Lack of backup spotter blamed for death of crushed firefighter - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Lack of backup spotter blamed for death of crushed firefighter

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Photos released by Phoenix officials. Photos released by Phoenix officials.
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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Phoenix officials released reports, photographs and audio recordings of 911 calls and interviews associated with the death of Phoenix firefighter Bradley Harper in May.

Harper died from injuries he sustained when he was crushed between a 37,000-pound fire engine and the fire ambulance he had been driving.

The police report states the firefighter driving the engine that hit and pinned Harper did not use a backup guide as required by the Phoenix Fire Department policy when driving an engine in reverse.

Investigators ruled the incident an accident and concluded that no civil or criminal charges should be pursued.

Engineer Shayne Arthur, who was driving Phoenix fire engine No. 21 in reverse when it hit Harper, talked with investigators several hours after the accident.

During the 25-minute interview, it was clear Arthur had been crying and was extremely upset about what had happened. In an audio recording of that interview, Arthur said he knew the ambulance was behind him but he thought he had room. 

"I saw the ambo and I don't know if they had stopped or what. I know I saw it back there but it was ... it was the distance was … I don't know what the distance was. They looked like they were down the road," said Arthur.

Arthur also admitted to investigators that he did not have a fellow firefighter get out of the vehicle and guide him as he backed up the engine.

"Nate asked me if I wanted a backer. And I said … I was already moving, Brian was on the radio and I said, 'Nay, I got it,'" Arthur told investigators.

The report reveals it took 12 minutes to free Harper from being trapped between the two vehicles.

Investigators also said Harper did not react or did not see or hear the engine backing up in order to move out of the way.

Phoenix fire officials have an internal investigation underway. They have not concluded whether policy changes or discipline for Arthur are appropriate yet.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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