On November 29, 2003, a 31-year-old male volunteer fire fighter (the victim) died while fighting a basement fire in a residential structure. The victim and another fire fighter were in the basement applying water to the fire on the ceiling. A Deputy Chief in the basement reported to Incident Command that the fire was knocked down and requested ventilation. A positive pressure ventilation fan (PPV) was started at the front door as the basement windows were vented. Suddenly, thick black smoke filled the entire basement area as the hoseline became covered by debris falling from shelving in the basement. The Deputy Chief called for a Mayday as he was running out of air just after he told the crew to exit the basement. He was assisted from the structure, fell unconscious, and was rushed to a hospital. The victim's rescue, however, was hampered by the heightened fire conditions. The victim was recovered approximately 1 ½ hours later and transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should: 1. develop and implement standard operating procedures (SOPs) addressing emergency scene operations, including specific procedures for basement fires; 2. ensure that ventilation is closely coordinated with the fire attack; 3. ensure that a Rapid Intervention Team is in place before conditions become unsafe; 4. develop and coordinate pre-incident planning protocols with mutual aid departments; and, 5. implement joint training on response protocols with mutual aid departments. Additionally, 1. Municipalities should establish one central dispatch center to coordinate and communicate activities involving units from multiple jurisdictions; and, 2. Municipalities should ensure that companies responding to mutual aid incidents are equipped with mobile and portable communications equipment that are capable of handling the volume of radio traffic and allow communications between all responding companies within their jurisdiction.