Texas Firefighter’s Family Sues E-One and Fire Department for Aerial Training Death

The mother of a 28 year old firefighter who died last year, has sued the City of Kilgore, Texas, along with E-One, Inc., and Hall-Mark Apparatus.  Regina Galloway, mother of Kilgore firefighter Cory Galloway, filed suit in District Court for Clegg County, Texas.

FF Galloway was training with a new E-One aerial platform on January 25, 2009 at an eight-story dormitory at Kilgore College. During the course of the training exercise the aerial platform got stuck on a concrete parapet wall on the roof of the building. When firefighters attempted to free the aerial platform, the platform violently sprang back from the top of the building and swayed back and forth, causing the platform gates to spring open outward past their stopping points, through which Galloway and firefighter Kyle Perkins fell approximately 80 feet to the ground below leading to their deaths. Neither firefighter was wearing a safety harness.

The lawsuit alleges that the aerial platform truck manufacturer, E-One, Inc., and Hall-Mark Fire Apparatus of Texas who sold the truck to the Fire Department – were negligent because they failed to include safety harness or comply with the safety standards set by the National Fire Protection Association.

The suit also alleges that the aerial device was defectively designed because the placement of lifting eyes beneath the platform could forseeably become snagged on buildings, and the gates on the platform were not designed with adequate restraining strips or safety latches which would have prevented the gates from springing outward past their stopping point.

The lawsuit also alleges that personnel received inadequate familiarization training from  E-One, Inc., and the City of Kilgore Fire Department, before they were allowed to operate the aerial platform in a high risk training scenario. The device was the first aerial platform that the fire department ever operated, and the department had no standard operating procedures for its use.

The family has expressed concerns that the Kilgore Fire Department has not instituted policies and procedures to prevent similar tragedies in the future. The suit stated that: “Regrettably, the Kilgore Fire Department has not instituted improved policies and procedures to prevent similar tragedies in the future. On the contrary, chiefs in the Kilgore Fire Department have directed the fire fighters to stop asking for needed improvements and ‘get over’ the incident that killed Cory Galloway and another fire fighter. It is this uncaring and irresponsible reaction on the part of Kilgore officials that, in part, has caused Cory’s family to institute this court action.”

For a good article on the incident.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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