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Parents of firefighter who died battling house fire suing homeowner

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The parents of a 19-year-old firefighter, who died while battling a house fire in December 2015, are filing a lawsuit against the homeowner.

Mt. Marion Fire Dept Capt. Jack Rose was fighting a chimney fire at the home in Saugerties, New York last year, when he went into distress. The Medical Examiner’s report determined that he died of asphyxia after “inhaling superheated gasses.”

Captain Jack Rose of the Mt. Marion Volunteer Fire Department. Image credit: Facebook
Captain Jack Rose of the Mt. Marion Volunteer Fire Department. Image credit: Facebook

Rose’s parents are now claiming that the owners of that home, at 11 Fel Qui Road in the Centerville Fire District, were negligent because they had a wood stove attached to the wall of the chimney.

Their attorney, Joe O’Connor, told the Daily Freeman, “The wood stove was negligently attached to a chimney that shouldn’t have been utilized.” The fire was ruled an accident by investigators, who said that it started “in the structure’s south wall and involved a heating system and wood stove on that wall.”

O’Connor said the suit, which was filed four months ago in state Supreme Court in Kingston, “seeks to recover damages caused by pain and suffering.”

The lawsuit claims that homeowner, Mary Alice Mark, violated certain fire codes at the home.

O’Connor also told the local paper that an addendum to the suit is expected to be filed within a month, but it’s unclear if the Mt. Marion or Centerville/Cedar Grove Fire depts. will be named.

Two reports have since been issued on the fire. The state’s Dept of Labor cited both departments for “numerous violations”. Occupational Safety and Health inspectors reportedly found that both depts. violated several procedural and training protocols.

The report also stated that Rose was using a Centerville Fire Dept. respirator instead of the fitted one issued by Mt. Marion. Apparently it’s common for firefighters to grab the SCBA packs off other dept fire trucks.

When Rose and two others entered the basement of the home, there was an active fire that was growing larger and generating thick, smoke and high temperatures. At some point, Rose got separated from the hose line, but it’s unclear why. According to the report, many speculated that he may have felt sick or nauseous, or may have become disoriented.

A narrative that was included in both reports stated that:  “Initially, he was responsive; when asked if he was ‘ok’ by [Mount Marion Assistant Fire Chief] Jeffrey Worrad and [Centerville firefighter] John Heppner, he replied, ‘No, get me out.’ He was brought outside the structure by these two men and lifesaving measures commenced when he became unresponsive.”

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