July 27, 2014
2,500 Ground Zero workers have cancer - NY
Memorial Plaza at Ground Zero
More than 2,500 Ground Zero rescuers and responders have come down with cancer, and a growing number are seeking compensation for their illnesses, The Post has learned.
The grim toll has skyrocketed from the 1,140 cancer cases reported last year.
In its latest tally, the World Trade Center Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital counts 1,655 responders with cancer among the 37,000 cops, hard hats, sanitation workers, other city employees and volunteers it monitors, officials told The Post.
The tragic sum rises to 2,518 when firefighters and EMTs are added. The FDNY, which has its own WTC health program, said Friday it counts 863 members with cancers certified for 9/11-related treatment.
A retired FDNY captain, 63, who toiled non-stop at Ground Zero for a week after 9/11, and months in all, recently received a $1.5 million award from the federal 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund for lung disease and inoperable pancreatic cancer.
The emaciated Bravest brought VCF Special Master Sheila Birnbaum to tears when he testified at a hearing in May — expedited because of his dim prognosis — telling how he loves his grandchildren and worries about his wife of 40 years.
“I’m hoping they rush more cases like mine, where we’re not expected to last long,” he told The Post.
On 9/11, he commandeered a city bus and got the Brooklyn Bridge closed so he and his crew from Ladder Co. 132 could race to the towers, where they joined the dig for victims.
“I knew that day that a lot of us would get sick,” he said.
He was forced to retire in 2008 after lung damage left him wheezing after fires. Last year, doctors found a huge tumor entwined around arteries: “They couldn’t take it out without killing me,” he said.
The 6-foot-2 firefighter — a muscle-bound 240 pounds on 9/11 — now weighs 160 after chemotherapy and radiation.
“I was a very active guy. Now there’s not much I can do,” he said, adding that his three toddler grandkids give him joy, though he’s often too weak to play with them.
“I’m grateful for it,” he said of his VCF award, which is mainly based on lost earnings but includes $250,000 for pain and suffering. “I just don’t understand why they’re making everyone wait two years.”
VCF recipients get 10 percent immediately, with the rest due in 2016.
As of June 30, the VCF had received 1,145 claims listing cancer, many also with other ailments, according to data compiled for The Post.
Of those, 881 claims — for scores of cancer types — were deemed eligible for compensation, with the rest under review. The vast majority are 9/11 workers, but they include 17 downtown residents and five visitors.
So far, 115 cancer claimants have been awarded a total $50.5 million, in sums from $400,000 to $4.1 million. The VCF could not say how many cancer claimants have died.
Many more sufferers or their next-of-kin are expected to file by the Oct. 14 deadline for cancer claims.
WTC epidemiologists say studies show that 9/11 workers have gotten certain cancers at a significantly higher rate than expected in the normal population — prostate, thyroid, leukemia and multiple myeloma.
By Susan Ed / http://nypost.com/
July 27, 2014
Car crashes into Mahwah fire truck - NJ
No injuries were reported after a Mahwah fire truck collided with a sedan last night.
The truck carrying five firefighters from Fire Company # 2 Hazmat was responding to a gas leak from a dryer on Greene Street in the Fardale section when the crash occurred.
The truck had its lights and siren activated when it stopped on Wyckoff Avenue for a red light at Pulis Avenue and was struck by the car as its driver made a right as the rig continued on, Police Chief James Batelli told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
The collision damaged the truck’s undercarriage pullout drawer, the chief said.
Police were investigating, he said.
Posted by: Jerry DeMarco / http://cliffviewpilot.com/
July 27, 2014
Firefighters hurt while battling blaze in Eminence - KY
A historic building in Eminence, Kentucky, went up in flames overnight.
Three firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze.
A part of Eminence's historic downtown is now destroyed; debris was strung across the sidewalk. Fire officials said one building will likely have to be demolished.
Fire officials believe the fire started in a nearby apartment building.
Smoke filled downtown Eminence early Sunday morning. It was that very smoke that caught a passing officer's eye.
Once firefighters were at the scene they battled the blaze for hours.
"We've had roof collapse, wall collapse on two or thee different occasions," said Eminence Fire Chief Gary Lucas.
While firefighters were inside three sustained minor cuts, bumps and bruises.
Those who lived in the apartments lost their home and belongings, and a couple that just celebrated a grand opening lost its business.
"Very saddened to see that the CJ's just opened three or four months ago, new flooring store and the building is probably a total loss to them," said business owner Tim Tingle.
The Tingles own Tingle Auction Services, just a few stores down.
They, along with other business owners, stopped by to find their stores untouched.
"I panicked for a few minutes, it's like, 'Oh no,'" said Roberta Blakemore, owner of Somewhere In Town Antiques.
"It was a relief but sad because the block has really been damaged," said business owner Vicki Tingle.
A few apartments and one business were destroyed, but the damage reached an entire community that has lost a piece of history dating back to the 1800s.
"There's really hardly anything here in Eminence, and it is old and just brings back old memories. I shopped here as a little girl," said Blakemore. "And this was all a big department store, so it is really sad that all this history is coming to a pass."
The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.
By Erica Coghill / wlky.com
July 27, 2014
ORLANDO ENGINE STRUCK BY CAR FLEEING POLICE - FL
An Orlando Fire Engine hit a car trying to get away from police. The driver of that car ran off and is still missing.
Just before midnight last night, Orlando Police said an officer tried to pull over a car near Columbia Street and Goldwyn Avenue.
They say the driver of the car appeared as if he was slowing down, but then quickly sped up. Police said the car drove through a stop sign at Bethune Drive and Columbia Street.
At the same time Orlando Fire Department's Engine 7 was headed west on Columbia Street with their lights and horn on responding to a call.
The front of the engine hit the side of the car. Police say the driver got out of the car and ran away. His three passengers were taken to the hospital in stable condition.
If caught, the driver of the car will certainly face numerous charges. No one from inside the fire truck was transported to the hospital.
July 27, 2014
Fire Departments Seeking Solutions to Volunteer Crisis - CT
The diminishing number of volunteers in the fire service over the past few decades has local departments continually looking for creative ways not only to attract, but to retain their members.
The Connecticut Fire Chiefs Association, in conjunction with the International Association of Fire Chiefs, is using a $1.2 million federal grant this year to tackle the problem. Over the coming weeks, the groups plan to develop applications and distribute funds to 15 departments with the greatest need for volunteers.
Fire Chief Association President Robert Shea, chief of the Portland Fire Department, said along with marketing campaigns, mentoring programs and leadership training, a key factor in the retention of firefighters is support for the municipalities they serve.
The municipalities can provide the key incentives, he said, in the form of tax abatements, pensions or pay-per-call stipends. Leadership is also another major factor, he said.
The more robust the volunteer service, he said, the lower the cost to the towns.
"Recruitment is one thing, but to keep a volunteer today is different because of time commitments in their everyday life. That trickles back to cities and towns," he said. "What are they going to do to keep them?"
Similar to national numbers, Connecticut's fire service is dominated by volunteers, according to state Fire Administrator Jeffrey Morrissette, a volunteer in his hometown of Wethersfield. Nationally, 69 percent of the nation's 1.13 million firefighters were volunteers in 2012, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
New London County has about 50 departments and just three municipalities covered at least in part by a paid department: Norwich, Groton and New London. Other towns have volunteer departments supplemented by paid firefighters. Other paid departments are at the two Indian reservations, the U.S. Naval Submarine Base and on the grounds of private companies such as Electric Boat and Pfizer.
The reasons for the decreasing supply of volunteers vary, but among them is the fact that nationwide, fewer residents work in the towns where they live, making responses to daytime calls difficult. Training requirements also have become more stringent, leading to months of training before a volunteer can participate in fighting a fire.
"Each town has their own unique challenges, some are geographical," Morrissette said. "For those rural communities ... a town of 3,000 people just doesn't have the populace to draw from."
In towns where a volunteer department is also the emergency medical service provider, volunteers are stressed because the vast majority of calls are EMS related, he said.
As to a solution to the problem, Morrissette said, "I don't think there is any silver bullet per se."
Towns have responded in a number of ways. Mutual aid agreements have evolved to include automatic responses from neighboring towns to assure proper manpower. It's common to see East Lyme's Niantic and Flanders departments respond to the same call regardless of the district.
Many towns have hired paid staff to cover the times when volunteers are least available. Montville, Waterford and East Lyme are among towns staffing multiple fire departments and fire houses with paid staff.
Additionally, Waterford has hired a fire administrator to help cope with the increasingly taxing job of managing things like budgets and training schedules.
Some departments, like Old Mystic, which is funded in part through a fire district tax, offer multiple incentives. Old Mystic Fire Chief Kenneth Richards Jr. said the department employs stipends and pay-per-call incentives that are based on qualifications.
"You really have to make it attractive to volunteers with their busy lifestyles," Richards said. "You also have to have well-thought-out training. The little bit of time they have, you have to make it worthwhile. The busier the department, the lesser the problem."
Richards will speak at a conference in Dallas next month on the "do's and don't's" of attracting volunteers. He was president of the fire chiefs association during the first round of federal grants aimed at attracting new recruits.
With a core of 35 volunteers and five full-time staff, Richards said, and a schedule of three to five volunteers staying at the station on rotating shifts, someone is always ready to respond. Volunteers are paid $15 plus a per-call stipend.
He said it helps to keep volunteers active with training opportunities, such as sessions with the department's successful dive team or technical rescue classes.
In Waterford, Cohanzie Fire Chief Todd Branch heads one of five volunteer departments. He said finding and keeping volunteers is a constant struggle. Todd is helping to organize a recruitment campaign involving the use of a new website, banners and a presence at the Crystal Mall.
He said the economy also has taken a toll.
"Because of that, the way we respond generally to every call is two departments simply to give a better response, but also for manpower," he said.
His said he has 10 to 12 core active volunteers, and the town has hired paid daytime staff to man each of the departments. The town offers a tax abatement of up to $1,000 based on the number of calls to which each volunteer responds. The tax abatement is good for residents and older members with property but Todd said it does little to attract younger volunteers or those from outside the district. The department responded to 1,300 calls last year.
In Norwich, home to five volunteer departments and one paid, Chief Frank Blanchard attributed his Yantic Volunteer Fire Company's high number of active volunteers -- 58 -- to regular community involvement.
"Our facility is very social," Blanchard said. "There are a lot of events that attract membership. Our primary focus is lives and property but when we get down time, we're always active in the community, In Yantic, you're a member of the fire department and a member of the community."
Norwich offers each of its volunteer departments tax abatement and pension programs based on their number of calls and years of service.
Blanchard said there is still a strong tradition of family members continuing to volunteer as firefighters.
"There is a history of fathers, sons, grandsons serving. I can go through my roster and show lineage of four or five generations that participate."
Blanchard said it also helps to be able to fund firefighter training, something that can lead a volunteer to a career in the fire service.
Morrissette said community service is still a part of what attracts people to a volunteer department and said, for some, "it's about giving back."
GREG SMITH / SOURCE: THE DAY, NEW LONDON, CONN
July 26, 2014
Firefighter Injured at Business Fire - UT
WOODS CROSS -- A large commercial fire at 2460 S. 1560 West destroyed two businesses Friday evening and injured a firefighter.
The South Davis Metro Fire Agency arrived on scene at about 4:50 p.m. and found the blaze at a building that houses Overhead Door Company of Bountiful, a garage door business in Woods Cross. Another business also used the building but was not identified Friday by fire officials.
South Davis Metro crews were soon joined by fire departments from Kaysville, Farmington, Layton and Salt Lake City. About 50 firefighters quickly doused the fire, which had been billowing tall stacks of black smoke, but not before it had its way with the structure.
"It's a total loss of the building," South Davis Metro Fire Chief Jeff Bassett told the Standard-Examiner.
One South Davis Metro firefighter suffered a cut to his forehead from falling debris and was taken to Lakeview Hospital in Bountiful. He returned to the scene after being treated and released.
Crews are still investigating the cause of the fire.The dollar value of the damage sustained has not been released.
The building's roof collapsed during the blaze and firefighters were still looking for possible hot spots trapped under the wreckage as of late Friday, Bassett said. Crews were expected to monitor the scene throughout the night.
The building is located on the edge of an industrial area and is just one block away from a residential neighborhood. No evacuations were ordered, but residents were asked to stay away from the fire and to keep their windows closed.
"We're just advising people to stay away from the smoke," Bassett said.
Flights at the nearby Skypark Airport were shutdown for about an hour because of smoke on the runway.
BEN LOCKHART / STANDARD-EXAMINER, OGDEN, UTAH
July 26, 2014
TULSA APPARATUS STRUCK IN HIT AND RUN - OK
Tulsa Police are investigating a multiple-vehicle wreck that involved a fire truck Friday night. Police say alcohol may have been involved as the driver and passengers of the car that caused the crash ran away from the scene.
It happened at about 11:30 p.m. on 51st Street South, just east of Yale. A car heading westbound on 51st Street at a high rate of speed slammed into the back of a pickup that had slowed to turn into Taco Bell, according to TPD Patrol Officer Jon Grefton.
The car hit the pickup hard enough to push it forward about 150 feet into the back of a Tulsa Fire Department fire engine.
Police say four people, a woman and three men, ran from the car and were picked up by another vehicle.
Blood - and an ID - were found in the car. The vehicle was not stolen, Grefton said.
EMSA medics checked out the occupants of the truck at the scene but did not transport anyone to the hospital.
The car and the truck were totaled. The fire engine had minor damage, and no firefighters were injured, according to police.
July 26, 2014
Motorcyclist Killed in Ambulance Crash on Upper East Side - NY
A motorcyclist was killed in a crash involving an ambulance on the Upper East Side Friday morning, police say.
The 44-year-old victim was riding his motorcycle southbound on Lexington Avenue when he was struck by an ambulance going eastbound on East 96th Street, according to police.
The ambulance from New York Presbyterian Hospital had its lights and sirens on, police said.
The motorcyclist was taken to Metropolitan Hospital where he was pronounced dead. He has not been identified.
July 26, 2014
Ambulance, tractor-trailer in wreck on I-81 - VA
Interstate 81 south in Montgomery County was closed briefly Friday morning following a wreck so a Lifeguard helicopter could land.
According to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, the crash occurred near mile marker 119 about 7:30 a.m. after report of an ambulance and tractor-trailer colliding.
Traffic was backed up about 3 miles at one point. VDOT reported at 9:36 a.m. that the wreck had been cleared. Information about injuries was not immediately available.
By Melissa Powell / roanoke.com
July 26, 2014
I-77 tunnel fire injures 2 firefighters - WV
(WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News)
Traffic is returning back to normal after a tractor-trailer fire Friday night shut down the northbound lanes of the East River Mountain Tunnel.
After re-opening the southbound lanes Friday night at 10:30 pm, one northbound lane was re-opened Saturday morning while workers continued to inspect the tunnel. The original fire started around 3 pm Friday after a tractor-trailer driver told emergency service personnel that his engine was acting up. The fire lasted for more than two hours before being extinguished.
Two firefighters at Bluefield’s No. 3 Station on Cumberland Road — Darrin Haynes and Josh Parks — were the first on the scene, according to Bluefield Fire Chief Jeff Warden.
“They were pushed back by the fire the first time, but they regrouped, went back in and with the collaborative efforts of all the departments there, they were able to get water on that fire,” Warden said. He said the firefighters returned through the southbound lanes of the tunnel, dragged hose through the cross-over nearest the fire, and crawled the final 600 feet to the fire.
“It was a gut-wrenching moment for me when they were up there in total darkness with no communications,” Warden said. “It was hard not being able to communicate with my men, but I was proud of how they got to the fire.”
Bill Archer, Bluefield Daily Telegraph
July 26, 2014
Fire chief confirms 2 firefighters shot with taser gun - MS
JACKSON — Meridian Fire Chief Anthony Clayton confirmed Friday that two firefighters were shocked earlier this month with a taser gun.
"The tasing of two of my men was voluntary," Clayton said. "This was not a case of hazing. This was a situation where they wanted to see what it felt like to be tased. It was dangerous. It was against policy, and it was irresponsible."
According to Clayton neither firefighter was injured after being shot with the taser gun.
Clayton said the incident occurred July 6, but he did not find out about it until July 18.
"I found out that evening and I called the deputy chief. I wanted an investigation started and completed by Monday morning," Clayton said. "Monday morning we reviewed the situation and Tuesday I rendered a decision."
Clayton said the deputy chief investigated the incident.
"The investigation consisted of my deputy chief, the battalion chief, the number one captain, and the rescue captain, basically getting their statements which basically corroborated what went on," Clayton said. "I demoted the rescue captain back to basic captain, and issued a reprimand to the battalion chief. The number one fire captain was moved to a different shift."
Clayton declined to provide the number of people involved in the incident and their names.
City of Meridian CAO Mike McGrevey said that the type of behavior used by those involved would not be tolerated.
"We have taken steps to deal with this matter," McGrevey said. "As you know we are limited on what we can say about personnel matters. We have dealt with this and don't expect to have to deal with it again."
Clayton said the department has put the incident behind them and he hopes they can now move forward.
Brandon Ward / firstname.lastname@example.org / The Meridian Star
July 26, 2014
2 arrested after Jaws of Life snatched from fire engine - TX
SAN ANTONIO — Two men arrested Wednesday night are accused of stealing $20,000 worth of equipment from a Bexar County fire engine, including the Jaws of Life, used to extricate people from cars.
Blake Gundred, 27, and Michael Wroblewski, 33, were each charged with burglary of a vehicle and state jail felony theft. Their bail was set at $11,600.
The District 2 engine, in the 20100 block of Pleasanton Road, was broken into around 7:30 a.m. on May 27, according to an arrest affidavit.
About a month later, a man was contacted by Wroblewski, who showed him the Jaws of Life in the trunk of his car, according to the affidavit.
BY DREW JOSEPH, SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS
July 25, 2014
Poquonnock Bridge Fire District lays off 9 firefighters - CT
Groton — The Poquonnock Bridge Fire District laid off nine firefighters at 8 a.m. Friday, meaning some shifts could be covered by just three firefighters.
Fire Chief Todd Paige, who has been with the department for 28 years, said: “This is at the bottom,” adding that he feels “sadness, difficulty, frustration.”
The layoffs, combined with four department vacancies that will remain unfilled, cut the fire department force by nearly 42 percent. The department, which previously had a minimum of five firefighters on duty per shift and two engines, will have a minimum of three firefighters on duty per shift and one engine.
The department is also changing its response to medical calls due to the layoffs. Soon Poquonnock Bridge will not respond to medical calls unless they are life-threatening emergencies, Paige said.
In the past, the fire station would also have responded to basic emergency calls, such as when someone falls and can’t get up. The fire department responded to about 1,200 emergency calls last year, of which about 750 were medical calls, Paige said. About one-third of the medical calls were non-life threatening emergencies.
Poquonnock Bridge, Groton’s largest fire district, also does not have a working ladder truck. Its lone remaining engine carries a ladder that can reach up to the second floor. The fire district closed one of its two fire houses, at 13 Fort Hill Road, on Nov. 1, 2013, to save money.
The number of engines has impact because it affects how quickly firefighters access water. In the past, firefighters on the first engine would start battling a fire using the few minutes’ worth of water held in the truck, and those on the second engine would secure a water line. Paige said losing the second crew could delay getting water to a fire if a hydrant is far away.
Firefighters also need at least four firefighters on duty to enter a building and attack a fire from inside due to federal safety rules.
The department, which had 25 firefighters before layoffs and now has 16, can still staff four per shift. But as a practical matter, it may often have fewer due to illnesses or vacation. It had three on duty after layoffs Friday morning.
“Fire doubles in size for every 1 minute of free burn,” Capt. Tim Driscoll said. “Now we’re responding with one engine, with what we used to respond to with two engines. ... We’re responding out of one fire house. ... It’s going to take us longer to get there.”
At 10 p.m. Thursday a fire broke out in the bedroom of a second-floor apartment at 359 Long Hill Road, next door to the Long Hill Road fire station. Firefighters had the fire out at Phoenix Apartments in minutes, and there were no injuries.
“We showed up with five guys so we were able to go in the building, locate the fire and extinguish the fire,” said Mark Murphy, a firefighter for 20 years. “Today, we won’t be able to do that.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has what’s called a two-in/two-out rule, which means a firefighter must not enter a burning building alone and must keep in contact with two firefighters outside in case something goes wrong. There’s an exception if immediate action could save a life.
“It’s just a sad time for the department,” said Bryan Quilter, a district firefighter for 9½ years. “We haven’t had one engine in this department since the 1930s.”
Seema Mehta, who lives with her husband and 5-month-old daughter in the third-floor of the Phoenix Apartments — above where the fire started — said it was scary to learn that firefighters are being laid off and the department has no ladder truck. Her neighbor across the hall also has children, she said.
“If there was something going on up here, that’s petrifying to me,” Mehta said.
On July 10, nearly 100 firefighters and their families marched in Groton to protest the pending cuts. The president of the nearby Old Mystic Fire District board of directors also wrote a letter to the town mayor and town councilors, saying the lack of sufficient emergency response that would occur after layoffs “borders on the criminal.”
The Groton Town Council was advised earlier this week that it should not step in right now, nor did it have to. Town Attorney Eileen Duggan told councilors the fire district was responsible for fire protection. Groton is divided into nine fire districts that operate independently.
