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October 21, 2014
Fight over fire rig isn't about South End safety - NY

Kathy Sheehan is really the mayor now. The honeymoon is over.

The job seems like a pretty sweet gig when everything is smiles and candy, when you're newly elected and still breaking in that stately corner office, when the toughest and biggest decisions are yet to be made.

But you're really the mayor when the heckling starts, when an influential group realizes a difficult decision is going to hit them in the wallet. That's where Sheehan is now, nearly 11 months into her first year on the job.

I'm talking, of course, about her plan to close Ladder No. 1 in the city's impoverished South End, a move that would keep taxpayers from having to pay $1.2 million in overtime.

It's a gutsy proposal. Certainly, it would have been easier to look elsewhere for savings.

For one, the cut targets a popular group of city employees — firefighters who put their lives on the line to protect us from harm. Two, it affects a station in a neighborhood where residents are understandably suspicious they'll bear the brunt of service cuts.

But if you've been paying attention to the city's budget crisis — or if you've seen its property tax bills — you know that Albany desperately needs someone to make tough and even unpopular decisions. Jerry Jennings wouldn't do it in his final two years. This new mayor will.

"We have to make operational changes and identify savings," Sheehan told me during an interview in her City Hall office Monday morning. "We can't keep doing things the way we've been doing them."

Sheehan, a former city treasurer, all but drowned me in a sea of budget numbers. I never heard Jennings talk that way, but he was a very different mayor with a very different set of skills.

From Sheehan's perspective, shuttering Ladder No. 1 is a no-brainer, because there aren't enough firefighters to staff it without big overtime costs — and haven't been since reductions that took place under Jennings. The move won't affect response times, she says, or the safety of residents in the South End.

And yes, Fire Chief Warren Abriel agrees.

But to listen to the Albany Permanent Professional Firefighters Union, which is loudly mobilizing against the change, you'd think that the cut would put residents of the South End in imminent danger. You also might think Sheehan and Abriel, a fourth-generation firefighter, are being intentionally negligent toward some of the city's poorest residents.

Sheehan uses one adjective above others to describe the union's language: irresponsible.

"Firefighters are out there telling people that they're not going to be safe, and that's just patently wrong," Sheehan said, thumping fingers on her desk to emphasize the point.

It's important to remember what Sheehan's budget doesn't do, despite having to overcome a $16 million budget deficit. It doesn't shutter fire stations. It doesn't cut firefighter jobs, or the position of any city employee. It doesn't touch benefits or pensions.

It does, however, eliminate a piece of firefighter overtime. Call me cynical, but I think that's the union's real concern.

OK, fine. The union is certainly within its prerogative. But its leaders should be honest about their campaign, rather than scaring people into thinking they'll be in danger.

It's telling, by the way, that union President Bob Powers is responding to Sheehan's proposal by calling for five new firefighters — which, of course, would mean more insurance and pension costs for a city that's struggling with existing insurance and pension costs.

It's like trying to fight a fire with gasoline. It won't work.

Still, the union's campaign is swaying some members of the Common Council. So I asked Sheehan what would happen if the council refuses to go along with the proposed cut.

The mayor didn't want to play along with the hypothetical. She'd said she'd keep working toward getting the council and city residents to understand why it makes sense to shutter Ladder No. 1.

Then, she reframed the issue. The ultimate goal is to bring jobs and investment to places like the South End, she said, and that won't happen until Albany embraces a new fiscal reality. City officials, she added, have to commit "to what will bring real opportunity to these neighborhoods."

This budget fight, then, will tell us much about where Albany is headed. Certainly, it's the biggest test of Sheehan's tenure so far.

The honeymoon is over, and the mayor is ready to make difficult decisions. Who's with her?

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October 21, 2014
Two Children Killed in Massachusetts Fire, firefighter injured - MA

(WCVB Channel 5 Boston)


(WCVB Channel 5 Boston)

LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) — Two children have died in an early morning apartment fire in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan says two young boys were found in a bedroom of a third-floor apartment in the six-unit building.

Officials didn't immediately release names and exact ages.

The four-alarm blaze was reported at about 3 a.m. Tuesday. Video from the scene showed flames shooting from the roof.

Coan says the cause remains under investigation. The building had a hard-wired alarm system in common areas and battery-powered smoke alarms in the apartments.

Fire Chief John Marsh says a firefighter was injured trying to reach the boys, but was beaten back by heat and flames.

Displaced residents were sheltered at a nearby church. Mayor Daniel Rivera says the city will do all it can to help the affected families.
The Associated Press

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October 21, 2014
Fort Worth’s deal with its firefighters leaves out key piece — pensions - TX

Fort Worth firefighters Ryan Pack, on roof, and Jason Bryant extinguish hotspots during a business on fire in a strip center in the 6900 block of South Freeway in January.
(Star-Telegram archives Glen E. Ellman)

FORT WORTH — The city and its firefighters reached a deal on a new contract after more than two years of negotiations but intentionally left out a key piece of the puzzle — an agreement on pension reductions.

The four-year contract, approved by the Fort Worth Professional Firefighters over the weekend, includes raises each year and stricter rules about sick time to help offset the city’s overtime expenses, but the two sides could not agree on the city’s proposed pension reductions.

The City Council is set to approve the contract and changes in current firefighters’ benefits Tuesday night.

The deal will likely mean an end to a lawsuit filed by the association in January alleging that the city failed to negotiate in good faith, Assistant City Manager Susan Alanis said. She said the firefighter association “will have to make a decision if they decide to pursue litigation surrounding the pension.”

Jim Tate, president of the Fort Worth Professional Firefighters, did not respond to calls seeking comment Monday. In a statement, the association said it will address council members Tuesday.

“During the negotiations process the firefighters offered five different proposals to stabilize the health of the pension fund,” the statement said. “Proposals were also offered by the firefighters to restore retiree health care benefits for newly hired firefighters at no expense to the city. Unfortunately the city was unwilling to negotiate to allow the firefighters to provide the necessary funding for either proposal.”

The association was pushing a pension deal that would have allowed separating the firefighters’ pension fund from the Fort Worth Employees Retirement Fund. The tactic would have allowed firefighters to increase their own contributions to maintain the formula for retirement benefits. The city’s contributions would have remained the same.

But the city contends that breaking the funds apart would expose the city to litigation from general and police employees.

“What they are studying now is if they can accept the benefit reductions and separately fund a supplemental fund that would make up the difference,” Alanis said. She said the city has not seen that new proposal.

The council will also vote Tuesday on benefit reductions for firefighters hired before Jan. 10, 2015, including reducing the multiplier used to calculate benefits from 3 percent to 2.5 percent and using high five years instead of three years, and excluding overtime that is not built into their salary, to determine a firefighter’s retirement pay.

The contract for the firefighters expired Sept. 30.

Fort Worth Police Officers’ Association President Rick Van Houten and former President Steve Hall are suing based on changes in pension benefits for general and police employees approved by the City Council in 2012.

The lawsuit accuses the city of contract impairment, violation of due process, unlawful taking of property and violating the U.S. and Texas constitutions in reducing pension benefits for future service. The council reduced the multiplier used in calculating benefits, raised the number of years for retirement pay and eliminated overtime in calculations.
By Caty Hirst /

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October 21, 2014
Construction worker allegedly sets fire to apartment, attacks firefighters - WA

Richland — A construction worker set fire to his Richland apartment and attacked firefighters when they showed up to put the small blaze out, according to police.

Nelson Aguayo, 21, allegedly assaulted four Richland firefighters Oct. 18 at his apartment on the 2500 block of Duportail Street, police said

He was booked into the Benton County jail following the incident on suspicion of arson, assault and resisting arrest.

Firefighters spotted smoke coming from Aguayo’s apartment around 3:50 p.m. and went inside to investigate, police said. Aguayo then reportedly attacked the crew and had to be restrained by multiple firefighters.

Police arrived and arrested Aguyao inside the apartment, authorities said. He continued to fight with officers and was booked into jail after being medically cleared.

It appears Aguyao set a pile of clothes on fire inside the apartment and tried to stop firefighters from putting the fire out, police said. He was living in Richland temporarily while he worked on a construction crew.

The fire was eventually put out.
Tri-City Herald

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October 21, 2014
Firefighters' saws stolen while crew battles blaze - MI

Ladder Company 22’s chainsaw and K14 saw, pictured here, were stolen early Sunday morning while the firefighters battled a blaze.
(Photo: Jeremy Mullins)

Detroit firefighters from Ladder Company 22 battle a blaze in Detroit. The firefighters are trying to raise funds after their chainsaw and K-14 saw were stolen Sunday morning.
(Photo: Gordon Nord)

DETROIT —Detroit firehouse Ladder Company 22 has had thousands of dollars worth of equipment stolen before, but a theft early Sunday was like a slap in the face.

For the second time in less than two years, the firefighters' chainsaw and large K-14 saw were stolen from their truck— this time while they battled a blaze.

They were responding to a fire on Dundee Street near Grand River. Firefighter Jeremy Mullins said there have been about 10 fires in a three-block area within the past three days.

"We parked the rig and fought the fire," Mullins said. "When we came back and opened the compartment, they were gone. ... It was easy pickings. It's very frustrating. I've put in a lot of effort to get things like that for my firehouse and other firehouses to make sure they have what they need. To have them stolen, it's a slap in the face."

The saws are vital to fighting fires and saving lives, Mullins said.

The chainsaw is used to breach roofs to let the heat out during a fire, he said, so that firefighters don't get burned. The K-14 can be used to cut just about anything, Mullins said, including steel, wood, metal, chains and fences.

The saws cost about $2,000 a piece.

Mullins said the first theft happened about two years ago at the firehouse at 6830 McGraw. He said the firefighters on duty that night had gone down the street to grab something to eat from a restaurant. When they went back to the firehouse, they noticed the saws were gone.

Mullins got the word out that they were looking for used saws to replace the old ones. The National Firefighters Endowment offered to buy the firehouse two new saws.

Mullins said after the first theft, the firefighters installed a bracket and a chain in Ladder 22 and locked both saws up.

"We learned our lesson and would lock them up religiously in the compartment," he said.

But Ladder 22's rig is in the repair shop, so the firefighters are using a temporary pickup truck with a pump on the back. Mullins said firefighters were unable to secure the saws, leaving the equipment vulnerable.

Mullins was able to replace the chainsaw by using money the firefighters had saved up to repair the firehouse's kitchen, which is in disrepair. Mullins, who has been a firefighter for nearly 14 years, said the city is unable to cover the cost.

"We do more with less," he said. "It's gotten worse and it's getting progressively worse."
Katrease Stafford, Detroit Free Press

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October 20, 2014
Fire Departments Consider Consolidation - PA

Plans for a new fire station in Harmony and a new firetruck in Zelienople are on hold while the two departments decide whether they should become one.

"It only makes sense when our departments are a mile apart that we do something," Zelienople fire Chief Rob Reeb said. "In the end, if we can save everyone money, it makes sense."

