1. #1
    District Chief
    distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,413

    Default Florida--Another Training Fatality..Let's Discuss It!

    Firefighter trainee dies in accident; four injured
    Compiled from Times wires
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published August 9, 2003

    FORT LAUDERDALE - A man training to become a Miami-Dade County firefighter died Friday in an accident during a simulated ship fire at Port Everglades. Four other trainees suffered minor injuries.

    Wayne Mitchell, 37, was participating in a routine certification exercise when he suffered fatal injuries, said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesman Louie Fernandez.

    When Mitchell did not emerge from a box-like container meant to resemble a miniature ship, supervisors went in and pulled him out. He was pronounced dead at Broward General Medical Center.

    Fernandez did not release Mitchell's cause of death pending an investigation. The other four recruits were treated and released after suffering from heat exhaustion, he said.

    Temperatures inside the simulator can reach 1,000 degrees, officials said.

    Officials would not discuss specific details of the exercise or detail why the mishap occurred.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  2. #2
    District Chief
    distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,413

    Unhappy Miami Herald News Report

    Miami Herald

    Firefighter trainee dies during ship-blaze simulation
    Broward detectives investigating cause

    BY CHARLES RABIN, DIANA MOSKOVITZ AND WANDA J. DeMARZO
    wdemarzo@herald.com

    A former lifeguard who aspired to save lives as a Miami-Dade firefighter died Friday before he could realize his dream.

    Wayne Mitchell, 37, became separated from his comrades during an exercise at Port Everglades in Broward County in which trainees snake their way through a maze-like series of passageways and extinguish a smoky blaze inside a simulated ship.

    Five trainees and three supervisors entered the simulator, built to reach temperatures as high as 1,000 degrees, around 10 a.m. Wearing bunker gear, heavily insulated overalls and breathing tanks, they crawled, or duckwalked, to maintain visibility beneath a thick blanket of dark smoke.

    When the exercise ended -- after 15 to 20 minutes, according to one trainee -- only three supervisors and four trainees emerged, drained and disoriented.

    ''When you come out you're exhausted and you have all this heavy equipment on, so you don't pay attention to what's going on around you,'' said the trainee, who asked not to be identified. ``You're more interested in getting hydrated.''

    The instructors went back inside to find Mitchell and pull him to safety.

    When it was over, the five trainees were taken to Broward General Medical Center. Mitchell, a South Miami resident and former lifeguard at Haulover Beach, was pronounced dead.

    The others -- Olga Love, Antonio Mesa, Jose Medina and Miguel Rojas -- were treated for burns and heat exhaustion, then released.

    The other 20 recruits in Class 93 remained inside a classroom during the exercise.

    Homicide detectives with the Broward Sheriff's Office are trying to determine what went wrong and why.

    A KIND NEIGHBOR

    Reached by phone late Friday, Mitchell's neighbor Nancy Slaughter was crying as she spoke.

    ''I just found out. My house was partially destroyed May 27 by a fallen tree. And I thought that was the worst thing that could happen,'' she said.

    Slaughter said Mitchell and his wife, Nancy, were two of the kindest people she had ever known. Their dog often played with her dog. Slaughter has trouble getting around, and Mitchell, she said, would help her with anything from retrieving mail to getting the dog in the house.

    ``He was a great guy. He was so happy that he had just got the job. I feel like he's my son. I'm not so young anymore and Wayne was always there. It didn't matter what it was. Nancy is the same way.''

    ''This job was his dream,'' Slaughter said.

    The simulator, owned by Resolve Marine Group, was built to resemble a three-deck ship.

    In the exercise, trainees enter the main deck, descend a stairwell as a group and, guided by a fire hose placed on the floor, make their way to the crew's lounge. At the rear of the lounge is a ''burn box,'' where a fire had been set. Trainees use the fire hose to extinguish the blaze. If the trainees' hose fails, the trainers are equipped with a backup. The instructors were from the Miami-Dade Fire Department.

