Death in the Line of Duty
Death in the Line of Duty
On 9th April 2012, two victims both from Ladder ten died and two injured during a firefighting mission, when a wall collapsed in an empty business structure. One was a career lieutenant who was 60 years old and a career firefighter who was 25 years old CITATION USF16 l 1033 ((NFFF), 2016). They died due to mechanical asphyxia and trauma. On 11th the same month, Fire Administration of U.S alerted (NIOSH) about the incidence. Four members of NIOSH went to Pennsylvania to investigate. The members of NIOSH met with the staff of the fire department, union of firefighters, inspection and licensing department and the fire commissioner. The invigilating team studied the operating procedures of the fire department, training records, tactical channels, and the voice radio transmitter printouts.
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The invigilation team studied inspection and licensing department looking for the burnt building for example documents showing the previous condition of the building before the incident. The fire officials analyzed the witness information and did the interviews. The turnout gears of both the victims were photographed and inspected by the NIOSH. The fire department had 2200 members, 61 fire stations which served an area of 1442 miles. The department had 11 battalions, 56 engines, 27 trucks, three fireboats, a rescue company, and two squad companies.
Eight engines are the pipeline, and four are of Squirt, three are Deluge, two Foam and one works as Quint. The engine company had a workforce that was composed of at least one officer and three firefighters. Furthermore, the truck company was inclusive of an officer and most probably four fire fighters. There is an Emergency Medical Service which has Basic, Advanced Life support units. Thirty and twenty Life Units performed on full time and part time respectively. The city had 25 radio channels which are 800-MHz. it received around 3.5 calls every year. It had 311 phone systems which are used to collect complains. When hazardous structures are identified, the licensing department notifies the fire department.
Every firefighter carries radio equipment that has an emergency button that enables the firefighter to send an emergency signal by pressing the button. When one activates the switch, a message is received making the firefighter to talk with an open microphone. Dispatch center has four dispatchers, four call receivers who work 24hours a day. The police department first receives the 911 call and later forwards the information to the fire department. When this incident happened, the fire department did not have enough time to pass the Info. There was no any good process that was available to know the flagged property by the licensing department.
Pennsylvania did not give training and did not ask for any educational qualifications for an individual to join the firefighting department. The department collaborated with Pennsylvania Fire Academy in a Certification program whose aim was to certify individuals via the National Board on firefighting. For one to be a member of the fire department, one had to apply and do a civil service exam. Those who passed were ranked which facilitated a list showing the process of becoming a firefighter.
The building was five-story which was built in 1872-1893, and it had both a basement and a floor which were 800002 feet. It had five complex structures attached to it. When the fire started, the building was empty and those without a permanent dwelling came to seek shelter. The building was not secure and had been deteriorated, and that is the reason it had been abandoned. An inspection done by the licensing department categorized the building as abandoned. On February 14th, no violations had been recorded. No one was permitted to trespass, break or enter the building premises. Before the fire erupted, the city officials realized that about 65 people were living in the building. About 20000 structures were vacant and were within premises of the city. The city took the ownership due to tax arrears. This part of the town was where factories, manufacturing, and textile mills previously dominated CITATION Inv13 l 1033 (Investigations, 2013).
As the fire spread, factories enhanced fire travel path and heat accumulation. The lack of proper functioning sprinklers, busy fire doors, open penetration played a role in the quick spread of the fire. The building had heavy timber which acted as a fuel thus increase in intensity and size of the fire gearing its first spread. The firefighting members were not adequately trained to recognize the collapsing indicators and the factors that contribute. The licensing board did not continuously do the risk assessment. There were high winds that made the fire spread very first. There was poor communication between the officers on the upper block and those on the ground. The firefighters were not aware of the situation of the building subjecting them to a higher risk CITATION Nat13 l 1033 (Nation, 2013).
BIBLIOGRAPHY (NFFF), U. F. (2016, March). U.S. Fire Administration/National Fire Data Center. Fire in the United States 2004-2013, XVII, 1-77. Retrieved from https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/fius17th.pdf
Investigations, F. F. (2013, November 19). Career Lieutenant and Fire Fighter Killed and Two Fire Fighters Injured by Wall Collapse at a Large Commercial Structure Fire – Pennsylvania. Retrieved from Death in the Line of Duty…A summary of a NIOSH fire fighter fatality investigation: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face201213.html
Nation, F. F. (2013, December 20). NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Investigation: Commercial Structure Wall Collapse Kills Two Pennsylvania Firefighters. Retrieved from Fire Fighting Nation: https://www.firefighternation.com/articles/2013/12/niosh-firefighter-fatality-investigation-commercial-structure-wall-collapse-kills-two-pennsylvania-firefighters.html