Investigation Complete In Noonday Firefighter Deaths - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/09/08- Noonday

Investigation Complete In Noonday Firefighter Deaths

We take a closer look at the State Fire Marshal's investigation into the death of Noonday Firefighters Austin Cheek and Captain Kevin Williams.  While the cause of the fire was never determined, the state did have nine findings and recommendations to improve safety and communication procedures.

The report indicates there was no stationary command post in place.  Also, the firefighters inside were placed between the fire and the ventilation opening, due to a lack of coordination. There were seven other recommendations included in the report.

The Noonday Volunteer Fire Department says it's extremely hard to sacrifice two people as a command post, when there are so few volunteer firefighters.  Since the tragedy a year ago, the department says they've made a lot of changes in how they operate at a fire scene.

"Instead of sending some guys in right away, we'll go ahead and do some ventilation before our guys make entry into the house fire," said Captain Kyle Patterson.  "We automatically call mutual aid anytime we're dispatched to a structure fire.  You have to sit back and reanalyze the situation and see what you can do better the next time."

The Noonday Volunteer Fire Department also has a lot of new equipment, including two new engines, a tanker, and brush truck.

Courtney Lane, Reporting   clane@kltv.com

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