Donald L. Franklin, Firefighter 1st Grade

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Firefighter Franklin and his ladder company were dispatched to a fire in an apartment building. Upon their arrival, firefighters found a working fire on the fourth floor of the building. Firefighter Franklin was assigned the roof position on his company. He ascended the aerial ladder of another ladder company and went to the roof along with the roof position firefighter from a different ladder company. The two firefighters forced open the bulkhead door of the fire building and then cut holes in the roof to provide ventilation. The crew from the other ladder company cut the holes with a power saw. Firefighter Franklin assisted with pulling back roofing materials and pushing ceilings down inside the structure. After roof operations were complete, Firefighter Franklin descended the stairs to the fire floor and assisted with overhaul for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. After overhaul was complete, Firefighter Franklin left the building and talked with other firefighters on the street. He discussed the difficulty in opening the roof and announced that he was tired and then dropped to his knees. A firefighter offered Firefighter Franklin oxygen, but he declined the offer and walked to a rehab unit that was set up a block away. After getting a drink at the rehab unit, Firefighter Franklin returned to his apparatus and sat down. A short time later, Firefighter Franklin called to a nearby firefighter for oxygen and said that he was not feeling well. Emergency Medical System (EMS) workers on the scene were summoned. Firefighter Franklin’s condition deteriorated rapidly and he was transported to the hospital by ambulance but efforts to aid him were unsuccessful. Firefighter Franklin was pronounced dead at 9:39 p.m. The cause of death was listed as hypertensive and arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease with smoke inhalation as a contributing cause. Two civilians were killed in the fire.

Department information

Fire Department City of New York
9 Metro Tech Center
Brooklyn, New York 11201

Chief: Commisioner Thomas Von Essen

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Donald L. Franklin 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: 42
Rank: Firefighter 1st Grade
Classification: Career
Incident date: January 13, 2001 20:50
Date of death: January 13, 2001
Cause of death: Stress/Overexertion
Nature of death: Heart Attack
Activity type: Ventilation
Emergency duty: Yes
Duty type: On-Scene Fire
Fixed property use: Residential