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2015 February

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I'll be back tending to the website next week. I'm at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, MD.

Stay safe and warm.

Ted R. Kolb

February 25, 2015
New Rochelle Board of Education Seeks to Drag New Rochelle Fire Department into Federal Lawsuit - NY


(File Photo: New Rochelle Fire Department)

WHITE PLAINS, NY -- Lawyers for the City School District of New Rochelle have today filed a request with District Judge Cathy Seibel in United States District Court to bring the New Rochelle Fire Department into an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit against the District brought by Jennifer Feltstein, a then-student at New Rochelle High School. Feltstein and a second mobility impaired student were not removed from the high school during a fire incident in 2013.

On behalf of his client, Michael Miranda of Miranda Sambursky Slone Sklarin Verveniotis LLP stated in a letter to Judge Seibel that the district is claiming “the Fire Department immediately arrived at the scene on the date of the smoke alarm and instructed District personnel not to evacuate Ms. Feltenstein under the non-life threatening circumstances then existing”.

New Rochelle Fire Chief Louis DiMiglio has consistently denied that anyone from his department gave any such instruction to anyone nor would they as to do so would be a violation of New York State law.

The request, known as an “impleading”, is “based upon State theories of negligence, and contribution and/or indemnity” and holds that the Fire Department is “a necessary party to an adjudication of this matter”. The letter states:

In short, once the Fire Department arrived, they took over the scene and had full authority for all decisions, thereby insulating the School District from liability for the alleged failure to evacuate.

The lawyers for the district have requested a pre-motion conference to consider the request and stated that if such conference is not held they are “prepared to file a third-party complaint within the next ten business days”.

UPDATE 2/19: Federal District Judge Cathy Seibel has granted the request of the City School District of New Rochelle to implead the New Rochelle Fire Department in Feltenstein v. City School District of New Rochelle. In a ruling filed Thursday February 19th, Seibel wrote "Pre-motion conference is waived, and formal motion is not necessary. Defendant shall file the Third-Party Complaint by 3/1/15. Defendant shall advise the Court when the Third-Party Defendant has appeared so that a conference may be scheduled.

UPDATE 2/20: City Spokesperson issued a statement: "the City has not received any notice from the court and we will not comment on pending litigation."
newrochelletalk.com

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February 25, 2015
Information passed along
911's deadly flaw: Lack of location data

As water filled her sinking SUV, Shanell Anderson did what anyone would do. She tried the doors. They wouldn't budge. She dialed 911 on her cellphone, telling the operator exactly where she was. Anderson, 31, was delivering newspapers near Atlanta around 4 a.m. that day in late December, so she knew the cross streets, even the ZIP code. She repeated her location over and over, but it didn't help. Because Anderson's call was routed through the nearest cellphone tower to a neighboring county's 911 system, the dispatcher couldn't find the streets on her maps. Worse yet, the system couldn't get a fix on the cellphone's location before the call ended. In the agonizing final seconds of the call, Anderson's words are muffled by the sounds of pond water. The dispatcher asks for the address again, then utters, "I lost her." It took 20 minutes for rescuers to get to Anderson and pull the 31-year old suburban Atlanta woman from her car, barely alive. She died a week and a half later in the hospital. Her 911 call is one of millions that fail to give police, fire and ambulance dispatchers a quick fix on location, a technology shortfall that can leave callers like Anderson in grave danger.
USA TODAY

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February 25, 2015
Two Syracuse firefighters injured while battling house fire that displaced 7 tenants - NY


Syracuse firefighters battle a house fire Monday at 148 Mary St., Syracuse. The fire started in the rear apartment and left seven people temporarily without a home. Two Syracuse firefighters were injured while battling the fire
(Catie O'Toole | cotoole@syracuse.com)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Two Syracuse firefighters were taken to a local hospital after fighting a fire Monday on Mary Street in the city, Syracuse Fire Investigator Roseanne Wood-Rautenstrauch said.

It was not immediately clear how the firefighters were injured or the extent of their injuries, she said. However, the Syracuse Fire Fighters Local 280 I.A.F.F. Facebook page posted, "Both Fire Fighters are reported to be okay!" above a report that one firefighter had minor burns and the other was treated for smoke inhalation. More information is expected to be released Tuesday, Wood-Rautenstrauch said.

Syracuse firefighters were called to the fire at 148 Mary St. shortly after 2:30 p.m. Monday. Initially, firefighters said four people were in the house at the time of the fire. However, later Monday, fire investigators said only two tenants were inside the front apartment when the fire started. They got out safely, Wood-Rautenstrauch said.

Seven people lived in the house: Two adults and two children in the front apartment; as well as one adult and two children in the rear apartment, Wood-Rautenstrauch said. None of the tenants were allowed back in the house Monday night, she said.

The back apartment has heavy fire damage, Wood-Rautenstrauch said. The front apartment has minor damage, she said. The Red Cross is helping the families.

The fire started in the rear apartment, Deputy Fire Chief Mark Zoanetti said at the scene. The cause of the fire remains under investigation Monday night.
By Catie O'Toole | cotoole@syracuse.com

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February 25, 2015
Four firefighters injured in Maurice Street blaze - NY

BUFFALO, N.Y.- Four Buffalo firefighters were injured while battling a two-alarm fire on Maurice Street Monday night.

The extent of the injuries to the firefighters is unknown. They were taken to ECMC after the building started collapsing and were inside when that happened.

Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield says two of the firefighters went to the hospital right away, the other two stayed on duty for a while longer.

No one was inside the house when firefighters got there.

In addition to smoke and flames, firefighters also had to contend with subzero temperatures. In fact, it was so cold that two 2 On Your Side cameras froze while recording the fire. Whitfield called conditions horrendous and said water lines were freezing. He says crews also had to deal with a frozen hydrant, and firefighters had to walk through a foot of water in front of the building.

"Our guys tried to get inside to get to the seat of the flames. They weren't able to do that. The building collapsed almost immediately. We had to pull everybody out. And thank goodness we didn't get too many guys inside," said Whitfield. "You know, any time you take a blow to the head, blow to the shoulder, neck area, you never know. So they're there being assessed right now. Serious enough for them to go, and we hope and pray that they will be okay."

They also brought in the rehab unit so firefighters could go inside and warm-up before going back out. Firefighters were still out there as of 11 p.m. Whitfield says this type of fire is just time consuming and very labor-intensive.

The fire was contained to the one house on the 100 block of Maurice Street.
WGRZ Staff, WGRZ

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February 25, 2015
3 BUFFALO NY FFs INJURED AT LIBRARY FIRE - NY

Three Buffalo firefighters were injured after responding to a fire at the East Clinton Branch Library, 1929 Clinton St.Two firefighters suffered knee injuries and another suffered an electrical shock, according to a fire dispatcher. One of those with a knee injury and the firefighter who was shocked were taken to hospitals for treatment and would not return to duty, the dispatcher said.

Though the cause of the fire remains under investigation, an electrical problem had been reported, the dispatcher said.

The branch wasn’t open when the fire occurred, the spokeswoman said. Damage was estimated at $10,000 to the structure, owned by the City of Buffalo, and $30,000 to the contents, according to fire dispatch. The Dudley branch, located at 2020 South Park Ave., will temporarily have extended hours each day until further notice to assist patrons of the East Clinton branch.

In another fire in the city shortly before 9:30 a.m., Buffalo firefighters rescued a woman from a house fire at 214 Ontario St. The woman was taken to Erie County Medical Center with undisclosed injuries.

The fire began in a first-floor closet and was contained there, the dispatcher said;its cause remains under investigation. Damage was estimated at $10,000 to the home and $5,000 to its contents.
firefighterclosecalls.com

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February 25, 2015
Lessons Learned:
Firefighter tells story of being trapped with others under burning home - MI


(WNEM TV 5)


(WNEM TV 5)

GLADWIN COUNTY, MI (WNEM) - Three firefighters trapped in a burning house were running out of oxygen and time Thursday night while they fought a blaze on Pratt Lake Road in Gladwin. On Monday, one of the firefighters trapped spoke exclusively to TV5's Andrew Keller.

"I don't remember asking God to save me because I didn't think he was going to. I just figured it was in the cards, this was what God has for me," Travis Povey said.

Povey , a Gladwin Rural Urban Fire Department firefighter, thought he had answered his final alarm when he responded to the burning home in Gladwin. "I didn't want anything to come down, and everything, that I could see, looked solid," Povey said.

Crews were able to get the fire under control so Povey, a 13-year veteran of the department, took two newer firefighters inside to show them how fire works. Shortly after they entered, things went terribly wrong.

"We heard, sounded like a shotgun went off, just a big crack, and the three of us all went down together," Povey said.

All three fell through the floor into the basement of the burning home. They were trapped. Their oxygen tanks ran out and water used to put out the flames continued to rise.

"I grabbed one of the guys hands, made sure we asked if everyone was OK, and we said a prayer," Povey said. "I started thinking about my kids. And having grown up without a dad myself, I didn't want that for them."

Above ground, firefighters worked feverishly to dig the men out and after an hour, they pulled the three men to safety.

The firefighters were suffering from smoke inhalation and some minor bumps and bruises. They would spend the next three days in the hospital.

"We had a couple things go wrong, but we had a lot of things go right. And here I am, barely a scratch on me," Povey said.

On Sunday, Povey and the other two firefighters returned to the home knowing it's where they could have died. It's a near tragedy that will forever be the tie that binds. And it has made them eternally grateful for their brothers who stopped at nothing to save them.

"I don't think they could have done any better with the situation they were given," Povey said. "They were either going to get me out or die trying."

Povey said his experience has made him realize that life is so much more about the others around you. In his case it's his wife and four children.

And yes, he said he does plan to return to the department.

To see the interview Povey had with Andrew Keller, the raw video is in the video above.
By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist

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February 25, 2015
DFD fire engine taken out of service after icy wreck - TX

Multiple motor vehicle wrecks near the Highway 691 overpass of U.S. Highway 75 Sunday night culminated with a rear-end collision that left a Denison Fire Department engine enfeebled and out of service.

The trouble started around 6 p.m., when authorities responded to a four-vehicle wreck at that location, closing the highway completely before reopening one lane to northbound traffic about an hour later. A DFD engine from Station 2 was attempting to enter the flow of vehicles around 7:30 p.m. when it was struck by oncoming traffic, said Assistant Fire Chief Bill Ray.

“There were a bunch of wrecks last night out in that area and (the engine) was out blocking traffic,” said Ray. “The driver of the fire engine, they were going to move a crew on the other side of the bridge, and as he pulled onto the roadway, a car struck him from behind.”

The bridge was shut-down again just before 8 p.m. in order to allow time for the Texas Department of Transportation to apply traction assistance. The DFD truck was still driveable after the wreck but has been removed from active service until it can be repaired, said Ray.

“It’s going to have some work done on it — the back bumper was dented in and one of the compartments, the door was bent and wouldn’t shut very well,” he said. “It won’t be back in service until we get it fixed.”
By Nate Strauch / Herald Democrat

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February 25, 2015
Information passed along
British Columbia man shoots video selfie while rescuers use Jaws of Life to cut him from crashed car

WARNING: The video contains graphic language

(Andrew MacDonald)

VICTORIA, British Columbia — After a serious car crash medics will tell you they do everything they can to keep those involved awake until they can get to the hospital.

That’s probably why medics who responded to a crash outside Victoria early one January morning didn’t stop the lone occupant of the car from taking a selfie while they used the Jaws of Life to cut through the twisted metal and rescue him.

The man, Andrew Mac, says he blacked out behind the wheel January 11th around 5:30am and ran his car straight into a pole.

In the video Mac can be seen in a neck brace with blood under his nose and across parts of his face.

As he talks to someone off camera the metal cutting saw can be heard behind him.

Mac remains calm throughout the video as the rescuers work. At times they discuss feeling returning to Mac’s lower body as well as the nurses at the local hospital.

Mac posted the selfie on Youtube Sunday after he says he spent a month in the hospital recovering from a broken right arm, broken left femur, broken knee caps and ankles.

“Went for major surgery in Victoria which took total 14 hours over a couple days,” wrote Mac. “Metal plates and screws all over.”

Mac says he is home now and recovering.

At the end of the video Mac can be heard saying ‘I just want to go to sleep.’

“Not yet, just wait,” replies one of the rescuers.
by Travis Mayfield

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February 25, 2015
Chief, Five Firefighters and Several Others Injured in Explosion - NJ


(NJ.com)

STAFFORD TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Fire Chief Jack Johnson was standing outside a home under renovation near the Jersey shore in the neighborhood where residents had reported a strong smell of natural gas Tuesday morning.

The rotten-egg smell of the substance added to odorless gas to warn people of a leak hung heavy in the air and was beginning to permeate the Stafford Township homes.

Johnson, fellow firefighters, police officers and gas company workers were going house to house, asking people to evacuate as a precaution while workers looked for the source of the leak.

The fire chief was about 50 feet from the unoccupied house, where workers suspected the gas was leaking, when a fireball burst into the sky and a shock wave knocked several people on their backs and pounded their eardrums. Glass, wood and insulation rained down; strands of pink fiberglass hung from the pine trees like wispy strands of cotton candy.

"It happened so quickly, the explosion, debris all around us coming from nowhere," Johnson said. "It knocked you off your feet, a shock wave, the concussion of it. It's something I never want to experience again."

In that instant — captured on a police cruiser's dashboard camera — 15 people were injured, two of them critically.

Johnson was one of six firefighters and two emergency medical service technicians to sustain concussion-like injuries. All but one had been treated and released from hospitals by Tuesday evening. Seven gas company workers also were injured, including two critically who were within 20 feet of the house when it blew up.

Houses on either side were badly damaged, as was a partially built one across the street. Stafford Police Capt. Tom Dellane said other homes located within several blocks of the blast also were damaged.

"It looks like a war area," said Max Von Ness, a plowing contractor who was nearby when the explosion occurred. "It's just destruction. There's debris all over the place."

Von Ness, of Stafford Township, said he was driving in the area when he heard a loud explosion and felt the ground shake.

"It was kind of like a mini-earthquake," he said. "You were thinking it was like a bomb."

The cause of the 10:32 a.m. explosion has not been determined. The blast occurred about an hour and a half after police received the first report of the strong gas smell. Emergency crews and gas company personnel responded and began evacuating 75 to 100 nearby homes.

About 300 homes remained without gas service Tuesday evening; some were also without electricity. Michael Kinney, a spokesman for New Jersey Natural Gas, said crews planned to work through the night to make repairs and hoped to restore service by Wednesday morning.
firefighternation.com

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February 25, 2015
EMS Providers Interrupt Theft on I-205 - WA

Ambulance personnel interrupted a man who was stealing from a disabled car Tuesday afternoon on Interstate 205.

Manuel Garcia's 1997 Mercedes broke down and was left on the right shoulder of the southbound lanes, just south of Mill Plain Boulevard. A man driving a 1999 Jeep Cherokee pulled up behind the Mercedes and broke a window to get inside, said Washington State Patrol Trooper Will Finn. The man stole a radio and CDs, and tore up the backseat to grab items that were in the trunk, Finn said.

An American Medical Response ambulance drove up behind the two cars, believing a collision had just occurred, and saw the man burglarizing the car. The man then ran up the onramp to Mill Plain Boulevard while the medical personnel called 911 to report the crime, Finn said.

Troopers caught up with the man, later identified as 39-year-old Justin Bernert, near Southeast Seventh Street and Chkalov Drive, about a block away from Cinetopia. The Longview man was booked into the Clark County Jail on suspicion of third-degree malicious mischief and third-degree driving with a suspended license.
Patty Hastings / Source: The Columbian, Vancouver, Wash.

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February 25, 2015
Philly Leaders Didn't Help Troubled Medic, Say Sources - PA

After a firefighter killed himself in September 2011 and another attempted suicide last year, a cloud of grief hung over the red brick firehouse in Ogontz where Engine 51, Ladder 29 and Medic 18 are stationed.

Yet that's where Philadelphia fire officials sent a troubled young paramedic not long after her second suicide attempt, sources say.

Such insensitivity helped throw an already vulnerable woman into deeper instability, those who know her say.

The paramedic, whom the Daily News is not naming because of the nature of the allegations, is now at the center of a sex scandal that has gotten national headlines.

The city Inspector General's Office investigated and recommended disciplinary charges against seven firefighters, including battalion chiefs Richard Bossert and James Reinninger; fire Capt. Robert Taylor; fire Lt. Albert Saunders; paramedic Patrick Carey; and firefighters Theodore Speights and Joseph Taylor.

Joe Schulle, the president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 22, declined to comment on any of their cases, saying: "I'm disappointed [their names are out there]. They haven't been convicted of anything, and their names are being aired out in the media without having a chance to defend themselves."

The Daily News was unsuccessful in reaching the men for comment.

The paramedic began having problems with unwanted sexual encounters as soon as she joined the Fire Academy in 2011, sources said.

Since then, she had been a reluctant participant in countless coerced liaisons, some of which her colleagues captured with cameras and shared without her permission, sources said.

In at least one instance, she was filmed nude, barking as she was led around a firehouse on a leash attached to a dog collar, a source who viewed the video told the Daily News. In another, several men coerced her into sexual acts in an ambulance, sources said.

The scandal boiled into the open last spring.

Officials demanded that the paramedic reveal the identities of her sexual partners or face being fired, sources said. Scared of losing her job, she gave up names -- and then hired lawyers, who filed harassment and retaliation complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sources said.

One of her attorneys, Laura Mattiacci, declined to comment on the case yesterday, saying only, "when it comes to maintaining a fair workplace, abuse of power by those in positions of authority can never be tolerated."

Sources say the paramedic's mental instability was well-known, especially after she shot herself in the leg in 2012 and then walked into the Schuylkill early last spring in firefighter gear in a failed suicide try.

She also allegedly threatened to drive an ambulance into a wall last year after a colleague ridiculed her, according to a source who knows her.

As problems followed her, fire brass bounced her around to various firehouses instead of getting her help, sources said.

"How they treated her was completely wrong," an acquaintance said. "She needs help."
Dana Difilippo / Source: Philadelphia Daily News / Staff writer David Gambacorta contributed to this report.

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February 25, 2015
Firefighter injured in John Bapst fire eager to return to work - ME

BANGOR, Maine — Almost a week after he was injured while battling a blaze at John Bapst Memorial High School, a longtime Bangor firefighter says he is recovering well and is grateful for the support he and his family have received from the community.

“As you can see, I’m clearly on the mend, and I am feeling pretty good, considering,” Bangor firefighter John York said during a news conference Tuesday at the Bangor Fire Department’s Central Station.

“I’m still under the care of a doctor and I am expected to make a full recovery,” York said, with his wife, Laura, sitting at his side and some of his fellow firefighters around him.

York, a 20-year Fire Department veteran who is about 40 years old, was hurt when a portion of ceiling fell on him as he worked to extinguish a fire inside the school on Feb. 18.

The fire was started accidentally by a longtime John Bapst employee trying to melt ice on the roof with a propane torch.

Efforts to extinguish the fire led to a waterlogged ceiling inside the Joseph W. Sekera Auditorium, which fell on and injured York. His fellow firefighters pulled him out of the building, and he was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center for treatment.

York’s wife said last week that his injuries included a sprained neck, sprained left wrist, multiple contusions and a concussion. The injured firefighter was released from the hospital Feb. 18.

“I am thankful to the crew who got me out safely, to the rest of the firefighters who continued to battle the blaze and get this under control,” York said Tuesday. “I’m thankful for all the support from my fellow firefighters, the community and my family.”

York declined Tuesday to get into the specifics of what took place at the time of his injury.

“There was so much going on at the time that it’s hard to pinpoint one thing,” he said. “I was kind of like the guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. But we were just trying to do our job, and that’s what we were doing.

“We’re a team here. It’s not one person. That’s why I have all of these guys behind me and some off to the side,” York said.

York said that his return to the job would be considered on a week-by-week basis.

“When the doctor says I’m ready to go back to work, that’s when I’ll go back to work,” he said, later adding, “This is not my forte, sitting on the sidelines.”

York and his wife said they are grateful for the support and kind words they’ve received since last week’s fire.

“It’s been overwhelming. My wife has been right beside me the whole time. Everybody’s been great. The community’s been unbelievable,” said York, who is president of the Professional Bangor Firefighters union, International Association of Firefighters Local 772.

His wife agreed.

“Well, obviously the support has been completely overwhelming,” she said. “It’s not an experience I ever want to go through again, obviously. The support from the guys and the wives, everything — it’s just been overwhelming and awesome.
By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

Orginal Coverage

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February 25, 2015
Threatening calls made against firefighters released - FL

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After weeks of asking, Action News finally received more than 60 911 calls that ended with a Jacksonville man's arrest for threatening first responders

The threatening audio said, "I'm a real man of my word. I don't back down." Police said James Gay made at least 60 of these 911 calls in recent weeks. Some of which they claimed threaten firefighters in Jacksonville's Oceanway neighborhood.

"Yes, sir. Tell the Oceanway firefighters to be on standby. You never know when I'm going to strike out there," the caller said. Action News reporter Jamie Smith went to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office headquarters to get the newly released 911 tapes.
ActionNewsJax.com

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February 25, 2015
Firefighters save assistant fire chief's life - MO

FESTUS, Mo. - Festus firefighters brought one of their own back to life. Asst. Fire Chief Donald Boyer, 82, suffered a heart attack the night of Feb. 13 in the lobby of the fire department.

Firefighters were able to use an automated external defibrillator to bring him back to life.

Boyer has worked for the volunteer fire department for more than 60 years. There are now three generations of the Boyer family working at the department. His son is the fire chief, and his grandson, Zackary Boyer, is a firefighter. He is grateful his grandfather was surrounded by his colleagues when he needed them most.

"Somebody was definitely looking after him, that's for sure," said Zackary Boyer.

The firefighters are not sure when Boyer will return to work. He has been recovering at home.
Christina Coleman, KSDK

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February 25, 2015
L.A. County Fire Cheating Scandal Grows to Include EMT Tests - CA

The Los Angeles County Fire Department found itself Monday engulfed in a growing scandal after auditors uncovered evidence that the type of cheating that undermined the agency's hiring process extended to promotional exams and other testing requirements, including for skills in emergency medical treatment.

The review by the county Auditor-Controller Department audit was launched in response to a Los Angeles Times investigation last year that found that an unusually high number of family members of firefighters were recruited by the department and that insiders had access to the interview questions and answers for job candidates.

Auditors largely confirmed The Times' findings and turned up evidence of more widespread cheating, especially in the improper sharing of test materials by employees, among them a battalion chief and 10 captains.

"Dissemination of examination content between fire personnel is not uncommon," auditors said in their report to the county Board of Supervisors.

The official who oversaw the audit said Monday that his office would give Fire Chief Daryl Osby detailed information about how EMT tests and exams for positions such as captain and dispatcher were compromised.

Robert Campbell, the acting assistant auditor-controller, said the information would be contained in a confidential report and it would be the Fire Department's responsibility to deal with employees who broke the rules.

"We're not the ultimate decision-makers in any disciplinary action," Campbell said of the audit office.

Osby, who had requested the audit, said in an email late Monday that the department "will be addressing each and every substantiated allegation" outlined in the report. He said he would be "resolute in taking the appropriate administrative action against" employees who violated department policies.

Because the audit was confined to issues raised by The Times' investigation, auditors said they did not conduct a comprehensive inquiry into other potential test violations. Investigators for the auditor's office only stumbled upon the other breaches while searching emails related to hiring.

They said they did not know "the entire population of examinations that were compromised," and the problem could be worse.

Meanwhile, fire officials told The Times last year that the department used a computer program to randomly select candidates to test for firefighter jobs, which are highly coveted for their six-figure salaries and generous benefits. Auditors, however, determined that the system might not have been random at all, with investigators being told that candidates instead were handpicked by managers. The audit said the managers could not provide documentation for the process used in many of the selections.

"These findings raise questions about the integrity of the selection process," auditors wrote in their report.

Osby sent an email to the Board of Supervisors over the weekend outlining steps the department had taken to reform recruitment procedures, including developing a new exam.

That was not enough for Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. Citing the audit's finding that department employees improperly disseminated materials for additional tests, she said, "I find the fire chief's response to us inadequate."

"I think we need to dig further into how broadly this permeated the Fire Department and other examinations," said Kuehl, who is based on the Westside.

