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July 01, 2015

Incident Commander Chris Wilcox briefs Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, center, on the Washington fire from a command post in the Gardnerville, Nevada, area on Wednesday, June 24, 2015. The lightning-caused fire nearMarkleeville, California, has grown to nearly 17,000 acres since Friday, June 26. Irene Davidson with the U.S. Forest Service is at left.

Two firefighters have suffered minor injuries in the Washington Fire near Markleeville, California, as efforts continue to contain the blaze, which has burned more than 17,700 acres of brush. Crews are continuing mop-up efforts on all fronts, said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Genevieve Villemire. Two fire divisions have been combined on the west front, and the fire's southeast area is being attacked by air with six water-dropping helicopters, Villemire said.

The two firefighters who were hurt sustained knee injuries that were not serious, Villemire said.

Cooler temperatures, increased humidity and some light rain have helped reduce the intensity of the blaze. On Monday, nearly a quarter of an inch of rain fell in the northeast section of the fire, according to the National Weather Service. A 30 percent chance of rain with scattered thunderstorms was forecast for Tuesday.

The fire has resulted in 271 campers being evacuated, including those at the Carson River Resort. No structures on any campgrounds have been affected.

As the fire containment has increased, fire crews have been released back to their home fire stations. The number of fire personnel was reduced from 1,111 on Monday to 860 on Tuesday.

All state highways through the fire area are currently open to through traffic, including State Highway 4 over Ebbetts Pass and State Highway 89 east over Monitor Pass to Highway 395. The fire area was still under a Forest Service closure and was not accessible to the general public; however, closure of the Bureau of Land Management area and the Indian Creek Campground were lifted at 8 a.m. Tuesday, fire officials said.

Law enforcement personnel continued to patrol the fire area and warned that they would issue citations to individuals not permitted in the closure area. The public was encouraged to use caution when traveling on State Highways 4 and 89, with fire crews still active along the roadways throughout the fire area.

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July 01, 2015
Lessons Learned:
NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Report: Cardiac Death Claims Texas Firefighter after Fitness Test - TX

The NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program has released the line of duty death report of a career Pump Operator/Paramedic who suffered sudden cardiac death after a physical fitness test in 2014.

On November 16, 2014, a 40-year-old male career pump operator/paramedic (“Pump Operator”) responded to a standby call and later ran 1 mile and lifted weights in the gym during his 24-hour shift. After performing fitness training, the Pump Operator went into one of the fire station’s restrooms. A crew member entered the restroom about an hour later, and found the Pump Operator collapsed on the floor. A cardiac monitor revealed asystole (no heart beat); dispatch was notified and an ambulance responded. After further assessment, the Pump Operator was declared dead on the scene at 2238 hours.

The death certificate, completed by a justice of the peace, listed “atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease” as the cause of death. The autopsy, completed by the forensic pathologist, listed “severe atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease” with “myocardial bridging left anterior descending coronary artery” as the cause of death.

Given the Pump Operator’s undiagnosed heart disease, NIOSH investigators concluded that the physical stress of physical fitness training probably triggered a heart arrhythmia, which resulted in sudden cardiac death.

Key Recommendations:

  • Provide preplacement and annual medical evaluations to all fire fighters consistent with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1582, Standard on Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments, to identify fire fighters at increased risk for coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • Perform symptom-limiting exercise stress tests (ESTs) on fire fighters at increased risk for CHD
  • Ensure that fire fighters are cleared for return to duty by a physician knowledgeable about the physical demands of firefighting, the personal protective equipment used by fire fighters, and the components of NFPA 1582
  • Phase in a mandatory comprehensive wellness and fitness program for fire fighters
  • Provide fire fighters with medical clearance to wear a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) as part of the fire department’s medical evaluation program

Read the Report
Pump Operator/Paramedic Suffers Sudden Cardiac Death After Physical Fitness Training - Texas


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July 01, 2015
Firefighters fume over BVJA welded fire hydrants - PA

Water authority cuts firefighters' access to water over concerns of pipe collapse

ST. THOMAS >> Volunteer firefighters are steamed that a rural water system has welded shut the largest connections on its fire plugs.

