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January 26, 2015
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Firehouse World: Science Needs to Be Incorporated in Modern Firefighting

SAN DIEGO – Firehouse World kicked off with pre-conference sessions, including the eight-hour course, "ISFSI Principles of Modern Fire Attack," taught by Kevin Milan, fire marshal with South Metro, Colo., Fire Rescue.

The class was a roll out presentation of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors' (ISFSI) program that was funded with grant money from the federal Fire Act Grant program.

“We’ve been doing a lot of things right over the years, but there are those who have been saying we’re doing it all wrong,” said Milan, who has been in the fire service for over 25 years.

Milan began his presentation with a review of the basics of fire behavior and fire science and introduced some advanced and sometimes contrary concepts throughout the day.

“We’re not here to tell you to change what you’ve been doing, but we want to show you the new science that’s out there,” Milan said.

He said historically there has been training that says don’t put water on smoke and that ventilation has to be only vertical – go to the roof. Milan said that may not be the best way to handle ventilation.

The course also delved into the modern fire science of S.L.I.C.E. – R.S. which means Size-up, Location of the Fire, Isolate the Flow Path, Cool from a Safe Distance, Extinguish and then Rescue and Salvage. SLICE-RS is a break from the tradition fire ground tactics that say rescue should always the first effort in fire suppression, Milan said.

He also said the most dangerous phrase in the English language is: “We’ve always done it that way.” He said the Emergency Medical Service profession has embraced change nearly from its inception.

“From my days as an EMT, remember how every time you go for CPR recertification, it’s changed,” Milan said. “We (firefighters) have entrenched ourselves with tradition. We need to look at new ideas with the same open mind as we do with EMS.”

Controlling fire flows and cooling from the outside is not new, Milan said, noting that in the 1890s, it was common. It was only in the 1960s with the invention of modern personal protective equipment (PPE) and SCBAs that aggressive interior firefighting has occurred.

Milan said that back in the 1950s, Fire Chief Lloyd Layman, from Parkersburg, W.Va. wrote about his experience with Naval firefighting using compartmentalization to extinguish fire.

In 1983, Chicago Fire Department had a technique to use quick water to hit project fires with a deck guns while crews were stretching lines for interior attack.

He also added that quick water is the best water when it comes to fireground tactics and the science has proven that any water improves conditions.

“We have got to develop the right blend of practitioner, research and science,” Milan said. “We don’t see enough fires to become experts and we need to understand more about the why of everything.”

Milan said people need to understand and think about the science of how fire behaves and understand that sometimes ventilation is not the best answer and working basement fires might need different thinking than other types of fire.

“Always and never are dangerous words,” Milan said. “Research supports what we’ve done, but it will take training to makes us faster, more efficient and able to reduce risks.

As the morning review of the basics was nearing completion, Milan said there’s one thing he wanted all the attendees to learn.

“We have got to become thinking firefighters,” Milan said.
by Ed Ballam / Source: Firehouse News

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January 26, 2015
White Plains to borrow $500K for firehouse mold cleanup - NY

WHITE PLAINS – For one local cleanup company, there’s gold in that there mold.

The city plans to borrow $500,000 to pay ServPro of White Plains for the emergency removal of mold that forced the relocation of a number of employees from the basement of Fire Station 2 on Ferris Avenue.

Although firefighters were not evacuated, about 15 parking and public works employees assigned to shops in the basement were moved to other sites for several weeks, while part of the below-ground level was cleaned and the remainder sealed off.

“The rooms got wet, and there was no way for them to dry out,” Public Works Commissioner Joseph “Bud” Nicoletti told the Capital Improvements Board, which voted unanimously to borrow the money for the already-completed cleanup. “This went on for more than 30 years.”

The Common Council is expected to approve the bond Feb. 2.

Nicoletti said the problem was the result of water seepage that occurred since White Plains acquired the building in the 1970s. Much of the basement is used to store records, he said, adding that more than 3,200 boxes of records from every city department are housed in rooms on the north end of the basement. Many of those boxes became damp and spurred mold growth in the rooms and in a drop-down ceiling.

The mold was discovered in late November and workers were relocated after an environmental engineer inspected the building and found unacceptable air quality in the basement. Nicoletti said the cleanup included removal of the ceiling and the sealing off of the rooms containing boxes.

The work was finished earlier this month and, after another inspection, employees were allowed to return Jan. 13.

Nicoletti said the upper floors, occupied by firefighters, were not affected by the mold and air quality on those floors was found to be acceptable.

“Obviously, we’re concerned,” said Joe Carrier, president of the city fire union. He said a truck and a pump engine occupy the ground floor of the building and that, at any given time, six to eight firefighters are working and sleeping there.

“I’ve been in touch with Chief (Richard) Lyman throughout the process, and he’s assured me that it’s safe for our people to be there,” Carrier said.

Nonetheless, in a local example of “trust, but verify,” Carrier said the union was in the process of hiring an independent environmental engineer to inspect the building.

No timetable has been set for removing the moldy boxes and cleaning the sealed portion of the basement.
Richard Liebson,

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January 26, 2015
Ambulance tips over in accident; two hurt - FL

OCALA -- An Ocklawaha man was ticketed by an officer on Friday night after his vehicle struck an ambulance that was transporting a patient to the hospital and tipped it on its side.

According to an Ocala Police Department report, a 2001 Dodge van, driven by Oliver P. Jones, 61, was heading northbound on U.S. 441 in the middle lane at about 40 mph and approaching Southwest 10th Street.

The ambulance was traveling eastbound on SW 10th Street in the inside lane coming up to U.S. 441 with lights and sirens on.

The driver of the emergency vehicle slowed down for the intersection, police said, and then continued to drive across U.S. 441 through a red light at roughly 10 mph after not seeing any vehicle.

Officers said Jones didn’t stop and slammed into the ambulance’s rear right tire, causing the ambulance to turn onto the driver’s side.

The paramedic who was in the back and the patient who was strapped into a gurney were taken to Ocala Regional Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. The patient had been involved in an earlier accident and was being taken to the hospital, officials said.

On Saturday, both the patient and the paramedic in the back were listed in fair condition, a hospital spokesperson said. The ambulance driver, who was wearing his seat belt, was treated and released, officials said.

Jones, who was also wearing his seat belt, was not taken to the hospital. However, he received a ticket for failure to yield the right of way, police said.
By Austin L. Miller Staff writer /

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January 26, 2015
Firefighter Loses Home to Fire - MS

The fire captain was on-duty when crews found heavy flames engulfing his home near the Columbus River Walk.

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January 26, 2015
Fire and EMT volunteers face crisis in staffing, funding - PA

Local volunteer firefighters, like those shown in this recent training exercise, undergo dozens of hours of training. Fire and emergency services volunteers able to commit significant time to both answering calls and fundraising are dwindling rapidly, and county emergency personnel are asking local government for help.
(Courtesy photos — Franklin Volunteer Fire Company)

Local firefighters train in this photo provided by Franklin Fire Company. In little more than a dozen years, Franklin's number of volunteer firefighters has dropped 22 percent while its emergency calls have increased 12 percent. At the same time fundraising proceeds have also declined.
(Courtesy photos — Franklin Volunteer Fire Company)

For years, even decades, emergency service volunteers have complained about a shortage of volunteers and increased demands of training and fundraising.

They took an unprecedented step last week and approached the Franklin County Council of Governments. They asked the group to support a countywide study of fire and ambulance companies. Taxpayer money would help to ease their burden, they say, but it's not the entire solution.

All community groups have lost volunteers, according to Randy Negley of the Franklin County Emergency Services Alliance, "but when it comes to life and property, that's serious."

Sustaining emergency services has become a nightmare, he said.

Franklin Fire Company, one of the largest and best organized volunteer fire companies in the county, shows the wear and tear of modern life. In little more than a dozen years, its number of volunteer firefighters has dropped 22 percent while its emergency calls have increased 12 percent.

It gets worse.

The fire company made as much last year from bingo as it did in 1999, according to Fire Chief Mark Trace. The cost of a fire engine has doubled and turnout gear has tripled.

"I can't increase my charges like an apparatus manufacturer," he said. If the average person spends $30 on bingo night, is it reasonable to think he or she would spend $90?

Franklin runs 120 bingo events a year. Each takes 10 volunteers, so losing 20 members in 13 years has been a big deal, Trace said.

Leaders of the fire and emergency services say people lead busier lives. Both parents in a family work. They shuttle children to sporting events. Teens play video games rather than hang out at the firehouse.

"Fire departments have to break the paradigm," said Donald Konkle, executive director of the Pennsylvania Fire & Emergency Services Institute. "Unfortunately it takes a long time to turn the ship around."

Fire companies have to appeal socially to their communities to make people want to come and help, he said. They could set up screens for interactive games to attract youngsters.

Franklin County already has programs in high school and in summer to engage young people in emergency services. Assigning mentors is critical, Konkle said .

In an increasingly transient population, a firehall can be a place for newcomers to meet people.

More volunteers would be a big help because the core of active responders has shrunk.

Thirty firefighters answered at least 10 percent of Franklin's calls in 2002. Just 20 were as active in 2014.

In rural Path Valley, Fannett-Metal Fire Company has similar issues.

"I think we're trying to hold our own," Fire Chief Sam Pederson said. "A lot of guys were junior members and they stuck around. If (the call comes in) at the wrong time of day, it's not going to happen. Tweener time — when some guys leave for work and others are coming home. Some days are pretty good. Other days not so good."

Training to be an entry level volunteer firefighter takes dozens of hours of training and several thousand dollars.

Volunteers giving up 20 hours of their time need incentives, Konkle said. They could receive a break on their income taxes, a buyback on their student loans or a modest pension when they reach age 55.

An outside, professional look at local emergency services could bring different ideas to ease the situation, according to Trace.

"We can tweek it," he said. "I think it's a great start. I don't want money coming out of my paycheck. We're looking for any kind of idea."

The Adams county Council of Governments previously tackled the issue and many municipalities agreed to levy a real estate tax to support local fire and ambulance companies.

"There is no magic bullet," said Steve Lyle, executive director of the Emergency Health Service Federation. "Funding alone will not help bring volunteers in. Local tax support will reduce the number of hours spent on fundraising, but it will not reduce the hours of training. The thing that's different in Adams County is we have a county that is willing to bring folks together to begin to discuss the issue."

Ambulance companies face cuts in Medicare reimbursement for runs.

EMS gets three times as many calls as the fire service, he said.

"We've not done as well in prevention," he said. "We should probably be better at preventing these emergency calls."

The fire service has also cut back its response. Franklin Fire Company over the past dozen years phased out sending rescue personnel to every ambulance call in its territory, according to Trace. The truck responds to only the more serious cases.

"Several fire companies have reduced the amount of apparatus responding to lower priority calls such as automatic fire alarms and inside investigations," Trace said. "This was done to reduce wear and tear on fire apparatus and personnel."

The 1976 Pennsylvania Burning study, which endorsed a statewide building code, concluded "fire suppression is strictly a local problem — as opposed to protection, which is of broader concern — and the decision as to how much in the way of fire-fighting forces are wanted should be up to the local citizens. If the individual communities decide they can afford only a certain amount of money for fire fighting — or even if they feel they want no suppression — that, it seems to us, is their right."

"The solution is local people talking about local issues," Lyle said.

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January 25, 2015
Fire Departments Expect Hiring Challenges - NC

As the Grand Forks Fire Department works to hire 12 new firefighters, officials expect recruitment challenges amid a growing need for firefighters across North Dakota.

About 80 new firefighters are expected to be hired in North Dakota by next year, said Grand Forks Fire Chief Peter O'Neill. It's likely a result of the state's economic boom.

"This is a big reality of North Dakota," said Renee Loh, executive director of the North Dakota Firefighter's Association. "(The fire departments) all are going to be needing firefighters."

Grand Forks hasn't hired this many firefighters at once since 1972, when 15 firefighters were hired, O'Neill said. The number of calls Grand Forks firefighters respond to has increased by about 4,000 since 1972, while the number of firefighters decreased by three, he said.

The unusually high number of firefighters Grand Forks is seeking to hire for next year comes with several challenges, including a decreasing number of job applications and figuring out how to train the new hires, said Kelli Flermoen, battalion chief at the Grand Forks Fire Department.


Flermoen described herself as "an adventure junkie, an adrenaline junkie" with a passion for helping people -- qualities shared by most firefighters, she said.

There is an element of fear to the job -- "We're running in when everybody else is running out" -- but that's part of what makes it exciting, she said.

"It's not for everybody, but some people don't even consider it," as a career, which poses challenges in recruitment, Flermoen said.

With more job openings throughout North Dakota in recent years, including in the firefighting field, the Grand Forks Fire Department has seen a decline in applications, she said.

Also, people often think a fire science degree is required for a job as a firefighter, but that's not true, Flermoen said. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and must be able to pass a series of tests.

The fire department has been attending career fairs and sending letters to colleges for about the past year in anticipation of hiring its 12 new firefighters by Jan. 1, 2016.

"We've been really working to get our name out there more," Flermoen said.

The cost of the 12 new firefighters' wages will total about $1 million, O'Neill said. The city has been saving money since about 2010 for the cost of a new fire station, which is slated to be complete by the end of this year and located at 1002 47th Ave. S, near Choice Health & Fitness.

The total cost of opening the station -- including equipment, personnel and construction -- will be about $4.3 million, he said.

The fire department is also still figuring out how to train 12 new firefighters at once, Flermoen said. It will set up a firefighters' academy for three months of training after the firefighters are hired, so they'll be ready for the new fire station to be fully staffed in about March 2016.

Before the new firefighters are fully trained, the new fire station will likely be open part time the first three months of 2016, O'Neill said.

The new firefighters will be distributed throughout the city's fire stations, not all placed at the new fire station, so there will be varying levels of experience on each crew, he said.

Statewide need

The workload for Grand Forks' firefighters has increased exponentially since the last new fire crew was hired in 1972, while the city's number of firefighters decreased, O'Neill said.

When the last new fire station was built in 2007, in the Grand Forks Industrial Park, new firefighters weren't hired because a crew was moved from the city's Central Fire Station.

In 1972, the city had 60 firefighters who responded to about 300 calls, he said. In 2014, there were 57 firefighters who responded to about 4,400 calls.

Part of the increase is that firefighters now respond to emergency medical calls, rather than just strictly fire calls, O'Neill said.

But some of the increase is also due to the city's growth, which prompted the new south-end fire station to improve firefighters' response times in that area of the city.

In 2014, the fire department's average response time for the city overall is about 4 minutes and 50 seconds, but that climbed to about 6 minutes and 50 seconds in southeast Grand Forks, where the new fire station is planned, according to fire department data.

Fire departments across North Dakota -- including Bismarck, Dickinson, Williston, Minot and Devils Lake -- are seeing similar demands, Loh said.

Like Grand Forks, the Minot Fire Department is also opening a new fire station in early 2016, said Fire Chief CJ Craven.

Minot's 12 new firefighters won't be hired all at once like Grand Forks', Craven said. Six will be hired in May to receive nine months of training before the new fire station opens, and six others will be hired in November to be trained for three months before station opens, he said.

And it's not just cities -- rural areas are seeing a growing need as well.

The Bismarck Rural Fire Department hopes to hire four new firefighters by June, nearly doubling its staff, said Fire Chief Al Klein. He expects the need to persist, "if we continue to grow like we have been the past 10 years."

Like the Grand Forks firefighters, Craven said his department also sees challenges in recruitment, especially in recent years.

"There's more work in North Dakota, and there's more work for firefighters," he said. "The general good economic times and the growth of the cities is what's driving it."
Charly Haley / Source: Grand Forks Herald

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January 25, 2015

An early morning fire displaced three people and injured one firefighter in South Middleton Township.Citizen's Fire Company Chief Tim Yingst said the cause of the blaze, which broke out around 3:35 a.m. Sunday at 709 W. Pine St., is still under investigation by the state police fire marshal.

One firefighter was hurt when a rafter came down and struck him on the head, Yingst said. He was transported to the hospital with a neck injury and is expected to be released soon.

The American Red Cross is also assisting three people who were displaced by the fire.

Yingst said the fire started in an attached garage and totally destroyed the garage and the two vehicles inside. It spread into the home, causing moderate damage.

Crews had the fire under control in about a half-hour.

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January 25, 2015
One Injured After Fire Truck Overturns - SC

(Photo: WLTX)

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The Columbia Fire Department and law enforcement agencies responded to an overturned firetruck Sunday morning.

Troopers say the firetruck was making a left off of Bluff Road onto South Cedar Creek when the vehicle overturned.

Brick Lewis with the Columbia Fire Department says the firefighter has been transported to Richland Memorial hospital and is in stable condition.

The accident is under investigation by the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Motorists are advised to drive with caution in that area.

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January 25, 2015
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Active-shooter Incidents on the Increase - PA

Jan. 25--Active shooters in Pennsylvania over the past decade have killed and wounded 60 people -- the third highest casualty count in the U.S. -- a Reading Eagle analysis of FBI data has found.

While active-shooter incidents are rare, the number nationwide has increased sharply since 2000, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation identified just one case.

Before 2006, the U.S. averaged about six active-shooter events a year. Since then, the average has been 16.

In 2014, which fell outside the study parameters, there were 14 active-shooter incidents.

"Are they on the rise? Our study says, yes they are," said FBI Special Agent Katherine Schweit, who wrote the report.

The rise and fall in cases coincides with the nation's unemployment rate, which peaked at 9.6 percent in 2010, the same year the number of active-shooter incidents hit a 15-year high of 26. Though an economic connection may be intuitive because financial and relationship failures often trigger these kinds of attacks, it has been little studied.

The FBI report released in September tracked shootings from 2000 to 2013, aiming to provide data that law enforcement agencies can use to better prepare for and respond to active shooters.

Pennsylvania has averaged about one active-shooter incident a year since 2003.

The issue has come to the forefront with manhunts from Pennsylvania -- in the Poconos and Montgomery County -- to Paris with the Jan. 7 attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Pennsylvania authorities in both cases last year issued shelter-in-place orders to protect the public while law enforcement searched for cop-killer suspect Eric Frein and then Bradley Stone, who killed six people in December. The FBI, however, does not consider either event an active shooter.

The bureau report does not identify any active-shooter incidents in Berks County. But that doesn't mean Berks law enforcement hasn't had its scares.

On Feb. 15, 2005, an 18-year-old Oley Valley High School student donned a gorilla mask and climbed onto the school's roof as a senior prank. The stunt did not produce the laughs the student intended, though. Instead it prompted a major police response that included the FBI, a state police helicopter and a Reading police bomb squad.

Officials at the time said the dramatic response was triggered by fears of a Columbine-like massacre.

Richard Karstien, assistant team leader for Berks County Emergency Response Team, said active shooters are a growing public threat for which law enforcement must be prepared and equipped to respond.

"If you're in a municipality and you think it's not going to happen here, you're totally wrong," said Karstien, who recently held active-shooter drills for several Berks police departments. "It's not a question of if, it's when."

Modern-day boogeyman

Pennsylvania has had 10 active-shooter incidents -- among the highest in the nation -- according to FBI data. Only California and Florida have had more cases, 19 and 12, respectively.

Texas, with a population more than twice that of the commonwealth, has had fewer than half of the active shooters Pennsylvania has had.

No one could explain why Pennsylvania has had more.

"I don't have a good guess," said Upper Merion Township police Chief Tom Nolan, who headed his county's tactical response to the Stone shootings.

But Nolan said that even if he knew the cause of Pennsylvania's disproportionate number of active shooters, it would not change how he does his job.

More than 1,000 men, women and children have been wounded and killed in the U.S. by active shooters since 2000. The headlines are eerily familiar, with a number of the killing sprees -- Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech University, and Fort Hood -- having become etched in the lexicon and seared into the American psyche.

The active shooter has been called the modern-day boogeyman.

Coined after the 1999 high school massacre in Columbine, Colo., active shooter refers to someone actively killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.

The designation does not include domestic killings, such as the Stone slayings in December that rocked the region as SWAT teams searched for the former Marine who brutally killed his ex-wife and five of her relatives. Nor does the definition include gang violence or the Frein manhunt that gripped the state and the nation in the fall.

The last active-shooter incident in Pennsylvania occurred in July, when Richard Plotts fatally shot a caseworker at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Delaware County. A psychiatrist treating Plotts pulled out his own gun and exchanged gunfire with him. Plotts was later subdued by hospital staff and arrested, according to media reports.

More than half of the active-shooter events in Pennsylvania have occurred in Philadelphia, Delaware and Allegheny counties, according to data provided by Texas State University researchers who have been studying its prevalence since 2010.

"Luckily they are rare events, but they are devastating when they occur," said Thomas Bowers, a Penn State Harrisburg psychology professor who has studied mass shootings.

"If we understood them more," he said, "we could provide better mental health care."

Tragic lessons

Columbine changed everything.

Before Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered 12 students and a teacher in Littleton, Colo., standard operating procedure called for officers to set up a perimeter and wait for specially trained teams to respond.

Today, active-shooter training calls for officers to rush toward the gunfire -- stepping over victims' bodies if necessary -- to stop the gunman.

Training for an event law enforcement will not routinely encounter is critical, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.

"You're preparing for something you don't get to practice," Ferman said.

The state's Bureau of Emergency and Special Operations, which includes the Special Emergency Response Team, has conducted active-shooter training since Columbine, said state police Trooper Adam Reed, noting he was familiar with the FBI report.

More than 3,000 people have been trained through those efforts, Reed said. SERT teams also have trained campus and municipal police departments.

The state police handled the Frein search and the 2006 hostage situation at the West Nickel Mines Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster County, which resulted in the murders of five schoolgirls, the state's deadliest active-shooter incident since 2000.

The West Nickel Mines tragedy also yielded lessons.

Ephrata police Chief William Harvey -- who chairs a subcommittee of the South Central Task Force that includes Lancaster, Lebanon and six other counties -- said West Nickel Mines demonstrated the need to learn and develop breaching techniques and strategies, because the shooter barricaded himself inside the schoolhouse before killing the girls.

The obvious concept, Harvey said, is to get in and eliminate the problem.

The next new thing in combating active shooters could just be outfitting emergency medical personnel with ballistic protective equipment.

Few do now. And none in Berks, largely because the cost is prohibitive, officials said.

"It is a luxury," said Russell Engle, EMS education director at Reading Health System. "Small townships and cities just can't afford a SWAT paramedic team."

But a small and growing number of agencies have begun equipping EMS personnel with bulletproof vests to run in alongside law enforcement responding to an active shooter. The medical workers would triage and remove victims.

Lafayette Ambulance & Rescue Squad in Montgomery County is one of just a handful of agencies in the state that has equipped each ambulance with protective ballistic gear. The nonprofit organization, which serves Upper Merion Township and the surrounding areas, went operational in May with tactical emergency casualty care.

"It's still a novel idea," said Capt. Chris McLeod of Lafayette Ambulance. "I guess only 10 percent are doing it in the country."

The equipment and specialty medical gear cost roughly $17,000, McLeod said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommended protective vests and helmets for fire and EMS teams in the wake of recent cases involving mass casualties such as the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut and the Boston Marathon bombing.

"There's a certain amount of people where we can really make a difference, if we can get in there to give these folks a chance to survive," McLeod said.

'I had to put an end to it'

The shooting usually ends quickly. Typically in five minutes or less.

Despite the overwhelming attention school shootings receive, they account for about one in four active-shooter cases in the nation, though these incidents involve some of the highest casualty numbers. The majority of shootings, or 45 percent, occur at businesses.

Fewer than 10 percent of the nation's active shooters choose a government building to fire off their rounds.

That was the case on Aug. 5, 2013, when Rockne Newell, upset that local officials had condemned his property, opened fire at a public meeting in Ross Township, Monroe County, killing three and injuring two, investigators said.

They said he first fired through the walls outside the meeting room and then entered, all the while firing until tackled by Bernie Kozen, executive director of the West End Open Space Commission, and another visitor.

"I had to put an end to it," Kozen said in a recent phone interview. "I did what anybody else would have done."

Kozen knows he was fortunate to walk away unharmed.

He's not alone.

In 21 of the 160 active-shooter cases identified by FBI, unarmed citizens safely restrained the gunman, ending the threat. Roughly half of those involved unarmed principals, teachers or other school staff.

Police don't often fare as well.

In the cases where officers engaged shooters, law enforcement suffered casualties nearly half the time. Since 2000, nine officers have been killed and 28 wounded.

"It's a very rare event, but it's one of those types of events that officers have to be mentally prepared for," said M. Hunter Martaindale, doctoral research assistant at Texas State University, who helped with the FBI study. "It's the most dangerous call an officer will have in their career, if they get that call."
Ford Turner , Mike Urban And Nicole / Source: Reading Eagle, Pa

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January 24, 2015
Unsafe driving caused fire truck crash at Monterey Park restaurant - CA

An investigation by the California Highway Patrol concluded that unsafe driving caused an Alhambra Fire Department truck to collide with a Monterey Park fire engine last April. The Monterey Park truck then smashed into a restaurant.

Unsafe driving caused an Alhambra Fire Department truck to collide with a Monterey Park fire engine last spring, injuring 15 people, according to an investigation released Thursday.

Despite placing fault with the Alhambra fire engine’s driver, no charges are being filed in connection to the April 16, 2014, incident, according to a summary of the California Highway Patrol’s investigation. The CHP's full report was not released.

The two engines, which were both responding to a fire at a Monterey Park home, collided about 3 p.m. in the San Gabriel Valley city.

In the moments before the collision, the Alhambra fire truck had its sirens blaring and lights flashing as it headed southbound on Garfield Avenue at 15 mph, the CHP said.

Meanwhile, the Monterey Park fire truck was driving 20 to 25 mph eastbound on Emerson Avenue, also with its lights and sirens activated.

As both trucks arrived at Garfield and Emerson avenues, the Monterey Park truck had a green traffic light, while Alhambra’s truck had a red light.

“The Alhambra fire engine failed to ensure the intersection was safe to enter against the red signal light,” the CHP concluded.

Alhambra’s truck struck the front of the Monterey Park vehicle, which kept moving and smashed into a person and a street pole before ramming into the restaurant, Lu Dumpling House.

Five restaurant patrons and four pedestrians were injured. Six firefighters were also injured.

In a statement, Scott Haberle, chief of the Monterey Park Fire Department, said the investigation’s conclusions offered resolution and he thanked the CHP for its “time and diligence in investigating the tragic accident.”

“We are proud to serve this community and remain committed to the highest professional standards of safety and protection,” Haberle said.

Alhambra’s assistant city manager and fire chief did not respond to after-hours requests for comment.
By Matt Hamilton /

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January 24, 2015
Former FDNY commissioner on volunteer firefighters - NJ

Bill Ritter spoke with the former FDNY commissioner about volunteer firefighters.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A former FDNY commissioner is suggesting that it's time to beef up the professional volunteer fire departments that most of New Jersey's towns depend on, even bring on some paid firefighters.

Tom Von Essen was the fire commissioner on September 11th 2001. He told Eyewitness News Anchor Bill Ritter that while volunteers are crucial to saving lives, with the huge apartment complexes now dotting the Hudson River, many of the small towns aren't small towns anymore.

"Is it time then Tom to rethink how we're staffing these departments and bring in more paid firefighters?" Ritter said.

"As you have more and more people and the density of the population just keeps getting heavier, you have to get more resources to a fire quicker. And getting a line five stories is not easy; you need a lot of people to do that. And if it's four in the afternoon and not enough guys show up, you know when you have a career group or a paid group, you know how many guys you have," Von Essen said.

Von Essen says the country could not exist without volunteers who represent 80% of the nation's firefighters.

The question he's raising is whether some of these volunteer departments should be beefed up and use more career firefighters.

It's costly and it's unclear whether taxpayers will want to foot the bill.
WABC / By Bill Ritter

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January 24, 2015
8 Hurt in Fire at Manhattan Apartment Building - NY

Eight people were injured, including three firefighters, in a blaze at a six-story apartment building in Manhattan early Friday, authorities say.

