Reaction to Fire Marshal Report on Denison Firefighter's Death - - No One Gets You Closer

Reaction to Fire Marshal Report on Denison Firefighter's Death

Just eight months after the death of Denison firefighter Phillip Townsend, the Texas state fire marshal released his investigation into his death. Now, the International Association of Firefighters, local number 965, is asking the Denison city council to acknowledge certain findings. KTEN's Jhen Kordela has details and reaction. 

Thirty-year-old Phillip Townsend, first-year Denison firefighter, died on the morning of December 30th 2006. He was responding to a business fire on South Crockett street. Clinton Little is the local chapter president of the international association of firefighters. He was there that day -- a day that still weighs heavily on his mind.

"It was my shift, says Clinton Little, IAFF president. "It was terrible -- the worst feeling i've ever felt."

Now, the state fire marshal has made public his report on the sequence of events that lead to the death of Phillip Townsend. In the report, the fire marshal makes several references to Denison fire chief Gordon Weger's actions that morning. 

The report states, "The fire chief and firefighter phillip townsend operated inside a collapse danger zone after firefighters withdrew from the building interior and a defensive attack was initiated."

That's one of many findings critical of the chief, that the IAFF would like the council to address.

"We'd like for them to acknowledge that things happened there that shouldn't have happened -- improper training, improper actions resulting in a firefighter's death, and that's the second one in 17 years." says Little. "Most cities don't even have fatalities at their fire departments, and in denison, we've got two."

Two deaths too many, according to the IAFF. Local president Clinton Little says the firefighters association would like to see some major changes at the denison fire department. 

In a letter to the city council, local chapter number 965 states that the fire was not complicated, the assistant chief followed standard operating guidelines, and that everything was going well until the arrival of the fire chief. The letter goes on to say the fire chief's actions directly caused townsend's death. 

To read the fire marshal's entire report, click here.

-Jhen Kordela. KTEN News.