud bang and they saw the heavy fire coming from the house trailer.