A task force comprising fire department representatives, along with municipal representatives and community members early next month will begin discussing issues related to a merger or consolidation. Authorities in Zelienople, Harmony and Lancaster, which is covered by the Harmony fire department, have passed resolutions to form the task force. The proposal has support in Jackson.

The final decision to combine rests with the dozens of firefighters within the two departments, said Harmony Fire Chief Neal Nanna.

The departments are nonprofit, volunteer organizations run by executive boards. They may receive government funding, but are independent agencies. A merged department would cover nearly 10,900 residents in the four municipalities, according to U.S. Census figures.

"In four or five years, we're going to be overwhelmed with growth in the area," said Nanna, adding that the department runs from 400 to 600 calls a year. "We have to be proactive rather than reactive."

Representatives involved in the talks will meet with Rob Brady, the state Department of Economic and Community Development's expert on firefighting and emergency medical services.

Brady said fire departments and ambulance services in 34 Pennsylvania counties are looking at mergers.

"You have a lot of different options," Brady said. "It's not limited to one or two things. There's not a lot of limitations. You can design the system you want."

Zelienople has one fire station and 35 active members. Harmony has a main station in the township and a substation in Lancaster. It has nearly 35 active members, and 54 on the department roster.

Some unanswered questions are when a change could occur and how much money a combined department could save taxpayers. Harmony's fire department annual operating budget is $350,000, Nanna said, a combination of funding from the municipalities it covers and fundraising.

Zelienople's fire department received $143,000 this year from the borough for operating expenses, according to the borough's budget. The fire department also brings in about $40,000 a year from fundraising and $10,000 from a rescue fund drive, which goes toward capital expenses, said Zelienople assistant chief Scott Garing.

"We haven't even started touching the financials," Garing said. "We want to get some progress forward before discussing finances."

He pointed out that a combined department would have six fire engines.

"There's absolutely no need for six fire engines if we consolidate," Garing said.

Volunteer firefighters spend at least 60 percent of their available time fundraising, according to an October 2013 state Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee report, but only 20 percent of citizenry donates to a fire company. State officials said there are about 50,000 volunteer firefighters in Pennsylvania today, compared to 300,000 in 1976.

"It's been a long time in the process," Garing said of a merger. "We've been tossing this around for 20 years."

It's the second such merger possibility in Butler County within the last year. Three fire companies formed a Butler Township fire department.

Butler Township Volunteer Fire District 3 Chief Toby Wehr said his department's merger went well, but he cautioned the Harmony-Zelienople group that there many issues to deal with. Even the color scheme of the new Butler Township department's trucks and a uniform patch had to be discussed and approved.

During the new organization's fundraiser this year, Wehr said, many people didn't know the companies had merged, so the department will work to educate residents.

"You can't forget what history came before," Wehr said.

Garing said some people involved in the Zelienople-Harmony talks have spoken to Butler Township representatives.

"It went pretty well," Brady said of the merger. "I think they made the right decision. You have to decide whether you're going to drive the bus or get run over by it. They chose to control their own destiny."

A task force committee meeting will be held at 8 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Harmony Fire Station, 543 Main St., Harmony.
BILL VIDONIC, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

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October 20, 2014
Hallucinating Man Steals LAFD Ambulance - CA

A man being treated by paramedics stole a Los Angeles Fire Department ambulance and led police on a chase that ended in a traffic collision, sending two women to the hospital Sunday night.

Paramedics responded to a medical call in the 200 block of North San Pedro street in downtown L.A. about 6:30 p.m., and then the man drove off in the ambulance, according to the LAFD's Katherine Main.

The paramedics were not in the ambulance at the time, Main said.

A fire engine also responding to the original call reported the stolen ambulance, Los Angeles police said.

Officers then began a pursuit that ended when the ambulance crashed into a vehicle at the intersection of Beverly Boulevard and Union Avenue about 7:15, according to Sgt. Gia Rueda of the LAPD.

Two women in the car were taken to a hospital with minor injuries, Rueda said.

The suspect, whose name was not released, was taken into custody at the Rampart Station.
Julie Cart / Source: Los Angeles Times

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October 20, 2014
Fire truck hose strikes bicyclist and cars - OH Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

One person was hurt when a Toledo Fire truck lost a hose while driving on an emergency run. The 150 foot attack hose somehow became loose and struck three cars and a bicyclist 4:30pm on Hawley near Indiana.

Fire officials say Engine 9 was rushing to a house fire with its lights and sirens on when the hose became loose and trailed behind.

The hose wrapped under three cars southbound cars and it also yanked off a bicycle tire off its frame, throwing the man to the ground.

The bicyclist was a Toledo man in his 50's. He was taken to the hospital with scrapes and a broken leg.

"It may have hit a bump down the road here and lost one of its attack lines came off the back," said Battalion Chief Bryce Blair. "Unfortunately the hose appears to have hit a bicyclist, that wrapped the bike and brought the bicyclist to the ground."

Drivers tell us they could not believe what had happened.

"The hose was hanging probably 20-25 feet behind it, wagging back and forth," said Tim Stevenson, whose work van was struck. "First thing that came to my mind was 'oh my God' this is gonna hit me."

Crews inside the rig didn't realize what had happened until someone called 911.

Fire officials say this is rare and happens once in a blue moon. There's no word yet on how fast the rig was traveling.

The accident is under investigation by Toledo Police.

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October 20, 2014
Fire at camp in Prentiss sends eight firefighters, state trooper to hospital - MA

Authorities are investigating the cause of a fire at a camp in Prentiss that sent eight firefighters and a state trooper to the hospital Sunday morning.

“It was determined that meth (methamphetamine) had nothing to do with the fire. It was not a meth lab,” said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

The fire in a camp on Tucker Ridge Road in the Penobscot County township was reported early Sunday morning, but by the time fire crews arrived, the occupants had fled, McCausland said.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office reported that the fire was very smoky and seemed to be emitting fumes that made emergency workers ill. Everyone was treated at a local hospital and released.

The fire started in the kitchen.
By Dennis Hoey Staff Writer /

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October 20, 2014
Bystanders delay help by sending firefighters in wrong direction - AZ

Bystanders waved down crews on the way to an eastside house fire Saturday, and pointed them in the wrong direction, delaying their arrival on the scene.

Firefighters were dispatched at 12:30 p.m. to a home in the 3500 block of South Austin Place near the intersection of East Stella and South Kolb roads.

“Crews were responding to the scene and getting close to the dispatch address, which was in a cul-de-sac, when several bystanders — between six and 10 — waved at the engine company, pointing in a different direction,” Capt. Barrett Baker, spokesman for the Tucson Fire Department, said in a news release. “This took place at a T in the road with two directions possible. The two closest units split up, one following the directions of the bystanders, one going to the dispatch address. The bystanders were incorrect in this case and the engine company immediately radioed to all other units to proceed to the dispatch address.

“The more information the better for responding crews but the information has to be accurate,” Baker said. “Bystanders, trying to help, actually delayed the crews in this case.”

Before crews arrived, the residents of the duplex — a 57-year-old grandfather, a couple in their 30s and their three children, ages 3, 6 and 13 — had evacuated, Baker said.

Once on scene, firefighters saw heavy smoke coming from the rear of a duplex. Hose lines were pulled into the unit and firefighters began extinguishing the flames. They were able to confine the fire to one unit.

While crews on the inside were extinguishing the fire, a ladder crew was on the roof cutting a hole to vent the smoke and heat, Baker said.

It took nine units and 23 firefighters 16 minutes to bring the blaze under control.

One of the residents told investigators her children were in the backyard when they saw smoke coming from a storage room.

“She opened the door and saw fire in the room and immediately began getting her kids and getting out of the home,” Baker said.

Investigators determined the fire was accidental, Baker said. It started in dryer vent in an exterior laundry room.

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October 19, 2014
Fire Co. Facing Foreclosure - PA

KULPMONT -- The U.S. government is foreclosing on the East End Fire Co., its captain says, and firefighters are scrambling to save what they can.

Company trustees haven't been able to pay the mortgage on the ill-fated social hall for the past 15 months, and have fallen behind by $36,728 on a federal loan, according to Captain Matt Siko.

The $674,800 loan has an interest rate of 4 percent, and the final installment wasn't due until 2050. The U.S. Department of Agriculture was expected to begin foreclosure Oct. 8, Siko said, citing information shared at a fire hall meeting Oct. 7. Nothing had been filed at the county courthouse as of Friday.

Multiple attempts to seek comment from company trustees were unsuccessful. A USDA spokesperson provided no specific insight when asked for details about the status of the East End's loan and the possibility of foreclosure.

"I can only confirm that East End Fire Co. is behind on their loan payments and that we are working with them to ensure that they are able to make prompt payment on their USDA loans," Dawn Bonsell, public affairs specialist, said Friday by e-mail.

Trustees used the company's truck room and some equipment as collateral for the loan taken in 2010 to build the 5,000-square-foot social hall, bar and banquet facility at Chestnut and Eighth streets. Firefighters were promised that wouldn't happen, Siko said, and were shocked to learn this summer the company's future is in jeopardy.

The social hall opened in 2012 and may close permanently.

A lot to lose

The East End's engine is borough-owned and a majority of the firefighting equipment belongs to the Volunteer Firemen's Relief Association, Siko said, and all of that is safe.

But the truck room itself along with the emergency squad apparatus used on medical calls and a utility vehicle could all be lost. The loan agreement allows for immediate possession of the collateral. That would leave the engine and the 25 active firefighters that operate it without a station.

"We primarily need the equipment protected, and the secondary need is a roof over our head," Siko said.

A list of public safety equipment was sent to the USDA in the hope that it will be removed from the collateral list, and firefighters have retained an attorney for advice on how to save the company. According to Siko, foreclosure could be finalized in as little as six months.

Options are sought for company firefighters to keep the firehouse, and it hasn't been lost on them that borough council is looking for a new building. There is a common denominator: the USDA is involved with both entities. But Siko said there has been no formal discussion about pitching the building to council members.

Help has also been sought from state and federal lawmakers.

"The firefighters have been working tirelessly figuring out what we're going to do," Siko said Oct. 10. "It's hard. There's a lot of us old-timers who grew up in the firehouse and this could be the end."

The East End is also behind $3,935 on its insurance, which could be lost by Wednesday.

The social hall was built for $830,900 using USDA loans and grants. A breezeway connects it to the truck room, which was built in 1991.

Fund drive for public safety only

The East End Fire Co. continues to respond to emergencies. It and the West End Fire Company make up the Kulpmont Fire Department. The department's fund drive is under way and is conducted strictly by mail. Siko stressed all money raised will go toward public safety.

"We're worried from a fire department standpoint that we'll take a hit with the community thinking the money will go to the bar, which is simply not the case," Siko said.
Eric Scicchitano On Oct 18, 2014 / Source: The News-Item, Shamokin, Pa.

