NIOSH and Boston Fire Department released reports today on Boston fire that resulted in tragic loss of two firefighters in March 2014

Blog Post created by susanmckelvey Employee on Mar 10, 2016


The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) and the Boston Fire Department today released reports on their investigations of the Back Bay fire that resulted in the tragic loss of two firefighters on March 26, 2014. Welders installing railings on a nearby building caused the fire; the welding company did not have the necessary permits for this work.


According to the NIOSH report, there were several contributing factors to the fatalities, including the wind-driven nature of the fire itself; firefighter training, staffing and tactics; and the location of fire hydrants. The report cited 15 recommendations, including the provision of a Mayday tactical checklist; requiring the use of sprinkler systems in residential structures and the establishment of retroactive requirements for the installation of fire sprinkler systems; and consideration for the effects of thermal degradation on fire attack hose.


“There are so many factors that can contribute to a fire incident going horribly wrong, horribly fast,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of NFPA’s Outreach and Advocacy. “It is our role to look at these reports and other information so we can learn all we can to improve firefighter and public safety, and prevent a similar tragedy in the future.”


Since the Back Bay incident occurred nearly two years ago, the Technical Committee for NFPA 1961, Standard on Fire Hose, has received input from multiple stakeholders, including Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and the Federal Bureau of Arson, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), in support of examining the existing requirements in NFPA 1961, and in determining whether changes need to be made to the next edition of the standard, to be issued in 2018. As part of those ongoing efforts, a workshop among the NFPA 1961 Technical Committee and other vested parties is planned for this May.


NFPA and the Fire Protection Research Foundation (the Foundation) - the research affilliate of NFPA - offer resources and information that address issues related to this incident:


WPI has established on online fire attack hose burn-through survey to capture fire incidents involving fire hose failure. We strongly encourage fire departments to submit related incidents and/or information through this registry, and to help more accurately capture the actual occurrence of fire hose failures nationwide.