She said she was worried about the "talented individuals we are not bringing into the Fire Department because of this kind of cronyism or nepotism," including women and minorities.

Two other supervisors expressed similar concerns. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who represents South Los Angeles, said he would ask for a follow-up report on the demographics of the job candidates to see if women and minorities had been shut out.

"Absent presentation of demographic data, that's a reasonable conclusion to draw," he said.

He said of the audit's findings: "It's quite problematic, and I think corrective action is warranted, and I think the public has a right to expect it and, indeed, will see it."

The Times reported in its investigation, which was published in October, that just 1.4% of county firefighters were women. At the same time, at least 183 sons of current or former firefighters have served on the force since the start of 2012, according to an analysis of payroll, pension, birth, marriage and other records.

All told, sons represent nearly 7% of the county's 2,750 firefighters.When brothers, nephews and other relatives are included, at least 370 firefighters -- 13% of the department ranks -- are related to someone now or previously on the force, The Times found.

Since 2007, the audit said, 15% of the 701 firefighters hired had family connections to the department, figures that mirrored The Times' numbers. Nearly 95% of all applicants for the jobs are rejected.

Supervisor Hilda Solis, who represents the eastern portion of the county, said in a statement that she was "very troubled" by the audit's conclusions.

"The hiring process was compromised, which erodes public trust and prevents the department from identifying the best candidates," she said. "The opportunity to work as a firefighter must be open to all, including women and members of minority groups, who must compete in an environment free of favoritism or nepotism."

Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, from the San Fernando Valley area, said in a statement: "There is no excuse for impropriety in administering any of these tests and those responsible must be held accountable."

The audit cited a striking failure of memory among employees who were interviewed about sharing test materials. In one case, the report said, a captain who emailed job interview questions to another captain stepped out of the session with investigators to "confer privately with his union representative, after which he repeatedly stated that he did not recall the circumstances under which he came to be in possession of" the material.

Dave Gillotte, president of Local 1014 of the International Assn. of Fire Fighters, did not respond to requests for comment.

In November, the supervisors voted to set up a "strike team" to oversee the firefighter hiring. That came after then-Supervisor Gloria Molina, who was about to be termed-out for the seat now held by Solis, said hiring should be taken entirely out of the hands of the Fire Department and turned over to the county's personnel agency.

The proposal did not get support from the other board members. Molina said Monday that given the extent of the problem, the board would have "no choice" but to revisit the proposal, or that Osby "should himself turn over the hiring responsibility to the larger human resources office."
Paul Pringle / Source: Los Angeles Times

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February 24, 2015
Ambulances Crash After Driver Blacks Out - GA

An ambulance driver blacked out at the wheel and rear-ended another ambulance in a fiery crash shortly after 4 a.m. Tuesday in the right lane of Interstate 16.

Paramedic Michael Hanner told Bibb deputies he felt ill and passed out before crashing into another Medixx ambulance he was following near Spring Street, according to a news release from the Bibb County Sheriff's Office.

The engine compartment of Hanner's ambulance caught fire, and the paramedic driving the other ambulance, John Cleaves, pulled him from the burning vehicle.

Both men, whose ambulances are based in Soperton, were taken to the hospital to be checked for minor injuries.

The road was blocked for about an hour.
Liz Fabian / Source: The Macon Telegraph

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February 24, 2015
SOS: Driver who hit ambulance got license back Monday - MI

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — The driver who was killed after hitting an ambulance early Tuesday had her license reinstated Monday after having it suspended in 2009, according to the Secretary of State.

Battle Creek police said a LifeCare Ambulance was traveling north on North Avenue with running lights and the siren going with a cardiac arrest patient in the back. A westbound passenger vehicle on Garfield ran the flashing red light and hit the ambulance around 1 a.m. about three blocks away from Battle Creek Bronson Hospital.

The driver of the passenger vehicle, 61-year-old Shirley Ann Stokes, was killed on impact. Her passenger, 54-year-old James Earl Stokes, died on scene, according to police.

The patient, 74-year-old David Lynn Simpson, was transferred to another ambulance and taken to Bronson Battle Creek Hospital emergency room, where he died moments later.

His wife Beverly Simpson said that when she was informed of her husband’s death, she was not told that something had gone wrong during the ambulance’s trip to the hospital.

“Why didn’t somebody tell us or tell me that he was in that ambulance?” Simpson questioned. “To think that he was in that ambulance, and whether he could have been saved, I don’t know. That’s another thing: Could he have been saved?”

Police say a mishap communication is to blame for Simpson not being informed of the crash. They were told she had been notified of the death at the hospital and didn’t realize she was not told about the crash.

Simpson said she and her husband of 30 years “did everything together.”

“I don’t know how to explain him. He was Dave,” Simpson said.

They had a small argument on Monday, she said, but settled everything before going to bed.

“He said, ‘I’m sorry I yelled at you today.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m sorry I yelled at you, too.’ And off we went to sleep,” Simpson recalled.
By Leon Hendrix and 24 Hour News 8 web staff

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February 24, 2015
LODD:
Firefighter Edward Roddy stricken at Nov. garage fire, dies - PA
Br /> (The Last Call - RIP)

SOMERSET, Pa. — A volunteer firefighter who suffered an apparent heart attack while battling a garage fire in November has died.

WTAE reported that firefighter Edward Roddy, 48, died Feb. 22 at a local hospital. An autopsy has been scheduled and may determine whether the property owner will face additional charges in the fire.

The property owner, Kerri O'Baker, already faces arson and related charges stemming from the fire.

She told police that she and her son were burning trash and that a miscommunication led to the fire being left unattended.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
WTAE

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February 23, 2015
FLOOR COLLAPSE INJURES FFs - OH


(Fox8.com Video)

The Medina Fire Department battled a house fire late Sunday night.The fire broke out at Bella Rosa Court at approximately 10:43 p.m. Four children and their parents escaped from the home unharmed, including their pets.

Two firefighters were fell through a collapsed floor while battling the fire, sending one to the hospital for a shoulder injury.

The home is expected to be a total loss. The fire department is working to determine a cause for the fire.
Fox8.com

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February 23, 2015
EL PASO FIRE APPARATUS STRUCK RESPONDING - TX

An emergency vehicle was struck as it responded to a fire call Sunday afternoon. Five people were taken to the hospital.A witness told ABC-7 the car that hit the fire truck was to blame.

"We had noticed the fire truck was coming eastbound and had slowed in the intersection and this car ran the red light and hit him and did a 360 (degree turn)," a woman told ABC-7.

The crash happened on Paisano and Gateway East around 3 p.m.

Three emergency responders and two people in the car were taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

The fire truck was on the way to the Casa Clark apartment complex at 134 Clark St. in central El Paso when it was hit. No one was injured in the fire, but several residents were displaced
irefighterclosecalls.com

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February 23, 2015
Information passed along
DOT: Oil Trains Could Derail 10 Times Each Year

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The federal government predicts that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of 10 times a year over the next two decades, causing more than $4 billion in damage and possibly killing hundreds of people if an accident happens in a densely populated part of the U.S.

The projection comes from a previously unreported analysis by the Department of Transportation that reviewed the risks of moving vast quantities of both fuels across the nation and through major cities. The study completed last July took on new relevance this week after a train loaded with crude derailed in West Virginia, sparked a spectacular fire and forced the evacuation of hundreds of families.

Monday's accident was the latest in a spate of fiery derailments, and senior federal officials said it drives home the need for stronger tank cars, more effective braking systems and other safety improvements.

"This underscores why we need to move as quickly as possible getting these regulations in place," said Tim Butters, acting administrator for the Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The volume of flammable liquids transported by rail has risen dramatically over the last decade, driven mostly by the oil shale boom in North Dakota and Montana. This year, rails are expected to move nearly 900,000 car loads of oil and ethanol in tankers. Each can hold 30,000 gallons of fuel.

Based on past accident trends, anticipated shipping volumes and known ethanol and crude rail routes, the analysis predicted about 15 derailments in 2015, declining to about five a year by 2034.

The 207 total derailments over the two-decade period would cause $4.5 billion in damage, according to the analysis, which predicts 10 "higher consequence events" causing more extensive damage and potential fatalities.

If just one of those more severe accidents occurred in a high-population area, it could kill more than 200 people and cause roughly $6 billion in damage.

"Such an event is unlikely, but such damages could occur when a substantial number of people are harmed or a particularly vulnerable environmental area is affected," the analysis concluded.

The two fuels travel through communities with an average population density of 283 people per square kilometer, according to the federal analysis. That means about 16 million Americans live within a half-kilometer of one of the lines.

Such proximity is equivalent to the zone of destruction left by a July 2013 oil train explosion that killed 47 people and leveled much of downtown Lac-Megantic, Quebec, the analysis said.

Damage at Lac-Megantic has been estimated at $1.2 billion or higher.

A spokesman for the Association of American Railroads said the group was aware of the Department of Transportation analysis but had no comment on its derailment projections.

"Our focus is to continue looking at ways to enhance the safe movement of rail transportation," AAR spokesman Ed Greenberg said.

Both the railroad group and the Railway Supply Institute, which represents tank car owners and manufacturers, said federal officials had inflated damage estimates and exaggerated risk by assuming an accident even worse than Lac-Megantic, which was already an outlier because it involved a runaway train traveling 65 mph, far faster than others that had accidents.

To get to refineries on the East and West coasts and the Gulf of Mexico, oil shipments travel through more than 400 counties, including major metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia, Seattle, Chicago, Newark and dozens of other cities, according to routing information obtained by The Associated Press through public record requests filed with more than two dozen states.

Since 2006, the U.S. and Canada have seen at least 21 oil-train accidents and 33 ethanol train accidents involving a fire, derailment or significant amount of fuel spilled, according to federal accident records reviewed by the AP.

At least nine of the trains, including the CSX train that derailed in West Virginia, were hauling oil from the Northern Plains' Bakken region that is known for being highly volatile. Of those, seven resulted in fires.

Both the West Virginia accident and a Jan. 14 oil train derailment and fire in Ontario involved recently built tank cars that were supposed to be an improvement to a decades-old model in wide use that has proven susceptible to spills, fires and explosions.

Safety officials are pushing to make the tanker-car fleet even stronger and confronting opposition from energy companies and other tank car owners.

Industry representatives say it could take a decade to retrofit and modify more than 50,000 tank cars, not the three years anticipated by federal officials, who assumed many cars would be put to new use hauling less-volatile Canadian tar-sands oil.

The rail industry's overall safety record steadily improved over the past decade, dropping from more than 3,000 accidents annually to fewer than 2,000 in 2013, the most recent year available, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

But the historical record masks a spike in crude and ethanol accidents over the same time frame. Federal officials also say the sheer volume of ethanol and crude that is being transported — often in trains more than a mile long — sets the two fuels apart.

Most of the proposed rules that regulators are expected to release this spring are designed to prevent a spill, rupture or other failure during a derailment. But they will not affect the likelihood of a crash, said Allan Zarembski, who leads the railroad engineering and safety program at the University of Delaware.

Derailments can happen in many ways. A rail can break underneath a train. An axle can fail. A vehicle can block a crossing. Having a better tank car will not change that, but it should reduce the odds of a tank car leaking or rupturing, he said.

Railroads last year voluntarily agreed to reduce oil train speeds to 40 mph in urban areas. Regulators said they are considering lowering the speed limit to 30 mph for trains not equipped with advanced braking systems. Oil and rail industries say it could cost $21 billion to develop and install the brakes, with minimal benefits.
firefighternation.com

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February 23, 2015
Pit of Boiling Water Burns Seattle Firefighter - WA

SEATTLE (AP) — A Seattle firefighter working to extinguish a furnace fire at a metal-production facility accidentally stepped into a 2-foot-deep pit filled with boiling water and suffered burns to his legs.

Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore says the man in his 30s didn't see the pit because of smoke in the foundry. Runoff from fire hoses had filled the pit to floor level.

Moore says medics took the firefighter to Harborview Medical Center, where he's in stable condition and expected to stay overnight.

A worker at the Meltec Foundry also suffered splatter burns from the fire and was treated at the hospital. The man in his 30s is in stable condition.

Other workers were safely evacuated. Firefighters knocked down the fire and used fans to cool off the building and clear smoke.
firefighternation.com

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February 23, 2015
Information passed along
Seventy percent of the FDNY’s females are retiring on disability - NY

They broke the FDNY gender barrier — but, for many, firefighting broke them.

A startling 70 percent of female Bravest have retired from the FDNY on three-quarters disability pensions claiming injuries on the job, The Post has found.

They include Brenda Berkman, who won a landmark lawsuit that forced the FDNY to hire its first 41 female firefighters in 1982. One historian called her “the Jackie Robinson” of the department’s women.

Berkman, now 63, retired in 2006 as a captain after 25 years. She gets a $159,673 tax-free annual pension, according to 2010 records, the latest publicly available.

Colleagues said Berkman claimed a 9/11-related disability. She joined in the rescue efforts at Ground Zero and worked at the site for months.

Berkman would not comment on her pension, saying, “I don’t think it’s anybody’s business, frankly.”

Of 30 female retirees tallied in the New York City Fire Pension Fund’s 2014 financial report, 22, or 73 percent, get a disability pension. Of those, 21, or 70 percent of all female retirees, get an “accidental disability” pension for a job-related injury, which is 75 percent of their final year’s pay.

One of the disabled firefighters is still in her 20s — barely out of the training academy. She gets $70,266 a year.

By comparison, 9,978 of 15,616 retired male firefighters — 63 percent — get disability pensions. They include 8,922 men, or 57 percent of all male retirees, with job-related injuries. One of them is under age 30.

Pension costs for the FDNY have exploded in recent years, reaching $1.1 billion annually. That’s just shy of the active-duty budget of $1.2 billion.

Terry Golway, a Kean University history professor and author of the 2003 book “So Others Might Live: A History of New York’s Bravest,” was surprised by the percentage of disabled women.

“That’s a striking number,” Golway said. “I would question what’s going on here. Are we training people properly? Are they properly equipped? Are tactics putting people in danger? What are we doing wrong?”

Golway said the figures could rekindle “old fears” that women are physically unqualified and more likely to get hurt on the job.

Retirements related to the 9/11 attacks have swelled the number of all firefighters collecting disability pensions.

Cecelia Cox, one of the first women hired in 1982, worked in the Ground Zero recovery. She suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and a host of medical problems.

“It really has taken a toll on me,” said Cox, who retired in 2005.

She gets a disability pension of $63,755. Her firefighter husband retired in 2006.

Teresa French, another pioneer, was at home in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, on 9/11, saw the attacks on TV and raced to her firehouse, Engine Co. 207/Ladder Co. 110 in Downtown Brooklyn.

She toiled at Ground Zero until 3 a.m. and for many shifts after. She said she suffered a steep drop in lung function, developing asthma and chronic pneumonia.

“When they told me I had to retire, I started to cry,” said French, who left in 2004, after 22 years, with a $79,541 disability pension.

Flamed out after 12 years, Lt. Susan Blake retired on a disability pension in 2006. She was the first female firefighter hired by the FDNY in the 12 years after 1982. She told a reporter in 2004 she had failed a lung test.

Blake, who receives a $102,708 pension, declined to comment.

Other women got hurt in fires.

Patricia Fitzpatrick, who also started in 1982, reportedly fractured her spine in 1997 when a ceiling collapsed on her during a fire. She left in 1998 with a $42,764 pension.

Harriet Duren, also in the 1982 group, suffered third-degree burns in a house fire and jumped from the top floor. Her career ended in 1997 with a $46,441 pension.

Of the 280 grads of the FDNY Fire Academy last November, four were women, bringing their total on the 10,500-member force to 44 — only three more than in 1982, but the most ever.
By Susan Edelman / http://nypost.com

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February 23, 2015
Information passed along
FDA Says AEDs Often Fail to Deliver

An estimated 420,000 people go into cardiac arrest outside of hospital settings each year in the United States. Fewer than 10 percent survive, making cardiac arrest one of the nation's leading causes of death.

In such cases, automated, portable defibrillators in public places are thought to be one way to help fill the void until emergency personnel arrive.

But too many of the more than 2 million defibrillators thought to be on the market -- called " automated external defibrillators" -- malfunction, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The agency said it received about 72,000 reports associated with the failure of such devices between January 2005 and September 2014, though such surveillance is passive, undercounts events and includes incomplete, inaccurate or unverified reports.

Manufacturers of the devices have issued 111 recalls affecting more than 2 million defibrillators during the same time period. The FDA will begin requiring more rigorous reviews of defibrillators through a premarket approval process. "This will go a long way toward correcting long-standing problems and ultimately improving the reliability of these devices," the agency said in a news release.

In most cases, enforcement will begin in mid-2016.

In a statement, the FDA said it saw "persistent reliability problems with AEDs from all manufacturers of these devices."

"We've received numerous reports of AEDs that failed to power up when they are turned on in a potentially critical, life-threatening situation," Dr. William Maisel, deputy director for science in the FDA's center for devices and radiological health, told reporters during a conference call last month, according to a call transcript.

"And we have reports of AEDs that failed to deliver shocks when the button is pressed."

Columbus had an estimated 450 AEDs in public places in December 2014, according to the city's fire division. But that's an incomplete count because the city relies on self-reporting; in many cases, such devices are identified during fire inspections of commercial structures.

Columbus has no law requiring businesses to have AEDs, said Jim Davis, a deputy chief with the Columbus Division of Fire.

Davis said he can't recall an AED failing in the past three years that was unrelated to user error. However, maintenance is important, he said. Batteries must be replaced every five years or so, and pads also should be replaced periodically to make sure the gel in them hasn't hardened.

"A lot of times people think it didn't work, and it actually did what it's supposed to do," Davis said, noting that AEDs are only meant to fire under certain circumstances.

Defibrillators can be effective when a person goes into cardiac arrest from ventricular fibrillation, a common but not universal culprit, said Dr. Paul Zeeb, chairman of emergency medicine at Mount Carmel East hospital.

"Not all abnormal heart rhythms are shockable," Zeeb said.

He said the defibrillators are becoming more common -- the Mount Carmel Foundation has donated more than 30 of them to public EMS entities locally -- and they're becoming more user-friendly for the lay public.

"They have been known to fail," he said. In those cases, "you don't know if they may or may not have been lifesaving."

Messages seeking comment from Philips, a major AED manufacturer, were not returned.

People who have undergone CPR training can register through a smartphone app called PulsePoint to tell them when there has been a report of cardiac arrest in close proximity. The app also identifies the location of the nearest defibrillator. Other smartphone apps that locate defibrillators also are available.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio Ben Sutherly

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February 23, 2015
Patient Brandishes Kitchen Knife at Paramedics - KS

At 5:45 a.m. on Saturday, as ambulance crew rescuers hauled her to a hospital, the 55-year-old patient lying on their ambulance cot sat up, pulled out a kitchen knife, and threatened to stab the two paramedics trying to help her, Wichita police said.

Police patrol officers met the Sedgwick County EMS ambulance at the hospital. After establishing that the patient was healthy, the officers took her to jail, Wichita police Sgt. Roger Runft said.

She was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of felony possession of a dangerous weapon and two counts of aggravated assault, Runft said.

"Apparently she had a change of attitude about being taken to the hospital in an ambulance," Runft said.
Roy Wenzl / Source: The Wichita Eagle

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February 23, 2015
3 firefighters hurt battling house fire - PA


(philadelphia.cbslocal.com)

CHESTER COUNTY, Pa. — Three firefighters were hurt while battling a 2-alarm fire in Chester County Sunday night

The fire began at a home on Highland Hill Lane in Charlestown, Pennsylvania around 7:15 p.m. A family was inside the home at the time but got out safely.

The flames were intense and heavy smoke could be seen throughout the second floor when firefighters arrived. They were able to bring the flames under control at 9:08 p.m.
NBC Philadelphia

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February 23, 2015
Roof Collapses At Stanford Police And Fire Station - KY


(LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather)

In Lincoln County, the damage hit especially close to home for some first responders. Around 6 Saturday morning, the roof on a building shared by the police and fire departments in Stanford began to cave in and cause quite a bit of damage.

"The snow that we got on the roof and then the rain that we got this morning and the ice has made that snow real heavy. And it started pushing the metal roof in," said Stanford Police Chief Scott Maples.

But when an emergency happens inside a building used by both the police and fire department, it doesn't take long for first responders to arrive.

"They were in the bunk rooms, and once they got over to the police department side and seen the water gushing in to the building," said Maples.

Hundreds of gallons of water were pouring down into the side used for administration.

"We had to evacuate the police department side, evacuate that side and start getting salvage covers over some of the equipment to salvage some of the computers and records that the police department had," he said.

The fire chief says the collapse won't prevent them from doing their jobs, but it will take some time to clean up.
lex18.com

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February 20, 2015
Gibbon Volunteer Firefighter Severely Injured - MN


(minneapolis.cbslocal.com)

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A volunteer firefighter was severely injured while responding to a call early Monday morning.

Ryan Sabo was responding with the all-volunteer Gibbon Fire Department, offering mutual aid at a welding business in nearby Fairfax.

A steel bi-fold door fell on him, pinning him underneath.

“It was quite the fire. When we got there the roof was completely caved in,” Assistant Fire Chief Toby Bruns said.

When a call comes in, volunteers like Sabo respond in Gibbon and neighboring communities.

“He drops what he’s doing, runs out the door,” wife Nickie Sabo said.

The father of two has been a firefighter for eight years. Bruns says the 40-year-old was moving a hose early Monday to help put out the fire at a welding business, when a steel door fell on him.

“Anytime you see one of your men down, [it’s the] biggest nightmare you can possibly have,” Bruns said.

Ryan Sabo’s lower back was fractured. The door broke his pelvis and crushed his femur in three places, requiring surgery and a titanium rod.

“Unfortunately that didn’t come with super powers. He’s kind of sad about that. To me, he’s already kind of a superhero anyway, but he would never say that,” Sabo said.

Six fellow volunteers helped lift the door off of him, while two more pulled him out. Sabo says she’s glad her husband was surrounded by a team of passionate public servants.

“To have that group of dedicated firemen next to him when a tragedy strikes, that’s why they do all this training,” Sabo said.

Firefighter is a position Ryan Sabo chooses. He works full time as an auto mechanic — a job it will likely take weeks, if not months, to get back to.

“I guess we just have to take things day by day and see how it goes,” Sabo said. “As soon as he can, and as soon as he’s able, he’ll be right there on the truck again.”

Bruns says the city does have insurance for volunteer firefighters. The Gibbon Fire Department plans to hold a fundraiser for the Sabo family once Ryan is home to help with expenses above what insurance covers, and to help offset Ryan missing work.

Until then, a fund has been set up to help the family:

Ryan Sabo Benefit Account
c/o MinnWest Bank
P.O. Box 67
Gibbon, MN 55335

Donations are accepted at any MinnWest Bank.

To donate to his Go Fund Me account.

Eighteen-thousand of the 20,000 firefighters in Minnesota are volunteers. Without them, many small communities would not have fire protection.
Jennifer Mayerle / WCCO

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February 20, 2015
Update:
FF WHO WAS STRUCK BY LIGHTNING SPEAKS OUT - OH


(Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV) NBC4:)

He's lifted up out of bed in a nursing home with a harness and hoist and placed into a wheel chair. This is the new normal for Stu Tudor, the Columbus firefighter who was struck by lightning last summer at crew stadium.The whole process takes about 15 minutes.

And he's thankful for every minute of it.

He survived a lightning strike to his head, and by all accounts he shouldn't even be alive.

It caused severe brain damage and he remembers nothing from a month before the strike and nothing else until a few months after it.

"No one has ever survived a lightning strike to this magnitude," said his girlfriend Lisa Watford.

The strike came in through the top of his head, went through his body and out his left foot.

It happened on a Saturday night before a Columbus Crew game where he was presenting an award.

Now, nearly eight months later, he is talking publicly for the first time.

His speech is slurred and he cannot walk, but recently he started regaining use of his hands and arms, and his recovery is happening by the inch.

Through it all he keeps an incredible attitude.

"It's going to be a long time till I recover,” said Stu Tudor. “It's not going to happen in a year."

“I don't really blame God for it, it's an accident. (It's an) accident basically. There's no real blame, no one to be mad at. You know, I could blame God but God didn't really put me in that situation." said Tudor.

