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Career captain sustains injuries at a 2-1/2 story apartment fire then dies at hospital - Illinois.

Bowyer-ME; Wertman-SC; Loflin-M
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 F2012-28, 2013 Sep; :1-28
On November 2, 2012, a 54-year-old male career captain sustained injuries at a 2-1/2 story apartment building fire then died at a local hospital. The fire occurred only blocks from the victim's fire station. Battalion Chief 19 (BC19) was the first to arrive on scene and reported heavy smoke coming from the rear and front of the structure's attic. BC19 surveyed the interior of both floors, while the captain and a fire fighter from Engine 123 stretched a 2½-inch line with a gated wye to 1¾-inch hoseline to the 2nd floor. BC19 radioed the captain from the rear of the 1st floor apartment that there was heavy fire in the rear covered porch and stairwell. The captain (victim) and the fire fighter stretched the hoseline towards the rear of the second floor apartment. Before water could be applied to the fire the captain told the fire fighter they had to "get out." Engine 49 (2nd due engine) had stretched a 2½-inch hoseline down the alley to the rear and get into position to put water through the attic window. The captain moved halfway back in the hallway towards the kitchen and yelled out that he needed help. As the fire fighter drug the captain to the kitchen, additional fire fighters who reached the 2nd floor heard the Captain and fire fighter collapse on the floor in front of them. A Mayday was called by the Squad 5 Lieutenant on the second floor and the victim was carried down the stairs to the front yard. The victim responded to basic life support measures and was moved to Ambulance 19 for advanced life support. The victim was transported to the local hospital where he had complications during airway management and died. Contributing Factors: 1. Modified building construction with multiple ceilings and a multi-story enclosed rear porch; 2. Horizontal ventilation contributed to the rapid fire growth; 3. Fireground communications; 4. Lack of proper personal protective equipment; 5. Lack of a sprinkler system in the residential rental building. Key Recommendations: 1. Ensure that fireground operations are coordinated with consideration given to the effects of horizontal ventilation on ventilation-limited fires; 2. Ensure that the Incident Commander communicates the strategy and Incident Action Plan to all members assigned to the incident; 3. Ensure that the Incident Commander establishes a stationary command post during the initial stages of the incident for effective incident management, which includes the use of a tactical worksheet, enhanced communications, and a personnel accountability system; 4. Ensure use of risk management principles at all structure fires; 5. Ensure proper personal protective equipment is worn; 6. Ensure that communications are acknowledged and progress reports are relayed; 7. Ensure that Incident Commanders are provided chief aides to help manage information and communication; 8. Ensure that staffing levels are maintained.
Region-5; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting; Injury-prevention; Accident-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Emergency-responders; Accidents; Injuries; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Training; Personal-protective-equipment; Personal-protection; Protective-equipment; Protective-measures; Safety-equipment; Surveillance
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-F2012-28; M112013
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Public Safety
SIC Code
Source Name
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