    According to Miami-Dade fire rescue, Mitchell was one of 31 recruits who were part of a 16- to 18-week training session.

    The session consists of physical fitness tests, a first-response course required for receiving an emergency medical technician certificate, basic firefighting training and instruction in operating an emergency vehicle.

    ''They were doing marine firefighting involving suppression,'' said Shari Holbert Lipner, Miami-Dade fire-rescue spokeswoman. ``The building they were in simulates a fire aboard a freighter. They were inside a metal container.''

    Miami-Dade has used the Port Everglades simulator for about 2 ˝ years, said Todd Duke, vice president of Resolve Marine. Resolve provides the simulator but doesn't run the training.

    Miami-Dade previously used a facility at Miami-Dade Community College, Duke said, but it has been out of commission.

    The simulator has been used for training purposes by fire departments across the state for nine years. About 3,000 to 4,000 firefighters use it yearly, Duke said. There have been fewer than a dozen incidents requiring medical treatment, but no fatalities before Friday, he added.

    FORMER LIFEGUARD

    Until he applied for the firefighting job, Mitchell worked as a lifeguard for Miami-Dade County.

    He quit June 21, days before the training course started.

    ''Wayne was doing what he loved the most,'' Miami-Dade Fire Chief Tony Bared said.

    Officials could not recall the last Miami-Dade firefighter to die in a training exercise. Lipner said recruits are warned of the dangers.

    ''Injuries are not uncommon during training. There are slips and falls and broken bones,'' she said. ``But I have been with the department for four years, and I've never heard of a recruit death during a burn.''

    As word of the recruit's death spread through South Florida departments, Miami-Dade firefighters streamed into Broward General's emergency room.

    ''This has been the most difficult day of my life,'' Bared said. ``Miami-Dade fire rescue is a close-knit family.

    ``And today we are all hurt.''

    Herald staff writer Hector Florin contributed to this report
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  3. #3
    District Chief
    distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,413

    Default Relating to the Company

    Miami Herald

    Company that built firefighting simulator also runs school well-regarded by experts

    BY SARA OLKON
    solkon@herald.com

    The simulator that Miami-Dade firefighter trainees were using Friday during a fatal session was built by a company that runs a training facility considered top-notch among experts.

    The simulator, painted gray and bright red, smells like wood. It is 140 feet long and 60 feet wide.

    ''Lots of steel, lots of safety features,'' said Todd Duke, vice president of the Resolve Fire & Hazard Response School, founded in 1994.

    The company designed the simulator and built it with the help of a civil engineering firm, he said. More than $1 million went into its construction. It is one of about half a dozen in the country, Duke said.

    Resolve owner Joe Farrell Jr. is a well-known salvage operator and former explosives advisor in Vietnam. The school specializes in fire and hazard response on board ships, which involves operating in tight, difficult quarters.

    Cruise ship crew members who need firefighting skills are sent to Resolve, said Greg Purdy, director of safety, security and public health at Royal Caribbean Ltd.

    He said he liked the school's marine focus. A typical marine firefighting course, Purdy said, lasts three to five days and costs $800 to $1,000 a student.

    The school promises students on its website ``an opportunity to experience the true nature of shipboard fires in a realistic yet safe, controlled training environment.''

    Purdy remembered a firefighting course on a similar simulator at Port Canaveral. He described hot, maze-like conditions, where students wore big, heavy firefighters suits and air tanks on their back. Students can't see ahead, simulating the effects of blinding smoke.

    ''Even the training is dangerous,'' said George Burke, spokesman for the International Association of Fire Fighters. ``It's the nature of the job.''

