Through The Smoke: Charleston & the Routely Phase II Report - Part 1


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As you know, in June of last year, nine brave firefighters from the Charleston, SC, Fire Department (CFD) were tragically killed in a commercial building fire. These men, Captain William "Billy" Hutchinson, Captain Mike Benke, Captain Louis Mulkey, Engineer Mark Kelsey, Engineer Bradford "Brad" Baity, Assistant Engineer Michael French, Firefighter James "Earl" Drayton, Firefighter Brandon Thompson and Firefighter Melvin Champaign all gave their lives in the horrific fire.

An independent panel, lead by retired Fire Chief Gordon Routley, was hired to study the CFD following the Sofa Super Store tragedy. The panel has now released the Phase II section of the report. This report clearly identifies what went wrong - and why. It says the department inadequately trained and supervised its personnel and those problems directly led to the men being exposed to excessive risks the night of the fire. The report also states that firefighters did not follow standard practices and had obsolete equipment when battling the Sofa Super Store blaze. There was no command, control or accountability and the tactics were woefully inadequate.

Join Through the Smoke host and Chief Billy Goldfeder for a discussion with Chief Routley and the panel members about the fire, the Phase II Report and what these noted experts found when they went to Charleston. Panel members are: Kevin Roche, assistant fire marshal and assistant to the fire chief in Phoenix; Tim Sendelbach, former chief of training for Savannah, GA, Fire and Emergency Services; Brian Crawford, assistant to the fire chief in Shreveport, LA and resident instructor at the National Fire Academy; Mike Chiarmonte, a fire inspector and former fire chief in Lynbrook, N.Y. and Pete Piringer, spokesman for the review panel.

Stay tuned to Through the Smoke on Radio@Firehouse for a follow-up discussion with the panel members.

Related Links


Charleston Phase II Report: Poor Training Led to Deaths

Charleston, SC, Sofa Store Fireground Audio

Phase II Report (PDF)

Firehouse.com's Charleston, SC, Tragedy Coverage

Through The Smoke: The Charleston Fire - What's Changed? - Part 1

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