And through it all, has been his girlfriend Lisa Watford who is with him every day.

"I fell hard for this man, so I remain hopeful. I remain hopeful and positive. I do believe he's going to walk again. It's going to take a lot of time, it could be years, but I do believe he's going to walk and he's going to move again. I love him.”

"I want to walk that would be a big goal just to walk out of here; I'd like to do that” said Tudor. “Just to walk to the store, walk in and out of the store that would be huge."
firefighterclosecalls.com

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February 20, 2015
LODD:
Rice Lake Township Firefighter Dies in the Line of Duty - MN

(The Last Call - RIP)

A solemn procession paid tribute to a fallen Rice Lake Township firefighter on Thursday night. The body of 57-year-old Randy Hiti, a 26-year veteran of the department, was escorted from Hibbing to Dougherty Funeral Home in Duluth.

Fire Chief Scott Twining says Hiti was responding to a medical call on Wednesday night when he suffered a medical episode himself. Twining say it's still unclear what exactly Hiti's cause of death is.

A visitation for Hiti is scheduled for Tuesday. It will be held at St. John's Catholic Church, located at 4230 St. Johns Ave, starting at 10 a.m. Hiti's funeral will follow at 11.
WIDO Eyewitness News.

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February 20, 2015
Linn firefighter shot in the foot fighting a fire - MO

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player
Osage Co. firefighter shot in foot while fighting house fire

An Osage County firefighter was hospitalized after he was shot in the foot.

The accident happened Wednesday in Bonnots Mill when crews were fighting a mobile home fire.

The call came in around 7:30 Wednesday morning.

Fire officials said heat is what caused a pistol in a drawer to discharge a bullet from a .380 handgun.

Linn Fire Chief Ron Hoffman said the fire started as a grease fire and that the trailer is a total loss. It is still standing, but it's not salvageable.

There was also heavy heat and smoke damage to the trailer.

Sources said the firefighter, 23-year-old Adam Strope, was taken to St. Mary's in Jefferson City.

Two of the three people who lived in the mobile home were also taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. One of them also suffered from first degree burns.

American Red Cross said they have helped the victims of the fire. The Red Cross has put them in a hotel for three days and given them food and clothing.

Strope will be in the hospital for about five days.
Ashley Strohmier, Reporter, ashley.strohmier@kmiz.com

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February 20, 2015
LODD:
Firefighter Capt. Grady Burke killed battling blaze at vacant house - TX

(The Last Call - RIP)

A Houston firefighter died early Saturday morning when he and six other firefighters became trapped under the collapsed roof of a burning abandoned home on the southeast side.

Capt. Grady Burke, 39, a 12-year veteran of the department and a recipient of the medal of valor, was the fifth Houston Fire Department firefighter to die in the line of duty in the last five years.

"No matter what he did, people loved Grady," said Greg Brooks, Burke's best friend, who is also a Houston firefighter. "He was so caring. He really did care about people."

Burke, who lived in Texas City, is survived by his wife and three children, ages 7, 8 and 9.

The six other firefighters, who made it out of the house by jumping through windows or were rescued by other firefighters, suffered first- and second-degree burns. All were treated at Memorial Hermann Hospital and released Saturday afternoon.

The cause of the fire is being investigated. Officials said they wanted to question a 35- to 40-year-old black woman and a Hispanic man with a cast on his arm who had often been seen with a white dog, said HFD Assistant Chief Rick Flanagan.

Both Flanagan and neighbors said homeless people and drug users often went into the house.

The call to the fire in the 8500 block of Brandon near Bellfort came about 6 a.m.

"They made a fast attack and something went wrong," said Gilbert Bennett, HFD public information officer.

George Fress, board director for the Houston Professional Firefighters Association, said the men were led by a senior captain, who called a mayday from inside the house.

The fire was then upgraded to two-alarm. Other firefighters arrived and helped some of the men get out of the house, but they were unable to save Burke, who died at the scene.

Methods discussed

Asked about the department's "aggressive interior attack" procedures, Flanagan said there is "always room for discussion" about improving the way abandoned house fires are fought.

"I'm not happy about today because we've lost a firefighter," he said. "But that's today."

But it is something, he said, officials could give attention to.

Over the last five years, the HFD's Kevin Kulow died last April in an early morning nightclub fire; Jay Jahnke died in a fire at the Four Leaf Towers in 2001; and Kimberly Ann Smith and Lewis Evans Mayo III died in a fire at a McDonald's in 2000.

Roland Chavez, president of the firefighter's union, said he didn't think Burke's death would prompt any changes.

Mayor Bill White said the day a firefighter dies in the line of duty is not a good time to talk about procedures or to "comment on a judgment that was made by the crew on the scene."

"Before people criticize any particular policy or judgment call, we ought to recognize there are many lives saved," White said. "A lot of lives have been saved as a result of quick decisions."

White said such discussion should be left up to "the professionals" in the fire department.

He acknowledged that abandoned houses in Houston are a serious problem, but state law has made it difficult to address the problem. White said lawmakers will propose measures this session to simplify the process.

Eliminating problem

Last year, the city tore down 900 abandoned homes, and some 1,500 are to be razed by the end of this year through a cooperative effort between the city and a project called Houston Hope Project.

Frank Michel, the mayor's director of communications, said the "neglected" Sunnyside community, where Burke died, is on the list, and the city will begin foreclosing on hundreds of abandoned homes this month.

Curtis Dockery, founder of Sunnyside Pride, said he has been lobbying city officials for years to tear down some 400 abandoned homes in his community.

"We are talking on deaf ears," he said.

"We talk about it and holler about it, but really nothing is being done. If that house had been torn down, this wouldn't have happened. That man wouldn't have died."

Burke was awarded a unit medal of valor for rescuing an 80-year-old woman from a burning house in November 2003. He was serving out of Fire Station 46, at 3902 Corder.

Brooks, his best friend, said Burke was a devout Christian and devoted to his family and the Fire Department.

He also could be playful. Burke once took a pumper to Brook's fire station and turned on the water.

"It was flooded," Brooks said. "He liked to have a good time."

David Cady, associate minister at Southeast Church of Christ, where Burke was a member for about 30 years, said Burke was a man of conviction and faith. Burke recently participated in a father-daughter Valentine's Day event with his daughters and gave the devotional. "He talked about loving your daughters. And he did."
paige.hewitt@chron.com

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February 20, 2015
Firefighter collapses at the scene of home blaze - TX


A firefighter was taken to the hospital on Thursday after a home blaze in the 6400 block of England.
(Photo By Mike Glenn/Chronicle)

A Houston firefighter remained in critical condition late Friday morning after he was rushed to the hospital the night before when he collapsed outside a house fire in southeast Houston.

HFD Capt. Dwight Bazile led his crew of firefighters into the burning house in the 6400 block of England about 6:45 p.m. after they received reports that people may be inside.

HFD officials said he wasn't feeling well and walked back outside. "He sat himself down on a stretcher and collapsed right there," HFD Capt. Ruy Lozano said.

Paramedics continued resuscitation efforts as they rushed Bazile to Memorial Hermann Hospital at the Texas Medical Center.

He was in critical condition and was immediately taken into intensive care. Authorities said his family has been notified. On Friday morning, hospital officials said his condition had not improved.

HFD said no one was found in the house. The investigation into the fire is continuing.

On the same day in 2005, HFD Capt. Grady Burke, 39, died while battling a fire inside a vacant house in the 8500 block of Brandon.

The 12-year HFD veteran was later found to have died from burns and smoke inhalation, according to the state investigation into his death.

"This is just a tough day for the Fire Department," Lozano said Thursday outside the hospital where Bazile was fighting for his life.

Bazile joined the Houston Fire Department in October 1977, being promoted to Captain in 2008. He has served most of his career with Station 46 in southeast Houston.

Bazile was part of a 2008 lawsuit accusing the city of discriminating against black firefighters by relying on a promotion test that was racially biased.

Lawyers for the city eventually negotiated a settlement, awarding captain's rank and back pay to Bazile and the other firefighters.
Mike Glenn / Reporter, Houston Chronicl

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February 19, 2015
1 firefighter injured battling blaze at gas station in Port Richmond - NY

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A firefighter suffered minor injuries on Thursday morning battling a blaze at a gas station on Port Richmond Avenue.

The firefighter was transported to Richmond University Medical Center in West Brighton, said a spokesman for the FDNY.

The all-hands fire was called at about 1:30 a.m. at the gas station at 397 Port Richmond Avenue.

The fire in a garage at the station was brought under control within about a half-hour based on FDNY radio transmissions.

Christian Parisi, owner of this BP gas station, believes the fire began in one of the florescent lights in the office space.
By Maura Grunlund | grunlund@siadvance.com

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February 19, 2015
Lucas: So You Think Your Hood is Safe


(Photo credit: Courtesy of Safety Components)

Structural firefighter hoods aren't going away, nor should they. Hoods stand as a key form of protection for a firefighter's neck, ears, head, and face. There is no doubt fire hoods have helped prevent countless burn injuries throughout the years - that is the good part.

The bad part is that structural fire hoods, unlike structural turnout gear, are without any type of water repellent finish or barrier. The result is a single or double layer hood, wrapped around the head and neck, with no way of preventing smoke and moisture, and the contaminants within the smoke and moisture, from penetrating through the material towards the skin.

For anyone questioning whether or not this topic is a big deal I would ask you the same question I have heard Jim Evans of Citrosqueeze ask on numerous occasions: "If you had a newborn baby, would you feel comfortable wrapping that baby up with your PPE (in this case a fire hood)?" If the answer is no and in part because of the dirt and carcinogens you suspect are on your hood - why would you pull that hood over your head?

This has been a hot topic - one that is currently being investigated by a task group from the NFPA 1971 committee. Led by Jim Reidy of the San Antonio, Texas, Fire Department, the driving force behind the need for a solution lies in the higher percentages of cancer diagnoses among those in the fire service compared to the general public. As stated by Reidy, "While our cancer LODDs don’t die on the fireground, they do die from the fire. Anything we can do to better protect our brothers and sisters in the fire service, anything we can do to lower our chances of getting cancer, needs to be done even at a potential increased cost; what’s the life of a firefighter worth?"

So what can be done?

The NFPA 1971 task group for hoods has been meeting and exploring ways to address this problem. Currently, there are a couple options on the table:

1. Apply a durable water repellent (DWR) finish to the outer layer of the knit hood material which would prevent or reduce contaminants/carcinogens from flowing towards the skin. This may not be the perfect solution but it might be the most economical one. This also might be the solution that would be the most comfortable and easiest to implement across the board. On the other hand, this option might not do enough to prevent contaminants and carcinogens from reaching the skin. Only time will tell.

2. Add some type of barrier in between the two layers of hood material. This solution would help protect the wearer from blood borne pathogens and carcinogens the same way moisture barriers work in structural turnout gear. This also might be the most effective solution for preventing moisture and carcinogens from reaching the skin. On the other hand, this solution may be more costly and may be uncomfortable to the point fire fighters wouldn't want to wear them. The answers to these potential concerns will only be known after prototypes have been developed and wear trials conducted.

Until a solution is found, firefighters in San Antonio have found another way to improve health and safety. San Antonio has bought two hoods for each firefighter in an effort to allow the hoods to be washed and cleaned from dirt and carcinogens after every fire. After the fire, the hoods are washed at the station. When a firefighter’s hood is being washed, they have a new/clean hood to use. While this system isn't perfect, it reduces the amount of carcinogens in contact with the firefighter's skin and the amount of time carcinogens are in contact with the skin. SAFD’s hood program is a good example of how thinking outside the box can lead to better health and safety for fire fighters.

The goal here is improved health and safety for all firefighters. While the journey towards this goal is never fast enough and often not as economical as we would like, achieving this goal is non negotiable. Until a more permanent solution is found, ask yourself what you can do at your station or your department to keep your hoods cleaner, or your gear cleaner, similar to the efforts being made in San Antonio. One thing is certain; doing nothing is not a good option.
by Guy Lucas

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February 19, 2015
Lessons Learned:
Fire Chief Shares Volunteer Recruitment, Retention Successes - SC

NEWBERRY -- Fire Chief Keith Minick and Captain Gene Shealy with the Newberry Fire Department updated City Council on their progress with recruitment and retention last week.

Last year, the fire department received a $247,484 SAFER grant, which stands for Staffing for Adequate Fire Emergency Response, to increase recruitment and retention within the department, but also to hire a Recruitment and Retention Coordinator, which was tasked to Shealy.

"Captain Shealy took a big plunge to do this," Minick said.

Shealy told council there has been a decrease in volunteer firefighters across the nation, which made his efforts not only a county problem, but a nation problem.

In the city, Shealy said they have 21 paid firefighters, but only 10 volunteer.

Coming into the position, Shealy said he set several goals:

-- A quick application process to keep volunteers from losing interest

-- To develop a participation standard to ensure that volunteers knew what was expected of them

-- To retain current members and how to make it easier on them so they'll help train future members

-- To diversify the department

-- Provide multi-agency training

-- Continue a strong Explorer program

Shealy said their application process now takes less than a week and they are able to provide field agility tests for volunteers to test their skills plus let them know their limitations and what they're about to get into.

Shealy said the department has implemented a 10 hour per month participation standard that includes five hours of training and five hours of staff activity, which can include fire calls, public education or public events.

To recruit, Shealy said they have advertised diligently and he found one of the best ways to do that was to create business cards. Pizza Hut, Sonic and Arbys have agreed to give out recruitment information for the department as well, Shealy said.

To develop multi-agency training, Shealy said they have developed monthly county wide training to get agencies working together, which has led to better relationships.

The Newberry County Career Center also has what Shealy called a CTC program which is a certification program for firefighters.

"That's a program that is benefiting all of Newberry County," Shealy said.

There are currently four students representing all areas of the county, he said.

Results

Over the last six months, Shealy said they have recruited seven new volunteers within the city of Newberry, which amounts to a 70 percent increase.

"We have sent several recruits into Newberry County," Shealy said.

Since implementing the program last year, Shealy said they have retained 90 percent of the members they had when the program began.

Shealy said they have created diversity within the department and now have mixed gender and race in the volunteer core, which was something they did not have six months ago.

One of their newest volunteers is bilingual and will be of great help with the Spanish-speaking members of the community.

The Explorer program, which is for those ages 14 to 21 interested in obtaining firefighter certification, is booming, Shealy said with more than 20 members now.

Shealy said he is most proud of improving the department's training hours from 120 hours to over 495 hours.

"That's a 300 percent increase in training for our volunteers over a total of six months," Shealy said.

The department went from five hours per month per volunteer to 12 hours per month per volunteer.

"Training our volunteers and members is very significant to retention," Shealy said. "If we don't train early, they don't feel like they can help or participate so that's a huge part of what I'm doing."

Councilman LeMont Glasgow said he appreciated the information Shealy shared with council.

"Too often times, there is a misconception of what you guys do," Glasgow said. "I'm glad you brought this to us so we'll know what's going on within our fire department."

Minick said that as of Feb. 9, the door was reopened to apply for more funding and they were hoping to apply for more funding to help with marketing and other strategic plans they have for recruitment and retention.
Elyssa Parnell / Source: The Newberry Observer, S.C.

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February 19, 2015
3 FFs HURT AT YONKERS FIRE - NY

A fire ripped through a multifamily home in Yonkers on Wednesday night, gutting the house and leaving 12 people out in the cold.Firefighters battled a three-alarm blaze at 39 Locust Hill Ave., where flames tore through the second and third floors of the three-story wood-frame house. None of the occupants were hurt but three firefighters were injured, Deputy Fire Chief Thomas Fitzpatrick said.

More than 40 firefighters from about a dozen companies responded around 4:30 p.m. They initially tried to get inside the house but the fire was too intense, though they did rescue a cat from the building.

The main fire was knocked down around 7 p.m., but not before destroying most of the home. The cause of the fire was under investigation.

"Our firefighters had their work cut out for them," Mayor Mike Spano said from the scene.
firefighterclosecalls.com

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February 19, 2015
Information passed along
FFs TAKING PROACTIVE STEPS TO PREVENT CANCER - OH


(ABC6 Video)

Proactive steps are beginning to be taken across Ohio to prevent the new killer claiming careers and lives of firefighters. Cancer is haunting firehouse after firehouse, with studies pointing to a link between cancers and the job firefighters do.

There was a meeting of the minds Wednesday to discuss methods of prevention and bring about an increased awareness.

“When you’re a firefighter you have a mindset that you can do anything, that nothing can stop you,” Firefighter Mark Rine said. “Now, every day you’re basically reminded that that life is gone.”

ABC 6/FOX 28 introduced you to Mark Rine last July. He has melanoma cancer and was told he only has a couple more years to live. Rine’s cancer is one of several skin-related cancers that researchers say is linked to firefighting.

Rine’s made it his mission to educate firefighters across the state, even setting up a day-long summit to force a change in culture and prevent future cases of cancer.

“You don’t have time to look back and think what you would have changed because once you’re in my shoes, time goes even faster,” Rine said.

“We want to put a structural base where firefighters are thinking of the very basics such as returning from a fire, cleaning your gear and cleaning yourself,” Mark Sanders, president of the Ohio Association of Professional Firefighters said.

From the unfiltered clothes firefighters wear, to how often it’s washed, and repeat exposure to toxic environments, firefighters are now taking more precautions.

“It’s those early days of getting into some good habits of understanding that in a fire there’s carcinogens,” Paul Wright with the Ohio Fire Chief’s Association said.

New synthetic materials and arsenic create new dangers. Protection mean more time decontaminating and cleaning equipment and firefighters themselves.

For those already diagnosed, a new Senate bill was introduced this week. It’s a cancer presumption law that could financially cover firefighters’ cancer treatment. Ohio is one of only a handful of states that doesn’t have a law on the books.

“That is one tool in the toolbox,” Sanders said. “But that’s almost after the fact.”

However, the bigger plan is stopping cancer before it starts growing, through education and early detection.

“Through my journey, others will learn and really to me, that’s a blessing,” Rine said.

Firefighters Rine says two new tumors were found and he’s undergoing chemotherapy. He has a wife and five children.

Rine wants all firefighters to take every precaution seriously to prevent repeat exposure to toxins.
firefighterclosecalls.com

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February 19, 2015
Lessons Learned:
NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Report: Heart Attack Claims Wyoming Supervisor during Pack Test

On May 17, 2014, a 63-year-old male career wildland fire crew supervisor (“Supervisor”) performed the U.S. Forest Service arduous duty work capacity test (WCT) (commonly known as the pack test) to obtain his “red card,” certifying him to fight wildland fires on state property.

The pack test requires an individual to complete a 3-mile walk within 45 minutes while wearing a 45-pound weighted vest.

After four laps around the track (about 1 mile), the Supervisor grabbed his left leg and collapsed. Crew members found him unresponsive, not breathing, and with a weak pulse. A few seconds later his pulse stopped. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was begun, and an ambulance was requested. A weak pulse and breathing returned briefly as an automated external defibrillator (AED) was retrieved from the vehicle of a responding police officer. The AED was nonfunctional, so a second AED was brought to the scene by the local fire department approximately 2 minutes later. One shock was delivered without any change in the Supervisor’s clinical status.

The ambulance arrived at 0826 hours, and ambulance service paramedics provided advanced life support (ALS), which included defibrillation, intubation, and intraosseous line placement. Two additional shocks were administered during transport to the hospital’s emergency department (ED), again with no change in the Supervisor’s clinical status. CPR and ALS continued for an additional 11 minutes in the ED.

Despite CPR and ALS performed on the scene, en route to the ED, and inside the ED, the Supervisor was pronounced dead.

The death certificate, completed by the county medical examiner, listed “acute myocardial infarction” due to “hypertension, type II diabetes mellitus, and morbid obesity” as the cause of death. No autopsy was performed. Given the Supervisor’s underlying undiagnosed atherosclerotic coronary heart disease (CHD), the NIOSH investigators concluded the physical exertion associated with the pack test triggered a probable acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) and his sudden cardiac death.

NIOSH investigators offer the following recommendations to reduce the risk of heart attacks and sudden cardiac arrest among fire fighters at this and other wildland fire fighting agencies.

  • Require completion of a health screen questionnaire (HSQ) prior to participating in the WCT.
  • Require exercise stress tests for fire fighters at increased risk for CHD.
  • Restrict fire fighters with medical conditions that have an increased risk of sudden incapacitation (e.g., cardiac arrest) as detailed in NFPA 1582.
  • Check WCT participants’ vital signs before and after testing.
  • Phase in a mandatory comprehensive wellness and fitness program for fire fighters.

NIOSH Report: Fire Crew Supervisor Suffers Sudden Cardiac Death During Pack Test – Wyoming

NIOSH

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February 19, 2015
Patient Dies in Ambulance Crash - GA

Georgia state troopers are investigating a fatal crash involving an ambulance in Coweta County.

The ambulance crashed just after midnight Wednesday, after a front wheel moved off the road and into the ditch while traveling west on Georgia 34 near Chatsworth Place, said Tracey Watson, spokesperson for the Georgia State Patrol.

The ambulance became airborne, rotated and struck a power pole and overturned, Watson said.

The American Medical Response ambulance was transporting a patient in a "non-emergency" status before the crash, he said.

The patient being transported, Tracy Thomas, 45, of Sharpsburg, died. The driver Scott Alan Eisele, 41, of Brooks and the medic in the rear, Yappett Renuard Scott, 39, of Fairburn, were both transported to Atlanta Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

Weather did not play a factor, Watson said.
Steve Visser / Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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February 18, 2015
FF BURNED AT LA APT FIRE - CA


(losangeles.cbslocal.com)

Authorities continue to investigate the cause of a fire Tuesday at a large condominium complex in Rosemead.

As KCAL9’s Brittney Hopper reports, one firefighter sustained burns to his ears but was expected to be OK.

The fire at the building on N. Walnut Grove Avenue was reported just before 4 p.m. and prompted the evacuation of close to 40 nearby units, according to KNX 1070’s Claudia Peschiutta.“It’s kind of a panicky, surreal feeling. Stuff you see in the movies, not right next door,” said Kevin Foxx, a neighbor, who had a deputy knocking on his door, advising him to get out immediately.

Louise Hirabayashi, another neighbor, lives in a unit near the apartment where the fire started and told Hopper she heard glass break, several explosions, and then saw flames coming toward her.

“I felt the ‘Boom.’ I thought it was like an earthquake but then I felt it again and I said, ‘It wasn’t shaking like an earthquake,’ ” Hirabayashi said.

She added: “That’s why I ran out. I called 911 because I saw flames coming out of the windows. I saw all of the glass that was on the walkway and I knew, ‘Oh gosh, I’ve got to get out of here.’ ”

Originally, investigators thought the explosions were pipe bombs but none were found.

An assistant chief with the Los Angeles County Fire Department told Peschiutta, when firefighters arrived at the complex, they found some items that raised concerns.

“The initial attack crews saw some, what may be, suspicious-type devices,” he said.

No further information was available
firefighterclosecalls.com

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February 18, 2015
Information passed along
Safer Tank Cars Involved in Explosion - WV


WV Train Derailment Sends Tanker Into River
(Associated Press)


Large Flames Near WV Train Derailment
(Associated Press)

MOUNT CARBON, W.Va. (AP) — The fiery derailment of a train carrying crude oil in West Virginia is one of three in the past year involving tank cars that already meet a higher safety standard than what federal law requires — leading some to suggest even tougher requirements that industry representatives say would be prohibitively costly.

Hundreds of families were evacuated and nearby water treatment plants were temporarily shut down after cars derailed from a train carrying 3 million gallons of North Dakota crude Monday, shooting fireballs into the sky, leaking oil into a Kanawha River tributary and burning down a house nearby. It was snowing at the time, but it is not yet clear if weather was a factor.

The train's tanks were a newer model — the 1232 — designed during safety upgrades voluntarily adopted by the industry four years ago. The same model spilled oil and caught fire in Timmins, Ontario on Saturday, and last year in Lynchburg, Virginia.

A series of ruptures and fires have prompted the administration of President Barack Obama to consider requiring upgrades such as thicker tanks, shields to prevent tankers from crumpling, rollover protections and electronic brakes that could make cars stop simultaneously, rather than slam into each other.

If approved, increased safety requirements now under White House review would phase out tens of thousands of older tank cars being used to carry highly flammable liquids.

