CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) - Firefighters violated several basic
procedures in responding to last year's deadly high-rise
condominium fire, federal investigators said.
Clearwater firefighters lacked leadership on the scene and ended
up "freelancing" at the fire that killed two people and injured
10, according to a report by the United States Fire Administration
released late Monday.
Two elderly residents died from injuries caused by the June 28,
2002, blaze at Dolphin Cove condominiums. Three firefighters were
burned in the blaze.
The report avoids pointing direct blame for the fire, but it
makes clear that the department fell short in communications,
strategic planning and tactical operations.
The report said water was not put on the fire for 28 minutes
because of a broken hydrant outside the building and the central
water source inside had been shut off. But the report said
firefighters had plenty of water to extinguish the fire if only
they had followed their own guidelines for high-rises.
City officials had asked for the investigation but were not
surprised by the results.
"There was no significant new information," said fire chief
Rowland Herald.
The city of Clearwater last year released a 600-page report
about the fire. Among the contributing factors were the building's
lack of sprinklers, flawed radio communications and residents'
failure to call 911 promptly, the city report said.
Information from: St. Petersburg Times,

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