APOPKA, Fla. — It’s been two months since Apopka firefighter Austin Duran died after a trailer filled with sand fell on top of him.
Now for the first time, we know how this tragedy played out.
The 12-page Apopka police report includes several witness interviews, including one with the firefighter who was sent to help Duran move the trailer.
Duran’s father, Mike Duran, said after reading the police report that it’s clear they didn’t know what they were doing, calling it “gross negligence” and that the details were hard to digest.
“Everybody in that station knew the dangers of that apparatus,” his father said.
In the report, an Apopka police officer interviewed the firefighter who was helping Duran move the trailer. He said Duran was instructed to move the trailer from one station to another and asked him to help.
The report said Duran was behind the trailer when the other firefighter lifted the tongue to hook it to the hitch. The 4,500 pound trailer filled with sand flipped over, pinning Duran underneath. The other firefighter got on the radio and called for help.
Mike Duran said that indicates his son and the other firefighter should not have been using that equipment.
“He was not trained on that apparatus,” he said.
The firefighter working with Duran said that before that fateful day he had “never touched that thing.” The firefighter also told police he had worked at the department for over a year and had never worked with the trailer or had any training on it.
“There was virtually no maintenance, the vehicle doesn’t even have a VIN number on it,” Duran’s father said. “For all intents and purposes, it doesn’t exist, yet it exists.”
The report recommends the department stop using the trailer until procedures are in place, that every firefighter needs to be trained on every piece of equipment, and that all equipment should come with a list of procedures.
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