On March 4, 2012, 34-year-old volunteer Lieutenant Jamison Kampmeier lost his life at the Abby Theatre fire after the roof collapsed, trapping him inside the theatre. At approximately 12:15 hours, an on-duty patrol officer (also chief of Kampmeier’s fire department) radioed dispatch for a structure fire. The first-due fire department arrived on scene, set up operations on the A-side of the structure, and directed the incoming mutual aid department (Kampmeier’s) to the rear of the structure. No fire was visible from the rear. Both departments attacked the theatre fire from opposite sides (A-side and C-side) of the theatre establishing their own incident commander/officer-in-charge, fireground operations, and accountability systems. The first-due fire department initially fought the fire defensively from the A-side, while Kampmeier and two additional firefighters (FF1 and FF2) entered through the C-side, advancing a hoseline until they met A-side firefighters near the theatre’s lobby (the area of origin). The first due fire department eventually placed an elevated master stream into operation, directing it into the lobby and then onto the roof while firefighters were operating inside. Roof conditions deteriorated until the roof collapsed into the structure trapping Kampmeier, FF1, and FF2. FF1 and FF2 recalled speaking with the victim immediately following the collapse, but nothing was heard from him following the activation of a personal alert safety system device. All three were eventually located, removed from the structure, and transported to a local hospital, but Kampmeier had already succumbed to his injuries.
The report listed several contributing factors to the line-of-duty death: •Initial arriving units not establishing/ performing/ implementing an incident management system, an overall incident commander, an incident action plan (IAP), and a 360-degree situational size-up; •Risk management principles not effectively used •Fireground and suppression activities not coordinated •Fireground communications between departments not established •Incident safety officer (ISO) role ineffective •Rapid intervention crew (RIC) procedures not followed and/or implemented •Bowstring roof truss construction not recognized by departments •Fire burned undetected within the roof void space for unknown period of time •Uncoordinated master stream operations •Location of Kampmeier following roof collapse not immediately known.
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