FACE 98-03: Two Fire Fighters Die of Smoke and Soot Inhalation in Residential Fire - Pennsylvania



SUMMARY

On October 27, 1997, two male fire fighters died of smoke and soot inhalation while fighting a residential fire. An Engine Company comprised of four fighters was responding to a 911 call of a downed power line in a residential neighborhood when one of the fire fighters noticed smoke emitting from the basement area of a nearby residence. Without notifying fire dispatch of the change in conditions (smoke coming from the residence), three fire fighters entered the residence to assist the residents out, and to survey the conditions and location of the fire. The fire fighters then exited the residence to don their self-contained breathing apparatus. Two of the fire fighters reentered the residence with a charged 3/4-inch booster line and proceeded to the basement (location of the fire) to attack the fire. This was the last time either fire fighter was seen alive. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to prevent similar occurrences, fire departments should:


INTRODUCTION

On October 27, 1997, two male fire fighters, victims #1 and #2, ages 43- and 27-years respectively entered the right side of a twin dwelling (the left side was not occupied) that had smoke emitting from the basement window. The two fire fighters entered the dwelling through the front door went in to the living room, then the breakfast room, and down the stairs to the basement. Approximately 30 minutes later, both fire fighters were found in the breakfast room, unresponsive. On October 29, 1997, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) requested that NIOSH provide technical assistance in reviewing the circumstances surrounding these fatalities. On November 24, 1997, the Chief, Trauma Investigations Section and a Safety Specialist conducted an investigation of this incident. Meetings were conducted with the Fire Commissioner and his staff, fire fighters responding to the incident, and the IAFF union representative and attorney for the union. Copies of photographs of the incident site were obtained from the fire department along with an estimated timeline of the incident, and a site visit was conducted.

The fire department involved in the incident serves a population of 1.4 million in a geographic area of 129 square miles. The fire department is comprised of 2,515 employees, of whom 2,387 are fire fighters. The fire department provides all new fire fighters with a 71-day training program at their fire academy which is designed to cover all areas of fire department operations, including tools and equipment, ladder operations, engine company operations, chemistry of fire, flashover, backdraft, use of respirators, hoseline operations, search and rescue, emergency medical training, and facility maintenance. The fire department's written standard operating procedures manual was reviewed and appeared to be complete. The victims had 21 years fire fighting experience and 6 months experience, respectively.

INVESTIGATION

On October 27, 1997, Engine Company 63 (a Lieutenant and 3 fire fighters) was dispatched at 0028 hours in response to a 911 call regarding a downed power line in a residential neighborhood. They arrived on the scene at 0032 hours and proceeded to rope off the area of the downed power line with barrier tape, and called the power company to report the downed line. One of the fire fighters was using a booster line (3/4-inch) to put out small fires started by the arcing power line. At approximately 0056 hours, the driver of Engine 63 noticed haze smoke emitting from the basement window of the residence that was affected by the downed power line. It was later determined that the broken neutral conductor from the power line had caused an electrical outlet in the dining room of the residence to short circuit. Burning embers from the short circuit fell through the floor into the basement via an opening for electrical conduit, igniting combustible materials in the basement. The owner of the residence was outside when the Lieutenant and two fire fighters went to investigate. The owner's son was upstairs and was led out of the house by one of the fire fighters. The Lieutenant (victim #1) and one fire fighter (victim #2), using flashlights, proceeded through the light haze visible in the living room into the dining room and breakfast room, and down the stairs to the basement to evaluate the situation (figure), then retreated from the basement to the outside to don their self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).

At approximately 0107 hours victims #1 and #2 reentered the residence wearing SCBAs. They pulled in a 3/4-inch booster line and proceeded to the basement to attack the fire. At approximately 0117 hours, fire fighter #3, who was feeding line to #1 and #2, returned to the Engine to pull a 1 3/4-inch line, and to assist the driver in pulling a 3-inch line approximately 300 feet to a hydrant. The driver asked him what was going on in the residence. Fire fighter #3 stated he did not know. Fire fighter #3 then went back into the residence with a charged 1 3/4-inch line and advanced it as far as the dining room before encountering moderate smoke and poor visibility.

At 0122 hours, the driver of Engine 63, who remained on the outside to provide a hydrant hook-up and operate the pump, requested a Tactical Box, which consists of one additional pumper (Lieutenant and 3 fire fighters), 2 Ladder Trucks (each with one Lieutenant and 4 fire fighters), and one Battalion Chief and aide. This was the first time fire dispatch was alerted as to a possible fire at the residence near the downed power line.

