Archive for June 29th, 2011

NIOSH report on Christopher Wheatley LODD

The NIOSH report on the August 9, 2010 LODD of Chicago FF/PM Christopher Wheatley has been released. FF/PM Wheatley died from injuries sustained when he fell from a fire escape at commercial fire.

Executive Summary

On August 09, 2010, a 31 year-old male career fire fighter (the victim) died from a fall while climbing a fire escape ladder. Crews were responding to an alarm at a 4 story mixed occupancy structure. When crews arrived at 0031 hours, they noticed sparks emitting from the top of the roof near an external exhaust duct that originated in a street level restaurant. The victim and three other fire fighters were using an exterior fire escape to access the roof. At the fourth floor landing the victim started to ascend the vertical ladder to the roof carrying a 63 pound hand pump in his right hand while being supported by a fire fighter on the landing. When out of reach of the supporting fire fighter, the victim lost his grip on the ladder falling 53 feet to the pavement. The victim was transported to the local medical center where he was pronounced dead.

Contributing Factors

  • Using a fire escape to access the roof rather than a safer means such as an aerial ladder or interior stairway
  • Victim unable to maintain contact with the vertical portion of fire escape due to carrying the hand pump.

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure that standard operating guidelines (SOGs)on the use of fire escapes are developed, implemented, and enforced
  • Ensure that tactical level accountability is implemented and enforced
  • Ensure that companies are rigorously trained in safe procedures for roof operations and climbing ladders of any type
  • Ensure that fire fighters are rigorously trained in safe procedures for carrying and/or hoisting equipment when ascending or descending elevations
  • Evaluate the fire prevention inspection guidelines and process to ensure that they address high hazard occupancies, such as restaurant, and incorporate operational crew participation.


The complete report can be found HERE.

The Chicago Tribune has a related article HERE.

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Hillside Fire Department update

The Hillside Fire Department in MABAS Division 20 was added to the site recently with images supplied by Bill Friedrich. The photo of the fire station which was posted did not accurately reflect the current building which had a second floor added some years ago. Ryan Wyckoff has updated the photo which has now been added to the site.

Hillside Fire Station

A current shot of the station shows the second floor largely hidden behind a very mature tree. The building has two bays in the front and another two on the side. Both ambulances use the side doors and the squad, the truck, and both engines use the front doors. Hillside's brand new Pierce Velocity quint can be seen in the station next to the 2008 Pierce Puc engine. Ryan Wyckoff photo

Hillside Fire Station

This shot was taken circa 1985, before the second floor addition, shows a small sapling of a tree that was recently planted in the parkway which has since become enormous. The station does not have the side bays and the apparatus visible includes a 1985 Grumman AerialCat and a 1975 American LaFrance pumper. Bill Friedrich collection

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