Joe Baril, a Poquonnock Bridge firefighter for 16 years, said he’s afraid that by the time the town does step in, it’ll be too late.
“We’re down to one engine that’s really old, our ladder truck is basically rotting at the dump. When the town finally takes over, there’s going to be nothing left,” he said. “It’s easy to maintain the system. It’s going to be very costly to bring it back.”
By Deborah Straszheim / theday.com
July 25, 2014
Ambulance strikes female in Brooklyn - NY
An ambulance slammed into a female who was crossing a Brooklyn street Wednesday afternoon — sending her to the hospital, authorities and witnesses said.
"As soon as the impact hit she screamed,” said witness Arthur Shlyakman, 21.
The female, who appeared to be about 18, was rushing to get across Coney Island Ave. on Avenue X in Sheepshead Bay around noon as the "don't cross" light was blinking, he said.
At the same time, the ambulance was coming from the opposite side of Ave. X, turning right onto Coney Island Ave.
Shlyakman said the front wheels ran over her arm and leg. The confused driver didn’t seem to notice, but onlookers screamed at him to stop.
“I don't know how she ended up under the car, but he didn't even notice it because he was going to continue driving until me and a bunch of other people started screaming 'Don't move, don't move, don't move!'’ Shlyakman said. “And he tried to back up and I said, 'Stop f-----g moving!'”
An FDNY spokesman said a female was taken to Lutheran Hospital with serious injuries. He said he did not know her age.
An NYPD spokesman said the department had no information about the crash.
The vehicle with First Response Ambulance written on its side did not have lights and sirens on at the time, and was traveling about 10 mph, Shlyakman said.
A dispatcher who answered a phone at the Sea Gate business about three miles away from the crash site declined to comment. A message left for a manager wasn’t returned.
The driver was inconsolable.
"The way he reacted was like she died, because he was confused,” Shlyakman said. “He was flipping out, he was banging the car, he was holding his head like he lost her for a minute. It was crazy."
BY PATRICK MCCARRON , TINA MOORE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
July 25, 2014
Lawsuit Accuses Philadelphia Paramedics of Malpractice - PA
The family of a pregnant Fairhill woman who died in 2012 after a fall at her parents' home sued the city Thursday, contending her death and her child's severe brain damage resulted from paramedic malpractice and defective equipment.
The suit was filed in Common Pleas Court by Eriberto Rodriguez, widower of Joanne Rodriguez; their 21-month-old son, Xavier; and maternal grandmother Daisy Morales.
"My wife should be alive today. My son should be healthy, growing, playing, laughing. We shouldn't have to be here today," Rodriguez told reporters at a news conference at the Center City offices of the law firm Mincey & Fitzpatrick.
Chief Peter Crespo, Fire Department spokesman, said he could not comment on litigation.
Rodriguez's relatives called 911 at 10:44 a.m. Oct. 1, 2012, after the 24-year-old woman, 36 to 37 weeks pregnant with her first child, fell inside the home in the 2800 block of North Ninth Street.
Paramedics arrived at 10:49 and found Rodriguez on the floor complaining that she felt weak and could not breathe.
The lawsuit says her family told paramedics Rodriguez had a history of blood clots and asthma, and was getting injections of Lovenox, an anticoagulant, to treat deep-vein clotting and reduce the chance of a fatal pulmonary embolism.
The lawsuit says paramedics entered the house without oxygen equipment and did not give Rodriguez oxygen until they got her outside on a gurney.
The suit characterizes the paramedics as callous and unprofessional, adding that they yelled at Rodriguez, "Do your part," and, "You need to sit up."
At the news conference, lawyers distributed a CD that included video from security cameras mounted outside the home that showed the paramedics' arrival and departure.
The video shows the paramedics going into the house with a collapsible "stairchair." Minutes later, the paramedics can be seen struggling to get a barely conscious Rodriguez onto a gurney. The paramedics then belt the heavy woman's torso, head, and arms, and wheel the gurney to the rear of the ambulance. The video also shows that it took both paramedics and the driver to hoist the gurney onto the deck of the ambulance.
The suit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
In addition to the city and Fire Department, the lawsuit names as defendants the paramedics who responded to the call, April Smallwood and Lisa McCall.
Joe Schulle, president of Local 22 of the firefighters' union, released a statement calling the paramedics "both excellent medics."
"I would most certainly entrust the care of my family and friends to these two individuals," he said.
Schulle said city paramedics have been "severely overworked" for years.
The lawsuit contends that after Medic Unit 22 arrived at the hospital, its door locks jammed, and it took an extra three to four minutes to get Rodriguez out of the ambulance.
During that time, the suit says, the mother was beyond saving, and the unborn infant - delivered by Caesarean section as his mother was dying - sustained devastating brain damage.
A city investigation found two of 75 emergency vehicles with the same lock problems as Medic Unit 22, the suit alleges.
Furthermore, Smallwood and McCall were suspended for 48 hours without pay in connection with the incident in January 2013 for "conduct unbecoming" a paramedic and violating medical protocols, the suit alleges.
Royce W. Smith, the family's lawyer, told reporters that city investigators called the incident a "catastrophic failure."
"We're bringing this lawsuit for anyone who dares to call 911 and expect a confident, prompt response," Smith said.
Also sued were Trimark Corp. of New Hampton, Iowa; VCI Emergency Vehicle Specialists of Berlin, Camden County; and Horton Emergency Vehicles Co. of Grove City, Ohio.
The suit says the companies are responsible for designing, building, and maintaining city emergency vehicles including Medic Unit 22.
JOSEPH A. SLOBODZIAN and AUBREY WHELAN, The Philadelphia Inquirer
July 25, 2014
Smaller Vehicles Part of Department Fleet - WA
When Battalion Chief Tim Dawdy recently got his new district vehicle, he endured some good-natured teasing from his coworkers. His 2014 Ford Escape is smaller and certainly not as rugged-looking as the Ford Expedition that he retired after 15 years of use.
The Escape, however it may look, is better suited to his job at Clark County Fire & Rescue, he said, and reflects a fire service in flux. While the industry is still dominated by the big, red fire engine, fire protection districts increasingly look to save money by diversifying their fleet of vehicles.
"I like it more and more every day," Dawdy said. "It's just so much easier to drive."
As a battalion chief and spokesman for the district, he doesn't have to be among the first to arrive to an emergency.
"I don't need to drive fast. Where would I drive fast to?" he said.
The compact utility vehicle is still equipped with the four-wheel drive that allows him to navigate through hilly country roads and snow-covered streets; the updated emergency light bar and reflective lettering makes it visible at crash sites; it's easier to parallel park when he has to go to meetings; and the smaller size encourages him to store only what he needs.
Most important, he said, it costs less. The Escape gets 22 mpg, compared with the 9 mpg for his old Expedition. When the district first purchased that vehicle in 1999, fuel in Washington state averaged $1.35 per gallon. Back then, the fire commissioners wanted him to have a big vehicle.
Things have changed.
The Escape cost nearly $7,500 less than the updated 2014 Expedition. Auto buyers are also trending toward compact crossovers, like the Escape, and away from full-size SUVs, according to data from Ford.
Ways to be more practical and economical are constant topics of discussion at meetings, Dawdy said, where higher-ups toss around ideas about what tools to use and how they could do business differently.
"Is it possible to have a swing crew on an engine? What are the possibilities for the future?" Dawdy said.
"We really had to examine hard what we do," he said.
Although there will always be a place for fire engines, he said, sometimes a smaller vehicle can do the job just as well -- if not better.
Quest for efficiency
For about three years, Fire District 3 has used a Chevy Tahoe rather than a fire engine to drive to medical emergencies, which make up about 65 percent of the area's emergency calls. Parked at headquarters in Hockinson, Rescue 31 saves the district in fuel and maintenance costs. The station went from servicing its engine twice a year to once a year.
"Overall, we're trying to find cheaper ways and more efficient ways to deliver the service," said Chief Steve Wrightson.
Some firefighters, used to being in the engines, were skeptical when the idea was introduced, said Wrightson, who's been in the fire service for nearly four decades.
Fire engines are "part of the fire service tradition," he said. "Traditions can be hard to change."
Firefighter-paramedic Nolan Meyer liked the idea of Rescue 31, but appreciated it more once he started using it. It's less stressful to drive, and it gets him down narrow driveways much easier than an engine.
The firefighters see it as another tool in their toolbox. "One's not necessarily better than the other," said Firefighter Andrew Blomdahl. "From the start we were told that the fire service is always changing. ... You have to learn and adapt as you go."
All three District 3 stations also have squad trucks, a vehicle that's smaller than an engine designed to respond to medical calls and brush fires. With four-wheel drive, it's easier to drive up inclines in icy weather.
Meyer pointed out that when he began working at District 3 seven years ago, he didn't have as many useful tools as he has now, such as the LifePak 15. It's a portable device that measures a person's vital signs, such as their heart rate, oxygen levels and breathing efficiency. Emergency medical services technology continues to advance, and the protocols change all the time, he said. There's one in every vehicle, including Rescue 31.
It's not just the fleet that has diversified, it's the tools inside them.
The firefighters at Station 31 keep their turnouts in the center of the engine bay, ready to climb into whichever vehicle is dispatched to a call.
PATTY HASTINGS / SOURCE: THE COLUMBIAN, VANCOUVER, WASH.
July 25, 2014
New Orleans firefighters demand $75.5M in back pay - LA
NEW ORLEANS — Already struggling over how to pay a $17.5 million judgment to its firefighters' pension fund, New Orleans could soon face another whopping bill, this one decades in the making.
Attorneys for Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the city firefighters union are expected to square off Friday in Civil District Court over $75.5 million a judge ruled the city owes to more than 1,100 firefighters or their families for back pay earned between March 1990 and late 2006.
Louis Robein, an attorney for the union, asked Civil District Judge Kern Reese on June 30 to force city officials to come up with a pay plan. Assistant City Attorney Cashuana Hill responded that the administration is trying to do so. "The city continues to evaluate its resources and seek creative solutions in an attempt to determine how and when the amount owed can be paid," she wrote in a court filing.
July 24, 2014
Lockport abolishes city-run ambulance service - NY
LOCKPORT – After 40 years of ambulance service provided by the city Fire Department, the cash-strapped City of Lockport will do away with that service around Sept. 1.
The Fire Board voted, 4-1, Tuesday to park the two ambulances for good and recommended to the Common Council that it seek proposals from private ambulance companies. It was certain that the Council would accept the recommendation, since the aldermen were in the room at the time and no one spoke out against the idea.
“We’re not going to let you down, and we won’t let the citizens down, either,” Council President Joseph C. Kibler told the Fire Board.
Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey said there are only two ambulance companies with state permits, called “certificates of need,” to operate in Niagara County: Rural/Metro and Twin City Ambulance.
She said whoever is hired, the city won’t pay that company. The ambulance company will make its money by billing users.
That has been a major source of income for the city up until now. Ambulance fees have long been the city’s fourth-highest source of revenue, behind property taxes, sales taxes and state aid. This year’s budget projected $600,000 in ambulance charges, a figure that has been reached, or nearly so, in recent years.
McCaffrey said, “This is a decision the city had to make based on the city’s serious fiscal condition.”
She said the city is avoiding the approximately $300,000 cost of replacing both of its ambulances “in the next year or two.”
Also, said McCaffrey, once the city ambulance service is done away with, the city will reduce staffing levels for each fire shift from nine men to seven, hoping to save big money on overtime.
The Fire Board ordered the manning reduction April 22. It took effect May 1, but the next day, the Lockport Professional Fire Fighters Association obtained a temporary restraining order forbidding the cut. It lasted until June 25, when State Supreme Court Justice Ralph A. Boniello III lifted it, refusing a union request for a permanent bar on the cuts.
At present, the city, which has 38 firefighters counting the chief, has four fire platoons, two of which work each day, one for 10 hours and the other for 14.
If there are absences because of vacations, illness or any other reason, the department calls in men from the idle platoons until it reaches nine present for duty. The fill-ins are paid time-and-a-half for the entire shift.
McCaffrey said that through Thursday, the city had paid $426,000 in fire overtime this year, including $101,000 in the past four weeks. “This cannot continue,” she said.
Union President Kevin W. Pratt said the high overtime is a function of the shrunken department. The city laid off seven firefighters at the beginning of the year. “The overtime’s generated by the fact there’s 38 men with a nine-man minimum manning,” he said.
But a new union contract would be needed to change the four-platoon scheduling system, and no talks are going on to replace the pact that ran out at the end of 2012.
The union has filed for binding state arbitration over the staffing level reduction, but the city has filed a lawsuit seeking a ruling to prevent such arbitration.
The only vote against parking the ambulances came from Fire Board member Mark Provenzano. He said he had questions about what the quality of the replacement service would be.
He asked, “Will it be paramedics or EMTs (emergency medical technicians), and what will the response time be? We have three minutes now.”
After a 45-minute closed session, Provenzano said he didn’t receive answers to those questions.
Fire Board President Peter P. Robinson, who also is the city Republican Party chairman, said the national response time standard is eight minutes.
He said the board’s recommendation is to “keep our ambulance service that’s in the city as close to national standards as possible.” Robinson said that will include response to every rescue call by firefighters, but in a fire truck, not an ambulance.
“That’s what every city does,” Robinson said.
Pratt agreed with McCaffrey that the 6-year-old ambulances need to be replaced. “Actually, both of them are in terrible running condition,” he said.
But he said fire trucks don’t have advanced life-support equipment. “They have basic equipment to care for the patient while we wait for the ambulance,” Pratt said.
By Thomas Prohaska | News Niagara Reporter / buffalonews.com
July 24, 2014
Laredo firefighter injured after responding to a vehicle fire - TX
A veteran firefighter was injured Wednesday when acid from a car battery sprayed on his face in Northwest Laredo, authorities said.
It happened after fire crews responded to a report of a vehicle on fire.
The firefighter was taken to a San Antonio hospital for treatment for his burns, which caused blistering on his lips, cheeks and neck.
By César G. Rodriguez / Laredo Morning Times
July 24, 2014
Help catch this woman: Thief with two kids at her side steals wallet from firehouse - MA
WCVB Channel 5 Boston
Police in Revere said a woman stole a firefighter's wallet while he was working to extinguish a fire at a local business.
July 24, 2014
Semi crashes into CAL FIRE truck working Bully Fire - CA
A semi-truck was involved in an accident with a CAL FIRE stake truck Wednesday afternoon.
According to the California Highway Patrol the driver of the semi-truck was driving too fast on Clear Creek Road when he veered into the wrong lane. The driver over-corrected and hit a guard rail that caused his vehicle to tip over and strike the CAL FIRE truck that was heading in the opposite direction.
The semi-truck was carrying debris and scrap wood that was scattered across the road as a result of the accident, blocking the east-bound lane.
CHP said the semi-truck driver was driving too fast but no arrests were made in connection to the accident.
The stake truck was occupied by two CAL FIRE employees and was carrying supplies used on the Bully Fire. Those employees both suffered moderate injuries.
CHP said it would be a couple hours before the road could be cleared.
By Adam McAllister / KRCRTV.com
July 23, 2014
President Signs Emergency Declaration for Washington Wildfire
Volunteer firefighters lose home in wildfire
An American Flag waves in the breeze as a wildfire approaches on Friday, July 18, 2014, in Malott, Wash.
(AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Tyler Tjomsland)
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Wetter, cooler weather has helped firefighters make progress in their efforts to get the largest wildfire in Washington state's history under control.
With more rain in the forecast, crews worry that moisture could lead to flash floods after so much ground vegetation has been burned away.
The Carlton Complex of fires, which has burned nearly 400 square miles in the north-central part of the state and destroyed 150 homes, was 16 percent contained as of Tuesday, fire spokeswoman Jessica Payne said.
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch from Wednesday morning through evening because of expected heavy rainfall.
"It takes as little as 10 minutes of heavy rain to cause flash flooding and debris flows in and below areas affected by wildfires," the advisory said. "Rain runs off almost instantly from burned soils ... causing creeks and drainages to flood at a much faster rate than normal."
Still, the shift in weather was a positive development.
"The cooler weather and the moisture has cooled aspects of the fire down," fire spokeswoman Susan Peterson said Tuesday evening. "In some instances, firefighters were able to do a direct attack.
"We had additional crews come in, and they were able to put lines in closer to the fire itself."
Speaking at a fundraiser Tuesday in Seattle, President Barack Obama said the wildfire, along with other western blazes, can be attributed to climate change.
"A lot of it has to do with drought, a lot of it has to do with changing precipitation patterns, and a lot of that has to do with climate change," the president said.
Obama signed an emergency declaration Wednesday because of wildfires burning the past two weeks in the state. The declaration authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate disaster relief and help state and local agencies with equipment and resources.
At more than 250,000 acres, the Carlton Complex is larger than the 1902 Yacolt Burn, which consumed 238,920 acres in southwestern Washington and was the state's largest recorded forest fire, according to HistoryLink.org, an online resource of Washington state history.
The fire is being blamed for one death. Rob Koczewski, 67, died of an apparent heart attack Saturday while he and his wife were hauling water and digging fire lines near their home. Gov. Jay Inslee said Obama called Koczewski's wife to express his condolences.
More than 2,100 firefighters and support crew are involved with fighting the fire, Payne said. She said firefighters have had success with fire lines on the east side of state Highway 153 between Carlton and Twisp.
Karina Shagren, spokeswoman for the state's Military Department, said the National Guard has already been offering aerial support, but 100 National Guard troops were now being used on the ground for firefighting, and additional troops were receiving firefighting training for potential future use.
Inslee briefed Obama on the fire situation after the president arrived in Seattle on Tuesday afternoon at the start of a three-day West Coast trip.
"We have real significant challenges," Inslee said. "To have the president here today is actually a stroke of luck."
Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell were among a dozen U.S. senators who sent a letter to Senate leaders Tuesday asking for passage of emergency legislation to allocate $615 million to fight wildfires.
Fires are burning in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Arizona and California, and both Oregon and Washington have declared states of emergency.
July 23, 2014
Woman puts out fire at her home when 911 doesn't answer - GA
ATLANTA, Ga. -- Imagine you're faced with an emergency, you call 911 for help, only no one answers. Some people in DeKalb County say it's happened to them repeatedly. One woman had to put out a fire at her own house because she couldn't get through.
"The whole thing just exploded into 6 to 10 foot flames," said Kim Zweig.
She didn't panic when saw her grille was on fire.
"First instinct, call 911. Well I called and it rang 10 times, it just kept ringing and ringing and no one would answer," she said.
When she couldn't get through she knew she had to do something to stop it.
"I was really afraid to go out the door, it was so hot, I could feel the heat," she said.
Years ago, she was a firefighter in Ohio, so she decided to do what she could to stop the fire.
"Here's the broom I used, it's all kind of melted," she said.
After the fire was out, she was so upset 911 never answered, she posted about it on Facebook and saw dozens of people in Brookhaven had the exact same complaint. Her next door neighbor couldn't get them to pick up either.
"Head-on collision right in front of me. I pull out my cell phone, call 911 -- nothing," said Dottie Setliff.
After 11Alive called the DeKalb County police about her concerns, they launched an investigation.
"911, that's the lifeline for all of our citizens, and it's important that we take it very seriously," said Interim Chief Jim Conroy.
This call log obtained by 11Alive shows Zweig's call to 911 lasted 24 seconds before she says she hung up to put out the fire. The log shows the 911 operator tried to call back three times, but the line was busy.
So what's the problem? Dekalb Police Chief Jim Conroy blames the cell phone carrier.
"A land line is the preferred method to call, the 911 system was designed with land lines in mind," he said.
While they get to the bottom of what happened at Zweig's house, she says everyone is lucky it wasn't worse.
"I'm a taxpayer and I can't depend on our 911 system in this county, that's what was upsetting," said Zweig.
The City of Brookhaven says they're switching to a new 911 system in August, partly because of those complaints, but the DeKalb Police Chief says no one has reported any issues to him, and they do a thorough investigation every time there is a problem.
Kaitlyn S Ross, WXIA
July 23, 2014
Car pulls in front of emergency vehicle, causes crash - FL
No one was seriously injured in a three-vehicle crash involving an Ocala Fire Rescue vehicle on its way to a call Tuesday night.
Officer Bennie Wilson of the Ocala Police Department said Richard M. Doucett, an OFR battalion chief, was heading east on Southwest 20th Street in his vehicle using lights and sirens on his way to call.
A 2003 Nissan Altima, driven by Peter Allen Nettles, was sitting at Southwest 31st Avenue, preparing to cross SW 20th Street and continue on SW 31st Avenue.
The officer said that, in an apparent attempt to beat the emergency vehicle, Nettles entered the intersection. His Altima was hit on the driver’s side.
Both vehicles then traveled a short distance before crashing into a third vehicle, a 2012 Toyota Corolla, driven by Jaime G. Gonzalez-Urdaneta, who had three passengers.
Doucett, 45, was not seriously injured, Wilson said. Nettles, 29, of Ocala, also not seriously injured, nor was Gonzalez-Urdaneta, 47, his wife Jetzabel Suarez, 45, or their children, ages 12 and 7.
Ashley Lopez, public information officer for OFR, said Doucett was responding to a call about a stabbing.