Sixty firefighters responded to the 3:15 a.m. call at the West 144th Street building in Hamilton Heights after flames erupted in a fourth-floor apartment, officials said.

Authorities said first responders encountered heavy fire when they arrived, but the flames were contained within an hour.

The three injured firefighters and five hurt civilians were taken to hospitals and are expected to be OK. The Red Cross said it was helping about a dozen people displaced by the fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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January 24, 2015
Ambulance flips on side on I-20 - MS

An ambulance ended up on its side in Hinds County Friday morning.

The ambulance from the Vicksburg Fire Department was transferring a patient to a Jackson hospital, Vicksburg Deputy Fire Chief Craig Danczyk said.

The accident happened around 1:50 a.m. in the westbound lane of Interstate 20 near the Edwards, Miss. exit. Deputy Chief Danczyk said the ambulance struck the median, flipped onto its side and skidded to a stop.

There were two crew members in addition to the patient onboard. Both crew members and the patient were restrained, however the driver did lose consciousness when the ambulance crashed.

Another Vicksburg Fire Department ambulance traveling in the eastbound lane of I-20 coincidentally came upon the accident and assisted the crew of the wrecked ambulance. The injuries to the crew members are said to be minor.

An ambulance from American Medical Response transported the patient from the overturned ambulance to a hospital, according to AMR spokesman Jim Pollard.

GPS data from the Vicksburg ambulance indicates that its speed was not excessive before the accident. A little over an inch of rain fell in the metro area Thursday and weather is believed to be a factor in the accident.
Harold Gater, The Clarion-Ledger

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January 24, 2015
Crash involving ambulance on I-16 EB in Bryan County - GA

BRYAN CO., GA (WTOC) - Emergency crews responded to a crash on I-16 eastbound just past Exit 280 in Bryan County Thursday morning.

According to Bryan County deputies, a Southside Fire/EMS ambulance was traveling east on I-16 in the left lane, when it made contact with a pickup truck in the right lane and ended up going into the ditch. No patients were on board at the time.

The ambulance crew and the other driver involved were all treated at the scene.

Traffic was able to get by in the left eastbound lane, but the right lane was closed just shy of the weight station. The wreck has since been cleared and all lanes are back open.

The Bryan County Sheriff's Office is investigating the crash.
By WTOC Staff

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January 24, 2015
Ambulance Involved In Serious Crash In Franklin County - OH

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A crash involving a medic was reported on U.S. 23 in southern Franklin County before 11 a.m. on Friday.

The crash occurred near Scioto Downs. Both lanes of U.S. 23 were shut down from about 11 a.m. to approximately 11:45 a.m.

Officials say an ambulance was one of the vehicles involved. The emergency vehicle reportedly rolled over during the crash.

Emergency crews were on the scene. The number and extent of injuries was not immediately known.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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January 24, 2015
3 Injured After Hospital-Bound Ambulance Lost Control - OH

SOUTH COLUMBUS (Lu Ann Stoia/Kate Murphy) -- Three injured individuals have been transported to nearby hospitals after the report of their ambulance crash on South High Street.

Police say an ambulance driving northbound on route 23 lost control and flipped over the median to the other side of traffic on South High Steet in front of the Scioto Downs Racino around 11:00 a.m. Friday.

Officers say no other cars were involved in the crash, but three people were injured.

The ambulance was en route to a Columbus hospital with a patient. The patient was hurt in the crash and transported to OSU Medical Center in stable condition.

The driver of the ambulance and his passenger were sent to Grant Medical Center, also in stable condition.

Police say they will likely cite the driver of the ambulance in connection with the crash.

It is not clear at the current time what caused the driver to lose control of his vehicle.

Both lanes of U.S. 23 are now cleared as of 12:30 p.m.
Katelyn Murphy /

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January 24, 2015
Ambulance Hits Pedestrian in Midtown Manhattan - NY

An ambulance hit and seriously injured a pedestrian in midtown Manhattan Friday evening, the FDNY said.

The FDNY EMS ambulance was headed to a 911 call with its lights and sirens on when it hit the pedestrian at near 35th Street and Broadway at about 5:45 p.m., the FDNY said.

Another ambulance took the victim to Bellevue Hospital, where the victim was listed in serious but stable condition.

Police are investigating.

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January 24, 2015
Phoenix firefighter falls from roof while battling house fire - AZ

(Video report by Tess Rafols)

PHOENIX -- Two people, including a firefighter, were injured in a house fire early Saturday morning.

The firefighter was injured as he became surrounded by flames and fell off the roof of the house.

The home is near 11th Street and Polk Street.

There were reports that people may have been trapped inside the home.

"The conditions were changing very quickly, and there was a high volume of fire," said Phoenix Fire Capt. Mike Billingsley. "They decided to go with a defensive operation and evacuate the building. While the ladder company was exiting the roof, a large volume of fire (came) out of the hole that they had cut as well as around the side of the roof."

Firefighters did rescue a woman from the home who was taken to a hospital.

Verdean Thomas said she woke up in the middle of the night to find her house on fire and couldn't find the door to get out.

"Some of my hair burned," she said.

She thought her son was also trapped in the home, but he made it out safely.

The firefighter was also taken to the hospital. He is in stable condition with minor burn injuries, Billingsley said.

The home was destroyed.

"It was an old microwave that we found and it was plugged in, and I guess something was near it that started it," Thomas said. "We lost everything."

The cause of the fire is under investigation.
by Mike Gertzman /


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January 24, 2015

About half of Taylor's firefighters may be out of a job next month.The city has been using an $8.1 million federal grant to pay for more than two dozen firefighters.

After an extension in August, that money runs out on Feb. 23rd. To cover the costs. Mayor Rick Sollars says he was forced to send layoff notices to 26 firefighters Friday. The department employs 50 people.

"On February 9 another grant opens up," Sollars said. "We will absolutely apply for that grant. We talked to congresswoman Debbie Dingell today, she's also going to write a letter of recommendation on our behalf to help us successfully receive that grant. We'll also look at reducing some costs as well."

After the layoffs Sollars believes they'll have enough firefighters to cover the city - and they'll be relying on mutual aid from neighboring cities for any major emergencies.

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January 24, 2015
811 South Elm St. Greensboro,(2014) Documentary - NC

(BehindTheFlame InsideGFD)

On January 30, 2014 fire broke out at Import Knight Body Repair at 811 S. Elm St. at 12:47 p.m. The Greensboro Fire Department quickly responded to a reported car fire. Initially reported as a vehicle fire inside of a business, the fire had already spread within the structure before the first fire units arrived. Based on radio transcripts the first engine arrived on the scene approximately three minutes after dispatch. On arrival firefighters began to attack the fire and started searching the facility to ensure all occupants were evacuated. A ladder company was assigned to the roof to provide ventilation.

At 9 minutes and 40 seconds a structural collapse occurred. Six firefighters were inside when the collapse occurred. Three firefighters, although injured, were able to escape. Two firefighters were not trapped and was able to make egress and exit the facility. Captain Suddarth on the first arriving unit was trapped under debris.

A Mayday was called and firefighters immediately began efforts to rescue the trapped Captain. Firefighters were able to literally lift the debris off Captain Suddarth and remove him from the building.

The cause of the fire was fuel leaking from a auto fuel tank on a lift, and then was ignited by an electrical drop light.

Four firefighters were taken to Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro.

  • Capt. Sterling Suddarth was the most seriously injured of the four. He was transported to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for treatment of his injuries which are described as non life-threatening.
  • Firefighter Matthew Clapp is at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro receiving treatment for a non-life threatening injury to one of his legs.
  • Capt. Shane Boswell and firefighter Bryan Bachemin were both treated for minor injuries and released.

BehindTheFlame InsideGFD

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January 24, 2015

A firefighter struck by a vehicle while on duty in Haralson County on Tuesday evening might not be back on the job for a while.

According to troopers with the Georgia State Patrol, Curtis Wilson, 31, responded to a fuel spill in the southbound lanes of Georgia Highway 100 near Interstate 20. They say Wilson was standing in the lane of traffic when he was struck by a pickup truck. He was airlifted to Atlanta Medical Center.

The driver of the pickup truck, identified as 27-year-old Jeremy Gray, of Tallapoosa, was not injured. Troopers say he will not be charged in the incident.

A fund has been set up to help Wilson, who is a full-time firefighter in Paulding County, but works part time for Haralson County. The funds go through the North American Blue Police & Fire Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) charity, but will go directly to Wilson.

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January 24, 2015
Lessons Learned:
Remembrance: Lessons from the Fireground-FDNY Black Sunday 2005-2015 - NY

Operational Conditions can Change in a Heartbeat

Remembrance: Lt. Curtis Meyran, FF. John Bellew, FF. Richard Sclafani, Lt. Joseph BiBernardo and the Survivors

Read an excellent article with photos, videos and additional links to information

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January 24, 2015
Teen Arrested For Stealing Fire Truck - OH

RUSH TOWNSHIP -- According to reports from the Scioto County Sheriff's Department (SCSD), deputies were in pursuit Friday night of a stolen fire truck from the Rush Township Volunteer Fire Department, resulting in the arrest of James Anthony Manyard, 18, of McDermott.

Reports from the sheriff's department reveal that on Friday, Jan. 23, at approximately, 10:48 p.m. Maynard was driving through Rush Township with lights and sirens in a stolen fire truck from the Rush Township Volunteer Fire Department. Maynard was apprehended by SCSD deputies, and transported to the Scioto County Detention Center.

A Corrections Officer from the Scioto County Detention Center told The Portsmouth Daily Times that Maynard is charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, failure to comply with a control or signal, and breaking and entering.

The case is still under investigation by SCSD Deputy Jimmy Staten.
Portia Williams / Source: The Portsmouth Daily Times, Ohio

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January 24, 2015
Hackers target Indy 911 center - IN

INDIANAPOLIS — Safety officials revealed details on a recent cyberattack on the city’s communication system that happened over the holidays.

City officials said Tuesday the week-long cyberattacks were aimed at the vital $73 million communication system. The system protects emergency radio, computer traffic and more than 1.4 million 911 calls each year.

“In most of these attacks, you get bombarded with information and messages and phishing and it slowed down some of our capabilities," said Director of Public Safety Troy Riggs.

The attacks didn’t slow police, fire and ambulance response times, public safety officials said.

This wasn’t the first time that hackers have tried to crack the communication system, a standalone network hardened against cyberattacks.

“We've taken measures to reduce those types of attacks and put protocols in place for us to respond," said former Public Safety Communications Chief Tim Baughman.

Security breaches compromise the personal information of millions of Americans, along with large and small companies each year.

City officials would not elaborate more on the latest cyberattack because it was still under investigation by the FBI and homeland security.

“The same thing we've been telling businesses to be ready for, it hit us. It's not the first time we've been hit. But it was more of a coordinated effort. Good news is that we withstood it and will learn from it," Riggs said.
The Indy Channel

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January 24, 2015
Firefighter Ronnie Peek dies after training - KA

(The Last Call - RIP)

GARDEN CITY, Kan. — A 16-year fire service veteran died Thursday after a training exercise.

U.S. Fire Administration reported that firefighter Ronnie Peek, 49, with the Garden City Fire Department, fell ill while participating in a fire department mandated air-management training.

He was transported to the hospital, where he suffered a heart attack and died.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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January 24, 2015
Training helps seven firefighters escape burning High Bridge building - NJ

HIGH BRIDGE — For Jeff Smith, a borough firefighter for 33 years, the blaze that destroyed the building at 81 W. Main St was “one of the biggest I’ve been involved with.”

Imagine the young volunteers, those who have only been donning their gear for a few years. It’s something they’ll always remember.

Seven firefighters were inside the building when colleagues outside noticed that the smoke was changing color, from gray to a very rich black. That was a sign that “there’s a lot going on, things are starting to be (quickly) consumed, Smith explained.

And it meant the firemen inside were in danger. Immediately the universal alarm was sounded: three 10-second blasts of the air horns on the nearby fire trucks. That means, get out right away. Within minutes the second floor collapsed, the roof collapsed, and the firefighters turned to a “defensive” effort of protecting the nearby buildings, Smith said.

Article with photos

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January 24, 2015
Report advise would raise firefighters', medics' risk - MI

FLINT, Mich. — A new report is recommending that fire, police and EMS overhaul their organizational structure to incidents that are reported and responded to.

The report, commissioned by former Emergency Manager Darnell Early, presented 16 major changes to city council members.

A major change included that officers stop responding to incidents such as accidents, medical incidents and alarms, reported. It also recommended that the city cut its arson and cold case investigations and reassign those resources to investigating violent crime.

The creators of the report called for the city fire department and state fire marshal to help cover arson investigations.

"There are different ways you can handle the arson piece," said Joseph Pozzo, who worked on the evaluation of the city's fire services.

Despite the arson fires, Pozzo said it may not be in the city's best interest to invest in arson investigation.

"You typically don't catch people who set vacant buildings on fire because they are long gone before anybody sees it," Pozzo said.

Sixty percent of the calls the fire department responds to are for fire services. Nearly 30 percent of the calls are for emergency medical services.

The report also claims the EMS transportation system is "highly inefficient" and has no city oversight. Pozzo said the EMS service should have local government oversight even if it is handled privately.

Flint's fire department ranks in the 90th percentile in dispatch times, with the times being 3-4 minutes longer than national averages. Turnout times are also two minutes greater than national benchmarks, according to the report.

It takes fire crews roughly 13 minutes to respond to fire and EMS calls, the report says.

Recommended changes include overhauling the organizational structure of the fire department and better targeting resources to times of higher demand.

"Both the police and fire departments are evaluating these recommendations and will use these as guidelines for the development of upcoming revisions to the city's strategic plan," Flint Emergency Manager Gerald Ambrose Ambrose said. "We still have severe limitations on the available revenue for public safety services."
By FireRescue1 Staff

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January 23, 2015
Radio problem in Wayne County seems to be getting worst, officials promise fix - NY


Imagine being in an emergency situation and the vital information that first responders need to get to your home is so garbled it's difficult to hear. That was the case three months ago in Wayne County and now instead of it being fixed it seems as bad as ever.

Your safety is at risk when you may need help the most and that's why we went back to Wayne County looking for answers.

This is a problem that has a direct effect on first responders. The garbled transmission can make it hard for firefighters to know where they are going. That was the case for a fire in Arcadia this week. The fire turned out to be a serious and it destroyed a house. Fortunately firefighters at the fire station were able to get a printout of the address, but when we played a recording of the radio transmission for residents they were appalled.

Resident Michaela Gantz says, "Well when there's a health issue or perhaps like there was the other day, a house fire seconds and minutes count. So when somebody can't go to where the problem is, somebody's life could be lost."

Ronald Miller says, "We need to get the problem fixed as soon as possible. Whatever it takes."

We were told to contact the Radio Project Manager. We called, but got his voicemail. We also called the Director of Emergency Management for Wayne County. He also was not available but sent us an email saying changes have been made to the system and promising to investigate and fix the problem.

Arcadia Town Supervisor and firefighter Dick Colacino says, "I am worried about it. I know they're working on it diligently. It's to the point now that we have to do something -- maybe close the job out and go to another contractor."

Colacino says it's not enough. It's time to fix the problem.

"Getting hurt," says Colacino. "Probably the worst thing is someone could die. A fire doubles every minute."

Again the county is promising to fix the problem as soon as possible. We'll stay on top of it and keep you posted.
By: Lynette Adams - @whec_ladams

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January 23, 2015
Information passed along
NFFF: Firefighter Cancer Summit

Bryan Frieders has an important question for you. He wants to know if those are bugles or plungers on your collar? Frieders, a battalion chief in San Gabriel, California and president of the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, makes the case that fire officers must provide the leadership that will help prevent cancer among firefighters. Frieders spoke at the National Fallen Firefighters

“I’m tired of attending funerals for my fire service brothers and sisters who’ve died from cancer!”

This is the frustration of a fire service leader looking for answers to something that hits home with every firefighter. And there is a reason why this is personal to so many of us – firefighters are more likely to develop cancer than the general population. The recently released Tampa 2 report outlines the trend within the fire service to begin doing more research on diseases that may take the lives of our fellow firefighters, sometimes years after they have stopped going to emergency calls.

This is why the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation hosted last week’s Occupational Cancer in the Fire Service Strategy Meeting. The meeting was not an attempt to just share information about the most recent research on cancer rates among firefighters. It was our first chance to bring all the fire service organizations to together to develop a strategy – an action plan – for making a change. Several organizations have been on the leading edge of the cancer issue including the IAFF and others. The meeting provided a platform to understand what those organizations have been doing and how all the others can come alongside to provide support.

At the meeting, Dr. Robert (Doug) Daniels reported that a 2013 NIOSH study indicates firefighters are more likely to develop these type of cancers than the average person—lung esophageal, gastrointestinal and mesothelioma. The 2014 Nordic and Australian studies show similar results.

As the presentations and discussions progressed, we realized that there are a lot of gaps in grasping the enormity of cancer among firefighters. Most of the participants in these studies so far have been white males and we need to learn more about cancer rates and types among women, minorities, volunteer and career. We also need to know about the families of firefighters and the impact of second-hand exposure.

We need to treat every incident like a HAZMAT!

This was expressed repeatedly during the sessions; and for good reason. It’s not simply smoke we’re inhaling; it’s the countless by-products from the chemicals that are in building materials, furniture, carpets and drapes. It’s the toxic spills from auto crashes and unknown sludge from warehouses. It’s the diesel exhaust in the station bays and the contaminated particles on our boots, gloves and hoods that we bring back with us to the firehouse. And it’s the many other unknowns that get in our lungs, eyes, ears and on our skin.

But what should get the attention of every firefighter is that your family is also being exposed to these same cancer-causing agents if you bring contaminated PPE into your home.

Prevention is our first and most critical step. Imagine you’ve returned from a call. It doesn’t matter if it’s a house fire, a car crash or a brush fire. You’re hot and tired and you just want some food and water.

You get out of your rig. You toss your turn-out gear onto a hook or maybe in a locker, your gloves fall to the floor, your helmet drops next to your boots and you wipe your hands on your pants. Then you head to the kitchen to grab something to eat and drink, and you sit down to relax for a moment.

Did you shower, and change clothes and shoes? Did you hook up the hose on your rig? Did you wipe down your gear? Did you even bother to wash your hands? If not, you’ve just left a trail of potential carcinogens behind you, exposing others. You’ve also picked up food that now can carry those same carcinogens into your body.

“As an instructor, I can take five minutes in every class to talk about wearing SCBA during overhaul, not smoking, cleaning hoods and hooking up the hoses in the bays. I can reach 80 people in every class and I don’t need thousands of dollars to do this.”

Everyone nodded in agreement when one of the firefighters attending the meeting made that statement. It makes it clear that we don’t have to wait for money or a major program. We can set the wheels of change in motion NOW to start preventing firefighter cancers.

One of the great challenges is helping younger firefighters realize the habits they form from day one can affect their lives long after retirement.

Everyone at the Strategy Meeting knows firefighters who have battled cancer. And I am sure all of you do, too. Some are winning these battles, while others fought valiantly, but sadly lost their fight. As we see the number of line-of duty-deaths slowly decline, we are beginning to also see the number of cancer-related deaths increase. That’s not okay.

This meeting was a first step. We reviewed the science and discussed where the research is lacking. We talked about what each of us can do to help prevent cancer. Most importantly, we all agreed we must be the champions for all those who are fighting – or will fight – any form of malignancy and make cancer research and prevention a fire service priority.
By Ronald J. Siarnicki executive director of the National Fallen Firefighter’s Foundation

NIOSH: Study of Cancer Among U.S. Firefighters

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January 23, 2015
Two Cal Fire workers fired, one resigns, 13 others disciplined in Ione academy probe - CA

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection on Wednesday fired two firefighters, accepted the resignation of a third and said it would discipline 13 others in connection with evidence of dishonesty, misuse of state equipment and other policy violations uncovered during a $2 million probe of allegations of misconduct leveled at the fire academy in Ione.

The probe, conducted for the agency by the California Highway Patrol, was initiated in the wake of the May 1 slaying of 26-year-old Sarah Douglas. Authorities have charged her boyfriend, ex-battalion chief Orville “Mo” Fleming, with her slaying. Fleming’s wife leveled accusations after the killing that Fleming and other firefighters had engaged in sex with prostitutes at the academy and said she had seen a tape of such activities.

Cal Fire said the probe unearthed no evidence of a sex tape, a finding echoed by Sacramento County sheriff’s investigators. But the CHP investigation uncovered other abuses that led to disciplinary actions against a total of 16 Cal Fire employees, 15 of them instructors at the academy and the 16th an employee in the field.

“There’s a variety of policy violations, including dishonesty, misuse of state equipment, misuse of state time and compromising the hiring process,” Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said. “None are connected to the allegations that were made.

“All, though, were discovered as part of the investigation that the CHP has been conducting for us over the last six or seven months into the initial allegations that were made. In that process, other violations were discovered.”

In addition to the three who are no longer employed at Cal Fire, all but one of the 13 employees facing discipline were notified as of Wednesday, Berlant said. The final employee is on vacation and had not yet been reached. All 16 were placed on administrative leave last month as preliminary results of the probe became available.

Discipline for those who remain employed at Cal Fire will range from reductions in pay to suspension to demotion, Berlant said.

The murder charge against Fleming, as well as the accusations leveled by his wife, brought embarrassing scrutiny to Cal Fire as it was entering the height of a challenging fire season last summer, and the agency director said Wednesday that misconduct by workers cannot be allowed.

“The CHP investigation brought to light the actions of a few individuals that violate the public trust,” Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said in a statement issued Wednesday. “We are pursuing the disciplinary process to the furthest extent allowed. This type of behavior will not be tolerated.

“I would like to extend my appreciation to the California Highway Patrol for the consummate professionalism displayed by their investigators during the course of this investigation.”

Mike Lopez, president of Cal Fire Local 2881, which represents the firefighters, said he could not discuss reasons for the discipline and said each of the employees can appeal.

“My understanding is it has to deal with the possibility of there being discipline for procedural and policy breakdowns in our academy, and each one of those is different from one to the other,” he said. “We’ll allow due process to take its place; we’ll represent our members to the best of our abilities.

“It’s something that no one wants to see at the place of employment where they work, and we’ll do the best we can to make sure the rights of employees are followed through.”

The sensational allegations began with the slaying of Douglas and the subsequent manhunt for Fleming, who hid out for 16 days, spending most of the time hunkered down under some brushy growth not far from the south Sacramento home where Douglas’ body was discovered.

Fleming, 56, has pleaded not guilty in her stabbing and strangulation death. He is being held without bail at the Sacramento County jail and faces his next hearing in Sacramento Superior Court on March 10, when a trial readiness conference is scheduled.
By Sam Stanton /

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January 23, 2015
Information passed along
Fire Suppression System Requirement At Gas Stations Could Soon Be Lifted For N.Y. State

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Motorists who pull into gas stations likely don’t notice the fire suppression systems embedded in overhead canopies, but for decades, New York state has required them.

As CBS2’s Diane Macedo reported, fire officials credit the systems with saving lives both for the public and for first responders. But the state’s Code Council could soon lift the requirement.

It’s a terrifying scene for any motorist, when something goes wrong as a gas station and a fire begins raging.

An April incident in Saratoga Springs, for example, could have caused a horror. But the gas station’s fire suppression system kicked in before anyone was injured.

The system involves heat detectors that are programmed to detect any sudden rise in temperature. That triggers a fire-retardant chemical to spray out of nozzles and onto the fire.

The goal is either to extinguish the fire, or subdue it so the fire department has more time to respond and people have more time to get away.

But a pending vote at the New York State Code Council could soon lift the statewide requirement that gas stations have those systems.

Filippo Conte, who installs and maintains the systems, said the vote would be a dangerous move — especially as gas stations continue to grow in size and the number attendants staffing them decreases.

“People are not experts at fueling flammable liquids, and mistakes happen,” said Conte, president of the New York State Association of Fire Equipment Companies.

In a June gas station fire on the Hutchinson River Parkway in White Plains, a driver went into diabetic shock and drove right into the pump. In that case, Conte said the fire suppression system wasn’t maintained, so it didn’t go off.

Luckily, the man hit by the pump happened to be a New York State trooper and made this daring rescue.

But Jim Calvin, president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores, said the suppression systems can also misfire.

“When such malfunctions occur, it’s messy, costly, and dangerous – for both the gas station owner and the unsuspecting fuel customers who happen to be at the pump,” Calvin said.

The association also said modern gas stations don’t need the systems, because they have a valve that cuts off fuel supply in the event of a fire.

But Huntington Manor Fire Chief Frank McQuade said the suppression systems are still necessary.

“It’s like a smoke detector in your house. Every house should have one,” McQuade said. “Same thing with a gas station. If it’s deployed before we get there, nine out of 10 times, the fire’s going to be knocked down prior to our arrival.”

The state has not yet taken a position on ending the fire suppression requirement for gas stations, but pointed out that the International Fire Code does not have, and never has had, such a requirement.

The council is expected to vote on whether to lift the fire suppression requirement on Feb. 11.

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January 23, 2015
Petersburg Fire Trucks Fail Inspection - VA

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — 8News has learned that two of the city’s fire trucks recently failed inspection. Some residents are concerned that if there’s a fire at a high rise in Petersburg, they’ll have to depend on firefighters from another jurisdiction to respond.

The city has seven fire trucks, but two are out of service. One of the impacted apparatus is a ladder truck. This type of truck could be critical in rescuing people from tall buildings.

“If something was to happen, then we would have to go to a different locality if our trucks that are in service could not reach the top floors.” says Michael Edwards, a Petersburg city resident. “So then you would have to wait additional time which could be the time of a life for that truck to get here from a different city.”

A city spokesperson told 8News anchor, Ava-joye Burnett, that if there is a serious fire, neighboring departments are on stand-by to help. The city also insists that every resident will get the service they need in the case of a fire.

In a released statement, city spokesperson Jay Ell Alexander wrote, “The City of Petersburg maintains full capability to respond to any fire and these issues do not put the public at risk.”

The department is also in the process of trying to get three new fire trucks.

“Hopefully we can replace some of that equipment. We do have equipment that is old, but due to financial issues, we have not been able to replace the units,” says David Ray Coleman, a Petersburg City Council member.

The city says it will take a few days to fix the truck that’s currently in the shop, and then after that, a maintenance crew will start working on the second engine that also failed inspection.

“Maintenance issues do arise, we can’t always catch them. Hopefully it won’t be out of service long,” says Edwards.

The city does extensive inspections annually, and it was during that inspection that they found out about the issues.

The city did not give specific details on what caused the trucks to fail inspection.
By Ilya Grossman /

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January 22, 2015
Lockport woman hurt in crash involving fire company vehicle - NY

Lockport firefighters use the Jaws of Life to extricate Linda Conlin from her vehicle after it was struck by a pickup Monday morning in the 1000 block of Lincoln Avenue.

A woman was sent to the hospital after the car she was driving on Lincoln Avenue in Lockport was struck by a Middleport Fire Department pickup truck Monday morning.

LOCKPORT — A city woman was sent to the hospital after the car she was driving on Lincoln Avenue was struck by a Middleport Fire Department pickup truck Monday morning.

Linda Conlin, 68, was transported to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital by Twin City Ambulance for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, according to the Niagara County Sheriff's Office.

An 18-year-old Middleport resident driving the pickup and a passenger were unhurt in the crash.

The accident occurred in front of 1001 Lincoln Ave. and both vehicles ended up on the front lawn of Briarwood Manor. Lockport Fire Department responded and used the Jaws of Life to extricate Conlin from her vehicle, Captain Robert Haley said.

Conlin's vehicle sustained heavy damage on the driver's side front and rear doors. Despite the damage, the design of newer cars limited injuries in the crash, according to Haley.

"It could have been a lot worse," he said.

According to the sheriff's office, Conlin was making a left-hand turn when her vehicle was struck by the truck.

