ISFSI Hears Report On Lubbock Deaths
The self-contained breathing apparatus worn by the three Lubbock, Texas, fire fighters who were found dead “had missing or defective parts,” Thomas Klem of the fire investigation section of the USFA National Fire Data System reported during the fall conference of the International Association of Fire Service Instructors in Denver Nov. 1-4.
He said that examination of the breathing apparatus at the NIOSH laboratories in Morgantown, W. Va., showed that accumulations of dirt and hair in the facepieces caused inhalation and exhalation resistance. A 1/2 X 1/8-inch slit in one regulator diaphragm and a 3 X 1/16-inch slit in another diaphragm were found, and the third diaphragm was pulled from the retaining ring, Klem stated.
Two of the fire fighters wore pressure-demand apparatus and the third wore a demand unit. The alarm for the fire in the restaurant where they died came at 4:30 a.m. last March 25. The three men entered the building during overhaul for the last time about 5:15 a.m. and all three bodies were found in one of the dining rooms, in which heavy smoke was still present, about 6:40 a.m. Klem said that the two men wearing pressure-demand apparatus had exhausted their air supply and they had disconnected the low-pressure hoses from the regulators. The third man’s low-pressure hose was still connected, and all three men were still wearing their facepieces.
Klem reported that NIOSH lab examination found “large leaks” in the demand breathing apparatus and one of the pressure-demand units. He added that the carboxyhemoglobin concentration in the blood of the three fire fighters was 51.5, 43.3 and 46.8 percent.