Two Colerain Township firefighters recently lost their lives in the line of duty while fighting a house fire. Officials identified the firefighters as Capt. Robin Broxterman, 37, a 17-year veteran who was the first woman in department history to attain the rank of captain, and Brian Schira, 29, who joined the department in November.
Colerain Township firefighters were dispatched to a single family house fire in the 5700 block of Squirrels Nest Lane at about 6:00 AM on April 4, 2008. A preliminary review of the audio recordings of radio traffic for this incident indicate that severe radio communications problems occurred on the fireground. Firefighters relied on a digital trunked radio system for on-scene communication. It is likely that these problems could have been avoided if conventional simplex analog radio communication had been used.
Firefighters found heavy fire when they arrived, and two members of the first arriving crew went inside to search for occupants and discover the source of the flames. The entry crew lost contact with the incident commander and dispatcher shortly after they entered the house.
The best way to understand the magnitude of this communications problem is to listen to recordings of the radio traffic. Please click on the following links.
- Radio recording – initial dispatch and size-up report
- Radio recording – early onscene radio communication
- Radio recording – Mayday
- Radio recording – final phase radio communication
This incident is yet another example of why digital trunked radio systems are not suitable for fireground or tactical law enforcement radio communication. Analog simplex radio communication has consistently proven to be more reliable on the fireground.