Death of First Philadelphia Female Firefighter Killed in The Line Of Duty


Philadelphia, PA -(December 12, 2016) – Philadelphia Firefighter Joyce M. Craig, the City’s first woman firefighter to be killed in the line of duty, would have survived the December 9, 2014 fatal house fire had the protective and life-saving equipment she was using functioned properly, according to a complaint filed in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by attorneys from Saltz, Mongeluzzi & Bendesky, P.C. Firefighter Craig reported to work that day to earn overtime to pay for Christmas presents for her children.

Lt. Craig, single parent of a son (now 18) and daughter (now 3), was found dead in the basement of the fire ravaged West Oak Lane brick row house at 1655 Middleton St.. She was wearing the facemask of her Self-contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA).There was no air in her tank and, according to the complaint (Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas: Dec. Term, 2016, No. 623) , her Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) also failed to notify responders as to her location.

“Firefighter Craig, 36 and a veteran of the Department, literally went into the heat of battle without the proper resources to come out alive,” said attorney David L. Kwass, of SMB. “Her so-called life saving equipment that she was trained to trust, failed and failed fatally because of the defendants who were responsible for its design, manufacture, and maintenance. On behalf of the children of Firefighter Craig, and the co-administrators of her estate, we will vigorously litigate this complaint and obtain justice on behalf of a courageous public servant and loving mother.”

The more than two dozen defendants named in the complaint include many of the most prominent names in firefighting/personal protective equipment systems, including: Scott Health and Safety, Tyco, Fisher Scientific, Goodyear, Smith Fire Service, Cairns and Brother, and Majestic Fire Apparel. Collectively they’re responsible for the equipment Firefighter Craig was issued and used valiantly fighting the house fire.

“Mr. Kwass added, ‘This was a totally foreseeable and preventable tragedy. We now know and will demonstrate at trial that Firefighter Craig never stood a chance at surviving that fire because her equipment – from her personal protective suit to her air tank system – was inadequate. In loving memory of Firefighter Craig, the plaintiffs know she would embrace this effort to save the lives of others in the line of duty, and to hold all those responsible for her death fully accountable.”

The SMB team of attorneys includes Robert J. Mongeluzzi and David J. Langsam. The co-administrators of the estate are Attorneys Peter J. Johnson, Esq. and Timothy J. Holman.

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