Report Criticizes Charleston Fire Department Over Furniture Store Fire

February 17, 2009

A federal safety agency says the Charleston, South Carolina Fire Department that lost nine men in a furniture store blaze needed to make substantial changes to its policies and procedures.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s 107-page report was released Thursday.

Among the recommendations was that an incident commander should have inspected all sides of the structure to determine the fire’s scope before sending anyone inside. The report said Charleston fire officials only looked at two sides of the building before the men died in the 2007 fire.

Longtime Charleston Fire Chief Rusty Thomas announced his resignation a few days after a draft of the report was made public in May.

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