Report: Disregard of orders, improper gear were significant factors at Del. house fire

The Delaware State Fire School released an 87-page report after a firefighter incurred serious injuries while battling a Mill Creek house fire

By FireRescue1 Staff 

NEWPORT, Del. — The Delaware State Fire School released an 87-page report on the Mill Creek house fire that critically injured a firefighter.  

On March 14, Firefighter Dave Smiley incurred second- and third-degree burns after falling through a second-story hole when battling a house fire, Delaware Online reported. After the fire, officials with the Mill Creek Fire Company requested that the Delaware State Fire School review the incident.  

The Fire School’s report found that Smiley and his fellow firefighters were not equipped with proper firefighting gear.  

"None of the firefighters from Minquas that could be observed in the video were wearing the waist strap on their SCBA," the report states. "This appears to have directly led to the difficulty firefighters had in rescuing the injured firefighter. When they attempted to lift him from the hole, they were simply pulling the SCBA from his back." 

The report also found that many firefighters were wearing helmets that did not meet NFPA standards. It also highlighted several issues with the way firefighters handled the incident, noting that firefighters disregarded the order to evacuate the house. Firefighters were also unfamiliar with the apparatus and used different uniforms, causing confusion on the scene, and internal maps did not show the nearest hydrant.  


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