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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HAMILTON FIRE FIGHTERS UNION CITES


INACCURACIES AND ISSUES WITH FIRE DEPARTMENT’S
PATRICK WOLTERMAN LINE OF DUTY DEATH REPORT

The internal report released by the Hamilton Fire Department administration ignores key contributing
factors in its report on the line of duty death of Patrick Wolterman on December 28th, 2015. The process
to create the report was flawed and inconsistent as well.

In early 2016, the department created a committee to investigate the factors that contributed to the death of
Patrick Wolterman. A draft internal report was completed in late 2016. It was later amended by members
of fire administration without consensus of the full committee. The report that was released today, has
certain contributing factors that were downplayed or omitted altogether, including but not limited to:
• The internal report took nearly three and a half years to complete, much longer than most internal
reports.
o For reference, the NIOSH report was completed in July 2017 and released in December 2017.
• The committee makeup changed due to fire administration involvement in the process and changes
were made to the report that excluded certain committee member’s points of view.
• Engine 22 (E22) closure in 2013
• Station 27 (Quint 27) closure in 2013
o A significant increase in response time to this area of Pater Ave. due to the closing of Station
27 was completely omitted from the report
o Average response times for 1st arriving fire units was 2 minutes and 59 seconds prior to Station
27 closure and increased to 6 minutes and 23 seconds after closure.
• Delayed Rapid Assistance Team (RAT) response is an ongoing safety issue
o RAT teams are dedicated units to rescue downed firefighters. The RAT team on this night
(E21) did not arrive on-scene until 10 minutes and 16 seconds after dispatch, only 42 seconds
before the mayday occurred.
• Lack of a Safety Officer was highlighted on the NIOSH report and in this report, but no resolution has
been found and we continue to operate on dangerous scenes without a committed safety officer.

The cuts to Hamilton Fire Department in 2013, closing Station 27 (Quint 27) and Engine 22, continue to
play a major factor in day-to-day emergency operations and certainly factored into this night. Our
inability to respond in a timely manner, dedicate proper resources to RAT and Safety and provide the best
and safest practices for our citizens and firefighters are ongoing problems. While we appreciate the work
that went into it, this is not a complete and full report. We acknowledge the improvements in officer
development, scene size-up and fire tactics. There is more work to be done, as an increased focus on
training for all members should be a priority. We will continue to work to find resolution for all of these
issues as we seek to never have this happen again. We owe this to the memory of our fallen Brother
Patrick, our citizens and our firefighters.

Tony Harris, President Local 20


Tony.Harris@iaff20.com
(513)262-6378