2 Calif. FFs' families sue equipment makers 2 years after fatal fire

The families of Porterville's Capt. Ramon “Ray” Figueroa and Firefighter Patrick Jones allege negligence, wrongful death and strict products liability design defect


By Leila Merrill

PORTERVILLE, Calif. — The families of two firefighters who died in a fire at a central California library are suing multiple makers of life-saving equipment for alleged negligence, wrongful death and strict products liability design defect, the Fresno Bee reported Saturday.

The plaintiffs say that the devices were defective and led to the deaths of Porterville Fire Department Capt. Ramon “Ray” Figueroa, 35, and Firefighter Patrick Jones, 25, on Feb. 18, 2020.

An attorney for the families is seeking damages against the makers of the Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus and their Personal Alert Safety System. The companies named in the suit are Scott Technologies (also known as Scott Safety), 3M Company, MES, Municipal Emergency Services and Allstar Fire Equipment.

The suit states that firefighters’ breathing equipment stopped working shortly after they entered the library, and a multi-agency report confirms that, the Bee reported. The PASS devices also failed, the plaintiffs claim.

The attorney, Browne Greene, said the companies knew about the devices’ sudden failings before the fire, and he referenced suits in New York, Texas and Philadelphia over similar problems.

Murder charges were filed in 2020 against two teen boys suspected of starting the fire.

On Friday, the second anniversary of the fatal fire, members of the Porterville Fire Department gathered to unveil a memorial to Figueroa and Jones.

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