At 0125 hours the Battalion Chief arrived on the scene and attempted to call Engine 63 on the portable radio, but received no response. At approximately the same time, Engine 51, Ladder 29, and Ladder 8 arrived on the scene. Two fire fighters from Ladder 29 remained on the exterior of the house to perform ventilation while the Lieutenant and two fire fighters from Ladder 29 went into the residence to perform a routine primary search. The first fire fighter to enter followed the 1-3/4 inch line where he located fire fighter #3 from Engine 63. The Lieutenant from Ladder 29 also reached fire fighter #3 and asked him, "Where is your Company?" Fire fighter #3 stated that he could not find his company, but he thought they were in the basement. The Lieutenant stated that at this time visibility was very poor. One of the fire fighters from Ladder 29 proceeded upstairs to break out windows to help vent the residence. The Lieutenant and a fire fighter from Ladder 29, and fire fighter #3 from Engine 63, exited the residence. The fire fighter from Ladder 29, who was upstairs venting the residence, returned to the downstairs dining room where he found the nozzle of the 1 3/4-inch charged line and saw the booster line going down the steps to the basement. He then decided to return to the second floor, following the 1 3/4-inch line, and ran into the Battalion Chief in the living room. The Battalion Chief then radioed on the fireground band to look for the missing fire fighters from Engine 63.

At 0142 hours a Full Box was requested, which consists of two more Engines plus another Battalion Chief. Also, at this time Ladder 29 fire fighters were entering the residence from the front, and Engine 51 fire fighters were entering the basement from the rear of the residence.

During this time, two fire fighters from Ladder 29 entered the front door and proceeded into the breakfast room where they found both fire fighters from Engine 63 in a kneeling/crouched position, mask off, and unresponsive. Both downed fire fighters, still unresponsive, were removed from the residence. They were transported by EMS to a local hospital where advanced life support failed to revive either fire fighter.

Since both fire fighters were found with their masks off, it can be inferred that they had run out of air and no one heard the low-air alarms. Neither fire fighter had turned on their personal alert safety systems (PASS) devices.

Note: Both SCBA's worn by the victims were sent to the NIOSH Certification and Quality Assurance Branch for testing. A copy of the NIOSH evaluation of the SCBA's is included as an Appendix to this report.

CAUSE OF DEATH: According to the medical examiner, the cause of death was due to smoke and soot inhalation. Carboxyhemoglobin levels were 38% and 63%, respectively.

RECOMMENDATIONS/DISCUSSION

Recommendation #1: Fire departments should ensure that fire fighters advise dispatch on any change of conditions that would warrant a change in the status of unit(s) responding to a specific condition.

Discussion: One engine was dispatched on a notice of a downed power line. However, during this routine nonfire response, conditions at the scene of the downed power line changed when one of the fire fighters noticed smoke coming from the basement window of the residence affected by the downed line. An investigation into the smoke coming from the residence was initiated without notifying dispatch of a change in conditions. Had dispatch been alerted to smoke from the residence, additional support would have immediately been dispatched to the incident scene.

Recommendation # 2: Fire departments should strictly enforce the wearing and use of PASS devices when fire fighters are involved in fire fighting, rescue, and other hazardous duties.

Discussion: The PASS device is a small electrical device worn by the fire fighter which will emit a distinctive audible alarm if the fire fighter becomes motionless for more than 30 seconds. Both fire fighter victims were wearing PASS devices; however, neither device had been activated.

REFERENCE

National Fire Protection Association. NFPA 1500, Standard on Fire Department Occupatiohnal Safety and Health Program, National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, MA.


APPENDIX


Conformance Investigation Report of Three

Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus

from

Philadelphia Fire Department

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

NIOSH Task No. TN-09841


Background:

In a letter dated October 31, 1997, Mr. Thomas J. Comerford, Battalion Chief and Safety Officer, for the Philadelphia Fire Department, requested that NIOSH examine three self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) that were involved in an incident on October 27, 1997. Two of the SCBA were used by fire fighters who died, and the other were used by a fire fighter who was able to escape. A copy of the letter from Mr. Comerford is attached as Attachment One.

The Philadelphia Fire Department had previously been advised in a telephone conversation that NIOSH would examine the apparatus to determine if the SCBA were in a condition safe to be tested. If determined to be safe for testing, they would be tested in accordance with selected performance tests as listed in the approval requirements of Title 42, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 84. The fire department was further advised that NIOSH would provide a written report of the inspection and applicable test results. Any test failures would be noted but the SCBA would not be dissembled in an attempt to determine the cause of the noted test failure.

The SCBA, each sealed inside a separate cardboard box, were shipped by the Philadelphia Fire Department to NIOSH, and the boxes were received by NIOSH on November 4, 1997.

The boxes were stored, unopened, under lock in Room 176 of the NIOSH Appalachian Laboratory for Occupational Safety and Health (ALOSH) Building in Morgantown, West Virginia, until the time of the inspection.


SCBA Inspection:

The SCBA were stored in the condition as received (unopened), until the time of examination. The boxes containing the SCBA were opened on November 12, 1997, in room 165A of the ALOSH Building. The examination was conducted by Timothy Merinar, of NIOSH.

The boxes were marked with consecutive numbers (one thru three), presumably by the Philadelphia Fire Department.

Each SCBA was examined component by component in the condition as received, to determine its conformance to the approved configuration. The entire inspection process was video taped. Photographs of the SCBA were also taken. During the inspection process, it was noted that the facepiece for unit # 1 was damaged and half the lens was missing. Also the cylinder on unit # 1 was blackened from exposure to heat and/or flame. The cylinders on unit # 2 and # 3 appeared to be in good condition but the current hydrostatic test date could not be identified on the cylinder from unit # 2. The cylinder from unit # 2 was marked with a hydrostatic test label but this label was damaged so that the month of testing was not legible. The year of testing was identified as 1994. The SCBA inspection is summarized in Attachment Two.

