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2014 November

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November 21, 2014

Four firefighters were injured in a crash on the 210 Freeway in Rancho Cucamonga early Friday morning.

Two cars collided on the westbound lanes at Haven Avenue around 12:26 a.m. While the California Highway Patrol and firefighters were helping, a tanker truck plowed into their vehicles.

Four firefighters were transported with minor injuries. No one was injured in the first crash.

Both crashes remain under investigation.

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November 21, 2014
Local Fire Departments Send Crews Westward to Help with Severe Snow - NY

The death toll continues to rise in Western New York, ten people have died as a result of record-breaking snowfall. Now, crews from across the state including the Mohawk Valley are heading west to help.

As the snow continues to fall in the Buffalo area, the need for backup is growing by the day, which is why the Westmoreland Fire Department along with others across the state are sending help.

"I think it's in all of our hearts as volunteers that when the call goes out, when the bell goes off, we're always going to be there to respond,” says David Hartwell of the Westmoreland Fire Department.

Hartwell is one of the Westmoreland fighters making the trip westward. His department sent volunteers earlier this week and now they're relieving those men. While out in Buffalo, Hartwell says he'll primarily be helping with search and rescue and evacuating people from their homes.

"We're all pretty anxious just to get out there, we know our brothers out there have been working hard and they're tired and it's time for us to get out there and continue where they've started,” said Hartwell.

"You know people who are stuck out there who need help, you know try to get to them before it gets worse,” says Ken Emlin of the Westmoreland Fire Department.

Heading into severe weather has its challenges but to be out rescuing and working in it brings far worse danger, something the firefighters say just comes with the job and the bond.

"These are our brothers so this is family, it's no different than going home and having Christmas dinner with somebody we work with these guys all the time and we care about them so absolutely I’d go out there in a heartbeat,” says Emlin.

The firefighters say they've seen a lot of snow emergencies in their day but nothing to this magnitude.
Julia Rose /

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November 21, 2014
Fire Destroys Central Park Ambulances That Drastically Cut Down Response Time - NY

An overnight fire destroyed two specially crafted ambulances designed to fit under the numerous bridges and tunnels throughout Central Park, endangering crews' ability to respond to potential emergencies.
(Marc Santia reports.)

Central Park covers nearly 900 acres in the heart of Manhattan. Thousands of New Yorkers visit it every day, whether it be to run, cycle, play or just sit back and relax. But did you know if you get hurt there’s a special group of volunteers ready to race to the rescue?
(News 4’s Marc Santia reports.)

An overnight fire destroyed two specially crafted ambulances designed to fit under the numerous bridges and tunnels throughout Central Park, endangering crews' ability to respond to potential emergencies.

The ambulances belong to the Central Park Medical Unit -- a group of 150 volunteers who combat rugged terrain, winding roads and hidden crevices to protect the 35 million people who visit the park each year.

Regular ambulances are too big to fit under all Central Park's tunnels and bridge overpasses, and custom-made vehicles have drastically cut down the time it takes to respond to an emergency in the park.

In 1975, for example, authorities say the average response time was 45 minutes to an hour and a half. Now, the Central Park Medical Unit responds in an average of three minutes.

Garry Resnick, a member of the Central Park Medical Unit, says the group was intended to be a supplement for 911 ambulance services, not a replacement.

But "in a matter of life and death, it really spells a difference," he said.

The fire at a 108th Street parking garage where the ambulances were kept is under investigation. Fire officials say it escalated to two alarms and took about two hours to get under control.

Five firefighters were taken to hospitals with minor injuries.

The all-volunteer Central Park Medical Unit is hoping donations will help replace the destroyed rigs. Each of the units and the gear inside, which included stretchers, defibrillators, soft goods and bunker gear, were worth about $200,000.

"When it comes to transportation, the ambulances are crucial and they need to be replaced as soon as humanly possible," he said.

Donations may be made at
By Marc Santia /

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No bad day here. We could use more advertizing like this.

Thanks to Don Johnson from Chili FD for the info. below
Ted R. Kolb

November 21, 2014
Food City- Salute

At Food City, we honor those people that serve and protect our country, and we know that without the men and women who watch out for us, we would not have any of the luxuries we do. We are the land of the free because of the brave and we salute you!
Food City

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November 21, 2014
Ex-fire department chief charged with embezzlement - NC

LUMBERTON, N.C. (AP) -- State officials accuse a former Robeson County chief of embezzling more than $100,000 from a local fire department.

Area media outlets report the State Bureau of Investigation says 45-year-old Herman Junior Jones of Maxton is accused of taking the money from the Pembroke Rural Volunteer Fire Department over three years.

SBI spokeswoman Teresa West said an audit led to the discovery of the missing money, and the Robeson County Sheriff's Office asked the SBI for assistance.

Jones was named chief in July 2010. West said the SBI began its investigation on March 29, and sheriff's Lt. Brian Duckworth said it was around then that Jones resigned.

Jones is free on $200,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 1. It's not known if he has an attorney.

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November 21, 2014
Fire marshal Samir Ashmar dies of cardiac arrest - PA

(The Last Call - RIP)

Samir Ashmar, an Upper Macungie Township supervisor and tireless volunteer for the fire service and countless other civic groups, died Thursday.

Ashmar, 51, was stricken at his home on the 8400 block of Scenic View Drive shortly before 8 p.m., friends said. He was pronounced dead shortly before 9 p.m. at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, according to Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim.

Ashmar, who was a volunteer firefighter for 32 years and was one of the township's fire marshals, apparently suffered cardiac arrest, friends said.

He leaves a wife, Sharon, and two children, Makala and Josh.

An autopsy was scheduled for Friday morning.

"His departure will leave an immense void in the township," said Edward Earley, a former supervisor who recommended Ashmar to fill a vacancy on the board left by Porter Krisher's resignation in 2007.

Ashmar, who was elected to a full six-year term in 2009, was a vice president with Wells Fargo Bank. Earley said his friend's financial acumen and deep involvement in the fire service were the chief reasons he had recommended him for the position.

"I'm heartbroken," Earley said. "He was a friend and an esteemed colleague for many years. Words cannot express my sympathy to his family."

Township Manager Daniel Olpere said the mood at the municipal building this morning was somber.

"As I walked around talking to the staff this morning, they all said the same thing," Olpere said. "He was an incredible, caring person, so passionate, so engaged in his community."

Olpere is new to the township — he was hired this summer — and said Ashmar was "warm, helpful and welcoming" as he learned the ropes.

Ashmar was vice chairman of the board of supervisors but his involvement in the township came at all levels.

"The untold hours he spent with the fire company, volunteering with the planning commission, the sewer authority and I don't know what else," Olpere said. "If there was a cause, Sam was there."

Supervisors Kathy Rader and Jim Brunell were with Ashmar's family at Lehigh Valley Hospital on Thursday night. Both were stunned by the loss of their friend and colleague.

Rader said she had seen Ashmar earlier Thursday when he stopped by the municipal building and he was in a chipper mood.

"It's such a shock," she said. "You have no idea."

Rader said she marveled at Ashmar's passion for helping people, particularly through the fire service.

"That was his thing," she said.

Brunell, the board's chairman and newest member, said he, Rader and Ashmar were starting to come together as an effective government body, reaching consensus even when they disagreed on matters of policy.

In recent months, "We've probably spent more time with him than with our families, between hiring the manager and all the activities in the township and with the budget," Brunell said. "It's sinking in for me. I was just at the point where I felt we were developing a close friendship."

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced. Olpere said the township building would likely be closed the day of the service so the staff can attend.
By Dan Sheehan and Pamela Lehman, Of The Morning Call

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November 20, 2014
Draft version of report on firefighter’s death more critical than official version - TX

Firefighters bowed their heads at the scene of a six-alarm fire that took the life of fellow firefighter Stanley Wilson and destroyed at least two dozen units at a condominium complex on Abrams Road in far northeast Dallas on May 20, 2013.
(File/Staff Photographer)

Firefighter Stanley Wilson died in a building’s collapse.

A 703-page draft of the Dallas Fire-Rescue line-of-duty death report on Stanley Wilson is far more critical of Deputy Chief Bobby Ross than the official — and drastically pared-down — version released by the department weeks ago.

The draft, obtained Wednesday through a public information request, repeatedly takes Ross to task for a highly criticized decision to send firefighters anywhere near a burning apartment building long after it was safe to do so. The unofficial version also slams the department’s general sloppiness at the fire scene.

The draft’s release raises questions anew about how Chief Louie Bright III could shut down any further inquiry into Wilson’s May 20, 2013, death at a far northeast Dallas condominium complex. He decided not to discipline anyone then with the simple declaration: “No one person bears all responsibility.”

Bright has declined several interview requests to discuss the matter since the September release of the 111-page official report.

But the draft version showers plenty of blame on Ross, a 30-year veteran of the department. Fire personnel at the scene told investigators that Ross ordered firefighters, including Wilson, inside the partially collapsed burning building after they had pounded it with tons of water each minute from powerful aerial water hoses.

But Ross told investigators that he merely directed the firefighters to walk around the building’s exterior and knock out windows with pike poles. He said he hoped the sound of breaking glass would rouse anyone still inside the building, which by then had been burning for more than two hours. The operations had long since gone to defensive mode. No one had been pulled out of the burning building for an hour.

“The likelihood of anybody still being alive if they were in fact still inside the building for any reason has been decreasing rapidly after the attack mode was changed from offensive to defensive,” the report states. If Ross believed nobody had already searched the building, “knocking on the windows would not have served as a primary search,” investigators said.

When Section Chief George Tomasovic arrived well into the fire, he said, Ross told him to don his firefighting gear. He did so. Then he said Ross ordered him to get a crew and conduct a “quick search” because they were still pulling people out of the building.

“I assume there are still people in there,” Tomasovic told investigators in a recorded interview. “Like I said, I just arrived on the fire scene. I don’t know what took place before that.”

Tomasovic said he saw the aerial hoses spraying and asked a captain to shut one of them off. He said he was concerned that the building could collapse.

Within minutes, it did.

“It came down fast and heavy,” Tomasovic said. “I started getting beat up and next thing I remember, I was inside the apartment on my side with debris covering my legs.”

Other firefighters pulled Tomasovic to safety. But Wilson lay a few feet away, crushed to death. His body was found hours later.

Investigators appeared puzzled by Ross’ version of his order. The report states, “no one at the fire scene can recall this being used as a tactic at any previous fires.”

They wrote that Ross, who was calling the shots at the six-alarm blaze, was the only person at the massive scene who believed people were still inside the building.

Ross didn’t ask any supervisors their opinion on whether to send firefighters to break patio doors, according to the draft report. Investigators also pointed out that Ross said he “doesn’t go into detail with his battalion chiefs, yet in this case, he issues a very specific and detailed order” to Tomasovic.

“It is unclear to the investigative team what objective DC Ross would have fulfilled, if the order to knock on the patio doors was completed,” the report states. “If SC Tomasovic had found a fire company and had knocked on the glass patio doors and there was no response, someone could have still been inside asleep, overcome or unable to save themselves.”

The investigators also questioned why Ross didn’t rescind the order to Tomasovic when a captain told him minutes later on the radio that the building had already been searched.

And the report said investigators were “concerned” that Ross didn’t seem to know he had the authority to make people evacuate an adjacent building at risk of catching fire.

While Bright said in September that firefighters are given latitude to question and clarify orders, he moved Ross out of fire command the week after the release of the official report. Ross now works in a staff job.

The Dallas Fire Fighters Association announced that some of the firefighters at the scene would ask for a further investigation into whether Ross lied about orders he gave that led to Wilson’s death. The Black Fire Fighters Association, meanwhile, asked commanders to look into whether firefighters lied about Ross’ order.

City officials have said any complaints weren’t filed within a 10-day deadline. They say fire officials are working with the associations to improve the department.

The draft report also faulted “cultural indifference to policies, rules, tactics and manual of procedures.” And the report slammed the way line-of-duty death investigations are conducted, saying the “current expectations, guidelines, goals, timelines and allocation of resources are outdated and vague at best.”

Fire department spokesman Lt. Joel Lavender said the larger draft report was finished sometime in the third quarter of this year. He said Bright read the report when it was completed. After that, Assistant Chief Daniel Salazar was added to the investigative team to help create the smaller official, or “final report.” That report was released in September.

Lavender said that the voluminous draft version now in circulation was chopped down to eliminate repetitiveness. Several photographs and the investigators’ opinions also didn’t make the final cut.

“There is a difference between fact and opinion,” Lavender said. “The final report is based on fact.”

AT A GLANCE: Draft findings

Paint stick, used to indicate when a building has been searched, was not used properly.

Designated “fire safety officers” at the scene did not wear required green helmets, causing confusion for firefighters.

Investigators said Ross was supervising too many people, making the situation harder to control.

A lieutenant said the urban search and rescue team should have been notified if anyone was going near the building so it could be on high alert.

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November 20, 2014
Firefighters injured battling house fire - MA

(WCVB Channel 5 Boston)

SAUGUS, Mass. (WHDH) - Flames were so intense at the scene of a Saugus house fire on Thursday that a firefighter was forced to escape through a second story window.

Officials reported three alarms at the single family wood frame home on Water Street.

"One firefighter self-extricated through the front window," said Dept. Chief Michael Newbury of the Saugus Fire Department. "The crews on scene threw a ladder right to the porch, he climbed on the ladder. The lieutenant was in the hallway and came down the stairs and out the door."

No one was home at the time, but Mary Pike's Chihuahua was inside. There was an emotional moment when a Revere fire crew found the dog alive.

"I came home, just because I knew she was in the house and I wanted to get her. That's all," Pike said, fighting back tears.

"I was on the first floor, under the bed hiding. We just picked the bed up, do our regular search anyway and found the dog," said Lt. Dennis Russo of the Revere Fire Department.

Two firefighters were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Others were treated at the scene.

Firefighters got the flames under control and an investigation is still ongoing into the cause of the fire.
Reported by Steve Cooper /

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November 20, 2014
Man in custody, suspected of attacking paramedic - CA

SAN DIEGO - A man was taken into custody Wednesday evening after police say he attacked a paramedic in Hillcrest.

The incident occurred just before 10 p.m. near Fifth Avenue and Washington Street. Police say the paramedics were just leaving Scripps Mercy Hospital when a man came up started pounding on the ambulance.

The paramedic rolled down the window to see if he needed any help. That is when police say the man reached over the window and slapped the paramedic in the face.

By the time officers arrived on scene, the suspect had already fled. They located the man across the street and arrested him.

He will be booked into jail on suspicion of battery on a paramedic.
BY 10News Digital Team

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November 20, 2014
Woman In Ambulance Hit By Stray Bullet In Flatlands, Brooklyn - NY

cNEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Shots were fired on a Flatlands, Brooklyn, street Wednesday afternoon and one of the bullets struck an ambulance – injuring an elderly woman inside.

As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, home security video captured the suspects in the incident on Flatlands Avenue near East 51st Street. One man was seen running along the street, while a second was seen following close behind and holding what appeared to be a gun.

Police believe the second man fired several times, and one shot went into an ambulance carrying senior citizens.

A second security camera angle shows the men running and the ambulette as its driver hits the brakes.

The shot went through the windshield of the ambulette, and inside, a woman was injured. Witnesses said the wound appeared to be a gash caused by either a bullet fragment or broken glass.

“An innocent bystander gets hurt for no reason,” said neighbor Jerry Thompson.

Seconds earlier, a man whose name is not being released said he was outside his house and saw the two men and the gun up close. The suspects looked right at him.

“Young guys – they’re not past 19 or 18, 17,” the witness said. “A light-skinned guy looked at me and the other guy said, went like that, ‘Forget it.’”

As 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported, the 71-year-old woman in the ambulance was hospitalized at Kings County Hospital. Doctors said they expect her to make a full recovery.

Police were questioning a person of interest in the incident late Wednesday, and were looking for a second suspect.

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November 20, 2014

(The Last Call - RIP)

Fire Coordinator Art Treone

Cape May County (NJ) Fire Coordinator Art Treone passed away late last night. Chief Treone was on scene of a multiple alarm fatal fire in North Wildwood when he developed chest pains on the fireground. He was immediately treated and then transported and admitted to Cape Regional Medical Center where he succumbed.

Art was a retired Lieutenant of the Cape May County Sheriff’s Dept as well as past Chief of the Townbank Fire Company in Lower Township, in Cape May County. Chief Treone was well known as one of the ‘good’ guys, a real legend in that area.

Arthur E. “Art” Treon, whose name was synonymous with fire fighting and emergency management in the township, county, and state, died Wednesday night after leaving the scene of a fatal fire in North Wildwood.

Town Bank Fire Chief Lou McGonigal, a longtime friend, said Treon had gone to Tuesday night’s fire at 212 W. 17th Ave. in North Wildwood Nov. 18. McGonigal said Treon complained of chest pains and shortness of breath and was transported to the hospital, where he appeared to be doing better. Treon later died at the hospital.

“I’ve known him 25 years,” McGonigal said.

Cape May County Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Martin Pagliughi said Treon died in the line of duty after responding to the North Wildwood fire as county fire coordinator.

“In any multi-alarm fire, the fire coordinator responds to the scene,” Pagliughi said. “When he was on the scene he reported feeling chest pains he was transported immediately to Cape Regional Medical Center.”

Pagliughi said he was notified Tuesday night of Treon’s hospitalization and visited him Wednesday afternoon. “He was sitting up in bed,” Pagliughi said. “He sounded great and looked great. I could see he was getting rammy and wanted out. I said I wouldn’t be surprised if they let him out tomorrow.”

Pagliughi said he was notified of Treon’s death around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.

According to McGonigal, Treon was a member of the Town Bank Fire Company since the early 1970s. He served as the fire chief for 10 years, and was at one point the president of the fire company. McGonigal said Treon was a life member of the fire company, a life member of the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association, a member of the Lower Township Firemen’s Relief Association and the county firemen’s aid association.

Treon was also a member of the Masons Cape Island Lodge 30.

“He was a very close and personal friend and my mentor,” McGonigal said. “He chose me to replace him as chief.”

McGonigal said Treon would be missed by the fire company, the township, the county and by many at the state level.

