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Countering Urban Terrorism in Russia and the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop
Ministry of Emergency Situations. A mobile firefighting command center was established at the scene, and two firefighting units were formed to put RS-50 and RS-70 hoses through doorways, windows, and wall breaches. The hoses were supplied by water carried to the spot in turns by fire truck water tanks.
After two more fire vehicles from the special fire brigade of Vladikavkaz and a fire truck from the Ardon fire brigade arrived, a hose line was laid out to supply water from a distant hydrant located in a safe zone. It allowed firefighters to engage two more RS-70 hoses, which brought the fire under containment by 3:34 p.m.; three RS-70 and two RS-50 hoses were used.
At 6:30 p.m., firefighters were moved out of the area of possible crossfire by order of the commander of the Alpha special tactical unit. When shooting from the south part of the building ceased, firefighters resumed their efforts to extinguish the fire. At 9:09 p.m., the fire was out, but hoses continued to be used to provide cover for rescue operations.
At 12:05 a.m., information was received regarding a fire in the destroyed south part of the school building. The fire was caused by bomb explosions that destroyed the loft and floor slabs. Two RS-50 hoses supplied by fire truck water tanks were engaged in extinguishing flames in piles of wreckage on the ground floor and the partially destroyed first floor. Later the hoses were connected to the water-supplying hose line. The fire was contained at 12:32 a.m. and put out at 3:10 a.m. At 7:00 a.m., after reconnaissance was completed, rescue workers from the Ministry of Emergency Situations began combing through the piles of wreckage looking for bodies. Rescue operations ended at 7:00 p.m.
The fire was not interesting from the standpoint of firefighting tactics. Firefighting personnel and equipment concentrated on the scene were sufficient to put out the fire at any moment. However, firefighting operations were hindered by a lack of combat defensive equipment and armor for firefighters and fire vehicles. Two rescue workers were killed and two were wounded, and three firefighters received contusions.
One way to solve the problems of firefighting in combat zones is to develop firefighting robotics technology. Such technology may also be useful for firefighting in conditions of chemical or radioactive contamination. Development of such technologies is already under way in Russia.