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October 19, 2014

Six Long Beach firefighters were injured two of them requiring hospitalization as they battled two separate fires Saturday.

The first took place around 3:30 a.m. and caused extensive damage to the Long Beach Maytag Home Appliance Center at 967 E. Fourth St. as well as the adjacent Bond’s building, said Jake Heflin, spokesman for the fire department.

While fighting the blaze one firefighter received minor burns and was treated and released at the scene. Later that day, two other firefighters reported blistering on their ears related to the fire. They sought treatment.

No other person was hurt in the fire but one dog was killed and a second injured. Long Beach Animal Care and Control was called for the second dog. Both animals were inside the Maytag building, but Heflin said they did not belong to the owner of the business.

The second fire erupted around 1:45 p.m. when several motorists driving along the southbound 405 Freeway near Atlantic Avenue called 911 to report heavy smoke billowing across the roadway.

Firefighters fought the fire at the two-story home on 550 E. 32nd Street, but the flames had already engulfed much of the first and second floors, Heflin said.

One firefighter suffered second-degree burns to his leg and had to be taken to a hospital. A second firefighter was also taken to the emergency room for a twisted ankle. A third firefighter sustained second-degree burns to the palm of his hand. He was under medical care but was not taken to the hospital.

Three people, a man, his adult son and their tenant, were displaced by the house fire. They were not hurt in the blaze.

Both fires are under investigation.

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October 19, 2014
Man arrested for defacing 9/11 memorial in Brooklyn - NY

(CBS New York)

Police are questioning a suspect in the vandalism of a Brooklyn 9/11 memorial to fallen first responders, officials said Saturday.

The nutjob smeared white paint over the name of Police Officer Moira Smith and circled her image on MCU Park’s Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance in Coney Island about 2:35 p.m. Friday.

“I had no idea what was going on,” said Jim Smith, a retired police officer who was married to Moira Smith.

“You wonder if it’s a directed attack, somebody trying to send a message.”

Cops released surveillance footage of the disheveled suspect Friday, but mistook him for a woman.

Elliot Baez, 58, was arrested Saturday and charged with criminal mischief.

Images of every first responder killed on 9/11 are displayed on the memorial wall.

“It looks like they’ll be able to remove all the damages,” Smith said.

“It’s sad to see and I feel bad for all the plaques that were damaged.”

Smith said cops told him Baez was deranged and had no agenda against his wife or other 9/11 victims.

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October 19, 2014
International recalls fire trucks after deadly crash - MT

BOZEMAN, Mont. — A company that manufactures drivetrains for International fire engines has issued a recall after Montana authorities concluded a faulty drivetrain was responsible for a fatal crash that killed six people outside Helena.

The recall notice says the driveshaft may separate and cause the axle to lock if a double Cardan joint seizes up.

The recall by Navistar Inc. is for International 4800 trucks built between June 1999 and May 2002 that are equipped with Fabco TC-200 transfer cases.

A remedy for the problem is still under development, the recall notice said. Dealers will disconnect the joint and owners will be notified when a permanent solution is available.

Three Forks Fire Chief Todd Rummel was driving a 2002 International fire engine from Helena to Three Forks on U.S. Highway 12 on June 19 when the drivetrain, which powers the wheels, failed, Montana Highway Patrol investigators said in August.

The failure caused one of the wheels to lock up and the fire engine veered into an oncoming pickup truck carrying a family of five, striking it head-on in a fiery collision.

There were no survivors. Killed in the pickup truck were Matthew Boegli, Crystal Ross and their three young children.

The Navistar recall was issued two weeks after the highway patrol released its findings.

Navistar spokesman Steve Schrier said Navistar issued the recall after conducting its own investigation, KWYB-TV reported.

The company found five other incidents besides the Montana crash since 2008 that prompted them to issue the recall, he said.

Boegli was found to have methamphetamine in his system at the time of the crash, according to toxicology reports. Montana authorities said the drugs did not play a role in the crash, and that Boegli had attempted to swerve from the fire engine's path.
The Associated Press

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October 17, 2014
Department will Fix Apparatus Damaged at Blaze - PA

The Erie Bureau of Fire is developing plans to get two front-line fire trucks damaged in a Sunday morning blaze repaired as quickly as possible, Fire Chief Tony Pol said today.

Tower 1, a 1999 KME, and Engine 8, a 2013 KME, both received heat damage while city firefighters were fighting a fire that destroyed three houses and damaged some others in the 100 block of Lighthouse Street early Sunday morning. A resident of the house where the fire originated, Hally Servidio, 61, died in the blaze.

Pol said Tower 1 received more serious thermal damage, including melted marker lights, scorched paint and burned hoses and seals. Officials are making plans to send it to a KME dealer near Buffalo for repairs sometime next week, he said.

Tower 1 is out of service, Pol said. Crews are using Tower 2 as the bureau's front-line tower truck.

The damage to Engine 8 isn't as extensive. Some of the paint was taken off and some marker lights on the back melted, Pol said. Engine 8 remains in service but will be repaired, he said.

There were no other major problems in fighting the fire, and no firefighter suffered significant injuries, Pol said.

The cause of Sunday's fire will be left as undetermined. Investigators could not pinpoint an official cause because "everything was destroyed" in the blaze, Chief Fire Inspector Guy Santone said.

Investigators have ruled out foul play, however, Santone said.
Tim Hahn / Source: Erie Times-News, Pa.

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October 17, 2014


I happened to be in Detroit last night and rather than documenting a fire or two or three in a blazing single family dwelling, I stumbled into something uniquely Detroit--a brick-pitching from above that fractured the windshield of Squad 3 and had it hit a bit a bit to the west, could have seriously injured the boss, Lt. Mike Nevin.

The fire to which they were responding was minor, so after being released, they headed back to East Grand Boulevard with the Detroit Police to look at the situation.

Officials surmised that persons unknown rained down projectiles for most of the night on unsuspecting motorists on East Grand Boulevard, driving by the old abandoned Packard automobile plant--a hulking three square block rotting complex that is symbolic of all that is wrong with the Motor City.

Around 4 a.m., the Justin Verlander wannabes on the roof of the complex thought they hit the mother lode when a large fire truck with lights and sirens passed beneath. The lieutenant had his side window open and a millisecond or two later, he might have been in bad shape medically, although some said later that a bunch of stitches to the face might have been an improvement. Nothing like firehouse humor to help you cope with the grim consequences of just doing your job.

While looking at my images later, I'm reminded that while a photo of a Detroit single family dwelling fully involved might be striking, it is simply run-of-the-mill for these guys. A flame filled frame might be more exciting visually, but the photos of a street full of bricks, the investigating officers and a few firefighters reflecting on the reality of facing a whole bunch of danger for little in return, mirrors a responder's real life in the Motor City with a poignant directness.

The deeper story of the Detroit Fire Department lies in the crap they face day-to-day, and quite honestly, a fully involved dwelling is more routine than possibly losing your boss to some drug-high moron who wants to prove his manhood by bombarding innocent residents with the wrath of his drug-addled fury. Come on, who else would inhabit the upper floors of the decrepit Packard factory at this time of night?

The Detroit police were great--on the scene rapidly and after viewing the broken layer of bricks and chipped coping on the street, would have deployed into the depths of the fracturing remains of what once made America great if there was any hope of collaring the gentleman or two who tried to kill a Detroit firefighter on a stormy night in October.

And, Detroit's firefighters are not alone in this suffering because thousands of inner-city responders in large cities across the country can tell stories like this as well.

While the DFD fans' fire photos are dramatic reminders of the fact that Detroit is still, after all these years, burning, we must keep in mind the back story--hundreds of battle-weary Detroit firefighters that have no problem tackling the red devil, but are seriously concerned about ending their glorious careers with a dirty half-brick to the head.

And Devil's night is only two weeks away.

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October 17, 2014

Despite the burgeoning Ebola epidemic, the Chicago Fire Department has never “fit-tested” its 4,645 firefighters and paramedics to make certain that disposable face masks used to protect them from fluid transmissions are properly sealed.

The Massachusetts manufacturer of the N95 respirator recommends — and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration demands — that first responders be tested annually to make certain the mask fits tightly enough to filter out small particles.

The tighter the fit, the more resistant the mask is to bodily fluids, which is how Ebola is transmitted.

But until the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 sounded the alarm this week, the Fire Department had distributed masks without fit-testing any of its employees.

“I can’t say who dropped the ball, but we’re taking this very seriously. You have to have a solid seal to prevent permeation. This is an obvious concern to all first responders because we will be the first ones to initiate patient contact,” union President Tom Ryan said Thursday.

“It is my job to protect those who protect the public. I brought this to the attention of the commissioner and they have begun a process to start fit-testing the entire department. . . . We have to coordinate the testing of 5,000 people. It’s an undertaking, but I think we can do it. The quicker we can get this done, the quicker we’re as protected as we can be.”

In an email, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said, “The mask that would be used in suspected Ebola cases, the N95, is already provided on all ambulances and fire vehicles. The mask is only manufactured in one size, and is easily adjusted to fit each individual. They are one-use items, which are disposed of after use and replaced.

“We are giving our members detailed instructions on how to put the masks on and how to adjust them,” he said. “In addition we will begin checking all paramedics to ensure they understand the adjust procedure and we will have them actually demonstrate that they know how to do it. We will do this with all paramedics first and then we will do the same for firefighters as well.”

Ronald Gerson is the president of Louis M. Gerson Co. in Middleboro, Massachusetts, which manufactures the masks used by the Chicago Fire Department.

Gerson said fit-testing takes about 10 minutes and uses a kit that includes a saccharine particle spray. If the cup-shaped mask — with a nose clip, two head straps and exhalation valve — is not tight-fitting, the user will taste the saccharine.

“Fit-testing is an OSHA requirement. It should be done once a year to determine whether a proper seal is achievable by the user,” Gerson said.

“A tight fit is important to filter out small particles. It also reduces the risk of exposure to liquid contamination. If a person doesn’t have a proper fit, they’re not going to get the rated protection. . . . We provide products that meet government regulations, but it’s an employers responsibility to [make sure they fit]. An employer could be at risk if they are not complying with OSHA regulations.”

Veteran paramedic Pat Fitzmaurice was livid about the testing oversight. It comes just weeks after Local 2 filed a grievance to protest the Fire Department’s decision to remove self-contained breathing apparatus from all 75 Chicago ambulances.

“If we have contact with a patient with the flu or someone contaminated with the Ebola virus and that person sneezes or coughs into the face of a paramedic whose mask didn’t fit properly, we would stand the risk of being infected,” Fitzmaurice said.

“In my 39 years on the department, this is beyond the pale of negligence on their part. It shows the department has no concept of how to run an EMS system,” he said. “They just don’t get it. If it’s not burning, it’s not important.”

The City Council hearings to test Chicago’s preparedness for the Ebola epidemic will be chaired by Ald. George Cardenas (12th), chairman of the Committee on Health and Environmental Protection.

