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Richard Patrick Montoya


Lieutenant Montoya's engine company, along with other Denver Fire Department units, was dispatched to a report of a structure fire in a residence. The caller reported that one person was trapped in the structure. Firefighters arrived on the scene and found a working fire in a 2-story structure. Firefighters entered the house to perform a search; they located a victim and removed her from the structure. Lieutenant Montoya's engine company laid a supply line from a hydrant and advanced an attack line into the structure. Firefighters advanced the attack line to the second story. Lieutenant Montoya, who had been on the nozzle, gave the nozzle to his firefighter. Smoke and heat conditions on the second floor began to worsen. Firefighters had difficulty in finding the fire. The ceiling was opened and water was applied to the attic. Lieutenant Montoya's firefighter communicated with Lieutenant Montoya that the crew should go back to the stairs to regroup. Thinking Lieutenant Montoya had exited before him, the firefighter left the structure. Firefighters operating inside of the structure heard the faint sound of a PASS device and began a search. Despite difficult fire and debris conditions, firefighters found Lieutenant Montoya unconscious under a mattress. Firefighters reported to the incident commander that a firefighter was down; command activated the Rapid Intervention Team (RIT). Fire conditions were worsening and firefighters crawled on their stomachs to push and drag Lieutenant Montoya to the stairs. Additional firefighters and RIT members removed Lieutenant Montoya down the stairs and from the building. The fire fighting strategy was changed to defensive after his removal. Lieutenant Montoya was found to be in full cardiac arrest. CPR was initiated and paramedic-level EMS care was provided. Sometime prior to his arrival at the hospital, a pulse was restored. Upon his arrival at the hospital, Lieutenant Montoya's carboxyhemoglobin level was 23 percent. Lieutenant Montoya remained in intensive care for 7 days. With no prognosis for improvement, life support was removed and he died on May 21, 2006. The cause of death was oxygen deprivation to the brain as a result of smoke inhalation. Lieutenant Montoya was 15 shifts away from his planned retirement.
photo of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial
Richard Patrick Montoya was honored on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland and was included in the USFA’s annual report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States.

Department information

Denver Fire Department
745 W. Colfax Ave.
Denver, Colorado 80204

Chief: Larry Trujillo

View NIOSH Report

Age: 61
Rank: Lieutenant
Classification: Career
Incident date: May 14, 2006 04:30
Date of death: May 21, 2006
Cause of death: Lost
Nature of death: Asphyxiation
Activity type: Advance Hose Lines/Fire Attack (includes Wildland)
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire
Fixed property use: Residential

Last updated: November 02, 2016