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FIRE DEPARTMENT CITY OF NEW YORK
SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICES COMMAND
INVESTIGATIVE REPORT
BRONX BOX 3-3 2797
1575 WALTON AVENUE
AUGUST 27, 2006
CASE NUMBER 2006-SB-029
FATAL INJURY
LIEUTENANT HOWARD J. CARPLUK JR.
ENGINE COMPANY 42
FIREFIGHTER MICHAEL C. REILLY
ENGINE COMPANY 75
VOLUME I
THE INVESTIGATION
I. SUMMARY
On Sunday, August 27, 2006, at 1230 hours, the New York City Fire
Department's Bronx Communications Office received a telephone alarm reporting a fire
in a store at 1575 Walton Avenue. The initial response to Bronx Box 2797 was two
Engine Companies, two Ladder Companies and one Battalion. Engine Company 42
arrived at 1233 hours, observed heavy smoke venting from the front of a 99¢ store and
transmitted a 10-75. Standard firefighting operations were initiated for a fire in a
taxpayer building.
The fire building was a one story non-fireproof (NFP) commercial building. This
comer building was a five sided irregular shaped taxpayer. Approximately six years
earlier, on July 17, 2000, a third alarm severely damaged this structure. This building
underwent an extensive alteration that was not consistent with the architectural plans
filed. Three stores occupied the building: a 99¢ store, a cell phone store, and a
laundromat.
The 99¢ store, the fire occupancy, was approximately 45 feet wide by 65 feet
deep. Fire originated on the first floor in the rear of the store and quickly extended to the
area. The combustible stock ignited the Masonite® ceiling which was nailed
directly to the bottom of the roof joists. Due to fire conditions, a second alarm was
transmitted.
A V -shaped collapse of the first floor of the 99¢ store occurred twenty one
after the arrival of Fire Department units. This collapse took place without
plunging members into the collapse area. The first floor collapse was a result of
cellar column failure. Following the collapse a third alarm was transmitted.
Ten members fell into the collapse area when the collapse occurred. Four
1IleI1I1t>ers of Engine Company 92 were immediately removed by the Firefighter Assist
Search Team (FAST). The six remaining members were trapped in the collapse.
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• The Ladder Company 44 Can Firefighter was extricated in approximately
four minutes.
• The Engine Company 75 Back-Up Firefighter was extricated in approximately
43 minutes.
• The Ladder Company 44 Officer was extricated in approximately 56 minutes.
• The Battalion 17 Chief was extricated in approximately one hour.
• Lieutenant Howard J. Carpluk, the Engine Company 75 Officer, wa<; extricated in
approximately 1 hour and 21 minutes.
• Firefighter Michael C. Reilly, the Engine Company 75 Nozzle Firefighter, was
extricated in approximately 1 hour and 41 minutes.
Lieutenant Howard J. Carpluk Jf. of Engine Company 75 (Assigned Engine
Company 42) and Probationary Firefighter Michael C. Reilly of Engine Company 75
were transported by Fire Department of New York, Emergency Medical Service to Bronx
Lebanon Hospital. Both members succumbed to their injuries.
The Ladder Company 44 Officer and the Battalion 17 Chief were transported by
EMS and admitted to Jacobi Hospital. The remaining trapped members were transported
by EMS to area hospitals where they were treated and released.
As a result of the investigation into these fatalities, Safety and Inspection Services
Command makes the following recommendations:
SECTION A
L Establish a program to ensure buildings that have sustained major structural
damage are properly repaired in accordance with the NYC Building Code prior to
being reoccupied.
2. Have Department representatives meet with the New York City Department of
Buildings (DOB) to address concerns regarding failure of Professional Engineers
and Registered Architects to fully comply with DOB Directive 14175.
3. Equip all handie-talkies with an emergency alert button on the remote
microphone.
4. Provide the Incident Commander with the capability to capture and maintain the
handie-talkie identifier on the scene of an operation.
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5. Re-emphasize the critical need for all members to follow the MAYDAY
procedures as outlined in the Communications Manual. Chapter 9.
6. Reinforce the procedures established in section 9.5 of the Communications
Manual to use the Emergency Alert Tone Assisted Rescue or the Feedback
Assisted Rescue to locate missing members.
7. Re-emphasize procedures for establishing and using a Secondary Tactical
Channel for firefighting operations.
8. Amend the Communications Manuel Chapter 9, section 9.4, to include the use of
emergency alert button by the Incident Commander to gain control of the handie­
talkie during MAYDAY or URGENT transmissions.
9. Incorporate into training opportunities the strategies and tactics the Incident
Commander should consider when confronted with a collapse trapping members.
10. Reinforce the policies established in AUC 320, Firefighter Assist and Search
Team - FAST Unit.
11. Ensure the Borough Communications Office assigns an additional FAST Unit
when notified that a FAST Unit has been put to work and the fire is not "Under
ControL"
12. Develop operational procedures for conducting roll calls during operations.
13. Amend AUC 275 Addendum 1 and Addendum 2 to address Rescue and Squad
operations including MAYDAY incidents.
14. Reinforce the responsibilities of the Resource Unit Leader as listed in the Incident
Command Manual. Chapter 2, Addendum 2.
15. Re-emphasize to all members the importance of following all SCBA policies and
procedures.
16. Amend Safety Bulletin 65 to include the personal facepiece in the Semi Annual
Inspection of Safety Equipment.
17. Reinforce to all Chief and Company Officers the importance of rotating members
and providing relief at operations when necessary.
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18. Re-emphasize to all Chief Officers that BattalionlDivision Firefighters must
immediately relay the incident duration time to the Incident Commander.
19. Incorporate additional building construction courses into the syllabus of the
FDNY training programs.
20. Establish a multi-level building construction certification program.
21. Amend the Communications Manual Chapter 10 appendix C for exposure
identification of taxpayer buildings.
22. Re-establish a 24-hour Imaging (Photo) Unit staffed by trained members that will
respond to multiple alarms, unusual incidents and major accidents.
23. Consider requesting the Con Edison vacuum truck to respond to a similar type
collapse.
24. Expand the current 7
th
DivisionIDOB joint taxpayer inspection pilot program
citywide.
SECTIONB
25. Amend all Department Publications to address lightweight building construction.
26. Ensure that Engine Company apparatus are always positioned at serviceable
hydrants or supplied by an adequate source of water at operations.
27. Establish a policy defining how many hoselines can safely be supplied by a single
source of water.
28. Schedule joint training opportunities between Special Operations Command
(SOC) Units and SOC Support Ladder Companies.
29. Review the A-8 procedures for reporting DOB violation found by this
Department.
30. Incorporate a low air warning system into the Fast Pak.
31. Update the current Dispatchers Action Guide, Dispatchers Directives, and
Dispatchers Advisories.
32. Mark all lumber (shoring material) used for structural reinforcement in a manner
that is readily identifiable.
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COLLAPSE FACTORS:
The cellar columns were the main focus in this investigation. The Investigation Team
determined the following conditions contributed to the first floor collapse:
1. Deterioration of the Cellar Columns
The building was constructed in 1927. Based on the results of the microbiological
analyses and resistance drillings performed by the Wood Advisory Services, Inc.,
a significant amount of deterioration was observed in the columns, BC-B3,
BC-B4, and BC-B5 below the cellar floor. Because the columns were in direct
contact with the soil, they were susceptible to wood decay after they were initially
installed. Termite damage was also evident at the base of the cellar columns.
2. Lack of a "Due Diligence Inspection" of the Structure
One of the moral responsibilities as a Professional Engineer is to perform a "Due
Diligence Inspection." This is a comprehensive inspection of the entire building
to identify any structural deficiencies that might exist. This inspection IS
performed prior to the drawing of any architectural plans and construction.
Failure to Follow Architectural Plans
• The roof construction of the fire building was not in accordance with the plan on
file with DOB.
• The partition walls on the first floor were removed and the original three stores
on Walton A venue were combined into one larger store. The B line columns on
the first floor were also removed during this construction.
Work Performed Without Architectural Plans
In order to create a level floor in the 99¢ store, the different floor heights of the original
stores needed to be raised approximately 18" from exposure #2 to the common wall.
There were no plans on file allowing the contractor to perform this alteration.
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CAUSE OF STRUCTURAL FAILURE:
The primary cause of the collapse was the advanced decay at the base of the cellar
columns. The majority of original columns were decayed below the cellar floor line.
This advanced decaying was caused by a biological degradation and termite damage.
Because of this decay many of the cellar columns (See Figure #6)' were not resting on
their respective footings. This allowed vertical movement of the cellar columns.
1"
LA?UIh
i
!
I
!
I
i
6'S"
Decay
I
!
Be A2 Be A3 Be A4 Be B3 Be B4 Be B5
",-HoIT.Sc:oIo 6" X 6" x 7'
6" x 6" x 7'9" 6" x 6" x 8'4" 7%" x 7't." x 7'4" 6" x 6" x 7'4" 5%" x 5Y." x 9'4"
Figure #6
Deterioration of Cellar Columns
Wood Advisory Services Inc., "Evaluation of Solid Wood and Plywood Elements at 1575 Walton Avenue, Bronx N.Y,"
Appendix IV, Visual Assessment Diagram
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MODE OF COLLAPSE DUE To SUBSTANDARD CONSTRUCTION:
1. Failure of the connection points at the B4 column. A portion of the wooden
corbel at the B4 column was removed along with the removal of the metal "T"
bracing to allow the new B5 column to be butted up to it. The removal of the
metal "T" bracing weakened the connection point that attached the girder, corbel
and B4 column.
2. Failure of the B line girder assembly. This assembly consisted of the original B
line continuous girder, 6" x 6" blocking of various heights and additional top
girders. This girder assembly was constructed to level the first floor during the
alteration. The lack of metal "T" bracing to secure the blocking to the girders
created an unstable assembly. Plywood strips were nailed to the blocking
connecting them to the continuous girder only. These plywood strips were not
found on all the blocking and did not extend to the top girders. Common nails
(20d) were incorrectly angle nailed (toe nailed) into the blocking to secure them
to the top girders. (Figure #7) This nailing procedure could not withstand lateral
forces imposed as the girder assembly became unstable. As the B4 column
compressed and the weight shifted the B line girder assembly failed.
B5B4 B3 B2 Bl
Exposure #1
Figure #7
B Line Columns and Girders
View from Exposure #2
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4. bnproper nailing practice:
A. An insufficient number of nails were used to join the two 2" x 10" pieces of
dimensional lumber to create the top girders in the B line girder assembly.
Instead they were basically two 2" x 10" pieces of dimensional lumber next
to each other acting independently. Therefore the top girders did not
possess the structural strength of true 4" x 10" composite girders.
(Figure #9)2
B. The nailing schedule as stated in Table 10-4 3 of the NYC Department of
Buildings was not adhered to when securing the plywood sub floor and
flooring to the first floor joists.
C. Lack of nailing of the first floor joists to the B line top girders.
Two-1 W' x 9 Y .." x 14' 9" joists nailed together, four (4) nails connecting elements together
Two-1 Yz" x 9 %" x 12' jOists nailed together, three (3) nails connecting elements together
Figure #9
Nailing Pattern ofB Line Top Girders
Refer to Figure #2 for Original Top Girder Placement
2 Wood Advisory Services Inc .• "Evaluation of Solid Wood and Plywood Elements at 1575 Walton Avenue. Bronx N.Y."
Appendix IV, Visual Assessment Diagram
3 §27-624 Table 10-4 Nailing Schedule
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5. Improper plywood layout on the first floor of the 99¢ store. This was contrary to
standard construction practice. (Photo #20)
Photo #20
Improper Plywood Layout
The structural members of this building were in severe distress and precarious
prior to fire operations. The failure of the cellar columns, coupled with the
of the B line girder assembly, in conjunction with the lack of sufficient nailing,
plywood layout all contributed to the catastrophic "V" shaped collapse of the first
of the 99¢ store.
The lack of a "Due Diligence Inspection" by the Professional Engineer allowed
structural deficiencies of the decayed columns to exist. The contractor failed to follow
architectural plan on file for the roof and wall partitions. In addition, the contractor
working without plans for the leveling construction of the first floor. This
DL<UJ,V.W,V. construction contributed to the mode of failure of the first floor. (Figure 10)
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VI. FDNY OPERATIONS
On Sunday August 27, 2006 at 1230 hours, the Communications Office of the
New York City Fire Department in the Borough of the Bronx received a telephone alarm
reporting a store fire at 1575 Walton Avenue. Engine Company 42, Ladder Company 44,
Engine Company 43, Ladder Company 59 and Battalion 17 were assigned to respond.
The alarm was filled out on receipt of a second source and Engine Company 46 was
assigned as the third Engine. Engine Company 92 then became available and was
assigned as the fourth Engine.
Heavy precipitation occurred during the operation with approximately a half inch
rain falling between 1200 and 1500 hours. The temperature reached a high of 74°
The wind was from the southeast with an average wind speed of 11 miles per
The fire building was a one story brick and joist non-fireproof (NFP) commercial
UUU.1UE" built on a grade and located on the comer of Walton A venue and East Mount
Avenue in the Borough of the Bronx. The building was a five sided irregularly
taxpayer. Three stores occupied the building: a 99¢ store, a cell phone store and a
unOronlat. The fire occupancy (a 99¢ store) was approximately 45 feet wide by 65 feet
The dimensions of the fire building are shown in Figure # 11.