Cardenas said Thursday the death of a patient in Dallas and transmission of the disease to two nurses who treated Thomas Eric Duncan demands that the “strengths and weaknesses” of Chicago’s preparedness for a similar outbreak be tested.

“We want to get ahead of this situation to avoid reactionary hearings,” Cardenas was quoted as saying in a news release.

“Ebola is in the U.S. and we need to have a protocol in place. The death of the patient in Dallas and the nurse who was allowed to travel and later diagnosed with Ebola elevates the urgency of these hearings,” he said in the release.

It’s the second time in a week that the City Council has jumped into the Ebola fray.

Two influential aldermen — Finance Committee Chairman Edward Burke (14th) and Aviation Committee Chairman Mike Zalewski (23rd) — want to set up screening facilities at O’Hare and Midway, bankrolled by the airlines, to test for a broad range of infectious diseases including Ebola, swine-flu, SARS, hantavirus, measles, MRSA and tuberculosis.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has withheld judgment on the demand for broader screening. He’s more focused on the more limited federal screening of West African passengers that got underway at O’Hare on Thursday.

Passengers arriving from three African nations hardest hit by Ebola — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea — are required to fill out a questionnaire and have their temperature taken with a device described as a “gun-like, non-contact thermometer.”

Those found to have a fever or symptoms of possible Ebola exposure will be evaluated further by a CDC quarantine station public official and, if needed, be referred to a hospital, where they would be treated in an isolated private room.

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October 17, 2014
Firefighter injured in Shaw fire - MO

Firefighters overhauling



ST. LOUIS – One firefighter was injured Thursday fighting a two-alarm fire at a four-family home in the Shaw neighborhood Thursday morning.

The fire started at the home in the 3900 block of De Tonty Street around 11:30 a.m.

Firefighters say they had a "bad hydrant," meaning water pressure wasn't coming out of it. Trucks had to go to the other side of Interstate 44 to hook up to a working water supply to fight the fire in the two-story brick building. The fire started in the basement and heavily damaged the home.

Authorities say an elderly man was inside the home when the fire started. He smelled something electrical and called firefighters.

The St. Louis Fire Department said in a tweet one firefighter suffered a hand injury and was urgently transported to an area hospital.

The seven occupants of the building have been displaced. The Red Cross is helping them.
Brandie Piper, KSDK

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October 16, 2014
Ladder One town hall meeting turns heated - NY

ALBANY, N.Y. – A town hall meeting intended to discuss the proposed closure of Ladder One ended early after many in attendance started yelling across the room.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan held a town hall-style meeting in the John Howe Library in the South End neighborhood to present the 2015 budget. In the budget, Sheehan proposed taking a ladder truck out of commission.

Ladder One serves Albany's South End, but she said its closure would reduce firefighters' overtime and save the city $1.2 million. Firefighters and their union were in attendance and opposed that suggestion. They said it would increase response times.

Many residents at the meeting agreed.

“I'm scared,” Vanessa Epps said.

Attendees struggled to ask questions and Sheehan wasn't given an opportunity to respond, so common council member Vivian Kornegay ended the meeting early.

“This meeting has gotten us nowhere,” she said. “We have no answers. We've yelled and screamed at each other.”

Bob Powers is the president of the firefighters union.

“We are concerned about the public safety for the residents, the visitors and our members,” he said.

Powers said he and other union members are going to sit with Sheehan next week to discuss an alternate plan that would cut overtime and save Ladder One.

“We're going to be talking with the union about changes: operational changes that might result in us being able to have more equipment available,” Sheehan said.
By Amy Cutler /

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October 16, 2014
Five FFs Sidelined as IAFF Rejects Incentive - NY

Just a week after the Lockport Common Council voted to lay off nine employees, members of the Lockport Professional Firefighters Association union voted against accepting a retirement incentive.

And that led to approval of a last-minute resolution to lay off five firefighters during Wednesday's Common Council meeting.

The firefighter union voted unanimously Tuesday against the incentive offer that was presented in writing Oct. 10 by Mayor Anne McCaffrey.

"The mayor made it clear on Oct. 6 that this was a take it or leave it deal not subject to negotiation," Kevin Watier said. "If we refused, she was going to layoff five more firefighters."

He said 35 of 38 union members were present, including all members who face "these threatened layoffs."

"The membership feels that if the mayor wants contractual changes she should negotiate them and not resort to extortion," Watier said.

The city offered an incentive for up to five members to take who have worked in the department for more than 20 years. Those members must provide written notice of their intent to retire by Monday and retire by Nov. 20.

Those who wished to retire would receive an incentive payment of $1,000 per year for each year they served. The maximum incentive payment to each member is $30,000. Those payment and contractually mandated leave time would be made to the retiring member over a four to 10 year period.

Payments would begin in March 2015 and continue to be paid each March.

Eligible members taking the incentive and their spouse, as of Oct. 15, would continue to receive fully paid medical insurance from the city until they become Medicare eligible.

In exchange, the incentive parameters would require the fire department to remove the manning clause from their collective bargaining agreement and end all pending arbitrations, grievances and court cases regarding manning, staffing and equipment usage.

The city would also withdraw its application to stay arbitration pending in Niagara County Supreme Court.

This is the third retirement incentive offered by the city.

When the city was notified about the union's decision, the council decided to act immediately on the layoffs. An emergency fire board meeting was also called for Wednesday night.

"The Council and I believe this would have been a win, win for the city and the union," McCaffrey said. "The city would have been able to reduce the number of firemen to the desired level of eight men per platoon and eliminate grievances. The union would have been able to obtain up to a $30,000 incentive for up to five firefighters as well fully paid health insurance for the firefighter as well as the spouse to age 55 and maintain employment for the firefighters with fewer years of service."

McCaffrey also addressed comments made "many times over the past few months" by firefighters who stated she refused to negotiate the contract with the firefighter union. She said she wanted to make it clear that shortly after taking office, the union declared an impasse, meaning the union feels they were too far apart from the city to come to an agreement on their own. This issue will be mediated in November, in hopes contract negotiations can continue.

Before the council vote, several members of the public questioned the procedure of Wednesday's decision, stating normally the fire board acts, then makes a recommendation to the Common Council. Then the council votes.

Corporation Counsel John Ottaviano said the city's charter or state law does not indicate an order of how these actions should be done. The council is tasked at amending the budget as needed and the fire board is tasked with the hiring and firing of the department and must decide which five employees will be laid off and when their last day will be. Neither can be completed without the other, Ottaviano said.

According to the resolution passed, the five layoffs are effective immediately. These layoffs come at a time when the city is working to fix its fiscal hardships and balance the 2014 budget.

The Common Council unanimously passed the resolution.

The fire board met in executive session Wednesday night but took no action concerning the layoffs.

Like the layoffs from earlier this month, the employees would receive two weeks paid employment as severance.
Rikki Cason / Source: Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, N.Y.

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October 16, 2014
Mercy ambulance crashes in Springfield - MO

SPRINGFIELD, MO. - A crash involving an ambulance and a pickup slowed traffic on Tuesday afternoon near Sunshine Street at Jefferson Avenue. The westbound ambulance had no patient on board when it ran into the back of the pickup at the traffic signal in front of Sunshine Elementary School.

The crash happened around 3:30 p.m. Sonya Kullman, a spokeswoman for Mercy, said one of the EMTs on the ambulance was treated at the hospital for minor injuries.

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October 16, 2014
Van ran into Danville ambulance - PA

DANVILLE — A woman suffered an arm injury when she pulled out in front of a Danville ambulance Tuesday morning in Danville, according to police.

Police said a Danville ambulance was heading west on Center Street from Geisinger Medical Center when an Odyssey minivan struck the bottom side of the right box of the ambulance.

The accident at 7:30 a.m. resulted in part of the bumper being ripped off the minivan, operated by Salma Mustafa, 52, of 106 Woodland Drive.

She told Patrolman Jacob Walker she would seek treatment for an arm injury.

Nobody from the ambulance crew was injured.

Walker said Mustafa was on Cherry Street and pulled into the path of the ambulance.

The vehicles were moved to the lot of the Goodwill Hose Company while Walker investigated.

Walker said Mustafa will be cited for a stop sign violation.

Danville fire police assisted with traffic control.
by Karen Blackledge /

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October 16, 2014
Omaha woman punches paramedic treating her after accident - NE

OMAHA, Nebraska — Omaha police have arrested a woman who they say punched a paramedic in the face at the scene of a traffic accident.

Police say the 25-year-old woman was arrested on Sunday and faces a charge of felony assault of a health-care worker. They say the suspect was being treated when she punched the Omaha Fire Department paramedic.

Officers used a stun gun on the woman before her arrest.

No other details about the crash or the altercation were released.

She is being held at the Douglas County jail. Online records didn't indicate bond.

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October 16, 2014

Five firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling a two-alarm fire Wednesday morning at a building in Brooklyn.

The FDNY responded to the call at about 8:30 a.m. at 781 Washington Avenue, a 7-story residential building in Prospect Heights.

The fire was placed under control about 90 minutes later, with about 100 firefighters responding.

The blaze broke out on the fourth floor of the building.

One civilian was taken to Cornell Hospital for a minor injury.

Residents, many of them elderly, said that because there is no central fire alarm in the building, it was a miracle that they got out.

Conditions in a third floor hallway became unbearable in a matter of minutes.

"No alarm, the alarm don't ring, the alarm started ringing when everybody was out already," said resident Angelita Rivera.

"The hallway was literally, you could not see your hand in front of your face. Also very heavy heat conditions, they were faced with adverse conditions and they got separated in that confusion up in the hallway," said Assistant FDNY Chief James Leonard.

Adding to the confusion, firefighters say, was that there is some renovation going on in the building and they weren't that familiar with the situation in the hallway.

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October 16, 2014

Victoria's pink firetruck, Debbie, is a little shaken up after a minor wreck Tuesday evening, but is eager to get back on the road.

Debbie was heading out of Port Lavaca toward the Victoria Chick-fil-A to help students on the Victoria East and West high school swim teams raise awareness about breast cancer.

The teams came together to raise money to give to school district employees facing cancer, said Victoria West Booster Club treasurer Tammy Murphy. They had planned to sell their Breaststroke 4 Hope T-shirts during Family Night at Chick-fil-A.

Debbie, unfortunately never made it to the event.

The pink firetruck was northbound on Farm-to-Market Road 1090 about 5:30 p.m., when she left the roadway in an attempt to avoid colliding with a vehicle, said Calhoun County Sheriff George Aleman. The truck hit some mud and tipped over.

The driver, Victoria firefighter Timothy Dodge was unharmed.

Debbie, however, sustained minor damage and is in need of a new windshield and tires, said Wendell Geigle, firefighter and member of the Guardians of the Ribbon Inc.

