Police report sheds light on accident that killed Phoenix firefighter

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A police report reveals what went wrong the day Phoenix firefighter Brad Harper was killed after becoming trapped between two fire vehicles.

The investigation’s findings released on Tuesday state the driver of the fire engine who backed into Harper wasn’t using a “spotter,” a person on the ground to assist with parking, at the time of the accident.

Harper, who was responding to a mulch fire on May 18, was suiting up outside of his vehicle when a fire engine backed into him, pinning him between the two vehicles.

The police report’s conclusion states, “This collision is a result of the operator of Engine 24 not perceiving or reacting appropriately.” It also cites the “lack of a designated backing assistant on the ground.”

The driver of the engine told an investigator another firefighter had asked whether he needed a spotter, but the driver said “he was okay and would not require one,” according to the report.

The Phoenix Police Department says its case will be closed and no civil or criminal charges are pending.

The Phoenix Fire Department is conducting its own internal investigation, which is expected to be completed within the next month.

A spokesman declined to comment on Tuesday but said the department is still grieving and will review and discuss policy and protocol as its own investigation continues.