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2 firefighters killed in house fire, 1 only 16 years old

Authorities want to know why the young firefighter was given a dangerous task on his first firefighting call

By FireRescue1 Staff

DIGNES-LES-BAINS, France — A probe has been launched after a 16-year-old volunteer firefighter was killed fighting a house fire over the weekend.

Firefighter Yann Simeoni, along with a 35-year-old comrade died Saturday, officials saying that they were likely overcome by a backdraft, according to France 24.

Authorities have launched an inquiry into the two deaths, namely questioning why such a young volunteer was tasked with battling such a dangerous fire for his first call. It was Firefighter Simeoni's first weekend on duty.

Fire chiefs say that they were following protocol and that Firefighter Simeoni was one of 50 deployed to fight the blaze.

"The regulations say that anyone aged 16 can be recruited. Yann was undertaking three years of training and was under the guidance of an experience firefighter," Colonel Thierry Cadet told Europe 1 radio.

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Cook Francis Cook Francis Monday, November 05, 2012 5:00:02 PM WTF! Ae you serious?
Scott St Aubin Scott St Aubin Monday, November 05, 2012 6:43:59 PM I don't understand what a 16 year old is doing in a structure fire. at my old dept. you had to be 18 and qualified to go into structure fires especially on his first call. WTF were they thinking.
Scott Russell Scott Russell Monday, November 05, 2012 7:13:17 PM Wtf that is messed up I worry about my 20year old son when we get a call can't see that
Tyree Thomas Tyree Thomas Monday, November 05, 2012 9:17:26 PM You know what Scotty. They are not as smart as we are. They say who ever is on the rig is going to be first in the building. Young or old. They don't have sop's and song's rules and regs like we do.
Tyree Thomas Tyree Thomas Monday, November 05, 2012 9:19:01 PM They have no clue how to do things so its up to us to teach them what we know so another 16 year old don't die doing things like that
Tyree Thomas Tyree Thomas Monday, November 05, 2012 9:19:58 PM Us senior guys gotta teach the fng's how to do it.
Stephen Cranford Stephen Cranford Tuesday, November 06, 2012 1:33:58 PM He could respond yes, but not enter a structure while ablaze. Entry for mop up of smouldering smoke spots MAYBE, but not Entry.
Jan Morris Rickard Jan Morris Rickard Tuesday, November 06, 2012 1:36:40 PM Would it have changed the output had he been older? Chances are that no matter what age the firefighter was--given the situation, the outcome would have been the same. It is a tragedy that he lost his life with so much ahead of him.
Anthony M. Johnston Anthony M. Johnston Tuesday, November 06, 2012 1:37:01 PM I've always agreed that to be age appropriate to start in the fire service, one needs to be 21 years-old. It's very much also about maturity!
Daniel Wallace Daniel Wallace Tuesday, November 06, 2012 1:37:05 PM that is the same with my dept. if are not 18 u are not going in.
Jeff Wilson Jeff Wilson Tuesday, November 06, 2012 1:38:03 PM The administration should be in prison. Bunch of goofs !
Chris Wempe Chris Wempe Tuesday, November 06, 2012 1:38:48 PM in my department you have to either be 18 or graduated from high school and go through training
Joe Schnepp Joe Schnepp Tuesday, November 06, 2012 1:38:48 PM Well stated!!
Andrew Mihok Andrew Mihok Tuesday, November 06, 2012 1:39:15 PM First my US brothers and sisters lets realize this happened in France. They apparently do not follow the American standards for volunteers and firefighting. I'm as outraged that a 16 year old was on a front line interior attack as any of you, and if this is legal in France I think they need their heads examined. We cannot however apply our standards.
Shirley Durham Schulz Shirley Durham Schulz Tuesday, November 06, 2012 1:40:03 PM this is so sad.
Terry Judge Terry Judge Tuesday, November 06, 2012 1:41:35 PM What the hell is a sixteen year old doing in a bldg fire!
Christopher Kurtz Christopher Kurtz Tuesday, November 06, 2012 1:46:27 PM it's not about his age bro, it's about safety training... 16 is plenty old enough... our juniors cant enter workers by our rules, but they could in that they are physically, mentally and psychologically ready.
Chris Wempe Chris Wempe Tuesday, November 06, 2012 1:47:30 PM true
