Amateur Backdraft Video Becomes Training Tool

Neighbor recorded explosion as firefighters battled house fire last month

By BJ Lutz
|  Wednesday, Mar 10, 2010  |  Updated 10:30 PM CDT
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First Deputy Fire Commissioner Bob Huff explains how backdrafts happen and how common they are.

First Deputy Fire Commissioner Bob Huff explains how backdrafts happen and how common they are.

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Video shot last month that shows the powerful force of a backdraft is making news among firefighters across the country.

A neighbor shot the video during a fire at a home in the 4800 block of South Paulina and begins as firefighters arrived at the boarded-up home.

Dark smoke, but no flames, are initially seen.

As firefighters -- one of them on a ladder -- pry off a large sheet of plywood, an explosion of flames and smoke envelope them.

Four firefighters suffered facial burns and one of them spent more than a week in the hospital. All are now recovering at home.

The video, which was posted to YouTube, will now be used as a training tool.

"This tape will be so valuable for us to teach firefighters not only new, but firefighters that are out in the street, a fire fighter with 30 years on the job is going to learn something from this," said First Deputy Commissioner Bob Huff.

He said the smoke and head in the home had time to build up to the point where it just ignited when more air was reintroduced.

"It is very rare, it does happen but in someone’s career in the fire service they may never see one somebody might see one or two of those," Huff said.

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