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  • LAIRDSVILLE LIVE BURN DEATH

    I AM AN ASSISTANT INSTRUCTOR ON A LIVE BURN TEAM IN ERIE COUNTY, NY. TO DATE IN OUR TRAINING , OVER 20 BURNS IN 3 YEARS, WE HAVE NEVER ( KNOCK ON WOOD) HAD A SINGLE INJURY INCLUDING MINOR SCRAPES BURNS ETC.WE PRIDE OURSELVES IN THIS FACT. I CANNOT FATHOM HOW ANY MEMBER CAN ACT AS A VICTIM IN SUCH A SCENARIO SEEING THAT THE OUTCOME OF THE RED DEVIL IS VERY UNPREDICTABLE.WE WOULD NOT CONSIDER DOING SUCH AND WE HAVE SOME VERY SEASONED TRAINING PERSONNEL ON OUR TEAM INCLUDING SEVERAL PAID FIREFIGHTERS.THE DEATH OF AN 18 YEAR OLD VOLUNTEER ( WHO IS MORE THAN LIKELY INEXPERIENCED) PROVES THAT FOOLING WITH THE FIRE CAN BE DANGEROUS.THIS DEATH WAS TRAGIC AND UNCALLED FOR AND HOPEFULLY THIS WILL NOT REFLECT NEGATIVELY ON THOSE LIVE BURN TEAMS THAT CONDUCT SUCH TRAINING WITH SAFETY AS THEIR #1 CONCERN...

  • #2
    Your attitude about the "unpredictable" "Red Devil" is exactly the reason that FF continue to die in training fires. It has happened before and will happen again if people don;t start to learn and remember the basics of fire dynamics.

    The outcome of this incident 1000% predictable. How many room and contents fires do we go to that involve upholstered furniture? How many of them go to flashover in a short time? Answer: A whole lot of them. Why should this fire have acted any differently? Because it was a training fire? The science of fire is the same whether it is a job or a training fire.

    Please tell me exactly what standard or recommended practice calls for using upholstered furniture as the source of smoke? Don't waste your time, you won't find one.

    You want a shock? Go to the web page for the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Bureau of Fire REsearch Laboratory. Navigate through the site and look up the heat release rate for a typical sofa bed. Then tell me if this was "unpredictable".
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

    Comment


    • #3
      First and foremost....our thoughts and prayers go out to the department as well as all of the families involved in this horrible event. I have a teenage son involved in firefighting and this hits home! We pray for you and god bless you in this troubled time.

      As a firefighter I am saddend by this tragic death as are others. As an instructor...I am also saddened...but you can add in appalled!

      Tragic...YES....We are working for "0" tolerance for firefighter fatalities...remember? To have a brother pass in a training incident is totally uncalled for... We are supposed to be training them....not killing them.

      The cause of this can be discussed for ever and we can what if it until the next milenium. Bottom line is...READ NFPA 1403...What does it say about using "live victims?"

      My opinion only

      [ 10-01-2001: Message edited by: captstanm1 ]
      09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
      ------------------------------
      IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
      "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
      BMI Investigator
      ------------------------------
      The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

      Comment


      • #4
        -- "Live victims" and "Live fire" never, ever mix. Even if you can't afford a smoke machine or smoke bombs...put a Nomex hood on backwards to blackout your mask for "rescue exercises." Without even the risk of fire flashing over, you still have a risk of smoke inhalation if the victims' SCBA mask gets knocked off during the rescue evolution.

        Rescue & Fire Suppression are two different topics, and each should be taught alone so you can concentrate on that situation. Doing rescue training with your attention divided means you might not see something that hurts the victim. Doing fire training with something else going on means you may not see a dangerous situation develop. If you mix, use a dummy so you can concentrate on the fire known the victim can't get hurt.

        -- Never, ever use any petroleum based products of any kind in a training fire inside a structure. That means no kerosene, diesel, plastic, etc. If you have old furniture, use them as search obstacles in a room remote from the fire rooms. Remember, the smoke put out by petroleum based products contains a lot of unburned fuel. The smoke put out by Hay & Pallets doesn't contain much unburned fuel. Take a guess which one is likely to suddenly intensify with added heat or added oxygen or both.
        IACOJ Canine Officer
        20/50

        Comment


        • #5
          Rescue Randy.
          amazingly he was designed for that very purpose. better yet... he doesn't die from smoke inhalation or burns. I've only been in the fire service for about 5.5 years but have been involved in plenty of live fire training. I was shocked to read about this tragic loss. Uncalled for, sad, tragic, and after reading the fire company vice presidents quote, outraged.

