The family of a Philadelphia firefighter who was killed in a 2014 fire has filed a lawsuit against several companies involved in the manufacture and sale of a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and manufacturers of protective garments, blaming them for her death. Joyce Craig was the first female firefighter to die while fighting a fire. The estate of Ms. Craig said the pressure hoses in the breathing apparatus had been the subject of a recall prior to the fire that took her life. The family said a faulty personal alert system and her garments were also responsible for her death. It’s alleged in the complaint that “an adequately functioning SCBA would have prevented firefighter Craig’s death.”
Ms. Craig was killed in the line of duty on Dec. 9, 2014, while fighting a house fire in Philadelphia. She is survived by her two children, a son now aged 18 and a daughter who is now 3. The lawsuit targets equipment manufacturers Scott Health and Safety, Cairns and Brother Inc., MSA Safety Inc., Global Secure Safety Products Inc., Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., Municipal Energy Services Inc., Pro-Am Safety Inc., Total Safety Inc., Fisher Scientific Co. LLC, Smith Fire Service Inc. and Safeware Inc.
The lawsuit alleges that the companies failed to inform users of the device that it included pressure hoses, manufactured by Goodyear, that had been recalled. The hoses are intended to bring pressurized air to the firefighters’ gas masks. The complaint said Ms. Craig ran out of air and died while fighting the fire.
The Plaintiffs also blamed the personal alert safety system on Craig’s breathing apparatus, saying that it failed to alert other firefighters to her location. It’s alleged that the safety system lacked distinguishable audio and video signals and was designed in a way that made it prone to failing at high temperatures. Also, it was added that the entire apparatus and its component parts fell short of several National Fire Protection Association standards. Fire protection garments made by Safeware, Lion Group Inc. and Majestic Fire Apparel Inc. were said to have lacked appropriate heat resistance and prevented Ms. Craig’s breathing apparatus from functioning properly.
The Plaintiffs are represented by Bob Mongeluzzi, David Kwass and David Langsam of Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky. The case is Johnson et al. v. Scott Health and Safety et al. in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.
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