Today commemorates the anniversary of the Sofa Superstore fire in Charleston, South Carolina, in which nine firefighters lost their lives while engaged in aggressive interior operations at a commercial building occupied and operating as a furniture store and warehouse. On the evening of June 18, 2007, units from the Charleston Fire Department responded to a fire at the Sofa Super Store, a large retail furniture outlet in the West Ashley district of the city. Within less than 40 minutes, the fire claimed the lives of nine firefighters and changed the lives of countless others. The incident galvanized the nation’s fire service and to this day continues to generate commentary and observations within wide latitude of functional areas. What has changed since that day, three years ago?

The publication of the Routley Report was a wake-up call to the fire service, but did we hit the snooze button and roll back over? Are we catching those extra forty winks at the expense of what we should be jumping out of our bunks and engaging in?

If you haven’t taken the time to read the authoritative reports, now is the time to do so. Make it one of your definitive activities for the weekend. Reflect upon its insights, recommendations and suggestions and think about your organization, department or agency.

Stop and think about where the fire service is today; where is your department today? Any measurable changes that reflect the front page news of past events or reports? Or is it business as usual? More importantly; where are YOU today? What have you done based upon the lessons learned or insights expressed to make you a better prepared and knowledgeable firefighter, officer or commander?

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Comment by Rusty Mancini on June 20, 2010 at 10:12am
I will echo the words of others, we can honor these men by learning from such a tragic event. If you have that mindset that, it cant happen to us, think again.. it can and will.
Comment by lutan1 on June 18, 2010 at 5:31pm
It saddens me to think that we probably haven't learnt from this and similar incidents.

There's mutliple discussions on this site alone where members have little or no regard for FF safety. You're no less of a FF or Leader if you make a defensive attack and risk assess a job and deem it too dangerous.

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