No Safety Belts For Fallen Kilgore Fire Fighters

By LaKecia Shockley

KILGORE, TX (KLTV) - It was a training exercise disaster that has lots of firefighters talking specifically, what could have been done to stop it.

"This safety belt thing has come up ever since the accident happened, that's all I've heard."

Well, if the fire fighters would have had safety belts this wouldn't have happened, well would it had of happend or not? Who knows.

"I'm not going to say that safety belts would have kept this from happening, but I will say it would have helped in this situation," says Kilgore Operations Fire Chief Dennis Gage.

Chief Gage says when Kyle Perkins and Cory Galloway fell from the E-1 platform, they were not wearing safety belts because it wasn't a requirement.

"The safety belts weren't in there, it's my fault that they weren't on the truck but it wasn't recommended. They should have been on there because that provides the highest safety.  I take full responsibility for them not being on the truck."

For now, Chief Gage says theTexas Municipal League, a federal agency, and Kilgore police are desperately trying to figure out what went wrong.

"Most of those people that are starting the rumors weren't there at the accident. They don't know what happened. I know people want to know what happened and we will let them know what happened as soon as we know ourselves."

Chief Gage says he expects the investigation to take six to eight weeks. He also says he wants to push a state law requiring safety belts on all ladder trucks.