The following are excerpts from a new report related to the LODD of Howard County (MD) Firefighter Nate Flynn. The best any of us can do is to “honor by learning” the published/known facts of what happened and then applying those to our own departments, realistically available resources and operational regions.
It’s a year ago Tuesday since the house fire in Clarksville took the life of Firefighter Nathan Flynn, the first career firefighter to die in the line of duty in Howard County. In the months that followed, investigators looked into what caused the situation leading to his death and how to prevent it from ever happening again.
But being OK just got more complicated for Celeste Flynn. An internal safety review found several systemic failings that contributed to the line of duty death of her beloved husband, a 13-year veteran of the Department. She said Nate Flynn was a safety-first perfectionist who would have been disappointed with how things unfolded.
“Had one thing been done differently or one element not have been present, I think the outcome would have been completely different,” Celeste Flynn said.
“Had a couple of things been done differently, he should have been coming home the next morning,” Celeste Flynn said.
Nate Flynn fell through the first floor. The report found initial mayday calls from another firefighter were partially unintelligible and crews were unable to identify his distress and location until at least four minutes after he fell.
“Knowing that this person that you love — the father of your children and husband — knowing that he’s there helplessly waiting for them to figure out what’s going on, basically, that four minutes will be hard for a while,” Celeste Flynn said.
Nate Flynn made his own mayday call, but on a radio channel that was overridden. Investigators concluded that communication problem did not impact his survivability.
“I’ve listened to his words. I can hear the stress in his voice. I know when I heard that, he knew he was in trouble. He knew this was bad,” Celeste Flynn said.
“Nathan Flynn is a hero who was called home much too soon,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said on July 28, 2018, at the fallen firefighter’s funeral.
Celeste Flynn struggles with the word “hero,” only because she said there was no one in the home for Nate Flynn to save.
“He died in an empty house, basically,” Celeste Flynn said.
HERE is the entire article and video: