The Third 10

A look at the third 10 line of duty deaths in 2011


From 17 February to 18 April another 10 fire service personnel have died in the line of duty this year. The current total, as of 23 May rests at 36 dead. The statistics for this group reveal the gamut of the American fire service ranging from a young teen killed in personal vehicle collision to an octogenarian dieing from a fall injury. A west coast firefighter died in the most traditional sense while two deaths so far in this grouping have nature and cause unknown.

The average age for this group is 49. The oldest, 82, died of injuries from a fall while responding to a carbon monoxide alarm in New Jersey [1]. The youngest, 18, died when his personal vehicle went off the road, overturned and struck a tree. He was responding to a mutual aid fire call in Mississippi [2]. These deaths mark two firefighters who died at or over the age of 65 and one who died at an age younger than 19. Both were volunteer firefighters.

The ages in this group are:
18, 24, 49, 49, 50, 51, 51, 58, 61, 82

The ranks among this group are:
Firefighter: 7
Captain: 2
Fire Chief: 1

A wildland firefighter (Firefighter/Forest Ranger) was killed during a fire when struck by a loose tree [3]. A Texas firefighter was killed during a wildfire, struck by another vehicle after exiting his vehicle which was being overrun by the fire [4].

A Los Angeles firefighter was killed, crushed, while operating at a house fire. He was one of six firefighters caught in a ceiling collapse [5].

In Connecticut, a firefighter working water supply during a smoke investigation collapsed and died [6].

A Kentucky fire chief died from a heart attack while participating in a wildfire training exercise [7]. This is the second “Fire Chief” and the fourth chief officer to die in the line of duty so far this year.

A North Carolina firefighter died in a accident involving his personal vehicle [8]. The firefighter was responding to a call for a brush fire at the time of the accident. This is the second death involving personal vehicles and fire response for 2011.

In the category of non-traditional line of duty deaths, a Ohio captain died in his sleep after working two back-to-back EMS calls [9]. The nature and cause of his death are unknown.

No firefighters died while fighting fires in vacant or abandoned buildings, to date. No firefighters died during fires in large structures, related to disorientation, to date.

Related
“The First 10” Backstep, January 2011
“The Second 10” Backstep, April 2011
Fire Service “Sabremetrics” Backstep
2011 Firefighter Fatality Notices, U.S. Fire Administration

Photograph courtesy of author.




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