“Engine 73 can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” Craig, 37, said in her final transmission.
Nine minutes later, Craig – the first female Philadelphia firefighter to die in the line of duty – was found by her comrades with her left hand still near the nozzle of her fire hose, according to a report released Monday by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. She was pronounced dead a short time later at a hospital.The NIOSH report cites several factors in Craig’s death, including broken and outdated breathing equipment, becoming separated from her crew members, unrestricted air flow in the house, and a backup team that took 21 minutes to arrive.
The report also criticizes the controversial “brownout” policy that temporarily took engines or ladders out of service and a firefighter rotation policy, both of which were in effect at the time of Craig’s death but since have been discontinued.
The policies “may impact effective firefighting teams and removes firefighting expertise from neighborhoods and the family culture,” the report says. “An important aspect of being a fireighter is being able to work as a member of a team.”
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