    Herald researchers Elisabeth Donovan and Scott Hutchinson contributed to this report.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  4. #4
    Sr. Information Officer
    NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post Investiagtion Underway

    Investigations will examine death of 37-year-old firefighter
    trainee

    (Miami-AP) -- At least four agencies are investigating the death
    of Wayne Mitchell, the 37-year-old firefighting recruit who died in
    a live-fire training exercise Friday in Port Everglades.
    All four trainees who survived the exercise were burned, despite
    wearing heavy protective gear. That is raising questions about
    whether Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue supervisers increased the
    temperature inside the burn box to dangerous levels. Officials are
    also investigating possible safety-equipment failure.
    Mitchell's family says it wants to know why it took so long for
    three supervisors to figure out he was missing during the live fire
    exercise.
    Mitchell went into a makeshift cargo ship with four other
    recruits and the supervisors.
    At some point during the 15 to 20 minute drill, Mitchell
    collapsed. No one knew he was in trouble until the four trainees
    came out without him. Supervisors rushed back in, but it took two
    passes to find him.
    He later died at Broward General Medical Center.
    As of last night his exact cause of death was still unclear.
    Friends and family say the former lifeguard waited for years to
    get the call from Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue to start training. His
    name had sat on a waiting list for years. Now, it will be etched
    into the Wall of Honor for fallen firefighters.
    His loved ones say Mitchell approached his certification with
    discipline and vigor. They say he would wake up early to study and
    work out, and was doing so well he had recently been named group
    leader. Friends wanted to throw a party for him in June when the
    county hired him, but he insisted on completing the full training
    first.
    They say he was always helping people. He spent 11 years as a
    lifeguard and saved a little girl last year.

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

    No one knew he was in trouble until the four trainees
    came out without him.
    I can't recall ever being in a burn building....as a trainee, and not having constant monitoring by the training staff. The fact that this firefighter was unaccounted for...disturbs me. Where were the instructors? Why didn't the trainees notice his absence...were they not paired up?

    I await further details on the circumstances of this LODD. My preliminary thoughts lean towards negligence of training personnel.

    Stan.....I am somewhat dumbfounded by the lack of discussion on this death, in these forums. Given how vocal people have been regarding Osceola and Lairdsville....under somewhat different circumstances, I am perplexed. This FF died in training. Dead is dead...whether it be from burns, asphyxiation or otherwise. Again...a live training exercise. Someone apparently wasn't paying attention here.

    NJ
    Last edited by NJFFSA16; 08-11-2003 at 11:27 AM.
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    FyredUp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee
    Posts
    10,171

    Default

    This kind of stuff still amazes me. How and why do we keep killing our brothers in training? What image does that burn into the heads of the other recruits? Heck he was killed before he ever got on shift.

    I had thought for a long time that the tech college where I teach was over safe when we used the burn tower. Now I realize we were way ahead of the curve on safety.

    We have for many years used the following set-up for the operation of the burn room.

    1) Fire attack crew to include 2 or 3 trainees and 1 instructor that enters and exits with the crew.

    2) Back up crew to include 2 or 3 trainees and an instructor that enters and exits with the crew.

    3) Fire setter that has a hoseline to help darken down the fire if need be while waiting for crews to enter or for emergency fire extinguishment if the attack crew gets in trouble. The burn room has 2 entry doors and this hose line is kept right outside the door the fire setter uses.

    4) While it should go without saying, I will say it anyways, class A combustibles only. The room temperature is monitored by thermocouplers and the ceiling temp is not allowed to go above 1000 degrees F.

    5) Of course all students must wear full PPE and are checked by the instructor for proper attire before entering.

    If the instructors left the trainee in the burn room they are negligent and must face appropriate punishment. There really is not much difference in this and other deaths brought by improper control of an exercise.

    We really need to find a way to stop these tragic and totally avoidable deaths.

    FyredUp

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    RspctFrmCalgary's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Now in Victoria, BC. I'm from beautiful Jasper Alberta in the heart of the Can. Rockies - will always be an Albertan at heart!
    Posts
    6,329

    Default

    Oh no, I can't believe it.

