On Friday, April 4, 2008 at 06:13:02 hours, what began as a routine response for Colerain Township Fire and EMS Engine 102 to investigate a fire alarm activation at 5708 Squirrels nest Lane, Colerain Township, Ohio resulted in the deaths of Colerain Township Captain Robin Broxterman and Firefighter Brian Schira.
Upon their arrival at the scene of the two-story wood framed, residential building working fire conditions existed in the basement. The initial attack team consisted of Broxterman, Schira, and one other firefighter. The team advanced a 1¾-inch attack hose line through the interior of the building for fire control.
Even though, they were provided with some of the most technologically advanced protective clothing for structural firefighting and self-contained breathing apparatus, it appeared that Broxterman and Schira were overwhelmed by severe fire conditions in the basement.
During their attempt to evacuate the building, the main-level family room flooring system in which the two were traveling on collapsed into the basement trapping the firefighters. Eleven minutes elapsed from time of arrival to the catastrophic chain of events.
This is one of those distinctive reports that has influential and critical operational, training and preparedness elements embedded throughout the report.
It’s apparent there continues to be common threads shared by this event from 2008 and other events and incidents in the past five years where a single of multiple firefighters have lost their lives due to similarities in the apparent and common cause deficiencies and short comings identified.
All company and command officers should read and comprehend the lessons learned. Then, take these new found insights and see what the gaps are at the personal level (yours or those you supervise) as well as the shift, group, station, battalion, division or department as a whole.
If there are gaps, then identify a way to implement timely changes as necessary so there are No History Repeating (HRE) events.
The importance of Reading the Building, taking the time to complete the three sixty and being combat ready and “expecting fire”.
Remember their sacrifice, so we can learn.
- Past Post on CommandSafety.com with Report Narrative and Incident Details HERE
The following factors were believed to have directly contributed to the deaths of Captain Broxterman and Firefighter Schira:
- A delayed arrival at the incident scene that allowed the fire to progress significantly;
- A failure to adhere to fundamental firefighting practices; and
- A failure to abide by fundamental firefighter self-rescue and survival concepts
Although the aforementioned factors were believed to have directly contributed to their deaths, they might have been prevented if:
- Some personnel had not been complacent or apathetic in their initial approach to this incident;
- Some personnel were in a proper state of mind that made them more observant of their surroundings and indicators;
- The initial responding units were provided with all pertinent information in a
- timely manner relative to the incident;
- Personnel assigned to Engine 102 possessed a comprehensive knowledge of their first-due response area;
- A 360-degree size-up of the building accompanied by a risk – benefit analysis
- was conducted by the company officer prior to initiating interior fire suppression operations;
- Comprehensive standard operating guidelines specifically related to structural
- firefighting existed within the department;
- The communications system users (on-scene firefighters and those monitoring the incident) weren’t all vying for limited radio air time;
- The communications equipment and accessories utilized were more appropriate for the firefighting environment;
- Certain tactical-level decisions and actions were based on the specific conditions;
- Personnel had initiated fundamental measures to engage in if they were to become disoriented or trapped inside a burning building; and
- Issued personal protective equipment was utilized in the correct manner.
- Colerain Township Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, Web Site HERE
- Investigation Analysis of the Squirrels nest Lane Firefighter Line of Duty Deaths April, 2010 Full Report HERE
- NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation Report F2008-09| CDC/NIOSH July, 2009, Report HERE
- WLTW.com news report Summary HERE
WLTW.com Previous Stories:
- November 18, 2009: Firefighter’s Parents File Wrongful Death Suit
- August 8, 2009: Report On Fatal Colerain Twp. Fire Released
- April 3, 2009: Service Planned For Anniversary Of Firefighter’s Death
- July 11, 2008: Report On Fire That Killed Firefighters Released
- June 28, 2008: Firefighters Hold Benefit For Fallen Friends
- June 12, 2008: Owner Of Home Where 2 Firefighters Died Sentenced On Pot Charges
- May 21, 2008: Firefighter Recalls Fiancee Killed In Colerain Twp. Fire
- May 13, 2008: Burned Home’s Owner Pleads No Contest To Drug Charge
- May 6, 2008: Tri-State Residents Reach Out To Families Of Fallen Firefighters
- April 20, 2008: Deaths Of Firefighters Lead To New Proposed Regulations
- April 18, 2008: Fatal Fire Home’s Owner Indicted On Drug Charge
- April 14, 2008: Prosecutor: Homeowners Won’t Be Charged In Firefighters’ Deaths
- April 11, 2008: Coroner: Fire, Smoke, Heated Air Killed Firefighters
- April 11, 2008: Firefighters Make Emotional Return To Work
- April 10, 2008: Fallen Firefighters Memorialized By Comrades, Family
- April 9, 2008: Sources: Marijuana Growing Operation Found In Burned Home
- April 9, 2008: Firefighters At Visitation For Fallen Comrades Called To Fight Fire
- April 9, 2008: Thousands Attend Colerain Firefighters’ Visitation
- April 8, 2008: Firefighters Pour In, Pay Tribute To Two Of Their Own
- April 8, 2008: Sources: ‘Hidden’ Marijuana Grow Room Found At Fatal Fire Scene
- April 8, 2008: Officials Adjust Fallen Firefighters’ Funeral Procession Plans
- April 8, 2008: Candlelight Vigil Held For Fallen Firefighters
- April 7, 2008: Sources: Plant Containers, Grow Room Found In Burned Home
- April 7, 2008: Blaze That Killed Firefighters Ruled Accidental
- April 7, 2008: Families Of Firefighters Thank Community For Support
- April 7, 2008: Candlelight Vigil Planned For Two Fallen Firefighters