Today in fire history: firefighter perishes in printing office fire

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Sep 28, 2011

On September 28, 1992, Denver firefighters responded to a fire in a two-story printing office.  During the fire suppression operations, one firefighter died.  When firefighters entered the building, they found fires in several areas (fire investigators considered the fire to be arson), and attempted to suppress the fires as they found them.  One firefighter was temporarily working by himself when a section of floor collapsed and the fire intensity suddenly increased.  The firefighter eventually reached a second-story window and alerted other firefighters who were outside.  Over a period of approximately 55 minutes, an estimated 15 rescuers attempted to remove the victim through a window; however, they were unsuccessful due to the confinement of the space in which they were working.  NFPA’s investigation and analysis established these lessons:

  • Operating in pairs while in hazardous areas can reduce the risk to individual fire department members while on the fireground.
  • In addition to entrapping firefighters, a floor collapse can prevent rescuers from reaching firefighters in need of assistance.
  • Rescue personnel operating in a small space can be subject to impediments created by physical conditions that can prevent rescue or lengthen the time required for rescue.

NFPA members can read the full investigation report, and NFPA’s report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States 2010 is available to all site visitors.

-Ben Evarts