"This accident is another reminder of the need to improve the safety of transporting hazardous materials by rail," said Christopher Hart, acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

But industry officials say upgrading further from the 1232 cars would be too costly. The Railway Supply Institute says an estimated $7 billion has already been spent to put 57,000 of these cars into service.

"We have billions invested in tank cars," Bob Greco, a senior official with the American Petroleum Institute, told The Associated Press in July. "Every day new, modern 1232 tank cars are coming into service."

Oil shipments by rail jumped from 9,500 carloads in 2008 to more than 435,000 in 2013, driven by a boom in the Bakken oil patch of North Dakota and Montana, where pipeline limitations force 70 percent of the crude to move by rail, according to American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers.

The downside: Trains hauling Bakken-region oil have been involved in major accidents in Virginia, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Alabama and Canada, where 47 people were killed by an explosive derailment in 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec.

Reports of leaks and other oil releases from tank cars are up as well, from 12 in 2008 to 186 last year, according to Department of Transportation records reviewed by The Associated Press.

Just Saturday — two days before the West Virginia wreck — 29 cars of a 100-car Canadian National Railway train carrying diluted bitumen crude derailed in a remote area 50 miles south of Timmins, Ontario, spilling oil and catching fire. That train was headed from Alberta to Eastern Canada.

The train Monday was bound for an oil shipping depot in Yorktown, Virginia, along the same route where three tanker cars plunged into the James River in Lynchburg, Virginia, prompting an evacuation last year.

The train derailed near unincorporated Mount Carbon just after passing through Montgomery, a town of 1,946, on a stretch where the rails wind past businesses and homes crowded between the water and the steep, tree-covered hills. All but two of the train's 109 cars were tank cars, and 26 of them left the tracks.

Fire crews had little choice but to let the tanks burn themselves out. Each carried up to 30,000 gallons of crude. Oil cars were still burning Tuesday evening.

One person — the owner of the destroyed home — was treated for smoke inhalation, but no other injuries were reported, according to the train company, CSX. The two-person crew, an engineer and conductor, managed to decouple the train's engines from the wreck behind it and walk away unharmed.

The NTSB said its investigators will compare this wreck to others including Lynchburg and one near Casselton, N.D., when a Bakken crude train created a huge fireball that forced the evacuation of the farming town.

No cause has been determined, said CSX regional vice president Randy Cheetham. He said the tracks had been inspected just three days before the wreck.

"They'll look at train handling, look at the track, look at the cars. But until they get in there and do their investigation, it's unwise to do any type of speculation," he said.

By Tuesday evening, power crews were restoring electricity, water treatment plants were going back online, and most of the local residents were back home. Initial tests showed no crude near water plant intake points, state Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater said.

State officials do have some say over rail safety.

Railroads are required by federal order to tell state emergency officials where trains carrying Bakken crude are traveling. CSX and other railroads called this information proprietary, but more than 20 states rejected the industry's argument, informing the public as well as first-responders about the crude moving through their communities.

West Virginia is among those keeping it secret. State officials responded to an AP Freedom of Information request by releasing documents redacted to remove nearly every detail.

There are no plans to reconsider after this latest derailment, said Melissa Cross, a program manager for the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
firefighternation.com

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February 18, 2015
Two area firefighters injured in fire truck accident - TX


(Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen)

MOUNT CALM - A local chief is thankful after crews from a different town came to his department's rescue following an accident that left two firefighters injured. One man's knee was crushed on impact, while the other only had minor injuries. Both are now recovering.

Mount Calm firefighters were rushing to assist with a brush fire in Hubbard Saturday afternoon, when in an instant, they went from answering a call to being the ones calling for help. One of their fire trucks slammed into the back of their tanker, spilling hundreds of gallons of water.

The Mount Calm Fire Chief says it was a scary situation.

"When I saw the two guys when I came out of the truck, like I said, I had such an adrenaline flow," says Milton Stuckly. "When I saw the whole front of the truck and the cab like that, I immediately thought we had at least one dead fireman."

Thankfully that wasn't the case. Several Hubbard crews rushed from the brush fire to free the two firefighters trapped inside their truck.

Chief Stuckly says he's grateful for the other departments help.

“It's nice to know down here where we live in the south end of Hill County that you got Hubbard and Penelope that were there when we needed them," says Stuckly. "It's nice to know that you got them and we thank God that we've got them.”

The two firefighters were airlifted to the hospital, but were released later that evening.

The total cost of damage is still unknown, but Stuckly says it will likely be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Mount Calm will still be able to handle accidents and minor fires in their area, but firefighters from Hubbard and Penelope will be called out to any major fires for the time being.
By Kristianna Gross / kxxv.com

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February 18, 2015
Firefighter in POV crashes into responding rig - PA


A fire truck and a pickup collided on Nursery Road near Wrightsville.
(Eileen Joyce -- Daily Record/Sunday News)


Crash in Lower Windsor Township involving a Craley fire engine


Damage to the rear of a home on Mount Pisgah Road

Update, 2:45 p.m.

Emergency crews responded to two incidents in eastern York County on Tuesday morning -- first, a fire in Hellam Township, and then a crash in Lower Windsor Township, which involved a fire truck responding to the fire.

Firefighters were called to the fire, located at 6125 Mount Pisgah Road, about 9:10 p.m. Once there, they found a fire on the exterior northeast corner of the home, Hellam Township Fire Chief Fred Smeltzer said.

Smeltzer said one of the three residents who were home at the time, called 911.

"It (the fire) was related to the wood stove," in the house, he said. "However, we haven't determined the exact cause yet."

Smeltzer said Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Brad Dunham, a fire marshal, had also responded and was investigating.

One of the residents -- all of whom were in their late teens-early 20s, suffered frostbite and was treated at the scene, Smeltzer said.

The residents fought the fire with "blankets and anything they cold get ahold of. They controlled it until the fire department got here," he said.

When the fire was extinguished, the home only sustained minor damage, Smeltzer said.

Shortly after Smeltzer and other firefighters arrived at the fire, a crash occurred in the 1200 block of Nursery Road in Lower Windsor Township.

Some of the emergency crews that had planned to respond to the fire, diverted to the crash, which involved a fire truck from the Craley Fire Department in Wrightsville.

"I know you've got to get there, but please use caution, OK?" Smeltzer told the units headed to the crash.

Lower Windsor Township Police Chief Tim Caldwell said the crash occurred when a southbound red Dodge Dakota pickup truck lost control and crossed into the opposing lane, where the fire truck, heading north, was.

Caldwell said the driver of the pickup truck, Meranda Poole, was taken to York Hospital. As of Tuesday afternoon, Poole was listed in satisfactory condition at the hospital.

"She is a member of a couple different fire companies in the area," Caldwell said of Poole. "We're not sure if she was responding to the fire."

The fire truck was in fact responding to the fire, Caldwell said. The driver of the fire truck, Dwayne Kline, was not injured, Caldwell said. The pickup truck was severely damaged, while the fire truck sustained minor damage, he said.

Caldwell said he was not sure what caused Poole's truck to veer into the opposing lane. Police continue to investigate, he said.

Update 9:57 a.m.

Firefighters en route to the Hellam Township fire were involved in a two-vehicle motor vehicle accident.

The crash occurred at Nursery Road near Water Street in Wrightsville around 9:20 a.m. when a Craley fire engine and a pickup truck crashed.

Lower Windsor Police Chief Tim Caldwell said a female driver in the pickup truck was taken to an area hospital. Firefighters in the Craley fire engine were not hurt, Caldwell added.

Previously Reported

Firefighters are currently responding to a working structure fire at a residence in Hellam Township, York County 911 officials confirmed.

The fire started just after 9 a.m. in the 6100 block of Mt. Pigsah Road in Hellam Township, officials said.
By TED CZECH, York Daily Record/Sunday News

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February 18, 2015
10 of 28 aerial fire trucks in service - DC

WASHINGTON — Public safety has come into question after sources found that D.C. Fire and EMS has been operating with a dwindling number of ladder trucks it needs to keep the city safe.

This past summer, D.C. Fire launched a fleet-wide inspection of its ladder trucks. Seven failed and were pulled from service. Due to a lack of maintenance, the ladders rusted and had to be sent back to the manufacturer, according to WJLA.com.

"We need to have the appropriate vehicles and tools to do our jobs. And right now, we don't," said Dabney Hudson, a D.C. firefighter and Local 36 union representative. "This could impact public safety."

Violations in the trucks included broken wires, broken bolts and corrosion. The fleet's 18 of 28 ladder trucks have recently been out of service and response times reflect, according to the report. At full force, the department should have 16 ladder trucks in service and five in reserve.

Over the last six months, the department has had as few as 10 usable trucks, according to the report.

Interim Chief Eugene Jones has instituted a regular in-station maintenance program. More mechanics are being hired and new inspection standards have been adopted.

The chief also said within the next month, the department will receive six new ladder trucks. In the meantime, neighboring fire departments have been alerted of D.C.’s lack of equipment.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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February 18, 2015
Three firefighters hurt battling Brookline mansion blaze - MA

Three firefighters were injured yesterday afternoon while battling a three-alarm fire that raced through a sprawling mansion in Brookline, a fire official said.

“The firefighters did a great job under very difficult conditions considering the freezing temperatures, slippery conditions and the thick, heavy smoke they faced upon arrival,” Brookline Fire Department Chief of Operations Robert Ward said. “The fire was moving fast through the third floor and attic area, and the firefighters did a great job to knock it down.”

A resident of the massive 21/2 story, 6,300-square-foot colonial manse, built in 1900 and assessed at $3.8 million, reported the fire at 12:04 p.m., Ward said.

One nearby fire hydrant had already been cleared of ice and snow when firefighters arrived on scene, Ward said, but another had to be dug out by first responders, costing crews precious minutes.

Two Brookline firefighters and one member of the Somerville Fire Department suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze, which forced the occupants out into the cold, Ward said.

The size and makeup of the home, Ward said, gave firefighters some trouble.

“What made it difficult was that it was a very well-built home and it had a slate roof, which is not easy to work on — especially in icy conditions,” Ward said. “Then we had the ceilings, which were lath and plaster, making it very difficult for firefighters to poke through to get to the fire.”

Firefighters from Boston, Cambridge, Newton and Somerville assisted at the scene, Ward said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
By: Owen Boss / bostonherald.com

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February 18, 2015
Badly needed, poorly funded: the future of volunteer fire departments - TN


When your house is on fire, you expect them to be there and fast. But, more and more volunteer fire departments are struggling to keep their trucks on the road as funding dwindles. WBIRWhen your house is on fire, you expect them to be there and fast. But, more and more volunteer fire departments are struggling to keep their trucks on the road as funding dwindles.
(WBIR)

When your house is on fire, you expect them to be there and fast. But, more and more volunteer fire departments are struggling to keep their trucks on the road as funding dwindles.

Close to 80-percent of fire departments in Tennessee are made up all volunteer firefighters. These men and women give up their time and risk their lives for their neighbor.

"If you don't have the fire department," said Del Kennedy, Chief of the Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department, "you're going back to the 1800s when you were relying on your neighbors with buckets of water to try to help you out."

The volunteers who come to save homes and lives don't hesitate to rescue those who need it.

"We do this to help our fellow man," said Assistant Chief John Linsenbigler of the Seymour Volunteer Fire Department. "You have to have it in your heart number one."

Still, communities they serve are reluctant to financially support their efforts. It's a common theme across the country and here in East Tennessee. Volunteer fire departments struggle to stay open.

"Only about 18% of the people right now donate routinely for operational expenses," said Linsenbigler. That's just enough to keep them afloat.

Volunteer firefighters say they think people are confused by how they're funded.

"They may not understand when they move into the area. They think they have a fire tax or certain services are already paid for through property tax," said Linsenbigler. "But in some counties, especially in Knox County, that's not the case."

"Simply because it says volunteer it doesn't mean everything is free. It means the people of this department volunteer their time. We have to pay for everything," said Kennedy.

The volunteer departments need donations and grants to survive.

The Seymour VFD covers roughly the same size as the city of Knoxville. But, KFD receives support through tax revenue.

Seymour operates on a $500,000 annual budget. Knoxville has close to $40-million in its annual budget. That's 80 times more.

Seymour firefighters say they could use more money, but they admit they're better off than most other volunteer departments. The department has received major grants that help them recruit new members. Those grants also help pay for expensive training and gear.

The Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department is much smaller. Chief Kennedy is expecting to make some tough calls in the near future.

"We're looking at probably June not being able to put fuel in the trucks," said Kennedy. Even worse, he worries they may not be able to go on first responder calls by this summer if fundraising continues at its current rate.

"That puts us between a rock and a hard place."

Kennedy has saved lives as a first responder. He says 80-percent of the time, his volunteers arrive before the ambulance. He doesn't want to have to cherry pick which calls they can his department can work.

"A lot of times people don't realize the medic may be down to one medic per county. Your next closest medic may be coming from Oak Ridge," said Kennedy. "So your first responders provide vital care for the patient especially if it's a cardiac situation."

Andersonville VFD attempted a subscription service two years ago. It would require residents to pay a fee to cover expenses. Community members could opt-out but then the fire department is not required to help them in case of an emergency.

STORY: Andersonville FD says they must charge fee or face bankruptcy

The community did not welcome the subscription fees, and the department decided to switch back to donations only.

STORY: Fire chief, mayor meet to talk about subscription fire service

Unless the volunteer departments get more donations, Kennedy says they may have to close, even though his volunteers want to keep working.

"I know myself and other members of this department will continue to [work] with our personal vehicles. You know that's the volunteer spirit," said Kennedy.

This year, the Knox County Commission created a committee of experts and fire chiefs to look deeper into ways to improve fire protection. It is still in the beginning stages.
WBIR Staff, WBIR

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February 18, 2015
Update:
Firefighters used excessive force with patient - AZ


(John Smith)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — An internal investigation determined a pair of firefighters used excessive force and violated city and department policies when they punched and cursed at a patient during a medical call in October.

The report, compiled by city officials, did not propose any penalties for a decade-long captain with the Glendale Fire Department and a firefighter who was an acting captain during the Oct. 26 incident.

They were both placed on administrative leave and then reassigned to different divisions after the incident.

The viral YouTube video of the incident showed two firefighters cursing at a man strapped to a gurney that had overturned and was on the ground. The patient, 30-year-old James Murillo, was being wheeled from his home on a gurney when he "threw a back-handed punch and 'cold-cocked,'" according to one of the firefighters.

Murillo admitted that he was looking for a fight and wanted to harm the firefighters so they wouldn’t take him to the hospital, AZ Family reported. However, city officials concluded the firefighters’ response violated policies including workplace harassment, employee conduct and the fire department’s general orders.

Glendale Fire Chief Mark Burdick said he could not comment on the findings because the disciplinary process is ongoing, according to the report.

"Every firefighter and paramedic in Glendale is looking forward to getting back to what we do so well, and that is serving the residents of Glendale and keeping them safe," said Joe Hester, president of the Glendale Fire Fighters.

The investigation determined that other two crew members did not violate city or fire department policy. They also spent time on leave before being reassigned.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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February 17, 2015
Firefighters Encounter Backdraft Hours After Tackling Fatal Blaze - MA


(WCVB Channel 5 Boston)

The Waltham mechanic hated New England winters, especially this year, and dreamed of moving to Florida -- but stayed to help his mother, a former oncology nurse stricken by Alzheimer's disease, heartbroken neighbors said after a savage fire on Ash Street took the lives of both on the coldest day in a decade.

"He hated the snow. He was always cold. His dream was to go to Florida," heartbroken next-door neighbor Charlie Medeiros recalled of Eric Miller, 49, with whom he toiled shoulder-to-shoulder for five hours shoveling out their shared driveway Sunday. "He couldn't do it because his mother was sick, so he had to take care of his mother. That's what he did, 24/7. She had developed Alzheimer's and it was getting worse in the last couple years."

Elizabeth "Betty" Miller was the mother of three, Medeiros said. Eric Miller had a 21-year-old daughter.

The grandmother was "a sweet saint who was always soft-spoken and always had a kind word," said John Kimball, who has lived across the street from the Millers for more than 40 years. "They were great people, and they will be missed."

The fire that killed them broke out around 3 a.m., and the two became the state's seventh and eighth fire deaths this year.

Six hours later, firefighters at the scene were just winding down when they got the call for a four-alarm blaze 1 1/2 miles away at a duplex on School Street. The half-dozen occupants there made it out alive but firefighters faced brutal conditions -- including a backdraft that blasted two firefighters out of an attic and into the path of flames climbing toward them from below.

Waltham Fire Chief Paul Ciccone said Capt. Paul Quaranto and firefighter Michael MacEwen were nearly trapped in the third-floor attic. "They were actually blown down the stairs because we just couldn't get water to them. The first few minutes were very tenuous, to say the least."

"It came in as an all-out fire, which meant it was already out," said Quaranto, a 15-year veteran and father of three girls ages 7, 13, and 16. "We had actually met Engine 3's crew inside. They were in there before us, and they were coming back down the stairs and we had the thermal camera so we went past them. That's when everything hit the fan."

Quaranto said he and MacEwen, 25, had good visibility as they made their way deep into the third-floor attic, but when met by a "light haze," decided to put their masks on.

"In the midst of doing that the smoke just came down and took us," Quaranto said, wearing an ice-encrusted helmet he borrowed after losing his in the escape. "It was a lot of smoke and air pressure. We weren't that far from the stairway, but there was a lot of stuff in the room. A lot of boxes, trash, chairs, umbrellas. We couldn't move, couldn't get to anything, couldn't get to the window, so we had to back down the stairway where we came in.

"We called for a mayday. There was fire coming up from the second floor, up towards us. We got through that and just bailed outside. They'd been having some water problems -- hoses frozen, not working."

"We had all the problems you could have at this fire," Ciccone said. "The trucks were frozen from the earlier fire. They hadn't had a chance really to thaw out. Once we started operations here, pumps were freezing, throttles were freezing. We had a little bit of trouble with frozen hydrants, so one of the factors here was water. It was very challenging."

The causes of both fires are under investigation. Ciccone stressed, "At this point there's no reason to be suspicious of either one of them."
Laurel J. Sweet / Source: Boston Herald

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February 17, 2015
Hit-and-run involving ambulance follows deadly crash in North Arlington - TX

An ambulance responding to a deadly crash in North Arlington was struck in a hit-and-run accident early Monday.

The first crash was reported shortly before 1:30 a.m. on Lincoln Drive, just north of Lamar Boulevard. Rebecca Keel of Hurst lost control on a curve and crashed into a tree.

Keel, 22, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.

An American Medical Response ambulance dispatched to the accident was also involved in a crash, said Lt. Lee Tovar, a fire spokesman. A white pickup hit the ambulance head on, and the occupants fled to a nearby apartment complex.

The passenger in the pickup was arrested on a public intoxication charge. The driver remains at large, according to our colleagues at KXAS-TV (NBC 5).

AMR has not released any information about whether anyone on the ambulance crew suffered serious injuries. But NBC 5 said they were treated for minor injuries and were not hospitalized.
Matt Peterson / dallasnews.com

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February 17, 2015
Ambulance Involved In Fayetteville Wreck - AR

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -A pickup truck rear-ended an ambulance Monday morning in Fayetteville, but there were no injuries, according to local police.

Police and an ambulance responded to the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Hollywood Avenue, east of Interstate 49, following the crash around 8 a.m..

Fayetteville police said no one was hurt, and the wreck was a minor fender-bender. The ambulance was not on the way to a call, and there were no patients in the ambulance at the time, police said.
by Shain Bergan / http://5newsonline.com

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February 17, 2015
Lessons Learned:
Report Released on Death of Dallas Firefighter in Fall from Overpass - TX

The Texas State Fire Marshal's office recently released a report on the death of Dallas (TX) Firefighter William Scott Tanksley, who died last year after falling from a bridge overpass.

On February 10, 2014, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Dallas Fire-Rescue Department Firefighter William Scott Tanksley was struck by a motor vehicle while working the scene of a multiple vehicle accident. Firefighter Tanksley, along with other Dallas Fire-Rescue units, responded to a multiple vehicle accident on an icy overpass. While Firefighter Tanksley was assessing the conditions and checking for injured motorists, the driver of another vehicle lost control on the icy roadway and struck Firefighter Tanksley, causing him to fall off the bridge to the roadway below. Firefighter Tanksley was transported to Methodist Dallas Medical Center but succumbed to the injuries. An autopsy conducted by the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office revealed the cause of death was blunt force trauma.

Among the recommendations the report made in this case:

  • Firefighter Tanksley crossed over the median barrier after he apparently witnessed a single-car accident. Use of a Lookout might have alerted Tanksley to the danger in time for him to react. All department personnel should emphasize the importance of personnel safety.
  • Firefighter Tanksley did not communicate to the Incident Commander his intention to cross the median barrier into open lanes of traffic. Use of NIMS/ICS requires communication by responders to the Incident Commander to allow for effective coordination of resources and situational awareness.

Read the full report

fireengineering.com

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February 17, 2015
Ambulance catches fire - NY

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A Rural Metro ambulance started on fire Tuesday around 4 a.m. as workers started up their vehicles at their headquarters on William Gaiter Parkway.

Workers tried unsuccessfully to put out the flames with fire extinguishers and Buffalo firefighters were called in.

No one was injured in the blaze. The fire caused major damage to the engine.
WIVB

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February 16, 2015
Firefighters Leave Moldy Fire Station - IN

A mold problem is requiring the city of Anderson to close Station 2 of the Anderson Fire Department for approximately two weeks starting on Monday.

The firefighters and equipment from Station 2 will be moved to headquarters while the mold problem is mitigated by Reeder Heating & Air and Shepherd Homes, Inc.

The type of mold and location in Station 2 was not available on Saturday.

Station 2 is located to the east of Jackson Park in the 2300 block of West 22nd Street.

Anderson Fire Chief Phil Rogers said the department was made aware of the mold problem about a year ago.

"The firefighters in the station were getting colds more often," Rogers said. "We tested the air at Station 2."

Rogers said fire protection coverage in the area will not be impacted while the mold mitigation work is undertaken.

The distance from Station 2 to the three nearest stations ranges between two and four miles.

It is approximately three miles to fire headquarters, 44 W. Fifth St.; four miles to Station 4, 621 W. Cross St.; and two miles to Station 6, 133 W. 29th St.

"The welfare of our citizens is important," Rogers said.

Mayor Kevin Smith said it was the opinion of Rogers that the work to mitigate the mold problem in Station 2 should be done immediately.

"The firefighters were expressing concerns about their health environment," Smith said. "We wanted to mitigate the mold problem because firefighter safety is a priority for the city."

This is the second fire station that is experiencing a mold problem.

There has also been a mold problem at the fire headquarters in recent years.

Rogers said the mold is confined to the front office area of Station 1.

"We're going to wait until the study is done," he said of a planned study this year to determine if a new headquarters station will be constructed near the intersection of Meridian and 19th streets.

During the 2015 budget sessions the Anderson City Council and Smith administration agreed to a $40,000 feasibility study to determine the cost of a new headquarters building, estimated at $4 million, as compared to rebuilding the existing building, estimated at $2.7 million.

At the hearings Rogers said there were mold, structural and efficiency issues at the existing headquarters station.

Smith said mold continues to be an issue at Station 1.

"We are hearing about a lot of issues with mold," he said.
Ken de la Bastide / Source: The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.

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February 16, 2015
LODD:
Firefighter Kenneth Stanton struck, killed at accident scene - SC

(The Last Call - RIP)


(Courtesy photo)

ANDERSON, S.C. — A firefighter died after being struck at the scene of a crash Sunday night.

Independent Mail reported that firefighter Kenneth Stanton, 52, a volunteer firefighter with the Sandy Springs (S.C.) Fire Department, was among the first to respond to a two-car collision near an intersection. While directing traffic around the crash site, he was struck by a motorist who left the scene.

Troopers found Charles Pickens, 64, at his home and believe that it was his car that hit firefighter Stanton. He was charged with driving under the influence, resulting in death and leaving the scene of an accident. He is being held in a detention center and is expected to face a judge Monday.

Stanton was transported to a hospital, where he died as a result of head trauma, according to the report.

"Kenny was a great man who would go out of his way to help anyone," Stanton's cousin, Jason Pruitt, said. "He loved being a firefighter and serving the community. He was a former Marine and friend to everyone."

The accident remains under investigation.

