xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Smoke inhalation not a plausible cause of death for Bethea

I write as a nearly 40-year veteran captain in the Baltimore City Fire Department, including five years as a fire investigator, so I know of what I speak with respect to the behavior of fire and the products of combustion. I also worked with Lt. James Bethea during my five years as an investigator, and I know him well enough to know that he would never place himself in an untenable atmosphere without benefit of self-contained breathing apparatus. The fire on North Avenue had long been extinguished, and the premise that the atmosphere in the basement of an adjacent, un-involved dwelling was smoke laden is ludicrous.

Advertisement

My primary concern is that death by "smoke inhalation" implies that Lieutenant Bethea himself contributed to his own demise, and he deserves better than that. I am certainly not a forensic pathologist, but I know enough about fire fighting and the behavior of fire to know that "smoke inhalation" could not possibly be the primary cause of his death. Oxygen deprivation in the basement of a vacant dwelling? Perhaps. But "smoke inhalation" is simply impossible.

Stephan G. Fugate, Baltimore

Advertisement
Advertisement

The writer is a retired Baltimore fire captain.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement