NIOSH investigators believe this photo shows conditions very close to the time that the Mayday was called for Victim #2 by FF4. Wind was pushing the smoke plume from right to left. (NIOSH/Keith Muratori photo)
On July 24, 2010, a 40-year-old male career lieutenant (Victim #1) and a 49-year-old male career fire fighter (Victim #2) were found unresponsive at a residential structure fire. The victims and two additional crew members were tasked with conducting a primary search for civilians and fire extension on the 3rd floor of a multifamily residential structure.
The fire had been extinguished on the 2nd floor upon their entry into the structure. While pulling walls and the ceiling on the 3rd floor, smoke and heat conditions changed rapidly. Victim #1 transmitted a Mayday (audibly under duress) that was not acknowledged or acted upon. Minutes later the incident commander ordered an evacuation of the 3rd floor. As a fire fighter exited the 3rd floor, Victim #1 was discovered unconscious and not breathing, sitting on the stairs to the 3rd floor.
Approximately 7 minutes later, Victim #2 was discovered on the 3rd floor in thick, black smoke conditions. Both victims were removed by the rapid intervention team (RIT) and other fire fighters who assisted them. Both victims were pronounced dead at local hospitals.