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Report details potential issue with door latch when KCK firefighter fell out of truck, sustaining severe head injury

Concerns center around door latch, seatbelt
KCK fire pumper
Posted at 12:55 PM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 18:33:00-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — KSHB 41 News first obtained a report that details what happened when a Kansas City, Kansas firefighter was injured in an accident on Dec. 12.

The Kansas City, Kansas Police Department provided the report. The fire department is still finishing up its own investigation, per a spokesperson.

Pumper 17 was heading to a grocery store around 10:45 a.m. that Sunday. According to the report, the truck was turning left onto Shawnee Drive from 47th Street when the front passenger door opened and the occupant fell out, hitting his head on the pavement.

The firefighter, who is 48 years-old, sustained a severe head trauma injury and was taken to the hospital.

The report indicates the fire truck was sitting at a red light before turning, so the truck could not have been moving very fast when the door came open.

The investigator who arrived at the scene noted that the passenger seat belt was hanging loosely along a "B-Pillar" in the truck, and that the webbing on the belt was worn in one spot. The worn spot matched up to a post that comes out from the wall of the B-Pillar where the door's locking mechanism would latch to keep the door closed. The investigator believed the seatbelt had been in that position for some time.

The report said the seat belt was stuck to the post coming off of the B-Pillar, potentially blocking the door lock from properly latching, which caused the door to come open.

The report said the firefighter was not wearing his seat belt when he fell out of the truck.

Scott Schaunaman, KCKFD's spokesperson, told KSHB 41 News on Dec. 16 that the firefighter was doing better and that his breathing tube was taken out.

Schaunaman told KSHB 41 News in an email Tuesday that "the firefighter has improved significantly."

"He has been released from ICU status, but remains in the hospital. He is awake and alert and answering questions appropriately," Schaunaman said. "The family has been very appreciative of the overwhelming support from the Fire Department and Local 64."

Schaunaman said Pumper 17 is out of service pending an investigation, but that the truck will return to service after the investigation concludes.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.