Fire, EMS vehicles and firefighters having a bad day!!!!!!
2013 March

Return to the current Crashes

This page Will load slowly, lots of info.
Fire Truck
Lights will continuously flash when page completely loads.

Kolbs Home

March 31, 2013
Firefighters Respond to Fatal Crash Involving Colleague - NC

A volunteer firefighter in Hoke County died Friday when she crashed her vehicle while heading to the fire department to meet a group of colleagues for dinner.

Sarah Stonesifer, 22, of Aberdeen was heading east on Stubby Oaks Road toward the Pinehill Fire Department when she her vehicle veered off the left side of the road, stuck a fence post and flipped, according to the state Highway Patrol.

The 6:50 p.m. crash threw her from her Chevrolet Blazer.

About 10 firefighters were at the station waiting for her so they all could go out to eat in Aberdeen, said Tommy Nelson, the station chief. It was a Friday tradition, he said.

As they waited, a call came over the system about a wreck nearby. Unaware Stonesifer was the victim, the firefighters drove to the scene to aid first-responders.

Stonesifer's boyfriend was in the first car to arrive, followed by Nelson.

Nelson helped get Stonesifer's boyfriend away from the wreckage. Then, Nelson knelt and felt Stonesifer's wrist, hoping to feel her heartbeat.

No pulse, he told the dispatcher over the radio.

"It's one of the toughest things I've ever had to do," Nelson said.

The exact cause of the wreck is unknown.

Following Friday's dinner outing, the group of firefighters had planned to hunt raccoons, Nelson said. It was a favorite pastime of Stonesifer's.

She was a "good country girl" who had her own hunting dogs, Nelson said.

The department plans to give Stonesifer full firefighter's honors at her funeral, Nelson said.

Visitation for Stonesifer will be Monday from noon to 3 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. at Boles Funeral Home in Southern Pines. The funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.
John Ramsey / The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 31, 2013
Post uncovers cache of patient pictures online. This will be more than a local story. - NY

It is getting a lot uglier in New York over social media use by those in public safety. Today’s article by Candace M. Giove and Brad Hamilton in the New York Post takes the problem of Social Media Assisted Career Suicide Syndrome (SMACSS) in FDNY EMS beyond the fire commissioner’s son and the lieutenant with the racist tweets.

PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING: My prediction is this article will be national news by tomorrow and will have reverberations across the country on the use of social media by fire, EMS and police. If you have a similar problem in your own department, my suggestion is to take care of it now before it becomes news. There will soon be reporters everywhere looking for this.

Read the entire article at

Please buckle your seat belt

March 31, 2013
Dallas firefighter helmet cam controversy - TX

DALLAS - Helmet cam video from a Dallas firefighter made its way on YouTube, and sources say the Dallas Fire Chief isn't happy about it.

The four-minute video shows a firefighter from station 5, fighting flames with his team at a Pleasant Grove home.

Videos like this one are often used for training. The firefighter posted this one on YouTube.

Administration sources told FOX 4 the Chief is angry about the video being taken and posted. The source stopped short of calling it an official "investigation," but did say it is being looked into.

It's unclear if Dallas Fire Rescue has a policy regarding helmet cam video. It's also unclear who the camera belongs to and who, if anyone, sanctioned the video's posting.

DFR refused to comment on the video or a possible investigation.
By: James Rose / Adapted for Web by: Danielle Cocanougher /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 30, 2013

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – "Fix it, before someone else gets hurt or killed."

That's the message from the Michigan Firefighters Union president about the Benton Harbor's Public Safety Department. The department is under a microscope following a house fire on Jennings Street earlier this month where Lt. Doug Bell was badly burned, likely ending his career.

"We have found that the system failed," said Union President Mark Docherty. "That the cross-training of police officers to be firefighters is a complete failure."

Docherty says his office is investigating what happened the night Bell went into a house alone and got trapped in the garage, badly burning his hands, arms and shoulders.

Docherty says they talked to two officers who were at the scene with Bell, interviewed residents at the scene, and listened to 911 calls about the fire.

One female caller, in particular, who Docherty says was interviewed, says officers on the scene didn't know what they were doing.

"She heard Lt. Bell screaming for help. There were 2 (public safety officers) standing by the engine over 85 feet away. She said they were messing with some hose, Docherty said. She had to go tell them that Bell needed their help."

Benton Harbor Public Safety Director Roger Lange earlier this week admitted to WSBT "there were a number of things that went wrong at the scene."

Lange says because of what happened to Bell, the department was enhancing training.

Officers used to get fire training twice a week. Lange says now it will be daily.

Two years ago, Benton Harbor's emergency financial manager, who at the time was Joe Harris, laid off at least 6 firefighters in order to change to a Public Safety Department, a move aimed at saving the city money.

Docherty says there were only two PSO officers on the scene when Bell was hurt and they weren't properly trained.

"When they need help on a fire, these PSO officers are no help whatsoever," Docherty claims. "Even if they're there, they're not dressed properly. They're not trained. They don't know what they're doing."

The union is calling on the city to make a change back.

"We're calling on the state treasurer and emergency manager to do the right thing and hire our firefighters back and properly staff this department," Docherty said. "Don't cover up for it. Let's fix it, make sure no one else gets hurt or killed."

Public Safety Director Roger Lange says he will "not comment" on Docherty's claims.

Lange says he's not making any further comments about the incident until the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) report is complete.

That will be in about two weeks.

City officials anticipate OSHA will likely fine the city and make recommendations.

The fine could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
By Denise Bohn ( WSBT-TV

Orginal coverage

Please buckle your seat belt

March 30, 2013
Three Residents, Firefighter Hurt at House Fire - IL

Three residents and a firefighter were treated for minor injuries Thursday at an area hospital after fire swept through a house in West Chicago, authorities said.

Firefighters said the injuries could have been worse if neighbors had not alerted the residents to the blaze around 12:20 p.m. on the 2400 block of Alamance Drive.

West Chicago Fire Protection District crews were dispatched at 12:24 p.m. and arrived minutes later to find flames and heavy smoke showing from the two-story house, Deputy Chief Dennis A. Keefe said.

"It appears it had a good head start before anyone noticed it," Keefe said.

The three residents were able to get out of the burning building on their own.

It took firefighters roughly an hour and 20 minutes to extinguish the fire, he said.

It's unclear where or how the fire started, but officials from the DuPage County Fire Investigation Task Force were investigating, Keefe said.

The house, which authorities deemed a total loss, is in the Cornerstone Lakes subdivision in the northwest corner of West Chicago.

The residents were referred through the police department to the American Red Cross for assistance.

Firefighters from 14 other communities assisted.
By Christopher Placek / Chicago Daily Herald

Please buckle your seat belt

March 30, 2013
Boy, 6, Left at Kansas City Fire Station in Custody Dispute - MO

A 6-year-old boy abandoned Monday at a Kansas City fire station appears to have been caught in a custody dispute between his parents, who are estranged, police said Friday.

The boy's mother dropped off the boy with his father on March 22. On Monday, the father was ready to return the boy to his mother, but she was not available. It's unclear, police said, if she could not be reached or if she told the father that he needed to continue caring for the boy.

Either way, the father allegedly drove the boy to a fire station near 34th Street and the Paseo just before noon, gave the boy to firefighters and said he could not care for the boy.

"It sounds like he thought that was the right thing to do," said Detective David Albers.

The boy was checked at a hospital and found to be in good health. Missouri Children's Division workers released the boy to his mother.

Detectives, who learned about the incident Thursday, were preparing a case file to give to prosecutors, who will decide whether any laws were broken. Most child abandonment and endangerment laws in Missouri require that a child be in danger to prosecute.

Missouri's Safe Haven Law allows parents to drop off babies up to 1 year old at hospitals, police stations and fire stations with no questions asked. Parents of babies 5 days old or less are immune from prosecution, according to the law. Parents of older babies are not guaranteed to avoid prosecution, but they can use the law as an affirmative defense.

Police said the law is not intended to cover school-age children, although they said dropping off a child at a fire station is clearly preferable to mistreatment or abandoning a child on the street.
Christine Vendel / The Kansas City Star

Please buckle your seat belt

March 30, 2013
Paramedics Sued For Misdiagnosed Stroke - IL

An Aurora woman has sued the city and fire department, arguing three paramedics thought she was drunk when she called for emergency help last year when in reality she was having a stroke.

Susan Miller's lawsuit, filed in Kane County this week, argues that paramedics only treated her for six minutes and failed to provide proper care after arriving at her house at 2:04 a.m. May 28, 2012, after she complained of numbness in her arm and that she had fallen and could not get up.

Miller told the paramedics she had drank alcohol earlier in the day and the paramedics, instead of treating her and performing other tests, told her son to have his mother "sleep it off," according to the lawsuit.

Less than three hours later, the woman's ex-husband took her to the Provena Mercy Medical Center in Aurora and doctors determined she suffered a stroke.

"As a result in the delay in receiving the proper medical treatment for her stroke, Miller suffered and continues to suffer from various injuries including but not limited to permanent facial paralysis, vision loss and one-sided paralysis," read part of the lawsuit. "The defendant's utter indifferent or conscious disregard for the safety of Miller is evident from defendant's failure to discover a danger through recklessness or carelessness and which could have been discovered with the exercise of ordinary care."

A message left at the Aurora Fire Department's main station was not returned.

Aurora city spokesman Clay Muhammad said the city had not yet been served with the lawsuit and would not comment. Miller's attorney, Dennis Stefanowicz, did not return messages.

Both sides are due in court June 13. Miller seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages, according to the lawsuit.
By Harry Hitzeman Legal Affairs Writer / Source: Chicago Daily Herald

Please buckle your seat belt

March 30, 2013
Three firefighters injured when car slams into fire engine en route to Lake Worth fire - FL

LAKE WORTH, Fla. - Three firefighters suffered injuries after a car slammed into their fire engine while they were responding to a house fire in Lake Worth, says Captain Albert Borroto, spokesman for Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.

Joseph Cokusis has been identified as one of the firefighters injured.

According to the Palm Beach County Sheriffs office Nerin Palm-Velasquez was the driver of the Honda Accord.

The incident happened shortly before 12:30 Saturday afternoon near the intersection of N. Dixie Highway and Lucerne Avenue, says Borroto.

According to Borroto, fire rescue crews were responding to a structure fire at an abandoned house in the 700 block of South “E” Street in Lake Worth when a car slammed into the fire engine.

All three firefighters sustained non-life-threatening injuries, confirms Borroto.

Trauma Hawk transported the driver of the vehicle to Delray Medical Center.

Borroto says the accident did not delay response time. The structure fire was extinguished by other units on scene.

Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office is investigating the crash.
Courtney Larson, Web Editor /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 29, 2013
Facing Financial Woes, Dept. Asks For Take Over - NC

DURHAM -- County officials have been asked to take over one of the seven volunteer fire departments that operate outside the city of Durham, because the department can no longer make ends meet.

Directors of the Bethesda Volunteer Fire Department wrote the county Feb. 28 to say they had voted to dissolve their nonprofit and hand off to the county responsibility for day-to-day operations.

County Commissioners are scheduled to begin the transition process Monday, when they receive a briefing on the proposal.

Assuming the plan holds, "for all intents and purposes the governance of the department will be taken over by the county but the public won't see a difference" in operations, County Manager Mike Ruffin said. "It'll be the same high quality of services [delivered] by essentially the same personnel."

The Bethesda department is responsible for answering fire calls in a large swath of eastern and southeastern Durham County, including portions of RTP, that remain outside the city limits.

Money for its operation has come primarily from a special, district-only property tax that's capped by law at 10 cents per $100 of assessed value.

As part of the transition, the county would set up a new service district, using its own state-granted authority, that would in essence replace Bethesda's. It would have identical boundaries, but wouldn't have the same tax rate. Ruffin and his staff figure the new tax rate will start at 13 cents per $100 of assessed value.

But they figure property owners will be better off even with the higher rate because the takeover will eliminate the risk of staffing cutbacks that would spark increases in their insurance premiums.

The department employs 19 full-time firefighters and a group of part-timers that adds up to the equivalent of 11 more full-timers.

With the handoff, the full-timers would become county employees, and the county would convert the part-time positions into their full-time equivalents.

County officials say the existing tax-rate cap hurt Bethesda because the makeup of its service district forced it to function like a city fire department, with the same capabilities and equipment.

The department's nonprofit filings show that it ran a $214,536 deficit in fiscal 2010-11, the most recent year for which its tax filings are widely available. It took in $2.2 million and spent $2.4 million.

Its revenue base in addition to the proceeds of the district tax included money from two city governments Durham and Raleigh that were paying for services rendered or compensation for having annexed land in the Bethesda district.

Ruffin said the loss of a "fairly sizeable contract" with Raleigh contributed to the department's financial issues.

The fiscal 2010-11 tax filing indicated that Raleigh that year paid the Bethesda department $249,370 a figure that in practical terms made it the department's second-largest funding source, behind only Durham County.

Bethesda's chief, Robert Andrews, declined comment on the situation Thursday. He referred questions to the county's public-affairs staff.

The Feb. 28 notification letter from the Bethesda board to the county was signed by board President Marshall Ross. In it, he said it was clear the nonprofit was in a "critical operational status and could "only continue to operate for a short period of time."

By setting up the new tax district, Ruffin's government aside from eliminating the present tax rate cap will also be insulating taxpayers in the rest of Durham County from having to pick up a share of Bethesda's bills.

That in essence preserves the status quo where there are no countywide "property tax dollars involved with the operation," Ruffin said.

The county will take on and refinance the department's debts, a move that should halve interest payments on them from a prospective $160,000 a year to about $82,000.

The plan is to secure a conventional loan using the department's equipment and property as collateral. But by virtue of the county government's size and AAA credit rating, "we'll get a better interest rate" than Bethesda's nonprofit would, Ruffin said.
Ray Gronberg / The Herald-Sun, Durham, N.C.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 29, 2013
Man stole ambulance, crashed into cars - IN

Man stole ambulance

Man stole ambulance

ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) - An Anderson man was arrested Friday morning after he stole an ambulance and crashed into five parked cars.

According to a release, around 4 a.m., Joseph Sandlin, 27, stole the ambulance that responded to a call in the Delaware Court Apartments, 120 W. 10th St. The medics were not in the vehicle during the alleged heist.

Sandlin allegedly drove the ambulance to Main Street and crashed into five parked cars, causing significant property damage.

“It looked like a demolition derby,” said Detective Joel Sandefur. “I was surprised to see all of the damaged cars.

Police officers found Sandlin sitting in the driver's seat. As he was being arrested, he told police he took hydrocodone and several other pills, including bath salts.

He was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

The release said when officers asked him why he stole the ambulance, he said “he took it because he wanted to find a police car and wreck into it so that we would shoot him."

Those in law enforcement see a lot of bizarre situations, but this one was a surprise, especially to the dispatcher who questioned the paramedic reporting the incident.

“When you pull open a sardine can and the can bends up, that is how her car looked,” Ashley Brooks said as she described her mother’s car. “Chunks of the cars, everywhere it was a big nasty scene.”

But even as residents on Main Street gaze at what's left, they say this really is a Good Friday.

“Had I went out last night, I would’ve been sitting in my car,” Dawn Wilson said. “I would have been dead.”

Sandlin was arrested and charged with theft of a motor vehicle, a Class C felony; operating while intoxicated/drugs, a Class A misdemeanor; leaving the scene of a property damage accident, a Class B misdemeanor; and operator never licensed, a Class C misdemeanor. He was also wanted on a warrant out of Anderson City Court for domestic battery.
Staff Reports Adrienne Broaddus /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 28, 2013
Firefighter John Soukup - Cancer LODD - WI

Firefighter John Soukup of IAFF Local 2682 - Sturgeon Bay, WI. Brother Soukup, 42, passed away Wednesday March 27, 2013 from Renal Cell Carcinoma (Kidney Cancer).

Brother Soukup, a 14 year veteran with the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, leaves behind a wife, Polly, and daughter, Bailey along with many close friends and relatives.

Expressions of sympathy or condolences can be sent to Local 2682 at 421 Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin 54235. Anyone looking for information can contact the officers listed below.

Below is the obituary for John’s Funeral. Fraternally, President Austad - (920) 493-1714 V.P / Treas. Montevideo – (920) 559-2668 Sec. Wiegand – (920) 495-0404 Sturgeon Bay Firefighters Local 2682 John Paul Soukup, 42, of Sturgeon Bay, passed away at his home on March 27, 2013.

He was born in Green Bay, on December 6, 1970, to Gary and Vicky (Gustafson) Soukup. On June 14, 2002 he married Polly Peters at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Sturgeon Bay.

John served as a firefighter for the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department for 14 years. He was an avid racer and fan of Thunder Hill Raceway in Sturgeon Bay. John also enjoyed boating and snowmobiling. Survivors include his wife, Polly and daughter, Bailey; parents, Gary and Vicky Soukup, Sturgeon Bay; brother, Greg Soukup, Sturgeon Bay; in-laws, Dan (Michelle) Peters, Duvall; Jane (Steve) Ripp, Neenah; sisters in law Penny (Mike) Writt, and their children, Brynn, Blayze, and Blayre, Sturgeon Bay; Tricia Robey and her daughter Erin, River Falls; Stacey (Pete) Jauquet, and their children, Lily and Laney, New Franken; a brother in law, Scott Boulanger, Duvall.

Funeral Services will be 11:00 a.m. Saturday, March 30, 2013 at Corpus Christi Church, the Rev. Carl Schmitt officiating. Entombment in the St. Joseph Cemetery Mausoleum will be a private service for immediate family only.

Friends may call at Forbes Funeral Home from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. Friday and then after 10:00 a.m. Saturday at the church until the time of services. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to DoorCan ( ).

On-line condolences may be offered at Special thanks to Green Bay Oncology and to Unity Hospice Staff for their wonderful care and support. Also to Fire Chief Tim Herlache, Assistant Fire Chief Tim Dietman and the rest of the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 28, 2013
Fla. County Issues Ultimatum to Vol. Firefighters - FL

GREEN COVE SPRINGS -- The Keystone Heights Volunteer Fire Department faces an April 15 deadline to sign a contract conceding to Clay County oversight and conforming to its regulations, procedures and policies or lose its authority to provide emergency services.

The Clay County Commission delivered that ultimatum with a unanimous vote Tuesday night. It lauded the volunteer firefighters for their dedication and service over the years. But the commission said the county is responsible and liable for providing emergency services within its boundaries. That makes the county accountable for the actions of the Keystone Heights volunteers. It also subjects the volunteers to the county's supervision, commissioners said.

Unless the department signs the county's proposed contract by next month's deadline, it will be shut down, commissioners said.

"We want you on the team ... But the unique environment of public safety requires a strict chain of command, rules, procedures and tactics," Commissioner Doug Conkey told the volunteer firefighters during Tuesday's meeting.

John Middleton, the department's lawyer, said the county through Fire Chief Lorin Mock is trying to subjugate the volunteer department.

"It is a power play by Chief Mock ...He wants total control. There is going to be a great void in fire protection if they shut down the department and it will put public safety at risk," Middleton said.

Middleton said it's retaliation for an ongoing lawsuit filed by volunteer Fire Chief Kevin Mobley and the department against the county in 2011. The suit involves a dispute about overtime pay and discipline for county-employed firefighters who also volunteer with the department.

County Manager Stephanie Kopelousos said the issue is about managing the risk and liability to the county should negligence by a volunteer firefighter result in death, injury or property damage. The county lacks a valid contract with the volunteer department. Previous efforts to hammer out an agreement have failed, she said.

Kopelousos said the department has ignored Mock's directives involving the chain of command, deployment of fire trucks and reporting their response. Obeying the directives is essential to ensure proper response and protection to the rest of the area, she said.

Mobley told commissioners that in the department's 88-year history, the volunteers have never created a liability case for the county.

Mock denied it is a power grab. He said the county is the primary fire and rescue service provider but the volunteers augment the county personnel. He said the county can cover the area if the Keystone Heights department shuts down.

Established in 1925, the Keystone Heights department is Clay's only volunteer fire and rescue service. It has 42 active firefighters and support staff, none of whom are paid.

The department supplies its own fire vehicles and equipment. The volunteers protect about 45 square miles populated by about 14,400 residents in the Keystone Heights area. The volunteers responded to 128 emergency calls from February through December last year. Middleton said.
Teresa Stepzinski / The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville

Please buckle your seat belt

March 28, 2013
Fatal Propane Tanker Crash, Explosion - IL

By WSIL Manager

by Staff

UPDATED 10:24 p.m. TUESDAY, MARCH 26, 2013

WSIL -- State police have now identified both drivers involved in the crash. Mickey E. Clayton, 55, of Franklin, Illinois, was the driver of propane tanker that crashed into a coal truck driven by Randy Edwards, 48, of Pinckneyville.

Police say Clayton died in the crash, but Edwards was able to escape without injury. An explosion happened about an hour after the accident.

"Flames were shooting up about thirty feet in the air, and the roar sounded like a jet engine from the propane burning off," said Larry Willis with Randolph County Emergency Management.

He says more than 40 firefighters battled the initial fire from the crash, but the fuel caught fire again.

"The propane reignited and you could see the propane trailing into a drainage ditch," said Willis. "Thank God the firemen knew that because they took cover, and it wasn't thirty seconds later that the propane tank exploded."

The fire shut down County Line Road to traffic and knocked out power to nearby Knight Hawk Coal forcing the mine to send workers home.

UPDATED 8:16p.m. TUESDAY, MARCH 26, 2013

WSIL -- State police have confrimed that 55-year-old Mickey E. Clayton of Franklin, Illinois died in the crash. Police say Clayton was driving the propane tanker at the time of the crash.

UPDATED 5:45 p.m. TUESDAY, MARCH 26, 2013

WSIL -- Illinois State Police now say "at least one" person was killed Tuesday afternoon during a collision between a coal truck and a propane tanker.

Trooper Joey Watson first told News 3 initial reports from the scene indicated there were two deaths. He now says the status of the second victim is unknown at this point.

Stay with News 3 for updates.


WSIL - Illinois State Police say two people were killed Tuesday afternoon during a collision between a coal truck and a propane tanker.

The accident happened at about 2:20 p.m. Tuesday on County Line Road at Blackstump Road north of Willisville. Police say the propane truck exploded on impact.

Larry Willis with Randolph County EMA tells News 3 that multiple fire departments and emergency crews are on scene. According to Willis, crews let the propane "burn off" for about an hour.

No other information about the accident is available at this time.

County Line Road is closed from Route 154 south to Route 150.
By WSIL Manager

Photo gallery

Please buckle your seat belt

March 28, 2013
Ekom Beach Fire Department destroyed in flames - SC

Fire Department destroyed
LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. —An Upstate fire department building was destroyed by fire Thursday.

At around noon, a fire at the Ekom Beach Fire Department at 7385 Neely Ferry Road in Laurens County was reported.

Sky4 was overhead as flames tore through the building. Click to see pictures.

Multiple fire departments assisted in fighting the fire that completely engulfed the station and destroyed everything inside.

Greg Lindley with Laurens County Fire Service said, "This is just a terrible loss. This is a community-started fire department. This building was probably built by the community. A lot of trucks, owned by the community. They worked and slaved for years to have this."

Where and how the fire started is not yet known. The State Law Enforcement Division will investigate.

The community hopes to see the Fire Department rebuild soon. Meanwhile, officials said neighboring fire departments will provide fire protection for the Ekom community and assist Ekom Beach's fire department.

Barry Wardell has been a volunteer firefighter with the Ekom Beach Fire Department for about a year. He was devastated watching the flames consume the building.

"It's terrible, sickening, sad. I don't know the words to say," Wardell said.

Photo gallery

Please buckle your seat belt

March 28, 2013
Forest Service firefighter Jeff Scheuerer was struck and killed near Round Valley Reservoir - NJ

Jeff Scheuerer
Firefighter Jeffrey Scheuerer

State Forest Fire Service Firefighter Jeffrey Scheuerer, 35, who also served as a Volunteer Firefighter was struck and killed while conducting a controlled burn.

FF Jeff Scheuerer also wore his Readington Fire Company uniform with pride. He died on March 28 while on the job as a fireman with the New Jersey Forest Fire Service.

He had deep Hunterdon roots as a longtime resident of Raritan Township and as an active volunteer with the Readington Volunteer Fire Company, possibly since his high school days at Hunterdon Central.

FF Scheuerer was hit by a Jeep driven by a woman on Lebanon-Stanton Road (Route 629) at about 11:30 a.m. today. FF Scheuerer was in the roadway at the time. The accident happened when heavy smoke from the controlled burn, or "prescribed burn," shifted, apparently reducing visibility on Lebanon-Stanton Road near an entrance to Round Valley Recreation Area.

The driver of the Jeep had not been charged in the accident, but hours later the road remained closed as the investigation continued.

Our deepest condolences go out to Mr. Scheuerer’s family, Fire Chief John Rathborne and the Readington Volunteer Fire Company; as well as Mr. Scheuerer’s colleagues in the New Jersey Forest Fire Service.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 28, 2013
New video shows ice impact from inside Wayne Township fire truck - IN

INDIANAPOLIS - New video from inside the cab of a Wayne Township fire truck shows a slab of ice as it crashes through the windshield.

The incident happened just after 10 a.m. Tuesday near 21st Street and Girls School Road when a large chunk of ice flew off the roof of a passing pickup truck.

The ice struck the driver's side of the fire truck, knocking out the windshield.

"I saw a vehicle coming at us and snow and ice came off the roof and like a second later, it was in the windshield," said Matt Ervin, who was driving the fire truck. "(The windshield) came up real close and hit me right in the forehead."

Ervin was able to safely bring the fire truck to a stop. The driver of the pickup truck continued east on 21st Street, officials said.

"We're lucky we didn't get hurt worse," Ervin said.

The fire truck was not on a run during the incident. Fire officials said it's possible the driver of the pickup truck did not know what had happened.

Orginal coverage

Please buckle your seat belt

March 27, 2013
Fire-retardant chemicals in furniture challenged - CA

Jim Doucette served the Sacramento Fire Department for more than 30 years, and he understood the perils of the job when he accepted it. But there was one hazard he did not anticipate: the effects of burning toxic chemicals embedded in furniture.

"We became firefighters knowing the dangers involved," Doucette said at a Department of Consumer Affairs hearing on Tuesday. "But none of us thought we would be exposed to something that has no purpose."

Doucette was referring to flame-retardant chemicals that furniture makers have for years incorporated into their products as a safeguard against blazes spreading. Fire experts and health advocates say those chemicals are endangering public health, and a proposed state rule change could lead California furniture makers to stop selling products containing the chemically treated foam.

Under the current rules, furniture has to pass a safety test that involves being exposed to an open flame. The updated rules would change the standard to enduring "smoldering fires." Those are the types of flames - like those contained in a burning cigarette or an overheated electrical cord - that account for the vast majority of home fires. As a result, furniture makers would no longer need to employ the fire-suppressing chemicals they used to pass the open flame test.

The chemical industry has fought the changes, saying lowered standards would put people in danger.

John McCormack, who was a scientist at the California Bureau of Electronic Appliance Repair, Home Furnishing and Thermal Insulation and now is a consultant to the North American Flame Retardant Alliance, an advocacy group made up of chemical companies, acknowledged that open flames cause a small proportion of fires. But he said their potential for destruction should not be discounted.

"The proposal does not address the full range of fire scenarios possible in residential furniture and thus does not meet the governor's mandate for safer furniture," McCormack said at the hearing.

McCormack suggested that political considerations were overriding public safety.

"The process we're involved in now is hearing one side of the story," McCormack said on Tuesday. "The balance needs to be between fire hazards and environmental hazards."

Those environmental hazards include heightened risk for cancer, developmental issues such as lower IQs in children who have been exposed to flame-retardant chemicals, and reproductive issues, according to Myrto Petreas, a research scientist with the Department of Toxic Substances Control.

Studies have shown that California children have been exposed to elevated levels of flame-retardant chemicals, Petreas added. When the chemicals filter out of furniture, they enter dust that then passes into the bodies of children who are playing on the floor and putting things in their mouths.

"The problem is these chemicals escape," Petreas said. "They don't stay put in the sofa or the carpet padding, but they come out in the dust."

There is also evidence that the chemicals don't effectively slow the spread of fire. And they may actually be endangering firefighters by thickening the choking fumes that fires produce.

"Our view is that the fire retardants that are currently used in furniture don't retard fires nearly as well as they ought to, but they do release a whole lot of nasty toxins into the air," said Carroll Wills, a spokesman for California Professional Firefighters.

Attempts to change furniture fire-testing rules through the Legislature have foundered. Advocates say they have since gained a valuable ally in Gov. Jerry Brown, who in June directed state regulators to work on "reducing and eliminating - wherever possible - dangerous chemicals" in furniture.

"The Legislature is not capable of overcoming the intimidation tactics of the flame-retardant chemical industry," said Richard Holober, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America, which sponsored legislation.

But since the rule change is going through a government agency rather than the Legislature, Holober said, the prospects for success are better.

Tuesday marked the end of the public comment period for the proposed rule changes, during which the Department of Consumer Affairs received more than 30,000 comments. There will be time to make technical changes and another public comment period before the proposal goes before the Office of Administrative Law for approval.

"The likelihood is we'll need to fiddle around the margins to tweak it a little bit but there won't be any wholesale changes," said Russ Heimerich, a spokesman for the Department of Consumer Affairs.

If the changes take effect, it could have national repercussions. In the absence of federal guidelines about flammability-testing furniture, California has become the de facto standard-setter. If California adopts the new rules, businesses across the country would be compelled to change or risk losing out on the vast California market.

"Even if we ship it out of state we'll build to the California standard, and I'm sure people who ship into the state of California, and I imagine the furniture they ship around the country, they'll build to the California standard," said Ben Nielsen, a board member of the California Furniture Manufacturers Association.

"I think we've always been the leader in a lot of issues," Nielsen added, "and I think this is one we'll also be the leader of."
By Jeremy B. White /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 27, 2013


An attic fire at a Denison house Tuesday morning caused damage to a both woman's home and a Denison fire truck.

Pearl Napier said she was taking out the garbage - about to leave for the day - when she noticed smoke coming from her roof.

Battalion Chief Keith Bates said the fire appears to be electrical, but it's still under investigation.

"We believe it started in the attic around some wiring," he said.

Napier said she's thankful it wasn't worse.

"I might have left for the day with [her daughter]. And who knows if any of my neighbors would have seen my house on fire," she said.

But she said it still hurts to see damage to her home.

"I don't want to look at it ... but I will," she said. "Every morning I've got up and thanked God for my house and my family and everything. I said [to my daughter], 'I didn't do that this morning.'"

Denison called out three fire engines but only two showed up. One engine was in a traffic accident on Morton Street on it's way to the fire.

"We had a single car make contact with a fire engine. At this time the police department is investigating it," Bates said. "We did transport the driver of the vehicle to the hospital."

Bates said he doesn't know the extent of the driver's injuries, but they were not life-threatening.

No firefighters were hurt, he said.

The Police Department determine who was at fault, he said.

"They will get back with us with the details. They will conduct a full investigation and find out exactly what happened," Bates said.

Preston EMS and the Grayson County Airport Fire Department were called out to the traffic accident, since all available Denison trucks were out at the fire, Bates said.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 27, 2013
Fire Board Severs Contract With Firefighters - FL

The Key Largo board created to oversee the community's volunteer-based fire department may need to assemble a new department in two months.

In a 3-2 decision Monday night, elected members of the Key Largo Fire-Rescue and Emergency Medical Services District voted to terminate its contract with the Key Largo Fire-Rescue Department Inc., consisting mostly of volunteers the past five decades.

No reasons were publicly offered in the crowded special meeting that lasted less than 30 minutes.

The without-cause resolution "just says the district didn't want to fight about the reasons," district attorney Dirk Smits said. "Just that it's over."

Three board members voting to end the contract indicated they want to replace the agreement with a new pact during a 60-day mediation period before the formal relationship with the volunteer group "terminates."

If mediation doesn't work, the board would ask the Tavernier and Islamorada fire departments for fire protection, at least on an interim basis.

Acting to force mediation "seriously needs to be done," said Marilyn Beyer, an elected district board member since the special taxing district was created in 2005.

"Hopefully this will trigger changes," said Beyer, who voted to end the contract. "No one wants to get rid of the fire department."

Russ Yagel, an attorney representing the volunteer organization, said "the awful truth" of the decision's intent is to "get rid of Chief Sergio Garcia."

Garcia, a 30-year fire department volunteer and chief since 1999, attended the district meeting but did not speak.

"I'm obviously disappointed with the way the vote went," Garcia said later. "They didn't make a single point that we're doing anything wrong. We're good people doing good work that the citizens of Key Largo appreciate."

District board member Bob Thomas, who ran unopposed in November to win his first term, said the volunteer department needs more "transparency" and a greater separation of powers for training and scheduling.

Thomas said he wants the district board to approve the selection of fire chief, now decided by an election of the firefighters.

"The position has to be answerable to some other body," Thomas said. "Now [Garcia] is answerable only to the firefighters that he controls.... It's about the position, not about Sergio."

District board member George Mirabella, a volunteer fireman who voted to end the contract as "a motion to start healing," said the department's corporate board "had a long time to care for [problems] on their own but nothing was done."

Frank Conklin, corporate president of the volunteer group, asked the district "to save what we have, not scrap it and start all over."

Voting against the motion were board Chairwoman Jennifer Miller and newly elected Tony Allen, also a volunteer firefighter.

"There's no reason for us to do this," Allen said. "Not a single person [from the public] came in here and asked us to get rid of the fire department. That speaks volumes."

Miller said she was "not comfortable making a hasty decision based on nothing.... I think a lot of the history [between the district and volunteers] is emotion-based. We need to run it like a business."

Thomas said firefighters will continue to receive reimbursements and shifts during the next 60 days. Yagel said the department members do not plan to stage "strikes or walkouts," but he feared some district board members have "a fantasy of a new department."

The district board called a special meeting for 6 p.m. April 1 at the Key Largo fire station to discuss issues to be raised during mediation.

The Key Largo Fire-Rescue Department has about three dozen volunteer firefighters and seven paid firefighters. Since the department has more volunteer firefighters than other Florida Keys areas, local fire-rescue taxes are notably lower in Key Largo.
Kevin Wadlow / Florida Keys Keynoter, (Marathon, Fla.)

Please buckle your seat belt

March 27, 2013
Fire District May Disband After Tax Levy Rejected - RI

Ch. 10 filed this video report from the meeting:

At the conclusion of a 4-hour voting period - the second vote regarding the Central Coventry Fire District's proposed fiscal 2012-2013 budget and tax levy in six weeks - taxpayers decided by a 1,357 to 484 vote margin to reject the budget and the accompanying tax levy of $2.99 per thousand of assessed property value.

When voting began at 6 p.m. - one hour before Special Master Rick Land's revised budget presentation - hundreds of residents waited to vote in a line that wrapped around Coventry High School and traffic turning onto Reservoir Road was backed up in both directions. Despite the throng of voters, the school auditorium did not fill quickly with residents interested in hearing the presentation before casting their vote, as many checked their ballot in the front foyer and left just as quickly.

Around 7:20 p.m., Town Council President Gary Cote began the meeting with an explanation regarding the repercussions if the fire district is shut down.

"If you have not already voted, what you're going to be asked to do is vote for the lesser of two evils," he started. "That's the truth and that's where we are tonight."

He briefly touched upon the controversial fire service contingency plan organized by chiefs from neighboring fire districts that Superior Court Judge Brian Stern refused to release publicly during a hearing on Monday.

"There is no specific plan in place," he said. "There is a concept that has been discussed between the other three fire chiefs, Chief (Andy) Baynes, Special Master Land and myself. If the budget fails tonight and liquidation is ordered, the other three districts will do their very best to provide emergency services to the taxpayers of Coventry. But if the concept has to be implemented, we're looking at a 6 to 8 month period before that concept can be put into action."

He spoke of the optimism he felt regarding pieces of legislation currently being considered that would allow the fire district to return to a multi-tier taxation system, making for higher commercial tax rates and lower residential.

"The legislature is going to act on your behalf, I believe that."

"The Union made concessions because you asked them to, but I don't think they had any choice because they didn't want to end up in the unemployment line, which is what will come should this budget fail," Cote continued. "You wanted the board of directors gone, they're gone. You wanted the budget to be reduced, it's been reduced, and don't forget you'll get another crack at it in October when next year's budget is voted on."

In addition, Cote said he would continue working with chiefs from neighboring districts, along with CCFD Chief Baynes to develop a five-year plan to merge the entire fire service industry in Coventry into one fire district, still independent from the Town - an idea which garnered a round of applause from voters.

Special Master Land reviewed the $400,000 in concessions made by the firefighters' union, which included suspensions in holiday pay and clothing allowances, reduced health-care contributions and a salary freeze, among other items, which will provide an estimated $1.4 million in savings across three years. Despite the fact that the first year of the proposed budget, if approved, would not work towards paying off the district's $2.2 million in accrued debt and liabilities, Land once again assured residents that the five-year financial plan for the district that he has been preparing would pay down remaining debt, consider utilizing volunteers, include a review of the CCFD charter as well as the election of a new board of directors.

Land explained the monetary effect that approval of the $2.99 tax rate would have had on tax bills compared to the current rate of $1.82 per thousand, by using the example of a home assessed at $100,000, which would have an approximate annual increase of $72.

