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December 13, 2016

Family of fallen Philadelphia firefighter files suit over death

Attorneys: 'Totally foreseeable and preventable tragedy'

Almost exactly two years to the date of her death, the family of fallen Philadelphia firefighter Joyce Craig-Lewis has filed a lawsuit against numerous fire protection equipment companies, alleging design flaws and inadequate functioning led to her passing.

Craig-Lewis, a 36-year-old mother of two and the city’s first female firefighter to die in the line of duty, was battling a blaze on Dec. 9, 2014, that occurred in the basement of a two-story brick row home in the city's West Oak Lane section.

The complaint, filed last week in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, claims Craig “would have survived" the fire "had the protective and lifesaving equipment she was using functioned properly.”

According to the lawsuit, Craig, who was posthumously promoted to lieutenant, had been wearing the face mask of her self-contained breathing apparatus, but “there was no air in her tank." It also claims that her Personal Alert Safety System device failed to notify responders to her location.

More than two dozen companies that manufacture the lifesaving equipment have been named in the suit, which seeks damages in excess of $50,000.