NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Career fire lieutenant killed by roof/ceiling collapse during overhaul - Georgia.

Miles ST; Naum CJ
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 F2013-27, 2016 Dec; :1-74
On December 15, 2013, a 50-year-old male career fire lieutenant died after being struck by a roof and ceiling collapse during overhaul of a vacant residential structural fire. The lieutenant was one of two fire fighters that had re-entered the structure to extinguish hot spots during overhaul. Fire fighters had been on scene for 1½-1¾ hours and had knocked down the majority of the fire. The lieutenant and the other fire fighter re-entered the house to perform overhaul and a ceiling and part of the roof assembly collapsed on them. One fire fighter was able to escape but the lieutenant was trapped under the ceiling assembly and had to be extricated. Fire fighters performed emergency resuscitation procedures inside the structure and then Advanced Life Support (ALS) procedures. He was removed from the structure and transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. A lieutenant was killed during overhaul after a ceiling and roof assembly collapsed in this vacant building. Contributing Factors: 1. Arson. 2. Extensive fire in a vacant building. 3. Risk-versus-gain analysis prior to committing to interior operations involving a vacant/abandoned structure. 4. Strategic mode changes and personnel accountability. 5. Situational awareness as related to expected building performance under fire conditions. 6. Lack of a safety officer. 7. Structure not demolished in timely manner. Key Recommendations: 1. Fire departments should ensure that incident commanders conduct a risk-versus-gain analysis prior to committing to interior operations in vacant/abandoned structures and continue the assessment throughout the operations. 2. Fire departments should develop, implement, and enforce clear procedures for strategic mode changes and ensure personnel accountability is maintained. 3. Fire departments should ensure that fire fighters are trained in situational awareness as related to expected building performance under fire conditions. 4. Fire departments should ensure that a safety officer, independent from the incident commander, is appointed at working structure fires. 5. Fire departments should incorporate principles of command safety into the incident management system when strategic mode changes occur, and incident commanders should maintain accountability of all assigned resources. 6. Fire departments should ensure standard operating procedures (SOPs) are developed for fighting fires in vacant/abandoned buildings and consider an unsafe building marking system as part of an overall program to address fighting fires in these buildings. 7. Municipalities and local authorities having jurisdiction should consider developing strategies for the prevention of and the remediation (demolition) of vacant/abandoned structures and for arson prevention.
Region-4; Fire-fighters; Emergency-responders; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injury prevention; Injuries; Traumatic injuries; Fire hazards; Fires; Exposure levels; Risk factors; Surveillance; Safety; Standards
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Public Safety
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division