According to the Bear Valley Joint Authority, a pump could suck water from the system and collapse its underground pipes.

The issue has become as much about communication as putting out fires.

"I believe that BVJA has a misunderstanding of fire department operations and instead of consulting with us, they make ignorant decisions," said Mark Trace, fire chief of Franklin Fire Department. "Their actions will most likely decrease the amount of water available to fight a fire and increase the amount of time it takes for the fire department to get water from a hydrant. While the decrease in water may not seem that large, or the amount of time to hook up to the hydrant seem that long, ask the person whose house is on fire how they feel about the delays."

Fire department officials said they were never notified about the pending action and never given a chance to discuss firefighting operations with BVJA.

"It confuses me: Why would you have fire hydrants and limit the use of them?" said Dale Carbaugh, fire chief of Mercersburg, Montgomery, Peters and Warren Fire Company. "We're a little upset over this whole thing. No notification is not good business. If we'd talked first, this may not have happened. To go out and do it on their own, I can't imagine."

BVJA, a public water system, provides water to about 4,300 customers in Hamilton, St. Thomas and Peters townships. Most are homes. Some are dairy farms.

Franklin, MMPW and St. Thomas Township are the volunteer fire companies serving the BVJA area.

BVJA Manager Glynn Kindelan said, "We have in the past notified the fire departments that the 'steamer connection,' one of three connections on the fire hydrants, is not to be used due to the possibility of creating a negative pressure on our distribution system which could cause our pipes to collapse and put our customers without service."

"I've never heard of collapsing a water line with a fire truck," Carbaugh said. "It almost makes me laugh."

"I've never heard of such a thing," Trace said. "And if that's their reason, why did they weld shut the ones being fed off the water tanks? If a negative pressure is created in the system by a fire engine, what will collapse first, the soft fire hose or the metal water mains?"

The operator of the area's largest water system, Lance Anderson said, "It is my understanding from the Chambersburg Fire Department that the hoses connected to the large steamer connection are flexible and will collapse in advance of a rigid water main."

"This is a situation that we do not have to worry about," said Anderson, water and sewer superintendent for the Borough of Chambersburg. The borough's water system is designed with adequate storage in town to supply the capacity of its fire hydrants.

"If there happens to be a large draw on the water system that results in a significant decrease in pressure," he said, "the pressure reducing valves on the supply lines to town will open to allow more water to flow into town."

BVJA has been dealing with supply problems for more than a decade. After paying millions for new distribution lines, the authority is spending more than $10 million on a treatment plant that will bring new wells on line. BVJA's current water sources are a mountain stream and Chambersburg's water system.

The area in recent months has seen several barn fires, which require large amounts of water.

For firefighters, "the more water the quicker, the better," according to Adam McNew, deputy chief of St. Thomas Township Fire and Rescue.

Trace said his department sometimes has experienced low pressure at BVJA hydrants.

A 5-inch diameter steamer connection is nearly twice the size of the other two connections on a BVJA hydrant.

"Several years ago we also painted these (steamer) connections black to indicate that they are not to be used," Kindelan said. "This year we welded tabs on these connections to insure that they are not accidently used."

"This isn't anything new," McNew said. "Before they were spot welds that you could break off. It's a piece of iron now. It's welded pretty solid."

Kindelan said he has "no issue with any fire department."

Trace, McNew and Carbaugh said they were not notified that the steamer connection was being welded shut. They also said they were not aware of any official notification from BVJA about the use of black-capped hydrants.

To a firefighter a hydrant with a black cap means it is totally out of service, Trace said.

"All other connections on our hydrants are good to use as they have been in the past," Kindelan said. "Our fire hydrants are not welded shut."

Carbaugh said it's just a matter of time before insurance companies take a look at this, and insurance rates could go up.

"I think there's a whole host of things they didn't take into consideration," Carbaugh said.