No charges were filed in the accident.
By Michael Canfield /

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January 22, 2015
Marbletown FD Accident (Wayne County) - NY


Marbletown FD Car 30-3 called dispatch to report they had been involved in an accident and rolled down an embankment about 40 feet. After determining their location, multiple Fire & EMS resources were started to the scene. 30-2 assumed command and requested Mercy Flight respond to the scene for serious injuries to one of the firefighters. The firefighter was transported by Mercy Flight to the hospital. The Firefighters were in a pick up truck when it lost control on a curve and rolled down the embankment. The cause of the accident is under investigation.
By Scott /

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January 22, 2015
Indianapolis 9-1-1 Hacked - IN

INDIANAPOLIS - Computer hackers accessed the emergency 911 system that dispatches all police, fire and EMS vehicles across Indianapolis.

The attack started December 20 and lasted several days. It was only made public during a speech Tuesday afternoon. "We haven't said this because we wanted the investigation to continue, but we had our own cyberattack against our public safety communications systems," said Public Safety Director Troy Riggs.

Officials say the attack slowed the system down, but since there is a redundant computer network, public safety was never compromised. "I'm not going to go into our behind the scenes operations," said Riggs, "but because of our redundancies and the close work with the sheriff's office, we were able to continue to dispatch vehicles on time it did not affect that but it could have."

The director of public safety acknowledged this could happen again. In his opinion, cyberattacks are the number one safety threat to businesses and government in the United States.

"Municipalities are under attack all the time," explained Jonathan (J.J.) Thompson, CEO of Indianapolis-based Rook Security, which identifies and thwarts cyberattacks for clients around the world.

In Indianapolis, he says, hackers could have entered the city's system directly or gained access by way of an individual computer. "It may be an effort to attack and then stay inside the network and be able to monitor how police are responding to an incident. Or to plan ahead to be able to avoid police activity.

So there's a lot of things that could be scary about that," Thompson said. City officials say they quickly identified the cyber breech and then took steps to stop it.

"That's what they're doing right now is they're making sure that any of the holes that were identified by the attackers have been patched and that everything is safe again," said Thompson.

Safe for first responders to operate in a secure network knowing that lessons need to be learned in case there's another cyberattack. The Indianapolis Department of Homeland Security and FBI continue to investigate the breach.

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January 22, 2015
Firefighter, resident seriously injured in Trinidad blaze - NJ

Firefighters battle a blaze Tuesday morning in the 1100 block of Oates Street NE.
(DC Fire Fighters Association)

A District firefighter and a resident were injured Tuesday morning in fire that damaged at least one apartment in the Northeast Washington neighborhood of Trinidad, according to a fire department spokesman.

The fire broke out shortly after 9 a.m. in the 1100 block of Oates Street NE, near Gallaudet University. Tim Wilson, a spokesman for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Service Department, said the firefighter and civilian suffered serious injuries.

The fire was in a rowhouse turned into apartments. Wilson said the apartment that burned was filled with debris and other items, in what looked like a hoarding situation.
By Peter Hermann /

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January 22, 2015


A Fredericksburg man was killed after his car ran into a fire truck that was parked along Interstate 295 south at the I-64 interchange in eastern Henrico County Monday morning.

“A 2003 Pierce pumper truck (Henrico Fire Unit) was sitting in the left and center lane with lights activated when it was struck by a southbound 2013 Honda Civic,” Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. Steve Vick wrote in an email. “The driver of the Honda, Brad T. Cartwright, 31, of Fredericksburg, Va., died at the scene; he was not wearing a seat belt.”

Two Henrico firefighters, who were in the truck when it was hit, were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Vick added.

What happened?

Henrico Fire crews were initially called to I-295 at about 6:20 a.m. after a 2014 Dodge Caravan , headed north on I-295, ran off the side of the interstate and flipped down an embankment into White Oak Swap Creek.

“The driver of the Dodge, Brandon R. Burton, 23, of Capitol Heights, Maryland and one of the passenger were not injured in the crash,” Vick said. “Three passengers in the van were transported to VCU Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries, a fourth passenger was transported via MedFlight with serious, but non-life threatening injuries. All six people in the van were wearing seat belts. Burton was charged with Reckless Driving.”

All southbound lanes were closed so MedFlight could land on the interstate and transport at least one patient to the hospital.

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January 22, 2015

A WFD Engine was involved in an MVA this morning while responding to an MVA during the ice storm. All 6 firefighters were transported to a local hospital and released with minor injuries.

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January 22, 2015
Ice causes dozen-car pileup in Bellmawr - NJ

Bellmawr Fire Company's engine truck, pictured, and the township fire chief's sports utility vehicle were struck by other vehicles while they were on the scene of a one-car spinout into the Jersey barrier along Route 42.
(Photo courtesy of Bellmawr Fire Chief Jim Burleigh)

Rain and ice caused a pileup of a dozen vehicles Sunday that damaged a fire engine on a New Jersey Turnpike overpass Sunday.

The trouble began when firefighters and an EMS crew responded to a one-car accident on Route 42 in Bellmawr, Fire Chief Jim Burleigh said.

The responders blocked the road with a fire engine to protect workers at the scene, Burleigh said. As the EMS crew worked to treat the driver involved in the accident, another car slid on the ice and hit the fire engine.

That car was totaled, and the fire engine had extensive damage, Burleigh said. A firefighter in the driver's seat of the truck was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and was released Sunday afternoon.

The driver involved in the first accident was also taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Ten minutes after the car hit the fire truck, another car slid into Burleigh's car, which had been parked behind the fire engine.

And 15 minutes after that, another driver lost control on the ice and that third car hit Burleigh's.

"It ended up being 12 vehicles involved over a 30-minute period that slid into each other," Burleigh said.

By 4 p.m. Sunday, he said, officials had responded to 15 accidents around Bellmawr.

"It's a busy day," Burleigh said. "There's days when we're out there several times in the area, but not all within two hours."
Laura McCrystal, Inquirer Staff Writer

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January 22, 2015
Hoarding Conditions in Huntingtown (Calvert) House Fire Injures 5 Firefighters - MD


(Prince Frederick VFD)

Companies were dispatched for the reported dwelling fire. Chief 5 arrived with fire showing from the rear of a 1 story single family dwelling requesting the Working Fire Dispatch and two additional tankers. Chief 6 arrived establishing Command, Chief 5 was assigned operations. Interior crews reported a basement fire, with high heat on the first floor. As the crew on the first floor was making their way through the house, they reported “pack rat” conditions requesting a line to go to the rear and the roof to be opened.

Companies in the rear reported they were knocking the fire down from the rear. They had fire showing from the basement with extension to the rear deck that was well involved. As companies knocked the fire down in the basement and the roof got opened, companies operating on the 1st floor had fire above them in the attic and worked on pulling the ceiling.

The fire was placed under control within 45 minutes. Four firefighters were transported to the hospital with 1st and 2nd degree burns. Another firefighter injured his back after a fall.

All of the injured firefighters are doing well and weren’t in the hospital long.
Posted by: mdfirenews

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January 22, 2015
State Firefighters Fired After Homicide Investigation - CA

Two state firefighters were fired Wednesday and another has resigned after an ethics investigation prompted by the murder of a CalFire battalion chief's girlfriend.

Thirteen other California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection employees face discipline including suspensions, demotions or reductions in pay, department spokeswoman Janet Upton told The Associated Press.

Fifteen of the 16 were instructors at the department's fire academy in Ione, 40 miles southeast of Sacramento.

The $2 million investigation began in May after academy instructor Orville Fleming was charged with murder in the death of 26-year-old Sarah June Douglas, a former escort who became his girlfriend.

Fleming's estranged wife told Sacramento County sheriff's investigators and reporters that she had watched a video showing the victim having sex with her husband and other firefighters on fire trucks. Investigators never found a video and discredited the report.

But the resulting California Highway Patrol investigation uncovered problems including unauthorized use of a state vehicle; dishonesty; cheating while an employee was competing for a promotion; and improper conduct while instructors were on state time but after they were done teaching for the day.

"It's kind of ancillary to the original scope of the investigation, but it's things we couldn't overlook," Upton said. "We weren't going to sweep them under the rug. We felt they warranted the action we have taken."

All 16 were put on paid administrative leave last month, just as a new academy class began training for the coming fire season. One has since resigned and the others have been reassigned and no longer are at the academy.

The employees can appeal their discipline within the department and to the State Personnel Board. Upton said she could not disclose their names, specific offenses or other details without jeopardizing their due process rights.

"The CHP investigation brought to light the actions of a few individuals that violate the public trust. We are pursuing the disciplinary process to the furthest extent allowed. This type of behavior will not be tolerated," CalFire director Ken Pimlott said in a statement.

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January 22, 2015
Firefighter Struck by Another Walking to House Fire - NY

A New York firefighter was struck by a colleague's vehicle as he walked to a house fire Tuesday afternoon.

Cedarville Firefighter Jared R. Thayer, 25, of Little Falls, was driving his 2004 Ford pickup truck toward a fire in Litchfield when the incident occurred, reported.

There was heavy smoke in the area, and visibility was low. But, he spotted a vehicle parked on the shoulder.

Just as he drove around the vehicle, he saw a man with a reflective fire coat running toward the shoulder to get out of his way. But he was unable to stop before striking Raymond A. Jones, 61, a fellow firefighter, police told reporters. the man, police said.

Jones was transported to St. Luke's Hospital in Utica for treatment of multiple fractures to his leg and arm.

Thayer was issued a ticket for failure to reduce speed under special hazards, the paper reported.
Source: News

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January 22, 2015
Lessons Learned:
Investigation Report Released on 2012 LODD - VA

The Alexandria, VA, Fire Department has released its investigation report into the 2012 line of duty death of 33-year-old Joshua Weissman.

According to the report, the intent of the investigation into Weissman's death was not to lay blame but to learn from the event and prevent similar occurrences from happening in the future during rescue attempts.

Weissman died from injuries sustained in a fall from a cement barrier along Interstate 395. He had been responding to a car fire near South Glebe Road in Shirlington when he fell into a rocky creek below the interstate. According to Virginia State Police reports at the time, the Alexandria Fire Department responded to the scene of the car fire. Their ambulance stopped in the northbound lanes of I-395 along the HOV lanes to get to the vehicle. Separating the I-395 lanes from the HOV lanes were two cement barriers with a three-foot gap in between. There was no pavement between the two barriers.

Authorities said Weissman, of Bristow, VA, was climbing over the cement barrier to get to the vehicle when he fell through the gap and into Four Mile Run Creek, approximately 30 feet below the interstate.

Weissman was extricated from the creek by Alexandria City and Arlington County firefighters and transported to a nearby hospital, where he later died from his injuries.

Read the full investigation report

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January 22, 2015
Patient Punches Medic - ID

A Boise man who police say punched a paramedic while being put into an ambulance was arrested Monday on charges of felony battery.

Nathaniel Hammersmith, 26, walked up to a fire station Monday. Emergency responders thought he appeared intoxicated, and they attempted to help him, according to a Boise Police release. He fled into a nearby park, and firefighters pursued him.

They found Hammersmith barely able to stand or talk, so paramedics were called to the scene to transport Hammersmith to a hospital. As he was being loaded into an ambulance, Hammersmith punched a paramedic in the shoulder, according to the release. Officers then got involved and escorted him to the hospital for a medical evaluation.

Hammersmith was then arrested and booked into Ada County Jail on charges of felony battery upon a health care worker.
Erin Fenner / Source: The Idaho Statesman

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January 22, 2015
Medic Responds to Fire at Own Home - NC

HAMLET -- "You never expect it to be yours."

That was Hamlet Fire Department Lt. Robin Leviner's response 16 hours after responding to a fire at his own home.

According to Lt. Trey Goodwin, the call of a fire on Third Street came in around 12:30 a.m. Monday. Dispatchers said the person who called it in was riding down U.S. 74 Business, Goodwin said.

Leviner, who has been with the department more than 25 years and is also a paramedic, was the acting lieutenant at the time.

He said the original call didn't give an address, so he didn't make the connection to it being his home.

Leviner said the flames were already through the roof when he arrived on scene.

He said the first thing he did was to check and make sure his 17-year-old son, Cody, wasn't home. Neither his wife nor his younger twin sons were home at the time.

After he noticed the car was gone, his next effort was to try to get the family's pet Chihuahua out, which he was unable to do. The dog's body was found later that morning.

"It's just like losing a family member," he said.

Goodwin said it took crews about 45 minutes to get the flames under control and several hours were spent putting out hot spots. Crews were on scene until about 4:30 a.m.

He said the home was a total loss, with the bulk of the damage being in the master bedroom. Goodwin added that crews will go back out to try and find the point of origin for the blaze.

"It's a little close to home," Goodwin said. "When it's one of your own, it tends to leave a mark."

Neighbors and family friends stopped by to survey the damaged home Monday afternoon.

"He's worked hard on this house for it to be gone," said Cathy Manship, who said the Leviners moved in around 17 years ago, following several of her family members. "He's a good person. You just ask anybody in the city of Hamlet about Robin Leviner."

Leviner's younger brother Josh, who lives in Anson County, also came by.

He said he wasn't sure where his brother's family would be staying, but said they had plenty of options with multiple family members who would "open the doors for them."

"I don't know the feeling he had in his stomach when he got that call," Josh Leviner said, but added he once had a similar encounter when getting called to his grandmother's when she went into cardiac arrest. "I can imagine hearing your own address is an emotion like no other."

Cody Leviner is starting pitcher and a shortstop for the Richmond Raiders baseball team and will be attending Western Carolina University on a scholarship in the fall. His two younger brothers also play sports.

"The biggest thing is getting the kids settled back in," Robin Leviner said. "That's their home, that's their memories."

It's the loss of the physical reminders of memories for his children -- pictures, medallions, trophies and Cody's first home run ball -- that Leviner said "hurts so much."

"You can buy new wood and build a new house," he said, "(but) that's stuff you can't get back."

Leviner said people from throughout the community -- including churches and other emergency responders -- have been calling to see how they can help his family.

"The support of the community has been overwhelming," he said. "I can't name them all."

"People just want to help and that's a blessing," he added. "There's still good people out there."
William R. Toler / Source: Richmond County Daily Journal, Rockingham, N.C.

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January 22, 2015
Fire Truck Strikes MBTA Green Line Trolley, Causes Delays - MA

A fire truck struck a Green Line trolley on Tuesday.
(Photo credit Cory Bolotsky)

A fire truck that struck a Green Line trolley caused delays
(Photo credit William McAuliffe)

BOSTON (CBS) — A Boston fire engine struck a Green Line MBTA trolley, causing delays on the E Line Tuesday morning.

The incident occurred at about 8:30 a.m. at 570 Huntington Ave. No one was injured, but the delay affected eight MBTA stations.

Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald said an engine company from the Engine 37/Ladder 26 station struck the trolley. The station is right in front of the tracks and engines from that station cross the tracks multiple times a day, MacDonald said.

No significant damage was caused to the fire truck or the trolley, officials said.

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January 22, 2015
New Detroit Fire Department policy puts restrictions on donations - MI

DETROIT (WXYZ) - When the alarm rings, Detroit firefighters rush into action. Now, you can't say thank you with a box of goodies or any other donation unless you jump through a few hoops first.

Sheila Crowell has made it her mission to improve the working conditions for Detroit firefighters.

She has "adopted" Ladder 22 and Engine 34.

Crowell organizes fundraisers and collects countless supplies so firefighters don't have to dip into their own pockets.

"I know the city has given two bars of soap for a month. Two bars of soap!" said Crowell.

For Sheila, it's been an effort grown out of grief. When she lost her son William, she needed a reason to get out of bed. She found it at her neighborhood fire house. She gives in the memory of her son, and now she's worried that's going away.

"They are trying to stop the memory of my son," said Crowell. "I can fight with the devil. I love my son, so they have a fight on their hands."

On January 15th, one day before Sheila's latest fundraiser, the rules for giving changed.

A new policy for accepting donations was implemented and it doesn't include giving directly to firefighters or individual fire stations.

Donations now are to be funneled through the Public Safety Foundation or be approved through city council. Firefighters who violate the policy are subject to disciplinary action.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Fire Commissioner Edsel Jenkins released the follow statement regarding the donation policy:

It has always been City policy for cash or goods donated to the City of Detroit to be reported through City Council. However, since the Detroit Public Safety Foundation has come into existence, this has given the public safety departments a streamlined way to accept such donations. The DPSF is a 501(c)(3) and acts independently of City government.

Reporting of all donations, whether cash or goods, is being done for transparency and accountability. City employees should never be in the position of having accepted a donation that later cannot be accounted for. The Detroit Fire Department is a large organization, and the operations of its fire stations are paramount, including the acts of community groups and individuals that wish to help individual stations. By engaging City Council or DPSF, the Fire Department Administration can ensure that such individuals or companies are properly acknowledged, and in cases of those seeking tax advantages of making such donations, ensure that those benefits are realized.

If the PSF ever declines to accept a donation the DFD is still able to accept through the City Council process. Yes, the foundation in some instances receives a percentage of donations as administrative costs, but DFD cannot elaborate on that process.

If we get a donation that is accepted through City Council the timeline varies as a resolution letter is completed, which must also be signed by Budget Director and Finance Director.

As far as potential discipline, it would be no different than any other case of an employee not following a direct order. For a first offense, it could range from a written reprimand to a suspension of up to six days. This decision is up to the discretion of the Fire Commissioner.
Ronnie Dahl /

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January 22, 2015
ALS Foundation helping Kankakee firefighter fight for his pension - IL

(FOX 32 News Chicago)

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A Kankakee firefighter with a fatal disease is getting new help in his battle against City Hall.

Derek Hogg, a firefighter diagnosed with ALS--Lou Gehrig's disease, is about to be dumped from his job, just months short of qualifying for his pension.

"To have this kind of support, I don't think I can back down," Hogg said

Hogg said he and his wife holly have been swamped with letters, calls and emails after FOX 32 first reported last week on his fight to get his pension.

"We had thousands of people respond, and come and say how can we help? We support you and we have your back," said Hogg's wife Holly.

Two years ago, the 31-year-old firefighter was diagnosed with ALS, a terminal illness. As Hogg's condition worsened, he had to give up firefighting and was put on desk duty.

On February 19th, Hogg's job and his FMLA will expire, just months short of his June 1st anniversary date. That's the date Hogg would qualify for a disability pension of $3200 a month. It is money that would continue to be paid to his wife and two young children after he dies.

"It's such a big deal to receive this pension and he's only a few months shy of it. And it's not our fault he was diagnosed at such a young age and he's so close," Holly said.

Hogg's fellow firefighters volunteered to come to his rescue and work his shifts until June 1, but Kankakee mayor Nina Epstein shot that plan down saying it's not allowed by pension law.

Hogg made an emotional appeal to the mayor at the last City Council meeting.

"I ask you mayor, will you let my brothers and sisters on the fire department help me?" Hogg asked.

Epstein responded, "There's nothing I can do to reverse that decision."

"I figured she was the one who made the decision, so I should just tell her how I felt," said Wendy Abrams of the Les Turner ALS Foundation.

For 35 years, Abrams has run the Les Turner ALS Foundation in Chicago, which has raised tens of millions of dollars for research and helping patients with ALS.

After seeing FOX 32's story, Abrams wrote a letter to the Kankakee mayor, asking her to reconsider her decision.

"In my heart I know that you personally would like to help this family, but we need you now to step up, be creative and make it happen," the letter read.

"Most employers want to help. They really don't want to deny the people that have worked for them so long to make them comfortable in their time of need," Abrams said.

On Wednesday, Mayor Epstein told FOX 32 News by phone that she's received many "hateful responses" to her decision, but cannot change her mind.

"I understand the emotion, but I do not understand how people are asking me to forget the legal basis for this decision…We have done everything possible to accommodate this man, short of granting him his pension," she said.

"I believe she is able to find a way. She is able. She just hasn't worked with us on it. She just simply said no I can't," Hogg added.

The Les Turner ALS Foundation is planning a social media campaign to put heat on the mayor, and is also supplying the Hogg's with a lawyer to explore whether Kankakee has followed the law.
By Dane Placko, FOX 32 News Investigative Reporter

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January 22, 2015
MRSA bacteria found in several Seattle fire stations - WA

SEATTLE — More than half of the 33 fire stations taking part in a survey tested positive for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) somewhere the building.

The survey also found that roughly a third of the stations had at least one employee who tested positive for the antibiotic resistant strain of staph bacteria. Professor Marilyn Roberts with the University Of Washington School Of Public Health organized the study three years ago after discovering MRSA in both fire houses she tested in Western Washington.

She designed MRSA testing kits and sent them to 33 stations around the state.

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January 18, 2015
Ambulance driver at fault in U.S. 41 crash - FL

SARASOTA Fla. -- Thursday night an ambulance crashed into a car waiting at a stop light on U.S. 41 in Sarasota, causing a chain reaction. Even though the driver was rushing someone to the hospital, the Florida Highway Patrol says he was at fault.

The crash involved five vehicles in total and sent nine people to the hospital, including the patient inside the ambulance who was being rushed to Sarasota Memorial Hospital. First reports indicated the driver of the vehicle initially struck was in critical condition while the rest were stable. According to the Sarasota County Fire Department, one of the other paramedics inside the ambulance was undergoing surgery Friday.

Florida Highway Patrol is citing 55-year old Delbert Miller with careless driving.
Post by Josh Taylor /

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January 18, 2015
OCFA ambulance damaged when it collides with vehicle in San Clemente - CA

An Orange County Fire Authority ambulance sustained minor damage when it was struck by a Jeep Saturday in San Juan Capistrano.

The crash happened about 2:45 p.m. at the intersection of North El Camino Real and Camino Capistrano, said Orange County Sheriff's Department Lt. M. Donald Kiernan.

The OCFA ambulance was traveling north on El Camino Real when it collided with a Jeep Cherokee, Kiernan said. The ambulance was responding to a medical call at the San Clemente Pier with its lights and siren running when it was struck by the vehicle, OCFA Capt. Shane Sherwood said.

Two emergency medical technicians were aboard the ambulance.

As a result of minor damage to the ambulance, another amublance was assigned to the call at the pier, Sherwood said. There were no injuries in the crash. The cause of the incident remains under investigation.

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January 18, 2015
Ambulance involved in 5-vehicle crash on Dan Ryan - IL

At least one person was hurt in a five-vehicle crash involving an ambulance on the inbound Dan Ryan Expressway in the East Pilsen neighborhood Friday morning, police said.

The accident happened around 5:45 a.m. on Interstate 90/94 near Cermak Road, said Illinois State Police Trooper Ark Wozniak.

Several people were injured, but it was not immediately known how many, Wozniak said.

The vehicles involved in the accident were moved to nearby Canalport Avenue, and no lanes on I-90/94 were closed as a result, Wozniak said.
By Alexandra Chachkevitch Chicago Tribune

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January 18, 2015
Ambulance involved in hit-and-run DUI crash in Detroit - MI

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player
(WDIV video)

DETROIT - Police say a 17-year-old driver was under the influence of alcohol and driving without his headlights on when his car collided with an ambulance.

The teen was traveling northbound in his Dodge Stratus on Trumbell Avenue at a high rate of speed with no headlights on.

An ambulance was traveling with its lights and siren on, and hit the Stratus at the intersection of Trumbell Avenue and Lafayette Boulevard.

Police said the teen driver then fled the scene on foot and was arrested for DUI.

Two paramedics who were inside the ambulance struck suffered minor injuries. A patient inside the ambulance was picked up by another emergency vehicle.
Author: Troy A. Blevins, Online Editor, Producer /

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January 18, 2015
Rash of fires alarms Monessen residents - PA

Firefighters battle a blaze on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, on 10th Street in Monessen.
(Jeremy Sellew | Trib Total Media)

John Baldwin, a firefighter with Monessen Company 1, checks out damage to a home on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015, on 10th Street in Monessen.
(Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media)

Eugene Salvino of Monessen worries that recent arsons in vacant homes in the city might one day lead to an occupied house being burned.

“I'm very concerned because of the distance between the homes, which is very minimal,” said Salvino, who has lived in his home on Knox Avenue for nearly 60 years.

Four unoccupied homes were torched in the city Friday night into Saturday, and three firefighters were hurt while fighting the blazes, city fire Chief Chris Rhome said.

“I hope they quit before they injure more of my firefighters,” Rhome said.

All the fires occurred within a few blocks of one another. The first fire began about 10:42 p.m. Friday on 10th Street. Fires followed in the 1200 block of Knox Avenue and two homes in the 600 block of Ninth Street.

Someone returned to the home on Knox Avenue Saturday morning and reset the fire, Rhome said. All four homes were destroyed.

Rhome said he is convinced the fires were deliberately set because of what he saw at the scene.

“There were no utilities to them, and we have evidence of pour patterns where an accelerant had been used,” Rhome said.

He plans on meeting with a state police fire marshal soon.

A fire Dec. 29 on Knox Avenue was ruled as arson by a fire marshal, with a liquid accelerant used to spark the blaze, Rhome said.

Police Chief John Mandarino said he and investigators hope surveillance cameras in the area of the fires might lead to an arrest. A few people were stopped and questioned, but no one was arrested, Mandarino said.

Patrols will be increased in the area of the fires, he added.

Rhome said one firefighter suffered a severe ankle sprain, another a possible tailbone injury and a third a back injury after falling 6 feet from a porch.

Salvino said he was awakened by a siren.

“When I looked outside, I saw flashing lights, then firefighters,” he said.

Neighbor Otha Curley said he suspected the fires were set because of the number of them.

“I kind of gathered that,” he said. “It kept me up all night. I think it's a pretty bad thing people going around and having nothing better to do.”

Too many homes nearby are vacant, dilapidated or both and should be demolished, Salvino, Curley and Curley's friend, George Bradshaw, a former Monessen resident, said.

“Maybe we need to tear down some of these homes. It would eliminate some of the burned houses,” Curley said.

“That would help,” Salvino agreed. “What really needs to be done in this town is we need the people who own the properties to maintain them, which a lot of people don't.”

“There are too many dilapidated buildings with people coming in and out. That building right there,” Bradshaw said, pointing to one of the burned buildings on Knox Avenue, “it's been 20 years, and nothing's been done with it.”

Neighbors try to look out for one another, Salvino said. A recent break-in in the neighborhood was thwarted because of an attentive neighbor, he said.

Curley speculated that more than one person could be setting the blazes.

“They could be working together,” he said.

The vacant buildings provide good hiding places, Curley added.

“(Police) patrol through here,” he said. “They look around for anyone running from the area.”

Rhome said fire crews battled blazes for more than 12 hours.

“They're exhausted,” he said. “There's no better term to use than that. They're exhausted.”

Rhome said he doesn't know why someone would set a fire.

“I wish I knew,” he said. “I really wish I knew.”
By Bob Stiles /

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January 18, 2015


HUDSON - State Police are investigating after an accident near the scene of a Saturday evening fire. Firefighters were called to a report of a chimney fire at a home on Route 27 when an official from the Churchtown Fire Department, attempting to shut down traffic, was injured.

Officials at the scene say they believe his vehicle rolled over him.

The official, a man in his 70's, was airlifted to Albany Medical Center with head injuires. Police are investigating.

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January 18, 2015
Driver Hits Fire Hose at Fire - FL

Jacksonville firefighter said a man drove through a fire scene early Sunday while they battled a blaze at a vacant building

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January 18, 2015
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Emergency Responders Share Healthy Eating Habits for Fast-paced Lives - NC

We've all been there. You're running on empty but you don't have time to stop and eat.

Heck, you barely have time to take a breath. There's that meeting to get to, those calls to make, the kids to pick up or drop off.

Then it appears: the lit sign of a fast-food restaurant and the drive-thru window beckoning just beyond the wafting smell of burgers and fries. Like manna from heaven. And even though you know you shouldn't -- well, you're in a hurry. It's just this once.

Except it isn't just this once.

