Report: Bridgeport Cited Over Firefighter Deaths

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The Bridgeport Fire Department has been cited for five serious safety violations in connection with a fire last summer that killed two firefighters, the Connecticut Post reports.

The July 24 fire resulted in the deaths of Lt. Steven Velasquez and firefighter Michael Baik.

Documents posted on the Post’s Web site indicate that state officials determined the department did not perform tests on firefighters' breathing gas tanks, failed to conduct medical evaluations and ensure firefighters were fit, did not make sure all firefighters wore breathing equipment inside the burning building and failed to follow "mayday" procedures.

"We take this report extremely seriously and have responded accordingly," Mayor Bill Finch said. "These particular violations are still under investigation by the State Fire Marshal. Until this report is complete, it would be premature to speculate on the role that these violations might have played in this incident."

Each citation carries a $1,000 penalty. The fire department has 15 days to contest them.  

"Our thoughts and prayers remain focused on the families of these brave firefighters and we must continue to be vigilant and work as aggressively as possible to ensure that a tragedy of this nature never occurs again in Bridgeport."

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