Following the inspection the SCBA were returned to Room 176 of the NIOSH ALOSH Building and stored under lock, until they could be tested.


SCBA Testing:

The SCBA were tested on November 17, 1997. The SCBA were tested to determine their conformance to the performance requirements of Title 42, Code of Federal Regulations, (CFR) Part 84. These tests consisted of the Positive Pressure Test (84.70(a)(2)(ii)), Rated Service Time (duration)(84.95), Gas Flow Test (84.93), Exhalation Breathing Resistance Test (84.91(c)), Static Facepiece Pressure Test (84.91(d)), and Remaining Service Life Indicator Test (alarm) (84.83(f)).

Since the cylinder on unit # 1 had been exposed to heat and/or flame, and the current hydrostatic test date could not be identified on the cylinder of unit # 2, two new cylinders were obtained from Interspiro, Inc., for the purpose of conducting the NIOSH testing. Also, since the facepiece on unit # 1 was damaged, the facepiece from unit # 3 was used during the testing of unit # 1.

The cylinders were fully charged, allowed to sit for 4 hours and then topped off before testing to ensure the cylinders were completely full of air. The results of the tests are presented in the NIOSH Test Report (Attachment Three) and summarized in Table 1 (SCBA unit # 1), Table 2 (unit # 2), and Table 3 (unit # 3).

The first SCBA to be tested, identified as "unit # 1" and "E-63-1" met all of the requirements except for the Positive Pressure requirement. An in-facepiece pressure of negative 1.40 inches water column was measured during the inhalation cycle.

The SCBA unit # 2 (E-63-2), failed the Positive Pressure and Gas Flow Test requirements. An in-facepiece pressure of negative 1.00 inches water column was measured during the inhalation cycle. When this SCBA was initially pressurized to begin testing, there was no detectable air flow and no static pressure could be detected inside the facepiece. The bypass valve was operated and it functioned properly. The donning switch was also operated by hand. After this was done, air began to flow to the facepiece so the testing was resumed. During the airflow test, only 19.8 liters per minute of airflow was measured. This is well below the 200 liters per minute NIOSH requirement.

The SCBA unit # 3 (E-63-3) failed the Exhalation Breathing Resistance and Static Pressure Test requirements. The measured static pressure inside the facepiece fluctuated between 1.80 and 2.10 inches of water pressure. During the Rated Service Time Test, an outward leakage of air was noted coming from the exhalation valve. A slight leakage of air continued throughout the remaining tests. Because the static pressure fluctuated, the true exhalation resistance pressure could not be determined.


Conclusions:

The Interspiro Spiromatic SCBA from the Philadelphia Fire Department, as examined at NIOSH, were dirty and worn in appearance but each appeared to be in the approved condition for an Interspiro, Spiromatic Model, 30-minute, 4500 psi, SCBA (NIOSH approval number TC-13F-133).

Each SCBA was determined to be in a condition safe for testing.

Each SCBA was tested on November 17, 1997. The results of the selected performance tests are summarized in the attached NIOSH test report (Attachment Three) and summarized in Table 1, Table 2, and Table 3. The SCBA identified as "unit # 1" and "E-63-1" failed the Positive Pressure Test. The SCBA identified as "unit # 2" and "E-63-2" failed the Positive Pressure and Gas Flow Test requirements. The SCBA identified as "unit # 3" and "E-63-3" failed the Exhalation Breathing Resistance Test and also failed the Static Facepiece Pressure Test requirement. During the testing of unit # 3, a slight outward leakage of air was noted from the exhalation valve. These performance test failures and the leakage of air on unit # 3, indicate that the mask-mounted regulators (breathing valves) are in need of maintenance.

An internal inspection of individual components requiring disassembly were not performed since this would modify the existing evidence. If the SCBA are to be returned to service, it is recommended that the each entire SCBA be inspected and tested by Interspiro or an authorized Interspiro representative, and the necessary overhaul and repair work completed, before returning the SCBA to service.



ATTACHMENT ONE

Letter Initiating Investigation


 


 

ATTACHMENT TWO

SCBA Inspection Results


NIOSH Respirator Field Problem Inspection Report Unit # 1

Task#:..........TN-09841 Problem Source:.....Philadelphia Fire Dept.

Date Received:...11/04/97 Description:........Fatalities/Injury

Date Inspected:..11/12/97 Insp. Performed by: Merinar

Manufacturer:.Interspiro Other ID: E-63-1

=================================================================

TC Approval #: TC-13F-133 Type: SCBA, Interspiro, SpiroMatic

General Observations

The SCBA was dirty and worn (used) in appearance. The facepiece was taped to the cylinder with grey duct tape. The cylinder valve, bypass valve, donning switch, and the connection of the cylinder to the first stage pressure reducer were all taped with duct tape in order to maintain their position during shipment to NIOSH.