Kathy Acton Kathy Acton Tuesday, November 06, 2012 1:50:08 PM I pray for there families ..being married to a firefighter I pray all the time his pager goes off that he comes back
Brendan Kennedy Brendan Kennedy Tuesday, November 06, 2012 1:51:18 PM This happened in France people not the U.S.
Heather Nicole Heather Nicole Tuesday, November 06, 2012 1:59:52 PM 16?!? Crazy!
Regina Zsofia Haris Regina Zsofia Haris Tuesday, November 06, 2012 2:00:14 PM Don't forget, his fellow FF, age 35, unfortunately died too. It wouldn't have changed the output, if he had been older. The backdraft rarely asks how old you are. Me, you, anybody could have died there. It is a tragedy indeed, that he lost his life in such a young age... Maturity doesn't always depend on age. I know FFs, age 40 and above, who risk too much, and usually act rashly. Rest In Peace Brothers... My thoughts with their family, friends, and fellow FFs.
Anthony Butta Martin Anthony Butta Martin Tuesday, November 06, 2012 2:08:00 PM I agree with you Christopher, I was a released 3rd on our engine company at 16. I took VA Firefighter 1 beforehand, I'm not trying to say that every 16 year old is ready for that but I trained my ass off and worked hard and I was able to perform with the rest. Just a view from someone who was a 16 year old entering structure fires.
Anthony James Bertholf Anthony James Bertholf Tuesday, November 06, 2012 2:10:42 PM wen I was a fire fighter I couldn't even fight a fire until I had some training first. Y isn't this the case with ALL fire companies WORLDWIDE? I guess it depends on the companies rules and regulations.
James Weyand James Weyand Tuesday, November 06, 2012 2:16:08 PM sixteen old enough or not atleast he left doing what most of us love doing.
Joseph Russo Jr Joseph Russo Jr Tuesday, November 06, 2012 2:35:04 PM Why was a 16 y/o Entering a structure. Who was the OIC this is insane 16 y/o's shouldn't be in the hot area of any fire or Hazardous situations.
Dave DeGroot Dave DeGroot Tuesday, November 06, 2012 2:44:46 PM This is why France is the country they are Joe. Not enough Real Men to fill the roll of Firefighter so the few real men they have step up when needed....No 16 yr old should be in so deep
Barbara Ann Goode Barbara Ann Goode Tuesday, November 06, 2012 3:01:13 PM young to be on a call of that magnitude. God Bless him, his family and his brothers and sisters.
Pete Gravell Pete Gravell Tuesday, November 06, 2012 3:11:10 PM Well, I read it....It's in France. Well, Guess they DEFINITELY don't follow the same Regulations we have to, so I am not going to scream about it. Chief belongs in Prison though.
Jo Moreno Jo Moreno Tuesday, November 06, 2012 3:54:28 PM So sad..RIP Yann..
John Mitchell John Mitchell Tuesday, November 06, 2012 3:55:48 PM 1st, My deepest sympathy to the family of this young courageous firefighter. 2nd, It seems that protocol in France allows 16 year olds to join the volunteer fire department. The story states he was 16, so clearly he had a year or less of training, I would think with the amount of training and his age he should have had a support task and not been in the building. He was with a 35 year old fire fighter who may have been more concerned with the safety of his young firefighter partner and didn't see the backdraft building up. Sounds like a unfortunate accident that caused the loss of two firefighters.
Christopher Eugene Alley Christopher Eugene Alley Tuesday, November 06, 2012 3:58:11 PM This is why there.SHOULDN'T BE ANY JRS ON OR WORKING A CALL.. this is why training is so important.
Bruce Dash Bruce Dash Tuesday, November 06, 2012 4:28:24 PM On a blaze requiring 50 firefighters, something went horribly wrong! I hope they investigate and never repeat this. Please write a Training Article for all to learn!
Mike Sherwood Mike Sherwood Tuesday, November 06, 2012 4:29:06 PM you need to change the laws and make it 18, 16 is still a child in my eye's.
Rachel Meade Rachel Meade Tuesday, November 06, 2012 4:38:06 PM yeah what the hell was he doing in a fire that big?
Raymond Michael Elwell Raymond Michael Elwell Tuesday, November 06, 2012 4:41:35 PM So, you like Older boy's better?...... I never
David McLeod David McLeod Tuesday, November 06, 2012 4:56:33 PM Its not about age, but lack of training! You can be 41yrs old and working your 1st shift. I can only think they may have paired the 16 year old with a more experienced Firefighter, especially for his very 1st call/fire?