During operations, the fire building occupancies were designated as follows:
99¢ store was the fire occupancy, the cell phone store was the occupancy to the right
the common wall, and the laundromat was adjacent to the cell phone store.
exposures were designated as follows:
Exposure #1 Street - Walton Avenue
Exposure #2 6 story NFP MD
Exposure #3 2 story NFP former movie theater converted to a storefront church
Exposure #4 Street - East Mount Eden Avenue
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The entrance to the 99¢ store had double inward opening doors. The left side
door was blocked by stock. The only entrance to the cellar of the 99¢ store was an
interior trap door in the rear. The fire occupancy was typical of a 99¢ store with a
tremendous amount of stock displayed on metal shelving. Additional stock was hanging
from the walls and the ceiling. Portable floor displays and free standing shelving were
also located throughout the store. Four aisles ran from the front area of the store to rear
area of the store. (Figure #12) A rear aisle contained four refrigeration units that were
located along the exposure #3 wall. A small office (7 feet x 7 feet) was located in the
rear of the store in the exposure #2 and exposure #3 corner. The front of the store
contained open floor space with a check-out counter along the common walL
Drawing NOI To Scale
Figure #12
Overhead view of the 99¢ store and the cell phone store
The Bureau of Fire Investigation determined that the cause of the fire was heat
electrical wiring. The origin of the fire was behind the refrigeration units at the rear
ofthe 99¢ store.
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INITIAL OPERATIONS
Engine Company 42 arrived at 1233 hours and transmitted a 10-75. Squad
Company 41, Ladder Company 27, Rescue Company 3, Battalion 19 and Division 6 were
assigned on the transmission of the 10-75. The Bronx dispatcher notified Ladder
Company 27 that they were designated as the Firefighter Assist and Search Team (FAST).
A heavy smoke condition was pushing from the front of the 99¢ store and was
banked down to the street leveL The Engine Company 42 Chauffeur positioned the
apparatus at a hydrant in front of the multiple dwelling, adjacent to the fire occupancy.
The hydrant was defective due to a missing 2 Y2" threaded outlet. The Engine
Company 42 Chauffeur notified the Engine Company 42 Officer and the Engine
Company 92 Chauffeur that he had a defective hydrant.
Engine Company 42 stretched a 2 %" hoseline from their apparatus to the front of
the 99¢ store. The hoseline was initially charged with booster water, followed
immediately by hydrant water which was relayed from Engine Company 92. Engine
Company 92 was positioned at the hydrant on the corner of Walton Avenue and East
Mount Eden Avenue. Engine Company 92 teamed up with Engine Company 42 on the
initial hoseline.
Ladder Company 44 positioned their apparatus on East Mount Eden Avenue in
front of the cell phone store. The Ladder Company 44 Officer, Irons Firefighter and Can
Firefighters (Inside Team) proceeded to the front of the 99¢ store. The Ladder
Company 44 Roof and Outside Ventilation Firefighter (Outside Team) proceeded to the
roof of the laundromat via a 24 foot portable ladder. The Ladder Company 44 Outside
Ventilation Firefighter informed his Officer via handie-talkie that there were small air
conditioning units on the roof.
Engine Company 43 began to stretch a 2 W' hoseline from Engine Company 42's
apparatus to the front of the 99¢ store to back up Engine Company 42. Ladder
Company 59 positioned their apparatus on East Mount Eden A venue away from the fire
building to allow access for a tower ladder. The Ladder Company 59 Inside Team began
to force entry into the cell phone store. The Ladder Company 59 Chauffeur placed a
24 foot portable ladder to the roof of the 99¢ store on Walton Avenue near the corner.
The Ladder Company 59 Outside Team proceeded to the roof.
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Battalion 17 arrived on the scene at 1235 hours, transmitted using all-hands and
requested an additional engine and ladder. Engine Company 75 and Ladder Company 33
were assigned to respond as the additional engine and ladder. Battalion 17 observed one
hoseline positioned at the front door of the 99¢ store, and an additional hoseline being
stretched. When Battalion 17 reached the front of the 99¢ store, he notified the
Battalion 17 Firefighter to confirm the address as 1575 Walton Avenue with the Bronx
Communications Office. Battalion 17 observed the heavy smoke condition and was
concerned about fire extension to exposure #2, the multiple dwelling. Battalion 17
transmitted a Second Alarm at 1238 hours.
FIRE OPERATIONS PRIOR TO THE COLLAPSE
At approximately 1237 hours, after Engine Company 42 charged their hoseline,
Ladder Company 44 vented all the display windows. Initially heavy smoke, followed by
fIre vented out of the front entrance and display windows. The Ladder Company 44
Inside Team vented the double doors and removed the cross bars. Engine Company 42
initially operated the hoseline through the display window while the Ladder Company 44
Team removed stock from the display windows and doorway. Engine Company 42
initiated the advance through the front entrance door of the 99¢ store.
The Ladder Company 44 Outside Team assisted by the Ladder Company 44
began to cut the roof in the center of the fire occupancy to vent the 99¢ store.
Ladder Company 59 Outside Team arrived at roof level and also initiated venting by
a hole in the roof near the front of the 99¢ store on the exposure #2 side. Due to
extremely heavy smoke condition, the use of Self Contained Breathing Apparatus
) was required by Firefighters operating on the roof. The Ladder Company 59
checked conditions in the laundromat while the Ladder Company 59 Irons
and Can Firefighters forced entry into the cell phone store. The Ladder
59 Officer informed Battalion 17 via handie-talkie that the laundromat was not
at this time.
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Battalion 19 arrived at approximately 1238 hours and was ordered by
Battalion 17 to check for extension in exposure #2. Engine Company 42 advanced their
hoseline approximately 10 feet into the front section of the 99¢ store. The Ladder
Company 44 Inside Team entered the store behind Engine Company 42. To allow for
quick access and egress the Ladder Company 44 Forcible Entry Firefighter removed stock
from the front of the display windows and door. Engine Company 43 was now positioned
to back up Engine Company 42 with a charged 2 Y2" hoseline. Engine Company 46 was in
the process of stretching a 2 Y2" hoseline to the front of the 99¢ store from Engine
Company 92's apparatus.
Squad Company 41 reported to the Command Post at approximately 1239
hours. Squad Company 41 was ordered by Battalion 17 to check for extension in
exposure #2 and to assist in roof operations. The Squad Company 41 Officer split his
company into two teams. The Squad Company 41 Irons Firefighter and Can Firefighters
proceeded to exposure #2 while the Officer, Saw, and Roof Firefighters went to the roof
via the portable ladder on East Mount Eden Avenue.
At approximately 1240 hours, Ladder Company 27, Division 6, Engine
Company 75, Ladder Company 33 and Rescue Company 3 arrived on the scene. Ladder
Company 27 positioned their apparatus on the exposure #4 side of the fire building and
then reported to the Command Post as the FAST Unit. The Ladder Company 27
Chauffeur raised the aerial to the roof of the laundromat. The Rescue Company 3 Officer
reported in to Battalion 17 via handie-talkie. Battalion 17 ordered Rescue Company 3 to
check the roof of the fire building. The Rescue Company 3 Officer split his members
into two teams. The Rescue Company 3 Roof and Hook Firefighters were ordered to the
roof of the fire building and the Officer, Irons Firefighter, and Can Firefighter checked
for extension in the laundromat.
The Division 6 vehicle was parked on the Grand Concourse and Division 6, the
Acting Deputy Chief (ADC), began making his way to the Command Post. The Ladder
Company 59 Inside Team operated inside the cell phone store. They initiated a primary
search and checked for extension. Engine Company 75 positioned their apparatus on
Townsend Avenue and reported to the Command Post.
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Division 6 assumed command of the fire. The Engine Company 46 Officer called
for water when their hoseline was in position in front of the 99¢ store. The Battalion 17
Firefighter transmitted a progress report to the Bronx Communication Office
at approximately 1241 hours, "Transmit a second alarm at this box. 1575 Walton is
the fire. We have a fire on the first floor ofa 1 story taxpayer, 65 X 40. Two lines are
stretched and in operation. Primary searches are in progress. Exposure 1 is the street,
2is 6 story multiple dwelling, 3 is a similar attached 1 story taxpayer and 4 is the street.
Fire is doubtful." Battalion 19 returned to the front of the fire building and verbally
informed Battalion 17 that exposure #2 had no windows exposed to fire and there was an
alley that separated the rear of the buildings.
At approximately 1242 hours Engine Company 46 operated their hoseline from
the sidewalk into the 99¢ store along the exposure #2 wall. Engine Company 46's
U"OVH11V continuously operated into the 99¢ store until the collapse of the first floor.
Company 42 continued to operate inside the 99¢ store hitting fire to the left, over
and to the right by the counter area only shutting down to reposition their hoseline
relieve the nozzle position.
The Squad Company 41 Officer arrived on the roof with his Outside Team. He
the thermal imaging camera to survey roof conditions. With the thermal imaging
he was also able to determine the location of members operating at roof level.
c--------J was near zero due the heavy smoke condition. Ladder Company 33 reported in
Division 6 at the Command Post and was assigned to exposure #2 to check for
ltemaon in the multiple dwelling. The Squad Company 41 Irons Firefighter was in
#2 and reported via hand ie-talkie that there was an alleyway between exposure
and the fire building. He reported to his Officer that there was no exposure problem at
The Squad Company 41 Officer confIrmed that Battalion 17 received that
Battalion 17 climbed the portable ladder in front of the 99¢ store to assess
conditions and the layout of the roof.
At approximately 1243 hours Engine Company 75 stretched a 2 %" hoseline
Engine Company 46's apparatus to the front of the laundromat on East Mount Eden
Battalion 17 returned to the front of the 99¢ store after checking conditions on
The Rescue Company 3 Officer, Irons Firefighter and Can Firefighter were
in the laundromat checking for extension. The Rescue Company 3 Roof and
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Hook Firefighters began cutting the roof of the 99¢ store near the comer of exposures #1
and #4. Engine Company 50 arrived on the scene and positioned their apparatus on East
Mount Eden Avenue near the Grand Concourse.
Division 6 contacted the Ladder Company 44 Roof Firefighter at 1244 hours for a
report of the conditions on the roof. Battalion 17 briefed Division 6 of tactics
implemented, the current operations in progress, and the position of the operating units.
The Rescue Company 3 Officer, Irons Firefighter, Can Firefighter, and Chauffeur
proceeded to the front of the 99¢ store to check on the progress of the hoselines. Battalion
17 ordered Engine Company 43 to reposition their hoseline to the cell phone store.
At approximately 1246 hours, the Ladder Company 44 Chauffeur reported to
Division 6 that fire was in the cockloft. Battalion 17 transmitted a progress report to the
Bronx Communications Office stating, "2797, at this time we have 4 lines stretched and
in operation. Fire is in the cockloft. Trucks are opening up checking for extension.
At this time we are still doubtful. Searches are in progress K." The Bronx
Communications Office acknowledged this transmission and informed Battalion 17 to
"Notify the Incident Commander the duration of this incident is now one - seven,
17 minutes K"
The Squad Company 41 Officer was concerned about the stability of the roof
deck. He notified Battalion 17 via handie-talkie that the roof was getting soft and that
members were backing off the roof. Battalion 17 acknowledged this report and ordered
the Squad Company 41 Officer to ensure that all members get off the roof. Battalion 19
proceeded to the roof on hearing the report of the roof conditions from the Squad
Company 41 Officer. There were at least three ventilation holes cut and pulled on the
roof of the 99¢ store before the members were ordered off the roof.
The Rescue Company 3 Officer, Irons Firefighter, Can Firefighter and Chauffeur
left the front of the 99¢ store and proceeded to the cell phone store to check for extension.
Engine Company 50 stretched a 2 %" hoseline from Engine Company 46's apparatus to
the comer of Walton Avenue and East Mount Eden Ave.
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Battalion 26. the assigned Resource Unit Leader, Engine Company 71 and Engine
Company 93 arrived at 1247 hours. The Rescue Company 3 Chauffeur and Irons
Firefighter completed the venting of the cell phone store display windows. Engine
Company 75 was standing fast with an uncharged hoseline in the front of the laundromat.
The Squad Company 41 Officer ordered all members to back off the roof of the 99¢ store
to the roof of the laundromat.
Battalion 13, the assigned Safety Officer, arrived at 1248 hours. Division 6
informed Ladder Company 59 that Engine Company 43 was in position with a charged
hoseline outside the cell phone store. Ladder Company 45 arrived and positioned their
tower ladder in front of the 99¢ store.
At approximately 1249 hours, Battalion 17 contacted the Squad Company 41
to ascertain if all members were off the roof. The Squad Company 41 Officer
m l O r m e ~ a Battalion 17 that the members were backing off to the roof of the laundromat.
laundromat roof was three feet lower than the 99¢ store and cell phone store. It was
as a safe area of refuge for the members who operated at roof level. Battalion 19
supervising roof operations and verified that all members were off the 99¢ store roof.
smoke condition was still extremely heavy and fire was venting through the holes cut
roof. Battalion 19 then requested a hoseline to the roof of the laundromat to
tmgtllSn the burning membrane roof of the fire building.
