STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO REPORT OF NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY & HEALTH (NIOSH) REGARDING DEATH OF JOYCE CRAIG, FIRST PHILADELPHIA FEMALE FIREFIGHTER KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY
Philadelphia, PA (April 18, 2017) – Attorneys representing the Estate of Lt. Joyce M. Craig, the City’s first woman firefighter killed in the line of duty, believe the just released NIOSH report on the 2014 tragedy supports the contentions included in a pending lawsuit that equipment-related issues played a significant role in her death.
Attorneys Robert J. Mongeluzzi, David L. Kwass and David J. Langsam, of Saltz, Mongeluzzi & Bendesky, P.C., said the independent investigation appears to support their assertion in a civil lawsuit that Ms. Craig would have survived if only her protective and life-saving equipment functioned properly.
“This report appears to advance our arguments regarding the liability of the equipment manufacturer and affiliated defendants,” said the attorneys, but it is far from the final word on what happened, why, and how those responsible should be held accountable. “Those questions will ultimately be answered at trial by a jury.”
Lt. Craig, single parent of a son and daughter, 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) and there was no air in her tank. According to the complaint (Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas: Dec. Term, 2016, No. 623) hosing on Lt. Craig’s SCBA equipment had ruptured, causing rapid air loss, and her Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) also failed to notify responders as to her location.
The Co-Administrators of the Estate are Attorneys Peter J. Johnson, Esq. and Timothy J. Holman, Esq.