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.