BETHALTO, Ill. — Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly said the Godfrey Fire Department volunteered to assist with the fire to test out a new saw. This story has since been corrected.
An OSHA report on the fire that left a fire captain dead and three other firefighters injured in Bethalto, Illinois, said communication problems contributed to the dangerous conditions at the fire.
Godfrey Fire Captain Jake Ringering was killed in a fire at 4064 Culp Lane on March 5. An OSHA report of working conditions at the fire was completed in September and was released to 5 On Your Side Monday. The report highlighted multiple problems with the effort to extinguish the fire.
The report said 911 operators failed to notify first responders that all the residents of the home safely escaped the home, failed to tell first responders that the home was a "hoarder house" and that leadership of the fire departments failed to properly check the scene.
The report said Madison County 911 operators were told that everyone in the house was out and accounted for just minutes after receiving their first call about the fire. Despite this, none of the first responders could remember being told the conditions of the occupants when responding to the scene. The deadly collapse inside the house happened more than 30 minutes later.
Additionally, the 911 dispatchers knew the home was classified as a "hoarder house" — which would have changed the way firefighters attacked the fire — but dispatchers did not communicate that to first responders.
During the fire, the decision was made to cut through the garage door to get into the garage. The report said the Godfrey Fire Department volunteered to cut through a garage door because they recently purchased a new saw and it would get through the door easier.
The report said the side door was unlocked, and if firefighters would have entered the side door, not as much debris would have fallen on firefighters.
"Godfrey FPD made entry into basement garage door directly under roof peak instead of entering the standard door that was offset from peak. If [firefighters] were on side of structure less debris would have impacted [firefighters] and potentially could have saved a life and lessened injuries."
On scene organization was also lacking, the report said. The report said on-scene leaders did not do a full check of the home until after the incident that left Rinering dead and three others injured.
Firefighters struggled to fight the fire due to water pressure issues, but those issues were caused because the fire hydrant was not fully opened, according to the report. The report said firefighters had to keep shutting off one of the hoses so water pressure could build back up and allow firefighters to spray the flames. The report said it took another five turns to open the hydrant all the way.
The report included suggested improvements for 911 dispatchers as well as on-site operations.