NIOSH Releases Line of Duty Death Reports

NIOSH has released two fatality investigation reports.

One involved a long-time chief who was killed after being pinned between the bay door and tanker.

The other probe involved an assistant chief who was struck and killed on a North Carolina highway.

On June 14, Verona Volunteer Fire Company Second Assistant Chief Colin Thomas was assisting deputies on a highway when he was killed. Fog combined with smoke from a controlled burn on a military base had reduced visibility to zero.

An Onslow County deputy also was struck and killed by the tractor-trailer.

NIOSH investigators suggested departments establish procedures for parking apparatus along highways. They included a timeline of events and actions of personnel on the scene.

The other recently released report involved the death of Pulaski Tri-County Fire Chief Frank Wichlacz, 76.

He was in the station following a call. A firefighter was attempting to move a pickup truck when it lurched forward and crashed into the bay door.

The chief was pinned between the door and the tanker. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

NIOSH investigators suggested departments develop policies regarding the wearing of rubber boots while operating vehicles.

They also suggested vehicles be parked only in designated spaces.

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