Stanton was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and an assistant scout master in the Boys Scouts of America.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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February 15, 2015
Information passed along
Fire Chief Focuses on Health, Wellness - IL

Fire Chief Mick Humer got tears in his eyes as he remembered learning about the unexpected deaths of three firefighters over the last 18 months.

The first call came Aug. 21, 2013. The McLean County coroner was on her way to a farm in Heyworth where a Normal firefighter had died.

"My first thought was that it was a retiree," said Humer. "I was thinking it was an older person."

Instead, it was 40-year-old Jeff Hilton, a seemingly healthy, active-duty firefighter who had suffered a sudden cardiac death while off-duty, working at a second job on a farm.

Then, just slightly less than a year later, in the early morning of Aug. 12, 2014, Humer got another call.

"I remember it like it was yesterday. I was in the shower, got out and always check my phone," he said.

He had three missed calls: one from Assistant Fire Chief Doug Barnett, one from the McLean County coroner and one from the sheriff's office.

"I knew it wasn't good," he said.

Firefighter Nicholas Whitfield Jr. had died unexpectedly at his home. An autopsy found significant cardiac disease, according to the coroner's office. Whitfield was 48.

"I was like, 'This is unbelievable,' once I found out the cause," said Humer. "Two firefighters with related issues a year apart. I've got to do something. There's got to be someone out there to help us."

(The department also lost firefighter Rob Aper, 44, on Jan. 24 this year. His was not a sudden cardiac death.)

Humer contacted Dan Dodd, coordinator of the exercise physiology laboratory at Illinois State University's School of Kinesiology and Recreation. They had been discussing developing a program to help firefighters avoid on-the-job injuries. The cardiac-related deaths added another dimension to the discussions.

Dodd suggested Humer talk to Dr. James McCriskin, a cardiologist with Advocate Medical Group-Cardiology, about lining up EKG screenings for the firefighters.

Within a few weeks, Humer and Deputy City Manager Pamela Reece met with McCriskin and a host of Advocate representatives to figure out a plan. Besides the EKG screening, which indicates heart rhythm changes that could reflect a blockage, the Advocate team also suggested coronary calcium screenings for all firefighters over 40. That screening checks for plaque buildup in the heart arteries.

Advocate offered the EKG screening free and the coronary calcium screening for $99.

Reece said the firefighters union, Local 2442, the town, the fire department and the Foreign Fire Tax Board agreed to split the screening cost (about $4,000). They also decided to share the $7,000 cost of memberships to Gold's Gym for all firefighters.

"That way, everybody had some skin the game," said Dave Polley, president of Local 2442.

The union used money from fundraisers and donations; the department used some of its training and travel budget; and the tax board agreed to pitch in the other third.

The board determines how to use money the fire department receives from out-of-state insurance companies that have policies in Normal. The money can be used for equipment and other things designed for the "safety, efficiency and well-being of all department members."

"It's a wonderful opportunity. I appreciate everybody being on the same page," said firefighter Preston Gloede, 37. "The better shape we're in, the less likely we are to be injured."

That, in turn, is better for the community, he said. "It helps us do our job."

Lt. Mark Hill, 58, who has worked at the department for 27 years, agreed.

"The support and backing (from the town, department and union) was wonderful," he said. "It reinforced that they really care about the guys."

Firefighters, who work 24-hour shifts, are given an hour each shift to go to Gold's Gym for a workout. That equates to about two hours a week.

"We can't make them change their lifestyles but we can give them the tools," said Reece.

Polley expects a good buy-in by the firefighters. "The guys don't want to be in a position to do another funeral," he said.
Mary Ann Ford / Source: The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.

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February 15, 2015
Two Firefighters Escape Flames - TX


A tank full of gasoline and diesel exploded, engulfing two firefighters on a deck.
(Photo credit: San Leon Fire Department)


(San Leon Volunteer Fire Department)

Two San Leon firefighters escaped uninjured after they were engulfed in flames Thursday night.

The two were working on a second floor deck when a drum of oil and gasoline exploded underneath the home, according to KTRK.com.

Crews on the scene came to their aid and helped them escape.

The television station reported that the captain and firefighter were not hurt, but their gear was damaged.
Source: Firehouse.com News

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February 15, 2015
Doddridge Co. Ambulance Involved in Accident - WV

According to the Doddridge County Sheriff's Department, an ambulance was involved in an accident Friday morning.

The accident happened around 7:00 a.m. near the Smithburg exit on Route 50. According to investigators the Doddridge County ambulance rear ended a tractor trailer, spun and was totaled.

The ambulance driver is being faulted in the accident, and was sited for failure to maintain control of a vehicle.

This accident is under investigation by the Doddridge County Sheriff's Office.
Written by Your 5News Team

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February 15, 2015
3 hurt, 1 critical in ambulance rollover - NY

NEW YORK — Authorities say three people have been injured, one critically, in a crash that left an ambulance overturned in Brooklyn.

Fire officials say it happened at 10:55 a.m. Thursday at the intersection of Linden Boulevard and Pennsylvania Avenue.

A second vehicle was involved but details of the crash were not immediately known.
The Associated Press

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February 15, 2015
FIREFIGHTER SERIOUSLY HURT - HI


(Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL)

A firefighter with the Honolulu Fire Department was seriously injured Friday when when a strong gust of wind nearly blew him off a roof he was repairing in Kaneohe."We were dispatched to Kanaka Street to address a blown roof here," said Honolulu Fire Capt. Stewart Williams of the Kalihi Kai fire station. "My firefighters along with several other crews from the area were in the process of addressing the roof when unfortunately a firefighter got injured."

A high gust of wind lifted a tarp on the roof, which then threw the firefighter into the air. He was then slammed hard onto the roof.

Fire crews stopped work on the roof to tend to his injuries. A large group of firefighters carried him to a waiting ambulance, which transported him to the Queen's Medical Center in serious condition with hip and back injuries.

As portions of Oahu and Kauai remain under a High Wind Warning, reports of road debris, power outages, and blown roofs came in from various areas across Oahu, but many of those incidents were reported in Kaneohe."I found pieces of my roof in the middle of the yard, and then I walked in my house and looked out the window and there were chunks on my mom's roof," said Kaneohe resident Jocelyn Ojiri.

"The gutter is being torn apart off of our roof and a carport," said another Kaneohe resident, Tanya Fitch. "I have a huge banana plant I had to support it with ropes and boards and stuff so it doesn't fall over and get snapped. It's just been bad really bad."

Around 9 p.m. Friday, Hawaiian Electric officials reported that more than 2,000 customers were without power in the Temple Valley, Punaluu, and Kaneohe area. Officials have not confirmed if power has been restored to these areas.

More than 700 customers were also without power in Hauula earlier in the evening, but officials have since restored power to those affected.As of 10 p.m. Friday, the Honolulu Fire Department reported that it had responded to nine reports of blown roofs, three downed trees and two reports of downed power lines because of the wind.

A downed tree blocked traffic on the Likelike Highway going towards Kaneohe around 4 p.m. Friday, but has since been cleared.

HECO officials are asking residents to report any power outages by calling 1-855-304-1212.

Stay with Hawaii News Now for the latest updates and information.
firefighterclosecalls.com

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February 15, 2015
Florida Falls Behind 34 States in Firefighter Cancer Law - FL

In 34 U.S. states, there is a law presuming that if a firefighter gets cancer, it was likely caused by the job. Each state's law varies in what exactly that means and what cancers it covers, but in general that can provide protections such as use of workers' compensation for cancer claims, preventative health care requirements and safety from termination while out on disability leave.

Florida has laws that presume firefighters' heart and lung diseases are caused by their profession, and one that provides some coverage for communicable diseases, but none that assumes their job requirements can cause cancer.

Now, firefighters and their unions across the state are trying to revive an effort to add Florida to the list of states that considers cancer job-related rather than a coincidence.

However, they'll face major hurdles with two questions: What Florida-specific data backs up the phenomenon, and how to pay for it if a law is passed.

"I'm not skeptical about the actual situation where there is a direct correlation between the job firefighters do and cancer. What I am skeptical about is how we would be able to balance making the accommodations for those firefighters and whose responsibility to take care of that extra cost it should be," said state Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers.
fireengineering.com

Read more of the story

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February 15, 2015
Fire truck flips over in Spotsylvania County - VA

RICHMOND, Va. — Four firefighters were sent to a local hospital when their fire truck flipped over while taking a corner at the intersection of Benchmark and Mine roads in Spotsylvania County.

The accident happened at 7:10 p.m. Saturday while en-route to a reported structure fire on Ruffin Road.

No other vehicles were involved in the incident. According to Joseph M. Sposa, deputy chief of operations for the Spotsylvania County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management, the cause of the accident is under investigation.

The four firefighters were able to get out of the vehicle on their own. They were transported to Mary Washington Hospital to be evaluated as a precaution.
by Robb Crocker / http://wtvr.com

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February 15, 2015
Fire Vehicle Hit, Two Injured - CT

EAST HARTFORD -- Firefighters who responded to two accidents on Route 2 were struck by a vehicle while on scene at the second accident Saturday night, according to a press release from the department.

On-duty Deputy Fire Chief Richard Westman and apparatus operator Lee Brow were driving the department's 2009 Chevrolet Suburban back to the fire department after responding to an accident on Route 2 in the area of exit 5B when they noticed another car had stuck along a guard rail in the center median, which separates east-bound and west-bound traffic.

After checking to see if the motorists involved had any injuries, another vehicle "traveling at a high rate of speed" crashed into the back of the Suburban, which is likely totaled, according to the press release.

The press release does not specify how many people were in the car that struck the department's Suburban, but did say all parties were transported to the hopsital for evaluation.

"The Deputy Chief called for additional resources, and he and [Brow], though injured, went to check on the occupants of the car that hit them," the press release reads.

According to the press release, Westman and Brow were evaluated, treated and released from the hospital.

"The accident is a brutal reminder of the risks faced by firefighters, police officers, EMS workers and public works/highway workers every single day as they operate on the roadway," Fire Chief John H. Oates said in a written statement. "We remind the public to slow down during bad weather and reduce their speed as they approach emergency vehicles working on the highway."

The original accident was on east-bound Route 2 in the area of exit 5B, according to the press release. Two people were extricated from a "heavily damaged car" which appeared to have crossed into east-bound traffic. That accident occurred during heavy snow and slick road conditions, according to the press release.
Mikaela Porter / Source: The Hartford Couran

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February 15, 2015
2 Md. EMTs struck on interstate at crash scene - MD


(NBC4 Washington)

Two volunteer Montgomery County emergency medical services personnel were injured early Sunday when they were struck by a vehicle while assisting injured persons at a crash scene on I-495.

The EMS personnel are identified as volunteer Glen Echo Fire Department EMT Thomas E. Schryver, 26, and EMT Sydney E. Marshall, 19. Both were transported to Suburban Hospital.

The driver of the striking vehicle is identified as Maximillano A. Curcho, 34, Clarksburg, Maryland. He was also transported to Suburban Hospital.

At about 12:15 a.m. Sunday, troopers from the Rockville Barrack were dispatched to the inner loop of I-495 at River Road for the report of a crash in which two county rescue personnel had been struck.

The preliminary investigation indicated the two EMTs had responded to a previous crash and were attending to patients inside a 2014 Toyota Corolla that was on the right shoulder of the inner loop of I-495 at River Road. A county ambulance was also on the shoulder with emergency lights activated.

The investigation indicates Curcho was approaching the scene, operating a 2005 Ford F-150. For reasons unknown at this time, Curcho apparently lost control of his vehicle, skidded across two lanes of I-495 and onto the shoulder. The pickup struck the Toyota in the rear and struck both EMT personnel. The pickup then struck the ambulance before coming to rest.

The persons in the Toyota were transported to MedStar Hospital for treatment. It is not currently known if they sustained additional injuries in the second crash.

The Maryland State Police Crash Team is conducting the ongoing investigation. Nothing has been ruled out at this time as a possible cause of the crash. No charges have been filed at this time, pending the outcome of evidence analysis and the crash investigation. Anyone who may have witnessed this crash is urged to contact the Maryland State Police Rockville Barrack at 301-424-2101.

The roadway was snow covered when the crash occurred. Due to the investigation, the roadway remained closed for about 5.5 hours.
NBC4 Washington

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February 13, 2015
Firefighter’s Bagpipes Stolen From Minivan - IL

(CBS) – Something stolen from a Chicago fire lieutenant would have little to no value to most people, but it’s priceless to him.

CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports on the Big Bagpipes Caper.

For six years, Lt. Douglas Crowley has played bagpipes on special occasions for the Chicago Fire Department’s Pipes and Drums band.

“To be able to represent the department at times of tragedy is one of the highest honors we have,” he says.

Late Sunday or early Monday, somebody broke the window in his minivan outside his Morgan Park home and stole his $5,000 bagpipes.

“I searched all over the neighborhood in the garbage cans, got on the phone with the neighbors that work in Sanitation and said, ‘Hey, please keep an eye out for these things,’” Crowley says.

Crowley says he checked local pawn shops and websites selling unusual items. No luck.

It’s not the value of what was stolen that bothers Crowley so much as what it means to his role in the firefighting family.

That tradition, he says, is “everything.”
Mike Parker / http://chicago.cbslocal.com

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February 13, 2015
Fighter says camera was pointed at her bunk - NM


A camera that firefighter Adele Parker said she found pointed at her bunk at an Albuquerque fire station.
(Courtesy of Michael Cadigan)

An Albuquerque firefighter in the midst of sexual harassment lawsuit against the city said she found a camera pointed at her bunk at her fire station Wednesday.

Adele Parker, who also goes by Adele Ortega, said the camera added to a long list of sexual jokes and harassment against her in her 13 years as a firefighter.

“It’s not a nice place to work right now,” she said in an interview Thursday.

Parker’s lawsuit filed against the city in 2013 accuses other firefighters of walking in and spying on Parker in the shower, hiding sex toys in her bunk, stealing her underwear, watching pornography at fire stations, grabbing her, making sexual jokes at her expense and exposing themselves.

The complaint also states that Albuquerque Fire supervisors, including Chief David Downey, have made sexually suggestive comments about her.

The trial for the lawsuit is scheduled to start in April in front of state District Judge Nan Nash.

“Here we are two months from trial and AFD can’t control its firefighters,” said Michael Cadigan, Parker’s attorney.

Downey said in a statement that the department will investigate Parker’s allegations and how department administrators handled them.

“The claims made by Ms. Parker’s attorney will be fully investigated as part of her lawsuit against the department,” he said.

The police were called to Fire Station 16, on Juan Tabo near Montgomery, on Wednesday to investigate the camera, APD spokesman Tanner Tixier said. It’s not clear if the camera ever recorded Parker and police didn’t release any more information about the call.

There was also a piece of fruit made to look like a female sex organ tacked to a door of Parker’s room.

“It’s either a threat or a joke that’s not funny or somebody was trying to film her,” Cadigan said.

Parker said there’s been a lot of backlash against her since she filed the lawsuit.

She said she wasn’t given enough time to recover from an on-the-job accident that injured her shoulder, and she said she hasn’t been considered for other positions with the fire department she was interested in.

“I’ve always gone into this saying I want it to be a better place for any future female firefighters … for the little girls who want to grow up to firefighters,” she said.
By Ryan Boetel / Journal Staff Writer

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February 13, 2015
Theft of Poulsbo firefighter jackets prompt warning to public to beware of potential impostor - WA

POULSBO — The Poulsbo Fire Department is concerned whomever stole two jackets and two hats might use them to get their hands on false donations or even access to a hospital where they can get drugs.

This, after a thief broke into a volunteer firefighter’s car Tuesday night parked outside his Kitsap County home.

“The center console had been completely gone through and the jacket was missing and inside the jacket pockets were two stalking caps with fire department logos on them as well, “ says Battalion Chief Kurt Krech.

Krech says normally firefighters don’t leave their gear in plain sight, but in this case the volunteer had two fire department issued coats on the passenger seat of his car.

“In this day and age, trying to gain access somewhere hospitals, nursing homes, anything along those lines, we’ve let all of our medical people in the area know,” says Krech.

If a firefighter randomly comes knocking at your door, the department has this advice: “Unless you’ve called somebody to come to your residence, I would be suspicious of somebody coming up to your door saying I’d like entry or we’re here to inspect. We don’t do that. You’re not going to have one showing up with just his coat on. They will have uniform pants, uniform boots, shirt and generally they will be with another person.”

If you have any information on this burglary, call 911.
by Jamie Tompkins / http://q13fox.com

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February 12, 2015
Three firefighters hurt, home destroyed in Rockville Centre blaze, officials say - NY


The Rockville Centre Fire Department, and numerous departments from surrounding communities, respond to a house fire on Long Beach Road in Rockville Centre
(Credit: Jim Staubitser)

Three firefighters were injured and a Rockville Centre home was destroyed by a Thursday morning blaze that started in the basement -- one of the hardest types of fires to put out, the village fire chief said.A woman inside had already escaped into the yard by the time the first firefighters from four departments arrived shortly after 9 a.m. at the South Long Beach Road home, said Rockville Centre Fire Chief John Thorp, who was the first on scene.

Flames were already raging out of three or four basement windows, he said, and they spread up through the voids between floors, a common construction in older homes.

"It really took off," Thorp said.

It also didn't help when two hydrants were frozen and that the fire was in the basement, which generally have limited access down a staircase or two, he said.

Precious minutes were lost when firefighters had to shovel snow off one hydrant and found that one and another frozen, the chief said.

"One of our members had to take a propane torch to one of the fire hydrants" to open it up, Thorp said.

One firefighter was burned on his neck in the basement, while another was overcome by the heat and smoke there, he said. A third was pulling down the burning ceiling when debris fell into his coat sleeve and burned his wrist, the chief said.

Thorp said basement fires are hard to battle not just because of access, but because ventilation below grade is bad, trapping the heat.

"You're crawling down the basement," Thorp said. "You can't even see a hand in front of your face."

All three injured firefighters are from the Rockville Centre department, and they were treated and released from South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, officials said. Departments from Oceanside, East Rockaway and Lakeview responded, authorities said.

Two women lived at the house, and the woman inside at the time took shelter at a relative's home nearby, Thorp said. At least one cat died, and found on the first floor, he said.

The fire was not deemed suspicious and may have been accidental or started by an electrical problem, said James Hickman, head of fire investigations for the Nassau County Fire Marshal's office.

"The whole house is destroyed," Thorp said. "They're going to have to level the house."
firefighterclosecalls.com

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February 12, 2015
Information passed along
Funds for SAFER, AFG, USFA Stalled in Senate DC

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As Congress prepares to head out of town for Presidents’ Day recess, funding for fire grant programs remains in limbo.

Included in the DHS bill that is stalled in the Senate is money for SAFER and AFG as well as the USFA.

The proposal calls for $680M, evenly split between SAFER and AFG, while the USFA is slated to receive $44M.

Delays in funding the programs are not new, said David Finger, chief of legislative and regulatory affairs at the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC).

“Right now, we’re about nine months behind in the 2014 program,” he said, adding that stalls are commonplace.

A peer review committee -- comprised of firefighters from across the nation -- wrapped up work on reviewing AFG applications in January. So, awards won’t be announced for a few months.

“Firefighters depend on the funds to help upgrade their equipment to enhance their readiness,” Finger said.

The SAFER application period – for 2014 grants – is open now through 5 p.m. March 6.

While the House has passed its version of the DHS funding plan, the Senate has not. In the past few days, there has been talk of a continuing resolution that would prevent a shutdown of homeland security agencies.

“We’re advocating for full year funding as everyone else is…”

President Obama’s new budget – released last week – calls for reducing SAFER and AFG by $5M each, while the USFA would see a $2.5M cut.

Finger said the fire service organizations will be lobbying the need for the funds with the Congressional Fire Service Caucus. But, their work at present is to get the Senate to pass the current bill.

As the impasse continues, he added for departments that need the money it’s making a difficult situation worse.
by Susan Nicol On Feb 12, 2015 / Source: Firehouse.com News

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February 12, 2015
Ambulance Involved in Fatal Crash - WI

The Marinette County Sheriff’s Office has released the name of a woman killed in a crash involving a car and an ambulance.

Seventy-six-year-old Norita A. Gifford of Peshtigo was killed when her car pulled onto Highway 41 in the Town of Peshtigo and struck an ambulance with three people on board. Gifford’s dog was also killed.

The ambulance was traveling from the Escanaba area and going south. It wasn’t in emergency mode, and didn’t have its lights or sirens on.

After the impact, the ambulance traveled across the northbound lanes of Highway 41 and ended up on railroad tracks. The car ended up in the northbound lanes of 41.

The driver of the ambulance, 57-year-old Thomas Bell Jr. of Escanaba, was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Ambulance attendant Andrew J. Metzler of Escanaba was treated for injuries and released.

Authorities are not releasing the name of a female patient in the ambulance. She was taken to a Green Bay hospital.

A train that was seen on the tracks near the ambulance was not involved in the crash. The train crew was alerted and stopped in Marinette, but law enforcement asked the train to pull up closer to the accident scene to help clear some crossings.

A stretch of Highway 41 was closed for almost four hours. Lanes reopened after 2:30 p.m.

The crash remains under investigation.
By Rhonda Roberts / http://wbay.com

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February 12, 2015
Information passed along
Responders Train to Rescue Shooting Victims Faster - FL

Two men in camouflage storm into the Sunrise Cinemas in Riverfront, head to different theaters filled with moviegoers, and begin shooting.

Moviegoers lay on the floor, screaming in pain as noise and smoke fill the air. Some can't move from their chairs.

"Help me, help me!" one woman screams. "I need help."

But the victims -- actually volunteers from Fort Lauderdale's Community Emergency Response Team -- weren't hurt.

The scene played out this week as part of a joint training exercise between the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department to practice a new procedure that allows firefighters to get to patients quicker and stop the bleeding as soon as possible.

"Before, we would stage somewhere away from the shooting scene and have to wait until we got the all-clear from police," said Timothy Heiser, deputy chief of the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department. "This changes everything."

The department recently spent about $100,000 on 112 vest and helmet sets to better prepare for active-shooter situations. Heiser cited recent mass shootings, including Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut and a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in needing to be ready for the worst.

Fort Lauderdale is one to the first departments in South Florida to buy special gear for all of its firefighters and come up with a new standard operating procedure. Other department have started conversations about protecting their firefighters in shooting scenarios.

Most departments -- including Miami-Dade, Miami and Hialeah -- have SWAT medics, firefighters who are trained to handle active situations, but not equipment for everyone. Coral Gables Lt. David Perez said a draft procedure is in place and the department has purchased nine sets of protective equipment for rescue crews.

"We did it in abundance of caution," he said. "We saw what was going on in the nation and we wanted to be prepared."

Mike Jachles, spokesman for the Broward Sheriff's Fire Rescue, said his department has bought a cache of gear for each of the six battalion chiefs to carry in their cars for emergency situations. The push for "tactical medicine," Jachles said, has been under the leadership of the Fire Chiefs Association of Broward County. The association has been working on a countywide protocol fort active shooting incidents.

"The old school of thought was fire-rescue would stage, but that is not the mindset of tactical medicine," he said. The goal is to save lives, where every minute counts and we need to ensure the safety of the first responders."

The International Association of Fire Fighters, a union based in Washington, encourages standard procedures to deal with "an attack by radicals armed with weapons in public areas, such as schools, shopping malls, churches or any other locations where people congregate."

On Wednesday, the Fort Lauderdale paramedics wore their protective equipment and entered the long-shuttered theater with police officers before the shooters -- firing blanks for the exercise -- were apprehended.

Capt. Dana Swisher, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department's SWAT commander, explained before the exercise that police "will provide the security," while the paramedics "try to save the victims."

Wearing vests and pointing their guns, police entered theater No. 6 and quickly determined the shooters had left that particular area -- even though the sounds of gunfire could still be heard. Officers escorted the paramedics in, who quickly tagged their victims by color, depending on their injuries.

DeAnna Greenlaw, spokeswoman for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, said the goal is to "eliminate the threat."

Using new, lighter stretchers, the paramedics were able to carry a couple of wounded people out of the theater at 300 SW First Ave.

The victims were then put in rescue vehicles and taken to the "hospital" -- which was actually just around the corner.

Heiser said training with police helps firefighters practice communication and prepare for tragic scenarios.