"People have to make an assessment as to whether or not that amount of money is meaningful to them relative to the risk of what public safety may or may not look like if the budget is not approved," he said.

For the majority of the meeting, Moderator Jeff Cianciolo turned the floor over to members of the audience who had questions for Land. One topic of discussion focused on how neighboring districts would provide automatic aid to Central Coventry in the event of liquidation, to which both Land and Cote agreed that residents throughout Coventry would not receive the same level of service they have been receiving. This outcome would be the result of only three local rescues being available for CCFD's 64 sq. miles in addition to the rest of the Town, which currently averages between 17 and 22 rescue calls a day.

Other topics included the question as to why CCFD residents are responsible for the entire deficit when their firefighters and apparatus respond to many calls in other districts. Chief Baynes explained how the majority of fire districts in Rhode Island rely upon one another on a "minute by minute basis year-round" and that the practice is a widely used one.

Resident Bob Gunnip confirmed with Land, Baynes and Cote that the proposed $2.99 tax levy and the increased bill associated with the new rate, would still cost taxpayers less than what they would need to pay for if the fire district closes its doors. This point would be due to a financial obligation to weekly unemployment for 46 firefighters, liquidation costs, increased insurance rates and outstanding debt, in addition to the current tax bill.

"When we're talking about a $2.99 tax rate, we'll be paying a lot more than that and have no fire service," said Gunnip. "Am I right?"

"I would say that you accurately assessed the situation," replied Land. "Those are significant and real risks that are facing the district in the absence of an approved budget."

Dozens of taxpayers were still lined up to vote at 10 p.m. when the polls were scheduled to close and after the last vote was cast, members of the Coventry Board of Canvassers tallied the numbers and reported the rejection of the budget by 873 votes.

"I will be meeting with the judge tomorrow or Thursday to see what the next steps are. I don't have an exact plan in place but we will likely begin the process of liquidation," said Land in regards to what his next step would be. "I don't expect to shut down today or tomorrow, but one of the fundamental problems about not passing a budget is that there is no money coming in to pay people. We just need to speak with the court and figure out what our options are."

Council President Cote expressed his disappointment with the outcome of the meeting.

"What bothers me the most about it is that we're now at the mercy of the judge and the special master, we're no longer in control of our own destiny and that bothers me," said Cote after hearing the final vote count. "I wasn't surprised with the margin between the votes, but what surprised me was the number of people who didn't come in to hear the presentation. Not that I think the outcome would have been different but the margin would have been. I think many people voted tonight based on not enough information or erroneous information so the majority of the votes cast tonight were uneducated ones, but I respect the taxpayers' votes and we'll just have to move forward from here."

Cote also said that regardless of the rejected budget, he still plans to work with Coventry emergency officials to implement a town-wide independent fire district over the course of five years to provide service to the residents of Coventry.
By Lauren Costa /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 27, 2013
Firefighter escapes injury after fall through roof - KA

Firefighter escapes injury
COREY JONES/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL / Fire crews responded around 9:15 p.m. Tuesday to a house fire at 10624 S.W. Indian Hills Rd., which is southeast of Auburn in Shawnee County.

AUBURN -- A Shawnee County firefighter battling a large house blaze fell through the structure’s weakened roof Tuesday night, yet was able to walk out of the home’s front door unscathed.

Auburn Fire Chief Scott Hunt said the fireman climbed onto the roof of the burning structure at 10624 S.W. Indian Hills Rd. to vent it. A portion of the roof collapsed and the firefighter disappeared into the single-story dwelling, causing great concern for his crew for several moments before he walked out of the house and declared himself uninjured.

"Next thing I know he's walking out the door looking at me going, 'I'm OK,' " Hunt said. "Luckily it was on the short (section of roof), so he didn't have far to go."

There were no injuries reported to emergency personnel or the occupants of the home, which Hunt said appeared to have sustained major fire damage to about 30 percent of its structure. Smoke damage was apparent throughout the house.

The cause and origin of the blaze were yet to be determined late Tuesday, but Hunt said it was thought to be accidental in nature.

Fire crews were called to the scene just southeast of Auburn around 9:15 p.m. They arrived to find flames issuing from the structure. All occupants of the dwelling fled safely, and crews battled the blaze for some 25 to 30 minutes before it was extinguished.

Hunt said crews were sent to the same house a week ago to douse a chimney fire on the back side of the home. Tuesday night's fire was in another section of the home, he said, damaging mostly a new addition and climbing into the attic.

The Shawnee County appraiser's online records indicate the property is valued at $123,700.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 27, 2013
Two SF firefighters hurt in 4-alarm Bayview fire - CA

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A fast-moving fire forced people to run for their lives in the middle of the night Wednesday in San Francisco's Bayview District. It spread quickly to neighboring buildings, injured firefighters, and displaced nearly two dozen people.

Investigators say the fire, which caused millions of dollars in damage, could have been a malicious act. Firefighters admit it isn't a strong lead but they are following up after questioning someone who heard from someone else that they saw something.

The fire was aggressive. It traveled to three neighboring buildings before fire crews could get to the scene. People sleeping inside the building woke up feeling a mixture of fear and shock. "Oh my gosh, wow," Patricia Lunn said. "It was so big I could see it going billowing over to my window and it was just wow, humongous."

The fire caused significant damage to three buildings. Water from the firefighters' hoses flooded the first floor of two other buildings. Fire officials determined that the fire started in between two buildings on McKinnon Street at Third Street just before 1 a.m.

"There were 20 citizens displaced by this fire. American Red Cross has been working with the displaced residents," said SFFD Battalion Chief Tom Abbott.

"I've very upset about it. That's my baby and it's no longer existing so, we're going to try to maybe, possibly, put it back together," said Clarence Williams who owns the three buildings that were burned. As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, firefighters hadn't allowed Williams to enter the buildings due to concerns the structure could collapse so he couldn't say how badly the buildings were damaged, but he suspects they are a total loss.

Everyone got out safely but Williams is still worried about his tenants. "I'm relieved they're OK but I'm sorry they don't have a place to stay," he said. "After three days, Red Cross will no longer house them. So, where are we going to go from there?"

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries during the incident.
Amy Hollyfield /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 26, 2013
Fayetteville road blocked by accident involving fire truck - AR

road blocked

FAYETTEVILLE —All lanes of Crossover Road in Fayetteville were blocked Tuesday because of a three-vehicle accident, according to Sgt. Craig Stout of the Fayetteville Police Department.

Investigators believed a woman stopped her car in the road and was rear-ended by another vehicle. One of those cars then hit a Fayetteville fire truck.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 26, 2013
Firefighter Hurt, Four Homes Burn - PA

A firefighter was injured and four houses were damaged in an three-alarm fire in McKeesport early this morning.

McKeesport fire department Capt. Jim Shields said the firefighter was treated at a hospital, but he would not describe the injuries.

No one else was hurt and all pets were accounted for.

Crews were dispatched to the 2500 block of Banker Street, in the city's Grandview section, after a 911 call about 1:43 a.m.

Fire companies from Glassport, White Oak, West Mifflin, Lincoln, Liberty, Port Vue and Monroeville responded to the blaze, which destroyed one home, significantly damaged two others and did some cosmetic damage to a fourth, Capt. Shields said.

The Allegheny County Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the fire's cause and origin.

One home was engulfed when firefighters arrived and collapsed shortly after that, Capt Shields said.

A house next door, and the one neighboring it, suffered "significant damage" into the second floor and attic, as well as water damage, he said.

The fire caused only exterior damage on the side of another house.

One of the houses was vacant.

Capt. Shields said crews had some challenges circumventing power lines that fell across the scene shortly after they arrived.

"It just changed our tactics a little bit," he said. "We just have to work around them."

The American Red Cross said it is assisting four individuals from two families with food, clothing and shelter.
Molly Born / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Please buckle your seat belt

March 26, 2013
Six Apartments Burn Firefighter Injured - CA

ALAMEDA -- A firefighter was injured early Tuesday morning after a blaze broke out and damaged six apartments and two businesses in a three-story building on Park Street, fire officials said.

The Alameda firefighter suffered a shoulder injury during the blaze that displaced at least a half-dozen residents. He was taken to a hospital to be treated, authorities said.

Crews were called at 2:37 a.m. to the building at 1203 Park Street, near San Jose Avenue, said Alameda fire Capt. Jim Colburn. When firefighters arrived, the second and third floors of the building were engulfed in flames, Colburn said.

Firefighters had the blaze under control about 4:27 a.m., Colburn said, and The Red Cross responded to the scene to assist at least six displaced residents.

A preliminary investigation revealed the blaze broke out in an apartment on the second floor of the three-story building, Colburn said.

Fire officials estimated the blaze caused at least $250,000 to the building.

Colburn said the two businesses located on the first floor of the building Aphrodite's Closet and iSalon sustained heavy water damage and it appears most of the apartments above the two businesses were destroyed.

"The entire third floor is destroyed," Colburn said from the scene.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation on Tuesday morning and fire investigators were still at the scene at 8:45 a.m.

Although the fire was contained, traffic in the area was being diverted to side streets and motorists were being asked to avoid the area.

According to the Alameda Police Department, Park Street is closed at Encinal and Clinton avenues and San Jose Avenue is closed from Park Avenue to Oak Street.

The lane closures are slated to remain in effect until about 10 a.m., police said.
Natalie Neysa Alund / The Daily Review, Hayward, Calif.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 26, 2013
Two-Alarm Fire Injures Maryland Firefighter - MD

ARNOLD, Md. (AP) — Fire officials say a firefighter has been injured in a two-alarm blaze at an Arnold house.

Anne Arundel County Fire Department Division Chief Keith Swindle tells The Capital of Annapolis ( that the fire was reported at the two-story home about 12:30 a.m. Monday.

Swindle says some 60 firefighters responded and they spent more than two hours extinguishing the blaze.

One firefighter suffered minor burns and was taken to a local hospital.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.
The Associated Press

Please buckle your seat belt

March 26, 2013
Ambulance Driver Cited For Head-On Crash - OH

Head-On Crash
Daily Tribune photo

THE DRIVER OF A MEIGS COUNTY (Ohio) EMS unit was cited by the Ohio State Highway Patrol for "traveling left of center" and causing a head-on crash Saturday evening.

Alfred Lyons, 49, was driving the ambulance at 7:35 pm with a patient on board when he drifted over the center line and collided head on with an oncoming car. A second car following the first one was also caught up in the collision. The Gallipolis Daily Tribune reports:

(The ambulance), transporting patient John Anderson, 72, of Racine, was traveling southbound on Ohio 7 when, at approximately 7:35 p.m., the driver traveled left of center and struck a Mercury Marquis that was traveling northbound, head-on, near the intersection of Ohio 554.

Anderson was reportedly not in a life or death situation at the time of the crash, according to the trooper, and was being transported from his home to Holzer Medical Center in Gallipolis by the EMS unit.

The driver of the Mercury Marquis, Charles Kearns, 75, of Mason, W.Va., as well as his passenger, Eleanor Kearns, 76, Mason, W.Va., were both taken to Holzer Medical Center by Meigs County EMS with moderate injuries.

A Honda minivan that was also traveling northbound directly behind the Mercury Marquis was also struck in the crash. The driver of that vehicle, Michelle Folmer, 35, Pomeroy, had possible injuries and was taken to Holzer Medical Center by Meigs County EMS, according to the highway patrol.

Lyons and his EMT partner, a 49-yr.-old woman, were both transported for minor injuries.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 26, 2013
Fire Capt. thrown into guardrail at MVC - OH

Capt. Barry Cron sustained serious but non-life-threatening injuries while working what would become an 11-car pile up. Firefighters were working on an overturned vehicle that came to rest against the center divider on U.S. 35, when a pickup truck hit that vehicle.

As Capt. Cron was checking on the pickup's driver, another vehicle slammed into the truck, throwing Capt. Cron into the center guardrail.

According to FOX 45, Capt. Cron began his career with the Dayton Fire Department in June 1992 and was promoted to captain Nov. 13.
By FireRescue1 Staff

Please buckle your seat belt

March 26, 2013
Potosi fire chief seriously hurt in crash on way to fire - MO

WASHINGTON COUNTY • The Potosi Fire Department chief was seriously hurt Monday when the tanker truck he was driving on the way to a fire overturned and he was partially ejected.

Richard A. Knight, 51, of Cadet, was driving the tanker to a mutual aid call on northbound Highway 47 at Toby Meadows Lane in Washington County at about 4:15 p.m. and went off the right side of the road, the Missouri Highway Patrol said. Knight overcorrected, and the truck went off the left side of the road and overturned. It was unknown whether he was wearing a seat belt, the patrol said.

An ambulance took him to St. Anthony's Medical Center in St. Louis County.
By Valerie Schremp Hahn

Please buckle your seat belt

March 26, 2013
Firefighter injured after ice strikes fire engine’s windshield - IN

fire engine’s windshield

fire engine’s windshield

fire engine’s windshield

INDIANAPOLIS– A firefighter with the Wayne Township Fire Department was transported to the hospital Tuesday morning after ice flew off a pickup truck, striking a fire truck’s windshield.

The fire truck was traveling westbound on 21st Street, just east of Girl School Road, around 10 a.m., when ice flew off an oncoming pickup truck, striking the fire engine and knocking out the windshield on the driver’s side. Officials said the driver of the fire engine was able to safely bring the truck to a stop.

The injured firefighter was transported to IU West Hospital for medical evaluation. There were three other firefighters in the truck at the time of the accident, but they were uninjured.

The driver of the light blue pickup truck did not stop and continued driving eastbound on 21st Street. Fire department officials said they will review the camera aboard the fire engine in an attempt to get a better description of the vehicle involved.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 26, 2013
3 firefighters injured during 3-alarm blaze in Perth Amboy - NJ

(Gallery by John S. Clayton/

PERTH AMBOY — Three firefighters were injured and 16 residents were displaced Tuesday morning following a three-alarm fire on Grove Street in Perth Amboy, officials said.

The fire, which was first reported at 3:07 a.m., started in the basement of a two-story, multi-family home on 365 Grove Street, said Perth Amboy Fire Chief David Volk. It took crews more than four hours to place the fire under control.

One firefighter suffered serious injuries, Volk said, after he got trapped on the second floor and had to be rescued by one of the ladder crews on site. The firefighter was airlifted to Saint Barnabas Medical Center for treatment of possible burns and smoke inhalation.

Volk added the firefighter’s injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

“He was talking and conscious,” Volk said.

The two other firefighter’s injuries were minor, Volk said. One was knocked off a ladder, he said, while the other slipped on the street. Both were taken to area hospitals and released.

None of the 11 residents of the home on Grove Street were injured, Volk said. Five residents of an adjacent home were also displaced, Volk said, after that home suffered water and flame damage.

In all, eight engine crews and three ladder crews responded to the fire. Flames could still be seen shooting out of the roof of the brick structure at 6:45 a.m., as two ladder crews continued to douse the building.

Volk said officials were still investigating the cause of the fire. The fact that the blaze started in the basement, he added, made it an especially difficult one for crews to fight.

“With a windowless basement with limited access, the fire is hard to get to,” Volk said.
By John S. Clayton/

View the Slideshow

Please buckle your seat belt

March 25, 2013
For some rural EMS squads, vital signs fading - NY


THURMAN -- Josh Hayes sat on his cot in the Thurman Emergency Medical Squad building, patiently standing watch in the event his squad had to roll.

“We’re here and we’re open,” the freshly elected squad captain said of Thurman EMS’ life-status.

It has been a struggle for Hayes and his colleagues, as the cash-strapped squad’s struggle to survive has divided the community of about 1,200 residents.

Thurman’s problems aren’t unique, but are the region’s most extreme symptom of a nationwide illness afflicting aging rural communities.

“I don’t know if you call it a catch-22 or just a spiral,” said Mike Mastrianni, president of the New York State Volunteer Ambulance and Rescue Association. “Ultimately, the smaller services are not going to survive.”

The Thurman squad has opened, closed and opened again in the past two months. The town would have to increase its tax rate by double digits to adequately fund it.

Local EMS was once an all-volunteer community service.

But every town in both Warren and Washington counties, and most squads in the state, are now served by a mix of volunteers and paid staff. The paid staff fills the most highly trained roles — such as advanced life support technician — and mans the station during weekdays, when volunteers are working their day jobs.

It costs roughly $250,000 a year to staff and operate a single ambulance around the clock, Mastrianni said.

“The money just doesn’t exist,” said Warren County Emergency Services Director Brian LaFlure.

The boosted cost has meant more budget-season standoffs between local communities, which partially subsidize local EMS, and the squads. More and more squads started billing insurance companies for service in recent years, but it’s not enough in the small communities.

Squads in Argyle, Salem, Stony Creek and Whitehall face low call volumes and fewer volunteers, while those in the more populous towns of Queensbury and Fort Edward have both more calls and larger staffs to handle them.

The industry standard considers 600 calls a year the threshold for a squad’s financial survivability. Reach that limit, and a squad can pay for itself, even as Medicaid reimbursement rates have remained flat and Medicare rates have been slashed 14 percent over the past 12 months.

Fall short of that threshold, and a squad is headed toward insolvency, LaFlure said.

Thurman responds to about 100 calls each year.

Warrensburg EMS, which responds to more than 1,000 calls a year, takes a loss on each run it makes to Thurman under mutual aid, squad officials have said.

Volunteer shortages

Wages are generally lower in rural than in urban communities, meaning more people are working longer hours or two jobs just to make ends meet.

The time to volunteer and to fulfill the state’s requirements often doesn’t exist.

“It’s something that isn’t going to be self-correcting,” said Bruce Mason, Washington County’s EMS coordinator. “The membership just isn’t there anymore.”

The operating cost of EMS has shot up, because of the squads’ increasing reliance on paid staff over the past decade and the increasing costs of insurance and fuel.

Johnsburg Supervisor Ron Vanselow walked away from his local EMS after seven years as a volunteer because the commitment conflicted with his day job and state-mandated training requirements became an unsustainable burden on his work and home life.

“If it’s a living, it’s one thing,” he said of the training and recertification mandates. “As a volunteer, just as a paramedic, I put in more than 1,200 hours.”

An emergency medical technician certification requires between 150 and 190 hours of classroom training, according to the state Department of Health. The textbook that outlines the required information for the final exam is 212 pages long. That’s up from the 120 hours of coursework required two years ago. An EMT must recertify every three years with an additional 65 hours.

The state paramedic certification course now takes between 1,000 and 1,200 hours.

An emergency medical responder certification, the lowest level EMS certification, requires 48 to 60 hours of coursework.

The standards are aimed at preparing responders to deal with a range of situations.

Changing rural population

The increases in training requirements have accompanied a decrease in the available number of volunteers in many rural areas.

The urbanization and suburbanization of America has been a century-long event.

Chester lost more than 7 percent of its population between 2000 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census. Queensbury grew by just less than 10 percent over that same period. While Chester’s North Warren EMS shutdown briefly last year amid upheaval between volunteers and paid staff, Queensbury’s several squads battled for a larger piece of a high-dollar pie caused by the amount of revenue they collectively generate, which is administered by the town.

The Census Bureau announced last week 32 upstate counties shed even more residents between 2010 and 2012. Warren County lost 0.3 percent of its population over that period and Washington County lost 0.4 percent, while Saratoga County and downstate areas continue to grow.

All the while, the median age of rural residents is rising.

The Cornell University Department of Applied Demographics predicted last year Hamilton County will be almost entirely populated by pensioners in a few decades if current trends hold.

The issues in rural communities caused in part of the changing demographics — such as the future of EMS — continue to spiral out of control.

New York has an estimated 63,000 EMS responders, with varying levels of training, according to the Health Department. How many of those remain active or volunteer isn’t known, but the number involved has “declined significantly” over the past decade, Mastrianni said.

Pay problems

Rural populations tend to be more reliant on social programs, including Medicaid, which sometimes pays as little as $70 per ambulance run, meaning local squads often lose money on calls.

The large insurance companies typically send a check to the patient instead of the squad, leaving the local EMS trying to collect money after the fact, Mastrianni said.

“By then, it becomes found money,” he said.

Mastrianni’s organization is lobbying state lawmakers to compel insurance companies to directly pay the squads.

Neighboring squads can’t easily share a service area, under state law. Mutual aid is only a temporary option, and can’t be used for long-term joint coverage.

“There might be legislative changes needed to accommodate some options,” said Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, noting upstate’s demographic trends show no sign of shifting. “Perhaps using volunteers to provide much of the staffing and enabling communities to easily share a municipal service.”

The legislature might have to address the compounding training requirements now leveled on volunteer EMTs, Gottfried said.

Local property tax exemptions or state tuition assistance programs could also help bolster the dwindling ranks of volunteers, officials said.

LaFlure, Warren County’s emergency services director, is researching a potential “fly car” program, in which the county would pay for SUV-driving advanced technicians, the costliest part of a squad’s budget, to service the entire county.

The local squads would have to supply the ambulance, EMTs and drivers. The specialized county technicians would meet the ambulance en route, under the draft plan.

Similar programs in Greene, Rockland and Columbia counties have shown improvement, officials said.

“Do you make everybody pay for the guys up north?” LaFlure asked of his proposal, noting taxpayers in Glens Falls and Queensbury would be subsidizing upcounty service under the plan.

Political showdowns between EMS and town boards are an annual event during municipal budget season. The squads call for more funding, citing the safety of the community. The towns push back, citing mounting taxpayer frustration.

These standoffs have been brewing for years in communities throughout the region.

And with many factors in play, including state regulation, health care, limited funds and local politics, there isn’t one clear answer that will fix what plagues rural EMS.

“It’s somewhat a matter of respect,” Mastrianni said. “How many times are we called ambulance drivers? Everyone knows what a firefighter does. People know what a police officer is. Even at the Legislature, we’re constantly asking for changes in wording.”

Please buckle your seat belt

March 25, 2013
Buffalo firefighters hold contract protest - NY

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - While Mayor Byron Brown made his public announcement he will be running for his third-term Saturday, Buffalo firefighters were busy protesting outside the building.

More than 60 firemen and woman gathered in protest and called on the Mayor to settle their on-going contract dispute with the city.

The Buffalo Firefighter Union President Dan Cunningham said the contract offer they received on Thursday does not pay them the higher wages they need. Firefighters are seeking a wage that is comparable to other firefighters across the state.

"The head negotiator said this is a step that could be part of a long process. He has assured us that we will be paid comparable to other professional firefighters in the area. That's all we want," Cunningham said.

Mayor Brown said the firefighters do difficult jobs and that he respects the service they do. He said they're at the bargaining table with the firefighters currently. "It is our hope that they will realize that a contract negotiation has to be a win/win. It has to be good for them, but it has to be affordable and good for the taxpayers of the city of Buffalo," Brown said.

Since 2002, Buffalo firefighters have not had a contract.
Posted by: Liz Reiman /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 25, 2013

Investigators are working to find the cause of a house fire southeast of Molalla Saturday that injured a firefighter while displacing a family and their pets.

Firefighter Justin Klug was injured when part of a ceiling collapsed on him. He was taken to a hospital, where he was treated and released.

Meanwhile, the fire caused an estimated $200,000 in damage.

Fire Chief Vince Stafford of the Molalla Fire District said the fire was reported around 8 a.m. in the 34000 block of South Dickey Prairie Road. Stafford said the home's interior was decorated in cedar paneling, which burned very hot.

Fire crews from the Canby, Colton, Estacada and Clackamas 1 districts helped Molalla fight the blaze.

The Red Cross provided food, clothing, shoes, lodging, health services, comfort kits and information about health and mental health services after the fire,

which caused an estimated $200,000 in damage.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 25, 2013
Dispatching Delay Found in Massive South Carolina Condo Blaze - SC

Condo Blaze
Crews work through the destruction of 26 buildings with 110 units at Windsor Green in Carolina Forest, S.C., Sunday, March 17, 2013. Authorities say investigators with the S.C. Forestry Commission are at the scene of the blaze that destroyed dozens of buildings in Carolina Forest. (AP Photo/The Sun News, Janet Blackmon Morgan)

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — Horry County officials say they are trying to determine how a mistake at an emergency call center led to a three-minute delay responding to a condominium fire that destroyed more than 100 home earlier this month.

Authorities say the initial 911 call on March 16 was sent to Myrtle Beach firefighters instead of Horry County firefighters. County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier says officials don't know why that happened, but are investigating. She says they don't know if the extra three minutes would have made any difference.

The wildfire started near a power line less than 50 feet from the nearest building. It spread quickly in the dry, windy weather. Authorities say 26 buildings were destroyed in about 30 minutes, leaving 190 people homeless.
The Associated Press.

Dispatch Log: Windsor Green Fire, 213 Wando River Road

Dispatch Comments: Windsor Green Fire

Please buckle your seat belt

March 25, 2013
Lessons Learned:
Iraq War 10th Anniversary Highlights EMS Lessons

As the 10th anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq approaches, emergency medicine in the United States has already learned many lessons from the battlefield care of troops wounded in combat there and in Afghanistan.

Dr. Dave Ross is certain that civilians and law enforcement officers who have been shot or hurt in accidents are benefitting.

``The ambulances have been re-equipped with all these things that have gotten popularized in military settings, and trauma systems have long used the military-style approach in handling patients,'' said Ross, medical director to more than 50 emergency medical services and a physician at Penrose-St. Francis Health Services in Colorado Springs.

The first aid kits used by paramedics include a new generation of ratchet-like tourniquets, a piece of equipment that exemplifies how treating combat wounds can influence stateside medicine.

"First aid training had relegated (tourniquets) to a last resort, to save the patient but trading that for a loss of the limb," said Ken Koyle, former commander of an Army medical evacuation unit in Iraq and a military historian who now works at the National Library of Medicine.

Generations of Americans received first aid training that included winding a handkerchief or cloth around an arm or leg above a severely bleeding wound and tightening it with a stick to stop the flow of blood, loosening it every so often to maintain some circulation.

The practice had fallen into disfavor largely due to concern that cutting off circulation for a protracted period could damage nerves and muscle, requiring amputation.

"Now, the pendulum has swung back with awareness that surgeons can now fix most vascular damage that might occur," Koyle said. The new emergency tourniquets more resemble nylon belts with a built-in winding device simple enough to be applied one-handed.

The military tracked what happened after tourniquets were used on more than 450 wounds in Iraq. It found that 87 percent of the soldiers who got them lived, and none lost a limb from their use. Now, there's even a clamp-like tourniquet approved for use on groin wounds.

"They showed they were not losing limbs left and right, and now tourniquets are showing up on ambulances here in the States,'' said Dr. David Tan, head of the EMS section in the division of emergency medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Dr. Howard Mell, EMS director for the Lake Health system of hospitals outside Cleveland and chairman of the EMS Section of the American College of Emergency Physicians, sees the contributions to civilian care from the latest conflicts firsthand.

He noted that improvements in trauma dressings, tourniquets and methods to keep a patient breathing "are actually helping civilians, particularly in mass trauma events. Some were used at the scene of the shootings involving Rep. (Gabrielle) Giffords in Arizona, for instance."

Koyle said the lessons of the wars largely "comes down to polytrauma care -- people who get shot, blown up, suffer multiple injuries.

"When I flew MedEvac missions, if we did our job well, it made the surgeons' jobs that much harder. Soldiers who would once have died on the battlefield are being kept alive. But many of them can only recover to some extent and are being thrust back into society and have to make their way as best they can."
Times Record New /

JEMS: Return of Tourniquets (Kalish, MD and Burke, MD)
JEMS: Civilian EMS Should Consider Tourniquets (Risk, MD, MPH, FACEP and Augustine, MD, FACEP)

Please buckle your seat belt

March 25, 2013
Allegations of Sabotage against distric's Ambulances - DC

The District's ambulances have been sabotaged.

The assertion, laid out in a D.C. inspector general's report, is the latest tit-for-tat allegation highlighting the erosion of relations between labor and management within the city's Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.

The report documents the department's lack of an appropriate number of functional reserve fire apparatus and ambulances, noting that deficiencies among the apparatus division's operations are mostly to blame for the fleet's problems.

"Our observations and analysis showed that many FEMS vehicles designated as reserve vehicles were out of service and could not be used if needed as replacement vehicles in neighborhood fire stations, or during large-scale emergencies or mass casualty events," the report states.

But it also recommends the department investigate allegations that employees were sabotaging ambulances by breaking air conditioner lines or purposely burning out their transmissions. So many units were damaged in 2011 that the fire department contemplated installing miniature cameras inside the units to catch any tampering by employees, the report states.

The allegations, made by a department official to the inspector general's team, is just one among several recent examples of the lack of trust among both the rank and file and management, who have chronically suffered from tense relations.

"That's just nuts," D.C. Firefighters Association President Edward Smith said of the sabotage allegation.

If the problem is as widespread as it seemed in the report, Mr. Smith questioned why the department hasn't had its own full-scale investigation to catch the supposed culprits. Rather than focusing on the allegations of tampering, Mr. Smith said he hopes the department will recognize the serious issues with the reserve fleet that the rest of the report highlights.

"That's like one blurb in that report. The rest of the stuff are things we've blown the whistle on for years," he said.

In a response to the report, Fire Chief Kenneth B. Ellerbe promised to investigate the charges.

Tensions have run high between the firefighters union and Chief Ellerbe since he took over the department in 2011, boiling over as the chief contemplated a major change in firefighters' shift work, which would radically alter employees' schedules. Contract negotiations between the two sides remain at an impasse.

The inspector general's report, issued Friday, is just the latest bit of information likely to color discussions in a Thursday oversight hearing on the department's capacity to provide timely ambulance service. D.C. Council member Tommy Wells, head of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety that has oversight of the fire department, called for the hearing after a highly publicized March 5 incident during which no D.C. ambulance was available to transport an injured police officer to a hospital.

In the days after the incident, speculation fueled rumors about activities of ambulance crews that night, with one government official reportedly stating that it was under investigation whether some crews had tried to go out of service before the end of their shifts so they would not have to be held over on another call.

The department issued a report on the incident last week, identifying seven employees who could face possible disciplinary action for failing to follow protocol that night - none of which was faulted for trying to skip out early on a shift.

The union has criticized the chief's previous punishment of employees following several incidents that embarrassed the department, calling it retaliatory - a view shared in at least one case by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Although the March 5 incident again opened rifts, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Paul A. Quander Jr. said he doesn't think that department employees will be unduly punished.

"I think the process will work. It's the same process for everyone," Mr. Quander said. "I have seen nothing that leads me to believe the process is inequitable."

Fire officials have also accused employees of orchestrating a "sick out" on New Year's Eve - when 100 firefighters called out - leaving the department short-staffed and the night concluding with the death of a man who had to wait 40 minutes for an ambulance to transport him to a hospital. The union has denied that the call outs were part of any organized effort.

Amid debate between the sides over the readiness of the department fleet, Chief Ellerbe offered an olive branch of sorts - thanking the union for exposing a mistake in the department's fire apparatus record keeping. The chief had testified before the D.C. Council on Feb. 20, citing a list of apparatus that the union later proved was incorrect as some of the equipment had been sold or was not in service.

But now even that gratitude has come into question as the inspector general's report - which outlines the deficiencies in the fleet - states that it was provided to the department on Feb. 19, the day before the chief testified to the contrary.

Mr. Wells, Ward 6 Democrat, told The Associated Press that the development "certainly undermines my confidence in the management of the fire department."

"If they used the information that they provided me that said the reserve trucks are available when they're not even in the District of Columbia and we don't even own them anymore, then that tells me there's a massive breakdown of administrative competence."
ANDREA NOBLE, The Washington Times

STATter911: IG report on reserve fleet has columnist again asking what did the fire chief know & when did he know it?

Please buckle your seat belt

March 25, 2013
Melting Wax Sparks Blaze, Firefighter Hurt - OH

DAYTON - Approximately 30 adults and eight children were displaced by a fire Friday at a two-story apartment building.

One firefighter suffered a minor shoulder injury while battling the blaze, which was reported at 1:41 p.m. at the Wright Landing Apartments, 4409 Burkhardt Ave.

The fire started when a resident was melting wax on a stove, according to Dayton Assistant Fire Chief Paul Sheehan.

"It appears they were attempting to melt wax on the stove and whatever they were melting wax in, it cracked and spilled the wax down into the stove," Sheehan said.

Sheehan said the fire spread into the walls damaging two apartments, and four other units were damaged by smoke and water. Smoke also entered the attic area, a common space with no walls separating the units, Sheehan said.

Sheehan said the apartment units do not have individual electric meters, and the power to the building was shut off.

The building's owner, OPM Investments Inc., is assisting the residents in finding shelter for the evening, said OPM Investments spokeswoman Debora Dorko.

"We're trying to take care of our residents," Dorko said. "We're going to get them housing for the evening and determine their long-term needs."

Dorko said an account has been set up at Chase Bank in the building's name, Wright Landing Apartments, to help residents who have lost possessions. Nonperishable items will be accepted today at the building's office.
ByRichardWilson / Dayton Daily News (Ohio)

Please buckle your seat belt

March 25, 2013
Fire/EMS Chief Receives 'No Confidence' Vote from Personnel - DC

D.C. Fire chief Kenneth Ellerbe received an overwhelming vote of no confidence Monday by D.C. firefighters.

The final tally was 300 to 37 in favor of giving Ellerbe a no-confidence vote.

"If this was simply a question of mere incompetence, that would be a start, but this is much more than that – it has become a public safety issue,” says D.C. Fire Fighters Association Local 36 President Ed Smith. ‘Fire Chief Ellerbe now has a two-year record that has resulted in a failed approach to leadership that has needlessly endangered the public.”

Progressive leaders say that while there have been some bumps in the road during Ellerbe's tenure, they insist, on the whole, his efforts to move the department forward should be applauded, not vilified.

Read more

Please buckle your seat belt

March 25, 2013
Three injured in crash involving fire department vehicle - NY

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Emergency crews are on the scene of an accident involving a Utica Fire Department vehicle near the intersection of Culver Ave and Albany Street.

The accident happened shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday night.

No one inside the fire truck was hurt. Utica fire officials tell NEWSChannel 2 three people in the other vehicle, a pick-up truck, were sent to the hospital.

The firefighters were responding to a report of a fire on Turner Street. There ended up not being a fire at that location, but there was smoke pouring from a nearby outdoor wood stove.

The Utica Police Department is investigating the accident. Officials say the Deputy Fire Chief John Kelly was driving with the vehicle's lights and sirens on at the time of the crash.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 24, 2013
Firefighter injured battling NN blaze - VA

Firefighter injured

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - A firefighter injured his knee battling a blaze in the East End of Newport News Saturday morning.

Fire crews responded to the 900 block of 17th Street around 12:30 a.m. and found a two-story home engulfed in flames, according to a press release from the Newport News Fire Department.

Once on the scene, firefighters learned that the man who lived the home was able to escaped the flames before crews arrived.

While crews were battling the flames, a firefighter injured his knee while trying to get a hose inside the burning home. He was taken to Riverside Hospital where he was treated and released. There were no civilian injuries.

The blaze was brought under control in about an hour, according to the release.

Fire investigators say the fire was started by combustible materials being too close to a space heater.

The damage to the home was extensive and the man who lived there was displaced, according to the press release. He did not need assistance from the Red Cross.
Dominic Ross /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 24, 2013
Firefighter Injured in One of Three Chicago Fires - IL

One firefighter suffered minor injuries at a fire in the South Chicago neighborhood early Sunday morning, and fires destroyed two other homes in the Gage Park and Brighton Park neighborhoods.

The firefighter hurt in the South Chicago neighborhood, in the 8600 block of South Escanaba Avenue, was taken to Advocate Trinity Hospital. Details about the injury weren't immediately available.

The first of the three fires broke out in Brighton Park, in the 4500 block of South Sacramento Avenue, about 12:45 a.m. A brick two-flat apartment caught fire and was extinguished about 1:55 a.m. Chicago Fire Department Chief Juan Hernandez said the building was occupied, though neighbors told firefighters it was vacant.

Some of the fire spread to a neighboring building, which was occupied. Nobody was injured in that fire.

About a mile south and a couple blocks west, in Gage Park, a fire destroyed a two-story coach house in the 5200 block of South Sawyer Avenue. The fire broke out before 2 a.m. The house was vacant but open and showed signs of usage inside.
Peter Nickeas / Chicago Tribune

Please buckle your seat belt

March 24, 2013
Medic Revived After Losing Pulse for an Hour - MN

Hennepin Paramedic Wayne Schneider's colleagues administered CPR for a total of 68 minutes.

Wayne Schneider estimates that since 1986 he has taught 100,000 people how to perform CPR. Little did he know that one day he would be the one whose life depended on that knowledge.

Schneider, a paramedic for Hennepin Emergency Medical Services, was on a recent call tending to a man who had stopped breathing when he himself went into cardiac arrest. His partner, along with several police officers, firefighters and other paramedics, administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation to Schneider for 68 minutes. The average person responds to CPR in 12 minutes, according to an analysis done last year at the University of Washington.

"This isn't about me," Schneider insisted. "This is about the people who helped me. This is about people not giving up."

Schneider said the whole experience has been a serious reminder of what paramedics call "the chain of survival." After a heart attack, the first link in the chain is bystander CPR. Schneider, who typically works night shifts, teaches civilian CPR classes during the day through his company, First Response Training. Lucky for Schneider, the bystander on that fateful night knew CPR extremely well.

Schneider and his partner Greg Booth were on duty Dec. 17 when they got the call. A man had gone into respiratory arrest at a motel in Richfield, but as they drove to the scene, Schneider started to feel strange.