The Squad Company 41 Irons Firefighter and Can Firefighters began to stretch a
hoseline from Engine Company 75's apparatus to the roof of laundromat after
a verbal request from members on the roof.
The Officer, Irons Firefighter and Can Firefighter from both Rescue Company 3
Company 59 were operating in the cell phone store searching and checking
Units were pulling ceilings and forcing individual cubicles used as phone
Engine Company 43 entered the cell phone store with a hoseline and advanced
the 99¢ store, Engine Company 42 directed their hoseline at the helium tanks
out counter. Lieutenant Carpluk yelled to the Engine Company 42 Officer
the front display window that the main body of fire was to the left on the
#2 side. At this time there was heavy smoke in the store and fire was still
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The Engine Company 93 Officer reported in to the Command Post. Battalion 17
ordered Engine Company 93 to supply Tower Ladder 33, and Engine Company 71 to
supply Tower Ladder 45. Members of Tower Ladder 45 began to setup their apparatus
for exterior stream operations.
At approximately 1250 hours the Engine Company 50 Officer asked the Engine
Company 75 Officer, Lieutenant Carpluk, where he was going with the hoseline.
Lieutenant Carpluk informed him that Engine Company 75's hoseline was going to the
front of the 99¢ store. Engine Company 75 moved their hoseline from the front of the
laundromat to the front of the 99¢ store. Engine Company 50 was repositioning their
hose line from the comer of W alton Avenue and East Mount Eden Ave. Engine Company
50 also heard the request for a hoseline to the roof and contacted Division 6 to inform
him that they had a 2 Y2" hoseline in position and ready to bring to the roof. Division 6
told Engine Company 50 to bring the hoseline to the front of the fire building. The
Ladder Company 33 Outside Ventilation Firefighter vented the 99¢ store office window
that was covered with plywood, in the alleyway on exposure #2. Members operating on
the roof of the laundromat began cutting the raised portion of the roof that separated the
cell phone store from the laundromat. These openings were intended to be used for
ventilation and possible stream application into the cockloft.
(A MASONITE® CEILING WAS NAILED DIRECTLY TO THE BOTTOM OF THE ROOF JOISTS. FIRE
VENTING FROM THE ROOF OPENINGS GAVE THE IMPRESSION OF FIRE IN A COCKLOFT.)
At approximately 1251 hours, the Ladder Company 44 Officer informed
Division 6 that another hoseline was needed in the 99¢ store. The heavy smoke condition
in the 99¢ store prompted the Engine Company 42 Officer to transmit a handie-talkie
message to open the roof. Fire was observed venting through the previously cut holes in
the roof by members operating at several different locations.
At 1252 hours Battalion 19 contacted Battalion 17 via handie-talkie and stated
the need for a hoseline on the roof. The hose line would extinguish the fire burning on the
roof and possibly in the cockloft. Engine Company 92 relieved Engine Company 42 on
the hoseline in the 99¢ store. The Engine Company 42 Officer had rotated the Nozzle
position four times during hoseline operations due to fatigue and depletion of air supply
in their SCBA's. Battalion 26 reported to the Command Post.
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Engine Company 75 advanced their hoseline through the display window to the
right of the doorway. Lieutenant Carpluk was the Officer and Firefighter Reilly was
assigned the Nozzle position.
Battalion 13, the Safety Officer, arrived at the front of the 99¢ store and advised
Battalion 17 that he was going to move the members operating directly in front of the
99¢ store off the sidewalk due to concern of a possible parapet wall collapse.
Battalion 17 entered the 99¢ store to check on the fire conditions and progress of the
advancing hoselines. Ladder Company 59 discovered fire extending into the cell phone
store at the ceiling level. Engine Company 43 operated their hoseline to extinguish the
fire in the ceiling of the cell phone store. Engine Company 50 was positioned in front of
99¢ store near the comer and called for water.
At 1253 hours, Engine Company 92 advanced their hoseline down aisle #2 after
themselves from display wires that had prevented their advancement.
Company 42 returned to their apparatus to change their SCBA cylinders.
6 was positioned in front of the 99¢ store and observed two hoselines making
progress on the fire. After moving the members of Engine Company 46 away from
of the 99¢ store, the Safety Officer reported into Division 6 and discussed
members from the fire building.
Engine Company 75 briefly operated the hoseline from a position a few feet down
When Engine Company 75 momentarily shut down the hoseline, the Engine
75 Back-Up Firefighter turned around to re-adjust the hose strap he was using to
the hoseline. At this time, Lieutenant Carpluk and Firefighter Reilly advanced a
ahead of the Back-Up Firefighter toward the rear of aisle #3. The Ladder
44 Officer went towards the rear with the hoseline and then headed back to the
the 99¢ store to confer with Battalion 17 between the midpoint and the front of
The Ladder Company 44 Can Firefighter was operating at this location. The
,"-OmpiiUlY 44 Officer informed Battalion 17 that the main body of fire was knocked
there was a small pocket fire remaining in the exposure # 2-3 comer.
conditions in the 99¢ store had improved significantly. This was evident
the 99¢ store and the exterior of the fire building. The main body of fire was
There was a low heat condition and visibility had improved. Members
stand while advancing the hoselines.
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Rescue Company 3, Ladder Company 59 and Engine Company 43 continued to
operate in the cell phone store. The Rescue Company 3 Chauffeur left the cell phone
store and proceeded to the 99¢ store to check on the status of the fire. The Rescue
Company 3 Chauffeur used his thermal imaging camera just inside the doorway of the
99¢ store. He observed that the bulk of the fire was knocked down and that there were
just a few pockets of fire left. Ladder Company 33 verbally informed Division 6 that
there was no fire extension in exposure #2 and stood fast in front of the 99¢ store. The
Ladder Company 45 Outside Team was in the tower ladder bucket monitoring the
conditions of the fire building.
At approximately 1254 hours, a V -shaped floor collapse occurred in the 99¢
store without warning, plunging 10 members into the collapse area. (THIS WAS A
SILENT COLLAPSE, THE NOISE ASSOCIATED WITII A TYPICAL COLLAPSE WAS NOT PRESENT.
MANY MEMBERS OPERATING IN FRONT OF THE 99¢ STORE WERE UNAWARE THAT A
COLLAPSE OCCURRED.) The Rescue Company 3 Chauffeur, standing just inside the front
entrance of the 99¢ store, felt the floor move and watched the shelving units on both sides
of aisle #3 tilt in toward each other. Division 6 positioned directly in front of the 99¢
store witnessed the floor collapse and transmitted via handie-talkie, "Division 6 to the
FAST Unit, report to the front ofthe building."
hnmediately after the collapse, both the Engine Company 92 Officer and
Battalion 17 transmitted MAYDAY's. Due to both members transmitting simultaneously
the complete MAYDAY message was not received by Division 6. Division 6
acknowledged by responding, "Unit with your MAYDAY, go ahead." Many members
operating away from the collapse area heard the MAYDAY transmissions, but did not
realize a collapse had occurred. At approximately 1255 hours, the Engine Company 92
Officer transmitted another MAYDAY stating, "92 with a MAYDAY, we've got a
collapse on the first floor of the fire building." Battalion 17 attempted to transmit a
MAYDAY message but was cut off when Engine 92 transmitted their MAYDAY.
The V-shaped floor collapse occurred approximately 10 feet from the front
entrance of the 99¢ store and covered an area approximately 25 feet by 30 feet. The
metal shelving units and stock fell into the collapse area trapping members. (Figure #13)
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• The Engine Company 92 Officer, Nozzle, Back-Up and Door Firefighters were
located at the beginning of aisle #2. They were able to hold onto the hoseline as
they slid down with the floor into the collapse area. They landed on top of the
stock and were not entrapped.
The Engine Company 75 Back-Up Firefighter, the Ladder Company 44 Officer,
the Ladder Company 44 Can Firefighter and Battalion 17 were located mid-span
in aisle #3. They were surface victims entrapped in stock and shelving ranging
from thigh to chest deep.
Lieutenant Carpluk was trapped face down, bent forward, up to his waist in stock
and fully covered by shelving. He was located near the rear of aisle #3.
Firefighter Reilly was trapped face down and bent at the waist with his upper
body towards the rear of aisle #3. He was fully buried under stock and shelving,
slightly closer to exposure #1 and deeper in the debris pile then Lieutenant
CarpIuk. (MEMBERS SEARCHING IN TIlE COLLAPSE AREA COULD NOT DEFINITIVELY
RECALL HEARING THE PASS ALARM FROM TIlE TRAPPED MEMBERS' SCBA.)
DrawIng Not ro Seal.
Figure #13
Members Location - Post Collapse
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Nsle #3 (Rear to Front)
CD- Lieutenant Carpluk (E-75 Officer)
CD- Firefighter Reilly (E-75 Nozzle)
.- Engine Company 75 Back-up
0- Ladder Company 44 Officer
0- Ladder Company 44 Can
0- Battalion 17
Aisle #2 <Rear to Front)
0- Engine Company 92 Nozzle
.- Engine Company 92 Back-up
• - Engine Company 92 Officer
.- Engine Company 92 Door
OPERATIONS AFTER THE COLLAPSE
The time was now 1255 hours. Battalion 19, operating on the roof, observed that
the roof was still intact. Engine Company 46 continued to operate their hose line into the
99¢ store from their position on the sidewalk. Ladder Company 27, the FAST Unit,
entered the 99¢ store. The Engine Company 92 Control Firefighter puJled the Engine
Company 92 Door Firefighter out of the collapse area. The Rescue Company 3
Chauffeur and members of Ladder Company 27 pulled the Engine Company 92 Officer,
Back-Up and Nozzle Firefighters up from the collapse area.
The Ladder Company 27 Chauffeur slid down into the collapse area and passed
Engine Company 92's hoseline to the Ladder Company 27 Outside Ventilation
Firefighter. The Ladder Company 27 Outside Ventilation Firefighter operated the
hose line to extinguish fire burning over head. The Engine Company 50 Officer entered
the 99¢ store to assist the trapped members. Engine Company 50 members entered the
99¢ store and operated their hose line from the front of the store near the counter area to
knock down fire.
After hearing the MAYDAY transmissions, the Rescue Company 3 Officer, Irons
Firefighter, and Can Firefighter immediately headed to the 99¢ store to investigate. They
entered the 99¢ store and descended into the collapse area along the common wall. The
Squad Company 41 Officer ordered his members to the front of the building to regroup
and appraise the conditions requiring the MAYDAY. The Safety Officer took a position
by the front door of the 99¢ store and controlled access to the collapse area.
At 1256 hours Division 6 ordered all members out of the building and to prepare
for a roll call. Battalion 19, after hearing the call for the FAST Unit, mounted the portable
ladder to descend to the street. As he looked back he noticed a middle section of the
99¢ store roof started to sag. Battalion 19 transmitted an URGENT message to Division 6
that an air conditioning unit on the roof was in danger of falling into the collapse area. He
also informed Division 6 that an Engine Company operating a hoseline in the store was
hitting the roof directly below the air conditioning unit. Engine Company 93 took over the
stretching of the 2 Y2 inch hoseline to the roof that Squad Company 41 had started.
At approximately 1257 hours an unidentified member transmitted a
handie-talkie message requesting a roll call from Engine Company 75. Division 6 then
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called Battalion 17 on the handie-talkie to ascertain his location. Battalion 17 responded,
"follow 75's line in, I'm about fifteen feet in, we're trapped ... " The remaining part of
this message was cut off by another transmission. The Ladder Company 27 Chauffeur
and Roof Firefighters climbed over the shelving and piles of stock and saw the Ladder
Company 44 Can Firefighter and Battalion 17 buried in stock. The Ladder Company 44
Can Firefighter was buried in stock in a standing position to about the midpoint of his
thighs. He was able to wiggle his way out of his bunker boots and free himself. He then
crawled over the piles of stock and climbed out of the collapse area. Battalion 26 was
assigned by Division 6 to supervise roof operations.
At approximately 1258 hours, Division 6 made 3 attempts to contact the Engine
Company 75 Officer by handie-talkie. There was no recorded response from Lieutenant
Carpluk. The Squad Company 41 Officer ordered all Squad Company 41 members to the
front of the 99¢ store and to bring a 20 foot portable ladder.
The Ladder Company 44 Can Firefighter was assisted out of the 99¢ store and
treated and transported to Bronx Lebanon Hospital by EMS. The Engine
Company 92 Officer conducted a roll call of his company and verbally informed
Division 6 that all his members were accounted for. The Ladder Company 44 Forcible
Firefighter took control of the FAST radio and remained near Division 6
mOlllltc.nn,g handie-talkie transmissions.
The Rescue Company 3 Irons Firefighter found the Ladder Company 44 Officer
the Engine Company 75 Back-Up Firefighter trapped in the collapse area. The
Company 27 Officer and the Rescue Company 3 Can Firefighter found Battalion
trapped in the collapse area. It was difficult for the rescuers to identify the trapped
due to the smoke condition and the collapsed metal shelving.
