Report: Bridgeport Fire Department at fault for firefighter deaths

BRIDGEPORT - A federal investigation is blaming the Bridgeport Fire Department for the deaths of two of their own.

Lt. Steven Velasquez and firefighter Mitch Baik were killed battling a fire last July.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has released a report that found multiple failures by the department.

They include a failure to respond to a Mayday alert on the third floor, and no rapid intervention team that was readily available to come to their aid.

OSHA also says firefighters failed to immediately treat one of the firefighters who made it to a safe spot before collapsing.

The report states there was a failure to properly manage firefighters' air supplies and their tanks were empty when found.

Mayor Bill Finch, however, says the chief and the department still has his support.

Fire Chief Brian Rooney released a statement saying, "The investigation of this fatal fire by the Connecticut State Fire Marshal's Office remains ongoing. Until the fire marshal releases his official report, it would be inappropriate for the City or the Bridgeport Fire Department to issue any public commentary as it may impede or compromise the continuing investigation."

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