New report details West firefighter deaths, mistakes before explosion

New report details West firefighter deaths, mistakes before explosion

New report details West firefighter deaths, mistakes before explosion

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by JASON WHITELY and JORDAN ARMSTRONG

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on May 15, 2014 at 10:58 PM

Updated Friday, May 16 at 2:16 AM

WEST -- A new state fire marshal's report on the deadly fertilizer explosion in West outlines the risks when first responders rushed to fight the flames in April of last year.

Twelve of them died in the blast.

The report details what each firefighter did on the night of the explosion. It also highlights things that could have been done differently.

The report states that one former volunteer firefighter and employee of the fertilizer plant told first responders "It's going to blow," yet they didn't evacuate.

The report also claims that West VFD never had an on-scene commander and firefighters weren't trained or equipped for such a hazardous call. The State Fire Marshal's Office also says the department didn't follow national safety standards and had limited water supply.

The report adds that firefighters should have initiated a defensive response to the plant fire rather than attacking the flames.

Families of those killed in the explosion were briefed on the findings before the report was released to the public Thursday night.

The widow of firefighter Morris Bridges told News 8 that the report brings her closure.

"We do know a little bit more about what happened, why it happened, and how they're gonna prevent it from happening again," Carmen Bridges said. "But we still don't have our loved ones back."

The report also gives safety recommendations for hazardous materials and training recommendations for volunteer fire departments.

It's the second of three official West reports to be released. The next one will hopefully detail what exactly started the fire at the fertilizer plant.

Go here to read the full report.

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