Hartford LODD Suit Settled for $350k

The family of Hartford firefighter Kevin Bell has agreed to settle a wrongful death lawsuit they filed against the city and three fire officers for $350,000. Bell died on October 7, 2014 when he became separated from his crew during rapid fire development.

The lawsuit blamed the city and Fire Chief Carlos Huertas, Deputy Chief James McLoughlin, and Lieutenant John Moree for a number of mistakes, including:

  • non-compliant SCBA
  • lack of accountability
  • known problems with the departments radio system
  • lack of annual live fire and tactics training
  • lack of training for the incident commander
  • serious command errors
  • abandoning FF Bell in the building
  • an 8 minute delay in responding to a mayday

The Hartford Courant quoted Hartford Corporation Counsel Howard Rifkin as saying:

“As part of the settlement agreement, the City will work with the Bell family to determine an appropriate way of honoring Kevin Bell. Out of respect for the Bell family, we will not be commenting further until after the holidays. In the New Year we anticipate releasing a joint statement following full implementation of the settlement.”

More on the story.

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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