Guardians of the Ribbon Inc. is a nonprofit movement that teaches neighborhoods how to raise money in their communities for their communities. The pink firetrucks signify the group's mission to put women first in the battle against cancer.

The organization doesn't take in monetary donations, but if someone were to donate new tires, Geigle said he'd gladly accept.

"We don't have a lot of funds, but we'll work it out somehow," Geigle said, eager to get Debbie back on the road in time to attend upcoming pink out football events hosted by Victoria East and Calhoun high schools.

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October 16, 2014
Ambulance Squad Lays Off Two - PA

CLIFTON TWP. -- Amid ongoing discussions on how to improve ambulance response time and coverage in North Pocono, Gouldsboro Ambulance squad laid off two full-time employees as they struggle with finances.

On Tuesday, Gouldsboro Ambulance Volunteer President Ruth Filer said the company's two full-time employees will now be paid $25 per call from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. instead of an hourly wage. Part-time Saturday and Sunday squad members will be paid $9 per hour, she said.

"We will not leave you uncovered," said Ms. Filer.

She made the announcement at a meeting Wednesday where Clifton, Lehigh and Thornhurst townships representatives and emergency service companies in the North Pocono area discussed better response time for ambulances and how to help out the struggling GouldsboroAmbulance squad.

Township representatives and emergency first responders started meeting in August to "try to understand the issue and concerns" and to "look at resources," said Clifton Twp. Supervisor June Ejk.

The discussion began after Gregory Cello from Big Bass Lake called 911 shortly after 8 p.m. in June and waited for more than a half hour for the Gouldsboro Ambulance Squad. A Pennsylvania Ambulancedriver from Dunmore was the first to respond and got Mr. Cello to Regional Hospital around 9:45 p.m.

Clifton and Lehigh boards of supervisors have met to address the growing number of complaints about Gouldsboro ambulance delays and dropped calls. The townships have also researched alternatives like private ambulance services and Gouldsboro Volunteer Fire Company absorbing the ambulance operation.

The reality is there is a lack of volunteers, said Glen Martin, Lehigh Twp. chairman.

Gouldsboro Fire President Carol Rinaldi brought up combining the fire company and ambulance squad.

She said the two were once one entity and they'd like to see the services stay in the area.

The next step, she said, is for the ambulance and fire company to sit down together and discuss a potential merger.

"We need to all sit down and bring everything to the table," she said. "Whether its going to happen or not, we need to discuss it."

Thornhurst Supervisor Joseph Grab also brought up an intertownship authority, like a sewer authority, that would pool assets and govern emergency services.

"Nobody cares whose name is on the ambulance when it shows up at the door," he said.

Some of the Gouldsboro Ambulance Squad financial problems came from the squad not receiving payments from insurance companies. Ms. Filer said they're owed $90,000 from secondary insurance companies sending bills to patients instead of the company. But they've recently hired a new collection agency to begin getting back that money. In the past three weeks, they've collected $600, she said.

Of the 391 calls they received in 2014 so far, 53 were dropped, Gouldsboro Ambulance Capt. Kathleen Knecht said.
Kathleen Bolus / Source: The Times-Tribune

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October 16, 2014
Ambulance, Fire Truck Collide in Montgomery County - MD

A fire truck and ambulance collided in Montgomery County Thursday, sending seven people to the hospital. It happened on Aspen Hill Road and Parland Drive in Rockville. The intersection was shut down through the evening commute. As News4's Zachary Kiesch reports, neighbors say accidents here are all too common.

A Montgomery County firefighter was seriously injured when a fire truck and ambulance crashed into each other while responding to a hazardous materials situation Thursday afternoon.

The crash occurred at Parkland Drive and Aspen Hill Road in Rockville.

The fire truck and ambulance were coming from different stations.

Five firefighters were evaluated and released; two others were being treated. One is in serious condition.

The road is closed during the investigation.

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October 16, 2014
FDNY dispatchers forbidden from saying 'Ebola' on radio - NY

NEW YORK — City officials are so worried about causing widespread Ebola panic that 911 dispatchers have been forbidden from the dropping any "E-bombs" over the radios.

NY Post reported that an FDNY memo instructed all personnel to use more vague terms when discussing the deadly disease.

"At no point shall a dispatcher transmit over the radio any message containing the word 'Ebola' or related terminology," according to the memo.

Dispatchers instead must use the code letters "F/T," as in fever/travel, to indicate that a 911 caller has a fever and history of travel to West Africa.

"Engine XXX, utilize Universal Precautions — you are responding to a F/T incident," dispatchers are now ordered to say.

The directive is meant to minimize fear of a citywide outbreak since emergency radio channels are monitored by members of the media, according to the report.

"Just like you can't say bomb on an airplane, we can't say Ebola," a source said.

The disease has killed one man in Dallas, and two nurses who treated him contracted the disease despite taking precautionary measures.

FDNY medics who respond to at-risk patients have been told to wear polyethylene-coated paper gowns, gloves and face masks with plastic eye visors, officials said.

"We have now had about 133 calls since July concerning patients with possible Ebola symptoms," Dr. Jay K. Varma, deputy commissioner of the department, said. "And all 133 are false alarms."
By FireRescue1 Staff

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October 16, 2014
Sylvania fire station may close if levy fails - OH

If voters reject a 1.5-mill fire levy on Nov. 4, the Sylvania Township Fire Department may close a fire station.

At Wednesday night’s community forum Fire Chief Jeffrey Kowalski laid out the details of the department’s finances for voters. The forum was hosted by the Sylvania Citizens for Fire Services. It is one of two being held this month to inform citizens about the fire budget.

Chief Kowalski spoke for about 20 minutes, telling a group of about 20 citizens how the department would operate if the levy passes and how it will operate if the levy does not pass. The department serves both Sylvania Township and the City of Sylvania.

The proposed continual 1.5-mill operating levy would collect about $1.8 million annually and would cost the homeowner of a $150,000 house $78 a year. Officials said the levy’s revenue will suffice for seven years. With the department facing a $1.3 million deficit in 2016, the chief said that if voters reject the levy, the department would lay off firefighters and possibly close one of its four fire stations.

Chief Kowalski also directly addressed residents’ concerns during a question-and-answer session. In response to a question about why the department has multiple levies on the books, Chief Kowalski explained that some of the seven continual levies date back to the 1980s. The levies, he said, depreciate over time, requiring the department to go back to voters.

The oldest levy, a 1-mill measure, was first passed in 1976 and renewed in 1982. It is expected to collect $335,000 this year. This year, the fire department expects to take in a little more than $7 million in revenue, while its total expenses are projected to be $8.2 million. The deficit is covered by a carried-over cash reserve that was $2.3 million at the first of the year. Currently the homeowner of a $150,000-valued home pays $240 annually for the seven taxes.

Once voters approve a levy, the revenue it generates never increases, the chief said. Even if a home’s value appreciates, the levy will not bring in more, he said. The proposed levy will never bring in more than a $1.8 million, Administrator John Zeitler explained.

However, if home values depreciate, the levy can collect less money, which is what happened with the 1.25-mill levy of 2008.

“It was supposed to generate $1.86 million, but it only produced $1.5 million,” Chief Kowalski said.

Further, fire officials explained the area’s population has grown 10 percent in the last decade, which means the department’s call volume also is increasing. Since 2004, calls for service increased by 47.6 percent, led by emergency medical incidents.

If the levy passes the department will restore the jobs of three full-time firefighters. In 2003 the department had 62 full-time firefighters, and 57 in 2013.

To save money, the department has stopped replacing equipment.

If the levy passes, the department plans to replace two fire engines and a medic truck, and replace four support vehicles and upgrade an air-supply truck.

“We have two cars that are falling apart because they are rusted,” Chief Kowalski said.

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October 15, 2014
Fire Ebola scare - DC


A D.C. fire engine and ambulance were briefly taken out of service over the weekend due to concerns over possible Ebola contamination. They were later returned to service. Hospital personnel called the crew after they transported the patient.

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October 15, 2014
Departments at Odds Over Response Areas - AL

Lines on a map might seem to provide easy answers to questions like who should put out fires in a certain neighborhood.

But lines on a map are often just that.

Residents of Silver Lakes subdivision find themselves between the lines -- within the police jurisdiction of Glencoe and on the very outskirts of Calhoun County, with tough questions and no easy answers.

A dispute between Glencoe and Big Oak Volunteer Fire Department over who should be covering Silver Lakes is a good example of the confusion around protecting and policing land where county and city jurisdictions overlap.

Todd Kirkland is the assistant fire chief at Big Oak. He's also the president of the Calhoun County Volunteer Fire Department Association. Big Oak is a member of that association and one of 10 volunteer fire departments in the county.

Kirkland says that the Silver Lakes golf course and subdivision, which are just inside Calhoun County lines, have been part of Big Oak's coverage area since the fire department's creation in 1989.

But Silver Lakes is also within Glencoe's police jurisdiction, which stretches a mile and a half outside the city limits. Mayor Pro Tem Danny Wagnon said the city provides police, fire and ambulance services to all of that jurisdiction.

In return, Glencoe collects half of all sales taxes and half the price of a business license in that area.

"We have never attempted to collect fire tax down there," Wagnon said.

Turf Disputed

In December of 2012, Silver Lakes' location led the city -- most of which is within Etowah County -- to try to bring the golf course and subdivision into its fire protection coverage.

"They said they were taking over Silver Lakes, and a few of the roads around there," Kirkland said in an interview Monday.

Like all volunteer fire departments in Calhoun County, Big Oak relies on revenue from fire taxes that are a part of the property taxes that Silver Lakes residents pay to the county.

When Glencoe's volunteer fire department set up a substation with a fire truck to serve Silver Lakes last summer, Big Oak worried that it would eventually lose out on that revenue.

"It was just a matter of time," Kirkland said. "They could have said, 'We provide fire protection and we have a truck, so we deserve that money,'" he said.

So representatives of Big Oak met with Calhoun County 911's board of commissioners in August 2013. The board designates which emergency response agencies in the county respond to calls based on geographic location.

Big Oak asked to be the primary provider of fire protection to the Silver Lakes area, meaning that dispatchers would call that department for emergencies first, cementing its continued receipt of fire tax revenue. The board agreed in July, reversing an earlier decision to make Glencoe the priority responder.

As fast as possible

Kevin Jenkins, director of Calhoun County 911, said it goes back to geography: It's true that the majority of Silver Lakes is within the police jurisdiction of Glencoe, meaning the city can tax and protect the neighborhood as it sees fit.

But Glencoe's Fire Department is a volunteer department, and Jenkins said it wouldn't be giving any extra protection that Big Oak is not already providing.

Also, to receive fire tax funding from Calhoun County, volunteer fire departments must be members of the Calhoun County Volunteer Fire Department Association. Glencoe's department, in another county entirely, is not.

"It can be a confusing issue," Jenkins said, "because you've got different types of emergency services, and different types of protocols for who answers."

