Ohio firefighter remembers the accident that changed firefighting forever

  • Source: WLWT-TV NBC 5 Cincinnati
  • Published: 05/23/2019 12:00 AM

It was an accident that changed policy and the way firefighters protect us. Four Cincinnati firefighters were putting out a fire 28 years ago, when all of a sudden the ladder they were on snapped. Almost three decades later, for the first time, one of those firefighters is talking about that day and the changes that followed. Don Roper remembers that day like it was yesterday. It was a two-alarm fire at an abandoned home in the scorching heat. The mission for Roper and his men seemed simple -- put out the fire and make sure no one was inside. But no fire is ever routine, and July 21, 1991, was proof of that. While Roper and his men from Ladder No. 4 were trying to get to the roof of the Corryville home, the unexpected happened.The wooden ladder Roper and three other firefighters were climbing broke in two. In an instant, all four men fell almost 20 feet to the ground. Suddenly, firefighters coming to the rescue needed to be rescued. Roper said it all just happened so fast -- but he remembers every second.


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