High-tech video explains firefighter death

Sophisticated fire modeling unpacks a 2011 LODD minute by minute

The only good that comes from firefighter line of duty deaths is when the fire service learns from those incidents how to prevent future deaths and injuries.

On Jan. 19, 2011, Firefighter Mark Falkenhan of the Lutherville Volunteer Fire Department in Baltimore County, Md., was killed at a multi-family structure fire. The fire began in the kitchen on the ground floor of a six-unit, three-story apartment building; the building flashed on the second and third floors.

Through a sophisticated, detailed fire modeling, Firefighter Falkenhan's death can now be studied to the very minute details.

The fire-modeling program was built by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' Fire Research Laboratory. The model uses what ATF calls a Fire Dynamics Simulator, which divided the structure into more than 2.5 million grid cells to calculate the exact movement of such things as mass, energy and species through the grid cells, or structure.

The model syncs radio traffic and scene photos to the master timeline. The video runs about 30 minutes and is broken into three parts.

Watch Part 2

Watch Part 3

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