“He was known by the governor - that is how well he was known. There were not too many people in state departments who didn’t know his name,” McGonigal said. Lower Township manager Mike Voll said he knew Treon.

“I just had breakfast with him Sunday at the Rio Grande Fire Company,” Voll said. “We were talking about working on central dispatch.”

Voll said he was shocked when he received the message that Treon had passed.

“He was a pillar in the community,” Voll said.

Voll referred to Treon as Cape May County Emergency Management Communications Center Coordinator Marty Pagliughi’s “main man.”

“He was really a stakeholder in Lower Township and he will be really missed,” Voll said.

Pagliughi said Treon taught him 20 years ago at the Cape May County Fire Academy. They became close friends shortly after Pagliughi was named county OEM coordinator and Hurricane Sandy struck the area.

“I was in the job two and a half months when Hurricane Sandy struck,” he said. “We practically lived together for seven or eight days.”

Councilman Thomas Conrad described Treon as a humble man.

“Art was unassuming, humble, and if you met him and said, ‘Hey, Art,’ his first words were ‘What do you need?’” Conrad said.

Conrad, who works in emergency services with the Lower Township Rescue Squad, said Treon was better known by Councilman-elect Dave Perry.

“He and Dave go back 50 years,” Conrad said.

According to Conrad, Perry joined the Town Bank Fire Company in 1973 and Treon joined in 1974. He said when Treon was fire chief, Perry was his assistant. Conrad said Treon was always looking to help local EMS coordinators around the county.

“He got all the emergency services working well in township and county. And you wanted to work with Art. It was like being in one big family,” Conrad said. Treon is survived by his wife Dora and two sons. Funeral services have not yet been announced.

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November 20, 2014

Out of respect to the families and members of those affected, we won't share names or the departments-but once again, two of "our own" have taken their lives in just the last few days, One FF in South Florida and the other in the Tampa Bay area.

In addition to the "awareness" of the two losses, we wanted to share the leadership shown by a Chief of Department:

It is with deep regret that I must inform you of the untimely death of Firefighter who took her own life this morning. Words cannot express the profound sadness that we all feel. I am at a loss as to how to make sense of her death, many of you have expressed the same sentiment. We may never have an explanation that makes sense to us. I have no words to offer that will make this right, or even bearable. I can only say that I am both saddened and sorry that she did not feel like she had another option. Our grief cannot compare to what Toni's family is going through so I ask you to pray for those she loved.. These next few weeks will be trying for everyone. Look out for each other and please reach out if you need to talk. Take care of each other.

Suicide continues to be a constant in the profession of fire, rescue and EMS. Please take time to review these links-and have the info on hand.










Thanks to BillyG for supplying the above links.

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November 20, 2014
How do you expect firefighters to do the right thing when you have these chiefs as examples?

Fire Chief's setting some bad examples. Dave Statter has some very good coverage on the subject.

Check it out at STATter911

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November 20, 2014
Two firefighters injured in Detroit building blaze - MI

(Fox 2 News Headlines

DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) - Two Detroit firefighters were injured in a commercial building blaze on Detroit's northwest side Monday night.

The firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation at a furniture and appliance store at Stansbury and 8 Mile.

An electrical pole came down, which is suspected for starting the fire. The blaze spread to an adjacent building.

Firefighters got the blaze under control at about 11 p.m.

The start of the fire is under investigation.
By Staff

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November 20, 2014
Fireman James Foote dies helping relief crews prepare - NY

(The Last Call - RIP)

A veteran Summit volunteer firefighter died after being stricken inside the firehouse Tuesday night while he was helping other volunteers getting ready to deploy to western New York to assist in the aftermath of the blizzard, officials said.

James Foote, 57, one of the Summit Fire Department Commissioners, died at Cobleskill Hospital, officials said.

The Summit Fire and Rescue Squad is located on State Route 10 in Summit.

Further details were not immediately available.

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November 20, 2014
A firefighter-EMT couple's home burns in Millsboro - DE

MILLSBORO – Amber Bare was on the clock Tuesday evening, working as an emergency medical technician for the Millsboro Fire Company. A call for service came in at 6:32 p.m. Structure fire.

"Amber was actually on call, working, and responded to her own house on fire," said Larry Gum, a former fire chief in Millsboro and now a safety officer for the firefighting squad, who also rushed to the scene. "I'm sure that was traumatic."

The blaze displaced Bare and her husband, Tyler, himself a volunteer firefighter, and their two children. None of them was home at the time, but their pets perished.

The Bares have deep ties to the community of Sussex County firefighters, though, and now the Indian River region is rushing to their aid.

Rep. John Atkins, D-Millsboro, said many generations of Bares have volunteered and worked in the fire service. Tyler Bare is a volunteer firefighter from Millville who's applying to join Millsboro's fire hall, he said. He, too, was quickly on the scene, along with other firefighters from Millsboro and Dagsboro.

Harry R. Miller, a chief deputy state fire marshal, said the Office of the State Fire Marshal is investigating the fire's cause. He said the blaze did $45,000 in damage to the single-story ranch home.

The fire made the home uninhabitable and ruined many of the family's possessions. "Members brought the clothes back that were salvageable. They've been washing them all night here at the fire hall," Atkins said.

Josh Wharton, who helps run a charitable organization called the Good Ole Boy Foundation, said donations to help the family recover from the fire will be accepted at the Millsboro Little League field – which, by chance, is across the street from the Bare home – from 6-7 p.m. Wednesday evening.

"Right now, I'm going to say the gift cards," Wharton said, when asked what the family needs most. "It could be to Wawa, Royal Farms, Food Lion or anywhere."

The Sussex County Paramedic Foundation also linked to a crowdsourced fundraising site for the Bares, set up late Tuesday night. As of midmorning Wednesday, it had attracted $8,800 in funding from 126 donors.

Gum said Millsboro's fire chief, Matt Warrington, put up the Bares in a home his grandparents used to live in the night of the fire. Other friends saw to it they could use a furnished Dagsboro apartment for a longer stay while their home is repaired.

Atkins said people have rushed to help the Bares not just because of their distress, or because both serve as first responders, but were also mindful that Tyler Bare is an armed forces veteran who served in Afghanistan with the Marines.

"He protected us, and it's time for the community to step up and help him," Atkins said.
James Fisher, The News Journal

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November 19, 2014
Treasurer of Statewide Fire Department Association Under Investigation for Fraud - MN

The treasurer of an association that represents hundreds of Minnesota fire departments is under investigation for fraud.

Anthony Bronk was suspended from the Minnesota State Fire Departments Association (MSFDA) on Nov. 3, the same day his townhome in the City of Hugo was raided by deputies from the Isanti County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators seized computers, credit cards and financial documents, according to an affidavit filed Friday afternoon. In the court documents obtained by 5 Eyewitness News, Bronk is accused of using MSFDA debit cards to rack up nearly $75,000 in unauthorized charges over a three year period starting in October 2011.

Serious Spending

The unauthorized transactions paid for vacations, airfare and shopping sprees, according to the affidavit.

The most expensive charge listed was a $1,498 trip from Apple Vacations in December, 2011. Bronk also allegedly spent $533.48 at a pet shop, $219.58 at Victoria’s Secret and $40.77 at Christian Mingle, an online dating website.

Charges were made all over the country, including Phoenix, AZ, New York, Key West, FL and outside the country in Cozumel, Mexico.

The total price tag was $74,838.47, according to bank record given to investigators by the MSFDA.

Ongoing Investigation

Bronk is not being charged with a crime at this time. Attempts to reach him by phone at his townhome Friday were unsuccessful.

5 Eyewitness News confirmed the Isanti Co. Sheriff's Office launched the investigation on Oct. 31, after an executive administrator at the MSFDA reported a possible felony theft.

MSFDA collects membership dues from fire departments all over Minnesota to organize benefits, provide training and lobby the legislature, according to Association’s Board President, Mark Rosenblum. Fire Departments pay dues using taxpayer money. Last year, MSFDA represented more than 400 departments, according to Rosenblum.

Reached by phone Friday, Rosenblum said he was aware of the investigation and confirmed Bronk was suspended earlier this month, but would not comment on any specific details. Bronk has held the treasurer position since June 2010.


Bronk was also a city council member in the city of Hugo. He resigned on Thursday for personal reasons.

“Whatever is going on with Mr. Bronk personally has no connection whatsoever to the City of Hugo,” Bryan Bear, the City Administrator, said.

Bear says city council members approve funding but do not have direct access to those funds.

“We did think about that, ‘Is there anything that could have happened here?' the answer is no,” Bear said.

Bronk did allegedly use some of the Association’s dues to pay for campaign signs. The affidavit listed three charges at sign shops totaling $686.34 in 2011 and 2012. Bronk won the city council seat in 2012 and took office in January 2013.

Fired Firefighter

In addition to his role with MSFDA, Bronk served as a volunteer firefighter in Hugo for 15 years. He was fired in July.

The City Administrator says the termination was not related to the fraud investigation.

“All I can tell you is that it didn’t have anything to do with any wrongdoing,” Bear said.

Bear says the termination resulted from an injury that prevented Bronk from serving. He admitted that a termination related to an injury is not typical. Additional details about Bronk’s employment as a firefighter were not provided.
By: Joe Augustine /

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November 19, 2014
2 Investigates: Fire department ties with home restoration company - GA

ATLANTA — When Atlanta firefighters arrive at a fire scene, they do more than put out the fire. They also call a private company to board up the property after a fire. The homeowner doesn't choose the company, the fire department does.

Critics wonder whether Atlanta is playing favorites, with big insurance money at stake.

Zahi Elias owns several rental properties. Last July, his tenant called to say his house in Atlanta was on fire.

When Elias arrived, a company called 1-800-BOARDUP was already on the scene, and the tenant had signed an agreement to let the company board up the house. ­­­­­

"I said 'No, this is my property, not the tenant’s property. I will board it.' He wasn't happy," Elias said of the BoardUp representative. He called the two men with the company pushy.

1-800-BOARDUP is based in St. Louis. Local restoration companies around the country buy a franchise, and often hire current and former firefighters to be the face of the franchise.

The company’s website states, “If your market is available and you would like to increase your sales and decrease your dependence on worn out marketing strategies, please contact our franchise sales department.”

Testimonials on the website include this one from Dave W. Of California: “Our disaster recovery business flourishes because of our 1-800-BOARDUP program.”

Retired Atlanta Fire Section Chief Jimmy Hodges gets a paycheck from a restoration company, but if you ask where he works, he'll say, "1-800-BOARDUP."

“Every franchise has to have a director of emergency services and usually it's a chief officer like myself, retired,” Hodges said. “We understand emergency management. We understand what people go through.”

Hodges said he doesn’t get involved in restoration issues. “It's not a favoritism issue. It's a doing the right thing issue. People need help.”

Homeowner’s insurance pays for a board up, but when there's no insurance, it's free. For Atlanta fire, that was a key part of the deal, since more than 100 houses have been boarded up for free this year.

“No other service out there had that program. So I’ve, for years, tried to get them to bring services inside the city of Atlanta,” said Deputy Chief Wilmond Meadows.

He said with the large number of vacant houses in Atlanta, “That would be a money loss for most companies.”

Paperwork Channel 2 Action News received through the Georgia Open Records Act shows Atlanta Fire Rescue started pursuing a partnership with 1-800-BOARDUP in 2010.

This year, a local company called Paces was added to the program. Channel 2 Action News found Sandy Springs Fire Capt. Mark Ware moonlighting for Paces at an Atlanta house fire.

Boarding up a house after a fire isn’t a big money maker. But if a homeowner has insurance, there is a restoration job at stake.

“The whole idea behind it is you might get the opportunity to get the entire job,” said Howard Johnsa, the CEO of a company called Disaster Response Team.

Johnsa applied but didn't make the boarding list. He and other contractors say they're at a disadvantage once the board up crew picked by the fire department shows up.

“I'm not here to blast another company or whatever the political environment might be. But we do the same work, and I think we do it better,” Johnsa said.

Channel 2 Action News found one 1-800-BOARDUP employee who also drew a paycheck from the Atlanta Fire Department. Retired Assistant Chief William Rhodes was a paid consultant for the department, and at the same time he worked for 1-800-BOARDUP.

“He and I both make sure that we walk this fine line,” Meadows said. “If we have an issue with BOARDUP, I cannot walk across the hall to his office and say, ‘Hey chief, we’ve got this issue with BOARDUP.’”

Atlanta Fire Rescue told Channel 2 Action News that Rhodes recently quit working at 1-800-BOARDUP due to scheduling conflicts.

Partnering with a board up company caused a controversy in Augusta in 2010. Battalion Chief Tommy Willis ran the BoardUp franchise, a violation of city policy. Willis and his brother, the fire chief, lost their jobs. 1-800-BOARDUP revoked the franchise.

Meadows said that kind of thing wouldn’t happen here.

“We will not tolerate any type of things that breach our integrity or anything that goes against our core values,” Meadows said.

He added that while Atlanta does call the board up companies, homeowners still have a choice.

“The homeowner has the option to choose whoever they want to choose to board up their house,” Meadows said.

Not all fire departments have partnerships with board up companies. In Fulton County, Deputy Fire Chief Charles Stubbs doesn’t want a partnership.

“I don’t think that’s our job as the fire department. Our job is to come and put the fire out and assist the homeowner any way we can,” Stubbs said. “A lot of these companies have retired firemen that are working for them. And I just don’t think it would be in our best interest to be recommending people to go to people we know.”

As for the fire at Zahi Elias’ house, the local 1-800-BOARDUP franchise gave Channel 2 Action News a statement that said, “We did not behave aggressively at the 3532 Garfield Way Atlanta GA 30315 call on 7/12/14 nor would we ever.”

Atlanta Fire Rescue looked into the issue and called it a classic “he said-she said” type of complaint.

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November 18, 2014
(NIOSH) has rescinded the certificate of approval for filtering facepiece respirator

At the request of Global Safety First, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has rescinded the certificate of approval for the model number HAMY30N95SM filtering facepiece respirator approved under TC-84A-6265.

As of November 6, 2014, Global Safety First respirators bearing the NIOSH approval number listed above are no longer approved and may not be manufactured, assembled, sold, or distributed as a NIOSH approved product. Regardless of the various trade names under which they may be labeled for sale, any and all respirators bearing these approval numbers are subject to this action and are no longer certified by NIOSH.
Senk, Mark J. (CDC/NIOSH/NPPTL) ;

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November 18, 2014
Firefighter Lt. Christoper Hunter found unresponsive - NJ

(The Last Call - RIP)

Lt. Christoper Hunter

Funeral services are set for Friday for a New Jersey firefighter who died after his shift.

Cinnaminson Fire Lt. Christoper Hunter, 38, was found unresponsive at his home early Saturday.

During his shift on Friday, he had responded to an emergency. Therefore, his death is considered as on-duty.

The cause of death is pending.

Visitation will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Cinnaminson Fire Station No. 201 on Cinnaminson Avenue. A second viewing and memorial ceremony will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, followed by interment at Lakeview Memorial Cemetery off Route 130.
Source: News

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November 18, 2014
Armed Woman Ends Interior Fire Attack - CA

A Willits woman armed with a gun set a downtown building on fire and barricaded herself inside, forcing a standoff with Willits police before they were able to subdue and remove her from the burning building, according to authorities.

Two businesses were destroyed by Friday's pre-dawn fire on East Commercial Street -- a long-standing downtown bar and a Kwik Stop market. It also seriously damaged Imagination Station preschool.

Seven fire agencies responded due to the size of the burning building, but the standoff with the armed woman forced firefighters to retreat from their efforts inside for almost an hour.

In the end, the fire caused about $225,000 in damage to contents of the three businesses and took as much as 200,000 gallons of water from the drought-stricken town. It left a charred hole near the center of Willits.

Monday morning there was a spot of good news.

The preschool was able to open in office space across the street because dozens of volunteers spent the weekend helping staff members clean salvaged furnishings and paint and prepare new classrooms, said Little Lake Fire Chief Carl Magann, whose agency covers the city of Willits.

"They're in service this morning. The local community helped Saturday and Sunday," said Magann, who stopped in at the school Monday morning to see how things were going.

"I almost choked up. It' s just amazing what a community can do when they come together like this," he said.

Across the street, the fire had destroyed the large building that for decades had housed John's Place. Above the bar, the upstairs apartment was gone and the adjoining market was gutted. The preschool had less damage but its building can't be salvaged, the chief said.

Police said an armed Lacee Ross, 31, started the fire and kept officers and firefighters at bay for almost an hour, forcing firefighters to try and douse the flames from a less-effective location outside.

Officers eventually were able to get the woman into custody. Details of her arrest weren't released.

She was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on suspicion of attempted homicide, arson and several other charges, Willits police Sgt. Jacob Donahue said in a news release issued Sunday.

Ross had lived in the apartment over the bar for some time and recently had been given notice she was to be evicted, according to a report in the Willits News.

The fire was spotted just before 4 a.m. by an officer who reported flames coming from the second floor apartment.

The Willits fire station was two blocks away. Volunteers in the first responding engine were alerted at 3:58 a.m. and were at the fire within three minutes, Magann said.

Firefighters had been working inside the apartment for six minutes when officers checking the bar found an armed woman who refused to leave. Firefighters were evacuated.

The forced change in tactics was serious, the chief said. "We could have confined it to one unit, with smoke and water damage" to adjoining areas. But the pullback by firefighters let the blaze spread to the convenience store and part of the preschool.

The fire was finally reported under control at 6:40 a.m.

Because of the size of the building on fire, Magann had called for several additional fire agencies to help, eventually getting about 35 firefighters from Willits, Laytonville, Brooktrails, Ukiah, Redwood Valley and Hopland. All but the Ukiah firefighters were volunteers.

Magann praised the fire crews for saving as much as they did with the limitations they faced.

The chief Monday said the loss amount for the structure still was under review. The building, as well as the market, were owned by Nareshbhai and Jivanbhai Patel, both of Ukiah.

The investigation was continuing and Donahue asked anyone with information to contact police at (707) 459-6122.
Randi Rossmann / Source: The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.

