Governor George Pataki holds up the signed copy of Bradley's Law at the New York State office building Thursday in Utica. Bradley's Law is named for Bradley Golden, a Lairdsville volunteer firefighter trainee who was killed in a live fire exercise, Sept. 25, 2001. The law prohibits the use of live firefighters as victims during live burn exercises.
Photo credit: MICHAEL DOHERTY, Observer-Dispatch
UTICA, NY -- For almost two years, the family members of Bradley Golden fought to ban the use of live "victims" during fire-training exercises.
They smiled Thursday afternoon when they found out that very law would carry their loved one's name.
Gov. George Pataki signed "Bradley's Law" just after 3:30 p.m. at the State Office Building on Genesee Street.
During the signing, Pataki was flanked by members of the Golden family and local members of the state Legislature -- all of whom fought for the passage of the bill following the death of Lairdsville fire-trainee Bradley Golden in a September 2001 fire-training exercise.
Two other firefighters were severely burned in the accident.
During an address prior to the bill's signing, Michael Golden Jr., Bradley Golden's brother, said he was pleased the bill was passed but remained sad it was his brother's death that brought attention to the dangers of using live victims in fire exercises.
"The Lairdsville incident was not only a tragedy because it ended the life of a wonderful young man. ... it was a tragedy because it was completely preventable," said Golden on behalf of his family. "With the passage of this law, not one more firefighter's life will be put in needless danger due to a lack of common sense." On hand for the ceremony were state Sen. Raymond Meier, R-Western, Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito, D-Rome and Oneida County District Attorney Michael Arcuri.
Arcuri said he was "very pleased" with the law, especially since his office rarely plays any role in crafting legislation.
"(But) we realized it wasn't one incident, this was a larger problem," said Arcuri, who led the prosecution of Alan G. Baird III, the former Lairdsville fire chief who led the fatal fire exercise. Baird is appealing his conviction of criminally negligent homicide.
Pataki said the legislation was important to him, because his father was a firefighter, and his 15-year-old son soon will enter a junior firefighter's program.
"I'm going to be able to sleep better knowing Bradley's Law is the law in this state, protecting (my son) and others."
Text of Bill
Introduced by Sens. MEIER, HOFFMANN, MALTESE, McGEE, MENDEZ, RATH, SEWARD, VOLKER, WRIGHT -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Finance
AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to the training of firefighters under live fire conditions
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:
Section 1. The executive law is amended by adding a new section 159-c-l to read as follows: 159-c-l. Training; live fire conditions.
- 1. In the training of fire-fighters under live fire conditions no person or persons shall play the role of a victim.
- 2. For purposes of this section, a live fire condition is any unconfined open flame or device that can propagate fire to a building, a training tower, an acquired structure or other combustible material.
- 3. A violation of this section shall be punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars paid for by the fire department conducting such training.