Two Career Lieutenants Killed and Two Career Fire Fighters Injured Following a Flashover at an Assembly Hall Fire - Texas

Report Date: May 2014

On February 15, 2013, two fire officers lost their lives and two firefighters were injured when they were caught in a flashover in a commercial building fire. When the fire and police departments arrived, they observed fire at the roof level at the A/B corner of the building with thick, dark smoke coming from the attic vents on the D side. The first victim and another firefighter forced the door on the A side, set up positive pressure ventilation, and advanced into the building with a handline. They noted heavy smoke conditions and located the fire. As they were applying water, they decided to exit the building due to low air in their SCBAs. During this time, additional doors were opened and another positive pressure ventilation fan was placed at the A side door. While exiting the building, the officer and firefighter became separated and the firefighter was forced to exit without locating the officer. The fire officer initiated a Mayday and a rapid intervention crew was activated to rescue him. The rapid intervention crew experienced zero visibility and extreme heat. They located the lost fire officer and began to remove him from the building when the crew was overcome by a flashover, likely from oxygen being introduced to an oxygen-deprived fire. The officer on the rapid intervention crew and the officer being rescued succumbed to the thermal injuries and the two firefighters in the crew experienced significant burns as a result of the flashover. 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. Two Career Lieutenants Killed and Two Career Fire Fighters Injured Following a Flashover at an Assembly Hall Fire - Texas. Morgantown, WV: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH Report #F2013-04, 2014. Print. 

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