IFD launches investigation following serious firefighter injury

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indianapolis Fire Department’s post-incident team and significant injury team are investigating the events that led up to a firefighter being seriously injured Thursday morning while fighting a blaze.

45-year-old Captain Brian White, a 22-year IFD veteran, fell through a porch Thursday morning while trying to make entry into a home.

“The firefighters that were on the scene are breathing a sigh of relief today that he is relatively OK,” Battalion Chief Rita Reith said. “It was a pretty significant impact. He kind of fell backwards when (the porch)  gave way. (He) fell backwards and landed on his head, which for anyone would be a pretty scary moment.”

Reith said the firefighters did follow standard operating procedures Thursday morning and a safety officer was on scene supervising.

She said sometimes injuries like this, while rare, are part of the job.

“It’s just kind of what we do,” Reith said. “There’s always that chance that something is going to give way, that something is going to fail. You know we never want this to happen of course and this officer is very, very lucky he’s OK.”

White was part of a team that was trying to make entry into the home through a second story window, because the front door was blocked by debris, Reith said.

Crews climbed a ladder to the top of the porch and when White was trying to go into the home, the porch gave way.

“We’re super fortunate that it all worked out well, but it’s kind of the cost of doing business,” Reith said.

White has been a dedicated firefighter for the department and his family has a long history of public service, according to Reith.

“He is beloved on the department and he is a captain and just an all-around great guy, great firefighter,” Reith said. “His family has a long history of service in public safety, both police and fire, and very dedicated family to the city of Indianapolis.

IFD’s two investigative teams will now begin their work to learn what exactly led up with White’s injury.

“We will look at everything that happened on this fire. See what lessons we can learn. See if there is something we can improve on,” Reith said.