Helmets from four of the injured firefighters show the amount of damage due to heat exposure (department photos)
On May 25, 2008, fire and rescue personnel from Loudoun County responded to a structure fire at 43238 Meadowood Court in Leesburg, Virginia. During the course of the incident, seven responders were injured. Of those injured, four firefighters received significant burn injuries, two firefighters sustained orthopedic injuries, and one EMS provider was treated for minor respiratory distress. Given the severity of the injuries and magnitude of the event, an independent Investigative Team was assembled to review the incident.
Specifically, the Team was tasked with reviewing “the events leading up to the incident, the incident operation(s), the firefighter MAYDAY(s), and incident mitigation.”
The Department of Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Management – Fire Marshal’s Office and the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Compliance Program (VOSH) also performed separate, independent, investigations into the Meadowood Court incident.
This Investigative Report contains the results of the Team’s comprehensive review and analysis. All of the information presented is factual and was validated by multiple sources prior to inclusion in this document. It is important to note that the Investigative Team had months to examine the incident and develop recommendations. In contrast, the first personnel to arrive on the scene had only seconds to make critical decisions and take action.
The Team determined that several major factors adversely affected the sequence of events on Meadowood Court, including:
- Supplemental Information
- Situational Awareness
- Strategy and Tactics
- Effective Firefighting Force
- Lightweight Building Construction and Materials
- Fire Behavior