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Federal report on Canby Park fire details contributing factors to fatal blaze

Delaware Public Media

A federal report on the 2016 Canby Park row house fire cites a number of factors contributing to the death of three Wilmington firefighters.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) report finds a lack of training, organization and staffing were key factors in the fatal fire.

Water wasn’t put on the rear of the building until 21 minutes after fire crews arrived on the scene - even though the first crew on scene reported flames there. The rear also offered direct access to the main part of basement, where three firefighters were trapped after the first floor collapsed.

The report also notes Engine 6 should have been the first to arrive, but was out of commission due to the city’s money saving rolling bypass policy. The report says the impact of that is unknown.

Attorney Tom Neuberger cites rolling bypasses in a federal lawsuit against the city and other former Wilmington officials filed on behalf of the deceased firefighters’ families and estates. Neuberger says the report also shows the absence of a rapid intervention team until it was too late and an inadequate number firefighters to safely fight the blaze. He adds the report indicates the Wilmington Fire Department didn’t train firefighters to battle basement fires.

A spokesman for Wilmington mayor Mike Purzycki says the report speaks for itself and the city has no further comment.

Canby Park Fire Report - The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) by Delaware Public Media on Scribd

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