James E Bethea, Lieutenant

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Lieutenant Bethea was dispatched to a working structure fire in his role as an on-duty safety officer. He operated on the scene of the fire for some time. The fire was extinguished and firefighters left the scene. The last apparatus left the scene at approximately 0220hrs.

Beginning at 0643hrs, calls were received reporting a fire department vehicle still parked at the scene of the earlier structure fire. After determining which vehicle was on-scene, a fire company was sent to investigate. At 0845hrs, Lieutenant Bethea was found in the basement of an exposure building from the earlier fire. He was deceased.

At autopsy, the level of carboxyhemoglobin in Lieutenant Bethea's blood was 73.5%. The cause of death was listed as smoke inhalation.

Department information

Baltimore City Fire Department
401 E. Fayette Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202

Chief: Niles Ford

James E Bethea 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.
Age: 62
Rank: Lieutenant
Classification: Career
Incident date: November 12, 2014 07:00
Date of death: November 12, 2014
Cause of death: Fall
Nature of death: Asphyxiation
Activity type: Scene Safety
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire
Fixed property use: Residential
firefighter-fatalities 4.0