At 1259 hours, the Division 6 Firefighter transmitted the following message to
Bronx Communications Office "FAST Truck has been put into place to pull out the
On the report of a MAYDAY, the Rescue Battalion, while enroute
that an additional Rescue and Squad Company be assigned. Rescue
4 and Squad Company 61 were assigned. Division 6 ordered the Division 6
to transmit a third alarm.
At 1300 hours, third alarm units were assigned to Bronx Box 2797. Battalion 19
Ladder Company 59 to the rear of the cell phone store to make a breach into the
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collapse area. Division 6 ordered all officers to the front of the 99¢ store via handie­
talkie. Division 6 heard two consecutive "MAYDAY-MAYDAY·MAYDAY"
transmissions separated by a routine message. An unidentified member transmitted,
"Who's giving the MAYDAY." (THE INVESTIGATION REVEALED THAT THIS MAYDAY
MESSAGE WAS TRANSMITTED BY LIEUTENANT CARPLUK. THE INVESTIGATION TEAM
BELIEVES THIS WAS LIEUTENANT CARPLUK'S FIRST ATTEMPT TO COMMUNICATE WITH
MEMBERS AFTER THE COLLAPSE. THERE WERE NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH FIREFIGHTER
REILLY AFTER THE COLLAPSE.
LIEUTENANT CARPLUK TRANSMITTED A SERIES OF MA YDA Y MESSAGES FROM
1300 HOURS TO 1326 HOURS AT WHICH TIME HE WAS PHYSICALLY LOCATED BY THE
RESCUE COMPANY 4 HOOK FIREFIGHTER. MANY OF LIEUTENANT CARPLUK'S MAYDAY
MESSAGES WERE ACKNOWLEDGED BY MEMBERS OPERATING ON THE SCENE. HOWEVER, IT
CANNOT BE DETERMINED IF A DIALOGUE BETWEEN LIEUTENANT CARPLUK AND THE
MEMBERS ACKNOWLEDGING HIS MAYDAY'S TOOK PLACE.)
The Squad Company 41 Officer entered the 99¢ store and conferred with the
Rescue Company 3 Officer regarding their operations. Rescue Company 3 operated in
the 99¢ store while Squad Company 41 searched for an alternate location to gain access
to the collapse area. Ladder Company 59 and Ladder Company 33 initiated breaching
operations at different locations on the first floor of the cell phone store.
At approximately 1301 hours, Squad Company 41 located the outside sidewalk
trap door to the cellar of the cell phone store on East Mount Eden A venue. They entered
the cellar using a search rope with the Rescue Company 3 Hook Firefighter. Squad
Company 41 encountered approximately 18 inches of water in the cellar when they entered.
The Rescue Company 3 Irons Firefighter, operating in the 99¢ store, transmitted
the following message to Battalion 17, "Alright this is Rescue 3 Irons, we've located 3
members of Engine 75. They are conscious; they're pinned from the waist down, we're
in the process of extricating them." (DUE TO CONDITIONS THIS MEMBER WAS UNAWARE
THAT THESE MEMBERS WERE ACTUALLY THE ENGINE COMPANY 75 BACK-UP FIREFIGHTER,
THE LADDER COMPANY 44 OFFICER AND BATTALION 17.) Division 6 continued to gather
information from the roll call being conducted and from members in front of the building
attempting to ascertain who was trapped and who was missing.
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Safety Battalion 1 arrived on the scene at 1301 hours. After an initial size up of
the fire operations, he conferred with the Safety Officer about the status of the
MAYDAY' s. Safety Battalion 1 now assumed the role of the Safety Officer and
Battalion 13 was now designated as the Assistant Safety Officer. The Safety Officer
reported into the Command Post and requested three additional on duty Safety Trained
Chiefs to respond.
Engine Company 93 was in position on the roof of the laundromat with their
charged 2 Yz" hoseline. The Ladder Company 45 Officer assisted the Assistant Safety
Officer in front of the 99¢ store to control access. Battalion 17 informed Division 6 that
rescuers were with them in the collapse area.
At 1303 hours, Division 6 via handie-talkie ordered all Officers to report to the
Command Board for a roll call. Division 6 called Squad Company 41 on the
handie-talkie to find out their location. Squad Company 41 replied to Division 6, "We're
in the basement, we have a search rope, we're going to access the members from the
basement." Squad Company 41 began to breach the common wall between the 99¢ store
and the cell phone store in the cellar about 10 feet in from the outside sidewalk trap door.
Lieutenant Carpluk transmitted another MAYDA Y message which was
immediately followed by five routine transmissions from other members. His MAYDAY
was a faint transmission which was probably not heard by some operating units.
(THIS WAS EVIDENT BY TIIE MUFFLED RECORDING AND LIEU1ENANT CARPLUK'S
HANDlE-TALKIE IDENTIFIER CAPTURED ON THE BATTALION HANDlE-TALKIE RECORDER.)
Division 6 and another member acknowledged the MAYDAY, Division 6 was unable to
determine who transmitted it. Division 6 made additional attempts to contact the member
who transmitted the MAYDAY.
At 1304 hours, Division 6 was limiting the amount of members operating in the
collapse area. Division 6 ordered everyone out of the 99¢ store except Engine Company
50, Ladder Company 27, Rescue Company 3 and Squad Company 41. He ordered
Engine Company 50 to have only two members operating the hoseline inside the
99¢ store. This hoseline provided protection for the rescuers and trapped members.
Division 6 continued to try to contact the member transmitting the MAYDAY.
another MAYDAY was transmitted by Lieutenant Carpluk, "MAYDAY, MAYDAY,
responded, "Who's giving the MAYDAY?" Lieutenant
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CarpI uk transmitted, "Engine 75, 15 feet in running out of air." The Assistant Safety
Officer transmitted, "Engine 75 is Rescue in there with you?" There is no recorded
response from Lieutenant Carpluk.
(THE INVESTIGATION TEAM DETERMINED THAT SOME TRANSMISSIONS AT THE SCENE WERE
NOT RECORDED BY THE BATTALION HANDlE-TALKIE RECORDERS. THE HANDlE-TALKIE
IDENTIFIER FOR A RECORDED TRANSMISSION IS NOT ALWAYS CAPTURED BY THE BATTALION
RECORDER. THE INVESTIGATION TEAM BELIEVES THAT SOME TRANSMISSIONS RECORDED
ON THE BATTALION RECORDERS WERE NOT HEARD BY SOME MEMBERS OPERATING.)
At 1305 hours, the Rescue Company 3 Officer conducted a quick search of the
collapse area. He was unable to locate additional members and returned to supervise the
removal of the surface victims. Division 6 ordered all ladder companies to bring their
Fast Paks to the front of the fire building. All other units not operating were ordered to
bring additional SCBA's to the front of the fire building. Lieutenant Carpluk transmitted
another MAYDAY message trying to give his location, "you see where the line went in,
there's a hole for me to get air, we need a mask toward the back." An unidentified
member acknowledged, "Alright we're coming to get you brother." Battalion 19 entered
the collapse area of the 99¢ store to assess conditions.
Note: During the rescue effort there were simultaneous operations occurring inside the
collapse area, in the exposures, in the street, and on the roof. From this point
forward, the operations will be described first by places of occurrence and then by
chronological time.
OPERATIONS IN THE CELLAR AREA OF THE CELL PHONE STORE
(
Squad Company 41 completed the first breach, the Squad Company Officer and
the Rescue Company 3 Hook Firefighter entered into the cellar of the 99¢ store at
fi
approximately 1306 hours. The members in the breach thought they had located the
f.
trapped members and made the following transmission to Division 6, "We've located the
s.
members in the basement from the Mount Eden side." Division 6 contacted the Squad
Company 41 Officer to try to clarify who was located. During this exchange, another
MAYDAY was transmitted by Lieutenant Carpluk, "... on that side, further back, a little
62 of 174
further..., looking for a mask." An unidentified member replied to the MAYDAY, but
there was no recorded acknowledgement from Lieutenant Carpluk.
The Squad Company 41 Officer had received information from a Firefighter
searching in the breached area that he had found a trapped member. The Firefighter
searching in the void realized that what he had found was debris and not a trapped member.
He immediately notified the Squad Company 41 Officer. Once this was verified, the Squad
Company 41 Officer immediately informed Division 6. Squad Company 41 then began a
second breach just inside the doorway located approximately 15 feet into the cellar of the
cell phone store. Figures #14 & #15 illustrates the layout of the cell phone store cellar and
the breaches made in the common cellar wall separating it from the 99¢ store.
Cell PlIo... 810... Cellar
Top VIew
Cell Phone Store
Common Wall Breach Locations Drawing Not To Scale
Figure #14
OPERATIONS AT ROOF LEVEL
The Ladder Company 59 Chauffeur and Roof Firefighters, assisted by members
from other companies, tied off the air conditioning compressor unit that was in danger of
falling into the collapse area from the roof of the 99¢ store. Members continued to use
saws to open up the raised portion of the roof from the laundromat. Conditions on the
roof had greatly improved
At approximately 1311 hours, Division 6 contacted Battalion 26 for a report on
roof conditions. Battalion 26 reported that the air conditioning compressor was tied off
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with a utility rope, there was a large hole in the roof and that all members were off the
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roof of the 99¢ store and cell phone store. Division 6 ordered Battalion 26 to monitor the
!
air conditioning compressor for any movement.
OPERATIONS IN THE COLLAPSE AREA OF THE 99¢ STORE
The fire conditions varied from smoldering fires to small pockets of fire breaking
out at different locations. A heavy rainfall hampered the smoke from lifting. The smoke
condition continuously changed between moderate to heavy throughout the rescue effort.
Engine Company 46, operating from the sidewalk, and Engine Company 50,
operating from inside the 99¢ store, provided protection for the rescue effort by operating
their hoselines as needed. At times Engine Company 42's hoseline, the initial attack
hoseline, was operated in the collapse area by various members to extinguish pockets of
fire and to cool the debris pile around the trapped members.
Members recognized that it would be a difficult and time consuming removal
operation due to the type and amount of stock that was entrapping the members. The
difficulty in the removal of stock was due to the slippery nature of the soap products and
similar items mixed with water that coated the stock. Initially SCBA's were passed into
the collapse area for three trapped members. A short time later several Fast Paks were
passed into the collapse area to replace the SCBA's.
OPERATIONS IN THE STREET
Division 6 transmitted a progress report to the Bronx Communications Office
at 1300 hours, "Make this box a r alarm. Have the units respond in from the Grand
Concourse. We have a MAYDAY, there are firemen trapped. Rescue has been put into
place checking for the member. Member was removed from the building. We had partial
collapse ofthe taxpayer at this time. Trucks are now going in for searches again K."
Sawzalls, shovels, partner saws and other rescue equipment were staged in front
of the fire building for use by members performing rescue operations.
At 1307, the Field Communications Unit Officer transmitted a handie-talkie
message for all Officers to report to the Command Post. The Assistant Safety Officer
contacted the units operating on the roof and ordered them off the roof.
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At 1309 hours, the Rescue Battalion and Ladder Company 31 arrived on the
scene. Lieutenant Carpluk transmitted a MAYDAY stating, "MAYDAY· MAYDAY·
MAYDAY." The Assistant Safety Officer replied, "Unit with MAYDAY go ahead."
A partial transmission was recorded stating " ... over there in the back." Division 6
attempted to gain control of the handie-talkie network by stating, "All handie-talkie
traffic cease, unit with MAYDAY go ahead." There was no recorded response from
Lieutenant Carpluk.
At 1310 hours Lieutenant Carpluk transmitted, "Engine 75 MAYDAY".
Division 6 replied, "Engine 75 go ahead with your MAYDAY message." Lieutenant
Carpluk transmitted, "...you gotta go 10 - 15 feet from where they're working." The
Rescue Battalion informed Division 6 that Engine Company 75 was trying to transmit a
MAYDAY. Division 6 replied, "10-4, Engine 75 we read you, go ahead with your
MAYDAY. Engine 75, go ahead with your MAYDAY." Lieutenant Carpluk's identifier
was captured and "Engine 75" was recorded by a handie-talkie recorder.
From inside the collapse area, Battalion 19 contacted Division 6 via handie-talkie
and verified the members trapped as surface victims. "Yeah-We have reports now of a
total offive trapped members in the basement, one member is in the process of coming
out, four more are still trapped." When Battalion 19 returned to the street a verbal
exchange was made with Division 6 and the Assistant Safety Officer. He informed them
Lieutenant Carpluk and Firefighter Reilly may be further back in the basement.
tKescue Company 3 and Ladder Company 27 were working on removing the Engine
COIllparlY 75 Back-Up Firefighter, the Ladder Company 44 Officer, and Battalion 17.
TIONS IN THE CELLAR AREA OF THE CELL PHONE STORE
For the next 10 minutes, from 1310 to 1320 hours, Squad Company 41, with
OOltlon:al members from Rescue Company 3 and Squad Company 61, breached two
openings in the cinder block wall in an attempt to find a void that would
access to Lieutenant CarpI uk and Firefighter Reilly. It was during this time
that the Squad Company 41 Officer contacted Division 6 for a second time and
..... " ...vu that his earlier report of locating a trapped member in a void was inaccurate.
