The Keokuk Fire
On December 22, 1999 a fire broke out at a house located at 727/729 Franklin Street in Keokuk, which resulted in the loss of 6 people. Three residents of the house and three fire fighters lost their lives in this tragedy.
The fire started around 8:20 in the morning and fire fighters were dispatched at 8:24. The cause of the fire was later to be determined to be a stove with food left on it that caught fire.
Dead in the fire were 2 year old twins, Rebecca and Robert Cooper, 7 year old Jessica Cooper, Assistant Chief Dave McNally, 48, Firefighter Jason Bitting, 29 and Firefighter Nate Tuck, 39.
After investigations were concluded, they found the apartment where the fire started had no operational smoke detectors, the house was over 100 years old and the fire built up quickly inside the wooden structure.
Also the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health concluded that to minimize similar occurrences, the fire departments should:
• ensure that adequate numbers of staff are available to immediately respond to emergency incidents
• ensure that Incident Command conducts an initial size-up of the incident before initiating fire fighting efforts, and continually evaluates the risk versus gain during operations at an incident
• ensure fire fighters are trained in the tactics of defensive search
• ensure that fire command always maintains close accountability for all personnel at the fire scene
• ensure that fire to ground communication is present through both the use of portable radios and face-to-face communications
• ensure that a trained Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) is established and in position immediately upon arrival
•ensure that fire fighters wear and use PASS devices when involved in interior fire fighting and other hazardous duties**
A memorial was put in place in Rand Park next to the garden.