Andrew Balkom Andrew Balkom Tuesday, November 06, 2012 5:33:17 PM 16 years old yes very young but I'm sure he was trained to do what he was called to do. 16, 30 or 50 idc how old or experience you are you rely on (IC) incident command to tell you to stay in or to get out and even if (IC) notice that something was not right they couldn't get out intime yes it is very sad that a 16 year old died in a fire but he signed up for that job and I'm sure he loved his job and he died doing what he was trained to do, so everyone that is upset that a 16 year old was in a structure fire, Why don't you honer him for the job he did, because he was being a firefighter.
Charles Wright Sr. Charles Wright Sr. Tuesday, November 06, 2012 6:19:19 PM This totally breaks my heart to read this. In my Department no 16 yr old is allowed in a structure fire or any dangerous situation for that matter. They work the very basics until they display they have developed to a level where they can handle these situations. If I'm not confident then it don't happen because I am ultimately the one that will face the mallet in the courthouse because I am the one in charge. My heart goes out to the family of this young (brave) man. I wish strength to the community and members of the Fire Department that worked along side this fire Fighter. May he RIP.
Rob P. Thibert Rob P. Thibert Tuesday, November 06, 2012 7:00:20 PM Nicely said chief!!
Rob P. Thibert Rob P. Thibert Tuesday, November 06, 2012 7:00:35 PM Rest in peace brother
Christie Manrow Welch Christie Manrow Welch Tuesday, November 06, 2012 7:10:20 PM Oh my goodness! How very, very sad for both these individuals and their families! I hope they figure out why this was allowed to happen-especially since this was the 16-year-old FIRST weekend on duty! May they both RIP and their families find peace and comfort.
Eric Hoover Eric Hoover Tuesday, November 06, 2012 9:19:13 PM What is a 16 year old fire fighter doing anywhere near a working structure fire?
Gregory Ganim Gregory Ganim Wednesday, November 07, 2012 4:22:47 AM OMG, What were they thinking, You don't send a 16 year old into a fire, Exspecially with out alot of training, RIP, Prayers to the family, :(
Jill Wisdom Jill Wisdom Wednesday, November 07, 2012 5:33:36 AM Should not have been in fire till finishing training. Young ones should not be in on the initial attack. 29 years experience.
Paul Brooks Paul Brooks Wednesday, November 07, 2012 7:27:01 AM Have they been trained to notice the signs of a backdraft?
Kurt Bendoraitis Kurt Bendoraitis Wednesday, November 07, 2012 11:50:36 AM Best reply yet Chief!!!! Amen to that. R.I.P to our Fallen
Jorge Peters S. Jorge Peters S. Thursday, November 08, 2012 9:53:42 AM A mi experiencia a los 16 anos no se cuenta con la adecuada madurez para evaluar correctamente una emergencia y en especial su evolucion, muy lamentable lo ocurrido en Francia.
Jorge Peters S. Jorge Peters S. Thursday, November 08, 2012 9:54:52 AM Despues de 29 anos de servicio la verdad que creo que es un error permitir esto.
W Joseph Lacks W Joseph Lacks Saturday, November 10, 2012 6:38:02 AM to damn young for this to happen.
Larry Deets Sr. Larry Deets Sr. Saturday, November 10, 2012 6:41:52 AM no age limit there
W Joseph Lacks W Joseph Lacks Saturday, November 10, 2012 7:07:23 AM there will be now......
Josh Walrath Josh Walrath Saturday, November 10, 2012 7:26:22 AM I saw that and thought the same exact thing. 16 years old is way too young to be going inside of a burning structure.
Deborah Tinter-Dietrich Deborah Tinter-Dietrich Sunday, November 11, 2012 9:44:04 AM This is terrible..he should of never, ever, ever at the age of 16 been allowed to fight this fire..oh my goodness..i sure hope they will get reprimanded and or sued over this..shame on you older firefighters for allowing this to happen..shame.....
Sara Haggerty Sara Haggerty Sunday, November 11, 2012 9:45:26 AM so sad
Marco Andrade Marco Andrade Sunday, November 11, 2012 9:51:20 AM why is a 16 year old child in a structure fire, laws need to be put in place to stop this from happening again.
Zach V McNeal Zach V McNeal Sunday, November 11, 2012 9:52:12 AM My Department 16 is considered n explorer.....and i beleive in the US the law states u have to be at least 18years of age and u have to have FF1 or equivelent....i kno there are departments out there that are hurting so they bend the rules....but in reality this chief is going to jail theres no way around it 16 is too young and they arent quite in the mature stand point of taking the job serious.....stay safe brothers/sisters
