Saturday, June 4, 2016

RESPONSIBILITY

My discussions over the years regarding the death of Firefighter Maurice Bartholomew have ended with one truth.  I, nor ANY Firefighter have EVER sought to place blame on anyone, since blame is something very different from taking responsibility. What each Firefighter, whether black or white, retired or current has always stated is that David Allen, as Captain, has never taken responsibility for losing a member of his team in that fire.

As clearly stated in the NIOSH report...

Ensure that crews stay together at all times.

"The department's SOPs state that crews should stay together at all times. The company officer is responsible for keeping his/her crew intact at all times and should provide the crew with the direction ordered by the IC. "

Below are extracts of the NIOSH report associated with the Fire that claimed the life of Maurice Bartholomew in 2000.  In the report, David Allen is the Captain of Rescue 32.

Summary

On November 25, 2000, a 30-year-old career male fire fighter (the victim) died in a residential house fire. At 0135 hours, fire fighters received a call of a reported structure fire. Engines 5, 2, 1, Ladder 11, and Rescue 32 responded to the early morning call. At 0141 hours, Engine 5 arrived on the scene and the Captain assumed incident command (IC). The IC reported to dispatch that they had a well-involved, single-story house fire. He then decided to send a search team inside the structure because it was unclear if the homeowners had exited. The victim from Engine 5, and the Captain and the Lieutenant from Rescue 32, teamed up to enter the house and complete the search. The victim, Captain, and Lieutenant advanced a 1¾-inch handline through the front door as the Captain and Lieutenant from Ladder 11 were ordered to set up a positive pressure ventilation (PPV) fan at the front door and then back up the search crew. The Lieutenant and a fire fighter from Engine 1 advanced a second line to the rear of the structure to attack the fire. The victim, and the Captain and Lieutenant from Rescue 32, advanced their line down a hallway and into a bedroom when the Captain noticed heavy fire in a room off to their right. The Captain requested that the victim pass him the nozzle because there was heavy fire in an adjacent room in the rear of the structure and he was afraid it was going to flash. The Lieutenant responded, saying that they could not locate the nozzle. In fear of a possible flashover, the Captain ordered the victim and Lieutenant to exit immediately. As the three attempted to exit, the hallway became heavily involved with fire. The Lieutenant and Captain fell over debris and the victim became disoriented. The Captain and Lieutenant exited the structure but the victim did not exit. The IC immediately ordered exterior crews to enter the structure and search for the missing victim. Approximately 56 minutes later, fire fighters found the victim. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detail of Evacuation
With the heat intensifying, the Captain ordered the victim and Lieutenant to exit the structure immediately. At this point, the Lieutenant and fire fighter from Engine 1, who were on the B/C corner, recalled seeing the roof over the kitchen begin to collapse. The Captain from Rescue 32 stated that the Lieutenant turned and went in front of him toward the front door and the victim turned and was face to face with him. The Captain then turned, which placed the victim behind him, and attempted to exit. The Lieutenant stood and began to run toward the exit before falling over heavy debris (clothing, furniture, and paper products). At approximately 0147 hours, the Captain stated that heavy fire filled the hallway and he also fell to the floor. He then told the Lieutenant that they had to go through the fire to exit the structure. The Captain then proceeded to pass the Lieutenant and exit the structure. The Lieutenant exited the structure shortly after. The Captain did not see the victim exit, but assumed the victim was right behind him. He asked the Lieutenant if the victim had exited and the Lieutenant could not recall if he did. 

Recommendations

Ensure that when the IC orders an interior fire attack or search, the fire fighters follow the SOPs for an interior attack.

Department SOPs state that when the IC initiates an interior attack or a search for civilians, the fire fighters should follow the SOPs for an offensive attack. The offensive attack should consist of fire fighters advancing one hoseline to the interior for a fast, aggressive attack, provide support activities (e.g., ventilation), complete a primary search, advance a second hoseline to the interior to back up the first hoseline, pump water, and quickly evaluate success. The SOPs should be followed to avoid simultaneous offensive and defensive attacks in the same area.

Ensure that crews stay together at all times.

The department's SOPs state that crews should stay together at all times. The company officer is responsible for keeping his/her crew intact at all times and should provide the crew with the direction ordered by the IC.

The entire report is at the link below:

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200044.html

Read that last recommendation again.

The department's SOPs state that crews should stay together at all times. The company officer is responsible for keeping his/her crew intact at all times and should provide the crew with the direction ordered by the IC.

Draw your own conclusions.

David Allen is not the right person for this job!  The Department needs someone WITHOUT the history and baggage associated with decades inside the Department.

7 comments:

George Hawthorne said...

Nothing left to be said after that report!

There is NO WAY he should be "Leader" of the Fire Department. Yes, I WANT TO SEE THE COUNCIL VOTE.

That will separate the cowards, corrupt and complicit council people from the courageous council people with integrity, ethics, leadership and intellect.

Another clear and concise example of the poor judgement and incompetence in the Mayor's "hiring practices" that aren't well conceived and overtly exposes the depth that the Mayor's administration misfeasance, malfeasance, maladministration and incompetence.

No RECALL?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hawthorne,
Unbelievably, there are even firefighters who seem to be defending Allen and have said on this blog that there was a problem with Glover trying to advance minorities! Wow...They were happy to see the public lynching in spite of how wrong it was. It seems that there are firefighters who had a problem with the possibility of a minority becoming the fire chief. Wow again!

Anonymous said...

Of course Allen shouldn't be the Chief, but for reasons unrelated to the tragic death of Maurice.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed by what has come out over the past several months. I had no idea just how bad things have been right here in Pensacola thanks to Hayward. History is bound to repeat itself with the incompetent people in charge throughout the city. There are a lot of skeletons that need to come out of the closet once and for all. I hope that the entire history of racism and those who are responsible for it will finally come out.

Anonymous said...

There are a number of reasons he should never be the fire chief. But the way he handled Maurice's death also speaks to his lack of character. In the end he will probably get the job in spite of all the baggage. Hayward is good at making bad choices.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting the report.

You don't leave anyone behind.
When you do, you take,responsibility for your actions.
The team leader-captain is responsible for failures as well as successes.
Things happen, but you always know where your teammates are so you can get them help if needed.

Anonymous said...

I have known David his entire career and he NEVER takes responsibility for anything or anyone. He is not a leader that I would want to follow!