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OPERATIONS IN FRONT OF mE 99¢ STORE
At 1311 hours, Lieutenant Carpluk transmitted another short MAYDA Y
message; "MAYDAY, go further back." Approximately 90 seconds later, Lieutenant
Carpluk again transmitted a MAYDAY message; "75 to [alpha], MAYDAY, you have to
go further back, MAYDAY, further back." Division 6 immediately acknowledged the
MAYDAY, "Division 6 to Engine 75, Division 6 to the unit with the MAYDAY." The
Assistant Safety Officer then attempted to contact Lieutenant Carpluk, "Battalion 13 to
Engine 75." There was no recorded response from Lieutenant Carpluk.
Division 6 attempted to determine the location of Lieutenant Carpluk and
Firefighter Reilly from Battalion 17. Division 6 asked Battalion 17 to provide his
location and if he had contact with any additional members trapped. Battalion 17
informed Division 6 that Rescue Company 3 and Ladder Company 27 were working on
freeing him, the Lieutenant from Ladder Company 44 and one member of Engine
Company 75. Division 6 was trying to ascertain if anyone had made contact with
Lieutenant CarpI uk or Firefighter Reilly. Car 4 Adam arrived on the scene and assumed
command of the operations. Car 4 Adam ordered the Field Communications Unit to
special called an extra Squad, Rescue and a Collapse Pod. The Field Communication
Unit Officer only ordered the Rescue and Collapse Pod; he did not hear the request for
the extra Squad.
OPERATlONS IN THE COLLAPSE AREA OF THE 99¢ STORE
At 1313 hours, Lieutenant CarpI uk again transmitted a MAYDAY message;
"75 MAYDAY." This MAYDAY message was not acknowledged. Division 6 continued
to gather more information on the condition of Battalion 17 and the other members trapped
with him. Battalion 17 informed Division 6 that all members with him were conscious.
Approximately 1314 hours, the Rescue Battalion, supervising the removal of
Battalion 17, the Ladder Company 44 Officer, and the Engine Company 75 Back-Up
Firefighter contacted Car 4 Adam and reported that members were heavily entrapped. He
requested that a third Rescue Company be special called. Car 4 Adam acknowledged and
informed him that an additional Rescue Company, Squad Company and a Collapse POD
were responding.
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Immediately after this transmission from Car 4 Adam, the Battalion recorder
picked up a faint message - "... we need a mask further back." This message was not
acknowledged. Ninety seconds later Lieutenant Carpluk transmitted another MAYDAY
message, "Engine 75 MAYDAY." Lieutenant Carpluk's MAYDAY message was not
acknowledged.
At approximately 1316 hours, Division 6 ordered all Officers not operating to
report across the street from the fire building for a roll call. Division 6 contacted the
Rescue Company 3 Officer and requested the status of removal operations. The Rescue
Company 3 Officer responded "We have access to 3 definite members, we believe there
is one more behind them. We're working on it now." The Rescue Company 3 Officer
also requested air masks, sawzalls, and fresh rescue personnel. Division 6 informed the
Rescue Company 3 Officer that equipment was being brought to the front of the building.
Relief was in the process for Rescue Company 3 and Ladder Company 27. In preparation
for the removal of the entrapped members, Ladder Company 31 set up a stokes stretcher
with a 2: 1 advantage in front of the 99¢ store.
At approximately 1319 hours, Lieutenant Carpluk transmitted "Engine 75
MAYDAY." Car 4 Adam was the first to acknowledge him "Go 75." Division 6 then
replied "Division 6 to Engine 75, go ahead with your MAYDAY." Lieutenant Carpluk's
next transmission was "Mask, get it back here, I'm out of air." Division 6 replied
the MAYDAY talk to me." Lieutenant Carpluk transmitted "75 to...ah
Yeah you can reach up with a mask and hand it to me. Reach down that
"Division 6 tried to contact Lieutenant Carpi uk, "Division 6 to Engine 75." There was
recorded response from Lieutenant Carpluk.
Operations in the 99¢ store were focused on the extrication of the three located
.."'...v'"'...... heavily entrapped in the collapse area. The extrication effort was hampered by
need to remove the shelving units and large amounts of stock from around the trapped
The slippery mixture of different types of soap and water on the stock
illlL1llU\.,U to complicate the removal efforts. It was necessary to place the loose stock
buckets and shopping baskets for removal from the collapse area.
At 1321 hours, Lieutenant Carpluk attempted to contact the Engine Company 75
for a mask . Lieutenant Carpluk made the following handie-talkie
..""L>.",,.VJlJ.,· "Engine 75 to alpha, make it 75 keep coming back, you're here, a mask
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in the void in the back." Lieutenant Carpluk made another transmission stating, "go
over the debris, 75 MAYDAY, over the debris to get to the void in the back."
At 1323 hours, Lieutenant Carpluk transmitted, "MAYDAY." An unidentified
member responded, "Go with the MAYDAY." Lieutenant Carpluk made the following
transmission, "75 Engine, keep coming straight back here, we only need a mask,
there's a voidfor me, come here you'll see it. All I need is air Bro."
Another transmission was made fifteen seconds later, "go left of the pile, at the
end of the pile." Lieutenant Carpluk had made additional handie-talkie transmissions
attempting to give his location. At 1324 hours Lieutenant Carpluk transmitted "75
MAYDAY," Division 6 acknowledged, "Go Ahead, 75 with the MAYDAY." Lieutenant
Carpluk continued with his MAYDAY transmission, "come on, see the guy with the
line. Forget the water give me the mask first and turn around and hit it. You go down
the left side, 75 MAYDAY, go down the left side, you'll see me sticking out my hand."
(THE INVESTIGATION TEAM BELIEVES LIEUTENANT CARPLUK WAS ABLE TO HEAR THE
RESCUERS WORKING AROUND HIM AND ATTEMPTED TO COMMUNICATE WITH THEM VIA HIS
HANDlE-TALKIE. )
OPERATIONS IN THE CELLAR OF THE CELL PHONE STORE
The Squad Company 41 Roof and Saw Firefighters left the cellar of the
cell phone store to replace their SCBA cylinders. Rescue Company 4 entered the cellar
of the cell phone store at approximately 1320 hours.
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Cell Phone SID... Cellar
TopVlew
Cell Phone Store
Drawing Not To Scale
Common Wall Breach Locations
Figure #15
Squad Company 41 finished the second breach in the cellar and discovered that it
did not provide void access. Squad Company 41 and Squad Company 61 started a third
breach in the middle of the cellar. Rescue Company 4 assisted completing this breach.
The third breach permitted access to a small void area which a member from Rescue
Company 4 and Squad Company 41 entered to search. This breach led to the collapse
area in the 99¢ store where Rescue Company 3 and Ladder Company 27 were extricating
the trapped members. These members remained at this location and assisted in the
of the Engine Company 75 Back-Up Firefighter and the Ladder Company 44
(Figure #15)
The 4th breach was started by Rescue Company 4. This breach led to the area
Lieutenant Carpluk and Firefighter Reilly were located. Ladder Company 33 and
Company 59 entered the cellar of the cell phone store via the interior trap door.
assisted in the breaching operation. Members used mauls to breach the wall and the
leml[)ers needed to be rotated frequently. (Figure #15)
Engine Company 43 repositioned their hoseline into the cellar of the cell phone
via the outside sidewalk trap door. Battalion 19 entered the cellar area via the
sidewalk trap door and supervised operations. The water level was
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approximately 18 inches deep. Members were operating in a low heat and the smoke
condition varied from moderate to heavy.
OPERATIONS IN THE VOID SPACE OF THE CELLAR OF THE 99¢ STORE
At 1325 hours, Lieutenant Carpluk transmitted, "••• Give me a mask," he
repeated, "75 MAYDAY, give me the mask here." This transmission was not
acknowledged. (LIEUTENANT CARPLUK'S HANDlE-TALKIE TRANSMISSION WAS CAPTURED
ON THE BAITALION HANDlE-TALKIE RECORDER, BUT WAS NOT NECESSARILY HEARD BY
MEMBERS OPERATING AT THE SCENE.)
After the 4th breach was completed it gave access to a void area that the Rescue
Company 4 Hook and Roof Firefighters entered to search. The Rescue Company 4 Hook
Firefighter searched this void and came across what he believed to be a large metal
storage cabinet. (THE INVESTIGATION TEAM FOUND THIS CABINET TO BE AN AIR HANDLING
UNIT WHICH HAD BEEN MOUNTED AT THE CEILING LEVEL ON THE FIRST FLOOR OF THE
99¢ STORE PRIOR TO THE COLLAPSE. THIS UNIT WAS APPROXIMATELY 2 FEET HIGH BY
2 FEET WIDE AND 5 FEET LONG AND WEIGHED APPROXIMATELY 120 POUNDS. THIS AIR
HANDLING UNIT WAS IN A VERTICAL POSmON ON TOP OF THE DEBRIS PILE AND WAS
LEANING TOWARD EXPOSURE #2 OVER LIEUTENANT CARPLUK. THE AIR HANDLING UNIT
WAS NOT IN CONTACT WITH LIEUTENANT CARPLUK BUT PREVENTED MEMBERS FROM
SEEING HIM.) As the Rescue Company 4 Hook Firefighter crawled past the air handling
unit he was grabbed on his leg by Lieutenant Carpluk. The Rescue Company 4 Hook
Firefighter was unable to see Lieutenant Carpluk due to the air handling unit, plywood,
shelving, and stock. The time was approximately 1326 hours.
The Rescue Company 4 Hook Firefighter made verbal contact with Lieutenant
Carpluk, who identified himself as the Lieutenant of Engine Company 75. Lieutenant
Carpluk immediately told the Rescue Company 4 Hook Firefighter that his Nozzle
Firefighter (Firefighter Reilly) was buried underneath him. The Rescue Company 4
Hook Firefighter relayed this information verbally to his Officer and called for a SCBA
to be passed into the void area.
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The Rescue Company 4 Officer made a transmission to the Rescue Battalion
stating, "Chief, we are operating in the basement. We are in contact with one of the
guys, we are in the basement ofexposure #4." The Rescue Company 4 Officer was just
inside the fourth breach when he made this transmission. The rescuers still had no visual,
voice, or physical contact with Firefighter Reilly.
The Rescue Company 4 Hook Firefighter was unable to see Lieutenant Carpluk
due to the air handling unit and other debris that shielded him from his view. When the
SCBA was passed into the void the Rescue Company 4 Hook Firefighter passed the
facepiece to Lieutenant Carpluk through a small opening. Lieutenant Carpluk was able to
take the facepiece from the Rescue Company 4 Hook Firefighter and don it himself. The
Rescue Company 4 Hook Firefighter called for a Fast Pak and attempted to move the air
handling unit.
At approximately 1331 hours the Rescue Company 4 Hook Firefighter passed
the regulator of the Fast-Pak into the void. Lieutenant Carpluk removed his SCBA
regulator and replaced it with the Fast Pak regulator. Lieutenant Carpluk again informed
the rescuers that Firefighter Reilly was underneath him. He was extremely concerned
about Firefighter Reilly.
OPERATIONS IN FRONT OF THE 99¢ STORE
At 1321 hours Division 6 contacted the Rescue Company 3 Officer to verify
which member of Engine Company 75 they were assisting. The Rescue Company 3
Officer infonned him that they were trying to identify him.
The Rescue Company 3 Officer requested an air cart to be set up in front of the
99¢ store. The Squad Company 41 Roof Firefighter was at Squad Company 41' s
apparatus changing his SCBA cylinder and heard this transmission. The Squad Company
41 Roof Firefighter brought their air cart to the front of the 99¢ store. Two air lines from
the air cart with confined space facepieces were brought into the collapse area via the
front entrance of the 99¢ store.
Car 4 Adam contacted the Rescue Battalion at 1326 hours and asked "Alright
George how are we making out?" The Rescue Battalion replied, "Good, We got two of
. the brothers partially buried, they are right here. They are communicating with us. I
think we're also starting to make some progress breaching from the exposure #4 and
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Rescue 4 is giving me reports that they are in contact with the members there." Car 4
Adam replied, "Alright, currently we believe that we are missing five members, the
Nozzle team and the Boss from 75, the Boss of44, and [the ChiefJ from the 17th."
Rescue Company 1 arrived on the scene at 1328 hours and contacted the
Command Post for orders. Rescue Company 1 was ordered to report to the front of the
99¢ store. Car 4 Adam notified the Rescue Battalion that Rescue Company 1 was on the
scene to relieve Rescue Company 3 if they need relief.
Squad Company 61 was ordered by the Rescue Battalion to attempt a breach from
the cellar of multiple dwelling into the cellar of the 99¢ store. The breach was not
feasible, and they returned back to the front of the building a short time later.
The Queens Borough Commander, Car 9, and a Battalion Chief responded from a
Riker's Island Prison DrilL They arrived at approximately 1340 hours and reported in
to the Command Post. The Queens Borough Commander was ordered to supervise
operations on the exposure #4 side. The Battalion Chief with Car 9 was ordered to the
cellar of the cell phone store.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) levels in the cellar area were monitored by members with
CO detectors throughout the operation. The CO levels varied from approximately 30 to
100 parts per million (PPM).
