Attorney Browne Greene, senior partner of Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, is representing the families of two California firefighters who perished in the fire that destroyed Porterville Public Library on February 18, 2020. The wrongful death lawsuit alleges that both the Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) and Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) were defective, leading to the deaths of Porterville Fire Department Captain Ramon “Ray” Figueroa and firefighter Patrick Jones.
In a state deeply reliant on its firefighters, the case has caught the attention of the media, including The Fresno Bee, ABC30 News, and others. Attorney Greene spoke to reporters for the Bee on behalf of his clients.
Two years ago, Figueroa and Jones had entered the burning library to rescue who they believed to be a disabled woman stuck on the second floor. They did so under the pretense that their safety equipment was in working order.
Sadly, however, this was not the case.
The Serious Accident Review Team’s report—which according to the Bee was compiled by fire department representatives in Fresno, Clovis, Modesto, and other areas—found there were several pieces of equipment that failed Figueroa and Jones that day. The defective SCBA and PASS devices were merely the most important.
In conversation with the Bee, Attorney Greene dived into the issues with the SCBAs. He explained how this breathing equipment stopped working shortly after Figueroa and Jones entered the burning building.
“It was supposed to last 40 minutes,” Attorney Greene told the Bee. “It lasted about 12 minutes.”
In other words, they entered thinking they had almost another half an hour to rescue any occupants and escape the burning library. Once they ran out of air, the PASS devices would then prove to be defective.
“PASS devices are supposed to be able to sense movement, or lack thereof, and activate an alarm as well as flashing lights to help guide rescue personnel to the location of the lost, trapped, disoriented firefighters or any firefighter in need of rescue and assistance,” the lawsuit stated.
Fire hoses also came under scrutiny, with the lawsuit alleging they were made of “substandard materials” and “lacked adequate heat resistance.”
The manufacturers named in the suit include 3M Company, Scott Technology (or Scott Safety), Municipal Emergency Services, and Allstar Fire Equipment.
This case is not the first of its kind. As Attorney Greene told the Bee, manufacturers have been sued over the same equipment in Texas, Pennsylvania, and New York.
While Attorney Greene is pursuing compensation for these families, he recognizes that no amount of money can make up for their bereavement. He and the families have, therefore, expressed how the true purpose of this lawsuit is “to make sure no other family has to go through what they have.”
About Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP
Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP is a preeminent plaintiff’s trial law firm based in Los Angeles. We are known across the nation for taking on and winning high-stakes and complex personal injury cases, including those concerning defective products.
To speak with Attorney Greene or another attorney on our trial team, call (866) 634-4525 or contact us online.