"I knew something was going on, but I didn't really know what it was," said Schneider, 56. "I know the symptoms of heart attack inside and out, and I wasn't having those. So I wasn't that concerned."

They revived the patient and brought him out to the ambulance. That's when Booth noticed that Schneider was missing. He mentioned the absence to a police officer, who said he saw Schneider walking toward the front of the ambulance and figured he was going to get the usual paperwork.

Booth wasn't buying it. They'd been a team for more than two decades, responding to between 1,200 and 1,500 calls a year.

"We know how each other thinks," Booth said. "In 22 years, I'd never seen him walk away right in the middle of something like that. I knew something had to be wrong."

Ambulance got crowded

Schneider knew something was wrong, too, but he still didn't know what. "I remember feeling happy that we had the guy breathing again," he said. "I don't remember feeling pain, but something told me that I had better go sit down."

He climbed into the passenger seat of the ambulance cab. That's where Booth found him, slumped over with no pulse. Booth suddenly had two critical patients on his hands.

"There was that brief moment when all I could think was: 'What am I going to do now?'?" he said. "I immediately made a 'medic down' call on the radio. And, fortunately, there were still some first responders around three firemen and three or four policemen so I called for their help."

They jockeyed Schneider out of the cab and put him on a backboard. But it was too cold to have him outside, so they took him to the back of the ambulance, where they had to lift him up and over the other patient so they could start CPR.

When a second ambulance arrived, Schneider was moved to that one and paramedics Shane Stevens and Jordan Wardell took over his care. He was brought to Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), receiving CPR the entire time until cardiologists finally were able to stabilize his heartbeat. Although Schneider delivers patients to all the hospitals in the county, he works out of HCMC, and landing there bolstered his spirits.

"When I came to and realized that I was in HCMC, I truly had the sense that I was going to be OK," he said.

The next day, doctors told him that the reason he didn't recognize any of the typical signs of a heart attack is that he didn't have a heart attack. "This was brought on by stress," he said.

Stress-related health problems aren't unusual for paramedics, said Robert Ball, operations supervisor for Hennepin Emergency Medical Services. One minute they're sitting around talking about the Twins' pitching prospects, the next they're racing up a flight of stairs carrying heavy equipment to a life-or-death situation.

"There are sedentary periods where they're not moving, and then suddenly they're thrown into strenuous activity in a high-pressure situation," he said. "Studies have shown that increased pulse rates and blood pressure can last for up to 24 hours after that."

The chain of survival

As Schneider told his story, he repeatedly tried to turn the conversation away from himself to "the team of people who helped. ... I feel uncomfortable with this being all about me."

Ironically for a man who wants to avoid the spotlight, this isn't the first time he's been in it literally. When actor Warren Bowles had a heart attack onstage last year at the Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis, it was Schneider who gave him CPR.

"We didn't have a choice" of moving him offstage, he said. He tried to ignore the fact that people were watching, "except every now and then I'd look up and see them. And when I said, 'We have a pulse,' they applauded."

In addition to CPR, Schneider's company offers classes in first aid and organizes mock emergency drills for hospitals. The number of people taking CPR classes varies, he said. Some weeks there are two classes, other weeks there might be two a day.

"We want to make sure that people are taught well," he said. "It increases critical [patients'] survival rates."

But talking about his own case also has its upside: It gives him a chance to remind people about the importance of CPR training.

"Everybody that was associated with this call understood CPR," he said. "If any of them had given up, I would not be here."
Jeff Strickler / Source: Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Please buckle your seat belt

March 23, 2013
FD Records More Firefighter Injuries, Arsons - WA

The number of injuries reported by Spokane Valley Fire Department firefighters spiked in 2012, largely due to the department's increased focus on having every incident reported.

"They really wanted to track injuries, no matter how slight," said assistant fire marshal Clifton Mehaffey.

There were 63 injuries reported in 2012. In 2011 there were 25 reported and in 2010 only 10 injuries. In 2012 the largest number of injuries were in the exposure to hazards category, which can include everything from contact with bodily fluids to exposure to carbon dioxide.

The increased emphasis on injury reporting started in August. A firefighter suffered a minor back injury while on duty, but didn't report it because it didn't seem significant, Mehaffey said. Problems arose later, but it couldn't be considered a work-related injury because it hadn't been documented or reported at the time. The department doesn't want that to happen again, Mehaffey said.

Before August there had been 14 injuries reported. The rate should continue to be high in 2013, Mehaffey said.

The department also saw a jump in arsons in 2012 - but that increase can largely be traced to an arson spree last summer. Those 13 fires were among the 73 "criminal incidents" which also include reckless burning and manufacturing explosives, last year.

"If you take out that, we were pretty much equal to last year," Mehaffey said.

There were 59 fires in the accidental category and another 17 fires that have an undetermined cause. It was the first time since 2008 that criminal fires outnumbered accidental.

Four juveniles and one adult were arrested in July for the arson spree that targeted garbage bins behind businesses at Sprague Avenue and Sullivan Road and Central Valley High School.

A juvenile female was the main instigator, Mehaffey said. "It's not very often we get a female arsonist," he said. On the other hand, juveniles who set fires are typically just acting out because of problems in their life, he said.

"Typically with juveniles, fire is a symptom of something else," he said. "They're not arsonists. They're not in it to burn things down."

The juveniles involved all came from homes with involved parents, Mehaffey said. "It was outside the norm for us," he said.

The other major arrest of the year was of a man accused of making 700 pounds of flash powder that was used to create 5,400 so-called "pingpong bombs." The investigation included numerous agencies, including the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

The arson spree also had the effect of raising the department's arson rate to 56.15 arsons per 100,000 citizens in 2012, making it three times the 2011 national average. National numbers aren't yet available for 2012.

While arson numbers were up, so was the clearance rate. At 46.59 percent, it is two times the 2011 national average.

Thirty-four of the department's arsons were cleared by arrest or "exceptional clearance." The "exceptional clearance" standard usually applies to offenders who are younger than 12 years old or have a mental incapacity, Mehaffey said.

For example, if a 5-year-old is playing with a lighter and starts a fire it is considered arson, but the child is not charged with a crime. "It's still arson, but you can't be held criminally liable," he said. The 22 people cleared by exceptional means in 2012 were all juveniles.

Overall the department did 170 fire investigations in 2012, compared to 144 investigations in 2011. Part of that increase is because the department's new arson dog, Mako, was requested for investigations by other fire departments nine times in 2012.

Mehaffey said he is proud of the department's success at solving arson fires. "We do pretty well," he said. "It's fulfilling work."
Nina Culver / Spokesman Review (Spokane, WA)

Please buckle your seat belt

March 22, 2013
Agreement Reached in Idaho Firefighter's Death - ID

Officials from an Idaho firefighting organization and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reached a settlement regarding citations and fines levied after a firefighter was killed on the Steep Corner Fire last summer.

Anne Veseth, a 20-year-old firefighter from Moscow, was working for the U.S. Forest Service when she was killed by a falling tree. The Orofino-based Clearwater Potlatch Timber Protective Association was managing the fire that started on industrial timber land and spread to the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest.

In February, OSHA fined CPTPA $14,000 and issued it a citation for safety violations. The Forest Service was also cited but not fined.

On Thursday, the Idaho Land Board authorized CPTPA Chief Fire Warden Howard Weeks to sign the agreement that reduced the fine to $10,500 and revised the citation.

Idaho Department of Lands spokeswoman Emily Callihan said the original citation would have made it impossible for firefighters to do their jobs.

The citation dealt with violations of the "10 standard firefighting orders" and the "18 situations that shout 'watch out,' " that are used by nearly every wildlife firefighting organization in the country. Known as the "10 and 18," they were written in the 1950s by the Forest Service. The 10 orders include things like "keep informed on fire weather conditions and forecasts," and "post lookouts when there is possible danger." The 18 "watch out" situations include things like "fire not scouted and sized up" and "safety zones and escape routes not identified."

Callihan said the 10 and 18 are guidelines and not regulations, and the hazards they cover are present on nearly every fire. But, she said, the OSHA citation, as originally written, would have required firefighters to leave any fire where any of the 10 orders could not be followed or any of the 18 situations were present.

"What OSHA eventually recognized, is by removing firefighters from fires where any of those situations are present would result in not being able to respond with initial attack and keep fires small," she said. "So it would have resulted in having fires get big and present more of a danger to firefighters and the public in the long run."

Rick Brazell, supervisor for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, said his agency is in formal negotiations with OSHA over its citation.
Eric Barker / Lewiston Tribune, Idaho

Please buckle your seat belt

March 22, 2013
Injured Kingston firefighter plans to sue city - NY

KINGSTON, N.Y. — A city firefighter who was injured when he jumped from the second floor of a burning building late last year has taken the first step toward suing the city, alleging it failed to provide proper safety equipment.

Thomas Metzger has filed a “notice of claim” indicating he plans to proceed with a lawsuit regarding the Dec. 29 incident, according to city attorney Andrew Zweben.

Metzger alleges, among other things, that the city did not provide him with state-mandated safety ropes that could have prevented the injuries he suffered while fighting the fire on Franklin Street, Zweben said.

Both Metzger and firefighter Brian Renn were injured when they jumped from a second-floor window onto a porch roof, and then fell to the ground because the roof was icy.

The wooden staircase Metzger and Renn climbed to reach the second floor of 78 Franklin St. burned away during the fire, trapping the pair and forcing them to jump, city Fire Chief John Reinhardt said at the time.

Metzger was taken to Kingston Hospital and had surgery to repair broken wrist and elbow bones. Reinhardt said in December that Metzger, a 13-year veteran of the fire department, would be out of work for at least six months.

Renn suffered a collapsed lung.

In his notice of claim, Metzger states he and fellow firefighters “were not equipped with necessary and statutorily mandated emergency escape systems which would have enabled (him) to safely descend from the building.”

Instead, the notice alleges, Metzger “was caused to fall to the ground due to the negligence, carelessness, recklessness and irrational conduct of the city of Kingston, its agencies, servants, employees and/or departments.”

The notice also says the city was negligent in supplying other proper equipment and gear and by failing to provide proper inspection of the Franklin Street dwelling.

The city’s negligence, the notice states, caused Metzger “to suffer severe and permanent injuries ... causing permanent scarring, disability, continuing pain and suffering, psychological damage, medical expenses and loss of enjoyment of life.

The notice does not say how much money Metzger plans to seek in his lawsuit. His lawyer is Donnalynn Darling of the Long Island-based firm Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C.

Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo said the city denies any culpability in this case. He said a ladder was in place against the porch roof and the Metzger simply slipped before he got to it.

Gallo also said the fire department and its union did not make enough of an effort to obtain safety equipment. Recently, though, Gallo’s administration secured a $100,000 grant to buy equipment, including safety ropes.

Zweben said a rope system would not have stopped Metzger from falling to the ground or prevented his injuries, and Gallo agreed.

“The bail-out ropes would not have changed the outcome,” the mayor said. “If there was no ice (on the porch roof), we wouldn’t even be talking about this.”

Thomas Tiano, president of Kingston Firefighters Association Local 461, said he has pressed for the purchase of safety equipment.

“In the past, I had approached (former) Chief (Richard) Salzmann and (former) Assistant Chief Chris Rea on the requirements of the law and providing this bail-out system, and every time I did approach them, the answer that was relayed back to me was there was no money to purchase this stuff,” Tiano said.

Tiano also said he had a conversation with Gallo in March 2012 about safety equipment.

“I talked to him about this, and he assured me that her would do everything in his power to get us the (rope) system,” Tiano said.

Tiano said firefighters now are being trained to use the rope system obtained with the $100,000 grant and that it “hopefully” will be put in use soon.

The lack of safety ropes also has come up in a legal battle between the city and Rea, who was suspended by Gallo last year, largely over pay issues, shortly after being promoted to fire chief.

In court papers, the city alleged Rea, in his capacity as a trainer, failed “in one instance ... to provide safety equipment, including escape ropes, and failed to conduct a risk assessment and ... determine under what circumstances escape ropes and system components would be required.”

Rea has sued the city in an effort to get his job back and disciplinary charges against him dropped.

The suit was dismissed by a judge who said Rea did not act in a timely manner, but Rea has appealed that decision.
By PAUL KIRBY / Freeman staff

Please buckle your seat belt

March 22, 2013

A volunteer firefighter was arrested for driving erratically, putting others, himself and a child in his car in danger.

The Graves County Sheriff's Department tells us Arthur "A.J." Ferguson from the Berkley and Arlington Fire Department was driving more than 100 miles per hour on his way to Jackson Purchase Medical Center.

Multiple police cars tried to pull Ferguson over, but he wouldn't stop.

Ferguson was using red lights on his personal car. A child with a fever of 102 was inside the car at the time. The Sheriff's Department tells us that child's condition was not life-threatening.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 22, 2013



A Cy-Fair District 9 volunteer firefighter was seriously injured late Thursday when she was struck by a falling pole during a training exercise.

A spokesman for the fire department said the accident happened along Highway 6 at Cherry Park shortly after 10 p.m.

Firefighters had a ladder truck upright and extended when a yellow pole came off the ladder, falling a great distance before striking a female firefighter in the head.

She suffered a serious head wound and was sent to the hospital by Life Flight.

The Harris County Fire Marshal said they are still looking into whether the firefighter was wearing a helmet.

Firefighters said the pole that fell off the truck is used to pull down ceilings, siding, and wood during fires. Investigators are looking into why it came loose.

The fire marshal said Cy-Fair does training at the station every Thursday night.

The Harris County Fire Marshal said they are still looking into whether she was wearing a helmet.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 22, 2013
Modern Fire Analysis Challenges Arson Convictions - TX

GATESVILLE, Texas (AP) — Ed Graf was given life in prison 25 years ago for killing his two stepsons by locking them in a backyard shed and setting it on fire. Two investigators used photos of the shed's remains to persuade jurors that Graf had started the fire intentionally.

By today's standards of fire analysis, though, the investigators may have been mistaken.

Authorities in Texas and in other states are beginning to re-examine cases in which defendants were sent to prison for setting fires based on expert testimony about burn patterns and charring that today is considered suspect. Nine years after Texas executed Cameron Todd Willingham for killing his three children in a fire — a conviction questioned by many legal advocates and fire experts — the state fire marshal and the nonprofit Innocence Project of Texas are working together to review the evidence in fire investigations and identify cases in which convictions might have been questionable.

Representatives will meet next month to start reviewing the first six cases, including Graf's, who was convicted in 1988 of setting the deadly fire in the central Texas town of Hewitt.

It's a rare collaboration between state officials and criminal justice advocates who are usually at odds.

"We both have the same goals, to make sure that justice is served." said Chris Connealy, the state fire marshal.

The National Fire Protection Association issued its first set of fire investigation guidelines in 1992. Before then, fire investigators did not always use uniform procedures, Connealy said. Also, advances in scientific analysis have found other explanations for burn patterns once considered to be signs of arson.

The Innocence Project, a national legal reform group that has worked to exonerate more than 250 convicts, has identified potentially problematic arson cases in several states, including one in Tucson, Ariz., in 1970 in which 29 people were killed.

In Texas, which has had to free more than 100 inmates wrongly convicted in criminal cases, the state Innocence Project has narrowed its working list to about 60 arson cases of the 1,000 reviewed, chief counsel Jeff Blackburn said. A state expert panel, the Texas Forensic Science Commission, has also made 17 recommendations for improving how arson cases are handled.

The widespread attention given the Willingham case has driven interest in looking at other arson-related convictions. The Forensic Science Commission investigated the case for years, but was barred by Attorney General Greg Abbott from issuing a final report. Arson experts hired by the commission found the 1991 fire was most likely accidental.

It's possible that problems will be found with more cases, Connealy said.

"Having been around fire investigations and being in the fire service the last 35 years, I saw where there could be improvements," Connealy said in an interview. "I wanted to try to lead that effort to improving fire investigations. It should be based on science."

If the group finds problems with an arson investigation, its findings will be sent to the authorities with jurisdiction over the case and to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Connealy said. No action will be required, but the report could help someone who is wrongly imprisoned

Graf is now a white-haired, 60-year-old man, who in a recent prison interview continued to maintain his innocence. Recent developments have given him new hope. Three experts consulted by his attorney, and one hired by the prosecution after Graf filed an appeal last year, have questioned the conclusions the original investigators drew from the fire scene photos.

"I know that there will be people that will never change their mind, and of course, there will be people that will," Graf said. "It's difficult for me to believe they can't believe the science. The science, it's pretty accurate now."

State Deputy Fire Marshal Joseph Porter and New York fire investigator Charles King determined that charring was deepest near the shed entrance and on the doors. They pointed to "alligator" charring and other patterns to suggest a quick fire started by an accelerant like lighter fluid.

The experts consulted recently say those patterns could have been caused by a condition known as "flashover," when a fire escalates to a point where the whole room is in flames. At flashover, deep burn patterns can appear all over a scene, regardless of where a fire started, according to the Arson Research Project, which examined the Graf case.

High levels of carbon monoxide found in both boys' bodies could also suggest that an accelerant wasn't used, the experts said. With an accelerant, the flames would have spread so quickly that the boys would not have lived long enough to inhale those fumes.

Several neighbors and other witnesses testified at the time of the fire that the boys had been seen playing with matches.

"The assumptions of 'evidence' upon which both men depended have no scientific basis," wrote the prosecution expert, Thomas B. Sing, in a January report summarizing his findings.

King died in 2003. Porter could not be reached for comment.

Prosecutors support a new trial for Graf on the basis of the new analysis, but insist he is guilty.

"In a capital murder case, letting a conviction stand in light of the possibility that an individual was convicted on science now known to be false is unconscionable," prosecutors said in a January court filing.

Graf's then-wife, Clare Bradburn, said she remains convinced he is guilty.

Bradburn said she remembers Graf acting suspiciously before and after the blaze. She said he told her on the day of the fire that both boys were dead when firefighters had only found one body. He also took out life insurance policies on the months beforehand, and he didn't buy allergy medicine or more cereal for the boys on schedule — something that was out of character for someone known to be highly organized. And he was fired from a job at an area bank after being accused of embezzlement.

Of the new questions about the arson investigation, she said, "He got lucky. This might be his get-out-of-jail-free card."

A final decision on a new trial is pending before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Connealy would not take a position on Graf's innocence but wants to address any problems with old cases.

"I really won't know, personally, until we get into this," he said. "And that first opportunity will be in April."
NOMAAN MERCHANT, Associated Press

Please buckle your seat belt

March 22, 2013
Firefighter Injured in Fall Through Floor - IL

DANVILLE -- Danville firefighters were still on the scene this morning at a house fire on Kimball Street in which one firefighter was injured.

The firefighter was transported to the hospital after falling through a floor.

The call came in at 4:20 a.m. of a house fire, fully involved, at 201 N. Kimball St.

Additional units were called in to help.

Crews were trying to get the remainder of the fire out.

The house possibly was vacant.

No other information yet was available this morning.

Crews and investigators remained on the scene.

Firefighters also responded to an apartment fire at Sunset Cove, 2200 N. Vermilion St.

Police records listed the call as a possible arson.

The call came in at 5:26 p.m. Firefighters were on the scene until 6:17 p.m.

There was moderate smoke inside the office building of Sunset Cove when firefighters arrived.

Upon investigation, it was discovered a trash can was on fire. The trash can was quickly extinguished.
Commercial-News, Danville, Ill.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 22, 2013
HazMat Suits Used in Rescue From Filthy Home - GA

COVINGTON -- An ambulance with Newton County Emergency Medical Services was dispatched to an Oxford home in the early morning hours Monday, but when personnel arrived at the scene they were unable to enter the home, according to a Newton County Sheriff's Office incident report.

A deputy was sent to a house on Ga. Highway 81 around 2:30 a.m. after EMS personnel called, advising they were not going back into the house because of the condition of the home. A 64-year-old woman who apparently needed medical assistance was inside.

"When I went to the door, I observed the floor was filled with feces and the rest of the house was dirty," the incident report states. "Medic 4 then contacted dispatch to have fire services respond. Once fire services arrived, they deemed the house was unsafe to be in."

Ultimately, Newton County Fire Service personnel entered the home in HAZMAT suits and were able to locate the woman and put her into the ambulance.

According to NCFS Chief Kevin O'Brien the scene was then turned back over to medical personnel.

"Newton County does not have a standing ordinance on unsafe living conditions," he said, adding that it was his understanding that Newton Medical Center had reported the situation to the state.

Newton Medical Center's Director of Marketing and Business Development Linda Moseley Komich confirmed that Adult Protective Services with Georgia Environmental Health had been advised of the situation.

The 64-year-old woman has been discharged from the hospital and no details of her condition were available, Komich said.
Barbara Knowles / Source: The Newton Citizen (Georgia)

Please buckle your seat belt

March 21, 2013

A Twin Rivers home was lost to a fire during the early morning hours of Thursday, March 21, East Windsor Police have reported. While the fire was ultimately extinguished, the home was declared uninhabitable and a firefighter was injured.

Police responded to the Madison Drive home where flames were visible from the second floor rear of the townhouse; this area of the home received the most significant damage.

One person was in the home at the time of the fire and the resident exited safely after awaking to the smell of smoke, police said.

While the flames were being extinguished, a Robbinsville firefighter struck by a firehose which caused a laceration to his head. The firefighter was transported to Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center in Hamilton Township for treatment.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by the East Windsor Police Department and the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, although it appears as though the fire originated in the rear bedroom, police indicated.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 21, 2013
Fire Truck Crashes on Way to Medical Call - KA

A fire truck was on its way to a call when it crashed into another vehicle in E. Wichita Wednesday morning.

The crash happened a little after 9:00 at Kellogg and Rock in east Wichita.

Three people, including a firefighter, were taken to the hospital for treatment.

All three are expected to be okay.

No word yet on how the crash happened.
Christina Karaoli Taylor / CBS - 12 KWCH (Wichita, Kansas)

Please buckle your seat belt

March 21, 2013
Fire And EMS Depts. Brace For 50 Percent Budget Cuts - WV

MASON COUNTY -- A 50 percent decrease in funding is a lot for anyone to absorb and for many critical agencies in Mason County, that's a reality they are facing July 1 due to county budget cuts.

All six fire departments in Mason County, along with Mason County EMS, are set to see a 50 percent cut in county funding at the start of the new fiscal year.

Jeremy Bryant, fire chief for the Point Pleasant Fire Department, seemed to echo the sentiment of his peers throughout the county, when he said he hopes the Mason County Commission will reconsider its proposed budget and look at cuts in areas other than "life safety."

The proposed budget will be up for a vote at Thursday's regular meeting of the Mason County Commission.

Bryant said he understood taking a cut due to difficult economic times but felt "50 percent" was a lot to overcome for any agency. He supports lesser cuts more evenly distributed throughout the county if possible.

Bryant stressed his frustration and opposition to the cuts for fire departments and EMS wasn't personal when it comes to the county commission, but was rather a reflection of his major concern for the safety of firefighters, emergency medical personnel and people living in Mason County, not just in Point Pleasant.

In Point Pleasant's case, the fire department has an annual budget of around $85,000 of which it received $31,000 in county funding last year, with the rest of its budget financed through municipal fees, insurance money from the state and fundraisers. On July 1, that $31,000 in county funding will go to $15,500 though the expenses to run the department will not decrease it's a similar scenario for all fire departments and EMS in Mason County.

The Point Pleasant Fire Department averages around one-plus run a day and had just under 400 runs last year, according to Bryant. Another financial burden for fire departments is the escalating cost of workers' compensation premiums. Last year the Point Pleasant Fire Department had no workers' compensation claims but paid out $13,000 in premiums -- not so long ago, the department's workers' compensations premiums were around $4 5,000. Again, a scenario felt around the county and state. Bryant estimates it costs around $6,000 to train and equip one volunteer firefighter.

It's a similar story for countless agencies in Mason County and throughout West Virginia do more with less money.

As for Mason County EMS, it will go from $120,000 in county funding to $60,000 starting July 1. Commission President Rick Handley said he'd spoken with Chuck Blake of Mason County EMS, and as of right now, the agency isn't looking at any layoffs of employees.

Handley said the commission is well aware of the vital services EMS anfire departments provide for the citizens of Mason County. For this reason, should any money be "carried over" from last year's budget or any funding from a state assistance program for counties which lose major revenue from utilities be provided, EMS and fire departments will be at the top of the list to receive this money. As reported in today's story on the county budget on page one, the county will lose $429,000 in revenue from a unit going offline at the Philip Sporn Plant in New Haven and is already projecting $200,000 more than what was budgeted for regional jail costs.

As Handley put it, due to these new financial realities, the county had "no choice" but to make the cuts to not only EMS and fire departments, but a host of other outside agencies. No cuts were made to county offices but no raises were given either. Handley said the county is mandated to fund these county offices within certain parameters first and then funding of outside agencies is considered with what money is left.

"I hope people across the county realize what a hit we are taking and we're doing everything we can to balance the budget," Handley said.

Bryant said in the short term, his department will survive the cuts, but in the long run, he's concerned about fire service in Mason County and how to recoup a disappearing pool of income and still maintain services to the community.
Beth Sergent / Point Pleasant Register, W.Va.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 21, 2013
7 first responders singled out for discipline after officer waits 20 minutes for ambulance - DC

WASHINGTON - Seven people, including a fire captain, two firefighters and four medics, have been singled out for discipline after an injured D.C. police officer waited more than 20 minutes for an ambulance.

A report released Thursday says the captain failed to properly monitor the situation on March 5th when the officer was hit by a car. The other six were in ambulances that were improperly out of service.

As FOX 5 first reported Tuesday night, the investigation singled out three ambulance crews for not monitoring their radios after going out of service the evening of March 5.

Medic 27 was east of the Anacostia River and the closest when Officer Sean Hickman was seriously injured in a hit-and-run.

But the first responder taking the bulk of the blame is the captain working that day as the emergency liaison officer.

According to the report prepared by the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, the fire captain was working inside the Office of Unified Communications and should have known an officer was down and dispatchers were looking for help.

But the captain, even though he has access to the same data, status information and data screens, was unaware the dispatchers asked for an ambulance to come from Prince George's County.

"The ELO (Emergency Liaison officer) could have said to the units who had requested relief, ‘No, we are low on available units. You need to stay in service so we can make sure that we are covered,’” said Paul Quander, the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety. “He didn't do that. Nor did the ELO monitor the situation and return those units to service, which he has the ability to do.”

Quander says the emergency liaison officer is a gatekeeper who keeps his eyes open for problems and makes adjustments if needed.

"I think that it was a major failure that evening," he said.

But Union President Ed Smith disagrees and says the problem lies within the system.

“The ELO is specifically monitoring two medical channels and routes units to the right hospital,” said Smith. “They are not directly involved with dispatch.”

Smith says to single out this captain is inappropriate when the problem appears to be more with computer system design.

"We need to look at system-wide problems and fix it,” said Smith. “And if it needs more resources, then we get more resources or we make adjustments to the software.”

As FOX 5 reported Tuesday night, Medic 27 and Medic 19 were allowed to temporarily go out of service, but told to monitor the radio.

The crew of Ambulance 15 says it was parked at a firehouse on New Jersey Avenue in Northwest D.C. and unaware they had mistakenly marked themselves out of service when dispatchers were looking for help.

However, the report says Ambulance 15 was actually parked in quarters at Engine 15 in Anacostia at the time of the call.

"I think it is up to every employee to follow the protocols and rules,” said Quander. “And that's why we have it and so the rules are if you are going out of service, you go out of service on a condition, to monitor the radio in case we need you to respond.”

Quander says all seven face punishment that could possibly end in termination.

The report recommends five remedies, which include keeping four ambulances stocked and ready to go in case an ambulance breaks down.

It was just a couple of weeks ago Quander said at a news conference the fire department should have two ambulances in reserve ready to go.
By Paul Wagner /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 21, 2013
Ambulance involved in 3 vehicle crash - WI

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Police are investigating a serious multi-vehicle crash involving an ambulance.

A spokesperson for the ambulance company involved tells CBS 58 the vehicle was struck while responding to an emergency call.

It happened before 1:00 a.m. Thursday morning near 27th and Vliet on Milwaukee's west side.

The ambulance wound up on its side and debris was scattered throughout the intersection.

The ambulance is owned by Meda-Care, a company located just down the street from the crash site.

The company tells CBS 58 the ambulance was going west on Vliet when it was struck going through a green light.

Two other vehicles were involved. One knocked down a light pole.

Milwaukee Police have not released any information about the accident.
by WDJT Staff

Please buckle your seat belt

March 21, 2013
Tyler firefighter injured during Wednesday morning blaze - TX

A Tyler firefighter was injured Wednesday in a morning blaze.

Heavy fire was reported at a one-story duplex in the 310 block of Saunders Avenue at 1:40 a.m., according to a news release from the Tyler Fire Department.

Six fire engines and one ladder truck, along with a district chief and investigator responded to the scene.

Investigators said they believe the fire started in the front of the building in an area that was used as a bedroom, the release states, but the exact cause remained under investigation by the Tyler Fire Marshal's Office.

The fire damaged both sides of the duplex, and the Red Cross was called to help the two families, the release states.

None of the residents were injured in the fire, but a firefighter suffered second-degree burns while battling the blaze.

The firefighter was taken to a local hospital for treatment and released on Wednesday. Paul Findley, spokesman for the Tyler Fire Department, said they expect the firefighter to be back to work on Friday.

“He's doing good,” Findley said. “We are fortunate that he didn't suffer any worse injures. Basically his protective gear did its job, but he did have spots where he (was) burned.”
Staff Reports /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 21, 2013
Ambulance takes 31 minutes to respond to call 2 miles away - FL

MIAMI, Fla. — The Miami Beach Fire Department has launched an investigation after an ambulance took more than half an hour to answer a call just two miles away.

The 65-year-old patient was pronounced dead three minutes after medics arrived at the scene, according to the Miami Herald.

“We know there was a delay, and we are investigating,” Fire Capt. Adonis Garcia said. “We are looking at it from top to bottom — from the phone call itself, to the dispatch, to the fire response, to everything.”

The man's wife had called for an ambulance on March 5 at 9:05 am after she found her husband on the ground. The man had diabetes and Crohn's disease.

The department dispatched the ambulance seven minutes after receiving the call. The woman reportedly ran between the bedroom where her husband was and outside hoping to wave down the ambulance. She ended up calling 911 again before the ambulance arrived at 9:36 am, 31 minutes after receiving the wife's call.

“The rescue brought in an EKG machine, only to be told by a walkie talkie that it was offline and not working,” the wife wrote. “They started CPR and could not revive him.”

The Herald reports that a cause of death has not been given.

Rescue crews say they were delayed by 10 minutes because of a raised drawbridge. Capt. Garcia said typically dispatchers will work with bridge operators to make sure the bridges are accessible. He also added that ambulances usually only take four to six minutes to respond to calls.

The man's wife has written an email to City Hall. Officials are working the department to conduct an investigation of the incident.
By FireRescue1 Staff

Please buckle your seat belt

March 21, 2013
Firefighter Hurt Battling Townhouse Fire - NJ

A firefighter suffered a head injury battling a town house blaze at an East Windsor, N.J. town house fire. NBC10's Jesse Gary reports.

A firefighter suffered a head injury battling a multi-alarm townhouse fire in Mercer County, N.J. early this morning that left a woman homeless.

The fire call came in around 1:40 a.m. at the Twin Rivers development on the 400 block of Madison Drive in East Windsor, according to county dispatchers.

The fire began on a second-floor of an end unit, reported NBC10’s Jesse Gary.

A woman smelled the smoke and was able to get out of her home but a firefighter needed stitches to close a head wound, firefighters on the scene told Gary.

The firefighter, a member of the Robbinsville Fire Company, got hit in the head by a hose and was hospitalized, according to East Windsor Township Police.

It took more than an hour to get the fire under control partly because of the location of the home and the amount of hose needed.

"The location of the house, water supply, the hydrants weren't anywhere near it, we had to stretch some extension lines... to keep the hand lines going," said East Windsor Fire Department Chief Barry Rashkin.

The flames were contained to the one unit, which was entirely destroyed, according to police.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.
By Dan Stamm /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 20, 2013


There were some tense moments, but early Wednesday morning firefighters finally pulled a trapped Second Avenue Subway construction project worker out of the mud and to safety, after struggling for four hours to free him.

The worker was hoisted out of the subway trench at Second Avenue and 95th Street at 12:41 a.m. He was on a stretcher when a crane pulled him up alongside two rescue workers.

An ambulance was on the scene to take the worker to an area hospital. He was said to be stable and talking, CBS 2 reported.

A short time earlier, the worker was pulled out of the chest-deep mud in the trench after being stuck for hours, 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported.

Firefighters and paramedics were lined up at street level to receive the worker. Once he arrived, firefighters planned to hose and wash him down, as it was not clear what kind of contaminants may have been in the subway tunnel mud, officials said.

The worker was trapped 75 to 100 feet below grade level in a block-long trench, Sandberg reported.

Just after midnight, the worker’s condition was downgraded to serious, and conditions at the scene also deteriorated as the temperature dropped. Firefighters were cutting sheets of plywood at the scene in an effort to shore up the wet, muddy trench, Sandberg reported.

The plywood sheets and two-by-fours were used to dig into the slippery mud in an effort to get the worker out, Sandberg reported.

The rescue effort began around 8:30 p.m., and more than 100 firefighters were sent to the scene.

Three firefighters were injured during the rescue effort – one with a broken hand, and another wheeled away on a stretcher with unspecified injuries. There was no information on the injuries to the third firefighter.

Two of the firefighters were taken to New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, Sandberg reported.

Firefighters used a ladder that was poised over an open hole in the pavement, trying to rappel down to the worker, Sandberg reported.

By 9:30 p.m., the fire crews had reached the worker successfully and confirmed he was alive, Sandberg reported. But it took more than three hours to get him out of the mud and to the surface.

A Con Edison vacuum truck was dispatched to the scene to remove the debris. Water poured into the tunnel, both due to recent rains and because the tunnel is below sea level, Sandberg reported.

Meanwhile, CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis reported the worker was under threat of hypothermia, and was being aided by doctors who had responded to the scene to help.

A doctor and an Emergency Medical Technician were reportedly in the trench with the worker, Sandberg reported.

One physician also said he came straight from his apartment nearby.

“I live right here, and someone said there was a bunch of people or a person trapped down there, so I figured maybe they could use the hand,” said Joe Hinchey of Mount Sinai Hospital.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said the trapped worker was a private contractor, and not an MTA employee, WCBS 880 reported.

Second Avenue was shut down between 93rd and 99th streets for the rescue effort. The M15 and M96 buses were rerouted.

The Second Avenue Subway project has been hit with numerous problems since it began. Last August, an underground blast at 72nd Street sent chunks of concrete flying three stories into the air. The MTA said steel plates at the blast site were not properly secured. Construction was halted for several days while the MTA adjusted procedures.

And in April of last year, a worker was crushed by a slab of concrete while working in a trench on 86th Street.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 20, 2013
Officials say response time to Carolina Forest Fire was under 5 minutes / FF Suffers Cardiac Arrest - KY

CAROLINA FOREST, SC (WMBF) - The official response time for the fire at Windsor Green on Saturday has been narrowed down to 4 minutes and 47 seconds, according to Horry County officials.

Horry County Fire and Rescue's Engine 39 was the first engine on scene after the first official 911 call came in at 5:12 p.m., dispatched from the Carolina Forest Station.

Within hours, flames had destroyed 26 buildings and 108 housing units in the Windsor Green complex.

On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Environmental Control released the affected area over to A&I Fire and Water Restoration. Families who lost everything are now being allowed in to sift through the rubble.

If residents choose to visit their building sites, they are required to sign in with A&I at an off-site trailer, and sign an "Assumption of Risk, Release and Indemnification Agreement," according to a news release from Benchmark Management, the company that manages the Windsor Green complex.

Residents must show identification, and the management company asks residents and unit owners to minimize the amount of trips entering and leaving as much as possible.

During the last two days, crews have been going through the rubble left from the burned buildings, and the items have been on site at the Horry County Sheriff's Office. A&I says there hasn't been much found, but most of the recovered belongings were kept in lock boxes.

County official Lisa Bourcier confirms that a volunteer firefighter suffered cardiac arrest on scene and was transferred to Grand Strand Regional. They are still there, but expected to make a full recovery.
By WMBF News Staff

Please buckle your seat belt

March 20, 2013
Explosion blows Gulfport firefighter out of burning trailer - AL

burning trailer
COURTESY PAT SULLIVAN Firefighters from Harrison County Fire Services and Gulfport Fire Department put out hot spots in a trailer after a Gulfport firefighter was injured by an explosion Tuesday Afternoon. He was treated and released from Memorial Hospital at Gulfport. The fire, which is under investigation, destroyed the trailer.

burning trailer
COURTESY PAT SULLIVAN Firefighters from Harrison County Fire Services and Gulfport Fire Department put out hot spots in a trailer after a Gulfport firefighter was injured by an explosion Tuesday Afternoon. He was treated and released from Memorial Hospital at Gulfport. The fire, which is under investigation, destroyed the trailer.

burning trailer
COURTESY PAT SULLIVAN Firefighters from Harrison County Fire Services and Gulfport Fire Department put out hot spots in a trailer after a Gulfport firefighter was injured by an explosion Tuesday Afternoon. He was treated and released from Memorial Hospital at Gulfport. The fire, which is under investigation, destroyed the trailer.

