Report: Inactive sprinklers, previous collapse contributed to firefighters’ deaths


YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — New information has been released on the investigation into the deaths of two York County firefighters.

The report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Administration tries to answer one question: should Ivan Flanscha and Zachary Anthony have been allowed in a partially-collapsed former mill?

The Institute released a 57-page report detailing where they think the York City Fire Department went wrong on March 22, 2018, at the old Weaver Organ and Piano Company, and what the department can do to improve in the future.

The report says the deaths of Flanscha, 50, and Anthony, 29, come down to five contributing factors: inactive sprinklers, long and deep-seeded fires that couldn’t be extinguished by large hoses, previous structure collapses at the building, firefighters entering the collapse zone and a lack of risk vs. gain analysis – which simply means the risk was too great to go in.

The report also gives key recommendations to all departments, as well as state, municipal government and building owners.

Some of these include training firefighters to understand collapse hazards, performing an initial then continued risk assessment and requiring the use of sprinkler systems while a building is under renovation.

Two other firefighters were seriously injured during the collapse. They have filed a lawsuit against the building’s engineer for negligence.

Flanscha and Anthony’s widows have also filed wrongful death lawsuits. 

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