Stan Batey has lived in a Silver Lakes subdivision for five years. He says that he and other residents don't really care who responds to their emergencies -- as long as they get there as fast as possible.

"It's about money, probably more so than anything else. But for the public, it's about services," he said. Right now, Batey said that Silver Lakes residents have the best of both worlds.

"We're covered by Glencoe, which is getting sales tax," he said, and "continue to have police patrols and ambulance services from Glencoe. That's what we're concerned about."

Batey, who was a firefighter at Fort McClellan for 12 years, just doesn't want to see the provision of those police and ambulance services revert to the county.

"I've called an ambulance before. It took between 35 and 40 minutes to get here from Anniston," he said. "Glencoe has ambulance services 6 miles from my house. You can see my concern," Batey said.
Zach Tyler / Source: The Anniston Star, Ala.

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October 15, 2014
Houston IAFF Prez Blasts City on Ebola Readiness - TX

The president of the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association said Tuesday he has filed a complaint with the state claiming the city's Fire Department lacks adequate preparations to handle potential Ebola cases here -- a charge city officials immediately denied.

Chris Steele, president of the firefighter union, said at a news conference that the city's first responders have not received adequate training, that they don't have requisite personal protective equipment for treating suspected Ebola cases and that the city doesn't have appropriate protocols in place to handle an actual incident.

"The city does not protect the firefighters," Steele said. "That's why we're here today."

City officials responded with disproval.

City Manager Sheryl Sculley called the union's news conference "a reckless attempt to alarm our community," and Fire Chief Charles Hood said the city has completed significant preparation procedures and has "been as out in front of (an international Ebola crisis) as we possibly can be."

He chided the fire union for its tactics.

"I do think that them putting a scare into the citizens by doing that is irresponsible," Hood said. "If they have concerns or fears, for them to go to the media is not the proper way to do it."

Standing in the cavernous ballroom at the union hall, Steele downplayed the notion that the news conference was a political ploy. This year has been marked by a series of confrontations between first responders and the city over collective bargaining agreements for the fire and police unions.

The San Antonio Police Officers Association has been negotiating its contract since March, but the firefighters union has yet to schedule an initial meeting.

Steele's complaint to State Health Services goes beyond laying out his complaint of lacking education and resources.

He asks for specific, detailed recommendations about required levels of protection for first responders and then concludes his official complaint with a statement that appears political.

"The members of the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association are not interested in being the canaries for the city manager of San Antonio so the city can save a few dollars and continue their consistent lack of preparation," he wrote.

Steele took aim at Sculley during the news conference, saying that because the city held its public safety spending to two-thirds of the general fund, there's less money for HAZMAT training. Emails from the fire brass explaining Ebola protocols aren't sufficient, Steele said.

Steele said he took his concerns to the chief, including that first responders didn't have the appropriate personal protective gear.

Hood, however, said that wasn't the case and added that first responders have had repeated universal training on infectious diseases.

"Chris Steele has made no issue with my office on this," he said. "The thing is we respond to some dangerous things as far as Hepatitis C, HIV, tuberculosis, on a daily basis, so when folks go through paramedic training, EMT training and refresher, they go over universal donning and doffing of their personal protective gear. We wear gloves, we have masks, we have eye protection on calls every single day."

The department did need to acquire protective gowns and booties, Hood said, and that's been done.

Both Steele and Hood separately acknowledged Tuesday that there have been two cases in San Antonio presented as Ebola, though neither turned out to be. Had either been confirmed, Hood said, the ambulance used for transport would have been sequestered and fogged, and the crew would have been put on reserve.

Fears over the virus struck the U.S. in late September when Liberian-born Thomas Eric Duncan became the first patient diagnosed with Ebola on American soil.

Nina Pham, a nurse who cared for him, contracted the virus while treating him.

A nurse in Spain has also been infected by treating a patient there who'd contracted the disease in West Africa.

There have been other Ebola scares since Duncan's diagnosis, though no other cases have been confirmed.

The president of the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association said Tuesday he has filed a complaint with the state claiming the city's Fire Department lacks adequate preparations to handle potential Ebola cases here -- a charge city officials immediately denied.

Chris Steele, president of the firefighter union, said at a news conference that the city's first responders have not received adequate training, that they don't have requisite personal protective equipment for treating suspected Ebola cases and that the city doesn't have appropriate protocols in place to handle an actual incident.

"The city does not protect the firefighters," Steele said. "That's why we're here today."

City officials responded with disproval.

City Manager Sheryl Sculley called the union's news conference "a reckless attempt to alarm our community," and Fire Chief Charles Hood said the city has completed significant preparation procedures and has "been as out in front of (an international Ebola crisis) as we possibly can be."

He chided the fire union for its tactics.

"I do think that them putting a scare into the citizens by doing that is irresponsible," Hood said. "If they have concerns or fears, for them to go to the media is not the proper way to do it."

Standing in the cavernous ballroom at the union hall, Steele downplayed the notion that the news conference was a political ploy. This year has been marked by a series of confrontations between first responders and the city over collective bargaining agreements for the fire and police unions.

The San Antonio Police Officers Association has been negotiating its contract since March, but the firefighters union has yet to schedule an initial meeting.

Steele's complaint to State Health Services goes beyond laying out his complaint of lacking education and resources.

He asks for specific, detailed recommendations about required levels of protection for first responders and then concludes his official complaint with a statement that appears political.

"The members of the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association are not interested in being the canaries for the city manager of San Antonio so the city can save a few dollars and continue their consistent lack of preparation," he wrote.

Steele took aim at Sculley during the news conference, saying that because the city held its public safety spending to two-thirds of the general fund, there's less money for HAZMAT training. Emails from the fire brass explaining Ebola protocols aren't sufficient, Steele said.

Steele said he took his concerns to the chief, including that first responders didn't have the appropriate personal protective gear.

Hood, however, said that wasn't the case and added that first responders have had repeated universal training on infectious diseases.

"Chris Steele has made no issue with my office on this," he said. "The thing is we respond to some dangerous things as far as Hepatitis C, HIV, tuberculosis, on a daily basis, so when folks go through paramedic training, EMT training and refresher, they go over universal donning and doffing of their personal protective gear. We wear gloves, we have masks, we have eye protection on calls every single day."

The department did need to acquire protective gowns and booties, Hood said, and that's been done.

Both Steele and Hood separately acknowledged Tuesday that there have been two cases in San Antonio presented as Ebola, though neither turned out to be. Had either been confirmed, Hood said, the ambulance used for transport would have been sequestered and fogged, and the crew would have been put on reserve.

Fears over the virus struck the U.S. in late September when Liberian-born Thomas Eric Duncan became the first patient diagnosed with Ebola on American soil.

Nina Pham, a nurse who cared for him, contracted the virus while treating him.

A nurse in Spain has also been infected by treating a patient there who'd contracted the disease in West Africa.

There have been other Ebola scares since Duncan's diagnosis, though no other cases have been confirmed.
Josh Baugh / Source: San Antonio Express-News

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October 15, 2014


A tricky fire burning in Bridgeport trapped several Chicago firefighters and two of them ended up in the hospital Sunday afternoon.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports those firefighters are being observed after being trapped in two separate areas while barreling this blaze. Though fortunately there are no significant injuries to report crews say this was a nasty blaze to battle.

Crews described the fire as stubborn and unpredictable. The Bridgeport house fire started in a three flat and spread to two neighboring homes. Members of the Soto family arrived on scene to see their home engulfed in smoke and flames.

“I spoke to everybody by phone then they leave there and everybody was fine,” said Enrique Soto.

The fire was so hot and quick spreading that twice a mayday call was sent out to rescue firefighters trapped batteries g the blaze in two separate incidents.

“As the firefighters entered to put out the fire because it was such a quick spreading fire they moved in too quickly and the fire surrounded them and we had firefighters trapped,” said Chicago Fire Department Cmdr. Jose Santiago.

At least five families have been displaced by the blaze. The fire department says the fire is not suspicious.

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October 15, 2014
Fire department missing calls due to volunteer shortage - PA

COLUMBIA, Pa. — Twice in the past week, one of Columbia's three fire companies didn't respond to a call because of a lack of volunteers, said a top fire official who supports merging the departments.

The two calls to struggling Columbia Consolidated Fire Department turned out to be minor and didn't involve fire, but Chief Scott Ryno, who oversees the three independent companies, said he's taking action to remedy the potential danger. Ryno highlighted Consolidated's problematic call responses at borough council Monday as members discussed how to get the fire department to cooperate with merger talks.

In July, council set an April 1, 2015 deadlinefor merger of Consolidated with Columbia No. 1 and Susquehanna fire companies, but Consolidated has not submitted an agreement. Council voted unanimously Monday to give Consolidated until Oct. 21 to sign an agreement or immediately be put out of service. Merger talks have gone on for six years.
Lancaster Online

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October 14, 2014
Lake George Officials Worried About Lack of Fire Apparatus Drivers - NY

Officials say there is not necessarily a shortage of volunteers willing to fight fires in Lake George, but rather a drought on qualified drivers to get firefighters to the scene.

Mayor Robert Blais has proposed a fix to the driver and pump operator shortage, drawing on the town and village's Department of Public Works crews, which have shared responsibilities after an agreement earlier this year between the two government bodies.

That is Plan B if the Lake George Volunteer Fire Company can not find more volunteers in its membership to take the course and training to become drivers and pump operators.

Volunteer fire officials met last week with Blais, Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson, Deputy Mayor John Earl and Village DPW Supervisor Dave Harrington to discuss what Blais and Dickinson say has been a problem responding to calls during business hours on weekdays when many of the departmentâ??s members are at jobs outside the village.

Dickinson said he counted seven occasions where the Fire Department didn't respond to emergency calls in Lake George.

Dickinson has floated requesting proposals from other neighboring fire departments, which already provide mutual aid.

The town contracts with Warrensburg volunteer firefighters to cover the northern part of the town.

"We have not done anything, but what is suggested is we put it out to bid and see if North Queensbury or Warrensburg or someone else is interested in covering the southern part of Lake George," Dickinson said.

If the town did contract with another department, taxpayers would remain on the hook for paying for construction of the firehouse that was finished in 2009, which the village owns, Dickinson said.

"Truthfully, both the mayor and I are very anxious for the fire company to get themselves back on an even keel here and do whatever they need to do to get the company in good standing and respond to these fires," Dickinson said. "We want them to get back on track here and move on."

Volunteer shortages for fire departments and first responders is a problem all over. In Lake George, Blais said the trouble is a shortage of volunteers who are qualified to drive the firetrucks and operate the pumps when they get to the scene.

Blais estimated the fire company has 40 to 50 members, but of them only five or six can drive the trucks, and most of them work full time out of town during the week.

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October 14, 2014
Paramedic refused to leave man with grenade lodged in his leg - AL

grenade lodged in leg
Cameron Padbury had to put on U.S. Army body armor inside ambulance carrying man with genade in his leg.
(Special to

JASPER, Alabama - For a few hours Saturday morning, Cameron Padbury wasn't sure he would ever see his three young children again.

