Career Fire Fighter Struck and Killed While Working a Crash Scene on Ice Covered Interstate Overpass – Texas
Death in the Line of Duty…A summary of a NIOSH fire fighter fatality investigation
F2014-06 Date Released: August 12, 2015
On February 10, 2014, a 40-year-old male career fire fighter died after being struck by a civilian’s vehicle and falling from an overpass. The fire fighter was one of four fire fighters that were working a crash scene involving multiple vehicles on an ice covered interstate bridge and overpass. The fire fighter was assisting a stranded motorist and crossed over the protective barrier where he was struck by another vehicle and fell 56 feet from the bridge onto the underpass below. Fire fighters rushed to his aid and performed several life saving measures, including CPR. He was transported by a fire department rescue unit to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased upon arrival.
- Weather conditions (ice)
- Scene/Traffic Management
- Operating in unprotected zone (Situational Awareness)
- Inattentive motorist
- Fire departments should ensure that officers, fire fighters and emergency responders are properly trained in highway incident safety procedures.
- Fire departments should ensure that officers, fire fighters and emergency responders are trained in situational awareness, risk assessment, fire fighter and command safety responsibilities.
- Municipalities and local authorities having jurisdiction should develop strategies for pre-treating bridges, overpasses and roadways subject to early freezing.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), an institute within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is the federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. In 1998, Congress appropriated funds to NIOSH to conduct a fire fighter initiative that resulted in the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program which examines line-of-duty-deaths or on duty deaths of fire fighters to assist fire departments, fire fighters, the fire service and others to prevent similar fire fighter deaths in the future. The agency does not enforce compliance with State or Federal occupational safety and health standards and does not determine fault or assign blame. Participation of fire departments and individuals in NIOSH investigations is voluntary. Under its program, NIOSH investigators interview persons with knowledge of the incident who agree to be interviewed and review available records to develop a description of the conditions and circumstances leading to the death(s). Interviewees are not asked to sign sworn statements and interviews are not recorded. The agency’s reports do not name the victim, the fire department or those interviewed. The NIOSH report’s summary of the conditions and circumstances surrounding the fatality is intended to provide context to the agency’s recommendations and is not intended to be definitive for purposes of determining any claim or benefit.