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Delaware fire investigation shows agency made several errors

August 1, 2019

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — A report by Delaware fire investigators reveal that a firefighter critically injured in a blaze was one of several responders who weren’t wearing proper gear, and others disregarded orders to exit the burning house.

Documents obtained by Delaware News Journal from a Delaware State Fire School investigation detail a series of errors in battling the March blaze. The report states two firefighters were unfamiliar with key equipment, some weren’t wearing up-to-date gear and others ignored orders to leave.

Fireman Dave Smiley suffered third-degree burns during the fire. Investigators say they found Smiley was wearing a helmet that didn’t meet standards, among other gear violations. The report says these errors contributed to difficulty in his rescue.

A spokesman for the Mill Creek Fire Company said it’s taking action on the findings.

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