HARRISON COUNTY -- A Gulfport firefighter escaped serious injury when a fireball exploded in a burning mobile home and blew him out of the trailer, Fire Marshal Pat Sullivan said.

The fire about 5 p.m. Tuesday was in the 11200 block of Coleman Road off Landon Road, where a property owner was using a mobile home to store automotive and trailer parts from businesses he had once owned, Sullivan said.

The trailer also contained fuels, paints and solvents, and firefighters went in to put out the blaze.

"Something inside exploded, and the firefighter would have been seriously injured if he were not wearing full protective gear," Sullivan said. The firefighter was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Sullivan said the Gulfport Fire Department had come to assist Harrison County and Lizana fire departments.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 20, 2013


A city council in New Jersey voted to slash the police and fire departments to close a $5 million budget gap on Tuesday night.

The layoffs will take effect July 1 in the Union County City of Linden.

21 police officers and 32 firefighters will be let go.

At Tuesday night's vote, the police and fire unions argued the layoffs will compromise safety.

The mayor said there was no other choice because unions are refusing to make concessions.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 20, 2013
Firefighter Blown Out of Home By Fireball - MS

HARRISON COUNTY -- A Gulfport firefighter escaped serious injury when a fireball exploded in a burning mobile home and blew him out of the trailer, Fire Marshal Pat Sullivan said.

The fire about 5 p.m. Tuesday was in the 11200 block of Coleman Road off Landon Road, where a property owner was using a mobile home to store automotive and trailer parts from businesses he had once owned, Sullivan said.

The trailer also contained fuels, paints and solvents, and firefighters went in to put out the blaze.

"Something inside exploded, and the firefighter would have been seriously injured if he were not wearing full protective gear," Sullivan said. The firefighter was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Sullivan said the Gulfport Fire Department had come to assist Harrison County and Lizana fire departments.
Robin Fitzgerald / The Sun Herald

Please buckle your seat belt

March 20, 2013
San Antonio Firefighters Injured in Collapse - TX

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Two San Antonio firefighters have been hurt when a ceiling collapsed on them as they battled a house fire.

San Antonio Fire Department spokesman Christian Bove (BOHV) says one firefighter suffered minor injuries early Tuesday and was treated at the scene. Bove says a second firefighter was treated and released from a hospital. Officials initially said three firefighters were injured when debris fell on them but later changed the figure to just two hurt.

The occupants escaped unharmed.

Bove says the fire appears to have started in the garage and arson experts have joined the investigation. He says the residents recently were the victims of vandalism. Bove had no further details on the case.

The fire caused about $150,000 in damage.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 20, 2013
Firefighter found dead at station, possible suicide - NM

PORTALES, N.M. — Portales firefighter Richard McNally, 46, was found dead Sunday in the Portales fire station, according to City Manager Tom Howell.

Howell declined to comment on how McNally died, but said injuries appeared to be self-inflicted.

Portales Fire Chief Gary Nuckols said he’d have more information Tuesday but was undergoing a stress debriefing with his staff Monday in regard to McNally.
The Portales News-Tribune

Please buckle your seat belt

March 20, 2013
Residents Escape Fire That Injured Firefighter - NY

Two residents escaped a fire Tuesday night that caused significant damage to a house in Oakdale, Suffolk County police said. A firefighter was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

The fire at the home at the corner of Cloverdale Drive and Sycamore Avenue was reported at 9:12 p.m., police said.

Police did not identify the residents, but said they were not injured in the blaze.

Firefighters from Sayville, Bohemia, East Islip and Bayport battled the fire. A crew from Sayville Community Ambulance also was on the scene.

Police said the cause of the fire was ruled accidental, but did not identify that cause.
John Valenti / Newsday

Please buckle your seat belt

March 20, 2013
Firefighter Injured in Fall Through Floor at House Fire - PA

A Hazleton firefighter fell through the floor of a burning home Tuesday afternoon.

The firefighter, whose name was not released, was checking a bathroom floor for stability when he fell 7 to 10 feet to the floor below him in the single home at 409 E. Kiefer Ave., Hazleton Fire Chief Donald Leshko said.

The firefighter was conscious and taken to Hazleton General Hospital for treatment of back pain and then flown to Geisinger Wyoming Valley in Plains Township "as a precautionary measure," Leshko said.

Grayish-brown smoke billowed from the home as two firefighters emerged from the front door, assisting the injured firefighter, who wrestled to remove his own face mask as he knelt on the front porch.

"Yo, medic!" a firefighter yelled from the porch at 1:34 p.m.

A crew from American Patient Transport Systems Inc., already on scene as a precaution, quickly assisted the injured firefighter before placing him on a backboard and stretcher and wheeling him to an ambulance.

Leshko said the firefighter was "sounding" the floor when he fell, meaning he was tapping a pole on the floor to check for stability when he hit a weak spot in the floorboards and fell to the floor below. Leshko said the firefighter is "very well trained," adding that even with safety precautions, accidents can happen.

He said firefighters confronted heavy fire on the third floor after breaking into the locked home. Firefighters made an "aggressive attack" on the fire, Leshko said, knocking out most of the flames while they searched the home for anyone trapped inside.

Leshko said no one was found inside the burning home, and he later learned an adult woman and two children who lived there were not home at the time of the fire.

Firefighters broke windows to ventilate the smoke and pulled siding off part of the house to remove smoldering building material.

Though West Hazleton firefighters have assisted Hazleton in the past, Leshko said the fire was the first emergency handled under a new cooperative fire agreement between West Hazleton Fire and Hazleton.

Under the arrangement, West Hazleton sent between six and eight firefighters to the scene along with equipment such as its command and rescue vehicles. Leshko said extra hands were welcomed during the fire attack as firefighters entering the home "took a heavy hit" from the fire and smoke.

Officials from West Hazleton and Hazleton signed the agreement Friday. It enables both departments to assist each other if a major incident happens.

The cause and origin of Tuesday's fire were not determined; a state police fire marshal is investigating. The home is not livable because it has smoke, fire and water damage on the second and third floors. Residents planned to stay with relatives until the three-story rental home is repaired.

Leshko said the property is owned by a person living in Georgia who has family in the Hazleton area.
Amanda Christman / Standard-Speaker, Hazleton, Pa.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 20, 2013
Pittsburgh Firefighters Sickened After Breathing Vapor - PA

Three Pittsburgh firefighters responding to a fire call in a PNC computer room may have become sick after breathing in vapor released in company's fire suppression system.

PNC spokesman Fred Solomon said the vapor, deployed from the ceiling because the alarm was sounded, is not a hazardous material.

The firefighters were being treated this morning at UPMC Mercy Hospital. They reported feeling sick after breathing in something that has not been identified while responding to the call.

Their illnesses aren't believed to be serious, an Allegheny County emergency dispatch supervisor said.

Crews went to PNC's First Side Center at 500 First Ave. shortly before 8:10 a.m. for a general fire alarm call, the dispatch supervisor said.

There are no technical problems at the facility and PNC has not determined whether there was a fire at all, Mr. Solomon said. What triggered the general fire alarm is still under investigation.

Employees were allowed back into the building about 8:25 a.m.

The room where firefighters responded is not usually occupied by employees, Mr. Solomon said, though one person reported a sore throat and is seeking treatment.
Molly Born / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Please buckle your seat belt

March 20, 2013
Investigation finds 3 ambulances could have responded to injured officer - DC

WASHINGTON — An investigation regarding a D.C. officer having to wait at least 20 minutes for an ambulance after being injured in a hit-and-run has revealed that two ambulances should have been able to respond, but did not.

Sean Hickman was badly injured after he was reportedly intentionally hit by a man in a car in early March, according to My Fox DC.

The initial findings from the investigation said that one ambulance was close to the scene but didn't respond even though the medics were told to monitor the radio.

That ambulance apparently went out of service for equipment trouble about 10 minutes before the hit-and-run occurred.

When the initial call came in, an engine with a paramedic was dispatched to the scene while another ambulance was trying to be reached.

Sources familiar with the investigation say a second crew was at a nearby hospital and was also told to monitor their radio. That crew was also out of service about two minutes before the initial call.

A third ambulance crew went out of service for over 50 minutes, starting about 10 minutes before the call. The crew says they had accidentally entered the wrong information into the rig's computer and put themselves out of service.

"It was a computer error,” says Union President Ed Smith. “They lost them in the system. Once the employees realized there was a problem, they self-reported the problem and then they were dispatched on another run.”

Smith says the firefighters realized their mistake when they heard a call for service over the radio that should have been given to them.

"They heard a run coming out that they thought they would be responsible to take and that's when they realized there was a problem and self-reported to dispatch," said Smith.

My Fox DC reports that there were 39 ambulances on duty the night of the incident, with nine out of service; the investigation found that six of the transports were legitimately out of service with mechanical problems.
By FireRescue1 Staff

Orginal coverage

Please buckle your seat belt

March 20, 2013
Empty Detroit firehouses are targeted by thieves - MI

Detroit firefighters discovered Monday that thieves took a TV, a computer, food, tools and soft drinks from the machine at an east-side station, the latest of a series of thefts at city firehouses.

Such thefts are increasing after cuts led to unmanned stations, Detroit Fire Department officials said. The Fire Department's agreement with the Detroit Fire Fighters Association includes a clause to reimburse staff for items they buy, such as TVs, kitchen supplies and personal items.

Dan McNamara, president of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association Local 344, said the reimbursement clause was added to the firefighters' contract in the 1970s.

"Periodically nowhere near the frequency of today we had things stolen from the firehouses," he said. "Now it's like incredible. If our stations are manned less than 24 hours, people are stealing our stuff."

Ladder 19 at 10700 Shoemaker St., just east of the Gratiot Avenue exit off I-94, was the latest target. Firefighters discovered the break-in at 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Detroit Fire Senior Chief Douglas Lyon said at least 10 firehouses have been hit. Others include Ladder 16 at 6900 Miller St., near I-94 and Van Dyke, and Ladder 30 at 17475 Mt. Elliott, near East Davison and Mound.

Typically, up to 12 stations of the city's 52 firehouses are closed each day, after cuts left the department unable to provide enough manpower to fully staff all stations. About 165 firefighters per shift provide daily coverage, spread out among the open firehouses.

In the firehouses, the department provides a stove, refrigerator, table, chairs, beds and basic cleaning and paper products. Firefighters provide everything else.

"Any one that's empty more than a couple of days, they've been breaking into," Lyon said. "They were taking the boiler, the radiators. They were taking that for scrap. They don't care; they break in the front window where everyone can see it."

Detroit Fire Commissioner Donald Austin said the department has asked Detroit police to do drive-by patrols of the browned-out stations to help deter theft. He said the public can help, too.

"Just keep a lookout on all fire station buildings, whether they're temporarily vacant or permanently vacant, that's what we'd ask the public to do," Austin said. "If you see anything, call 911."

Austin, former chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department, said he was shocked when he took the reins in Detroit in 2011 and saw the theft clause in the union contracts, listing dollar amounts for reimbursement for items such as electric razors.

"When I first saw that in the contract, I thought, 'Holy cow, break-ins are that prevalent?' " he said. "And they were, and they continue to be. It just blew me away. Not that we didn't have one or two break-ins in Los Angeles, but not so rampant that it's part of the contract."
By Tammy Stables Battaglia / Detroit Free Press Staff Writer

Please buckle your seat belt

March 19, 2013
White Plains Moves To Arbitration With Police, Fire Unions - NY

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A panel of arbitrators will decide on a contract for the White Plains police and fire departments after negotiations between their respective unions and the city failed to produce one.

Both departments have been working without a contract since the last one expired in June 2010. Contracts negotiated by an arbitrator can only be two years in length and apply retroactively. Since both departments have been working without contracts for more than two years, they will have to resume talks with the city after arbitration on a contract that brings them up to date, said Joseph Carrier, president of the White Plains Professional Firefighters Local 274.

Arbitration is scheduled to begin in late April, Bryan Hembury, vice president of the White Plains Police Benevolent Association said. A three-person panel will decide on a new contract.

John Callahan, chief of staff for the mayor’s office, said he can’t predict if the two sides will come to an agreement after arbitration but said he hopes they will.

The state had sent a mediator to help the two sides negotiate contracts, but talks failed, requiring binding arbitration, Callahan said.

Carrier would not go into the specifics of what the unions wanted or what the city offered.

The city came to terms on a four-year contract with the CSEA, the county’s largest union, in 2011 that kept wages flat the first year, with two-percent increases the final three years.

“We’ve made certain concessions with the city that we felt would get us to a contract but it just hasn’t worked,” Hembury said. “There just hasn’t been an open line of communication. We’d rather come to a mutual agreement but this is where we are right now.”
by Brian Donnelly /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 19, 2013

Three firefighters are hurt after a roof collapses during a fire.

Firefighters had to be treated by EMS outside the home on the 11000 block of Moonlit Park.

Authorities say the fire broke out around 1:45 a.m.

Two people inside rushed out to safety after they heard smoke alarms going off.

When firefighters got there the home was engulfed in flames.

Authorities say the firefighters were hurt after debris came crashing down.

One firefighter was taken to the hospital in unknown condition.

The other two were treated at the scene.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 19, 2013

A Houston firefighter was hospitalized for dehydration while battling a blaze at a northwest-side apartment complex. The firefighter, who was not identified, was overcome at a three-alarm fire that broke out about 8 p.m. on Monday at an apartment along Watonga at La Monte, officials said.

The fire was brought under control about an hour later. There were no other reported injuries, officials said.

A common attic in the building helped the fire to spread, officials said.

HFD officials at the scene said the flames heavily damaged eight apartments while eight others sustained smoke and water damage.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The displaced residents will be placed in other apartments in the complex, HFD officials said.

The firefighter was taken away by ambulance to be treated for dehydration at Memorial Hermann Hospital and is expected to be OK, HFD officials said.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 19, 2013
Hundreds of Firefighters Rally at Oklahoma Capitol - OK

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Hundreds of firefighters from across the state converged Monday on the state Capitol to oppose changes to their pension plans and legislation that would reduce awards to injured workers.

"They are really getting crazy on the workers compensation bill," said Joe Hamby of Broken Arrow, a retired captain who spent 34 years with the Tulsa Fire Department.

He said workers injured on the job already have a tough time getting by.

"They are getting ready to make it a lot worse," Hamby said.

Senate Bill 1062 by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, and House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, awaits action in the House after securing approval in the Senate.

The measure would cut death benefits to spouses and children, according to attorney Bob Burke, who represents injured workers and is a former state commerce secretary.

It would slash payments for permanent total disability by 42 percent and temporary total disability benefits by 30 percent, Burke said. It also would cut payments for a lost arm or leg by 23 percent.

"You can't live on that," said Keith Horn, a fire equipment operator who has worked for the Tulsa Fire Department for nearly 18 years. "They are saying you are nothing but a number to us."

The proposed changes in SB 1062 would be devastating to workers, said Capt. Stan May, who has 22 years of experience with the Tulsa Fire Department.

Under the measure, having an accident on the job could cost someone his or her house or a child's education fund, he said.

Under the current system, it is already difficult for an injured worker to pay his or her bills, May said.

"No one makes money off of an injury," he said.

The city of Tulsa has been battling rising workers compensation costs in recent years. A city report examining data from 2001 through 2011 found the Fire Department led the way in nearly every category when it comes to expense of workers compensation claims.

More than 6,000 firefighters filed claims totaling more than $19 million during that time the most claims and highest amount among all departments.

Greg Connelly, a captain with 13 years' experience with the Stillwater Fire Department, said he showed up to object to proposals to make the firefighters retirement system a defined-contribution plan rather than its current defined-benefit plan.

Herb Bradshaw, executive director of the Oklahoma State Firefighters Association, said both Gov. Mary Fallin and state Treasurer Ken Miller have suggested the changes, although no legislation has been proposed.

In addition, they favor consolidating the administration of the firefighters' retirement system with other systems, he said.

"Without knowing the components of what they want to do, we can only stand in opposition," Bradshaw said.

"The state pension system faces $11 billion in unfunded liabilities, putting the solvency of those plans at risk," said Aaron Cooper, a Fallin spokesman. "This is a priority for the governor and an issue she highlighted during her state of the state address.

"The governor is committed to working with the state treasurer, legislative leaders and other stakeholders to shore up the pension systems so Oklahoma can keep the promises made to firefighters, teachers, state employees and others served by the state pension system," he said.

Fallin has no plans to consolidate pension funds, Cooper said, but the governor does believe that cost savings could be achieved by streamlining the management of the state's seven pension systems.

Miller said he supports the governor's efforts to reduce administrative overhead.

"The firefighters' pension plan is the second-worst-funded of the state's seven pension plans despite receiving the highest percentage of dedicated state funding, has the lowest 5-year investment returns and pays the second-highest investment fees for those returns," he said. "Clearly, the plan can do better and we are working hard to improve it."
Barbara Hoberock / Tulsa World, Okla.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 19, 2013
Lessons Learned:
IBHS & Partners Release New Wildfire Investigation Report - NV

RENO – A new report detailing vulnerabilities leading to the destruction of nearly 350 homes in Colorado Springs from the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire was released today during the “Creating Fire Adapted Communities Together” insurance-fire services summit in Reno, Nevada. Accompanying the report is a video showcasing successful loss prevention efforts in Colorado Springs that could help other wildfire-prone communities reduce their risks.

“IBHS is proud to be a member of the member of the Fire Adapted Communities (FAC) Coalition, which sponsored this report. As a FAC member, IBHS is committed to helping people and communities in the wildland/urban interface adapt to living with wildfire and reduce their risk for damage, without compromising firefighter or civilian safety,” said Julie Rochman, CEO and President, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS).

“Property insurers are extremely concerned about wildfire, particularly with drought conditions around the country predicted to continue for many years,” noted Rochman. “The useful post-disaster field research findings in the new Waldo Canyon report will provide critical insights for property owners. These findings also will inform future wildfire research, such as that conducted by scientists at the IBHS Research Center – the only facility in the world that can recreate a full-scale wildfire ember storm in a controlled environment.”

Major findings in “Lessons from Waldo Canyon” are outlined below.

  • Fire spreading from home-to-home was again a major issue, as has been the case in previous wildfires, which caused a relatively large number of home losses.
  • While it is important to harden a building with noncombustible materials to make it more resistant to wildfire, it also is necessary to incorporate appropriate construction details.
  • Community leaders must recognize the value of community-wide collaboration, which is an essential component to home survival and to the creation of fire adapted communities.
  • The community tax base is significantly impacted by the widespread damage and destruction of homes and businesses during wildfires. This has economic consequences for all residents.
  • The preparedness message is most effective when delivered by numerous parties. Public policymakers, other officials, local community and business leaders should echo the best practices provided by the Fire Adapted Communities Coalition to reinforce the need for wildfire property protection efforts at every level.

The report was prepared by the Fire Adapted Communities Mitigation Assessment Team, which included experts in building science, forestry, social science and wildfire public education from the USDA Forest Service, Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Fire Protection Association and The Nature Conservancy. The team worked closely with the Colorado Springs Fire Marshal’s Wildfire Mitigation Section and the Colorado State Forest Service. The report and video are the result of interviews, field visits, and tours of Colorado Springs’ most affected neighborhoods conducted by the assessment team during a visit to the area in July 2012.

For more information about Fire Adapted Communities, visit For more information about protecting property from a variety of other natural hazards, such as hurricanes, severe winter weather, hailstorms, earthquakes and others, visit

For interviews about “Lessons from Waldo Canyon,” contact IBHS Media Relations Manager Joe King (813) 675-1045 or

About the IBHS - IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific research and communications organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks on residential and commercial property by conducting building science research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparedness practices.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 19, 2013
St. Louis judge hears testimony over firefighter pension reform - MO

ST. LOUIS • A St. Louis judge heard testimony this morning from firefighters suing the city over a pension overhaul plan.

The Firemen's Retirement System sued the city in January asking Judge Robert Dierker to block fixes made to Mayor Francis Slay's firefighter pension reform plan passed by the Board of Alderman. The bill restored some retirement benefits that had been cut for vested firefighters, but created a new, parallel system for new and younger firefighters, giving them reduced benefits.

St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson testified this morning that the bill leaves unanswered questions.

"It's not as clear as it should be," Jenkerson said.

Jenkerson testified that more firefighters are leaving the force over uncertainty about their benefits.

The firefighters and the city have been in embroiled in constant legal battles over the past year.

In September, Dierker put an earlier plan on hold when he said that cutting benefits for vested firefighters with more than 20 years on the force was illegal. Dierker also said that the city's means for paying for the new system — by combining it with the old— wasn't allowed by law. The judge stressed, however, that the city could indeed terminate the existing Firemen's Retirement System of St. Louis and start a new one.

City budget officials said that the revised retirement plan means about $500,000 more in annual costs to the city. It also eliminates part of an accounting change that would have provided an additional $2.8 million in immediate savings. Final savings should come in at around $50 million over 30 years.
By Nicholas J.C. Pistor /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 19, 2013
S.A. firefighter injured during roof collapse - CA

SAN ANTONIO -- A San Antonio firefighter was injured overnight after the roof collapsed at a house fire on the city's northwest side.

The name of the firefighter was not immediately available, however, fire officials said he is expected to be OK.

A mother and her son also narrowly escaped the blaze in the 11000 block of Moonlit Park near Prue Road.

Firefighters said the back of the house was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived around 2 a.m.

Arson investigators were called to the home, although a battalion chief said the fire appeared to be accidental.

The exact cause is not known.

The house is a total loss. Damages are estimated to be around $150,000.
by Jenny Suniga / KENS 5

Please buckle your seat belt

March 18, 2013
Buffalo Firefighters Protest Stalled Contract Talks - NY

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- After eleven years of negotiations, the Buffalo Firefighters Union and the city still have not been able to come up with a new contract agreement.

Friday morning, the Buffalo Fire Department blessed two new trucks to help firefighters keep the city safe while off duty firefighters protested right outside.

The firefighters' union is upset it has been without a new contract since 2002. And, while Mayor Byron Brown says the city has offered union leaders new contracts over the years, the two sides still can not seem to come to an agreement.

Union members continued their protest outside the Buffalo Irish Center as the mayor arrived for the annual luncheon.

"They have not given me a complete proposal at all," says union president Dan Cunningham.

"We've offered the firefighters union several contracts. The first contract we offered was in 2007. It was a 29-percent increase in pay for firefighters. Later, we voluntarily increased our firefighters' pay by 5-point-5 percent. Three-thousand dollars to each firefighter," says Mayor Brown.

But, union leaders say that is not good enough. They say Buffalo firefighters make a base pay of $53,000 a year. They say that is $13,000 less than firefighters in Rochester.

"The sticking point right now is he doesn't want to pay us. He would like us to give up minimum manning. At one point in our negotiations, they wanted minimum manning, which means for the safety or our firefighters, four men on every piece of apparatus, a national standard. He wanted us to give that up. Save money," says Cunningham.

"So, for you it's less about pay and more about the safety of your guys?" asked Channel 2's Kelly Dudzik.

"No, it's about money. We haven't had a pay raise in eleven years. It's sad when people that are not risking their lives every day are making as much money as a firefighter," replied Cunningham.

The mayor says he would also like to see contract negotiations result in raises for Buffalo's firefighters.

"A contract negotiation has got to be win-win for all parties. It's got to be a win for our hard working firefighters. They deserve a contract. We want to see them get a contract, but it's got to be a win-win for the tax payers of the City of Buffalo, as well," says the mayor.

Mayor Brown says there is another negotiation session with the firefighters union this Monday. Union members claim the city has cancelled several recent meetings.
Kelly Dudzik /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 18, 2013
irefighter Injured Battling Warehouse Fire - TN

One firefighter was sent to the hospital after suffering from dehydration fighting a warehouse fire in south Memphis.

It broke out around 5:00 tonight on South Third near Mallory, taking fire crew more than 30 minutes to douse the flames because of pallets stacked in the building.
Michael Truett / CBS - 3 WREG (Memphis, Tennessee)

Please buckle your seat belt

March 18, 2013
Is Your Firehouse a Safe Place to Work, Eat and Sleep?

Alarms are alarming! Combine heart-pounding response, the stress of crisis situations, breathing toxic smoke and combustion products, and you have a recipe for bodily breakdown. Those are some critical reasons why firefighters suffer from far more heart attacks and cancer than the general population.

In 2000, 40 percent of firefighter fatalities were from heart attacks. In 2008, the number jumped to 43 percent . . . and it’s not likely to go down. Some studies show certain cancer rates to be 150 to 300 percent higher in firefighters than in the general population.

The risks for heart attacks and the risks for cancer are similar. Discount heredity, and in broad terms, it boils down to Lifestyle. That encapsulates how you go about living your everyday life: what you eat and drink, how much you exercise, your waist size, how much you sleep, what you breathe, your stress level, and the general status of your health.

Firefighter job training tells you how to protect yourself in a hazardous environment. But what about your firehouse—where you work, eat and sleep? How safe is that environment?

Diesel Exhaust

Ever notice that black burst of smoke from the tailpipe when an apparatus is started? Ever notice how, in what seems like no time at all, the white walls in the bay area turn dingy gray?

Diesel exhaust contains over 100 individual hazardous chemical components (carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, benzene, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and others) and a large number of those components are listed by state and federal regulatory agencies as suspected carcinogens.

Last year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), classified diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic to humans. And, an often-cited University of Cincinnati comprehensive study determined that firefighters are at significantly higher risk for developing testicular cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, prostate cancer, and multiple myeloma than non-firefighters.

Toxic gases and particulate emitted in diesel exhaust are not confined to the bay area. Every time a door is opened or if the doors are not well sealed, those pollutants also seep into the office area and living quarters?

Contaminated Equipment

When returning from a fire scene, are the apparatus, equipment and turnout gear cleaned before entering the bay area? Contaminants from the fire scene cling to skin, clothing and equipment and are transported back into the fire station, in addition to the toxic air being blown into the bay area from the tarmac.

The carbons and chemicals that impregnate gear and adhere to equipment during a fire can then be inhaled or absorbed through the skin in the firehouse. Those airborne poisons linger in the station . . . in the air, on the walls, and on the furniture.

Not only does this increase a firefighter’s risk for several cancers, it affects many aspects of bodily function: the lungs, kidneys, circulatory system, etc., and it makes it much harder for the heart to function properly.

Comprehensive solution

Fire departments and municipalities throughout the country are taking a hard look at the overwhelming statistics and warnings about firefighter/EMT health. Many fire departments are fixing the problem by combining two systems from one company to ensure that their firefighter/EMTs have maximum protection.

MagneGrip Group is the only company that manufactures both hose-type exhaust removal systems (which connect to the apparatus tailpipe) and air purification systems (filtration units that suspend from the ceiling). This combination of systems provides the most complete protection for fire personnel, as well as greater liability protection for municipalities. And it best fits the intent of FEMA and NFPA recommendations.

An American manufacturer, MagneGrip Group is ISO 9001:2008 Certified. The company has installed its exhaust removal systems in firehouses nationwide for 15 years—with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
By Ray Stefanelli / MagneGrip

Please buckle your seat belt

March 18, 2013
Fire destroys Hackensack home; two injured, 11 displaced - NJ


HACKENSACK — An early Sunday morning fire destroyed a Park Street home, severely damaged another and sent two people to the hospital with injuries, authorities said.

A 28-year-old firefighter from Engine Company 2 hurt his back after slipping and falling on icy ground, and a woman who was being evacuated from a nearby house suffered an asthma attack after inhaling smoke, said Justin Derevyanik, spokesman for the Hackensack Fire Department.

Both were taken to Hackensack University Medical Center. Both were treated and released.

Three Hackensack police officers were also treated for smoke inhalation at the scene. The officers, along with an officer from the county Sheriff's Office, were first to respond because the initial call at 4:45 a.m. was about a fight, said city Police Director Michael Mordaga. The officers, who found the house filled with black smoke and a growing fire, knocked on doors to evacuate the tenants, he said.

Authorities believe the blaze started in a first-floor bedroom at 433 Park St. and spread to 435 Park St., Derevyanik said.

Firefighters, alerted to the fire at 4:56 a.m., arrived to find thick smoke billowing out of the 2½-story wood frame house and the flames already leaping to the second home, also a 2½-story wood house, he said.

The homeowners, asleep in the house’s first floor when the fire started, roused the second-floor tenants, and they all escaped, Derevyanik said.

Firefighters fought the three-alarm blaze for about an hour and a half, a task made difficult by windy and icy conditions, Derevyanik said.

About 55 Hackensack firefighters, along with companies from neighboring Teaneck, Bogota and Ridgefield Park, responded, he said.

The house where the fire started was demolished Sunday, he said. The charred roof and attic had collapsed onto to the top floor. No cause had been determined Sunday evening.

The second house also sustained heavy damage to the top floor. The siding melted from the heat, Derevyanik said.

The house didn’t have a working smoke detector, Derevyanik said. The city fire department has a program that provides free smoke detectors to residents who cannot afford them, he said.

Four families a total of 11 people were displaced. They were at the Hackensack Civic Center on Sunday morning, receiving assistance from the American Red Cross, he said.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 18, 2013
Another Stolen Ambulance - MO

KSDK-TV has the video report on the incident from the MedStar headquarters:

A MEDSTAR AMBULANCE was stolen Monday morning from a St.Louis, Missouri, hospital while the crew was transferring a critically ill person in the emergency room.

The patient had been picked up in East St. Louis, Illinois, and taken to the Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis where the theft occurred around 3 am.

The ambulance was recoverd about three hours later back in East St. Louis where a patrol car found it abandoned. There was no apparent damage to the unit and an initial look-through did not disclose anything missing. A complete inventory is being taken this morning.

All of MedStar's ambulances have a lock-out feature that permits the driver to lock an idling unit and take the keys with them, but he failed to do so in this instance. Further compounding the problem is that it was an older reserve unit that does not have the GPS signal device that their front-line ambulances have.

East St. Louis police detectives say that they have a couple of suspects, but have not yet made an arrest.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 18, 2013
Fire Department’s fleet investigated by Inspector General's office - DC

WASHINGTON — The D.C. firefighters union is not alone in its investigation into the readiness of the D.C. fire department’s fleet of trucks, engines and ambulances.

Fox 5 has learned the D.C. Inspector General’s office began its own probe about a year ago when an investigator discovered abandoned equipment stored in a building on Georgia Avenue.

Earlier this week the firefighters union revealed it had found at least six pumper trucks and two ladder trucks, claimed by the fire department to be in its reserve fleet, had actually been sold by the city. The inspector general got involved when it noticed a ladder truck stored in a building behind a fire house on Georgia Avenue with a sign saying it had been out of service since 2010.
By Paul Wagner / My FOX DC

Please buckle your seat belt

March 17, 2013
Ambulance, truck collide in Shelby Township - MI

Ambulance truck collide

SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Police responded to an accident involving an ambulance and a pickup truck in Shelby Township.

The ambulance unit belongs to the Shelby Township fire department.

Police say two Shelby Township firefighters, who were operating the ambulance, were injured during the crash. The driver of the truck was also injured. None suffered life-threatening injuries.

The accident happened at the intersection of 23 Mile and Schoenherr roads around 2 p.m. Sunday.

Shelby Township Police are not commenting on the situation.

The intersection remains closed as police continue to investigate.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 17, 2013
Firefighter injured after fall - IN

VINCENNES, Ind. (WTHI) - One firefighter was injured after a fall while battling a blaze in southern Indiana.

It happened Sautrday morning at a home near Vincennes. According to Palmyra fire officials, that home was under construction when it caught fire.

Even though no residents were inside at the time, construction workers were at the house. Officials believe it stemmed from a fire in the fireplace. That fire then spread to the roof.

Firefighters were able to contain it. However, while they were exiting, officials said one firefighter somehow accidentally fell from the balcony. He had to be air lifted to an area hospital.

His condition is unknown. The fire is not being called suspicious.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 16, 2013

A firefighter suffered second-degree burns while extinguishing a car fire on I-94 over Monroe Street at 4 p.m. Thursday. The 30-year-old firefighter’s face was burned when water from the hose reacted with magnesium components in the vehicle. “It resulted in a violent reaction and heat release,” said Deputy Fire Chief Dan Reynolds, who added that the injured firefighter was wearing protective equipment. “While not life threatening, the burns are very painful and can leave scars.”.He was driven to Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center in Dearborn by Battalion Chief Bob Lavender, where he was treated. He is expected to miss a few days of work. Mechanical failure inside the vehicle caused the fire, in which the vehicle was “fully involved,” Reynolds said. Michigan State Police called in the fire. No other injuries were reported.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 16, 2013

(Staten Island Advance/Hilton Flores)

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries after battling a one-alarm blaze at a home in Dongan Hills Saturday afternoon.

In all, 65 firefighters responded to the blaze inside the two-story home at 74 Jefferson Ave., after the 911 call came in at 1:35 p.m., said an FDNY spokes person.

The blaze initiated inside the home's second floor bathroom. It was under control by 2:12 p.m.

The firefighters were all taken to Staten Island University Hospital, Ocean Breeze.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown and is under investigation, said the FDNY

Please buckle your seat belt

March 16, 2013
3 Firefighters Injured While Battling 2-Alarm Fire In Trenton - NJ


Officials say three firefighters were injured while battling a two-alarm fire in Mercer County.

The incident occurred on the 300 block of Church Street in Trenton, New Jersey.

According to police, the fire began in an abandoned rowhome and quickly spread to two others, displacing one family. The family is being assisted by the Red Cross, says police.

Officials report two firefighters fell and one was hit by debris while battling the fire. The firefighters were taken Helene Fuld Capitol Health Systems. None of their injuries were serious.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 16, 2013
Four People Hurt in Collision with Engine - DC

Four people were taken to George Washington Hospital with minor injuries after a traffic accident involving DC Fire Engine 14 on Thursday.

The DC Fire Department spokesperson said the accident took place at 10 Street and South Dakota Ave. in Northeast.

No firefighters were injured and it is not known if the engine was on a call. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 16, 2013
Firefighter Shocked by Faulty Wiring During Call - PA

An Allentown firefighter was slightly injured from an electric shock Saturday morning while investigating an odor of something burning in an apartment building.

Capt. John Christopher said firefighters were called about 9:30 a.m. to the apartment complex on Mountain Lane, where the smell seemed to be coming from behind a water heater. The heater was improperly wired, Christopher said, and the firefighter was shocked after moving an electrical wire to look for the source of the odor.

"It knocked him down, so it was a pretty good jolt," Christopher said.

The firefighter, whom Christopher did not identify, was examined by paramedics and remained on duty after the incident. The source of the odor was not detected.
Paul Muschick / The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)

Please buckle your seat belt

March 15, 2013
City sues volunteer fire companies - CT

STAMFORD -- It appears a judge, rather than Stamford voters, will have the final say in the debate over the city's fire services.

Voters overwhelmingly approved a consolidation of Stamford's career and volunteer fire departments on Election Day, but the merger is still being considered in the courtroom. Three volunteer companies sued in January to stop the consolidation, and city officials responded with legal action of their own Tuesday.

The city lawsuit asks a state Superior Court judge to compel the three departments to comply with the November City Charter changes, and accuses the Turn of River fire company of failing to properly investigate fires within its own district. Fire Chief Antonio Conte, Public Safety Director Ted Jankowski and Fire Marshal Barry Callahan are listed as complainants.

"We're just making sure that we're getting the Charter changes as voted on by the citizens of Stamford implemented," Stamford Corporation Counsel Joe Capalbo said Thursday, declining to comment further.

The Springdale, Turn of River and Long Ridge volunteer fire companies and their respective chiefs are named as defendants, along with Turn of River Fire Marshal Peter Bernstein and Long Ridge Fire Marshal Antonio Olive.

Mark Kovack, a Westport attorney representing the three volunteer fire departments, did not return a call for comment Thursday.

The November Charter revision, which passed with about 66 percent of the vote, brings the city's paid department and five volunteer districts under the supervision of one fire chief and fire marshal. But the three volunteer fire companies have not implemented firefighting directives issued by Conte and Jankowski since the Charter changes took effect, the city's lawsuit alleged.

"Jankowski has attempted to bring about the integration of the city's five volunteer fire companies into the city's fire department, as intended by the Charter amendments," the lawsuit said. "But the defendants have rebuffed his efforts."

Jankowski issued a three-page set of directives on Dec. 21 outlining overall operating procedures for the unified fire department. The instructions standardized medical emergency responses, response signals, incident command and accountability.

Jankowski's memorandum also requested rosters from all chiefs containing updated information on firefighter certification, training and physical records and emergency notification. It concluded with an item on fire marshal duties, which said "any incident, situation or event requiring the services of a fire marshal in the Long Ridge or Turn of River fire service districts shall also require the response of a city fire marshal."

Conte issued more in-depth procedural instructions Feb. 25, which were also ignored by the three volunteer departments, according to the city's lawsuit.

"Chief Conte's directives are binding on the entire department, including the defendants," the suit said. "None of the defendants has taken any steps to implement or otherwise follow any of the directives."

The city's lawsuit further alleged Bernstein, the Turn of River fire marshal, failed to respond to and investigate three fires in his district since November. Turn of River fire fighters also attempted to block city fire marshals from investigating two recent fires, "pos(ing) a serious threat to public welfare, because effective prosecution of crimes requires that the cause and origin of fires be quickly and professionally investigated," the suit said.