Components and Observations

1. Facepiece: The facepiece lens was broken and half of the lens was missing. The lens retaining ring was also broken in half and duct tape was used to hold the broken facepiece components together. The Interspiro part number could not be identified on the front of the mask. The rubber 5-point adjustment head harness was in good condition. The number 01-22-28 was molded into the headharness and the date code indicated the head harness was manufactured in the 12th month, 1st week, of 1986.

Number 01 21 20 molded into facepiece inside surface near top of lens. A nose cup was installed in the facepiece and was in good condition. The nose cup had a date code indicating the date of manufacture to be the 9th month, 1st week, of 1989. The number 01-16-30-100 was into the nosecup.


2. Pressure demand regulator - "Breathing Valve" (Mask mounted):

Scratched and dirty in appearance. Round cover (ring) around outer edge of regulator body in place. Serial number 9068038 stamped into front of body. The donning switch was in the open position (turned away from the valve body) and the bypass valve was fully closed.

3. Breathing Tube/Low-Pressure Hose: Hose in generally good

condition. No nicks or cuts in outer jacket. Hose ferules in good condition. Connection to alarm/pressure gauge block tight. No numbers could be identified on the hose or metal hose ferules.

4. Alarm/Pressure Gauge:

Remote gauge line damaged where outer jacket has pulled away from hose ferule near connection to cylinder valve. Inner wire braiding exposed for a distance of approximately 1/4 inch. Outer jacket has only minor nicks and cuts. Alarm whistle clean.

The pressure gauge needle rests in the red or empty marking area. Gauge lens scratched but not enough to obscure vision. Gauge serial number 90060667.

5. High-Pressure Hose:

Hose condition is good. No nicks or cuts in hose. No numbers were identified on the hose

The hose had a manilla tag attached to it. The tag read:

IH-973000007 # 1

10/27/97

1517 - 68th Ave.

Dining Room Area, Floor Level

Lt. Czajkowski

SCBA - E63 #1 Complete

W/Pass Device

Philadelphia Fire Department

Fire Administration Building

Fire Marshall's Office

240 Spring Garden Street

Philadelphia, PA 19123-2991

6. Regulator/Pressure Reducer:

Interspiro part number 336 890 025 Series 3 identified on the reducer body. Hose connections tight. High pressure "o-ring" inside of connection to cylinder valve in good condition. General appearance is good but used. Serial number 9009203 molded into body.

7. Cylinder/Valve Assembly:

The cylinder was dirty and blackened, having the appearance of being exposed to heat and/or flame. The DOT approval label on cylinder was only partially legible due to the blackened condition. The following information was identified on the DOT label:

TCSP 3263-M76A/DOT-E 8059 4500

INC7458       EFIC        A       9-91

Interspiro Part Number 336-890-003



The composite overwrap material was cut and nicked in the cylinder shoulder area causing frayed fiberglass strands to be exposed.

The cylinder was marked with a circular label identifying the most recent hydrostatic test date for the cylinder. This label read:

 

Hydrostatically Tested

By

DOT

Lic. No.

11

Month

C4

73

94

Year

 

to

7500 psi

Pressure


Due to the condition of the cylinder, no other labels or markings could be identified on the cylinder or cylinder valve.


8. Backframe:

Dirty and used in appearance. All straps are intact with no fraying or tearing of the material. Interspiro part number 336-890-152 identified on the backframe. NIOSH approval label was present on the backframe but was not legible due to the blackened condition of the label.

The backframe also contains the SEI / NFPA certification label. This label was also not legible.

The back side of the backplate has been marked with white paint with the identifying marks E-63 and the number 1.

A red Personal Alert Safety (PASS) Device, model PAL 5+, manufactured by DETEX (s/n 5140742, mfgr date 8/96). The PASS Device has been marked "E-63" on the side with black marker.

 

 


NIOSH Respirator Field Problem Inspection Report Unit # 2

Task#:...........TN-09841 Problem Source:.....Philadelphia Fire Dept.

Date Received:...11/04/97 Description:........Fatalities/Injury

Date Inspected:..11/12/97 Insp. Performed by: Merinar

Manufacturer:.Interspiro Other ID: "E-63-2"

=================================================================

TC Approval #: TC-13F-133 Type: SCBA, Interspiro, SpiroMatic


General Observations

The SCBA was worn (used) in appearance but considerably cleaner in appearance than Unit # 1. The facepiece was intact. The cylinder valve, bypass valve, donning switch, and the connection of the cylinder to the first stage pressure reducer were all taped with duct tape in order to maintain their position during shipment to NIOSH.

Components and Observations

1. Facepiece: Dirty and worn in appearance but generally in good condition. The lens was dirty but had few scratches. Interspiro part number 336-890-093 was identified on the mask. Number 01 21 20 molded into facepiece inside surface near top of lens. Rubber adjustable head harness had a small tear in the rubber on the right side (as being worn). Number 01 11 307 molded into head harness near top, and the date code indicated the head harness was manufactured in the 4th month, 1st week, of 1987. The number 12525 was molded into the tab on the top adjustment strap.

A nose cup was installed in the facepiece and was in good condition. The nose cup had a date code indicating the date of manufacture to be the 1th month, 4th week, of 1989. The number 011631 was molded into the inhalation valve housing.

