Turkish LODD Prompts Lawsuit

The family of a Turkish fire captain killed in a bizarre roof collapse caused by a helicopter water-drop, has filed suit against the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.

Captain Hayati Gökcan was killed on June 4, 2015 while battling a warehouse fire in the Silivri district of Istanbul. The roof to the warehouse collapsed when a helicopter dumped 10 tons of water on it from a height of 70 meters. Captain Gökcan was inside the structure at the time and died in the collapse. He was a member of the Avcılar Fire Authority.

An investigative report into the incident cited failures by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, who owns the helicopter, and the Avcılar Fire Department, stating: “The intervention from the air with a helicopter while there were personnel inside the storehouse is against [normal procedure].” The report concluded that dropping 10 tons of water on any building would likely lead to its collapse.

Captain Gökcan’s family seeks 1 million Turkish Liras from the municipality, alleging “great negligence”. Charges of reckless homicide have also been filed against the factory owner Hasan Faruk Dağlı and company manager Mehmet Ersan Tan. The building reportedly lacked fire hose or fire suppression systems.

Prosecutors have also sought permission to investigate the actions of the firefighters involved, but the Istanbul Governor’s Office has yet to act on that request.

Here is more on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 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, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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