"You never know when things like this are going to happen," the deputy chief said. "So you do your best to be prepared. That's all you can do."
Carli Teproff On Feb 11, 2015 / Source: The Miami Herald

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February 12, 2015
Fire truck collides with vehicle at 228th and 44th intersection Wednesday afternoon - WA


A Snohomish County Fire District 1 truck collided with a car Wednesday afternoon at the intersection of 228th St. SW. and 44th Ave. W.
(Photos by Doug Petrowski)

Two firefighters and a third person were hurt late Wednesday afternoon in a collision between a Snohomish County Fire District 1 fire truck and a passenger car at the intersection of Cedar Way/44th Avenue West and 228th Street SW in Mountlake Terrace.

All three persons were transported to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

Fire District 1 Engine No. 19 was traveling westbound on 228th Street in response to a 911 call in Mountlake Terrace at 4:24 p.m. when it collided with a late model blue Volvo station wagon that had been traveling southbound on Cedar Way/44th Avenue West.

The 91-year-old female driver of the 1990 Volvo, Mary McFarland of Mountlake Terrace, was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. “She was not complaining of anything, but for safety sake that’s what they did,” said Mountlake Terrace Police Department Commander Doug Hansen.

The 54-year-old firefighter driving the engine, Steven Barnes of Brier, was transported to Providence Medical Center in Everett..

Hansen said the fire engine had both its sirens and lights on as it approached the busy intersection. “All he remembers is a blue blur coming through the intersection,” Hansen said concerning what the fire engine driver had said following the crash.

Summer Willoughby was working at Tina’s Hair Salon and Tanning at the time of the accident, heard the approaching fire engine siren and turned to look at the intersection through the windows of the store just in time to view the scene. “To me it looked like she was trying to beat the light. She was going really fast,” Willoughby said of the Volvo driver.

Willoughby also said the stoplight was red for southbound Cedar Way/44th Avenue West at the time of the collision. “It was definitely red when she was going through it,” she said.

Willoughby also noted that traffic was heavy at the time of the accident, and that the crash almost involved a third vehicle. “He actually slammed his car in reverse so that he wouldn’t get hit,” she said.

Law enforcement personnel from the Washington State Patrol began arriving at the scene of the accident about 5 p.m. to begin their investigation into the crash.

The intersection is heavily-traveled, especially during morning and evening commute hours, as Cedar Way-44th Avenue West is a major north-south arterial through the east half of Mountlake Terrace, while 228th Street SW is used by many commuting between I-5 and Brier. Wednesday’s accident and the ensuing investigation blocked the intersection for hours, hindering traffic through the area as Mountlake Terrace police put up road blocks and redirected drivers through neighboring streets and the parking lot of the Cedar Plaza shopping center.
By Doug Petrowski / http://mltnews.com

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February 12, 2015
Man arrested for using fire truck to get inside apartment during fire - GA

ATLANTA — In the chaos of a raging fire at a southwest Atlanta apartment fire, police say a man was arrested after using a fire truck ladder to get inside of a unit.

The fire started around 12:15 a.m. Thursday at the Lakewood Forrest apartments in Hapeville. The fire destroyed eight units of the complex.

"it was very chaotic. [The] only thing I seen was a whole bunch of smoke and people just crying, hoping to get out,” said resident Michelle Hamilton.

Neighbors alerted other residents to the fire, including a mother with three kids, ages 4, 5 and 9. They escaped unharmed.

In the chaos, once firefighters extended a ladder to a second floor window, they say a man climbed up it and went back inside an apartment.

"There was someone climbing up a ladder. We were able to have police get that individual and take him out of the hot zone,” said Atlanta Fire Battalion Chief Gregory Favors.

It was unclear what he was going after, but Atlanta police arrested him after climbing down and took him to jail.

The American Red Cross says it is assisting 21 victims of the fire.
wsbtv.com

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February 12, 2015
Boynton Beach firefighters using out-of-date equipment, says deputy chief - FL


(VIDEO BY WPTV)

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - When you're in trouble, would you want firefighters coming to help you with equipment that's out of date?

If you live in Boynton Beach, your department says it's something it deals with on every call it goes out on.

Deputy Chief Greg Hoggat with the Boynton Beach Fire Department says his firefighters are working with their hands tied when it comes to some of their equipment.

Specifically they’re having problems with airpacks and thermal cameras that are out of date.

He says firefighters go into calls wondering if the batteries on the cameras they use to find victims will last long enough to get the job done.

The department wants to make changes before it's too late, so they’re applying for a $1 million grant.

Hoggart said he doesn’t want the problem to result in people getting hurt.

"When the time comes (and they need help), they dial 911. They want to know the agency that is coming to serve them is there with the best equipment, the best training to handle their emergency in the best time frame as possible," said Deputy Chief Greg Hoggat of Boynton Beach Fire Rescue.

The department applied for the grant last year and didn't get it.

Hoggat said if they don't get it again this year, the department will have to look to the city for extra tax dollars to solve the problem.

The money is handed out in rounds and it's not clear when the fire department will hear back on whether they receive the needed funding.
By Chris Stewart / wptv.com

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February 12, 2015
Information passed along
How safe are U.S. fire training companies?

The recent death of a firefighter trainee during an ice-rescue exercise conducted by a private training company in Canada has prompted calls for industry regulations in that country. Critics say that training not conducted or authorized by a fire department does not have to adhere to the same safety standards.

The training exercise, which claimed the life of trainee Adam Brunt after he became trapped under ice for about 15 minutes, was not the first fatal incident the Toronto-area company has dealt with. In 2010, the company’s owner was acquitted after being charged in the death of a volunteer firefighter during a similar exercise.

And, although this incident happened outside the U.S., it doesn’t mean we are exempt from similar problems happening in our backyard.

Dalan Zartman, a training expert, regular FireRescue1 contributor and owner of Rescue Methods, a privately-owned training company, opened up about how these programs should be delivered in the United States.

"Throughout the U.S., there are many private training companies that are not regulated and may be used at the discretion of the client," Zartman said.

Instead of throwing these students in headfirst, Zartman recommended that students progress from environments with as little risk as possible to those with significant risk management.

"This problem of unreliable training and a lack of accountability is most prevalent in private training companies that lack oversight or standard compliance," he said. "These companies make their own rules and do not come under the auspice of a governing authority."

One of the criticisms coming out of Canada is that those hoping to become firefighters are turning to unregulated private-company training to bolster their resumes.

"To minimize risk without compromising realism, most U.S. training models require that students would learn their skill sets on the ground and progressively build towards applying those skill sets on a static body of water," he said of the incident in Canada. "If the client required that a swift-water application be used for ice training, a waiver would have to be signed acknowledging the inherent risks of ice rescue operations on moving water.

"Parameters would be established limiting the acceptable training current to 1 knot, and a certified dive team would be required in a ready position. It goes without saying that rescuers and students would follow the previously mentioned progression model and remain on tag lines at all times with adequate retrieval measures in place. This would be an example of minimizing the risk in a high-risk environment."

Zartman recommended clients look for these eight components when choosing a private training company.

1. It should operate under the auspices of a regulatory agency, such as university, government agencies or a membership-based professional community.
2. It must have well-documented administrative components like curriculum, skill sheets, student manuals and training procedures.
3. It must have administrative components and hands-on deliverables that comply with or exceed NFPA, OSHA and FEMA guidelines.
4. All reputable training companies will have both insurance and legal waivers.
5. It must have a mechanism for retaining student records.
6. Certified instructors are imperative.
7. It should have an ample volume of reference lists and course evaluation history.
8. It should provide training proposals that offer an appropriate blend and progression of limited risk with realism.

These components are important in helping ensure that students who decide to take privately operated safety courses are not putting themselves in danger.

"As a swift water and ice rescue technician, there would have to be extremely rare and compelling indications of a savable victim for me to risk a go rescue involving swift water and ice," he said. As a public safety diver, the risk/benefit narrows even further. As an instructor and owner of a private training company, the risk would be unacceptable.

"This is a tremendous tragedy and we grieve for our Canadian brothers and sisters. We all need to continue to improve our pursuit of providing challenging training without sacrificing the safety and welfare of the student."
By Sarah Calams / FireRescue1 Staff

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February 12, 2015
Newfield Fire Co. threatens to 'walk out,' take gear - NJ

A custody battle over firefighting gear is brewing in Newfield, where a volunteer company's future is uncertain.

The square-mile borough will not go without fire protection, according to Gloucester County public safety officials.

Litigation between council and the fire company ended last month when the fire department lost an appeal in state court.

"We did not close the department down. We did not stop them from getting calls from fires," said Mayor Donald Sullivan.

"I really hope not everybody walks out the door."

The fire company sued the borough two years ago, challenging an ordinance that gave council control over fire company membership.

Under the ordinance, council members removed Fire Chief Bill Mason with adequate notice and a hearing. Fire company members voted to reinstate Mason as chief one day after his dismissal, but that action is invalid under the ordinance.

An appellate panel last week upheld a Superior Court judge's ruling in the borough's favor, noting the department must accept the ordinance "if it seeks to continue its role as the designated municipal entity."

The fire department's attorney, Anthony Buonadonna, indicated Tuesday firefighters will walk out and take their gear with them, according to borough solicitor John Eastlack.

Multiple requests for comment Wednesday were not returned by Mason or Buonadonna.

Forest Grove and Malaga volunteer fire departments, Newfield's mutual aid partners in neighboring Franklin Township, are expected to respond to all Newfield fire company calls, according to Gloucester County Emergency Management Director Tom Butts.

When a borough fire call comes in, Newfield, Forest Grove and Malaga fire departments will be dispatched simultaneously in case Newfield's firefighters don't show up, according to Butts.

Newfield's firefighters have not missed a call to date, Butts added.

The county emergency management office, which includes the county fire coordinator, learned of borough-fire company tensions last month when Mason made an unauthorized decision to end a mutual aid relationship with Forest Grove.

The county's fire coordinator Dennis Kappler contacted the borough about the mutual aid switch, calling it a "potential safety hazard."

Forest Grove is the closest fire department to Newfield, according to Kappler's Jan. 23 letter to the borough.

"There is a mutual aid plan in place. It was altered, then returned to its original form," Butts noted.

"(Kappler's) concern is the residents of Newfield. He wants to make sure if there is an issue, it's properly responded to."

The three-department dispatch may be a temporary solution. The borough has not yet weighed its permanent options.

"We want a fire company in our town. We are going to have a fire company in our town," Sullivan said.

"If it means they all leave, we'll start over. We have people who want to join right now ... people who would be a major asset to the town."

Council meets Thursday night.

"If the borough of Newfield Fire Company 1 is doing exactly what their lawyer said and is going to walk out, we're going to have to start those discussions," Eastlack said.

Except in cases of fire calls, firefighters will not be permitted inside the firehouse until all of the gear is inventoried, Eastlack said, claiming some items may be borough-owned.

"If they abide by the ordinance, we are happy to have them fight fires for us."
Carly Q. Romalino, Courier-Post

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February 12, 2015
Saginaw County firefighter's stolen car found in snowbank, fire gear missing - MI

OWOSSO, MI -- Rick Beeler says he left his car running at an Owosso gas station when he ran inside to pick up a cappuccino.

His car was gone by the time he got back.

A thief was captured on the Speedway's security cameras Sunday, Feb. 8, about 10:40 p.m., getting in the car and speeding off.

The cashier called 911 and reported the Crown Victoria stolen.

Beeler, assistant fire chief at the Tri-Township Fire Department in southern Saginaw County, said investigators sent a signal to the car's dispatch radio, which Beeler uses to alert him of fire calls, and determined the car was still in Shiawassee County.

They recovered the car Monday afternoon after a business owner spotted the vehicle in a snowbank at a business in east Owosso. It was stuck after running over a parking block, Beeler said.

The thief is still on the loose, Beeler said.

Valuables including firefighting gear, a dispatch radio and laptop holding lesson plans and other documents related to the department are missing, Beeler said.

"It's been a nightmare," he said about dealing with the aftermath of the theft.

"Nothing is safe anymore, locked or unlocked," he said. "People don't respect other people's property.

"They had the audacity to slice all the wiring on my emergency lighting I had on the car," he said.

Beeler has worked as a dispatcher for the Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division for seven years and has been a member of the Tri-Township Fire Department for 24 years.

He is currently borrowing some gear so he can continue to do his job as a firefighter.

He describes his missing gear as:

Yellow woodland firefighting gear including coat, pants and boots.

A grey Toshiba A-665 laptop containing policies, procedures and job description documents for the fire department and notes for a class he is scheduled to teach in February. The laptop has a "Super Dad" sticker on it.

A black Motorola XTS 2500 radio that was purchased by the fire department and is worth between $2,000 and $3,000. The radio has a white paint scrape on the speaker.
By Brad Devereaux | bdeverea@mlive.com

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February 12, 2015
LODD:
Fire Lt. Randy Parker killed, 5 firefighters hurt in collapse - CT

(The Last Call - RIP)


(41NBC)

One firefighter died and five others were injured in a house fire in south Macon on Wednesday night.

Bibb County coroner Leon Jones said Randy Parker, age 46, was pronounced dead at Medical Center-Navicent Health. Jones said Parker suffered burns and smoke inhalation.

Three firefighters will be taken to the Augusta Burn Center.

One is Steven Stafford, age 59, who's in critical condition and being airlifted.

Two others will be taken later by ground vehicles. They are Farrell Cromer, age 46, and Adam Mitchie, age 34.

A county news release says two of the firefighters are being sent to Augusta for smoke inhalation and a third for smoke inhalation and burns on his hand.

Two more Macon Bibb firefighters remain at the Medical Center-Navicent Health.

They are Matt Couey, age 27, and Ben Bollinger, who is 28. They are both in stable condition. The county says they will remain in the hospital "for monitoring."

The county news release says the firefighters were injured when a floor collapsed inside the home at 2320 Fairview Drive. That's off Rocky Creek Road.

One of those firefighters was trapped "for a significant amount of time," according to the news release.

The house caught fire just before 6 p.m.

The people inside the house escaped safely.

So far, there's no word on the cause.

The county describes the building as a single-story brick home.

13WMAZ's Kristen Swilley spoke to Gordon Hal of Macon, who said he was driving by the home around 6 p.m., saw flames shooting through the roof and called 911.

Hall said he later saw a man and a woman leave the home, apparently uninjured.

Macon-Bibb Fire Chief Marvin Riggins and Mayor Robert Reichert were at the fire scene.

Here is the county news release on the fire:

Fairview Drive House Fire Update

At 5:46 p.m., the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department responded to a fire a 2320 Fairview Drive off of Rocky Creek Road. It was a single story brick structure that was fully involved by the time the first company arrived at 5:51.

The initial company responding included two engines, two aerials, a Battalion Chief, and a rescue unit. Upon arrival, it was noted all occupants of the structure were already out of the house.

The initial unit entered the structure and began fire suppression measures. At 6:43, the unit was inside the front door when the floor collapsed, and several firefighters fell into the basement.

A Code Red was initiated, meaning an immediate evacuation happened and rescue efforts began.

Six officers were transported to Navicent Health, including one that had been trapped for a significant amount of time.

It is with great sadness that we say Lieutenant Randy Parker passed away in the line of duty tonight, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, loved ones, and friends. He is an officer that served our community for more than 20 years.

Three officers are being transported to the Augusta Burn Center, two for smoke inhalation and one for burns on his hand and smoke inhalation. Two other officers remain at Navicent Health for monitoring.

Tonight, we ask our entire community to keep Lieutenant Parker's and the families of our other officers injured tonight in your thoughts and prayers. Also please reach out to their crew members and friends as this is a tragedy which impacts all of us.

At this time, we will not be releasing the other officers' names as we contact families and they continue treatment.
13WMAZ Staff

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February 11, 2015
2 Warren firefighters hurt in suspicious fire - MI


The fire broke out at about 2 a.m. Tuesday on Meadow Street just west of Van Dyke.
(Photo: David Coates / The Detroit News)

Warren — Officials have concluded that a fire that injured two firefighters at a vacant home early Wednesday morning is suspicious in origin.

“We don’t have a cause yet but we have determined that it’s suspicious at this time,” Warren Fire Chief David Frederick said. “The fire looks like it might have been started in numerous places in the home.”

According to Frederick, two firefighters were injured fighting the 2 a.m. blaze when one fell off a ladder and the other fell off a roof of the home, located in the 7000 block of Meadow, just west of Van Dyke.

“Both were taken to a local hospital where they were treated and released,” Frederick said. “They will be back to work next week.”

On Tuesday, Warren police were called to the home, which is undergoing renovations, on reports of a break-in in which a water heater and furnace were stolen.
Tom Greenwood, The Detroit News

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February 11, 2015
4 firefighters hurt in Calif. blaze on eastern slope of Sierra Nevada - CA

SWALL MEADOWS, Calif. — Four firefighters were injured battling a wind-driven wildfire that ravaged communities along the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada and destroyed 40 homes in an area that could be threatened by more wildfires as the state enters its fourth year of drought.

As the fire headed into a fourth day Monday, more than 200 people remained under orders to stay away from their homes in Swall Meadows and nearby Paradise, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Capt. Liz Brown said.

The firefighters' injuries were minor, she said.

Rain moved in during the last few days, but it hasn't been enough to put out the fire. A three-year drought across California has made for extremely dry timber brush that fueled the flames and pushed them all the way up the Sierra slopes to the snow line of 8,000 feet, she said.

A small amount of rain can actually make things worse, Brown said. “When the rain comes and a little grass grows and dries up, it becomes fire kindling,” she said.

The fire started Friday afternoon near a highway on the border of Inyo and Mono counties. It blew up when 50 to 75 mph wind whipped through wooded areas near the two communities for about three hours, Brown said.

Quick evacuations made getting the firefighting started easier. “We are so grateful (people) left when we asked them to,” Brown said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, and authorities don't yet have a tally of the damage, Brown said.

Firefighters have contained about 85 percent of the 11-square-mile blaze that has charred about 7,000 acres.
By The Associated Press

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February 11, 2015
2 firefighters hurt in Warren house fire - MI

WARREN, Mich. - Two Warren firefighters are recovering after being hurt early Wednesday morning in a house fire.

The fire started just before 2 a.m. on Meadow Avenue, which is near Van Dyke and Warren. No one was inside the home.

Battalion Chief Don Tharrett said the stubborn conditions of fire made it hard for the crews to extinguish it.

“It just wouldn’t go out. This house has a lot of small rooms … little confined spaces where the fire gets in. It’s just hard to get to," he said.

One firefighter fell from a ladder, another fell through a floor.

The firefighters have since been released from the hospital.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but sources said accelerants were found in the home and the suspected arson could be tied to a dispute between a landlord and tenant.
Local 4 - ClickOnDetroit news staff

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February 11, 2015
Rochester Firefighters Contend with Snow at House Fire - NY

The Rochester (NY) Fire Department responded to a report of a house fire at 757 Chili Avenue at a little before 19:00 hours Tuesday evening. The first-arriving truck company found heavy fire and smoke emitting from the first floor of a 2.5-story dwelling.

After making entry, firefighters found a basement fire well involved extending into the first floor by several holes already burned through. The fire eventually made it into the second floor.

The house is untenable and two occupants were not injured in the house that was divided into two apartments. An extra engine company was called to the scene for staffing, according to acting Deputy Chief Rick Yackel.

The area has seen two heavy snowfalls recently, with many hydrants buried. It took about 45 minutes to bring the fire under control. Chief Yackel estimated at least an hour in overhaul to be completed. One of the main roads that runs through the west side of the city was closed for the duration.

One firefighter sustained a minor injury, but went back to work after being treated.
By John Spaulding / fireengineering.com

See photos from this incident

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February 11, 2015
LODD:
Medic Ralph Oswald Collapses, Dies While Aiding Patient - NY
(The Last Call - RIP)

A New York paramedic collapsed Monday while providing patient care.

Hampton Bays Vol. Ambulance Corps Medic Ralph Oswald was 64.

Shortly before 9 a.m., he was providing care to a patient when he told his colleagues he was experiencing distress.

Moments later, he was in cardiac arrest, HBVA officials said in a release.

Despite efforts of his crew, he was pronounced dead at Southampton Hospital.

Oswald was featured by Joy Bauer on The Today Show for his weight loss. See the story.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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February 11, 2015
Bristow fire chief injured after tanker truck explosion - OK

BRISTOW — The Bristow fire chief is recovering in the hospital after a tanker truck he was working on exploded Tuesday.

About 2 p.m., Tuesday Fire Chief David McSpadden thought he smelled battery acid leaking from beneath the passenger seat of a newly renovated tanker truck, firefighter Mike Siler said.

After McSpadden lifted the seat to investigate the smell, the truck exploded.

“It was just a freak accident,” Siler said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

McSpadden suffered a broken neck, jaw, damage to his eye sockets and several burns, Siler said. He was taken to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa and underwent surgery.

He was in fair condition Wednesday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The truck hadn’t been used since it was donated to the fire station by another government agency a few years ago, Siler said.
FROM STAFF REPORTS / http://newsok.com

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February 11, 2015
Fire truck slides into ditch; no injuries - DE


A Felton Fire Company truck overturned Tuesday morning on Sandtown Road near Felton as freezing temperatures and rain-slickened roadways combined to cause slippery and hazardous driving conditions.
(Submitted photo/Rodney Simons)

FELTON — No injuries were reported after a Felton Community Fire Company rescue truck slid into a ditch due to icy conditions Tuesday.

It was passing a crash site en route to another incident two miles farther down Sandtown Road when the mishap occurred at 6:35 a.m., officials said.

Capt. Rodney Simons said he was one of six firefighters in the truck that passed by at 10-to-15 mph before it began to slide into a ditch and then overturned on its side.

A wrecker was pulling a tractor-trailer out of a ditch after it hit a pole when the Felton rescue truck traveled slowly past and then slid, Capt. Simons said.

Fortunately, Capt. Simons said, all the occupants were wearing seat belts and equipment was secured. Some soreness was reported by firefighters after the crash, he said.

Two wreckers arrived and removed the rescue truck after about 2 to 2½ hours, Capt. Simons said.

The rescue truck was taken back to the fire station for evaluation. Capt. Simons said there was cosmetic damage, and the truck would be checked for further damage.

Earlier, Felton firefighters responded to a minor crash on Canterbury Road caused due to the ice. The call logged in at 5:36 a.m.

“It was a very minor crash due to the ice,” Capt. Simons said.

Delaware State Police said that from before 4:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., troopers responded to 70 property damage crashes in Kent County, including nine with injuries.

Sussex County had 17 property damage crashes, with one personal injury crash.

In New Castle County, there were eight property crashes, one personal injury crash, including a fatality in Bear. Kent County crashes largely were scattered throughout secondary roads, authorities said.

Delaware Department of Transportation road crews began reporting in at 4 a.m. in Kent County to treat roads with salt. Spokesman Jim Westhoff said ice storms are challenging due to the rain that precedes them, washing away any pre-treated salt.

“Crews were waiting with salt for the moment that freezing began, so they could begin putting it on the roadways,” Mr. Westhoff said.

Unfortunately, accidents occurred throughout the state.

“Our crews take it very seriously,” Mr. Westhoff said. “It is our job to keep the roads safe, and any time an accident occurs, especially a fatal, it affects us.

“ ... Despite all the countless hours we put into it, there are still going to be some slick areas.”

Dangerous road conditions due to ice closed schools in Kent and Sussex counties Tuesday.

The school district closures included Caesar Rodney, Capital, Lake Forest, Laurel, Milford, Campus Community, Polytech, Positive Outcomes, Providence Creek Academy, Seaford, Sussex Tech, Smyrna and Woodbridge.

In Middletown, Appoquinimink School District schools were closed, while MOT Charter School and St. Georges Tech both opened two hours late.
By Craig Anderson / Delaware State News

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February 09, 2015
Ambulance Burns at Antelope Metro Fire Station - CA

Firefighters at Station 25 in Antelope were just feet away from their next call Monday morning, when it turned out to be at their own Metro Fire station.

Five firefighters raced into action just before 4 a.m. as their ambulance was in flames.

Parked next to it was their fire truck, which posed a bit of a hurdle.

Their firefighting equipment was in the area on fire.