Life on the go can make it difficult to maintain a healthy diet. No one understands this better than emergency personnel who work long hours with little-to-no routine. Patrol officers typically work 12-hour shifts. Firefighters work 24-hour shifts. That leaves plenty of time for hunger pangs, fatigue and meals of grease-filled food.

"At any time, a call can come in. And if you haven't eaten, that's it: You don't eat until you're finished with the call. Depending on the nature of the call, that could be three or four hours," said Shelly Katkowski, a Burlington police master patrol officer.

It's the same for firefighters.

"If you're in the middle of eating when a call comes in, you just put it down and go," said Kevin Smith, an engineer at Burlington's Station 3 in east Burlington.

With spur-of-the-moment emergencies and little chance to plan their days, they've adopted strategies to curb cravings and cut fast food. The fact that heart disease is the number one killer of police and firefighters adds motivation to their healthy eating habits.

If they can make it work, chances are we can, too.

Here's how they do it.

--Plan ahead: Many patrol officers bring their own lunches and snacks from home. Packing a small cooler or lunchbox saves them time and money, Katkowski said. It keeps them from reaching for unhealthier options like chips and eliminates the need to go out for lunch.

For Katkowski and her husband, Staff Sgt. Dalton Majors, also a Burlington officer, that sometimes means cooking large batches of food in preparation for the work week. Lots of grilled chicken, vegetables, portioned and stored in the fridge for pack lunches later that week.

Planning meals and snacks ahead requires an equally planned shopping list for weekly trips, which avoids impulse buys.

Barring that, she packs food that's easily eaten in the patrol car. Half a peanut butter sandwich or a handful of almonds is a quick snack that keeps her full for an hour or two if she knows she'll be tied up. Leftovers also make good options.

Firefighters at Station 3 use the same process, stocking the kitchenette with fruit, oatmeal, English muffins, nuts, protein bars and protein shakes. It means there's always something healthy and handy, they said.

"It's not so much planning meals as planning what we buy," said Firefighter First Class Ryan Gerner. "We read the labels and check the amount of saturated fat and (carbohydrates). If there's a lot of saturated fat in it, it's probably not something we want to eat."

--Eat small meals and snacks: "We don't rely on one or two large meals a day," said Capt. Lawrence Alvis of the Burlington Fire Department. "We eat a lot of small snacks, like protein bars. That gives us quick energy from complex carbohydrates."

Other snacks they opt for include peanut butter on crackers, beef jerky and nuts.

For small meals, they might eat a small bowl of oatmeal, a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread or a sweet potato.

Katkowski uses the same strategy. Light eating throughout the day keeps her from becoming overly hungry -- which leads to the risk of overeating.

"Don't let yourself get that hungry," Katkowski said. "If you haven't eaten for eight hours, you're so hungry you're looking for anything. It's easy to tell yourself, 'I've been working hard all day. I deserve it,' and end up with fast food."

She opts for granola, protein bars and fruit for snacks and light sandwiches for meals.

She's found that being comfortably full improves her focus on the job and maintains the energy needed to chase suspects or respond to high-stress situations.

--Fill up on fuel: Burlington's emergency personnel build their diets on whole grains and protein.

Smaller amounts of foods high in complex carbohydrates -- which break down slowly and don't convert directly to sugar like white breads and rice -- and protein keep them full longer.

An added bonus, Alvis said, is that the nutrients and complex fats in nuts and lean meat have been shown to fight stress. That's a big deal for a crew going from zero to 60 at a moment's notice.

"A scoop of peanut butter stays with you for hours. A candy bar is gone in 30 minutes," Smith said.

Desperate and only have the office snack machine? Katkowski would opt for Snickers. At least it has peanuts and some protein, she said.

--Keep healthy snacks handy: "It's hard to stay healthy. When your office is your car, you kind of have a tendency to eat whatever is nearby," Katkowski said. "A lot of officers will leave packs of peanut butter crackers or granola in their cars just so they know they have something."

Trail mixes and nuts also fare well in the car, she said.

And that cooler you packed? Even on a hot day, it will keep fruit crisp and refreshing.

--Stay healthy in the drive-thru: Even when fast food is your only option, it's still possible to make healthy choices.

Most restaurants have grilled chicken sandwiches or wraps on the menu. Just skip the combo meals with fries, Katkowski said. Let that sandwich tide you over until you can grab a non-fast food snack later.

Changing eating habits has made fast-food splurging less tempting, Alvis said.

"Sometimes I really want a Big Mac," Alvis said. "Then I get there and just the smell is enough. Like, 'that's it, I've got my fix,' and I end up getting the grilled chicken wrap."

--Drink water: Gerner, Alvis and Smith try to drink 80 ounces of water a day.

Katkowski keeps a water bottle handy and advises other officers to make sure they have water, too.

Staying hydrated fights fatigue and headaches often associated with hunger. Sometimes when you're tired and hungry, your body really wants water.

They also avoid sodas and sweet tea.

Katkowski believes that our taste buds get trained to crave sweet things with time. Added caffeine and sugars also condition your body to expect those energy rushes at certain times of the day. Instead, she believes your food should fuel you.

--Find what works for you: "Everybody is different," Gerner said. "It's worth the effort to figure out what works for you."

Gerner leans on beef jerky and Clif bars, low carbohydrates and lots of protein. On the other hand, Smith opts for peanut butter and protein bars. They each have their own choices based on how their bodies metabolize foods and how individual foods make them feel.

Listening to their bodies leads them to healthier decisions in the long run.

Maintaining a healthy diet makes occasional splurges -- on game days and at special events and parties -- OK, Katkowski said.

"It's not about being perfect. It's about trying to live a healthy lifestyle," Katkowski said. "Making healthy choices while working coincides with a healthy lifestyle when you're not working.

"It's a learned behavior."

On the go go-tos


--Peanut butter on crackers

-Granola bars

--Trail mix

--Mixed nuts or almonds


--Protein bars (watch the sugar/fat)

--Mini rice cakes



--Peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread

--Tuna packet

--Pre-made salad with lean meat

--Healthy leftovers
Michael D. Abernethy / Source: Times-News, Burlington, N.C.

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January 18, 2015
Two Firefighters Escape Flashover - PA

Two Richland Township volunteer firefighters were burned while battling Friday night's fire in Windber.

They are home, fortunate to have escaped more serious injury, fire officials said on Saturday.

Richland fire Chief Robert Heffelfinger said the pair were on the second floor of a duplex at 1805 Graham Ave., searching for occupants.

"The call had come in with possible entrapment," he said.

The structure was in the process of a "flashover," making the room dangerously hot even with protective gear.

"They did go out the window, but had second-degree burns," Heffelfinger said.

One man was treated and later released from Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, he said.

The second firefighter was transferred to West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh, where he was treated and later released.

The chief described both men as younger firefighters.

They escaped "just in time," Heffelfinger said.

The structure, located at the corner of Graham Avenue and 18th Street, caught fire around 6 p.m.

One man was home and called 911, Windber fire Chief Robert Haddad said.

Three others who lived on the other side were not home when fire broke out on their side of the duplex, he said.

The fire has been ruled accidental. The house is a total loss, Haddad said.

The families are staying with friends and relatives, he said.

Instinct and the extensive training that local firefighters undergo kept the men from more serious injuries, Haddad said.

Thick smoke and intense flames cut the pair off from the stairwell, leaving them with few options for escape.

"They realized the conditions were becoming poor because of heat and smoke," Haddad said.

"They located a window and got out that way.

"The way they handled themselves is commendable, because it could have been a lot worse," he said.

The blaze underscores the danger of firefighting for rookies and veterans alike.

"Whether you're a 45-year veteran or just breaking in, it's extremely dangerous," Heffelfinger said.

"It's so important that these volunteers are well trained."
Patrick Buchnowski / Source: The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa

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January 18, 2015
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State law alerts firefighters to type of home construction with signs - NY

A state law went into effect this month in the hopes of alerting firefighters to types of construction that could pose safety hazards.

It requires new construction and renovations using truss type, pre-engineered wood or timber construction to be labeled on residential buildings, using a type of sign that’s been used in commercial structures for a number of years.

Those signs, however, might not make a lot of sense to those outside the fire fighting or construction world.

In fact, in Codes Enforcement Department in Washington County, reported signage in a newly constructed building was removed because it was mistaken for a sticker that came on the new window.

The signs are to be placed on entry ways with side-panel glass or on electric service entries to the home.

“They aren’t meant to place additional burden on a fire commander,” said Steve Smith, Washington County Code Enforcement Officer. Instead, they are to be used at fire scenes to determine how to fight a fire.

Warren County Emergency Services Coordinator Brian LaFlure said, “Responders conduct a 360 to see what they’ve got,” upon arriving at any fire scene.

The signs are white and reflective. They contain Roman numerals and letters inside a red circle. The Roman numerals I, II, III, IV and V indicate the five types of construction. Letter R represents roof and letter F represents floor. The sign will use both numerals, letters to show where that type of construction is located in the home.

The danger for firefighters with truss construction is the presence of gusset plates, metal pieces used to connect beams and girders to columns or to connect truss members.

In any other condition other than a fire, the structure is sound. In a fire, however, the metal becomes compromised.

“That may subject them to early collapse,” said Charles Wallace, Building Codes Administrator for Warren County.

Dave Armando, Code Administrator for Washington County, said there are specifics as to the number of trusses placed in a certain distance.

Nails or screws in gusset plates can melt, causing the joint to fail.

“When you take one away, it puts pressure on the adjoining ones,” Armando said.

Complete collapses are not uncommon and can happen very quickly.

Truss construction has many positives for a home builder. Aside from being less expensive and lightweight, it goes up quicker and can limit exposure to the elements as a home is built. It also can offer long spans that aren’t possible with conventional beams.

“That’s something you see in new construction, great rooms with wide open spaces,” said Moreau Code Enforcement Officer Benjamin Marcantonio.

The signage will now be part of the inspection process before a certificate of occupancy or completion is issued by codes departments across the state.
By Christina Scanlon /

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January 17, 2015
State audit critical of Plattekill Fire District internal financial controls - NY

ALBANY – An audit of the Plattekill #1 Fire District that services all of the Town of Plattekill and a portion of the Town of Newburgh, found fault with its internal controls over financial operations. The review covered the period of January 1, 2013 through January 14, 2014.

Key findings of the comptroller’s report included that the district board chairman had a prohibited interest in a contract between the district and a store which he owns.

The audit also said the treasurer did not issue press-numbers duplicate receipts, did not record the dates on which monies were received, did not perform bank reconciliations for the first nine months of 2013 and submitted inaccurate and late monthly reports to the board.

The report also said the board did not perform a thorough audit of vouchers and did not ensure that all claims were permissible district expenses. It also found the district did not select all professional services providers through a competitive process and did not have written contracts with all providers.

Recommendations of the state audit included the need to issue press-numbers duplicate receives for monies received by the district, maintain detailed records of when funds are received, perform timely and accurate bank reconciliations and present accurate and timely financial reports to the board; conduct a proper audit of claims; ensure adherence to the procurement policy’s provisions for obtaining quotations and proposals and enter into written contractual agreements with professional service providers; and establish and implement controls to ensure that the district does not enter into contracts in which an officers or employee has a prohibited interest
2013 Mid-Hudson News Networ

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January 17, 2015

It happened while a Penn Township fire truck was responding to a call.

Investigators say the fire truck was running with "lights and sirens" down McKinley.

Police say the fire truck veered around stopped cars as it passed through the intersection -- at Birch Road.

The driver of a Dodge Neon thought the fire truck was turning left. That's when the driver of the Neon turned and collided with the fire truck.

Three people were in the car, a male driver, a female passenger and a child. They all suffered minor injuries.

No firefighters were injured.

Police say this is a good reminder that if an emergency vehicle is coming through -- with lights and sirens activated -- pull over to the right, and stay there -- until the vehicle has passed.

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January 17, 2015
Firefighter injured battling Southeast Portland blaze - OR

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A firefighter was injured while battling a house fire in Southeast Portland Thursday, police said.

The fire was inside a single story home at 2856 Southeast 103rd Avenue. As a crew worked to douse the blaze, a large piece of broken glass fell onto a firefighter's leg, according to Lt. Damon Simmons with Portland Fire & Rescue.

The glass cut through the firefighter's pants and lacerated his leg, Simmons said.

The firefighter's name has not yet been released but Simmons said he got stitches at Legacy Emanuel Hospital and was expected to be cleared to head home around 5 p.m.

The fire was extinguished and investigators are working to determine a damage estimate.
Teresa Blackman, Staff

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January 17, 2015

Two firefighters and six other people were taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital after a four-vehicle accident.

The collision occurred at U.S. 41 and Landings Boulevard. The firefighters were in an ambulance. A patient was one of the other people taken to the hospital.

Deputies have not said what condition any of the eight people are in.

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January 17, 2015
Information passed along
Cancer in Fire Service is an Epidemic, Officials Say

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cancer in the fire service is not just a problem, it’s an epidemic.

While multiple studies in the United States and abroad have shown the correlation to firefighting and the increase occurrences of cancer, it will take a change in culture to stem the tide.

Getting responders to take preventative measures to protect themselves and their loved ones sounds like a no-brainer, but fire service leaders understand it’s not that easy.

U.S. Fire Administrator Ernie Mitchell said it distresses him to see cancer claiming so many firefighters.

“Firefighters face many hazards in the line of duty. What do we do about it?” Mitchell asked fire officials this week at a strategy meeting in the nation’s capital.

It saddens him to attend the funerals of fellow firefighters stricken with the disease.

Taking a suggestion from attendees at the recent Tampa II Summit, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation convened a brief conference – not only to hear about cancer studies but to discuss what to do with the data.

“This is not a NFFF meeting. We are hosting this on behalf of you,” NFFF Chairman Dennis Compton told the attendees.

While firefighters are being encouraged, and, in some departments ordered, to wear SCBA during overhaul, some believe that’s not enough. They should also be masked up during training, investigations as well as at vehicle and vegetation fires.

“Firefighters say they don’t usually wear SCBA during overhaul because they can better detect a rekindle,” said Dr. Virginia Weaver, associate professor at Johns Hopkins University.

Firefighter Cancer Support Network President Bryan Frieders is upset about the nonchalant attitudes.

“Our culture, our behavior is killing us. We can’t continue to condone certain actions,” he said. “It’s not OK to show a firefighter with a sooty face to recruit or sell something. It’s not OK to walk into the sleeping quarters with gear or dirty boots on. It’s not OK to see unattached exhaust hoses dangling from the ceiling.”

Frienders challenged his colleagues: “Are they bugles or plungers? Maybe you are the problem…”

Phoenix Chief Kara Kalkbrenner said firefighters in her department are taking the cancer threat very seriously. Some shower after every call, and always have clean clothes to change into. But, others admitted that's not the case across the nation.

Among the suggestions that surfaced during the conference include:

  • Shower after all fire and EMS calls
  • Wash turnout gear after response, and have a second set on hand
  • Include women and minorities in cancer studies
  • Don’t allow smoky turnout gear to be hung in the firehouse or carried in vehicles
  • Keep turnout gear out of bunkrooms
  • Include families of firefighters in studies
  • Establish a central repository for data relating to cancer in firefighters
  • Use social media to carry the message about the dangers
  • Every basic textbook and class should include a cancer-related section
  • Let it known that having a dirty, sooty helmet is no longer a badge of courage

After a draft report is compiled, some of the same stakeholders will reassemble to discuss an action plan.

NFFF Executive Director Ron Siarnicki said he was pleased with the input.

"It's a tough subject," he said. "And, change is difficult. But to reduce the chance of cancer, that's what has to be done..."

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January 17, 2015
Registered sex offender arrested in recent 911 threat to Jacksonville firefighters - FL

A 41-year-old sex-offender transient with a criminal record dating back to 1991 was arrested Thursday night linked to 61 calls to 911, including one just over a week ago threatening a Jacksonville fire station.

James Caroll Gay is charged with making threatening and false 911 calls and remains behind bars on $100,000 bail, according to jail records.

Sheriff’s Office Director Tom Hackney said a Jan. 6 caller threatened Station 35 in the 12800 block of North Main Street, telling the 911 operator that the Oceanway firefighters should "be on standby, you never know when I am going to strike out."

Hackney said the call was not related to a Dec. 23 incident when shots were fired at firefighters behind Fire Station 28 in the 9200 block of Hogan Road. He said the Jan. 6 call was one of many made since Dec. 20 and this arrest shows the Sheriff’s Office takes false 911 calls seriously.

“Sixty-one 911 calls are tying up a lot of time that involve dispatchers, involve receiving officers, involve police officers to go and look at these,” Hackney said. “This takes time away from those who desperately need our help.”

Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters President Randy Wyse thanked the Sheriff’s Office for the quick investigation, adding that neither he nor any other fire official who had seen Gay’s arrest photo Friday afternoon recognized him. Wyse also said he doesn’t know why the man threatened firefighters.

Fire and Rescue Department spokesman Tom Francis said fire officials are thrilled an arrest was made.

“We thank that agency for their diligence,” he said.

Gay’s 28 arrests include charges of breach of the peace, carrying a concealed weapon, making threats to a person or property and burglary, according to court records. His sex-offender arrest was in 2008 for lewd and lascivious exhibition involving his 7-year-old child, Hackney said. He was sentenced to 36 months in prison, according to court records.

He was then arrested in May 2011 for failing to register as a sexual offender and sentenced to two years in prison. On Aug. 27 Gay was arrested for making an obscene telephone call as well as misuse of the 911 system and sentenced to 30 days in jail, according to court records.

Hackney said Gay was “a little remorseful” when he was confronted about the calls but never said why he made them. He also said that none of the 61 calls rose to the level where Gay could be charged with threatening anyone. But what was said was enough to concern them.

“The caller during these calls made harassing statements and almost borderline threatening comments about the Sheriff’s Office and firefighters,” Hackney said. “The integrity unit who investigated this also had another case from August with similar statements and comments, and the voice on these 911 calls is very distinctive. You can tell these calls are related by listening to them.”

Hackney said investigators played some of the 911 calls to Gay’s family, and his son identified his father’s voice.

The Sheriff’s Office increased security at some fire stations in the wake of the recent incidents.

But Wyse expressed some concern the Dec. 23 shooting incident at Station 28 remains unsolved.

“That’s still an issue and I’m sure our firefighters will stay vigilant with their situational awareness,” he said.

Hackney said investigators still are working the case, but have made no progress.
By Dan Scanlan /

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January 17, 2015
3 firefighters accused in string of arsons in Hancock County - MS

HANCOCK COUNTY -- Deputies arrested three Hancock County volunteer firefighters Thursday in a string of arsons over the last several months.

Sheriff's Investigator A.J. Gambino identified them as Marie Gill, 27, of Gulfport; Korri-Don Jones, 29, of Pearlington; and Leslie Cheramie, 39, of Bay St. Louis.

Gill, a former firefighter with Clermont Harbor Volunteer Fire Department, faces two counts of arson, one count of conspiracy to commit arson and one count of evidence tampering.

Gambino said Gill serves on the Kiln Volunteer Fire Department but was serving with Clermont Harbor when the fires were set.

Jones, a West Hancock firefighter, faces two counts of accessory to arson after the fact and one count of conspiracy to commit arson. Jones is the son of West Hancock Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tim Jones.

Cheramie, also a West Hancock firefighter, faces one count of accessory to arson after the fact and one count of conspiracy to commit arson.

Officials have so far connected the three to two alleged arsons, one that burned a wooded area in the Logtown community Jan. 9 and one that burned marshland near the Clermont Harbor pier Dec. 1.

However, investigators believe the three and other unnamed suspects may be responsible for additional fires set in recent months, Gambino said.

"It's still an active investigation, and several more arsons have come up," he said. "We're still continuing to question people."

Hancock County Fire Investigator Brian Adam said the three were setting fires then responding with the fire departments to extinguish them.

It seems officials have not yet pinned down a motive for the crimes.

"We don't know if it's just for excitement because a lot of times their job can be boring," Gambino said. "We just don't know."

As of Friday afternoon, Jones and Cheramie remained in the Hancock County jail in lieu of $40,000 and $20,000 bonds, respectively.

Gill, who faces the severest charges of the three, was released after posting a $5,000 bond for each of the four counts, set by Justice Court Judge Tommy Carver.

Carver said bonds are set not to punish defendants but to ensure they will show up in court.

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January 17, 2015
Volunteer fire department's sign vandalized twice - GA

SAVANNAH, Ga. — CrimeStoppers is seeking information about the continued vandalism of a fire department's sign.

WTOC reported that the sign, at the Isle of Hope Volunteer Fire Department, was shot by vandals in Nov. 2014.

The department replaced the sign in December only to have vandals intentionally knock it over again on New Year's Eve.

Fire officials believe that a truck or SUV was used to knock over the sign.

If you have any information about this case, call CrimeStoppers at 234-2020.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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January 17, 2015
Mayday: Firefighter falls fighting house fire, rescued - MD

BALTIMORE — A Baltimore City firefighter was injured fighting a late-night blaze in the northern part of the city.

The fire broke out just before 11 p.m. Wednesday at a rowhome in the 400 block of Ilchester Avenue, a few blocks east of Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus.

Officials said one of the firefighters fell or tripped inside the home, causing a mayday call to be sent out. The firefighter was quickly removed from the home, assessed by paramedics and sent to Johns Hopkins Hospital for evaluation, officials said.

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January 15, 2015
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King County drops EpiPen for cheaper kit with same drug - PA

King County has dropped EpiPens in favor of vial-and-syringe kits to treat severe allergic reactions.
(Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times)

Jon Nolan, center, a medical-services officer for King County Medic 1, is leading training for first responders in a new way to deliver lifesaving epinephrine. The county has dropped EpiPens in favor of vial-and-syringe kits.
(Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times)

James Duren: “Kind of win-win all the way around.”

When a 14-year-old Bellevue boy bit into a pastry last July, accidentally triggering a sudden and severe peanut allergy, a crew from the local fire department was there within minutes.

But as the boy erupted in hives covering his neck, chest, stomach and back, the emergency medical technicians didn’t reach for an EpiPen, the standard weapon against dangerous allergic reactions.

Instead, they broke out a syringe and 1-milligram vial of epinephrine, components of a new protocol now standard in most of King County, a change emergency officials say saves money — and updates area 911 response practices to ensure better use of the potentially lifesaving drug.

“Basically, we put together this kit that was cost-effective,” said James Duren, the professional-standards manager for King County Emergency Medical Services. “We made Epi Kits instead of EpiPens.”

The program is called “Check and Inject,” and since it was rolled out last year in 31 fire departments, Duren figures it has saved about $150,000 and more than doubled use of epinephrine by area EMTs.

“We went from 40 EpiPens a year and now we’re at 85 uses of the kit since April,” he said. “Appropriate usage went up from 40 percent to 98 percent.”

Previously, EMTs were hesitant to use the EpiPens if the cases didn’t meet the definition of the most severe cases of anaphylactic shock — an urgently life-threatening condition, Duren said.

In addition to patients who clearly needed the drug, there were some who could have benefited but didn’t receive it, he added.

Now, in addition to the new kit, the county has adopted updated training that expands the indications for using epinephrine, the same drug used in EpiPens, to include less-severe signs of allergic reaction.

That was part of the goal for activist Kelly Morgan, 49, mother of an allergic teen, who lobbied to change the county’s response protocol.

Allergists have been telling parents to promptly give epinephrine at the first sign of a reaction, but when area 911 crews arrived, the EMTs were sometimes reluctant to use the drug if symptoms weren’t severe.

“I did advocate using good, scientific, medical information for whatever they did develop,” said Morgan, president of Washington Food Allergy, Eczema, Asthma Support Team, or FEAST, an advocacy group.

The new protocol has caught on in other areas of the state — and beyond.

Snohomish County is starting training to use the Check and Inject program in its 28 fire districts and private ambulance companies, said Dr. Eric Cooper, county medical program director.

Starting in August, the Seattle Fire Department will launch the program.

Kittitas and Island counties are on board, too, Duren said.

And, late last year, the Montana Department of Health and Human Services adopted the program statewide, said Shari Graham, the state’s EMS system manager.

“It’s primarily the expense,” she said, noting that EpiPens cost about $400 for a required two-pack, and they expire after about a year. “We were throwing an awful lot away.”

Cost of the autoinjector devices made by the drug firm Mylan Specialty has been a point of contention, especially in states like Washington, which since 1999 has mandated that EMTs carry and administer epinephrine.

By contrast, the epinephrine kits put together by King County cost about $10 each. When the small vials of drug expire after a year, they’re replaced for about $2.50 apiece, Duren said.

“It’s a kind of win-win all the way around,” he said. “The only person that doesn’t win is the maker of the autoinjector.”

But critics, including EpiPen manufacturer Mylan Specialty, suggest that using vials and syringes could cost precious time treating anaphylaxis.

“There have been too many tragedies reinforcing that when anaphylaxis occurs, every minute matters, and immediate access to epinephrine and emergency medical care is crucial,” Julie Knell, director of specialty communications for Mylan, said in a statement.

In addition, some area medical directors were skittish about the idea of EMTs being allowed to draw up and inject medications, a task typically reserved for paramedics, said Duren.

“They’re kind of old-school: They’re firefighters, we can’t give them too much to do,” he said. “But they’re smart people. Why have them park their brains in the parking lot?”

With training, EMTs in the program have learned to administer epinephrine efficiently and safely, he said. An EpiPen takes about 45 seconds to administer, start to finish. With the vial and syringe, it’s about 2 minutes, Duren said.

That’s within the boundaries of safety, said Dr. Mark Reiter, president of the board of directors of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine.

“That sounds reasonable,” Reiter said. “For all but the most severe cases of anaphylaxis, a one-minute time lag is unlikely to make a difference.”

Such severe incidents are extremely rare. The prevalence of anaphylaxis overall is about 1.6 percent in the general population, according to a 2014 study in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Most common triggers are medications, food and insect stings, the study found.

In the nearly 90 instances of use since the program began — including three calls on Jan. 2 alone — EMTs have used the kits to treat allergic reactions ranging from a 34-year-old Duvall man stung by 10 to 20 bees in April to a 56-year-old Bothell man with leukemia who had a bad response to a chemotherapy drug in July, records show.

In Bellevue, where the boy was treated for the peanut allergy, the new program has ramped up smoothly, said Lt. Richard Burke, community liaison officer with the Bellevue Fire Department.

EMTs are so comfortable with the protocol, patients likely don’t see a difference.

“It’s a lifesaving, life-changing drug,” he said. “What they’re looking for is their child or their loved one to get better.”
By JoNel Aleccia / Seattle Times health reporter

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January 15, 2015
Information passed along
Stress takes heavy toll on firefighters, experts say - MN

Jerry Hartsworm, at his home in Melrose, Minn., talks about the struggles he has endured after being injured while fighting a fire in May.
(Photo: Dave Schwarz, St. Cloud (Minn.) Times)

A barn fire burns in Oak Township, Minn., on May 3, 2104
(Photo: Stearns County Sheriff’s Office)

Volunteer firefighter Jerry Hartsworm of Melrose, Minn., was injured fighting a fire last May.
(Photo: Dave Schwarz, St. Cloud (Minn.) Times)

MELROSE, Minn. — Jerry Hartsworm was the kind of firefighter who didn't wait for the alarm.

Nine months ago, when he heard over his pager that a nearby department was responding to a barn fire, he jumped into his truck and headed to the station, knowing his department likely would be called to help.

What happened at the fire left Hartsworm changed.

He was injured, possibly by a falling beam or debris, and found himself lying face-down with flames all around him.

His physical injuries healed, but the mental scars he suffered have left him tormented and unable to work. Adding to the pain is the legal battle he has faced to get the city's insurance carrier to cover his medical expenses and lost wages.

For Hartsworm, 50, who spent four years as a volunteer on the Melrose Fire Department in central Minnesota, life has become a daily struggle.

"Every one of us, when that pager goes off, we know there's a possibility that we're going to die," he said. "And we accept the fact that we could die. But what I cannot accept is the fact that I'm discarded — that I didn't get hurt the right way to be covered."