    I can't recall ever being in a burn building....as a trainee, and not having constant monitoring by the training staff. The fact that this firefighter was unaccounted for...disturbs me. Where were the instructors? Why didn't the trainees notice his absence...were they not paired up?

    I too await more information. How could this possibly have happened?

    My condolences to Wayne's family, friends and the Miami-Dade Fire Department.
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber
    mcaldwell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Panorama, British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    3,022

    Default

    This reminds me of an interdepartmental live burn we did several years back that almost resulted in a similar accident.

    A neighbouring Dept had an old 1 1/2 storey house to burn, and wanted to try a response right from their hall with nothing but their shiny new quick response and 5 FF's. We were aware of the NFPA guidelines, but felt it was overkill to adhere to every detail in this "small" building, so we cut a few corners to save time.

    Myself and one of my Junior Officers were designated as firesetters, and chose the back bathroom to get the longest search and most smoke from the plastic tub-surround and fixtures. We were wearing full PPE and SCBA, so at the last minute we decided to stay inside with our charged line (off the backup engine) and watch the events unfold. We sat near the back door where we could watch the events out of sight.

    The fire was really cooking when the crew arrived, and one rookie and one "senior" FF entered the structure with a booster line. They slowly advanced to the back room and doused the fire. Then it all went to hell. As the smoke and thermal line dropped, the rookie panicked, stood up, dropped the nozzle, and walked away from it. His partner tried to get him, but also lost contact with the hose. They were both lost, and wandering in zero visibility (they did not know we were in the building).

    We watched and listened from the corner expecting thier training to kick in and for them to activate their PASS and call for help. After 5-7 minutes of fumbling, their low air alarm sounded, so we grabbed them and led them out on our hoseline.

    If we had not stayed inside to monitor them, or had the fire re-kindled or extended, they would have been in a world of hurt. We got lucky that our shortcuts didn't end in an accident that day.

    The next year we went up north to participate in a large live burn initiative in Kemano where we gradually burned an entire town while "learning" to strictly adhere to NFPA 1403. We will never again perform a seat-of-the-pants burn as long as I'm around.

    As for the Florida Incident, I suspect a similar shortcut(s) and/or unexpected reaction caused the death. If the system had been followed strictly, it should not have been able to happen like this. It tragically goes to show us once again, that the best system in the world isn't worth ***** if you don't use it correctly. Even the pros miss things from time to time, and need to remind themselves to stay on top of thier game. Unfortunately, it shouldn't have to happen at this price.
    Last edited by mcaldwell; 08-11-2003 at 06:00 AM.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber
    ff7134's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    1,093

    Default

    Stan or any other FLAFF's

    Do you guys have a max outside temp for you outide training? I am wondering about possible dehydration and over-exhurstion? Or was it something else? Or like what was stated too elevated of temp inside?
    AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo

    IAFF Local 3900

    IACOJ-The Crusty Glow Worm

    ENGINE 302 - The Fire Rats

    F.A.N.T.A.M FOOLS FTM-PTB

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,685

    Angry

    You ask why this continues to happen?
    ''Even the training is dangerous,'' said George Burke, spokesman for the International Association of Fire Fighters. `It's the nature of the job. '
    Because the fire service believes in dumb@$$ statements like this. As long as we accept that mentality, we will continue to be doomed to repeat it.

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    478

    Default

    I read he died from a cardiac arrest on the FFCA web, it did not say what brought it on.
    Stay Safe ~ The Dragon Still Bites!

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Duffman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Chicago area
    Posts
    780

    Default

    Bones, I think you are jumping the gun by ripping the IAFF representitive for his statement. I really don't think he was suggesting that dying is "the nature of the job". Our job is inherently dangerous IMHO he is only guilty of stating the obvious.

    The IAFF has a long record of advocating the health and safety of ALL firefighters. They are the fire services loudest voice in Washington and many state capitols. I for one would like to see his entire statement in context before people start ripping him for what a reporter chose to put in the story.


    Let's save placing blame until a full investigation is conducted.
    "We shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them in New York City."

