Operational Integrity and Command Fortitude

Christopher J. Naum, SFPE

Commandsafety.com

Today December 3, 2010 marks the 11th anniversary of the Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fire that resulted in the line of duty death of six courages brother firefighters.

For those of you who remember this event, take the time to reflect and honor the sacrifice made this day; to those of you who have not heard about the fire before- take the time to learn about the incident, the firefighters, the building, the operational factors and challenges, the courage, fortitude and convictions that define the American Fire Service, it’s honor, tradition and brotherhood.

The Worcester Six;

  • Firefighter Paul Brotherton Rescue 1
  • Firefighter Jeremiah Lucey Rescue 1
  • Lieutenant Thomas Spencer Ladder 2
  • Firefighter Timothy Jackson Ladder 2
  • Firefighter James Lyons Engine 3
  • Firefighter Joseph McGuirk Engine

On Friday, December 3, 1999, at 1813 hours, the Worcester, Massachusetts Fire Department dispatched Box 1438 for 266 Franklin Street, the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Co. A motorist had spotted smoke coming from the roof while driving on an adjacent elevated highway. The original building was constructed in 1906, contained another 43,000 square feet. Both were 6 stories above grade. The building was known to be abandoned for over 10 years.

An extensive search was conducted by Worcester Fire crews through the third and fourth alarms. Suppression efforts continued to be ineffective against huge volumes of petroleum based materials, and ultimately two more crews became disoriented on the upper floors and were unable to escape. When the evacuation order was given one hour and forty-five minutes into the event, five firefighters and one officer were missing. None survived

For additonal insights and report links, go to Commandsafety.com HERE

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