Report: Water Supply Among Ohio Firefighter Death Factors

TOLEDO, OH – A federal agency’s draft report on a suspected arson fire that killed two Ohio firefighters last year said that an inadequate water supply was among several factors that contributed to their deaths.

The report also noted shortcomings in risk assessment, resource deployment and absence of a sprinkler system in the deadly Toledo blaze. A final report on the fire from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is expected to be released this week, The Blade reported.

Veteran firefighter Stephen Machcinski and rookie James Dickman died after they were trapped inside in a burning apartment on Jan. 26, 2014.

Ray Abou-Arab, the owner of the building, is accused of using a flammable liquid to start the fast-moving fire. He has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder and other charges.

According to court documents, one apartment resident told investigators that the fire broke out soon after Abou-Arab came out of a garage.

The draft report on the fire recommended changes to improve safety at the scene of fires, including that firefighters should make more extensive searches and risk assessments before entering burning buildings. The report also suggested more training and improved coordination in response to fires.

City officials declined to comment on the report.

The report also had a timeline of what happened and firefighters’ roles at the scene.

WTOL-TV reported the timeline recounted radio traffic among firefighters, including a mayday call in which someone said, “Get out of the structure!”

Radio calls from the scene of the fire indicated that the pair faced rapidly deteriorating conditions once inside the six-unit apartment building near downtown. Firefighters found Machcinski and Dickman inside, carried them out and tried unsuccessfully to save them.

Autopsies showed that both died from burns and carbon monoxide. No one else was seriously injured in the blaze.

From The Associated Press via The Albany Times Union

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