Four Career Fire Fighters Killed and 16 Fire Fighters Injured at Commercial Structure Fire - Texas

Report Date: July 2015

On May 31, 2013, four firefighters lost their lives and 16 were injured due to a structural collapse at a commercial building fire. Firefighters arrived with heavy smoke from the attic of a restaurant. The first crews began interior operations until they experienced water supply issues. Water supply was established and the interior attack continued. Three minutes later, and within 16 minutes of dispatch, the roof collapsed, trapping five firefighters. Rescue efforts were started immediately, but unfortunately four of the firefighters succumbed to their injuries. This NIOSH report details the events of the incident and provides recommendations based on the investigation. Among the findings are that the fire burned in the attic of the restaurant for three hours prior to dispatch and that strong winds likely affected the fire. A key recommendation from NIOSH is that departments should integrate current fire behavior research findings into operational procedures. In addition to the NIOSH report, more can be learned from the Houston Fire Department’s report and the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office’s report on this incident. These investigations should be used to learn from tragedy in an effort to avoid similar losses in the future.

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  • The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

    Each year an average of 100 firefighters in the United States die in the line of duty. To address this continuing national occupational fatality problem, NIOSH conducts independent investigations of firefighter line of duty deaths. This web page provides access to NIOSH investigation reports and other fire fighter safety resources.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. 4 Career Fire Fighters Killed and 16 Fire Fighters Injured at Commercial Structure Fire - Texas. Morgantown, WV: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH Report #F2013-16, 2015. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/pdfs/face201316.pdf.

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