Updated: 04-14-2003 12:36:08 PM

Fire Marshal Recommends Changes After Osceola FF Deaths


Firehouse.Com News

The Florida State Fire Marshal's Office issued recommendations Wednesday for new statewide training standards in light of an investigation into the training deaths of two Osceola County firefighters in July 2002.

The report summarizes the live-fire training incident in which a flashover killed Lt. John Mickel and rookie firefighter Dallas Begg while they performed a search and rescue drill in a one-story cement block house.

The report notes several problems with the drill. It says there was no written plan reviewed in advance, there was too much fuel for the fire, including a foam mattress added after ignition, not enough ventilation, and no alternate escape route from the fire room. The layout of the house also contributed to the tragedy because it was difficult for firefighters to access some rooms and to maneuver in the narrow hallways.

Also, six minutes passed between the first unanswered radio messages to Mickel and Begg, and the time a crew was deployed to look for them.

In an effort to avoid a similar tragedy in the future, the Fire Marshal's Office is recommending that the current edition of NFPA 1403 be adopted as state law. Osceola County Fire Rescue adopted it in December 2002.

The recommendations also include certification for instructors conducting live-fire training, and further training for firefighters on recognizing the signs of a flashover and using proper ventilation techniques and water application to reduce the chance of a flashover. The report also recommends using a thermal imaging camera to monitor fire conditions and the location of firefighters.

Randall Napoli, director of the Florida State Fire Marshal's Office, told the Orlando Sentinel that instructors at the fatal incident "either did not have the proper training or they did not use it when they executed the exercise."