The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Firefighter Fatality Investigation program released a report Monday on a 2011 fire that killed an Asheville (NC) fire captain and injured nine other firefighters.
On July 28, 2011, a 37-year-old career captain died and nine other members were injured in a six-story medical building fire while searching for the seat of the fire. Captain Jeff Bowen, a 13-year veteran of the Asheville Fire Department, died in the multi-alarm arson incident.
The report listed several contributing factors for the line-of-duty death (LODD):
Lack of an automatic fire suppression system
- Multistory/high-rise standard operating procedures not followed
Air management doctrine not followed
- Reverse stack effect in stairwell
- Inadequate strategy and tactics
- Task saturation of the incident commander
In addition, it listed a number of recommendations, including:
- Ensure that the existing standard operating procedures for high-rise firefighting operations are reviewed, implemented, and enforced.
- Ensure that a deployment strategy for low-frequency/high-risk incidents is developed and implemented.
- Ensure that the incident commander develops an incident action plan, which is communicated to all fire fighters on scene, and includes effective strategy and tactics for high-rise operations, a timely coordinated fire attack, and a coordinated search plan.
- Ensure that the incident commander utilizes division/group supervisors for effective tactical-level management.
- Ensure that firefighters are properly trained in air management.
- Ensure that firefighters are properly trained in out-of-air SCBA emergencies and SCBA repetitive skills training (e.g., buddy breathing and clearing a facepiece)
- Ensure that the incident commander is provided a chief’s aide to assist in incident management, including communications and personnel accountability.
- Ensure that the incident commander establishes a stationary command post for effective incident management, which includes the use of a tactical worksheet, enhanced fireground communications, and a personnel accountability system.
- Ensure that firefighters are properly trained in Mayday standard operating procedures and survival techniques.
View the entire report at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face201118.html.
NIOSH firefighter fatality reports can provide important details on what went wrong at deadly incidents. More of these reports can be accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/.
For more details on this specific incident, consider Veteran Firefighter Killed by NC Fire, Several Others Injured, Arsonist Used Pass Key to in Fire that Killed Asheville (NC) Firefighter, Report Notes Standpipe, Water Supply Problems at Fatal Asheville (NC) Fire, and Asheville Making Changes After Internal Review.