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A Missouri firefighter’s family has brought a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that an alarm device 40-year-old firefighter Steve Fierro was wearing failed and could have contributed to his death in February 2004. Fierro was helping put out a blaze at a bar near Diamond, Missouri.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of his widow and two children, alleges that Fierro’s breathing apparatus was outfitted with an integrated personal alert safety system that was defective. The device sounds a loud alarm when a firefighter who’s wearing it becomes motionless for a period of time, usually around 30 seconds.

The lawsuit alleges that the device Fierro was wearing produced a muffled alarm, if any at all, and contained components that did not meet National Fire Protection Association standards. If the device had worked properly, the suit alleges, it would have alerted the other firefighters, and they could have located him. Fierro had disappeared after part of the roof collapsed during the fire at the Bronc Busters bar.

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