Turn of River Fire Chief Jacob Jacobellis did not return a call for comment Thursday evening.

The recent legal action is another layer in the complicated history between Stamford's career and volunteer fire departments. The city Charter has given the five volunteer fire departments primary jurisdiction over their districts since 1949 -- until residents voted to merge all fire services into one Stamford Fire Department in November.

Conte and Mayor Michael Pavia said they sat down several times with the volunteer fire chiefs following the Charter change, and attempted to reach an agreement on the consolidation. After three of the volunteer departments filed a lawsuit, Pavia cut half their funding for next fiscal year and placed the money in contingency in an effort to "bring them to the table."

"It has to do with training, it has to do with standardized procedures and protocol and how they're spending their money," Pavia said earlier this month. "The main initiative is to bring everyone together so we have a standardized and well-understood and well-respected fire service in the volunteer districts."

City Rep. Ralph Loglisci, R-13, said he appreciates the volunteer firefighters' history of service in Stamford. The three volunteer companies need to find common ground with Conte and the rest of Stamford's fire services, however, he said.

"The volunteer departments own their own firehouses and equipment, so it's really vital that we do come to terms," said Loglisci, who co-chairs the Board of Representatives Public Safety committee. "Chief Conte is certainly willing to go the extra mile. On the volunteer side -- it's going to have to start with one person, and I hope there's a chief out there who has the courage to do it."

Board of Finance Public Safety Committee co-Chairman Jerry Bosak, a Republican, said a unified fire department is in the best interests of public and firefighter safety.

"We embraced the change and are working with Chief Conte and his staff to improve communications, training, and response for more effective and efficient operations," Bosak wrote in an email. "Unfortunately, I cannot comment on the lawsuit because there is pending litigation. However, I am confident that the fire service issues will be resolved."
Kate King /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 15, 2013
Fonda’s Fire Dept. to dissolve following February vote - NY

FONDA, N.Y. -- After 139 years in service, the fire alarms will no longer be heard at the Fonda Fire Department one month after a ruling was made to dissolve the department and outsource emergency services.

A three to one ruling was made in February at a Board of Trustees meeting to abolish the local volunteer fire department.

Firefighters FOX23 News spoke with say that every time they drive through town, the building that once housed the department will remain a sore spot, because none of the men who volunteered wanted to see it dissolved.

For four minutes, from Fultonville to Mohawk, sirens usually reserved for a death in the department blared in recognition of the department's final moments.

"In this case it's the death of the fire department," said former Chief Donald Wagoner who served at the station for the past 21 years. "After being on call for 365, 24 /7, except for when I go on vacation there is nothing."

Now, all he has left are the pictures from the last few decades.

"It was really hard to shut the doors," said Wagoner.

"It leaves you with a sense of emptiness like somethings missing," said Asst. Chief Gary Barmen.

Mayor William Peeler told FOX23 News in a previous interview that the cost of maintaining the 139-year old fire department was becoming a burden on the tax payers, citing aging equipment as a primary reason.

Wagoner wishes more residents had voiced their opinion during town meetings. Now he says it's too late as the last gate closes.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 15, 2013
Lessons Learned:
Firefighters Change Gas Leak Protocols in Wake of Blast - MO

The Kansas City Fire Department will change key elements of the way it responds to gas leaks, changes that might have made a difference in the deadly Feb. 19 explosion at JJ's restaurant.

Fire Chief Paul Berardi said that from now on, the initial dispatch on any call about a possible natural gas leak will include a battalion chief and a fire truck equipped with equipment to monitor gas levels in the air.

In addition, firefighters will remain on the scene and continue to consult with gas utility experts to determine whether to evacuate an area or building. They will remain there until the risk has been resolved.

Those protocols were not in place and those procedures were not followed when firefighters first responded to JJ's on the afternoon of the blast, which occurred after a contractor ruptured an underground gas pipe.

One pumper truck crew was dispatched to the reported leak. It arrived at the restaurant at 910 W. 48th St. at 5:04 p.m. and left at 5:17 p.m.

While they were on the scene, according to the Fire Department, someone from Missouri Gas Energy arrived and said that he "had the situation under control" and that the fire crew could leave. The crew advised JJ's staff to keep all ignition sources off and told them to await an all-clear from the gas company.

"We then cleared the scene, leaving it with MGE," said a Fire Department narrative of the events of that day.

In what was labeled Berardi's final statement on the matter, the chief said Thursday: "Injuries to the public and the loss of property weigh heavily on firefighters, whether in major events such as this or in the fires and accidents we address every day. KCFD accordingly reviews all major operations, especially those involving injury or a fatality, for the purpose of improving firefighters' ability to better protect human life and property."

One employee of JJ's was killed and 15 other people were injured in the blast and fire.

Mayor Sly James later vowed that the city would review its policies and procedures and make any changes necessary to ensure that nothing like that ever happens again.

"The Fire Department's first and highest priority is the safety of Kansas Citians," James said Thursday night. "These changes highlight that commitment."

City Councilman John Sharp, who is chairman of the public safety committee, said he was pleased by the protocol changes.

"It's bad enough to have a tragedy like this but it would be worse if you don't learn from it," Sharp said.

The city on Wednesday released a "cause and origin" report of the explosion that determined it was caused by the accidental ignition of natural gas vapors that accumulated inside JJ's restaurant. The report said two pilot lights were on at JJ's before the explosion.

A separate investigation is being conducted into the gas line breach.
Matt Campbell / The Kansas City Star

Please buckle your seat belt

March 15, 2013
Firefighter's POV Stolen From Station, Recovered - ME

TROY, Maine -- Just after midnight Thursday, Shawn Quimby of the Troy Volunteer Fire Department woke up to respond to a page that there was a fire outside the Troy General Store.

He drove his 2006 Toyota pickup truck to the fire station, then donned his firefighting gear and went in the fire truck to the scene, which turned out to be a porta potty that apparently had been set on fire. When the fire crew returned less than an hour later from dousing the smelly fire, Quimby was upset to see that his truck was gone -- along with personal items including his tools and his wallet that were inside the unlocked truck.

"It's unbelievable, it really is. You try to do something for the community," he said later that morning. "I was really shocked."

Quimby, who said he had unfortunately left his keys inside the vehicle, notified police. His wife, Ashley Quimby, shared a photograph of the missing truck on Facebook asking people to help find it. By noon, the photo had been shared more than 2,500 times.

"Someone knows who has our truck," she wrote. "Bring out truck home!"

The family's plea was answered later that morning when a state trooper found it, the motor still running, somewhere in the neighboring town of Dixmont. The tools, wallet, credit cards and other items left inside hadn't been taken or damaged.

"I'm very, very pleased," said Shawn Quimby, who added that he had spent a long night first firefighting and then worrying, said.

Despite his lack of sleep, he said at noon that he was about to get in his truck to drive across the state to help take care of the animals at his sister's deer farm in Danforth.

"I couldn't afford another one," he said of the vehicle, adding that the events of the night, including the burning porta potty and the stranger's apparent joy ride in his pickup truck, seemed odd.

"It makes you on edge a little bit," he said.

The trooper investigating the theft was unavailable for comment Thursday. Efforts to speak with the fire chief about the apparent arson were unsuccessful.
Abigail Curtis / Bangor Daily News, Maine

Please buckle your seat belt

March 15, 2013
Over 100 Firefighters Battle Long Island Blaze - NY

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (AP) — A large building fire that forced authorities to shut down a multiple-block stretch of a Long Island town has displaced more than 20 residents.

Newsday reports ( that the Thursday afternoon blaze firefighters battled for hours in Port Washington reignited again later that night. More than 100 firefighters from six different departments took on the fire.

Thick black smoke enveloped and darkened the neighborhood Thursday afternoon.

The newspaper says people in the area covered their faces with towels and scarves to protect against the heavy smoke.

Police said the building was evacuated. A fire official said that one firefighter and a National Grid worker were treated for minor injuries. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 15, 2013
Firefighter Injured Battling Blaze - FL

A firefighter was injured battling a house fire Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

The fire at 2217 Groveland Drive prompted calls to 911 that people were trapped inside the home, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, but that was not the case.

The family that lives there was out when the fire started. Flames were coming from the roof when Fire Rescue arrived, and concerns about the house collapsing caused firefighters to fight the flames from outside the home.

A firefighter sustained a minor injury, Fire Rescue said. The American Red Cross and members of the community were assisting the family.
Tampa Bay Times

Please buckle your seat belt

March 15, 2013
Police investigate crash involving ambulance - NY

Three people were hospitalized Thursday following a two-vehicle crash in northeast Rochester that involved an ambulance.

A Rural/Metro ambulance service sport utility vehicle, also known as a fly car, was involved in a crash with a van just before 11:30 a.m. at Hudson Avenue and Avenue D, said Rural/Metro spokeswoman LaShay Harris. The fly car was en route to an emergency call when the crash occurred, she said.

It was initially reported that people were trapped inside the ambulance. Two Rural/Metro employees and one person from the van were all taken to Strong Memorial Hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening, she said.

Rochester police are investigating and closed the intersection to motorists.
Written by Staff reports /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 15, 2013
Firefighter injured trying to help women attacked by dogs - TX

HOUSTON — A firefighter and two women were hospitalized after they were attacked by two dogs.

The firefighter suffered minor injuries when trying to help the two women who were being attacked, according to KHOU.

The women were walking to their cars Thursday morning when the attack occurred.

A 62-year-old teacher will require several surgeries while the other woman was bitten down to the bone.

Sonny Pena, the owner of the chocolate Labrador and boxer, said the dogs likely crawled under a fence and escaped and may have been scared and attacked. He said the dogs are "inside dogs" and aren't typically aggressive.

Police said the dogs were so aggressive that they tried shooting them before they ran back to Pena's home.

The dogs also went after a third woman but she was able to escape.

The dogs are now in quarantine for 10 days. One victim is likely to sue for damages.
By FireRescue1 Staff

Please buckle your seat belt

March 15, 2013
Clearwater firefighters find dead baby on step of fire station - FL

CLEARWATER — A dead baby with her umbilical cord still attached was discovered swaddled in a towel at the front door of a Clearwater fire station Friday morning, authorities said.

The baby was found by firefighters at about 7:20 a.m. when they stepped outside to pick up the newspaper. Clearwater police are investigating the circumstances of her death. She has not been identified, but is believed to be less than a day old, police said.

It remains unclear what time the baby was placed in front of the fire station Thursday night, and whether she was alive or dead when she was abandoned. It was a cold night, with Tampa Bay area temperatures in the low 40s early Friday morning, according to the National Weather Service. Besides the towel, the baby was naked, police said.

Whoever left the baby was possibly trying to take advantage of Florida's Safe Haven for Newborns law, a statute that permits parents to anonymously surrender custody of an infant 7 days old or younger at a fire station or hospital. A sign next to the door where the dead baby was discovered reads Safe Haven for Newborns and depicts an infant's hand grasping the larger hand of an adult.

However, the language of the statute requires that the newborn be "left with a firefighter, emergency medical technician or paramedic." Clearwater public safety spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts said officials interpret that to mean the baby must be placed in the physical custody of a fire department employee, not simply abandoned outside.

"In this case, the baby was left out there, it was not turned over to anyone, and nobody knew the baby was out there," Watts said.

She noted that the front door is equipped with both an intercom and an emergency telephone.

"There are ways someone could have tried to reach someone, and at this point it does not appear that any attempt was made," Watts said.

Assistant Fire Chief Joseph Connors, head of emergency medical services at the station, declined to comment Friday and referred questions to Watts.

The firehouse, which sits behind a Super Target store at the southeast corner of Clearwater Mall, is typically staffed around the clock, Watts said. Since authorities don't yet know when the baby was left, they can't say how many firefighters were inside the station at the time, Watts said.

The Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office was performing an autopsy on the child's body Friday and conducting tests to determine the time and cause of death.

Prompted by concern about rising rates of infanticide by women abandoning unwanted babies in dumpsters, garbage cans and other hazardous locations, Florida's Safe Haven for Newborns law was signed in 2000 by former Gov. Jeb Bush.

Since then, the program has successfully handled the transfers of 188 living infants, according to Nick Silverio, founder of the nonprofit program A Safe Haven for Newborns, which helps administer the legislation. Of those, 12 were in the four counties of the Tampa Bay area.

Silverio said there have been cases where a parent improperly left an infant at the front door of a firehouse, but those babies lived. He said he could not recall a baby dying after its parent seemingly made an effort to use the Safe Haven program.

He said babies left on firehouse doorsteps are becoming enough of a problem, however, that the sign displayed in front of stations is currently being redesigned to include the admonition, "Only when left with a staff member!"

"You say that's common sense, and it is," Silverio said. "But we don't know the psychological situation of the mom. For the most part, the message is getting across."

Linda Paliotti, 64, who lives in a mobile home park next to the Clearwater firehouse, said most residents of the area are retired. She said she doubted that anyone from the neighborhood had abandoned the baby, and noted that with Clearwater Mall stores nearby, as well as Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard and the Courtney Campbell Parkway, the area is a crossroads for people from across the region.

"At least whoever it was took it to what she thought was a safe haven," Paliotti said.

Watts said the firefighters who found the baby, who have since gone home and were not available for an interview, were "very upset" over the discovery.

"I know that some of them were obviously disturbed by it," she said. "Any time you have a death involving a child, it's not something that personnel take lightly."

She said detectives are reviewing surveillance video footage from the area for clues about who dropped off the baby, and when.

Investigators are asking that anyone with information about the incident call the Clearwater Police Department at (727) 562-4242 or the Clearwater police tip line at (727) 562-4080.

Women seeking a referral for counseling about a pregnancy or medical help delivering a baby can call the confidential hot line of A Safe Haven for Newborns at (877) 767-2229.
Peter Jamison, Times Staff Writer

Please buckle your seat belt

March 14, 2013
Massive Fire Puts Spotlight on Cutbacks - NJ

After a large fire in Harrison, N.J. devastated a building and injured firefighters over the weekend, there's renewed scrutiny on cutbacks -- not just in Harrison but in most communities with paid fire departments.
Brian Thompson reports. / By NBC 4 New York

Please buckle your seat belt

March 14, 2013

Benton Harbor Fire fighter Doug Bell was trapped in a house fire this morning and severely burned.

The City of Benton Harbor has been operating under an Emergency Financial Manager for some time now. One of the things that was imposed on them was the implementation of a PSO department. They have one full-time “real” firefighter on duty each shift and they are supposed to be supplemented on scene by “trained” PSO officers. The exact details and circumstances that lead to Doug’s injury are still being investigated but first reports are that he was in the house alone and when he became trapped, one of the PSO officers went in and assisted him. Our members in Benton Harbor have been reporting that the PSO system is not working the way it was supposed to and that they have been getting very little “fire scene” assistance from the PSO officers. Firefighter safety is severely compromised.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 14, 2013
Two Firefighters Hospitalized After House Fire - TN

Two firefighters were treated this morning at a hospital after battling a blaze at a Townsend home.

The unidentified firefighters were taken to Blount Memorial Hospital during the nearly five-hour effort to contain flames at the 235 Boat Gunnel Road home, said Townsend Area Volunteer Fire Department Chief Don Stallions.

One firefighter experienced chest pains while the second succumbed to heat exhaustion, Stallions said.

"Everybody's fine," the chief said. One firefighter was examined and released, while the man suffering chest pains was expected to be released later today.

Stallions said a passer-by reported heavy flames about 7:20 a.m. shooting from the single-story, 1,600-square-foot home. The chief said the homeowner was out of town and a housesitter staying at the "older farm home" was gone when the flames erupted.

"It was close to 100 percent involved when we arrived," Stallions said.

Firefighters from the Blount County Fire Department joined in the battle.

Stallions said the home was "a total loss."

The cause of the blaze has not been determined, but Stallions said there was nothing to indicate the fire was suspicious.
Don Jacobs / The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tenn.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 14, 2013
Firefighters Escape House Fire Collapse - VT

WESTFORD, Vt. (AP) — Two volunteer firefighters are fine after they escaped a house that collapsed during a fire in Westford, Vt.

Firefighters from eight volunteer departments responded to the chimney fire about 1:40 p.m. Wednesday. The fire spread to the rest of the house.

Essex Fire Chief Charles Cole tells the Burlington Free Press ( fire trucks could not reach the house due to the grade and length of the driveway, which was partially washed out from rain.

He estimated about 3,000 feet of 5-inch hose was stretched to the Browns River to help firefighters get water to the scene. Tankers from several departments also were used.

A fire destroyed the house three years ago. It had a different owner at the time.
Information from: The Burlington Free Press

Please buckle your seat belt

March 14, 2013
Grenade Left at Calif. Firehouse Causes Bomb Scare - CA

A woman who wrapped a non-functioning grenade in a sock and left it at a Costa Mesa fire station caused a bomb scare Thursday morning, according to police.

Police received a call at about 8:40 a.m. that a woman had left a grenade in a sock in a metal box outside Fire Station 1 on Royal Palm Drive, according to Sgt. Zack Hoferitza. She had let firefighters know she left it there.

The grenade still had a pin in it, but had been previously gutted and was safe. Police cleared the scene as of 9:45 a.m.

Hoferitza said if people find explosives, they should contact police immediately and not try to transport them.
Lauren Williams / Daily Pilot, Costa Mesa, Calif.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 14, 2013
Pickup Truck Rear-Ends Tanker; Civilian Hurt - FL

DESOTO COUNTY -- The driver of a pickup that collided with a fire tanker Thursday was taken to DeSoto Memorial Hospital with serious injuries.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a DeSoto County Fire Rescue tanker was responding to a structure fire at the residence of Rick and Rhonda Dukes, on State Road 72 just west of N.W. Barrow Avenue. As the tanker returned from the fire station on State Road 72 after filling up with water, it slowed down to make the right turn into the driveway.

Cecil Daughtrey III, 54, of Sidell, Fla., in a Ford F-150 pickup heading east on State Road 72 behind the tanker, attempted to brake but failed to stop in time and struck the rear of the tanker. The wreck was reported at 9:42 a.m. Daughtrey, who was not wearing a seat belt, struck the windshield of the pickup, breaking the glass. He was transported to DeSoto Memorial Hospital with serious injuries. Daughtrey was cited for failure to wear a seat belt and careless driving. FHP determined neither alcohol nor drugs was a factor in the incident.

The fire at the Dukes home was believed to have started in the chimney. The structure suffered substantial damage to the second floor, with smoke and water damage also to the first floor. The couple praised DeSoto County Fire Rescue for arriving on scene so quickly.

According to Rick Dukes, the house was not insured. The couple said they hope to rebuild the home. However, Rick Dukes recently had extensive surgery and has been unable to work. Anyone who would like to donate cash or gift cards to help the couple out can call them at 863-263-5508.

According to the Facebook page for EasyHomes WeBuy-Houses of Lakeland(, volunteers from that company plan to help the family rebuild. Steve Mitchell of the company said he has known the family 'forever' and when he saw what the Dukes family was going through, he wanted to help. He has friends in roofing, electrical and other building trades and planning to help with repairs.
SUSAN E. HOFFMAN; Arcadian Editor / Source: Arcadian (Florida)

Please buckle your seat belt

March 14, 2013
East St. Louis Firefighters Fear Deep Staff Cuts - MO

Firefighters here have posted an Internet video detailing what they say is a risk that 22 of their force of 53 might be laid off when a federal grant runs out at the end of this month. The nine-minute, 11-second video, posted on YouTube Monday, had racked up more than 26,000 hits by Wednesday about as many views as the city has residents. Brandon Walls, president of the firefighters union, said it was intended to make the community aware.

"I can't see how these decisions are being made with everybody's best interests," said Walls, 42, who has been with the department since 1997.

Mayor Alvin Parks said that the city was "absolutely planning to reapply" for the grant but that the chances of getting it a second time were probably 30 percent.

"We will exhaust every effort to retain the firefighters they are absolutely essential to the city's operation and to the community's safety," he said. "But it's a very, very, very competitive process. Second, we got it two years ago, and the federal government may want to spread the wealth around. When you consider what the federal government is going through, with the sequester, we understand this is not automatic by a long shot -- but we will certainly be competing."

Parks added that even if the grant wasn't renewed, he expected the number of layoffs would be from 10 to 15 firefighters. That's due to a slight tax increase that went into effect in January to pay for firefighters.

Parks said that the layoffs probably would go into effect about May 1 but if the city later got the grant, the firefighters would be rehired. Walls and Fire Chief Jason Blackmon said the city had until sometime in May to reapply for the grant.

Parks also said the city couldn't afford to shift additional money in its budget.

"The two biggest areas of the city's budget by far are in fire and police personnel," he said.

"We hope for the best but prepare for the worst," Parks said.

According to information on the firefighters' video, the department operates at minimum levels now, with just six personnel responding to most alarms. In 2012, there were 1,856 calls. About half, 950, were fires.

The union made a similar video in 2009, after city officials debated laying off 11 firefighters. It didn't help.

But those firefighters were brought back in 2011, and 12 were added, after the city secured the $3.3 million Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"That helped the city," Walls said Wednesday. "Obviously, they didn't prepare for the future."

The video opens inside a dilapidated firehouse, closed since 1988, with the camera passing an unused yellow firetruck, rusted Campbell's soup cans on a counter and a dusty uniform still in its locker.

The department once had more than 150 members. That was when the city population was about 80,000, Blackmon said. The city's population and economy have declined for a half-century, with budget cuts and attrition sapping the staff.

"With 53 firefighters, we have to do what we have to do," Blackmon said. "And we still are able to do our jobs with the manpower we have."

Walls said the union hoped public pressure would help keep the fire budget from being gutted.

"We're not looking for raises or anything of that nature," he said. "We're trying to save the men. We're functioning like we are now out of pure dedication.

"I don't know how to negotiate this. There's nothing to concede."
Written by St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Please buckle your seat belt

March 14, 2013
Teen gets jail for spitting on EMT - SD

RAPID CITY, S.D. — A SD teen will serve two concurrent one-year jail sentences for spitting on an EMT who was trying to treat him at the scene of an accident last Feb.

Trey Wright, 19, crashed his vehicle on Feb. 18, 2012 and when responders arrived, he became combative and spit on the EMT, according to the Rapid City Journal. Wright pleaded guilty to driving under the influence, sliming and simple assault.

Under state supervision at the time of the incident, Wright is now serving a 345-day sentence in connection with another incident and after that sentence expires in May he will remain in custody to serve his new sentence.

Circuit Judge Jeff Davis warned Wright, who is on work release, that if he violates the conditions of his sentence he will go to prison.
By FireRescue1 Staff

Please buckle your seat belt

March 14, 2013
Sedamsville blaze briefly traps firefighters - OH

SEDAMSVILLE — Three firefighters were briefly trapped in a house fire overnight, but no one was injured, Cincinnati fire officials said Thursday.

When crews were called to 404 Lilienthal St. just after 10:30 p.m., they found heavy fire shooting from the attic of the large, two-story residence, said District 2 Fire Chief Daniel Mertz.

A second alarm was sounded to bring more equipment and trucks. Firefighters inside became trapped on the second-floor, but were able to escape through a second floor window, Mertz said.

All firefighters were ordered out of the building at that point, and they extinguished the fire from the outside. It was brought under control in about 45 minutes.

Damage was set at $50,000, and three adults were displaced.

The American Red Cross is helping them find temporary lodging.

Fire investigators determined the blaze was sparked by a fireplace left unattended, Mertz said.
Written by Jennifer Edwards Baker /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 14, 2013
Four firefighters hurt when engine crashes into tree - CA

Video from KABC

Four Orange County firefighters were recovering from injuries Thursday after their firetruck crashed into a tree.

The Orange County Fire Authority engine was involved in an accident at Crescent Avenue and Los Altos Drive around 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, KTLA reported.

Officials said Engine 61, based in Buena Park, was responding to a medical aid call when the crash took place. The engine was turning from Crescent to a service road just west of Los Altos when the driver apparently lost control.

The fire truck went up onto a median and struck a large pine tree, officials said. The crash was so powerful that it knocked over the tree and crushed the emergency vehicle’s engine. Four firefighters were taken to a local hospital with minor to moderate injuries, a spokesman for the fire authority said.

The fire authority was investigating the crash.
L.A. NOW / Southern California

Please buckle your seat belt

March 13, 2013
Firefighter, civilian injured in Melbourne fire, explosion - KY

Firefighter civilian injured
Fire crews at the Melbourne fire Wednesday morning that left two injured.

Firefighter civilian injured

MELBOURNE, Ky. - One firefighter and a civilian sustained injuries during a fire in Northern Kentucky Wednesday morning.

A fire started in a detached garage at a residence in the 6000 block of Mary Ingles Highway in Melbourne at about 6 a.m. A propane tank exploded during the fire, causing injuries to the Melbourne firefighter and one other person.

The civilian has shrapnel injuries to the leg because of the explosion. The firefighter sustained a concussion after he was blown back by the explosion and hit his head. Officials say both victims' injuries are not serious.

The firefighter has been released from St. Elizabeth Hospital in Fort Thomas.

Officials extinguished the garage fire, but have not released details about its cause or the estimated cost of damage.
By: Sarah Beth Hensley, WCPO Digital

Please buckle your seat belt

March 13, 2013

WSBT photo // Mark Honaker

A South Bend firefighter was hurt battling a blaze early Wednesday morning.

Emergency crews were called to a burning home in the 400 block of N. Grandview Ave. at 3:20 a.m.

When they arrived on the scene, they say flames venting from a first floor window.

A passerby saw the fire and called 911.

Firefighters searched the home, but no one was inside the heavily-damaged building, owned by Larry and Diana Williams.

One firefighter suffered 1st degree burns but will be okay.

It took crews about an hour to bring the blaze under control.

Investigators believe the fire started in the basement near the furnace, but the exact cause is unknown.

Damage is estimated at $37,500.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 13, 2013
Firefighters May Have Missed Body During Fire - KS

Wichita homicide detectives and arson investigators are seeking answers in the death of an 65-year-old man found in a burned apartment in south Wichita on Tuesday afternoon.

The man's body was discovered shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday by someone cleaning in the apartment at Southfield Apartments, 3161 S. George Washington Blvd. The multi-building complex is tucked on East 31st Street South, near McConnell Air Force Base.

The apartment was the scene of a fire reported shortly after 1 p.m. on Dec. 27, Capt. Joe Evans said. The fire was ruled accidental due to an electrical issue.

"We're still not sure as to exactly what's going on here," Evans said after the body was found.

An autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause and estimated time of death.

The fire started in the living room near the front door, Fire Marshal Brad Crisp said. While the incident caused an estimated $15,000 damage to the apartment and its contents, he said, there was little actual fire damage, and it was confined to the area around a space heater, an extension cord and a power strip.

The victim was found in a bedroom under several layers of clothing by the foot of the bed, Crisp said. Maintenance workers had been clearing and cleaning the apartment for days.

"There wasn't any fire damage in that room," he said, though there was quite a bit of smoke in the apartment caused by the fire.

Neighbors told firefighters and a search-and-rescue team they hadn't seen the tenant for two or three months.

"They thought he had left the country," Crisp said. "We were under the impression he wasn't even around."

A search-and-rescue team still went through the apartment, which was filled with clothes, VHS tapes and other clutter in what Crisp described as "an excessive storage" situation.

But the discovery of the body is prompting a review of search-and-rescue procedures.

"If, in fact, we did miss somebody, that doesn't meet with our expectations," Crisp said. "Perhaps we need to do things differently."
Stan Finger / The Wichita Eagle

Please buckle your seat belt

March 13, 2013
Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue truck overturns in crash, five hurt - FL

Five people, including two Fort Lauderdale firefighters and patient they were rushing to the hospital, were injured Wednesday when their emergency vehicle flipped over on its side after being broadsided on Davie Boulevard, officials said.

The incident happened about 11:50 a.m. and shut down the intersection of Davie Boulevard and Southwest 15th Avenue for more than an hour.

"The impact was pretty severe," said Janet Catala, 41, who was stopped at the traffic light and watched the collision unfold before her eyes. "Lights and sirens were on, and everyone could hear them coming."

Rescue 47, eastbound for Broward Health Medical Center with the patient, apparently swerved as the northbound Volkswagen Passat approached from Southwest 15 Avenue, according to witness Ashley Better, 17.

The incident unfolded east of Interstate 95 and west of the Davie Boulevard Bridge

The ambulance teetered, then fell onto its left side and skidded about 40 yards north in the westbound lanes of Davie Boulevard, said Better.

"I was scared, shocked," said Better, a student at Stranahan High School who was crossing 15th Avenue.

Also taken to the hospital were the driver and one passenger in the Volkswagen.

Catala, 41, an off-duty emergency medical technician, said she ran to the overturned ambulance to help. There, one of the firefighters tossed her a pair of rubber gloves and asked her to check the occupants of the Volkswagen.

One of the two women was bleeding profusely from the nose.

"There was a lot of blood," she said of the scene inside the car. "She was saying she couldn't breath, and I was just telling her to stay calm."

Matt Little, a spokesman for the city of Fort Lauderdale, said none of the injuries was deemed critical. However, one firefighter and one of the women in the car were more seriously hurt than the others.

The crash in under investigation by Fort Lauderdale police.
By Mike Clary, Sun Sentinel

Please buckle your seat belt

March 13, 2013
Man Tries to Stop Firefighters From Helping Unconscious Man - IO

A 22-year-old Ames man resisted his arrest and tried to stop firefighters from helping an unconscious intoxicated man at a party early Saturday, according to criminal complaints.

Police were investigating a nuisance party at Walton Drive about 12:30 a.m. Saturday and discovered an “extremely intoxicated” man who had passed out and had vomit on his face and the officer called paramedics to help, complaints said.

While firefighters examined the man, Moroni Torres, also of Walton Drive, began yelling at the firefighters and telling them to leave the unconscious man alone, according to complaints. When firefighters didn't listen, Torres got up and lunged toward the firefighters and the officer tried to hold him back, complaints said. The officer said he was forced to user a taser on the man twice to “gain compliance” and that the man continued to resist after he was in handcuffs, complaints said.

As the officer placed the man in the squad car Torres said “Come here,” and the officer leaned down to hear what Torres had to say and Torres spit on the officer's leg, complaints said.

Torres was charged with assault on a peace officer or firefighter and interference with official acts.
By Jessica Miller / Ames Patch

Please buckle your seat belt

March 13, 2013
Firefighter arrives to find own house in flames - NY

New York (CNN) -- When the call came in that a pickup truck had slammed into a house, igniting a fire, volunteer firefighter Michael Cosgrove and his fellow firemen in the New York hamlet of Selden rushed to the scene.

It was only when their fire trucks neared the street that Cosgrove realized that the fire he'd be fighting would be at his own house.

"He realized it was his address that was actually on fire," Cosgrove's neighbor Nelson Ortiz told CNN affiliate WCBS. "So he jumped out, he left everything out of the vehicle, and he started work."

The firefighter's wife and two children, ages 9 and 7, were in the home and were able to escape unharmed.

The fire started after the driver of a pickup truck, who authorities said was under the influence of drugs, lost control and crashed into a natural gas line at the house.

The impact engulfed both the truck and house in flames, Suffolk County Police said.

The driver of the truck was arrested.

The call that came into the fire station was from the house next to Cosgrove's, leading firefighters to think that's where the fire was, Selden Fire Chief Joseph Leavens said.

Last year, Cosgrove was named firefighter of the year for rescuing a man from a burning building as he waited for other firefighters to arrive.
By Julie Cannold, CNN

Please buckle your seat belt

March 12, 2013
Wounded Webster Firefighter Appears Before Gun Violence Task Force - NY

Christmas Eve shooting ambush
A house burns Monday, Dec. 24, 2012 in Webster, New York. A former convict set a house and car ablaze in his lakeside New York state neighborhood to lure firefighters then opened fire on them, killing two and engaging police in a shootout before killing himself while several homes burned. Authorities used an armored vehicle to evacuate the area. (AP Photo/Democrat & Chronicle, Jamie Germano)

Webster Firefighters Talk about Ambush

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — A western New York firefighter who survived a Christmas Eve shooting ambush that left two colleagues dead is visiting the nation's capital.

Webster firefighter Ted Scardino was hit in the shoulder Dec. 24 when a convicted felon opened fire as firefighters arrived to battle a blaze just east of Rochester.

U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter, a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, says Scardino will testify to the task force Tuesday. The Rochester-area congresswoman says Scardino will voice his support for legislation to make firearms trafficking a federal crime and impose stronger penalties for people who buy guns for those barred from making firearms purchases.

The weapon used in the Christmas Eve shooting was obtained by the shooter through a so-called straw purchase.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 12, 2013
Firefighter injured in Syracuse industrial fire - NY

Firefighter injured
Syracuse firefighters and police responded to a fire at 360 North Midler Ave. early Tuesday evening. (Photo by Mike Greenlar |

Syracuse, NY-- Syracuse firefighters responded to a fire at an industrial building Tuesday evening that left one firefighter with a minor injury.

The fire occurred around 5:20 p.m. at 360 N. Midler Ave., Onondaga County 911 reported.

The fire began in a red brick industrial building that has been used for many manufacturing operations over the years, Deputy Chief Steve Cavuto said, but the building is now chopped up into several storage areas and personal garages.

The fire began in one of those personal garages and spread to several large subdivided areas before crews could contain the fire, he said. Several cars were destroyed in the fire.

A Syracuse firefighters suffered a minor injury when his face was cut on some metal, Cavuto said. The firefighter was taken to the hospital for treatment and is expected to be released. No other injuries were reported he said.

It took firefighters about 30 minutes to bring the fire under control, Cavuto said. That was largely because firefighters had to drag several hose lines several hundred yards in from the street to the fire.

"Fires like that are labor intensive," Cavuto said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.
By Ken Sturtz |

Please buckle your seat belt

March 12, 2013
Firefighter injured in San Luis Obispo blaze is recovering - CA

The firefighter who was injured while battling a weekend blaze at a San Luis Obispo apartment complex will make a full recovery, officials said Monday.

San Luis Obispo City Fire Captain/Paramedic Matt Lipson suffered bumps and bruises while fighting a fire Saturday morning at the Stenner Glen Student Housing Apartment Complex at 1050 Foothill Blvd.

Lipson, on his hands and knees, was advancing the hose line down the third floor hallway to fight the fire when the ceiling and roof collapsed and struck him in the head, Fire Chief Charlie Hines said.

No one else was hurt in the blaze, which was reported at 11:02 a.m.

Firefighters arrived at the Stenner Glen apartment complex soon afterward to discover a third-floor blaze that had blown out windows and was making its way into the building's attic.

The fire was under control by around 11:20 a.m., Battalion Chief Jeff Gater said.

One firefighter was taken to the hospital after part of a ceiling fell on him as he was fighting the blaze.

No one else was hurt in the fire.

The cause of the fire, which officials say started in an unoccupied room on the third floor, is being investigated.
By AnnMarie Cornejo /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 12, 2013
Two Firefighters Burned at House Fire - OK

Two Tulsa firefighters were burned while fighting a house fire Monday evening.

The two, whose names were not released, were in the process of fighting a fire in the 6400 block of West 60th Street when they suffered minor burns, Fire Chief Ray Driskell said.

They were taken to a hospital for treatment, he said.

Heavy smoke and flames were coming from the front of the one-story house when firefighters arrived about 7:30 p.m., Driskell said.

It seemed to have started in the front bedrooms and then spread throughout the house, he said.

The house was gutted by the flames, and damage was estimated at $100,000, he said. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Driskell said no one was home when the fire started but that two adults live there. The American Red Cross will be assisting them, officials said. Kendrick Marshall / Tulsa World, Okla.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 12, 2013
East St. Louis Firefighters Struggle - MO

As a member of the East St. Louis Fire Dept, we continue to struggle with manpower and equipment failure everyday. Our dept responds to the highest percentage of fires in the St. Louis metro east.

With over 150 firefighters that used to protect this city, only 53 remain due to budget cuts. Unfortunately the East St. Louis fire department is facing laying off 22 more firefighters in May 2013 which is extremely dangerous.

Most fire departments respond up to 5 engines, 2 Chiefs and 15 firefighters to a house fire. Right now only 2 engines and 6 firefighters respond to a structure or house fire in East St. Louis EVERYDAY which is well below the number required by the NFPA. This is not to mention the other fire calls that come in. If layoffs occur, that number could fall to 3 firefighters and 1 engine which will be catastrophic.

I ask you to PLEASE share this video with your fellow firefighters and others so we can let the public know what we are up against. The 2nd half of this video was filmed in @ a 4 month period with the Fire Cam 1080 Fire Helmet Camera™ from and is about East St. Louis Firefighters. But ultimately, it is about ALL of us and what we do everyday. Firefighters everywhere protecting life and property.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 12, 2013
Reading firefighters union votes 'no confidence' in chief - PA

READING, Pa. - Reading firefighters said they want the fire chief out.

Monday night the president of the firefighters' union went to city council and the mayor to tell them why.

The president of the union, Mike Shoumlisky, originally planned to air his case during the public council meeting, but was told he couldn't. So, instead he laid out his argument privately for why Fire Chief David Hollinger should go after less than a year.

"I respect their rules. They didn't want me speaking at council because I was directing my comments towards a specific individual. And their rule during executive session well I'll speak and I will not receive any questions," said Shoumlisky.

Shoumlisky said his members took a no confidence vote last week and everyone agreed their current fire chief David Hollinger is unfit.

"He could have been a great chief, if he would have just listened to them," said Shoumlisky.

