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Volunteer chief dies and two fire fighters are injured by a collapsing church facade - Tennessee.

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 F2004-37, 2006 Jan; :1-11
On April 8, 2004 a 71-year-old male volunteer Chief (the victim) was seriously injured during a church fire when he was struck by bricks and burning debris that fell from an outward collapse of a brick façade. The victim died from his injuries four months later. He had arrived at the scene of the fire one minute after the first alarm and approximately 15 minutes before the collapse. He assumed Incident Command, performed a 360 degree size-up of the scene, and was in front of the church verbally calling for fire fighters to evacuate the structure when the collapse occurred. The victim was transported by helicopter to a hospital and later transferred to a rehabilitation center where he remained until August 1, 2004 when he died from his injuries. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should: 1. ensure that Incident Command (IC) continually evaluates the risk versus gain and establishes a strategic plan when deciding on an offensive or defensive fire attack; 2. ensure that a collapse zone is established, clearly marked, and monitored at structure fires where there is a risk of collapse; 3. use evacuation signals when command personnel decide that all fire fighters should be evacuated from a burning building or other hazardous area; 4. ensure that protective clothing and protective equipment is used whenever fire fighters are exposed, or potentially exposed, to the hazards for which it is provided; 5. establish and implement written standard operating guidelines (SOGs) regarding emergency operations on the fireground and ensure they are followed; 6. develop pre-incident planning protocols and conduct joint training throughout mutual aid departments. Additionally, municipalities should consider requiring, and owners of commercial buildings should consider modifying, older structures to meet new building codes and standards to improve the safety of occupants and fire fighters.
Region-4; Fire-fighting; Fire-fighters; Fire-hazards; Fire-safety; Accident-prevention; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Emergency-responders; Safety-practices; Work-practices; Surveillance
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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