Firefighters are often thought of as heroes, bravely rushing into a dangerous situation to help others without a thought for their own safety.

But experts say they often pay a mental and emotional price. Post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, substance abuse and suicide are common problems among firefighters.

A 2014 report from the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation found that a fire department is three times more likely to experience a suicide in a given year than a line-of-duty death.

"What they're dealing with is not what the average person who works a 9-to-5 office job is going to see," said Chief Philip Stittleburg, chairman of the National Volunteer Fire Council. "We're finally coming to realize that these sorts of incidents take a toll on you."

For volunteer fire departments, which are often found in small towns and rural areas, there's a heightened chance that someone on the department will know the victim of a fire or accident, Stittleburg said.

"That adds a whole additional stress level to the operation," he said.

While career firefighters generally work regularly scheduled hours, volunteers can get called anytime of the day or night. They have to juggle those duties with family and work obligations, Stittleburg said.

"It does take a toll on the family when you're opening the Christmas presents and suddenly, off you go to a call," he said.

Firefighters often don't talk about the emotions of their job because they don't want to show any weakness to their colleagues, the community or themselves, said Jeff Dill, founder of the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance.

"We try to handle it ourselves, and unfortunately, that's where the problems come in," Dill said.

After Hartsworm was injured in the barn fire last May, he spent three days in the hospital and two more weeks recovering at home, suffering from headaches and sensitivity to light. Hartsworm's doctor sent him to a neurology clinic in the Twin Cities, where he was diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury.

Hartsworm began having nightmares that he was trapped, burning, with no air to breathe, watching other firefighters get killed.

He spent five weeks in a psychiatry program, where he was diagnosed with PTSD. He still struggles with depression and anxiety and hasn't been able to return to his job as a supervisor at a local food-processing plant.

"I fight for my life every day," Hartsworm said. "This is as real as going into a fire every day for me."

Stittleburg's organization and others are trying to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health that exist in many fire departments.

"I think there is awareness, but it is growing at a much slower rate than we would like to see," he said.

Local officials can help by making sure there are employee-assistance programs available and that managers in the fire department are trained to recognize symptoms of stress, Stittleburg said.

"It all boils down to changing the culture of the profession, and that in turn boils down to leadership," he said.

Dill travels around the country presenting workshops on mental health to fire departments. He said attitudes about mental health are changing.

"Fire chiefs are saying, 'We need to pay attention to this,' " Dill said. "People are starting to see the light. And that's what we need, because we're losing too many of our brothers and sisters."
Kirsti Marohn, USA TODAY

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January 15, 2015
Fire Dept. Fined For Fatal Ice Bucket Challenge Mishap - KY

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — State regulators have fined a Kentucky fire department $25,000 for improper training and equipment after a firefighter was killed and three others hurt while the crew tried to help a college marching band participate in the ice bucket challenge.

Tony Grider, 41, died and three other Campbellsville firefighters were critically injured after the fire truck ladder they were on came too close to a power line after they sprayed the Campbellsville University marching band with water on Aug. 21.

The incident happened during the height of the ice bucket challenge phenomenon, in which people posted videos of themselves doused with cold water on social media websites and challenged their friends to do the same in order to raise awareness for and encourage donations to ALS research.

After an investigation, the Kentucky Office of Occupational Safety and Health found seven safety violations, six of them rated "serious" because they could result in injury or death.

Officials said the fire department did not make sure firefighters were wearing special helmets designed to protect against electric shock. Officials also said the department did not train firefighters about how far to stay away from live power lines.

Officials say the ladder never touched the power line, but the line carried such a high voltage it was able to energize the ladder truck just by being too close to it.

State regulators issued the citation last week. The fire department has until Feb. 2 to contest them. Campbellsville Fire Chief Kyle Smith declined to comment, referring questions to city attorney John Miller.

Miller did not immediately return a phone call from the Associated Press.

This is the second fine the state has issued in this incident. Regulators fined Campbellsville University $4,000 because someone filming the ice bucket challenge from a raised platform was not wearing a safety harness.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission, which regulates power companies, said the utility line was operated within safety standards and did not pursue penalties.

Campbellsville University is a private, Christian institution that has about 3,600 students located 65 miles south of Louisville.
By ADAM BEAM / Source: Associated Press

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January 15, 2015
Fire Truck Crash in Hartford - CT

HARTFORD -- A city fire truck and a car collided in the South End Thursday morning.

The accident was minor, Lt. Raul Ortiz said; no injuries were reported at the scene.

The crash happened before 11:30 a.m. in the area of New Britain Avenue and Giddings Street, when the rescue truck was responding to a call, Ortiz said.

It appears the fire truck was struck from behind, he said.
Christine Dempsey / Source: The Hartford Courant

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January 15, 2015
Information passed along
Firefighter, Emergency Responder Bill Passes

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta praised the House's unanimous passage Monday of his legislation to protect volunteer firefighters and emergency responders.

The Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act ensures that emergency services volunteers are not counted as full-time employees by the Internal Revenue Service under the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

The House passed the measure on a rare unanimous vote of 401-0. It now heads to the Senate for its approval.

Barletta authored the same legislation in the 113th Congress. It passed the House last March 11 by another unanimous vote of 410-0 before becoming bogged down in the Senate.

Under the employer mandate provision of the health-care law, employers with 50 or more employees must provide health insurance or pay penalties. If volunteers were considered employees, fire companies could exceed the 50-employee threshold.
Source: The Citizens' Voice

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January 15, 2015
West Sacramento Fire Truck Rear Ended While Responding To Hit-And-Run Scene - CA


WEST SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – An incident on Interstate 80 in West Sacramento ended with a fire truck hit and a man in in custody.

Just after midnight, California Highway Patrol officers say a hit-and-run accident was reported on eastbound I-80 near Enterprise.

Shortly after the crash, the driver got out of their truck and started running down the freeway.

When officers arrived, the man started fighting with them.

He was then taken into custody – but the situation didn’t end there.

“Shortly after the initial collision, West Sacramento Fire Department was at the initial location with lights and flares laid out when a vehicle driving in the heavy fog with visibility of 30 to 100 feet was driving too fast, rear ended another car and rear ended the fire truck that had its lights on,” said CHP Officer Adam Poole.

CHP officers believe the man arrested may have been under the influence of drugs.

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January 15, 2015
Shelton firetruck and SUV collide at Shelton Avenue, Meadow Street - CT

The SUV involved in an accident with a Shelton firetruck on Thursday morning.

Minor damage can be seen to the Echo Hose firetruck front bumper’s left side.

Shelton emergency personnel at the scene of an accident that involved a city firetruck.
(Photos by Brad Durrell)

A Shelton firetruck responding to a call collided with a SUV late this morning at Shelton Avenue and Meadow Street.

As of 12:45 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 15, emergency personnel were still at the scene. No serious injuries are being reported.

The SUV was occupied by a female driver and no passengers. The Echo Hose firetruck had four firefighters inside it at the time of the incident

There is noticeable damage to the driver-side and rear of the SUV, and some minor damage to the front area of the firetruck.
By Brad Durrell /


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January 15, 2015
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Governor Rick Snyder signs bill to help firefighters facing cancer - MI

LANSING, Mich. (WYXZ) - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill Wednesday that will help firefighters who have developed cancer while working on the job.

Senate Bill 211 was sponsored by Sen. Tory Rocca, and would allow firefighters to qualify for compensation through a First Responders Fund if they met certain conditions.

“We all value the important work our firefighters do each and every day,” Snyder said in a statement. “Firefighters face significant, and frequently unidentifiable, hazards on the job. This bill recognizes the potential health risks they face, especially in terms of cancers, and simplifies the claims process so stricken firefighters can get assistance they need.”

Snyder does have some concerns about how the program will be funded, and hopes legislators will come up with a long-term plan.

In a letter written to legislators, Snyder wrote "I am concerned, however that the bill is incomplete. The legislature did not identify a mechanism to finance the program. As a result this bill creates a system where an important benefit would be available first-come-first-serve, and only when funds are available."

He is encouraging the legislature to take up the funding issue soon.

At the end of the letter, Snyder wrote that he trusts they will find that source of funding.

"With a deep respect for our state's firefighters, gratitude to the legislature for addressing this important issue and for the work I know the legislature will do on identifying funding, I sign this bill," Snyder wrote.

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January 15, 2015
Capt. Franck Termaine dies after vehicle-crash response - CA

(The Last Call - RIP)

Capt. Franck Termaine

JACKSON, Calif. — Capt. Franck Termaine, 58, died Jan. 10, following a response to a motor vehicle crash the previous evening. His cause of death has not been determined.

Capt. Termaine was a paid-on call firefighter for the Jackson (Calif.) Fire Department and had more than 40 years of service. The department's Facebook page called him "the ultimate public servant" who was instrumental in many firefighters' careers.

Services for Capt. Termaine are scheduled for Friday. He leaves behind his wife, daughter and son.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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January 15, 2015
A thief targets a Wahoo firefighter while he is busy at work - NE

A massive fire in Wahoo is out, but some residents are still hot after they learned about an alarming case of stealing, while dozens of firefighters were battling the flames.

"We were there for a while, came back and had to clean up, but he discovered his laptop gone right around 10 o’clock last night,” said Wahoo Volunteer Fire Chief Mark Meyer.

While the Wahoo Volunteer Fire Department had their hands full fighting a massive structure fire in frigid conditions on Tuesday, a thief decided to prey upon a fire fighter who was in a rush to get to the scene.

"You know in the heat of the battle, heat of the moment, he shut the door, came in got his gear on and forgot to lock his vehicle,” said Meyer.

Volunteer Fire Chief Mark Meyer says locked or not, there is no reason someone should steal from a car parked outside the fire station.

"You don't think anybody is going to bother you because you're outside trying to help somebody and you don't think about do I have to lock my vehicle?” said Meyer.

Many members of the Wahoo community heard about the laptop theft from social media and are questioning why someone in their close knit town would be so cruel.

“Oh, it's pretty bad. You know, here is somebody potentially risking their life to help somebody and then somebody takes advantage of the situation,” said Wahoo resident Don White.

Chief Meyer says the laptop stolen from the volunteer fire fighter's car was his work computer, filled with irreplaceable data. The town of Wahoo is asking the thief to do the right thing.

"You know give the guy his computer back in some way or another,” said White.

Wahoo Police say right now they don't have a suspect, but they are on the lookout for a blue backpack that had a dark-colored Dell laptop inside.
By Emily Szink /

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January 14, 2015
Firefighter injured after being pinned between two trucks at fire station - TX

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

HOUSTON - A firefighter was injured after he was pinned between two trucks inside a northwest Harris County fire station, according to authorities.

The incident happened Thursday morning at the Little York Fire Department in the 14000 block of Walters Road.

According to the fire department, the firefighter, 23 year-old Joey Spitzenberger, was sitting on the back bumper of a fire truck when a large pickup truck driven by a co-worker pulled into the station garage.

"I got pinned against the back of the fire truck and the other vehicle," said Spitzenberger. "We were able to get the other vehicle to release me by backing it up a little bit."

"As any chief officer or fire fighter or dad for that matter, you just kind of wonder what happened," said Spitzenberger's father, Tony.

"The firefighters tires were wet when he pulled into the bay so whenever he stopped, the truck came to a small skid before it hit the back of the bumper," said Deputy Chief Shawn Richardson with the Little York Fire Department.

Spitzenberger was pinned between the two trucks for a short time before other firefighters rushed in to help.

"I'm like okay, am I still alive? That's when I felt the pain so I'm like 'I'm alive,'" said Spitzenberger. "I was expecting the worst. It's a big truck."

He was transported via LifeFlight to Memorial Hermann Hospital and released a couple of hours later.

Spitzenberg sustained two cracked ribs and several bruises.

"I'm feeling lucky, very lucky," he said.

"It's definitely not your everyday, not your normal everyday incident," said Spitzenberger's father.

"Our firefighters face danger every day and something like this is out of the ordinary and we're very very fortunate that the firefighter is really going to be fine," said Chief Fred Windisch with the Ponderosa Fire Department.

We're told the 23-year-old is employed as a part-time firefighter at the Little York Fire Department, and as a full-time firefighter at the Ponderosa Fire Department.
Author: Anoushah Rasta, Reporter / Matt Aufdenspring, Web Managing Editor,

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January 14, 2015
Firefighters Fall Through Floor - PA

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries after falling through the floor of a Cochranton home.

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January 14, 2015
Officials defend first responders after deadly Metro incident - DC

A firefighter attends people on a bus to assess triage needs after people were evacuated from a smoke filled Metro subway tunnel in Washington, Monday, Jan. 12, 2015. Metro officials say one of the busiest stations in downtown Washington has been evacuated because of smoke. Authorities say the source of the smoke is unknown.
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

District leaders on Tuesday said they remain confident in the agencies that respond to emergencies and terrorist incidents on Metro, despite the mixed reaction from trapped riders on how long it took first responders to reach a stopped, smoke-filled train Monday in which one woman died and scores were hospitalized.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident and said that smoke filled the Yellow Line train in a tunnel near the L'Enfant Plaza station after something came in contact with the high-voltage third rail.

“We will find out what happened, get to the bottom of what happened, and commit to fixing it,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Ms. Bowser declined to provide a timeline of Monday’s events or confirm when first responders initially reached the disabled train, but did say that the city’s fire department “responded within the time frames that are customary.”

D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Chief Eugene Jones said Monday’s response, which some passengers have reportedly said took 40 minutes, doesn’t shake his faith in the department’s ability to handle such emergencies.

“We respond every day to things that we’re faced with. I think we do an outstanding job,” Chief Jones said. “I don’t think it calls into question anything that we do.”

According to information released Monday night by the NTSB, around 3:30 p.m. Monday, a train was leaving the L’Enfant station and suddenly stopped about 800 feet inside a tunnel. About 1,100 feet ahead of the train was what NTSB investigator Michael Flanigon called an “electrical arcing event” involving the third rail.

Smoke filled the tunnel and made breathing difficult inside of the stopped train. More than 200 people were evaluated by medical personnel after the incident, according to fire officials.

Metro on Tuesday identified the woman who died as 61-year-old Carol Inman Glover of Alexandria, a mother of two and an employee of D.C.-based contractor support firm DKW Communications Inc. Twenty-one people remained hospitalized Tuesday afternoon, including three reportedly in critical condition.

Metro officials cautioned that it may take some time before they know the exact cause of the deadly accident.

“This will be a thorough process that often takes time, and we understand that passengers want answers quickly,” said Metro Board Chairman Tom Downs in a statement released Tuesday. “Please know that once the cause of this incident is understood, we are prepared to take the actions needed to prevent this from happening again.”

Concerns were raised about the number of fires and smoke incidents occurring in Metro stations earlier this year by the Tri-state Oversight Committee, a group that oversees safety on Metro.

According to the latest quarterly safety report from Metro’s Department of Safety and Environmental Management, 57 fires and 28 smoke incidents were reported from January through August 2014. For all of 2013, Metro reported 44 fires and 43 smoke incidents.

The organization said it inquired last summer “about whether a recent uptick of fire incidents in the Metrorail system are indicative of a more serious problem.” Officials from the committee did not return calls for comment Tuesday.

A Metro spokeswoman declined Tuesday to comment on the reports and the ongoing investigation, referring all questions to NTSB.

Ms. Bowser, who previously served on Metro’s board of directors, said she believes the subway system’s safety has been significantly enhanced in the time since a 2009 crash killed nine people on the Red Line.

“I think the safety culture has dramatically improved,” Ms. Bowser said. “That’s why this is shocking and so disappointing that we’ve had this failure, whatever the result turns out to be.”

Metro suspended service to the L'Enfant Plaza station, a transfer point serving five of six Metro lines, as the investigation continued. Yellow Line service was suspended Tuesday, but service on other lines returned to the station, though trains ran less frequently.

NTSB investigators on Tuesday were conducting a post-recovery examination of the train involved in Monday’s incident.

Retired NTSB investigator Bob Chipkevich said the agency will likely look to determine not only the root cause of the smoke but also at how Metro employees are trained to handle such emergencies, if protocol was followed, and whether ventilation in train tunnels can be improved.

“Anytime you have fire and smoke in an underground system, there is risk that needs to be assessed and if it’s occurring on a regular basis there should be a safety assessment,” said Mr. Chipkevich, who served as director of the agency’s Office of Railroad, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Investigations.

NTSB has investigated at least two other Metro incidents — a train derailment and a maintenance vehicle crash that killed two workers — since the 2009 train crash that killed nine people.

The 2009 crash between the Takoma and Fort Totten stations was the last incident in which Metro passengers were killed.
By Andrea Noble - The Washington Times

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January 14, 2015
Information passed along
2014 reported as busiest year for FDNY firefighters - NY

FDNY firefighters enter the scene of a three-alarm grass fire at Westen and Gulf avenues in Bloomfield Monday, April 14, 2014.
(Staten Island Advance/ Bill Lyons)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- For New York's Bravest, 2014 was their busiest year to date, and Staten Island's annual stats were no exception to the citywide increase in the number of emergency responses.

The Fire Department of New York responded to a total of 519,798 emergency calls last year -- a nearly 8.5 percent increase, compared to a total of 479,228 in 2013, according to an FDNY press release.

There were a total of 25,834 Staten Island emergency responses, up from 24,245 in 2013, a 6.55 percent increase.

Staten Island's FDNY emergency response data for 2014, compared with 2013, showed:

  • ..Structural fires increased by 9.66 percent -- from 1,252 to 1,373.
  • ..Non-structural fires, including auto, brush and rubbish fires, increased by 17.44 percent -- from 711 to 835.
  • ..Emergencies, including gas, water and steam leaks, trapped-in-elevator rescues, carbon monoxide and fire alarms in major buildings, subway emergencies and scaffold and building collapses, increased by 11.45 percent -- from 10,074 to 11,227.
  • ..Medical emergencies increased by 2.16 percent -- from 10,654 to 10,884.
  • ..False alarms decreased by 2.51 percent -- down to 1,515 from 1,554.

Statistics for individual boroughs, along with the citywide numbers, can be found on the New York City FDNY website.

"Today New York City Firefighters are trained to deal with a wide range of emergencies," said Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, in the release. "Going back decades it was fires, fires, fires. And now we're dealing with so many more things [other] than just structural fires. Firefighters are ready to deal with emergencies that are either manmade or natural."
By Mary Sharmaine |

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January 14, 2015
Fire policeman in critical condition after being hit by car - NY

MONTGOMERY -- Prayers and well wishes are pouring in for 73-year-old fire policeman Charlie Wallace, who remained in critical condition on Sunday after being struck by a minivan outside Montgomery Fire Department on Saturday morning.

Wallace was directing traffic in front of the firehouse on Ward St. at about 7:45 a.m. when the accident occurred.

He was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center in Vahalla.

"Charlie was directing traffic so that the fire apparatus could get out and he was wearing his fire police vest," said Montgomery Fire Chief Bob Pressler.

According to Pressler, the woman behind the wheel of the minivan stopped the vehicle after striking Wallace.

"As far as I know, she has not been charged, but he suffered massive trauma," said Pressler. Wallace is not only a member of the fire police, but he's also head of the fire commissioners for the Montgomery Fire District.

Montgomery firefighters were responding to a fire call, when Wallace was struck. They had been placed on "stand-by," as nearly two dozen other fire departments battled the massive blaze at the A. Zimmerman & Son Apple Orchard in the Ulster County hamlet of Clintondale.

According to Pressler, fire departments as far away as Boston and Colorado have reached out to express their concern for Wallace.

"Charlie has been a dear friend to the community and he has about 40 years of service in the fire department," said Montgomery mayor Steve Brescia.
By Pauline Liu / Times Herald-Record

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January 14, 2015
House Fire on Blossom Rd, 1 FF hurt - NY

Rochester Firefighters responded yesterday for a reported house fire on Blossom Rd. Command declared a working fire on the 2nd floor of a 2.5 story house. Multiple extra companies were requested to assist. One firefighter was transported to the hospital with burns and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

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January 14, 2015
Ambulance Involved in Two Car Crash - TX

An ambulance was involved in a two vehicle crash in North Abilene.

The accident happened on North 10th and Grape Street just before 10:30 Monday night. The ambulance was responding to a call with their lights on. A car traveling westbound on North 10th failed to yield and struck the emergency vehicle.

The car had a green light, but another vehicle in the outside lane had already stopped to allow the ambulance by. The vehicle did not slow down and the driver was cited for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.

Two Metrocare employees were taken by their supervisor to the hospital as a precaution. The cited driver was taken to Hendrick Medical Center with non life threatening injuries.
Neida Escamilla /

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January 14, 2015


Sources with knowledge of Monday's smoke incident on Metro tell FOX 5 that firefighter radios did not work inside the smoky tunnel near the L'Enfant Plaza station. Those sources tell FOX 5 antennas inside tunnel were not working and had not been for several days. Because of that outage, they say firefighters used line of sight communication in the tunnel and cell phones to get information out.

Sources also say the first-arriving firefighters said exhaust fans inside the L'Enfant Plaza station were not immediately operational.

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January 14, 2015
KY’s racist, bully fire chief stays on the job & in the news - KY

It’s 2015 and we thought we were out with the old and in with the new. But Julius Hatfield, Kentucky’s racist, bully fire chief, is still hanging around and still doing stupid things. Take last night, for example. After previously apologizing for being a bully to WDRB-TV reporter Valerie Chinn, he puts his hands on her. Now, I will admit it looks like a somewhat gentle push, but really?

If you don’t want want reporters following you and asking you questions while you are under criminal investigation maybe you should take a leave of absence Julius? Oh, that’s right. You already told us you would take some time off but you’ve decided the community and the fire department just can’t get along without your great leadership. Oh, well. Then I guess you better get used to Ms. Chinn being around for a while longer.

Dave Statter has the full article at

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January 14, 2015
Dispatching Error Delays Firefighters' Response - IA

A mistaken address caused a Burlington woman's home to burn longer than it normally would have.

Mary Lou Banks, who lives at 1033 Brooks St., called emergency services in a panic after her kitchen caught fire shortly before 7 p.m. Friday. Fire Marshal Mark Crooks said she accidently gave the dispatcher the wrong address when she called, sending firefighters to the west side of town. When the fire department received the correct address, it turned around and drive to the north side of town.

The fire was called in at 6:51 p.m., and the first fire truck arrived at 6:57 p.m. But since most of the fire trucks were sent to the other address, firefighters on the scene had to do the best they could until back-up arrived.

A total of 13 Burlington firefighters and three West Burlington firefighters battled the blaze, declaring it extinguished at 8:19 p.m.

Damage mostly was contained to the kitchen, though there is heat and smoke damage throughout the house. Firefighters remained on scene until 12:27 a.m. Saturday.

"There was heavy black smoke coming from the front door, and flames coming from a window near the rear of the one-story wood-frame house," Crooks said.

Banks managed to get her two dogs out of the house, but her cat died in the blaze. Banks herself was not injured, and the house is insured.

The house, which Crooks valued at about $50,000, sustained $25,000 in damage, with an additional $20,000 worth of damage to the contents.

The official cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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January 14, 2015
Saginaw firefighters save colleague's life after he collapses at wheel of fire truck - MI

Saginaw Fire Department Lt. Christopher McGowan, left, and firefighter Brandon Hausbeck saved the life of a fellow firefighter last week when they were returning from the scene of a fire. The driver of their truck had a heart attack and they were able to park the truck, remove the driver from the cab, perform CPR and shock him with a defibrillator before a police officer transported him to Covenant Healthcare hospital a few blocks away.
(Jeff Schrier |

Saginaw firefighters talk about saving fellow fireman who had heart attack

SAGINAW, MI — While riding back to the station after fighting a suspected arson on the city's East Side, two Saginaw firefighters noticed something wrong.

Their fire engine, stopped at a red light, began to roll forward before the light had changed.

That's when Lt. Christopher McGowan, 37, and firefighter Brandon Hausbeck, 24, realized their driver was unconscious.

The two men sprang into action, stopping the truck and saving their fellow firefighter, who was suffering a cardiac emergency. The incident happened on the morning of Thursday, Jan. 8, at the intersection of Genesee and Michigan, as the fire engine was returning to station No. 2 on Gratiot. The engine was dispatched to help battle a blaze at 1328 Essling.

Although the driver of the truck asked not to be indentified, fire officials are crediting McGowan and Hausbeck's actions with saving a life.

McGowan pulled the emergency brake and got the driver out and onto the ground, checking for a pulse and removed the driver's shirt. The firefighters — both trained EMTs — hooked an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to the stricken driver and the device advised them to shock the man.

They backed away and pressed the button to deliver a shock, which allowed the driver to regain consciousness, Hausbeck said. The two firefighters then performed CPR and placed the victim on oxygen.

A Saginaw police officer arrived and drove the firefighter to Covenant Healthcare hospital just a few blocks away.

A MMR ambulance and two other fire engines arrived at the location about that same time, Hausbeck said.

The firefighter was still at Covenant on the morning of Monday, Jan. 12, Hausbeck said, and he was expected to go home later that day.

Hausbeck said the AED was helpful because he did not know what was happening to the victim before the device analyzed his heart rhythm.

Saginaw firetrucks added the devices to firetrucks within the past two years and the device proved to be crucial for the emergency situation. The department provides CPR and AED training on an annual basis, he said.

"Before, when we didn't have them, if that situation happened, I believe it would have been a much different outcome," he said. "The AED saved his life. We're lucky we had it right there."

"You never think you're going to need to use these things, but when you do, they're indispensable."

Hausbeck encourages people to learn how AEDs work and encourages business owners to consider purchasing the "invaluable" devices.

Saginaw Fire Chief Christopher Van Loo called the incident a great story that shows the importance of training and equipment.

"It's a successful outcome based on their actions and ability to do that," Van Loo said, giving credit to the firefighters. "It's great."

He wants to spread the message about AEDs, he said, about "how they work and how important they are."
By Brad Devereaux |

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January 14, 2015
Medics Didn't Respond Fast Enough to 9-1-1 Call, Investigators Find - FL

NAPLES. Fla. -- Collier County paramedics did not respond to an emergency alarm when an ambulance crew was late to the scene of 2012 heart attack that resulted in the death of a 25-year-old man, according to state investigators.

The Florida Department of Health's medical oversight bureau, which has completed a year-long investigation into a county ambulance crew's response to the fatal heart attack, also found that county officials violated state law by failing to report the delay to state authorities.

The county could be fined upwards of $700,000.

The findings help vindicate the family of Chaz Minard, who went into cardiac arrest and would later die at a hospital.

Minard's father, Charles, has long maintained that paramedics were late.

Minard asked the state to investigate in spring 2013, shortly after Collier County commissioners voted to conduct an internal investigation of their own.

--Father blames EMS delay for son's death, calls for reform

--County to investigate EMS after man waits 13 minutes for ambulance, dies

"The county messed up," Minard said. "This tells me they had something to hide, or why wouldn't they report and file what they were supposed to report? It's obvious they did wrong."

County EMS officials have denied any wrongdoing and county attorneys have asked commissioners for approval to challenge the state investigators at a hearing before an administrative law judge.

It's unclear how soon that hearing could take place.

It has been more than two years since Charles Minard found his son struggling to breathe but conscious on a December morning in 2012.

Paramedics were six minutes late to the scene after they "negligently failed to respond" to a first emergency alert sent out by dispatch, investigators said.

A second alarm had to be sent out after the ambulance crew didn't answer the distress call.

The county's own internal investigation, conducted in 2013, never found out why paramedics didn't hear the first emergency call.

The crew was vacuuming the station and may not have heard it come in, or another radio channel could have blocked out the dispatch, county officials said.

By the time the ambulance arrived, Golden Gate fire paramedics and a Collier County sheriff's deputy were at the Golden Gate Estates home performing CPR and attempting to restart Chaz Minard's heart, which was flatlining.

Under Collier County protocol, fire paramedics aren't allowed to begin advanced life support procedures, including techniques that regulate a patient's airflow, before a county paramedic arrives.

