NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Volunteer captain dies after floor collapse traps him in basement - New York.

Tarley-JL; Miles-S; Bowyer-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 F2013-02, 2014 May; :1-20
On January 22, 2013, a 34-year-old male volunteer captain (the victim) died when the floor collapsed and trapped him in the basement at a residential structure fire. Crews were attempting to locate and extinguish fire that might have spread from a nearby shed fire that they were dispatched to. While a crew was fighting fire that had spread into the basement, the victim and his partner where pulling the ceiling just inside the front door to extinguish the fire that had spread to the attic. The floor collapsed sending them both into the basement. The victim's partner was able to make it back up to the first floor doorway. He attempted to assist the victim out of the basement, but was unable to pull him up. The hole that the fire fighter had fallen through became untenable due to the fire conditions and fire fighters were unable to rescue him from the basement. The victim was recovered from the basement approximately 20 minutes later. Before he could be rescued, the victim's mask became thermally degraded and he was overcome by the products of combustion. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Contributing Factors: 1. Inadequate water supply. 2. Ineffective fireground communications. 3. Ineffective incident command. 4. Inadequate size-up. 5. Uncoordinated fire attack. 6. Lack of situational awareness. 7. Deteriorated structural members. Key Recommendations: 1. Fire departments should develop, implement and enforce a written Incident Management System to be followed at all emergency incident operations. 2. Fire departments should ensure that the Incident Commander conducts an initial 360-degree size-up and risk assessment of the incident scene before beginning interior fire fighting operations. 3. Fire departments should ensure that an adequate water supply is established and maintained. 4. Fire departments should train fire fighters to communicate interior and exterior conditions to the incident commander as soon as possible and to provide regular updates.
Region-2; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting; Fire-safety; Emergency-responders; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Risk-analysis; Training; Surveillance
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-F2013-02; M062014
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