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Career firefighter dies from injuries received during a chimney and structural collapse after a house fire - Pennsylvania.

Tarley J; Guglielmo C; Berardinelli S
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 F2003-04, 2004 Jun; :1-10
On January 20, 2003, a 22-year old male career fire fighter (the victim) was fatally injured after being trapped during a structural collapse following a house fire. The victim was performing overhaul on the first floor when a chimney fell causing a structural collapse. The victim and two other fire fighters became trapped under the debris of the chimney and second floor. The victim was removed from the collapse within 10 minutes. He was transported via helicopter to a regional hospital where he was pronounced dead. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should: 1. ensure that an assessment of the stability and safety of the structure (e.g., roofs, ceilings, partitions, load-bearing walls, floors, and chimneys) is conducted before entering fire and water-damaged structures for overhaul operations; 2. establish and monitor a collapse zone to ensure that no activities take place within this area as part of overhaul operations; 3. ensure that an Incident Safety Officer, independent from the Incident Commander, is appointed and on scene early in the fire operation; 4. ensure consistent use of personal alert safety system (PASS) devices even during overhaul operations; and, 5. ensure that fire fighters who enter hazardous areas, e.g., suspected unsafe structures during overhaul, be equipped with two-way communications with Incident Command.
Region-3; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Emergency-responders; Fire-fighters; Work-practices; Fire-fighting; Fire-safety
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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