Minard was taken to Physician's Regional Hospital, where six days later, doctors said his brain had been deprived of oxygen for too long and he would never wake up. The family decided to take him off life support.

Charles Minard believes his son would be alive today if crews had left the station on time.

"Thirteen minutes is a long time to go without oxygen," he said.

But it isn't certain that an ambulance could have saved Minard's life.

By county design, fire crews are meant to be first on scene of medical emergencies to begin basic life support, like CPR, county EMS Chief Walter Kopka has said.

Kopka couldn't be reached for comment Monday.

The county could be fined $1,000 for the delayed response.

But what could be more costly to county coffers is that inspectors said county EMS officials never told the health department about the violation.

By law, the county could be fined up to $1,000 for each day over the last two years it didn't report the incident, attorney Jeff Klatzkow warned commissioners in a memo.

"Should the state prevail, the county's monetary exposure could exceed $700,000," Klatzkow wrote.
Greg Stanley Source: Naples Daily News

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January 14, 2015
Dispatcher Gave Mistaken EMD Advice - CA

Officials of the San Diego Fire-Rescue agency say that a dispatcher’s instructions to passersby to remove a tourniquet they placed on an accident victim whose leg was severed, was a mistake. However, they say it’s questionable if the error led to the man’s death later in a hospital, since paramedics arrived within three minutes and reapplied the tourniquet. City EMS director Jim Dunford said he had not spoken to the unnamed dispatcher, and didn’t know why she gave the advice. He said EMD tourniquet advice for the last two years has been to leave it in place until a firefighter arrives and medically evaluates the patient. In this case, the victim was a pedestrian in the roadway and was hit by a motorcycle, severing his leg below the knee. A witness to the accident was ex-military, and used his belt as a tourniquet. However, when the man’s girlfriend dialed 911, the dispatcher told him, “We need to take that belt off. We don’t want to tourniquet it.” Dunford said it’s the first time he’s heard of such a mistake in 25 years, and that all dispatchers are being updated on the current tourniquet policy. Read more about the incident here.

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January 14, 2015
Lubbock Police Say Someone Stole a Full Set of Firefighting Gear - TX

LUBBOCK -- Lubbock Police on Monday released information about the theft of a full set of firefighting equipment that happened either Thursday evening or Friday morning in the 2700 block of 80th Street.

Police said, “A full set of firefighting equipment in a red bag was stolen from a vehicle. The equipment taken includes; a complete uniform with helmet and boots, SCBA mask, and other related items.”

A police report estimated the value of the equipment as $5,000, and it was not clear from the police report if the equipment belonged to the 25-year-old man listed as the victim or if it belonged to a local fire department. The fire gear was taken from the back of a Chevy Avalanche.

Police said anyone with information is asked to call Crime Line at 806-741-1000.

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January 14, 2015
Fire engine tumbles off icy mountain road while responding to crash - NC

(Photo from

(Photo from Blue Ridge Now)

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. - Three firefighters were taken to the hospital after their fire engine responding to a crash rolled off an icy mountain road Wednesday morning in Henderson County, according to officials.

The incident happened around 8 a.m. at Carriage Park, a private community off of Carriage Park Way, Major Frank Stout with the Henderson County Sheriff's Office.

The fire engine was responding to a vehicle accident caused by icy, foggy driving conditions. The engine rolled over the mountain and down an embankment.

WHNS-TV reported that the very steep road the fire engine was on was icy at the time and that likely caused the crash.

The truck that crashed, Engine 17-4, is a 2004 American LaFrance Metropolitan Pumper/Tanker with a 1500 gallons per minute pump and 1000 gallon tank, according to the fire department's website.

WSPA-TV coverage partners at the Hendersonville Times News report the Mountain Home Fire Department engine went by a resident's home shortly before the truck rolled over. The man tells them the fog was so thick that he couldn't see 200 yards across the lake.

Three firefighters were taken to the hospital. The extent of their injuries are unknown at this time.

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January 14, 2015
Fire truck reported stolen in northwest Harris County - TX

TOMBALL, Texas – Authorities in Tomball are trying to figure out who stole a fire truck from the Rosehill Fire Department.

It was stolen from a small satellite station located off FM 2920. From the outside the building looks like a basic two-stall storage garage, but inside were valuable items used to keep the community safe.

"Naturally I'm upset," said Assistant Fire Chief Lee Sulecki. "I mean, we're all upset!"

Sulecki said between 12 a.m. and 7 a.m. Monday, someone kicked in the locked garage door then drove off in the department's 1997 Ford brush truck.

"It's used to fight grass fires," explained Sulecki. "It's a four-wheel-drive truck that's small to get into fields and fight grass and wildfires."

The thief also grabbed medical equipment like a defibrillator and oxygen delivery system from the neighboring fire truck. The total cost of the stolen goods is estimated at $75,000.

"It's money that we don't have," he said.

Now those at the Rosehill Fire Department are hoping someone saw something and can help.

"It's got our name on the door, Rosehill Fire Department so it's not real easy to miss," he said.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
KHOU Staff,

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January 14, 2015
Mayday: 2 firefighters trapped in basement, rescued - CA

(The Sacramento Bee)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — No one was home when a south Sacramento house caught fire early Monday morning. But minutes after arriving to battle the blaze, firefighters had to pull two men out of the burning building.

They were two of their own.

Three firefighters were ultimately hospitalized Monday after one suffered smoke inhalation and two were burned battling a basement fire at a residence in the 5200 block of 22nd Avenue.

The department identified the firefighters as Capt. Gary Pimentel, firefighter Adam McKahan and probationary firefighter Alex Galang.

Witnesses said smoke was pouring from the basement of the Colonial Heights home when fire crews arrived at the burning building around 6:30 a.m. It seemed the flames were coming from the basement.

At 6:34 a.m., a mayday call went out. Firefighters in trouble.

When Sacramento Fire Department Chief Walter White heard the call, he said, he immediately feared for the safety of the crew inside.

“A mayday call is not something you ever want to hear,” White said.
The Sacramento Bee

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January 14, 2015
Appleton fire chief resigns after selectmen refuse to reimburse him $34 for ink cartridges - ME

APPLETON, Maine — Appleton Fire Chief David Stone said selectmen’s refusal last week to reimburse him $34 for ink cartridges was the final straw.

Stone informed the board at its Jan. 6 meeting that he would resign. Stone said Monday that his resignation would be effective at the end of the day after he meets and informs the firefighters at a department meeting.

“I was being micromanaged to death,” Stone said.

Stone has been with the Appleton Fire Department for 28 years and its chief for the past 20 years.

The chief said selectmen have been insisting on purchase orders and invoices on all items that are bought, regardless of cost. The final straw came, he said, when he submitted a reimbursement request for two ink cartridges for the printer at the fire station.

Stone said he used his own credit card for the online purchase. He said selectmen demanded that an invoice be provided, but he replied that he wasn’t planning on turning over his credit card statement to the board.

Board Chairman Donald Burke declined comment when contacted Monday and referred questions to the written minutes of last week’s meeting.

The minutes state that Stone requested the reimbursement for the cartridges that were paid for through his business Stone’s Auto. The chief told the board he was not able to provide an invoice and when told he would not be reimbursed, he became agitated and tossed a balled up piece of paper at one of the selectmen and announced his resignation.

The chief said Monday that the board also has imposed needless policies such as requiring all vendors for the Appleton Fire Department to have workers’ compensation insurance and liability insurance.

“They’re losing a lot,” Stone said, referring to his departure. “I don’t think they know all the things I do.”

The department has an annual budget of about $35,000. In his message last year in the town report, Stone said the department needed more members as the department staff was aging. He urged citizens to come forward and join. He also praised the firefighters and their families for the time commitment they make for training and responding to calls.
By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

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January 14, 2015
San Jose firefighter stumbles upon booby trap - CA

Firefighters in San Jose discovered a dangerous booby trap while responding to a call on Communications Hill in South San Jose Sunday Jan. 11, 2015. A firefighter fell into the trap, consisting of a 2-foot hole with sharpened sticks pointing upward laid in the bottom, but was uninjured.
(Photo: Courtesy / San Jose Fire Department)

Firefighters in San Jose — already dealing with any number of dangers in the line of duty — have another hazard to be on the lookout for after a crew discovered a booby trap while responding to a call Sunday morning.

The trap was discovered on the east side of Communications Hill in South San Jose near an abandoned homeless encampment when a firefighter stepped through a burlap sack that was covering a 2-foot hole with numerous sharpened wooden spikes set in the bottom, said Sean Kaldor, Vice President of Local 230 Firefighters Union.

The firefighter was uninjured, but the discovery of the trap shook him and caused unease throughout the department, Kaldor said.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said. “It was definitely a scary event.”

Kaldor said it was impossible to tell who set the trap or what their intent was, but that did little to calm the fears of firefighters going out into the field.

“It doesn’t really matter what the point was,” he said. “With a passive entrapment like that, it’s a danger to anyone going down there, whether it’s firefighters or homeless people or outreach workers.”

Kaldor added that firefighters had been made aware of the trap and would be exercising extra caution in the field. Still, he said, the discovery was troubling.

“It’s a scary thing for us,” he said. “Our jobs are already dangerous, the last thing we need is people trying to make them more so.”
By Kale Williams

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January 10, 2015
Internal Report Involving Atlanta Chief's Firing Released - GA


Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's office has released a copy of the internal investigation into dismissed Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran's management.

Reed terminated Cochran earlier this week over a religious book the chief authored that contained what some say are disparaging remarks about homosexuality. Cochran supporters say he's legally entitled to publish those views, and that his ousting is a violation of constitutional rights protecting free speech and religion.

According to a copy of the investigation obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through an open records request, Reed officials found no evidence that Cochran treated lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees unfairly during his tenure. The report also reveals that Cochran once supported disciplining firefighters who openly supported Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy's public statements opposing same-sex marriage.

The investigation sought to determine whether Cochran received proper clearance from City Hall to publish the 2013 book -- "Who Told You That You Are Naked?" -- how widely the book was distributed inside the department and whether the chief's personal views impacted his disciplinary decisions.

Reed said he fired Cochran because of poor judgment and insubordination during his initial 30-day suspension. Specifically, Reed terminated the chief because he failed to receive required approval to publish the book, and then spoke publicly about the ordeal against the mayor's request.

Cochran said he believes he's been treated unfairly. His dismissal has become national news, with some lawmakers pointing to his case to bolster support for a host of religious liberty bills now under consideration nationwide.

Excerpts from the report include:

I. Was Publication of the Book Authorized?

The Standards of Conduct provide a clear directive to "commissioners, deputy commissioners [and] department heads" to seek approval of the Board of Ethics before the department head "may engage in private employment or render services for private interests."1 No such approval was sought or rendered in the publication of the book that is available on for purchase.

At the outset of the investigation, Chief Cochran admitted that he did not inform Mayor Reed that he was publishing the book and did not have the Mayor's permission. The only indication there was any mention of the book to anyone in the Mayor's Office is the Chief Operating Officer at the time of publication remembering that Chief Cochran had talked about writing a book on leadership.

Chief Cochran insists Ethics Officer Hickson authorized both the publication of the book and the reference in the book to his position as AFRD Chief. His recollection is that he first contacted Ms. Hickson to determine if it was permissible to publish the book and that he later asked if it was appropriate to identify himself in the book as AFRD Chief. Ms. Hickson indicated that she did not approve publication of the book and had no authority to grant such approval. She said she told him that he would need to get the Mayor's permission as well as a formal opinion from the Board of Ethics.

II. To What Extent Was the Book Distributed in the Workplace?

Chief Cochran stated that he provided the book to certain members of his command staff as a personal gift. He originally stated that he did not provide it to anyone who did not request a copy. The investigation disclosed that the book was distributed in the workplace to at least nine (9) individuals. Three (3) of these officers stated that the book was given to them without a request on their part.

III. Did the Expressed Beliefs Influence Disciplinary Decisions?

There is currently no indication that Chief Cochran allowed his religious beliefs to compromise his disciplinary decisions. While the fire chief has final authority over disciplinary decisions, the initiation of discipline occurs at lower management ranks for investigation by the Office of Professional Standards. Final recommendations on the level of discipline are made by a Disciplinary Review Panel consisting of chief officers that convenes to review cases sustained by OPS. This Panel then vets each case individually and recommends a level of discipline based on a preset grid that ensures consistency. The recommendation from the Panel must fall within the range set within the grid. Once the Panel forwards its recommendation to the fire chief, he then makes a decision to accept the recommendation, to reduce or to increase within the range or to refer back to the Panel for further review.

The consensus of the command staff witnesses interviewed is that Chief Cochran is more likely to adopt a level of discipline lower than what the Panel recommends. A review of the disciplinary recommendations presented to Chief Cochran from September 2012 through December 2014 shows that, of the 120 cases presented, Chief Cochran deviated from the recommendation of the Disciplinary Review Panel in three instances. In one case, Chief Cochran decreased a firefighter's discipline for a first occurrence failure to report accident infraction from the recommended written reprimand to no discipline. In two cases involving lieutenants, Chief Cochran upgraded discipline from the recommended Category B violation to Category C. In those two cases, the vote of the Disciplinary Review Panel had been split between Category B and C, and both employees held the rank of lieutenant, which Chief Cochran considered to warrant an enhanced level of accountability.

There was a consistent sentiment among the witnesses that firefighters throughout the organization are appalled by the sentiments expressed in the book.

There also is general agreement the contents of the book have eroded trust and have compromised the ability of the chief to provide leadership in the future.

No interviewed witness could point to a specific instance in which any member of the organization has been treated unfairly by Chief Cochran on the basis of his religious beliefs.

Union president [Stephen] Borders was unable to offer any examples of maltreatment. He echoed the sentiment of distrust and disgust created by the contents of the book with the representation in the book that Chief Cochran is speaking in his capacity as AFRD Chief. He cited to an example wherein firefighters were disciplined for expressing support of Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy's stance on homosexuality. In that case, during the height of the controversy, a squad of AFRD firefighters took a group picture showing them in uniform at one of Cathy's restaurants. One of the firefighters then posted the picture on Facebook expressing support for Cathy's religious beliefs and his opinion of homosexuality and gay marriage. When a citizen complained, Chief Cochran directed the captain of the squad to initiate an OPS complaint. The complaint was sustained for a work rule violation and the firefighters were given thirty day suspensions. Borders' opinion was that Chief Cochran should be held to the same standard.
Katie Leslie / Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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January 10, 2015
Information passed along
LAFD Makes Huge, Historic Organizational Change - CA

In the biggest organizational change in its 128-year history, the Los Angeles Fire Department on Sunday begins dividing the city into four bureaus as a way to improve response times and accountability.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has made LAFD response times one of his top issues, said the change is designed to implement his reform agenda.

"The reorganization is an important part of the effort to reduce response times and improve public safety," spokeswoman Vicki Curry said.

It also has the support of Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas, a 31-year LAFD veteran who was appointed to the top spot in July.

"This improvement is long overdue and critical in our efforts to maintain our position as a highly regarded fire service leader," Terrazas said. "This reorganization will result in dramatic improvement in the department's responsiveness to our members, the public, the business community and our elected officials."

Councilman Mitch Englander, chair of the council's Public Safety Committee, said it will provide more direct accountability.

"Coupled with the data driven approach of FireStat, it enhances the relationship between the Fire Department and the communities they serve," Englander said. The LAFD was the first fire agency in the nation to gather response time information and make it public.

The LAFD plan, in the works for more than a year, is modeled after the Los Angeles Police Department's CompStat program, which divides up the city and tracks call response times.

It is designed to place one official in charge of a region to incorporate its unique geographical or logistical challenges into improving response times.

The public would then have one main point of accountability within the LAFD rather than being forced to work with different people on the same issues. It's also meant to improve community relations, with the deputy chiefs meeting with various groups in their region.

The San Fernando Valley will become one section, along with Central, South and West bureaus.

Deputy chiefs will be responsible for all activity in their bureaus, in effect becoming the fire chief for that portion of the city. Daryl Arbuthnott is in charge of the Valley. Others are Phillip Fligiel for Central, Daren Palacios for South and Joseph Castro for West Bureau.

They will report to a Chief Deputy of Emergency Operations, with the goal building a more responsive business model than has been in place before.

The bureaus will operate during normal weekday business hours, and commanders and staff will be available 24 hours a day as needed.

"The reorganization will provide an executive point of accountability closer to the community," Terrazas said.

FireStat, which began in October, has been able to provide some data on how long it takes for calls to be transferred, the times for paramedics or firefighters to prepare to respond and the driving time to an incident.

The deputy chiefs will provide more detailed information in the coming months as they are able to receive feedback from the various methods implemented by their bureaus.
Rick Orlov / Source: Daily News, Los Angeles

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January 10, 2015
Aerial Fire Truck Tips Over While Responding to Fire CO

A Colorado Springs fire truck slid into a curb and tipped over Saturday morning, but no one was injured, Gazette news partner KKTV reported.

The firefighters were responding to a building fire in a neighborhood off of Southgate Road and Lake Avenue, when it feel over, KKTV said. The truck tipped over around 6 a.m., police said, and officers responded to the scene near Rice Drive and Mt. Werner Circle.

Icy roads caused the truck to slide into the curb, and the accident was the first of its kind for the department in more than a decade, the fire department told KKTV.

A backup crew of firefighters responded to the fire, KKTV reported.
Stephen Hobbs / Source: The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

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January 10, 2015
Ambulance driver not injured in deer crash - OH

Deputies of the Logan County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a Robinaugh ambulance that struck a deer about 3 a.m. today on State Route 117.

The driver, Richard L. Brown, 50, of Bellefontaine, was operating the southbound ambulance just south of County Road 96 when he struck a deer. The ambulance was not transporting any patients at that time, and reportedly was returning from a Lima area hospital.

Mr. Brown did not report any injuries.

• Courtney C. Case, 19, of Wapakoneta, did not report any injuries following a crash about 8:42 a.m. Wednesday on State Route 235 just west of State Route 708.

She reportedly was operating a southbound car when she drove off the right side of the road and struck a guardrail.

No citations were issued. Damage was light to her car.

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January 10, 2015
One Killed in Crash of Ambulance, Semis - MO

LAMAR, Mo. -- One person is dead in a late Tuesday night crash on Interstate 49 in southwest Missouri.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said it happened in the area of mile marker 72.4 near Lamar around midnight.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said the accident involved two semi trucks and an ambulance.

Witnesses say one semi trailer was halfway off a bridge, and that the cab was "unrecognizable".

The MHP said both southbound lanes of Interstate 49 remained closed hours after the crash.

An accident reconstruction team is working to determine the cause of the crash.
CBS News

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January 10, 2015
Hanover Fire Truck Hit While Responding To Accident - MA

A car slammed into Hanover Fire truck Engine 7.
(Photo credit: Hanover Fire Department)

HANOVER (CBS) — A car slammed into a Hanover fire truck on Route 3 southbound Friday afternoon.

The fire truck was responding to a car accident on the highway just south of Route 53 when the crash occurred. According to Hanover Fire, the fire truck driver and the two occupants in the car were transported to South Shore Hospital.

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January 10, 2015

A Fargo fire engine was damaged, and one firefighter was taken to the hospital, after a vehicle struck the engine while it was responding to a crash on Interstate 29.At 7:25 Fargo Firefighters responded to a traffic accident on Southbound Interstate 29 near 7th Avenue North. The crew found a vehicle pulling a trailer that looked like it jackknifed near the center divider of the interstate.

The fire crew placed their apparatus in a position to protect the scene from more accidents. After the fire crew returned to the apparatus, a vehicle hit the engine in a second accident.

One Firefighter was taken to the hospital for evaluation. The Fargo Fire Department says he will return to work tonight.

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January 10, 2015
Feds to test fallen firefighter's equipment - PA

The Fire Department is bringing in federal experts for its probe into the death of one its own last month.

In the coming days, technicians at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health lab in Pittsburgh will examine the equipment worn by Joyce Craig during the house fire that took her life Dec. 9, Executive Fire Chief Clifford Gilliam said today.

Two members of the city Fire Marshal's Office will visit the lab with the equipment, including Craig's breathing apparatus, sometime this week, Gilliam said. The examination by those experts is standard procedure whenever a firefighter dies at the scene of a blaze.

Craig, 37, died after being trapped in the basement of a burning home in West Oak Lane. She was the first female firefighter in city history to die in the line of duty.

The official cause of her death hasn't been determined, Gilliam said, and the NIOSH report will factor into the Department's investigation.

Craig was laid to rest Dec. 13, and will be honored again during a small ceremony in City Hall on Monday.

The gathering, to be held in the Mayor's Reception Room, will end the 30 days of mourning for Craig's death, a standard practice for fallen firefighters.

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January 10, 2015
Cambridge firefighter shoots self accidentally at station - MA

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. —A Cambridge firefighter is under investigation by police and the city, after he accidentally shot himself inside a fire station, NewsCenter 5 has learned.

Fire officials aren't naming the man, but said he's been in the department for more than 20 years.

He was wounded on his right side and treated. The incident took place at Cambridge Fire Station No. 3 on Cambridge Street.

Officials said the gun is licensed to the firefighter, but he was not supposed to carry it in the station.

He is currently on sick leave.

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January 10, 2015
LAPD officers, firefighter treated for carbon monoxide poisoning after helping suicidal man at car showroom - CA

Four Los Angeles Police Department officers and an L.A. city firefighter were transported to a hospital early Friday for treatment of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, authorities said.

The officers and firefighter were exposed as they tried to save a suicidal man who attempted to take his life by carbon monoxide poisoning inside the showroom of a car dealership in West Los Angeles, they said.

The incident occurred at Exclusive Motors in the 10500 block of West Pico Blvd. around 4:30 a.m., LAPD Sgt. Rares Isai said.

“They’re not hospitalized — they’re just being treated,” Isai said, referring to the rescuers. The condition of the man they rescued was not known.

An LAFD battalion chief told a news videographer at the scene that the firefighter and officers were affected by the carbon monoxide as they attempted to rescue the suicidal man.
By City News Service

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January 10, 2015
Top N.Y. Court Mulls $2.8 M Firefighters' Discrimination Suit

The state's highest court this week heard arguments in an eight-year-old lawsuit filed by 13 white Buffalo firefighters against the city, its fire department and human resources commissioner.

The suit contends the firefighters were denied promotions on the basis of race.

The firefighters claim that the city illegally allowed two promotional lists to expire because minority firefighters had fared poorly on its 2005 and 2006 civil service exams and that the city feared it would be sued by the minority firefighters if it used the lists.

State Supreme Court Justice John A. Michalek ruled that the city, for racial reasons, had illegally passed over the firefighters for promotions.

The judge awarded 12 of them a total of nearly $2.8 million in back pay, pension benefits and damages for emotional distress. No money was awarded to the 13th plaintiff.

The case was affected by a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision in a similar case involving white and Hispanic firefighters in New Haven, Conn. The high court ruled that city officials cannot void the results of civil service exams simply because they are afraid of being sued.

The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court upheld Michalek's ruling but lowered the award to about $1.5 million.

The firefighters appealed the reduction of the award.

The city also appealed, seeking to overturn the Appellate Division's affirmation of Michalek's ruling against it.

The Court of Appeals in Albany heard arguments Tuesday from attorneys Andrew P. Fleming of Chiacchia and Fleming for the firefighters and Jason E. Markell of Hodgson Russ for the city. It is not clear when the Court of Appeals will rule.
James Staas / Source: The Buffalo News, N.Y.

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January 10, 2015
Firefighters hold prayer vigil over budget problems - WA


BONNEY LAKE, Wash. -- What they need is a miracle, as staffing levels fall dangerously low for East Pierce Fire & Rescue. Overwhelmed by budget problems, some firefighters are turning to prayer.

On Thursday they held a vigil asking for help from above.

Compromise came with a price for the Bonney Lake-based agency. After voters twice rejected a levy to offset a $1 million deficit, East Pierce has struck a deal that avoids firefighter layoffs but creates bare bones staffing levels.

"It does slow our capabilities on the scene. It also means that we'll have to bring additional units in, so the response times will probably be higher," said Fire Chief Jerry Thorson.

The lack of options became a kind of inspiration for firefighter Rex Orcutt, who organized a vigil and invited pastors, the public and fellow firefighters to participate.

"I really believe in the power of prayer," Orcutt said.

The point wasn't to pray for a budget miracle. Instead, they bowed their heads and asked that the community stay safe. They also asked for firefighters to do the best they can given the limitations they face.

"Our community and the people moving here are growing, but yet we're lessening the amount of people to help," said Pastor James Ludlow, during one moment of prayer.

National safety standards require at least three firefighters on scene to enter a burning building. Under current staffing levels, East Pierce will only send two firefighters per engine.

Calling on a higher power won't change that, but it could remind the public about what was at stake when they rejected the levy.

"At the time I didn't vote to approve it, and I wish I would have," said Frank Valdes, who lives in Bonney Lake.

In addition to the bare bones staffing, all special operations teams - which include water rescue, hazardous materials, and wild fire response - will be suspended for six months.
By Joel Moreno /

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January 10, 2015
Firefighters test positive for toxic mold exposure = FL

(WPBF 25 News)

VERO BEACH, Fla. —Two firefighters have tested positive for toxic mold exposure, and the firefighters' union believes old, run-down fire stations are to blame.

The two firefighters worked at Station No. 7 in Vero Beach and Station No. 10 in Fellsmere. In recent years, O’Connor said the firefighters have been complaining about leaky roofs at their stations, as well as mold and dead rats in the ceiling.

“We became very concerned when a lot of guys were complaining about watery eyes, upper respiratory infections, runny noses,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor claims the county has largely ignored firefighters’ complaints, and not enough money has been allocated to fixing up fire stations with serious health concerns.

However, County Administrator Joe Baird said the county conducted air quality tests at Station No. 7 and Station No. 10 in 2014.

“The (mold) levels were very low,” Baird said. “It was found that the mold in the stations was less than the mold outside.”

The county administrator said the union’s claim comes at a very coincidental time when the county is currently at an impasse during labor negotiations with firefighters.

“I went through this last time we were at an impasse,” Baird said. “This same issue came up nine or seven years ago. The minute we went to impasse, (the firefighters) have bad working conditions.”

O’Connor said the union plans on getting more firefighters tested for mold exposure.
By John Dzenitis /

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January 08, 2015

(The Last Call - RIP)

Battalion Chief Chris Tindal of the South Metro FD near Kansas City, MO, has died in the Line of Duty. Chief Tindal reportedly suffered chest pains after an incident, went to the hospital was treated and released. Unfortunately, Chief Tindal died following his discharge from the hospital. Among his many roles, responsibility and dedication he was also a handler for the Missouri Search and Rescue K9.

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January 08, 2015

A fire of undetermined origin displaced a family early Wednesday morning.

In addition, David Joseph, New Castle Fire Department assistant chief, slipped on ice and sustained a head injury.

Firefighters were called to 208 Richlieu Ave. about 12:10 a.m. Crews said they saw flames coming out of an attic window. Firefighters said the flames were confined to the attic, but the rest of the building sustained a lot of smoke damage.

Low temperatures resulted in ice building up at the site, the firefighters said, and Joseph slipped, striking his head on the running board of a firetruck. Firefighters said Joseph was taken to Jameson Hospital, where he was treated for a gash at the back of his head and released.

According to firefighters, the house, occupied by Wanda McKnight and her four children, sustained about $25,000 worth of damage to its contents.

McKnight told firefighters her lights had started going off. She said she went to the cellar to check on the fuse box. As she returned, she said, she saw smoke coming from under the attic door. She told them she rounded up her children, got them out of the house, then called 911.

About 17 city firefighters were called to fight the blaze. They said they remained at the scene for about two and a half hours, adding they were hampered by the cold temperatures, which caused water to turn into ice, creating dangerous conditions.

New Castle Police fire investigator, Sgt. David Viggiano, was at the scene, firefighters said, and will be investigating the cause of the blaze.

Representatives of the American Red Cross were on hand to assist the family to find a place to stay. Family members also were on hand to help remove items from the house.

