Lawsuit Filed in Hartford LODD

The family of a Hartford firefighter killed in the line of duty on October 7, 2014, has filed suit against the City of Hartford, Fire Chief Carlos Huertas, Deputy Chief James McLoughlin, and Lieutenant John Moree.

Kevin Bell died of asphyxiation at a house fire on Blue Hills Avenue. Lt. Moree was in command of Engine 16, the unit to which Bell was assigned, and Chief McLoughlin was the incident commander.

The suit alleges a range of factors as contributing to Bell’s death, 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 Chief McLoughlin
  • serious command errors
  • FF Bell was abandoned in the building
  • a mayday that was reported was neither heard nor acted upon for 8 minutes

The suit was filed Thursday in Hartford Superior Court by Bell’s brother, Shawn, who was appointed administrator for the estate. It contains 14 counts, including several that allege various forms of wrongful death, one alleging defamation, one alleging false light invasion of privacy, and negligent infliction of severe emotional distress.

Here is a copy of the complaint: Bell v Hartford

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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