Dispatchers called for help. The fire was quickly contained to the truck with no real damage to the station, and no one was injured.
http://fox40.com

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February 09, 2015
Information passed along
Firefighter proves cancer was job-related - AZ

SEDONA, Ariz. — It had been eight months since Travis Powell was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia, a cancer of the blood, when he got a call. The woman on the other end of the line asked him if he was sitting down. After months of waiting, Powell was told that his worker’s compensation benefits claim had been approved.

The largest provider of worker’s compensation insurance in the state had essentially affirmed that Powell's cancer had indeed been caused by the almost 20 years he has spent fighting fires for the Sedona and Chino Valley fire districts.

His case puts a clear and undeniable face to a growing body of research uncovering the ties between firefighters and heightened cancer risk. An oft-cited 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control found that firefighters are more likely to develop respiratory, digestive and urinary system cancers and had rates of mesothelioma, cancer that affects organ linings, two times greater than the overall population.
AZ Daily Sun

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February 08, 2015
Ambulance involved in serious crash on Brownsboro Road - KY


Yellow ambulance involved in accident

Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) -There was a serious crash involving first responders on Brownsboro Road--Highway 22--in eastern Jefferson County.

SKY11 was over the scene around 12:45 p.m. Friday.

From SKY11 you could see a blue car had crashed into a Yellow Ambulance. It happened on Brownsboro near the Gene Snyder freeway.

We're told one person in the ambulance had to be rescued.

From SKY11 the patient was taken out of the crashed ambulance and moved to another.

There is no word on the extent of any injuries.
WHAS11

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February 08, 2015
Ambulance Involved in Crash Near Zeigler - IL

FRANKLIN CO. -- A three-vehicle collision shut down Route 148 near of Zeigler Friday night.

Authorities got the call just before 11 p.m. Friday night. The Franklin County Sheriff says a 2005 Toyota ran a stop sign and crossed into the path of the Jackson County Ambulance.The Toyota was then pushed into the northbound lane of Route 148, where it was hit by a 1998 Buick.

The driver of the Buick was airlifted to an Evansville Hospital with serious injuries. Two others were taken to the Herrin hospital.

The accident is still under investigation. However, the driver of the Toyota has been cited and could face additional charges.
By WSIL Manager

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February 08, 2015
LODD:
Firefighter Garry Rose collapses on medical run - WV

(The Last Call - RIP)

McMECHEN, W.Va. — Long-serving McMechen volunteer firefighter Garry Rose, 67, collapsed and died at the hospital Friday while responding to a medical emergency. Heart attack is the believed cause of death.

According to the McMechen Volunteer Fire Department's website, Firefighter Rose served as a lieutenant, safety officer and trustee. He was the junior fire department advisor, a member of Project Life Saver, the search-and-rescue team, and a member of the first McMechen VFD squad to receive the Stork Award.

Firefighter Rose was also an active volunteer with several sports clubs, the Special Olympics, and a local soup kitchen.

He is survived by his wife, two daughters and five grandsons.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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February 08, 2015
HEMSI ambulance station destroyed by fire - AL

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Monrovia, Harvest and Toney Fire Departments responded to a fire at a HEMSI ambulance station early Saturday morning.

The fire happened around 2 a.m. and was located on the 1800 block of Jeff Road.

The building was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on the scene.

No HEMSI workers were at the station at the time because they were responding to other emergency calls.

There were no injuries involved in the fire.

Officials said that the building is a total loss. HEMSI officials are looking for a place to house the ambulance.

No ambulance services will be disrupted.
By WAFF.com Staff

SLIDESHOW: Fire guts HEMSI station

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February 07, 2015
Fire truck and SUV collide in Jamaica, Queens; 5 injured - NY

JAMAICA (WABC) -- Five people were injured after a fire truck and an SUV collided in Queens.

It happened at the intersection of Queens Boulevard and Hillside Avenue in Jamaica.

Three people were taken to Jamaica Hospital with serious injuries.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries.

It is not yet known whether the firefighters were responding to an emergency.
WABC

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February 07, 2015
Three Hurt in Collision with Parked Honolulu Fire Truck - HI

Three people were injured when their pickup crashed into a fire truck that was parked on Lusitana Street at an emergency scene Thursday.

The crew from Honolulu Engine 1 was walking back to their apparatus, after tending to a patient at a medical building, when the crash occurred, the Star-Advertiser reports.

The firefighters came to the aid of the two men and woman inside the pickup.

Engine 1's apparatus was taken out of service, Fire Capt. David Jenkins told the newspaper.
Source: Firehouse.com News

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February 07, 2015
Crews battle large fire on Woodbine, firefighter injured - NY

Crews were battling a fire on Woodbine Avenue Friday night.

That fire broke out around 9:30 p.m. near Sawyer Street.

We're told a firefighter was hurt battling the blaze that lasted more than an hour and a half. Officials say firefighters had to dig out hydrants in the area which delayed their efforts.

There were initial reports of people trapped and firefighters had to search both floors to make sure everyone was accounted for. Luckily, all the residents were able to make it out safely. One resident and the firefighter that was injured were taken to the hospital. We're told the firefighter injured his back.

Crews want to remind residents the importance of digging out your fire hydrants.

The American Red Cross is assisting four adults and three children after the fire.
By: Amanda Ciavarri - @whec_aciavarri

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February 07, 2015
Firefighters from Perham area gather to mourn, honor one of their own - MN


John Merkins is remembered as a family man who loved the outdoors and helping others.
(Submitted photo)


A solemn Perham Fire Department pays its respects to John Merkins, an active-duty firefighter who died last week, by following his hearse on foot, in full gear, from Schoeneberger Funeral Home to Calvary Lutheran Church in Perham on Monday, before visitation. Merkins’ death is being investigated as a possible line of duty death.
(Eric Hendrickx / Forum News Service)

PERHAM, Minn. – For the first time in as long as anyone can remember, Perham has lost an active-duty firefighter whose passing is being investigated as a possible line of duty death.

Friends, family members and firefighters from around the community and the area gathered in Perham earlier this week to pay their respects to John Merkins, who had been with the Perham Fire and Rescue Department since 2006.

Merkins died Jan.28 at the age of 50.

Perham Mayor Tim Meehl, who has long been involved with the fire department, said Merkins died of a heart attack one day after fighting a fire at a Barrel O’ Fun facility.

“He was an easygoing guy, always saying everything would be OK,” Meehl said. “He loved his work, and looked to help everyone else out, yet always made time for his family.”

Meehl said Merkins’ death is being investigated as a possible line of duty death. A death may be considered as such when a firefighter dies within 24 hours of fighting a fire.

On Monday, a group of Perham firefighters led by Fire Chief Mark Schmidt paid their respects to Merkins by following the hearse on foot, in full gear, for a tribute walk from Schoeneberger Funeral Home to Calvary Lutheran Church, where the funeral took place on Tuesday.

Two firefighters remained with the casket overnight for a ceremonial “guarding of the casket.”

On Tuesday, firefighters from the area attended the funeral, with a flag folding ceremony at the grave site.

The special tribute ceremony was a first in Perham, Meehl said.

Perham firefighters kept their pagers off on Monday and Tuesday, with the Vergas volunteer department stepping in to respond to local calls.

“He was one of the best guys in the world if you ever needed help,” Greg Guck said. “And he would work 24 hours a day if you needed him to. There’s a million things I could say about him.”

Guck worked with Merkins at the R.D. Offutt Co. for many years. He said Merkins worked a lot on irrigation systems, “but did almost everything in the field and the shop,” including planting in the spring.

According to Merkins’ obituary, “Family was John’s most important priority. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, farming, being a firefighter and helping others.”

The obituary states that Merkins was born in Minneapolis in 1964. He graduated from Ada-Borup High School with the class of 1982, and then attended the University of Minnesota in Crookston.

Merkins married his wife, Gloria, in 1994 and they had three daughters: Susan Marie, Kimberly Ann, Elizabeth Alexis, and a stepdaughter, Cathy Villarreal.
By Eric Hendrickx and Elizabeth Huwe / Forum News Service

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February 07, 2015
FIRE DEPARTMENT RESPONDING SEMI-WATER TANKER CRASH - WA

Whatcom County (Washington) firefighters were taken to the hospital as a precaution early yesterday, when their responding water tanker crashed at a bend in the road.

Fire companies were called to North Fork Road, a long drive up a gravel road for a large fire in a roughly 30-by-40-foot outbuilding Friday morning. The 911 caller reported a propane tank had exploded near the building.

Cody James Hollibaugh, 25, an on-duty volunteer firefighter from Maple Falls, left the Welcome firehouse driving the apparatus, a 2010 Peterbilt semi tractor hauling a 3,000-gallon water tank. Another volunteer firefighter, Kendra Lee Hollibaugh, 18, was in the passenger seat. Moments after the tender crossed a bridge, the driver lost control to the left, then over corrected to the right at a slight bend, about a quarter-mile east of the fire station. The apparatus started to spin, then rolled over at least once as it crashed. The tank separated from the tractor, broke open and gushed water onto the road.

Both the truck and the water tank landed upright. FF Cody Hollibaugh had a broken nose, bruises and facial cuts; FF Kendra Hollibaugh had cuts to her face. An ambulance took them to a Bellingham hospital, where they were treated and released. Glad they are OK-the building was a total loss.
firefighterclosecalls.com

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February 07, 2015
Another car gets hosed - KY

The fire happened around 1:45 Saturday morning on Montavesta Road. Firefighters say the fire started near a water heater in the basement and then extended through a pipe chase and made its way up into the attic. By the time firefighters arrived smoke was already coming out of the home. The woman inside the home and her dogs were able to escape without injury.

Firefighters tell LEX 18 that a car was parked in front of the hydrant needed to extinguish the fire. Firefighters broke out the windows of the car and ran the hose through the car.
WLEX-TV

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February 07, 2015
NYC 911 Overhaul: $700M Over Budget and Years Behind - NY

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City's decade-long, multi-billion dollar effort to overhaul its 911 system is $700 million over budget and years behind schedule due to a series of mistakes made by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration, according to a Department of Investigation report.

The probe — which was ordered by Bloomberg's successor, Bill de Blasio, and released on Friday — found "persistent mismanagement" between 2004 and 2013 led to the cost overruns, delays and a project that remains unfinished.

"For years there was no central decision maker that would insist that all the agencies involved be on the same page and operate together," said Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters, in an interview about the report's findings.

"The people in charge of running the project failed to properly manage on a real close level the contractors and consultants they hired," Peters said. "And there was a real lack of transparency — we didn't have accurate reports on how the project was going and how much it was costing."

Former members of the Bloomberg administration disputed the findings.

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and the blackout that enveloped much of the Northeast in 2003 prompted the Bloomberg administration to commission a program to modernize the city's 911 system, which had suffered failures during each crisis.

The Bloomberg administration's plan was sweeping. It aimed to obtain better communication gear for first responders, streamline and safeguard the 911 call-taking and dispatch system, and merge the city's Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Service dispatching systems into a joint operation to be located at two secure centers.

The original plan was budgeted at $1.345 billion and set to be finished by September 2007. But it may not be fully finished until 2017 and costs have ballooned to $2.031 billion, according to the probe.

By 2012, the new call-taking software had been installed and one multi-agency dispatching center — known as Public Safety Answering Centers — was completed in downtown Brooklyn. But the second center being built in the Bronx is not fully operational. The fire department's computer-aided dispatch system also has not yet fully come online, according to the DOI report.

The probe did not discover any criminal behavior but laid the blame squarely at the feet of the Bloomberg administration. It said that the former mayor's team allowed private contractor costs to soar out of control and that it did not initially devote the needed oversight to a project of this scope. The report also suggests the former mayor's team attempted to keep news of the rising costs from the public.

Former members of the Bloomberg administration strongly pushed back against the investigation's findings.

They stressed that the modernization was badly overdue and pointed to the massive improvements to the system, including several layers of redundancy that could kick in during a crisis and the 911 system's ability to field 50,000 calls an hour, a dramatic increase. The officials also noted delays at the Bronx dispatching center were in part because the original venue for the center, in Queens, was later deemed unfit.

The officials also denied that the administration did not devote enough resources to the project, noting that former Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway was intimately involved with the details of the project. Holloway acknowledged that the project was "not without challenges" but insisted that the project "achieved all of its major objectives."

"The Bloomberg administration committed to and delivered a new, reliable and redundant 911 system that serves New Yorkers far better than the decrepit, fragmented systems it replaced," Holloway wrote in a report released in advance of DOI's findings.

Bloomberg's team also blamed a pair of contractors, Verizon and Hewlett-Packard Co., for delivering products that were faulty and behind schedule. Verizon later paid the city $50 million to compensate for the delay while HP paid $33 million in a settlement.
JONATHAN LEMIRE, Associated Press

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February 07, 2015
Controversy grips Glenwood Fire Department - IO

(Glenwood) -- Some Glenwood firefighters have left the department over an internal conflict between the firefighters, the city's fire association and Glenwood's ambulance service.

City officials confirmed to KMA News that eight volunteers firefighters have resigned in the past week. Though three of the firefighters are stepping down to accept jobs outside the community, officials say the other five quit following a Glenwood Fire Association meeting on Monday. Glenwood Fire Chief Butch Fidler tells KMA News the dispute involved control of the city's EMS services. He says some firefighters sought changes in the department's bylaws, shifting the ambulance service's management from the fire chief to another entity.

"In the Monday night meeting of the association," said Fidler, "we decided to table the bylaws, and seek an attorney's opinion on it. After that, there were a few attacks that went on back-and-forth between the EMS people and fire people. Ultimately, the fire people decided to resign because of it."

Jessie Lundvall is among the firefighters resigning following Monday's meeting. A five-year department veteran, Lundvall says city officials were made aware of issues involving the fire department back in 2013. She says the issues came to a head this week.

"During that time, those issues continued to fester," Lundvall said. "Within the department, there were personnel issues, leading up to the event where the resignations began. Those personnel issues became so significant that it forced these firefighters to decide whether they were going to remain as volunteer firefighters, or resign to protect themselves and their families."

While declining to specify the personnel issues, Lundvall claims the firefighters resigned because of personal attacks and lawsuit threats made against them. She says safety issues were also a factor in the dispute.

"Just making sure that we were compliant will all regulations," she said, "and all mandates brought forth by the state. Those were my greatest concerns--making sure we were doing the best job for our citizens as we could.

"You know, we love being there. We love serving our community, and doing the best job we could during that time," said Lundvall. "It was just the personnel issues that really drove the wedge. And forced us into making the decisions, which turned out to be eight people, nine people, leaving the department."

Scott Brown is paramedic supervisor for Glenwood's EMS. Brown says firefighters and fire association members wanted an EMT to take over the ambulance service's management. He says he questioned the move.

"I don't want to lessen their importance," said Brown. "The EMTS are very important, and very skilled in what they do. But, you can't manage an advanced level service with a basic EMT. You've got to have somebody that's familiar with protocols at the advanced level. You have to have somebody that's knowledgeable on state regulations, and state protocols, and somebody that's able to train at the advanced level you're providing care at."

Some Glenwood residents question whether this week's resignations have compromised the city's fire safety. Fidler says the 11 remaining firefighters are typically the most active in terms of fire call responses. He says other residents have expressed interest in becoming firefighters since the departures. The chief adds the city has mutual aid agreements with other area departments.

"We pull from Malvern, we pull from Pacific Junction, we pull from Oak Township and Silver City, if needed," said Fidler. "There are automatic pages for two departments on each structure fire. So, if Pacific Junction gets called to a structure fire, Glenwood is automatically paged, and vice versa. So, we've still got that backup coverage--not that I'm sitting here saying that's what I'm going to use, but that's what I've always used."

Glenwood City Administrator Brian Kissel says he and City Attorney Matt Woods will review city fire ordinances, department bylaws and rescue contracts in an attempt to settle the dispute. Despite the controversy, Kissel believes the city is still in good hands in terms of fire and emergency response.

"Our rescue squad and our fire department are top notch," Kissel said. "We've never had a complaint about either-or. And, a lot of cities look up to our department and our facility as a way to benchmark themselves."

Lundvall, meanwhile, says the city needs to focus on the safety of the citizens, and making sure they're protected.
Posted by Mike Peterson / kmaland.com

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February 07, 2015
Vandals Continue to Target Fire Station - AR

The Galla Rock fire chief is fed up after the fire station continues to be vandalized.
firehouse.com

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February 07, 2015
Information passed along
Patient Dies After Paramedics Delayed by Protest - CA

Paramedics took nearly a half hour to reach a stricken 62-year-old man, who later died, because they were told to wait for a police escort as a result of a protest over police brutality in downtown Berkeley, city records show.

It would have taken just a couple of minutes for Berkeley firefighters to drive from Station No. 2 on Berkeley Way to Alvin Henry Jones Jr., who had collapsed near an elevator at an apartment complex at 2175 Kittredge St. on the evening of Dec. 7.

But hundreds of people had gathered downtown to protest against police killings of unarmed black men in Missouri and New York.

Berkeley firefighters, following protocol, were instructed not to go directly to the scene. Instead, they were required to stay at the fire station and wait for police to accompany them, according to Fire Department records first released to the Berkeleyside website through a state Public Records Act request.

It was at least the second time in recent years that a protest in Berkeley caused a departure in emergency response in a case that ended with someone's death.

In 2012, Peter Cukor, 67, called police about an intruder on his property in the Berkeley hills, but no officers showed up before the stranger bludgeoned him to death. Police said they had been responding only to emergency calls while girding for what turned out to be a small Occupy march.

Cukor's family resolved a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city after police agreed to tell people calling for help that officers might be delayed.

Some protesters have said the cases reveal serious missteps by police and paramedics, with blame shifted to them in a bid to stifle their message.

In the December incident, Berkeley police had issued advisories stating that 500 to 600 people were marching downtown. "Traffic is heavy in the area, please avoid," one alert said.

"It was reported to the crews a large group of protesters were within a block of the call, and the medical response were to stage in quarters until a police escort to escort us to the call," said a Fire Department memo.

Although the 911 call about Jones --who had collapsed, and was having difficulty breathing --came in at 6:39 p.m., police didn't arrive at Station No. 2 until 7:03 p.m., around the time that other officers were monitoring protesters who were reaching police headquarters on Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

The tandem police and fire team didn't reach Jones until 7:07 p.m., far longer than the Fire Department's average response time of 5.5 minutes.

Police stayed on the scene "for protection" as paramedics reached Jones, who was "quickly brought to ambulance due to protest getting closer," the Fire Department memo said. A battalion chief told the ambulance crew that "immediate transport (was) needed due to volatile protest and scene safety."

Jones arrived at a hospital 52 minutes after the 911 call. He died two days later from natural causes, according to the Alameda County coroner.

The 911 call was placed a little more than an hour before paramedics were called to help a man who was hit by a hammer while trying to stop protesters looting the RadioShack store at Dwight Way and Shattuck Avenue in downtown Berkeley.

Protesters, angry about the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner -- and the use of tear gas by Berkeley police a day earlier -- would go on to smash the windows of other businesses, set fires, throw objects at police and climb onto Highway 24 in Oakland.

"In any situation where there's a potential for violence to a patient or to others, it's standard protocol to work with law enforcement agencies to make sure the scene is what we call 'secure' for firefighters and paramedics to enter," Berkeley Fire Chief Gil Dong said Thursday. "Until a scene is safe for people to enter, you don't risk another human life to save another human life."

The chief said there have been instances in which fire crews in Berkeley have been pelted with rocks and bottles, and that it would be inaccurate to assume firefighters would automatically be greeted by protesters "with open arms."
Henry Lee / Source: San Francisco Chronicle

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February 07, 2015
San Antonio firefighters find 11 prohibited exotic, poisonous reptiles during house fire - TX


Firefighters found several snakes and other exotic reptiles during a small house fire in the 11000 block of Gran Vista Street on Friday.
(Photos By Courtesy photo/Animal Care Services)

SAN ANTONIO — Firefighters responding to a small electrical fire early Friday morning on the Northwest Side discovered nearly a dozen prohibited reptiles inside a burning home.

A resident living at a home in the 11000 block of Gran Vista Street was housing two dogs and 11 prohibited reptiles, said Lisa Norwood, a spokeswoman for Animal Care Services.

Those animals included numerous venomous and non-venomous snakes — four vipers, one adder, one cobra, one cantil, one red-tailed boa, one ball python — as well as a dwarf caiman and a roughneck monitor lizard.

San Antonio Fire Department spokeswoman Deborah Foster said this was an interesting run for the firefighters.
By Tyler White / mySA

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February 05, 2015
Fire Truck Destroyed in Garage Fire - NJ

Explosions rocked an Edison neighborhood on Jan. 29 as an intense blaze completely destroyed a department of public works (DPW) garage, sending thick black smoke and flames into the night sky that could be seen for miles.

The Edison Fire Department responded just before 10:00 p.m. to the municipal DPW yard on New Durham Road for the reported structure fire.

When firefighters arrived, heavy fire was showing from throughout a large one-story storage garage with flames shooting through the roof. The sounds of compressed gas cylinders exploding and sending balls of fire into the sky forced firefighters to set up operations from a safe distance. Supply lines were established as a defensive operation was set up utilizing two elevated master streams and several 2 1/2-inch handlines. Water continued to flow on what was left of the building for several hours until the bulk of the flames were darkened.

Approximately 75 firefighters from Edison and Metuchen battled the blaze and were able to bring it under control around 1:00 a.m., but a gas-fed fire continued to burn through the night until PSE&G was able to secure the gas line in the morning.

There was nothing left of the building except for a couple of cinder block walls and a pile of rubble. The garage contained vehicles such as salt spreaders, street sweepers, repaving vehicles, and Edison Fire Department’s Engine 6 that was awaiting repairs.

There was no employees at the yard when the fire started and there were no civilian or firefighter injuries reported at the scene.

Two homes on a nearby street sustained minor damage after the vinyl siding melted from the intense heat, but the residents were able to stay at their home.

This is the fourth fire battled by Edison firefighters at this property since 2012. The previous fires consisted of sanitation trucks on two separate occasions and a salt storage garage, which were all deemed accidental. The approximate loss of the latest fire is being estimated around $4 million, according to officials.

Edison and Middlesex County fire officials are investigating the cause and origin of the fire.
firehouse.com

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February 05, 2015
Restaurant Owners Sue Firefighters - ME

BANGOR, Maine -- The owners of a Bass Harbor restaurant and attached home that was destroyed in a fire 14 months ago have sued in U.S. District Court members of the Trenton and Southwest Harbor fire departments alleging firefighters were negligent in fighting the blaze.

Robert L. and Judy A. Cousins, owners of Cap'n Nemos, also sued a reporter, editor and publisher of a Mount Desert Island weekly newspaper alleging the paper libeled them in an article that incorrectly said the Cousinses had pumped their sewage holding tanks into the road. The complaint did not say when the article was published.

The restaurant, which looked like a lighthouse and served burgers and seafood, burned to the ground the night of Dec. 3, 2013, according to a previously published report.

The Cousins have demanded a jury trial.

Answers to the complaint have not yet been filed but the Portland attorney representing the Tremont firefighters said Thursday that he has received it.

"The evidence will show that the town and the fire department handle the fire appropriately," Robert W. Bower Jr. said. "It was a tragic fire. The firefighters did their best, but Cap'n Nemos couldn't be saved."

Efforts to reach Earl Brechlin, editor of the MDI Islander, owned by the Ellsworth American, were unsuccessful Thursday morning.

The couple, who filed the lawsuit in December on their own behalf without an attorney, are seeking, among other things, $1.86 million in compensatory damages and the replacement of the firefighters who allegedly did not do all they could to put out the blaze.

Robert L. Cousins claimed that firefighters discriminated against him because he is "a 100 [percent] disabled Vietnam veteran purposefully made homeless, jobless by the willful and wanton destruction" of his business and home.

The fire in the Tremont village of Bass Harbor on Mount Desert Island was reported just before 8 p.m, Tremont Fire Chief Keith Higgins, who was named in the lawsuit, told the Bangor Daily News two days after the fire. All the fire departments on Mount Desert Island and the fire departments from Trenton, Hancock and Lamoine responded to the call.

The building collapsed in on itself a couple hours after the call came in, but Higgins and his crew remained on the scene until 7 a.m. Dec. 4, 2013, to make sure all the structures in the area were safe, according to the article published by the BDN on Dec. 5, 2013. Besides the restaurant, an old wooden lobster boat, which was near the building that burned down, was the only other structure that was badly damaged, Higgins said.

