Drugs, Alcohol Found in Hartford Firefighter’s System: Report

It’s been more than two years since Hartford Firefighter Kevin Bell was killed in the line of duty but a report said he had alcohol and marijuana in his system when he died fighting a house fire.

The Hartford Courant obtained the state toxicology report and revealed the details.

"None of those investigations mentioned whether the toxicology results had any effect on what happened during the fire. The toxicology report was part of the state medical examiner's iinvestigation into Bell's death. The medical examiner ruled Bell died of asphyxiation but has declined to release the toxicology results," the Hartford Courant reported.

In December, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation (NIOSH) report gave the description and circumstances leading to Bell’s death, to prevent this from happening again. At least one local source at the time called the documentation "lacking and missing specific details."

The Hartford Fire Department had the opportunity to review this 40-plus page document and submit any changes deemed necessary.

Bell died when his tank ran out of air battling a blaze on Blue Hills Avenue back in October 2014, according to the medical examiner.

The NIOSH report outlines contributing factors investigators believe led to Bell’s death, including fireground tactics, crew integrity, personal accountability, air management, mayday procedures, communications, and ventilation and equipment.

The NIOSH report makes more than a dozen recommendations, including making sure risk assessments are done before and during fires, and that departments ensure crew integrity through voice and radio contact.

Bell was separated from his lieutenant after his low-air alarm went off and that lieutenant said to exit. After a search and attempt to contact Bell, the lieutenant then called a Mayday that went unheard.

The NOISH investigation also revealed that Bell’s equipment failed the remaining service life indicator test, but passed all other NIOSH test.

Bell was found by fellow firefighter lying near a second floor door, his right leg and foot caught in a piece of wrought iron furniture.

At the end of this report, NIOSH officials chose not to impose any further action.

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