Jury educated on limitations of firefighter gear in Ray Abou Arab murder trial

Jury educated on limitations of firefighter gear in Ray Abou Arab murder trial

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - So far the Ray Abou Arab murder trial has been an emotional roller coaster for the families of Steve Machcinski and Jamie Dickman, firefighters, and even the jury. However after Friday's testimony from Captain Mike Benadum there was a change of tone in the courtroom.

Benadum is responsible for training new fire recruits and educating firefighters already with the Toledo Fire Department,

He took the stand for hours explaining firefighter equipment and operations to the jury as well as going over a Line of Duty Death Report he and two other members of TFD put together after the fatal fire at the Magnolia Apartments four years ago.

Benadum explained how firefighter gear weighs about 70 pounds and that oxygen tanks on average have about 15 minutes of oxygen in them.

He also explained how the masks firefighters wear can only withstand up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

These explanations were told to help the jury realize the challenges firefighters face while inside a burning building and how hot the fire at the Magnolia apartments was.

The Line of Duty Death Report listed identified 12 reasons that contributed to the fire gaining too much power and the death of the two firemen. One of the reasons of course being arson.

The report also listed a delayed response, too much ventilation, wind direction, communication failures, lack of full building walk around and firefighters assuming the fire was on the second floor.

"In the moment, in their assessment, they determined that the conditions inside division 2 where that smoke was coming from was still tenable meaning it was still an atmosphere that could be survived by an unconscious victim lying on the floor and that it was a compartment or room that we could still enter with all of our gear on and hose lines to do the search," said Benadum.

Besides pointing out errors made in the report, Benadum explained to the jury what TFD has done since to address to ensure these problems are fixed. He also compared TFD's findings to the findings in the NIOSH report, a federal organization who also investigated what went wrong.

Next week the state is expected to finish calling their witnesses to the stand and then the defense will call theirs.

The judge had originally hoped for this trial to be over by the end of next week.

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