FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 16, 2002
Diane Witiak
John Irvine
(202) 639-6419

Federal Firefighter Killed, Others Injured in Training Exercise-AFGE Questions Army Investigation

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)-A federal firefighter was killed and two others were injured during training exercises involving a MACI fire truck at Fort Rucker, Alabama, on December 4, 2002. AFGE has called on the Secretary of the Army to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the lost firefighter and those injured in this accident," said AFGE National President Bobby L. Harnage, Sr. "This accident should never have happened."

In a December 11, 2002, letter to U.S. Army Secretary Thomas White, Harnage insisted "that all MACI's be taken out of service immediately." MACI's have a long and well-documented history of jumping out of gear when the water pump is activated. The Army has failed to correct the known problems or replace the over-aged MACI's.

AFGE is adamant that the investigation is done by impartial fire protection specialists with specific knowledge of MACI's. Fort Rucker's Safety Division, which lacks fire personnel and fire apparatus knowledge, is currently conducting the investigation.

"Sending in Fort Rucker's Safety Division is equivalent to sending in dog wardens to investigate a homicide-it's paramount that the investigators know what they're doing," added Harnage.

AFGE represents 5,000 federal firefighters at more than 125 Department of Defense installations. For more information on AFGE and a copy of the Dec. 11, 2002, letter to White, log onto www.afge.org.

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