    IACOJ

  12. #12
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,685

    Default

    Duffman, I am not ripping the IAFF person. I am ripping the attitude of the statement, as anytime you see an article about an injury or death, that statement always seems to appear. I am against the comment and belief. I do not know George Burke at all, and again, am not picking on him. His name was just in the middle of the comment, he by no way, is the only one that says it.

    The job is dangerous, there is no doubt on that, but the training does not have to be. An injury/death during an emergency call is a terrible tragedy that sometimes can not be helped. I find it hard to accept a death during training. I will not blame anyone, for as you said, we do not know the whole story. I hate seeing articles like this and always finding the comment "it's part of the job". It should not be part of training.

    There may be no blame and no wrongdoing at all in this case, it may have been simply a terrible tragedy that could not have been prevented. It still won't make me accept that it's part of training.

    Again, not pointing out Mr. Burke, his name just ended up in the quote.

  13. #13
    District Chief
    distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,413

    Default

    I know of no regulations that govern training activities based on outside temperature. In Virginia I know it was up to the lead instructor to decide on scaling back activities based on ambient air temperature.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  14. #14
    District Chief
    distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,413

    Post Details of the Incident

    Orlando Sentinel (reprinted from Sun-Sentinel)

    Details in fatal fire drill emerge

    By Shannon O'Boye | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
    Posted August 11, 2003


    MIAMI -- Wayne Mitchell's name sat on the Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue waiting list for years.

    Soon, it will be etched into the Wall of Honor for fallen firefighters, in Colorado Springs,Colo.,for eternity. Mitchell, 37, died Friday during a live-fire training exercise at Port Everglades before realizing his dream of becoming a firefighter.

    "He waited so long," Albert Bordas, a longtime friend, said. "I think a lot of people would have given up, but he was determined.

    "Finally, when he got the call, he was very, very excited," Bordas said. "It was what he'd worked for for so long."

    Mitchell had recently been named a group leader in his recruit class, his family said. Mitchell spent 11 years as a lifeguard, most recently at Haulover Beach. Last year, he saved a girl from drowning when his sister was at the beach visiting him. Mitchell told people that the fire-rescue training was intense, but they thought he'd make it through because he was in the best shape of his life.

    Mitchell went into a makeshift cargo ship at Port Everglades with four other recruits and three supervisors Friday morning. They were dressed in full bunker gear. The purpose of the drill was to see a fire up close. They experienced the brutal heat, the smoke and the darkness firsthand. They saw how quickly the fire spread and what happened when they sprayed water on the flames.

    But at some point during the 15- to 20-minute drill, Mitchell collapsed. It is unclear when, because no one knew he was in trouble until his four classmates emerged without him.

    Supervisors rushed back in, found the hose line, and followed it in opposite directions in search of Mitchell. They went around once without finding him. They found him on a second pass, leading them to think that Mitchell got lost but made his way back to the hose before collapsing, said a public safety official on the scene Friday.

    Mitchell was still wearing his mask, but he was in cardiac arrest, the official said. Broward County Fire-Rescue medics -- a few hundred feet from the Resolve Fire and Hazard Response training center -- rushed Mitchell to the hospital, where he died.

    Joshua Perper, the Broward medical examiner, said Saturday night that the cause of Mitchell's death had not been determined.

    Two fire officials from Broward County who did not want to be identified said Mitchell suffered severe burns to his hands and knees during the drill. The four classmates who went in with Mitchell were treated Friday for burns and heat exhaustion, said Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright. The fact all of them were burned raises questions about whether Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue supervisors had increased the temperature inside the burn box to a dangerous level.

    The Sheriff's Office, the State Fire Marshal's Office, the Hollywood Fire-Rescue Department and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health are conducting investigations into Mitchell's death. They will look into several issues, including whether it was too hot outside to be conducting such a grueling exercise and whether the trainees were working in pairs, as they should have been.

