Hartford Fire Department cited for violations in blaze that killed firefighter Kevin Bell

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HARTFORD - The Hartford Fire Department has received safety citations from the Connecticut Occupational Safety and Health (CONN-OSHA).

The apparent violations stem from its investigation of the blaze on Oct. 7, 2014 on Blue Hills Avenue. Firefighter Kevin Bell died in the fire that also severely injured Jason Martinez.  According to the Hartford Fire Dept. leaders, they received the citations on Tuesday, April 7.

The Hartford Fire Dept. has requested a meeting with OSHA to discuss the violations on April 23.

The violations are listed as:

  • Did not issue and require the use of protective fire/heat resistant hoods
  • All fire fighters had not received required medical evaluations prior to annual fit testing
  • Did not ensure that all firefighters had been fit tested for their SCBA within the past 12 months
  • Did not ensure that all SCBA cylinders underwent hydrostatic testing every five years
  • Did not ensure that firefighters wore personal protective equipment according to manufacturer’s instructions

The department faces a $5,000 fine--$1,000 per violation, which is the maximum fine--and has been ordered to correct violations by May 9.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra released a statement about the OSHA report:

This report is disturbing and raises serious questions about management and allocation of resources within the fire department, issues that the Hartford Fire Department Task Force and others are looking into. For our fire department to continue to be effective to the community it serves, the safety of our men and women on the ground must be our number one priority at all times.

Capt. Helene Lynch would not elaborate on what department leaders will contest at their informal hearing later this month but did reiterate she feels firefighters are safe.

"There are some things in it that we can substantiate that were done and that's all I can say," Lynch said. " There are things in this report that we can challenge and we can defend ourselves as well because you know, we take exception to this report that says that we are unsafe."

Lynch also spoke about the department's history.

"Every day we are facing challenges  that we never thought we would have and this is one of them. We have never had anything happen like this with CONN-OSHA, no violations, anything, any penalties," she said.