OSHA investigating firefighter deaths

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Staff reportThe N.C. Department of Labor has opened an investigation into the deaths Friday of two firefighters at Salisbury Millwork.
A spokesmen for the state agency said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation of the Salisbury Fire Department and could open an investigation of Salisbury Millwork, depending on the results of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives into the cause of the fire.
While OSHA investigations related to the deaths of firefighters are rare, the agency follows the same type of guidelines as with other workplace incidents, according to Dolores Quesenberry and Neal O’Briant, public information officers for the Department of Labor.
OSHA investigators will look at the training firefighters received, training records, the incident command procedure and the rapid intervention teams.
They will also check the procedures against the National Fire Protection standards to make sure the city was in full compliance.
Investigators will also interview witnesses and other firefighters.
“These were two rookie firefighters,” Quesenberry said. “We want to make sure they were properly trained.”
She added that investigating the deaths of firefighters is a unique situation.
“Their job is to go in” and face dangerous conditions, she said. “They are such heroes.”
The agency has six months to complete the investigation, but typically finishes within two to three months.