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Volunteer fire fighter killed when pressurized water tank explodes during fire suppression at a brush fire - Ohio.

Merinar T; Moore P
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 F2010-32, 2011 Sep; :1-26
On September 24, 2010, a 26-year-old male volunteer fire fighter (the victim) was killed when a pressurized 120-gallon water tank exploded during fire suppression activities at a brush fire. The water tank was mounted in the rear of the fire department's Humvee and was part of the department's portable pressurized water system used for brush and wildland fire suppression. The victim was standing near the rear of the Humvee watching fellow fire fighters put the system into operation when the tank exploded. The force of the explosion caused the base of the tank to separate from the tank and strike a motorized hose reel mounted at the rear of the Humvee's bed. The resultant force dislodged the hose reel which struck the victim, killing him instantly. A second fire fighter was knocked down by the force of the explosion and two other fire fighters narrowly escaped injury. Contributing Factors: 1. Use of a self-made water delivery system without an over-pressurization safety relief or other safety mechanism and inappropriate system components. 2. Limited written operating procedures and policies. 3. The pressure gauge on the water delivery system was inappropriate for its intended use. 4. Limited training in the use of the equipment. Key Recommendations: 1. Ensure that fire suppression equipment is properly designed and safe for its intended use and refrain from using self-made equipment that does not meet applicable safe design standards and practice. 2. Be aware of programs that provide assistance in obtaining alternative funding, such as grant funding, to replace or purchase fire apparatus and equipment.
Region-5; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting-equipment; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Emergency-responders; Safety-practices; Explosions; High-pressure; Training; Motor-vehicles; Surveillance
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-F2010-32; B10262011
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Services: Public Safety
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: March 18, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division