HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – The Hampton Division of Fire and Rescue released new information about a fire last year that displaced 50 people and injured 12, including 8 firefighters.
The fire happened Oct. 21, 2022 at an apartment complex on Marcella Rd.
Many questions were raised after those 12 people, including a mother and daughter, were hurt.
Among the questions – what went wrong?
Hampton Division of Fire and Rescue’s report on the incident had some answers.
Just a few of the listed problems included entering with an uncharged hose line, not using thermal equipment and unauthorized helmet decoration.
Here’s part of Fire Chief Jason Monk’s statement on the fire:
“Immediately following this tragic event, I commissioned a joint, professional peer panel to work alongside the Division’s Health and Safety Office (HSO) to focus on investigating the circumstances surrounding, and causal factors of, the incident…”
The report comes in the middle of the State Department of Labor and Industry’s investigation into the department.
The 72-page report laid out what happened that day.
A man called 911 saying his mother’s electric blanket caught fire in the master bedroom of his apartment. About a minute later, nine units responded to the complex.
The man moved the blanket to the shower and the other things that caught on fire were taken to the balcony. He managed to get everyone out of his apartment, but there was still a problem – the fire was moving too fast and spread to other apartments.
According to the report, firefighters went inside the home with an uncharged hose line, which limited their access to water. Putting the fire out was further delayed after communication issues prevented crews from getting more water when they called for it.
According to the report, the flames got out of control soon after, traveling up the walls to the ceiling and putting firefighters in more danger.
While they were evacuating, other crews helped a mother and child escape.
Additional issues included unauthorized stickers on crews’ safety helmets that could’ve made it harder to see them during the incident.
The report also said a total of 67 people responded to the fire, well over the 25 minimum need for a similar incident.
Battalion Chief Edward B. Cantwell III responded to the safety issues during the rescue.
“Incidents can often be avoided by situational awareness, risk assessments, and identifying factors that could lead to an accident and then changing those conditions or actions,” Cantwell said.
Many recommendations came from the report, including more training on evaluating smoke, hands on training using thermal equipment and more.
And even though the Department of Labor and Industry hasn’t released their findings of their investigation into the Hampton fire, they had a recommendation of their own.
They said they need more training on their turnout gear limitations.