Photo taken from the rear of the structure just hours after the collapse. The left side of photo shows the remains of the collapsed portion of the Side D wall. (Photocourtesy of the State Fire Marshal’s Office/NIOSH)
On December 8, 2011, a 43-year-old male career fire fighter received fatal injuries when he was trapped under falling debris during a partial collapse at the rear of a three-story residential structure.
The victim was part of a rescue company that was conducting a secondary interior search for a reported missing resident. The secondary search was initiated approximately 30 minutes after the crews had arrived on-scene and approximately 10 minutes after fire fighters evacuated the building due to deteriorating conditions within the burning structure.
The secondary search was initiated after the missing civilian's roommate persisted in telling fire fighters that his friend was still inside, and most likely in a rear, second-floor bedroom. The collapse trapped the victim under debris on the first floor while the injured fire fighter rode the second floor down to the basement.
A total of 11 fire fighters were inside the structure at the time of the collapse. Rescue operations took approximately 50 minutes to free the victim who was unresponsive.
Extensive shoring was required within the unstable collapse area and crews had to breach the brick cellar wall to reach the injured fire fighter. Following the extrication efforts, fire fighters continued to search for the missing civilian.
It was later determined that the missing civilian was not inside the structure at the time of the collapse. The civilian had left prior to the arrival of the fire department.