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Oscar Armstrong, III


Firefighter Armstrong and the members of his fire company responded to the report of a fire in a 2-story residence. The first fire department unit on the scene, a command officer, reported a working fire. Firefighter Armstrong assisted with the deployment of a 350-foot 1-3/4 inch handline to the front door of the residence. Once the door was forced open, firefighters advanced to the interior. The handline was dry as firefighters advanced; the hose had become tangled in a bush. As the line was straightened and water began to flow to the nozzle, a flashover occurred. The firefighters on the handline left the building and were assisted by other firefighters on the front porch of the residence. All firefighters were ordered from the building, air horns were sounded to signal a move from offensive to defensive operations. Several firefighters saw Firefighter Armstrong trapped in the interior by rapid fire progress. These firefighters advanced handlines to the interior and removed Firefighter Armstrong. A rapid intervention team assisted with the rescue. Firefighter Armstrong was severely burned. He was transported by fire department ambulance to the hospital where he later died. The Cincinnati Fire Department prepared a death investigation preliminary report related to this incident. The report is available at the fire department web site for download. The origin of the fire was determined to be a pan of oil on the stove. Cincinnati Fire Department web site -
photo of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial
Oscar Armstrong, III 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

Cincinnati Fire Department
430 Central Ave.
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

Chief: Robert Wright

View NIOSH Report

Age: 25
Rank: Firefighter
Classification: Career
Incident date: March 21, 2003 08:50
Date of death: March 21, 2003
Cause of fatal injury: Caught or Trapped
Nature of fatal injury: Burns
Activity type: Advance Hose Lines/Fire Attack (includes Wildland)
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire
Fixed property use: Residential

Last updated: June 13, 2012