Friday, July 29, 2016

Fire Investigators: 2015 Colter Bay Dorm Fire Caused by Suicide

An investigation into a fatal structure fire that occurred last year in Grand Teton National Park has been completed. An ISB Special Agent worked with US Park Rangers, the State of Wyoming Department of Fire Prevention and Electrical Safety, Jackson Hole Fire/EMS, City of Rawlins Fire Department and United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives throughout the investigation.

Upon getting the call for help just after midnight on July 31, 2015, Teton Interagency Dispatch Center personnel initiated the immediate response of firefighters and medics. The fire originated in a second floor dormitory room of the Colter Bay dormitory, which is managed by the Grand Teton Lodge Company. Residents and neighbors deployed fire extinguishers until help arrived. Rangers, park structural fire fighters, and Jackson Hole Fire/EMS suppressed the fire within about two hours.

During suppression efforts, responders found an unresponsive man in the dorm room where the fire originated. Advance life support treatment was attempted to resuscitate him; however, medical control instructed the paramedics on scene to cease resuscitate efforts and pronounced the victim deceased. He was a 28‐year‐old employee of the Grand Teton Lodge Company, and had sustained third degree burns to over 50% percent of his body.

The investigation determined the man had intentionally caused the fire using a flammable device in his room that resulted in his death. The Teton County Coroner Office ruled the manner of death a suicide. Four other people suffered minor injuries from the fire. All patients were transported to St. John’s Medical Center where they treated and released.

The "all-out effort" by responders prevented the fire from spreading further than one room in the dormitory. "It was an amazing response from Grand Teton National Park firefighters, EMTs, rangers, and also the Jackson Hole Fire and EMS responders," said the park's spokesperson, Jackie Skaggs (retired).


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