A paramedic for 18 years, it wasn't the first life-and-death situation the 37-year-old Jasper man found himself in. But it was, by far, one of the most unusual, and one with potentially explosive consequences.

For eight hours and in close quarters, Padbury kept vigil beside his 62-year-old patient, a man with a 40 mm practice grenade lodged in his thigh. Padbury and other paramedics in the parked ambulance outside of UAB's emergency room were told to keep the patient as still as possible or they might not live to see another sunrise.

"It was pretty nerve-wracking. It was an intense experience,'' Padbury said. "From what they were telling us, if he moved the right way it could go off and we could all die."

Padbury, the Walker County supervisor for Regional Paramedic Services, was one of several to take care of the man inside the ambulance while experts decided how best to resolve the problem.

Authorities praised the paramedics, along with the U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal specialist, who would eventually remove the grenade from the victim's leg. The practice grenades, experts said, will fire and travel up to several hundred meters.

"The Jasper paramedics stayed with the guy all night and saved his life,'' said Dave Hyche, a Birmingham supervisor with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. "Had it been a high explosive, it could have taken that ambulance apart."

"It was extremely heroic," Hyche said. "Nobody knew this wasn't live. Removing it could have easily killed everyone there."

Padbury recounted the more than eight-hour ordeal for

It began when Regional Paramedic Services received a call from Walker Baptist Medical Center in Jasper saying they had a patient with object in his leg and he needed transfer to a Level 1 trauma center. The patient, whose name hasn't been released by authorities, had been driven to the hospital by a private vehicle.

"I think my first response was, 'You called me here and he's got explosives in his leg?''' Padbury said.

When paramedics arrived, the man told them a 40 mm grenade went off while it was in his lap. "He thought it was a novelty round,'' Padbury said. "He was taking it apart. As he was twisting, the gunpowder ignited and shot into his thigh."

The hospital had taken x-rays, and workers there believed it was only the casing or shrapnel embedded in the man's thigh. "We felt like he was critical because he had a large object in a dangerous place, it was close to a lot of arteries,'' Padbury said. "I decided to ride with the crew because his blood pressure was low and it was going to be touch-and-go."

Padbury and other paramedics didn't initially see the wound. It already had been treated with a pressure bandage to control the bleeding. Walker Baptist notified UAB to set up the trauma transfer.

As they neared Birmingham, paramedics called UAB to tell them they were about 10 minutes away. That's when they found out there had been a change of plans.

"They had a BPD bomb tech look at the x-ray and he said he was confident it was the actual projectile,'' Padbury said. "You could tell it was the actual grenade."

"They directed us not to come into the ER,'' he said. "They had set up a safe zone outside."

"We parked outside the ER with everything barricaded off,'' Padbury said. "They had us stationed where it would cause minimal damage and no civilian casualties in case it went off. Only those of us in the ambulance might die."

It was about 11 p.m. when they arrived, and that is where they would stay until just before 7 a.m. the following day. As soon as they arrived at the hospital and were briefed on the situation, Padbury ordered his paramedics out of the ambulance.

"I told my crew to get out and go across the street to the safe zone,'' Padbury said.

"But the bomb squad felt it would be in our best interest to have two paramedics in there taking care of the patient," he said. Another Regional Paramedic Services employee, Tim Brown, was already at UAB Hospital from a previous run so he joined Padbury in the ambulance."He sat with me in the truck for several hours," he said.

By this time, law enforcement officials from at least a half dozen agencies were on the scene including Birmingham and Jasper police, ATF, FBI, the State Bureau of Investigation. Both Birmingham police and the SBI had bomb squads on site.

Hyche said authorities spent all night not knowing whether the device was a high explosive grenade. Nobody knew, he said, until the Army specialist removed the device in the ambulance.

Authorities had immediately gotten in touch with the U.S. Army EOD and it was decided a staff sergeant from Fort Benning in Georgia would come to the scene. They first tried to helicopter him in, but it was taking too long to find a pilot and helicopter, Padbury said.

That's when they decided to drive, and the EOD staff sergeant was escorted to Birmingham with a state trooper escort. While they waited, Padbury and Brown talked with the patient.

"He was conscious the whole time. We tried to keep him relaxed as much as we could,'' he said. "At first he was agitated that we couldn't take him into the hospital. He didn't understand the gravity of the situation."

As his agitation grew, so did his movement. "We were having trouble keeping him still,'' Padbury said.

At that point, Padbury told the man why it was important he not move around. "We told him that he really did have an actual grenade in his leg,'' he said. "We were told the only reason it didn't go off was because it didn't rotate enough times or go enough distance."

The man was obviously somber when he heard the news. "He got pretty upset,'' Padbury said. "He understood there was a possibility he might not make it through."

"He asked us to contact his family, and we did. We left messages for them,'' Padbury said. "We also thought some may have made it to UAB by then, so I sent word to me crew to go and try to find them."

Though tense, Padbury said he and the others are used to intense assignments. "When you do this work, there's a switch you have to flip. You find a way to disconnect from the situation,'' he said. "You usually handle it with humor at the time, and then maybe get upset when it's all over and done."

The EOD specialist arrived shortly before dawn. Efforts to obtain his name and reach him for comment weren't successful.

The staff sergeant was a combat medic. "He explained to us what he was going to do,'' Padbury said. "He gave me the option to get out of the ambulance. I wasn't going to leave my patient."

Another one of Padbury's paramedics, Brian Tolbert, had been outside of the ambulance much of the night, handling things for Padbury. As they prepared to remove the grenade, Tolbert joined Padbury and the EOD specialist in the ambulance.

"The EOD gave us body armor to put on inside the ambulance while we removed the object,'' he said. "We stayed with him."

One of the UAB doctors came to the ambulance and made an incision in the man's leg, Padbury said. Calmly and confidently, the staff sergeant removed the grenade by hand, careful to not twist or turn it.

The procedure took 30 to 45 minutes.The device was removed - it was about the size of a half-dollar coin - and was placed in containment.

Padbury said it was a relief when it was over. He had not been able to contact his children overnight, but had gotten several messages to his girlfriend, who also works in EMS, to let her know he was OK.

It was only later he dealt with the emotions that were sure to come. "It was a little upsetting afterwards and I realized I might not have made it home,'' he said. " But everything went fine and nobody got hurt."

"We deal with weird situations all the time,'' he said. "I don't think people realize how often paramedics and firefighters put our lives on the line. But that's part of it, and we know that going in."

As for being called a hero, Padbury downplayed the notion and the title "I don't know about all that,'' he said. "We were just doing our job."
By Carol Robinson |

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October 13, 2014
CSX train crash offers reminder of rail dangers - NY

rail dangers
Emergency personnel respond to a freight train that hit a car carrier on Western Highway in West Nyack, Dec. 6. The tank cars were empty, but had been carrying volatile Bakken crude.
(Photo: Thane Grauel/The Journal News)

The CSX freight train that crashed into a car just north of Bear Mountain last week served as yet another reminder of the danger on the rails.

Sixteen cars on the 121-car train were carrying hazardous materials but none of them left the tracks or spilled any of their contents, which included commercial chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide, sodium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid, CSX said.

There was no Bakken crude oil on board in Wednesday's crash. The volatile liquid has been known to ignite and explode following train derailments or collisions.

Town of Highlands police suspect a 51-year-old Highland Falls woman intentionally parked her 2012 Toyota in front of the train, which was approaching Rockland en route to North Carolina. She drove around gates on Mine Dock Road in Fort Montgomery, Police Chief Jack Quinn said.

The nearly mile-long train was traveling at approximately 30 mph when it hit the car and pushed it back about 350 feet, part of it into a tunnel. It took the train nearly a quarter of a mile to stop. The driver was taken to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla with head injuries.

Quinn said police officers and firefighters are well aware of "the contents of these trains that are going up and down our shoreline." While emergency personnel headed to the scene Wednesday, the 911 dispatchers contacted the railroad.

"One of the first questions they ask of CSX is, What are we dealing with here?" Quinn said.

Increasingly, trains hauling the oil in outdated tank cars are becoming a common sight on CSX's River Line, which passes through four of Rockland's five towns. Approximately four to five trains, each carrying millions of gallons of crude to refineries to the south, travel the line from upstate Selkirk.

Rockland Fire and Emergency Services Coordinator Gordon Wren Jr. said he was reminded of December's incident in which an empty oil train hit a car carrier at a crossing in West Nyack. The train didn't derail but first responders said the incident could have turned tragic.

"The stakes have always been high," Wren said. "The Bakken oil thing has just put a spotlight on the issue."

A series of high-profile incidents involving oil from the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota has raised concerns in the United States and Canada. The federal government is in the process of enhancing standards for the tank cars most often used to transport the explosive oil.

The state Office of Fire Prevention and Control has released a quick-reference guide regarding how to battle a Bakken crude oil fire.

"It can affect any department in any county," Wren said.

CSX spokesman Rob Dolittle said the railroad is also working to get information to first responders more quickly in the event of an emergency.

It recently launched a mobile app that provides high-level emergency officials with real-time information about the content of a train.

The information is available through its SecureNOW system, which New York state-level emergency agencies can access.

It's also training more firefighters.

Althea Mullarkey, a public policy analyst with the environmental group Scenic Hudson, said the region "got lucky" that the Orange County crash didn't turn into something far worse.

"The fact is the more traffic you have the higher chances you're going to have an incident," she said. "We need to make sure every single place where trains can possibly interact with humans needs to be as safe as possible."
Khurram Saeed /

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October 13, 2014
School Rejects FD's Request to Hold Fundraising Concert - MD

Havre de Grace fire and city officials have been petitioning Harford County Public Schools officials to hold a fundraising concert for the Susquehanna Hose Company at Havre de Grace High School, but they have been rebuffed, according to the fire chief.

Chief Scott Hurst said Wednesday that fire company officials have started looking for venues other than the high school, venues which he expects will be outside Havre de Grace, that can hold the anticipated crowd of 1,000 people.

The concert, which is scheduled for January 2015, is being put on to raise money to purchase two new command vehicles for the fire company, Hurst explained.

"It's beyond belief to me when you see other things going on in the schools," the chief said.

Fire company and city officials are also trying to obtain permission to install carbon monoxide detectors in public schools in the city. Their request was turned down three years ago, but local leaders are trying again since the 2012 approval of a state law requiring new and significantly remodeled public school buildings to have carbon monoxide detectors.

"Harford County Public Schools responded directly to the entities involved on both matters based on our current policy and procedures," Jillian Lader, manager of communications for HCPS, stated in an email.

Hurst said the detectors would be installed by the fire company at no charge to the school system.

The detectors must also be installed in Havre de Grace buildings that are new or have been rehabilitated, according to city ordinance.

"It makes no rhyme or reason why," Havre de Grace Mayor Wayne Dougherty said. "You have a volunteer organization [that] is willing to pay the expense and maintain them."

