By Bill Carey
6 October 2022
Seven of the 77 on-duty (LODD) deaths to date occurred when the victim was inside a burning structure. Of those seven one has a cause of death listed by the United States Fire Administration (USFA) as “Unknown.” The other six are listed under “Collapse.”
FDNY Firefighter Timothy Klein died in the line of duty on 24 April 2022. Firefighter Klein was fighting a fire in a two-story duplex in Brooklyn when a collapse occurred. The USFA reporting of the death lists Klein’s cause of death as “Unknown.” This listing is current as of 6 October.
The FDNY statement and news stories covering Firefighter Klein’s death and funeral all stated he was killed in a collapse.
“Firefighter Klein (assigned to Ladder Company 170 but working in Engine Company 257 on this tour) responded in under five minutes with his fellow Firefighters and found visible fire in a private home. The fire quickly escalated to a 3-alarm fire. Conditions in the fire building deteriorated rapidly and the Incident Commander ordered all members from the building. At that time, a collapse occurred inside the building, injuring four members of Engine Company 257 who were inside at the time.” 
“Firefighter Klein responded to a 3–alarm fire at 108-26 Avenue N in Brooklyn earlier this afternoon and was critically injured in a collapse inside the building while he was bravely fighting the fire.” 
“The inferno at 10826 Avenue N in Canarsie turned deadly when flames suddenly swept through the second floor — sending smoke-eaters leaping from windows and part of the structure caving in on itself, fire officials said.” 
“A ceiling collapsed as firefighters battled the third alarm blaze, trapping Klein and sending other firefighters scrambling to safety.” 
“Klein died Sunday fighting a house fire in Canarsie, when he got trapped under a collapsed ceiling.” 
“Klein died in the line of duty Sunday when the second-floor ceiling of the Brooklyn house collapsed.” 
If the USFA data were to be correct then Firefighter Klein’s death would be listed in Collapse and not Unknown in the Cause of Fatal Injury category, changing each by one. It can be said that the slight change is minor but our fatality data, especially in a time when major fire service organizations are beginning to embrace data, should have the smallest number of errors. The Current 2022 Inside Numbers data has been updated to reflect this change.
Strategies, tactics, initiatives and training are using these lump sum numbers in the education of firefighters. Incorrect or unclear data leads to poor firefighter education.
1.“Mayor Adams and Acting Commissioner Kavanagh Announce the Death of Firefighter Timothy Klein” FDNY, 24 April 2022
2. Fire Department City of New York, Facebook, 24 April 2022
3. “Firefighter killed, five others injured after responding to NYC fire: sources” The New York Post, 24 April 2022
4. “Wake, funeral details released for fallen FDNY firefighter Timothy Klein” WABC, 26 April 2022
5. “Fellow firefighters, family and friends mourn the death of Timothy Klein” Spectrum News NY1, 28 April 2022
6. “‘Everything a Firefighter Should Be:’ Timothy Klein, 31, Eulogized at Funeral” NBC New York, 30 April 2022
Top photograph courtesy of FDNY.