One year ago, two highly regarded firefighters in a well managed and well respected organization lost their lives in a residential structure fire. The fire which originated in the basement caused a floor collapse which claimed the two firefighters. What follows is a shorten version of the official description of the event. It provides many topics for discussion and review.
I would strongly suggest you place yourself in the role of Captain Broxterman or the any other positions to first try to understand what goals they were trying to achieve and what was occupying their thoughts as this event unfolded. Then read the entire report and see what you can learn that you can do or suggest to help your organization to better help those who are faced with making decisions on the fireground more effective and safer.
There is every possibility you will face a similar fire in your department, how can we support one another better, how can we work more effectively together. See what your crew thinks, see if they are willing to accept that we all are vulnerable any time at every fire.
On Friday, April 4, 2008, Captain Robin Broxterman, 37-years-old, a 17-year veteran
career firefighter and paramedic, and Firefighter Brian Schira, 29-years-old, a six-month
probationary, part-time firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician with Colerain Fire &EMS died after the floor they were operating on collapsed at a residential structure fire. Dispatched at 06:11:23, two engine companies (Engines 102 & 109), one ladder company (Ladder 25),and the Battalion Chief (District 25) were dispatched to investigate at 06:12:45. At 06:13:43, following a second notification reporting a fire in the basement of the structure the initial response was upgraded to a structure fire response to include one additional engine company (Engine 25), one rescue company(Rescue 26), and one squad unit (Squad 25).
Captain Robin Broxterman commanding Engine 102 with four personnel, herself and three firefighters arrived on the scene at approximately 06:23:45 reporting moderate smoke showing and established Squirrelsnest Command. Verification was made through face-to-face communication with the male homeowner that all occupants were out of the structure, which was then relayed to Captain Broxterman.
District 25 arrived at the scene at 06:26:18, and assumed Command from Capt. Broxterman. At 06:26:29, Capt. Broxterman, Firefighter Schira deployed an inch and three quarter pre-connected hose line through the front main entrance toward the rear of the structure. The fire was determined to be located in the basement of the structure.
At06:27:35, Capt. Broxterman reported, E102 making entry into the basement, heavy smoke. At06:34:20 Engine 25 was the designated Rapid Assistance Team (RAT), having just completed their 360-degree size-up around the structure encountered E102 second firefighter in the front yard of the structure, whom reported that he had lost contact with his crew.
At 06:35:10, the Incident Commander identified a potential Mayday operation, which indicates a life threatening situation to a firefighter. RAT25 was deployed at 06:36:30. An official Mayday operation was declared at 06:37:23, and an immediate request was made at06:37:30 for a second alarm.
At 06:41:43,RAT25 entered the basement from the rear of the structure. At 07:00:12, E26 entered through the front main entrance of the structure and into the basement by means of the interior stairway. It was noted that during the search efforts, no audible signals from either victims Personal Alert Safety System devices were heard.
Both firefighters were located in the basement. Capt. Broxterman was located at 07:08:05, and Ffr. Schira was located at 07:29:28.Both firefighters were buried under collapsed structural components and contents. Capt.Broxterman and Firefighter Schira were declared deceased at the scene as a result of their injuries.