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No Search, Victim Missed in Dayton Fire

Disciplinary hearing after body is found after fire

FirefighterNation Staff

DAYTON, Ohio – Three Dayton firefighters face a disciplinary hearing for not performing a search in garage fire where the body of a victim was found the day after the burn.

WHIO reports that on the morning of September 9 Dayton firefighters responded to a garage fire in an alley off North Horton Street.

Firefighters reportedly said that while it appeared someone was living in the garage no one hurt.

A 911 call the next day brought firefighters and police officers back to the scene. WHIO does not say who found the body and how it was located.

Dayton Fire Chief Jeffery Payne said that it appears the firefighters initially said no one was hurt without having performed a primary search.

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office identified the body as that of 53-year old Patrick Northern.

Northern died of “inhalation of products of combustion” and declared the death to be accidental.

Chief Payne said that an investigation of the firefighters found a search did not take place and that this was a failure in policy.

Payne said that Northern appeared to have been trying to escape out of a window.  His body was found under two to three feet of debris.

Payne said that if a search was done the firefighters would have located the victim but that it would not have changed the result.

Payne also said that it was very difficult to distinguish the victim among the debris, but that difficulty is not an excuse.

He also told WHIO that this is an isolated incident and that the city should be confident in the fire department to handle emergencies.

Northern’s father says he does not hold an ill will toward the firefighters.

The firefighters, who have not been named, will face corrective action if found in violation of any related policy during the disciplinary hearings.