Incident Melt-down and Command Failures

Check out the story and references to the controversial 8-alarm fire that occured on December 14, 2007 at the Lorraine Apartment Building in Gloucester, MA. The fire, just across the street from the Central Fire Station, left a 70-year-old man dead, destroyed the apartment building and a synogogue. The fire chief announced his retirement just minutes after the city released the results of the investigative report into the fire department’s actions during a fatal fire in December, 2007.

Firegeezer and STATer911 have extensive coverage and media information, video and clips….

Some Report findings…

  1. There was no formal incident command.
  2. Companies were operating on the interior without adequate communications.
  3. No safety officer was assigned or even found to be included in the operating procedures of the department.
  4. Scene security was inadequate to nonexistent.
  5. Interagency organization and the liaison to outside agencies was nonexistent
  6. Crews were operating unsafely above the fire floor without access to charged hose lines.
  7. The Fire Department was unprepared to battle a fire of this size; report also indicates that personnel had not been sufficiently trained.
  8. Since the incident, neither the fire chief nor the department had initiated any changes to the department’s standard operating procedures.

After the report was released Barry McKay, who has been the Gloucester chief for 25-years, retired. The critical report findings called for major reform of the fire department. A member of the department for 35 years — and its chief for nearly 26 — McKay, 58, made no direct reference to the Lorraine fire or the after incident report in his letter of retirement, which becomes effective March 29. “My retirement comes with mixed emotions,” McKay’s letter said. “I can only praise and thank the firefighters of this city for making due with the limited resources and maintaining the fire and emergency services. The firefighters I have worked with since the early 1970s have truly been the finest public servants and best people I’ve ever known.” as published in the gloucestertimes online edition .

  • Investigative Report
  • Report Appendices
  • Read the latest report on this development in the Gloucester Daily Times HERE.
  • Firegeezer’s friends at FireVideo.net sent along this raw video of the infamous upside-down ladder raise.

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Chris Naum

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