Iowa: Report on 2018 UNI steam tunnel death raises questions about Cedar Falls fire response

  • Source: The Gazette
  • Published: 11/05/2019 12:00 AM

At 8:40 a.m. Sept. 10, 2018, Cedar Falls dispatched four fire-response units — including a rescue truck with special “confined space” equipment — to the University of Northern Iowa, where a massive amount of steam was spewing from the campus Commons. But “due to staffing,” only two of the four units rushed to the scene, arriving five minutes later. The truck with confined-space equipment didn’t go initially, showing up 30 minutes after the first call after being re-dispatched. A ladder truck also dispatched never came. As the initial crew of seven firefighters crafted a plan to retrieve a UNI worker they understood to be inside the campus’ compromised steam system, they assumed roles and assigned posts — including one that called on a captain to take on a different job — again, “due to staffing.”


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