2. Pressure demand regulator (Mask mounted): Scratched and dirty in appearance. Round cover (ring) around outer edge of regulator body in place. Serial number 962454 stamped into front of body. The bypass valve was ½ to 3/4 of a turn from being closed. The donning switch was depressed (toward the regulator body).

3. Breathing Tube/Low-Pressure Hose:

Hose in generally good condition. No nicks or cuts in outer jacket. Hose ferules in good condition. Connection to alarm/pressure gauge block tight. The number "IS 953" is identified on the hose ferule at the connection to the alarm/pressure gauge block.

4. Regulator/Pressure Reducer:

Interspiro part number 336 890 025 Series 3 identified on the reducer body. The serial number was not entirely legible due to the scratched condition of the reducer body but was probably ?1009212. The hose connections were tight. High pressure "o-ring" inside of connection to cylinder valve in good condition. Hand wheel on cylinder valve connection in good condition. General appearance is worn.

5. High-Pressure Hose:

Hose condition is generally in good condition. The number 952 was identified on the hose ferule at the connection to the pressure reducer.

The hose had a manilla tag attached to it. The tag read:

IH-973000007 # 2

10/27/97

1517 - 68th Ave.

E-63 Apparatus

Lt. Czajkowski

SCBA - E63 #2 Complete

No Pass Device

Philadelphia Fire Department

Fire Administration Building

Fire Marshall's Office

240 Spring Garden Street

Philadelphia, PA 19123-2991


6. Alarm/Pressure Gauge:

Remote gauge line damaged where outer jacket has pulled away from hose ferule near connection to cylinder valve. Inner wire braiding exposed for a distance of approximately 1/4 inch. Outer jacket nicked and cut in a few places. Alarm whistle clean.

The pressure gauge needle rests in the red or empty marking area. Gauge lens scratched but not enough to obscure vision. Gauge serial number 90060665.


7. Cylinder/Valve Assembly:

The cylinder was dirty and worn in appearance. The composite overwrap material was cut and nicked in a few places causing the underlying fiberglass strands to be exposed.

The cylinder valve was closed and approximately 1000 psi of air remained in the cylinder.

The DOT approval label on cylinder was legible and the following information was identified on the DOT label:

CTC/DOT-E 8059 4500

INC508        EFIC       A        7-89

EFIC Part No 6928-001-36

Interspiro Part Number 336-890-003

 

The cylinder was marked with a circular label identifying the most recent hydrostatic test date for the cylinder but the label was damaged and only partially legible.

This label read:

 

 

 

Hydrostatically Tested

By

DOT

Lic. No.

??

Month

C4

73

94

Year

 

to

7500 psi

Pressure

 

Due to the condition of the cylinder, no other labels or markings could be identified on the cylinder or cylinder valve.


7. Backframe:

Generally good appearance but appearance also suggest apparatus has seen considerable use. Interspiro part number 336-890-152 identified on the backframe. NIOSH approval label was present on the backframe. The date on the label is October 6, 1987. The 30-minute high pressure version of the SCBA is identified as TC-13F-133. All part numbers on the SCBA hardware check out with the approved component part numbers listed on the approval label.

The backframe also contains the SEI / NFPA certification label identifying the apparatus as being certified to the requirements of NFPA 1981 (1992 Edition).

This SCBA was not equipped with a PASS device.


 

NIOSH Respirator Field Problem Inspection Report Unit # 3

Task#:..........TN-09841 Problem Source:.....Philadelphia Fire Dept.

Date Received:...11/04/97 Description:........Fatalities/Injury

Date Inspected:..11/12/97 Insp. Performed by: Merinar

Manufacturer:.Interspiro Other ID: E-63-3

=================================================================

TC Approval #: TC-13F-133 Type: SCBA, Interspiro, SpiroMatic

General Observations

The SCBA was dirty and worn (used) in appearance. The facepiece was dirty but intact. The cylinder valve, bypass valve, donning switch, and the connection of the cylinder to the first stage pressure reducer were all taped with duct tape in order to maintain their position during shipment to NIOSH.

Components and Observations

1. Facepiece: Dirty and worn in appearance but generally in good condition. The lens was dirty and had several scratches. Interspiro part number 336-890-093 was identified on the mask. Number 01 16 01 77 molded into facepiece inside surface near top of lens. The date code indicated the facepiece was manufactured in the 5th month, 1st week, of 1986. The outer front surface of the facepiece appears to be dry-rotting on both sides of the speech diaphragm housing.

The rubber adjustable head harness is in good condition and has the number 01 22 28 molded into head harness near top. The date code indicated the head harness was manufactured in the 11th month, 3st week, of 1986.

A nose cup was installed in the facepiece and was in good condition. The nose cup had a date code indicating the date of manufacture to be the 1th month, 4th week, of 1989. The number 01 16 30 is also molded into the nosecup. The number 011631 was molded into the inhalation valve housing.

The facepiece also has the number 11894/2 molded into the inner surface at the left temple area.


2. Pressure demand regulator - "Breathing Valve" (Mask mounted):

Scratched and dirty in appearance. The positive pressure unit locking ring that secures the positive pressure unit to the regulator body was in place but loose. Serial number 900?026 stamped into front of body. The donning switch was in the open position (turned away from the valve body) and the bypass valve was fully closed.

