Report Finds Worcester Fire Department Needs "Immediate Intervention"

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WORCESTER, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio)— A report conducted on the Worcester Fire Department following the death of a firefighter in 2019 found that department requires "immediate intervention" to fix its problems.

The report conducted by the Emergency Services Consulting International called for a change in departmental leadership and outlined a 10 step plan to change the culture within the department. This included replacing the current Fire Chief Michael Lavoie with an assistant city manager or fire commissioner after Lavoie's retirement next year.

Some of the other steps outlined in the study included improving communication and the chain of command as well as poor on-scene management and lack of accountability.

"Scene accountability must be maintained at all times using a system that prevents responders from entering an environment that could be Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH)," the report detailed.

"The Worcester Fire Department does not currently have a system that accomplishes this requirement. This lack of scene accountability is a fundamental element in the line of duty deaths Worcester Fire Department has experienced."

The city commissioned the report after the death of Lt. Jason Menard in 2019. Menard's death while battling a fire was the ninth line-of-duty death within in the Worcester Fire Department within the last 22 years, including the six firefighters who died in 1999 battling a fire in a warehouse.

Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus Jr. told WBZ NewsRadio in a statement the city wanted to know what needed to be done to help its firefighters. He said he plans to implement that changes in the report.

WBZ's Karyn Regal (@karynregal) has the story.

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