KCFD Internal Investigation Into The Line Of Duty Deaths

Report Date: May 2016

On October 12, 2015, a fire apparatus operator and a firefighter with the Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department (KCFD) lost their lives and several others were injured when a wall collapsed at a three-story commercial structure fire. The first arriving companies reported heavy smoke and trapped occupants. With aggressive offensive operations, all occupants were rescued and crews worked to find and extinguish the fire. As conditions deteriorated in the building, the Incident Commander ordered an evacuation and a transition from offensive to defensive operations. All personnel were accounted for and a collapse zone was established. As defensive operations continued, fire was impinging upon one of the apparatus and crews positioned themselves to protect it. An officer noticed that these firefighters were operating within the collapse zone in an alley and ordered them out just before the wall collapsed. Unfortunately it was too late, and the firefighters were caught under the collapse. Four firefighters were transported to the hospital where two succumbed to their injuries. 

The KCFD conducted a thorough investigation into the incident, compiled a detailed report including 14 recommendations learned from the incident, and have made this report available for firefighters to use as a learning tool at the link below. These investigations should be used to learn from tragedy in an effort to avoid similar losses in the future.

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  • Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department

    The Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department consists of uniformed and civilian employees who provide fire protection, emergency medical service, emergency rescue, hazardous materials response, and community risk management for the residents of Kansas City, Missouri. The Department stands committed to deliver their very best with each opportunity to serve.

    Led by Fire Chief Paul Berardi, KCFD delivers emergency services to the citizens of Kansas City, Missouri across 319 square miles from 34 fire stations that are organized into seven battalions. The department's integrated system of response includes fire apparatus and ambulances stationed strategically throughout the city. This system is designed to place fully trained emergency medical technicians quickly at the patient's side in any life threatening emergency. Every emergency responder in our system, whether riding a fire engine or an ambulance is trained to the EMT level or beyond to ensure that care will always be available. The department responds to approximately 110,000 emergency calls per year.

    The department is organized into bureaus that include: Professional Development, Technical Services, Special Operations, Emergency Operations, Systems Support and the Emergency Medical Bureau. An Assistant Chief of Department or Deputy Chief manages each of the bureaus.

    A hallmark of the department is the Labor/Management Partnership program that exists among fire administration and both locals of the International Association of Fire Fighters. This partnership is designed to include the employees as a participant in every significant decision within the department concerning policies and programs.

    Mission

    KCFD provides compassionate, professional life safety services by responding to the needs of the citizens and visitors of Kansas City, Missouri and its greater metropolitan area. Our services are enhanced through training, education, planning and teamwork. We will achieve our mission safely through the effective and efficient use of all resources.

    Personnel & Equipment

    The department includes more than 1200 emergency response and support personnel. The Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department has a daily deployment to serve the nearly 470,000 citizens of Kansas City, Missouri that includes:

    • 34 Pumpers (10 ALS, 24 BLS)
    • 12 Aerial Apparatus
    • 3 Technical Rescues
    • 27 Dynamic ALS Ambulances
    • 19 Static ALS Ambulances
    • Various specialized support equipment (Air support, HazMat Rescue)

KCFD Internal Investigation into the Line of Duty Deaths Fire Apparatus Operator Larry Leggio and Firefighter John Mesh. Kansas City, MO: Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department, March 2016. Accessed from https://data.kcmo.org/dataset/KCFD-Internal-Investigation-Into-The-Line-Of-Duty-/i4x2-s2sp on 27 May 2016.

Image Credit: Keith Myers kmyers@kcstar.com
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