This episode is part 1 of a 2-part interview where Dr. Gasaway talks with retired Philadelphia Deputy Chief Vince Mulray and Battalion Chief Bobby Kennedy about conducting a Line-of-Duty After Action Review following the death of Lieutenant Matthew LeTourneau on January 6, 2018.
After Action Review-Line of Duty Death
On January 06, 2018, Lt. Matthew LeTourneau, (LeTurnO) a 42-year-old male and 11-year veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD), died after becoming trapped from an interior structural collapse while engaged in interior firefighting operations. Two additional firefighters were injured during the collapse and one civilian occupant of the dwelling, who was removed during initial operations, also died. An After-Action Review (AAR) was conducted by the PFDs Health and Safety Office, at the direction of Fire Commissioner Adam K. Thiel, to provide insight into the event and PFD operations from the time of dispatch to the time the fire was placed under control, a time span of approximately 1 hour and 57 minutes.
A fire box assignment was dispatched at 08:51:43 for a reported dwelling fire on the 2200 block of N. Colorado Street. Responding units were forced to overcome significant impediments including: a snow and ice-covered street, temperatures of approximately 9°F with a wind chill of -10°F (NOAA, 2018) and limited apparatus access to the front of the fire dwelling. Engine 45, a crew of three firefighters supervised by Lt. LeTourneau, was the first-due engine company and the first unit to arrive on location. At approximately 08:55:05,
Lt. LeTourneau reported a two story, fifteen feet by thirty-five feet, middle of the row dwelling with fire showing on the first floor. Lt. Letourneau placed two engine companies and two ladder companies in service to begin the initial fire suppression efforts. Fire companies on scene had a difficult time obtaining a steady water supply and the fire dwelling was extremely cluttered with debris, which posed an extreme hazard and complicated interior operations. While working to overcome difficult conditions, firefighters gained access to the first floor, removed one civilian victim, and eventually accessed the second floor of the dwelling to attack the fire and complete a search for occupants. At approximately 09:33, almost 42 minutes after Engine 45’s dispatch, an interior “V” shaped collapse occurred trapping several firefighters, including Lt. LeTourneau.
Vince Mulray Bio:
VINCENT P. MULRAY is a 35-year veteran of the fire service and a retired (July 2023) Fire Deputy Chief with the Philadelphia (PA) Fire Department. He was last assigned to Division 02 and was responsible for all operations in the Northeast section of Philadelphia. He began his career in 1988 and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 1993. He held the ranks of Lieutenant, Captain and Battalion Chief before his promotion to Fire Deputy Chief in January of 2017. He served as the department’s Health and Safety Officer from 2017 to 2019, and also served in multiple staff units at all ranks during his career. Before joining the fire department, he worked as a Railroad locomotive Engineer for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority.
Bobby Kennedy Bio:
BOBBY KENNEDY is a 16-year veteran of the Philadelphia (PA) Fire Department, currently serving as a Fire Battalion Chief in North Philadelphia. Chief Kennedy has been assigned to both engine and ladder companies, responding to all hazard’s emergencies in neighborhoods throughout the city and has served in several administrative staff positions. He was the primary author for the Philadelphia Fire Department’s After-Action Report for the Line of Duty Death of Lieutenant Matthew LeTourneau. Chief Kennedy has degrees in Fire Science and Emergency Planning and Management.
About the Host
Richard B. Gasaway, PhD, CSP is widely considered a trusted authority on human factors, situational awareness and the high-risk decision making processes used in high-stress, high consequence work environments. He served 33 years on the front lines as a firefighter, EMT-Paramedic, company officer, training officer, fire chief and emergency incident commander. His doctoral research included the study of cognitive neuroscience to understand how human factors flaw situational awareness and impact high-risk decision making.
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Episode length: 65 minutes