State fire marshal raises questions about HFD firefighters’ deaths

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EARLIER IN THE WEEK, THE CHRONICLE reported on a 47-page report by the state fire marshal’s office that noted six “factors that, when combined, may have contributed to the deaths” of two HFD firefighters.

After reporting that news, the Chron story immediately quoted HFD’s interim fire chief to the effect that the officers did everything according to department guidelines.

That leads to some fairly obvious questions, which regular BH commenter FilioScotia emailed us:

I looked in vain for some sign that the reporter asked the obvious followup questions, such as: If they did everything according to guidelines, why did they get killed?

If they did everything according to guidelines, why did the state fire marshal, and the HFD’s own internal report, find fault with the way this particular fire was handled?

If firefighters follow guidelines and still get killed, isn’t it possible that the guidelines may be at fault and might need to be changed?

One suspects that the reporter was trying to avoid coming off as insensitive to two firefighters killed in the line of duty, but those questions should have been asked of HFD’s interim fire chief. And those are questions that Mayor Parker may need to ask the interim fire chief herself.

UPDATE (02-25-2010): The Chron Houston Politics blog reports that Mayor Parker has asked HFD for a briefing on the discrepancies. The public deserves that briefing as well (no thanks to the original reporter who downplayed that part of the story).


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Kevin Whited
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