The fire chief said 14 months ago that the cause of the blaze was accidental.
Judy Harrison / Source: Bangor Daily News, Maine

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February 05, 2015
LODD:
FIRE CHIEF Kenneth Lehr STRUCK BY FIRE APPARATUS KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY - IL

(The Last Call - RIP)

The Fire Chief of the Medora (Jersey County, Illinois) Fire Department was killed in the Line of Duty this afternoon after being run over by a fire apparatus.

Fire Chief Kenneth Lehr was reportedly backed over by the apparatus trying to close off a road for a medical emergency.

Initial reports are that the Medora FF's responded to a medical emergency in rural Chesterfield around 1430 hours today.

The members were attempting to close off Illinois 111 about a half mile south of Illinois 108 to allow a helicopter to land safely in response to the medical emergency. While doing so, the fire truck backed up and struck Chief Lehr.

The Chief was pronounced dead at the scene.
firefighterclosecalls.com

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February 05, 2015
Information passed along
FIREFIGHTER CANCER CONTINUES TO RISE - TX

According to the San Antonio Professionals Firefighter Association, more and more firefighters are losing their lives to cancer than actual on the job accidents.The Association says research now shows firefighters are at risk even after leaving the scene of a fire, because the toxins linger on their clothing, spread to furniture, and get into the sensitive areas such as face and neck.

"There's a lot of things that are coming through absorption, that are coming through your uniform, and we're not even sure if a regular cotton uniform is good enough to stop things from coming through," says Christopher Steele, President of the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association.

Steele says there have been efforts made by the San Antonio Fire Department, such as additional hoods for firemen and processes such as:

-Leaving both bay doors open before the engine starts

-Daily apparatus check outside

-Wiping off exposed head and neck area at the fire ground

San Antonio Fire Department Fire Chief Joe Jones says they’ve also implemented policies to decontaminate equipment immediately after a fire and not waiting until they get back to the station.

“We advocate a wet decon approach where we're decontaminating our gear, basically it consists of soap and water and a scrub brush trying to get as much junk off of our gear as possible."

Since 2011, 20 San Antonio firefighters have been diagnosed with cancer with four currently fighting the disease.
firefighterclosecalls.com

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February 05, 2015
FIRE APPARATUS STRUCK BY TWO VEHICLES ON I-70 - CO

A new Lake Dillon Fire engine was struck by not one but two vehicles in separate crashes on Wednesday afternoon.“We are very, very lucky that no one was hurt in these wrecks, including our firefighters, state troopers and the Summit County Ambulance crew, who were out exposed on the road as they responded to an earlier crash,” said Lake Dillon Fire chief Dave Parmley in a news release. “These collisions definitely could have been avoided if drivers had been moving at appropriate speeds for the conditions.”

With Summit County finally receiving new snow this week after a dry January, slush and icy have accumulated on the pavement in many areas, and black ice can make driving conditions treacherous.

The crew of the 2014 Rosenbauer fire engine — acquired last March for $550,000 — was responding to an earlier crash and medical problem just west of the Eisenhower Tunnel on Interstate 70 when the engine was struck at about 1:30 p.m.

The first vehicle slammed into the rear of the engine; moments later, a second car skidded into the median and then rebounded into the driver’s side of the 48,500-pound engine, which was flashing its red-and-blue emergency lights and cordoned off by traffic cones at the time.

At that point, firefighters and the Colorado State Patrol requested that the interstate be closed to further traffic until the crashes could be cleared.

Although the damage to the engine is not extensive, it will need to be taken out of service and replaced by a backup until repairs are completed.

“Emergency workers have a very dangerous job when responding to incidents on the highways as it is,” Parmley said in a news release. “We ask that motorists please be conscientious by slowing down and giving plenty of space to our crews.”
firefighterclosecalls.com

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February 05, 2015
Stanley, house fire – evac ordered - NY

Stanley, along with mutual aid from area fire departments battle a structure fire
Jack Haley

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February 05, 2015
Lessons Learned:
NIOSH Report Released on Missouri Firefighter's Death - MO

Columbia firefighter Bruce Britt was walking along the second-floor walkway of Building 707 at University Village last February while responding to a report of a roof collapse when another firefighter on the ground had a sudden realization, reports The Missourian (http://bit.ly/1DH5NNi)

As the firefighter watched Britt, he noticed gravel falling from a walkway and realized that was the real danger.

Just then, other responding personnel heard a "bang" and a crack as the walkway gave way. The firefighter on the ground yelled to warn Britt. But it was too late, and Britt fell out of view with the walkway on top of him.

He was pronounced dead at University Hospital after efforts at the scene failed to revive him. Britt, who was 48, had been with the department for 23 years.

The details about how he died are part of a report released Jan. 26 by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which investigates all firefighter fatalities. The agency conducted interviews and analyzed documents related to the partial collapse of the walkway at the MU-owned University Village apartment complex that killed Britt.
fireengineering.com

View the report.

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February 05, 2015
Ambulance Overturns in Two-Vehicle Collision - NC

An ambulance that was transporting a patient Tuesday overturned after it collided with a 1999 Ford pickup truck at the intersection of U.S. 70 and Thurman Road in New Bern.

According to the N.C. Highway Patrol, the incident occurred around 6:44 a.m. The pickup, which was driven by William T. Robinson III, 54, of New Bern, who was headed north on Thurman Road and was crossing U.S. 70.

In the intersection, the pickup collided with a Cherry Point Rescue Squad ambulance that was headed west on U.S. 70. The ambulance, which had its emergency lights and sirens on, was driven by 44-year-old Sean Ford of Havelock.

Robinson's pickup struck the left side of the ambulance in the intersection, according to the Highway Patrol. The ambulance continued across the roadway and overturned after the collision.

Both Robinson and Ford were treated and released within hours of the accident, according to Brandy Popp, public relations specialist at CarolinaEast Medical Center. The patient in the ambulance died following the crash, according to Troopers. The department could not release any names or the cause of death by presstime.

Charges are pending the completion of the investigation, according to the Highway Patrol. Trooper R.A. Woods is the investigating the crash.
Source: Sun Journal, New Bern, N.C.

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February 04, 2015
Lessons Learned:
NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation Report

Career lieutenant killed following a walkway collapse while working to evacuate a university student housing building - Missouri.

Read the NIOSH report

NIOSH

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February 04, 2015
Operator in Fatal Crash to Teen: "Stop Whining" - MD


An emergency official says a 911 operator could have used a "better choice" of words when a teenage girl called after her father and his fiancee were struck on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.
(Published Tuesday, Feb 3, 2015)

A 911 operator told a teenage girl to "stop whining" just after her father was fatally struck by a car as he tried to change a flat tire along the Baltimore Washington Parkway in Maryland last weekend.

The dispatcher has now been placed "in a position where he won't have citizen contact" while authorities investigate what happened, an Anne Arundel County fire official said Wednesday.

Rick Warrick, 38, and his fiancee were taking Warrick's two teenagers to Dave & Buster's at the Arundel Mills mall Sunday night when their tire went flat on the BW Parkway in Anne Arundel County.

Warrick, a car salesman from D.C., and his fiancee pulled to the shoulder and got out of their 2007 Hyundai Sonata to change the tire. Warrick had gotten the doughnut onto the car and was tightening the lugs around 9:15 p.m. when they were both struck by a car that did not stop.

Warrick's fiancee, 28-year-old Julia Pearce, suffered two broken legs, a broken pelvis and a fractured skull. She tried to encourage Warrick to keep breathing, but he died at the scene.

News4's Pat Collins obtained the audio from Warrick's teenage daughter's call to 911.

"Can y'all please hurry up!" the teen asks.

"Ma'am, stop yelling, I need a location," the operator said. The girl then tells him they're situated along I-295.

"OK, 295, that's good. We're located now on a highway. Now that's a pretty long road," he says.

The teen then says two people were struck.

"Yes, they both..."

"OK, let's stop whining. OK, let's stop whining. It's hard to understand you... two people were struck, correct?" the operator said.

When the teen describes that her father and his fiancee are motionless and lying on the ground, the operator asks to talk to someone else.

"Is there someone else there I can talk to, because it's so hard..."

The teen then explains the only other conscious person is her young brother.

Russ Davis with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department admitted the operator used a poor choice of words.

"However, what he was attempting to do was to get her attention, to start ascertaining information from her," Davis said. "It was pretty clear at that point they didn't know where they were."

He added the situation could have been handled differently.

"There could be a better choice of words."

The driver who struck Warrick and his fiancee has not yet come forward.

"It's hard on me, and I think the right thing will be to do just to turn yourself in. Accidents happen and we understand," said Warrick's mother, Scharmaine Ferrell-Anthony. "It was a tragic accident."

Anyone with information is asked to call 202-610-8737.

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February 04, 2015
Information passed along
LA County Sheriff's Department Releases Surviving an Active Shooter Video


(LACountySheriff)

The video contains graphic content of a violent nature. Viewer discretion is advised. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department created this video to help people answer the question "What would you do?" in the event of a sudden attack by a gunman while at work, at school, or in public.
emsworld.com

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Very good article Chief Salka

February 04, 2015
Information passed along
Salka: Lightweight Construction is Bad For Everyone - NJ


(all Photo credit: Keith Addie/NJFiregroundPhotos.com)

If you live in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area you are surely aware of the gigantic fire that occurred on the shores of the Hudson River in Edgewater.

Let's start with lightweight wood construction (LWWC). We all know it sucks! Let's cut right to the facts. LWWC is just that, lightweight wood components that are assembled in such a way that they hold the weight or load that they need to carry. They only do this when they are not on fire, not assembled improperly or not damaged by plumbers, carpenters and electricians who damage them to install wiring, pipes or other components.

We in the fire service spend lots of time talking about how dangerous LWWC is to us and we are right. But this unbelievable fire in Edgewater showed us just how dangerous this type of construction is to our citizenry and our communities. Once these building get going there is little a fire department can do to stop it. Additionally, if the fire gets large enough other buildings in the neighborhood are also in danger.

In case you didn’t know, this building was sprinklered. Yes, it originally burned down years ago when it was under construction and after the fire they rebuilt it with sprinklers. So how did it burn down this time? The sprinklers are in the living areas. In the apartments and rooms where people and furnishings are. They generally aren’t in the walls or inside the ceilings or up in the cockloft or attic. And that is where this fire started and raged, before spreading into all of the other areas and components of the structure. Workers with a torch sparked the fire and it went downhill from there.

How does a fire of such magnitude develop in a sprinklered building? Very easily. As I already mentioned the sprinklers are generally installed to protect the living areas, not the insides of the walls and above the ceilings. Add to that the lightweight wooden construction and you have a disaster in the making.

Now, an article in the New York Times left my head spinning. In the article it stated, “officials said the sprinkler system had functioned properly - it is intended not to douse the fire but to allow residents time to escape.” Really? I have a newsflash for the “officials” who made that statement. Sprinklers deliver water and water is used to extinguish fires. Sprinklers are designed to put the fire out in its early incipient stages. The sprinklers in this fire didn’t do their job because the fire was concealed in the building's vertical and horizontal voids.

Lightweight wooden construction does not play well with fire. I have been to hundreds of serious fires in multi-story residential buildings constructed with dimensional lumber rather that lightweight wooden construction and very few burned down. The substantial lumber and compartmentation limited the fire spread and didn’t allow the fire to spread to every area of the building.

Next time someone suggests building a structure of LWWC you need to remember this fire in Edgewater. Even fire sprinklers could not save the building.
firehouse.com

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February 04, 2015
Ambulance Overturns in Two-Vehicle Collision - NC

An ambulance that was transporting a patient Tuesday overturned after it collided with a 1999 Ford pickup truck at the intersection of U.S. 70 and Thurman Road in New Bern.

According to the N.C. Highway Patrol, the incident occurred around 6:44 a.m. The pickup, which was driven by William T. Robinson III, 54, of New Bern, who was headed north on Thurman Road and was crossing U.S. 70.

In the intersection, the pickup collided with a Cherry Point Rescue Squad ambulance that was headed west on U.S. 70. The ambulance, which had its emergency lights and sirens on, was driven by 44-year-old Sean Ford of Havelock.

Robinson's pickup struck the left side of the ambulance in the intersection, according to the Highway Patrol. The ambulance continued across the roadway and overturned after the collision.

Both Robinson and Ford were treated and released within hours of the accident, according to Brandy Popp, public relations specialist at CarolinaEast Medical Center. The patient in the ambulance died following the crash, according to Troopers. The department could not release any names or the cause of death by presstime.

Charges are pending the completion of the investigation, according to the Highway Patrol. Trooper R.A. Woods is the investigating the crash.
Source: Sun Journal, New Bern, N.C.

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February 04, 2015
LODD:
Injured Montgomery firefighter Charles Wallace dies - NY

(The Last Call - RIP)

MONTGOMERY – Montgomery Firefighter Charles Wallace, who was injured while directing traffic last month, has died.

Assistant Montgomery Fire Chief John Hank said Wallace died Tuesday night from injuries he sustained in the January 10 accident.

Wallace was directing traffic in front of the firehouse when he was struck by a car. Since then he has been at Westchester Medical Center in critical condition.

Funeral details are incomplete, Hank said.
MidHudsonRadio.com

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February 04, 2015
Firefighters searching for stolen Smokey Bear - WI

VERNON, Wis. — A fire department is searching for a 6-foot-tall Smokey Bear cutout that disappeared over the weekend.

Channel3000 reported that the reflective aluminum bear was stolen from the Town of Vernon Fire Station No. 2 early Sunday morning while firefighters were at the scene of an accident. Police say someone cut Smokey Bear out of the fire prevention sign posted outside of the station.

Vernon Fire Lt. Jason Kubiszewski says part-time firefighters built two signs worth about $1,000 last year and installed them in front of both fire stations to alert residents of fire danger.

The fire department is asking residents to keep an eye out for Smokey Bear. The department also is offering a reward for any information that leads to an arrest and the recovery of the sign, according to the report.

The sheriff's department is investigating the theft.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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February 03, 2015
Information passed along
Novel Fluorinated Surfactants Discovered In Firefighters’ Blood


MYSTERY FOAM
Firefighting foam contains a complex mix of fluorinated compounds used as surfactants, many of which have not been identified by environmental scientists.
Credit: Shutterstock

Perfluorinated compounds, such as perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), help firefighting foams rapidly flow over flaming liquids such as gasoline and jet fuel, cooling and quenching fires. But despite environmental scientists’ concerns about these possibly toxic compounds accumulating in wildlife and lurking in firefighters’ blood, researchers don’t know the identity of many of the chemicals in the mixtures on the market. For the first time, a new study borrows a medical research tool to pinpoint fluorochemicals in the blood of firefighters, identifying novel compounds that have never before been publicly reported (Environ. Sci. Technol. 2015, DOI: 10.1021/es503653n).

PFOS and other perfluorinated compounds are extremely persistent in the environment, and toxicological studies have linked the chemicals to kidney and bladder cancer and thyroid disease. Airports and military bases use large amounts of firefighting foams for training purposes, and in some cases, the perfluorinated surfactants have slipped into groundwater and surface water supplies, triggering drinking water shutdowns. The complex mix of largely unknown fluorinated compounds in foams included PFOS until 3M, the largest manufacturer of PFOS, voluntarily phased out the compound in 2002 because of toxicity concerns. Firefighting foam manufacturers have since replaced PFOS with shorter chain fluorinated compounds, many of which are not named by manufacturers.

To identify these mystery compounds, earlier studies have taken advantage of improved analytical techniques, such as quadrupole time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry (QTOF-MS/MS). “But since QTOF-MS/MS generates thousands of organic compounds from an environmental sample, identifying the unknowns is like trying to find a needle in a haystack,” says María José Gómez Ramos, an analytical chemist at the University of Queensland, in Australia, and an author of the study.

She and her team realized they could isolate the unknowns using a similar strategy to ones that medical researchers use to identify unique biomarkers of diseases. In those studies, researchers might compare compounds found in the blood of cancer patients with those in a healthy control group. For the new study, the scientists compared the fluorinated surfactants in the blood of 20 firefighters with compounds in the blood of 20 students and office workers who had not been exposed to firefighting foams. Gómez Ramos figured that the compounds unique to firefighters would contain unknown fluorinated surfactants.

The scientists ran the blood samples through QTOF-MS/MS, identifying more than 3,000 organic and fluorinated chemicals. But when the research team applied a statistical analysis to the data, a clear separation between the firefighters and controls emerged. The team found nine fluorinated compounds, either exclusively or at significantly higher levels, in the firefighters’ blood. Only five of those compounds appeared in online chemical databases or in the literature. Interpreting the MS data, Gómez Ramos tentatively identified the four unknown compounds as sulfonic acids analogous to PFOS. “It is likely that the unknowns have similar properties to PFOS, such as toxicity and persistence in humans and environment,” Gómez Ramos says. But further studies on the compounds are warranted, she says.

Ian T. Cousins, an environmental chemist at Stockholm University, points out that these new sulfonic acids haven’t been found in commercial foams, so they might be metabolites. But if they are in the foams, “then we should be concerned for highly exposed groups like firefighters,” Cousins says. “We know nothing about their risks.”
Chemical & Engineering News / ISSN 0009-2347 / Copyright © 2015 American Chemical Society

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February 02, 2015
Lessons Learned:
Greensboro Firefighters Recall Being Trapped in Collapse - NC


(BehindTheFlame InsideGFD)

GREENSBORO — The outcome could have been much worse for Capt. Thomas Sterling Suddarth and three other firefighters who were injured during a Jan. 30, 2014, blaze.

All four could have died.

The men were battling a fire inside an auto repair shop at 811 S. Elm St. when part of the roof collapsed.

Suddarth, who previously had not spoken publicly about what happened that day, broke his silence for a short training documentary made for firefighters that details the moments leading up to the cave-in, which left him trapped.

Suddarth recalled being in the middle of the building underneath one of the steel beams, spraying water from hoses onto multiple fires surrounding the group of firefighters. The firefighters had started retreating toward the door where they had entered, but it was too late.

“It was at that point, just seconds later, that the roof came in on us,” Suddarth said in the 30-minute documentary. “I did not see the ceiling coming in, but I just felt it.

“As soon as the roof came down, everything just went black,” he said.

Some of the firefighters escaped moments after the roof collapsed and suffered injuries that were not life-threatening. Suddarth was trapped under fallen debris. He was pulled out by another group of firefighters who were answering a mayday call for the roof collapse.

Deputy Fire Chief Clarence Hunter said Suddarth, Capt. Shane Boswell and senior firefighters Matthew Clapp and Bryan Bachemin all have returned to work after being injured in the fire.

Suddarth remains on light duty. He was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where he remained for 18 days with burns and other injuries.

The documentary, produced internally by Capt. Harold Haynie, will serve as a training tool for firefighters in Greensboro and around the nation, said Battalion Chief Brent Gerald, who is the department’s assistant training supervisor.

Fire officials have used the footage to see what techniques worked and what needed improvement.

The firefighter’s use of survival-training kicked in, and they were able to get Suddarth out of the burning building and to Guilford County EMS paramedics who took over life-saving efforts.

Gerald said Greensboro firefighters train in a smoke room that simulates collapsing walls and floors. There, they hone their survival-training skills to make it out of a dangerous situation alive.

“We could have lost him,” said Gerald, who has worked in the department’s training division for the past five years. “When he came out of there, he wasn’t breathing.”

After an internal investigation was completed, a third-party investigation revealed the department’s communication while battling the fire could have been better.

Since the blaze, Greensboro fire officials have decided to add a fourth firefighter to ladder truck companies, revise dispatch protocol, and require company officers to complete a full evaluation of a commercial structure before entering.

Gerald said he’s sure some of the 36 candidates at the current fire academy class have seen the video. A more formal showing will come later in their training, he said.

“We will actually bring in Sterling to talk to them himself,” Gerald said. “He’ll come in and talk to them and drive the point home about training.”
Andre Taylor / Source: News & Record, Greensboro, N.C. (TNS)

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February 02, 2015
FDNY Battles 7-Alarm Fire in Extreme Cold - NY

NEW YORK (AP) — Giant clouds of smoke rose from a 7-alarm fire that destroyed a warehouse and floated across Brooklyn and into Manhattan on Saturday — a day so cold that water trickling across the helmets of a small army of firefighters quickly froze.

One person standing outside the building as firefighters did their work was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene but refused further treatment, authorities said.

About 275 firefighters stayed on the fire's perimeter, training streams of water at flames and smoke fueled by paper inside the storage facility in the Williamsburg neighborhood.

"The building is a total loss," said James Leonard, chief of department for the Fire Department of New York. "We're putting in a tremendous amount of water and yet it's still burning."

Leonard said firefighters were left fighting the elements, both hot and cold.

"It is extremely cold. It is extremely windy," he said. "It's affected our fire operations; it's affected our firefighters."

The article at FirefighterNation

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February 02, 2015
Another 911 failure blamed on technology instead of training - GA

The news story is from WXIA-TV in Atlanta. It’s about a woman calling 911 while trapped in her SUV as it sank in a Cherokee County, Georgia pond. The woman died while waiting for help. Help that was delayed many minutes because 911 call takers didn’t know her location.

Dave Statter correctly depicts the incident in his article. Read the article with Dave's comments at statter911.com

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February 02, 2015
Firefighter struck at crash scene - TN


(Courtesy photo)


(chattanooga)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A fire lieutenant remains hospitalized Monday after being struck by a vehicle at a crash scene Sunday evening.

Chattanooga Times Free-Press reported that Lt. Larry O'Rear was seriously injured when he was struck by a car while working a wreck. He was flagging traffic at the time when a red Mercedes struck him, sending him over the passenger side of her vehicle.

"He's one you want in your group. He's one when you hear the name, your heart goes to your feet," said Chattanooga Fire Department Executive Director Chief Chris Adams.

Fire officials described Lt. O'Rear's injuries as serious, but not life-threatening. He is said to be in stable condition.

A 19-year veteran of the department, Adams is confident O'Rear was following all safety measures.

Police said the driver of the vehicle that struck Lt. O'Rear's is in custody and the investigation is ongoing.

"Unfortunately, people get distracted and don't always see us," said Brian Blumenberg, a traffic investigator with the Chattanooga Police Department. "It's very dangerous. We try to park in a way to protect us, and the car we've pulled over. If you're not moving over, and you have the ability to. We will cite you for that."
By FireRescue1 Staff

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February 02, 2015
Ten Sleep Fire Department Blaze Under Investigation - WY

Last night a fire at the Ten Sleep Fire Department, located in Ten Sleep, resulted in significant destruction of the building and no injuries or fatalities, according to Worland Fire Department Chief Chris Kocher.

His department was on scene with the Ten Sleep Fire Department and other local authorities. He said the fire was reported at around 6:40 and was contained by about 8:30 in the evening, though crews remained on scene into the early morning hours.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, Kocher said, and all agencies involved are working with the state fire marshal's office to further investigate the fire’s origin. He said that information should be available on Monday.
By Hannah Stepenoff on Sun

Audio

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February 01, 2015
Update:
LODD:
Update on the Centerville Assistant fire chief Mike “Coop” Cooper who died in the Line of Duty after operating at a large commercial/industrial fire.

(The Last Call - RIP)


Assistant fire chief Mike “Coop” Cooper

Centerville Assistant Fire Chief Mike "Coop" Cooper died in the Line of Duty Yesterday in his home after fighting a commercial building fire at the Cowan Enterprises building in Centerville.His death is being treated as a line of duty death.

Chief Cooper started with the Centerville Fire Department in 1977. He is the longest-serving volunteer firefighter in the department's history by service 37 years.

Chief Cooper's cause of death has not been released.

THE FIRE:

Firefighters were called to 22900 Highway 5 in Centerville on reports of a fire around 7:30 p.m. Friday. When crews arrived at the 300,000 square-foot facility, they found the 50-year-old structure engulfed in flames.

There was a 1,000-gallon propane tank outside the building and a 500-gallon propane tank inside, so crews took a defensive stance for survival reasons.

Crews deemed the fire under control around 3 a.m. Saturday.

Below is a video of the fire taken from just 50 yards away.

Almost 20 hours after the fire started, smoke still lingered over what's left of the building.

The city now mourns the loss of Chief Cooper who put his life on the line trying to save the 50-year-old Centerville icon.
firefighterclosecalls.com

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