    Two months ago, NIOSH released a report on the death of two firefighters killed while training in Kissimmee in July 2002 and recommended that departments use a thermal imaging camera during live-fire training. The cameras would help trainees see during the drill and help rescuers find a victim if there's a problem.

    Rafael A. Olmeda and William Lucey contributed to this report. Shannon O'Boye is a reporter for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber
    E229Lt's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Posts
    2,987

    Default

    I think it's far too early to make a decision and begin picking this incident apart. The information made public, to date, gives us little or nothing to base an opinion on.

  16. #16
    District Chief
    distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,413

    Default

    I think Artie is right. Even though they are passing out information little by little there is still a lot of blurriness in the story. Hoever, we can still discuss the facts that we know as we are reading them.

    I will try and be diligent in posting the stories as soon as I receive them.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  17. #17
    Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Chambersburg, Pa. USA
    Posts
    21

    Default

    I understand from one of the articles that he apparently tried to get out but got lost. When the instructors went in the first time they couldn't find him. They found him on the second search with severe burns. His facepiece was still intact which would tell me that he must have either ran out of air or succum to the heat / anxiety. What do you think?

  18. #18
    MembersZone Subscriber
    mcaldwell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Panorama, British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    3,022

    Default Re: Miami Herald News Report

    I have to agree that there is not enough info to make any judgements regarding the cause, but here are two statements from the original article that caught my eye the first time around:

    Originally posted by captstanm1

    Wayne Mitchell, 37, became separated from his comrades...

    ''When you come out you're exhausted and you have all this heavy equipment on, so you don't pay attention to what's going on around you,'' said the trainee, who asked not to be identified. ``You're more interested in getting hydrated.''
    This is the first and biggest item to stress to a recruit, and quite possibly the first broken link in the chain.

    Buddy! Buddy! Buddy!

    I'm your lifeline and you're mine, and all new recruits must have this bashed, crammed, and squeezed into their heads long before they ever enter a live fire simulator. On first glance, it sounds like there was a failure to establish or maintain the buddy system. This is a mistake that should be made and corrected in the artificial smokehouse, not the live-fire simulator.

    This may have only been an off-the cuff comment made by a stressed recruit, but it could also be a hint that something big was missed here. We'll certainly learn more as the investigation progresses.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

  19. #19
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Location
    Northern NY
    Posts
    211

    Post

    Yes, firefighting is inherently dangerous, but there is no reason for anyone to die IN TRAINING. Training should be a controlled environment where being macho or having to prove something to the "new" guy is totally out of place. In the "old days" it was almost a hazing ritual to see how much punishment could be doled out to probies to see if they had "the right stuff", but I'd hoped we had gotten beyond that in this day and age.

    As the Lt. and Capt stann said, we don't have a lot of info here to draw conclusions, but it sure can help us be more aware of how to train in hot weather. Remember that you are wearing a tremendous amount of insulation that will keep heat in as well as out. Then add excercise and maybe a hot and hostile environment and your core temp rises.It does not take long for your body heat to begin to rise and there is a window of less than 10 degrees until brain damage begins.

    If anyone has ever been on the edge of a heat related incident it is not a good feeling. About 19 years ago I stumbled out of a fire building where my partner and I got the snot knocked out of us trying to get to a mom and two kids unsuccessfully.It was a hot day in August and I didn't know if I was pitching or catching by the time the chief pushed me down in the ditch and kept a booster line flowing over my head to cool me down while the medics did thier thing. This was in the days before rehab and rotation.

    At "real scenes" we now rotate crews in and out and stress re-hydration,check vitals regularly, etc. Training scenarios should be no different.PRE-HYDRATE, drink regularly,stay in a shaded area when not involved in and evolution,take the damn bunkers off when you are not involved,check the I'm too tough attitude at the door, have medics there to check your people and if it's too hot.....CALL IT OFF.