The firefighters have several complaints that Shoumlisky laid out for council.

"They promised to look into any allegations that I brought up," said Shoumlisky.

Everything from belittling deputy chiefs to their concerns about what the chief wrote on an application to get $4 million in grant money from FEMA.

Shoumlisky's example of Hollinger's belittling happened during the Hill Road fire.

"Instead of questioning him or commending him for looking out for the safety of his men," said Shoumlisky, "He just merely called him 'Chicken Little' for pulling firefighters out of collapsing building."

Their major concern is the FEMA application which he photocopied and gave to council.

"They've been given copies of the SAFER application with the documentation and the highlighting of the areas that were lied about," said Shoumlisky, "There's some items in there where he stretched the truth and there are some items in there that are flat out lies. I don't want to be part of this and I don't want our members to be part of this type of fraudulence of lying to the federal government to receive federal grant money."

Chief Hollinger could not respond to the allegations because he is out of town this week.

"He knew it was coming but he just didn't know when we were going to drop the bomb," said Shoumlisky.

A representative from the fire department said the chief is unaware of the issue and has no comment until he can review it.

Council and the mayor said they can not comment about what happens during an executive session.

"If the city decides they want to seek another fire chief after seeing this evidence that's up to them," said Shoumlisky.
Author: 69 News /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 12, 2013
9-dollar per hour firefighters use billboards for better pay - NC

WILMINGTON, N.C. — N.C. firefighters are now using city billboards to campaign for better pay by highlighting that they earn less than $10 per hour.

Chuck Bower, president of The Wilmington Professional Firefighters Association says drivers can now see wage-themed messages on electronic billboards starting this week.

The billboards will display the fire union's message for two weeks, according to Star News.

One message has a picture of a firefighter with “Risking our lives for $9.63/hr.”

Another has a firefighter climbing a ladder with the message, “Why are we at the bottom of the pay ladder?”

Bower says city leaders have not committed to or developed a long-term solution for improved pay and benefits.

A city human resources official said that firefighters overall are paid 21 percent below-market compared to top cities.

By FireRescue1 Staff

Please buckle your seat belt

March 12, 2013
Firefighters Make Slithering Discovery In Fire: Snakes - MN

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Rochester firefighters may have channeled their inner Samuel L. Jackson while investigating an apartment fire and finding a few slithering victims.

Officials say crews found loose pythons slithering around a bedroom while inspecting a fire at the Summit Square Apartments Monday afternoon.

A neighbor called 911 after hearing a fire alarm and smelling smoke. Firefighters found the ball pythons, after arriving on scene.

Crews say they weren’t sure what kind of snake they were, so called animal control and a Minnesota Department of Natural Resource snake expert for assistance.

Three snakes, all nearly three-feet long, were found. Authorities say one of the snakes died and the others were sent to the veteriarian to be checked out.

Investigators believe a warming device for the reptiles likely started the fire. The snakes’ plastic cages were both destroyed.

The resident and snake owner wasn’t home at the time of the fire but a sprinkler system put out most of the flames and kept it from spreading to other apartments.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 12, 2013
Firefighter seriously injured after fall from ladder - NC

SANFORD, N.C. — A N.C. firefighter was seriously injured Monday after falling from a ladder while battling a house fire.

Tramway Firefighter Matt Smith was on the ladder, battling a blaze at a vacant home when he fell and was transported to the hospital, according to WFJA.

Firefighter Smith is being treated for his injuries which are non-life threatening, but considered very serious.

The home was gutted, the second floor hardest hit. Investigators are looking into the cause of the fire. The home was reportedly vacant since Friday.
By FireRescue1 Staff

Please buckle your seat belt

March 11, 2013
Peers Pitch In To Help Sick Southlake Firefighter - TX

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – From his hospital bed at UT Southwestern’s St. Paul University Hospital in Dallas, Randy Potter looks over at his helmet. It’s got the number 479 on it and it’s the one he uses when he’s fighting fires.

“The guys from the station brought my helmet as incentive to get well and get back to work because they miss me,” says Potter. “It gives me strength to look over there and know even though I’m not there I’m still part of the team.”

Potter, 36, is a Southlake Firefighter and paramedic and battling a rare kidney disease.

He’s been a firefighter for 15 years, and at Southlake since 2009. “We are family and it’s the greatest career on earth,” says Potter “We help people.”

He was diagnosed in February. “It’s genetic. No known cause of why or how. It just happened.”

His brothers and sisters at the department are doing what they can to help with his medical expenses. They’ve made T-shirts with his number on it, and are working on several benefits.

“All the Firefighters in Southlake started working his shift so he would be able to stay on and wouldn’t have to go on Short Term Disability,” says Ryan Sessums, President of the Southlake Firefighters Association. “It keeps him on duty so he can still have insurance benefits.”

Sessums says three months of Randy’s shifts have been filled so far. Already he’s gotten plasma treatments and will soon start chemotherapy.

“It’s very humbling to wake up one day and not know if you are going to see the next one,” says Potter.

He says his faith is what’s gotten him through everything and he appreciates all the prayers, “Whoever is out there praying for me, I appreciate it so much. Don’t stop, that’s all I ask.”

He admits it’s been hard not to be at work and that he misses his firefighting family.

“Right now I feel lost, I feel empty because I’m not out helping people,” says Potter “It’s just a minor step. I’ll be back.”

To help raise money for Potter and his family T-shirts are available for $20.00 and can be purchased at both Southlake Fire stations.

All the profits will go to Randy.
Reporting Arezow Doost /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 11, 2013
Dorchester Rural FF Michael Louis Broz was Killed Responding to a Woods Fire in Beidler National Forest - SC

RIDGEVILLE – We regret to inform that Firefighter Michael Louis Broz of the Dorchester Rural Fire Department died Sunday afternoon as a result of injuries sustained in an MVA while responding to a woods fire in the Beidler National Forest.

The accident occurred around 4:30 Sunday afternoon Horseford Road in Ridgeville.

The 1977 Ford pickup he was operating left the road and struck a tree. SCHP reports that he was wearing a seatbelt and was the only occupant.

Firefighter Broz was declared dead at the scene.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 10, 2013

Photo courtesy of the Joppa-Magnolia / Volunteer Fire Company

One Harford County firefighter suffered burns and another became ill while combating a house fire Saturday night in the 1700 block of Harbinger Trail, Edgewood.

The incident was reported at about 8 p.m. at a two-story, single family home, according to fire officials.

Initial response came from the Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company, along with the Abingdon Fire Company, Kingsville Volunteer Fire Company and the Aberdeen Proving Ground Fire Department.

Fire officials thought there may have have been one person inside, so firefighters entered the house with hoses and began extinguishing fire on both floors. Search and rescue teams looked for the missing occupant.

It was later determined that the occupant was safe at a neighbors house.

However, during the incident, one firefighter from Joppa-Magnolia suffered burns to his upper body. The 18-year-old male was transported to the Johns Hopkins Bayview Burn Center by paramedic unit. He was treated and released.

A second firefighter, from the Abingdon Fire Company, became ill on the scene and was taken to the Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air for treatment. He was also treated and released.

Officials of the State Fire Marshal's office were on the scene to determine the cause and origin of the fire.

No additional injuries were reported. One family was displaced and the damage amount has yet to be determined. Other units responding included the White Marsh Volunteer Fire Company and the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 10, 2013
2 LAFD Firefighters Injured in Mid-City House Blaze - CA

PICO (MID CITY) - Two firefighters suffered minor injuries today in a fire that heavily damaged a two-story house in the Mid-City section of Los Angeles. The fire broke out just after 2:30 a.m. and structurally compromised the residence at 1846 S. Orange Grove Avenue.

Los Angeles Firefighters quickly arrived to find heavy smoke billowing from the first and second floors, and out of every attic vent of the 65 year-old house. Additional firefighters were immediately requested.

An aggressive interior attack with hose-lines ensued, however the inside stairwell was not accessible due to instability from the flames. Firefighters were then directed to ladder a balcony on the east side of the home to attack the flames on the second floor.

Simultaneously firefighters from Truck Companies performed vertical ventilation, cutting heat holes with chainsaws on the first story roof, then progressed to the second story roof. Roaring flames shot through the openings and the structural integrity began to quickly deteriorate. Firefighters were forced to swiftly exit before a partial roof collapse occurred.

A total of 55 firefighters, all under the command of Battalion Chief Alicia Welch, attacked the intense flames for nearly an hour before they were fully extinguished. Firefighters tirelessly remained on scene throughout the day controlling hot spots.

Due to the structure's severe damage, the home was Red Tagged by Building & Safety (B & S), deeming it unsafe for occupants, including firefighters and Arson Investigators to enter. Over 12 hours later, firefighters left the home in the care of a B & S structural engineer and a private insurance company.

The cause of the early morning blaze remains under active investigation by the LAFD Arson section. It does not appear to be suspicious in origin. Due to extensive fire damage the home is expected to be a total loss.

Fortunately, the residence was unoccupied at the time of the fire as the family was away due to the house being scheduled for fumigation at 7:00 am this morning.

Unfortunately, a Fire Captain suffered a knee injury while crawling inside the flame filled structure during fire attack, and a Firefighter was injured as he ascended a 16' ladder to the first floor roof. The ladder slid out from underneath him, causing him to fall onto wet concrete. Breaking his fall was a Firefighter working in the area bellow, whom did not require medical care. Both injured members (Captain & Firefighter) were treated and released at local hospitals.

Chief Welch commended the family for their precautionary wisdom in placing all their important documents in a fireproof safe of which firefighters were able to retrieve. Also commendable was the families close relationship with neighbors, whom quickly notified them of the emergency, assisting firefighters confirmation of no one being trapped in the inferno.
Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman / Los Angeles Fire Department

Please buckle your seat belt

March 10, 2013
Five firefighters injured in explosion, described as backdraft, at Harrison, 5-alarm fire. - NJ

HARRISON, N.J. (WABC) -- Several firefighters nearly lost their lives on Sunday, when a backdraft caused an explosion as they were battling a blaze in Harrison, New Jersey.

Firefighters say the blaze likely started in the kitchen of a Mexican restaurant on the 600 block of Frank E. Rogers Avenue before it quickly spread and engulfed the entire building, and the one next to it.

Investigators say this is the second time a fire has broken out in the restaurant.

At least four families are getting help from the Red Cross, because their homes were destroyed.

None of the families were hurt in the fire, but unfortunately the same is not true for first responders who rushed in to fight the blaze.

"The unfortunate thing with a back-draft is that initially there's heavy smoke in the building," said Captain Robert Gillen of the Harrison Fire Department, "all you need is an entrance of more oxygen and there's a massive explosion."

Two of the firefighters had more extensive injuries than the other three.

The Fire Marshal is on the scene investigating the cause.
Matt Kozar, Eyewitness News


Please buckle your seat belt

March 09, 2013

The Officers and Members of the Jericho Fire Department (Nassau County, Long Island, New York) announce the line of duty passing of Captain George A. Turner, Jr. of Trident Engine Co. 3. Captain Turner was a 8 year member of the Jericho Fire Department, with previous service to the Locust Valley as well as Glen Cove VFD's. He was also active on the 9th Battalion Decon Unit. His death is reportedly due to a heart attack while turning out for a run.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 09, 2013
Runaway fire truck rolls across busy street - FL

ORLANDO, Fla. —A group of Orange County firefighters were shocked when they came out to find their firetruck gone Sunday.

Firefighters said the runaway firetruck rolled down the ramp and coasted through traffic on Apopka-Vineland Road across from Fire Station 33.

Officials said there was an issue with the brakes.

They pulled into the bay, went into the station to get the equipment they needed and when they finished picking up that equipment they discovered the engine had rolled down the apron. The station does have a decent slop downward which helped the truck move along,” John Mulhall, of the Orange County Fire Department, said.

Two wreckers were called in to remove the truck, firefighters said.

No one was hurt and no other property or vehicles were affected.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 09, 2013
Upper East Side High-Rise Fire Leaves 19 Injured - NY

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Nineteen people were injured early Saturday in an extra-alarm fire that broke out in an Upper East Side high-rise.

As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, the fire broke out at 3:42 a.m. at the Knickerbocker Plaza, at 1751 Second Ave. at the junction with 92nd Street. The fire was driven by strong, gusty winds.

Flames shot from the 12th-floor corner unit of Knickerbocker Plaza. Shattered glass rained down on the sidewalk, and thick, black smoke filled the 40-story tower, 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported.

“Just a lot of smoke – filling the apartments, the hallways, everything,” said one resident who lives on the 28th floor of the building.

The alarms in the building were going off, and firefighters were telling residents to stay put.

“(They said), ‘Put a rag under the door, keep your doors closed, and stay by a window; stay low,’” the resident said.

Hector Centeno lives next to the site where the fire broke out.

“There was a fire — we woke up and I heard the alarm, so I went to the hallway, to open up the hallway door. The smoke billows in, so I got my family, made sure they’re safe. I called for help because my son’s autistic, so they came and got us,” he told CBS 2. “But going down the stairs, there’s over 40 firemen in the stairways.”

Firefighters had to be pulled from the burning area, because winds were fanning the flames too much and there was smoke throughout the building.

“It was a wind-driven fire. We utilized two blankets fire blankets to control the wind and the heat coming out of the apartment,” said Assistant Fire Chief Ron Spadafora.

A total of 10 civilians and nine firefighters were injured.

The civilians all suffered minor smoke inhalation injuries.

Some of the firefighters had more serious injuries involving burns. Eight only suffered minor burns, but one suffered an injury a little more serious – although not life-threatening, fire officials said.

More than 25 units and 110 firefighters were dispatched to the scene.

By 8:30 a.m., most residents who had been evacuated were being allowed back inside.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation as of mid-morning Saturday.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 08, 2013
Home of Copake firefighter burns - NY

COPAKE - The home of a veteran town firefighter burned down in an early morning blaze Thursday.

Firefighter Dale Roberts and his wife were not injured in the blaze at their 103 Lakeshore Drive home, said Deryll Miller , an assistant fire chief at the Copake Fire Company.

No firefighters were injured in the 6:23 a.m. blaze, though the home is total loss, Miller said.

It's unclear what started the blaze, though the fire is not suspicious, Miller said.

Roberts has been a volunteer firefighter at the fire company for 25 years.

"He's pretty devastated," Miller said.

Roberts and his wife are receiving assistance from the Red Cross.
By Bryan Fitzgerald /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 08, 2013
Sackets Harbor Fire Company accused of improper termination of EMT - NY

SACKETS HARBOR — A former member of the Sackets Harbor Fire Company is accusing its leadership of improperly removing her.

“This process was a marginalization of me in the fire department,” Helene G. Stewart-Rainville said Thursday. “I’m being forced out, and I think there’s something wrong.”

She said she served with the volunteer company since August 2007 as an emergency medical technician, before becoming an interior firefighter in 2009.

She said she was nationally certified as a Firefighter II, among other qualifications.

Ms. Stewart-Rainville, in a letter to the department sent Feb. 12 through her attorney, Barry M. Schreibman, of Cazenovia, also accused department leadership of ignoring a death threat against her.

The president of the company’s board of directors, Michael D. Hoagland, said a response to the allegations was being prepared by attorney Jonathan B. Fellows of Bond, Schoeneck & King Attorneys, Syracuse, and declined to talk about specifics of the letter.

The February letter from Mr. Schreibman states that meetings asked for by the company to discuss her employment did not meet the legal standard of a hearing, in which she could cross-examine witnesses.

Ms. Stewart-Rainville said the department sent her a letter Jan. 15 saying she was terminated and telling her to return her equipment.

Her letter to Mr. Hoagland also describes what she said was a death threat to her from another member last May, along with a later incident in which she alleges the same person tried to hit her with a firetruck.

The letter says Ms. Stewart-Rainville, believing that person to be a soldier, contacted Fort Drum police, which she says led to scrutiny of her by the fire company.

“Instead of investigating her allegations, they investigated her,” Mr. Schreibman said Thursday. Both Ms. Stewart-Rainville and Mr. Schreibman declined to discuss specifics of the incidents beyond what was stated in the letter.

Mr. Schreibman said the department’s allegation that she could not “work effectively with other members” was inaccurate.

“They just made it up, in the same way they made up the procedure to terminate her,” he said.

Mr. Schreibman said he hoped a solution could be determined without taking the matter to the state Division of Human Rights, which handles employment discrimination cases.

Ms. Stewart-Rainville, who said her last fire call was in August, said she hoped to return to work if the issue could be resolved.

Last year, Ms. Stewart-Rainville accused village police Sgt. Richard G. Coseo of improperly using a police vehicle, a claim that was investigated and later dismissed by the village Board of Trustees.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 08, 2013
Firefighters jump out second-floor window to escape burning home - RI

FALL RIVER — Two Fall River firefighters suffered first and second degree burns and jumped out of a window of a burning house early Thursday morning on Plymouth Avenue.

Fall River Fire Lt. Paul Machado and Firefighter Jeff Mello were listed in good condition Thursday evening at Rhode Island Hospital.

Machado suffered burns to his arms and back, a broken ankle and minor injuries. Mello also suffered burns and an apparent back injury. He underwent testing Thursday at Rhode Island Hospital, Fall River Fire Chief William S. Silvia said.

At least 28 firefighters responded to the 12:15 a.m. two-alarm blaze at the two-story, three-family home at 724 Plymouth Ave. Firefighters battled the flames for several hours before managing to bring it under control.

“Apparatuses stayed on the scene all night,” Fall River Fire Lt. William Powers said, adding that firefighters were still chasing hot spots when he left the scene at 3 a.m.

The fire displaced eight adults and three young girls, ages 6 months, 4 and 5. None of them were injured. They are all members of the same family.

American Red Cross volunteers provided the family with emergency shelter — a hotel stay — and emergency funds for food and clothing, said Ashley Studley, a Red Cross spokeswoman.

Volunteers also handed out 11 comfort kits, which include toiletries, shampoo and toothbrushes, Studley said.

Fire investigators from the Fall River Fire Department’s Fire Investigation Unit, the Fall River Fire Marshal and Massachusetts State Police returned to the house around 9 a.m. Thursday. After several hours, Powers said the investigation determined that a burning motor vehicle, parked in the driveway along the north side of the house, started the house fire.

The car’s engine caught fire after one of the occupants had just arrived home. The vehicle was less than four feet from a wooden fence and a plastic trash shed with two propane tanks inside. The flames ignited the tanks, and the fire shot up the house’s vinyl siding. Combined with 30 mph winds, the fire moved fast, Powers said.

“There was a tremendous amount of damage in the back of the house,” Powers said, adding that the fire weakened the structure’s first floor, causing an addition to collapse into the back yard.

The fire also tore through the second floor and burned off the roof. The fire destroyed segments of a wooden fence on the north side of the property, and burned at least one vehicle parked in the adjacent property’s driveway.

Machado and Mello were conducting a primary search on the second floor when the flames came up behind them, officials said.

“They were unable to exit the way they went in due to the fire,” Silvia said. “Their only option was to go out the window.”

Powers said investigators were looking to piece together the events that led Machado and Mello to be cut off by the flames.

The massive, fast-moving fire enveloped a portion of Plymouth Avenue in a thick cloud of smoke while most people were in bed sleeping. Bob Schenck, owner of Animal Instincts Aquarium and Pet Center at 811 Plymouth Ave., went to his store in the early-morning hours after a neighbor called and said hot embers were traveling down the street.

“You couldn’t see even across Plymouth Avenue. There was just a huge cloud of smoke,” Schenck said. “You could barely see the lights from all the emergency vehicles. It was a hot smoky mess.”
By Brian Fraga / Herald News Staff Reporter


Please buckle your seat belt

March 08, 2013
Fire Truck Overturns Responding To Fire In Guilford County - GA

Greensboro, NC -- A Guilford County firefighter is going to be okay after overturning his fire truck when he was responding to a possible house fire.

Guilford County 911 said the accident happened around 12:55pm in the 2300 block of Alamance Church Rd.

Trooper Greg Ingram said the truck was responding to a structure fire on the same road when the accident happened.

Ingram said the driver ran off the road and overcorrected, causing the truck to overturn. The truck belongs to Alamance Fire Department, station 54.

The truck had been uprighted when WFMY arrived on the scene. The driver, whose name was not released, was the only one in the truck, Battalion Chief Thomas said.

Chief Thomas said the vehicle was a tanker truck.

Trooper Ingram said he doesn't expect charges to be filed.


Please buckle your seat belt

March 08, 2013
Marietta firefighter Lonnie Lee Nutt dies in line of duty - GA

Lonnie Lee Nutt
Lonnie Nutt, a City of Marietta firefighter, died Thursday after collapsing at a wreck scene, the fire department said.

A veteran City of Marietta firefighter died Thursday after collapsing at the scene of a wreck.

Lonnie Lee Nutt, 49, a firefighter engineer, appeared to have suffered a medical emergency, the Marietta fire department said late Thursday.

Around 4:30 p.m., Nutt drove Engine 53 with two others on board to a wreck with injuries on Whitlock Avenue, less than a mile from Station 3, the fire department said in a statement late Thursday night.

“When they arrived on the scene and begin to assist with the injured patient, Fire Engineer Nutt fell to the ground with a medical issue of his own,” the fire department said.

Firefighters rendered aid to Nutt until an ambulance arrived.

“He fell from what appeared to be a massive heart attack, and they immediately started working him as well as trying to help the patient that was already there,” Scott Tucker, the city’s fire marshal, told WSB radio.

Nutt was transported to WellStar Kennestone Hospital, but could not be revived, Tucker said.

Nutt began his career with the city in May 1994 and had served as a fire fighter, inspector, investigator and most recently as a firefighter engineer.

“We had a lot that we depended on him for because he was a very good firefighter,” Tucker said. “He was somebody that was knowledgeable. You could depend on him and he had the expertise to do a lot of things.”

An Oklahoma native, Nutt lived in Kennesaw with his wife, Tucker said. He is also survived by a daughter.
By Alexis Stevens / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Please buckle your seat belt

March 08, 2013
Questions After Man Goes to Hospital in Fire Truck - DC

District firefighters were forced to take a man suffering from a stroke to a hospital in a fire truck Thursday evening because the closest ambulance was seven miles away.

The incident comes just two days after an injured police officer waited almost 20 minutes for an ambulance.

Now, a top city leader is calling for immediate action, reported News4's Shomari Stone.

The latest case involved a man in his 80s at a home in the 600 block of Atlantic Avenue SE. His wife called 911, saying the man was suffering from a stroke, said deputy fire chief Demetrios Vlassopoulos.

A fire engine staffed with paramedics responded to the scene within four minutes, and an ambulance was dispatched at the same time, Vlassopoulos told News4.

The closest ambulance, however, was coming from seven miles away -- too far away to respond quickly in rush hour, Vlassopoulos said. A paramedic on the scene assessed the patient and decided he needed to go to a hospital immediately, so emergency personnel transported him in the fire truck.

This is the third time that an ambulance has been too far away to respond to a medical emergency in Southeast Washington this year.

District Councilman Tommy Wells told Stone that he would call a hearing into why it's taking so long for some ambulances to respond in the Southeast part of the city. "We do not expect that there are any delays" in ambulance service, he said.

Meanwhile, the investigation into the delayed ambulance response for an injured D.C. police officer is focusing on 10 ambulance units that were out of service at the time of the call. The man in charge of the investigation told News4 he’s trying to find out why the units were unavailable and why they were all out of service so close to the end of their shifts.

The initial calls for a pedestrian down came about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night -- just 30 minutes before the shift change.

“I want to make sure that in fact no one took themselves out of service without the proper authorization and especially when it came time to ending their shift early,” Deputy Mayor Paul Quander said. “That's unacceptable.”

Thirty-nine ambulance units were on duty at the time of the accident, Quander said, and some of the 10 that were out of service had legitimate reasons for not being able to respond to the call.

“One of the things I need to find out from this internal review is what happened to 10 of the units that were not available at that critical time,” Quander said. “Some of them may have been on runs to hospitals. Some of them may have been being cleaned. There are others I need to focus on to see whether or not they took themselves out of service without authorization."

The officer, identified as Sean Hickman, was eventually transported by a Prince George’s County ambulance with life-threatening injuries. He suffered multiple fractures to his left leg and has had two surgeries so far.

His recovery will be long, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said.

“He's pretty badly injured,” she said. “He underwent 7-8 hours of surgery the first night and he has additional surgeries today.”

D.C. Council member Tommy Wells, who has oversight of the fire department, called the delay “unacceptable” and launched his own inquiry.

The driver of the car that hit Hickman was arrested and charged with assault on a police officer, police said. It’s the third time in two years Kevin Burno, 24, has been charged with assaulting a police officer.

According to court records, Burno was convicted in 2012 of assaulting a police officer during a domestic violence incident. He is awaiting trial on a second assault on an officer change that happened last month.

Burno made his first court appearance in Tuesday’s incident late Thursday afternoon. According to court documents, the officer signaled for Burno to turn on his lights. That's when Burno drove into the opposite lane of traffic and struck the officer, police said.

A witness told police Burno had been drinking "all day" prior to the incident, according to court documents, and police said he appeared incoherent at times and had trouble understanding officers. While in an interview room, "he attempted to urinate on a heater, hit the same heater repeatedly with his hands, and then lay down on the floor."

At D.C. Superior Court following police processing, U.S. marshals searched Burno and found "six red zips of a green weed-like substance, and one plastic bag containing six white rock-like substances," according to court documents. They also found the key to the striking vehicle.
By Shomari Stone and Mark Segraves /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 08, 2013
Blue Creek volunteer firefighter injured in early morning rollover- MT

A Blue Creek volunteer firefighter was injured in a single-vehicle rollover early Thursday morning when he was responding to a medical call on Keller Road.

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Jerald Perman said Schonn Lehman, 26, of Billings, was taken by American Medical Response to Billings Clinic shortly before 3 a.m. for non-life threatening injuries.

As Lehman approached the driveway at 5540 Keller Road for a medical call he had been dispatched to at about 2:30 a.m., he experienced his own medical problem that caused him to accelerate in the Mercury Mountaineer he was driving.

He crossed into a field and off a steep ravine, causing the SUV to flip end over end, Perman said. The vehicle landed on its top.

"Looking at the vehicle, you'd expect far worse injuries," Perman said.

Lehman was wearing a seat belt and the airbags deployed, Perman said.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 07, 2013
Wrestling match with firefighters leads to mercury spill - ID

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - A man seeking medical attention caused a bizarre scene at a local fire station Wednesday morning and prompted a hazardous materials response at a Boise hospital's emergency rooml.

Officials tell KBOI 2News that a man walked into the North Ada County Fire And Rescue station on Chinden Boulevard in Garden City where firefighter training was taking place and asked for help with a medical problem.

As firefighters began to administer aide to the man, authorities say he became combative toward them. The man got into an impromptu "wrestling match" with firefighters - swinging his arms and rolling around. In the process of the skirmish, a blood pressure device was broken.

It was an older version that uses mercury and the chemical element spilled on the grappling group.

After firefighters were able to restrain the individual, he was transported to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center where haz-mat crews isolated the emergency room for several hours.

The ER was never closed. People were just brought in a different way and avoided the entrance where the man with the mercury exposure entered.

The haz-mat crew on scene did not find any contamination at the hospital. No word yet on any possible injuries for the unidentified man.

Everbody else at the fire station is okay.
By KBOI Web Staff


Please buckle your seat belt

March 07, 2013
Firefighters injured in east side blaze - NY

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Buffalo Firefighters responded to a two-alarm blaze, early Thursday morning. Crews were called to Box Avenue, off of Fillmore Avenue between East Ferry and Genesee Streets, around 6:30 a.m

Investigators believe the fire started in a car and spread to two buildings. Buffalo Fire Department Division Chief Don McFeely says the flames sparked outside of 167 Box Avenue, and spread to the home that now needs to be demolished. McFeely says the flames spread to 171 Box Avenue. McFeely says that structure was vacant upstairs and the downstairs was a BBQ restaurant, that the owner says is probably too damaged to repair.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries Thursday morning. One firefighter suffered an arm injury, another suffered an eye injury.

A man says fire crews rescued his 90-year-old mother from the raging fire Thursday. He said he drove by and saw flames, and told firefighters exactly where to find her.

Archie Ray Brown said, “They had flames coming right up the side bedroom where she was sleeping. What they did, they picked her up and brought her down.” Brown said if everyone didn’t work together, it could have ended differently. “If it hadn’t been for God leading me back to my mother’s house, I don’t think she would be alive today,” said Brown.

The total damage estimate at the two structures is about $100,000.
Posted by: Emily Lenihan


Please buckle your seat belt

March 07, 2013
SF firefighter hurt in pot-house blaze - CA

A San Francisco firefighter was injured Wednesday while battling a two-alarm blaze at a home in the city's Inner Sunset neighborhood where marijuana was being grown, authorities said.

The firefighter, in his 50s, fell down a flight of stairs and hurt his shoulder while battling the blaze in the three-story, single-family home at 1767 Eighth Ave., between Moraga and Noriega streets, said Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White.

The firefighter, whose name has not been released, was taken to UCSF Medical Center and was still receiving care several hours later.

Neighbors reported the fire at 8:10 a.m., and firefighters had it knocked down by 9 a.m. Homes on either side of the house suffered water damage, authorities said.

Firefighters found at least 100 marijuana plants growing in the burned home's garage and the floor above it, as well as lights and growing equipment, the fire chief said.

The upper floor was used as a drying area, said Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge.

Investigators are trying to determine whether the growing operation and any electrical equipment connected to it played a role in the blaze.

There were no immediate reports of arrests, and police were obtaining a search warrant for the home.
Ellen Huet and Henry K. Lee /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 07, 2013
Firefighter Cadet, Donald Mize 62, Dies After Training - TX

A 62-year-old Texas firefighter cadet died during a cool down period after training at the League City Volunteer Fire Department’s training facility on Tuesday evening.

According to a notice posted by the U.S. Fire Administration, Donald Mize fell ill after training and died from a cause yet to be determined. Mize was treated and transported to the hospital where he succumbed to his condition. News

Please buckle your seat belt

March 07, 2013
Boeing 787 Battery Fire Was Difficult to Control through Intense Smoke, Documents Show

Boeing 787 Battery Fire
In this Jan. 24, 2013 file photo, Joseph Kolly, director National Transportation Safety Board Office of Research and Engineering, holds a fire-damaged battery casing from the Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner that caught fire at Logan International Airport in Boston, at the NTSB laboratory in Washington. An investigation of a battery fire aboard a Boeing 787 shows mechanics and firefighters made repeated, unsuccessful attempts to put out the blaze through smoke so thick they couldn’t see the battery. The documents released Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board paint a more dangerous picture of the Jan. 7 fire than previously portrayed. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

WASHINGTON - Firefighters and mechanics tried repeatedly to put out a battery fire aboard a Boeing 787 Dreamliner through smoke so thick they couldn't see the battery, according to documents released Thursday that portray the incident as more serious than previously described.

The Jan. 7 fire at Boston's Logan International Airport is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety board, which released laboratory analyses, interviews and other data it has gathered so far. It still hasn't been able to pinpoint the cause.

Federal Aviation Administration officials are expected to make a decision in the next few days on whether to approve a plan by Boeing to revamp the 787's lithium ion batteries to prevent or contain future fires. Once the plan is approved, Boeing hopes to swiftly test the reconfigured batteries and get the planes back in the air.

Dreamliners worldwide have been grounded since a second battery incident led to an emergency landing in Japan nine days after the Boston fire. The incidents have raised questions about the safety of using lithium ion batteries, which are more susceptible to igniting if they short-circuit or overheat than other types of batteries. The episodes also have called into question the FAA's process for certifying the safety of new aircraft designs.

The Boston fire occurred aboard a Japan Airlines plane that had just landed after an overseas flight and was parked. A cleaning crew discovered smoke near a kitchen in the rear of the plane six minutes after the last of the 184 passengers walked off the plane, and one minute after the pilots left.

A mechanic investigating the source of the smoke in an electronics bay found intense smoke and three-inch (8-centimetre) flames in two places on the housing covering the battery. Attempts to put out the flames with a dry chemical fire extinguisher were unsuccessful.

The first firefighter to enter the plane reported seeing "a white glow about the size of a softball" through the smoke using his hand-held heat-imaging camera. He applied another type of fire extinguishing agent, which somewhat reduced the glow. An airport security camera video showed white smoke billowing from the underside of the plane.

Another firefighter entering the electronics bay reported "no visibility" because of the smoke and directed another burst from a fire extinguisher at a hot spot, but the battery seemed to rekindle. A fire captain applied the extinguisher again for about five minutes, reducing the fire. But the battery was still emitting heavy smoke and hissing loudly. Liquid was flowing down its side. Lithium ion batteries contain a flammable electrolyte.

Firefighters finally decided to remove the battery from the plane, but its "quick-disconnect knob" was melted, hampering the process. Investigators later found little balls of melted and cooled stainless steel, apparently from the cases of the battery's eight cells. That type of steel melts at 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit (1,480 degrees Celsius) one document noted. The bottom of the battery box was bent from where firefighters pried it out.

In all, it took an hour and forty minutes to quell the fire.

The report said several kinds of battery failures can cause the battery to smoke. Those include short circuits, recharging a battery that has been allowed to discharge too far and charging at cold temperatures. But unless something outside the battery ignites it, only overcharging it will cause it to burn, according to a report by NTSB engineer Mike Hauf, citing a Boeing safety assessment.

That raises the question of whether there were different causes for the fire in Boston and the Jan. 16 incident aboard an All Nippon Airways plane, where the battery smouldered but flames were not reported.

ANA confirmed this week that it replaced three circuit boards located in 787 electronics bays after pilots received an error message during flights in March, April and June of last year. One of those circuit boards had a "slight discoloration," said ANA spokeswoman Nao Gunji. Nothing wrong was found with the other two, but they were replaced as a precaution, she said.

The 787 is Boeing's newest and most technologically advanced plane. It is the world's first airliner made mostly from lightweight composite materials. It also relies on electronic systems rather than hydraulic or mechanical systems to a greater degree than any other airliner. And it is the first airliner to make extensive use of lithium ion batteries, which are lighter, recharge faster and can hold more energy than other types of batteries.

Boeing has billed the plane to its customers as 20 per cent more fuel efficient than other midsized airliners. That's a big selling point, since fuel is the biggest expense for most airlines.

Airlines have been forced to tear up their schedules while the planes are out of service. United Airlines recently cut its six 787s from its flying plans at least until June and postponed its new Denver-to-Tokyo flights. United is the only U.S. carrier with 787s in its fleet.

LOT Polish Airlines has said the grounding of its two 787s is costing it $50,000 per day. The airline has said it will ask Boeing for compensation. Norwegian Air Shuttle, which was due to receive 787s this year, said it will lease two Airbus A340s along with flight crews for its planned New York-to-Bangkok flights if it doesn't get its 787s on time. The airline is allowing customers on 787 flights to change their flight date or get a refund, but "very few have taken advantage of this offer," spokesman Laase Sandaker-Nielsen said Thursday.

Boeing is still building 787s, but deliveries are halted. It has not said how much the battery problems will cost.

UBS analyst David Strauss estimated Boeing will burn some $6 billion in cash on the 787 this year — and that's even if it delivers more than 60 of them. Every missed 787 delivery adds as much as $120 million to the plane's cash burn this year, he estimated in a note on Tuesday.
By Joan Lowy And Joshua Freed, The Associated Press

Please buckle your seat belt

March 07, 2013
Firefighter Burned in Industrial Building Blaze - MI

Investigators are trying to determine what started a blaze that injured one firefighter and damaged an industrial complex in Rochester Hills this morning.

The fire started at about 5:20 a.m. at 1962 Star Batt Drive, just north of the Crooks Road exit off M-59, Rochester Hills Fire Chief Ron Crowell said.

"When I arrived, we had smoke coming from the entire building, from the roof," Crowell said. "We found fire in one of the six occupancies; all the other buildings have received smoke damage."

One of the first firefighters in the building suffered non-life threatening burns to his legs. He's being treated at a local hospital, Crowell said.

The fire began in a storage area for a flooring business nearby, according to the fire department. Workers are also trying to secure hazardous materials at the scene, Crowell said.

Fire officials will be at the 50,000-square-foot complex today to investigate.
Tammy Stables Battaglia / Detroit Free Press

Please buckle your seat belt

March 07, 2013
Firefighter, resident injured in Creve Coeur apartment fire - MO

CREVE COEUR, Mo. (KMOV) –Fire crews battled an early morning 3-alarm apartment fire in Creve Coeur Thursday.

Officials say heavy fire engulfed all three floors of the Oak Forest Apartments on 11028 Oak Forest Parkway Drive. The call came out as a two-alarm fire at 2:20 a.m. before they called for the third alarm shortly before 3 a.m.

Two people including a firefighter were injured and were transported to area hospitals for treatment.

Apartment residents tell fire officals that as the fire sparked, a male resident ran out of his apartment claiming he fell asleep with a lit cigarette in his hand. The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Several fire departments were called in to assist in putting out the large blaze.

The St. Louis Red Cross is helping displaced residents find shelter and clothes.
by Staff /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 07, 2013
3 Birmingham firefighters injured in house fire, hours after another firefighter injured - AL

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- For the second time today, Birmingham firefighters this evening were injured battling a house fire that likely was started by a space heater.

This time, two were burned and one fell from a ladder battling a fire in the 1400 block of 18th Place Southwest, said Battalion Chief C.W. Mardis. An occupant of the house escaped unharmed.

