Grumman American Crash

Grumman American Crash

The San Diego CBP Air and Marine Branch at Brown Field Airport (KSDM) has several rotary wing aircraft and fuel trucks. We have Tri-Max 30’s on the flight line and the smaller Tri-Max 3 units on our fuel trucks and in our hangar. On the afternoon of 23 April 2006 a single engine Grumman American airplane, N9758U, was blown off course and crashed through our fence and came to rest inverted with a wing separated and AVGAS splashed around the area and continuing to leak from the damaged fuel tank. There was a post crash fire and the low brush around the crash site was on fire along with the area around the cockpit and the separated wing. There was fuel burning inside of the wing as well.

Having recently completed training with the Tri-Max foam fire extinguishers a CBP Pilot retrieved a Tri-Max -3 unit and ran to the crash site. The smaller unit was selected because he had to go over a curb, brush and fallen fence to get to the aircraft. He was able to single handedly extinguish all of the fire around the cockpit area as the 2 occupants exited. He also put out the surrounding brush fires and the fire inside burning wing. By using the unobstructed stream from the nozzle as well as thumb spray techniques learned in training he was able to apply foam into restricted / confined area as well as lay down a foam blanket to suppress and prevent any reoccurrence of the fire. He had the entire fire extinguished before the Crash / Fire Department was able to arrive on scene. The entire cockpit area and the occupants were saved by this one TRI-MAX 3 fire extinguisher operated by one person.

The Tri-Max 3 was so efficient when used by the trained pilot / agent that the same extinguisher, not re-serviced, was used a week later for training 15 personnel to put out a jet fuel fire in a cut down 55 gal drum drip pan. I have had extensive fire fighting training and experience during my 24-year career in the U. S. Navy and prior as a volunteer fireman. I was very impressed by the capability and effectiveness of this unit.