Line of Duty Death
On December 23, 2011, firefighter James Rice passed away while battling a three-alarm fire. It has been said that his cause of death was due to breathing in “toxic fumes”, while he was wearing a breathing mask. We are still waiting for the state medical examiner to release the final report on how Rice passed away. Though we are unsure of his death it has been confirmed that an electrical problem sparked the blaze. Residents at the scene said a malfunctioning fuse on the second-floor bedroom started the fire. The building was equipped with working fire alarm system, smoke alarms, heat detectors, and carbon monoxide alarms but did not a sprinkler system within their facility. According to investigators they were not required when the building was built but would be if were built as of today. There are also no outstanding code violations for this facility. It seems as if the sprinklers were present they would have played a major role in this investigation. The sprinklers would of course help with the control of the fire as well as the “toxic fumes.” Also if his Personal Protective Equipment and S.B.C.A. was checked and up to date, according to the press, Rice wouldn’t have passed from the “toxic fumes.” The amount of time Rice spent breathing in the “toxic fumes” could have been limited for our veteran. It is still hard to determine what exactly could have been done to help prevent this tragic event from happening since we still don’t have the full story. As per the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health conducts a review for each firefighter line of duty death to see if there are lessons that can be learned to improve workplace safety, according to the press release.
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