One had second to third degree burns to his hands, and one had a scald on his back. The firefighter who fell suffered injuries to his head and shoulders. All three were taken to UAB Hospital and are expected to recover.

The incident happened after a firefighter issued a mayday call after becoming disoriented in the burning house and his fellow firefighters climbed a ladder to help him out.

The fire started in the basement and spread to the attic. It took firefighters about 30 minutes to get the fire under control. The house sustained 100 percent smoke damage and 40 percent fire damage.

The three firefighters were injured about four hours after another firefighter suffered a shoulder injury and cuts to the forehead when the roof of the house at 923 39th Street North caught fire due to several space heaters being left on, although no one was home at the time.

That firefighter is also expected to recover.
By Jeremy Gray |

Please buckle your seat belt

March 07, 2013
Birmingham firefighter injured when roof of burning house collapses - AL

roof of burning house collapses

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- A Birmingham firefighter this afternoon suffered a shoulder injury and cuts to the forehead when the roof of a burning house collapsed on him. He is expected to recover.

Birmingham Fire Battalion Chief C.W. Mardis gave this account:

The house, at 923 39th Street North, caught fire this afternoon due to several space heaters being left on, although no one was home at the time. The house sustained 100 percent fire damage and a neighboring house sustained 20 percent heat damage.

While battling the blaze, part of the roof collapsed on the firefighter.

"He's conscious and alert, nothing life-threatening," Mardis said.
By Jeremy Gray |

Please buckle your seat belt

March 06, 2013
Drought Forces Firefighters to Prepare For Worse - OK

With drying-up water resources, responders are forced to plan how to conserve the most valuable weapon against fire in their arsenal.

Despite recent rainfall, Southwest Oklahoma emergency planners and fire departments are preparing for the worst as warmer weather approaches.

Recent years have seen large wildfires consume land and homes, as well as fire department resources. Despite recent rains, not enough has fallen to prompt emergency personnel to stand down from the highest state of alert. With drying-up water resources, responders are forced to plan how to conserve the most valuable weapon against fire in their arsenal.

Complete Article

Please buckle your seat belt

March 06, 2013
Sequester: Lawmakers worry that potential budget cuts will hit 9/11 first responders - NY

As the March 1 deadline for deep automatic federal budget cuts – known as sequestration – loomed, a group of lawmakers expressed concern about the effect cuts would have on Sept. 11 first responders whose medical treatments are covered by the government under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

US Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Brooklyn-Manhattan) was among the elected officials speaking out on Feb. 28 to call on colleagues to negotiate a budget deal to avoid sequestration.

Nadler joined his House colleagues, US Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) and US Rep. Peter King (R-Long Island), along with U.S. senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, to warn that cuts would really hurt 9/11 first responders who need to have their health issues addressed. The Zadroga Act would face $27 million in funding cuts under sequestration, the lawmakers said.

Gillibrand and King have introduced legislation that would permanently exempt the 9/11 program from budget cuts should sequestration go into effect at any time in the future.

“We must safeguard every last dollar we allocated for our bill, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, and ensure that sequestration does not force us to ration assistance for the sick,” Nadler said. “Thousands of 9/11 responders and survivors are sick today because of their exposure to toxins in and around Ground Zero, and they depend on this funding for their health and well-being. We are calling on Congress to exempt Zadroga from the imminent sequester-borne cuts,” he said.

During last summer's debt-ceiling crisis, a deal was reached to automatically cut over $1 trillion in defense and domestic programs, known as sequestration, if a “super committee” could not reach a balanced deficit reduction plan.

“Nothing exemplifies this unbalanced and draconian approach to deficit reduction more than asking our heroes who have already sacrificed so much to sacrifice yet again,” Gillibrand said. “Our 9/11 heroes who answered the call of duty should be treated with the same dignity as our veterans,” she added.

The Zadroga Act was named in memory of Det. James Zadroga. According to Wikipedia, Zadroga died in 2006 of a respiratory illness that was traced back to his work at Ground Zero in the weeks and months after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“This is one of the most poignant examples of why we must work to avert the sequester,” Schumer said.

Medical experts agreed with the lawmakers.

“These cuts will affect the health monitoring and treatment currently being provided to thousands of WTC responders and survivors,” said Dr. Jim Melius, chairman of theWTCMedical Program Steering Committee and 9/11 Health Watch Board Member.

“Many of these people have serious illnesses that require very expensive medical care and medications, and many do not have health insurance or other resources to pay for this care on their own. It is unfair to once again hold the health of these heroes hostage to partisan Washington politics. Hopefully, this legislation will pass and prevent this from happening,” he said.
By Paula Katinas / Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Please buckle your seat belt

March 06, 2013
Three Firefighters Burned in West Baltimore Fire - MD

Three firefighters were injured in a fire at a row house in West Baltimore on Wednesday morning, according to the Baltimore Fire Department.

The firefighters were each burned in the one-alarm blaze in the 2100 block of W. North Avenue, said Chief Kevin Cartwright, a department spokesman.

One firefighter suffered a first-degree burn to his face and ear, Cartwright said. Another suffered a second-degree burn to the left side of his face, and the third suffered a second-degree burn to his right cheek, he said.

Their injuries are considered non-life-threatening, but all were transported to the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center burn unit, Cartwright said.

How the firefighters were burned was not immediately available.

Other firefighters were continuing to fight the fire about 10:15 a.m., Cartwright said.

No cause had been determined.
Kevin Rector / The Baltimore Sun

Please buckle your seat belt

March 06, 2013
Report faults EMS in Monroe County - NY

Last year, Monroe County commissioned a leading consulting firm to evaluate the quality of emergency medical services received by county residents.

If the question was “How are we doing?” the answer, according to the firm, was “Something has to change.”

The report by Fitch & Associates of Missouri, dated last month, depicted an uncoordinated patchwork of more than 50 ambulance and first-response agencies plagued by a lack of governance, sub-standard response times and little or no accountability to a central authority.

The network is so complex and oversight so scarce, according to the report, that individual agencies cannot produce records of even basic performance benchmarks such as heart attack survival rates.

Researchers also found that the quality of emergency care is inconsistent across the county, and that too often an ambulance closest to an emergency is barred from responding because the call is outside its coverage area.

Emergency services officials criticized the report for reaching conclusions based on what they called faulty data, and failing to capture the coordination among agencies hampered by byzantine state regulations that demarcate service areas.

“It doesn’t take into account the true picture of what’s happening in Monroe County,” said Reg Allen, the chief at Henrietta Ambulance. “For all the good that we do, it just stings a little that a report comes out saying you’re falling apart at the seams. It’s just not the case.”

The report offered a few solutions, each of which stressed county government exercising more authority over emergency medical services, including establishing a countywide system and mandating consistent level of care standards.

County spokesman Justin Feasel said the study cost $140,000 and was funded by a grant.

Outside of the city of Rochester, which operates under a performance-based contract with Rural/Metro Ambulance, ambulance service in Monroe County is a network of individual agencies rooted in volunteerism and local control —two principles that have long defined communities across the northeastern United States.

While Monroe County offers the agencies assistance in coordinating training and mutually aiding each other, it does not control nor have any oversight of the services.

Historically, town and village residents are fiercely proud of their first responders. But the report questioned the depth of purported community support and found that the “uncoordinated activities (of local agencies) do not always work in the best interest of patients.”

“Community support for local EMS agencies is not based on concrete and independently verifiable data,” the report read. “Until the communities become aware that the existing ‘system’ does not perform to nationally accepted standards, there is little incentive to abandon the status quo.”

At its core, the report offers a framework for a discussion about consolidating services with an aim toward delivering ambulance care more efficiently and cost-effectively.

Stephen Bowman, the county’s director of public safety, said the county commissioned the study because some agencies have inquired about combining forces.

“The real question is, ‘Is this the most appropriate way to deliver those resources?’ ” Bowman asked. “That’s what this study is looking at. ... I think the county can facilitate that discussion going forward.”

He cautioned, though, that the county does not endorse any of the report’s recommendations and has no intention of usurping local autonomy.

“The deliverers of those resources need to get together and ask, ‘Is this the best way to do this?’ ” Bowman said.

He said directors of the agencies were briefed on the findings last month, and that the county was organizing a meeting among directors and the consultants in April.

The current structure, the report found, resulted in “significant duplication of services, equipment, administrative and overhead costs” that could be reduced by a centrally controlled system.

For example, the report suggested better care could be delivered with about a third of the 87 ambulances now in use, if those ambulances were deployed more strategically.

Savings could also be found if agencies could coordinate to buy equipment in bulk.

“An agency buying one or two ambulances has little to no negotiating power,” the report said.

Directors at several agencies either did not return phone messages seeking their thoughts on the findings or said they were not prepared to comment.

Jonathan Smith, the director of operations at Brighton Volunteer Ambulance, challenged the accuracy of some of the findings.

In particular, Smith questioned how consultants calculated that response times in most service areas were slower than nationally accepted standards by “multiple minutes.”

According to the report, only the agencies serving Chili, Point Pleasant and Rush respond faster than their target times.

By contrast, the report listed Brighton’s response time as almost 18 minutes, nearly double the ideal time for the service area.

“I am very, very confident that this is not a reflection of our performance,” said Smith, who pegged his agency’s response time at about eight minutes.

Allen, the Henrietta Ambulance chief, also questioned the report’s figures. Specifically, a table in the report that showed his agency responded to 7,610 calls in 2011. Allen said the number was around 6,000.

The report noted that the data was extracted from the county’s outdated 911 computer-aided dispatch system, and acknowledged that the data “may conflict with what is reported by individual agencies.”

It added, though, that the discrepancies reinforced the need for the county to upgrade the dispatch system to provide more reliable data.

The county had expected to have a new system in place by November 2011, but chronic technical snags have delayed the project indefinitely.

In January, the county moved to sever its $4.2 million contract with California-based Tiburon Inc. to overhaul the system. The county is currently looking for a new vendor.
Written by David Andreatta Staff writer /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 06, 2013
Wounded West Webster firefighters tell their story. - NY

Ted Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter
Ted Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter

Ted Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter
Ted Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter

Webster, N.Y. - For the first time the two West Webster firefighters wounded in an attack on Christmas Eve are sharing their stories.

This afternoon Ted Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter held a news conference about the ambush that injured them both and killed two other firefighters.

According to 13WHAM's Patrice Walsh, who was at the press conference, Scardino started by thanking the community for the outpouring of support.

He said, “I can't tell you how many times I walk in Wegmans and people thank me."

When asked about that day, Scardino said "I heard pop, pop, pop. Chip said we're being shot at."

Hofstetter added, "I didn't know what was happening until I was shot. You don't expect people to fire at you. I was focused on not wanting any more people hurt and self- preservation."

"Now you might be looking over your shoulder when you go out on a call," Scardino said. "The fire was last thing on our minds we didn't know if there was one gunman or five."

"To be honest you didn't have a chance to think," Scardino said. "It was a nightmare not knowing what was going to be next."

The firefighters said the community support has helped in their recovery.

"This is an evil act, but there's a lot of good here," Hofstetter said. "I am overwhelmed by support. It is amazing."

"We were just there doing our jobs," Hofstetter said. "I guess you could use the word hero."

Both firefighters face months of physical therapy before they can return to work.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 06, 2013
Ambulance unavailable for injured cop - DC

An ambulance from Prince George's County had to transport an injured D.C. police officer to the hospital Tuesday night after District authorities said they had no units available to respond.

The incident began at about 6:30 p.m. when a car struck the male officer at 46th and A streets in Southeast Washington.

Emergency dispatchers determined within minutes there were no ambulances available to respond and asked authorities in Prince George's County for assistance, according to people familiar with the episode, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The ambulance, the sources said, arrived on the scene 18 minutes after the initial call about the injured officer came in to dispatchers.

Mark Brady, a spokesman for the Prince George's County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, confirmed his agency aided D.C. authorities after receiving a request for help.

"We did go into the District," Brady said. "D.C. asked for assistance with a basic life support unit."

Brady said the Prince George's ambulance, joined by a D.C. paramedic, took the injured officer to a trauma center in Washington for treatment. A police spokesman said the officer was "conscious and breathing," but he did not have further details.

Spokesmen for Mayor Vincent Gray and the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday night.

But Kristopher Baumann, the leader of the District's police union, slammed the city's response and blamed Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe for the episode.

"At this point, Chief Ellerbe has pushed the fire department into a place where it cannot perform even the most basic services. From everything we've seen, it has been one misstep, one act of mismanagement after another," Baumann said. "We are now in a situation where a police officer is laying out in the cold, out in the street, because the fire chief can't provide ambulances."

Edward Smith, the president of the firefighters union, said he hoped the incident would spur the city to increase the number of available ambulances.

"We hope there are more units available in the future for timely transport," he said. "It's a matter of public safety."

Please buckle your seat belt

March 06, 2013
Hudson, BFD firefighter Chris Brown was killed responding to accident on I-39 - IL
Firefighter Chris Brown
Firefighter Chris Brown
Photo Courtesy of the Hudson Community Fire Protection District

HUDSON — Chris Brown marked an anniversary on Tuesday — 12 years with the Bloomington Fire Department.

But he didn’t hang up his fire gear when he went home to Hudson. As a volunteer with that town’s fire department, Brown was on call Tuesday night and was one of the rescue personnel responding to a multiple vehicle accident on Interstate 39.

He was struck and killed at the scene, leading colleagues and others to not only mourn his loss, but also celebrate him as a man who enjoyed life, his family, friends and community — and the job.

Brown, 39, died at 11:38 p.m. Tuesday at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center as a result of blunt force trauma caused by the accident, said McLean County Coroner Beth Kimmerling. He leaves behind a wife and two sons.

The accident was called into the Hudson Fire Department about 9:45 p.m., following a snowy day that may have contributed to the accident involving two semitrailer trucks one mile south of Hudson. About an hour later, a southbound semi carrying a load of automobiles lost control and struck three first-responder vehicles belonging to the Hudson department and Illinois State Police.

Brown, a Hudson volunteer for the past three years, and five other Hudson firefighters were transported to BroMenn. The four others were treated and released.

State police said the accident remains under investigation.

“Today we lost a member of our Hudson family,” said Hudson Fire Chief Dan Hite. “We share in the sorrow felt by his loved ones, and we must not forget the valuable contributions he made to this community and the impact he has left on the Hudson Fire Department.”

Hite said the department is “a close-knit family, and the loss of one of our own affects us all. A tragedy of this type is felt by each and every member, but together, we can make it through. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Flags were at half-staff at area police and fire departments, and police officers are wearing mourning bands on their badges.

“We are deeply saddened by the painful loss of one of our own, and we will do our best to support his immediate family as well as his firefighter families in both Bloomington and Hudson,” said Bloomington Fire Chief Mike Kimmerling.

Bloomington Capt. Eric West said he worked with Brown for much of the time Brown was with the Bloomington department.

“In fact, Tuesday was his anniversary date,” West said. “He was a great guy and I treated him like a son. He was a great worker, a great family man and he also knew how to have fun. He could get a little ornery with me, but he didn’t mind when I got ornery with him, either.”

Family was important to Brown, noted West.

“He was a guy with really two families,” he said. “He had his firefighting family and he had his wife and two sons. He loved both of those families and we were all proud of him.”

“He was the type of guy that when that pager went off, he would respond,” said Shane Hill, public information officer for the Hudson Fire Department. “When somebody needed help, no matter if it was the middle of the night or when other people were leading their own lives, he would put his on hold and go help. Because he was a full time firefighter in Bloomington, he acted as a mentor to some of our people. He was the best type of guy.”

“He is irreplaceable,” said Chief Kimmerling. “There are certain people you enjoy being around and he was one of them. He was engaging and caring and this is just a huge, huge loss for us and he will never be able to be replaced.”

Both West and Hill said their respective departments were dealing with the tragedy as best they could.

“Words can’t really describe how people cope with something like this because everyone handles it in different ways,” Hill said. “We are a close-knit family and we are here for each other. Our first focus is to help his family and then we are concerned about the firefighters also at the scene. But throughout the day, we have received support and offers of help from everyone and that is a huge help. All of the area departments have offered assistance and help and we are appreciative of that.”

Added West,” We have our moments, both good and bad. We still have to do our job, but it is tough to go out there and think that he should be there with us. But we have been talking about the fun times and then there are moments where we just sit and reflect quietly. We are really going to miss him, though.”
By Kevin Barlow /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 06, 2013
Ambulance Crash Sends Several To Hospital - SD

Ambulance Crash

Ambulance Crash
Two patients were in the back of an ambulance traveling on Interstate 90 from Eagle Butte when the driver of the ambulance drifted off the road and struck a parked vehicle about 4:45 a.m. Tuesday. One of the ambulance's occupants was ejected from the vehicle.

A driver who fell asleep at the wheel is being blamed for an accident Tuesday that ejected an emergency medical technician from an ambulance along Interstate 90.

It was around 4:45 a.m. when the ambulance that was traveling from Eagle Butte to Rapid City drifted off the road and collided with a pickup parked on the shoulder, according to South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Chris Regan.

Marne Lamb was in the back of the ambulance at the time attending to a 45-year-old man and an infant when the crash occurred and ejected her from the vehicle, Regan said.

"The passenger's front of the ambulance hit the rear of the tailgate," said Regan, adding the impact pushed the unoccupied Ford F250 pickup and caused the ambulance to roll on its side.

The 43-year-old woman was taken to Rapid City Regional Hospital where she was listed in good condition on Tuesday afternoon.

The patients and the infant's mother, who was also in the ambulance, were not injured.

The ambulance driver, Joseph Meligan, 32, was cited for careless driving.

The Piedmont and Rapid City fire departments assisted with the accident and transported the patients and Lamb to the hospital.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 05, 2013
Bel Air woman 'terrified' after firefighters force entry into wrong home - MD

firefighters force entry into wrong home
Harford County is paying to repair a Bel Air woman's front door, after a Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company ambulance crew was mistakenly dispatched to her home for a stroke call and broke down the door while she was in the shower. (AEGIS FILE PHOTO, Homestead Publishing)

What happens when the fire department beats down your door by accident? One Bel Air woman recently found out.

Harford County government is paying for an emergency operations mistake that resulted in Bel Air firefighters forcing their way into the wrong home Friday.

Merle Kougl, of Jessicas Lane, near the Bel Air Bypass, said she was in the shower at about 10:20 a.m. Friday when she heard a loud crash and felt the house shake.

"I was very disoriented. What do I do?" she recalled, explaining she found someone had broken her front door, knocking it off the frame.

"I thought, oh my God, there's somebody in here," Kougl said, gathering her dogs and locking herself in the bedroom. "I was absolutely terrified."

After finally calling 911 in a panic, the dispatcher told her they knew who the culprit was, she said.

Kougl was still scared to come out of her room, but she eventually called the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company.

Finally, officials told her "they were given the wrong address and there was somebody down the street having a stroke," she said.

Kougl said the fire company was less than understanding, with a captain telling her: "These things happen."

The county's risk management office will pay the cost of fixing her door.

"When the fire department responded, they forced entry to the wrong home," county spokesman Bob Thomas said Monday. "Because the emergency operations dispatched to the wrong address, the county felt responsible for paying for the door and repairs."

Thomas said a risk management investigator was sent out to look at the damage.

"This is a very, very rare situation, unfortunate situation, but we were able to resolve the matter quickly," he said.

Rich Gardiner, spokesman for the Bel Air Volunteer Fire & EMS Association, also said risk management is handling everything and the fire company "did all they could do."

"The BAVFC offered to make payment immediately to help the lady get her door back then be reimbursed by the County, but County Risk Management told them absolutely do not do that," Gardiner said.

He also said the ambulance crew contacted the Harford County Sheriff's Office to let them know what happened and to see if the Sheriff's Office could make an exception to their policy to come out, but they declined.

Gardiner explained law enforcement has a policy of not responding on forced entries by emergency responders.

Kougl said she is less focused on getting her door repaired than she is on that no one immediately told her what was going on.

"[Risk management] were very nice and very helpful once I wound up getting in touch with them," she said, but added that when she talked to the Bel Air fire captain, "he still didn't get it. He said, 'Well, they're going to pay to have your door fixed.'"

"I felt like there should have been something in place to let me know immediately, if not sooner, that there was not a murderer in my basement," Kougl said.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 05, 2013

Calm voices. Yelling. Commands. Chaos.

Emergency radio transmissions from the early morning hours of Feb. 18 tell the tale of city firefighters' efforts to save first two people, who ultimately died, and then one of their own from a raging house fire on East Madison Street.

Three firefighters arrived first, and were the only ones on the scene for three long minutes.

Two of those firefighters, Lt. Andre Kelley and Tom Bender, quickly entered the burning building, bringing a hose with them.

Out on the street, another firefighter, Don Mohr, was providing water to them, unaware that the hose quickly burned through and was not providing water to fight a fire that was crescendoing into a flashover of flames.

Caught in a tidal wave of fire, Bender leaped from a second-story window but Kelley was trapped inside.

By this time, other firefighters were rolling up and leaping into action, getting water to the fire and saving Kelley.

Here is an edited version of their and others' transmissions from the fire, until the rescue of Kelley, who is now recuperating from burns to 40 percent of his body.

The times shown represent the time, in minutes and seconds, elapsed into the call.

• 10 seconds: East Madison Street. Receiving multiple calls, possible people trapped.

• 42 seconds: Report of people possibly trapped, second floor, front bedroom.

• 1:28: Police are on the scene, reporting two trapped inside.

• 1:33: Activate the second alarm, also Metro Red.

• 2:06: Engine 3 is on the scene. Heavy smoke showing, side alpha, two-story brick, middle of the row.

• 4:54: Get them hooked up to a hydrant.

• 5:08: Engine 2 arriving.

• 5:13: Engine 1 arrived.

• 6:20: Engine 3, do you need water?

• 7:00: Command, you got Engine 1 coming to back you up.

• 8:54: (Shouting)

• 9:23: Engine 3, do you have a report from the inside yet?

• 9:36: Let me know when you are ready for water. (Yelling in the background.)

• 9:45: Mayday, Mayday, Mayday! Lt. Kelley down on the second floor!

• 9:52: Repeat that.

• 9:55: Mayday, Mayday, Mayday! Lt. Kelley down on the second floor!

• 10:02: Engine 2, get inside, get Lt. Kelley.

• 10:10: (Yelling, sirens)

• 10:17: On the (unintelligible) floor.

• 10:18: Third floor.

• 10:27: Let's get that fire, let's get some water on that fire.

• 11:18: Truck 204 on the scene.

• 11:25: Truck 204, bring your crew up here. Let's initiate a search for a downed firefighter, second or third floor.

• 11:36: (Yelling)

• 11:51: Turn on the water at the hydrant. Turn on the water at the hydrant. East Lemon Street hydrant, turn the water on.

• 12:05: Water's on the way from the police department.

• 12:29: Do we have water on that fire yet, Engine 3?

• 12:38: We need hydrant water.

• 12:41: The water's on, water's coming through the supply. Let's get some water on the fire, where is …

• 12:50: Lt. Kelley, Firefighter Bender.

• 12:59: Engine, where's Lt. Kelley?

• 13:03: He's still on the second floor in the hallway. We're taking a line up those stairs now.

• 13:14: Repeat, Bender, repeat.

• 13:17: He was on the second floor in the hallway, at the top of the stairs. He was yelling for help. He needed a handline up there. That could be hard to ... (Yelling)

• 13:31: I got RIT (Rapid Intervention Team) on the way. You're saying on the second floor?

• 13:40: The last I heard of him, yes.

• 14:17: Bender, what's your location right now?

• 14:43: RIT ... 204 coming in.

• 14:58: You need a firefighter ... Lt. Kelley, second floor, top of the steps.

• 15:03: Top of the steps, second floor.

• 15:52: Chief 905, at this time it's believed we have one firefighter trapped in the second floor.

• 16:51: We have a firefighter in distress. Lt. Kelley's at the front door, the front door.

• 17:00: Kelley's at the front door (yelling).

• 17:23: Lt. Kelley's out of the building.

• 17:26: Copy that. Is everyone else accounted for?
By CINDY STAUFFER / Staff Writer

Please buckle your seat belt

March 05, 2013
3 injured in accident involving fire truck on South Side - IL

Three people were injured late this morning in an accident involving a fire truck on the South Side.

The accident happened about 11:30 a.m. on the 5100 block of South Union Avenue in the city's Back of the Yards neighborhood, according to Fire Media information.

A fire truck was returning from a fire on the South Side when it collided with a vehicle, according to Fire Media.

A 1994 Chevrolet pick-up truck was westbound on 51st Street when it slid through a red light and crashed into the fire truck, which was southbound on Union Avenue, said Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli.

The pick-up truck hit a rear tire of the fire engine, causing damage to the front end of the pick-up, Mirabelli said.

The pickup's driver, a woman, and a male passenger were taken to John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County in serious-to-fair condition. The firefighter who was driving the fire truck was taken for observation to Rush University Medical Center.

Mirabelli said that, according to preliminary reports, the driver of the pickup truck was driving too fast for conditions. The fire truck was returning from a call and had its light activated, he said, and citations are pending.
By Deanese Williams-HarrisTribune reporter

Please buckle your seat belt

March 05, 2013
Lessons Learned:
Making Sure the Crew is Mentally Fit is Everyone's Job - MD

Vickie Taylor and Dr. Richard Gist
Vickie Taylor and Dr. Richard Gist have developed programs for crews to monitor the mental health of themselves and their colleagues. / Susan Nicol

BALTIMORE, MD – One size doesn’t fit all.

That theme surfaced repeatedly this past weekend as fire officials discussed how to assist their personnel with the mental stresses of their jobs.

Consultants with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation explained not only their research findings, but presented a host of ideas to keep responders mentally fit.

Psychological support needs to be part of the daily regime just as time at the gym, said Dr. Richard Gist, principal assistant to the Kansas City Fire Chief.

Gist, a NFFF consultant, said Initiative 13 goes way beyond just making sure firefighters and their families have access to psychological support.

Over the past five years, Gist and Vickie Taylor, a behavioral health consultant with the NFFF, have been working to establish the proper tools so every person on the crew can help take care of themselves and their comrades.

Taylor said leading experts in all facets of psychological health as well as fire and EMS officials were involved to help them develop “a whole set of products” that responders can use to keep people mentally fit to do their jobs.

Conducting an After Action Review (AAR) should become as routine as restocking or cleaning the equipment used. Every time the wheels roll, Gist and Taylor say crews should consider five things -- What was our mission? What went well? What could have gone better? What might we have done differently? Who needs to know?

Throughout the weekend session, it was stressed that the AAR conducted by every team, every time insures that Everyone Goes Home.

Taylor explained that Stress First Aid techniques are built on the same principals that responders use daily to assist citizens. The key is learning to pay attention every day to the behavior of colleagues or people who work for you.

She added that this is “not a program rolled out after an incident,” this is something that should become second nature.

Gist added: “Nobody knows you better than your best friend…”

He said other firefighters and related organizations need to work together to keep each other safe.

They say the backbone or success of peer support programs in all departments is confidentiality which also must continue throughout the mental health care process.

And, Taylor says it’s also imperative that clinicians are knowledgeable about the fire and rescue service.

Gist added that it’s their hope that AAR and stress first aid become part of every firefighters’ repertoire.

Yet, he added that the programs will be adapted as necessary. “This is very much a work in progress so to speak. It will certainly change over time…”

Gist said he and Taylor enjoyed developing the various components of the training following research and surveys. “We basically put it into practice so you can access it to use as soon as you get home…”

NFFF Executive Director Ron Siarnicki said some states are now including the Courage to be Safe curriculum in their initial firefighter training classes. He said he’d like to see it incorporated in every state fire training program.

He lauded Gist and Taylor for their work: “…they have been the champions that carried this forward.”

Please buckle your seat belt

March 05, 2013
Firefighter Hurt After Brick Fireplace Collapse - GA

A Glynn County firefighter is temporarily out of commission after a brick fireplace collapsed Sunday during a chimney fire.

The fire was reported around 3:45 p.m. Sunday at 407 Ashley Marsh Drive on Blythe Island.

The brick facade and mantle surrounding the fireplace inside the house collapsed during the fire, injuring the firefighter's leg.

Glynn County Fire Chief Al Thomas declined to identify the firefighter who was injured but said he would miss some time at work due to the injury, which is not considered severe.

"He is going to be out for a little bit. We just don't know for how long," Thomas said.

The fire was confined to the chimney and was put out quickly, he said.

Thomas said the fire department has had to work only a few chimney fires this winter.

He said residents who burn wood in fireplaces should take caution to ensure their chimneys are clean.

Chimneys can catch on fire when enough residue builds up inside the shaft.

How much residue accumulates depends largely on what is being burned in the fireplace, Thomas said.

Burning pine leads to more residue than burning hardwoods like oak, he said.

Thomas said regular cleanings and burning primarily hardwood decreases chances a chimney fire will start.
Michael Hall / The Brunswick News, Ga

Please buckle your seat belt

March 05, 2013
USFA Funding, SAFER, AFG Grants Cut by Sequester

The sequester will mean less funding for the USFA as well as SAFER and FIRE Act grants and wildland fire management programs.

The IAFC says a number of programs will suffer by the sequester.

•The U.S. Fire Administration will be cut by $2 million.

•DHS State and Local Programs (including the FIRE and SAFER grant programs) will be cut by a total of $117 million.

•The U.S. Forest Service’s wildland-fire management account will be cut by $125 million.

•The U.S. Department of Interior’s wildland-fire management account will be cut by $38 million.

•The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's Hazardous Materials Safety Account will be cut by $2 million and the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Grants will be cut by $1 million.

•Medicare will reduce reimbursements to providers by 2% starting on April 1, and there may be a delay in receiving reimbursements.

Grants that have been awarded are not in jeopardy.

In a letter sent Monday afternoon, a FEMA grants directorate wrote: “As a consequence, all federal agencies, including FEMA, will have to implement steep funding cuts, begining in the current fiscal year. Leadership throughout FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security have been working hard to determine how we might best mitigate the impact of possible sequestration budget reductions on our state, local, tribal, territorial, nonprofit and private sector partners.”

Acting Assistant Administrator of Grants David J. Kaufman added that FEMA’s funding for state and local grants is being reduced by about five percent.

“We recognize the hardships that sequestration is likely to cause and thank you for your cooperation as we work together to manage these unfortunate circumstances,” he wrote adding. “We value the important work that you do and appreciate your dedication to the security and resilience of the nation.”

Please buckle your seat belt

March 05, 2013
Indiana Firefighter/Medic Cody Richardson Dies After Shift - IN

Firefighter Paramedic Cody Richardson
Firefighter/Paramedic Cody Richardson /Zionsville Fire Department

An Indiana Fire Department is mourning the loss of one of its own.

Zionsville Firefighter/Paramedic Cody Richardson, 26, was found unresponsive Monday not long after his shift ended.

On its website, fire officials noted: "Cody has saved a lot of lives, but after all efforts were exhausted, Cody’s life was not able to be saved."

Richardson's last shift at Zionsvile Fire Station 91 ended at 7 a.m. Monday.

"Later this same day, Cody was found unresponsive at a farm in northern Boone County, transported to a local area hospital and was pronounced dead of a cause still to be determined," the department said.

"Cody will truly be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, family and friends," fire officials said in the statement.

Richardson was hired as a part-time Firefighter/EMT at Zionsville in 2007.

He went through the Zionsville Fire Department full-time hiring process and was hired as a Full-time Firefighter/EMT on Aug. 31, 2008. He later went through paramedic school and became a Firefighter/Paramedic.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 04, 2013
Security expert warns fire department lockboxes can be hacked -CA

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A security expert warned that criminals can gain access to locked businesses and apartments across the United States by reproducing the master keys now issued only to firefighters during emergencies.

The expert said he identified a flaw in the heavy metal boxes made by an Arizona-based company called Knox Co, now commonly found outside millions of apartment complexes and commercial properties in cities across the country, including Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco.
By Jim Finkle | Reuters

Please buckle your seat belt

March 04, 2013
Lessons Learned:
Long-Term Wear Caused Aerial Mishap - AZ

Last year’s firetruck ladder accident resulted from long-term wear that should have been obvious to anyone with a trained eye, a Department of Public Safety detective told the Green Valley fire board Wednesday.

The DPS investigation, which was requested by the Green Valley Fire District, is the only publicly available probe into the cause of the accident. The four civilians injured in the August incident have filed notices that they plan to sue the district and Detective Terry Johnson said after the fire board meeting that he expects he will be called into court as a witness.

Johnson provided the district with a voluminous report on the investigation. He told the board a variety of factors were involved, including a lack of training for the fire district’s eight engineers on how to maintain the ladder; a lack of documentation on how often fire district staff tested and did maintenance work on the ladder; and lack of specific maintenance guidelines from the truck manufacturer, Sutphen Corp. of Amlin, Ohio. In addition, the civilians injured were not given Civilian Observer release forms as required under a GVFD policy.

Sutphen’s Director of Service, T. Robert Meyer, said Friday in an email to the Green Valley News that the company agrees that the snapping of the two steel cables caused the accident and that the company, along with other parties, are investigating the reasons, including whether the maintenance-related issues raised by Johnson played a role.

Meyer noted that the DPS investigation was limited to the first weeks after the accident, while Sutphen, GVFD and others have engaged in two lengthier examination of the truck. Those include a daylong inspection at Station 151 in Green Valley in late September and a weeklong examination in late January at Sutphen’s facility in Ohio, where the ladder was taken apart in preparation for being rebuilt and returned to service.

Meyer did not offer an explanation for why the cables snapped.

Lack of training

Firetruck engineers interviewed by Johnson during his investigation said they did not think they had been adequately trained on how to maintain the ladder truck, in particular on how often to lubricate the pulleys, also called sheaves.

The ladder extends to 100 feet in five sections, several of which are controlled by two steel cables. The cables each pass through a pulley and the ladder partly collapsed after small fiberglass composite pulley parts called bushings failed because of long-term wear.

The ladder truck was delivered to GVFD in April 2010. The bushings wore out Aug. 15, causing the pulleys to seize two steel cables that control the ladder and causing the cables to snap and the ladder to slide down uncontrollably, Johnson told the board. The ladder slid down about 40 feet, injuring five people, including four civilians who were in a fire bucket at the top of the ladder as part of a public relations event and one firefighter.

The ladder is being rebuilt in Ohio and should be back in service by late March, Fire Chief Simon Davis said.

In just over two years of service, Johnson said the ladder truck was used in one rescue as well as in training and public relations activities.

“For the most part, the truck has been utilized during public relations demonstrations, training and in one rescue,” he said.

Johnson asked the Phoenix Fire Department to conduct an independent review of the GVFD truck and concluded, Johnson said, “the failure did not occur overnight. The failure occurred over a period of time.”

“The cable failure was caused by the bushings in the pulley being completely worn away and the pulleys and pins sustained extensive damage,” the PFD told Johnson.

In a slide presentation Johnson said evidence showed the ladder was being lubricated and inspected at times, but he could not determine from GVFD records how often that occurred.

“They (PFD) thought with a trained eye, the pulley damage would have been obvious and could have been caught long before a failure occurred,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the operating and service manual given GVFD by the manufacturer contained contradictory time lines on how often the pulleys should be lubricated, including periodically, annually and after every 10 hours of service, but elsewhere said the truck should be virtually “maintenance free.”

GVFD engineers said they received about one hour of training from Sutphen, mostly on operation of the ladder, not maintenance.

Annual inspections

The Sutphen 100 ladder truck underwent annual inspections in September 2010 and August 2011 and was within two weeks of another annual inspection when it failed.

The day after the accident, Sutphen officials said the cables should be tightened so they have a half-inch of drop, or sag, but that information is not included in the Sutphen Operator and Service Manual. Only one of the eight GVFD engineers told Johnson he had made a minor adjustment to a cable.

The truck was supposed to get a partial inspection daily and a more detailed two-hour inspection weekly, but at least 100 times the duty engineers did not document the inspections, Johnson said.

Johnson said that other Sutphen trucks have had ladder failures in Bluffton, S.C. (four); Chillicothe, Ohio; Palm Beach County, Fla.; and Sedona (two). However, Sutphen’s Meyer said Friday that all of the other cases “were attributed to user service and maintenance issues.” The ladder is designed with two pulleys so that one could back up the other and Meyer said none of the other cases involved two pulleys seizing in place at the same time, as occurred in Green Valley.

Both Johnson of DPS and GVFD Chief Davis said they had to decline comment because of the potential lawsuits. The victims’ lawyer did not respond to several inquiries.

Meyer said Sutphen has not been sued or notified about any impending suit over the Aug. 15 incident.
Philip Franchine / Green Valley News & Sun (Arizona)

Please buckle your seat belt

March 04, 2013
Danbury firefighter injured at Peace St. blaze - CT

DANBURY -- One firefighter was hurt Saturday afternoon while battling a blaze that damaged an apartment building on Peace Street.

Deputy Chief Bernie Meehan said the firefighter, a member of the career department, was taken to Danbury Hospital for treatment of an ankle injury. The fire broke out in a second-floor apartment at 16 Peace St.

Four career fire companies and three volunteer companies responded and quickly knocked down the blaze, limiting the damage to one of three apartments located on the second floor, Meehan said.

The fire is under investigation by the Danbury Fire Marshals Office, he said.

The American Red Cross is providing emergency housing, food and clothing to the two adults who lived in the affected apartment, spokesman Paul Shipman said Sunday.