Adams said the fire companies will be contacting township supervisors who appoint members to the independent BVJA.

BVJA has a "very minimal relationship" with the fire departments, he said.

Jim Hook can be reached at 717-262-4759.
Jim Hook,

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July 01, 2015
1 Dead, 6 Injured After SUV, Ambulance Collide - MI

SPARTA TOWNSHIP, MI -- One person is dead and up to six are injured after a Life Ambulance and SUV crashed in northern Kent County, rescue crews are reporting.

The crash happened about 12 p.m. Wednesday, July 1, on M-37 north of 15 Mile Road.

Police were shutting down a section of M-37 and expect the highway to be closed for hours.

Sparta area rescuers at the scene reported to dispatchers that six people were seriously injured and one person was believed dead.

The crash involved an ambulance and Geo Tracker.

Victims were pinned in both the Tracker and ambulance, rescuers told dispatchers. The fatality involved a person in the Tracker.

Life Ambulance released the following statement from company President Mark Meijer:

"The safety of our patients, staff and all those we serve in the community is our number-one priority. We are saddened to report that there has been a serious accident in northern Kent County late this morning which involved one of our ambulances transporting a patient. As we have few details, our primary focus involves our thoughts and prayers to everyone involved."

An Aero Med helicopter is responding to the scene.
By John Tunison |

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July 01, 2015
Groveton VFD receives outpouring of support after station fire - PA

Chief Kenny Kisow of the Groveton Fire Department on Monday, June 29, 2015, in the station. Last week, an all-terrain vehicle sparked a fire that sent the Robinson station up in flames, destroying equipment including specialty aqua gear.
(Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media)

Less than a day after fire damaged the Groveton Volunteer Fire Department's station, Chief Ken Kisow was swamped with phone calls and emails offering loaned equipment to replace boats and trucks the blaze damaged or destroyed.

The June 20 fire destroyed the Robinson station's water rescue team equipment and many of the 19 members' personal belongings.

Damaged beyond repair were a pickup truck, the air/light support truck that carried gear, recharged air tanks and lit up fire scenes and the UTV — a six-wheeled, off-road vehicle where the fire appears to have originated.

Surveillance video shows flames starting in the area of the UTV's batteries. Investigators erected a plywood box around the remains of the UTV until it can be determined exactly why it burst into flames while parked in the unoccupied garage.

Kisow got many offers that he was grateful for, but unable to accept. He has run out of space and already has gotten temporary replacements for all the equipment the department lost. An online GoFundMe fundraiser had gathered nearly $3,300 as of Tuesday afternoon, while other donations were mailed to the station.

“I think the outpouring of support and the speed at which the GoFundMe account went up were impressive,” Township Manager Jeff Silka said. “It just shows Robinson Township takes care of its own.”

North Fayette supplied food to the volunteers. And the nearby Forest Grove fire station loaned Groveton a fire engine until Sunday, when Groveton got back the engine that volunteer Steve Campbell crashed through a stuck garage door so it could be used to fight the fire.

Aside from cleaning up, the company wasn't very busy immediately after the fire. Kisow attributed the low call volume to Robinson's relatively new housing stock.

The township's other fire departments, Forest Grove and Moon Run, were on standby to cover for Groveton.

Thanks to the loaned equipment, Groveton is back to answering calls.

After Groveton's truck was repaired, some scuffs above the windshield and marks on the roof were the only evidence of Campbell's escape with the engine. Flames and smoke shooting from bays next door damaged the engine, as pressurized boats melted and exploded, Kisow said.

When the engine was repaired, “As we were bringing it back in, Steve was backing it up. I said ‘We're going to open the door this time,'” Kisow said.

Water-rescue teams in Somerset and Collinsburg, Westmoreland County, loaned Groveton boats and gear to replace some of what they lost. And Coraopolis was lending a pickup truck and some firefighting gear so the volunteers' usual coats, pants and boots could be sent out, cleaned of their lingering smoky stench and recertified, Kisow said.

