Hartford Firefighter Killed in Fire Died from Asphyxia

The cause of death for a Hartford firefighter killed in the line of duty last year has been released, reports

Kevin Bell, 48, was killed in a fire last October. The Chief Medical Examiner’s office confirms the cause of his death is asphyxia due to lack of breathing gas. They say another significant condition contributing to his death, but not the underlying cause, was cardiac hypertrophy, thickening of the heart muscle leading to decrease in the heart’s size.

Fire Service Members from Around the Country Salute Fallen Hartford (CT) Firefighter

“I don’t think we’ll every find out what actually caused Kevin’s death other than the asphyxiation,” said Vincent Fusco, President of the Hartford Firefighters Association.

There were previous reports that Bell was low on air with his Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA).

Fusco says how Bell got stuck is still unclear.

“Nobody knows what happened from when he said he needed to exit the building when his low air alarm was going off to not getting out the door,” he said.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health is still investigating. Fusco says they may let the department know how to improve within the next four to five months.

“Whether it be training, communication, crew integrity. SOP’s maybe need to be addressed,” said Fusco. “They’ll come up with a list of recommendations.”

The Hartford Fire Department has released a statement regarding Bell’s autopsy.

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