Vincent G. Fowler, Captain

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Captain Fowler and a probationary firefighter were searching for victims and fire in the basement of an occupied residential structure. The basement was extremely congested with furniture, newspapers, magazines, and other items. Water had been applied to the fire and it appeared to be under control. The low air alarms on Captain Fowler’s SCBA and the probationary firefighter’s SCBA were sounding. Captain Fowler delayed his own exit from the basement as he called for and accounted for his probationary firefighter and he ran out of air. Captain Fowler and the probationary firefighter buddy breathed until Captain Fowler collapsed. The probationary firefighter dragged Captain Fowler until he was joined by other firefighters. Due to the congested conditions in the basement, it took an extended period of time for Captain Fowler to be removed from the building. Captain Fowler died the next day on June 4, 1999. The cause of death was listed as smoke inhalation with carbon monoxide inhalation. Captain Fowler’s carbon monoxide level was 60%.

Department information

Fire Department City of New York
9 Metro Tech Center

Brooklyn, New York 11201

Chief: Commissioner Thomas Von Essen

Vincent G. Fowler 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: 45
Rank: Captain
Classification: Career
Incident date: June 3, 1999 19:00
Date of death: June 4, 1999
Cause of death: Caught or Trapped
Nature of death: Asphyxiation
Activity type: Search and Rescue
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire
Fixed property use: Residential