Nettles is expected to be ticketed for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, according to officers.
Austin L. Miller / ocala.com
July 23, 2014
FF INJURED AT FIRE - FALL DOWN STAIRS - NJ
A firefighter was injured while battling a blaze in Bayonne Tuesday night, authorities said.
A fire erupted in a two-story home in the 100-block of West 26th Street shortly before 11 p.m., authorities said.
When firefighters arrived, they saw heavy smoke billowing from the basement and first floor of the building, authorities said.
While trying to extinguish the fire, a firefighter fell down a smoke-filled stairway leading to the basement and injured his wrist, hip and leg, authorities said.
The firefighter was taken from the scene to Bayonne Medical Center and later released, authorities said.
The fire was soon extinguished, authorities said. Fire investigators believe the blaze originated in the laundry area of the home's basement, authorities said.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, authorities said.
July 23, 2014
Downed wires forces firefighters to watch house burn - MI
(WJBK | FOX 2 News Detroit)
The hottest day of the summer, a transformer blew up on Madalay Street in Royal Oak, Mi. The live power line fell onto the house and started a fire that eventually consumed the entire building. The ROFD was unable to fight the fire directly because it took almost forty five minutes for the local utility, DTE Energy to shut off the power.
July 23, 2014
Man Spit Blood on First Responders, Police Say - PA
AMBRIDGE -- An Ambridge man is wanted on charges stemming from an incident in which he fought with first responders and spit blood on them while they were trying to help him, police said.
Ambridge police and medics from Economy Ambulance were called at 4:36 p.m. April 27 to the 1600 block of Beaver Road for a man who was bleeding and unconscious lying on the side of the road.
Police arrived and found the man with a crowd of people around who identified the man as Michael Jevon Boyle. The people, who said they were his relatives, told police Boyle was extremely intoxicated and was injured when he fell. However, police later learned he had been assaulted.
Boyle was still unresponsive and bleeding moderately from the mouth, according to the report.
Eventually, Boyle began to come around, got up and ran at an officer while yelling obscenities. A struggle ensued between Boyle and officers, and Boyle spit blood on the leg and arm of Patrolman John Chickos, according to the report.
Once Boyle was inside the ambulance, he continued to flail and spit, according to the report. While en route to the hospital, Boyle also threatened police and medics, according to the report.
Boyle, 22, of 811 18th St., was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, resisting arrest and public drunkenness.
A bench warrant was issued for Boyle's arrest after he failed to appear for a preliminary hearing Tuesday.
Kristen Doerschner / Source: Beaver County Times
July 23, 2014
Driver OK after volunteer fire vehicles collide near Vaughn - MT
(Photo: Tribune Photo/Eric Dietrich )
A volunteer fire truck overturned Tuesday afternoon while responding to a grass fire south of Vaughn.
Responders say a small Fort Shaw volunteer fire truck and a water carrier collided while responding to the fire, and one person was extricated.
Cascade County Sheriff Bob Edwards said the driver of the overturned truck was transported to Benefis Health System as a precautionary measure.
He was alert and talking after the crash, Edwards said.
Edwards said the driver of the other vehicle declined medical attention.
Trooper David Baggs with the Montana Highway Patrol said the small truck missed a turnoff en route to the fire and was making a U-turn when the water carrier struck it.
There were no life-threatening injuries, he said.
The collision occurred on U.S. Highway 89, at mile marker 2 between Vaughn and Sun River.
Tribune staff / greatfallstribune.com
July 23, 2014
Police chase ends with car hitting fire truck - DE
WILMINGTON, Del. — A police chase ended when a stolen car collided with a fire truck, injuring a firefighter and two others, Tuesday night.
WDEL Radio reported that the pursuit began inside the city and struck the back end of a ladder truck moving through the intersection.
The firefighters turned their attention to smoke and flames that developed in the car’s engine compartment while a passenger inside the vehicle was rescued, according to the report.
"Firefighters grabbed extinguishers and put out and doused the flames that were in the car compartment," Fire Chief Anthony Goode said.
Officers used a Taser to subdue the driver, who tried to flee from the crashed vehicle, according to the report.
The driver and passenger were taken to a hospital for treatment. A firefighter riding in the rear of the ladder truck was treated for a shoulder injury.
The crash is currently under investigation.
By FireRescue1 Staff
July 22, 2014
Firefighter hurt battling 3-alarm apartment fire - TX
HOUSTON — A firefighter was injured while battling an apartment complex blaze Monday morning.
The Associated Press reported that authorities are trying to determine what sparked the fire that left a firefighter with minor injuries.
The firefighter was transported to a hospital. Further details were not immediately released, according to the report.
All of the residents were safely evacuated and the fire was extinguished before dawn.
By FireRescue1 Staff
July 22, 2014
Smoke Alarms Allow Sylmar Families to Escape Inferno - CA
SYLMAR - One firefighter was hospitalized and eight residents displaced, when flames damaged three condominium units in the northeast San Fernando Valley early Monday morning.
The Los Angeles Fire Department was summoned at 1:54 AM on July 21, 2014 to 14380 Foothill Boulevard in Sylmar, where firefighters arrived quickly to find one unit of a two story four-unit condominium building well involved with fire.
Neighbors, who were awakened by properly functioning smoke alarms, had already escaped their homes unscathed prior the Fire Department's arrival.
As flames swept through the common attic of the 4,684 square-foot building, 85 firefighters under the command of Assistant Chief Timothy Manning held the bulk of fire to the unit of fire origin, as well as attic space and ceilings in two adjoining units.
Firefighters extinguished the blaze in just 49 minutes.
While attacking the flames, one Fire Engineer sustained a non-life threatening facial injury. He was taken to an area hospital by LAFD ambulance in fair condition. After the blaze was extinguished, a resident asked Paramedics to examine a minor burn to his foot. The man declined treatment or transportation.
Volunteers from the American Red Cross assisted four adults and four children displaced by the blaze with temporary living needs.
Fire loss to the thirty year-old building, which was not equipped with fire sprinklers, is still being tabulated. The prompt initial call to 9-1-1 helped firefighters spare at least $500,000 in property loss among the four condominiums.
The cause of the fire remains under active investigation.
Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman / Los Angeles Fire Department
July 22, 2014
Sutphen issues urgent safety notice after three GA firefighters hurt following another tower ladder failure
Sutphen Corporation has announced that the Company is instructing customers to remove all SPH 100, SP 110, SPI 112, and SAI 110 Aerial devices from service, until further notice, effective immediately.
The Company states that customers are instructed to use the affected apparatus in the capacity of an engine or support vehicle only. The Company will stay in close contact with its customers to report details and when the units may be place back in service.
“At this time, our priority is the safety of our firefighters,” says Drew Sutphen, President of the Company. “In light of the recent incidents, we recognize there is an immediate need to take precautionary action. I would rather take every precaution necessary than to put firefighters at risk.”
The Company states that it will be contacting customers with the affected units personally to inform them of the events that have occurred and the steps that are being taken to get the units back in to service in a timely manner.
“We feel the need to personally assure our customers that we are working to investigate and correct the situation,” Drew continues.
Sutphen Corporation is an Ohio based privately held, family owned business that manufactures custom built emergency response vehicles. The company’s headquarters are located in suburban Dublin, Ohio northwest of Columbus.
Release from Sutphen-
July 22, 2014
Honolulu Fire Choppers Temporarily Grounded - HI
The Honolulu Police Department's two helicopters remain grounded on Tuesday, but Fire Department helicopters are back in service, while city officials search for a new private maintenance contractor.
Both the police and the fire departments suspended flight operations on Monday because of problems with Rotor Wing Hawaii, the company that maintains the aircraft for both departments.
The fire department's two helicopters returned to service after the department found another company to provide interim maintenance for the aircraft.
The police department's two helicopters remained on the ground Tuesday, a police spokeswoman said.
City spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke said the city hopes to have a new vendor in place by the end of the week.
Acting Fire Capt. David Jenkins said the fire department's helicopters went back in service at 4 p.m. on Monday.
Jenkins said the decision to suspend normal flight operations came because Rotor Wing Hawaii was having internal problems after its owner died.
The fire department's yellow Air 1 and Air 2 helicopters are familiar sights in island skies as they assist lost and stranded hikers, boaters, swimmers and surfers and extinguish brush fires.
"There was no impact," Jenkins said because the fire department has an agreement with the federal government to use Coast Guard helicopters in an emergency.
There was only one water rescue on Monday morning, which was handled by North Shore lifeguards using jet skis, Jenkins added.
Broder said the city's contract with Rotor Wing Hawaii was to maintain and insure the helicopters.
After the owner died the company was facing bankruptcy and its insurance expired on Monday.
"For obvious reasons, the (city) budget department does not want the helicopters flying without insurance and a maintenance crew," Broder said.
No training, practice, nonspecific patrol, and no aerial survey work will be allowed, Broder said.
However, the fire department can and will fly if needed for emergency search and rescue and firefighting, Broder added.
The fire department's two helicopters and its crew of three pilots operate out of a hanger on Lagoon Drive.
The police department's helicopters work under the supervision of the Specialized Services Division. The aircraft provides support to operations, such as traffic monitoring, recovery of stolen vehicles, and the eradication of marijuana and other illegal drugs.
Gregg K. Kakesako / Source: The Honolulu Star-Advertiser
July 22, 2014
Injured Hall Co. firefighters stable after ladder truck collapse - GA
GAINESVILLE - Hall County fire officials said a ladder truck incident at the county's training center Tuesday afternoon has injured three firefighters.
The Gainesville/Hall County Joint Fire Training Facility is off Allen Creek Road.
Hall County Fire Marshal Scott Cagle said the incident happened around 2:15 p.m. involving some sort of mechanical failure involving the ladder truck.
"They were extended up in the ladder truck, the bucket truck," Cagle explained. "While they were in the bucket some type of mechanical failure happened and the ladder pancaked down onto itself; it free-fell about twenty feet before it stopped itself."
Cagle said there were three firefighters in the bucket at the time of the accident: two were life-flighted to Grady Hospital in Atlanta, and one was transported by ambulance to the Northeast Georgia Medical Center.
Authorities blocked Jesse Jewell Parkway between E.E. Butler and Monroe Drive for a short time as part of the response.
Just before 6 p.m., Cagle released the names of the injured firefighters in an email. Will Griffin, TJ Elliot and Stephen Jackson are all in stable condition, according to Cagle.
By Staff / accessnorthga.com
July 22, 2014
Volunteer firefighter shortage plagues towns - ID
IDAHO CITY -- There's a shortage of volunteer firefighters across the state of Idaho and many small communities are having to cope with the problem.
The Idaho Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services Association (IVFESA) are trying to help with a series of television ads and online promotions designed to highlight the state's need.
"The local firefighters are the first responders," said Kevin Courtney, IVFESA president.
For years, fewer people have been signing up to help respond to emergencies in rural Idaho towns and counties. Courtney told us it's a tough problem to fix.
He says the state needs 3,000 to 4,000 more people to fully staff volunteer fire departments. In the meantime, Idaho City is making do with what it has.
"It's kind of hard to make it all work, but we do it," said Idaho City Volunteer Fire Chief Terry Teeter, who's been working for the department for 36 years unpaid.
Idaho City has a population of 466 people, but there are only 10 volunteer firefighters Teeter can count on.
Courtney told us part of the problem is that many of these small communities don't have other paying jobs to keep younger recruits around.
"Not a lot of young people live in the small areas because there's not a lot of jobs," he said.
Meanwhile, small towns don't have the money to pay for emergency services.
"If all these counties, and these cities, and these small rural areas start paying full time firefighters, they'll go broke," said Courtney.
Many of the current volunteers work in the Treasure Valley, and travel north to fill fire shifts. It's a trend that's also affecting volunteer EMTs as well.
We checked into the numbers in east Boise County. Right now, there are 20 volunteer EMTs stationed in Idaho City, covering 320 square miles.
"That is way less than we need," said volunteer EMT Jeff Moebius.
He told us he needs 30 more people to help respond to all kinds of 911 calls. The station in Idaho City is staffed 24 hours a day.
"A lot of us just make that drive to come up here and provide for a community that needs EMS personnel," added Moebius.
The need is definitely there, so what can be done? State fire officials say that's a good question.
"If there was a simple answer then we wouldn't be here right now and there's not and that's the frustrating part," said Courtney.
To start, the Idaho Volunteer Fire & Emergency Services Association is flooding the airwaves, letting Idahoans know about the shortage and reminding people of the importance of the role. A role that these volunteers say is more of a calling.
"I love helping people," said Moebius.
However, even the people who love to help need help, too.
July 22, 2014
Cash, cell phone stolen from trucks while firefighters eat breakfast - IN
MARION COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) – It may be a story of petty theft, but when you find out where the crime occurred and who the victims are, you are likely to start shaking your head.
On Sunday morning, firefighters at Wayne Township Fire Station 84 decided to get some breakfast at a restaurant in the Chapel Hill Shopping Center, near N. High School Road and W. 10th Street. The firefighters parked all three trucks toward the back of the parking lot.
“You can still see it from inside. But while they were in there, they usually cover everything up, they come back out and it looked like somebody had ransacked the place,” says Wayne Township Fire Chief Gene Konzen.
A cell phone and about $80 in cash, collected from the eight firefighters to use for groceries for meals while at the station house, was stolen.
“And so, it’s a little disappointing that a little bit of our safety and security had been breached,” says George Caughlan, one of the firefighters who went for breakfast.
He admits they didn’t lock the doors on the equipment.
“We have our doors open for children to come over to check out the fire apparatus at anytime. Like I said, just a little disappointing that we have to watch where we put our things,” says Caughlan.
Chief Konzen says there’s another reason fire apparatus is not usually locked.
“Our response is to get in there and get going in less than a minute, if you got to start, because they’re all separate keys, each door you’d be unlocking with a key and that could be a nightmare,” he said.
However, there is a solution that Chief Konzen says could solve the problem.
“We’re going to get some lock boxes, it doesn’t need to be a fancy safe. But, we can get a lock box and mount it in all the apparatus,” he said.
Chief Konzen said the new ladder truck is equipped with a video camera, but it didn’t capture anything this time. They hope to fix that so it will work, even if the trucks are not running.
A ping on the cell phone found it was somewhere in the apartment complex across the street from the restaurant. But so far, they haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly where.
By David Barras / http://wishtv.com
July 21, 2014
Mount Vernon firefighters request additional manpower to keep city’s firehouses open - NY
MOUNT VERNON - Firefighters in Mount Vernon say they want additional manpower to keep all of the city’s firehouses open.
The city, with a population of 68,000 people, has four firehouses that cover 4.4 square miles.
Until recently, when a firefighter called in sick, the shorthanded firehouse was limited to what kind of calls they could respond to.
The union says that now the city will just shut down the entire firehouse for the day and send the leftover firefighters to another firehouse.
Fire Commissioner Noah Lighty admits his budget is stretched, but says no firehouses have been closed. He also assures residents that they are safe.
The union says it needs 12 more firefighters to keep all the firehouses open. The cost to the city would be $600,000.
The commissioner tells News 12 that he's discussing hiring additional firefighters with Mayor Ernie Davis. If so, there could be a class in September.
July 21, 2014
Truck and motorcycle collide, firefighter struck - PA
JACKSON TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Investigators are working to learn what caused a motorcycle and a truck to collide on a Cambria County roadway Monday afternoon.
The accident between the motorcycle and tri-axle truck happened just before 4 p.m. along Route 271 near the Pike Road intersection in the Mundys Corner area of Jackson Township, according to Cambria County emergency dispatch.
Officials said the person riding the motorcycle was transported to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center for treatment of injuries.
The extent of those injuries was not known. A state police accident reconstruction team was called in to investigate the crash. The names of involved in the crash were not immediately released.
The truck driver was not injured. Crews closed Route 271 between Pike Road and the Route 22 interchange to allow for the investigation.
About an hour after the accident, Jackson Township Fire Police members were directing traffic near the Pike Road intersection when one of the fire police members was struck by a passing motorist.
The firefighter was taken to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center for treatment. The extent of his injuries was not known. There was no immediate information about the vehicle that struck the firefighter or if that person was stopped by police.
July 21, 2014
Township Discontinues Fire-Based EMS Coverage - PA
Breaking a tradition that dates to the 1950s, Haverford Township will discontinue using ambulance services provided by two volunteer fire companies and will contract with the University of Pennsylvania Health Systems for emergency medical services.
The township says the move will save $440,000 annually.
Llanerch Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Company has provided service for 63 years, the Manoa Fire Company for 59. But with fewer volunteers available during critical hours, the costs of hiring emergency medical technicians to cover shifts, and concerns about response times, the Delaware County township elected to solicit bids for the critical service.
Such issues may become more common. "Townships all over the commonwealth will be faced with this," said Larry Gentile, Haverford Township manager.
Haverford commissioners recently voted to accept UPHS as the new provider, starting late this year or early next. Crozer Chester Medical Center and Narberth Ambulance also submitted bids.
UPHS has agreed to hire the 42 current full- and part-time EMTs and paramedics, provided they meet basic employment standards. They will get raises and be eligible for tuition reimbursements, Gentile said.
"Overall, this is a win-win situation for the township," said Gentile, who once volunteered for Llanerch and worked as a paramedic.
The annual budget for the township's emergency medical service is $1.76 million, operated at an annual $700,000 loss. With the change, the loss would be cut to $260,000, Gentile said.
Michael Norman, fire chief for the Manoa Fire Company, did not return calls for comment.
Carole Lieblein, board president for Llanerch Fire Company, said that it had planned to submit a bid as a combined service with Manoa, but that the township would not accept the proposal.
Lieblein was disturbed by what she called a lack of transparency and the "unprofessional" way the deal was handled.
"It is a shame to see the system go," she said, "and it is a shame to see how it was done."
Lieblein was concerned that a few of the 40 EMTs, some of whom are older, would not be hired by Penn and that Penn's no-smoking policy might be an issue.
Llanerch "wrote off" what the insurance companies wouldn't reimburse for members, who paid $40 a year for the service, said Lieblein. "I don't see Penn doing that." She said Manoa had a similar policy.
Gentile said the two fire companies approached the township last year with concerns over mounting costs. Since they had problems staffing the ambulances, he said, they were not invited to bid.
While locations have not been finalized, one ambulance would be housed in the Haverford College area, one at the township building on Darby Road, and a third in the Manoa/Bon Air section, Gentile said.
"Nothing is going to change," said Gentile. "Patients will still go to the closest appropriate hospital."
"It's sad to see it go," said Steve D'Emilio, commissioner for the First Ward. D'Emilio, who also is a longtime member and current treasurer of Manoa Fire Company, said that the system was good for the community but that fire companies could not keep up with the costs of paying EMTs.
"You have to look at the financial aspects," D'Emilio said, adding the new arrangement would be closely monitored.
"This system was never planned; it evolved," said McCans. "Decisions were made along the way that were appropriate for the times. Circumstances have changed."
Volunteers will not be cut out entirely, said Gentile. An SUV-type Quick Response Vehicle will be housed at the two fire stations, he said, and will be available for EMT volunteers to respond to incidents to assist paid staff.
MARI A. SCHAEFER, The Philadelphia Inquirer
July 21, 2014
A fire truck owned by Richfield Fire Department has been destroyed by the massive Preacher Fire. - ID
(Photo: Blaine County Sheriff's Office)
Carey, Idaho -- A fire truck owned by Richfield Fire Department has been destroyed by the massive Preacher Fire.
The Blaine County Sheriff's Office posted several pictures of the burned out truck on its Facebook page Thursday afternoon.
According to the post, the truck was collateral damage, but no one was injured.
The fire, which is burning through grass and brush southwest of Carey, grew to 33,000 acres Wednesday. The BLM says the fire has been fanned by erratic winds.
No structures have been lost, and at last check, officials were hoping to have the fire contained Thursday evening.
July 21, 2014
Tank Drops from Firetruck, Spills Diesel on Andover Streets - MA
After a strap that held the fuel tank broke, an Andover fire truck leaked some 40 gallons of diesel fuel onto the streets late Sunday afternoon, reported the Eagle Tribune.
The breakage occurred because the tank dropped, and was dragged for several miles. The driver was unaware, until another motorist called 911.
The department called environmental agencies to report the leak, and it was vacuumed up by Coady's Towing.
Since the fuel spilled along the way, it streaked from Dascomb Road to Andover Street and then Central Street, said the Tribune.
Posted by Charlene Arsenault / http://andover.patch.com/
July 21, 2014
FIRE TRUCK AND CAR COLLIDE IN CAMDEN - NJ
CAMDEN, N.J. -- Police are investigating an accident involving a fire truck and another vehicle in Camden, New Jersey Friday night.
The ladder truck was responding on Route 676 southbound near the Morgan Boulevard exit when it collided with a passenger car with four people inside.
According to police, the fire truck did have its warning lights and siren on at the time of the crash.
The four people in the car had minor injuries but refused to be taken to the hospital.
No firefighters were hurt.
The crash remains under investigation.
July 21, 2014
Firefighter hurt battling 3-alarm apartment fire - TX
HOUSTON — A firefighter was injured while battling an apartment complex blaze Monday morning.
The Associated Press reported that authorities are trying to determine what sparked the fire that left a firefighter with minor injuries.
The firefighter was transported to a hospital. Further details were not immediately released, according to the report.