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January 08, 2015

Three firefighters were injured Tuesday evening battling a house fire along Oregon 211.

While trying to reach a hot spot on the roof, one firefighter tried to secure himself to a ladder. But part of the house gave way, causing the ladder to fall, said Colton Fire Chief Richard Beaudoin. Two firefighters below were hurt while trying to catch the falling firefighter.

All three were treated at local hospitals and released.

Beaudoin said crews were dispatched at 8:05 p.m. after a report of fire in the living room walls of a home in the 24200 block of South Highway 211. Arriving firefighters found smoke pouring from the home's second-story windows and eaves. The homeowner told firefighters that the "popping" sounds likely were from ammunition he stored in the attic.

Firefighters determined that the fire started in the fireplace and spread up the walls to the attic. They tried to enter the attic through a second-story bedroom, but were turned back by the intense heat and blinding smoke, Beaudoin said.

Crews finally were able to enter the attic by pulling down the ceiling.

Colton firefighters were assisted by crews from the Estacada and Molalla fire districts, bringing the blaze under control in about an hour, Beaudoin said.

The homeowner repeatedly entered the burning home, trying to retrieve items until firefighters convinced him it was unsafe, Beaudoin said. Firefighters also were hampered by "large amounts of clutter," he said.

Firefighters did not observe any working smoke alarms.

"This is very dangerous for firefighters," Beaudoin said. "Keeping your home clear of clutter and having working smoke alarms as well as getting out -- and staying out -- will substantially increase your chances of surviving a fire and decrease the amount of damage caused by a fire."

Beaudoin said the homeowner told firefighters he saw fire between cracks around the fireplace, which was damaged by a recent windstorm.

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January 08, 2015
2 Portsmouth firefighters taken to hospitals - VA

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Firefighters have contained flames at a Portsmouth home after a fire broke out early Thursday morning.

Chief Jim Hoffler with the Portsmouth Fire Department tells they received reports of the fire at a duplex along the 60 block of Elm Avenue, shortly after 5 a.m. When crews arrived flames were going through the roof of the structure and spraying out the back of the structure, said Hoffler.

Hoffler said the fire started in one side of a duplex. One of the occupants from that residence told he, his fiance, their 4-month-old baby and their roommate were inside when the fire broke out. They self-evacuated before fire crews arrived. The fire victim said there was one person in the other side of the duplex who also made it out safely.

However, one firefighter was injured while battling the flames. According to Chief Hoffler, he is being treated at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for a leg injury and is “doing as well as can be expected.” A second firefighter was taken to Maryview Hospital. Chief Hoffler said he started feeling poorly during the overhaul operation. He was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
By Stephanie Ballesteros /

Complete article with photos

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January 08, 2015
Old fire trucks concern Covington firefighters - OH

COVINGTON – Aging fire trucks in Covington have firefighters concerned they won't be able to get to certain areas of the city or upper floors of buildings in time.

Jimmy Adams, president of the Covington Firefighters Union Local 38, painted a bleak picture for the Covington City Commission Tuesday night of a fleet of old fire trucks they patch together with obsolete parts.

Two recent breakdowns have created gaps in fire coverage, Adams said.

A broken crankshaft took out the department's 21-year-old ladder truck for the downtown corridor, Adams said. That also means firefighters will have trouble reaching someone living 24 feet off the ground in the central business district.

Another truck broke down Tuesday, leaving Latonia without a fire truck for several hours until the department could borrow one from the county, he said.

The average age of a Covington fire truck is 15 years, with many so obsolete they can't get parts for them, Adams said.

"When they start breaking and the shop can't get parts and we can't get them fixed, people are going to have to start doing without fire protection because we don't have anything to give them," Adams said.

The $1.2 million cost of a ladder truck is a challenge for cities like Covington that have tight budgets and rising costs.

The city can call on ladder trucks from nearby cities of Newport and Crescent Springs, but these trucks don't fit through some of the narrow corridors in downtown Covington, he said.

The fire department has tried to find money where it can. The Covington Commission Tuesday night received a $26,000 check from Covington resident and insurance executive John Topits to upgrade the fire department's equipment.

Topits has made previous donations to put lights on the Roebling Suspension Bridge and provide body cameras to the Covington Police Department.

His latest donation will buy gauges to check water pressure on hydrants, new fire hose nozzles that can provide a greater stream of water under low water pressure, and "man-in-machine" kits that will help cut into objects for rescue efforts.

"When Mr. Topits called, he asked, I really want to do something innovative, something that's going to impact all the citizens of Covington," said Covington Fire Chief Dan Mathew.

The nozzles were needed, said Jimmy Adams, president of the Local 38 firefighters union. The current hose nozzles leak and have caused damage to buildings, he said.

"Our nozzles have been terrible since I came on the job in 2008," Adams said. "I've seen a hose do more water damage in a small fire from those nozzles leaking in someone's house than the fire did. But we've made due."

But the financial needs of the fire department far exceed that, Adams said. The fire department has applied for grants to replace the fire truck. But if the grants don't come through, the city commission will have to figure out a way to afford new trucks, Adams said.

"If we don't get that grant, what do we do?" Adams said.

The city commission didn't have any answers Tuesday night, but Mayor Sherry Carran thanked Adams for bringing this to their attention.

"I would encourage you to keep the dialogue up with city management," Carran said.
Scott Wartman,

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January 08, 2015
Violent threat made against Jacksonville firefighters - FL

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Firefighters in Jacksonville are on high alert after a violent threat was made against some of their own.

According to a report from the sheriff's office, an unknown male made threatening statements about fire and rescue station 35 on N. Main St. during a 911 call on Tuesday night.

The exact nature of the threat has not been publicly released. However, according to an officer at the station on Wednesday morning, the call alluded to a possible attack or gunfire.

"It worries the firefighters, no doubt about that," said Randy Wyse, the President of Jacksonville Association of Firefighters Local 122.

Wyse said threats against the department are not necessarily new, but they're extra concerning when they involve fire stations.

The stations are looked upon as safe havens and a place to decompress when firefighters are not on the job.

"People don't realize we are here 24/7. We spend a third of our lives in there," Wyse said.

But station 35 is just the second in two weeks to be targeted.

One firefighter dodged serious injury when six shots were fired at station 28 on the Southside. Now, the question remains if the drive-by incident is connected to the threatening call.

Wyse doesn't think that's the case.

"We've always had people of a different thinking out there. I think they're just coming more to light given the current state of affairs," he said.

The challenge, though, is security.

Wyse said fire stations cannot be locked up like prisons. "We can't carry guns or anything like that," he said.

One thing fire stations in Jacksonville are doing is keeping doors closed and locked, in some cases, unless there is an emergency.

"What's good about it is these firefighters are still making calls every day, going out and serving the public. Even under these threats, they're still doing a good job," Wyse said.

The sheriff's office was also providing extra patrols to not only station 35, but other ones in the Oceanway neighborhood.
First Coast News and Jacob Long, First Coast News

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January 07, 2015
Information passed along
On-duty Firefighter Deaths Lowest on Record - USFA

The number of on-duty deaths recorded in 2014 is the lowest on record.

Of the 85 firefighters who perished, 25 were considered Hometown Heroes, which means they died of a heart attack or stroke within 24 hours of responding to an emergency.

The number of deaths -- 60 -- is the lowest in the 38 years of record-keeping by the USFA.

In 2011, of the 84 deaths, 20 were Hometown Heroes.

Data also showed that two firefighters who died in 2014 sustained their injuries years before.

During 2013, there were 106 on duty deaths, including seven Hometown Heroes.

The data, collected by the USFA, is preliminary as state fire marshals will be asked to check their records. After the numbers are checked, a final report will be generated in the next few months.

Heart attacks and strokes continue to be top killers of firefighters, followed by trauma.

Of those who died, 47 were volunteers, 35 career, two full-time and one part-time wildland; one industrial and two contract wildland

Other records show:

  • 27 firefighters were 51-60
  • 23 were 61 or older
  • February was the deadliest month – 14
  • April and June -- 3 each
  • New York had the most -- 8
  • Non-Incident Related -- 38
  • Structures -- 22
  • Males, 83; Females, 2
  • Average Mean Age, 51

by Susan Nicol / Source: News

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January 07, 2015
Lessons Learned:
Former teen firefighter shares dangers of the job - NY

We are following up on a story we first brought you Monday night involving a decision in Victor to lower the minimum age for firefighters.

The move didn't come without some debate and that's why a local man -- who was injured as a young firefighter himself -- wants other youngsters to be aware of the dangers. Michael Nicholson says he's not opposed to 16 or 17-year-old joining the fire department. However, he wants to make sure they're aware of the dangers and what could happen if they do get hurt on the job.

Nicholson recalls counting down the days until his 17th birthday in 1972 when he could join the Bushnell's Basin Fire Department as a volunteer firefighter.

"I just wanted to keep up a family tradition," says Nicholson.

Nicholson was on the job for only six months when the unthinkable happened.

"It was about 10:30 at night, Halloween night, 1972," says Nicholson. "I was directing traffic and a lady didn't see me in the middle of the road, and she hit me."

Nicholson suffered serious injuries that night and is lucky to be alive.

He says, "Both my legs were broken, my back was broken, my skull was fractured, I had numerous internal injuries and I was in a coma for 3 1/2 months."

At age of just 17, Nicholson was left permanently disabled. He now volunteers as a dispatcher for the Victor Fire Department. He says despite his injuries, he's in favor of the Victor Village Board dropping the minimum age of volunteer firefighters to 16. They'll face some restrictions and extensive training and won't be allowed in dangerous situations like burning homes. Nicholson says before these brave young men and women join the force, he wants them to know just how dangerous the job really is.

"I think once they get into the fire department they think 'I can do anything.' But, they've got to be very careful."

Nicholson lived on just $80 per week in disability benefits for 24 years. In 1996, his benefits were increased to $400 per week, but he hasn't received a cost of living adjustment in 19 years.
By: Jennifer Mobilia /

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January 07, 2015
Ambulance hit in crash on South Transit Road - NY

TOWN OF LOCKPORT – A Rural/Metro Medical Services ambulance transporting a patient was hit by another vehicle at approximately 1 p.m. Tuesday in the 5700 block of South Transit Road. Injuries were called minor by the Niagara County Sheriff Department.

Niagara County Sheriff Chief Deputy Steven Priesch said the ambulance was transporting a patient from Eastern Niagara Hospital in Lockport to Buffalo General Medical Center and had its lights and siren going. An unidentified 62-year-old Town of Lockport woman was accused of pulling into the path of the oncoming ambulance. She told deputies she never saw or heard the ambulance.

Preisch said both vehicles were heading southbound on South Transit Road prior to the crash. The female driver was in the outside lane when she traveled across both lanes to try to reach the turning lane in order to turn into the Walmart parking lot.

“She actually pulled in front of the ambulance. The ambulance tried to avoid her, but couldn’t and rear-ends her, causing the collision,” Preisch said.

The woman was ticketed for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, Preisch said. He said a witness confirmed that the ambulance did have both its lights and sirens on prior to the crash. A second ambulance was called to the scene to transport the patient.

The road was closed for about an hour in both directions following the crash.
By Nancy Fischer | News Niagara Reporter

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January 07, 2015

A fire truck was involved in a crash Tuesday afternoon while responding to a structure fire in Dallas. The incident happened shortly before noon at the intersection of Hatcher Street and Second Avenue.The crash included the Dallas Fire-Rescue truck, a cement truck and a pickup truck. Police are investigating the details surrounding the crash, but it ended with the cement truck partially rolling onto the pickup truck.

A witness said that the cement truck was trying to turn in front of the fire truck, which had its sirens blaring.

Four firefighters and the driver of the pickup truck were taken to a local hospital for evaluation. Their injuries were not life threatening. The cement truck driver was not hurt during the crash. The names of the victims were not released.

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January 07, 2015

This morning, just before noon, Fairview Township (York County, PA) Rescue 68 was operating at the scene of a motor vehicle accident on 1-83 Southbound at Limekiln Road. Within minutes of arrival, a vehicle slid out of control striking the Rescue. Due to proper placement of the Rescue, all fire personnel operating on the Interstate were unharmed. The driver/operator was taken to the hospital for evaluation purposes.

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January 07, 2015

One of Plainview’s fire engines is now out of service after being damaged in a weather-related traffic mishap on Friday.

According to Fire Chief Rusty Powers, Engine 3 was providing backup to an EMS unit at the scene of a one-vehicle rollover on Interstate 27 about 7 p.m. Friday when it was struck by another vehicle after that driver lost control on the ice-covered roadway.

“It’s fortunate that Engine 3 was there blocking the scene, or we possibly could have had members of our EMS crew seriously injured or even killed,” Powers said.

Details on the wreck, which is being investigated by the Texas Department of Public Safety, were not immediately available. However, Powers said no one was transported to the hospital from the secondary crash that occurred in the northbound lanes of I-27 near milepost 55 north of Plainview.

Powers said the out-of-control vehicle struck the left-rear portion of the 2005 model fire truck and continued up its left side. The engine has been placed out of service at Station 1, 215 E. Sixth, while the extent of the damage is being evaluated. Powers did not have a cost estimate of the damage.

Coincidently, the same fire truck was involved in a traffic mishap several months ago and recently returned to service following extensive repairs in the Dallas area.

At the time it was struck Friday, Powers said, the engine’s full complement of emergency lights was activated.

Local emergency personnel responded to several weather-related traffic mishaps on Friday, including rollovers on US-70 east of the Wheeler-Formby prison units as well as on Interstate 27 between Plainview and Kress

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January 07, 2015
North Hollywood house fire injures 3 firefighters, causes $240,000 in damage - CA

Everything is pretty destroyed in this North Hollywood home that burned around 3:50 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, in the 11300 block of Delano Street. The fire started in the family Christmas tree, LAFD reports.
(Photo by Mike Meadows/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

NORTH HOLLYWOOD — A house fire in North Hollywood today that was sparked by an electrical problem involving a Christmas tree caused about $240,000 damage, injured three firefighters and displaced four residents, authorities said.

The fire in the 11300 block of Delano Street was reported in the single- family home around 3:50 a.m., said Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Sean Hughes.

The fire was knocked down by 46 firefighters in 26 minutes, LAFD spokesman Erik Scott said. Damage was estimated at $160,000 to the structure and $80,000 to the contents.

Three firefighters were taken to a hospital, where they were treated for minor-to-moderate burns and released, said LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey.
By City News Service

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January 07, 2015
Fire Association Treasurer Charged with Stealing $188K for Personal Use - MN

The former treasurer of the Minnesota State Fire Department Association was charged Monday with five counts of theft by swindle for allegedly stealing $188,000 from the organization over four years.

Anthony William Bronk, who also had been a Hugo City Council member, spent the money for personal expenses including a vacation to Cozumel, Mexico, according to felony charges filed in Ramsey County District Court.

Bronk, 42 and of Hugo, paid for maintenance on his BMW automobile with a MSFDA credit card, paid "wages" to his girlfriend who was not an association employee, paid for memberships in computer dating services such as eHarmony and Christian Mingle, and paid for vacation airfare on Delta and US Air flights, the charges said.

"Throughout the period of time in which he was taking money from the MFSDA, Bronk reported to the Association on the financial condition of the organization and failed to disclose any of the unauthorized expenditures," the charges said.

He allegedly paid for liquor, lingerie, rental cars, hotel rooms, concerts, music downloads, flowers, jewelry, gasoline and even yard signs to promote his campaign for Hugo City Council. He also used an association credit card to visit Valleyfair and Disney World amusement parks, the charges said. Total credit card charges came to $135,000.

Bronk also overpaid his salary by forging the MSFDA president's signature on 89 checks that totaled $53,000, the charges said.

He was charged with one felony count of offering forged checks in addition to the theft by swindle charges. The alleged thefts happened between 2010 and 2014.

Bronk, a Hugo volunteer firefighter at the time, joined the City Council in January 2013. He resigned in November 2014, citing personal reasons.

Given that Bronk held public office, the Washington County attorney's office sent the case to the Ramsey County attorney's office to avoid a conflict of interest.

The fire association represents all fire departments and firefighters in Minnesota on matters such as training, prevention and legislation.

Bronk was summoned to appear in Washington County District Court on Feb. 18.
Kevin Giles / Source: Star Tribune (Minneapolis

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January 07, 2015
Firefighter Charged with Obstructing Emergency Services - PA

Larksville firefighter and part-time Edwardsville police officer, John Fronzoni, was charged with obstructing emergency services in an attempt to cover up an accident caused by a friend of his.

According to court documents, Fronzoni, 35, was charged with three misdemeanor counts of obstructing emergency services after an incident on early morning Dec. 21, in which Larksville police and fire departments were dispatched to a motor vehicle accident where a car hit a pole on West Luzerne Avenue.

According to the affidavit, Larksville EMT Lori Amos was first on scene, when she observed Bill Ritsick standing next to the vehicle and advised him to wait for police to arrive.

Ritsick said he was not injured from the accident, but both the vehicle and the pole sustained heavy damage, said police.

Amos said firefighter Fronzoni was next on scene, who then told Ritsick to sit in the back of his truck.

After receiving proper paperwork, Amos asked Fronzoni if Ritsick could sign off from medical treatment, Fronzoni advised her to put "a no patient contact."

Amos asked several other police officers to sign witness, but they all refused because of lack of information on the incident.

Larksville firefighter Robert Palchanis was filing the Larksville fire department incident response report when Fronzoni approached him and told him "to not totally fill out the report," according to the affidavit. Palchanis told police that when Fronzoni spoke with him, he could smell alcohol on him.

Courtdale Police Officer Greg Johnson said Fronzoni told him that Ritsick was his friend and in the back seat of his truck, according to the affidavit.

Fronzoni allegedly told Johnson not to run the vehicle's registration information, as was going to get a roll-back truck to remove Ritsick's car from the scene.

Franzoni allegedly left the scene and returned with Bill Petriga who was driving the aforementioned roll-back truck. Officials said at no time did they request towing. Petriga reported that Fronzoni was in a hurry to get the car off the roadway, so much that Franzoni did not give Petriga enough time to lock up his shop.

Petriga also reported that he heard Larksville Officer Thomas tell Fronzoni to "get out of here" two to three times.

Larksville Firefigther Joe Hudak arrived onscene and was told by anEMT that the only occupant of the accident was in the back of Fronzoni's truck, according to court documents. Later, Fronzoni was overheard by Hudak claiming "this accident never happened."

In response to these charges, Fronzoni was placed on administrative leave from Larksville pending an investigation.

Also, Fronzoni will not be scheduled to work as a police officer in Edwardsville until borough officials learn more about the charges against him and what led to them, according to Edwardsville Borough Councilman Gary Moran.

He was arraigned Dec. 30, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 22 before Magisterial District Judge David Barilla.
Charlotte L. Jacobson / Source: The Citizens' Voice

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January 07, 2015
Ambulance from Cave Spring Rescue Squad Hit in Accident - VA

An ambulance from the Cave Spring Rescue Squad was involved in a three-car accident.

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January 07, 2015
Apartment condemned after fire truck hits building - DE

An apartment in Wilmington has been condemned after a city fire truck slid down an icy hill Tuesday and crashed into its building, officials said.

No injuries were reported as Wilmington Fire Department's Engine 6 slid downhill just after 9 a.m., hitting a car and the house at Oak and South Franklin streets.

The fire truck was dispatched to a multi-vehicle crash in the area, with one minor injury reported, city Sgt. Andrea Janvier told The News Journal. That crash involved more than 10 vehicles, a witness said.

The fire apparatus was parked near the crash site when it began to slide down the iced roadway, said James. R. Jobes, the city fire department's battalion chief for support services and administration.

The fire truck first hit an unoccupied, parked vehicle then the residential building in the 1200 block of Oak St., Jobes said.

Officials did not say if anyone was in the building at the time, but no additional injuries were reported, Janvier said.

Inspectors from the city's Department of License & Inspection checked the house for structural damage and deemed a second-floor apartment – above where the fire truck hit – unsafe for habitation, he said.

City officials are working with the landlord to provide temporary housing for affected residents, Jobes said. Delmarva Power crews also responded to the emergency, he said.

Streets in the area remained closed until about 11 a.m.
robin brown, The News Journal

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January 07, 2015
Baltimore firefighter injured in fall at fire scene - MD

BALTIMORE — A Baltimore firefighter was injured while fighting a fire Tuesday night.

WABLtv reported that crews were called to a home shortly before 10 p.m.

Officials said the firefighter suffered minor injuries when a car rolled over a fire hose line, knocking him down.

Paramedics took the firefighter to a hospital as a precaution.

Officials are still trying to determine what caused the fire.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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January 07, 2015
Fire department placed on 12-month probation - NC

RED SPRINGS — The Office of State Fire Marshal has placed the Red Springs Fire Department on probation, but will allow the department to keep its Class 6 fire rating.

State officials made the decision after a surprise visit last week to the Red Springs firehouse.

Robeson County Fire Marshal Stephanie Chavis said the department was placed on a 12-month probation because officials were unable to find several required documents, including training records. Chavis took part in the three-hour inspection along with two state fire inspectors.

“The inspectors could not find the records they needed during the visit,” Chavis said. “It turned out that much of it was there, but we did not know where to look. Because the visit came the day after the department gained a new chief, it is understandable.”

Chavis said state and county officials were concerned about the department’s ability to provide fire protection to Red Springs following the resignations of its leadership and nearly a third of the department late last month.

John Ammons was named as interim fire chief last week. His appointment came exactly one week after about 10 firefighters resigned when Town Manager James Bennett suspended former Chief Tim Beasley and Assistant Chief Sammy Hendrix after both men decided to resign as officers, but remain as firefighters.

Beasley said he and his top lieutenants were opposed to a proposed change in how firefighters would be dispatched to accident calls.

Town officials had expressed concern that too many firefighters were responding to minor accidents and that it might be better if a police officer at the scene determined whether more help was needed.

Beasley said he was resigning as chief because such a change would endanger lives and was an infringement on the responsibility of the fire department. Town officials have since said there was some miscommunication between department leaders and town administrators.

“With all that was going on with that department, there was a real fear that they might fall apart,” Chavis said. “But that was two weeks ago. It looks like they have worked things out and are back on course.”

Chavis said there were about 23 firefighters present during the inspection. The department must maintain at least 20 certified firefighters to remain a viable department.

“The infraction handed down by the state is very minor and can be fixed,” Chavis said. “Everything else I saw during the inspection seemed to be in good order. As long as the department continues to do its training and have the required certifications, they will be in good shape.”

Marni A. Schribman, a spokesman for the Office of State Fire Marshal, said the office plans to “work closely” with Ammons to address any issues.

“The Class 6 rating for the town, and the Class 6/9E rating for the rural district will not change while the department works to address those deficiencies,” Schribman said.

Fire departments are rated on a scale from one to 10, with one being the highest. A 10-rated department is not recognized by the state as a certified fire department.

Chavis said a fire rating helps determine the insurance premiums that an individual pay on a home or commercial property.

“There was a real concern about what this might do to insurance ratings,” she said. “So I’m glad it worked out the way it did. I hope we can put this behind us.”
By Scott Witten -

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January 07, 2015
Information passed along
Victor allows 16-year-old firefighters - NY

Victor's Volunteer Fire Department now allows 16-year-olds to apply to work fires alongside the veterans, after the village approved the change in protocol at Monday's Board of Trustees meeting.

Fire Chief Joseph Murphy said volunteer firefighter numbers have been dwindling over the last few years due to members' job placement outside the area or inability to meet the department's time commitment. The department lost about 10 firefighters in the last year alone.

"Many of the current firefighters were junior firefighters when they were young, which allowed them to get training earlier," said Murphy. A national certification course needed to become a volunteer firefighter calls for over 100 hours of training — a daunting number to careerists interested in volunteer firefighting, but less so to high schoolers.

"If we can get them at 16 or 17 when they're young…they can get that basic training and, at the age of 18, they can then become firefighters," said Murphy.

New York state law allows young people of that age to volunteer as firefighters with the proper training, but Murphy needed the village's approval to officially accept applications from 16- and 17-year-olds. Eight applications came in at last night's meeting, including Murphy's 16-year-old son Michael.

The young firefighters will not be able to enter burning buildings or direct traffic, and will wear special gear to identify them as "junior rank" firefighters, but will otherwise act as equals with the rest of the department participants, Murphy said.

Applicants must go through several types of background checks before being voted into the department, so the teenagers won't be accepted for at least another two months, he said. But many of them are raring to get out and fight fires.

"A lot of those who applied are children of our members," Murphy said. "They're excited about it…there's lots of family traditions going into this."
Sarah Taddeo, Staff writer /

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January 07, 2015
Firefighter-medic Erik Steciak killed by fire vehicle identified - MD

(The Last Call - RIP)

Erik Steciak
(Photo courtesy Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company)

BEL AIR, Md. — The Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company identified the paramedic killed in the line of duty on Tuesday as Erik Steciak.

While responding to a motor vehicle crash, Steciak was killed by a fire department utility vehicle that was attempting to reach a patient from a vehicle that had slid off the road.

"Snow and ice on the roadways played a major role," reported ABC2 news.

The fire department vehicle slid on the icy driveway and struck Steciak, who later died of his injuries at the hospital. Steciak, a paid EMS employee, had worked for the BAVFC since December 2011, the BAVFC reported.

Steciak also served as a paramedic captain of the West Friendship Volunteer Fire Company in Howard County, Md.

The BAVFC board of directors, officers and members share their sincerest condolences to Steciak's family, friends and colleagues. Hundreds of remembrances have been posted on the BAVFC Facebook page.

Funeral services are pending.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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January 07, 2015
Mayor: City separating with Atlanta fire chief - GA

ATLANTA — Atlanta's former fire chief is speaking out after being fired Tuesday.

Channel 2 Action News was first to report in November that the city suspended Kelvin Cochran over a book he wrote that contained critical views on homosexuality.

Channel 2's Dave Huddleston broke the news of the chief's termination on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon.

Cochran told Huddleston outside his former headquarters that he gave the mayor a copy of the book a year ago.

Sources in City Hall told Huddleston on Monday that Cochran was going to be fired, not for writing the book, but not going through proper channels to do it in the first place.

“Not one time during the course of preparing this book did the chief ever think it was appropriate to have a conversation with me,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

Reed, surrounded by members of his administration, including city officials some who are part of the LGBT community, said he fired Cochran for bad judgment, not for writing the book which calls homosexuality a perversion.

“Let’s stop trying to make this about religious freedom, when it's about making sure we have an environment in government where everyone can come to work,” Reed said.

After he was terminated, Cochran told reporters he received permission from the city's ethics department to write the book and in fact he sent a copy to the mayor's office, giving it to the mayor's assistant.

Cochran says, he asked the mayor about it in January 2014.

“He had confirmed he had received it and that he was going to read it,” Cochran said.

The mayor's office is adamant he knew nothing about the book until just recently.

Cochran says he did have permission to write the book, but he didn’t get it in writing.

He leaves his job after seven years and says he doesn't plan to appeal.

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January 05, 2015
Lessons Learned:
Cafe 2 Go box causes CO alarm

We received a call for a CO detector sounding at 89 Varick Homes tonight, Truck 1 had readings of 30PPM.

The occupant stated she cooked at least 2 hours ago and did not use the stove since then. She also stated she had activated a Cafe 2 Go box.

The warning label on the box says it releases the flammable gas hydrogen and displaces oxygen. Hydrogen will set off carbon monoxide detectors.

We took the box outside, reset our detectors and placed them on the box again. And it did set off the CO alarms.

Cafe 2 Go website

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January 05, 2015
Mayday in Kansas City, Captain pulled from basement with burns - MO



Firefighters continued to work Monday morning at the scene of a massive house fire in south Kansas City where a family member of the homeowners was believed to be inside.

By late Sunday evening, firefighters had extinguished the flames that shot through the home in the 500 block of West 123rd Terrace for several hours. As they worked the fire, Capt. Charlie Cashen — who was among the first to arrive at the scene — was being treated at the University of Kansas Hospital for second degree burns along one arm, elbow and part of his back, said James Garrett, a Fire Department battalion chief and spokesman.

