Saturday, September 23, 2017, at 0815 hours, Airport Truck 10 established command and staged for an Alert 2. The nature of emergency was a CRJ 700 with landing gear issues. While mutual aid fire companies assembled, the aircraft worked through their procedures for inflight emergencies.

Mutual aid fire companies were staged off airport and responded to Gate “U”. In staging, mutual aid partners from Chemung County were Big Flats FD, Horseheads FD, Tompkins Corners FD, Town & Country FD. and Erway Ambulance.   Each department had their vehicles as assigned for an alert 2.  Once an alert 3 was initiated, additional resources were dispatched,  Elmira Heights FD, East Corning FD, South Corning FD, CTran Buses, AMR Ambulance, & Bath VA with MASH buses. Chemung County Fire Control advised all Airport Operations to move to Channel 2.

At 0820 hours, after performing emergency landing preparation procedures, the CRJ 700 attempted to land with their landing gear caution indicator lit. After landing Runway 28, the gear collapsed, causing a post-crash fire and many casualties. Airport Truck 10 proceeded to the crash site via Taxiway Alpha, and discharged agent to make a rescue path for victims of the crash. Incident Command called for Big Flats FD Engine and manpower to proceed to Airport Truck 10’s position, for water supply and overhaul operations.

Mutual Aid companies resupplying Airport Truck 10 after making an attack on the fire

At 0825 hours, Airport Truck 12, and Airport Truck 11 responded to the crash site.

At 0830 hours, Airport 103 arrived on scene. After being briefed, Incident Command was transferred from Airport Truck 10, to 103 operating in Ops 1. Airport 103 advised Fire Control that we had a Mass Casualty Incident. Airport 103 advised Fire Control to dispatch the Alert 3, second alarm assignment. Airport 103 requested a fill site set up on the Main Apron, and tankers to resupply Airport Truck 10. After deeming the site fire-safe, Incident Command requested all manpower from Engines and Rescues respond to the crash site for Primary Triage. Erway Ambulance Services, AMR Ambulances, a Bath VA MASH bus, and a county transit bus were requested to the Bravo Apron for secondary triage and transport.

This was my first time being Incident Commander for our Triennial Exercise. It was my goal, and a request of our Authority Having Jurisdiction, to have our “players” act as they would under real world circumstances. I wanted that sense of urgency, and one way to get that is to use a prop with live fire.

Upon deciding that I wanted to have a vehicle as a live fire prop, I inquired with Horseheads Pick-A-Part about the process for having a vehicle donated. The process was so simple, that I inquired with airport management, a State Fire Instructor that is one of our Deputy Coordinators, and our AHJ – the Chemung County Emergency Management Office. Our AHJ liked the idea.

Upon approval, I worked with Deputy Coordinator Robert Emmick, as I needed someone with more knowledge regarding NFPA 1403, Standard on Live Fire Training Evolutions. It was determined that we would be required to have 2 separate supplies of water, an attack team and a backup team. Also, the vehicle would have to be prepared to the standard, including removing the gas tank, all fluids, airbags, drill the shocks, etc.

To comply with NFPA 1403, I was required as Incident Commander to be staged at the vehicle. Necessary at the vehicle as well was a Safety Officer, an Instructor-in-charge, and two EMT’s with equipment.

Airport Truck 10 attacking the fire.

Photo courtesy of Andre Smith

We needed to have Airport Truck 12 already standing by at the vehicle fire, with two firefighters, an officer and a charged handline. As per the narrative, Airport Truck 10 responded to the crash site, and discharged agent (water). While extinguishing about 80% of the fire, Airport Truck 10 requested Big Flats FD Engine crew perform overhaul operations. Crew from BFFD 331, consisting of two firefighters and an officer, deployed a handline from Airport Truck 10, and extinguished the remaining fire.

Ignition team lighting the vehicle on fire prior to starting the Triennial Exercise. Safety Officer and backup handline in place.

Once the Incident Commander deemed the car fire safe, the incident transitioned to a rescue and triage operation, to meet our other objectives. We utilized our Airport Emergency Plan, HSEEP, FAA, and NFPA to complete our exercise.

The drill was an overall success with an immediate hotwash conducted following the exercise with all players, actors and evaluator’s involved included. We hope to make some changes once a report is written and will continue to train and to make the emergency response safer for ELM customers.


About the Authors:

Andrew Stamp is a Firefighter with the Horseheads Fire Department and works full-time for Airport Operations. Experience includes being a volunteer firefighter, a year in Iraq as a firefighter and apparatus driver/operator, and eight and a half years at the airport, with about 13 years in the fire service. Stamp’s training includes National Certified Firefighter I & II, National Certified Fire Service Instructor I.  Stamp has earned designation as an Airport Master Firefighter.

Joint pic Stamp is on left and Wheeler on right

Ryan Wheeler is a Deputy Chief of the Horseheads Fire Department and works full-time for Airport Operations. Wheeler has been in the fire service for 20 years and has served at Deputy Chief for 3 years. Two of Wheeler’s 20 years, were completed in Iraq, serving as a Lieutenant at multiple FOB Fire Stations. Wheeler’s training includes: National Certified Firefighter II & ARFF, National Certified Fire Officer II, NYS CFR, and National Certified Instructor III. Wheeler has earned designation as an Airport Master Firefighter.