Along with their gear for water rescues, each firefighter had a bag with enough clothes and personal belongings for three days — the length of a potential deployment alongside the National Guard in the event of an emergency, Kisow said.

He initially estimated the damage at up to $800,000, but hasn't gotten updates from insurance adjusters.

The loss of personal belongings and having to inventory everything destroyed by the fire for insurance purposes gave him a new sympathy for people who ask firefighters to go back into their burned-out houses to retrieve things of special value, he said.

“Twenty-seven years I've been chief, it's always, ‘You go to a house fire, you put it out, you come home.' This time it's at your home,” he said.
By Matthew Santoni /

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July 01, 2015
Woman Charged With DUI After Running Into Fire Truck - IL

A 20-year-old Mundelein woman faces DUI charges after police said she ran into the back of a fire truck after she was attempting to pull out of a parking lot in the 1400 block of North Milwaukee Ave. in Libertyville.

Jordyn E. Satten, of 21601 Lakeview Parkway in Libertyville, has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, unlawful possession of marijuana and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident following the July 9 crash.

Police were called to the scene of the crash at 1:35 a.m. Police said they smelled alcohol on Satten’s breath and the woman admitted to drinking prior to the crash.

She was transported to Condell Hospital and was later released from the hospital. Police found marijuana in her vehicle prior to it being towed from the accident scene.

She was released from police custody after posting her driver’s license and a $2,000 personal recognizance bond. She is next expected in court on July 10.

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July 01, 2015
2 W.Va. firefighters at same dept. killed week apart - WV

CEDAR GROVE, W.Va. — The Glasgow (W.Va.) Volunteer Fire Department lost its second firefighter in about a week after a firefighter’s vehicle plunged over a hill Wednesday morning.

Firefighter Brandon Mooney, 22, a single father, died in the crash, reports. Three other occupants were in the car and sources say they were off-roading when “something went wrong,” causing the vehicle to go barreling about 150 feet over a hill.

All four occupants were ejected from the car and deputies said no one was wearing a seatbelt, according to the report. Firefighter Mooney was pronounced dead at the scene and the other three were taken to the hospital to be treated.

Deputies said alcoholic beverages were found inside the car and may have been a contributing factor. The sheriff’s office is investigating.

Another firefighter with the same department, Michael Clark, 21, died June 22 when he lost control of his car, rolled over and crashed while on his way to work.

It’s not clear why firefighter Clark lost control of his car. He leaves behind his girlfriend and one-month-old baby.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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July 01, 2015
Mayday: 3 firefighters trapped on 2nd floor - NH

Firefighters from several communities fought a two-alarm fire at 40 School St. in Franklin Tuesday night.

FRANKLIN – A two-alarm fire spread quickly through an apartment building Tuesday night, leaving nine people homeless and the building condemned, according to the fire chief.

No one was hurt, but at one point, three firefighters were surrounded by flames on the second floor of the home, prompting one of them to declare a "Mayday," a call for help that firefighters make only when they feel their lives are in imminent danger.

"An experienced, seasoned Franklin Fire Department officer found the firefighters a way out of where they were, getting them out of the Mayday situation," said Fire Chief Kevin LaChapelle, declining to name the officer Tuesday night.

Police and firefighters were called to 40 School St., a 2-1/2-story apartment building in the streets behind the city's center, at 6:18 p.m. after several callers reported the building was on fire, according to police.

A neighbor who did not want to be identified said the street was quiet until she heard some noise coming from the building. The neighbor said she thought nine people lived in the building.

"People came running out, and then there was smoke coming from the back roof," she said.

LaChapelle confirmed the account.

"When we got there, the occupants were leaving the house because the house was on fire," the chief said. "One of the occupants even ran out of the building with a burning box. "

He added that two cats were missing from the house.

The fire started in the back section of the building, and was confined mostly to the second floor. LaChapelle said the cause is being investigated, but the fire was not suspicious in nature, he said.

"I will say that there was a rumor on the street that this was a meth lab, but there was no meth lab there, this is not considered suspicious," he said. "We believe we have a preliminary cause, and it was not suspicious."

