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Career lieutenant and fire fighter killed and two fire fighters injured by wall collapse at a large commercial structure fire - Pennsylvania.

Miles S; 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 F2012-13, 2013 Nov; :1-97
On April 9, 2012, a 60-year-old male career lieutenant (Victim #1) and a 25-year old male career fire fighter assigned as "Tiller" (Victim #2), both assigned to Ladder 10, died when a wall collapsed during fire-fighting operations at a commercial structure fire. One engine company (Engine 2) was initially dispatched. Upon arrival, Engine 2 radioed that the fire was spreading throughout the structure. The vacant and abandoned warehouse covered more than half a block. This incident would eventually grow to 5 alarms. The fire would extend to an occupied furniture store. Ladder 10 (L10) was dispatched on the 2nd Alarm and assigned to deploy an elevated master stream. The fire originated in Building 1 on Side C and rapidly extended to the other structures within the vicinity. Building 2 located east of the building of origin and situated on Side A sustained the structural and wall collapse that resulted in the fire fighter fatalities and injuries. L10 set-up a ladder pipe operations on Side A of the fire building. The collapse occurred after the lieutenant and three fire fighters from Ladder 10 were sent inside the furniture store to operate a hand line to stop the fire extension. Two fire fighters were trapped by the collapse and were injured. The lieutenant and another fire fighter were buried by the collapse and died as a result. Contributing Factors: 1. Multi-alarm fire in an vacant/abandoned structure. 2. Dilapidated building conditions. 3. High winds. 4. Collapse zone maintenance, control and compliance. 5. Fireground communications. 6. Personnel accountability. 7. Training on fireground operations. 8. Situational awareness. Key Recommendations: 1. Municipalities and local authorities having jurisdiction should develop strategies for the prevention of and the remediation of vacant/abandoned structures and for arson prevention and have programs in place to address abandoned building abatement and demolition. 2. Fire departments should consider an unsafe building marking system as part of an overall program to address fighting fires in abandoned/vacant/derelict buildings. 3. Fire departments should ensure that collapse zones are established, marked, maintained and complied with over the length of the fire incident. 4. Fire departments should ensure critical benchmarks are communicated to the Incident Commander. 5. Fire departments should ensure an effective personnel accountability system is used to account for all fire fighters and first responders assigned to any incident. 6. Fire departments should ensure that Incident Safety Officers are adequately trained to recognize hazards such as building collapse and enforce exclusion zones, communicate with division/group supervisors and the Incident Commander. 7. Fire departments should ensure that fire fighters are trained in situational awareness, personal safety, and accountability.
Region-3; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting-equipment; Safety-practices; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Emergency-responders; Work-practices; Environmental-factors; Training; Surveillance
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-F2012-13; M122013
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Public Safety
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: April 1, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division