I recently posted an article on CommandSafety.com that addressed a series of Major Influencing Fire Service Reports, Issues and Focus areas that should be on your radar screen. This was also the theme at the premiere of Taking it to the Streets on Fire Fighter Netcast.com . As an emerging, practicing or upward mobile fire officer, commander or leader; those are but a few key ares that you must be knowledgeable in, have insights and proficiency based technical skills to function with a level of competencies demanded of, in today’s fire service.
After a recent training program, we discussed in a smaller group setting common, contributing and apparent causes related to three prominent fire incidents and reports that were shared both within the lecture program and also within the CS post. Based upon that dialog, the dynamic and passionate discussion and the frank, straight forward opinions I’m suggesting you take the time; three hours to read three reports and focus on the lesson learned, the gaps that were identified and the recommendations AND actions that were implemented to limit, if not eliminate the likely hood that a similar event could happen in that organization.
The continuing challenge is not allowing the circumstances and situations that were present at those events, cause you and your organization to have a History Repeating Event (HRE).
Set aside three hours for three reports; invest the time appropriately and focus your undivided attention. Think about those firefighters who answered that call, in the same manner and fashion as all of us do, when we board the apparatus and the company rolls out of quarters on the way to the alarm. The only difference…..they didn’t come home- you did. Learn, understand, comprehend, relate and apply.
Then take the time to share your insights with those within your inner circle and start recognizing that there’s likely something that you can go in your house or station, or organization that honors the sacrifices made by those LODD events your read about, so those lessons can be moved forward to make the job, a little bit safer.
Three for Three (343)
Prince William County (VA) Fire Rescue Kyle Wilson LODD Report
- The Prince William County (VA) Department of Fire and Rescue published a comprehensive line of duty death report for Technician I Kyle R. Wilson on Saturday, January 26, 2008. Technician I Wilson was the first line of duty death in the Department’s 41-year history. The Department is sharing the LODD Investigative Report to honor Kyle, and in an effort to reduce and prevent firefighter line of duty deaths at the local, region, state, and national levels.
- Technician Kyle Robert Wilson was 24-years old and was born in Olney, Maryland. He grew up in Prince William County and graduated from Hylton High School and George Mason University. He was an avid baseball and softball player. Technician Wilson joined the Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue on January 23, 2006. Technician Kyle Wilson died in the line of duty on April 16, 2007 while performing search and rescue operations at a house fire on Marsh Overlook Drive, located in the Woodbridge area of Prince William County. On that day, Technician Wilson was part of the firefighter staffing on Tower 512 which responded to the house fire that was dispatched at 0603 hours. The Prince William County area was under a high wind advisory as a nor’eastern storm moved through the area. Sustained winds of 25 mph with gusts up to 48 mph were prevalent in the area at the time of the fire dispatch to Marsh Overlook Drive.
- Initial arriving units reported heavy fire on the exterior of two sides of the single family house and crews suspected that the occupants were still inside the house sleeping because of the early morning hour. A search of the upstairs bedroom commenced for the possible victims. A rapid and catastrophic change of fire and smoke conditions occurred in the interior of the house within minutes of Tower 512’s crew entering the structure.
- Technician Wilson became trapped and was unable to locate an immediate exit out of the hostile environment. Mayday radio transmissions were made by crews and by Technician Kyle Wilson of the life-threatening situation. Valiant and repeated rescue attempts to locate and remove Technician Wilson were made by the firefighting crews during extreme fire, heat and smoke conditions. Firefighters were forced from the structure as the house began to collapse on them and intense fire, heat and smoke conditions developed. Technician Wilson succumbed to the fire and the cause of death was reported by the medical examiner to be thermal and inhalation injuries.
- The Department of Fire and Rescue immediately formed a multi-dimensional investigation team following the incident. The investigation team was comprised of five Department of Fire and Rescue uniform personnel and two external members from area fire departments. For eight months, the team thoroughly examined the events that occurred at the Marsh Overlook fire incident and identify the factors involved with the line of duty death of Technician I Kyle Wilson. The resulting report represents thousands of hours of effort to analyze fire and rescue operations and is a factual representation of the events that occurred. The report also provides a frame work for organizational level improvements.
- The major factors in the line of duty death of Technician I Wilson were determined to be:
- The initial arriving fire suppression force size.
- The size up of fire development and spread.
- The impact of high winds on fire development and spread.
- The large structure size and lightweight construction and materials.
- The rapid intervention and firefighter rescue efforts.
- The incident control and management.
- The Marsh Overlook fire incident was an immense fire fueled by extremely flammable building material products and a vicious wind. It was an environment where information gathering and decision making had to be performed in the time measurement of seconds. During the chain of events that occurred and under severe circumstances, fire and rescue personnel performed at exceptional levels.
- During the repeated attempts to reach and rescue Technician I Wilson, personnel displayed heroic efforts and jeopardized their own safety. The Department will never forget the sacrifice that Technician Wilson made in an attempt to ensure others were safe. By sharing the knowledge gained from this very tragic and painful incident, the Department will ensure his sacrifice was not in vain and hope that other fire and rescue departments can avoid another similar occurrence.
- Resources and Report
Loudoun County (VA) Fire Rescue Significant Near Miss Event Report
- On May 25, 2008, fire and rescue personnel from Loudoun County responded to a structure fire at 43238 Meadowood Court in Leesburg, Virginia. During the course of the incident, seven responders were injured. Of those injured, four firefighters received significant burn injuries, two firefighters sustained orthopedic injuries, and one EMS provider was treated for minor respiratory distress. To date, five of the injured personnel have returned to duty. Two firefighters continue to recover from their injuries, including one who was severely burned.
- Given the severity of the injuries and magnitude of the event, an independent Investigative Team was assembled to review the incident. The Team was comprised of four Loudoun County personnel, three external members from area fire departments, and two resource/support personnel. The Team was tasked with reviewing “the events leading up to the incident, the incident operation(s), the firefighter MAYDAY(s), and incident mitigation.”
- For three months, the Team thoroughly examined the events surrounding the Meadowood Court fire incident and identified the factors associated with the injury of personnel.
- The Report contains the results of the Investigative Team’s comprehensive review and analysis.
- Fact Sheet, HERE
- SIGNIFICANT INJURY INVESTIGATIVE REPORT 43238 MEADOWOOD COURT MAY 25, 2008 Report HERE
Colerain Township (OH) Fire and EMS Department Final Report Investigation Analysis of the Squirrels Nest Lane Firefighter Line of Duty Deaths
- The Colerain Township (OH) Fire and EMS Department under the leadership of Director and Chief G. Bruce Smith recently released its final report Investigation Analysis of the Squirrels nest Lane Firefighter Line of Duty Deaths related to the April 4, 2008 Double Line of Duty Death of a Captain and Firefighter. This investigative analysis and report, although specific to the events and conditions encountered during the conduct of operation at the residential occupancy at 5708 Squirrels nest Lane has pertinent and relevant insights, recommendations and factors that all Fire Service personnel, regardless of rank should read.
- Incident Overview, HERE
- NIOSH Report, HERE
- Investigative Report, HERE