Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE F2000-41, 2001 May; :1-10
On September 27, 2000, a 33-year-old male career fire fighter (the victim) died after attempting to board Ladder Truck 5. At 1808 hours, the fire department was dispatched to a motor-vehicle incident involving two vehicles, with injuries and a possible entrapment. The Captain on duty was outside the station when the driver, along with a fire fighter and the victim, proceeded to the bay area of the station. The driver stopped and looked quickly at the map board, and then made his way to the truck. The fire fighter and the victim walked towards the rear of the truck. The fire fighter told the victim that he would run to the back of the station to alert the Captain of the call. The driver got in and started the truck, then activated the lights and sounded the air horns to let the Captain know that the truck was ready to leave. At 1809 hours, the driver radioed to Central Dispatch that Truck 5 was responding to the call. The fire fighter donned some of his gear and boarded the jump seat, facing forward on the Captainís side. The Captain boarded the truck and the driver stated that he had heard both jump-seat doors close. He checked his rear view mirrors and both of the jump-seat doors were in the closed position. At approximately 1810 hours the truck exited the bay area of the station with lights and sirens activated. The truck moved down the stationís driveway apron and paused briefly to wait for traffic heading westbound to yield for the truck. The truck crossed over the three westbound traffic lanes and made a left turn. Note: According to several civilian witnessesí statements, during this time the victim was running beside the driverís side jump-seat door while trying to catch up to the truck. The truck continued to travel in an inside turning lane, heading eastbound. The truck began to accelerate as it was straightening out from making the left turn. With the turning lane ending at an intersection, the driver looked in the rear view mirror on the Captainís side and made a right turn to merge into the center lane of traffic at the intersection. As the truck approached the intersection all three personnel on the truck felt a "thump." Upon checking both mirrors the driver saw the victim lying on the ground. The driver told the Captain that the victim had fallen out of the truck. At 1811 hours, the Captain radioed to Central Dispatch to request assistance be dispatched to his location for an injured fire fighter. The victim had been run over by wheels of the truck and sustained fatal injuries as a result. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should: 1) ensure that fire fighters do not attempt to board moving fire and emergency apparatus; 2) ensure that the departmentís standard operating procedures (SOPs) are followed and refresher training is provided; 3) ensure that personnel on board emergency and fire apparatus are seated, belted, and accounted for, prior to movement.