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Lieutenant suffers fatal heart attack during a fire in a commercial structure - New York.

Smith DL; Hales T
Cincinnati, OH: 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 F2012-16, 2012 Dec; :1-15
On April 16, 2012, a 47-year-old male career lieutenant (LT) responded with his crew to a commercial fire. After operating on scene for about an hour, a chief officer noticed that the LT was not looking well and summoned the Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) to remove the LT from the building. Once removed from the building, the LT's care was transferred to on-scene Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel. The LT reported that he was fine, but during the EMS initial evaluation, the LT had seizure-like activity and became unresponsive. A cardiac monitor revealed ventricular tachycardia and the LT was defibrillated (shocked) but this did not result in a stable heart rhythm. Despite cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and advanced life support on scene, en route to the hospital, and in the emergency department (ED), the LT died. The death certificate and autopsy report listed the immediate cause of death as "acute thrombotic occlusion of left anterior descending coronary artery" due to "atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease." NIOSH investigators conclude that the physical exertion associated with his work at the fire triggered the LT's myocardial infarction (heart attack) and sudden cardiac death. NIOSH offers the following recommendations to reduce the risk of heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrest among fire fighters at this and other fire departments (FD) across the country. 1. Perform symptom limiting exercise stress tests on FFs at increased risk for coronary heart disease and sudden cardiac events. 2. Review policies and procedures to ensure appropriate use of respiratory protection on the fire ground. 3. Consider a more comprehensive annual physical performance (physical ability) evaluation.
Region-2; Fire-fighters; Emergency-responders; Cardiovascular-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Physical-fitness; Medical-screening
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-F2012-16; B20130124
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Public Safety
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division