All of the residents were safely evacuated and the fire was extinguished before dawn.
By FireRescue1 Staff
July 21, 2014
Modified duty for medics after fatal NYC arrest - NY
NEW YORK — Four emergency workers involved in the medical response for a New York City man who died in police custody after being put in an apparent chokehold have been barred from responding to 911 calls, the Fire Department of New York said.
The two EMTs and two paramedics removed from the city's emergency response system are the latest public safety workers to face reassignment as questions mount about Thursday's death of Eric Garner. Two police officers — including the one who put his arm around Garner's neck — have been put on desk duty.
The medics' modified duty restrictions will remain in effect pending an investigation into their actions, fire department spokesman James Long said Sunday.
Video of the arrest shot by a bystander shows one officer wrap his arm around Garner's neck as he is taken to the ground — arrested for allegedly selling untaxed, loose cigarettes — while Garner shouts, "I can't breathe!"
The fire department disclosed the medics' reassignment after a second video surfaced showing at least a half-dozen police officers and emergency workers circling a man who appears to be Garner lying on the sidewalk, handcuffed and unresponsive.
Long said placing the emergency workers on modified duty — which includes a notice in their state health department file that they are not to respond to medical calls — is department protocol when questions arise about a medical response and was not a reaction to the post-arrest video.
The fire department said the emergency workers are employees of Richmond County Medical Center, the Staten Island hospital where Garner was taken by ambulance and pronounced dead. Authorities said the father of six likely had a heart attack, but more tests are needed to determine the exact cause and manner of his death.
A Richmond County Medical Center spokeswoman did not immediately respond to messages.
Long said the fire department took action against the hospital's emergency responders because it oversees the city's 911 system, a patchwork of public and privately-operated emergency services.
The restrictions on the medical personnel came a day after the police department said it reassigned Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who used the apparent chokehold on Garner, and another unidentified officer while prosecutors and internal affairs detectives investigate. Chokeholds are banned under department policy.
The department said it stripped Pantaleo, an eight-year veteran of the force, of his gun and badge.
Court records show that within the past two years, three men sued Pantaleo in federal court over allegedly unlawful, racially motivated arrests. Pantaleo did not return a telephone message.
Earlier Sunday, the Rev. Al Sharpton demanded justice for Garner and accountability from citizens who attack police officers during an appeal from the pulpit at Manhattan's Riverside Church.
Garner was "choked by New York City policemen," the Harlem preacher told the congregation. "What bothers me is that the nation watches a man say 'I can't breathe' and the choking continues, and police surround him and none of them even say, 'Wait a minute, stop! He can't breathe!'"
Garner's funeral is scheduled for Wednesday at the Bethel Baptist Church in Brooklyn.
Video of Garner's struggle with police obtained by the New York Daily News shows the 6-foot-3, 350-pound man becoming irate and refusing to be handcuffed.
Garner, who has been arrested for illegally selling cigarettes numerous times in recent years, told the officers who confronted him that he had not done anything wrong, according to the video of the arrest.
"Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I'm tired of it. It stops today," Garner shouts. "I'm minding my business. Please just leave me alone."
Then, as four officers bring him down to the sidewalk, Garner, who was asthmatic, gasps, "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" The video shows one officer using his hands to push Garner's face into the sidewalk.
The second video, which appears to have been shot shortly after Garner was handcuffed, shows him lying on the sidewalk, apparently unresponsive. More than three minutes in, medics arrive and one checks his pulse. Garner is lifted onto a gurney and transported to a waiting ambulance about two minutes later.
A bystander asks why no one is performing CPR and one officer responds, "because he's breathing."
The Associated Press
July 20, 2014
CFD AMBULANCE, SUV COLLIDE AT BRYN MAWR, HARLEM - IL
CHICAGO -- A Chicago Fire Department ambulance was involved in a crash on the city's Far Northwest Side.
Two people were injured and transferred to local hospitals. Their injuries are not life threatening.
The ambulance collided with an SUV just before 4 p.m. Friday. Officials have not released any details as to what led to the crash, nor said if a patient was in the ambulance.
July 20, 2014
Pickup Truck Crashes Into Ambulance - TX
Two paramedics escaped serious injury when deputies say a pickup truck crashed into the back of a CareFlite ambulance.
(NBC 5 News)
Two paramedics needed help themselves Friday morning after a pickup crashed into their ambulance.
It happened just before 1 a.m. along south RL Thornton Freeway near Beckley.
The CareFlite ambulance was traveling southbound at a normal speed without lights and sirens when it was hit from behind by a pickup truck.
The ambulance spun several times and went off the highway while the pickup crashed into the center wall.
The medics suffered minor injuries and are expected to be okay. The pickup driver was not hurt.
Dallas County sheriff's deputies took the pickup driver into custody and are investigating if he was impaired.
Southbound lanes of RL Thornton Freeway were closed for about 30 minutes for the crash investigation and cleanup.
July 18, 2014
TriState CareFlight Releases Statement on helicopter Crash - NM
TriState CareFlight, which owned and operated the medical evacuation helicopter that crashed and burned early Thursday while on the way to Tucumcari to pick up a patient, killing the three crew on board, has released a statement on the accident.
"We at TriState CareFlight (TSCF) are grieving the loss of three admired members of our emergency medical transport family. TriState CareFlight is assisting the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in its initial investigation of the wreckage of an TSCF emergency medical helicopter early Thursday morning in eastern New Mexico. The NTSB will provide further details as the investigation continues. Our thoughts are for their families and friends in remembering the commitment to saving lives," said the statement from John Cole, CareFlight's director of business development.
The pilot, registered nurse and paramedic on board were all from the Santa Fe area, said Cole. The names have not yet been released.
ANDY STINY / SOURCE: ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL, N.M.
July 17, 2014
Fire Truck Destroyed by Wildfire - ID
RICHFIELD -- Firefighters were lucky to escape with their lives Wednesday as a wildfire overtook and destroyed a Richfield Fire Department engine.
The firefighters were responding to a 27-acre blaze at milepost 176 on U.S. 26/93 when it became high-centered on a rock pile then stuck in sand, Fire Chief Mike Swainston said.
Crews did "everything they could," he said. "We're lucky we didn't lose anyone."
Swainston said he had not contacted the department's insurance company, but the truck was worth a little less than $300,000.
"As far as I'm concerned, equipment can be replaced; people can't," he said.
The fire was started when a truck lost its tire and its bare rim scrapped along the asphalt, flinging sparks into the nearby brush, said BLM spokeswoman Kelsey Dehoney.
BLM and Richfield firefighters were mopping up the blaze at presstime and were expected to have it controlled late Wednesday night, Dehoney said. The BLM sent three engines; no structures were threatened.
After a Tuesday evening shift in winds that caused the Preacher Fire to burn more than 2,000 acres and close U.S. 26/93 for several hours, crews gained ground on the blaze aided by lower temperatures and mild winds.
That wildfire, located south of Carey, is estimated to have burned 33,000 acres making it the Magic Valley's largest fire yet this year.
The fire is 40 percent contained, said BLM Incident Commander Brian O'Donnell. Crews are still working to secure fire lines and mop up hot spots, Dehoney said.
The BLM expects to contain the blaze on Thursday at 6 p.m. and control it at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Firefighters also worked to contain a 22-acre wildfire started by lightning on Tuesday 7 miles from the City of Rocks National Reserve. The fire is not active and BLM crews are working to secure the fire line and mop up the area.
The BLM expects to contain that fire tomorrow night and control it Saturday night.
THE TIMES-NEWS, TWIN FALLS, IDAHO
July 17, 2014
FIREFIGHTER BODY ARMOR EDITORIAL = NV
Determined killers, deranged gunmen and terrorist threats have forced local emergency responders to rethink their approach — and their safety — in active-shooter and multiple-casualty scenarios.
Last week, the Clark County Fire Department announced it had received 118 sets of body armor, thanks to a federal grant. As reported by the Review-Journal’s Ben Botkin, each battalion can provide working firefighters and paramedics with vests that stop rifle shots and helmets that deflect shrapnel. Going forward, the added protection will allow firefighters to immediately respond with police to aid those injured in an attack, rather than wait for police to clear an area — a response delay that can cost victims their lives.
With new capabilities comes new training. Firefighters will have to learn police tactics such as entry, concealment and taking cover.
“It’s a paradigm shift for all of us,” Clark County Fire Capt. Evan Hannah said. “We’ve never gone into situations like this before, so it’s definitely a learning curve.”
The department will provide attack-response training to all firefighters — at quite a cost — as opposed to creating a small, specialized team. It’s the right call — every second counts in such violence, and the department’s jurisdiction, including the Strip, is too large for one unit to cover.
It’s terrible that medical response has reached a point where paramedics might have to wear military-grade safety equipment. We’ve long criticized the purchase of expensive gear for local emergency responders with federal dollars — if it’s a necessary public safety expenditure, local governments should fund it. But we can’t ask paramedics to enter a firefight, like last month’s CiCi’s Pizza/Wal-Mart shooting, and provide potentially life-saving treatment without adequate protection.
Here’s hoping these vests and helmets are never used outside of training.
July 17, 2014
Audit: San Francisco response times have spiked - CA
SAN FRANCISCO — Ambulance response times in San Francisco have spiked over the past four months leaving first responders in a challenging position and possibly putting patients’ lives at risk, according to firefighters who spoke to 2 Investigates.
According to a June audit of the San Francisco Fire Department, performed by the city’s Budget and Legislative Analyst, the city’s population growth over the last 13 years has contributed to an increase in 911 calls. San Francisco’s population has grown by nearly 8 percent - from 776,733 residents in 2000 to 837,442 in 2013, according to the report.
An increase in San Francisco’s homeless population is also cited as “one of the reasons for the increased demand in emergency medical services.”
July 17, 2014
County votes to add ambulance, close 2 fire stations - FL
CAMDEN COUNTY, Fla. — Camden County will hire six new firefighters, add an ambulance and close two fire stations, all to carry out the recommendations of an independent efficiency study conducted last year.
The study by International City/County Management Association turned up some redundancies in fire coverage between Kingsland and the county while finding that a fourth emergency zone was needed to serve the south end of the county where 80 percent of the calls originate.
Tuesday night’s unanimous vote gives County Fire Rescue Chief Mark Crews $300,000 in personnel funding to make the changes.
July 16, 2014
Up to 44 oil trains cross New York state, Hudson Valley each week, documents show
FILE - In this July 16, 2013, file photo, railroad oil tankers are lined up at the Port of Albany in Albany, N.Y. CSX Transportation hauls an average of 20 to 35 trains a week, each loaded with at least a million gallons of crude oil from North Dakotaís Bakken region, across 17 upstate New York counties en route to coastal refineries, according to documents released Tuesday, July 15, 2014, by the state.
(AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)
ALBANY >> As many as 44 trains a week, each loaded with at least a million gallons of volatile crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken region, move through upstate New York, according to documents released Tuesday by the state.
CSX Transportation said it hauls an average of 20 to 35 trains a week across 17 upstate New York counties from the west to Albany and then south along the Hudson River. Canadian Pacific said it hauls an average of five to nine crude oil trains a week through five counties from the Canadian border to Schoharie County, according to the documents released to The Associated Press by the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services in response to a Freedom of Information Law request.
The U.S. Department of Transportation in May ordered railroads to give state officials specifics on oil train routes so emergency responders can better prepare for accidents.
New York officials declined requests from CSX and Canadian Pacific to avoid public disclosure of the information.
CSX oil trains follow a route roughly following the Thruway corridor, entering the state in Chautauqua County, heading north through Erie County, then east to the Port of Albany, which has become a major transfer hub for Bakken crude which then continues to refineries by ship down the Hudson River or by rail, through Kingston and other communities along the river.
CP Rail oil trains travel south from Canada from Clinton County in northeastern New York to Albany.
Federal officials ordered railroads to turn over details of the shipments after a string of fiery accidents involving Bakken crude. Derailments of Bakken tank cars have caused explosions in North Dakota, Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma and Quebec, where 47 were killed when a runaway train crashed in Lac-Megantic last July.
Crude oil shipments have grown significantly since 2008. The Association of American Railroads says major railroads delivered 434,042 carloads of crude in 2013, up from 9,344 in 2008.
On Tuesday, environmental groups asked federal transportation officials to ban shipments of volatile crude in older railroad tank cars which accident investigators say can rupture or puncture during wrecks. The Obama administration has said it will propose a new rule this month governing tank cars that could include retrofits of older cars and tougher standards for new ones.
In New York, oil trains have raised concerns because of the rapid expansion of oil transport facilities at the Port of Albany over the last two years.
Albany officials and residents near the port are trying to stop the state Department of Environmental Conservation from issuing a permit that would allow Waltham, Massachusetts-based Global Partners to add tanker heating units used for handling thick, heavy crude like that being mined in the tar sands of western Canada.
By MARY ESCH, Associated Press
July 16, 2014
City retirees suing over health benefits - NY
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Seventy-one retired Lockport police officers and firefighters are suing the City of Lockport over changes in their medical benefits.
A lawsuit filed June 25 in state Supreme Court claims each of the 71 former employees retired under a collective bargaining agreement that promised them lifetime, city-paid retirement medical benefits — and since the city “unilaterally” made changes in its health plans, in 2009 and again in mid-2013, some of the costs have been shifted to them.
Under the police and fire labor agreements that were in place when the plaintiffs retired, the suit says the city promised to pay the full costs of retirees’ medical care for the rest of their lives; the retirees were to be subject only to varying but minimal co-payments on prescription drugs.
The suit outlines numerous ways in which the city allegedly broke its promises to the retirees.
In 2009, the city changed its retiree medical coverage from traditional Blue Cross Blue Shield to a single HMO provider. At the time, the suit said, the city refused to pay Medicare B premiums for retirees 65 and older. Those retirees had to pick up the monthly premiums, $104 for a single plan and $208 for retiree and spouse coverage.
Retirees were also entitled to an annual $300 dental care allowance and a $100 vision allowance, the suit said. On June 1, 2013, the allowances were reduced to $75 for dental care and $25 for vision.
Also effective in June 2013, the city imposed a co-pay on durable medical goods. In addition, it now requires retirees to pay 20 percent of the cost of items upfront, then get reimbursement from the city. The reimbursement program “leaves retirees without the use of funds, and ... causes retirees to forego purchasing of durable goods,” the suit said.
Retirees are further “damaged” by the restrictive formulary list that’s attached to the city-sponsored Medicare Part D plan for senior prescription coverage, the suit charges. In short, the formulary list does not include some drugs that have been prescribed to retirees and therefore Medicare will not pay for them.
By Rikki Cason email@example.com Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
July 16, 2014
Fallen firefighter memorial runs out of room - TX
AUSTIN — A memorial that honors fallen Texas firefighters has run out of room for new names.
The Volunteer Firemen’s Monument on the south side of the Texas State Capitol grounds is the only memorial that honors firefighters who have died in the line of duty. The last name added to the memorial was in 2012. Since then new names have been added to a temporary granite slab on the ground.
The organization needs to raise $150,000 to build an expansion for more names. “Around the monument, we have low level hedges that we plan to take out and put granite pieces,” said Chris Barron, executive director of State Firemen’s and Fire Marshal’s Association of Texas. “On the front slate of the granite pieces will be the names of those fallen firefighters.”
July 16, 2014
Firefighters Claim Harassment, Discrimination - FL
DAVIE -- Three firefighters -- including one whose complaints led to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice -- have filed separate federal lawsuits against the town alleging discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
Firefighter Lori Davis accuses supervisors of targeting her after she complained in 2010 that the department's treatment of pregnant firefighters was discriminatory.
Firefighter Kristin Rohrer, who became pregnant in 2010, says she was repeatedly humiliated by male coworkers who ridiculed her for using a breast pump, accusing her of taking breaks to "pull on her udders."
Jose Rivero, a battalion chief hired 18 years ago, claims he suffered retaliation after telling federal investigators the department discriminated against women by treating them as second-class citizens and denying them promotions.
All three firefighters are seeking a jury trial along with punitive damages, back pay, attorney's fees and compensation for pain and suffering.
Town Attorney John Rayson and town spokesman Phillip Holste declined to comment, citing the town's policy of not commenting on pending litigation.
Davis says her work environment turned hostile after she became pregnant in 2009. At that time, the town let firefighters injured on the job work light-duty assignments, but did not do the same for pregnant firefighters until their second trimester.
When Davis submitted a doctor's note requesting light duty, she was told she had to wait until her second trimester. A week after fighting a fire, Davis miscarried -- just 17 days before she was to go on light duty.
A complaint Davis filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission led to a federal investigation by the Justice Department in late 2011. After a four-month investigation, justice officials warned the town its policy regarding pregnant firefighters violated federal law.
Davie has since discontinued the policy and now provides pregnant firefighters the benefits allowed under federal law.
Davis has been snubbed and undermined by Fire Chief Joe Montopoli and Deputy Fire Chief Michael Malvasio and continues to experience discrimination and retaliation for shining a spotlight on the department's treatment of pregnant firefighters, court records say.
In her lawsuit, Davis accuses a direct supervisor of grabbing her buttocks during training and yanking on her ponytail in a sexual way meant to simulate oral sex.
After Davis complained about both incidents, she received text messages from coworkers warning her to "watch her back," said attorney Erik Nelson, who is representing both Davis and Rivero.
Davis's lawsuit claims the town has continued to target and harass her after she was injured during a training exercise in June 2013. After a three-day hospital stay, Davis was back at work when a battalion chief ordered her in front of a coworker to submit to drug testing without due cause, in violation of town policy, according to the lawsuit.
Davis was placed on administrative leave pending the results.
Soon everyone in the fire department was under the "erroneous belief" that Davis had been caught using drugs, the lawsuit says. Davis later returned to her position of crew leader and driver of her rescue truck, but the damage was done, the lawsuit says.
"When you have federal agents come in from Washington, D.C., people usually cooperate fully and these things tend to resolve rather quickly," Nelson said. "This case is exceptional in that these issues have not resolved. The litigants in these cases, above everything, are pushing for change at the town of Davie."
Nelson described Rivero as a well-respected battalion chief and military veteran who has been subjected to demeaning glares and scowls from the department's deputy chief.
On one occasion, Malvasio came up behind Rivero, grabbed his shoulders and pushed down "as you might use to make a dog heel," court records state.
"It took a lot of courage for him to stand up and speak out about what was occurring at the town of Davie," Nelson said of Rivero.
Joshua Entin, an attorney representing Rohrer, says his client is also hoping to change the boys' club culture of the Davie Fire Department.
Rohrer complained several times about the harassment and hostile work environment, but her complaints were ignored by the town, the lawsuit says.
Susannah Bryan / Source: Sun Sentinel
July 16, 2014
Road collapses under weight of fire truck in downtown Charleston - SC
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A Charleston Fire Department truck had to be pulled out of a hole in the road it created when it rolled over a weak spot in the road.
According to fire officials, the truck was stopped at the intersection of Radcliffe and Smith streets when the road gave way and created a hole. One of the truck's tires got stuck in the hole.
Charleston Water officials said a water main under the road broke around 10:30 p.m., but probably started as a leak in a six-inch main under Radcliffe Street.
The break created a weak spot in the pavement which collapsed when the fire truck drove over it.
Officials say crews worked through the night to repair the main, but people in the area were without water for about 12 hours. Water was restored to everyone by 10:30 a.m.
Charleston Water officials said crews are still working to repair the man, though, because there are other utility cables buried in the same area making it more difficult to repair.
The fire truck was towed out of the hole. There was minor damage to the truck, fire officials said, but the truck is still in service.
July 15, 2014
Three Officers of Readstown Fire Department Resign - WI
All three officers of a Wisconsin fire department have quit.
Readstown Fire Chief Phil Townsend, Assistant Fire Chief Anthony Clark and Treasurer Rosie Welch resigned amid a probe, according to Lacrosse Tribune.
The Vernon County Sheriff's Department is investigating both the Readstown Fire Department and the Readstown EMS, Vernon County Sheriff John Spears told reporters.
Firefighters in nearby Viroqua, Viola and Soldiers Grove have been notified, and are prepared to respond if necessary.
In July of 2013, Townsend pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of theft in a business setting in a plea agreement with Vernon County prosecutors. He was originally charged with a felony charge of misconduct in office as fire chief, the paper reported.
Despite the misdemeanor conviction, Townsend was voted back in as chief because he was the only one qualified.
July 15, 2014
Murder Suspect Surrenders, Dispatcher Praised - CA
When a man dialed 911 last Saturday from a Pasadena (S. Calif.) home, it was chance that connected him to 7-year veteran dispatcher Diane Marin, who then spent 20 minutes listening to his confession of murder, and convincing the man to safely surrendering. Officers say they found three adult victims at the home, and are working to confirm if the incident involved domestic violence. Marin appeared at a press conference today and recalled talking to John I. Smith, 44. “My main concern was the safety of the officers and anyone out on the street,” she told reporters. “I was concerned that this person still had weapons. I was concerned about what they were planning to do to themselves and to the officers.” In fact, officers say Smith had three firearms and 90 rounds of ammunition. He had already fired over 40 rounds from an assault rifle at the victims and arriving police officers.
July 15, 2014
Fire truck bursts into flames at Station Number Three in Yonkers - NY
YONKERS - Firefighters in Yonkers didn't have to travel far to put out a blaze last night.
