Knoxville firefighters reflect on the lessons learned fighting fires at McClung warehouses

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Firefighters remain on 24-hour fire watch, supervising the McClung warehouses on Jackson Avenue, while the city prepares to tear the buildings down.

The fire that brought crews to the warehouses Saturday looked similar to the one in 2007, but firefighters used different tactics to douse the flames.

"If you can't walk away from a fire and learn something from that fire and have any place you can improve -- then shame on you," said KFD Captain, DJ Corcoran.

"That's what we did on this one, we learned from the 2007 fire."

Corcoran said crews used five aerial streams Saturday, a tactic called "surround and drown" that dumped more than a million gallons of water onto the warehouses. In 2007, KFD only employed two aerial streams.

Safety strategies changed, too. In 2007 three firefighters were injured battling the blaze inside the structurally unsafe property . Now, KFD has issued orders that no firefighter is allowed to enter the buildings under any circumstance.

On Saturday, all firefighters fought the fire from outside the warehouses.

"The one thing we had on our side was the pre-plan idea of what we were going to do," Corcoran said, crediting the leadership Saturday night - Gary Compton -- for creating a "game-plan" and sticking to it.

"Its like a playbook," Corcoran said. "Ladder 1 -- I want you here. Ladder 3 -- I want you here. Ladder 9 -- here. He placed all his companies before [they] all that set up."

Corcoran said that careful planning, allowed firefighters to knock out the fire much more quickly and to avoid serious injuries.

"When you walk away from a fire... you always want to learn something from that, and what could i do better next time," he said.

"You ask any of the guys that worked this fire -- what would you change, what would you do different? I don't think any of them could come up with anything that would make the outcome any better than what it was."

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