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Arson fire claims the life of one volunteer fire fighter and one civilian and severely injures another volunteer fire fighter - Michigan.
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 F2000-16, 2001 Feb; :1-12
On March 3, 2000, a 27-year-old male volunteer fire fighter (the victim) died and a 32-year-old male volunteer fire fighter was severely injured after attempting to rescue an elderly woman. Volunteer fire fighters and public safety officers (trained as fire fighters) were dispatched at 0342 hours to a basement fire at an apartment building. As the crews were attacking the fire, a call came in from Central Dispatch at 0454 hours reporting smoke in a nearby apartment building. At 0457 hours, public safety patrol units reported smoke showing and a female civilian trapped in the second apartment building. At 0459 hours, command advised the patrol units that four people (one Public Safety Officer [PSO], the victim, and Fire Fighters #1 & #2) from the basement fire were being sent to the second fire. The fire fighters arrived at the second fire and saw heavy smoke coming from the front door of the apartment building and a female civilian in an upstairs apartment window. The female civilian had her head out of the window calling for help. Two of the volunteer fire fighters (victim and Fire Fighter #1), with full turnout gear and SCBAs, proceeded up the stairs to attempt a rescue of the trapped female civilian. The victim and Fire Fighter #1 located the female civilian in the kitchen area and proceeded with her back toward the entrance to the apartment. The victim opened the apartment door and was confronted with heavy fire and extreme heat. They retreated back toward the kitchen area and decided to abort the rescue. The victim and Fire Fighter #1 proceeded down the hall (without the female civilian) to the bathroom where they broke out the window and attempted to climb out. Fire Fighter #1 passed out and fell into the bathtub as the victim continued trying to get out of the window. Personnel on the fireground saw the victim attempting to climb out the window and yelled for him to jump. Note: No apparatus or fire suppression equipment was at the second fire at this time. At 0511 hours, Engine 1 from a mutual-aid company arrived on the scene and threw a ladder to the window the victim was attempting to exit. At approximately 0515 hours, the victim was removed from the window and was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival. At 0525 hours, personnel on the fireground of the second fire realized they had a second fire fighter trapped in the upstairs bathroom. Two fire fighters entered through the bathroom window and rescued Fire Fighter #1 who was then transported to a nearby hospital. Fire Fighter #1 suffered from smoke inhalation and third-degree burns to 30% of his upper body. The trapped female civilian was fatally injured in this fire. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should: 1) establish and implement an Incident Command System (ICS) with written standard operating procedures for all fire fighters; 2) ensure that accountability for all personnel at the fire scene is maintained; 3) ensure that fire fighters who enter hazardous areas-e.g., burning or suspected unsafe structures-are equipped with two-way communications with incident command; 4) ensure that fire fighters preplan an escape route when entering a hazardous environment; 5) ensure that adequate fire control forces and fire suppression equipment are on the scene and available for deployment for fire control activities; 6) ensure that Rapid Intervention Teams are established and in position; 7) consider providing fire fighters with a Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) integrated into their Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)
Region 5; Fire fighters; Fire protection equipment; Traumatic injuries; Injury prevention; Fire fighting; Fire fighting equipment
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