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November 18, 2014
Firefighters still drove city firetrucks after DUI arrests - WA

Seattle firefighters arrested multiple times for DUIs in their time off were allowed to continue driving for the Seattle Fire Department for months, sometimes even years, against department policy.

KIRO 7 discovered the lapses in policy in a five-month investigation during which Fire Chief Gregory Dean repeatedly refused interviews on the topic before finally acquiescing due to the intervention of the Seattle mayor's office.

Fill-in driver Linda Wells was convicted in 2010 of two DUIs. In one of them, police said she almost hit a car along the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and had a blood alcohol concentration that measured more than .24, three times the legal limit.

Wells was required by the court to install an ignition interlock device in her vehicle, and she did so in August, 2009. Court records show it's ordered to stay on for 10 years. But KIRO 7 discovered the Seattle Fire Department let Wells drive dozens of times over more than four years, until finally suspending her driving privileges on March 13th, 2014.

"Chief, it looks like the policy is failing. Would you agree?" KIRO 7 asked Dean.

"What I would say is this: the department has a policy," he said. "You have an example where ... someone fell through the cracks on the policy."

Dean has been fire chief for 10 years and part of the department for 44 years. He plans to retire at the end of 2014.

He refused KIRO 7's interview requests multiple times over the span of five months, even refusing to answer emails inquiring "why" he refused to talk about such an important public safety issue. KIRO 7 finally reached out to the Office of Mayor Ed Murray, which arranged an interview.

"Chief, why did it take five months, multiple interview requests, and ultimately the intervention of the Mayor's office for you to talk with us today?" KIRO 7 asked.

"Again-- I think that I'm here today," Dean said, citing the information the department provided through public records requests as enough information.

In response to inquiries, the Seattle Fire Department’s Public Information Office responded in an email that the department's policy is that "employees must promptly notify the department through the chain of command of any change in driver's license status." Having a court-ordered ignition interlock device constitutes such a status change, according to the Washington Department of Licensing.

"Once we become aware of it, then those members get removed from their driving jobs," Dean said.

He said the department also checks people's licenses twice a year. So KIRO 7 asked how it missed Wells so many times.

"Is it a failure of the department to react or a failure of these employees to report?" KIRO 7 asked.

"It's a fair question," Dean said. "As I said, I can't answer that question because I don't know the answer to that."

KIRO 7 discovered other cases the department has missed, including paramedic Teroi Trotman, who drives a Medic unit as part of his duties. He was arrested for DUI in his time off in 2010 and the court required him to install an interlock device, which he did on November 12th, 2013.

However, according to records provided by the Seattle Fire Department, Trotman worked 47 shifts before his driving privileges were suspended more than six months later, on June 5th, 2014.

"We have some lapses in our policy," Dean said. "We're looking to correct that." Driver Joseph Dempsey faces trial in January after police say he passed out in his SUV on 5th Avenue in Seattle on March 29th, 2014, with a BAC of .176, more than twice the legal limit.

According to court documents filed by the Seattle City Attorney's Office, it was at least his fourth DUI arrest. In those documents, the office states it believes Dempsey "poses an extreme danger to public safety."

Yet after he installed his interlock device on April 4th, the department allowed him behind the wheel for six shifts over the next two months before taking him off the roads on June 2nd.

KIRO 7 tried to speak with all of the firefighters, but none of them answered their doors or were willing to talk on camera.

Teroi Trotman did respond to a Facebook message, stating that he was no longer required to have the interlock device on his vehicle, since the court had ordered it for only a year.

Dean said he's confident they drove safely. He said officers check all firefighters at the start of each shift and supervise them, though he admitted they aren't checked before every call.

"I cannot tell you based on when those alarms came in as to whether the officer stood him and looked him in the eye," he said.

Dean also doesn't know how many other firefighters the department may have missed and for how many years.

James Vaden, who lives a block away from Linda Wells's station, Fire Station 6 on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South, is worried about that reality.

"You think about the possibility of how many lives can be lost behind something like this," he said.

KIRO 7 will be following up with the Seattle Fire Department and the Office of Mayor Ed Murray to see what changes, if any, are made to the current policy and how it's enforced.
By Linzi Sheldon /

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November 18, 2014
Semi-Truck Crashes into Northern Indiana Fire Apparatus - IN

Authorities said three firefighters were hurt when a semitrailer ran into a fire truck at the scene of an earlier crash during a snowstorm on a northern Indiana highway.

The St. Joseph County Police Department said emergency crews were called about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday to a crash involving three vehicles on the U.S 20/31 bypass southwest of South Bend. Police said the three firefighters were inside the Southwest Fire Territory truck when it was hit by the semitrailer.

Police said the firefighters were taken to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. The semi driver was not hurt.

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November 18, 2014
3 firefighters hurt in truck explosion - CA

More than a dozen people were being treated at a hospital Tuesday morning after a vacuum truck exploded in Santa Paula, spraying an unknown combustible white liquid chemical and triggering a fire and several explosions.

Two drivers were in the truck when it exploded around 3:30 a.m. at the Santa Clara Waste Water Company at 1141 Cummings Road, spraying what at first was believed to be sewage. The substance was later found to be a white liquid that crystallized and became combustible.

After several small explosions, a fire spread through the business' industrial yard, prompting shelter-in-place warnings and road closures due to concerns over exposure to the unknown chemical.

Evacuations are mandatory for a one-mile area around the explosion scene and residents and workers within 2-3 miles are being advised to shelter in place.

As a precaution, students from Briggs School District have been released early and sent home with their parents.

A Los Angeles County Fire Department hazardous materials crew is traveling to Santa Paula to assist.

Two people were hospitalized from the initial explosion, as well as three firefighters. The ambulance driver was later hospitalized due to respiratory troubles. Twelve hospital workers were also treated after they complained of respiratory distress.

The extent of the injuries is not clear. People were evacuated for half a mile around the initial explosion. Highway 126 from Peck Road to Wells Road was closed for more than four hours as winds spread the chemicals.

After it crystallized, the unknown substance became extremely combustible, and firefighters were faced with small explosions and fires.

"From time to time you begin to see white smoke," said Capt. Mike Lindbery, a spokesman for the Ventura County Fire Department. “I think things are continuing to ignite down there."

Firefighters continued to battle flare ups for several hours.

Fifty firefighters responded to the scene from Ventura, Oxnard and Ventura County fire departments.

Lindbery said the substance may be some type of organic peroxide.

"When it comes in contact with combustible material it becomes very unstable," he said.

Despite the precautions, an environmental official said there isn't much cause for worry.

The ground will mostly be protected because the facility treats waste water and has a catch-basin mechanism underneath the plant. Rick Bandelin from Ventura County Environmental Health Division said residents nearby should avoid the smoke, as they would with any fire.

Company officials said they were unsure what triggered the explosion.

"Obviously we've had a terrible accident and I don't know the reason for it yet but I do know we will respond to it appropriately," said Doug Edwards, chairman of the board for the Santa Clara Waste Water Company.
By Kelly Goff and Irene Moore /

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November 18, 2014
Brownsville firefighter Alejandro Castro dies - TX

(The Last Call - RIP)

Alejandro Castro
Courtesy: City of Brownsville

(KGBT Action 4 News)

A 14-year veteran of the Brownsville fire department died Sunday night at a fire station, authorities said.

City of Brownsville spokeswoman Patty Gonzalez said that firefighter, Alejandro Castro, 40, died of undisclosed causes at 10:30 p.m. Sunday night at Fire station No.8 on the 1800 block of Capt. Foust Rd.

Fire Chief Lenny Perez declined to comment. He would only say that the Castro’s death would be treated as “in the line of duty“
Christina R. Garza Staff Writer /

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November 16, 2014
Hydrant Blocked by BMW at Boston Blaze - MA

Boston firefighters climb ladders in the alley of the burning building
Photo credit: Boston Fire Department

A Boston firefighter tries to hook to a hydrant that is blocked by an illegally parked car.
Photo credit: Boston Fire Department

An illegally parked car blocked a fire hydrant that crews tried to hook in to.
Photo credit: Boston Fire Departmen

Fire officials said a three-alarm fire in Boston's South End was caused by a halogen lamp.

In addition to tight streets and alleys near the burning building, an illegally parked BMW in front of a hydrant hampered Boston Jakes as they tried to establish a water supply.

The fire at 64 Rutland Street was reported around 7:20 a.m. and a second alarm was struck when crews found fire showing from the four-story building.

A third alarm was struck when firefighters found fire involving three apartments.

Crews placed several ground ladders to the upper floor for access to the building.

Two firefighters were taken to the hospital for hand and shoulder injuries.

Boston fire officials said the halogen lamp came in contact with a mattress.

The fire, which displaced five adults and two children, caused $300,000.
Source: News

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November 16, 2014
Firefighter, paramedic supervisor injured in Highway 119 crash - CA

Kern County firefighters begin extricating injured driver trapped in minivan involved in crash on Highway 119 Saturday night.
(Doug Keeler/Midway Driller)

Hall Ambulance paramedic walks injured supervisor to ambulance at scene of crash Saturday night
(Doug Keeler/Midway Driller)

Overturned Hall Ambulance supervisor vehicle after crash on Highway 119.
(Doug Keeler/Midway Driller)

Four people, including a Hall Ambulance paramedic supervisor and Kern County firefighter, were injured in a three-vehicle crash on Highway 119 just north of Taft Saturday night.

The California Highway Patrol said the collision is being investigated as a possible drunk driving crash.

Less than two hours later and 20 miles to the east, one person was killed and and another suffered major injuries when a vehicle overturned on Highway 119 about 2 miles west of Buena Vista Road.

A CHP officer at the scene of the crash near Taft said a Chevrolet minivan was northbound on Highway 119 between Cedar and Harrison when it swerved into the southbound lane and collided nearly head-on with an HallAmbulance SUV.

Two people were in side the Hall vehicle – a paramedic supervisor and a firefighter he was driving back to Taft after the firefighter rode to Bakersfield in an ambulance to help treat a patient from an earlier call

A third vehicle was also struck after the first collision, the CHP said.

The crash pinned the driver of the minivan in his vehicle and caused the SUV to overturn on the west shoulder of the roadway.

The supervisor and firefighter were able to extricate themselves from the overturned wreck.

The paramedic supervisor suffered moderate injuries and the firefighter escaped with minor injuries.

The driver of the third car also suffered minor injuries, the CHP said.

The minvan driver, who the CHP suspects may have been driving under the influence, suffered major injuries.

He was pinned in the wreckage of the minvan for more than 30 minutes until firefighters were able to cut away the door and pull him out.

He was flown to Kern Medical Center for treatment.

The other 3 victims were taken by ground ambulance.

None of the victims' identities were immediately available.

Details on the fatal accident were not immediately available either.
By Doug Keeler / Midway Driller Editor

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November 16, 2014
Man arrested after crash involving ambulance - IN

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – According to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office, a man is under arrest after an accident involved with an ambulance.

Police say the accident happened around 8:15 a.m. Friday at 146th Street and Hazel Dell Parkway in Noblesville.

A van from Bolden’s Cleaning and Restoration and the Cicero ambulance collided in the intersection.

Officers arrested 37-year-old James Darin McCoy at the scene of the crash for operating while intoxicated. Police say McCoy was the driver of the van.

The ambulance had no patients on board at the time of the accident.

McCoy also faces charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana.
By Staff Reports /

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November 16, 2014
Ambulance hits deer on way to rollover crash - OR

FOREST GROVE, Ore. — A driver lost control in snow and ice Thursday morning on Oregon 6, traveling off the highway and crashing into Gales Creek in western Washington County, according to Forest Grove Fire & Rescue.

The incident occurred just before 8 a.m. and about a half mile past Northwest Timber Road, said Division Chief Dave Nemeyer, a Forest Grove fire spokesman. Only one car was involved in the wreck, Nemeyer said, and the driver suffered minor injuries.

A Metro West ambulance responding to the scene struck and killed a small deer that jumped in front of the crew on the roadway, Nemeyer said. The crash damaged the front of the ambulance, but the paramedics were not injured.

Forest Grove Fire & Rescue is warning drivers headed west toward the Coast Range to use caution because the highway is slick.
By Rebecca Woolington / The Oregonian

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November 16, 2014
Firefighter Richard Weisse has medical emergency - NY

(The Last Call - RIP)

ST. JAMES, N.Y. — Richard Weisse died Saturday afternoon shortly after responding to a fire alarm at a school after experiencing a medical emergency.

The St. James Fire Department former captain served for 42 years and was a leader of the department's junior firefighter program.

According to FirefighterCloseCalls, Firefighter Weisse was working with the junior firefighters on a food drive when he went down. He was 56 years old.

St. James is a volunteer fire department with 125 active members.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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November 16, 2014
First responders brace for protests off Ferguson decision - MA

BOSTON — From Boston to Los Angeles, police departments are bracing for large demonstrations when a grand jury decides whether to indict a white police officer who killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

The St. Louis County grand jury, which has been meeting since Aug. 20, is expected to decide this month whether Officer Darren Wilson is charged with a crime for killing 18-year-old Michael Brown after ordering him and a friend to stop walking in the street on Aug. 9.

The shooting has led to tension with police and a string of unruly protests there and brought worldwide attention to the formerly obscure St. Louis suburb, where more than half the population is black but few police officers are.

For some cities, a decision in the racially charged case will, inevitably, reignite long-simmering debates over local police relations with minority communities.

"It's definitely on our radar," said Lt. Michael McCarthy, police spokesman in Boston, where police leaders met privately Wednesday to discuss preparations. "Common sense tells you the timeline is getting close. We're just trying to prepare in case something does step off, so we are ready to go with it."

In Los Angeles, rocked by riots in 1992 after the acquittal of police officers in the videotaped beating of Rodney King, police officials say they've been in touch with their counterparts in Missouri, where Gov. Jay Nixon and St. Louis-area law enforcement held a news conference this week on their own preparations.

"Naturally, we always pay attention," said Cmdr. Andrew Smith, a police spokesman. "We saw what happened when there were protests over there and how oftentimes protests spill from one part of the country to another."

In Las Vegas, police joined pastors and other community leaders this week to call for restraint at a rally tentatively planned northwest of the casino strip when a decision comes.

Activists in Ferguson met Saturday to map out their protest plans. Meeting organizers encouraged group members to provide their names upon arrest as Darren Wilson or Michael Brown to make it more difficult for police to process them.

In a neighboring town, Berkeley, officials this week passed out fliers urging residents to be prepared for unrest just as they would a major storm — with plenty of food, water and medicine in case they're unable to leave home for several days.

In Boston, a group called Black Lives Matter, which has chapters in other major cities, is organizing a rally in front of the police district office in the Roxbury neighborhood the day after an indictment decision.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, police are expecting demonstrations after having dealt with a string of angry protests following a March police shooting of a homeless camper and more than 40 police shootings since 2010.

Philadelphia police spokesman Lt. John Stanford said he anticipated his city will see demonstrations, regardless of what the grand jury returns.

But big-city police departments stressed they're well-equipped to handle crowds. Many saw large but mostly peaceful demonstrations following the 2013 not-guilty verdict in the slaying of Florida teen Trayvon Martin by neighborhood watch coordinator George Zimmerman. In New York, hundreds of protesters marched from Union Square north to Times Square, where a sit-in caused gridlock.

The New York Police Department, the largest in the nation, is "trained to move swiftly and handle events as they come up," spokesman Stephen Davis said.

In Boston, McCarthy said the city's 2,200 sworn police officers have dealt with the range of public actions, from sports fans spontaneously streaming into the streets following championship victories to protest movements like Occupy.

"The good thing is that our relationships here with the community are much better than they are around the world," he said. "People look to us as a model. Boston is not Ferguson."
By Philip Marcelo / The Associated Press

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November 15, 2014
Coventry Fire District hires lawyer to investigate allegations of misconduct against fire chief - RI

COVENTRY, R.I. — The Coventry Fire District board voted unanimously Wednesday to hire lawyer J. William W. Harsch to investigate possible misconduct by Fire Chief Paul Labbadia.

Harsch, a former member of the Ethics Commission and a previous Republican candidate for attorney general, will review the fire district’s charter, bylaws, the chief’s contract and conduct interviews and review the evidence uncovered by news media about Labbadia’s on-duty conduct.

The investigation is expected to take several weeks.

Labbadia was suspended with pay after WPRI-TV aired a report that showed him on video drinking alcohol during the workday, using the department-paid vehicle to go golfing for hours during work, and driving the fire vehicle to a party on Federal Hill where he drank and smoked what the TV report said appeared to be marijuana before driving the truck home. Labbadia has denied any wrongdoing.

Labbadia’s annual pay is $70,000, and his contract doesn’t expire for another four years.

“This is a matter we take very seriously,” board member John D’Onofrio said to about 40 residents who gathered in the fire station’s bays for the meeting. “This is contract law we have to follow. There’s a lot of stuff in the media, but…we need to follow the law.”

Added board member John Botello Jr., “If we don’t do things the proper way, we could cost the district and taxpayers a boatload more money. … This is the proper way, so we don’t face any litigation.”

“We feel your frustration as the taxpayers,” D’Onofrio continued. “We want to do it right.”

That frustration was directed at the board, however, when the meeting ended without public comment. Some residents shouted at the board members.

Vietnam veteran Terrence A. Brown leaned against the table after the meeting and told D’Onofrio that the chief should be fired. “I agree with you,” D’Onofrio told Brown. “I’m fighting for you. I’m not against you.”

Meanwhile, the president of the Coventry Professional Fire Fighters Local 3372 warned before the meeting that financial documents released last week showed the district was in a “dire financial situation.”

At a budget workshop meeting, new treasurer Judith Hetherman released the documents, which the board had been requesting from Labbadia.

Union president David Gorman said the documents showed the need for an outside audit.

The documents show that the fire district owes $464,896 to a Coventry Credit Union line of credit that was apparently used to cover general expenses, Gorman said in a statement. The documents also showed the district wasn’t paying its bills, including money withheld from employee paychecks that was not transferred to the state employee retirement system.

As of Nov. 6, the district has nearly $150,000 in unpaid bills, to the Kent County Water Authority, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, National Grid and other vendors, according to a statement by Gorman released to the media before the meeting.