OPERATIONS IN THE COLLAPSE AREA OF THE 99¢ STORE
Rescue Company 3 called the Command Post and requested more buckets be sent
into the 99¢ store. Members continued to dig by hand trying to extricate the three
trapped surface victims. Similar to a trench collapse, as the rescuers removed the stock,
more stock would slide back around the trapped members. This greatly hampered the
removal process. Rescuers had difficulty maintaining their footing while operating on
the quicksand-like mixture of wet stock.
At 1327 hours, the Engine Company 75 Back:-Up Firefighter's Emergency Alert
Tone was inadvertently activated during his removaL Car 4 Adam heard the tone alert
and made the following transmission, "4 Adam to 75 MAYDAY, go." The Rescue
Company 3 Irons Firefighter replied, "We're working on the guy transmitting the
MAYDAY. We're trying to [unlcover him. We're depressing the button by accident."
4 Adam replied, It should be Engine 75
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The Rescue Company 4 Officer transmitted an URGENT transmission to the
Rescue Battalion, "we found the offrcer of 75 Engine, we're in contact with him. We're
talking to him, we're in the process of trying to get him out." The Rescue Battalion
replied, "alright, is he was entrapped or just separated from the Engine?" the Rescue 4
Officer replied, "that's affirmative, "he's entrapped, we're putting the Fast Pak on him
at this moment." The Rescue Battalion gave Car 4 Adam the following update, "I have
the Back· Up from 75 Engine. I have the Officer from 44 and we have the Chief. They
are all trapped from their waist down. They are conscious and alert at this time. We
are operating to get them removed. "
Car 4 Adam replied, "I think we are still missing the Nozzlemanfrom 75. Could
he be in the same area? Is he (the Rescue Company 4 Officer) in contact with him?"
Rescue Battalion replied, "You might want to check with Rescue 4.
I believe they are talking to the Officer from 75."
At 1332 hours, based on information received from Lieutenant Carpluk, the
Rescue Company 4 Officer made the following URGENT transmission to the Rescue
Battalion, "Alright, we also contacted the Nozzleman from 75 Engine. He is
underneath the Officer. K." (FIREFIGHTER REILLY HAD NOT BEEN PHYSICALLY LOCATED
"AT THIS TIME.) Division 6 asked, "Alright 10·4, are they talking to you? Car 4 Adam
asked, "Is the Nozzleman conscious· K?" Division 6 stated "Alright 10·4, let me know
what you need."
Rescue Company 1 entered the 99¢ store to relieve Rescue Company 3. Rescue
Company 3, heavily involved in the rescue effort, maintained their position removing the
trapped members. Rescue Company 1 searched past the ongoing rescue efforts and
climbed down into a void area towards the rear of the store. This gave them access to a
point directly above the location of Lieutenant Carpi uk. Rescue Company 4 was already in
contact with Lieutenant Carpluk and attempting to locate Firefighter Reilly beneath him.
At approximately 1333 hours the Ladder Company 27 Can Firefighter and the
n..,.,"u.... Company 3 Hook Firefighter were in a void on the exposure #2 side removing
from around Lieutenant Carpluk's left leg. The void they were operating in was
constricted. The 6 inch by 12 inch B line continuous girder separated these
eSCllers from Lieutenant Carpluk. They had to dig under and around this girder to gain
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access to Lieutenant Carpluk's position. (Figure #16) The Rescue Company 3 Hook
Firefighter identified Lieutenant Carpluk by his handie-talkie case label, E-75 Off.
Drawmg No! To_
/4th Breach
,,/
"B" Line Girders
Figure #16
T - Denotes Top of
I
Failed Columns
Columns
CD -LIeutenant Carpluck
0- Firefighter Reilly
Girder and Column Location - Post Collapse
Note the Approximate Location of Lieutenant Carpluk and Firefighter Reilly
The rescuers extricated the Engine Company 75 Back-Up Firefighter at
1337 hours. They assessed his condition in the collapse area and he was able to climb
out of the collapse area under his own power. He was treated by EMS on the scene and
transported to Jacobi Medical Center where he was treated and released.
OPERATIONS IN THE CELLAR AREAS
At approximately 1334 hours members of Squad Company 41 and Rescue
Company 4 were in the void space in the cellar of the 99¢ store attempting to free
Lieutenant Carpluk. The Squad Company 41 Officer was working on removing the air
handling unit entrapping Lieutenant Carpluk. Due to the amount of debris pinning
Lieutenant Carpluk the Squad Cpmpany 41 Officer contacted the Command Post to have
Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Medics sent into the cellar of the cell phone store.
Division 6 acknowledged and requested the EMS Division 2 Duty Captain to assign
Haz Tac Medics to the cellar of the cell phone store.
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In order to alleviate the water build up in the cellar of the cell phone store, the
Chief of Safety (Car 12) ordered the Ladder Company 45 Inside Team to breach the wall
in the cellar between the cell phone store and the laundromat. The hole in the wall
allowed water to drain, lowering the water level. The Chief of Safety entered through the
hole in the wall into the cell phone store cellar. The Ladder Company 45 Inside Team
continued to enlarge the opening and then climbed through. The Ladder Company 45
Inside Team and the Ladder Company 33 Inside Team began another breach into the
cellar from the rear of the cell phone store. They were ordered to discontinue the breach
by Battalion 19.
For an extended period of time, members worked on removing the air handling
unit, stock, shelving, peg board, and plywood to free Lieutenant Carpluk and search for
Firefighter Reilly. This operation was hampered due to the water from the heavy rain
that was draining into the cellar voids. The removal of debris was made more difficult
due to the type of stock (soaps, oils, rice, and canned products) entrapping both
Lieutenant Carp1uk and Firefighter Reilly. These materials were very slippery and
difficult to remove.
OPERATIONS IN THE COLLAPSE AREA OF THE 99¢ STORE
The operations to remove Battalion 17 and the Ladder Company 44 Officer were
still ongoing after the Engine Company 75 Back-Up Firefighter was removed to the street
at approximately 1340 hours. Both Battalion 17 and the Ladder Company 44 Officer
were using the confined space facepieces supplied by the air cart. The hole created by
the removal of the Engine Company 75 Back-Up Firefighter opened up an area for the
debris to be moved into. The use of additional buckets and shopping baskets enabled the
rescuers to remove the stock and debris to the street.
The members who were working on the removal of the Engine Company 75
Back-Up Firefighter then moved over to assist in the removal of the Ladder Company 44
Officer. To assist in his removal, webbing was placed around the chest of the Ladder
Company 44 Officer. An attempt to pull him out was unsuccessful. The position of the
Ladder Company 44 Officer's legs hampered his removal. More of the stock needed to
be removed in order to free his legs.
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The rescuers continued to cut shelving and remove the stock. Once the stock was
removed, a second attempt was made to pull him out and this effort was successful. The
time of Ladder Company 44 Officer's extrication was approximately 1350 hours. The
Ladder Company 44 Officer was then placed into a stokes stretcher and pulled out of the
collapse area to the street. EMS treated the Ladder Company 44 Officer and transported
him to Jacobi Medical Center. After the removal of the Ladder Company 44 Officer,
Ladder Company 31 relieved Ladder Company 27.
Some of the members who worked on the Ladder Company 44 Officer then
assisted in the efforts to remove Battalion 17. The removal of Battalion 17 was expedited
due to the ability to throw stock into the voids created by the previous removals. At
approximately 1355 hours, Battalion 17 was placed into a stokes stretcher and removed
to the street level. He was treated by EMS on scene and transported to Jacobi Medical
Center.
The Rescue Battalion notified Car 4 Adam that the trapped members in his area
(the Engine Company 75 Back-Up Firefighter, the Ladder Company 44 Officer, and
Battalion 17) had been removed. (LIEUfENANT CARPLUK AND FIREFIGHTER REILLY WERE
STILL TRAPPED IN ANOTHER AREA OF THE 99¢ STORE.)
During the removal operations, several exhaust fans were utilized at different
locations to assist in venting the 99¢ store and the cellar of the cell phone store.
Numerous sawzalls, replacement batteries, and blades were required to cut the metal
shelving entrapping the members. Hoselines were used to protect the trapped members
and rescuers, extinguish pockets of fire, and for ventilation.
EXTRICATION OF LIEUTENANT CARPLUK AND FIREFIGHTER REILLY
All members operating in the collapse area now concentrated their efforts on
removing the debris entrapping Lieutenant Carpluk and locating Firefighter Reilly.
Battalion 19 was supervising the operations in the void area and was relieved by the
Battalion Chief who had arrived with Car 9.
Lieutenant Carpluk repeatedly told the rescuers that Firefighter Reilly was
beneath him. Three separate rescue teams were operating to extricate Lieutenant Carpluk
and locate Firefighter Reilly.
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Their positions were as follows:
• Members from Rescue Company 4 and Squad Company 41 were operating
through the 4th breach in the cellar of the cell phone store to extricate
Lieutenant Carpluk.
• Members from Rescue Company 1, Rescue Company 3, and Ladder
Company 31 operated to extricate Lieutenant Carpluk through a void from the
top of the collapse area in the 99¢ store. Rescue Company 1 Officer realized
Lieutenant Carpluk's removal would be time consuming and requested
oxygen for Lieutenant Carpluk at 1349 hours.
• Members of Rescue Company 3, Rescue Company 1 and the Ladder
Company 27 Can Firefighter had entered an opening in the front of the
collapse area and operated to extricate Lieutenant Carpluk via a void along the
exposure #2 cellar wall.
• All three teams simultaneously attempted to locate Firefighter Reilly as they
worked to extricate Lieutenant Carpluk.
',.;' --:T' ...... ~
"
~ - . ',"
Photo #21
First Floor Collapse Area
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In order to remove the air handling unit, members were required to cut the
collapsed plywood floor and the double 2"x 10" B line top girder. (Photo #21) The use of
the partner saw was attempted but was difficult to maneuver. A chain saw was brought in
and proved to be more effective. With the B line top girder cut, the air handling unit was
able to be passed out into the cell phone store cellar at approximately 1359 hours.
Members continued to cut metal shelving with sawzalls and remove stock by hand. These
operations continued to be labor intensive and time consuming.
At approximately 1400 hours, the Squad Company 41 Roof Firefighter
positioned himself by Lieutenant Carpi uk' s head and observed him without a donned
facepiece, unconscious, and with labored breathing. With the assistance of another
member, the Squad Company 41 Roof Firefighter placed his SCBA facepiece on
Lieutenant Carpluk and fully opened the purge valve. The Squad Company 41 Roof
Firefighter was able to cut Lieutenant Carpluk's name off his bunker coat and a positive
identification was provided to the Command Post at approximately 1402 hours.
Members operating in the void above Lieutenant Carpluk continued to remove
stock from around his legs. Lieutenant Carpluk's left leg was positioned in such a way
that it prevented the members from pulling him out. The Rescue Company 1 Officer tied
webbing around Lieutenant Carpluk's left leg in order to maintain its position. The
Rescue Company 1 Irons Firefighter held the webbing and maintained this position while
the members dug around his legs. Members maneuvered a backboard under Lieutenant
Carpluk. Several attempts were made to pull Lieutenant Carpluk out; after each attempt
more stock had to be removed. During these removal attempts, Lieutenant Carpluk's
face piece kept becoming dislodged and his bunker coat was pulled off. On the fourth
attempt Lieutenant Carpluk was freed and removed into the void where Rescue Company
4 and Squad Company 41 were operating.
At 1415 hours, Lieutenant Carpluk was passed through the 4th breach on a
backboard into the cell phone store cellar and placed into a stokes stretcher. EMS
immediately administered oxygen to Lieutenant Carpluk. At 1417 hours, Battalion 6
notified Car 9 that the Engine Company 75 Officer was removed and was in the process
of being transported to the street. Lieutenant Carpluk was removed to the street via the
outside sidewalk trap door. CPR was initiated as he was being brought to the ambulance.
He was transported to Bronx Lebanon Medical Center in cardiac arrest.
78 of 174
f
I
t
(
1
Rescue Company 5 relieved Rescue Company 4 and Squad Company 288
relieved Squad Company 41. As Lieutenant Carpluk was pulled out, members continued
to search for Firefighter Reilly. The Rescue Company 3 Hook Firefighter was using his
flashlight to search for Firefighter Reilly in the small space created by the extrication of
Lieutenant Carpluk. He saw what he believed to be a reflection from a helmet in a small
hole in the side of debris. The Rescue Company 1 Irons Firefighter looked into the hole
and verified it was a Firefighter's helmet. The Rescue Company 1 Hook Firefighter dug
deeper in the pile, removed stock and debris from around the area where the helmet was
found, and discovered Firefighter Reilly.
At 1416 hours, the Rescue Company 3 Officer transmitted a MAYDAY that they
located the member from Engine Company 75. At approximately 1418 hours, after
removing debris, Firefighter Reilly was found facedown, unconscious, and unresponsive.
