The families of the deceased Porterville firefighters, Captain Raymond Figueroa and Patrick Jones, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the companies that made the safety equipment they used, claiming the equipment was faulty.
The Fresno Bee News and Channel 30 first reported the trial on Friday. Figueroa and Jones were killed in the February 18, 2020 fire that destroyed the Porterville Public Library.
Santa Monica attorney Browne Greene has sued for damages against several companies that made the self-contained breathing apparatus, SCBA and personal alert safety system that Figueroa and Jones used . The lawsuit alleges there were issues with the two when they were used by Figueroa and Jones during the fire.
Among the companies responsible for the equipment being sued are Scott Technologies, 3M, Municipal Emergency Services and Allstar Fire Equipment. The lawsuit alleges negligence, wrongful death and that the equipment was defective.
Last year, a severe accident review team released a report detailing what went wrong with communications regarding Figueroa and Jones’ response to the fire and made recommendations. Although the report does not refer specifically to the equipment, it does note that the critical communications failures that could have resulted in the deaths of Figueroa and Jones were only a matter of seconds. The report does not argue that the times reported did not match the times that were supposed to be given on the breathing apparatus.
And the report also noted Figueroa and Jones’ breathing issues while responding to the fire. Greene said the gear used by Figueroa and Jones was supposed to last 40 minutes, but only lasted 12 minutes.
The lawsuit also says the Person Alert Safety System, PASS, which emits an audible alarm and a flashing light to help find firefighters in distress failed Figueroa and Jones.
“PASS devices are meant to be able to detect motion, or lack thereof, and activate an alarm as well as flashing lights to help guide rescue personnel to the location of firefighters who are lost, trapped, disoriented or otherwise firefighter in need of rescue and assistance. “, said the lawsuit.
Greene also said the companies have already been sued over similar issues in Texas, New York and Philadelphia.