3. Breathing Tube/Low-Pressure Hose: Hose in generally good condition. There is a small nick in outer jacket near the connection to the mask-mounted regulator but the inner braiding is not damaged. Hose ferules in good condition. Connection to alarm/pressure gauge block tight. No numbers could be identified on the hose or metal hose ferules.

4. Alarm/Pressure Gauge:

Remote gauge line damaged where outer jacket has pulled away from hose ferule near connection to cylinder valve. Inner wire braiding exposed for a distance of approximately 1/4 inch. Outer jacket has only minor nicks and cuts. Alarm whistle clean.

The pressure gauge needle rests in the red or empty marking area. Gauge lens scratched but not enough to obscure vision. Gauge serial number 90060203.


5. High-Pressure Hose:

Hose condition is good. No nicks or cuts in hose. No numbers were identified on the hose.

The hose had a manilla tag attached to it. The tag read:

IH-973000007 # 3

10/27/97

1517 - 68th Ave.

E-63 Apparatus

Lt. Czajkowski

SCBA - E63 #3

Complete with Pass

Device

Philadelphia Fire Department

Fire Administration Building

Fire Marshall's Office

240 Spring Garden Street

Philadelphia, PA 19123-2991



6. Regulator/Pressure Reducer:

Interspiro part number 336 890 025 Series 3 identified on the reducer body. Hose connections tight. High pressure "o-ring" inside of connection to cylinder valve in good condition. General appearance is good but used. Serial number was not legible due to condition of body.

7. Cylinder/Valve Assembly:

The cylinder was dirty and blackened, having the appearance of being exposed to heat and/or flame. The DOT approval label on cylinder was only partially legible due to the blackened condition. The following information was identified on the DOT label:

CTC/DOT-E 8059 4500

INC1721        EFIC       A        1-90

EFIC Part No 6988-001-36

Interspiro Part Number 336-890-003



The composite overwrap material was cut and nicked in the cylinder shoulder area causing frayed fiberglass strands to be exposed.

The cylinder was marked with a label identifying the most recent hydrostatic test date for the cylinder. This label read:

 

Hydrostatically Tested

By

American

Breathing Systems

Tel: 609-663-3749

DOT

Lic. No.

 

9

Month

C7

75

97

Year

 

to

7500 psi

Pressure



The cylinder valve was also marked with the number 178969 on the cylinder valve.

8. Backframe:

Dirty and used in appearance. All straps are intact with no fraying or tearing of the material. The label indicating the Interspiro part number was present on the backframe but not legible. NIOSH approval label was present on the backframe but was not legible due to the blackened condition of the label.

The backframe also contains the SEI / NFPA certification label. This label was also not legible.

The back side of the backplate has been marked with white paint with the identifying marks E-63 and the number 1.

A red Personal Alert Safety (PASS) Device, model PAL III, was attached to the waist strap of the backframe. The PASS Device has been marked "E-63" on the side with black marker.



ATTACHMENT THREE

SCBA Test Results


National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Certification and Quality Assurance Branch

Air Supplied Respirator Section

Test Report

TN-09841

Interspiro

TC-13F-133

Mike Commodore

November 20, 1997


I. Background:

On November 17, 1997, three units were received from the field problem coordinator for testing. The units were Interspiro, TC-13F-133, which were originally received from the Philadelphia, Fire Department.


II. Test Outline:

A. Positive Pressure Test - 84.70(a)(2)(ii)

Requirement -

Pressure-Demand Type Breathing Apparatus - An apparatus in which the pressure inside the facepiece in relation to the immediate environment is positive during both inhalation and exhalation.

Procedure -

A breathing machine with a 622 kg.-m./min. cam operating at 24 RPM with a 40 Lpm vol. (115 LPM peak flow) is connected to an anthropometric head for cycling. A pressure tap in the head is connected to a transducer which in turn is connected to a strip chart recorder for determining the pressure in the facepiece.

Results -

The inhalation portion of the breathing curve for unit #1 and unit #2 failed to remain positive (i.e. above ambient) initially and throughout the rated service time test. The breathing curve for unit #3 remained positive (i.e. above ambient)


B. Rated service time - Sec. 84.95

Requirement -

(a) Service time will be measured with a breathing machine.

(b) The open circuit apparatus will be classified according to the length of time it supplied air or oxygen to the breathing machine.

(c) The service time obtained in this test will be used to classify the open circuit apparatus in accordance with 11.53.

Procedure -

A breathing machine with a 622 kg.-m./min. cam operating at 24 RPM with a 40 Lpm vol. is connected to an anthropometric head for cycling. A pressure tap in the head is connected to a transducer which in turn is connected to a strip chart recorder for determining the pressure in the facepiece. The breathing machine will be run until the inhalation portion of the breathing curve falls below the minimum requirement.

Results - Unit #1

The unit supplied air for 33.63 minutes.

The inhalation portion of the breathing curve was going negative initially (-.40"H2O). The final inhalation resistance was

-1.40"H2O.

