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Incident Name:
Date: 1/12/2001
Personnel: William Lawrence "Willy" Thompson
Age: 21
Agency/Organization: Hillsboro Fire Department, Kentucky
Position: firefighter

Summary: Firefighter Thompson was the sole occupant and driver of a tanker (tender or engine) responding to a grass fire. As the tanker reached a right curve, the vehicle swerved from the right side of the road. Firefighter Thompson steered it back onto the road surface, crossed the road, and veered to the left side of the roadway. The apparatus struck an embankment and a telephone pole and rolled over. Firefighter Thompson was ejected from the vehicle, and the tanker came to rest on top of him. Firefighter Thompson was not wearing a seat belt. Firefighter Thompson was the son of Hillsboro Fire Chief William A. Thompson.

 

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Hillsboro Fire Department, KY

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

NIOSH Report: Fire Fighter Dies After the Tanker Truck He was Driving Strikes a Utility Pole and Overturns While Responding to a Grass Fire–Kentucky

NIOSH investigators concluded that, to minimize the risk of similar incidents, fire departments should

  • establish, implement, and enforce standard operating procedures (SOPs) on emergency vehicle operation and the use of seat belts in all emergency vehicles
  • ensure that the apparatus chassis is adequate to carry the weight of the unequipped apparatus, the water and tank, hose load, personnel weight, ground ladders, and the designed miscellaneous equipment allowance
  • establish a vehicle maintenance checklist so that vehicle deficiencies can be identified and ensure that any vehicle found to be unsafe is placed out of service until repaired

 

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