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Following Deadly Boston Fire Truck Accident Caused by Brake Failure, City Fire Department Criticized for Poor Fleet Maintenance

An outside inspection of the Boston Fire Department’s 44 fire trucks found that the department practices shoddy fleet maintenance across the board. Some of the deficiencies noted by the report:

• Not enough driver training.
• Vehicle abuse or misuse.
• Weak vehicle specification when determining how to handle and care for specific models and makes.
• Inadequately defined procedures and polices for repairing, maintaining, and procuring Boston fire trucks.
• Failure to complete adequate daily truck inspections.
• Poor maintenance records.
• Poor preventive maintenance.
• Allowing firefighters without the proper training and knowledge to maintain the department’s trucks.

The review comes following a deadly Boston fire truck accident last January that killed one firefighter. The fire truck’s brakes malfunctioned, which caused the truck operator to lose control of the vehicle as it flew down a hill, striking a Mission Hill apartment building. Maintenance records show that the brakes on the vehicle had not undergone an inspection for almost a year, even though the fire truck manufacturer suggests that they are inspected every 90 days.

Boston Fire Commissioner Roderick Fraser agreed with the report’s findings and is working to hire a professional fleet manager as well as licensed mechanics. He requested the review following the fatal truck crash. The findings in the 19-page report come from interviews with firefighters, fire department officials, union officials, and a review of documents related to maintenance and costs.

Boston firefighters that are injured on the job are entitled to Massachusetts workers’ compensation benefits.

Boston fire chief: Hire civilian mechanics, Boston Herald, March 11, 2009
Related Web Resources:
Review slams Boston Fire’s ‘loosey-goosey’ approach to firetruck maintenance, Boston Globe, March 11, 2009
Crash survivors fault the brakes, Boston.com, January 11, 2009
Maintenance Practice Assessments for the Boston Fire Department

To make sure you get all of the benefits that you are owed, contact our Boston work injury law firm today.