Federal report slams Wilmington over 3 firefighter deaths

WILMINGTON, Del. (WPVI) -- Federal authorities say insufficient training, poor strategy, bad communication and even a lack of integrity contributed to the deaths of three Wilmington firefighters in Canby Park.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health released its long-awaited report about that deadly rowhome fire in September of 2016.

The 99-page report gives a minute-by-minute breakdown of the response that killed three of the firefighters who responded to the blaze.

The victims were Firefighter Ardythe Hope, Capt. Christopher Leach and Lt. Jerry Fickes.

The report found there was a lack of scene assessment, inappropriate tactics, a lack of a personnel accountability system, lack of an incident action plan, and ineffective communications.

Authorities officially deemed the fire an arson, but this investigation also studied the response itself through records, equipment inspection and interviews.

The Wilmington mayor's office said the report "speaks for itself" and "the city has no further comment at this time."

Lawyers for the victims said Friday that when it comes to reform within the department, they believe the public will also have to join their fight.

Investigators don't say in the report what, if anything, firefighters should have done differently.

But the report does say that firefighters should not put themselves in danger unless they're trying to save others.


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