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Structural collapse at an auto parts store fire claims the lives of one career lieutenant and two volunteer fire fighters - Oregon.

McFall M; Guglielmo C; Merinar T; Braddee R
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 F2002-50, 2003 Sep; :1-21
On November 25, 2002, at approximately 1320 hours, occupants of an auto parts store returned from lunch to discover a light haze in the air and the smell of something burning. They searched for the source of the haze and burning smell and discovered what appeared to be the source of a fire. At 1351 hours they called 911. Units were immediately dispatched to the auto parts store with reports of smoke in the building. Fire fighters advanced attack lines into the auto parts store and began their interior attack. Crews began opening up the ceiling and wall on the mezzanine where they found fire in the rafters. Three of the eight fire fighters operating on the mezzanine began running low on air. As they were exiting the building, the ventilation crews on the roof began opening the skylights and cutting holes in the roof. The stability of the roof was rapidly deteriorating forcing everyone off the roof. The IC called for an evacuation of the building. Five fire fighters were still operating in the building when the ceiling collapsed. Two fire fighters escaped. Attempts were made to rescue the three fire fighters while conditions quickly deteriorated. Numerous fire fighters entered the building and removed one of the victims. He was transported to the area hospital and later pronounced dead. Approximately 2 hours later, conditions improved for crews to enter and locate the other two victims on the mezzanine. The victims were pronounced dead about an hour later by the Deputy Medical Examiner. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should: 1) ensure that fire fighters provide the Incident Commander (IC) with interior size-up reports; 2) ensure that fire fighters open concealed spaces to determine whether the fire is in these areas; 3) ensure that pre-emergency planning is completed for mercantile and business occupancies; 4) ensure that a Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) is established and in position; 5) consider using a thermal imaging camera as a part of the interior size-up operation to aid in locating fires in concealed areas; 6) ensure that local citizens are provided with information on fire prevention and the need to report emergency situations as soon as possible to the proper authorities; 7) ensure that self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBAs) and equipment are properly inspected, used, and maintained to ensure they function properly when needed; 8) ensure that fire command always maintains close accountability for all personnel operating on the fireground; Additionally, 8) Building owners should ensure that building permits are obtained and local building codes are followed when additions or modifications are made
Region-10; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting; Fire-safety; Training; Traumatic-injuries; Fire-fighting-equipment; Fire-protection-equipment; Emergency-responders; Personal-protective-equipment; Accident-prevention; Injury-prevention
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Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division