          "He just joined (September) 20th. He was only on two controlled burns and now he’s gone. It’s sad that we have to lose young guys like that," said fire company Vice President John Klein.

          I say to you Mr. Klein this:
          YOU DON'T HAVE TO LOSE YOUNG GUYS LIKE THAT!!!
          Further more...
          A rookie with 2 months experience ever being put into this situation is absolutely crazy!
          If you, Mr. Klein, feel that firefighters have to die like this anywhere at anytime you sir need to not ever be associated with the fire service again. Good Day to you Sir!


          I'm sorry for being angry, but it hurts me to see a life wasted that way.


          Be safe brothers
          Be safe brothers

          Comment


          • #6
            I absolutely agree with the other posts on here that, most likely, this could have been prevented. On the other hand, none of you were there (unless you were and haven't said so yet), so you don't know first hand what happened. Let's not play Monday morning quarterback and condemn them for what's already happened. Let's just learn from it and not let it happen again. We all know that hindsight is 20/20.

            Stay Safe

            Comment


            • #7
              Hello from West Virginia! First off, I have been in the fire service for 19 years. During that time, I have seen many changes. I can recall when there were few if any burn standards for live burn training. That has all changed as I am sure it has for most states. Live burns are few and far between due to these strict standards. In May, I attended a live burn in Charleston, West Virginia. These instructors followed the standards to a "T" to prevent students from injury. They used skids for the live burn training in a "controled" burn within a structure.

              It is my understanding that this guy only had about a week in the department and should not have been put in a scenario like this. Live burn and rapid intervention are two seperate levels of training as far as I am concerned. In West Virginia there are a list of pre-requisites (sorry for the spelling error) that most instructors require before you are allowed to take a live burn course. As for rapid intervention; Jim Crawford from Pittsburgh Fire, PA. taught my class and in my opinion set the stage for RIT standards to be developed. When I took his course, we used simulated smoke from smoke machines. It was an intense course which required some experiance even in a simulated environment. It is beyond me to think that while under live fire, instructors chose to run a rapid intervention scenario with firefighters with little experiance. In my department the vast majority is simulated environments to build the firefighters experiance level prior to taking an advanced course where live fire conditions exist. It has proven very successful. Our Chief then evaluates if he/she should take the advanced course based on their simulated training and over all ability.

              Bottom line,... I think that there should be standards set by each department for training each member and building them up to the level where they can be placed in "Live Burn" training. I also feel that the standards for live burns need to be revisted and revised. However, there is no better training then the true structure fire. Even then, firefighters need to meet certain criteria before entering a building.

              Comment


              • #8
                OK at times I tend to agree about the Monday morning quarterback issue but apparently WE AINT LEARNING. The standard on live fire training has many safety issues in it. I would find it hard to believe that 10 people on scene (quoted from the article) was sufficient. Two fires? What are they nuts? Why don't we throw in a chemical weapon or two, a bus into the house and a few more things. Somebody didn't have the proper backup. Someone apparently doesn't realize that upholstered furniture is dangerous. Someone DIDNT read the standard. Someone has sadly been killed unnecessarily. It is time for EVERYONE to also learn more about building construction. It WILL get you killed boys and girls. Get it through your heads. I don't like some of things in the standard either but I know their necessary. Just as a note we used a MSA camera last time for liver training to watch the crews and we were able to identify a F/F that was getting quite apprehensive. Now that we have the remote TV for the camera I believe we will be able to conduct training even safer. It may even be a good thing for us to recommend be added to the standard.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am not monday morning quarterbacking anything..... I simply asked about NFPA 1403 and was it used? I dont know what happened...and I dont care... You can call it Monday morning QB if you like...but...if it stops another fumble....then...hmmmmm...maybe someone paid attention...

                  WE are losing too many people.....
                  09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
                  ------------------------------
                  IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
                  "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
                  BMI Investigator
                  ------------------------------
                  The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Part of the problem is not identifying "near misses" or as some more accurately call them "near catastrophes." The fire service as a whole does not document when we did something that we shouldn't have and got away with it. Mostly due to human nature, we don't want to put on paper when we screwed up, but are still around to talk about it. Who knows, Lairdsville, and other departments, may have done this exact same scenario a hundred times in the past, but never changed an unsafe act due to the fact that no one got hurt. Things will certainly change now.

                    Once we swallow our pride and start acknowledging that certain things that we do all the time are unsafe, and we shouldn't be doing them, accidents like this will unfortunately continue to occur. In our department, we have changed SOP's significantly over the past year (or two) from unsafe practices (which we never really thought about because nothing ever happened), to practices, when compared to the ways of the past, are much safer.

