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Vertical ventilation LODD prompts SCBA warning

A firefighter died when he fell through a structurally weak roof while not wearing his facepiece

By Patrick Wong
FireRescue1 Staff

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is recommending fire departments have more involved risk evaluation during fire attacks and a better enforced policy on SCBA procedure after a firefighter died while conducting vertical ventilation.

Lt. Todd Krodle, 41, a 17-year veteran of the Dallas Fire-Rescue was attempting to perform vertical ventilation during a fire an apartment complex, the report said.

When crossing over to the peak of the roof of the building to ventilate above the fire, he fell through the roof, into the attic. Although he was wearing his SCBA, he was not wearing his facepiece.

By the time fellow firefighters were able to get him to the hospital, he died.

An examination revealed he died from "asphyxiation from the products of combustion."

Risk Evaluation

Investigators are recommending that the fire officer on the scene conduct an initial size-up on the attack, especially in terms of risk versus gain in high-risk and low-frequency incidents.

Incident commanders should follow risk assessment as outlined in NFPA 1500 and continually evaluate the fire attack to ensure that certain hazards aren't overlooked as the fire burns.

"The reason for the focus on low frequency/high risk incidents is that these incidents do not occur on a frequent basis, but when they occur, the outcome can be harmful or detrimental to fire fighters," the report said.

In Lt. Krodle's case, vertical ventilation in the involved apartment building was high-risk, because the structure was older and less stable.

Building Code

NIOSH is also recommending that dispatchers be equipped with information pertaining to building code and structural integrity of buildings that crews are responding to.

Having this information on hand will allow firefighters to adequately prepare for any potential hazards and allows for pre-incident planning.

The apartment complex that Lt. Krodle was responding to had been previously damaged in other fires, although it is unclear if further inspections were conducted to reveal that the roof was not up to standard safety measures. Had responding crews been aware, they may have been able to avoid Lt. Krodle's incident.

Along with this, investigators say there should be stricter enforcement of building code and older buildings be brought up to current standards.

SCBA

It is unclear why Lt. Krodle was not wearing his facepiece before the incident, but had he been on air, investigators say he would have had a much greater chance at survival. After falling through the roof, Lt. Krodle was unable to don his facepiece.

The report cites the International Fire Service Training Association, saying "firefighters should never get on a roof wearing anything less than full protective clothing, SCBA, and a PASS device…" in case of the toxic products of combustion.

NIOSH is also recommending that fire departments consider having a rapid intervention team to respond immediately to emergency rescue incidents and that incident commanders establish a command post.




Comments
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Cotton Collins Cotton Collins Wednesday, October 03, 2012 6:53:10 PM Where's the roof ladder the air pack had nothing to do with this
Richard Deldonna Richard Deldonna Wednesday, October 03, 2012 7:10:09 PM I agree with Cotton on this. A roof ladder would have distributed his weight better. Also allowing something to grab for in a collapse. And he should have been wearing his mask. It certainly could have bought crucial time for other firefighters to reach him for a rescue.
Parker Simpson Parker Simpson Thursday, October 04, 2012 12:38:41 AM He died from smoke inhilation, Id say not having his face piece on had a little something to do with it
Jon Britt Jon Britt Thursday, October 04, 2012 6:50:17 AM DEFINITELY needed a roof ladder. However, even in the D we rarely ventilate a previously burned structure (often for reasons noted above, aside from the fact it either ventilated itself or was ventilated during previous burn)....although, I wonder was the roof spongy to begin with, looking at how the shingles (and yes this is monday morning quarterback) kind of flop or fold down would lead me to believe the attic was ROLLING and the slats holding up the shingles may have been significantly charred and/or weakened,...IF ventilation (on a possibly vacant apartment bldg) was deemed necessary he should have considered putting up the stick and working from the tip (avoiding a lot of danger). Jon Britt, SFF. Detroit Fire Department, (13 yrs).
Jim Thorn Jim Thorn Thursday, October 04, 2012 7:42:26 AM Previously burned structure, no roof ladder, not on air, 3 strikes. Where was the Safety Officer on scene? Sad for LODD, another example for the need of proper training with staff follow through. Sorry for the Lt's family.
Dave Pacheco Dave Pacheco Thursday, October 04, 2012 8:04:20 AM Poor decision making by a senior FF to operate without the proper/required equipment causes him to loose his life.......Very sad! Command & Safety officer should have taken into consideration the previous fire and that the building is already being compromised! R.I.P. Brother
Stephen Patrick Stephen Patrick Friday, October 05, 2012 5:18:28 AM Must be something that people think its the only way.
Jim Adams Jim Adams Friday, October 05, 2012 8:40:47 AM After being involved in a roof collapse and surviving because I was wearing my Full PPE, I have to say you are wrong. The SCBA is key to surviving. The roof ladder is a complete different issue. RIP brother Krodle.
Audrey Johnson Audrey Johnson Friday, October 05, 2012 2:08:38 PM sad and shouldn't have happened.
Audrey Johnson Audrey Johnson Friday, October 05, 2012 2:12:13 PM my first thought was....safety officer? wth?
Donald Mack Donald Mack Saturday, October 06, 2012 7:20:33 AM The facepeice is not for show but to where SAFETY FIRST.....
Sharon Logan-Osborne Sharon Logan-Osborne Saturday, October 06, 2012 7:38:00 AM Such a Fire Fighter. :)
David Fuller David Fuller Monday, October 08, 2012 10:53:19 AM Sure he should have had his SCBA on but I feel that many post are missing the big picture and that is to do everything to prevent the fall! AKA roof ladder. I have had a few falls in my 40 year carrer and in more cases than not my helment and face piece were knocked off. So In my opinion the fall period, due to the lack of use of a roof ladder or better a piece of areial equipment while doing ventilation is the #1 cause of this LODD.
W Chris Mertz W Chris Mertz Sunday, October 21, 2012 9:41:52 AM I wonder how dispatchers will obtain information about bulidng codes and structural integrity of the buildings FF crews are responding to, (NIOSH recommendation) and relay that information within the 3-6 minute response time to a structure fire. Enough information is comming to the MDC's and raidos, already and we are behind the time temprature curve. IMHO that's good information but don't get sucked into that the information will always be there or it's good information. Good training, and use of all PPE is what we can employ at the company level to keep us safe. So sorry for your loss Lt. Krodle Family and Dallas Fire-Rescue.

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