  20. #20
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,685

    Default

    I realize they are only newspaper articles and not a NIOSH report, but 4 of the 5 articles CaptStan posted say the same thing. The instructors went back in after only 4 of the trainees came out. Aren't the instructors supposed to be the last ones out and keeping an eye on the trainees? or is this a simulator where the instructors monitor room progress/situation from outside? Anyone know?

  21. #21
    District Chief
    distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,413

    Default

    A source close to the investigation said that two of the three Miami-Dade Fire instructors involved in the incident did not follow proper procedures and bailed out of the exercise early.
    I wonder who the source was? If seasoned instructors "bailed out" what do you think the conditions inside were?

    a training area where temperatures can reach a scorching 2,000 degrees
    Did I miss something here? I know of no PPE that will begin to protect a firefighter to temperatures of that magnitude.

    At the Resolve Training Center, leased by the Miami-Dade Fire Department for training, Channel 10 News has learned that four of the five recruits made it out by climbing stairs to an upper-level exit. However, two MDFD instructors, one of whom should have been at the end of the hose and according to procedure should have been the last one out behind the recruits, bailed out a side door, failing to follow the students.
    Sounds like the attempt to maintain accountability went south very quickly with folks bailing out in different areas.

    Mitchell's family has said it wants to know why it took so long for three supervisors to figure out he was missing during the live fire exercise
    It will be interesting to read how much time lapsed from the time they exited until they determined he was missing and from that point to when they found him.

    Investigators said it could take another month of extensive testing to determine the exact cause of Mitchell's death.
    What are they going to test? The results of the autopsy should show the cause of death, based on blood test and toxicology reports.

    Two fire officials from Broward County who did not want to be identified said Mitchell suffered severe burns to his hands and knees during the drill. Antonio Mesa, another trainee, received a serious burn to his right hand, but when he was reached at home Saturday, he said he could not talk.
    The other four trainees suffered minor injuries and were treated and released from local hospitals. In a press conference Tuesday, Broward County Medical Examiner Dr. Joshua Perper said Mitchell suffered minor burns to his hands and knees, as well as some brain swelling, but that those injuries were not enough to have caused his death. "We don't have extensive burns, we don't have evidence of soot in the airway, we don't have any kind of trauma,"
    Which is it????
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  22. #22
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    478

    Default

    The instructors bailed out earley? The students are your charge YOU get them out before you. You may push your student out, but you are BEHIND the student. The training may go "south" but your job is to protect your student.....Rant off...
    Stay Safe ~ The Dragon Still Bites!

  23. #23
    Sr. Information Officer
    NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Default Re: Investiagtion Underway

    Originally posted by NJFFSA16
    I await further details on the circumstances of this LODD. My preliminary thoughts lean towards negligence of training personnel.
    That was my post early on in this thread. Unfortunately....I believe it may be accurate.

    Accountability isn't just something you do during actual calls. It certainly needs to be in place at training. These instructors are responsible for ensuring that. Based on preliminary reports, I would expect multiple disciplinary actions to be taken here...up to, and including termination.

    More comments as I hear more details.

    NJ
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  24. #24
    Sr. Information Officer
    NJFFSA16's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    25 NW of the GW
    Posts
    8,434

