By Joe Pronesti
Imagine you are dead asleep in your bed at home or in the firehouse when the tones drop indicating a structure fire reported occupied with people trapped. We have all been there and have felt that immediate rush, our minds racing as to the building, its layout, staffing, etc. Now, as you roll out on the ramp of your firehouse, you see a plume of smoke in the dark sky. These are two of the pre-arrival conditions and reports heard by Buffalo (NY) Fire Department Lieutenant Charles “Chip” McCarthy and Firefighter Jonathan Croom on August 24, 2009.
McCarthy died after he fell through the first floor of the Type III, Ordinary Construction building located on Genesee Street. While urgently searching for McCarthy, Croom fell through the same hole and was found near the lieutenant. This event was an extremely painful one for the department–as it would be for any department–however these men did not die in vain. The lessons learned that early morning almost seven years ago have led to changes within and hold extremely valuable teachings for any fire department, large or small, as we all have the type of building involved in our response areas.
Please take the time to review the PowerPoint, reflect on the event, share with your members, and remember Croom and McCarthy every time you pass or work in a similar building. May they never be forgotten.
Review the full incident via PowerPoint and video HERE.
JOSEPH PRONESTI is a 26-year veteran of the Elyria (OH) Fire Department, where he is an assistant chief and shift commander. He is a graduate of the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Executive Officer program and a lead instructor at the Cuyahoga (OH) County Community College Fire Academy. He is a contributor to fire service publications and sites, including Fire Engineering. He will be presenting a four-hour preconference classroom at FDIC International 2016 titled “Main Street Tactics and Strategies: Are You Ready?” He can be reached at [email protected]