The lens in the facepiece was broken, so the facepiece from unit #3 was used for all testing.

The cylinder was replaced with a new cylinder from Interspiro.

Results - Unit #2

The unit supplied air for 33.83 minutes.

The cylinder was replaced with a new cylinder from Interspiro.

When the unit was initially activated there was no static pressure, after checking the function of the bypass and working the donning switch the unit had a static pressure, at this point the test was conducted.

The inhalation portion of the breathing curve was going negative initially (-1.00"H2O). The final inhalation resistance was

-1.90"H2O.

Results - Unit #3

The unit supplied air for 32.13 minutes.

The unit had a small constant leak out of the exhalation valve at all times.

The screw insert which holds the speech diaphragm cover was pulled partially out of the facepiece.

The exhalation valve portion of the regulator was loose.



C. Gas Flow Test - Sec. 84.93

Requirement -

Flow shall be 200 lpm when facepiece pressure of demand unit is lowered by 2 inches of pressure when full cylinder pressure is applied and also at 500 psig. With pressure - demand unit, measure flow at 0 facepiece pressure.

Procedure -

A pressure tap in the anthropometric head is connected to a slant tube manometer for determining when the pressure inside the facepiece is at zero. A mass flow meter is connected in line between the anthropometric head and an adjustable vacuum source to measure flow. The SCBA cylinder is replaced by a test stand which is adjusted initially to full cylinder pressure. The vacuum source is adjusted during the test to maintain the required pressure inside the facepiece. The procedure is then repeated with the test stand adjusted to 500 psig.


Results -

  Full Cylinder 500 PSIG
unit #1 379.5 lpm 271.9 lpm
unit #2 19.8 lpm 19.8 lpm
unit #3 >408.0 lpm >408.0 lpm

 
D. Breathing Resistance Test; Exhalation Sec. 84.91

Requirement-

Pressure demand unit - Exhalation - Shall not exceed static by more than 2 inches of H2O. Static - Shall not exceed 1.50 inches of H20 at 0 flow.

Procedure -

The mask is mounted on a head form. The probe in the head form is connected to a slant manometer for measuring static pressure. Then 85 Lpm is injected into the head form and the exhalation resistance is measured.

Results -

Unit 1 Exhalation Resistance

Static Pressure

Difference

1.88 " H2O

1.30 " H2O

.58 " H2O

Unit 2 Exhalation Resistance

Static Pressure

Difference

3.05 " H2O

1.10 " H2O

1.95 " H2O

Unit 3 Exhalation Resistance

Static Pressure 

Difference

2.39 " H2O

* " H2O

* " H2O


* This unit did not function properly. The static pressure fluctuated continuously between 1.80 and 2.10" H20 with a constant leak out of the exhalation valve.

F. Remaining Service Life Indicator - Section 11.82(F)

Requirement -

When a unit does not have a remote gauge shut off, then each remaining service life indicator or warning device shall give an alarm when the remaining service life of the apparatus is reduced within a range of 23 to 27% of its rated service time or pressure.

Procedure -

To measure the pressure at which the alarm sounds, a calibrated gauge is connected in line between the air supply bottle and the regulator. The unit is then bled down through the regulator by-pass valve. When the alarm sounds, the pressure on the gauge is noted. This procedure is repeated six times.

Results -

  Time (min) Pressure (psig)
Unit 1

24.07

1100

1100

1100

1100

1100

1100

Unit 2 24.09 1080

1080

1080

1080

1080

1080

Unit 3 22.71 1130

1130

1130

1130

1130

1130

 
NOTE: The bypass and remote gauge were checked and functioned properly.



III. Disposition:

The units were placed in a locked chamber in room 176 pending further instructions from the field problem coordinator.

TABLE ONE

Summary of Test Results

Interspiro Spiromatic SCBA "Unit #1" From Philadelphia Fire Department

NIOSH Task No. TN-09841

For complete results see NIOSH Test Report dated 11/20/97

NIOSH Tests From

42 CFR Part 84

RESULTS    Unit # 1 E-63-1 Test Standard
Positive Pressure (In. Water Col)1

84.70(a)(2)(ii)

-1.40"

Fail

>0.0 " water column
Rated Service Time 2 - (Minutes)

84.53(a)(6)

84.95

33.63 min

Pass

>30.00 minutes
Breathing Resistance (Exhalation) (In. Water Col) -

84.91(c)

Exhalation

= 1.88"

Static = 1.30"

Difference

= 0.58 "

Pass

Exhalation Resistance cannot exceed static pressure by more than 2" water pressure
Static Pressure

(In. Water Col) -

84.91(d)



1.30"

Pass

Static Pressure in facepiece cannot exceed 1.5" water pressure
Gas Flow Test (LPM)

Full Cylinder -

500 PSI -

84.93



379.5 LPM

271.9 LPM

Pass

>200 liters per minute

airflow

Remaining Service Life Indicator (Alarm) Test

84.83(F) PSI -

1100 PSI

Pass

23-27 % of rated time or Pressure.

NOTE: The Positive Pressure Test, Rated Service Life Test and Breathing Resistance tests are all run at the same time. The time the alarm sounds is also noted and used in the data for the Remaining Service Life Indicator Test.

