What's on Your Radar Screen?

The following list is but a modest cross section of pertinent information or focus areas today’s Firefighter, Company or Command Officer MUST be knowledgeable in, have insights and proficiency based technical skills to function with a level of...

  • 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
Worcester (MA) Fire Cold Storage Fire LODD Report; Abandoned Cold Storage Warehouse Multi-Firefighter Fatality Fire 1999, Worcester, Massachusetts
  • A technical review of the 1999 Worcester, MA fire that claimed six firefighters concludes that abandoned buildings are a serious threat to firefighters and fire departments must make a concerted effort to use technology to maintain data on buildings in their response districts.
  • On Friday, December 3, 1999, at 1813 hours, the Worcester, Massachusetts Fire Department dis­patched Box 1438 for 266 Franklin Street, the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. A motor­ist had spotted smoke coming from the roof while driving on an adjacent elevated highway. The original building was constructed in 1906, contained another 43,000 square feet. Both were 6 stories above grade. The building was known to be abandoned for over 10 years.
  • Eleven minutes into the fire, the owner of the abutting Kenmore Diner advised fire operations of two homeless people who might be living in the warehouse. The rescue company, having divided into two crews, started a building search. Some 22 minutes later the rescue crew searching down from the roof became lost in the vast dark spaces of the fifth floor. They were running low on air and called for help. Interior conditions were deteriorating rapidly despite efforts to extinguish the blaze, and visibility was nearly lost on the upper floors. Investigators have placed these two firefighters over 150 feet from the only available exit.
  • An extensive search was conducted by Worcester Fire crews through the third and fourth alarms. Suppression efforts continued to be ineffective against huge volumes of petroleum based materials, and ultimately two more crews became disoriented on the upper floors and were unable to escape. When the evacuation order was given one hour and forty-five minutes into the event, five firefighters and one officer were missing. None survived.
  • A subsequent exterior attack was set up and lasted for over 20 hours utilizing aerial pieces and del­uge guns from Worcester and neighboring departments. Task force groups from across the State of Massachusetts responded to initial suppression and subsequent recovery efforts. During this time, the four upper floors collapsed onto the second which became known as “the deck”. Over 6 million gallons of water were used during the suppression efforts. According to NFPA records, this is the first loss of six firefighters in a structure fire where neither building collapse nor an explosion was a contributing factor to the fatalities.
  • USFA Report HERE