                    Also, it was my understanding that the couch was on the first floor and was supposed to be controlled by a handline, and a burn barrel was on the second floor to create smoke. Does this make it any better? Probably not. However, we have to remember that no one meant for this to happen, and at the time the instructors/trainees thought that the level of risk was acceptable ... something just went terribly wrong. Does this mean we don't learn from it? Absolutely not.

                    Stay Safe

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I was an instructor for over 16 years and I would never have considered using a live victim in a burn. This should not have been done.

                      I was always taught by the instructors that trained me to use dummies and if you couldn't afford one use 2 1/2" line and dress it in bunker gear. Actually works pretty well, just takes time to make it.

                      The instructors screwed up by allowing someone with little or no experience to even be the victim and worse yet, they didn't leave an instructor with the individual. I still wouldn't condone the use of live victims.

                      This was a bad idea from the start and I think the instructors are in a world of [email protected] right now and would imagine that this will effect them for the rest of their lives.

                      Never use live victims in a live burn scenerio period!

                      [ 09-28-2001: Message edited by: FireLt1951 ]

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        How can anyone claim to be running a controlled burm drill in a building where you are igniting materials, especially a couch or sofa. We do live burns in computer controlled buildings. We use natural gas or propane as a fuel and shutting down a scenerio is no harder that hitting a panic button in any given room. To believe that we can control a fire that would require the use of water to extinguish is taking to much of a risk, and obviously we now know, if we didn't before that you cannot predict how the fire will burn. In this day and age of smoke machines why would anyone opt for a hard to control, or predict live burn.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This is an edited version of my post to another thread about this murder when someone asked about the press article on this.

                          Here is the text of an article. My comments follow:

                          New York Firefighter Perishes In Training Exercise

                          KEN LITTLE
                          The Observer Dispatch


                          WESTMORELAND -- Investigators are trying to determine how a training exercise fire burned out of control Tuesday night, killing a Lairdsville firefighter and seriously injuring two other volunteers.

                          Bradley Golden, 19, of McQuade Avenue, Clinton, died on the second floor of a vacant house at 7355 Route 5 as smoke and flames quickly filled the structure about 7 p.m. He was pulled from the wood-frame building by firefighters and rushed to St. Elizabeth Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.

                          An autopsy performed Wednesday night at St. Elizabeth Medical Center showed Golden died of asphyxia due to smoke inhalation, Oneida County Coroner Mark Bentz said. Golden’s death was ruled accidental, he added.

                          Adam Croman, 19, son of Lairdsville Fire Chief Lance Croman, jumped from the second floor of the burning structure. Benjamin Morris, 19, was pulled from the second- floor area by firefighters. Croman and Morris suffered burns and other injuries and were airlifted to the burn unit at University Hospital in Syracuse. Croman was listed in serious condition Wednesday night and Morris was listed in fair condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

                          A steady stream of Lairdsville volunteers and supporters checked in Wednesday at their Norton Avenue station to discuss the tragedy. Croman stopped by briefly before visiting his son in the hospital. Croman described the training session as a "rapid intervention team exercise" conducted by the Lairdsville, Westmoreland and Lowell fire departments.

                          "We were simulating having down personnel and the other two companies were going in to get the down personnel," said Croman, who was able to speak with his son after the incident.

                          "He told me he pushed them toward the stairs and he jumped out the window with a full pack on," Croman said. "For some reason we don’t know, the other two didn’t make it out."

                          Adam Croman and Morris were experienced members of the Lairdsville Fire Department, each with several years service. Golden had been with the department about one month and was a provisional member, officials said.

                          "He just joined (September) 20th. He was only on two controlled burns and now he’s gone. It’s sad that we have to lose young guys like that," said fire company Vice President John Klein.

                          Golden was enthusiastic about being a firefighter and helping others, Croman said.

                          "He loved it. He thought this was the greatest thing in the world," Croman said. "Somebody had asked him where he was living and he told him jokingly that he was living at the firehouse."

                          Investigators from the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department, the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control, federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other agencies went through the charred red structure Wednesday.

                          "We’re working with all the agencies to find out what happened," said sheriff’s department Lt. Joseph Lisi. Robert Walsh, first assistant chief and safety officer at the Westmoreland Fire Department, said Wednesday controlled fires were set on the first and second floors. The fire on the first floor got out of control, went up the walls and staircase of the structure and trapped the three men upstairs, he said.

                          "The couch just started burning out of control and it went right up the stairs," Walsh said.

                          Tuesday night’s fire was started on the first floor in a queen-size sofa bed, while the fire on the second floor was ignited in a container, Walsh said.

                          About 10 firefighters were on the scene when the fire flared up, Walsh said, with water close at hand and constant radio contact being maintained.

