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Volunteer deputy fire chief dies after falling through floor hole in residential structure during fire attack - Indiana.

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 F2006-24, 2007 Sep; :1-19
On June 25, 2006, a 34-year-old male volunteer Deputy Fire Chief (the victim) died after falling through a failed section of floor on the first floor of a residential structure fire while attacking the fire from above. Attempts were made to reach the victim via a 14' roof ladder, but due to debris in the basement, fire/smoke conditions, and the angle of the failed floor, all attempts to reach the victim via the ladder failed. Fire fighters entered the house, traversed the floor, and gained interior access to the basement to retrieve the victim. The victim was immediately found but was unresponsive. The crews had difficulty in moving him up the basement stairs, but after approximately 20 minutes they were able to remove, provide medical treatment, and transport him via ambulance to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should: 1. ensure that fire fighters and incident commanders are aware that unprotected preengineered I-joist floor systems may fail at a faster rate than solid wood joists when exposed to direct fire impingement, and they should plan interior operations accordingly; 2. ensure that the Incident Commander (IC) maintains the role of director of fireground operations and does not become directly involved in fire-fighting operations; 3. ensure that risk vs. gain is evaluated during size-up prior to making entry in fire involved structures; 4. ensure that team continuity and accountability is maintained; 5. ensure that a rapid intervention team (RIT) is on the scene as part of the first alarm and in position to provide immediate assistance prior to crews entering a hazardous environment; 6. use defensive fire-fighting tactics when adequate staff (including command staff), apparatus and equipment for offensive operations are not available or when offensive operations are not practical; 7. provide SCBA face pieces that are equipped with voice amplifiers for improved communications; 8. establish standard operating procedures (SOPs) regarding thermal imaging camera (TIC) use during interior operations; 9. train fire fighters on actions to take while waiting to be rescued if they become lost or trapped inside a structure; 10. use positive pressure ventilation properly; and, 11. ensure a back-up radio dispatch system is in place and available when needed.
Region-5; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Emergency-responders; Fire-fighting-equipment; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Respiratory-protection; Respirators; Self-contained-breathing-apparatus; 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