By Kim Palmer
(Reuters) - A faulty elevator door lock, along with radio problems, caused a veteran Cincinnati firefighter to fall to his death head-first 22 feet down an elevator shaft, fire department officials said on Friday.
Daryl Gordon, a fire apparatus officer, died 10 minutes after responding March 26 to a four-alarm fire. He was searching for people possibly trapped inside the smoke-filled apartment building, according to a 29-page report released by the fire department.
Assistant Fire Chief Ed Dadosky said the report states firefighters discovered an open elevator shaft in the building. They wrote "Do not enter, open shaft" on the elevator door after too much radio traffic kept them from warning others over their radios. Smoke, low lighting and heavy equipment may have contributed to Gordon’s fall into the shaft, Dadosky said.
The report and a press conference are the first part of a three-part investigation process that Fire Chief Richard Braun said he hoped “will help other firefighters learn from his death.”
“It's been almost six months since lost Daryl. It’s tough time for Cincinnati firefighters. It’s tough time for his family.” Matt Alter, Fire Union president said.
The seven department members who completed the report asked firefighters who were on scene to “re-live the event of that day,” Braun said.
Gordon, who would have marked his 30th anniversary with the department this year, was survived by his wife, Angela, and two daughters, Angelique and Chelsea.
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley released a statement praising the fallen firefighter, saying “Daryl Gordon died in March helping protect Cincinnati's residents; we will never forget his sacrifice.”
(Reporting by Kim Palmer in Cleveland, Editing by Ben Klayman and Lisa Lambert)