1 A 30-minute composite cylinder was obtained from Interspiro, Inc. for testing since the cylinder from the Philadelphia FD was damaged.

2 The cylinder was fully charged and then topped off.

Problem Areas associated with Unit # 1:

1) The facepiece lens was broken so the facepiece from Unit # 3 was used for all testing.

2) The cylinder was blackened from exposure to heat and/or flame and so a replacement cylinder was obtained from Interspiro, Inc., for use during testing.



TABLE TWO

Summary of Test Results

Interspiro Spiromatic SCBA "Unit #2" From Philadelphia Fire Department

NIOSH Task No. TN-09841

For complete results see NIOSH Test Report dated 11/20/97

NIOSH Tests From

42 CFR Part 84

RESULTS

Unit # 2

E-63-2

Test Standard
Positive Pressure

(In. Water Col)1- 84.70(a)(2)(ii)

-1.90"

Fail

>0.0 " water column
Rated Service

Time 2 - (Minutes) 84.53(a)(6)

84.95

33.83 min

Pass

>30.00 minutes
Breathing Resistance

(Exhalation)

(In. Water Col) -

84.91(c)

Exhalation

= 3.05"

Static = 1.10"

Difference

= 1.95"

Pass

Exhalation Resistance cannot exceed static pressure by more than 2" water pressure
Static Pressure

(In. Water Col) -

84.91(d)

1.10"

Pass

Static Pressure in facepiece cannot exceed 1.5" water pressure
Gas Flow Test (LPM)

Full Cylinder -

500 PSI -

84.93

19.8 LPM

19.8 LPM

Fail

>200 liters per minute

airflow

Remaining Service Life Indicator (Alarm) Test

84.83(F) PSI -

1080 PSI

Pass

23-27 % of rated time or Pressure.

NOTE: The Positive Pressure Test, Rated Service Life Test and Breathing Resistance tests are all run at the same time. The time the alarm sounds is also noted and used in the data for the Remaining Service Life Indicator Test.

1 A 30-minute composite cylinder from Interspiro, Inc., since the current hydrostatic test date could not be identified on the cylinder received from the Philadelphia FD.

2 The cylinder was fully charged and then topped off.

Problem Areas Associated with Unit # 2:

2. The current hydrostatic test date could not be identified on the cylinder.

3. When the testing was initiated, there was no airflow and no static pressure inside the facepiece. The function of the bypass valve and the donning switch were checked. After this, air began to flow to the facepiece so testing was conducted.

TABLE THREE

Summary of Test Results

Interspiro Spiromatic SCBA "Unit #3" From Philadelphia Fire Department

NIOSH Task No. TN-09841

For complete results see NIOSH Test Report dated 11/20/97

NIOSH Tests From

42 CFR Part 84

RESULTS Unit #3

E-63-3

Test Standard
Positive Pressure

(In. Water Col) 84.70(a)(2)(ii)

0.20"

Pass

>0.0 " water column
Rated Service

Time 1 - (Minutes) 84.53(a)(6)

84.95

32.13

Pass

>30.00 minutes
Breathing Resistance

(Exhalation)

(In. Water Col) -

84.91(c)

Exhalation

= 2.39"

Static = * "

Difference

= * "

Fail

Exhalation Resistance cannot exceed static pressure by more than 2" water pressure
Static Pressure

(In. Water Col) -

84.91(d)

1.80 - 2.10**

Fail

Static Pressure in facepiece cannot exceed 1.5" water pressure
Gas Flow Test (LPM)

Full Cylinder -

500 PSI -

84.93

>408 LPM

>408 LPM

Pass

>200 liters per minute

airflow

Remaining Service Life Indicator (Alarm) Test

84.83(F) PSI -

1130 PSI

Pass

23-27 % of rated time or Pressure.


NOTE: The Positive Pressure Test, Rated Service Life Test and Breathing Resistance tests are all run at the same time. The time the alarm sounds is also noted and used in the data for the Remaining Service Life Indicator Test.

1 The cylinder was fully charged and then topped off. During this test, an outward leakage of air was noted coming from the mask mounted regulator.

* The static facepiece pressure fluctuated between 1.80 and 2.10 inches of water pressure. Therefore, the true static pressure could not be measured and the breathing resistance swing could not be calculated

** The fluctuation in static pressure indicates the SCBA does not perform as designed.

Problem Areas Associated with Unit # 3:

4. There was a small leak or flow of air thru the exhalation valve at all times during testing.

5. One of the screw inserts that holds the speech diaphragm cover in position on the facepiece was pulled partially out of the facepiece.

6. The positive-pressure unit of the mask-mounted regulator (breathing valve) was loose. The locking ring was not properly tightened.

Appendix last updated on 08/02/11


Fire Fighter Fatality Project - Using the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Project

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Division of Safety Research (DSR), performs Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) investigations when a line-of-duty Fire Fighter Fatality is reported. The goal of these evaluations is to prevent fatal work injuries in the future by studying the working environment, the worker, the task the worker was performing, the tools the worker was using, the energy exchange resulting in fatal injury, and the role of management in controlling how these factors interact.


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