“I was stunned at the numbers,” Gorman said. “I was surprised it was so high.”

Gorman advocates abolishing the town’s separate fire districts and creating a town-wide fire district or a municipal fire department. He said it would eliminate up to seven chief positions and the duplication of tax assessors and tax collectors in the different districts. He said it would allow the combined fire department to reallocate equipment to regions of high demand and respond faster to emergency calls.

Gorman said there was concern about financial mismanagement and lacking the money to pay firefighters.

“We wanted to get out in front of this issue, because in Central Coventry [fire district], the management walked out the door on us,” Gorman said.

The union president alleged that the Coventry Fire District was on the same path as the Central Coventry Fire District, before the state took it over in May. WPRI-TV reported Wednesday that the Central Coventry Fire District was preparing to file for bankruptcy after unsuccessful negotiations with state and union officials.

D’Onofrio disputed Gorman’s statement on the district’s finances. He said the district board was working with the union and had not asked for concessions.

“There’s no trouble making payroll. That’s not true,” he said. “We have a tight budget.” Gorman’s statement on the finances “is one side of the story,” D’Onofrio said.

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November 15, 2014
No injuries after ambulance catches fire - AL

(Source: Megan Hayes/WBRC)

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Rural Metro Ambulance managers say there were no injuries after an ambulance caught fire.

It happened on Princeton Parkway near 3rd Avenue West in Birmingham.

There was a driver, medic and patient inside at the time but they all made it safely out of the vehicle. Another ambulance was close by to retrieve the patient.

The medic reportedly saw smoke coming out of a vent and that's when the driver pulled over and they called for help.

Supervisors believe the fire was caused by an electrical issue. The ambulance only had about 24,000 miles on it.
By Megan Hayes / By Brianne Britziu /

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November 15, 2014

A 26-year-old firefighter is hospitalized after he went into respiratory arrest while fighting a fire in the Bronx, the FDNY says.

The firefighter is in critical but stable condition at Lincoln Hospital after being injured at a blaze on Southern Boulevard in Morrisania Friday afternoon, according to the FDNY.

No other injuries were reported.

The firefighter has not been identified. No other details were immediately available.

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November 15, 2014

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries to their knees Friday as they battled a three-alarm fire at a large home on the 6300 block of Royalton Drive in Dallas.

According to Dallas Fire-Rescue, the injured firefighters were taken to the hospital, but expected to be okay.

Witnesses told News 8 that 30 to 40 people gathered in the home for a surprise party left the house after they saw a fog that turned out to be smoke.

Jason Evans of Dallas Fire-Rescue said there were children upstairs, but no major injuries were reported and witnesses said everyone made it out safely.

Flames caused the roof of the house to collapse just before the third alarm was called. The cause of the fire is not confirmed, though firefighters believe the source may have been an outdoor fireplace that was attached to the rear of the home.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries to their knees Friday as they battled a three-alarm fire at a large home on the 6300 block of Royalton Drive in Dallas. News 8's Demond Fernandez has more. WFAAGuests who attended the celebration at the home watched several firefighter units attempt to put the fire out. The celebration was for someone connected to Town North YMCA, according to witnesses.It took roughly two hours for firefighters to declare the blaze tapped out. Around 60 firefighters responded to the house fire.The appraisal district values the home at more than $1.5 million. The house is just over 6,200 square feet, according to Zillow.

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November 15, 2014


New information on the death of a Baltimore City firefighter found dead in a vacant home hours after being dispatched to a scene.

Rochelle Ritchie looks into the action of a dispatcher that may have kept the safety officer from being found sooner.

The death of Baltimore City fire safety officer Lt. James Bethea remains a mystery after he was found dead in the basement of a vacant home just hours after responding to a fire next door.

WJZ has learned the actions taken by a dispatcher may have resulted in the 40-year veteran not being found sooner.

According to fire officials, Lt. Bethea was still showing on scene at dispatch headquarters. That’s when a dispatcher decided to place him back in station, indicating he had returned. That is typically done by the firefighters and safety officers themselves.

“That is not something that is normal. And that is something we are investigating at this time as to why it was done,” said Captain Roman Clark, Baltimore City Fire Department.

Lt. Bethea showed up to the 700-block of E. North Avenue in response to a fire at a vacant rowhome. It was nearly eight hours later when another officer noticed his vehicle still at the scene. Officials believe the 62-year-old may have been checking the status of an adjacent home.

“It’s not unusual for them to evaluate certain things on their own. So that’s not uncommon,” said Chief Niles Ford, Baltimore City Fire Department.

Lt. Bethea leaves behind a wife and a son. His sister spoke exclusively with WJZ.

“He will just surely be missed by us all,” she said.

An internal investigation into the department’s policies and procedures has since been launched, as investigators try to determine why the lieutenant was placed back in service.

“We owe that to our firefighters, we owe that to the family of Jim and we are going to be deliberate about this,” Chief Ford said.

The funeral for Lt. James Bethea is scheduled for November 20.

The medical examiner has not yet released the cause of death.

Previous coverage

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November 15, 2014

They’ve been prepared to work in commercial fire, house fire and car fire. Within the next few weeks, firefighting crews in Fairfield, Calif., can add a new category to that list — gunfire.

In what Fairfield Fire Department officials say is a response to recent events across the country, firefighters in the Northern California city will soon begin wearing bulletproof vests on certain types of calls in which first responders are at risk of being harmed through physical violence, such as active shooter situations.

We're not going to have to use them very often. For sure during any stabbing, shooting or call asking us to stage. Where anyone's indicated they want to hurt themselves. - Matt Luckenbach, battalion chief

After the Los Angeles riots in 1992, several cities including Monrovia, Downey and Santa Ana purchased vests for their firefighters. L.A. city firefighters also have access to bulletproof vests.

Fairfield crews are expected to begin wearing the vests in the field within the next four weeks, as soon as a department policy is in place for their use, said Battalion Chief Matt Luckenbach.

“We’re not going to have to use them very often,” Luckenbach told The Times. “For sure during any stabbing, shooting or call asking us to stage. Where anyone’s indicated they want to hurt themselves.”

The City Council approved their purchase in August for $20,000, according to city documents. Luckenbach said the department purchased up to 45 vests -- enough to outfit almost every firefighter.

Fairfield’s vests weigh up to 30 pounds and won’t be worn with the turnouts crews wear to battle blazes, Luckenbach added.

“We started off last year with some shootings and there was a lot of shootings in a short time,” said City Councilwoman Catherine Moy. “They’re first reponders and it’s something that’s way overdue.”

The only Fairfield officer killed in the line of duty was shot 30 years ago and was pulled out of harm’s way by firefighters who used their truck to shield the officer from gunfire, KTXL-TV reported.

Fire Department commanders began considering buying vests after seeing firefighters put in harm’s way during active-shooter and violent protest situations across the country, Luckenbach said.

“Our role has increased significantly into scenes that are ‘secure,’” Luckenbach said. “When law enforcement goes in … nowadays it’s kind of working right on their heels.”

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November 15, 2014

A bill being debated in the Illinois Legislature over firefighters has many Illinois Mayors up-in-arms. Some say the bill would create an added burden on taxpayers, while firefighters claim it wouldn't. When it comes to fighting fires, firefighters say having enough people on hand is critically important. But, how many are really needed, and who gets the final word in that debate? It's a question that has city leaders and firefighters unions often at odds--and at the heart of a new bill being debated on the State Senate floor. Right now, the law allows firefighters unions to discuss wages, hours, and work conditions. The new bill adds staffing numbers or "manning" to the table as well.

"A law to step forward and say you're going to do this whether you can afford it or not--that's something we can't stand for," states Mayor Greg Brotherton of Taylorville, Illinois.

The Mayor of Taylorville's point has been echoed by other Mayors, and it doesn't sit well with Chris Scrol, President of Rockford Firefighters Local 413, "That mayor really doesn't understand what this bill is about because nothing in this bill mandates any manning levels. It just makes it a mandatory subject of bargaining."

Here in the Forest City, Scrol says the topic of staffing has been negotiated for years, "This bill doesn't affect me as a Rockford Firefighter because it's already been established by the Illinois Labor Relations Board that within the city of Rockford, manning is a mandatory subject of bargaining,"

But, many Mayors believe the change is a potential budget buster--and that cities, not unions, should determine safe staffing levels.

"Most of the Mayors and City Councils know their own towns and know their own budgets. They know what they can and cannot afford," Mayor Brotherton adds.

Kris Gay, President of Cherry Valley Fire Fighters Local 4690, adamantly disagrees, "It is not the intent of the fire fighters, I believe, nor is it the intent of any city government...Cherry Valley, you know where I work, or any other fire department to overspend in order to add more firefighters."

It is important to note that in the last contract negotiation with Rockford firefighters, a dispute over staffing did go to an arbitrator and the city won. Scrol says that fact proves his point -- that arbitration over staffing can go either way.

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November 15, 2014
Baltimore firefighter died of smoke inhalation, medical examiner's office says - MD

(WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore)

Baltimore fire safety officer Lt. James Bethea died of smoke inhalation after falling through a floor at a vacant rowhouse, where he remained for hours before an off-duty firefighter happened to see his car outside and called for help.

Fire Chief Niles Fordalso announced Friday the creation of a new chief of safety position and a new rule requiring the last departing units to report to dispatchers that the scene is clear. He said an investigation, which involves department personnel and federal workplace safety officials, is continuing.

Ford said the department would consider additional policy changes, including requiring that safety officers work in pairs. Anne Arundel County has such a rule, while other neighboring jurisdictions try to ensure that safety officers aren't alone in dangerous situations.

"I am always concerned about the safety of our members. If anything happens to a member in our organization, not only does it affect the organization, it causes systemic traumatic impact to their family and the Baltimore City Fire Department family," Ford said. "We need to find out why."

Bethea, 62, was responsible for making sure firefighters were following proper safety procedures at a dwelling fire on North Avenue early Wednesday. He also was in charge of alerting firefighters to potential hazards.

It isn't clear when Bethea went to the house next door to the blaze and fell to the basement. He was not discovered until his vehicle was spotted more than three hours after all other personnel had left.

"We don't have all the information in yet," Ford said.

Ford said that officials are still collecting information from those who responded to the fire, and that an internal investigation could take months. It would be premature, he said, to discuss any more policy changes until the investigation is complete.

"Everyone on that scene or associated with that call … they are writing a report to tell us everything that happened and everything they put their hands on and everything they saw," Ford said. The crews that responded to the fire include personnel from five engines and two trucks, as well as two battalion chiefs.

Ford said investigators are still trying to determine whether Bethea sounded a "mayday" alarm on his equipment, but he said Bethea never verbally called for help on his radio.

Bethea had responded with other firefighters about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. Fire officials said the scene was cleared and all units were recalled to fire stations or sent to other emergencies by 3:30 a.m. His body wasn't discovered until about 7 a.m., when his shift was scheduled to end.

Had Bethea left the fire scene, he would have reported back to the fire station, Ford said. But he said it's not clear whether anyone noticed him missing or raised any concerns.

"All of that is part of the investigation," Ford said.

The Baltimore Fire Department has a "two in, two out" policy for fire suppression to ensure that no firefighter is unaccompanied in a burning building, said Rick Hoffman, president of the city firefighters union.

But that rule wouldn't have applied to Bethea, one of the city's handful of safety officers, the city fire officers union president Mike Campbell said. Only one safety officer works each shift, he said.

Rich Marinucci, executive director of the Fire Department Safety Officers Association based in Michigan, said safety officers often work alone, as their duties include working the perimeters of scenes and circling dwellings to look for potential hazards.

But some fire departments require that safety officers work together.

"We don't allow the safety officer to work by themselves because things can happen," Anne Arundel County fire spokesman Capt. Russ Davies said. "A lot of things happen inside a dwelling that can present hazards."

For example, he said, fires can cause walls or ceilings to become unstable, and lead to ductwork or wiring falling down. That can lead to injuries or a firefighter being trapped.

"We just try to avoid a situation where someone is by themselves," Davies said. "That's pretty uniform throughout the Fire Department."

Safety officers in Anne Arundel respond to dangerous calls, including house fires, Davies said. Typically, he said, safety officers remain outside until the fire has been extinguished. He said they might go inside to evaluate the building; then fire investigators take over.

For a safety officer to remain after others have left, Davies said, "would be very unusual here."

Baltimore County Fire Department spokeswoman Elise Armacost said that while safety officers often respond to fires on their own and may be on the scene by themselves, the department recommends that they not work alone in dangerous situations.

"As a general practice, we recommend firefighters of all sorts not work alone in dangerous environments," she said. "It's going to depend on the circumstances. Every situation is going to be a different."

Howard County fire spokeswoman Jacqueline Kotei said fire safety officers typically work with another firefighter on the scene. She also noted that the city department often confronts different conditions, including rowhomes and densely populated areas.

"Most of the time, we try to make sure they are working in pairs," she said.

Most fire departments require that when firefighters and other personnel leave a scene, they call in to dispatchers that they are "returning to service."

Armacost said head counts aren't routinely done, though they might be undertaken when firefighters are pulling out of a hazardous scene, such as a building collapse. Generally, she said, the incident commander staggers the release of fire units once a fire is under control.

"There's no one particular person who is out first," she said.

Bethea spent 40 years as a firefighter. His family and co-workers have recalled his dedication to the job and fire safety.

Orginal coverage

Viewings have been scheduled for Bethea from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at Wylie Funeral Home at 701 N. Mount St. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles St. Interment will follow at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.
By Jessica Anderson / The Baltimore Sun

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November 15, 2014
Hull firefighter charged with passing fake prescriptions - MA

PLYMOUTH – A Hull firefighter was in uniform and using one of the town’s fire trucks on Sept. 11 of this year when he went to a pharmacy and tried to use a phony prescription to buy a highly addictive painkiller, prosecutors allege.

The Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office said this was just one instance in recent months when William Hatfield, 45, tried to used fake prescriptions to get oxycodone, a highly controlled opioid commonly abused by drug addicts.

On Friday, Hatfield, of 17 Old Barn Road, Plymouth, pleaded innocent in Plymouth District Court to three counts of uttering a false prescription and three counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.

Hatfield, who has been placed on administrative leave by Hull’s fire department, is to be arraigned in Hingham District Court next Friday on charges that he used fake prescriptions to obtain oxycodone at a Hull pharmacy.

The charges against Hatfield stem from five separate visits he made to Plymouth and Hull pharmacies between July and September, according to court documents.

Prosecutors said Hatfield was also a paramedic for Health Express, a walk-in medical clinic in Weymouth where he had access to the clinic's computers and the security paper on which prescriptions are printed. Prosecutors said the prescriptions Hatfield used were in the name of a Health Express doctor.

The doctor whose name appears on the fake prescriptions told police that he has prescribed painkillers to Hatfield in the past, but not since May 5, court records said. Health Express said Hatfield is no longer employed by the company.

In an Oct. 17 interview with police, Hatfield said he started taking Vicodin, another opioid, because of spinal pain and he became dependent on the medication. He told police he received treatment at McLean Hospital for four weeks after being put on administrative leave by the Hull Fire Department, and then he entered treatment at the Gosnold center on Cape Cod.

The State Police detective unit assigned to Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz’s office started investigating Hatfield after his visit to Nantasket Pharmacy in Hull on Sept. 11. During that visit, surveillance footage and witness accounts said Hatfield was in his fire uniform and appeared to leave the pharmacy in a fire truck. The pharmacist who took the prescription reported that it looked questionable.

Police investigated Hatfield for two months, interviewing several witnesses and tracking his medication history through the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program. Police issued a warrant for Hatfield’s arrest Thursday.

He was released Friday on personal recognizance and must submit to random drug and alcohol testing. He is due back in Plymouth court Jan. 15.
By Patrick Ronan / The Patriot Ledger

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November 15, 2014
Medic Charged With Stealing Patient's Rolex - AZ

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — A paramedic in Arizona is accused of pocketing a patient's Rolex watch during an ambulance ride to the hospital.

Police say the family of a man who died Oct. 8 at a hospital in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa couldn't locate his watch. The man's son later found it for sale on eBay and notified authorities.

Investigators discovered Nov. 4 that the seller was Jason Edward Alexander, a Rural/Metro ambulance employee who helped transport the victim Sept. 21.

Police say Alexander admitted to taking the watch and selling it. He faces one count each of theft and trafficking in stolen property.

It's not yet known if Alexander, who is due in court Wednesday, has an attorney.

Rural/Metro officials say he's on unpaid administrative leave.
Source: The Associated Press

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November 15, 2014
Fire chief skimmed $50G while running Boston academy - MA

(7News Boston WHDH-TV)

A Boston fire chief has been indicted on charges he swindled the city out of nearly $50,000 while he ran the fire academy by having vendors write checks to his credit card companies, while he took home a flat-screen TV, gas grill and other items paid for with department funds, said state Attorney General Martha Coakley.

District Chief Edward A. Scigliano, 45, of Kingston, will appear in Suffolk Superior Court on Nov. 25 to face arraignment on five counts of larceny over $250 and five counts of procurement fraud. Each felony carries a maximum five-year prison sentence and fines ranging from $10,000 to $25,000.

“We allege that this defendant abused his position as a public employee in order to benefit personally,” Coakley said. “He allegedly stole tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars that should have gone back to the city of Boston and, instead, directed that money for his own personal use.”

Scigliano, who has been paid more than $376,000 while on leave since July 2012, was featured in an Oct. 28 front-page Herald article as one of nearly 60 city workers who collects a full salary while out of work pending disciplinary action. He did not return calls yesterday.

Scigliano, who ran the Moon Island training facility from 2005 to 2012, allegedly orchestrated a scheme from 2008 to 2011 involving two vendors, Greenwood Emergency Vehicles of North Attleboro and Northeast Rescue Systems of Roslindale. Coakley’s office said he ordered Greenwood to write checks totaling $32,000 to his credit card companies. Greenwood did not return a phone call for comment.

