SFFD Diamond Heights LODD Safety Violations

State investigators have cited the San Francisco Fire Department for “serious” worker safety violations in the deaths of two firefighters killed battling a Diamond Heights house fire in June. Reports were published in the San Francisco Chronical, HERE  and HERE.

 Firefighters lost track of Lt. Vincent Perez, 48, and firefighter-paramedic Anthony Valerio, 53, after they went into the four-level home at 133 Berkeley Way on June 2 and failed to respond quickly to the men’s last radio communication, investigators with the state Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Occupational Safety and Health said in a report issued Monday.

In recommending that the Fire Department be fined $21,000, the state investigators also said the department had violated state rules requiring that two firefighters be designated outside to assist any two firefighters who venture into a life-threatening environment.

Only one firefighter from Perez and Valerio’s engine company – the first on the scene – was available to come to their help during the blaze, the investigation found.

The state also cited the Fire Department for an incident – evidently before the fatal flareup – in which an unidentified battalion chief ventured into the burning building alone, without keeping in contact with Perez and Valerio. That was also deemed a serious violation of safety rules.

“These are serious in that they had protocols in place, but they weren’t following them,” said Erika Monterroza, spokeswoman for the worker safety agency. “There’s no question that a lack of communications was a big issue here. The investigator found there was a breakdown there.”

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said the department would appeal the findings. She said state officials have told her commanders that the violations fell short of finding the department’s actions responsible for the two firefighters’ deaths. “None of the citations involved a direct cause of the line-of-duty deaths,” Hayes-White said. Monterroza confirmed that, saying the exact circumstances of the firefighters’ deaths could not be determined.

Valerio, Perez and a third member of Engine Company 26 in Diamond Heights were the first firefighters to arrive at the mid-morning blaze, which started when a sparking electrical outlet set curtains on fire.

The third firefighter manned the pumper hose while Valerio and Perez went inside to fight the fire, but the safety regulations require a fourth firefighter to be available outside to assist.

A scene commander, identified by firefighters as Battalion Chief Thomas Abbott, ordered a crew from Engine Company 24 to back up Valerio and Perez inside the building. For several minutes, however, scene commanders tried to find the Engine 26 firefighters, without success.

There was an unspecified gap between that last communication and any effort by firefighters to respond over the radio or track down the men, the state investigation found.

The reports goes on to state that Hayes-White said the department’s investigative report – still in draft form – concluded that the fire had melted one of the firefighters’ microphone cords, cutting off communications. She said any delay in firefighters’ response would be addressed in the final report.

Firefighters ultimately found Perez and Valerio in a landing area and carried the injured men outside. Perez was pronounced dead at San Francisco General Hospital, and Valerio died there two days later.

The state probe also faulted the actions of the unnamed battalion chief who went into the building “alone and also did not remain in contact with the firefighters who were inside.”

Hayes-White said the battalion chief had gone inside only briefly, had seen Perez and Valerio alive and had never been out of other firefighters’ view.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/02/BANQ1M7JBO.DTL#ixzz1fUEug7hu

Previous Coverage on CommandSafety.com below:

 

2 Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

background image Blogger Img

Chris Naum

Welcome to Commandsafety.com. The authoratative and informational site that provides leading insights on fire service issues related to Building Construction, Command Risk Management and Firefighter Safety.

Mission Critical

banner ad

banner ad

FirefighterNetCast on Blog Talk Radio

Listen to internet radio with FirefighterNetCast on Blog Talk Radio

The Tombs

The New Safety Formula: Bk = F2S

Without understanding the building-occupancy relationships and integrating; construction, occupancies, fire dynamics and fire behavior, risk, analysis, the art and science of firefighting, safety conscious work environment concepts and effective and well-informed incident command management, company level supervision and task level competencies…You are derelict and negligent and "not "everyone may be going home". Our current generation of buildings, construction and occupancies are not as predictable as past conventional construction; risk assessment, strategies and tactics must change to address these new rules of structural fire engagement. There is a need to gain the building construction knowledge and insights and to change and adjust operating profiles in order to safe guard companies, personnel and team compositions. It's all about understanding the building-occupancy relationships and the art and science of firefighting, Building Knowledge = Firefighter Safety (Bk=F2S)

Addressing Today’s Evolving Fireground

Lectures,Seminars and Training Programs

banner ad

Taking it to the Streets Radio

  • banner ad
  • The Newest radio show on FireFighter Netcast.com at Blogtalk Radio… Taking it to the Streets with Christopher Naum. On the Air Monthly on Firefighter Netcast.com. A Buildingsonfire.com Series and Firefighter Netcast.com Production. Advancing Firefighter Safety and Operational Integrity for the Fire Service through provocative insights and dynamic discussions dedicated to the Art and Science of Firefighting and the Traditions of the Fire Service.

QR Code for Commandsafety.com

qrcode

Categories