By Bill Carey
11 February 2023
The work involving breaking down the numbers of interior line of duty deaths each year continues. The latest entry into the site is from 2015. That year there were 90 on-duty firefighter deaths as defined and listed by the United States Fire Administration (USFA) as of 3 February 2023.
For providing specific data, I define interior deaths as those on the fireground that are traumatic versus those that are medical in the same way the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program differentiates the two. Since the majority of discussion and writing about interior deaths focus on the specific interior and up close work (advancing hoselines, searching for occupants, and vertical ventilation) I may include deaths where the victim was working on the ground outside of the structure but close enough to have been killed in a collapse or explosion.
10 of the 90 deaths from 2015 are counted as interior deaths and include two that suffered traumatic death outside of a burning structure. These two involved firefighters killed in a wall collapse.
On 12 October two Missouri firefighters were killed while operating in an alley during a fire in a mixed occupancy structure. Firefighters were withdrawn from the building and directed to set up a collapse zone. An interior collapse occurred causing a wall collapse that trapped firefighters in the alley.
12 October: Kansas City, MO | Kansas City, MO (NIOSH report) (department report)
A total of five firefighters have been listed under the activity type Advancing Hoselines. Four of these five were caught in a structural collapse of some type. A Georgia firefighter was killed in a floor collapse while exiting the structure. A Pennsylvania firefighter was killed in a porch collapse. An Ohio firefighter was killed in a floor collapse, and a South Dakota firefighter was also killed in a floor collapse. The fifth firefighter, from New York, became disoriented and lost while fighting a basement fire.
All of these deaths occurred involved residential structures. Three of the victims were members of an engine company. One was a member of a rescue company, and the other’s company assignment is unknown.
11 February: Macon-Bibb County, GA
9 March: Clearfield County, PA
12 April: Valley Springs, SD (NIOSH report)
19 December: Saugerties, NY (NIOSH report)
28 December: Hamilton, OH (NIOSH report)
Search and Rescue
Two firefighters are listed under this activity type for 2015. Both died while searching; one for occupants and one for fire. Both died in a fall down an open elevator shaft. A firefighter in Ohio died searching for occupants in a high-rise building. A firefighter in Illinois died while searching for fire in a warehouse.
One victim was a member of a truck company and the other was a member of a rescue company.
26 March: Cincinnati, OH (NIOSH report)
14 December: Chicago, IL (NIOSH report)
One firefighter’s death is listed under this activity type. A Colorado firefighter, assigned to a truck company, fell through a translucent corrugated roof panel while checking a commercial structure for fire extension during a dumpster fire.
28 June: Denver, CO (NIOSH report)
- Carey, B. (2022, January 15) On Duty & Line of Duty: What Is the Difference? Data Not Drama https://data-not-drama.com/2022/01/15/on-duty-line-of-duty-what-is-the-difference/
- (Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program, n.d.) Fatality Types. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Retrieved January 7, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/abouttheprogram/abouttheprogram.html
Photograph courtesy of Unsplash.