Injury in the Line of Duty... A Summary of a NIOSH Fire Fighter Injury Investigation: Eight Fire Fighters from a Combination Department Injured in a Natural Gas Explosion at a Strip Mall - Maryland   [open pdf - 1MB]

"On May 7, 2009, two captains, a lieutenant, and five fire fighters were injured during a natural gas explosion at a strip mall in Maryland. At 1254 hours, dispatch reported a natural gas leak inside a business at a strip mall. Five minutes later, the initial responding crew and the incident commander (IC) arrived on scene to find a gas company employee looking for an underground gas leak. Approximately 6 minutes later, a natural gas leak was found near the exterior rear corner of the structure. After 23 minutes on scene, approximately 45 civilians were evacuated from 7 occupied businesses. [...] Key contributing factors identified in this investigation included: insufficient execution of the fire department's updated standard operating guidelines (SOGs) on incidents involving flammable gas, e.g., apparatus and fire fighters operating in a flammable area (hot zone); the accumulation of natural gas in the structure's void spaces; unmitigated ignition source; insufficient combustible gas monitoring equipment usage and training; and, ineffective ventilation techniques."

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