    Post

    KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - The lieutenant who was in charge when two
    Osceola County firefighters died in a training accident two years
    ago is guilty of dereliction of duty and could be fired, according
    to the department's deputy chief of administration and county
    officials.
    Fire Rescue Training Officer John Simpson is guilty of several
    dereliction of duty, including "incompetence" and "safety
    violations," according to an Aug. 15 letter written by Kevin
    Yelvington, the fire department's deputy chief of administration.
    Firefighter union leaders vowed to fight termination
    proceedings, saying investigations cited multiple causes for the
    deadly July 30, 2002, flashover that led to the deaths of rookie
    firefighter Dallas Begg, 20, and Lt. John Mickel, 32.
    Authorities ruled Mickel and Begg died of thermal burns and
    smoke inhalation suffered in a flashover, the superheated flame
    that burst forth shortly after another firefighter broke a window
    in a small bedroom where the fire was set.
    Mickel and Begg were inside searching for a training dummy.
    Simpson is not to blame for their deaths, union leaders said.
    "This came out of nowhere. It's ridiculous. It's unjust," said
    Todd Smith, president of the Osceola Professional Firefighters
    Local 3284.
    Simpson is on paid suspension with leave.
    The department used materials, including a foam mattress, that
    violated NFPA standards, the State Fire Marshal's Office ruled in
    November.
    Carpet throughout the 1,600-square-foot block house also had
    urethane-foam padding that may have contributed to the deadly fire.
    ---
    Information from: The Orlando Sentinel,
    http://www.orlandosentinel.com

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  25. #25
    District Chief
    distchief60b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,413

    Default Update

    Miami-Dade fire rescue cancels live training exercises after death of cadet

    By Shannon O'Boye
    Sun-Sentinel
    Posted August 30 2003

    The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department will not send any more cadets into live fires until officials can ensure that their training practices are safe.

    "I went ahead and canceled that the day of the tragic accident," Fire Chief Tony Bared said Friday, referring to the death of cadet Wayne Mitchell on Aug. 8. He formalized the decision this week in a monthly videotaped message sent out to the rank and file.

    The morning Mitchell died, he, four other recruits and three instructors donned full gear and walked into a simulator designed to resemble a burning ship. The blaze was supposed to be controlled, but it was burning so hot that Mitchell and at least one other recruit suffered burns during the drill in Port Everglades. The cadets were supposed to stay together and use a fire hose as a guide as they moved through the building, but Mitchell, the group leader, became separated and eventually collapsed. No one noticed he was missing until everyone else made it out safely.

    Rescuers had to make two passes through the Resolve Fire and Hazard Response Center's dark, scorching simulator before they found Mitchell unconscious lying near the fire hose. Medics rushed Mitchell, 37, to Broward General Medical Center, where doctors pronounced him dead.

    Broward County Medical Examiner Joshua Perper has not determined a cause of death. He said the former lifeguard was in good shape and suffered from no diseases. Tests results and information gathered from interviews conducted by Broward Sheriff's Office and state Fire Marshal's Office investigators might help him figure out what happened inside the fire and why Mitchell died, he said.

    Investigators from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which looks into all firefighter deaths, finished their work last week but will not have a report ready for six to 12 months, the fire chief said.

    Bared said he cannot wait that long to resume live-fire training because the state requires cadets to go through two "burns" before they can get certified, so he created a committee within his department to look at the training procedures.

    He wants to buy infrared cameras for every fire truck that will enable firefighters to see through thick smoke and blackness, he said. Those would have helped the instructors who were searching for Mitchell.

    The committee will need to decide whether more safety officers are needed inside and outside the building during dangerous training exercises and whether the temperature inside the "burn box" that day contributed to the tragedy.

    Bared declined to comment on news reports that it was so hot inside the building during Mitchell's fatal session that one of the instructors bailed out through a side door, but he said, "If someone opens a door for whatever reason, whether it be a cadet or an instructor, the drill is over."

    Bared, who was appointed chief in July, has reorganized the department to make top officers more responsible to him and appointed Ray BarretoÖ as the head of the training division. A captain, Steve MacKinnonÖ, had been acting as the training chief for the past several months.

    "I wanted someone to take a good, hard look at the training," Bared said. "I wanted fresh ideas and a new person in there. We'll revamp training if it's necessary. I'm not saying that it is."

    Bared could not say when live fire training will resume. He wants it to be quickly, but he will not rush anything.

    "I just became chief a couple of weeks before this happened," he said. "This thing tore me apart. We'll do whatever is needed to make sure this doesn't happen again."

    Shannon O'Boye can be reach at soboye@sun-sentinel.com or 954-356-4597.

    Copyright © 2003, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register