Family of Boston LT Kevin Kelley File Suit Over LODD Accident

In a long expected lawsuit, the family of Boston Fire Lieutenant Kevin Kelley has filed suit against six companies who inspected or worked on the brakes of the ladder truck prior to the tragic 2009 accident that took his life. In a move that many found surprising, the suit did not include the City of Boston Fire Department.

Lt. Kelley died and three firefighters were seriously injured when Ladder 26 lost its brakes while coming down a steep hill on January 9, 2009. The truck struck a building.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed on November 1, 2010 in Suffolk County Superior Court, and alleges negligence and gross negligence by the six private vendors who serviced the ladder truck. The vendors are Bay State Auto Spring Manufacturing Co. of Roxbury; Boston Freightliner Inc. of Everett; Broadway Brake Corp. of Somerville; Damian Diesel Inc. of Avon; Suspension Specialists Inc. of Allston; and Woodward’s Auto Spring Shop Inc. of Brockton.

According to the Boston Globe, several of the vendors expressed disbelief at being sued.  Philip D’Angelo, president of Broadway Brake, is quoted as saying  “We didn’t really do anything to that vehicle…. We did a state inspection on that vehicle a year before, so I know it’s not going anywhere as far as we’re concerned. We didn’t do anything to it. What I’ve done is hand [the lawsuit] over to my insurance company, and they’ll deal with it.’’

The vendors may choose to add the City of Boston and/or the Boston Fire Department to the suit as a third party defendant.


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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