New York Air National GuardAbstractThis report explains the New York Air National Guard, Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Unit's response to the in-flight fire of FedEx flight 1406. Multiple agencies were involved in the incident involving a hazardous material fire from an undeclared hazardous cargo.
The New York Air National Guard Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting unit performed admirably in responding to the FedEx 1406 fire. With that said there is still room for improvement. The aircraft rescue and fire fighting unit could have done a few things better that may have saved the aircraft. In a situation dealing with hazardous cargo the emergency units need to be especially careful due to the volatile nature of hazardous goods.
I'll begin this discussion with a history of the flight and causes of the fire. The plane was a Douglas DC-10-10, a 95 million dollar aircraft with 300 million dollars of cargo (NTSB 1998).
The flight proceeded uneventfully for almost two hours when the first indication of problems began. Smoke detectors in the cargo hold begin to signal fire. As the other smoke detectors began to activate the crew initiated emergency landing procedures. The crew began their decent for Stewart International Airport Newburgh, N.Y..
Ten minutes before the flight hit the ground the Air Traffic Control tower notified the airport operations center and the Air National Guard ARFF unit of the emergency. The ARFF team was notified that the cargo contained hazardous material, but of unknown type. Six ARFF trucks were in place before the aircraft touched down, as well as the New York State Police. As soon as the aircraft came to a stop the ARFF trucks were in position to begin fighting the fire. So in ten minutes time the fire fighter were in position and ready to go even...