LODD Anniversary: Tennessee Junior Firefighter Killed in Tanker Rollover

Tanker truck involved in the incident. (NIOSH photo)

Remember the fallen with the
lessons learned

NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program

On September 5, 2002, a 17-year-old male volunteer fire fighter (the victim) was fatally injured after the tanker truck he was driving overturned while responding to a brush fire. The tanker was traveling south on a two-lane county road when it drifted off the right side of the road, causing the driver to lose control.

Read the Report:
Junior Volunteer Fire Fighter Dies in Tanker Rollover

The driver tried to correct the direction of travel of the tanker but was unable to recover.

The tanker went down a slight embankment and overturned trapping the victim.

The victim was extricated and then transported to a local hospital by ambulance where he was pronounced dead.

NIOSH investigators concluded that, in order to minimize the risk of similar occurrences, fire departments should:

  • prohibit driving by fire fighters less than 18 years of age and revise existing standard operating procedures (SOPs) for driving fire apparatus so that they reflect insurance guidelines
  • ensure that the radio in the driving compartment is within convenient reach for the driver
  • incorporate specifics on rollover prevention in SOPs and driver training

Additionally, states should:

  • consider developing a junior fire fighter and emergency service program that addresses the tasks that minors are permitted to perform in the fire service

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