J-?ad Michael J-?ad Michael Sunday, November 11, 2012 9:52:58 AM just poor judgement...i guarantee that he had all needed training age shouldn't play a role but experience does. people screw up. probably didn't check the door before he opened it.
Mallory Christine Elyse Mallory Christine Elyse Sunday, November 11, 2012 9:53:10 AM in my department you have to 18 and trained to enter a building that is on can join the department at 16 but you are what we call a goffer....because all you do it go for things but still they get training along the way...this should have never happened....there are others in the chain of command at a scene that could have stopped this to, not just the Chief....
John Swaboski John Swaboski Sunday, November 11, 2012 10:20:27 AM in the usa you have to be 18 year old but we all got to look at it this in france europe there laws are different from here so maybe they could but there not train for that at that age.
Thomas Turonis Thomas Turonis Sunday, November 11, 2012 10:23:34 AM I knew 20 year vets I wouldn't want to go into a structure fire with John. Just sayin. lol
Shardane Jones Shardane Jones Sunday, November 11, 2012 10:30:08 AM Such a sad story.
Chris McGuire Chris McGuire Sunday, November 11, 2012 10:52:37 AM MY PRAYERS GO OUT TO HIS FAMILY , & TO THE FAMILY OF THE OTHER FIREFIGHTER'S FAMILY AS WELL. IT IS TRAGIC FOR BOTH FIREFIGHTERS & ALL CONCERNED AS WELL. The only thing I can say is it doesn't matter what your age nor what your doing when GOD calls you & says it is your time then he is going to take you home. It is bad for everyone concerned, I know that a Back-draft does not pick the people they come down on, & Hurt or Kill. MAY GOD BLESS & BE WITH EVERYONE INVOLVED & CONNECTED TO THIS TRAGIC ACCIDENT. I am so sorry for your loses to the Family & to all there Brothers in the Fire Dept.
Bubba Blackwood Bubba Blackwood Sunday, November 11, 2012 10:59:38 AM That is crazy! he should have never been in there! He needed to be qualified to be inside a strcuter fire I don't care what the guide lines say you have to know what your doing and have the trainging to go in a fire!
John Swaboski John Swaboski Sunday, November 11, 2012 11:05:40 AM i know bro i hear you
Mike Elerding Mike Elerding Sunday, November 11, 2012 12:27:39 PM I'm about 6,000 miles away from this incident and have none of the facts, but, I have been in Europe ( UK, Germany, Portugal, Austria, Italy, Bosnia ) while in the US Armed Forces and in many cases age 16 is the same as age 18 is in the US. I know you can join the Royal Army in the UK at age 16 and in a few other countries. This will have to be a wait and see as the "locals" do the investigation.
Jonathan Everett Jonathan Everett Sunday, November 11, 2012 5:01:59 PM Cute kid. Sad story. Doesn't change the foolish practices of that department. My thoughts and prayers to the family.
Monday, November 12, 2012 1:10:04 PM Very sad, no matter what our opinion of age limits are. I agree that 16 is too young, but there are different regulations in different countries. I agree with those that commented about the importance of training. I have been on the job 16 yrs and every day we read stories of 20+ yr veterans dying in fires. Sometimes it's the nature of the work that gets us and sometimes, no matterhow old you are or how many yrs of experience you have, you just haven't trained enough or have enough experience. It hurts more because this young man had his whole life ahead of him and it was cut short far too soon! Thank you for your service young brother!
Steven Jackson Steven Jackson Monday, November 12, 2012 9:43:14 PM R.I.P., kid....
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 12:47:52 PM I highly that doubt any 16 year old is physically or mentally ready for an interior attack on a house fire; unless that 16 year is way beyond his years in both aspects. That was a reckless decision and shame on those who try to portray the profession of firefighting as something that is "over-hyped" because it is a demanding and dangerous job that only a select few can perform well with intense training and experience.
Michael Poiry Michael Poiry Wednesday, April 03, 2013 5:16:24 PM As a Lt. on a Career Dept. I can't understand the why anyone would allow a boy to do a man's job! So Sad!

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