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Incident Name: Training Accident
Date: 11/27/2007
Personnel: John Jacob Curry
Age: 30
Agency/Organization:  Volusia County Fire Service
Position: Firefighter

Summary: Firefighter Curry was a member of the Volusia County Wildland Fire Team. The team was practicing chain saw use at the fire department training center. During training, a pine tree fell and crushed Firefighter Curry. He was treated by firefighters at the scene but did not survive.

John (JJ) Curry John (JJ) Curry

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Accident Location

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

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Wildlandfire.com Links:

  • WLF Hotlist Thread posted on 11/29/2007: FL-Florida Volunteer F/F LODD
  • theysaid: 4/8/09 comments from vfd cap'n
  • Firefighter John Curry died on Nov 27, 2007 during a fire department wildland team training exercise.

    According to the report by the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal:

    "This was the first training event for the victim and several other new members of the team. The Sawyer (chain saw operator) and the Swamper (the victim) assigned to cut and drop the assigned tree were both new members without any previous formal training in tree felling. Neither had completed the formal training class (S-212; Chainsaw Use, Maintenance and Safety) on chainsaws."

    Firefighters using the Skills Crosswalk are being set up by NWCG for the same system failure with an ill-conceived curriculum that omits the safety/situational awareness unit and the field proficiency exercise.

     

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Media Articles and Reports.

 

Firefighter's Wife Fights For Death Benefits

From WESH.com: Link to Online Article , 6-3-2010

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A woman whose husband was a firefighter and killed during training has been pushing for a bill in Florida that will help her family and others. Firefighter John Curry was 30 years old when he died during training in 2007, but his young family was not eligible for death benefits.

Firefighters were grief-stricken when John Curry died in a freak accident. A tree fell on him as his fire team trained to fight brush fires in a heavily wooded area.

Curry's wife said their family was victim to a legal loophole and that because her husband was not responding to an emergency scene, his death was not covered by the state. Family, friends and many firefighters were stunned to learn that death during training was not considered a line of duty death under Florida law.

Health and death benefits will now be extended to families who lose a loved one in a training accident. The new death benefit payout is retroactive for 7 years. "When we're in training to help the public, if unfortunately one of us should die in the line of duty it's now considered by the state a line of duty death," Lt. Carl Cusumano said.

Gov. Charlie Crist was scheduled to be in Central Florida for a bill signing ceremony tomorrow, but he canceled. Curry's family said the bill being signed into law is what is really important.

 

Volusia County At Fault In Firefighter's Death

Courtesy Central Florida News 13 - April 8, 2009

DAYTONA BEACH -- A state investigation into the death of a Volusia County firefighter during a training exercise finds the firefighter was killed because of improperly trained firefighters and an unsafe workplace.

The state investigation started after John Curry was crushed by a falling tree at the county's training facility near Daytona Beach a year and a half ago. He was undergoing training as part of a unit which battles forest fires. The report by the state's Bureau of Fire Training & Standards states the new members of the county's firefighting team were only given a short version of the recommended training before attempting to cut down a pine tree. That tree twisted on its stump and fell on Curry as he was trying to escape.

The state is requiring the county to make sure all of its firefighters and supervisors get additional training. It is also requiring the county to document that training

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

  • Obituary submitted by his wife:

    John Jacob "JJ" Curry was born in DeLand on December 22, 1976, at West Volusia Memorial Hospital. He graduated from Taylor T. Dewitt Middle High School in Pierson in 1995. Curry pursued his goal of becoming a firefighter by receiving his emergency medical technician certification in March 2006 and completing his certificate of compliance in fire standards and training in September 2006.

    Curry began his employment with Volusia County Fire Services as a firefighter/emergency medical technician on January 6, 2007 and was currently assigned to DeLeon Springs Station 41. He was accepted to the Volusia County Wildland Fire Response Team, the Firewalker's on November 13, 2007. Curry passed away on November 27, 2007.

    He is survived by his wife Kristen and his 3 1/2 year old son, Owen as well as many family members who loved him.

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Contributors to this article: vfd cap'n

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