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Two fire fighters die and one seriously injured when an upstairs floor collapses on them during a residential fire in California.

Public Health Institute
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 97CA003, 1997 Aug; :1-6
A 29-year old fire fighter (decedent 1), and a 21-year old fire fighter (decedent 2) died and a 42-year old fire captain was injured when a second story floor fell on them while fighting a residential fire. The home's resident was also fatally injured. The municipal fire department received a call at 4:11:35 a.m. from a neighbor of the residence on fire reporting a structure fire. Subsequent calls reported a woman trapped in her home. Two engines, one truck, a battalion chief, a chief's operator and a safety engine were dispatched to the scene. Entrance was made through the single-story structure in the front in order to access the involved two-story addition at the rear. The fire fighters attacked the flames with 1-3/4-inch and 1-1/2-inch hoses in order to attempt the rescue of the trapped resident. While they were fighting the fire, the second story floor collapsed without any warning. The floor, which was twenty-seven feet by 21-feet 8-inches, collapsed as a whole. The CA/FACE investigator concluded that, in order to prevent future occurrences, fire departments should: 1. Address the need for a coordinated attack strategy. 2. Reassess attack strategy when the possibility of rescue has passed and fire damage is significant. 3. Develop a training program that specifically addresses the structural integrity of a fire-damaged structure. 4. Assure that fire department communications protocol is adequate, that it is known to all personnel, and that it is followed. 5. Ensure that fire command always maintains close accountability for all personnel at the fire scene.
Region-9; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Training; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting; Fire-hazards; Fire-safety; Emergency-responders
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-97CA003; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-907284
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Public Health Institute
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division