A fire truck at Station Number Three in Yonkers is now out of commission after catching fire. The blaze apparently broke out in the engine around 10 p.m. yesterday, and caused the firehouse on Vark Street to be filled with smoke.
It took about a half hour to put out the blaze.
News 12 Westchester
July 15, 2014
3rd firefighter suspended under background check policy - NJ
LEONIA, N.J. — Another firefighter has been suspended under a new criminal background check requirement after a child was allegedly molested at a firehouse last year.
NJ.com reported that the city council already deemed former Fire Chief David Bohnert and Lt. Arnold Davenport ineligible to serve after background checks turned up convictions from the 1990s. The city council made firefighter Charles Pipitone the third member to be suspended due to the new requirement.
Firefighter Pipitone's suspension stems from a physical altercation he had with a police officer called to his home more than 10 years ago, according to the report. Pipitone has been a firefighter in Leonia for almost 20 years.
An incident in which a 3-year-old was allegedly molested by a visitor at the fire station prompted the council to create the policy.
Members of the fire department have criticized the removals, saying the background checks go back too far, according to the report.
By FireRescue1 Staff
July 14, 2014
MAN FACES CHARGES FOR THREATENING TO SHOOT MEDICAL HELO - OH
Arraignment of Leonard Pflanz of Green Twp, charged with threatening to shoot down an AirCare helicopter that he says flew too close to his house. His lawyer, Tim Nolan, is on the right
A man faces multiple charges, including a felony, after threatening to shoot at the crew of a medical helicopter for flying too low over his property.
The incident happened at about 8:30 a.m. Sunday at Mercy West Hospital in Green Township.
Investigators say the crew of a UC Health Air Care helicopter was making a "routine patient transfer" from another hospital when Leonard Pflanz, 56, got out of his vehicle and began yelling at the pilot of the aircraft.
"Through the conversation he ended up making some threats to the pilot that he was going to shoot at the helicopter if he would land that low again over his house (on Philloret Drive), " said Cpl. Daniel Vath with Green Township Police Department.
Witnesses told officials from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office a similar account of what transpired.
The alleged threat grounded the helicopter for a time, keeping the crew from responding to other calls, according to the sheriff's office.
Sheriff Jim Neil said the patient transported by the helicopter was already inside the hospital when Pflanz arrived.
Pflanz is charged with misconduct at an emergency and aggravated menacing, both misdemeanors. He also faces a felony charge of disrupting public service.
The suspect was arrested and transported to the Hamilton County Justice Center. He's expected to be arraigned Monday at 9 a.m.
July 14, 2014
Firefighters treated in hazmat incident, homes in Lawrence, Andover evacuated - MA
LAWRENCE — A hazardous materials incident sent four city firefighters to the hospital early this morning.
All four firefighters were treated at released at Lawrence General Hospital for inhalation issues they suffered after responding to a 1:26 a.m. call at 22 Ballard Road, said Acting Deputy Fire Chief Jack Meaney.
Ntek Inc., a metal finishing business, is located at 22 Ballard Road in the city's industrial park.
Three area homes, two in Andover and one in Lawrence, were evacuated, Meaney said.
The firefighters apparently encountered a yellow, smoke condition when they responded to the building, according to incident information posted by the Lawrence Firefighter's Union Local 146.
All firefighters were immediately ordered out of the building by Deputy Chief John McInnis and were hosed down as a safety precaution, according to the union.
It's unclear what chemicals or materials the firefighters came in contact with.
The incident remains under investigation this morning by Lawrence firefighters, the state's Department of Fire Services and a team of firefighters specially trained to deal with hazardous materials situations.
Ballard Road is located off Andover Street near the Andover line.
By Jill Harmacinski / firstname.lastname@example.org
July 13, 2014
Three Firefighters Hurt Battling House Fire - NY
Three volunteer firefighters are recovering after sustaining minor injuries Friday evening while battling a blaze in a detached garage at a home on Corsa Street in Dix Hills, officials said.
The fire was reported at about 5:10 p.m. in a garage several feet from the home, said William Stio, chief of the Dix Hills Fire Department.
Nearly 50 firefighters battled the blaze, which was brought under control in about 30 minutes. The lone occupant of the home was evacuated before firefighters arrived, Stio said.
One Dix Hills volunteer firefighter was taken to Huntington Hospital suffering from dehydration and exhaustion. He was treated and released Friday, Stio said.
Another firefighter was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital after sustaining second-degree burns to his cheek and hands. He was also treated and released Friday.
A third firefighter sustained a minor shoulder injury and was treated at the scene, Stio said.
The garage was destroyed in the fire, but the home sustained only minor damage, Stio said.
Although the fire appears to be accidental, the Suffolk Police Arson Squad and Town of Huntington fire marshal will investigate the blaze, Stio said.
ROBERT BRODSKY / NEWSDAY
July 13, 2014
FIREFIGHTER SERIOUSLY INJURED IN FIRE RESPONSE CRASH - NY
A Long Island (Nassau County, NY) volunteer Firefighter is in serious condition following a responding collision. Initial reports are that a Chief Officer in a marked vehicle and a Firefighter in a personal car collided with one another in North Bellmore, N.Y. this afternoon. Both were turning out to what was a working structural fire.
July 13, 2014
Data Released on Philly Fire - PA
The Philadelphia Fire Department on Tuesday released transcripts of 911 calls made as a blaze consumed nine homes on a Southwest Philadelphia block, killing four children. In the first call, a man described a couch on fire on the porch of a house on the 6500 block of Gensler Street.
In a call fielded two minutes later, another caller told a dispatcher that four houses are already on fire.
The third recording released by the department was from a fire fighter at a station around the corner from the blaze who had not yet been deployed to the fire asking a dispatcher, in urgent tones, to upgrade the fire from a rubbish fire to a dwelling fire.
Fire officials said they were releasing the tapes plus a timeline of the department's activity during the blaze and a map of the trucks that first responded in order to combat misinformation about the department's response time.
Alluding to an angry protest outside the 65th Street station Monday night, they said firefighters had been unfairly maligned as slow to respond by frustrated residents. The first 911 call about the fire took place at 2:44:58 a.m., the department said. On the tape, a caller told a dispatcher of a fire on 65th and Gesner, "right behind y'all." "Somebody's couch on fire," the caller said, "out on the porch, connected to a house, though."
After that call, the fire was initially classified as a rubbish fire, a low-priority classification. Engine 40, the engine assigned to the fire station around the corner from Gesner Street, was several blocks away fighting a car fire, so Engine 68, more than two miles away from the block, was dispatched instead at 2:46:06 a.m.
Meanwhile, dispatchers fielded another 911 call from Gesner Street at 2:47:03 a.m. Four houses, the caller said, were now on fire. Two minutes had elapsed since the first 911 call. 21 seconds later, at 2:47:24, a firefighter at the 65th Street station, where a ladder truck was still stationed, called a dispatcher himself.
He asked the dispatcher to upgrade the fire to a dwelling fire, a more serious classification.
Ladder trucks do not carry water, and would not have been deployed to a rubbish fire. "We just walked across the street, Gesner is a couple houses, it looks like," he said.
Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer said the distress in the firefighter's voice was apparent from the call.
"People say they don't care you heard the sense of urgency," he said. Once the fire was upgraded, a ladder truck from the 65th Street station left at 2:48:30, officials said, and arrived at the scene 21 seconds later.
Engine 40 left the scene of the car fire and arrived from 0.29 miles away at 2:51:10 a.m. Engine 68, which was dispatched at 2:46:06 a.m., left for Gesner Street at 2:48:32 a.m. and arrived on the block at 2:52:02 a.m.
Another battalion left for Genser Street at 2:49:11 a.m., arrived at the scene three minutes later from a station two miles away. At Tuesday press conference, Sawyer said the initial classification of the fire "doesn't matter" because the firefighters had still arrived "in a timely manner." "I think we did our best," he said. He said that rumors in the neighborhood that trucks had taken 30 minutes or more to arrive were false and unfair to firefighters who worked tirelessly to fight the blaze.
"That incident went from three to eight houses in 10 minutes," he said. "If it had been 30 minutes, the block would have burned down."
Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everett Gillison said residents should call the fire department immediately when they notice a fire.
One man, he said, had attempted to put out the blaze with a fire extinguisher before calling 911.
"Don't worry about being a hero," he said. "We have heroes."
July 13, 2014
Baltimore Firefighter Burned at Dwelling Fire - MD
A city firefighter suffered a minor burn Sunday while battling a one-alarm blaze in East Baltimore, the fire department said.
The firefighter was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center for treatment, said Ian Brennan, a Baltimore fire department spokesman. No one else was injured.
The mid-morning fire spread to both floors of an occupied rowhome in the 1500 block of Cliftview Avenue, Brennan said. The agency is investigating the cause of the fire.
JAMIE SMITH HOPKINS / THE BALTIMORE SUN
July 13, 2014
2 ambulances stolen since Saturday - FL
Two Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department ambulances have been stolen since Saturday, but both have been recovered.
Fire officials said Rescue 54 was stolen from Baptist Medical Center South at 14550 Old St Augustine Road sometime between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Wednesday.
One man was arrested in that theft. Ezickel Ford, 54, of Jacksonville had been brought to the hospital by Rescue 62. Officials said he left the hospital and drove off in 54, but was stopped by officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office quickly and arrested.
"The rescue door was open, and it was running, and I just wanted to go home," Ford said, according to the arresting officer.
Ford (pictured) was charged with grand theft.
The other theft was early Saturday. Rescue 5 was stolen from St. Vincent's Medical Center in Riverside but was found abandoned a short time later. No suspects have been found in that theft.
"My understanding is the only thing that had been done to the vehicle was the radio station had been changed, and the music was blaring," said Tom Francis, spokesman for JFRD.
Firefighters are perplexed as to why, suddenly, people are taking their rescue units for apparent joy rides.
"For over 40 years, we never had anything like this happen," Francis said. "Now what we have is two in the span of less than seven days."
JFRD officials said now they're working on changing their protocol and developing ways to keep any more vehicles from being stolen. They're looking at options which might include locking the vehicle and keeping a spare key on them
Author: Vic Micolucci, General assignment reporter, email@example.com
July 13, 2014
Study: 70 Percent of Firefighters are Overweight - CA
Sexy images of rippling abs and rock-hard biceps under those firefighter uniforms may obscure a serious problem: More than 70% of firefighters are overweight or obese, and most of them reported getting no advice to lose weight from their healthcare professionals, researchers said Thursday.
"Obesity is a major threat to firefighter health and safety," the researchers wrote in Preventing Chronic Disease, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"There are a lot of firefighters who are in great shape," but many are not, said Rena Sue Day, one of the authors of the study, who is an associate professor of epidemiology at the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Health Living at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health. "Bigger doesn't always mean stronger, there's a difference between fitness and being big."
The study said cardiovascular events -- often related to diet and weight -- are the leading cause of firefighters' deaths in the line of duty.
"Something has to be done," Day said by phone. "It's really a missed opportunity and that's the important message."
Day and her colleagues used data from a 2011-12 national sample of 1,002 male firefighters. Ninety-six percent said they visited a healthcare professional in the last year. But 69% said they got no weight advice. Even among those who were obese, 48% said they got none.
Younger firefighters were less likely to get advice about weight, unless they were in the two highest weight categories.
"I found that to be quite a surprise, because that's not what we're seeing" in fire departments that have wellness programs, said Patrick Morrison, assistant to the president of the International Assn. of Firefighters for health and safety. "The sit-down consultation means so much" in a physical exam, he said.
But, he added, not enough departments have those programs in their plan.
Because guidelines from several healthcare organizations call for body mass index to be used in considering a patient's weight status, the researchers used that measure too, Day said. It is calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. However, she said they looked at other measures and the problem remained using those.
Morrison said BMI can be faulty; some people with lots of muscle may appear to be overweight, he noted.
Day said she hopes the study will encourage doctors to screen all patients for weight and talk about how to lose it without waiting for a person to develop diabetes or hypertension.
"We need to get these 20 year-olds who are overweight and obese and begin there," she said.
Firefighters also have gained a reputation as good cooks. Many live at fire stations while on duty, and cook for one another. Day said that's one possible area for education. In addition, she said, firefighters need exercise opportunities while at work.
"The cultures vary widely across the U.S. The eating and activity culture, the sleep," all behaviors that affect firefighters' health, Day said.
She said people in some communities have complained that tax dollars were paying firefighters who were working out or mowing the lawn at the stations, adding: "Would you rather they go inside and watch TV?"
The researchers are seeking funding for a proposal to work with firefighters on this issue.
MARY MACVEAN / SOURCE: LOS ANGELES TIMES
July 13, 2014
First responders hurt in ambulance accident at Ala Moana - HI
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An ambulance crash at Ala Moana Center involved overworked paramedics on overtime. Two paramedics and a firefighter were hurt in the accident. Hawaii News Now has learned that one of the paramedics suffered a serious leg injury. The other had injured ribs.
First responders helping a patient with a medical emergency wound up in the hospital after the crash. Authorities said a 50-year-old worker at the construction site near Nordstrom was in critical condition around 9:45 a.m. on Saturday. The patient was loaded on the third-level and sources said a police officer in his vehicle was leading the rig out of the mall. The ambulance crashed on the way down the Atkinson ramp. The driver, a veteran paramedic, was seriously hurt, according to a spokesperson for the city's Emergency Medical Services division. The other paramedic and a firefighter who was assisting them in the rig suffered minor injuries.
Sources said the patient was in cardiac arrest, but the ambulance crew had stabilized him. Hawaii News Now learned that he went back into cardiac arrest and later died.
The crash comes as a deal between the city and the medics' union to ease a staffing shortage and reduce mandatory overtime has stalled. The two paramedics on duty were in the middle of a second eight-hour shift, according to sources. The rig is based at Kuakini Medical Center and is one of the busiest city ambulances on the island.
The city wants to reduce chronic vacancies which lead to back-to-back shifts by changing the length of the shift from eight to 12 hours. The move would mean the city's 22 ambulances could be run with one-third less staff each day, allowing other medics to have much-needed time off, but sources said the United Public Workers union is holding up the negotiations.
One of the first responders has been a paramedic for more than 30 years. The other has worked for 11 years.
An EMS spokesperson declined to comment on the overtime issue and the negotiations.
Hawaii News Now
July 13, 2014
Firefighters face discipline for lack of exercise - OH
Sylvania Township officials plan to discipline firefighters who aren’t exercising enough on the job.
The township administration and its firefighters union talked for more than year about a physical fitness policy, but when no agreement was reached and some department employees had low participation in exercising, the township imposed a policy that requires its firefighters to undertake a fitness regimen for one hour on at least eight of every 10 working days.
The township fire department provides services for Sylvania and the township and has 57 firefighters and paramedics.
The policy prompted the union to file a grievance, which is in its early stages of resolution.
“One of the things that has been determined is the physical health and well being of firefighters is something everyone is concerned about,” fire Chief Jeffrey Kowalski said. “If they have to go into a burning building and carry someone out, if they have to perform the Jaws of Life at a car accident, it is important they are fit. We want to ensure they can do the strenuous tasks during rescue.”
Although township administration officials said part of enforcing the policy is taking disciplinary action, Mr. Kowalski said department officers have not written up anyone because the department wants to increase participation through conversation with the individuals first. He said there has been increased participation in the last month; however, the department’s goal is uniform participation.
The department does not require the firefighters to take an annual physical fitness test as some departments do. Deputy Chief Mike Ramm said physical fitness tests are required when firefighters apply for certifications, such as for hazardous materials.
Such an exercising requirement is not imposed by the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department, said Deputy Chief Rick Syroka. The topic does come up at union contract negotiations but defining “healthy living” is left up to the employee, he said.
The fitness of firefighters is a concern because each year more than 100 firefighters in the United States die from heart attack or stroke. The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that more than 700,000 firefighters work for departments with no program to maintain basic health.
Susan Wood, assistant administrator for Sylvania Township, said that low participation in physical fitness has been discussed with the union officials for about two years.
Every quarter, the administration reviews participation levels and discusses the lack of physical training by some firefighters with fire Lt. Chris Nye, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 2243 which represents the township firefighters.
Ms. Wood said that all firefighters use the fitness equipment installed at the four fire stations, but participation is low for some employees, as little as eight to 12 hours per quarter. The administration wants one hour of physical training for 80 percent of the days on duty. Lieutenants at each station are responsible for managing the day’s educational and other trainings, which are done when time permits outside of fire and emergency runs. The township does not specify what type of physical fitness is to be done.
She said the administration warned Lieutenant Nye in May that, if participation did not increase, discipline would begin.
The disciplinary process begins with a verbal warning, but can escalate to a suspension without pay or even termination.
The union filed a grievance over the matter last month. Lieutenant Nye declined to comment on the grievance or policy. The grievance states that the “employer” violated the union contract by implementing a participation rate, a “substantial change in the contract.”
It says the contract specifies participation in the wellness program as a “goal of one hour of time per shift [24 hours]” and that participation in physical training is as the “day will allow.”
Trustee Chairman John Jennewine said 80 percent is the target rate because the township understands that a firefighter’s schedule is irregular. He said that 100 percent would not necessarily be attainable.
“If you are out fighting a fire in 90 degree heat, you are not going to come back and want to get on the treadmill for an hour,” he said.
Asked whether some of the firefighters are out of shape, Mr. Jennewine declined to comment. He said the township is dedicated to the employees’ overall well being.
The fire department has added $66,000 worth of fitness equipment at its stations since 2005, mostly paid for with a federal grant.
The department also has a wellness program, which includes three peer fitness trainers who can help employees with a training regimen. It paid $2,000 apiece for the employees to receive that certification, Ms. Wood said.
Fire Chief Kowalski has denied the grievance as has the township board of trustees. Ms. Wood said the administration is in talks with Lieutenant Nye to resolve the complaint. If the parties do not come to an agreement, an arbitrator will be brought in.
Asked about whether she is concerned about the physical fitness of the firefighters who are responsible for fighting blazes in the city of Sylvania, City Councilman Mary Westphal, chairman of the council’s safety committee, declined comment. She said the city has nothing to do with running the fire department.
BY NATALIE TRUSSO CAFARELLO / BLADE STAFF WRITER
July 10, 2014
MFD director confirms spike in sick calls; could compromise response times - TN
MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC) - Memphis Fire Department Director Alvin Benson confirmed a spike in sick calls, which can cause a compromise in response times.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, he said 40 firefighters called out on Tuesday alone. The daily average is 11.
He said there are 65 firefighters out, which is the highest the number of sick calls have been in a long time. He said some people are out on longtime sick leave.
While addressing sick leave concerns referred as the "Red Rash," he did not call the recent actions a trend or pattern. He also did not call it a movement.
The so-called "Red Rash" is MFD's demonstration equivalent of Memphis Police Department's "Blue Flu," which has 557 officer out after calling in sick. The sick calls for MPD started June 30.
"There's a lot of anger. There's a lot of confusion. The emotions are rampant," said Benson. "This was a benefit that firefighters, police, and city workers had and now the picture doesn't look the same as it did a month ago."
He said he wishes there was another way for leaders to make decisions regarding cuts to city employee's health care, which is what sparked the "Red Rash" and "Blue Flu."
MFD officials are going house to house to determine if firefighters who called in sick, are actually sick.
Benson said the department is doing everything they can to keep the city safe. If the sick calls grow, he will first spread resources across the city and pull trucks from use.
If he has to pull more than four trucks from use, Benson will call mutual aid agreements with neighboring fire departments for help.
Benson pulled four Wednesday before the news conference.
He has met with city leaders on these concerns
By WMCActionNews5.com Staff
July 10, 2014
Dispatcher Fields Call for Her Own Son - CA
MARYSVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A 911 dispatcher in California was startled when a caller turned out to be her fiance reporting their infant son was choking.
Dispatcher Britney Melchor told KCRA-TV in a story Wednesday that she was training another dispatcher who took the call and wrote down the home address.
Melchor realized it was her own son who needed medical attention.
Melchor says she initially panicked. But then her training took hold, and she dispatched paramedics to her home.
Her 14-month-old son, Maverick, had swallowed a metal washer, starting the May 27 ordeal. The boy's father, Robert Kimball, was able to dislodge the washer just as help arrived.
Melchor is a dispatcher in Marysville, a small city about 40 miles north of Sacramento.
Information from: KCRA-TV
July 10, 2014
New Albany fire truck too heavy for old station - NY
City fire officials are dealing with a weighty problem.
Albany's brand-new 750-gallon pumper truck is too heavy for the floor of the 122-year-old fire station it was supposed to call home.
That troubling discovery came hand in hand with another one: The 10-year-old truck it is replacing is also too heavy for the station -— and has been for some time.
The result is a juggling of apparatus until the cash-strapped city can scrounge the money to reinforce the floor of Engine No. 1, the busy firehouse where Western and Washington avenues meet.
"It's a couple-hundred-thousand-dollar proposition," said Mayor Kathy Sheehan, adding that the city may not have the money to make the upgrades until next year.
As a result, once it's in service the new $391,000 Spartan Metro Star engine will be at least temporarily assigned to Engine No. 10 two miles away at Brevator Station next to the Harriman State Office Campus, which will allow fire crews to work out any kinks while the new pumper is still under warranty, officials said.
