Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the chief investigator for News4 Investigates. His reporting has resulted in criminal convictions, legislative hearings before the U.S. Congress, and the payout of more than a million dollars to scam victims.

The Nashville fire department is temporarily stopping the use of a brand of devices designed to help a firefighter escape a burning building.

An internal Nashville fire department memo, obtained by the News4 I-Team, dictates that all “bail out kits” be turned in and collected.

Internal memo from Nashville Fire Department

The kits, featuring an anchor and ropes, are designed to help a firefighter escape through a window if the building is burning.

The kits grew in demand following a deadly fire in New York in 2005, where two firefighters leapt to their deaths after not being equipped with robes or anchors.

Both departments received the bail out kits from CMC in Goleta, California, that manufactures rescue kits for first responders.

CMC confirmed that they have issued a recall of their anchors after questions were raised following internal testing.

CMC CEO Rich Phillips said after years of testing with Underwriters Laboratory, they did internal testing and found differences in the results of the strengths of the anchors.

Phillips said their anchors are safe, but because the testing showed different results in the strengths of the devices, they decided to create stronger versions and issued a recall.

“We have thousands and thousands of them out in the world, and we have no known injuries or failures from this product,” Phillips said.

Phillips said it’s up to each of their client cities to determine if the current anchors are safe enough to use while the new stronger anchors are being delivered.

A spokesman for the Nashville fire department declined our request for an interview, but stated in an email that the devices are not a mandatory piece of equipment.

“The manufacturer notified us of a recall for the kits. We are proactively collecting all of the bail out kits so we can return them to the manufacturer. Then we will re-issue the kits once the manufacturer replaces them for the department. We have not had any injuries related to the bail out kits,” wrote spokesman Joseph Pleasant.

Phillips said they are issuing the new stronger anchors to all their clients free of charge.

Ashley McDonald, spokeswoman for the Murfreesboro fire department, said they too have been alerted about the recall, but is opting to keep the existing kits with firefighters while they await the new anchors. 

McDonald said the company is sending ten ten replacement kits with the stronger anchors to use in their rotation while they await the rest.

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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