Hartford Fire Department starts resolving violations

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Hartford Fire Department has agreed to make changes to keep firefighters safe.

Connecticut Occupational Safety and Health (CONN-OSHA) fined and cited the department for five violations that came to light during inspections after Firefighter Kevin Bell died while fighting a fire last October. The department has agreed to pay $4,000 in fines after first defending itself.

Hartford Fire Chief Carlos Huertas discussed the resolutions Friday.

“We have begun the process of field testing and developing training curriculum to ensure that every man and woman in the fire department will be properly trained and issued a hood prior to July 27, 2015,” said Huertas, responding to a violation about the issuing and requiring all firefighters to wear protective hoods.

RELATED STORY: OSHA cites Hartford Fire Dept. in Firefighter Bell’s death

We asked why it took the death of Bell and subsequent scrutiny from CONN-OSHA to get the department into compliance.

“That’s something I’m going to have to deliberate on,” the chief said. “That’s not something I can answer right now in complete sincerity.”

Interim Assistant Chief Scott Brady speculated that an inspection of any fire department in the country would probably reveal violations, blaming a lack of staff for the troubles.

“Without a command staff it’s impractical, if not impossible, to monitor the compliance within other members and divisions of the department,” he said.

The department promises to have all the violations in compliance by July.

To see the violations from CONN-OSHA and the Hartford Fire Department’s response, click here.

To see the settlement agreement between the Hartford Fire Department and CONN-OSHA, click here.

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