May 2014 On-Duty Deaths in Detail

The good news is no one died on the fireground. The bad news is training is almost tied with last year


During the month of May the fire service experienced six on-duty deaths. All fall under the category of deaths having occurred outside the “traditional” or cultural definition of a line of duty death. For more information on this definition and that of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s definition of “line of duty death” read “On Duty & Line of Duty: What Is the Difference?” The information presented is not meant to distract from the emotional toll felt by the families and coworkers. It is instead meant to remind us to look greater at the record of fatalities and in comparison to previous years as well as be a measure of substance when used in discussions.

None of the victims died on the fireground or in a manner directly related to fireground activities. The average age of the victims was 57. The youngest was 50 and the oldest were two victims 62 years of age. Five of the six were career firefighters, including one wildland crew supervisor. Of those six, five were officers, ranging from company to chief level. The one who was not an officer was a designated apparatus operator (specific to department rank structure).

Two of the victims died while participating in training exercises. One (age 62) died from a reported heart attack while participating in the fitness test for wildland Red Card certification. The second (age 58) went into cardiac arrest while participating in the maze portion of his department’s SCBA training [1]. These deaths bring the total that occurred in training in 2014 to five so far, one less than the total number in 2013 (That number will rise in June).

Data in Detail

(Number in parentheses is YTD as of posting)

Deaths involving Disorientation: 0

Deaths involving Building Collapse: 0

Deaths involving Flashover, Backdraft, Explosive Incident: 0 (4) (Toledo: 2) (Boston: 2)

Boston “became trapped by fire conditions”

Deaths in 1- and 2-Family Dwellings: 0

Deaths in Multi-Family Dwellings: 0 (4) (Toledo: 2) (Boston: 2)

Deaths in Educational, Institutional, Commercial and Industrial Occupancies: 0 (New Jersey) (1)

1: Fall from roof of restaurant while performing ventilation (New Jersey)

Deaths in Vacant/Abandoned Structures: 0

Multi-Fatality Incidents: 0 (2)

Boston, MA: 2 victims

Toledo, OH: 2 victims

Nature of Death

Asphyxiation: 0

Burns: 0 (2)

Cerebrovascular Accident: 0 (1)

Crushed: 0 (1)

Drowning: 0

Exposure: 0

Heart Attack: 3 (23)

Not Stated: 0 (1)

Other: 2 (3)

Trauma: 0 (4)

Unknown: 1 (6)

Cause of Death

Assault: 0 (1)

Caught/Trapped: 0 (4)

Collapse: 0

Exposure: 0

Fall: 0 (3)

Lost: 0

Other: 1 (1)

Stress/Overexertion: 4 (26)

Struck by: 0 (1)

Trauma: 0

Vehicle Collision: 0 (2)

Unknown: 1 (3)


Average Age: 57

Youngest: 50

Oldest: 62

Firefighters 65 years old or older at time of death: 0 (2)

Volunteer firefighter 19-years old or younger who died responding to alarm or station: 0


Volunteer: 1 (23)

Career: 5 (23)

(1 victim listed as Wildland Full-Time)



Fire Chief: 0 (6)

Deputy Chief: 1 (1)

Assistant Chief: 0 (3)

Battalion Chief: 1 (1)

Major: 0

Captain: 1 (5)

Lieutenant: 1 (6)

Fire Crew Supervisor: 1 (1)

Firefighter: 0 (15)

1: Wildland Full-Time

Firefighter/Ranger/Wildfire Contracted: 0

Pilot: 0 (1)

Recruit/Trainee: 0

Driver/Operator/Engineer: 1 (2)

Fire-Police: 0

Department of Defense: 0

Chaplain: 0 (1)


Deaths Involving Lack of Seatbelt Use: 0

Deaths Involving Apparatus Accidents: 0 (1)


Fireground Assignment/Activity at Time of Death

Incident Command: 0 (1)

(Brush/Grass or Other Outdoor Fire (excluding Wildland): 1)

Fire Attack: 0 (1)

Advancing Hoseline: 0 (3)

2: During residential fire (Boston)

(1: During outdoor fire)

Search: 0 (3)

Deaths where occupants were known to be out of fire structure: 0

(1: Victim killed in secondary collapse while evacuating occupants)

Extrication: 0 (1)

Vent (Roof): 0 (1)

(1: Commercial structure (restaurant))

Pump Operations: 0 (1)

Water Supply: 0 (1)

Overhaul/Salvage: 0

On Scene: 0 (2)


Driving/Operating Vehicle/Apparatus: 0

Death As a Result of EMS Exposure: 0


Deaths Which Occurred During Training: 2 (5)

1: Victim passed away due to heart attack while participating in wildland Red Card fitness test.

1: Victim suffered cardiac arrest during SCBA training.


Department of Defense, Military fire-service LODDs: 0

Deaths Linked to 11 September 2001: 0


Deaths Which Occurred Outside the “Traditional” Line of Duty Definition: 6 (22)

1: Victim suffers aortic dissection four hours after shift that had several emergency calls; victim dies a week later.

1: Victim passes away at home several hours after responding to a structure fire.

1: Victim passed away due to heart attack while participating in wildland Red Card fitness test.

1: Victim suffered cardiac arrest during SCBA training.

1: Victim died one day after falling ill at work.

1: Victim died of nature of injury yet to be reported.


It is always important to reiterate that the discussion of the details in the reporting of these deaths is not meant to diminish the loss. Each number is a person mourned by a family, friends and coworkers. What is intended in this and related writing is that it is important for the fire service to be aware of the details in our on-duty death numbers. Blindly saying that 100 or so firefighters die each year, as well as saying “we’ve lost too many” each time a fatality occurs is turning a blind eye to the data. By understanding the details in the recording we can be more aware of trends, both good and bad, in our efforts to reduce these fatalities.

1. “Maryland Firefighter Dies during Training Exercise”, FireRescue Magazine/ 2 June 2014


January 2014 On-Duty Deaths in Detail

February 2014 On-Duty Deaths in Detail

March 2014 On-Duty Deaths in Detail

April 2014 On-Duty Deaths in Detail
Find us on Google+

“Captain Anonymous Doesn’t Ride Here” Read our comment policy



BioPicBill Carey is the online public safety news and blog manager with PennWell Public Safety, or more specifically FireRescue Magazine/,, and Bill started in the fire service, as a third generation firefighter in 1986, on the eastern shore of Maryland and then continued after moving to Prince George’s County. He served as a volunteer sergeant and lieutenant at Hyattsville. Bill’s writing has been on, Fire Engineering, FireRescue Magazine,, the Jones and Bartlett 2010 edition of “Fire Officer: Principles and Practice”, The Secret List and His recent writing on firefighter behavioral health has been nominated for 2014 Neal Award for Best Subject-Related Series.

You are not authorized to see this part
Please, insert a valid App IDotherwise your plugin won't work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Plugin from the creators ofBrindes Personalizados :: More at PlulzWordpress Plugins