Scigliano also is accused of directing Northeast Rescue, a company that supplies fire departments, to buy more than $14,000 worth of goods for his own use, including a 52-inch HDTV, a gas grill, a Sam’s Club living room set, an elliptical machine and Home Depot gift cards. The city paid the company but the items never made it to department use. Brian Kelly, a lawyer representing Northeast Rescue, said, “They thought they were delivering items to the fire academy for fire department use but these items were being pilfered for personal use.”
By: Richard Weir /

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November 15, 2014
Lessons Learned:
NIOSH: West firefighters had no plan for fertilizer plant response - TX

Failure to recognize the hazards of ammonium nitrate and the lack of pre-incident planning were among factors that contributed to the deaths of 10 responders at the West Fertilizer Plant blast in 2013.

On April 17, 2013, 10 responders were killed when a burning fertilizer plant containing an estimated 40 to 60 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded just outside the city limits of West, Texas. The explosion occurred less than 20 minutes after responders arrived on-scene.

The victims included 9 volunteer firefighters and one off-duty career fire captain. Two civilians who responded to offer assistance were also killed. Five other volunteer firefighters were injured.

NIOSH investigators recommended that fire departments conduct pre-incident inspections of buildings, especially for high-hazard structures and occupancies. They also said departments should have a written task management plan, implement and enforce a written incident management system, ensure all firefighters wear appropriate PPE and are trained to standards that meet or exceed NFPA 1001.

Additionally, governing agencies should:

  • Consider regulating automatic sprinkler systems, performing regular fire inspections and other types of active fire prevention methods in industrial facilities
  • Consider following the most current safe handling procedures for ammonium nitrate fertilizer storage and handling.

Investigators also scrutinized the training of firefighters.

"The State of Texas does not have any minimum training requirements for volunteer fire departments,” the report said. “The fire department involved in this incident did not have specific training requirements for firefighter, fire officer or incident commander duties.… At a minimum, firefighters who serve as company officers and who may be expected to serve as the initial incident commander should receive training equivalent to Fire Fighter II, as defined by NFPA 1001."
By Sarah Calams / FireRescue1 Staff

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November 13, 2014
Lessons Learned:
Complacency Cited in Response to Submarine Fire - ME

In this April 26, 2004 file photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the USS Miami (SSN 755) arrives in port, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. A May 2012 fire that crippled the nuclear submarine at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, in Kittery, Maine, showed that the Navy had become complacent about safety in industrial settings and put too much faith in land-based firefighters who had never trained to battle a blaze aboard a submarine, Navy investigators concluded.
(AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin Langford, File)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Navy's response to a fire that crippled a nuclear submarine at a shipyard showed that it had become complacent about safety and put too much faith in land-based firefighters who had never trained to battle such a blaze, Navy investigators concluded.

The investigators also said there was confusion at the start of the May 2012 fire at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and that there were two hour-long periods in which no water was being put on the flames.

The conclusions were included in more than 100 pages of documents obtained by The Associated Press via a Freedom of Information Act request.

It took 12 hours and the efforts of more than 100 firefighters to save the Groton, Connecticut-based USS Miami after a worker who wanted to go home early set a small fire that quickly spread. Though the sub was saved, the Navy ultimately decided to scrap it after the repair bill hit $700 million.

The fire severely damaged living quarters, the command and control center and a torpedo room, but it did not reach the nuclear propulsion components. Seven people were hurt dousing the flames.

"Complacency had set in, based on the infrequency of shipyard fires and relative success of fire prevention measures," the report said. "Also, there was an assumption that the proximity to far more assets, especially federal firefighters, reduced the likelihood of a fire not being quickly contained. This organizational reluctance to prepare for a fire of this scale should serve as a wake-up call — large fires can and do happen in industrial environments."

The Navy did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

It launched a series of investigations that led to recommendations, including the installation of temporary automatic fire detection systems while vessels are being repaired or overhauled.

The full report released by U.S. Fleet Forces Command indicated just how dire the situation became aboard the Los Angeles-class submarine, which was undergoing a 20-month overhaul in Kittery, Maine: At one point, officials discussed abandoning their firefighting efforts and flooding the dry dock when it appeared the submarine was going to be lost.

Instead, firefighters battling extreme heat and limited visibility eventually beat back the flames.

Investigators said shipyard firefighters were unfamiliar with the submarine's layout and that there was no requirement for certification to battle a fire in a shipboard environment — or even conduct a walk-through to familiarize themselves with the sub.

The firefighters also did not ask about the submarine's battery, even though fighting a battery fire with water can result in a "violent explosion," the report said. Had they asked, they would have learned the battery had been removed.

Investigators also said the firefighting force had been reduced, leading to a greater reliance on civilian firefighters.

A regional assessment of the 26-person shipyard fire department was conducted in October 2011 and found them to be fully ready, despite the department having conducted no live fire training since 2006, the report said.

While the report cited lack of readiness by firefighters, the Navy also said it was to blame for failing to incorporate lessons learned from past fires into training and for not making the roles for Navy authorities clear. At one point, an order was given to turn back the firefighters dispatched from the Groton submarine base, who knew how to fight this kind of a fire. That order was overruled.

The report included 99 recommendations — virtually all of which were redacted. The Navy experiences a fire of comparable magnitude to the Miami blaze approximately every five years, and without corrective action, that pattern would continue, investigators said.

The recommendations apply to ships that are being repaired or overhauled. The report notes that they're more vulnerable in that setting because damage-control equipment is removed or inoperable; most of the crew is away; and temporary fire-control equipment is less familiar to crew.
The Associated Press

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November 13, 2014
Undiagnosed Sleep Problems May Be Common Among Firefighters

THURSDAY, Nov. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia, shift work disorder and restless leg syndrome are common among firefighters, new research shows.

These conditions are linked with a higher risk for car accidents, a research team from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston suggests.

Firefighters with sleep disorders are also more likely to have chronic health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes. However, most firefighters with sleep disorders are not receiving the treatment they need, the study revealed.

"Our findings demonstrate the impact of common sleep disorders on firefighter health and safety, and their connection to the two leading causes of death among firefighters," which are heart attacks and car crashes, explained Laura Barger, associate physiologist in Brigham and Women's Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders.

"Unfortunately, more than 80 percent of firefighters who screened positive for a common sleep disorder were undiagnosed and untreated," Barger said in a hospital news release.

In conducting the study, researchers examined nearly 7,000 firefighters from 66 different fire departments across the United States. The firefighters were evaluated for common sleep disorders and other health issues. The participants were also asked about their likelihood of falling asleep at the wheel, their involvement in car accidents, as well as any injuries or close calls they had while driving.

Of all the firefighters included in the study, 37 percent were diagnosed with a sleep disorder. These firefighters were more likely to have been involved in a car accident and more likely to report having fallen asleep while driving, the findings showed.

The participants with a sleep disorder were also more likely to have health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, depression and anxiety, according to the study published in the Nov. 13 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

Although the study found an association between sleep disorders and certain health problems in firefighters, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

Dr. Charles Czeisler, chief of Brigham and Women's Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, explained in the news release that "occupational sleep disorder screening programs can identify individuals who are vulnerable to adverse safety and health consequences, including those that are leading causes of death in firefighters."

Czeisler concluded, "This study provides the rationale for further research evaluating the effectiveness of occupational sleep disorders management programs on disease risk, mental health and safety outcomes."

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November 13, 2014
5 Investigates discovers key firefighting tool has failed in deadly fires across country - MA

BOSTON —A critical firefighting tool, a fire hose, failed in a wind-driven blaze that killed two Boston firefighters in March.

5 Investigates has discovered fire hoses have burned through in other fatal fires across the country.

What started as a routine fire at 298 Beacon St. exploded into a raging inferno, and water that was desperately needed by Lt. Ed Walsh and firefighter Michael Kennedy never came because the attack hose hauled into the building by Kennedy burned through.

Frantic calls for water came from the basement, where the firefighters were trapped.

"Engine 33, mayday. Charge Engine 33’s line now. It’s getting hot down here."

The voices of Engine 33’s Walsh and Ladder 15’s Kennedy were silenced forever.

Kennedy's mother, Kathy Crosby-Bell said the fact that they were calling for water is infuriating, sad and tragic.

"When I look at the firefighters and realize this can happen to any one of them, we need to do something," she said.

5 Investigates discovered this isn’t the first time fire hoses have failed in battling fires where firefighters were killed.

According to the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety, in 2008 two firefighters in North Carolina and one firefighter in Alabama died when an attack hose burned through. In 2010 an Illinois firefighter was killed when a hose failed.

Crosby-Bell said she hopes the tragic loss of her son and the failure of a key firefighting tool are a catalyst for change. She founded the Last Call Foundation, which is funding research into fireproof attack hoses.

When asked if she believes the hose failure contributed to Kennedy’s death Crosby-Bell replied, “I'm not sure at this point. Could they have held out and been OK until the other guys got to them? They certainly would have had a better chance if they had water."

The head of the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts, Jack Grant, said the fire hose is a lifeline.

“If your lifeline isn’t coming, you’re not in a good place, especially in a basement," he said.

Right now the National Fire Protection Association standard on the hoses requires them to be heat resistant not fireproof. NFPA officials told 5 Investigates there’s a balance to consider when improving firefighting equipment.

They urge researchers to develop tools to keep firefighters safe but not give them a false sense of security.

Ken Willette, division manager of public fire protection for the NFPA, said, "The balance is not to create such an environment that firefighters may get deeper into a situation with the belief that what's behind them will allow them to operate in that environment for a longer period of time."

Grant strongly disagreed, saying "If you can improve safety, improve safety and we'll train ourselves not to overstep our boundaries."

Crosby-Bell told 5 Investigates the safety of other firefighters would be paramount to Kennedy.

“Knowing his death wasn't in vain would be really important," she said.

Research into developing a fireproof attack hose is underway at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The research will be presented to the NFPA’s technical committee, which could result in requiring fire hoses to be fireproof.

For more information on the Last Call Foundation, click here.
By Kathy Curran /

Watch the video

The National standard only requires fire hoses to be heat resistant

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November 13, 2014
Eunice Fire Chief arrested on allegations of slapping a volunteer firefighter - CA

Eunice Fire Chief Michael Arnold turned himself into Eunice Police on Thursday after he learned they had obtained a warrant for his arrest stemming from allegations that he slapped a volunteer firefighter about a month ago.

Arnold was released from the Eunice City Jail on his own signature following the arrest on a count of simple battery, Lt. Richard Daigle, chief of detectives with Eunice Police, said.

Arnold was not at the Fire Department Office on Friday and attempts to reach him were unsuccessful.

Eunice Mayor Rusty Moody said Friday that he had no comment on Arnold's arrest.

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November 13, 2014
House destroyed; two firefighters injured - AZ

(FOX 10 News)

(FOX 10 News)

PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Firefighters with Phoenix and Glendale Fire worked to get a house fire under control. Crews were fighting the fire near 47th Ave. & Bethany Home Road.

Dispatchers got the first call of the fire after 5 p.m. Wednesday and by 5:30 p.m. firefighters seemed to have contained and controlled the blaze.

Phoenix Fire Department officials say two of their firefighters were burned during the blaze.

The firefighters were burned in what's called a flashover, when the room gets so hot that everything inside catches fire. The first firefighter was burned after getting caught in the flames; he has fist and second degree burns to 15 percent of his body. The second was burned while trying to get him out and has burns to his arms and hands.

Both firefighters were taken to the Maricopa County Burn Center.

Jarvis Johnson was watching across the street when he heard them call out firefighter down.

"Firefighter was laying in the grass area, they pulled him out of there, people were underneath trying to see what was going on," said Jarvis Johnson.

"It is heartbreaking, you feel for their families, but you know that the person is tough... I know that they are going to return to the field, make a speedy recovery," said a Glendale Fire spokesperson.

A fire investigator remains on the scene of the vacant house which burned trying to determine the cause.
By FOX 10 News Staff

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November 12, 2014
Lewiston Town Board taking legal action on location of fire tower - NY

LEWISTON – The Town Board is initiating legal action against a controversial emergency fire tower.

After months of discussion , the board agreed Monday to move against Niagara County, the Upper Mountain Road Fire Company, Motorola and L.R. Kimball Associates, the county consultants on the 219-foot tower, which was built this summer behind the fire company.

“The town didn’t want to do this,” said Town Attorney Mark C. Davis, who confirmed Tuesday that he is drafting legal documents to file the lawsuit. “The town is doing this to protect residents affected by this tower and attempt to require that our tower code be followed.”

Davis said the town has tried to work with the county, suggesting locating the system on an existing Coast Guard tower in Lewiston, but he said it have largely been ignored.

Niagara County Manager Jeffrey M. Glatz said Tuesday that officials originally looked at the Coast Guard tower but that it wasn’t tall enough.

“It wasn’t just – ‘Oh, let’s put this at the Upper Mountain Road Fire Department.’ Motorola and our consultant, Kimball, looked at (three sites in Lewiston). Motorola has been traversing Niagara County for nearly 20 years with radios, and I think they know every inch of space in the county,” he said. “I think when it came right down to it, there aren’t many places that are doable along the escarpment. You are very limited to find public or not-for-profit locations, like the fire hall, where we wouldn’t have to buy land or clear land.”

Firefighters from a number of departments, including those in Lewiston, appeared en masse at a recent Town Board meeting to lobby for the system, noting how dangerous it is when they lose a signal inside a building. Members of the Lewiston department said they lose communication when they go into the Niagara Gorge.

Davis said, “The town is not against this project. It improves emergency communications. The town is opposed to putting this tower within a stone’s throw of people’s private residences.”

The Lewiston fire tower is part of ring of five towers in Niagara County that will be used as part of a new $10 million “narrow-banded” emergency radio system designed to take up less space on the broadcast spectrum and improve communications for fire and police departments. The system is mandated by the Federal Communications Commission. The County has passed the deadline for completion but recently got an extension until July.

This summer, residents protested over safety concerns and the fact that the tower adversely affects their property values.

Building Inspector Timothy R. Masters said at the time that the town had no prior notice that the tower was going up and immediately tried, unsuccessfully, to stop it from going forward.

“There was a stop-work order as soon as we found out about this,” Davis said. “That’s been appealed by the county to the Zoning Board, and our Building Department also issued violations out of our Town Court.” Davis said that one of several violations is that the work on the tower was done without obtaining a building permit.
By Nancy Fischer | News Niagara Reporter

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November 12, 2014
Harrisville Firefighters Threaten To Not Respond Unless Village Pays - NY

It's a fight over fire department funding in the village of Harrisville. Volunteer firefighters say there's no funding left and a large group in the squad threatened to stay home if an emergency situation breaks out.

According to Harrisville Fire Department President Lisa Newcombe, the volunteers are looking for a $29,000 contract with the village in order to keep running.

They're upset because they say the village doesn't want to pay that much. As a number of firefighters stormed out of a meeting Monday night, the fire chief stayed to negotiate.

Officials came up with a proposal to present to the volunteers -- we're told it's $26,500 -- and so the volunteers agreed to stay on call.

Newcombe says the department's current financial situation is dire.

"Well, right now we're out of money," she said. "We're out of money to be able to pay our bills for the rest of the year until February, unless we get some money."

The firefighters will consider the proposal on Thursday.

Harrisville Mayor Gary Williams says he hopes the deal goes through. Williams also says the fire department has been dragging its feet when it comes to presenting the village board with its financial paperwork.

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November 12, 2014
Lafayette firefighter hit head-on while responding to Hwy 287 crash - CO

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. - The Boulder County Sheriff's Office is investigating two crashes on Highway 287, one of them involving a firefighter and another involving multiple vehicles.

The first crash, the multi-vehicle crash, happened on Highway 287 at Isabelle Road. Northbound 287 is closed at Arapahoe Road because of this crash.

According to the police scanners, there were four vehicles involved in this crash and two people had to be extricated from their vehicles.

The second crash involved a firefighter going to the first crash. The firefighter was hit head-on about four miles away from the first crash on Highway 287 at South Public Road.

The firefighter's air bag deployed and his arm hurts, but he has no serious injuries, officials said.

The driver in the other vehicle had to be taken to the hospital. Officials did not have any details on that person's injuries.
by Deb Stanley /

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November 12, 2014
Veteran Baltimore fire safety officer James Bethea found dead in house - MD

(The Last Call - RIP)

Federal investigators are probing the death of Baltimore City Firefighter James Bethea. Firefighters found his body in the basement of a vacant rowhome on East North Avenue Wednesday morning. Bethea, who was a fire safety officer and a 40-year veteran of the Baltimore City Fire Department, had been called to the scene around 12:30 a.m. to investigate a fire at a neighboring rowhouse. However, fire officials confirm, it wasn’t until three hours after firefighters had cleared the scene that they discovered Bethea’s body.

“His vehicle was noticed by an off-duty firefighter,” said Fire Department Spokesman Roman Clark.

The discovery prompted crews to return to the scene where they found his body. “We don’t know if it was an accident or if it was natural causes,” Clark said. Fire Chief Niles Ford said the 62-year old Lieutenant was not just a member of the department, but he was also a mentor.

“He was a fatherly figure,” Ford said.

“We’re going to do a serious and thorough investigation.

We’re going to be extremely open about what happens here.”

In an emailed statement, the city fire department wrote; "Lieutenant Bethea served the Baltimore City Fire Department with dignity and dedication for 41 years.

He was most recently assigned to the Office of Safety. Lieutenant Bethea was passionate about serving the citizens of Baltimore and mentored countless members of the department throughout his tenure.

He will surely be missed. Our deepest sympathy and prayers go out to his family." Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has ordered city flags to be flown half-mast in Bethea's memory.

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November 12, 2014
Jacksonville firefighters escape burning home seconds before roof collapses - FL

Seconds before the roof of a burning home came crashing down, about a dozen firefighters retreated from the disintegrating structure, the Jacksonville fire chief said from the scene Tuesday morning.

“This type of fire — across the nation — typically can be a firefighter killer,” Chief Martin Senterfitt said. “... Roof collapse is one of the things we fear the most.”

The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department arrived to the home in the 1900 block of Phoenix Avenue about 10:30 a.m. Senterfitt said the owner collected items extensively, and his home was so jam packed that firefighters had a hard time maneuvering inside making it more dangerous.

However, nobody was injured due to the actions of incident commander Adrian Johnson and the other district chiefs on scene, Senterfitt said.

