Turkish fire captain died after 10 tons of water was dumped on him, expert report reveals

Turkish fire captain died after 10 tons of water was dumped on him, expert report reveals

İsmail Saymaz - ISTANBUL
Turkish fire captain died after 10 tons of water was dumped on him, expert report reveals A fire captain who became trapped under a collapsed roof while fighting a fire in Istanbul last year died after 10 tons of water was dumped onto him from a fire helicopter belonging to the municipality, an expert’s report has revealed.

Avcılar Fire Authority captain Hayati Gökcan was fighting a fire that broke out in a factory belonging to the Kale Kayış company in the province’s Silivri district on June 4, 2015, along with three colleagues. Gökcan, 44, died when the roof collapsed as the team were fighting the fire in the storehouse. 

According to the expert’s report, the cause of Gökcan’s death was around 10 tons of water dumped from the fire helicopter about 70 above, causing the roof of the factory to collapse.

The report said such an amount of water would lead to the collapse of any building, adding that fire helicopters were mostly used in open spaces and against forest fires.

It also stated that the lack of coordination had an effect in Gökcan’s death.

“The intervention from the air with a helicopter while there were personnel inside the storehouse is against [normal procedure],” the report said. According to the report, the factory did not have any hose or water system to extinguish fires.

A lawsuit in the incident was only filed against factory owner Hasan Faruk Dağlı and company manager Mehmet Ersan Tan on charges of causing reckless homicide. However, the expert report said Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality was also at fault on two points out of eight in Gökcan’s death, while the Avcılar Fire Department was also at fault on one point.

The public prosecutor’s office also demanded permission to investigate the fire captains of the municipality. However, the Istanbul Governor’s Office did not respond to the permission demand and the lawsuit could not be filed.

Meanwhile, Gökcan’s family has filed a lawsuit to demand 1 million Turkish Liras in compensation from the municipality. 

Lawyer Zafer Tunca said in his petition that Gökcan was a graduate of construction and fire engineering and that he was a special firefighter in the country.

The petition noted that it was “technically wrong” to intervene against a fire in a closed space and that it was “great negligence” to dump 10 tons of water from a height of 70 meters at once.

The fire helicopter, Alev Kartalı, can store 10,000 liters of water and can hover in the air for 2 hours and 15 minutes. It can also fly 192 kilometers per hour and fill its store within around 45 seconds. According to information on the municipality’s website, the helicopter can be used in all fires including forest and industrial fires.