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Two volunteer fire fighters die fighting a basement fire - Illinois.
Cortez K; Tarley J
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 F2001-08, 2002 Jul; :1-10
On February 17, 2001, a 29-year-old male volunteer Lieutenant (Victim #1) and a 32-year-old male volunteer fire fighter (Victim #2) died while fighting a basement fire. Both victims were part of a crew searching for fire extension when they were suddenly surrounded by intense heat and fire. Upon the crew's exit of the structure, it was discovered that the two victims did not exit. The Incident Commander (IC) ordered additional fire fighters to enter the basement and search for the victims. After extensive rescue efforts, both victims were removed from the structure and transported to a nearby hospital where they were pronounced dead. NIOSH investigators conclude that, to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should: 1. ensure standard operating procedures (SOPs) addressing emergency scene operations such as basement fires are developed and followed on the fireground; 2. ensure that Incident Command (IC) conducts a complete size-up of the incident before initiating fire-fighting efforts and continually evaluates the risk versus gain during operations; 3. ensure adequate ventilation is established when attacking basement fires; 4. ensure that accountability for all personnel at the fire scene is maintained; 5. ensure that a Rapid Intervention Team is in place before conditions become unsafe; and, 6. ensure that a separate Incident Safety Officer (ISO), independent from the Incident Commander, is appointed.
Region-5; Fire-fighters; Fire-safety; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Accident-prevention; Emergency-responders
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: March 3, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division