“They recognized the tell-tale signs and pulled our crews out,” he said.

They had also already gotten the owner out.

Senterfitt said Johnson has 28 years’ experience as a Jacksonville firefighter and about 15 years as a chief.

The last firefighter left the building about 90 seconds before parts of the roof collapsed, the chief said.

He said there were about a dozen firefighters in the home when the order was given to turn around. Some of the more experienced officers in the structure were relaying conditions inside to the incident commander outside.

Senterfitt said the temperature inside the home was peaking near 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and firefighters reported feeling the heat through their masks, singeing their ears.

The chief has been in similar situations during his career.

“All you can see is blackness, you can’t see your hand in front of your face,” Senterfitt said. “Then you hear over the radio ‘everybody evacuate,’ so in your mind you know it’s worse than you can actually see.”

The owner declined transport to a hospital. He was upset at the loss of his property but otherwise OK, Senterfitt said.

Officials at the American Red Cross of Northeast Florida offered the family assistance, spokeswoman Christian Smith said.

Celia Tolbert said she’s lived across the street from where the fire happened for about six years and was worried when she saw the dark gray and black smoke towering 20 feet above the two-story home. She said smoke filled the entire neighborhood.

“It just started burning and burning and then it [the roof] fell,” she said.

Senterfitt said roof collapses are one of the leading causes of fatalities for firefighters. After part collapsed Tuesday, other parts periodically fell as well.

“The structure had basically collapsed in on itself so you couldn’t put anybody in it,” he said. “... Fortunately the experience of our officers, the experience of our chiefs recognized a no-win situation and pulled them out in time.”

Firefighters had to employ defensive tactics to protect surrounding property as they could no longer go into the home and directly fight the fire.

The tactic appeared successful as no other buildings caught fire.

Senterfitt said the fire would burn for several hours, but it was under control. The cause is still being investigated.

“It’s going to take heavy equipment to get in there and put it out,” Senterfitt said.
By Derek Gilliam /

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November 12, 2014
Mold delays Knightsen firefighters' return to their station - CA

KNIGHTSEN -- East Contra Costa Fire District crews will be staying at their home-away-from-home in Brentwood longer than originally expected now that officials have learned that mold also has contaminated the Knightsen station.

The district originally moved its men out of their living quarters and into the Brentwood station it had closed temporarily because of budget problems as soon as it came to light last month that the well water firefighters had been drinking and showering with contained unhealthy levels of a bacterium.

The agency since has stopped using the well and now is connected to Diablo Water District's water delivery system.

Although firefighters were expected to return in a matter of days, the fire district announced Monday that it is extending their stay at Station 54 because it discovered late last week that mold is also a problem.

East Contra Costa Fire had decided to take air samples because there is mold in the bathroom, Chief Hugh Henderson said.

Station 94 now is expected to remain closed until Jan. 1, 2015, while the district has its heating and air conditioning systems cleaned, works on the restroom, and then retests the air, he said.
By Rowena Coetsee Contra Costa Times

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November 11, 2014
Pine Bluff Crash Involving 18 Wheeler, Ambulance Leaves 3 Injured - AK

PINE BLUFF, AR - An accident involving an ambulance and an 18 wheeler in Pine Bluff has left three people injured.

It happened just before 1 p.m. on Monday on 6th and Louisiana, a one way street.

According to police an ambulance in the right lane had its lights and sirens turned on and was passing an 18 wheeler in the left lane.

The 18 wheeler then attempted to change lanes and knocked the ambulance off of the road.

Police say the man and woman medics inside the ambulance had minor injuries. There was no patient inside the ambulance.

The man in the 18 wheeler also had minor injuries.

There is no further word on their conditions.

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November 11, 2014
MONOC ambulance broadsided - NJ

LONG BRANCH – A MONOC ambulance was broadsided at the intersection of Second Avenue and Cottage Place on Saturday, injuring a first responder who was aboard the vehicle, according to police.

The identity of the female medical worker who was injured was not immediately available Saturday night. She was taken to Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch where her condition was unknown.

Pedro Fernandes Souza, 20, of Long Branch, is responsible for the crash, which occurred at about 2:18 p.m., explained Long Branch police Lt. Frank Morey.

Souza was the driver of the motor vehicle that collided with the ambulance. Souza has no driver’s license and failed to stop at the stop sign on Cottage Place. The ambulance was traveling on Second Avenue, Morey said.

Souza was arrested at the scene and charged with operating a motor vehicle without a license, failure to stop at a stop sign, and operating a motor vehicle without a license and causing serious bodily injury, Morey said.

He has since been released from custody on those summonses, Morey said.

The ambulance was not on an emergency call at the time of the crash, he said.

Police Cpl. Kevin King is the investigating officer.
Erik Larsen /

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November 11, 2014
Driver slams into fire trucks cleaning up guardrail crash - TX

SAN ANTONIO - Police say they received a call around 3:00 a.m. on Sunday of a car crashing into a guardrail on Interstate 10 near Huebner Road.

The San Antonio Fire Department alongside EMS were called to the scene to assist police officers in cleaning up the accident.

SAFD blocked two lanes for saftey when an SUV traveling at a high rate speed slammed into one of the fire trucks.

The impact caused the SUV to lose control of his vehicle and collide into a second fire truck.

Police say both SAFD trucks were heavily damaged.

There are no reports of any injures.

Police are investigating whether alcohol played a role.
By Jessica Soto Web-News Editor /

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November 10, 2014

A brush truck from the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District was damaged and a firefighter injured when the truck lost control on wet pavement and flipped over Sunday morning in Lehigh Acres.Assistant Fire Chief Ken Craft said the vehicle was on a run to check an illegal burn when the crash happened at 15th Street and Leonard Boulevard shortly before noon.

The firefighter suffered bumps and bruises and was treated and released at Lee Memorial Hospital, Craft said.

The Florida Highway Patrol and the fire district are investigating.

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November 10, 2014
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson asks council to reject firefighters' contract over missing domestic violence provision - OH

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Mayor Frank Jackson's administration is asking City Council to reject a newly ratified collective bargaining agreement with the Cleveland Firefighters Union because it does not include a longstanding provision that calls for a firefighter's immediate termination if convicted of domestic violence.

Assistant Safety Director Edward Eckart told council members during a council caucus meeting Monday that the administration was wrong to allow the provision to be struck upon the union's request during the collective bargaining process.

Eckart said the city's negotiating team initially felt that the contract contained other policies that gave the administration the power to suspend, demote or terminate an employee for committing domestic violence. But since the union voted to ratify the new contract nearly two weeks ago, the administration has had the chance to "work through the details of the overall agreement" and decided the language was too watered down.

He said the administration has tried to approach the union about revisiting that portion of the contract but has heard no response.

Council has 30 days to vote on the contract, but now is considering legislation that would reject the union contract and send both parties back to the negotiating table. If council votes no on the legislation, the tentative agreement eventually will take effect automatically.

Several council members said they generally support a hard line against domestic violence, but they took issue with the fact that no other union contract in the city includes the zero-tolerance policy. Even police officers, who could no longer carry a firearm under state law if convicted of domestic violence, are not subject to immediate dismissal, per their union contract.

Eckart acknowledged that the city's firefighters are not more prone to domestic violence than other city workers, and he said that he is unaware of any cases in recent history involving firefighters.

Councilman Jeffrey Johnson said he would like to see Jackson seek a policy that would subject all city workers to immediate termination upon conviction for domestic violence. But it is wrong to single out firefighters -- whose relationship with the administration has been acrimonious in recent years, he said.

When Johnson asked why the firefighters are the only ones subject to the strict policy, Eckart reiterated only that the original contract contained the language and it should not have been stripped out.

Councilman Martin Keane said council should stay out of collective bargaining matters -- especially when they deal with a tentative contract that has already been ratified –- or risk setting a dangerous precedent.

Councilman Zack Reed said he firmly stands behind the administration on the issue.

"If we don't reject this contract, we're saying that firefighters can't be fired for domestic violence," Reed said. "I'm not comfortable sending that message out to the community."
By Leila Atassi, Northeast Ohio Media Group

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November 10, 2014
Phoenix fire truck crashes into light pole, car - AZ

PHOENIX – An investigation is underway to determine how a parked fire truck crashed into a light pole and a car in Phoenix Sunday night.

The fire engine responded to a medical call at an apartment complex at Missouri and 17th avenues around 7 p.m.

Capt. Mark Vanacore with the Phoenix Fire Department said all crew members had exited the fire truck and were in the complex when they heard a crash.

They returned to find the truck had hit a light pole and a parked car. The pole fell on the unoccupied vehicle.

Vanacore said no one was injured during the incident.

At this time, it is not known why the engine left its parked position and crashed.

Phoenix police are investigating to determine exactly what happened.
by Jennifer Thomas /

Photo Gallery

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November 10, 2014
Driver crashes into ambulance, injures 3 firefighters - WA

SHORELINE, Wash. — An 18-year-old woman ran a stop sign and crashed into a fire department's ambulance, injuring three firefighters.

The three firefighters have non-life threatening injuries and were transported to the hospital, KIROtv reported.

The driver of the Jeep and her passenger were uninjured, firefighters said. Police at the scene said the driver would be ticketed.

Firefighters said the ambulance was seriously damaged and even caught fire after the crash, according to the report. The small electrical fire was quickly extinguished.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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November 09, 2014
Ceiling Collapse Sidelines Ind. Firefighter - IN

ANDERSON -- A fireman was sent to the hospital with minor injuries after a ceiling collapsed on him Saturday.

Station No. 8 Captain Gary Cochran, who has been with the department for more than 30 years, suffered minor injuries and was treated and released from St.Vincent Anderson Regional, said B-shift Battalion Chief Larry Towne.

"The whole living room ceiling came down at once," said Towne. "Typically, it doesn't come down in one big piece like that."

Anderson firefighters were called to the 3500 block of 10th Street shortly after 11:40 a.m. for a fire in a duplex.

Towne said neighbors reported hearing a "large boom" before the fire broke out. No one was home at the time of the fire, but the male renter was displaced by the fire.

The fire, which is still under investigation, was contained to the kitchen area and attic but caused extensive damage, Towne said. He estimated the total loss to be around $30,000.

Towne said Cochran was lucky to only receive minor injuries and will be off duty for about a week.

"It bothered him a little, you could tell," he said.
Traci Moyer / Source: The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.

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November 09, 2014
Released: Unseen/Unheard Yarnell Hill Videos - AZ

The Arizona State Forestry Division posted 21 video clips on its website (link below) yesterday that offer little new insight on the last moments of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, the 19 firefighters who died in the Line of Duty battling the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30, 2013.

The video clips, shot by other firefighters, take place in the moments before the Granite Mountain Hotshots were overtaken by the fire and progress to the point where their bodies were discovered. The bodies have been edited out.

The Forestry Division website says the video clips were obtained from the U.S. Forest Service through a Freedom of Information Act request. The videos are presented as they were received, the website states and were redacted by the Forest Service.

The videos were uploaded to the website yesterday morning and include one clip that was previously released in December 2013-the others are previously unreleased.

The clips range in length from fewer than 30 seconds to more than seven minutes. In some instances, the quality of the audio is clear. In others, the audio is muffled by wind or poor radio reception.

In a video, the firefighters discussed if it would be possible to get a helicopter to the location and if that would be helpful. Once the bodies are found, the emotion in their voices is apparent. At one point a voice can be heard uttering a profanity and confirming that the bodies of the Granite Mountain crew have been found. A firefighter is heard over the radio saying, "True, and just confirming, no medical treatment is needed at this time.
BillyG / The Secret List

Video clips

Entire Media Article

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November 09, 2014
Teen's rampage: Ambulance theft, assault, lewd acts - CO

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Police reports indicate a Colorado State University student took cocaine and “molly” before stealing an ambulance and attacking deputies.

Stefan Sortland, 18, stole the ambulance while emergency crews were treating an intoxicated student for seizures at CSU, 7News Denver reports.

Police tracked the vehicle through its GPS and found it in the middle of the highway. The vehicle’s frontend had been crushed and it was leaking fluid onto the road. Sortland was standing in the road wearing an EMT vest and carrying a box of Wheat Thins.

After refusing to obey commands, police shot Sortland with a stun gun and took him to a Colorado jail where he "stood on a bench, kicked the wall, and masturbated," according to the police report.

Sortland is also accused of attacking two deputies who brought him lunch while in custody. He faces charges of aggravated vehicle theft, obstructing EMS, reckless driving, hit-and-run, criminal mischief, attempted motor vehicle theft, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and criminal charges of assault for the jail incident.
By EMS1 Staff

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November 09, 2014
Patient bites medic, injures Chicago firefighter - IL

CHICAGO — Two fire department personnel were hospitalized early Thursday after a man bit one of them and injured the other in the Loop, officials said.

The incident happened about 2 a.m. in the 200 block of West Jackson Boulevard, said Chicago Fire Department spokesman Chief Juan Hernandez.

Police said the fire deparment personnel were assisting a man at that location, and when they tried to put the man on a stretcher, he bit a female paramedic on the left calf. A firefighter was also injured, although details were not immediately available on that injury, police said.

The two responders were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with minor injuries, Hernandez said.
Chicago Tribune

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November 09, 2014
Ambulance stolen from Gadsden found in Knoxville - AL

GADSDEN, Alabama -- An ambulance stolen from a Gadsden hospital made it all the way to Knoxville, Tenn. before police apprehended the man who took it.

Gadsden police said a 55-year-old Knoxville, Tenn. man apparently took the ambulance on a trip north Thursday afternoon. The man was stopped by Knoxville police and taken into custody, said Capt. Paul Cody.

The ambulance was taken from the emergency room entrance at Riverview Regional Medical Center about 1:40 p.m. Thursday, according to police reports.

Employees with Rural Metro Ambulance had just parked the vehicle, a van-type ambulance, at the entrance with the keys inside. Once the ambulance pulled out of the hospital, it was spotted going up North Third Street, apparently on its way out of town.

The 55-year-old man who police say took it was at the hospital receiving medical care, and asked to go outside for a smoke. He had been taken to the hospital earlier that morning following a car accident.

According to another report, that accident happened about 7 a.m. at the corner of Fourth Street and Broad Street. When police responded to that accident, witnesses told police the 55-year-old man had told them he had a gun. The officer responding searched the man and found a knife, and a plastic bag believed to contain marijuana.

The man told police the accident occurred after "God told him" to run the traffic light, the report said.
By William Thornton |

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November 09, 2014
Hall Co. releases investigation into fire truck accident - GA

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- Frayed cables and a defective pulley. They are at the heart of a 62 page report detailing what caused three firefighters to fall 40 feet to the ground, as the ladder truck they were training on collapsed.

Investigators believe damage to one of the cables existed "prior to the accident" and that the cable's pulley - or sheave - was "worn, damaged or improperly manufactured." In one picture included in the report, you can see the sheave is too small, and unable to fit the cable that's supposed to run through it.

Complete article with video and additional reports

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November 07, 2014
East Syracuse Fire chief suspended for second time in a year - NY

EAST SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The East Syracuse Fire Department chief is suspended for the second time this year, according to news reports.

Chief Robert Russell's suspension began Thursday, after the village board approved the decision Wednesday night.

Village officials said they cannot comment about why Russell is suspended because the matter is being handled by human resources.

Russell was suspended for a week in February after making an "inappropriate comment" to East Syracuse Village Mayor Robert Tackman.

Russell said in February that the comment involved Tackman wanting to shift the supervision of two full-time and one part-time fire department caretakers from the fire chief, a volunteer, to the head of codes enforcement, a village employee. Caretakers are employed to maintain department equipment and buildings.

He was reinstated after village officials failed to come to a decision about his suspension.
By Jolene Almendarez |

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November 07, 2014
La. Chief Accused of Slapping Volunteer - CA

A Louisiana fire chief has been charged with battery for allegedly slapping a volunteer.

Eunice Fire Chief Michael Arnold surrendered to Eunice Police on Thursday after he learned they had obtained a warrant for his arrest, according to KATC.

Arnold was released after signing documents, officers told reporters.

The incident occurred about a month ago.

The station noted the chief was not at the fire department Friday, and could not be reached for comment.
Source: News

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November 07, 2014
Middlebury fire chief embezzled more than $70K from department - CT

MIDDLEBURY — Fire Chief Paul Perrotti is accused of embezzling more than $70,000 from the Middlebury Volunteer Fire Department, and if convicted could face 10 years in prison.

Perrotti, 47, was arraigned this morning at U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, hours after his arrest on charges related to an FBI investigation that broke in May.

A contrite Perrotti stood next to his attorney, Martin Minnella, outside the courthouse as the two were questioned by newspaper and TV reporters. Perrotti declined to answer questions.

Shortly after noon, firefighters received a text message notifying them that Deputy Chief Anthony Bruno would be acting chief of the department until further notice.

“We’ve got a fire department to take care of, and that’s my main concern right now,” First Selectman Edward B. St. John said in a statement.

At his arraignment, Perrotti was ordered to surrender all property belonging to the fire department and town, including his fire chief vehicle, credit cards and debit cards. He also has been ordered not to leave the state without permission of the court, and must not have any contact with all firefighters.

He also cannot use alcohol excessively and cannot possess a firearm or drugs, according to court documents. He is free on a $250,000 bond.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Perrotti was charged with three counts of theft.

According to the indictment, Perrotti -- a licensed electrical contractor who operates Paul Perrotti Electric LLC -- used fire department money between 2011 and 2013 to pay personal expenses and expenses for his company. The payments included checks paid directly to Perrotti, to his company, to employees and vendors for company supplies.

The government also alleges fire department money was used by Perrotti to pay for personal loans owed by him.

It alleges that Perrotti submitted invoices to the town for expenses that he falsely claimed were incurred by the fire departrment, but, in fact, were expenses related to his business, including bills for vendors.

The indictment alleges Perrotti opened a Home Depot credit card account in the fire department's name and used it to buy items for his business, including wires and breakers. It also alleges he used a fire department debit card to withdraw cash for himself and to buy food and gas.

The FBI was tipped off in the spring about alleged improprities at the firehouse, and agents raided the building May 15.