The 2004 Pierce Enforcer engine it was slated to replace, meanwhile, has been reassigned to Engine No. 4 in the Pine Bush, and an older, lighter backup pumper in the Pine Bush has been sent to Engine No. 1, fire Chief Warren Abriel said. That Freightliner engine dates at least to the 1990s and was refurbished at one point, he said.
Abriel said the moves are precautionary and that there are no signs of cracking in the station's floor, which sits above a basement. Still, the city's firefighters union isn't thrilled with the arrangement.
"I've voiced my concern that you've got one of the busiest companies in the city running with a pumper that is probably the oldest," said Bob Powers, president of the Albany Permanent Professional Firefighters Association.
But Abriel said the pumper would not be in reserve if it were not fit for duty when needed.
The Common Council approved the purchase last year.
The problem was discovered when city officials, recognizing the new engine's capacity to hold 250 gallons more than the one it is replacing, inspected the station to ensure it could handle the additional weight, Sheehan said.
It turns out that despite the added capacity the new truck is still about 1,000 pounds lighter than the older one, Abriel said.
"Nobody had ever asked (the question) before," said Sheehan, who took office in January. "The logic flow of why it came up made perfect sense to me."
The sandstone firehouse designed by Ernest Hoffman was built in 1892 but updated in the 1930s and again in the 1990s. It is among three of the city's eight that are at least a century old.
Engine No. 7 near Bleecker Stadium on Clinton Avenue, the oldest active house in the city, dates to 1874, while Engine No. 9 on Delaware Avenue dates to 1912. Engine No. 11 on New Scotland Avenue was built in 1926 and recently had its floor strengthened among other renovations.
Abriel said the challenges of squeezing modern firefighting equipment into older buildings are not new. In 2010, the Boston Fire Department had to reassign a brand-new pumper that proved too snug for a 127-year-old fire station there.
And in 2003 the city of Rensselaer bought a used ladder truck knowing it wouldn't fit in any of the city's four firehouses -— but not knowing it had a cracked frame.
"It's trying to adapt these old houses," Abriel said. "Usually the biggest thing is the doorway."
July 10, 2014
Volunteer firefighter dies after rescuing hiker - CO (The Last Call - RIP)
BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — A volunteer firefighter collapsed and died shortly after saving an injured hiker Wednesday.
Several news agencies reported that the 67-year-old firefighter rescued a female hiker who broke her ankle more than two miles from the trailhead. She was airlifted to a hospital.
As rescuers were descending the trailhead, an Indian Peaks Fire Department firefighter collapsed about one mile up from the parking lot, according to the report.
Emergency personnel began performing CPR, but the firefighter was unresponsive and was eventually pronounced dead by a paramedic.
Officials said they would not release the firefighter's identity until the entire department and family are notified.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
July 09, 2014
Heart attack most frequent cause of ‘line of duty’ death for firefighters
On Saturday in New York City, a tragedy shook a Brooklyn firehouse: Lt. Gordon Matthew Ambelas died as a result of smoke inhalation and third-degree burns on his head sustained while looking for trapped residents in the 19th floor of a building.
He was the city’s first firefighter in over two years to die in the line of duty.
But Ambelas was the 12th New York State firefighter to have died in the line of duty since the beginning of 2013, according to data provided by the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control.
Based on news reports and information from the U.S. Fire Administration, only one officer — Owego Fire Capt. Matthew Porcari — died fighting a blaze. Two others died in auto accidents. Eight firefighters have died of heart attacks since the beginning of 2013, according to news reports and fire department officials across the state.
Jerry DeLuca, executive director and CEO of the state Association of Fire Chiefs, explained that “line of duty deaths” don’t always occur during a fire, but can be a result of activity before and after an emergency. DeLuca says that if a deceased firefighter qualifies for death benefits under workers compensation, then they can be included in the state Fallen Firefighters Memorial, on the Empire State Plaza just north of The Egg.
In one such incident from March, Peekskill firefighter Kevin Bristol and others responded to an oven fire. At the scene, according to news reports, Bristol said he didn’t feel well and went home. That’s where his wife found him in cardiac arrest and rushed him to Hudson Valley Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead.
While cardiac problems can be the result of a range of health factors, including everything from heredity to tobacco use, doctors include obesity on the list of primary contributors.
In a 2011 report prepared for the National Volunteer Fire Council, researchers found that between 73 percent and 88 percent of firefighters are either overweight or obese — terms that fluctuate somewhat depending on the study. The nonprofit National Fire Protection Association creates consensus standards, and some career departments like the FDNY might have mandated physicals but it’s harder with volunteer departments, because of economic considerations.
“Our statewide association strongly advocates for firefighter health and safety, but these are decisions made locally,” said Rob Leonard, the spokesman for the state Firemen’s Association and a Syosset volunteer fireman.
This 2011 Fire Council report also notes that a large study funded by FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant program discovered that over 90 percent of obese career and volunteer firefighters failed to meet even minimal standards of fitness.
Albany Fire Chief Warren W. Abriel Jr. said that in the mid-1990s, the Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau required fire departments in New York State to do physicals. Now firefighters in their 20s and 30s have a comprehensive physical every three years. Local firefighters in their 40s have them every two years and officers in their 50s have them every year.
Nationally, 29 firefighters died of sudden cardiac arrests in 2013, according to the National Fire Protection Association. This is second-lowest number since the organization started tracking fatalities. From 1977 through 1986, an annual average of 60 firefighters suffered sudden cardiac deaths while on duty (44.7 percent of the on-duty deaths during that period).
Abriel, a 42-year veteran, said attitudes toward personal health among firefighters have evolved.
“When I came up, we had roast beef for lunch and ham for dinner,” he said. “A lot of our firefighters today are into salads, and conscious of more healthy stuff.”
by Benjamin Oreskes in General, Health / timesunion.com
July 09, 2014
Wildland Firefighter Hurt by Exploding Device - NM
SANTA FE -- A U.S. Forest Service wildland firefighter received minor injuries when he stepped on or kicked an object that exploded Monday afternoon northwest of the community of La Cueva off NM 4, west of the Valles Caldera National Preserve.
"I'm not sure I would use the word bomb," said Robin Pogue, special agent in charge at the Forest Service's Southwest Region office in Albuquerque. Lt. Keith Elder of the Sandoval County Sheriff's Office said the firefighter came a across a "glass container that was suspicious" and it exploded when he moved it with his foot.
Pogue said the firefighter is from California's Six Rivers National Forest and is currently assigned to the Jemez Ranger District of the Santa Fe forest. His name was not available and it's unknown what he was doing when the explosive occurred about 4 p.m.
Officers from the Forest Service, a State Police bomb squad, the sheriff's Office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to the site at Forest Roads 376 and 126, said Pogue. F.R.126 is the road to Fenton Lake State Park.
"My understanding is the injuries are minor," said Pogue. The firefighter was taken to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.
Andy Stiny / Source: Albuquerque Journal, N.M.
July 09, 2014
Details on Loss of California Lifeguard during Rescue - CA
This undated photo provided by the Newport Beach Police Department shows Ben Carlson, 32, a Newport Beach lifeguard who drowned while trying to rescue a swimmer off the Southern California beach on Sunday, July 6, 2014. Carlson was pulled from the water by fellow lifeguards following a frantic, three-hour search. The 15-year department veteran went into the water to help a swimmer struggling in the water when they were hit by a large wave.
(AP Photo/Newport Beach Police Department)
In this Sunday July 6, 2014 photo, Newport Beach lifeguard boats converge at the end of the Newport Beach Pier after the three hour search for a missing lifeguard ended. Ben Carlson, 32, a Newport Beach lifeguard who drowned while trying to rescue a swimmer, was finally pulled from the water by fellow lifeguards following a frantic, three-hour search.
(AP Photo/Richard Koehler)
In this Sunday, July 6, 2014 photo, beachgoers watch as Newport Beach Lifeguard boats, and lifeguards search for a missing lifeguard in the late afternoon on Sunday, July 6, 2014. Ben Carlson, 32, a Newport Beach lifeguard who drowned while trying to rescue a swimmer, was finally pulled from the water by fellow lifeguards following a frantic, three-hour search.
(AP Photo/Richard Koehler)
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Lifeguards along more than 6 miles of pristine sand in this Southern California beach city had rescued more than 200 people by the time the call came to help a distressed swimmer east of one of the main piers.
Ben Carlson, a lifeguard with 15 years of experience, sped out with other guards in a rescue boat Sunday and jumped into the water, but he quickly disappeared under 10- to 12-foot waves.
The 32-year-old, a passionate surfer and one of the fastest swimmers on the 200-strong mostly seasonal lifeguard staff, was pronounced dead late Sunday after rescuers searched for him by air, water and foot for three hours. He was the first lifeguard to die in Newport Beach, where locals and tourists alike flock to enjoy wide sandy beaches and waves that attract the attention of surfers worldwide.
"He just loved being out on the water, he loved the opportunity to help people," said his father, Chris Carlson. "He was a water monster — that was one of the things that was so unbelievable to us; a lowly 10-foot wave would take him out because he was so experienced."
He said his son knew how to handle himself in 30- and 40-foot waves while surfing.
"It's one of those professions that people think you're getting in the way of fun, or it's kind of a cakewalk job, and something like this happens, and people realize how truly dangerous it can be," Carlson said.
The swimmer, who has not been identified by authorities, was brought to shore and survived.
Conditions Sunday were especially treacherous, with swells of 12 feet or more crashing in without warning and a strong current that took swimmers by surprise. Around 100,000 people packed the beach with about 80 lifeguards on duty, said Rob Williams, the city's chief lifeguard.
"It's not typical that we always have 10- to 12-foot surf, but it does happen once or twice a year, and it happened to be a Sunday with fantastic weather on a holiday weekend," said Williams, whose guards made more than 200 rescues and issued 3,000 warnings to beachgoers that day. The city gets 10 million beach visitors annually.
The National Weather Service had warned Sunday of dangerous rip currents and high surf along Southern California beaches due to a swell originating in the Southern Hemisphere.
Beachgoers said Monday that a particularly huge swell surged ashore in the late afternoon, drenching blankets and upsetting picnics. Shortly after, rescue boats buzzed between the waves and helicopters began flying low over the water up and down the beach.
"The waves were huge. I saw it and I thought a tsunami was coming," said Shirley Reinker, 72, who has lived along the beach for 40 years.
The fallen lifeguard was raised in the inland suburbs of Southern California but always loved the ocean. As soon as Ben Carlson was old enough to get a driver's license, he tried to get a lifeguard job about an hour's drive away in Newport Beach, his father said.
He traveled to surf big waves and played water polo at the University of California, Irvine. And while worked as beverages director for the Wahoo's Fish Taco restaurant chain, he would lifeguard whenever he could, the elder Carlson said.
He was one of the fastest swimmers on staff, Williams said. All lifeguards must be able to swim 0.6 miles in under 20 minutes and requalify annually, but Carlson had additional training to work on a boat as a rescue swimmer and drive patrol vehicles, Williams said. As a seasonal guard, Carlson made about $22 an hour.
Friends hung his red lifeguard jacket over the bar at a local Irish pub blocks from the beach, a lifeguard hangout. A sign outside read: "Ben would go. We love you. You will be missed."
An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday.
For his part, the elder Carlson takes some solace in that his son died doing what he loved most, and that he was a man of faith.
"He's in paradise today — swimming with dolphins," he said.
GILLIAN FLACCUS and AMY TAXIN, Associated Press
July 09, 2014
Houston Firefighter Daniel Groover died after mayday at 2-alarm house fire - TX (The Last Call - RIP)
KINGWOOD, Texas — A Houston firefighter has died after battling a 2-alarm house fire in Kingwood.v
Daniel Groover, 47, was in "extremely critical condition" after being rushed to the hospital from Wednesday's house fire.
The fire happened in the 1400 block of Mistletoe near Redbud and was reported around 4 p.m.
Neighbors reported hearing several small explosions that sounded like fireworks.
The blaze quickly went to two alarms and firefighters cleared out of the burning home and went into defensive mode.
HFD received a call as “firefighter down in the backyard,” according to HFD spokesperson Jay Evans.
Groover was rushed to Kingwood Medical Center.
Mayor Annise Parker went to the hospital when she learned about the firefighter, according to her office.
Several firefighters were also seen at the hospital.
The homeowner wasn't home at time, but neighbors called to tell her about the fire. Three dogs were inside the home. At last check, two of them had been accounted for.
by KHOU.com staff & Doug Miller & Tiffany Craig / KHOU 11 News
July 08, 2014
Dramatic helmet cam footage from Westchester County blaze reveals dangers faced by firefighters - NY
No wonder firefighters are hailed as heroes.
Dramatic helmet cam footage from a New York blaze has revealed exactly what it's like to battle life-threatening fires on a daily basis. It's terrifying.
The video, filmed by Vista Fire Department at an undisclosed location in Westchester County, shows two laddermen combating 5-meter high flames surging from inside a wooden house.
As power lines fall, they calmly carry out their job until the inferno is finally brought under control.
The 6-minute clip, filmed on a heat-proof FireCam180P camera, was uploaded to YouTube last week.
"The homeowners had the windows open, they began to smell smoke, panicked and opened up the sliding door on the back side of the home and the front door," the description states.
BY LEE MORAN NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
July 08, 2014
Firetruck in ditch closes Mississippi Street in M'ville - MS
Crews watch as a tow truck attempts to remove a BP firetruck from a ditch Tuesday afternoon on Mississippi Street near St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church.
(Marc Chase, The Times)
MERRILLVILLE | Mississippi Street was closed in both directions in front of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church early Tuesday afternoon as crews worked to remove a BP firetruck from a ditch there.
The road was closed in both directions north and south of the church at 9191 Mississippi St. as of 1 p.m. The truck went into the ditch on the south side of the street around noon.
Merrillville police reported that the driver of the firetruck, owned by the BP Whiting Refinery, swerved it into the ditch to avoid colliding with a northbound vehicle that had crossed the center line.
The firetruck had been undergoing maintenance at a Merrillville shop and was being test driven when the incident occurred, police said. No injuries were reported.
Tow truck crews worked for more than an hour trying to upright and remove the truck from the ditch.
As of 1 p.m., the truck remained in the ditch.
Times Staff / nwitimes.com
July 08, 2014
Two men are jailed after allegedly shooting fireworks at Oklahoma City fire crew - OK
When an Oklahoma City fire crew responded to a trash container blaze early Sunday, firefighters encountered a source of heat they never expected: an onslaught of mortar rocket fireworks from an adjacent apartment complex.
Firefighter Rick Horner told police one rocket landed on the ground between his legs. The explosion caused temporary hearing loss for Horner, police said.
“We’ve never seen something like this,” said Oklahoma City fire Deputy Chief Marc Woodard, who is nearing 30 years with the department. “We’ve had some crazy things happen, but this was a little bit unusual.”
Firefighters at the scene, 3900 Dunjee Blvd., called for police backup shortly after midnight and told them where the fireworks were being launched. As officers walked behind an apartment in the complex, a man opened a door and threw out a mortar launching tube, then closed the door, police said.
Officers entered the apartment and detained two men; Derek Dewayne Shaw, 22, and Jaylen Desharo Edwards, 19, both of Oklahoma City. The firefighters, and an anonymous caller, told police Shaw and Edwards matched the description of those launching fireworks from the apartment, police said.
Shaw and Edwards were booked into Oklahoma County jail on complaints of the use or threat to use an explosive, incendiary or simulated bomb to damage or injury a person or property, according to the police report.
Shaw, whose first name is listed as Devon in the jail register, remained in jail Monday on $24,000 bail. Edwards was released on bond Sunday, a jail spokeswoman said.
The firefighter who suffered temporary hearing loss from the incident is recovering well and did not require medical attention, Woodard said.
by Kyle Fredrickson / http://newsok.com/
July 08, 2014
Edmond firefighters' claims lead to fire chief being disciplined - OK
EDMOND — The city’s fire chief has been hit with unspecified discipline after an internal investigation sparked by formal complaints filed by three firefighters, a city official confirmed.
The firefighters leveled complaints of a hostile work environment, corruption and coercion against Fire Chief Jake Rhoades.
The Oklahoman obtained copies of two of the three formal complaints. They include a claim that Rhoades said Battalion Chief Keith Randolph “should threaten to kill (Capt.) Vince Pfeiffer,” a 31-year veteran of the Edmond Fire Department.
One of the complaints was filed by Pfeiffer, who discussed his complaint with The Oklahoman. He said the two firefighters who filed the other complaints did not want to talk about the investigation.
The fire chief was accused of calling firefighters names and of trying to coerce and intimidate department members into “making sure their memory was correct” regarding incidents involving the chief, one of the complaints states.
Edmond City Manager Larry Stevens said he met with the firefighters Monday to notify them of the results of the two-month-long internal investigation. Stevens declined to reveal the nature of the discipline.
“A hostile work environment wasn’t substantiated,” Stevens said. “I can’t talk about it; it is a personnel issue.”
“I did take disciplinary action. I took the action that I thought was appropriate.”
Rhoades, who has been fire chief since November 2012, was not put on administrative leave during the investigation and was at work on Monday.
When reached by phone, Rhoades said he had no comment. He deferred all questions to the city manager.
July 08, 2014
Ambulance catches fire; no injuries - PA
LEMOYNE, Pa. — An ambulance that had been recently serviced for an electrical issue caught fire Monday evening.
Cumberlink.com reported that officers from the Exeter Township Ambulance fully engulfed in flames. The scene was secured and all road were blocked off, according to the report.
The fire department arrived and extinguished the flames. No one was injured as a result of the ambulance fire.
Police said that through their investigation, it was found that the rig had been recently serviced for an electrical issue, according to the report.
By FireRescue1 Staff
July 08, 2014
Protestors allege firefighter delay after fire kills 4 kids - PA
PHILADELPHIA — Two people were arrested Monday night after residents gathered outside a fire station to protest what they say was a delayed response to a weekend row house fire that killed four young children.
About 200 residents turned out at the fire station after an afternoon community meeting to demand answers on firefighters' response to the blaze, which destroyed eight homes in Southwest Philadelphia. The protest drew dozens of police officers and resulted in several clashes.
Residents, some wearing T-shirts emblazoned with photos of the children, chanted "liars" outside the fire station, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The protest escalated when a ladder truck was apparently trying to move out of the firehouse and several people laid down on the street, blocking its path, according to the newspaper. Officers moved in and grabbed them by their legs to pull them back.
Two protesters were taken into custody and charged with disorderly conduct, Officer Christine O'Brien said. She said no police officers or civilians were injured during the protest.
The protesters claim firefighters didn't respond as fast as they could to the blaze, which erupted Saturday shortly before 3 a.m. Flames quickly spread from row house to row house, engulfing at least 10. Some residents jumped from second-floor windows, but the four children were unable to escape.
Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer says that despite some lag time because the initial report had been for a rubbish fire, the first unit was on the scene within three minutes. He said wildly incorrect rumors spread through the neighborhood that 30 minutes had passed before fire engines with water were on the scene.
"Our men and women gave the best," he told reporters Monday night. "They gave their all. They did nothing wrong."
Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire. One witness said he saw a couch on a porch on fire and saw the flames spread to other residences.
July 08, 2014
Fire Chief Robert Glenn “Bud” Webster Sr. dies from complications of apparatus crash in 2006 - KY (The Last Call - RIP)
GLENCOE, Ky. — A fire chief died May 6 from complications of a traumatic brain injury suffered in 2006.
Chief Robert Glenn “Bud” Webster Sr., 64, with the Glencoe Fire-Rescue Department, was responding to a motor vehicle accident in 2006 when the fire apparatus he was driving left the roadway and overturned, the U.S. Fire Administration reported.
The apparatus overturned, causing him to be ejected and pinned underneath the vehicle.
Chief Webster was a 12-year veteran of the department and leaves behind a wife, son and daughter.
By FireRescue1 Staff
July 07, 2014
2 Albany Firefighters Sent to Hospital After "M80" Landed Near Truck - NY
Two Albany firefighters are sent to the hospital after something similar to an M80 landed in the vicinity of their truck on the Fourth of July. Firefighters were on an EMS call when it was thrown in their direction on Morton Avenue. It landed about five feet from the truck. They continued responding to the call, but afterward, two firefighters were sent to the hospital for evaluation. The fire department says it's unlikely anyone will be apprehended, since there was a large crowd around the truck when it happened. Both firefighters are expected to be back on the job this week.
Source: TWC News - Saratoga County NY
July 07, 2014
FFs INJURED AT HOUSE FIRE - 1 SERIOUS - OH
Three firefighters were injured while battling a West Chester house fire.
The fire broke out at about 4 a.m. Monday at a home in the 6600 block of Apache Way.
Two people were in the home at the time and were able to escape but a dog at the home died.
Fire crews said the fire started in the garage.
Two firefighters were treated at the scene and the other was taken to an area hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.
Officials later said the firefighter who was seriously injured suffered those injuries during a fall.
Fire officials said they take these situations very seriously and focus on saving lives and protecting property.
"It's a challenge sometimes, but in West Chester we're lucky to have resources and substantial crews on the scene so we're able to replace down crewman,” Capt. Kelly Mayer said.
No other details have been released.
