I went to Little Ferry for a standby the night before, which kept me awake from 12 am to 7 am, then I showered and went to work. I came home early and slept for a half hour before we got a call for a fire at National Wholesale Liquidators, which ended up being nothing. I came home and fell asleep when we got another call for a fire at the Magic Touch Carwash on Route 17. This time it was for real.
When I got to the firehouse and started gearing up, we got a re-dispatch confirming that there was a working fire. We rolled out with a full boat, including 3 truckies because the truck didn't yet roll. On the way in everyone was hyper, and this increased as we got closer and saw the heavy smoke. I yelled at Jack that we were going to take the left side reel, and he agreed that I should go with the nozzle and he'll pull the whole reel off. Then someone yelled that we'll need a saw for the roll down gates.
We had just purchased a K12 saw, so I told Jack to NOT pull the hand line and just come with me with the saw. When I looked up I saw a huge amount of heavy fire just swirling and blowing out of the bay of the carwash. It was pretty intense, but the first thing I usually look at in my size-ups is the exposures. There was one exposure, the office part of the carwash, and it had a big roll down security gate with light smoke rolling out from the top of it. I felt it, and the glass door next to it, and everything felt cool.
We decided to cut the gates but had to wait for water. When the lines finally charged, I went to work with the saw, cutting a big upside-down V in the door. I made sure to make it wide enough to fit a fireman and equipment very comfortably. The sparks were raining down on my mask and just covering my whole body, musta looked pretty cool from an outside perspective. My forearms began to burn a little as I had to make multiple passes since the doors were double paned. Finally, I made sure the nozzle-man was ready and one solid kick dropped the panel to the inside. The smoke wasn't as heavy as we expected and a further inspection showed there wasn't any flames or heat inside at all.
The chief then got the keys to the glass door and a team of 4 of us made our way inside for a search which proved negative for flames or heat - the fire was simply confined to the bay area where they wash and change oil. Coming outside, the fire was blowing more violently than ever, and almost looked like a fire storm just churning inside. After putting a 2 1/2 inch line, a 1 3/4 line and water from a master stream into action, the fire was knocked down within 10 minutes.
Water supply was an issue, but all in all it was a quick knock down considering the fire load. We brought the foam unit in the end to put a layer of AAAF down on the oil inside the oil pits so that wouldn't catch. Some overhaul and a long clean-up process later we were on our way home.