They removed financial documents and computers while Perrotti and other firefighters watched. Perrotti said at the time that he intended to fully cooperate with the investigation because he had nothing to hide.

Minnella said FBI agents arrested Perrotti at his home at 6 this morning and brought him to Meriden for processing.

"No one knew. They just came," Minnella said.

He said agents contacted him this morning and told him to meet Perrotti in Bridgeport for the arraignment.

Perrotti left Bridgeport in Minnella's car after the arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons.

Perrotti, chief of the department since 1997, has said the FBI raid was nothing more than a fishing expedition meant to topple him in the election for chief Sunday.

Perrotti told a reporter that he will not seek re-election at the department's bi-annual election meeting Sunday. He is the department's longest serving chief, having won re-election every year since 1998.

The FBI raid in May raised questions about Perrotti's ability to lead the department for another two years.

He responded to the firehouse that morning and watched as agents removed boxes of financial documents and computers from the building.

He told reporters he was given the opportunity not to cooperate and to seek a lawyer. "I'm cooperating fully because I have nothing to hide here," he said at the time.

Perrotti, an electrician, was appointed fire chief in 1997 to replace Edmund Bailly, who resigned because time constraints prevented him from serving. Perrotti had been deputy fire chief since 1994.

He was elected to his first two-year term in 1998, and has won every election since, although he won the elections in 2008 and 2010 by only three and five votes, respectively.

Perrotti's family moved to Middlebury from Waterbury when he was in fifth grade, and the family's first house was 100 feet from the firehouse. He would listen to the sirens from the trucks as they sped away to a fire, and dreamed of serving when he was older.

When he was old enough to wear a uniform, Perrotti joined the junior fire corps and rose steadily through the ranks.

Under Perrotti's leadership, the department bought new apparatus and earned state recognition at firefighter parades. This year it won "Best Overall Fire Unit" for the fourth straight year at the Connecticut State Firefighters Convention Parade in Litchfield, matching the longest winning streak in the history of an event that spans over 100 years.

Perrotti has had to deflect controversy during his tenure as fire chief.

In July, he defended the actions of his department after a 10,711-square-foot mansion on Breakneck Hill Road was destroyed by fire.

The owner, Lawrence Janesky, criticized firefighters for not drafting water from an indoor swimming pool, suggesting it would have prevented the fire from spreading.

In 2005, Perrotti had to pay the town $3,420.58 out of his pocket for improper use of three Nextel cell phones.

Perrotti wrote the check in April 2005 for usage from January 2003 to December 2004. The phones, provided to the fire department by the town for departmental use only, had been issued to Perrotti's wife, his brother and his boss at his former employer, Astro Electric.

Perrotti explained that his wife and brother, both honorary members of the fire department, ran a lot of errands and took care of business for the department, so he let them use the phones.

In 2012, Perrotti was awarded a $17,500 contract to install an emergency power generator at the firehouse. Republican Selectman Elaine M.R. Strobel questioned if the work would be a conflict of interest for Perrotti, but St. John said he did not believe there was a conflict because Perrotti did not have a direct financial interest in the property.

Perrotti only receives a stipend as fire chief.

Last year, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities threw out a complaint filed by former firefighter Anastasia Persico against Perrotti.

She alleged Perrotti discriminated against her because of her gender, but the commission ruled that no evidence of gender harassment could be found

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November 07, 2014
Firefighters could lose jobs after Middleton levy fails - ID

MIDDLETON, Idaho -- Cities around Idaho are dealing with the fallout from election day. In Middleton a levy to continue funding full-time employees at the city's fire department failed Tuesday.

Middleton Fire Chief Brad Trosky said the levy's failure could have serious ramifications.

"I'm very worried for the community and very worried for the state of public safety in our community in general," Trosky said.

The Middleton Fire District has asked voters to approve the levy every two years since 2008, and it has passed every time. That is until Tuesday, when the levy failed by a 10-percent margin.

"I was very surprised," said Trosky about the levy's failure.

They started running this levy after an investigation into the 2007 fire at Middleton High school.

"The investigation that resulted as the end of that fire actually showed that we were not staffed well enough to actually take care of most of those types of fires, even with the extensive mutual aid that we used," Trosky said.

Before the levy in 2008, they had two full-time employees. Now they have nine, but that could change soon.

"I don't know if the budget will sustain going back to two full-time people," he said. "We may not have any full-time people."

Their first year with they levy money, Middleton Fire responded to 560 calls. Chief Trosky anticipates they'll finish this year with more than 1,300 calls. Because they won't have that levy money the fire district will have see what services the have to provide under state law, and what they can cut.

"In a taxing district like this, the voters are the people who set the level of protection that they want."

Seven of the full-time firefighters at the Middleton Fire Department could lose their jobs because this levy failed.
Stephanie Zepelin, KTVB

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November 07, 2014
Fire truck in Gaston County hits, kills pedestrian - NC

RANLO, N.C. — The North Carolina Highway Patrol says a man has been struck and killed by a fire truck as he stepped into the middle of the road in Gaston County.

The man was struck around 6 p.m. Thursday in Ranlo.

Authorities said the man was walking home from a bar when he was hit by the Ranlo Fire Department truck. His name has not been released.

The Highway Patrol says the man was not in a crosswalk. Investigators said the fire truck was driving slower than the speed limit.

No charges are planned.
State News /

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November 06, 2014
Patient Bites, Injures Chicago Paramedics - IL

Two fire department personnel were hospitalized early Thursday after a man bit one of them and injured the other in the Loop, officials said.

The incident happened about 2 a.m. in the 200 block of West Jackson Boulevard, said Chicago Fire Department spokesman Chief Juan Hernandez.

Police said the fire deparment personnel were assisting a man at that location, and when they tried to put the man on a stretcher, he bit a female paramedic on the left calf. A firefighter was also injured, although details were not immediately available on that injury, police said.

The two responders were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with minor injuries, Hernandez said.
Source: Chicago Tribune

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November 06, 2014
Community rallies around critically injured Prattville firefighter - AL

(Montgomery Alabama news.)

PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) - There has been an outpouring of support for a veteran Prattville firefighter who was seriously injured in an accident at a fire station.

First responders, family members, friends and members of the community came together in Autauga County Wednesday night to show their support for Battalion Chief Lowell Strock.

Fire crews from across the region united for a prayer vigil for Strock, a 24 year veteran of the Prattville Fire Department and chief of the White City Volunteer Fire Department, where the service was held.

Ten volunteer fire departments and a rescue squad from Autauga County were invited to the service in Marbury, along with members of the Prattville Police Department, Prattville Fire Department, Chilton County volunteer fire departments, Autauga County Forestry, Autauga County Sheriff's Office, White Pond Baptist Church and the Billingsley School. Everyone at the vigil took turns offering up prayers for healing for Strock's recovery.

The accident happened Saturday, November 1 around 7 p.m. Officials say Strock fell nearly 20 feet from a ladder while performing maintenance on a station heater.

He was treated immediately by fire medics at the station and then taken to Baptist Medical Center South by ambulance. On Wednesday, hospital officials said Strock was listed in critical condition.

"The family is just overwhelmed with the prayers and support for Chief Strock. Chief Strock underwent his second surgery today," said Prattville Fire Chief Terry Brown.

Brown did not elaborate on the extent of Strock's injuries. In the hospital, his fellow firefighters have been standing watch at his bedside around the clock.

Prayers chains have been started at fire departments throughout Alabama. At a conference in Gulf Shores for the Fire Marshal's Association of Alabama, everyone stopped to pray for Strock. A moment of silence also went over the scanners Wednesday night for him.

"Both fire departments are grateful for all of the support from all of the Alabama fire chiefs and fire departments throughout the state of Alabama. We just ask you to continue to pray for both departments. We are thankful for the overwhelming support of the citizens and like all fire service knows, God is in control," Brown said.

Along with being a career firefighter in Prattville, Strock has been a member of the White City Volunteer Fire Department for most of his life. He has been instrumental in the process of constructing a second fire station in that community. The project is near completion, officials said.

"We hope God can somehow just perform a miracle to give him back any way we can get him," a fellow firefighter said at the vigil.
By WSFA 12 News Staff / By Lindsey Rogers

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November 06, 2014
Jeannette fire damages EMT's home, but his wife, children, dog escape - PA

Scott Cline was working his shift as an EMT firefighter in Jeannette when a call for a house fire came across the radio around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.

As the call came in, Cline said he realized it was his address. “Anything and everything” raced through his mind, he said.

“I couldn't get across town fast enough,” Cline said.

A state fire marshal is investigating the cause of the blaze at 524 Scott Ave. in Jeannette, the home Cline and his family have owned for eight years.

He said his wife, two children and dog got out of the house safely.

Jeannette fire Chief Joe Matijevic said the fire started on the exterior of the two-story home where the wood siding meets the foundation. The cause is still undetermined, he said.

“It was a really windy night,” Matijevic said. “There's a multitude of reasons it could have started.”

Matijevic said a neighbor called 911, then went and woke up Cline's wife and children to get them out of the house.

Most of the damage occurred on the home's left side and front porch, Matijevic said. There is smoke and water damage inside, Cline said.

Matijevic said a state fire marshal is doing the initial investigation and then will turn it over to the city. He estimated damage at $15,000 to $20,000 but said the home can be repaired.

County 911 dispatchers said the scene was cleared around 1:40 a.m. Wednesday. Matijevic said Wednesday afternoon that the investigation is ongoing.

One of Cline's co-workers at Jeannette EMS Inc. established a fundraising page Wednesday to help the family meet their insurance deductible and replace belongings lost in the blaze. The page has a goal of raising $2,000.

In the first eight hours, eight donors had contributed $310. Those interested in donating can do so online at
By Kari Andren /

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November 06, 2014
Fire chief resigns, 7 firefighters follow suit - IL

WASHINGTON PARK, Ill. — City officials are looking to appoint a new fire chief after an unanticipated resignation Wednesday.

KMOV reported that Chief Mark Norris resigned and was followed by several volunteer firefighters stepping down as well.

"I feel for the community. We love what we do, but we also have to think about ourselves as well. We're not getting treated the way we should be treated," one firefighter said.

The Village of Washington Park stopped paying their firefighters in order to save money, according to the report. After one year of volunteering, they were told to re-apply for their jobs.

For some, it was just another reason to leave after a long list of deteriorating resources. One firefighter said trucks keep breaking down and new equipment is needed, according to the report.

The department said 10 of the firefighters were volunteers. On Wednesday, seven stepped down.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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November 05, 2014
Fatal Crash Involving Fire Apparatus Closes Turnpike - OH

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A massive crash on Wednesday left one woman dead and several firefighters with injuries on the Ohio Turnpike.

“This was a very serious crash, obviously, a fatality is involved,” Lt. Chad Bass of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s turnpike barracks said.

According to an OSHP press release, the Canfield Fire Department and an Ohio Turnpike employee responded to an unrelated crash on the Turnpike.

A Nissan SUV, driven by Karen Zorn, 27, of Maryland, was stopped behind the fire truck when it was rear-ended by a 2012 Dodge pickup truck driven by a man from Indiana. The force of that rear-end collision killed Zorn and caused her car to catch on fire.

That fatal accident happened at 11:26 a.m. on the turnpike bridge over Kirk Road in Austintown.

The force of the pickup truck’s collision with Zorn’s car forced the fire truck to side-swipe the Ohio Turnpike truck, injuring the driver, Michael Earnest, 52, of Ohio.

The pickup was also towing a car hauler, which overturned into the left-hand lane, striking two passenger vehicles as they were passing the scene. That accident injured one driver, David Heath, 71, of Illinois, and did not injure David William, 64, from Pennsylvania.

The man from Indiana who drove the truck was flown to St. Elizabeth’s with non-incapacitating injuries.

“We have personnel on the scene here to handle different aspects of the job with reconstruction. Our commercial units are going to be looking at different factors,” Bass said.

Several firefighters were injured and one was flown to St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown. Other victims were taken by ambulance.

The crash and investigation shut down the turnpike for several hours, causing backups for miles. The turnpike reopened around 5 p.m.

Police at the scene said criminal charges could be filed.
By WKBN Staff

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November 05, 2014
Connellsville's residents vote to eliminate paid fire department - PA

The majority of Connellsville voters decided on Tuesday that they want to eliminate Connellsville's paid fire department and only remaining paid firefighter.

According to the Fayette County Election Bureau, 799 voters wanted to disband the paid fire department and 618 voters wanted to keep the paid fire department and the one paid firefighter.

“I'm just glad the city residents had a say in an important decision like this for the city,” Connellsville Mayor Greg Lincoln said.

In Ward 1, 297 voters said yes to eliminating the paid fire department while 189 voted to keep it; Ward 2 had 174 voting to keep the department and 190 to disband; Ward 3 saw 144 voters favoring the disband and 86 votes to keep the paid fire department. The closest results came from Ward 4 with 168 voting to eliminate the paid department and 169 voting to keep it.

Lincoln said he spoke to people at the polls on Tuesday and found voters were concerned elimination of the paid fire department would cause their homeowner insurance premiums to increase. Reportedly, paid firefighter eliminations affect Insurance Services Office Inc. ratings.

“I don't foresee the ratings dropping,” said Lincoln, adding the city hasn't been the subject of an ISO rating in more than 10 years. Since that time, there have been various improvements from New Haven Hose, which has been the city's primary fire department since 1991, he continued. “There's a good chance that rating will increase.”

While the votes are in, Lincoln said the issue is not over.

He was informed by the city solicitor that paperwork has been submitted to take the case into arbitration. With the paid firefighter's contract ending on Dec. 31, Lincoln said those meetings could start soon.

“I hope the arbiters see the majority of taxpayers who pay for the fire department want it to be eliminated,” Lincoln said, adding that the financial state of the city is not good and the city can save $100,000 annually with the elimination of pay, benefits, insurance and operation costs of the East Side Fire Station. “Any positive help will go a long way for us.”

Lincoln said in regards to a budget meeting on Thursday, during which members of city council will go over expenses for 2015, they'll still plan on the expense of a paid fire department.

All election results are unofficial until validated by the Election Bureau.
By Mark Hofmann /

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November 05, 2014
Mold infestation at Spring fire station could add to firefighter response time - TX

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

A mold infestation at a Spring fire station means firefighters could take longer to respond to emergency calls.

The inside of Station 75 is locked up and that means full-time firefighters cannot sleep in the building at night. Deputy Chief Scott Schoonover said mold shut down the station a few weeks ago. Instead firefighters have to go home and hope nothing happens overnight.

A temporary building is expected to arrive in two weeks but it cannot be put to ust until it has electricity, said Schoonover.

He said he was told it would be seven weeks before Centerpoint Energy could get power to the building.

Schoonover said "Weeks seem like a long time when you are putting people's lives in jeopardy."

Centerpoint Energy told Local 2 it is doing everything it can to speed up the process.
Author: Sara Fatima Dhanji, Content Editor, / Melissa Hawkes, Reporter

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November 05, 2014
Prattville firefighter injured in fall - AK

PRATTVIILLE – A Prattville firefighter was seriously injured Saturday night when he fell off a ladder.

Fire Chief Terry Brown isn’t releasing the name of the firefighter.

The accident occurred around 7 p.m. while performing maintenance on a station heater and was not related to an emergency call, the chief said. The firefighter fell about 16 feet. The firefighter was treated immediately by fire medics at the station and transported, by ambulance, to Baptist Medical Center South in Montgomery for further treatment.

He remains hospitalized at Baptist South, where he is undergoing further treatment for his injuries. The Prattville Fire Department would like for you to keep the firefighter and his family in your thoughts and prayers as he recovers, Brown said.
Marty Roney, Montgomery Advertiser

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November 04, 2014
States Struggle to Contain Firefighting Costs

Firefighting is expensive. In the past 30 years, the costs for key pieces of equipment have jumped more than fivefold. And that’s the least of it. The time and training to become a certified firefighter have increased. Volunteers, who make up roughly 70 percent of fire department personnel, not only pay for their own training but also face additional indirect costs, such as temporary lodging, lost time at work and medical expenses. Not surprisingly, a growing number of localities are confronting a significant decline in volunteer firefighters.

A recent report from Pennsylvania, where 96 percent of all fire companies are fully staffed by volunteers, spells out the problem. The state’s 72,000 volunteer firefighters provide services with an estimated annual tax savings value of $6 billion. But those savings and systems, as the report notes, “are creating increasingly serious challenges,” including a decline in the number of active volunteer firefighters (down from 152,000 in 1985 to 72,000 today); difficulties in funding, with volunteers spending 60 percent or more of their available hours on fundraising activities; and unnecessary and inefficient duplication of firefighting equipment.

Pennsylvania may have the highest percentage of volunteer firefighters but most states have similar problems, particularly in nonurban areas. Nationally volunteers or paid on-call firefighters predominate in fire departments that protect fewer than 25,000 people.

The question for state and local leaders is how do they protect these systems and help pay for the rising costs volunteer firefighters are increasingly unable or unwilling to assume?

In Florida, Minnesota, New Mexico and a few other places, the state offers stipends to volunteers to cover time spent training, the cost of travel and overnight or on-call services. In New York, the state grants volunteer firefighters property tax abatements, income tax credits and $50,000 in death benefits if they die in the line of duty. Most states allow volunteer departments to provide workers’ compensation, often through state-run programs. Increasingly, there is pressure to define volunteer firefighters as public employees and offer them public pensions and post-retirement health-care benefits.

Then there’s Texas, where 75 percent of the firefighters are volunteers. Throughout the state, financing of fire departments varies widely. Some tiny departments make do with bake sales and fish fries; larger ones find funding through agreements with their municipality or county. Some departments raise the money to pay for their fire needs by adding (unconstitutionally in most cases) a fee onto water bills. But with increasing frequency, Texans are funding emergency services through a special taxing district -- an emergency services district (ESD) that can levy property and sales taxes. The trend is so pronounced that special districts in the Lone Star State collect almost as much property tax revenue as cities.

Depending on how urban the area is, the district might create paid departments and/or give funds to volunteer departments. This, in turn, is creating governance quandaries over taxing, especially when cities expand into heretofore “rural” areas. If a city annexes into an ESD and leaves the special district in place, the ESD gets to keep its share of local sales taxes. If a city annexes into an ESD and dissolves the district in that area, the city has to pay cash for any ESD assets serving the area.