His helmet was on, and his chinstrap, hood, and facepiece were in place. The Rescue
Company 1 Irons Firefighter heard air flow from Firefighter Reilly's facepiece when he
removed it. Members observed that Firefighter Reilly was not breathing and did not have
a pulse. The Rescue Company 1 Hook Firefighter administered oxygen and called for a
Bag Valve Mask (BVM). The Rescue Company 3 Hook Firefighter administered
ventilations to Firefighter Reilly with the BVM during removal operations.
Members operating from above removed the stock from on top of Firefighter
Reilly. The name on his bunker coat became visible and Firefighter Reilly's identity was
confirmed and transmitted to the Command Post at 1426 hours by the Rescue
Company 3 Officer.
Members tried to remove Firefighter Reilly but were unsuccessful due to his body
position. Firefighter Reilly's legs were pointing down; he was bent forward at the waist
with his upper body toward the rear of the building. More stock was removed, the
Rescue Company 5 Officer tied a rope around one of Firefighter Reilly's legs. The
members pulled on the attached rope and Firefighter Reilly's personal harness to free his
legs. Once his legs were free Firefighter Reilly was able to be extricated.
Firefighter Reilly was placed into a stokes stretcher and removed through the
front of the 99¢ store at 1435 hours. CPR was initiated as he was being brought to the
ambulance. He was transported to Bronx Lebanon Medical Center in cardiac arrest.
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As noted on the Certificate of Death for Probationary Firefighter
Michael C. Reilly, the date and time of death was August 27, 2006 at 3:17 P.M. The
cause of death was asphyxiation due to compression of the chest.
1.
As noted on the Certificate of Death for Lieutenant Howard J. Carpluk Jr., the
date and time of death was August 28, 2006 at 10:42 A.M. The cause of death was
positional asphyxia and aspiration of blood due to blunt impact of head with fracture of
2.
the cribriform plate.
3.
4.
5.
80 of 174
4
VII. FINDINGS
I. The failure of cellar columns initiated a V-shaped collapse in the 99¢ store twenty­
one minutes after the arrival of units. The structural components in the cellar were
not affected by the fire on the first floor. There was no fire in the cellar.
2. The two air conditioner compressor units and the heat pump on the roof were not
the cause of the collapse. The air handling unit attached to the first floor ceiling of
the 99¢ store was also not the cause of the collapse. The ceiling mounted air
handling unit in the rear of the 99¢ store did not fall from the ceiling until after
the collapse of the first floor.
The first floor collapse caused the loss of a portion of the roof support system.
Fire burning through the roof openings combined with the first floor collapse
caused the roof to gradually sag and eventually drop down.
The first floor rescue efforts were hampered by the amount and type of stock that
was piled up in the collapse area. This "V" shape collapse was similar to a trench
collapse because as stock was removed, the spaces that were created were quickly
filled in by other stock. Members involved in the rescue operation had to dig by
hand around trapped members and utilize buckets to remove the stock.
The Safety Investigation Team supervised the construction crew that
systematically dismantled 1575 Walton Avenue to examine, label and document
the structural components. An inspection and evaluation was conducted of all
structural wood components and plywood located within the fire building. The
following results were found by the Safety Investigation Team based on their
observations and the review of a study by an independent team of wood
specialists that were contracted by DOB to analyze the structural wood.
4
• Visible advanced wood decay and termite damage was present in many of
the cellar columns in the collapse area in the 99¢ store. The greatest
amount of deterioration was at the base of each column where they were
imbedded in the soil below the cellar floor.
Wood Advisory Services Inc., "Evaluation of Solid Wood and Plywood Elements at J575 Walton Avenue, Bronx N.Y."
81 of 174

The seams of the plywood floor and sub-floor of the 99¢ store were not
7.
staggered and the second layer of plywood was not placed perpendicular
to the first layer.
• The nailing schedules and types of fastener used in the alteration were not
in accordance with NYC Building Code. The nailing pattern was
8.
haphazard. Insufficient and incorrect types of fasteners (nails/screws)
were used.
• An insufficient number of nails were used to join the two 2" x 10" pieces
of dimensional lumber to create the top girders in the B line girder
assembly. This caused the two 2" x 10" pieces of dimensional lumber to
act independently. The top girders did not possess the structural strength
of true 4" x 10" composite girders.
• Rough sawn 6" x 6" Poplar wood columns were used to support the ledger
supporting the first floor of the 99¢ store. Poplar wood was also used as
blocking in the B line girder assembly. This type of wood is a soft wood
not commonly used as timbers in building construction.
6. Ten members initially fell into the collapse area when the collapse occurred. Four
members of Engine Company 92 were immediately removed and the other six
members were trapped in the collapse. The following are the trapped member's
company, assignment and removal time:
• The Ladder Company 44 Can Firefighter was extricated in approximately
four minutes.
• The Engine Company 75 Back-Up Firefighter was extricated m
approximately 43 minutes.
• The Ladder Company 44 Officer was extricated m approximately
56 minutes.
• The Battalion 17 Chief was extricated in approximately one hour.
• Lieutenant Carpluk, the Engine Company 75 Officer was extricated m
approximate1y one hour and 21 minutes.
• Firefighter Reilly, the Engine Company 75 Nozzle Firefighter was
extricated in approximately one hour and 41 minutes
820f174
9
7. The FAST Unit was immediately assigned to locate and rescue victims after the
collapse occurred. The FAST Unit was in position near the Command Post and
was available for rapid deployment into the fire building. Another FAST Unit
was not designated or assigned as required by AUC 320.
Rescue operations after the collapse were conducted in accordance with All Unit
Circular (AUC) 291 Rescue Operations.
• Reconnaissance and Survey: Secondary collapse potential was assessed
by members operating at several different locations throughout the rescue
effort.
• Immediate Rescue: Removal of surface victims. Surface victims were
located and eight members were removed.
• Exploration: Search all voids and accessible crawl spaces for possible
victims. Exploration of voids and breaching operations were conducted at
several locations.
• Selected Debris Removal: Certain structural members needed to be cut
and selected debris removed to facilitate the removal of Lieutenant
CarpI uk and Firefighter Reilly.
• General Rubble Clearance: The debris and structural components of the
building were methodically removed to allow for a forensic examination
of the building to determine the cause of collapse.
A number of different approaches were initiated to gain access into the collapse
area.
• Rescue Company 3 and the FAST Unit (Ladder Company 27) were
deployed into the collapse area via the entrance of the 99¢ store.
• Squad Company 41 initiated a breaching operation in the cellar of the cell
phone store.
• Ladder Company 59 and Ladder Company 33 attempted breaching
operations from the first floor of the cell phone store.
• Squad Company 61 attempted breaching operations from the cellar of the
multiple dwelling on the exposure #2 side.
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• A member of the FAST Unit and a combination of Rescue Company
members conducted void exploration on the exposure #2 side of the
collapse area.
10. Roll Calls were conducted immediately after the collapse and several times
throughout the operation. These roll calls proved to be very difficult. Handie­
talkies were not practical for roll calls at this operation. Department guidelines
are ineffective for properly conducting an emergency roll calL
11. After the trapped members were located, their air needs were immediately
addressed by the rescuers with additional SCBA's and Fast Paks. Air carts were
setup and used during the rescue effort.
12. Strategies and tactics employed at this operation were III accordance with
Firefighting Procedures Taxpayer Fires Volume 1, Book 4.
l3. Some members self initiated well intentioned firefighting operations without the
knowledge or approval of the Incident Commander.
14. Members continued to operate inside the fire occupancy after the members were
ordered off the roof. The Incident Commander prepared for a possible exterior
operation while an assessment of interior fire conditions was conducted. Fire
conditions improved and the main body of fire was knocked down. The collapse
occurred shortly thereafter.
15. The Emergency AJert Button on the handie-talkie was not used by Incident
Commander or Sector Commanders to gain control of the handie-talkie network.
When the Incident Commander orders all handie-talkie traffic to cease, members
operating must ensure only emergency transmissions are made.
16. Lieutenant Carpluk was buried in debris and could not access the Emergency
Alert Button on his handie-talkie. If he had been able to press the emergency alert
button, he would have activated the emergency alert beacon from his handie­
talkie that could have assisted rescuers in locating him earlier. The activation of
this button would have also boosted Lieutenant Carpluk's handie-talkie to
transmit at 5 watts. This would have allowed his emergency transmissions to be
84 of 174
transmitted at the maximum wattage. The Department is presently testing a
handie-talkie microphone equipped with an Emergency Alert Button.
Note: Two other trapped members that transmitted MAYDAY's were also
unable to access their Emergency Alert Button.
17. Lieutenant Carpluk transmitted a series of MAYDAY messages from 1300 hours
to 1326 hours at which time he was physically located by the Rescue Company 4
Hook Firefighter. Many of Lieutenant Carpluk's MAYDAY messages were
acknowledged by members operating on the scene. It could not be determined
from the Battalion Handie-Talkie Recorder if a dialogue took place between
Lieutenant Carpluk and members acknowledging his MAYDAY's. Lieutenant
Carpluk was able to hear rescuers working near him and was able to converse
with the rescuers after he was found.
Note: Handie-talkie E-75-1 used by Lieutenant Carpi uk was sent to the FDNY
Radio Shop for testing. This handie-talkie was found to be in proper
working condition.
Lieutenant Carpluk and Firefighter Reilly's PASS alarm signals from their
SCBA's were not effective in locating them. Members did not recall hearing the
Pass alarm signal of either Lieutenant Carpluk or Firefighter Reilly during the
search and removal efforts. Safety Command impounded the following SCBA's
used by Engine Company 75 at this fire: E-75-1, E-75-2, E-75-4, E-75-5, and E­
75-6. These SCBA's were sent to Mask Service Unit (MSU) and subjected to a
visual and functional test using the Scott Posichek3 testing procedures. These
SCBA's passed both the visual inspection and the function tests which includes
the PASS alarm.
A comparative study was conducted by FDNY's Research and Development Unit
to measure the audible output of a PASS alarm. An Extech sound level meter,
model # 407768 was used in the testing. The test compared the audible signal of
a PASS alarm when the speaker system is unobstructed versus obstructed. Test
readings were taken at 10 foot and 25 foot distances, measured at eight equidistant
compass points, for a total of 16 readings per test. The testing was unable to
replicate the exact conditions found at the scene, but was able to establish a
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baseline of what type of obstruction is necessary to negate the PASS Alann's
audible signal. The results of the test found a 100% reduction in an audible signal
from the speaker (attenuator) when the PASS was fully obstructed by soil, 6
Bunker Coats and the weight of one person approximately 200 pounds. The
audible signal could not be heard by the human ear. The readings recorded from
the sound level meter were found to be in the range of ambient noise.
19. SCBNs are assigned by position and placed in the specific riding position
corresponding to a member's assignment. Some SCBA's were not placed in their
designated position. Some Mask Record Cards examined during the investigation
were not accurately maintained. In addition, some personal facepieces were
found to be used by other than the assigned member.
20. A 10-60 was not transmitted after the collapse occurred. The Incident
Commander transmitted a 3rd Alann immediately after the collapse. Many of the
additional resources that would have responded on the 10-60 were special called
during the operation. The prompt transmission of a 10-60 would have provided
an earlier response of the additional units eventually required for this operation.
21 The implementation of a Command Channel was not established after the
transmission of the 3
rd
Alarm as per the Communications Manual, Chapter 11,
section 7.3.2.
22. Exposure Identification was unique at this operation due to the fire building being
a five sided comer taxpayer. The exposure identification at this fire did not cause
any operational difficulties. Members used the names of the occupanCles as
opposed to the exposure identification for taxpayers as stated in the
Communications Manual Chapter 10, Appendix C.
23. An Acting Battalion Chief responded as the Resource Unit Leader and arrived
shortly after the collapse. He did not don the Resource Unit Leader Vest; the
Incident Commander was not aware of his designation and assigned him to
supervise roof operations.
24. Helmet front pieces created some confusion at this operation. The Acting Deputy
Chief wore his Battalion Chief helmet which did not readily identify him as the
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Deputy Chief. Both the Rescue Battalion Firefighter and Tactical Support Unit
Firefighter were from the same Rescue Company that was not yet on the scene.
This led the Incident Commander to believe this Rescue Company was at the
scene before they arrived.
The incident duration time was transmitted over the department radio by the
Bronx Dispatcher but was not always relayed to the Incident Commander.
Battery and electric sawzalls were used extensively throughout the rescue
operation. Battery operated sawzalls had limited operational time. Electric
sawzalls were found to be more effective.
Several rescuers required hospitalization for exhaustion. Many members involved
in the rescue effort operated for an extended period of time. Relief was initiated
but was not always complied with.
The use of the Con Edison Vacuum Truck was effective in removing stock and
debris during the dismantling phase of the building. These vacuum trucks could
be used in the early stages of a similar type collapse operation to quickly remove
stock and debris.
The alteration for 1575 Walton Avenue was filed under the provisions of the
Department of Buildings Directive 14/75. This directive was enacted to speed up
the application process for a work permit. The requirements for the use of
Directive 14/75 include:
• Directive 14/75 can only be utilized by a Professional Engineer or
Registered Architect.
• It is used for alterations that do not change occupancy, egress, or use.
Work that requires a change to the Certificate of Occupancy may not be
filed using Directive 14/75.