“He went to the front of the residence, and as he went to the front, something took place where he was burned,” Garrett said. That prompted a “mayday” call, and the structure was evacuated.

The person still thought to be in the home had reportedly been in a basement room. On Monday morning, there was still no announcement about that person.

Shortly before 6 p.m. someone inside the home called 911.

By the time firefighters arrived, the front of the home “was pretty involved,” Garrett said.

Neighbors, who say a family has lived in the home for many years, recalled looking into the windows and seeing flames. Around 7 p.m., after a partial roof collapse, crews called off an inside search.

Crews worked the fire in frigid temperatures. A neighbor walked the street of upscale homes inside the Timber Trace subdivision offering coffee from a thermos.

Neighbors also worried about the couple who lived there, who neighbors say have grown children and are known to walk their dogs in the neighborhood.

At 9:30, two women escorted a distraught woman, believed to be an owner, into a neighbor’s house across from the burning structure. A few minutes later, that woman came back outside, talking to someone on a cellphone as firefighters continued to work.
By LAURA BAUER / The Kansas City Star

Photo gallery: Firefighter pulled from burning house

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January 05, 2015
Firefighters to undergo background checks - NC

CASHIERS, N.C. — For the most part, the county’s seven fire departments use the local grapevine when screening new volunteers. But some firefighting leaders don’t want to get burnt relying on a rumor mill — they want official safeguards.

Fire Chief Randy Dillard is among them. He oversees Cashiers-Glenville Fire Department: 52 members; 135 square miles of territory; and, during warm weather, up to 20,000 residents to protect. “Asking around” isn’t good enough, Dillard said. This isn’t 1967, the year the fire department was founded. “Those days are gone. This is a business, and it’s got to be handled like a business,” he said.

Starting this month, all Cashiers-Glenville Fire Department members, including current ones, will undergo criminal background checks and random drug tests. It’s only partly to help Dillard sleep better at night. The timing is connected to a larger department overhaul. Cashiers-Glenville is paying $8,000 to update its bylaws and have a company review policies and procedures. The contract includes background checks. After this year, the company gets $2,000 annually to keep everything up to date, including vetting applicants.
The Sylva Herald

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January 05, 2015
Firefighter loses house in New Year's Day fire - MI

EATON RAPIDS, Mich. — Thomas Stewart II and his fiance Kayla Grimm are trying to pick up the pieces after their house burned down on New Year's Day.

"Three minutes later and you would have found three bodies in that house," Stewart said. The couple says they were asleep early Thursday morning with their two-month old daughter in the room. They say the fire in their chimney left running from the night before had gotten out of control.

"I couldn't see anything, the first thing that ran through my body was fear," Grimm said. "You never expect to wake up and your house in covered in smoke." With the fireplace next to their bedroom the couple says their only way out was through a window. "I came straight to the station with my wife and baby, got my gear on and took off," Stewart said. "Went back to the house, tired to save the neighbor's house and save my house."

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January 04, 2015
Mayday Called in Chicago, Three Hurt - IL

Three Chicago firefighters were taken to area hospitals as a precaution after a fire in a basement in a Far South Side home left them disoriented, fire officials said Friday.

The fire was reported at 2:17 p.m. at the single family home on the 11300 block of South Elizabeth Street, said Deputy Fire Commissioner Mark Nielsen.

Two of the firefighters were taken to Roseland Community Hospital, and one of the firefighters was taken to MetroSouth Medical Center, Nielsen said. The two firefighters at Roseland were later released.

The firefighter taken to MetroSouth had run out of oxygen in his tank, Nielsen said. The firefighter remained hospitalized late Friday.

After firefighters arrived at the home, they discovered the blaze was in the basement, according to Nielsen. A "mayday" alert was called about 2:40 p.m. after one of the firefighters ran out of oxygen and others were "turned around" and disoriented.

"The basement was compartmentalized (with) a lot of partition walls and a lot of places to get lost in, that's essentially what happened," Nielsen said.

Nielsen said that the fire did not appear suspicious and that no one was at home at the time. Fire officials said a large dog died during the fire.

During the fire, a police officer who was conducting crowd control was struck by a man, police said. The man is in custody and charges are pending, police said.

Fire officials said the man, who knew the people who lived in the house, struck the officer after he was prevented from repeatedly trying to enter the home while firefighters battled the blaze.

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January 04, 2015
Ammo, Oxygen Send Firefighters into Defensive Mode - MS

MOSS POINT -- Jackson County Deputy Coroner Jason Moody confirmed Pol Frederic, 71, died in a house fire on Riverwood Drive just after 12:30 a.m. Saturday.

Moss Point Fire Chief Tommy Posey said firefighters arrived six minutes after getting the call, and found the home fully engulfed. A motor home parked in the home's driveway was not burned, and its occupants were unharmed.

Frederic and his wife, Catherine, were inside when the house ignited. She was able to escape without injury, but her husband could not, Posey said.

Battalion Chief Mark Condreay said Catherine Frederic heard her husband screaming while she was upstairs, and when she found him, his shirt was ablaze.

"She tried to douse the flames with water from the kitchen," Condreay said. "After that didn't work, she ran outside to get help."

When she tried to reenter the house, smoke was too thick and the fire was too severe, Condreay said.

Authorities said the fire originated in Pol Frederic's downstairs bedroom, where he had an oxygen machine.

Condreay said he believes oxygen tanks in the room acted as a catalyst for the fire.

"When responders got to the house, they had to go into defense mode," he said. "Ammunition and oxygen tanks were going off all through Frederic's bedroom."

Ed Cooper, who has lived next to Pol Frederic for more than 15 years, said he was awakened by his wife, who heard the screams.

"We could hear the wife yelling in the front yard trying to get the family out of the motor home in front of the house," Cooper said. "My wife called 911 as soon as she could, but (the house) was too far gone."

Seeing the flames advancing through his neighbor's home, Cooper ran to the back of his house to grab a hose. But the fire had spread too quickly.

"The entire upstairs is gutted," he said. "The fire was moving so fast no one could do anything."

Cooper said when he first woke up, he thought a dense fog had covered the area.

"The smoke was so thick, so quick," he said. "I've never seen anything like it."

Firefighters worked six hours to put out the fire at the two-story home.

"There was a lot of structural problems the responders had to deal with," Posey said.

The investigation into what started the fire is in progress.

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January 04, 2015
Woman critically injured when her car was hit by JFRD ladder truck - FL

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A woman suffered critical injuries when her car was struck by a Jacksonville Fire and Rescue ladder truck Friday afternoon on the Northside, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Police said around 4:30 p.m., the fire engine, which had its lights and sirens on, drove through an intersection at Main Street and Tallulah Avenue en route to a call and struck the car, which was pulling out of a side street. Officials said the car drove westbound from a private road just south of Tallulah Avenue into the fire engine's path.

Neftile Lopez witnessed the crash and saw first responders rescue the woman from the mangled car.

"You don't see this everyday," Lopez said. "Especially with the fire department, but when you hear the siren of the fire department you have to stop. So I hear the siren, the brake and the impact of the car."

News4Jax talked to a neighbor who said she lived close by.

"Saw the black car, I knew it was her," said Alycia Conrad. "She came to work everyday. Got up, went to work, came home. It was just in and out for her. It's just sad you know, it happens a lot more than you realize. And it's shocking when it's somebody you know."

The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue released a statement Friday evening:

"Our thoughts and prayers extended to the family involved in the accident and resolve to fully cooperate in every fashion with the investigative process launched by JSO."

People in the area told News4Jax it's a dangerous intersection and said they're not surprised a crash happened.

"It just makes me worry because coming out of here is crazy enough already, hard to get in, hard to get out. My father in law he's 65-years old, I'm terrified this is going to happen to him," said Conrad.

On Saturday, a firetruck from Fire Station 9 headed out on a call with lights and sirens on.

Some people have their thoughts about the intersection near where the accident happened.

The light to turn out of where the woman had her accident changes too quickly, according to neighbors. People say there is not enough time for cars to get out safely.

"Once one car gets there, you have about enough time for one car to pass and turn," said Ronnie Hayes, who lives near the crash site.

Ronnie Hayes said he has seen the woman who suffered injuries in the accident in the area, but he says he does not know her that well. Still, he is hopeful crashes like the one on Friday do not happen again.

"I just sit here. She passes and I have seen her as I sit here drinking my coffee," said Hayes. "It's very unfortunate. It's very sad. There a lot of elderly people over there. The lady might have been very nervous. You're going to be nervous when something comes at you really fast and loud."

But it's uncertain if the layout of this intersection had anything to do with the crash. News4Jax Crime and Safety Analyst Gil Smith said police will look at visibility in their investigation.

"They will look at that," Smith said. "They will look at where the vehicle came from, the direction of travel and see if those were contributing factors to the accident."

Smith said investigators will also likely look at whether the female driver had any sort of hearing or vision issues that could have led to this as they try to determine who was at fault. He said the typical rule when firetrucks are in emergency mode is to keep their lights and sirens on and slow down when they enter.

"Intersections are the trickiest part of when you're in emergency mode because you have to cross traffic and you have people starting and stopping at the light. But emergency vehicles will slow down as they approach the intersection. Even though they have the right of way they will slow down because they have cross traffic," Smith said.

The woman, who had to be extracted from the vehicle, was taken to UF Health and was in critical condition, police said. Her name and the name of the fire truck driver have not yet been released.
Author: Heather Leigh, Mobile journalist / Scott Johnson, General assignment reporter / Chris Parenteau, General assignment reporter /

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January 04, 2015
2 firefighters hurt in collapse at fire - KA

The Hutchinson Fire Department is still investigating a second-alarm house fire at 808 W. 23rd Ave. that occurred late Friday evening. Heavy damage was sustained to the floor in the front room which collapsed while firefighters attempted to put out the fire.

Two firefighters, Acting Capt. Aaron Walton and Fire Fighter Vincent Quentin, fell through the floor, but managed to put out most of the fire once in the basement.

Walton and Quentin radioed for help and were rescued without incident.

“Everyone kept their composure and did an excellent job,” Fire Chief Kim Forbes said Friday evening. “It could have been a lot worse.”

Forbes said the training his department undergoes prevented the situation from escalating.

Walton and Quentin were treated by Reno County EMTs on the scene and later transported to Hutchinson Regional Medical Center. One was treated for neck pain and the other was seen for a hand injury. Both have been released from the hospital.

In total five engine companies and two truck companies responded to the call Forbes said.

The fire was put out in less than 20 minutes.

Damage is estimated at $40,000 according to a release from the department. Moderate heat and smoke damage were done throughout the residence.

Officials indicated the fire appears to have started underneath the floor near a double box fireplace in the residence. The residence was unoccupied at the time of the fire. The owners called in the fire in as they arrived back at the residence about 10:30 p.m.

This was the seventh major structure fire in less than two weeks and ninth total since Dec. 18. There have been two second-alarm fires during this time span. Ineeda Cleaners on Dec. 18 was the other second-alarm fire. All have been unrelated.

Forbes said it is typical to see a rise in the number of fire calls during the winter. What makes this outbreak of fires so unusual is the number of serious structure fires to businesses and occupied homes in combination with the mild weather.

Three businesses – Ineeda Cleaners, The Buggy Shop and Sunset Motel – have had structure fires during this time, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage to the businesses. Three house fires occurred on Christmas Eve in occupied homes. An 8-year-old boy died Dec. 26. as the result of one.

Officials have urged citizens to be mindful of how they stay warm this winter.

Furnaces, fireplaces, space heaters and extension cords should be monitored when in use, Forbes said. He also said proper disposal of ashes is key to preventing flare-ups. Ashes should be disposed in a metal container and wetted properly before being left unattended.

Officials also stress the importance of having working smoke detectors.
By Tim Schrag The Hutchinson News

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January 02, 2015
Firefighter Sent to the Hospital After Fighting Blaze in Brockport - NY

Brockport, NY (WROC)- A firefighter was sent to the hospital after an abandoned factory caught fire overnight in Brockport. The fire started at the old Kleen Brite factory around 8:30pm. It took firefighters about 20 minutes to contain the flames.

The Brockport Fire Chief says the property was vacant and scheduled to be demolished. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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January 02, 2015
Firefighter hospitalized after being shocked while battling basement blaze at Lincoln house - NE

LINCOLN, Nebraska — A firefighter has been injured while battling a basement blaze at a Lincoln house.

Firetrucks were dispatched around 6:30 p.m. Thursday to a house about a mile south of the state Capitol. A family had gathered to share some pizza, but the smell of smoke interrupted the New Year's Day meal. Two brothers found heavy smoke and flames in the basement.

Someone called 911, and the family members fled to safety.

Battalion Chief Jeanne Pashalek says the firefighter was to be hospitalized overnight for evaluation after apparently being shocked by a low-voltage source, such as an extension cord.

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January 02, 2015
Pellet Gun Pulled on Firefighters - RI

Police arrested a man who yelled at a firefighters and then pulled a gun on them in Warwick Wednesday night.

The Cranston firefighters were in an ambulance and stopped at a red light when the incident happened around 10:30 p.m., according

Officials said a car pulled up next to the ambulance when the man yelled to the firefighters and then took out the gun.

Police charged the 23-year-old man with felony assault with a device similar to a handgun. Others in the car were not charged.

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January 02, 2015
Two firefighters injured after fire truck overturns in Franklin County - MO

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries when a fire truck overturned early Friday, Jan. 2, 2015, on Old Cove Road near St. Clair in Franklin County, Mo.
(Photos by David Carson,

Tow truck operators and firefighters walk around around a St. Clair Fire Protection District firetruck that crashed on Old Cove Road near St. Clair, Mo., on Friday, Jan. 2, 2015. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries when the firetruck overturned in a ditch after losing control on the icy road.

A fire truck from the St. Clair Fire Protection District overturned on Friday, Jan. 2, 2015.
(Photo courtesy KTVI)

Tow truck operators work to pull a St. Clair Fire Protection District firetruck that crashed out of a ditch on Old Cove Road near St. Clair, Mo., on Friday, Jan. 2, 2015. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries when a fire truck overturned in a ditch after losing control on the icy road.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries when a fire truck they were riding in early Friday hit a patch of ice and overturned in rural Franklin County.

Two St. Clair Fire Protection District firefighters were taken to a hospital in Washington, Mo., after the crash, according to Chief Les Crews. Both were later released.

The truck overturned in the 1200 block of Old Cove Road near St. Clair about 7 a.m. Friday. Crews said firefighters were on the way to the scene of a car crash when they came around a curve and saw a car that had gone off the road. The truck slowed down but hit the same patch of ice and slid off the road as well.

It went down an embankment and flipped over, Crews said.

He said the fire truck had been pulled from the ditch where it landed and was brought back to the fire station. It's not clear whether the truck is salvageable, he said. It is insured.

Other emergency workers went to the original car crash scene.

The Missouri Highway Patrol is investigating.

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January 01, 2015
8 taken to hospital after van, ambulance crash in Loudon County - TN

GREENBACK (WATE) – A Rural/Metro ambulance was hit head-on by a van carrying five children Wednesday morning in Loudon County, sending eight people to the hospital.

Officials say the crash happened on Highway 95 at Sinking Creek Road around 9:25 a.m.

Five children and one adult were in the van. All were taken to UT Medical Center. Two patients were taken by Lifestar helicopter.

Two paramedics were in the ambulance. One was taken by Priority ambulance to UT Medical Center. The other was treated on scene and later taken to the hospital by a Rural/Metro supervisor. No patients were in the ambulance.

The preliminary investigation indicates the van crossed into the ambulance’s path.

Bill Blair has been living on 95 South all of his life; he says accidents on this road rarely happen, especially big ones like the one that happened this morning between an ambulance and a van packed with children.

“First thing that I was trying to figure out is if I could get down here maybe to see if I could help to see if anybody got hurt, said Blair.

The accident happened right outside of Bill Blair’s house. As soon as he heard the noise; he looked outside of his window to see exactly what was going on and ended up being one of the first responders on the scene.

“It made enough racket because I hopped up. I knew that something bad had happened,” said Blair.

Erin Downey, the regional director of Rural/Metro says it’s sad that this has happened on New Year’s Eve and hopes everyone recovers.

“It’s tragic, it’s tragic. It’s a tragic accident. Mostly, we’re concerned with the medical care and treatment of all those involved,” said Downey.

So far there is no word on the extent of anyone’s injuries.
By Brandon Rook, WATE 6 On Your Side Reporter

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January 01, 2015

An alleged drunk driver carrying a stolen gun crashed into a fire truck in San Bernardino on New Year's Eve, damaging the truck, authorities said.The driver slammed into a San Bernardino Fire Department truck that was headed to a structure fire at 9th and E streets Wednesday night, according to a tweet from Lt. Travis Walker, a district commander for the San Bernardino Police Department.

A gun stolen from Las Vegas was found in the car, he said.

No firefighters were injured in the crash, according to Walker, who posted a picture showing a wheel on the truck seemingly jarred loose.

"The firefighters were shaken up a bit, but they're ok," Walker tweeted.

A San Bernardino police spokesman was unable to provide more information about the case. A fire spokesman didn't return a call for comment.

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January 01, 2015

A Minneapolis Battalion fire chief was injured after being an SUV hit the back of this vehicle at a fire scene.Dave Premack a photographer for the Twin Cities Fire Wire says the department was responding to a fire alarm early Wednesday morning in the 1800 block of LaSalle Avenue South.

While the firefighters were in the building, Battalion Chief Randy Miller was in his SUV. Premack says a driver rear-ended Miller's vehicle. There was extensive damage to the driver's SUV. The driver was not hurt. Miller was taken to the hospital. No word on his condition.

Police were called and the driver was taken into custody following a field sobriety test.

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January 01, 2015

A Kitsap County Sheriff’s investigator found the driver of a North Kitsap Fire & Rescue fire engine “failed to give right of way” to the driver of a Yamaha scooter who was killed July 4, and is recommending the driver of the engine be cited for failure to “keep right except when passing, etc.”

The 303-page investigation report was turned over to the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office in late October. A charging decision had not been made as of Dec. 23. The fire engine was approximately 3.6 feet in the oncoming lane — northbound Miller Bay Road — when Jason Foster’s 2007 Yamaha YP400 scooter crashed into the front left of the engine, according to the investigation report. The fire engine was waiting to turn left onto West Kingston Road at the intersection when the crash occurred, according to the investigation report.

Foster, 48, of Kingston, was declared dead at the scene.

At the time of the crash, the traffic signal was a flashing yellow turn arrow and the fire engine was required to yield, according to the investigation report. Foster had a solid yellow light; a vehicle can legally enter an intersection on a solid yellow light, even if the light turns red while the vehicle is in the intersection, according to the investigation report.

“Based on my investigation, the fire engine was not legally standing and failed to give right of way to [Foster] by being left of the center line by approximately 3.6 feet,” the traffic investigator wrote.

The driver of the fire engine was with the department for about two years. The driver passed all emergency driving courses required in order to operate the equipment he uses, according to the investigation. He is not being identified because no charge had been filed as of deadline.

NKF&R Fire Chief Dan Smith said on Dec. 23 the firefighter had returned to duty but was shaken up by the fatal collision and chose to resign “a couple of months ago.”

Smith said the department took the fatal collision hard.

“With any accident, this one in particular, the feeling is more on a personal level,” Smith said. “The tragedy … I really feel for that family, particularly this time of year.”

Foster was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. According to the investigation, however, the helmet came off at some point during the collision. Foster was thrown from the scooter and came to rest 47.26 feet from the fire engine.

The recommended charge is a traffic infraction, unless there are other factors, such as recklessness or impairment, according to Trooper Russ Winger, spokesman for Washington State Patrol spokesman. Charges for such an infraction can be “bumped up” if it is determined there were other factors, he said.

Non-active THC

The driver of the fire engine tested positive for cannabinoids, according to a Washington State Patrol toxicology report included in the investigation. A blood draw was taken and the driver was found to have a Carboxy-THC level of 6.3 nanograms per milliliter of blood drawn. The chemical is non-active and stays in a person’s system for “several days,” according to the report.

Active, or Hydroxy, THC is what causes impairment and euphoria; that was not in the driver’s blood, according to the report.

A driver who has at least 5 nanograms per ml of Hydroxy-THC will lose his or her license for 90 days and face possible prosecution for DUI.

The driver was on day two of a 48-hour shift. He told investigators he had slept about seven hours the night before.

How the crash occurred

The fire engine was returning from a structure fire. The occupants — the firefighter behind the wheel and an NKF&R lieutenant in the passenger seat — stopped at NKF&R headquarters on Miller Bay Road to resupply the engine, and were returning to their station, Station 85 on South Kingston Road.

The engine came to a full stop in the southbound left-turn lane of Miller Bay Road, waiting to turn onto West Kingston Road. The driver of the engine began to make the left turn, but stopped when he saw two bicyclists approaching the intersection in the northbound lane.

As the driver waited, all lights for southbound Miller Bay Road turned yellow.

The bicyclists made a hard stop on their end of the intersection. Lights then turned red for southbound traffic.

“That’s when I looked up, saw that the yellows had gone completely red … and started to move forward, took my foot off the gas and immediately [the lieutenant] said ‘stop’ and that’s when I looked back up at the bicyclists,” the driver told investigators.

At that point, the cyclists told investigators, Foster passed them on their left and entered the intersection. The engine was at a complete stop when Foster’s scooter crashed into it, according to the investigation report.

“Based on the investigation, it was obvious both occupants [of the engine] were focused on the actions of the bicyclists,” the investigator wrote. What witnesses saw

The fire lieutenant in the engine said he told the driver to stop because he saw approaching bicyclists and wasn’t sure if the driver had enough time to turn without cutting them off.

The lieutenant admitted he was focused on the bicyclists and never saw Foster enter the intersection. Then he felt the impact and realized the engine had been struck by another vehicle.

Both cyclists said they believe the northbound lights were yellow when Foster entered the intersection. The cyclists and another witness — a driver in the left-turn lane of West Kingston Road, waiting to turn onto southbound Miller Bay Road — said Foster was traveling at an excessive speed. However, investigators determined Foster’s speed when entering the intersection was 34.55 mph, below the 45 mph speed limit.

The traffic study

A traffic study focused on how fast Foster was traveling and at what point he likely saw the fire engine as a threat and reacted.

Based on a speed of 34.55 mph, the investigator determined Foster was approximately 167.05 feet from the fire truck when the truck moved seven feet out of its turn lane. When Foster reacted and hit his brakes, he was 99.69 feet from impact, but would have needed 127.98 feet to come to a complete stop.

The investigator determined Foster could have perceived the engine as a potential danger from 531.45 feet away. However, when Foster first observed the fire engine, the engine was fully in the left turn lane. When he went around the cyclists, the engine moved and crossed the center line. By the time Foster saw the engine again, it had moved into the northbound lane.

The light is yellow for 4.5 seconds before turning red. That means Foster was in the intersection in the middle of the light’s cycle and had the legal right-of-way. Foster’s wife, Sandy, said on Dec. 23 that she has had no contact from law enforcement or the prosecutor’s office regarding the status of the investigation. “I haven’t talked to an investigator since the accident,” she said.

She said the last contact she had from any authority was a sympathy card from NKF&R after the collision.

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January 01, 2015
Wichita firefighter suffers heart attack while battling house fire - KA

The wife of a Wichita Fire Department firefighter is thanking the community for their well wishes and thoughts after her husband fell through a floor while battling a blaze New Year’s Day and suffered a heart attack.

Paul Wiebe, 54, is recovering after surgery Thursday, Wichita Fire Marshal Brad Crisp said.

Wiebe and other firefighters responded to a house fire about 11 a.m. Thursday at 11200 W. Neville. Wiebe, who has worked for the department for 17 years, fell partially through the floor of the split-level home, Crisp said.

When he got outside, he was suffering chest pains. Firefighters treated him at the scene, and EMS took him to Via Christi Hospital St. Francis, where he underwent a heart catheter procedure. He was in serious condition.

“The procedure was successful, and he is resting,” Crisp said.

The fire caused significant damage to the home, Crisp said. The department estimated $100,000 in structural damage and $50,000 in damage to contents. The fire started after ashes from a smoker came into contact with a wood deck at the home. No one else was hurt.

Crisp said Wiebe’s wife, Debra, wanted to thank the community for their support.

“She’s received a lot of messages on social media,” Crisp said.
By Deb Gruver / The Wichita Eagle

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January 01, 2015
Mayday on Long Island after firefighters became disoriented - NY


West Hempstead Part 1-7
(Stephen Nurnberger)

West Hempstead Part 2-7
(Stephen Nurnberger)

West Hempstead Part 3-7
(Stephen Nurnberger)

West Hempstead Part 4-7
(Stephen Nurnberger)

West Hempstead Part 5-7
(Stephen Nurnberger)

West Hempstead Part 6-7
(Stephen Nurnberger)

West Hempstead Part 7-7
(Stephen Nurnberger)

Units arrived to find a fire in the basement of a private dwelling, the working fire was transmitted shortly after. Mutual aid was requested from Elmont, Hempstead, Franklin Square, and several other departments for E.M.S. units to the scene. During operations, 2 members became disoriented and low on air in the basement. The members were removed and transported with non-life threatening injuries.

Two were treated at the scene on Spruce Street. One firefighter trapped in the basement and two others were taken to a hospital for treatment, West Hempstead Fire Department Chief Peter Lilli said.

Two firefighters in the basement were briefly trapped before other rescue workers found them, he said.

“They had gotten disoriented,” Lilli said. “They radioed over that they were unsure where they were and they couldn’t find their way out.”

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January 01, 2015
Fires Hit Texas, Nova Scotia Fire Stations - TX

Firefighters in Canada and Texas are without homes New Year's morning after fires damaged their stations.

About 6:45 p.m. Wednesday night, the on-duty crew was returning to the Westlake firehouse on Dove Road when the crew encountered flames coming from their station.

Firefighters from Keller, Roanoke, Southlake and Trophy Club fire department responded to assist Westlake firefighter contain the fire.

“We appreciate the response and assistance from all of our surrounding neighbors,” Town Manager Tom Brymer said in a statement. “Events like these are a perfect example of the importance of dedicated emergency responders and their commitment to public safety.”

The fire damaged the living area of the town's only fire station and no apparatus were damaged.

Brymer said the fire will not disrupt fire protection to the community.

About 9:45 a.m. in Harrietsfield, Nova Scotia, firefighters tackled a fire at Harrietsfield-Sambro Fire Station 62.

The Chronicle Herald reports that smoke was pouring from the three-bay fire station Thursday morning.

Smoke began pouring from the three-bay station at 1070 Old Sambro Road at about 9:45 a.m.

The volunteer fire station was not staffed when the fire was reported, according to the Canadian Broadcast Company.

More than a half-dozen fire trucks were summoned to the scene and the fire was contained within two hours.
Source: News

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January 01, 2015
Volunteer fireman accused of causing at least 30k in damages - NY

CUBA, N.Y. (WIVB) — State police arrested a man in connection to a vandalism which caused a large amount of damage to a fire company Wednesday.

New York State Troopers arrested 21-year-old Damean M. Kessler and charged him with second degree criminal mischief and tampering with physical evidence — two felonies — for alleged vandalism against his own fire company.

Police say Kessler caused at least $30,000 in damage to the the Clarksville Volunteer Fire Company.

Clarksville Fire Department officials said a vandal spray painted vulgar words on fire trucks, other equipment and parts of the building. They also say the vandal destroyed computers and painted on all of the helmets and turnout gear.

“To be honest with you, I wanted to cry when I saw it,” said Clarksville Fire Chief Scott Sharp. “Many of the members; we pour our heart and souls into our equipment and to come back and see someone slap us in the face, it’s disgusting.”

Police arrested Kessler after a “lengthy” investigation and are holding him on $25,000 bail in the Allegany County Jail.
By Mark Belcher, News 4 Digital Producer

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