When a Baltimore firefighter panicked and became trapped in a townhouse in October 2006, there was no RIT crew at the ready.
That was one of the findings of NIOSH investigators who launched a probe into the blaze that claimed the life of Firefighter Allan M. Roberts, 40.
Two other firefighters trapped with Roberts suffered burns.
The victim retreated from the intense heat at the top of the stairs. He ran into his colleagues, knocking both to the floor. In the confusion, the front door closed behind them, and pinched the hose line, according to the report.
One of the firefighters struggled with the victim to get him off the other. The incident commander requested a RIT crew, but one had not been established, the investigators determined.
They managed to pull the injured firefighters out through a partial opening. But, the entire door had to be removed to rescue the victim, whose mask and hood were missing.
He was immediately treated by paramedics at the scene. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
NIOSH investigators made the following recommendations:
- Ensure that thermal imaging cameras (TIC) are used during initial size-up
- Ensure that ventilation is coordinated with the interior attack
- Ensure that tools such as door wedges are utilized to prevent water flow and escape problems
- Ensure that a Rapid Intervention Crew (RIC) is on scene prior to an attack crew entering a hazardous environment
- Ensure that department policies and procedures are followed.
View the final report at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200628.html.