A report released Thursday on last year's Sofa Super Store fire blamed the deaths of nine firefighters on inadequate training, poor supervision and poor equipment. The report was produced by an independent group of consultants that the city of Charleston hired to investigate the blaze. It is the second of three reports to be issued by the panel. The first was released in October.
The report comes a day after Charleston Fire Chief Rusty Thomas announced that he will be resigning June 27. It is unknown how much the move will shield him from taking direct responsibility for the fire. It is the second report in a week that has taken sharp aim at the Charleston Fire Department's handling of the blaze. Last week, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health issued a draft report on the tragedy.
The newly released report lists several reasons why things went wrong at the Sofa Super Store, including:
- Firefighting operations at the Sofa Super Store did not comply with federal regulations, recommended safety standards, or accepted fire service practices.
- The Charleston Fire Department failed to provide adequate direction, supervision and coordination.
- The documented duties and responsibilities of an incident commander were not performed and risk management guidelines were not adequately applied.
- The culture of the Charleston Fire Department promoted aggressive offensive tactics that exposed firefighters to excessive and avoidable risks and failed to apply basic firefighter safety practices.