• Directive 14/75 requi res a Professi onal Engineer, Regi stered Architect or
his designee to be the superintendent of the construction.
• On completion of the alteration the Professional Engineer or Registered
Architect must sign the "Certification of Completed Inspection Request"
section of the DOB Technical Review 1 (TR 1) form.
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30. The investigation revealed the following results regarding compliance with this
Directive 14/75:
• On completion of the alterations, the Professional Engineer did not
complete or file the certification of completion section of the TR-1.
• The Building Department was not aware of the status of these alterations.
Under Directive 14/75, once the work penn it is issued, the Building
Department is not required to track alterations.
• Failure of the Professional Engineer to follow the provisions of Directive
14/75 allowed the contractor to perfonn work that did not conform either
with the approved plans or specific requirements of the Building Code.
31. The following infonnation regarding 1575 Walton Avenue was accessed from the
Building Department website:
• An Alteration 2 (Ah-2) Permit was issued for the replacement of wood
roof joists and partitions in the existing stores.
o The original pennit was issued on October 18, 2000 and expired on
October 29,2001.
o The permit was renewed on November 27, 2001 and expired on
October 29,2002.
• This permit was applied for by a Professional Engineer as per Building
Department Directive 14175.
• The permit indicated the contractor was the superintendent of
construction.
32. The procedures currently in place for Fire Department referrals via A-8 referral
form to the NYC Department of Buildings is inadequate. Violations that are
under the jurisdiction of the Department of Buildings are routinely discovered by
Fire Department units during inspections, fires, and emergencies. The current
procedures are as follows:
• Field units identify a DOB violation and fill out an A-8 referral form for
notification to DOB.
• The Field Public Communication Unit logs the violation by calling the
3-1-1 Citizen Service Center.
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• The 3-1-1 operator calls DOB to log the complaint.
Note: The DOB inspectors are not aware that these 3-1-1 generated
complaints are initiated by the Fire Department.
• A-8's for Priority Transmittal require an evaluation by a Battalion Chief.
These A-8's are faxed to the Field Public Communications Office. A-8's
for Priority Transmittal are then handled in the same manner as regular
A-8's
As a result of this incident a pilot program for the inspection of taxpayers has
been established in the Bronx by the FDNY Bronx Borough Commander and the
Department of Buildings Bronx ChiefInspector.
• Field Units inspect taxpayers in their administrative districts. These
inspections focus on the structural components of the building, particularly
in the cellar areas. If violations under Fire Department jurisdiction are
found, appropriate actions are taken, (Notice of Violation, Violation
Order, or Summons).
• When structural conditions exist that require the notification of the DOB,
an A-8 or an A-8 for Priority Transmittal is prepared. A-8's for Priority
Transmittal are evaluated and endorsed by a Battalion Chief. Digital
photos of the condition are taken.
• The A-8 referrals for taxpayers with structural defects are included in a
Division 7 database. These A-8's are prioritized and hand delivered to the
Bronx Buildings Department Chief Inspector.
• The Taxpayers in the Division 7 database are then jointly inspected by a
member of Division 7 and an inspector from the Department of Buildings,
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VIII. CAUSES
DIRECT CAUSES
1. Asphyxiation due to compressIOn of the chest to Probationary Firefighter
Michael C. Reilly.
2. Positional asphyxia and aspiration of blood due to blunt impact of head with
fracture of cribriform plate to Lieutenant Howard 1. Carpluk, Jr.
INDIRECT CAUSES
1. Deterioration at the base of numerous columns in the cellar of the 99¢ store.
2. Failure of cellar columns in the 99¢ store. This caused a progressive failure of the
structural element that resulted in the "V" shaped collapse of the first floor.
3. Failure of the contractor to perform construction in the 99¢ store in accordance
with the architectural plan submitted and the New York City Building Code.
Substandard construction techniques.
Heat from electrical wiring.
Inability of Lieutenant Carpluk's and Firefighter Reilly's PASS alarm signals to
alert members of their location.
Failure of the Professional Engineer to fully comply with all prOVISIons of
DOB Directive 14/75.
The circumventing ofDOB Directive 14/75 allowed for substandard construction
to exist.
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IX. RECOMMENDATIONS
Establish a program to ensure buildings that have sustained major structural
damage are properly repaired in accordance with the NYC Building Code prior to
being reoccupied, This program could be similar to NYC Local Law 10,
Have Department representatives meet with the DOB to ensure that when a permit is
issued for the alteration of a building, the alterations are completed according to the
plans submitted. The main goals of this meeting will be to address the following:
• Establish a procedure to ensure that the Professional Engineer or Registered
Architect responsible for the permit issued under his/her license files the
required paperwork certifying that all the alterations made to a building were
completed according to the plans submitted for the DOB permit and the
N,Y.C. Building Code.
• Increase the penalties for a Professional Engineer or Registered Architect who
fail to comply with all DOB requirements.
Equip all handie-talkies with an emergency alert button on the remote
microphone. The emergency alert button, on the body of the handie-talkie, is
difficult to access when wearing personal protective equipment.
NOTE: The Department has been working with the manufacturer to develop this
equipment since 2002. A new enhanced remote microphone is currently
being field tested in two Divisions,
Provide the Incident Commander with the capability to capture and maintain the
handie-talkie identifier on the scene of an operation. This would allow for a
running history of handie-talkie identifiers to be readily accessed and available on
the scene.
Re-emphasize the critical need for all members to follow the MAYDAY
procedures as outlined in the Communications Manual, Chapter 9. Radio
discipline must be maintained throughout the MAYDAY operation. Only
emergency transmissions should be made when the Incident Commander orders
all handie-talkie traffic to cease.
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6. Reinforce the procedures established in section 9.5 of the Communications
11.
Manual to use the Emergency Alert Tone Assisted Rescue or the Feedback
Assisted Rescue to locate missing members.
The Emergency Alert Tone Assisted Rescue procedures described in the "NOTE"
12
of section 9.5 should be expanded upon and have a dedicated section in Chapter 9
of the Communications Manual.
The procedures for the use of the Emergency Alert Tone Assisted Rescue should
13
be added to AUC 320, section 5.2-H.
7. Reemphasize procedures to establish and use the Secondary Tactical Channel for
firefighting operations. This channel can be established when the Primary Tactical
Channel must be dedicated exclusively for MAYDAY operations and the use of
emergency Channel 16 is impractical. AUC 320, section 5.2 states, Incident
14
Commanders requiring the use of a FAST Unit should consider the need for a
separate handie-talkie channel, either for ongoing operations or the rescue team.
8. Reemphasize the capability of using the Emergency Alert Tone by the Incident
Commander to gain control of the handie-talkie network during MAYDAY or
URGENT transmissions, as per Communications Manual 9.4.3.
15
9. Incorporate into training opportunities, such as the Battalion Chief Education
Day, the Battalion Chief's Command Course, and the Command Chief
Conferences, the strategies and tactics to be considered after a structural collapse
occurs with members trapped. These training opportunities will allow members
with various backgrounds and levels of experience to share information and
prepare them to effectively manage search and rescue operations.
10. Reinforce the policies established in AUC 320. When the Incident Command
orders the FAST Unit to work, and the fire is not "Under Control," the IC shall
assign another on-scene company to stand by as the FAST Unit and immediately
notify the Borough Communications Office. If no units are available, the IC must
assign at least two members to act as the stand by FAST Unit while awaiting the
arrival of the special called FAST Unit.
16
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Ensure the Borough Communications Office assigns an additional FAST Unit
when notified that a FAST Unit has been put to work and the fire is not "Under
Control."
Develop operational procedures for conducting roll calls during operations.
These new procedures must be standardized and incorporated into training
programs.
Amend AUC 275 Addendum 1 and Addendum 2 to address Rescue and Squad
operations including MAYDAY incidents. The Incident Commander or Rescue
Battalion must be informed of any deviations from assigned tasks, as well as
proactive decisions made by the Rescue or Squad on the scene of a fire or
emergency.
Reinforce the responsibilities of the Resource Unit Leader as listed in the Incident
Command Manual, Chapter 2, Addendum 2. The Resource Unit Leader must
inform the IC of their designation when reporting in to the Command Post. The
Resource Unit Leader shall not be used for firefighting purposes.
Re-emphasize to all members the following Self Contained Apparatus
(SCBA) policies and procedures:
A. At roll call the Officer on duty must ensure that all SCBA's are assigned
to members as per Training Bulletin Scott 4.5 Self Contained Breathing
Apparatus (SCBA) Section 4.1.2 and placed in the associated riding
position on the apparatus. (For example, E99-1 should be placed in the
Officers riding position)
B. The Company Commander must ensure the proper procedures pertaining
to the Mask Record Cards (SD-30) are followed as per Department
Regulations, Sections 13.3.29 and 13.3.30. The Mask Record Card must
be up to date and accurate.
C. Each member must ensure the proper safeguarding, maintenance and use
of hislher personal facepiece.
Amend Safety Bulletin 65 to include the personal facepiece in the Semi Annual
Inspection of Safety Equipment.
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17. Reinforce to all Chief and Company Officers the importance of rotating members
and providing relief at operations when necessary. Effectiveness is reduced and
the potential for injury is increased when members operate for extended periods
of time under hazardous conditions or during arduous operations. Chief and
Company Officers must ensure compliance when the order for relief is given.
18. Re-emphasize to all Chief Officers that the incident duration time transmitted by
the Borough Communications Office following a progress report, must be
immediately relayed to the Incident Commander by BattalionIDivision
Firefighters, The incident duration time is an important factor used by the IC to
evaluate strategies and tactics. The incident duration time must be included in the
exchange of information whenever there is a change in command.
19. Incorporate additional building construction training into the following programs:
• Probationary Firefighter School
• Company Education Day
• First Line Supervisory Training Program
• Captains Command Course
• Chiefs Command Course
• Chief Officer Education Day
20. Establish a multi-level building construction certification program. This program
(
should begin in Probationary Firefighter School and progress through the First
Line Supervisory Training Program and the Captains and Battalion Chiefs
Command Course. Certification at each level should include college credit for
promotional advancement. This additional training will provide members with a
better knowledge and understanding of building construction. Members will be
better able to identify unsafe conditions on the fire ground and be more efficient
when performing Apparatus Field Inspection Duty.
21. Amend the Communications Manual Chapter 10 Appendix C regarding exposure
identification of taxpayer buildings. The current procedure of designating the fire
occupancy of a taxpayer building "0," and the adjoining occupancies to the right
as "0-4" and "0-4A" is rarely used during operations and is ineffective.
Incorporate Incident Command System (ICS) terminology by using the name
and/or address of occupancies during fire operations.
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Reestablish a 24 hour Imaging (Photo) Unit staffed by trained members that will
respond to multiple alarms, unusual incidents, and major accidents. These
members will provide both video and still images to document an incident. The
early documentation of an incident is an asset to investigations and a valuable
training tool. This Imaging Unit can provide the Incident Commander at the
scene and the Fire Departments Operations Center with real time images of the
incident.
Consider requesting the Con Edison vacuum truck to respond to a similar type
collapse. The vacuum truck was effective during the post incident phase of this
operation. The Department should issue written guidelines for the use of Con
Edison vacuum trucks.
7
th
Expand the current DivisionIDOB joint taxpayer inspection pilot program
citywide. When a DOB violation is discovered by field units during these
inspections, then a second inspection is conducted by DOB and FDNY
representatives to evaluate and take appropriate corrective action.
u .....VUl"... the following did not have an impact on this incident, the Department should
MC!tclprthese recommendations to improve safety and efficiency at future operations:
Amend Firefighting Procedures, Volume 1, Book 4 Taxpayers Fires and other
related Department Publications to address lightweight building construction.
Buildings of lightweight construction have a greater potential for early collapse.
The prevalence of this type of construction throughout the city requires the
Department to review the tactics employed at content fires versus structural fires.
Discussions should be held at the Chief Officer level regarding interior
operational times and when to change from an offensive to a defensive operation
at all types of structural fires.
Incident Commanders must ensure that Engine Company apparatus are always
positioned at serviceable hydrants or supplied by an adequate source of water at
operations. Company Officers and Chauffeurs are responsible to properly position
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their apparatus. Apparatus positioning
critiques by Chief and Company Officers.
should also be included In post fire
27.
28.
Establish a policy defining the number of hose lines that can safely be supplied by a
single source of water. Failure of a hydrant or a pumper supplying multiple
hoselines can have a critical effect on the safety of members and fire operations.
Schedule joint training opportunities between SOC Units and SOC Support
Ladder Companies. This will afford better coordinated operations at fires and
emergencIes.
29. Review the A-8 procedures for reporting DaB violations found by this Department.
30. A low air warning system should be incorporated into the Fast Pak. The member
assigned to monitor the air level may be in an environment which does not allow
for a visual reading from the cylinder gauge.
12:
31. Update the current Dispatcher Action Guide, Dispatchers Directives, and
Dispatchers Advisories. There have been numerous changes in policies and these
documents need to be properly formatted for ease of use by the dispatcher.
32. Mark all lumber (shoring material) used for structural reinforcement at collapse
operations in a manner that is readily identifiable. The purpose is to differentiate
this lumber from the original structural components of the building during
operations and post incident analysis.
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