Pennsylvania’s report recommended regionalization of fire services by adding a technical assistance unit in the State Fire Commissioner’s Office, which would be the lead agency for the system. Instead of hundreds of tiny different municipalities having their own forces, one large fire force in a region would serve all the communities within its bounds. That might prove to be a far more effective and financially sound way to respond to the next 911 call.
by Frank Shafroth /

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November 04, 2014
Firefighter suffers heart attack battling flames - NY

A 12-year veteran of the department collapsed fighting an apartment fire on the sixth floor of 90 Bryant Avenue.

A firefighter is recovering in the hospital this morning after suffering a heart attack while battling a blaze in White Plains.

More than a dozen firefighters responded to an apartment fire on the sixth floor of 90 Bryant Ave.

One of the firefighters, a 12-year veteran of the department, collapsed on the scene.

The 50-year-old was rushed to White Plains Hospital after being revived.

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November 04, 2014
Mental Evaluation Ordered for Man Who Assaulted Wash. Firefighters - WA

A 21-year-old man who allegedly threatened to attack and kill four Richland firefighters as they tried to put out a small blaze in his apartment has been ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.

The case against Nelson Aguayo has been put on hold until a Benton County Superior Court judge determines he's competent to proceed to trial.

Aguayo is charged with four counts of third-degree assault for the Oct. 18 incident.

Firefighters responded at 3:50 p.m. to a fire alarm at Shoreline Village Apartments and spotted smoke coming from one of the Duportail Street apartments.

They tried to go inside the third-floor apartment and investigate, but Aguayo verbally and physically threatened to assault the firefighters and approached them in an aggressive manner, court documents said. Aguayo then struggled with them as the firefighters tried to subdue him, documents said.

Richland police arrived to find Aguayo being held down on the ground by two firefighters. Officers also had to restrain Aguayo so they could get him out of the apartment and allow crews to extinguish the fire, court documents said.

Firefighters later determined that the fire was intentionally set using a pile of clothes inside the apartment.

Aguayo had been living in Richland temporarily while working on a construction crew.

After his arrest, Aguayo refused to leave his Benton County jail cell and attend his court hearings. Eventually he did appear before Judge Alex Ekstrom, who ordered that state psychiatrists from Eastern State Hospital evaluate Aguayo inside the jail.

Aguayo remains held on $50,000 bail. A review hearing is scheduled Dec. 10.
Kristin M. Kraemer / Source: Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.)

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November 04, 2014

A Prattville firefighter was seriously injured Saturday night when he fell off a ladder.

Fire Chief Terry Brown isn’t releasing the name of the firefighter.

The accident occurred around 7 p.m. while performing maintenance on a station heater and was not related to an emergency call, the chief said. The firefighter fell about 16 feet. The firefighter was treated immediately by fire medics at the station and transported, by ambulance, to Baptist Medical Center South in Montgomery for further treatment.

He remains hospitalized at Baptist South, where he is undergoing further treatment for his injuries. The Prattville Fire Department would like for you to keep the firefighter and his family in your thoughts and prayers as he recovers, Brown said.

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November 04, 2014
Richmond fire engine damaged responding to emergency call - VA

RICHMOND, Va. — A Richmond fire truck was involved in a crash early this morning. It happened while crews were responding to a call in the Fan.

At 3:00 a.m. Richmond firefighters were called to the 1000-block of Park Avenue. The call for help came after an oven inside an apartment caught fire while it was pre-heating.

But for the crew on one of the engines, they soon discovered conditions outside the home were a battle. One of the fire trucks was slightly damaged while attempting to turn down a narrow street on the backside of the apartment.

Fortunately the damage to the fire engine was minimal and no firefighters were hurt.

As for the apartment fire, those living there were able to stay in their home this morning. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
by Jerrita Patterson /

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November 04, 2014
Clearwater fire Lieutenant resigns after firehouse sex video surfaces - FL

(WFLA News Channel 8)

CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) - Lt. Stephen Coward's 19 year run with the Clearwater Fire Department ended abruptly last month with his resignation after a graphic cell phone video and sex talk emails surfaced indicating he had been having intimate encounters with women other than his wife inside Clearwater Fire Station 51.

"We began an investigation immediately and tried to figure out what happened," said City Spokesman Rob Shaw.

It wasn't much of a mystery thanks to the video and explicit sex talk in the 40 emails sent to the city by an anonymous source.

The video shows Coward engaged in intercourse with a woman inside the bathroom of his dormitory room at the firehouse. He's smiling and holding up a cell phone that is recording that sex act in a mirror.

That video, along with 40 salacious emails involving Coward and another woman were on a flash drive sent to a Clearwater fire chief on August 6th.

Coward, who has been a fire lieutenant with Clearwater for ten years and has a number of commendations on his record, resigned effective September 9th, before the city could move forward with his termination. His records also indicated he has had a contentious relationship with his bosses in the department lately.

Investigative records reveal that Coward admitted to having sex with two women other than his wife over the period of about a year and that he expressed remorse for his actions. Eight On Your Side could not reach Coward or his wife for comment.

Court records indicate he is in the process of a divorce that has been ongoing since May.

Clearwater Fire Spokesman Rob Shaw insists that Coward's actions are an isolated incident involving one firefighter in one fire station.

The city allowed Coward to quietly resign before proceeding with his termination, but Shaw insists there was no gray area in his unacceptable on-duty behavior.

"When firefighters on on the job they're supposed to be working and presenting a good image for the city," Shaw said. "Not engaging in this type of behavior."

Clearwater's human resources investigators who worked the case have recommended the installation of surveillance cameras in all city fire stations.
By Mark Douglas /

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November 03, 2014
Fire Vehicle Hit at Intersection - KA

An Overland Park fire truck responding to a medical emergency call was struck Saturday afternoon, leaving four people hurt.

Two firefighters were among the injured when their small squad pickup was hit at about 3:40 p.m. by a Nissan Versa at 119th Street and Antioch Road.

Two others from the Nissan also were hurt. All four were taken to a hospital as a precaution with non-life threatening injuries.

A fire department spokesman said the fire truck had its siren and lights on when it stopped at the intersection to see if it was clear of traffic.

As the truck crossed the intersection heading west on 119th Street, it was hit by the Nissan heading south on Antioch.

Another unit responded to the original emergency call.
Brad Cooper / Source: The Kansas City Star

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November 03, 2014
House Fire Displaces 20, Injures Two Firefighters - HI

Mele and Victor Fuimaono were signing a lease for an apartment Saturday when they got a call from their daughter telling them their current house was on fire.

"She called, crying, 'The whole house was down,'" Mele Fuimaono said. "The only thing we own now is the clothes on our back."

The couple were among 20 people who lost their home when a two-alarm blaze destroyed a single-story house in Kaimuki at 1354 15th Ave., said Honolulu Fire Department Capt. David Jenkins.

Another five people were displaced when an neighboring home suffered damage.

In all, five families were affected -- three in the destroyed home and two in the neighboring home. The American Red Cross was assisting.

One woman was burned in the fire and paramedics took her to the hospital, while two firefighters were treated at the scene -- one for injuring a hand during a fall and the other for dehydration, Jenkins said.

Firefighters responding to a 2:15 p.m. call found flames and smoke engulfing half of the house. About 35 firefighters brought the blaze under control by 2:55 p.m.

Fifteenth Avenue was closed between Keanu Street and Noeau Street until just past 7 p.m.

Jenkins said the cause of the fire and a damage estimate were under investigation.

Fuimaono said she, her husband and her three children had been staying at the home until they could find their own place. She had been staying with her aunt, who is married with six children.

She said another family lived in the back of the single-story structure.

The Fuimaonos had moved to Hawaii from San Francisco and didn't expect to meet such high demand in the rental market. They moved their belongings from a hotel to her aunt's house so they wouldn't have to keep moving their things and planned to move into their own place this week.

On Saturday afternoon, Mele Fuimaono was picking up the keys for the new apartment in Liliha when her daughter called.

"Not even 20 minutes (we were gone),"she said.

Another resident, Lahanitani Tongi, said his wife, who is Fuimaono's aunt, suffered minor burns to her arm. She was hurt while trying to get her 1-year-old daughter out of part of the burning house, her children said.

The toddler was uninjured.

Tongi, 36, said he was laying tile in Kaimuki when his wife called about the fire.

He said he previously had concerns about the house and suspects an electrical malfunction caused the fire.

"I said to myself (before), 'If this house burns, there's no way to save this house,'" he said. "The wood is rotten."

According to property tax records, the 652-square-foot home was built in 1925.

Tongi's 9-year-old son, Teau, said a neighbor ran inside the burning house and saved his two pet guinea pigs, Oreo and Sugar.

He said he thanked the neighbor and was happy his pets are alive.
Rob Shikina / Source: The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

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November 03, 2014

Authorities say two firefighters have been injured when a ceiling collapsed on them as they battled a fire at home in the Studio City area of Los Angeles.

Fire spokeswoman Katherine Main says the firefighters hit by debris and drywall when a part of the ceiling came down Monday afternoon. She says they complained of neck and back pain but their injuries aren't considering life-threatening.

Crews were called to a two-story hillside home at around 1:15 p.m. and battled a fire the engulfed the roof and attic.

Main says gusty winds drove the flames and it took nearly 50 firefighters more than a half-hour to knock them down.

Main says some roofing was being done at the home but the cause of the fire was under investigation.

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November 03, 2014
Collision Knocks Ambulance Over - IO



DES MOINES, Iowa —Des Moines police are investigating a crash on a bridge over Interstate 235 that caused an ambulance to roll over onto its side.

The accident happened Saturday evening on the East 6th Street overpass over I-235, just east of the Des Moines River.

Des Moines police say the ambulance was headed south on East 6th when a westbound red pickup truck T-boned the ambulance.

A police report said the ambulance had its emergency lights and sirens on when it ran through a red light. The truck had a green light as it was heading to the on ramp of I-235 when the vehicles collided.

The ambulance rolled onto its side, trapping two people for a while.

The driver of the ambulance was identified as Scott Rivers, 45, and the second victim was Daniel Butz, 21.

Both were taken to Mercy hospital and were treated for their injuries.

The ambulance is owned by Midwest Ambulance Company of Des Moines. Police say there were no patients inside the ambulance at the time of the crash.

Police say the two people inside the pickup truck were injured and taken to the hospital. The driver, Stanley Paulson, 66, is in serious but stable condition at Mercy.

Kim Chapman, president and CEO of Midwest Ambulance, said Rivers and Butz were being treated at a local hospital, and the company is focused on their well-being.

"Midwest Ambulance has and will continue to assist law enforcement officials as they conduct their investigation," Chapman said in a statement. "We offer our thoughts and prayers to all those who were involved in this accident, as well as their families, friends and loved ones."
By Jason Rantala

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November 03, 2014
Firefighter-medic Kellen Andrew Fleming dies of heart attack - SC

(The Last Call - RIP)

Kellen Andrew Fleming

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — A firefighter died after suffering a heart attack in the bunkroom of a firehouse Saturday morning.

The U.S. Fire Administration reported that firefighter-medic Kellen Andrew Fleming, 29, with the Westview-Fairforest Fire Department, was treated immediately by a fellow paramedic and other responders at the station.

He was transported to the hospital where he went into cardiac arrest.

Despite efforts to revive him, firefighter Fleming succumbed to his injury.

He had responded to several emergency incidents and worked fire prevention activities in the hours leading up to his fatal injury, according to the report.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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November 03, 2014
Detroit firefighter falls through floor battling blaze - MI

DETROIT — A Detroit firefighter is recovering after falling through the floor while battling a house fire Sunday night.

WXYZ reported that the firefighter was working on the first floor of the home when it gave way, sending the firefighter into the basement.

The firefighter was rushed to the hospital for treatment after suffering from neck and back pain, according to the report.

It's unclear if the home was abandoned or an occupied residence.

The fire remains under investigation.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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November 03, 2014
Pierce Manufacturing recalls 135 US fire trucks; suspension can fail, a wheel can fall off

Pierce Manufacturing is recalling 135 fire trucks in the U.S. because a suspension part can fail and cause a wheel to fall off.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in documents posted on its website this weekend that the recall covers Pierce Arrow fire trucks from the 2010 and 2011 model years. The trucks have TAK-4 front suspensions and were built from Nov. 18, 2009, through May 11, 2011.

The agency began investigating the trucks in March after getting reports of a wheel falling off two aerial ladder trucks that were responding to emergency calls in Portland, Oregon, and Edmond, Oklahoma. The Wisconsin-based company also told the agency of another case in Milwaukee.

Pierce will inspect the lower control arms on the trucks and replace any that are defective.
Associated Press

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November 03, 2014
FD Reports $9,000 Taken From Cabinet - TX

Alice police are investigating the theft of about $9,000 from a cabinet inside an Alice fire station, police said.

The money was reported stolen by a fire department employee Sept. 4., Sgt. Jason Childers said.

"We have some leads," Childers said. He declined to release other details because the investigation is ongoing.

Alice Fire Department Fire Marshal Patrick Thomas said the money was raised through several benefit events held by the Alice Professional Firefighters Association.

"There was no break in," Thomas said. "We are anxious to find out where it went, the money is raised for different charities."

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers of South Texas: 361-664-7867 or Alice police, 361-664-0186.
Beatriz Alvarado Source: Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Texas

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November 02, 2014
4 hurt when Overland Park fire truck, car collide - KS

fire truck car collide

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. —Injuries were reported when an Overland Park fire truck collided with a car Saturday afternoon.

The crash happened in the intersection at 119th Street and Antioch Road about 3:45 p.m.

The fire department said the fire truck was responding to a call when the wreck happened.

Overland Park police said two firefighters and two people in the passenger car were taken to hospitals. Authorities said they are expected to recover.

The crash is under investigation.
By Karen Yancey /

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November 02, 2014

Four people were taken to University Medical Center after a Clark County Fire and Rescue vehicle and an SUV collided Friday morning near Blue Diamond Road and Durango Drive, according to Nevada Highway Patrol.

The paramedics vehicle had its lights and was responding to a call at the time, according to NHP. As it was heading through the intersection, a black Chevrolet Tahoe struck it on the right side around 10:08 a.m. The Tahoe was headed south on Durango.

Two paramedics were taken to UMC and are expected to be OK, NHP trooper Loy Hixson said. The male driver of the Tahoe suffered minor injuries, but a female passenger was in serious condition.

The paramedics were on their way to a reported house fire in the 9100 block of Dutch Oven Court, near El Capitan Way, according to Clark County spokesman Jeff Buchanan.

The crash briefly closed the intersection.

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November 02, 2014

( Video)

A firefighter with the Logan-Rogersville Fire Department escaped injury early Friday, after his fire truck rolled over while trying to avoid hitting a deer.

Logan-Rogersville fire chief Richard Stirts tells KOLR10 News the firefighter was headed to a fire at the Buena Vista Ranch from Fire Station 4 on Highway B when a deer jumped out in front of the truck.

The truck, Brush Unit 422, rolled over in the collision, but the driver was wearing a seat belt and was no injured.

The number of car-deer collisions climb dramatically in the fall. The Insurance Information Institute has tips to lessen the chances of it happening to you:

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November 02, 2014
Fire Major Malcolm Jenkins was found dead - Medical - KY

(The Last Call - RIP)

Fern Creek, KY (Louisville area) Fire Major Malcolm Jenkins was found dead in his fire department vehicle hours after he failed to return home from a required department agility test Thursday morning. Jenkins, 53, died, in the Line of Duty, of a heart attack.

FUNERAL DETAILS: Visitation will be held from noon to 8 p.m. on Monday at Fern Creek Funeral Home. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Burnett Avenue Baptist Church.

Major Jenkins joined the department as a volunteer in 1983 and he most recently served as the Chief Training Officer. He is survived by his wife, Sharon, three daughters, two grandchildren along with the FCFD members.

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November 02, 2014

(The Last Call - RIP)

The U.S. Fire Administration has announced the official on-duty death of Firefighter Donald "Pete" Matin, 84, of the Sanborn Fire Company on October 30, 2014.

After arriving at the station for mandatory department training, Firefighter Martin fell ill. Other firefighters subsequently took Firefighter Martin to his residence where 911 was called after he became unresponsive. Firefighter Martin passed away from a nature and cause of injury still to be determined.

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November 02, 2014
Fire Rips Through Apartment firefighter injured- PA

(martin hicks)

WEST PHILADELPHIA (MyFoxPhilly) - An early morning fire ripped through a West Philadelphia apartment building sending a resident and a fire fighter to the hospital and leaving dozens homeless.

It happened in the 100 block of 62nd Street just before midnight Thursday evening.

Heavy flames shot from the third floor of the 4-story building when fire crews arrived on the scene.

It took more than an hour and a half to get the second alarm fire under control at 1:08am.

66 residents checked in for the night and in the care of the Red Cross. The organization has opened a shelter with OEM at Sayre Junior High School located at 5800 Walnut Street.

Red Paw, an emergency pet relief organization, are caring for displaced pets. So far, they have 2 cats and 2 turtles rescued from the building.

Two people, a resident and a firefighter were taken to University of Pennsylvania for minor injuries. They are in stable condition.

Fire officials are working on finding out what caused the fire.

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November 02, 2014
Lessons Learned:
State cites 8 shortcomings with HFD in blaze that killed 4 firefighters - TX

Firefighters battling a southwest Houston motel fire last year that triggered a deadly roof collapse did not completely inspect the building exterior before entering and failed to check the heat of the advancing blaze, criticisms outlined in a long-awaited and exhaustive report released on Friday by the Texas Fire Marshal's office.

Entire article with photos

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November 02, 2014
Fern Creek firefighter Major Malcom Jenkins dies of heart attack - KY

(The Last Call - RIP)

FERN CREEK, Ky. — A firefighter died Thursday from an apparent heart attack.

Major Malcom Jenkins, a 30-year veteran with the Fern Creek Fire Department, was one of the station’s original members.

He was promoted to training officer in October 2002 and was responsible for planning and conducting training sessions.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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