                          "It was the same drill situation as before, but something went terribly wrong," Walsh said.

                          It was at least the third training exercise at the vacant home on Route 5, which was scheduled to be taken down in a controlled burn exercise in October, Klein said.

                          Lairdsville was in charge of the drill, Walsh said. The fire company has been taken out of service, with neighboring companies answering Lairdsville’s calls, officials said.

                          "It’s somber plus here right now," Croman said. "Our department is out of service until the funeral, at the very least."

                          Adam Croman attends Onondaga County Community College and studies fire protection services while serving as a Moyers Corners firefighter, his father said.

                          John Talerico, a former Lairdsville firefighter and a friend of Croman, was one of many who stopped by the firehouse Wednesday.

                          "He was going to be a professional," Talerico said. "He was dedicated. This is what he was going to be." Morris, he said, recently enlisted in the Marine Corps and planned to begin service in December.

                          The American flag was back at half staff Wednesday outside the Lairdsville and Westmoreland fire stations, after having been in the same position for several weeks in honor of the victims of the terrorist acts Sept. 11 in New York City and elsewhere.

                          "A lot of firefighters are shook up. Everyone’s devastated," Walsh said.

                          At the fire scene Wednesday, neighbor Christine Stockbridge stood at her door and surveyed the nearby charred structure where Golden died.

                          "Nobody in the world would dream this would happen," said Stockbridge, who once lived in an apartment in the burned-out building.

                          Stockbridge said her grandson is a Clark Mills firefighter. She appreciates the sacrifices they make. "You wouldn’t want them to quit," she said.

                          Contributing: Observer-Dispatch reporter Bill Farrell


                          ___________

                          This story breaks my heart because this kid did not have to die. There have been at least three, serious, live burn training incidents involving deaths or serious injuries that mirror this incident. One was in Milford Michigan, one was in Boulder, CO and one was in Parsippany, NJ. In each and every one the people running the drill did not recognize the hazards of heat release rates and flashover. That is what happened here. What is the thought process behind someone lighting a sofa bed on fire in an acquired structure to "create smoke".

                          Am I bashing? You bet. I investigated the Parsippany, NJ incident. Three recruit fire fighters recieved disabling burns when they were sent into a school bus, with metal plates welded over the windows with a foam rubber couch burning in it, as a "smoke house". The fire also involved two garbage bags of shredded paper, a tire, two barrles of wood and a wooden door. The bus flashed over 30 seconds after the were sent in and trapped the men. My agency presented a case to a Grand Jury seeking to charge the instructors with Aggravated Assault and Attempted Murder. The grand jury instead issued a presentment that ended up changing the face of fire service training in NJ.

                          I wrote an article on this case that appeared in the March 1994 issue of Fire Engineering Magazine. Here's the last paragraph of my article.

                          "This incident and the firefighter injuries were caused by a foreseeable series of events resulting from a disregard of safety procedures and standards by the fire officials involved. The mistakes made in this incident have been made before and will be made again unless an effort is made to educate the fire service community and strengthen existing regulations. Perhaps this incident can be the impetus behind that change."

                          I wish I weren't so right. You see, it isn't Monday Morning Quarterbacking when there are so many details that mirror so many past incidents. There is an enormous segment of the fire service that never reads the journals, never goes to schools and looks at those who do with disdain. unitl we get rid of them, this type of tragedy will continue to happen.
                          PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            WEll.....I will add some fule to this fire....here is an extraction from an EMAIL I received. The person obviously has checked into this tragedy based on the information he/she sent me. I will not give his name...but...it is obvious he/she has read this Forum and the person will eventually give us more information... Read and sit down...you will not believe this...


                            .....I payed a visit to the two firefighters who survived in the crazy incident.[B].......It sounds like your already ****ed off about this so this will really prime your pump. Not only did they not have a handline in place, but they didn't even have apparatus at the drill site! The apparatus was stagging at the firehouse 2 miles away awaiting a call from the crew to get started to the drill site once the fire was set.

                            When the companies arrived the house was rocking and the guys were trapped and burned. The rest of the story would **** you off even more so thats all I'm going to tell you........

                            The above was copied and pasted out of the EMAIL I received.... If it is true....then....someone needs to be in some serious trouble.
                            09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
                            ------------------------------
                            IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
                            "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
                            BMI Investigator
                            ------------------------------
                            The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well guys, if what captstanm1 said is true, I retract everything I said regarding "Monday Morning Quarterback" and not second guessing because we weren't there. If this is true, I absolutely agree w/ Mr. Wendt, whoever was in charge should be in jail. What a terrible situation ...

                              Stay Safe

                              Comment

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