OSHA closes citation against Hartford Fire Department - WFSB 3 Connecticut

OSHA closes citation against Hartford Fire Department

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State officials have closed the citation against the Hartford Fire Department after the death of one of its own.

The fire department announced on Friday that the Connecticut Occupational Safety and Health has closed the citation after the fatal fire on Blue Hills Avenue on Oct. 7, 2014.

During that fire, firefighter Kevin Bell died after he ran out of air. Bell died of asphyxia from lack of breathing gas, according to the medical examiner.  

OSHA found problems not only specific to firefighter Bell, but the entire fire department.

On Thursday, OSHA released a report where the Hartford Fire Department was cited for the following violations:

Did not issue and require the use of protective fire/heat resistant hoods

All fire fighters had not received required medical evaluations prior to annual fit testing

Did not ensure that all firefighters had been fit tested for their SCBA within the past 12 months

Did not ensure that all SCBA cylinders underwent hydrostatic testing every five years

Did not ensure that firefighters wore personal protective equipment according to manufacturer's instructions 

The closure of citation happened because Fire Capt. Helene Lynch said the Hartford Fire Department competed all improvements before the July 28 deadline.

“The Department is continuing to partner with CONN-OSHA to identify opportunities to enhance the safety of our men and women,” Lynch said in a statement on Friday.

Last week, a 38-page board of inquiry review was released on the incident.

In the process of being evacuated, Bell became tangled in a piece of wrought iron furniture and was unable to get out, the report stated.

The report states Bell lost contact with his partner at that same time, a lot of attention was directed to firefighter Martinez who, 16 seconds earlier, tumbled out of a second floor window. In the mass confusion, he was hit in the face with a stream of water and lost consciousness. His mayday call was lost in the noise. 

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