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Family of fallen St. Louis firefighter file lawsuit over faulty SCBA

Lawsuit contends Firefighter Benjamin Polson’s PASS device did not go off, alerting firefighters to his location

By Bill Carey

ST. LOUIS — The family of St. Louis Firefighter Benjamin Polson, who died during a fire in an abandoned house, has filed a lawsuit alleging his death was caused by defective self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).

The lawsuit targets 3M and its subsidiary, Scott, claiming the equipment failed to operate correctly during the Jan. 13, 2022 fire, which involved a partial building collapse, KMOV reported.

It alleges Polson’s Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) did not activate, leading to a delayed and misdirected search. Firefighters mistakenly searched the first floor and basement, while Polson was on the second floor.

The lawsuit also cites other lawsuits claiming similar problems with SCBA in New York State, Philadelphia, California and Texas.

3M sent KOMV the following statement about the lawsuit:

“We express our condolences to the friends and family of Benjamin Polson. 3M stands by our products and our record of helping protect the safety of first responders.”