Frederick Co. Fire Department blames its ‘culture and systems’ in report on 2021 firefighter death – NBC4 Washington

A year ago this month, Frederick County Fire Captain Joshua Laird was killed in the line of duty while battling a large fire in Ijamsville, Maryland. The fire chief released a devastating after-action report on Friday that blames the department’s “culture and systems.” The ministry, according to the report, has not learned from its mistakes.

“These things will continue, my daughters still won’t have their dad at their wedding, so there’s never any closure,” grieving widow Sara Laird said. She described her terrible loss when firefighters revealed some of the mistakes made in her death.

The after-action report says when firefighters first pulled over to a large house fire on Ball Road last August, they had no idea how long it had been burning or what damage it had already caused . Firefighters had difficulty seeing in heavy smoky conditions and there was no immediate water supply.

Captain Laird then entered the house. The report says: “The Deputy Chief of Operations said [Capt. Laird] that they weren’t going inside yet “because we don’t have good water”, but didn’t directly say [Laird] exit the building immediately. »

When he turned around, Laird was gone.

A photo from the report shows where he fell through a floor, conscious, alert and calling for help, doing what firefighters call a mayday.

The report stated, “…on receipt of the Mayday, there was a lack of tactical discipline, crew integrity issues, and a lack of coordination between units operating on the range.”

The report concludes: “…[m]Several organizational policies were not followed by both the company and the general managers during this incident.”

Sara Laird spoke fondly of her late husband on Friday and thanked firefighters and the community for their support.

“He was a consummate professional, even to the end,” she said. “Based on this report and the ATF report, nothing would have changed this tragic outcome other than the stainless steel corrugated tube failing under lightning conditions.

Investigators believe the fire started when the house was struck by lightning.

“I’m grateful to be allowed to be a part of these things, and it helps me in my healing process,” said Sara Laird.

Captain Laird was able to make several radio transmissions after falling into the basement, telling the firefighters where he was and what equipment they would need to reach him, but it wasn’t enough. On his last transmission, he activated the mic and said, “Hey guys, tell my family I love them.”

The full report, which is over 180 pages, is available on the Frederick Fire and Rescue website.

Sara Laird also thanked the Tunnels to Towers charity, which helped pay for her house.