July 07, 2014
EMS Vehicles Damaged as Car Crashes into Station - ID
While Lewiston Fire Department medics usually go to the scene of accidents, Patricia Wilson allegedly brought the accident to them Saturday night.
According to the Nez Perce County Sheriff's Office, Wilson crashed into the fire department's garage on 13th Street after being pursued into town by a Nez Perce County sheriff's deputy. Interim fire chief Travis Myklebust said Wilson's vehicle blasted through a garage door and struck the department's front-line medic unit, pushing it back into another ambulance.
"So it damaged two of our ambulances," Myklebust said. "One of them is definitely out of commission. It appears that it may have bent the frame, so it could end up being totaled. It's hard to tell yet."
The second ambulance only had a dented bumper and hood and can be used in a back-up role until it is repaired, Myklebust said. Luckily, another ambulance just got back into town after being refitted, and can be put into service once it has radios and other equipment installed.
"This week we will be expediting getting that vehicle put back into service," he said. "Which is easy because all of our ambulances are set up exactly the same way. It's easy to move equipment around."
Wilson, 48, suffered a severely broken leg but had no life-threatening injuries. Myklebust said the medics at the station had to extricate her from the wreckage.
"They treated her and then transported her in the only remaining ambulance we had at the station," he said. "Thank goodness we had three ambulances."
A garage door company came in the middle of the night to repair the damaged door so the station could be secured, he added.
Replacing an ambulance would cost about $160,000. Myklebust said the insurance card in Wilson's vehicle was expired, but the city has insurance that should help if the ambulance has to be replaced.
According to the sheriff's office, a deputy attempted to stop Wilson at about 10:39 p.m. on Lindsay Creek Road after she allegedly came close to striking his patrol vehicle. Wilson allegedly drove the green 1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo at a high rate of speed to East Main Street, ran the light at 21st Street, and continued to G Street before failing to make the turn onto 13th Street.
Wilson, of Lapwai, was in fair condition at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center Sunday afternoon, according to a nursing supervisor.
Idaho State Police are conducting the crash investigation while the sheriff's office is investigating the incident as a possible DUI, according to a news release.
Myklebust said the accident marred what was otherwise an "extremely quiet" weekend. The department had two minor fireworks-related calls, but Lewiston residents were generally safe and sane with their Independence Day celebrations, he said. Things were also relatively quiet on the other side of the river, according to Clarkston Fire Department acting Capt. Melissa Welter.
"In the past years, we were up and going until 1 o'clock in the morning," Welter said, noting that the department only responded to two fires that were already out when firefighters arrived.
ISP also reported a quiet weekend, aside from a couple of accidents and numerous speeding tickets. Trooper Andy Schoonmaker said the department did assist local agencies at a couple of campsites near Grangeville with reports of underage drinking.
JOEL MILLS / LEWISTON TRIBUNE, IDAHO
July 07, 2014
Fall River firefighter layoffs & engines shut down - MA
FALL RIVER, MA- 35 firefighter positions were originally on the chopping block in Fall River. Six senior firefighters chose to retire so that six younger men could keep their jobs.
Still, bittersweet because 29 are losing their jobs come July 11th.
Olga Scanlon lives in Fall River. She said, "It’s a troubling situation and unfortunately things couldn't be handled any differently than it is."
The fire department is funded by a federal grant that just expired. Firefighters say they've known for a while the layoffs were coming and wish the city would have found the money to keep them employed.
Neighbors have been showing support over the last year with these "Keep Fall River Safe,” signs but they are saddened by the news.
"The city had a few years to resolve all of this you know, to come to a conclusion and really nothing was done so they found themselves in a bind. Now we lose some firemen so it is too bad," said Fall River resident, Everett Castro.
Firefighters respond to not only fires but medical and marine calls so if they're ever swamped with emergencies, response times could become longer for others in need.
Castro adds, "Well, less men, less safety obviously. With a lot of these big triple–decker houses and a lot of the old mill buildings you know. It's not only safety for the residents but safety for the firefighters."
As for engines three and 7– taken out of service today, they’ll only be seen out on the streets when a working engine is undergoing repairs.
On Friday, 175 firefighters will be left to man the city, a number that still meets national standards.
By Dana Griffin / abc6.com
July 07, 2014
Engine Damaged and Medic Equipment Destroyed in Overnight Crash - No Significant Injuries - MD
Image courtesy: PGFD Crew at 842
Just after midnight, Sunday, July 6, firefighters were alerted to a possible apartment fire in the 4500 block of Dallas Place in Temple Hills. One of the engines dispatched on the call was Paramedic Engine 842 (PE842) from the Oxon Hill Fire/EMS Station in Glassmanor. While en route to the call, PE842 was making a left turn from St. Barnabas Road onto Dallas Place when they were struck in the right rear compartment by a civilian vehicle. This same vehicle was reported to have just passed another piece of responding fire apparatus at a high rate of speed back near St. Barnabas Road and Branch Avenue. Firefighters estimate there were more than 100' of skid marks visible on the road.
There were no major injuries. The driver of PE842 was taken to a nearby hospital for a checkup. As per our standard operating procedures the driver of the fire apparatus will undergo post-crash screening.
The driver of the civilian vehicle was also transported to another nearby hospital for a checkup.
The Prince George’s County Police Department investigated the crash. Results of their investigation were not yet available.
PE842 is a “paramedic” engine with a member of the crew being a certified medic riding on-board. The engine also carries advanced life support (ALS) equipment on-board for the medic to use if needed.
The ALS equipment was stored in the compartment that was struck by the civilian vehicle. The majority of this equipment was destroyed from the impact. This life saving equipment included a Lifepak, a 12 lead EKG, used by paramedics to evaluate and diagnose a patients heart rhythm, vital signs and is used to defibrillate a patient in cardiac arrest. This is an extremely valuable unit not only for the life saving capacity but also for the value of the unit itself. A replacement EKG is valued at $25,000. The total estimated loss in ALS equipment is about $30,000 and another $20,000 to $30,000 in damage to the engine itself.
The Oxon Hill Station has a reserve pumper that has been placed in service. A Paramedic Supervisor was able to put together another set of ALS equipment for the engine so that advanced life support function can continue to be provided.
Paramedic Engine 842 was one of five 2012 engines purchased at a value of $525,000 each.
Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson / PGFDPIO
July 07, 2014
1 dead, 10 overcome in hazmat at Mass. school - MA
PLYMOUTH, Mass. — The state fire marshal's office says an employee at a Massachusetts elementary school has died and a hazardous materials response team is at the scene investigating.
Nine public safety personnel were among those transported for treatment of minor eye and throat irritation
Authorities also said another Plymouth school employee and nine public safety employees were taken to area hospitals Monday for treatment of minor eye and throat irritation.
The identity of the dead worker was not immediately released.
The Department of Fire Services said in a statement that investigators were trying to determine if the death was connected to work being done at the school. The department said levels of chemicals in the building were found to be very low.
No other details were immediately released.
July 07, 2014
Firefighter drowns during rescue of swimmer - CA (The Last Call - RIP)
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — A lifeguard drowned while trying to rescue a swimmer off a Southern California beach Sunday, authorities said.
Ben Carlson, 32, was pulled from the water around 8 p.m. PDT by fellow lifeguards following a frantic, three-hour search, Newport Beach Fire Department Chief Scott Poster said.
Poster said the 15-year department veteran went into the water to help a swimmer struggling in the water when they were hit by a large wave. Carlson went under water, and the swimmer made it to shore safely. Poster said searchers were hampered by up to 12-foot swells.
"It was just an utter tragedy to lose a man of that caliber in the water today," the chief said, noting that it was the first time a city lifeguard died in the line of duty.
"Ben was a well-respected individual, always a nice guy, always was there to help somebody," Poster said. "He'd give his shirt off his back at anytime."
The National Weather Service had issued a warning Sunday of dangerous rip currents and high surf along Southern California beaches. The weather service said some beaches saw up to 8-feet high surf.
Los Angeles County firefighters rescued a 25-year-old man who was caught in the waves off Rancho Palos Verdes and high tide breached a sand berm in Long Beach.
The lifeguard's death came a day after a 50-year-old long-distance swimmer and former lifeguard was bitten by a shark off Manhattan Beach.
Authorities and witnesses said the 7-foot-long juvenile had been trying to free itself from a fisherman's hook when it lunged at Steven Robles' chest.
The beaches remained open, but police prohibited fishing from the Manhattan Beach pier where the fisherman hooked the shark until Tuesday.
The Associated Press
July 07, 2014
2 Fort Worth firefighters hurt in roof collapse - TX
Two Fort Worth firefighters were injured during a house fire in east Fort Worth on Friday morning.
( Special to the Star-Telegram Glen E. Ellman)
FORT WORTH — Two Fort Worth firefighters escaped serious injuries Friday when part of a ceiling and roof collapsed during a house fire.
Jimmy Gray, 44, and Dallas Murr, 39, freed themselves from the debris and crawled out of the kitchen, Fort Worth Fire Department spokesman Tim Hardeman said.
They were treated for possible head and neck injuries at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth and released.
Gray is a 14-year veteran and Murr a nine-year veteran.
Firefighters responded to the blaze shortly after 4:30 a.m. in the 7500 block of Woodfield Road in east Fort Worth.
A female resident told firefighters that a neighbor knocked on the door and said the house was on fire. She said she didn’t believe him at first because she couldn’t see flames.
She saw the fire when she stepped outside. Five family members — two adults and three children — escaped unharmed, officials said.
The fire destroyed a garage and burned off half the roof. The cause was under investigation, and a damage estimate was unavailable.
By Domingo Ramirez Jr. / firstname.lastname@example.org
July 06, 2014
Lessons of Bowen tragedy shared around nation - NC
Asheville firefighters drag a 215 pound dummy dressed as a fireman from a smoke filled building during a training exercise at the Buncombe County Fire Training facility in Woodfin. The deparatment has made changes to its approach to fighting fires, including using more firefighter teams to rescue firemen in trouble in burning buildings.
(Photo: Bill Sanders, email@example.com)
It takes a team, a big team, to save a firefighter. That lesson, learned amid tragedy, should make firefighters in Asheville and around the nation safer.
After Capt. Jeff Bowen died in a fire three years ago, the department decided to re-examine its procedures. “We looked hard at that incident — we beat the national average (rescue time), we got him out under the national average — so we were wondering, why? Why did it happen?” said Lt. Dustin Cooper, a close friend of Bowen’s.
One of the things the department learned was that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule of two firefighters outside monitoring two firefighters inside was grossly inadequate.
“We’ve found it takes 15-16 firefighters to rescue one downed firefighter,” Fire Chief Scott Burnette said. “That’s what really opened a lot of eyes in fire departments around the country.
“We’ve done a lot of research, and what we’ve found out … is if you have two firefighters outside, they will only get themselves in trouble going in to rescue the firefighters inside,” Burnette said. “They will never give up until their air runs out.”
There is no more stressful environment than the inside of a burning building. The temperature can exceed 600 degrees and smoke can make visibility virtually zero. On top of that is the danger from a falling ceiling. A rescue can take time.
And rescuers may not have enough time. A firefighter’s air tank lasts for about 20 minutes when the firefighter is under stress. Another thing Asheville learned is that it’s best to start leaving the building when a little more than half the air is gone, rather than waiting for the five-minute alarm. That means each rescuer has about 10 minutes inside.
In a recent training exercise, it took three four-person teams to rescue a dummy pinned beneath a collapsed ceiling. The rescue involved a lot of strenuous work, from chopping out a wall to make the exit easier and cutting through a maze of fallen wires and electrical cords to lifting a 500-pound ceiling off the dummy.
As a result of its study, Asheville will have specially-trained rapid intervention teams of 14 to 15 members stationed with each of its three battalions. The initiative will be effected by redeploying existing staff.
Other changes include having a second supervisor at fire scenes, encouraging firefighters to be less reluctant to call for help, intensifying training and requiring physical fitness on each shift.
“Everything going on with that scene traditionally has been the responsibility of a single person,” Burnette said regarding the addition of a second supervisor. “The risk of that is when you have a complicating factor or an emergency.
“A firefighter having a mayday is the worst case example of a complicating factor. That single incident commander becomes task-saturated.”
The lessons Asheville has learned are being shared around the nation. Burnette estimates he has spoken to some 200 departments directly and perhaps another 300 electronically. Some of them are instituting their own changes.
One person who is pleased with the changes is Stacy Bowen, widow of Jeff Bowen. “I guess the best thing to come out of any tragedy (is) that any time they can look at that situation and assess it and come out with improvements so as to never lose someone else’s life in the same manner, that’s going to be the ultimate goal,” she said.
Bowen has had to adjust to a “new normal” without her husband. The lessons learned from Jeff Bowen’s death just might mean that some other firefighter’s family will not have to make that adjustment.
July 06, 2014
Firefighter OK after suffering leg injury at Hamilton fire - OH
HAMILTON, Ohio —Firefighters are busy on the Fourth of July, but it's easy to forget the daily sacrifice they make just going to work every other day of the year.
One Hamilton firefighter had a close call Thursday that left him temporarily unable to walk.
"A good day is a day somebody doesn't die," said Hamilton firefighter Brandon Hudson. He sat out Friday's holiday festivities, but was still feeling fortunate.
"Crutches are easy to deal with, so it could have been a whole lot worse," Hudson said.
Deputy Chief Jeff Shaw said Hudson and a captain were battling a fire at 956 Main St. in Hamilton.
The 16-year veteran firefighter, paramedic and father of five was up on the roof of the Chinese Lantern, trying to break out windows of the burning building next door, when one missed step almost cost him his life.
"Next thing I know is that I've fallen down in between the buildings on the roof," Hudson said. "I'm trying to figure out what I can hold on to and the only thing I've got is my arm holding onto the edge."
His captain was with him and called a mayday, then helped pull him to safety. Hudson tried to finish the job, but was in too much pain.
"It got harder to walk and I felt it from my foot all the way up to my back," Hudson said.
He was treated and released from a hospital, but he said more tests are needed for a complete diagnosis. He said his injury is part of the daily sacrifice he's honored to make.
"You know, I don't think about myself. And doing what we're doing, it's just about helping people out or trying to make a bad situation a little bit better," Hudson said.
Hudson said he'll be on crutches at least until Monday, when he'll have an MRI done. After that, he said he hopes to get better, get back on the job and get back to helping people.
Hudson's knee injury was his third injury on the job in seven months.
By Jackie Congedo / wlwt.com
ANNAPOLIS, Md. —A small fire caused a host of problems Saturday afternoon for first responders in Annapolis.
Officials said flames set off a chemical reaction.
It happened inside a home in the 200 block of Hilltop Lane.
Fire department officials said the flames caused a fogger containing insecticide to explode, injuring a firefighter, two police officers and a civilian.
The firefighter suffered the worst injuries and was taken to the hospital with respiratory problems.
Everyone is expected to be OK.
July 06, 2014
FDNY Lt. Gordon “Matt” Ambelas, Ladder 119, killed in Brooklyn high-rise – Fire started by electrical cord - NY (The Last Call - RIP)
Lt. Gordon “Matt” Ambelas
An FDNY lieutenant recently hailed as a hero for saving a 7-year-old Williamsburg boy was killed Saturday night fighting a blaze in a Brooklyn high-rise, authorities said.
Lt. Gordon Matthew Ambelas, 40, a 14-year veteran of the FDNY, was searching for victims as he and members of Ladder 119 beat back flames on the 19th floor of the Independence Towers on Wilson St. at about 9:10 p.m.
Ambelas got trapped in the fire in an apartment and suffered mortal injuries, Mayor de Blasio told reporters early Sunday.
“We have lost a real hero tonight and our hearts are heavy,” de Blasio said, standing next to FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro at a hastily arranged press conference at Woodhull Medical Center.
“He was trapped deep into the (burning) apartment and he did sustain multiple injuries,” Nigro said. “Ambelas went into the apartment to search for life and did not come out, and by the time his brother firefighters found him, it was too late for him.”
NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi Pearl Gabel/New York Daily News Ambelas was battling a blaze on the 19th floor of the Independence Towers on Wilson St. when he suffered mortal injuries.
When his team found him, Ambelas was unconscious. Firefighters rushed him to the first floor, where he was seen being taken on a stretcher to an ambulance.
“They were performing CPR (on him) as the firefighter was coming out the door,” said witness Alexander Lantiqua, 47. “They were screaming to get out of the way.”
The father of two was rushed to Woodhull, where cops guarded all entrances. A short time later, de Blasio and a priest were seen walking into the hospital.
An autopsy was slated to determine exactly how Ambelas died. Two other firefighters and two civilians suffered minor injuries in the fire, officials said.
More than 100 firefighters were called in to put out the blaze, which was declared under control at about 10:30 p.m.
The cause of the fire was under investigation Saturday night.
“Keep his family in your thoughts and prayers,” de Blasio said. “We’re all very fortunate to have the men and women of the FDNY at the ready to risk their own lives so each and every one of us can be safe, but unfortunately, tonight one of New York’s Bravest has paid the ultimate price.”
The last firefighter to die in the line of duty was Lt. Richard Nappi, 47, of Engine 237, in 2012. Nappi was leading his crew inside the box-crammed Bushwick building when he became overheated, suffered exhaustion, collapsed and then went into cardiac arrest, officials said
Ambelas leaves behind his wife Nanette and two children.
BY Pearl Gabel , Joseph Stepansky , Thomas Tracy / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
July 06, 2014
Kingston man dies in collision with fire truck - WA
KINGSTON, Wash. — The Kitsap County Sheriff's office says a 48-year-old man died Friday morning in a trash collision involving a fire truck.
Spokesman Scott Wilson tells the Kitsap Sun that (http://is.gd/1Bn8EM ) Jason T. Foster of Kingston, who was driving a scooter, died at the scene.
The crash happened when the pumper truck with North Kitsap Fire & Rescue tried to turn left and collided with the scooter.
Wilson says fire investigators are looking into who had the right of way.
The Associated Press
July 06, 2014
Federal decision will hurt fire stations - OK
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak says rural fire departments in Oklahoma will be devastated by an agreement between the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to no longer allow unused DoD vehicles to be retrofitted and used by rural fire departments.
“This will have a major impact on Oklahoma’s rural fire departments,” Doak said. “Many are already on extremely tight budgets and struggling to get all the equipment they need. They don’t have the money to buy new or even used vehicles in many cases. Without access to these DoD vehicles and other equipment, many Oklahoma fire departments will find it difficult to operate.”
Through two long-standing federal excess property programs, Oklahoma Forestry Services has provided rural fire departments military trucks remanufactured into wildland engines and water tenders at no cost.
Currently, Oklahoma fire departments are using 8,812 vehicles and pieces of equipment from the DoD valued at more than $150 million. DoD recently ended the program when it decided to enforce a 25-year-old agreement with the EPA. Under the agreement, vehicles not meeting EPA emission standards would be destroyed instead of sold.
“This ill-conceived plan will put Oklahoma lives and property in danger,” Doak said. “I know Oklahoma Forestry Services is working with other state officials to find a solution, and they have my full support. I will personally be talking with the state’s congressional delegation about this issue that is so important to rural Oklahoma.”
The Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID), through its Insurance Services Office review program, works with rural fire districts across the state to improve Public Protection Classification ratings, which can reduce homeowners’ insurance premiums.
The Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System is funded, in part, by the state’s insurance premium tax. Commissioner Doak designates one individual to serve on the pension plan’s board of trustees. OID Chief Actuary Frank Stone is presently in that position.
Transcript Staff / The Norman Transcript
July 03, 2014
Video of deadly motel fire in Point Pleasant Beach released by authorities - NJ
Video of first flames inside the fatal Mariner's Cove motel fire
This surveillance video put together by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office shows the first flames inside the Mariner's Cove Motel, which caught fire after a cigarette started the fire which killed four people.
Point Pleasant Beach Mariner's Cove Motel Fire Dispatch AUDIO ONLY
Surveillance video of cigarette being dropped in fatal motel fire
This surveillance video put together by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office shows Mariner's Cove Motel resident John Alberti walk into the lounge area on the second floor and fall asleep standing up while smoking a cigarette. Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said embers from Alberti's cigarette fell into the corner of a chair, which quickly ignited. Four people, including Alberti, were killed in the March fire.
TOMS RIVER — A fire that took four lives at a Point Pleasant Beach motel in March was started when a longtime resident fell asleep standing while smoking a cigarette over a chair, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said today.
Portions of a videotape released today by the prosecutor’s office capture the minutes before the fire broke out at the Mariner’s Cove Motor Inn on Broadway on March 21 and show how flames spread so quickly that authorities said guests in nearby rooms had little chance of escaping.
The video from the motel shows John Alberti, who was killed in the fire, walk to the outdoor lounge area on the second floor at 3:16 a.m., pick through an ashtray, possibly in search of cigarettes, and rummage through the chairs.
Within minutes, Alberti, who appears to be impaired, falls asleep while bent over one of the chairs with his head propped against it. After waking at 3:24 a.m., he replaced a chair cushion that he had removed and repeatedly slapped his head as if trying to keep awake, said prosecutor’s spokesman Al Della Fave.
At one point, embers are visible on the end of his cigarette and at the next moment they are not. Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato speculated that the embers fell into the corner of the chair before Alberti awoke and left the area at 3:34 a.m.
