Toledo mayor setting up committee to go over NIOSH fire report - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Toledo mayor setting up committee to go over NIOSH fire report

Mayor Hicks-Hudson Mayor Hicks-Hudson
TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson says she wants to make sure the city moves forward appropriately after the release of a report that identified factors that may have contributed to the deaths of Toledo firefighters Privates Stephen Machcinski and Jamie Dickman.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released the report on its findings regarding the north Toledo fire that resulted in two firefighter deaths last year.

City employees and elected officials are under a gag order that prevents them from saying much about the report until the trial of the man accused of setting the fire, Ray Abou-Arab, is complete.

When asked whether anyone will be held accountable for the missteps taken by the department as determined by the NIOSH report, the mayor said she could not answer at this time.

“I cannot answer that question because I am more concerned about the judicial process and the justice, not only for the families who lost two firefighters, but justice for the community,” Mayor Hicks-Hudson said. “Because of that, I feel it is not prudent to discuss any of that at this point.”

She also said:

“I'm not a firefighter and I think it would be irresponsible for me to say at this point someone will be held responsible or not because there are many factors why we are here today.”

The mayor did, however, say she wants to make sure the city studies and learns from the report. She says she is setting up a committee consisting of Councilwoman Theresa Gabriel, the City of Toledo HR Director Mark Sobzac, and former EMS director Joe Walters.

The committee will thoroughly go over the report and determine what needs further investigating. Hicks-Hudson says this will be a way to give the city direction on how to move forward.

“I have seen the need to have this independent review and I think it is prudent for us to maintain the integrity between the criminal aspect of this case as well as making sure we are moving forward in a reasonable and determined manner,” she said.

Councilwoman Gabriel says she fully supports the committee and says she feels it's the best way to go.

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