The Red Cross is also providing comfort kits that contain personal care items such as toothbrushes, deodorant and shaving supplies that the victims might not have been able to gather in the rush to escape the fire, he said.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 04, 2013
DNY Paramedics, EMTs Stumbling, Falling in Academy - NY

They’re New York’s Fattest.

The Fire Department’s new class of recruits — all current city EMTs or paramedics who want to become firefighters — are flaming out fast, failing the Fire Academy in record numbers, according to FDNY sources.

As many as 30 of the 318 probationary trainees — who are older, weaker and fatter than those in previous years — have already quit, and more are expected to drop out before their 18-week course on Randalls Island concludes in May, the sources said.

During the first week of the academy, 166 of the probies flunked the physical-fitness test — which requires four pull-ups, 30 push-ups in one minute, 30 sit-ups in one minute and a 1.5-mile run in 12 minutes.

Recruits are required to pass the physical-fitness test in order to graduate.

“There are a lot of people saying this is the worst FDNY class in the department’s history,” said a source.

The oversized and under-performing candidates will be given remedial physical training. They’ll also catch a break on the running requirements, according to one high-ranking FDNY insider.

“They’re allowing them to do it in 13 or 14 minutes,” he said.

The Academy class, the first in the FDNY since 2008, was formed after a federal judge forced the department to become more racially diverse, finding that its recruitment practices discriminated against minorities.

So FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano excluded applicants from the general population for this Academy class, limiting the pool to medics, whose ranks include a higher percentage of minorities than is found in firehouses.

This year’s class is the most diverse ever — 42 percent are black, Hispanic or Asian, and six are women.

But they were rated only on a written exam. In years past, applicants had to score high on both a written and a physical test.

About 870 medics took the written test and were ranked by score. But 300 were dropped after failing a cardiovascular stress test on a stair-climbing machine, sources said.

More flunked out when they failed to complete an obstacle course in time, failing at such tasks as dragging a hose and a weighted dummy, carrying equipment, and raising a ladder. Insiders note this Candidate Physical Ability Test is less challenging than the one required for graduation.

So instead of plucking the cream of the EMT crop, the department “had to keep going farther down the list,” a source said.

“On the open exam for the general public, only candidates who score a 97 are likely to be called,” said the source. “But because so many of this class flunked their StairMaster, [scores] went as low as 72.”

Veteran firefighters are fuming over the quality of the new recruits.

“Seems to me that the EMS Promotional Candidates came to work unprepared and half of them out of shape,” posted “Duke” on firefighter-complaint Web site FDNY Rant.

“Fatbodies!” wrote “queenstl.” A retired city medic wasn’t surprised by the flabby failures.

“EMS people are fat — we’re like the AV squad at school,” he told The Post. “You sit in an ambulance for 8 to 16 hours a day. When are you supposed to exercise?”

A quartermaster was overheard saying about the new class, “I’ve never given out so many size-38 pants before.”

The department’s own EMS Academy head, Lt. David Russell, admitted in a 2011 report that even when FDNY recruits from EMS got extra help, “the overall fitness of these recruits is still poor.”

Cassano seemed to acknowledge this when he told the class, “The next 18 weeks will be the most difficult of your life and will push you like never before.”

The 318 entered the academy on Jan. 15 — and quickly began dropping out. Four left on Jan. 30, including a 29-year-old from Brooklyn who notched the highest written-exam score, a 100.

At least one man left because he didn’t realize he’d be taking a pay cut.

A first-year firefighter makes $39,370, more than $4,000 a year less than the paramedic’s starting salary of $43,690. EMTs start at $31,981.

FDNY spokesman Frank Gribbon acknowledged the losses. “We’ve got people dropping out — every day it changes, almost. I don’t have exact numbers.”

He claimed the rate was “about the same as it usually is,” then conceded it might be “slightly higher” this year. Yet he defended the fitness of the class.

“They all had to pass to get in,” he said. “Every day there is physical training, and it is rigorous.
By BRAD HAMILTON / Source: New York Post

Please buckle your seat belt

March 04, 2013
Firefighter Injured Battling 2-alarm Blaze In Northwest Baltimore - MD

A firefighter was injured battling a two-alarm fire at a debris-filled, single-family home in Northwest Baltimore on Monday morning when he fell through a floor into the home's basement, according to the Baltimore Fire Department. Firefighters responded just before 9 a.m. to the home in the 4200 block of Groveland Avenue, in the city's West Arlington neighborhood, and found heavy smoke, said Chief Kevin Cartwright, a department spokesman.

When firefighters entered the home, they determined the fire had originated in the basement but had "extended into the walls" and was traveling into the first and second floors as well, Cartwright said.

One firefighter, while fighting the flames, fell through the flooring of the first floor into the basement, sustaining a non-life-threatening laceration across his nose, Cartwright said. The firefighter was transported to Mercy Medical Center's Public Safety Infirmary.

The fire was brought under control about 9:45 a.m., Cartwright said.

The home had "a lot of debris inside" and it was unclear whether anyone was living there, Cartwright said.

Douglas Lent, a spokesman for the American Red Cross, said one person was displaced and is being assisted by Red Cross volunteers.
Written by The Baltimore Sun

Please buckle your seat belt

March 04, 2013
Missoula firefighter injured in fall at auto shop fire - MT

A Missoula firefighter was injured Sunday morning when he fell from a ladder while fighting a fire in a automotive shop.

City fire officials said the firefighter, whose name was not released, was taken to St. Patrick Hospital, where he remained overnight for observation.

His injuries - sustained when he fell 15 feet onto scrap iron and other metal debris - are non-life threatening, officials said.

Missoula city and rural departments were dispatched at about 10 a.m. to the corner of Benton and Schilling streets, where they found heavy smoke and flames coming from the eaves and front overhead doors of a large metal automotive-type shop.

Three city engines, one ladder truck, a battalion chief along with one rural engine arrived and were able to control the fire within about 10 minutes.

Assistant fire chief Jeff Brandt said access to the interior was extremely difficult due to large amounts of machinery and concern for various fuels and gasses used at the shop.

Brandt said two Missoula city fire inspectors are investigating the fire and its possible cause.

Late Sunday, damage estimates were undetermined, but Brandt said they could be significant due to the large amount of metalworking machinery in the building.
By Sherry Devlin /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 04, 2013
Fire department labor-management strife complicates issues of response time, staffing - DC

A recent string of operational problems and misconduct allegations has embroiled the D.C. fire department and prompted concerns that a dysfunctional agency is undermining public safety.

The department’s troubles run the gamut: a labor-management spat over a visit by firefighters to the White House, charges of sexual harassment at the training academy, and the death by heart attack of a man who waited 29 minutes for an ambulance on a day when more than 100 firefighters called in sick.

In the background are long-standing tensions between managers and the local firefighters union over the direction of the department. The relationship hasn’t been helped by discord over management proposals that would deal with such concerns as longer emergency response times and a shortage of paramedics, in part, by concentrating more shifts during peak times of the day.

Fire Chief Kenneth B. Ellerbe has said the changes are necessary because more than 80 percent of the calls are for medical emergencies, not fires. Union leaders say that the chief has failed to hire paramedics fast enough to keep pace with attrition and that his mismanagement is forcing D.C. residents and visitors to wait longer for less­-than-adequate care.

The new chairman of the D.C. Council’s public safety committee, Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), is taking a cautious approach. He said he has just begun to delve into a complex array of issues clouded by animosity between the union and the chief that renders virtually every detail subject to debate. During sworn testimony last month, Ellerbe and the union president, Edward C. Smith, could not even agree on how many paramedics left the department last year. Smith said 20; the chief said 12.

Wells, who is contemplating a run for mayor, said he is focusing on issues with the greatest effect on the public. He has asked the D.C. inspector general to investigate the allegations of sexual harassment at the training academy and the circumstances under which fire engine mechanics earned as much as $97,000 in overtime in the past fiscal year.

Ellerbe, testifying at a public safety committee hearing last month, said the overtime payments were made to 10 mechanics because managers allowed too many of their co-workers to take leave at the same time. He promised new protocols to keep it from happening again. “We weren’t paying as much attention to it as we are now,” he said.

The chief said he reacted quickly to sexual harassment allegations in which two female recruits said an instructor’s inappropriate remarks made them feel uncomfortable.

At the hearing, Ellerbe tried to win support for his plan to change the way firefighters’ working hours are scheduled. Firefighters now work a single 24-hour shift followed by three days off. He wants them to work shorter but more frequent shifts. He has also proposed taking advanced-life-support paramedics off the street from 1 to 7 a.m. to free up resources for later in the day. Union leaders are vehemently opposed to altering shift times, arguing that changes would disrupt the lives of 1,800 members.

In his testimony to the committee, Ellerbe acknowledged that the department has difficulty keeping its paramedic ranks filled, and he described efforts to recruit military veterans with medical backgrounds.

About response times, Ellerbe said that in 84 percent of cases, a firetruck or ambulance reaches a high-priority patient in less than 61 / 2 minutes, with the average being 41 / 2 minutes. But during the day, Ellerbe said, when demand is highest, “the number of ambulances available is reaching the limit of our department’s service capacity.”

The chief said in 88 percent of high-priority daytime calls, ambulances reach patients in 12 minutes or less, with the average being 71 / 2 minutes. The chief said it can take as long as 15 minutes for ambulances to reach patients in some neighborhoods. Paramedics or emergency medical technicians aboard firetrucks often arrive and provide treatment first.

Union representatives, speaking at the same hearing, blamed the chief. “This is a manufactured crisis,” Joe Papariello, who chairs the emergency medical systems committee of D.C. Firefighters Association Local 36. “We are seeing an exodus of paramedics, and nothing is being done about it.”

Slow response times were especially evident at the end of last year. A week after firefighters were excluded from a Christmas bonus given to thousands of other workers, an unusual number of them called in sick New Year’s Eve. The city says 106 firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians — about one-third of those scheduled to work— didn’t show up on one of the busiest weekends of the year.

The city blamed the union, and the union denied that there had been an organized sickout. But no one has denied that the situation led to a mad scramble to staff fire engines and ambulances, cost a considerable amount in overtime and delayed urgent care. One man died of a heart attack after waiting 29 minutes for help. Fire officials said no fire engine or ambulance was available anywhere in the District for 16 minutes after the first 911 call came in.

Ellerbe has denied that delays contributed to the man’s death, a contention that the family has disputed.

The labor-management dispute has even tarnished feel-good moments. On Feb. 19, firefighters from across the region stood with President Obama in the White House as he discussed the effect of budget sequestration. Prince George’s County officials sent a congratulatory message over Twitter. But the D.C. fire chief scolded his firefighters, complaining that their appearance had not been cleared through his office or the mayor’s office.

In a statement, Ellerbe denied that anyone had been disciplined over the White House visit, but he asked for written reports so that protocols could be set for future invitations. That rebuke sent a chill through the ranks, said Smith, the firefighters union president, who, in protest, boycotted a mayoral luncheon held to praise city employees for their hard work during Obama’s inauguration.

“It’s the city’s way of continuing to disenfranchise the firefighters,” Smith said. “When you read between the lines, it boils down to control.”

Please buckle your seat belt

March 03, 2013
Knotts Island Fire Chief Scott Morrison Dies at Blaze - NC

Fire Chief Scott Morrison

A Volunteer Fire Chief died in the Line of Duty while responding to a fire this afternoon. Chief Scott Morrison of the Knotts Island Volunteer Fire Department, a VFD that covers both North Carolina and Virginia, was responding to a brush fire when he went into cardiac arrest this afternoon. Fire and EMS personnel treated Chief Morrison on scene and transported him to a hospital, but he died in the Line of Duty around 1730 hours. The Chief had been a Firefighter since 1984 and leaves behind a wife and 2 children. The Knotts Island VFD is Currituck County,NC Company 15 and Virginia Beach, VA Company 15.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 03, 2013

Four Hemlock Farms volunteer firefighters went to the hospital Saturday morning after the rescue truck they were riding in flipped on its side on an ice-covered road.

Two firefighters had minor injuries. The other two were sent to the hospital as a precaution and were found to have no injuries.

Hemlock Farms emergency responders were called around 5 a.m. to help Blooming Grove Fire Department with a vehicle crash on Interstate 84 near mile marker 29, said Hemlock Farms Fire Chief Richard Hall.

Radio reports said someone was trapped in the car.

The 32-foot-long rescue truck, which carries equipment including extrication tools, was traveling down a hill on Hemlock Farms Road near Route 739 when the weight of the truck and the ice on the road caused the truck to start sliding, Hall said.

The rescue truck driver swerved toward a ditch to miss a collision with a car and the truck tipped over, landing on its side. A heavy-duty tow truck used for large vehicles was called to upright the 1999 rig.

Hemlock Farms called the Milford ambulance to the scene to treat injured emergency workers.

But on its way to Hemlock Farms, the ambulance crew spotted a serious crash on westbound Interstate 84 near mile marker 40 and stopped to give aid.

In that crash, which also involved icy roads, a car struck a tractor-trailer that was stopped in the shoulder of the road. Jennifer L. Conklin, 30, of Walden, N.Y., died in the crash. She was a passenger in the car driven by Patricia Williams, 31, who was seriously injured. Williams is also from Walden.

"The roads were terrible," Hall said. "We're very lucky. It could have been a lot worse. I'm happy my boys will be OK."

An insurance adjuster is coming to assess the damage, with any luck by the end of the week. In the meantime, the truck is out of service, since no one knows what sort of structural damage it's sustained, Hall said.

Hemlock Farms Volunteer Fire and Rescue Co. relies on donations and receives no money from the dues paid to the gated community, Hall said.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 03, 2013
Firefighter Injured After Falling Through Roof - TX

A volunteer firefighter is home resting after falling through the roof of a carport while fighting a house fire.

Crews were dispatched to a structure fire shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday on County Road 836 in Indian Hills, near Huckabay. Upon arrival they found smoke coming through the roof but no smoke in the residence.

Chris Gable, Erath County Volunteer Fire Rescue coordinator, said the eight units and more than 30 firefighters who arrived on scene made a hole in the roof and discovered flames in the attic. While fighting the blaze, a firefighter stepped back onto the tin roof of the carport and fell when the tin slid.

Gable said the man fell approximately eight feet onto the concrete floor. He was transported via ambulance to Texas Health Harris Methodist Stephenville where he was treated and released.

The fire is still under investigation, but Gable said it appears it started in the chimney.

"We were able to open up the roof and extinguish the flames in the attic," Gable said. "We've fought several fires this season that started around the chimney flues in older homes. I would recommend people using stoves and fire places have their chimneys checked before use each season to prevent these types of fires."
Stephenville Empire-Tribune (Texas)

Please buckle your seat belt

March 03, 2013
911 Recording Details Calif. Dispatcher's Struggle - CA

A recording of a 911 call released last week portrayed a Bakersfield Fire Department dispatcher's stressed, unsuccessful efforts to get a nurse at Glenwood Gardens, a retirement center and nursing home, to give CPR to an unconscious, elderly woman.

During the tense seven-minute audio recording posted on KGET Channel 17's website, the dispatcher forcefully pleaded with a nurse, repeatedly asking if there was anyone who would do CPR if the nurse could not.

"Is there anybody there that's willing to help this lady and not let her die?" the dispatcher asked at one point, to which the nurse responded, "Um, not at this time."

KGET reported that 87-year-old Lorraine Bayless collapsed at the retirement center Tuesday and died at a local hospital that same day. KGET cited a fire department report as saying that the woman was in apparent cardiac arrest.

In a statement sent Saturday, Jeffrey Toomer, the executive director of the west Bakersfield facility, expressed condolences to the resident's family and appreciation for the "emergency personnel" who responded to the crisis.

"In the event of a health emergency at this independent living community our practice is to immediately call emergency medical personnel for assistance and to wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives. That is the protocol we followed," Tommer wrote in the statement.

The 911 call opened with women telling the dispatcher that a woman in her 80s in the dining room at Glenwood Gardens had apparently fainted while she was eating. One woman told the dispatcher that the senior was not awake and barely breathing.

The dispatcher told the woman on the line to get Bayless flat on her back on the ground and asked for the phone to stay next to the unconscious woman. Less than a minute later, a nurse came on the phone and said she was heading to the dining room from her office.

"We can't wait. I keep telling people this. I don't know who's passed the phone again, I need that phone next to the patient immediately. She's possibly not breathing, OK? So I need someone to run over there immediately, please," the dispatcher said.

The nurse said Bayless was on the ground breathing very slowly and timed her breaths for the dispatcher but when the dispatcher said they needed to start CPR, the nurse said, "Yeah, we can't do CPR ..."

The dispatcher countered that anybody there could do CPR.

"I understand if you, if your facility is not willing to do that, give the phone to that passerby, that stranger," the dispatcher said. "This woman's not breathing enough, she's gonna die if we don't get this started. D'ya understand?"

"I understand. I am a nurse, but I cannot have our other senior citizens who don't know CPR ... we're in a dining room. I, I cannot do that," the nurse responded slowly while the dispatcher sharply interjected, talking over the nurse to say that she could instruct someone how to perform the maneuver.

The dispatcher told the nurse she would walk her through the process, adding that "EMS takes the liability for this."

"She's yelling at me and saying that we have to have one of our other residents perform CPR ... I'm not gonna do that," the nurse said, speaking to someone off the phone.

The dispatcher asked if anyone who worked at the facility was willing to do CPR and when the nurse said, "We can't do that. That's what I'm trying to say," the dispatcher responded, "We're gonna let this lady die?"

"Well that's why we're calling 911, I'm sorry," the nurse said.

"We can't wait! She can't wait right now. She is stopping breathing. She can't wait for them to get there," the dispatcher pleaded.

When the dispatcher urged the nurse again to get CPR started, the nurse replied, "He's saying we don't so you can talk to my boss and I'm, I don't know what to say."

"They're refusing CPR, they're gonna let her die," the dispatcher said.

"When will the fire department be here? When will the ambulance be here?" the nurse asked.

"They're coming as quick, they've been on the way all this time but we can't wait, this lady's gonna die," the dispatcher said.

"Yeah," the nurse replied quietly.

The dispatcher said she understood if the nurse's boss wouldn't let her do CPR, but asked again if there were was anyone else willing to help.

"Is there a gardener or any staff, anybody that doesn't work for you anywhere? Can we flag someone down in the street and get them to help this lady?" the dispatcher demanded. "Can we flag a stranger down? I bet a stranger will help her. I'm pretty good at talking 'em into it, if you can flag a stranger down I will help, I will help tell them how to help her."

Seconds later, first responders arrived.

"They're here right now," the nurse said.

"Alright," the dispatcher replied, sighing before she began to recite numbers and the recording cut off.

Toomer, the facility's director, wrote in his emailed statement that an internal review will be conducted, but declined to give any further comment.
Rachel Cook / Source: The Bakersfield Californian

Audio of the call

Please buckle your seat belt

March 03, 2013
Responder Suspended for Negligence on EMS Call - OH

BETHEL TWP., Ohio -- A fire lieutenant here received a seven-day unpaid suspension and 180-day probation, accused of negligence of duty on a medical run Feb. 2.

Brian C. Halk, 53, an 18-year veteran of the Bethel Twp. Fire Department and a lieutenant since 2008, "was negligent and failed to act in a manner that is consistent with established protocols," according to a disciplinary investigation report by Capt. Brian Ludwick.

"This is a one-emergency occurrence where his performance wasn't to standard in 18 years serving this community," Chief Jacob King said Friday.

Ludwick wrote that Halk found the patient in full arrest and failed to: bring a working oxygen cylinder into the home, bring an automated external defibrillator into the home, participate as much as other department members on scene thought he should have, provide effective CPR, contact the sheriff's office in a timely manner, recognize a significant EMS event and call additional units, and provide effective leadership in the situation.

"It was a mistake that I made. I admitted that I did not take this piece of equipment into this house," Halk said via phone Friday.

No other disciplinary actions were found in Halk's personnel records, the Springfield News-Sun found.

Trustees unanimously approved the disciplinary action at their meeting last week following an executive session to discuss the matter.

The patient died, but not because of the care, according to the investigation.

"While this may have not changed the outcome in this particular case, had the patient been viable, it could have severely impacted his/her survivability," Ludwick wrote.

"The progressive disciplinary process is a way to enhance employee performance," King said. "It details and states performance below our expectations, provides the employee feedback, and disciplinary action is given to motivate the employee to enhance or change their behavior for the good of the organization."

The suspension, beginning March 4, and probation, effective from Tuesday, are less than what Ludwick recommended, which included a reduction in rank to firefighter/EMT and a year of probation. Any repeated incident during the year's probation would have resulted in an automatic suspension, pending dismissal, and reporting to the Ohio Division of EMS for further action, he wrote.

"He is being held to a higher standard since he is a lieutenant and a senior member of the fire department and should know his responsibilities in situations like this," Ludwick wrote.

Halk is a part-time employee paid an annual salary of about $800, plus an hourly wage, according to personnel records.

Halk did not appeal the disciplinary action.
Mark McGregor / Source: Springfield News-Sun, Ohio

Please buckle your seat belt

March 03, 2013
Vehicle Fire With Strut Failure - NY

Strut Failure

Strut Failure

Strut Failure

Strut Failure

Penfield firefighters responded at 1:30AM for a vehicle fire close to the house on Harwood CI. Firefighters found a vehicle going good close to the garage door. While knocking down the fire there was an explosion which shot the hood struts right out the front of the car and impaled them into the garage door. Luckily the guys on the line were trained to attack the fire from the sides and corners so nobody was injured.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 03, 2013
Ceiling collapses during Greece fire, 2 firefighters examined for injuries - NY

Two firefighters were evaluated for injuries after a ceiling collapsed during an early morning fire in Greece.

The North Greece Fire District tells News10NBC the fire started at a residence on Whisper Creek Court around 7:20 a.m.

When crews arrived on scene, they found an addition that was being built at that residence was on fire. Firefighters say during the course of combating the blaze, the ceiling in that addition collapsed and two firefighters were treated for injuries. Officials say one firefighter was evaluated for a neck injury, but neither suffered any major injuries.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. Officials say the fire was contained to the addition and residents were able to return to their home.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 03, 2013
Firefighter Burned in Carson Factory Blaze - CA


One firefighter suffered minor burns while helping to put the blaze out.

Paramedics rushed the firefighter, along with an employee who had been inside the factory at the time, to a hospital.

Firefighters dispatched to Missile Grinding at 18314 South Broadway said they fire posed particular problems because of chemicals inside the factory.
by Christina Pascucci / KTLA 5 Reporter

Please buckle your seat belt

March 03, 2013
Redlands Teen Uses Fists, Head, on Fire Engine - CA

A 17-year-old Redlands boy who allegedly jumped on an in-service fire engine and banged on it with his head and fists was taken into custody early Saturday, authorities said.

The engine was racing lights and sirens on to the area of Olive Avenue, near Cajon Street, about 1 a.m., city information officer Carl Baker said in a news release.

The engineer noticed someone standing in the road and began to slow; the vehicle was at a near stop when the boy jumped on and began banging on the windshield, Baker wrote.

The teen suffered injuries and the windshield sustained damage, Baker said.

He struggled with firefighters for a bit before they controlled him, Baker said.

The boy was taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries; he allegedly was also under the influence of controlled substances, police said.

He was arrested on suspicion of vandalism and interfering with emergency personnel, then released to his parents, Baker said.

"Engineer Matt Ley did an outstanding job recognizing the potential encounter early and had taken positive defensive actions under low-light conditions to avoid striking the individual with the engine,” fire Battalion Chief Jim Topoleski said.

"Engineer Ley’s actions no doubt saved the life of the individual who was determined to have an encounter with the engine, as well as ensuring the safety of the crew,” the BC added.

Anyone with additional information was asked to contact Redlands police dispatch, 909-798-7681.
By Mirna Alfonso /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 03, 2013
3 firefighters rescued in East Prov - RI

A fire that is believed to have started on the first floor has destroyed a building on Walnut St in East Providence. Neighbors say the large home has been in place for over 60 years and was currently being used as a rooming house. Firefighters arrived around 10:30pm to find heavy fire on the first and second floors. Flames quickly spread throughout the structure. Two occupants who were home at the time were able to escape unharmed while a third could not be located on scene.

During the interior attack, three firefighters were forced to exit through a third floor window after becoming trapped by heavy fire conditions. EPFD Ladder 1 was in place to serve as an evacuation route for those firefighters, who escaped unharmed. Incident command then ordered all remaining firefighters out of the building. Following the evacuation broadcast over the radio, emergency sirens and air horns filled the neighborhood to serve as an additional warning signal to firefighters working the scene. With flames continuing to push from the upper windows and roof area, the third floor roof suffered a partial collapse. Companies were withheld from entering the building thereafter. Master streams were set up to work along with multiple hand lines placed around the home. Firefighters were still actively working on Walnut street into the morning hours.

According to acting fire chief Oscar Elmasian, all available apparatus within East Providence was called to the scene while mutual aid fire companies from surrounding communities assisted to cover the rest of the city.
By Corey Welch, SNE Fire News / East Providence, RI

Please buckle your seat belt

March 02, 2013
Front wheel falls off Nashua Fire Rescue Engine 4 near station - NH

Front wheel falls off

NASHUA – The last thing that Nashua Fire Lt. Mark Wholey and his crew expected when they rolled out of the East Hollis Street station on the way to a call Friday afternoon was for one of the fire engine’s front wheels to fall off.

But that was precisely the situation in which they found themselves when Engine 4, Nashua Fire Rescue’s second-oldest regular-service engine, skidded slowly to a stop on the edge of East Hollis Street no more than 50 feet from the station.

“They were quite taken aback, as you might imagine,” Deputy Chief Karl Gerhard said, standing with the crew and police near where the hobbled vehicle lay.

“What’s most important is that no firefighters or citizens were injured,” he added, crediting the driver, whom he declined to name, for “falling back on his training” to wrestle the crippled vehicle safely to a stop.

What went wrong, Gerhard said, won’t be known for two or three days, “until we get it in the shop and the mechanics get a chance to look it over.”

Luckily, he said, the call to which Engine 4 was responding smoke from a roof on West Pearl Street – turned out to be a malfunctioning oil burner, a minor incident that was quickly under control. Engine 2 from Lake Street station was dispatched when Wholey radioed that Engine 4 was out of service because of a mechanical problem.

Engine 4, a 2004 Pierce Arrow XT, is second behind Amherst Street’s Engine 1, a 2001 Pierce Enforcer, among the department’s “front line,” or regular-service, engines, Gerhard said.

Of the other four regular-service engines – all of which are Pierce Arrow XT models – Engine 2, a 2011 model, is the newest, followed by Engine 5, 2010; Engine 3, 2009; and Engine 6, 2008.

In 2011, Engine 4 was the city’s busiest engine, responding to 2,034 calls, slightly more than Engine 2’s 1,906 runs, according to the most recent data available. Engine 4 and Ladder 2 are the department’s designated mutual-aid companies.

Within an hour of Engine 4’s collapse, which left arc-shaped rubber and scrape marks behind, the crew was transferring their gear to Engine 8, a spare engine that arrived from the airport station.

Fire Commissioner Kevin Gage said he happened to be driving by the scene on his way home when he noticed something wasn’t quite right.

“As I got closer, I saw (Engine 4) just sitting there, tilted over,” Gage said, echoing Gerhard’s earlier comments.

“First, I was just glad everyone’s OK. That’s my main thing.”
By DEAN SHALHOUP Staff Writer /

Please buckle your seat belt

March 02, 2013
Fire Trucks in Limbo as City Sorts Budget Woes - ME

MILLINOCKET, Maine -- If a large fire occurs in town, Millinocket firefighters will need help from neighboring towns to fight it, Fire Chief Andrew Turcotte said Friday.

Several years of declining town budgets -- and what Turcotte described as no "well-defined maintenance and capital outlay program" -- has left the Millinocket Fire Department with a 40-year-old pumper truck and a 31-year-old ladder truck that lacks a working pump, officials said Friday.

The department has a $228,000 pumper truck built in 2011. It was delivered two weeks ago, but fire and town leaders have agreed to not put it into service until they find the safest and most cost-effective way to proceed. Putting it in service would detract from its resale value, Turcotte said.

"My goal is to do the best that can be done with the resources I have because I know that times are tough," said Turcotte, a Millinocket native who was named fire chief in October. "I want to be as transparent as possible with the council and community."

Turcotte expressed confidence that Millinocket residents are safe. The town has mutual-aid agreements with East Millinocket and other towns. Millinocket's fully-functional frontline vehicle, a 1973 model, is ultimately questionable due to its age and wear, but performs reliably at present, he said.

The mutual-aid agreements and firefighters' ability to make do have combined to help the department handle three fairly large fires since late November, including one in early January on Medway Road in which several thousand rounds of ammunition cooked off.

Maine towns of Millinocket's size typically carry three firefighting vehicles a ladder truck and frontline and backup pumpers, Turcotte said. The dilemma town leaders face, he said, is to burden taxpayers as little as possible while ensuring that the department has a fleet to meet all emergencies.

The department's 1984 pumper, which would be a backup to the 2011 unit, was effectively scrapped by fire officials a few months ago due to its myriad problems, including extensive body rot, Turcotte said.

Also, the department's 1982 ladder truck lacks a working pump and has other age-related and mechanical issues that make its continuing use problematic, Turcotte said.

Turcotte has found a 2001 pumper in Pennsylvania originally for sale for more than $200,000 that Turcotte said he could buy for $140,000. It is in good condition, will have newer extrication equipment and other tools, and should last the department 20 years, he said.

If the department sells the 2011, it could buy the 2001 unit and have money left over to put into the ladder truck or to buy another used pumper, Turcotte said.

If town leaders opt to keep the 2011 unit, they would have to decide whether to allocate money for another pumper to replace the 1973 unit, to repair the ladder truck, or both, Turcotte said.

Interim Town Manager Charles Pray said the Town Council will meet sometime next week to discuss the Fire Department's issues. He hopes to set a meeting date later in the week.

"The chief has made a good presentation on all the alternatives and options," Pray said Friday.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 02, 2013
Ambulance Stolen as Crew Picks Up Patient - PA

Someone stole an ambulance that was left running on Franklin Street on Friday night while paramedics were getting a patient out of a nearby high-rise apartment building, according to Reading police.

Police found the Western Berks ambulance abandoned at 10th and South streets a short time later.

A witness told police someone had jumped out of the ambulance and run into a nearby building, but police were still trying to determine late Friday who stole it.

They did find a man having an asthma attack nearby, but did not know if there was any connection. He was taken to Reading Hospital.

According to police, the ambulance had been dispatched to the George M. Rhodes Apartments at 801 Franklin St. shortly after 6 for a sick person.

The crew left the unlocked ambulance running near Eighth and Franklin streets while it went into the high-rise.

When it came out of the building with the patient the ambulance was gone.

The crew called for a backup ambulance from Western Berks to take the person to the hospital. The backup ambulance was there within about 10 minutes, according to Berks County 9-1-1 dispatchers.

No one from Western Berks could be reached for comment.

Police said there was no damage to the stolen ambulance and nothing appeared to be missing.

"I can't think of an ambulance ever being stolen before in the city," said Lt. David Shilling, a longtime veteran of the department. "We've had police cars stolen and a hearse but never any ambulances."

However, other emergency workers said a Muhlenberg Township ambulance was stolen by a drunken man at the old St. Joseph Hospital in 2001. That ambulance was later found crashed in the area of Alsace Township.

And an ambulance from Hamburg was stolen decades ago while paramedics were on a call at a trailer park in Tilden Township, emergency workers said.

Please buckle your seat belt

March 01, 2013

Crews from Russellville's Fire Department arrived quickly and the department's chief said began aggressively fighting the fire.

"They made an attack on the fire from the bay door area of the structure," said Chief of Russellville's Fire Department John Cochran.

The animals all made it out safely, but the fire proved to be dangerous for more than the animals when the cables holding one of the large bay doors melted and fell on a firefighter.

Article with video

Please buckle your seat belt

March 01, 2013
Firefighters rescue efforts hampered by pit bulls - MA

WORCESTER, Mass. — Firefighters had to corral four unattended pit bulls in an apartment at 6 Shawmut St. while fighting a fire in the back of the first-floor apartment Wednesday afternoon.

As firefighters headed into the three-story home about 3:10 p.m. they were met by unleashed dogs in the first-floor apartment. At first, the dogs' presence hampered the firefighters' ability to search the building for people, District Fire Chief Samuel Richesson said.

"It did make for some nervous moments," the district chief said. "They were able to get the dogs contained into some side rooms."

The fire was held to the rear first-floor of the building. It was extinguished in about 10 minutes. The second and third floors were vacant.

District Chief Richesson said it appeared someone may have been living in the first floor, but no one was found in the apartment.

"It looked like the dogs had not been attended to for quite a period of time," the district chief said. Firefighters had to maneuver around dog feces covered floor.

An animal control officer was called to take custody of the dogs. They did not appear to be injured. Health officials were also called to the home.

The American Red Cross responded and provided lodging and food vouchers for two adults.

Fire investigators were working to determine the cause and origin of the fire.
By Scott J. Croteau / Telegram & Gazette

Please buckle your seat belt

March 01, 2013
Firefighter briefly engulfed in flames while fighting blaze in Camas - WA

Firefighter briefly engulfed in flames
Firefighters knocked down a blaze in a bedroom of a Camas townhouse this morning. The tenant told fire officials he had been looking under his bed with a lighter because he didn't have a flashlight.

Ron Nickles and Gary Horst were the first to enter the two-story Camas townhouse that had flames and smoke coming from an upstairs bedroom Thursday morning.

They hurried up the stairs and attacked the fire with a hose line, quickly putting out the blaze.

Certain that the fire was out, the duo moved onto ventilating the room that had filled with thick smoke.

“There was zero visibility. Smoke had risen to the ceiling and we couldn’t see anything,” Nickles said.

But when Horst pulled open a window to get a cross-breeze going, something fell from the sill, broke at his feet and consumed him in flames.

“I was a human fireball,” Horst said. “I started yelling, ‘Ronny put me out!’ That’s what I kept saying over and over again.”

Nickles said he looked up and was confused.

“I couldn’t figure out what happened, we already had the fire out,” he said, recounting that the room turned bright orange for a second time. “Gary just turned into an instant ball of fire. … He looked like Nicolas Cage in ‘Ghost Rider.’?”

What he admits was probably only a few seconds felt a lot longer to Horst.

“I remember it was getting very warm. I was wondering why he wasn’t putting me out yet,” he said.

Having already put out the fire they were dispatched to, Nickles had dropped his water hose about 10 feet away from him. He grabbed the nozzle and quickly doused his partner with water.

Having worked on the fire crew for 16 years, this is the first time Horst has experienced someone catching on fire.

“Luckily the gear worked,” Horst said. “Otherwise, I’d probably be over at Emanuel (Medical Center in Portland).”

The official cause of the fire, reported at 9:35 a.m. at 256 S.E. Weir St. in Camas, remains under investigation.

The tenant who was home at the time, however, told fire officials that he had been looking under the bed with a lighter because he didn’t have a flashlight available, said Camas-Washougal Fire District Chief Nick Swinhart.

Neither the tenant nor any firefighters were hurt during the incident.

“Fortunately it appears the firefighter was protected by his gear and did not suffer any injuries,” Swinhart said in a news release.

Damage to the townhouse was confined to the bedroom, but the rest of the residence sustained smoke and water damage, Swinhart said.

The American Red Cross was notified to assist the two adult male residents who were displaced.
By Emily Gillespie / Columbian staff writer

Please buckle your seat belt

March 01, 2013
Security expert claims he hacked Knox Box - CA

SAN FRANCISCO — A security expert says he has identified a flaw in heavy metal boxes that are found outside many locked companies and apartments and warns that criminals can gain access to these businesses by reproducing master keys issued only to firefighters.

The boxes manufactured by Arizona-based Knox Co. are outside of millions of apartment complexes and companies across the country, including cities like Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco, according to Reuters. Knox is looking into the claim.

Justin Clarke, a cyber security researcher said he was able to create a key that was able to open a Knox Box by ordering a box and blank keys and reproducing the master key that is usually issued to firefighters from the Box.

Knox officials said they were unaware of any safety issues with the boxes and would look into it. An engineer with company said he found the hacking hard to believe.

"I'm not saying that somebody can't eventually make one, but I haven't seen it yet," Knox Engineer Dohn Trempala said.

Clarke claims that because only one master key is issued for firefighters in each city, it is possible for a reproduced key to give criminals access to every box in that city.

Using a metal file, and specific measurements from the box, Clarke says he was able to make a "hacked" key in about four hours.

"A highly motivated criminal with plenty of time on their hands and incredible focus could do this. All it takes is time, focus and intent," said Clarke told Reuters.

Lock expert Marc Weber Tobias told Reuters he thinks the hack is possible and that Knox can prevent it by changing how it ships its product.

"What he did is not technical. It's not sophisticated," Tobias said. "It's good research. He alerted everybody to a vulnerability."

Tobias said that Knox should ship its boxes to customers without locks and send the locks directly to the fire department that would then install both the box and lock. Currently, fire departments install the boxes with the locks in place.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security are also looking into the issue, Trempala told Reuters.
By FireRescue1 Staff

Please buckle your seat belt

Return to the current Crashes


Fire Line

Kolbs Home    To NYS Fire Departments    To Teaching and Training Courses    To Fire Reports    Email
To Kolb