At 5:11 a.m., smoke is seen billowing from the corner of the chair and two minutes later the smoke intensifies before the first flames are seen at 5:18 a.m.
The chair was consumed by fire two minutes after the first flames erupted. A minute later, the room is engulfed in flames, with fire leaping to a nearby coffee table and rolling up and along the wood-paneled walls and the wood ceiling.
"The official cause cited is the impaired actions and careless use of smoking materials by longtime motel resident John Alberti," Coronato said in a statement released with the video.
In addition to Alberti, 45, the others killed were: Harold Ford, 51, and Albert Sutton, 66, also residents of the motel, and Paul Martins, 20, of South River.
Alberti’s mother, Myran Alberti, could not be reached for comment.
Authorities said today that an autopsy revealed opiates in Alberti’s system.
Al Della Fave, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, said authorities do not know yet whether the drug in Alberti’s system was heroin or prescription medication. Motel residents and law enforcement sources have said Alberti had a history of heroin abuse.
"This event tragically highlights how the impaired actions of those suffering from narcotic addiction can bring devastation to themselves and innocent unsuspecting individuals around them," said Coronato, who has made combating heroin abuse a cornerstone of his tenure as prosecutor. "By no means is heroin addiction a victimless crime."
By MaryAnn Spoto/The Star-Ledger
July 03, 2014
7 firefighters struck by lightning battling fire7 firefighters struck by lightning battling fire - VT
A firefighter works at a structure fire in Guilford, Vermont. Officials say seven firefighters were injured at the location when lightning struck.
GUILFORD, Vt. —Seven firefighters were checked for injuries after lightning struck nearby as they battled a blaze in Guilford.
According to a posting on the Guilford Volunteer Fire Department's Facebook page, firefighters from that company and others were working on a structure fire Wednesday afternoon when lightning hit "in close proximity."
Michael Travisano, the nursing supervisor at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, says none of the injuries were serious. Two firefighters were treated and released.
A woman who answered the phone at the fire station didn't have any information Wednesday evening.
Severe storms rolled through the Northeast and New England on Wednesday, spawning heavy rains and lightning.
July 03, 2014
Grand jury issues scathing report against the Herald Fire Protection District fire chief - CA
HERALD, Calif. — The chief of the Herald Fire Protection District said Tuesday his office will issue a response within the next few weeks to a scathing Sacramento County grand jury report issued over the weekend.
The grand jury criticized the district for using an unauthorized bank account to conduct business and said the chief is not managing district personnel in accordance with state law.
The June 28 report also alleged that Chief Chris McGranahan, in at least three instances, used his work computer to view photos of “nude and scantily-clad women” that were then emailed to another employee.
The bank account, which was shared with the Herald Volunteer Firefighters Association at the Farmers & Merchants Bank, was used in connection with the rental of two district buildings and was not declared to auditors of the Sacramento County Finance Department, the report said.
McGranahan, who came to Herald Fire in 2009, said the district was working on closing that account when he started working as chief.
“We had been working on cleaning that account up (since I arrived),” McGranahan said. “It was a lengthy process due to it being in existence for so many years.”
The racy photos, McGranahan said, were emailed to him and deleted as soon as they were received.
“I had received … an email with a couple of suggestive pictures on it,” McGranahan said. “I told the person not to do it again.”
McGranahan said he never forwarded the email to any of his employees and neither he nor the board of directors were ever aware that someone was offended.
“We’ve never heard about the photos being offensive,” he said. “If somebody found that offensive, the board would have done an investigation.”
The grand jury report said the district violated the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights Act, which requires firefighter protections in disciplinary proceedings.
McGranahan said a grievance policy created in the spring of 2013 does follow the law and provides firefighters with certain protections, specifically their right to appeal disciplinary actions.
Before the grievance policy was created, only a disciplinary policy existed, McGranahan said. This disciplinary policy did follow the law, but was not as clear, he said.
The Sacramento Bee
July 02, 2014
Wrong Cables to Blame in Pennsylvania Tower Ladder Failure - PA
Three firefighters working in a tower truck are sent to the hospital after a frightening plunge Wednesday night.
It happened around 7:00PM outside the Wattsburg Fire Hall on Route 8.
The victims were in the bucket on a rig from the Belle Valley Fire DepartmenT, about 70 feet up, installing new equipment on a radio tower when the ladder started retracting in what was described as a "rapid descent".
Firefighters at the scene say a cable snapped and the ladder's descent lasted about fifty feet before coming to a sudden stop.
All three firefighters. one from the Wattsburg Department and two from Belle Valley, were taken to UPMC Hamot with what are described as non life-threatening injuries.
July 02, 2014
American Flag Flown Over WTC Rubble Stolen From Yard of Fallen Firefighter's Family - NY
An American flag given to the sister of a New York City firefighter who died on September 11 was stolen from her front yard on Long Island overnight Monday, and the family is pleading for its return. Marc Santia reports
(NBC 4 New York)
An American flag that was flown over the World Trade Center ruins during the 9/11 cleanup and was later given to the sister of a fallen firefighter was stolen from her front yard on Long Island.
Melissa Brengel said the flag was still in the front yard when she returned to her Huntington Station home at about 10:30 p.m. Monday night. When her husband left for work at about 5:15 a.m. Tuesday, it was gone.
The flag is particularly special to Brengel and was given to her by the September 11th Families Association.
"We put it out during certain times of the year just to remember," she said.
"I don't think there's a way [the thief] could have known, but at the same time, they're coming onto my property and taking something that means so much to me and so many Americans," said Brengel.
Brengel's brother Jonathan Ielpi was a 29-year-old FDNY firefighter working out of Squad 288 in Queens when he died on Sept. 11.
Her other brother is also in the FDNY, and her father is retired from the department, now running a tribute center in New York City.
"It hurts me and all of them that somebody could do something like this," she said.
Brengel's home is at the end of a dead-end street, and while her neighbors also have American flags hanging, "for whatever reason, they took ours."
She is hoping whoever took the flag somehow hears of its significance and returns it.
July 01, 2014
Fire Investigator Injured in Fall at House Fire - NY
An Erie County Sheriff's Office fire investigator fell through the second floor of a West Seneca home early today when he was attempting to determine where and how a blaze started in the residence, authorities said.
"We're praying it's only minor," Undersheriff Mark N. Wipperman said of initial reports that Investigator Steve Meerboth suffered non-life threatening injuries, adding that circumstances of the fall are not entirely clear.
Meerboth was being evaluated at midmorning in the emergency room at Erie County Medical Center.
Residents of the house on the 800 block of Union Road were not home at the time of the fire, which occurred at about 4:30 a.m. An investigation into what caused the fire was continuing.
LOU MICHEL / THE BUFFALO NEWS, N.Y.
July 01, 2014
Firefighter injured battling 4-alarm 'suspicious' blaze in Bridgewater - MA
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. — A suspicious fire is under investigation after a four-alarm fire consumed two vacant buildings in Bridgewater and injured one firefighter early Tuesday.
The fire started just before 1 a.m. at 76 Broad St. and spread to an adjacent building, which is also vacant.
"The fire is suspicious at this time. We had several set fires in the building two weeks ago. And the crew was here doing a pre-planned walk through to keep our people safe," Bridgewater Fire Department Chief George Rogers said.
"I was working down the street and saw it. Everybody did. We were like, 'What's going on?'" said John Fritz.
A firefighter suffered a leg injury and was taken to Brockton Hospital. The fire threatened nearby homes and businesses.
"Because of the heat and everything they asked us to leave," neighbor Ken Sharland said.
Sharland's home buckled from the heat.
"Those buildings have been abandoned for a while. Nothing's been going on with them. I think it was a concern for police and fire that someday this might happen," said Scott Bena, of the Yankee Clipper Barber Shop
By Kimberly Bookman - wcvb.com
July 01, 2014
FIREFIGHTER INJURED AS TREE FALLS WHILE OPERATING AT STORM SCENE - MI
An Emmett Township (MI) Firefighter was injured by a falling tree while working to assist those impacted by storms that swept through southwest Michigan early Tuesday morning.
The Firefighter was working near Verona and 10 Mile Roads in the early morning hours Tuesday when the tree fell and hit him in the shoulder and back. The Firefighter was taken to the hospital by ambulance in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries.
Emmett Township was hit hard by the storm system that left many residents without power and debris littering roadways.
July 01, 2014
RESPONDING APPARATUS ROLLOVER - IN
On the afternoon of 7/1/14 the Center Twp. IN Fire Department (LaPorte County) was responding to a house fire when this engine rolled over while enroute. The crash occurred at 4591 N US Hwy 35. There were no apparent injuries to the one firefighter on board according to eye witness reports.
July 01, 2014
Volunteer Department Responds to Final Alarm - TX
A Texas volunteer fire department responded to its final call on Monday night.
Westworth Village firefighters spent the evening cleaning out their lockers and reminiscing.
They were booted after council officials decided to outsource responses to Fort Worth, according to KHOU.com.
"We've had a while to adjust," Senior Chief Don Day told reporters. "But that doesn't make it a lot easier."
The company served a community of about 3,000 in Tarrant County. About 30 people worked at Fire Station No. 41, some part-time.
Day said many stopped by over the weekend and on Monday to clean out lockers, sort through old photos, and reflect on 26 years of service.
"I can look at something and recall someone's name or a piece of equipment they broke. A lot of memories here," Day said.
After the decision was made by the town council in June, Mayor Tony Yeager said in a statement: "I am truly thankful to all the volunteer firefighters who dedicated countless hours to our City for many years."
He noted that "changing demographics, aging equipment and current regulatory environment" make it impractical to maintain the standalone fire department.
The five-year agreement, which went into effect July 1, includes fire suppression and responding to wrecks.
July 01, 2014
FACEBOOK COMMENT MADE ABOUT DROWNING VICTIM SPARKS HFD PROBE - TX
HFD has launched an investigation into offensive comments a firefighter allegedly posted on his personal Facebook page while he was searching for a drowning victim
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The Houston Fire Department has launched an investigation into offensive comments a firefighter allegedly posted on his personal Facebook page while he was searching for a drowning victim.
The post on Kerry Williams' page called the victim, Victor Gonzalez, a "drunk Mexican" and when HFD's search was over the post read, "We are done with our search no body recover (sic) and no 'drunk Mexican.'"
HFD responded first to the call at Lake Houston Friday night followed by HPD's Marine Unit. The body of Gonzalez, 47, was recovered Saturday afternoon. His daughter is furious about the post and is demanding Williams' termination.
"How dare you sit there and talk about my father like that?" questioned Gracie Gonzalez.
A friend of her father's delivered the news in person. It wasn't until Monday morning that she learned of the comments on Facebook.
"There's no words to describe the hurt I feel because you made the situation worse," added Gonzalez.
It appears Williams tried to defend himself saying he put the comment in quotes because it was the victim's friend who referred to him that way. The friend who called 9-1-1, Thomas Watson, disputes that.
"I did not tell anyone and wouldn't have told anyone he was a drunk Mexican. He was a good friend of mine," Watson said.
Late Monday, HFD issued the following statement:
"It would be inappropriate to comment on an ongoing investigation, except to say that we take violations of this nature very seriously. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the victim. Comments like these are not a reflection of the nearly 4,000 men and women of the HFD who perform their jobs everyday with courage and compassion."
Our numerous attempts to contact Williams were unsuccessful. He has been with the Houston Fire Department since 2003, and according to Local 341's president, Bryan Sky-Eagle, has had to request representation before for previous disciplinary problems.
Meanwhile, all the comments have now been deleted from the Facebook post.
By Jessica Willey / http://abc13.com/
July 01, 2014
Fallen Meridian paramedic Laid to Rest (The Last Call - RIP)
Funeral services for a Meridian paramedic William "Alan" Smith killed in the line of duty will take place today.
William "Alan" Smith, 48, an EMT for ASAP Ambulance in Laurel, died in an accident Tuesday while responding to a call in Greene County.
The ambulance was traveling northbound on Highway 63 around noon, with its lights flashing but no siren sounding, when it tried to pass two 18-wheelers carrying loads, The Enterprise Journal reports.
The ambulance successfully passed the truck directly in front of it, but when the ambulance attempted to pass the lead semi truck, the driver suddenly made a left turn into the southbound lane and collided with the ambulance, Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop J spokesman Brent Barfield told The Enterprise Journal.
The ambulance and the truck burst into flames upon impact, killing Smith and another ambulance crew member, Dennis Rushing, 31. The driver of the semi-truck, Charles E. Bexley, 47, was taken by ambulance for treatment of injuries he sustained in the accident.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. today at Robert Barham Family Funeral Home.
In addition to his job as an EMT, Smith was also a volunteer firefighter at the South Fire Department in Meridian. He was a barber at Peeks Barber Shop for over 20 years.
BRANDON WARD / SOURCE: THE MERIDIAN STAR, MISS.
July 01, 2014
Jessup FD has Fire Equipment Stained by Fire - PA
Jessup Volunteer Fire Company has been advised not to use gear until DEP tests come back to determine if itâ??s safe.
Firefighters believe the discoloration is from dye that leaked from barrels at Scranton Cooperage.
The purple dye was one of the most perplexing parts of that big fire at Scranton Cooperage on Friday. At times it was like a small purple river down Mid Valley Drive in Jessup.
Police said itâ??s very concentrated food dye. One drop of it mixed with water can make a gallon of dye. Now, the purple is all over firefighters' gear.
The Department on Environmental Protection has issued a statement saying they never said not to use it, but to contact the manufacturer for information on cleaning the gear.
July 01, 2014
Bienville firefighter Robert B. Thomas was killed in fire truck crash - LA (The Last Call - RIP)
A Mt. Olive volunteer fire captain died after being pinned under a firetruck he was driving late Monday night.
BIENVILLE PARISH, LA (KSLA) - A Bienville Parish fire captain has died from injuries suffered when the fire truck he was driving crashed into a ditch late Monday night.
Louisiana State Police say 52-year-old Robert B. Thomas, of Quitman, La., was driving a 1999 Freightliner fire truck north on LA 155 around 10:30 p.m. when the truck entered a curve and drifted off the roadway. Investigators say the Mt. Olive volunteer overcorrected, crossing the center line and crashing into a ditch. Thomas was pinned underneath the truck.
The truck was registered to Bienville Fire District 7. Thomas, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Bienville Parish Coroner's Office.
Deborah Alexander, Thomas's sister, tells KSLA News 12 that Robert had been serving in the fire department since the early 1990's. he was always making sure that the station was taken care of, "during the winter, he would make sure the station was the right temperature so the truck was ok, and was always checking on everybody. That was just his life."
Alexander says , as of now, they are still making funeral arrangements, but already knows that the fire department plans to give Thomas full honors, "they plan on having an honor guard, and kilts, and bagpipes. I can hardly talk about it when I think about that."
A routine toxicology sample was taken from Thomas for analysis. The crash remains under investigation,
State troopers remind everyone, including first responders, to wear seatbelts whenever driving or riding in a vehicle to reduce the likelihood of injury or death. This is Troop G's seventh fatal crash this year.
Posted by Anastasia Semien / ksla.com
July 01, 2014
Washington Fire Chief Mike Vaughn's contract will not be renewed - IL
Washington, IL Fire Chief Michael Vaughn, right, received the Medal of Valor Award during the ceremony at the PCCC Tuesday. Recognizing the heroism and achievments beyond the call of duty for 46 firefighters from throughout the state of Illinois, the 21st Annual Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial and Firefighter Medal of Honor Awards Ceremony took place on the State Capitol grounds and the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield on Tuesday, May 6, 2014.
(David Spencer /GateHouse Media Illinois)
WASHINGTON — The Washington Fire Department Board will not renew Fire Chief Mike Vaughn’s contract after it expires in July, a move that has angered firefighters and paramedics within the department.
In response to the loss of their chief, the firefighters and paramedics have started a petition for presentation at the first July meeting of Washington’s safety committee, in the hope that the city will consider taking over the department, dissolving the board and retaining Vaughn. Currently, the Washington Fire Department is considered a private organization that contracts with the city of Washington.
The board voted June 10 not to offer Vaughn another contract when his current one expires at the end of July, ending his six-year tenure as the Fire Department’s first full-time chief. Four of the board commissioners voted in favor of letting the contract expire with the final commissioner abstaining. Vaughn was awarded the Firefighter’s Medal of Valor last month during the 21st annual Illinois Fallen Firefighter Memorial Ceremony in Springfield.
Board President Bob Linsley cited a “difference of philosophies” as a reason for the board’s decision.
“He was our first paid fire chief and he did a good job,” Linsley said. “But it’s time for a change.”
Vaughn said he was stunned by the board’s decision.
“I’d give my right arm to stay here,” Vaughn said.
Linsley said disciplinary reasons were not a factor in the decision, but he did not elaborate on the opposing philosophies. Within the ranks of the department, both firefighters and paramedics have expressed shock and frustration with the board.
“A lot of us are not very happy about it,” said Richard Archdale, a firefighter with the department for four years. “We think the board is acting selfishly and not what’s in the best interest of the department.”
“It was pretty shocking and came out of nowhere,” said Bradd Vescogni, a 10-year paramedic with the department. “A lot of the guys are a little upset with how the board is acting.”
People within the department believe the board’s dissatisfaction with Vaughn stemmed from an incident in early 2013 when firefighters and paramedics brought a proposal to the board about the city taking over ownership of the department. According to Archdale and others, the board nixed the proposal, causing tension between the two factions. Subsiding during the aftermath of the Nov. 17 tornado that ripped through the city, Archdale said the board’s actions June 10 were the culmination of the past year’s events and signaled an overreach of the board’s power.
Linsley said the board will search for a full-time fire chief, but a schedule for the search has not been determined.
Thomas Bruch / Journal Star news reporter
July 01, 2014
Another Hartford Firefighter Declared Unfit For Duty Over Suspected Intoxication - CT
A week after a Hartford firefighter was suspended following a string of suspected alcohol-related incidents, another city firefighter was relieved of duty by his superiors Monday morning over suspicion of on-the-job intoxication, fire department sources said.
Cinque L. Scott, awaiting trial on an unrelated charge of driving under the influence of alcohol, is assigned to Engine 9 on New Britain Avenue. Scott, 44, of West Hartford, was declared unfit for duty and the engine company was taken out of service for a period of time because it was left short-handed, the sources said. Scott is not the driver of the engine.
Fire Chief Carlos Huertas declined to comment on the Scott matter. Scott could not immediately be reached for comment.
"It is the City of Hartford's position not to comment on ongoing personnel matters,'' Huertas said. "At this time, there is not much I can share with you. We take our investigations seriously and conduct them in a manner that the integrity of our investigation process will not be compromised."
Maribel La Luz, a spokeswoman for Mayor Pedro Segarra, said the mayor was not commenting on the matter.
On June 18, firefighter Douglas Caldwell was suspended without pay for 89 days and was ordered to sign an undated letter of resignation stating he'd leave the job if he was involved in another on-duty incident in the next two years.
Caldwell was declared unfit for duty at least four times from January 2012 to April 2014, including three times in a seven-month period, departmental records show. He was also involved in at least two off-duty incidents, including an arrest for public drinking in Hartford earlier in June.
Scott had failed to show up for work Monday morning at 8 a.m. and was considered absent without leave, sources said. After he arrived at the firehouse, his superiors suspected he was intoxicated and he was relieved of duty, the sources said. Under the drug and alcohol policy, a member who has been confronted on the job can refer himself to the employee assistance program once in a two-year period. Scott's prior on-duty disciplinary history could not be determined Monday.
Scott was charged while off-duty with driving under the influence of alcohol on Nov. 2, 2013, in Manchester and is awaiting trial in that case, court records show. His next court appearance is Wednesday. Scott is free on a $1,000 non-surety bond.
According to court records, Scott refused to submit to a breath test when he was arrested in Manchester. He maintains he was not the driver of the car, and that the vehicle was inoperable, the records state. Scott's girlfriend testified at a Department of Motor Vehicles hearing that she was the driver before the car broke down. She parked the car and left Scott in the vehicle, according to Scott's appeal of a January 2014 DMV ruling suspending Scott's license.
Scott served two days in jail and was placed on probation for 18 months following a July 10, 2010, arrest for DUI.
He was sentenced to 19 days in jail and fined $500 after his arrest on Feb. 6, 2010, for driving while his license was suspended for DUI.
The Courant could not locate a DUI conviction that would have preceded the February 2010 arrest for driving with a suspended license.
By JOSH KOVNER, firstname.lastname@example.org, The Hartford Courant
July 01, 2014
Firefighter suffers ax injury at fire scene - OH
Fire at factory on Hanover Avenue.
DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A Dayton firefighter suffered minor injuries while battling a fire at a Dayton factory.
Firefighters arrived at the Electro Polish Factory at 529 Hunter Avenue just before midnight.
They say they arrived to find smoke and fire in a back storage room.
They quickly put the flames out, but were concerned nitric acid fumes could be in the air.
“Our concern is if the nitric acid was involved it could release some poisonous gas, off gas so to speak. So, we’re going to let it ventilate a little bit, before we’re going in, let the investigator go in,” said District Chief Scott Rowlett, Dayton Fire Department.
The injured firefighter was treated and released taken to the hospital for an ax injury to his hand. He was back on the job Monday.
Damage is estimated at $15,000 and appears to be accidental in nature.
By Staff Reports / http://wdtn.com/