On April 7, 2012, firefighters were attacking a fire at a café when, 40 minutes into the response, conditions took a turn for the worse. The fire chief pushed the two firefighters toward the door, a decision that saved them before the roof collapsed. Despite several attempts to rescue the chief after the collapse, he died from smoke inhalation and thermal burns.
This incident was one of the 64 on-duty firefighter deaths in the U.S. last year, a statistic highlighted in NFPA's new report, Firefighter Fatalities in the United States, 2012. According to the report, 2012 was the fourth consecutive year in which the total number of firefighter fatalities was below 100. Moreover, the 30 volunteer firefighter fatalities was the lowest ever recorded for this group, and the 23 career firefighter deaths was the second-lowest number documented for this group.
For additional firefighter fatality narratives, read the latest edition of NFPA Journal, and watch the video of the report's co-author, Rita Fahy, discussing trends in firefighter deaths: