Fire Commissioner Responds To Recommendations Made By Federal Report

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel held a press conference Tuesday morning to address a Federal report on the death of 37-year-old firefighter Joyce Craig.

Craig was killed in a West Oak Lane house fire in 2014

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health investigated the fatal incident, and publically released their report Monday, making ten recommendations: including more firefighters, better communication and field training, and improved techniques.

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“Everything matters, and everything is connected in some way,” Thiel said, referring to some of the changes they have already made.

“We now have a battalion chief working at our communication center next door 24-7-365,” he said. “We put dedicated field safety officers on all of our platoons.”

And they have updated their breathing equipment, the device known as Self Contained Breathing Apparatus.

“We are going to be looking a lot and focusing on our may day procedures, training around May Day, our Rapid Intervention or RIT procedures,” Thiel said, addressing other recommendations.

“There were a series of factors here that were involved in this, you can’t point at just one.”

Though the department has already implemented some of the noted guidelines, others he said, just aren’t as simple.

“One of the factors in this report was, Joyce was actually working overtime shift on a company that was not her usually company, and that is the kind of thing that will continue to happen,” explain Thiel.

“But every time somebody takes off work, we have to fill their seat.”\

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Overall, he said they need more training, more firefighters and more money.

Captain Lisa Forrest, who went to the academy with Craig, and was a close friend said though this is a tradgedy, it’s symbolic of the Craig was as a heroic firefighter.

“Joyce was always a game changer,” said Forrest. “Her actual sacrifice is really going to contribute to the change that we have been needing for a long time.

To read the full reports:

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health report and the Philadelphia Fire Department report.

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