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Restaurant fire claims the life of two career fire fighters - Texas.

Washenitz-FC II; Mezzanotte-TP; McFall-M
NIOSH 2000 Feb; :1-42
On February 14, 2000, a 44-year-old male and a 30-year-old female, both career fire fighters, died in a restaurant fire. At 0430 hours, Central Dispatch received a call from a civilian who reported that fire was emitting through the roof of the restaurant. Medic 73 was first to arrive on the scene, followed by Engine 76 (Captain, Fire Apparatus Operator (FAO), and two fire fighters (Victim #1 and Victim #2). Upon arrival, dispatch was notified by the two companies that there was visible fire emitting through the roof. The Captain on Engine 76 radioed dispatch reporting that he and his crew were going to complete a "fast attack" (enter the structure with a 1¾-inch hoseline and knock down the fire with the water from their engine). Approximately 2 minutes later, Ladder 76 (Captain, FAO, and one fire fighter) arrived on the scene and the Captain assumed Incident Command (IC). After making forcible entry, the victims entered with a 1¾-inch hoseline as their Captain finished donning his gear. Shortly after, the Captain entered the structure, met up with his crew, and then exited the structure to assist with the advancement of their hoseline. Engine 73 (Captain, FAO, and two fire fighters) arrived on the scene and one fire fighter entered the structure with a 1¾-inch hoseline. He stretched the hoseline past the front counter and around a wall in the dining area (see Diagram 2). The Captain from Engine 76 reentered the structure and followed a hoseline, which he believed the victims were on. After meeting up with a fire fighter on the end of the line, the Captain exited and reentered the structure a second time. As he followed the line, debris began to fall and there was visible fire throughout the middle section of the kitchen. Soon after, District 10 (District Chief) arrived, completed a size-up, and assumed command. Due to the heavy fire he observed, he requested all companies convert to a defensive attack and evacuate the structure. At this point the middle roof section (over the kitchen) of the building had collapsed. An interior evacuation took place, and neither of the victims exited. The IC sent several fire fighters inside to search for the victims. The fire fighters located and removed Victim #1 at 0530 hours. He was then transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The fire fighters located Victim #2 at 0713 hours, and she was pronounced dead at the scene. The scene was then turned over to the City Fire and Arson Bureau, which declared the incident to be a crime scene due to arson. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar incidents, fire departments should: 1. Ensure that the department’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are followed; 2. Ensure that fire command always maintains close accountability for all personnel at the fire scene; 3. Ensure that Incident Command conducts an initial size-up of the incident before initiating fire fighting efforts and continually evaluates the risk versus gain during operations at an incident; 4. Ensure that vertical ventilation takes place to release any heat, smoke, and fire; 5. Ensure that fire fighters are trained to identify truss roof systems; 6. Ensure that fire fighters use extreme caution when operating on or under a lightweight truss roof and should develop standard operating procedures for buildings constructed with lightweight roof trusses; 7. Ensure that fire fighters performing fire fighting operations under or above trusses are evacuated as soon as it is determined that the trusses are exposed to fire; 8. Explore using a thermal imaging camera as a part of the exterior size-up; 9. Ensure that, whenever there is a change in personnel, all personnel are briefed and understand the procedures and operations required for that shift, station, or duty; 10. Ensure that, whenever a building is known to be on fire and is occupied, all exits are forced and blocked open; 11 consider providing all fire fighters with portable radios or radios integrated into their face pieces; 12. consider adding additional staff in accordance with NFPA standards; 13. establish various written standard operating procedures, ensure record keeping, and conduct annual evaluations to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of their overall SCBA maintenance program. Additionally, building owners, utility providers, and municipalities should; 1. Ensure that all exterior building utilities are accessible and in working condition; 2. Consider placing the building’s construction information on an exterior placard; 3. Upgrade or modify older structures to incorporate new codes and standards to improve occupancy and fire fighter safety
Region-6; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting; Fire-safety; Traumatic-injuries; Training; Emergency-responders; Accident-prevention; Injury-prevention
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Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation; Field Studies
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health