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Volunteer fire fighter dies after falling through floor supported by engineered wooden-I beams at residential structure fire - Tennessee.

Tarley-J; Bowyer-M; Merinar-T
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 F2007-07, 2007 Nov; :1-9
On January 26, 2007, a 24-year-old male volunteer fire fighter died at a residential structure fire after falling through the floor which was supported by engineered wooden I-beams. The victim's crew had advanced a handline approximately 20 feet into the structure with zero visibility. They requested ventilation and a thermal imaging camera (TIC) in an attempt to locate and extinguish the fire. The victim exited the structure to retrieve the TIC, and when he returned the floor was spongy as conditions worsened which forced the crew to exit. The victim requested the nozzle and proceeded back into the structure within an arm's distance of one of his crew members who provided back up while he stood in the doorway. Without warning, the floor collapsed sending the victim into the basement. Crews attempted to rescue the victim from the fully involved basement, but a subsequent collapse of the main floor ceased any rescue attempts. The victim was recovered later that morning. NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should: 1. use a thermal imaging camera (TIC) during the initial size-up and search phases of a fire; 2. ensure fire fighters are trained to recognize the danger of operating above a fire and identify buildings constructed with trusses or engineered wood I-beams. Additionally, Municipalities and local authorities having jurisdiction should develop a questionnaire or checklist to obtain building information so that the information is readily available if an incident is reported at the noted address. Additionally, Building code officials and local authorities having jurisdiction should consider modifying the current codes to require that lightweight trusses are protected with a fire barrier on both the top and bottom.
Region-4; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting; Fire-safety; Fire-hazards; Injury-prevention; Accident-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Emergency-responders; Fire-fighting-equipment; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-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