Lawsuit: Texas firefighter died due to malfunctioning safety device
The suit filed by the family of firefighter Scott Deem alleges he was killed after his Personal Alert Safety Systems, or PASS, device did not sound as intended
San Antonio Express-News
The family of the San Antonio firefighter killed battling a massive Northwest Side fire in 2017 filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the manufacturers of a safety device used by firefighters to signal when they are in trouble.
According to the lawsuit filed in Bexar County District Court, firefighter Scott Deem was killed after his Personal Alert Safety Systems, or PASS, device did not sound as intended. Deem, along with firefighter Brad Phipps, had entered the Ingram Square Shopping Center on the evening of May 18, 2017 to search for possible victims when they became trapped by the massive blaze.
“Despite efforts by other firefighters searching for Deem to listen for the PASS device alarm, the alarm did not sound,” the lawsuit alleges. “The silence was deadly for firefighter Deem.”
Phipps, who was permanently disabled in the fire, also joined the lawsuit against Scott Technologies, Inc., alleging that he would have only sustained minor injuries if his device had sounded.
Together, the plaintiffs seek more than $1 million in damages.
The lawsuit also alleges that Emond Johnson, the owner of the Spartan Box Gym where the fire originated, should be held liable for Deem’s death and Phipps’ injuries because he intentionally set the fire.
Johnson faces murder and arson charges in connection with the fire. He remains in jail in lieu of posting bail.
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