Chesapeake (VA) Auto Parts Store Roof Collapse Double LODD 1996

Fifteen years ago, on March 18, 1996, two firefighters were killed in Chesapeake, Virginia when they became trapped by a rapidly spreading fire in an auto parts store and a pre-engineered wood truss roof assembly collapsed on them. The cause of the...


Accountability: Accountability for the personnel operating in the hazardous area was not established prior to the structural collapse. As the situation became critical, no one realized that a crew was still inside the building.

Rapid intervention crew: Additional crews did not arrive in time to assist the crew that was in trouble inside the building.

Radio communications: The lack of a clear radio channel for fire ground communications caused serious problems with command and control of the incident, including the failure to maintain communications with the crew inside and the failure to hear their request for assistance.

Lightweight construction: The roof collapsed quickly and with very little warning. This should be anticipated with a lightweight wood truss roof assembly. This hazard was not recognized by the crews on the scene.