He wouldn’t elaborate further on the cause.

A second alarm was called to bring additional firefighters to make what was termed "an exterior attack" on the home because the fast-moving fire had caused deteriorating conditions in the home.

"After we got our firefighters out of the Mayday situation, we made an exterior attack because it was burning so fast," he said.

The house is structurally not a loss, "but everything in that building burned, everybody who lived there lost all that they had" to fire, smoke and water damage, he said.

The nine residents, who lived in two apartments, were aided by the Red Cross, he said.

One of the home’s residents, according to Sanbornton police, was Frederick A. Temple, Jr., 30, who was arrested on Monday on several charges after an attempted theft at a home in Sanbornton. LaChapelle said there was no known relation between Temple’s arrest and the fire’s cause.

The fire was called under control at about 8:40 p.m. The building has been condemned, the chief said.

The owners of the building, Gary and Melissa Anderson of Sanbornton, were at the fire scene, he said.

Franklin firefighters were aided by firefighters from Andover, Boscawen, Belmont, Bristol, Gilford, Laconia, Sanbornton, and the Tilton-Northfield fire departments, he said.
By DAN SEUFERT / Union Leader Correspondent

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July 01, 2015
6 accused of Oakdale arson fires, including 3 firefighters - LA

Six Allen Parish residents, including three volunteer firefighters, have been charged in connection to Oakdale arson fires in May and early June, according to the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office.

The fires hit both residential and commercial buildings, and some firefighters led investigators to a suspect who eventually was among those arrested, according to the release.

During the month-long investigation with the help of the Allen Parish Sheriff's Office, investigators spoke with the firefighters about the fires and about how they should approach other fire scenes, if more occured. The investigators had the "full cooperation" of Oakdale officials, according to the release.

"These private discussions were also intended to provide an opportunity for firefighters to share their thoughts regarding the fires with an investigator in a confidential setting," reads the release.

The volunteer firefighter mentioned was 21-year-old Johnny West of Oakdale. Officials had determined that West was "often the first to respond when a fire dispatch was initiated," reads the release. But West denied any knowledge of or involvement in the fires when questioned.

Further investigation revealed other suspects who were implicated in three fires, one in May and two in June. "Two of the fires inflicted heavy damage to vacant houses on Locke Street and East Jackson Street, while the third damaged a commercial building located on Industrial Boulevard that the city of Oakdale utilizes for storage," reads the release.

The volunteer firefighters served with the Oakdale and Allen Parish District 6 departments. According to the release, five of the six confessed to setting fires, while one refused to talk to investigators. The release did not specify who allegedly confessed, but did say that no "clear motive" for the fires was established.

Other suspicious fires in the town remain under investigation. More arrests are possible, according to the release.

West was charged with three counts of simple arson, three counts of criminal conspiracy and simple burglary.

The others arrested, and their charges, are firefighter Thomas Lenox Gilbert, 18, of Elizabeth, firefighter Bobby Wayne Murray, 17, of Oakdale and Jeremy West, 20, of Oakdale, charged with three counts of simple arson, three counts of criminal conspiracy and one count of simple burglary; Darryl Edward Blount; 18, of Oakdale, simple arson and criminal conspiracy; and Kenneth Jamal Sweet, 25, of Oakdale, two counts of simple arson, two counts of criminal conspiracy and one count of simple burglary.
Melissa Gregory,

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July 01, 2015
Firefighter missing, family seeks help - MI

BELLEVILLE, Mich. — Timothy Graves, 22, an EMT for HealthLink Medical Transport and Belleville firefighter, has been missing since he was last seen leaving HealthLink EMS headquarters June 28 at 10 p.m.

Although no one has heard from Graves since Sunday night, police located Graves’ car at rest stop near Bowling Green, Ohio, reported WXYZ.

Graves is not married and has no children. He is 5 feet 6 inches tall, wears glasses, and was last seen wearing a HealthLink uniform.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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