MFD implements new guidelines after firefighters fail to notice woman's body in burnt car

NOW: MFD implements new guidelines after firefighters fail to notice woman’s body in burnt car

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58)--The Milwaukee Fire Department rolled out new car fire procedures Tuesday, Feb. 1. This comes after fire crews failed to see the body of a 21-year old woman inside a car after the fire was put out. The woman's body was discovered hours later by a tow lot attendant.

Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipsky continues to admit fire crews dropped the ball Sunday, Jan. 9. They were called to a car fire on N. 76th Street. After the fire was put out, no one checked the interior. 

"It is impossible, even after hearing from all firefighters who responded to this incident, to ever prove precisely how each and every member did not see or lay eyes on this unfortunate, deceased individual. Of this, we are sure -- not a single firefighter did see her," Lipski said. 

It was dark and cold that morning, a lot of steaming around the car. Chief Lipski says the flood of emergency lights could have made it difficult to see.

"This creates a visual void space in areas -- in this case, in the specific area of the vehicle where this people was later found."

The department is changing car fire guidelines to reflect building fire procedures. This means fire crews are expected to do three searches on the scene of a car fire.

"Ideally conducted by separate and distinct personnel. This is also done on purpose so that we get different sets of eyes on the same space."

These new changes include in-person battalion chief-led discussions with all crews on each shift, in addition to company-based training that will become part of their regular review process.

"We are taking very, very real steps to prevent a recurrence."

Chief Lipski discussed these new guidelines with the family first.

CBS 58 is not releasing the victim's name at the family's request. 

There will be no disciplinary action against any firefighter in this case. He says there was no malice or cruel intent. 

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