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Thread: Pennsylvania Training Officer Badly Burned, Dies

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    Pennsylvania Training Officer Badly Burned, Dies

    Pennsylvania Training Officer Badly Burned, Dies

    Updated: 10-25-2005 02:54:49 PM

    SUSAN NICOL KYLE
    Firehouse.Com Staff Writer

    LEWISTOWN, Pa. -- A Pennsylvania fire officer severely burned during a training exercise Sunday died Tuesday morning in a burn unit in Allentown.

    Altoona Fire Capt. Robert Gallardy, 47, was found in the basement of a structure at the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy about 12:45 p.m. suffering second and third-degree burns over 75 percent of his body, including his face

    He was initially taken to a local hospital, but later flown to the Lehigh Valley Burn Unit in Bethlehem. His respiratory system was compromised by the burns, said Altoona Assistant Chief Greg Epple.

    The incident occurred as Gallardy, who was working alone was preparing for a live burn, the final exercise in a suppression instructor development class.

    Capt. Gallardy, an adjunct instructor, was remembered for his dedication and love of the fire service. "He was a well-respected individual and known throughout the state," Epple said upon learning of his colleague's death.

    A firefighter with more than 30 years service, the captain also was known as a devout family man, the father of three sons.

    Prior to employment with Altoona Fire Dept., he was a volunteer in nearby Cambria County, Chief Epple said.

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    Gallardy, Robert

    Age: 47
    Cause of Death: Other
    Rank: Captain
    Nature of Death: Burns
    Classification: Career
    Emergency Duty: No

    Incident Date: 10/23/2005
    Duty Type: Training
    Incident Time: 12:45
    Activity Type: Other
    Death Date: 10/25/2005
    Fixed Prop. Use: Educational

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Altoona Fire Department
    1319 Washington Avenue
    Altoona , Pennsylvania 16601
    Chief: Reynold D. Santone, Jr.

    Initial Summary:
    Robert Gallardy, Captain of the Altoona Fire Department, while leading a training exercise at the PA State Fire Academy as an Adjunct Insturctor, suffered burns over a large part of his body including his face and respiratory tract. He was taken to Lehigh Valley Burn Center where he succumbed to his injuries. Viewings will be held Saturday, October 29, 2005 and Sunday, October 30, 2005 from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. and again from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.at the Stevens Mortuary, 1421 8th Avenue, Altoona. A funeral to honor Capt Gallardy will be held at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, 1304 Cathedral Square, Altoona on Monday, October 31, 2005 beginning at 10:00 a.m.; Any FD's that plan to attend the services should call the Altoona FD at 814-949-2281 to register and provide the number of personnel attending. FD's are requested to bring only 1 piece of apparatus and they must be in place by 8 AM. Detailed directions will be provided when FD's call in to register. This information provided by AFD Chief Renny Santone.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    Pending


    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application...eath_year=2005

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    Services Scheduled for Fallen Pennsylvania Training Captain
    NIOSH Investigation Underway

    Updated: 10-27-2005 03:17:21 PM

    SUSAN NICOL
    Firehouse.com Staff Writer

    ALTOONA, Pa.

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    Captain Fatally Burned at Pennsylvania Fire Academy Remembered


    Updated: 10-27-2005 10:23:37 PM

    Caitlin Cleary
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania)

    Altoona fire Capt. Robert Gallardy had just surfaced from the burning basement of the cinder block shell, on the state fire academy grounds in Lewistown.

    Capt. Gallardy was cooling off between "live burns," training exercises in which he would observe and evaluate a group of instructor candidates dealing with a structure fire. It was Sunday afternoon, and the 2 1/2 story building, meant to simulate a residence, had seen five such exercises already that day, said Justin Fleming, a spokesman for the state fire commissioner.

    "Between burns, he'd come up to cool off a little bit," said Altoona Fire Chief Renny Santone. "Another instructor asked if he wanted him to take his place. He said, 'No, I'm doing real well.'"

    Capt. Gallardy ducked down into the basement once more, said Chief Santone. But this time, something went terribly wrong. Three instructor candidates found him unconscious on the floor and radioed for help, and a safety crew dragged him out, but Capt. Gallardy, 47, died two days later from severe burns he suffered during the exercise.

    It was the first fatality at the fire academy. An investigation by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is under way, but the results may not be known for months, said Mr. Fleming.

    Capt. Gallardy was taken to Lewistown Hospital, then airlifted to Lehigh Valley Burn Center. According to the state fire commissioner, a large portion of Capt. Gallardy's body was severely burned, including his face and respiratory tract.

    The building on the fire academy grounds where Capt. Gallardy was fatally injured is barricaded now, his gear sent to a lab for analysis to see if he might have experienced a catastrophic equipment failure, said Chief Santone. The Lehigh County coroner conducted an autopsy yesterday.

    The building is one of several training structures at the academy. It is made of concrete block and is specially lined to protect its structural integrity during live burns, said Mr. Fleming.

    When conducting live burn exercises, instructors don't use flammable liquids or fuels, Chief Santone said. They light up straw, adding wooden pallets or skids onto the embers from the previously extinguished fire.

    Several instructors were on the grounds at the time of the accident. The instructor candidates were not recruits but were there to be certified, said Chief Santone. Yesterday, Capt. Gallardy's fellow firefighters were in incident debriefing and stress counseling sessions with a team from the Southern Alleghenies EMS Council.

    Capt. Gallardy came to the Altoona Fire Department from the Summerhill Volunteer Fire Department in Cambria County. He grew up in Summerhill, in a house across the street from Assistant Fire Chief Larry Penatzer.

    "Bob joined here when he was 16, and he ran with us up until nine years ago," said Chief Penatzer. "I had him as an instructor several times; he was very good, very patient, very knowledgeable. He made sure everybody in the building was safe. Whatever needed done."

    Like many departments around the state, Summerhill will send a group of firefighters to Altoona on Monday for Capt. Gallardy's funeral, at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.

    Capt. Gallardy was one of the better-known instructors in the state, said Chief Santone. His department has gotten calls from firefighters all over Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Maryland. He expects 2,000 to 5,000 people to attend Capt. Gallardy's funeral.

    Capt. Gallardy was an adjunct instructor at the state fire academy, assisting in the training of recruits and cadets, both as part of his employment with the Altoona Fire Department and in his off hours, said Chief Santone. He was a member of the county's hazardous material response team and of the Altoona Fire Department's honor guard. In July, he was promoted to captain.

    "Bob is probably one of the best employees in the department," Chief Santone said. "He was a good friend, very knowledgeable. He'd come by off duty and ask if there was anything that needed done. If he was still here right now, you could call him in and he'd show up and do anything you want."

    He is survived by his wife Vickie and three sons: Kyle, 21, Drew, 18, and Derek, 15.

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=39&id=45410

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