Fire Chief Suffers Sudden Cardiac Death at Structure Fire - Texas
Death in the Line of Duty…A summary of a NIOSH fire fighter fatality investigation
F2014-17 Date Released: April 7, 2015
On April 21, 2014, a 52-year-old male volunteer Chief suffered cardiac arrest at a structure fire. NIOSH contacted the affected fire department on April 29, 2014, to gather information and on July 31, 2014, to initiate the investigation. On August 6, 2014, a safety and occupational health specialist from the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program travelled to Texas to investigate the incident.
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.