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Black Ribbon Melinda Jean 'Mindy' Ohler Black Ribbon

Melinda Jean 'Mindy' Ohler - January 13, 2003 (#147)

Firefighter Ohler was a passenger in an engine company responding to a fire alarm.  Firefighter Ohler was riding in the open jump seat of the reserve apparatus behind the driver.  Prior to moving the apparatus, the officer noted that both firefighters were seated and received a hand signal and a verbal indication from Firefighter Ohler that he could begin the response.  As the apparatus traveled through a right-hand curve on a freeway on-ramp, Firefighter Ohler apparently unbuckled her seatbelt to reach for her hearing protection.  As the apparatus turned, she lost her balance and fell from the apparatus.  She struck her head on the pavement and sustained a serious injury. 

Firefighter Ohler was transported by fire department ambulance to the hospital for treatment.  She remained in a coma until her death on January 13, 2003.  The San Francisco Fire Department was fined by CAL-OSHA for failure to have a safety rail installed on the apparatus involved in Firefighter Ohler's death, as well as other apparatus of the same vintage.  The fire department was also directed to enforce the use of seat belts.
Source: USFA Firefighters Memorial Database

Extracted from original sources with grammar and spelling as published.

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