While many factors were pointed out in the LODD reports of Hartford Firefighter Kevin Bell-one factor that was consistently not provided to investigators – was Bell’s physical condition-as reports now show that he had booze and dope in his system. WTF.
A toxicology report has now revealed* that Hartford, CT Firefighter Kevin Bell, who died in the Line of Duty in 2014, had alcohol and THC, a primary substance found in marijuana, in his system. FF Bell died in the Line of Duty in October 2014 when he never made it out of a second-floor room after commanders gave an evacuation order.
His Line of Duty death led to city, state and federal investigations that resulted in significant critical reports on problems with the department’s equipment and training, and on mistakes made by fire department personnel under the previous administration. But no mention of alcohol and THC.
At the time, the medical examiner ruled that Bell died of asphyxiation but had declined to release the toxicology results.
Bell, who was on the nozzle of a hose line, sprayed at least four Firefighters directly, knocking the masks off two of them. One of those firefighters, Jason Martinez, fell out of a second-floor window. FF Martinez was burned over 10 percent of his body and did not return to work until last year.
In the aftermath, under current Fire Chief Reggie Freeman, the department has made positive changes, including improvements in communications and firefighting procedures, and a marked increase in training.
In November 2015 Bell’s family announced that it was filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, Former Chief Huertas, Deputy Chief James McLoughlin, who was in charge of the fire scene, and Lt. Moree.
The suit focused on Moree’s actions at the scene. It also alleged that fire personnel deliberately spread inaccurate rumors that Bell may have had drugs in his system “with the apparent goal of taking the focus off the embarrassing failures of command structure, equipment maintenance irregularities and the lack of State of Connecticut mandated training provided to their firefighters and instead allow the ‘blame’ to impliedly fall upon the decedent as per the scandalous rumors continuing to circulate.”
The family settled the suit for $350,000 in December. Engine Company 16 was renamed in honor of Bell in April….and now, according to reports, he was under the influence when on duty, operating as a Firefighter inside that dwelling…
Here are links to the reports:
CT OSHA VIOLATIONS:
HARTFORD FIRE DEPT INTERNAL BOARD OF INQUIRY REPORT:
Here is more from the media:
More to follow.