Ten years ago on July 28, 2011, Asheville Fire Captain Jeff Bowen, a 13-year veteran, lost his life while battling an arson fire in a high-rise building at 445 Biltmore Ave. The Asheville Fire Department will hold a remembrance ceremony on July 28, 2021, to honor our brother. This ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. at Fire Station 3, 50 Oregon Ave., where Captain Bowen last served.
Since that tragic day, the Asheville Fire Department has taken strides to ensure we are doing everything possible to create a survivable fire ground. AFD adopted the goal of sharing these lessons and ensuring that Bowen’s sacrifice will be honored by preventing another agency from suffering such a loss.
Saving our own:
AFD conducted a Critical Task Analysis for their Rapid Intervention Operations. Rapid intervention is the act of mitigating life-threatening emergencies and removing compromised firefighters from an immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH) environment. The department has made impactful changes to its Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) to include staffing, training and deployment.
AFD adopted Blue Card Training which is an incident command training and certification system that defines the best standard command practices for common, local, everyday strategic and tactical emergency operations.
AFD has changed its culture by improving air management guidelines that focus on ample reserved air needed to exit a structure.
AFD has incorporated a strict rehabilitation guideline. Firefighters prior to their release from rehab shall be evaluated to ensure there are no obvious indications that would prevent them from safely performing full duty activity.
AFD has increased its daily total number of firefighters who work per shift and has increased the number of companies that respond to fires ensuring more personnel on a fire ground scene.
AFD has a high focus on the overall health and wellness of its firefighters. AFD has a robust Health and Wellness program to include physical fitness, behavioral health, resilient mind training and more.
If you have information about this arson
The fire which took the life of Captain Jeff Bowen was determined to be arson and is still an open investigation. If anyone has information, you can share it anonymously by texting TIP2APD to 847411, or use the TIP2APD smartphone app. You can also share information by calling 828-252-1110.