Carbon monoxide is a gas that is produced when fuels such as coal, oil, natural gas or propane are incompletely burned; the gas cannot be smelled or seen, and people can be sickened or die if they are exposed to it, according to a Consumer Product Safety Commission web page.

"It's not going to be one sick child going to the hospital," Hurst said of carbon monoxide poisoning. "It's going to be 10, 20, 30 [children]."

Dougherty sent a letter to Superintendent Barbara Canavan Tuesday expressing his support for the Hose Company's efforts.

"Nobody's saying, 'Put them in every school in Harford County,'" the mayor said. "We're just talking about Havre de Grace."

The fire company's bid for the concert was rejected because of HCPS policies that prohibit fundraising events in school facilities other than those put on by organizations that are affiliated with the school system or the Harford County Department of Parks and Recreation.

"After careful consideration and review of your letter for this event, Harford County Public Schools has determined that we must deny this request," Canavan wrote in a Sept. 29 letter to Kenneth Beyer Sr., the fire company's immediate past president.

Canavan referred Beyer to HCPS policies and procedures governing the use of facilities for community events.

"Fundraising is prohibited unless organized and planned by a school-affiliated group/organization or a Parks & Recreation sanctioned organization," according to Section IV, Article B, Item 1 of the Use of Public School Facilities procedures.

The sale of any item or service is also prohibited during community events "unless such sale is part of an authorized fundraising effort for the benefit of students, school programs or school-affiliated groups."

Community events that are being put on by organizations affiliated with the school system and parks and recreation receive top priority when reserving space in school facilities, followed by events and activities related to Harford County and the municipalities, Harford Community College, youth groups, nonprofit, community and artistic organizations, religious groups and then commercial and private entities.

The Town of Bel Air has top priority when scheduling an event for the Bel Air High School auditorium, according to the procedures, and HCC has priority for events in the Amoss Performing Arts Center at Harford Technical High School, which is adjacent to the college campus. The Town of Bel Air partially funded a larger than planned auditorium when the new Bel Air High School was opened about five years ago.

Hurst noted the fire company takes part in multiple events on school properties in the city, such as the annual Duck Drop New Year's Eve event at Havre de Grace Middle School, providing lights for high school football games, fundraisers for high school groups such as the band, and responding to emergencies at the schools at all times of the day and night.

He said firefighters responded to Meadowvale Elementary School on the morning of Sept. 29 for a small fire behind a stove in the cafeteria.

Hurst stressed the fire was small and that no one was injured, but students and staff were evacuated from the building.

"We'll continue to do all those things," he said of the services the fire company provides.
David Anderson / Source: The Aegis, Bel Air, Md.

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October 13, 2014


A tricky fire burning in Bridgeport trapped several Chicago firefighters and two of them ended up in the hospital Sunday afternoon.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports those firefighters are being observed after being trapped in two separate areas while barreling this blaze. Though fortunately there are no significant injuries to report crews say this was a nasty blaze to battle.

Crews described the fire as stubborn and unpredictable. The Bridgeport house fire started in a three flat and spread to two neighboring homes. Members of the Soto family arrived on scene to see their home engulfed in smoke and flames.

“I spoke to everybody by phone then they leave there and everybody was fine,” said Enrique Soto.

The fire was so hot and quick spreading that twice a mayday call was sent out to rescue firefighters trapped batteries g the blaze in two separate incidents.

“As the firefighters entered to put out the fire because it was such a quick spreading fire they moved in too quickly and the fire surrounded them and we had firefighters trapped,” said Chicago Fire Department Cmdr. Jose Santiago Jose Santiago.

At least five families have been displaced by the blaze. The fire department says the fire is not suspicious.

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October 13, 2014
Patient Takes Wheel of Ambulance - AZ

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Authorities say a patient wanting out of an Arizona hospital used an ambulance as his getaway vehicle.

Goodyear police spokeswoman Lisa Kutis says Michael Lopez hijacked a parked ambulance Sunday outside West Valley Hospital in metro Phoenix.

Kutis says a firefighter sitting in the back was able to jump out safely.

Police pursued Lopez, who failed to pull over.

Authorities used GPS to locate the vehicle and Lopez at his home in the suburb of Avondale.

Kutis says he was arrested on charges of theft of means of transportation, felony flight, failure to yield to police and disorderly conduct.

She did not know why Lopez was hospitalized.

She says Lopez, who felt he was being hospitalized against his will, is being booked into a Phoenix jail.

The ambulance was returned to firefighters.
Source: The Associated Press

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October 11, 2014
No Chief For Wash. Fire Dept. Until 2015 - WA

Chehalis won't have a new permanent fire chief until at least 2015.

Chehalis City Manager Merlin MacReynold said he decided not to hire a new chief after getting feedback from the hiring panel and doing reference checks on the three finalists for the position.

"I couldn't see a good longterm fit for the city," he said. "In all of my experience over decades, if you're not comfortable putting someone into a position, then you shouldn't do it."

The finalists -- Jeff Larson, of Lodi, California; Joseph Sands, of Billings, Montana; and Gary A. Woodson, of Pendleton, Oregon -- came to Chehalis and met with the city council and fire crews in early September.

All were vetted for the position, but MacReynold said he wasn't convinced any of them could effectively usher the Chehalis Fire Department into the future.

The department is facing many big choices since the department likely won't merge with the Riverside Fire Authority within the next three years. The pressing decisions involve equipment purchases and the decision to remodel or vacate the department's current building.

MacReynold said no official decision has been made between committee members but Riverside's financial troubles lead him to believe the merger won't be happening any time soon.

"One of the key things is we need somebody to come in and work with department personnel and the city, since we're very certain we're not going to be annexing to Riverside," MacReynold said. "We need to look at what the future for the department and the the city is."

MacReynold is retiring at the end of the year. He said he believed it would be more prudent to let the incoming city manager decide on a new fire chief.

Chehalis Police Chief Glenn Schaffer will took over as interim fire chief, replacing interim fire chief Capt. Rob Gebhart. He'll make an extra $1,500 per month for managing the department.

"In discussions with Glenn, he made clear he was willing to take it on," MacReynold said. "Financially it was it the best thing for the city."

Gebhart had been serving as interim chief since Jim Walkowski, formerly the Riverside Fire Authority fire chief and acting chief of the Chehalis Fire Department, resigned.

"Rob was very kind in taking that on, but he made it very clear he didn't want to be a chief and would do it for a period of time but not a protracted period," MacReynold said. "We probably got into that."

If everything goes smoothly, it would likely take four to six months for the incoming city manager to decide on a chief.
Dameon Pesanti / Source: The Chronicle, Centralia, Wash.

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October 11, 2014
Firefighter, EMT, Civilians Hurt in Ala. House Fire - AL

Four persons were injured, two critically, in a fire in a home in Coldwater area of Oxford on Friday morning.

The blaze broke out at a mobile home on My Drive.

The other injuries were to an Oxford firefighter and an Oxford emergency medical technician. They were treated for minor injuries and released Friday, said Oxford fire Chief Gary Sparks.

The more seriously injured victims were in critical condition Friday afternoon, said UAB Hospital spokesman Tyler Greer.

Sparks said said the cause of the fire is unknown, and that Oxford police and state fire marshals were helping with the investigation.
Zach Tyler / Source: The Anniston Star, Ala.

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October 11, 2014
Fire Dept. in Lawsuit Over Firefighter Overtime Pay - GA

Another lawsuit has been filed against the city of Augusta over the issue of overtime payments.

On Friday in U.S. District Court, Robert D. Morris filed suit against the city. The petition seeks class-action certification on behalf of Morris and all other firefighters, more than 200, who were -- or are -- facing the same circumstances.

The lawsuit contends the city is in violation of the Fair Labor law regarding overtime payment because it fails to include Morris' entire salary.

Since 2010, the fire department has required firefighters to obtain certification as either a paramedic or an emergency medical technician, and the city pays a stipend of $1,800 or $1,200, respectively, each year.

Morris contends the city has failed to include the stipend when it calculates how much compensation is paid for overtime. Morris estimated that he consistently worked more than 100 hours of overtime annually.

In August, city commissioners voted to increase firefighters' pay in hopes of reducing the number of trained firefighters leaving Augusta's fire department for higher paying jobs elsewhere. The cost is estimated at $500,000 annually.

Last month, a former deputy coroner filed suit against the city alleging he was not paid for overtime.
Sandy Hodson / Source: The Augusta Chronicle, Ga.

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October 11, 2014
Ambulance and Circulator bus crash - DC

bus crash
(Photo: Mark Bost, WUSA)

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A D.C. ambulance was involved in a crash with a Circulator Bus Thursday afternoon.

The accident happened at 14th Street and Good Hope Road around 12 p.m. when the ambulance hit the stopped bus, D.C. Circulator officials said.

Three passengers on bus were transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The bus operator was also transported to the hospital with neck soreness and was then released.

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October 11, 2014
Ambulance involved in chain-reaction crash outside Flagler Hospital - FL

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Four people were taken to the hospital Monday night due to a chain-reaction crash involving an ambulance that was heading to Flagler Hospital.

The crash happened around 8:30 p.m., according to Jeremy Robshaw with St. Johns County Fire Rescue.

All four patients are in stable condition. The patient that was already in the ambulance did not sustain any additional injuries.

The Florida Highway Patrol confirms three vehicles, including the ambulance, were involved in the crash.

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October 11, 2014
One dead in accident involving an ambulance in Mercer County - WV

(Photo by Jon Bolt)

PRINCETON — One person is dead following an ambulance accident in Mercer County Monday.

The Mercer County Sheriff’s Department, Green Valley-Glenwood Volunteer Fire Department and Princeton Rescue Squad all responded to the call at approximately 2 p.m.

According to Deputy J.S. Bish, a car attempted to do a U-turn after an initial wreck involving a truck and a power pole shut down Route 20. The vehicles clipped as the ambulance attempted to pass the vehicle, sending the ambulance over the embankment.

The wreck resulted in a single fatality and one occupant being sent to Princeton Community Hospital, according to Bish.
By Christopher Clay / Bluefield Daily Telegraph

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October 11, 2014
Riverhead ambulance in crash on Northville Turnpike; six people sent to PBMC - NY

ambulance in crash

ambulance in crash

ambulance in crash

Riverhead Police are seeking witnesses to or anyone with information about the accident at the corner of Northville Turnpike and Middle Road last night. Police are asking anyone with information to call police at 631-727-4500 ext. 313. The investigation into the incident is ongoing, police said in a press release issued early this morning. Police said the five RVAC crew members and the driver of the SUV, who were transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center were expected to be released from the emergency department.

Original story: A Riverhead ambulance on its way to Stony Brook University Hospital with a patient on board was involved in a T-bone collision with an SUV at the intersection of Northville Turnpike and Middle Road.

No one was seriously injured in the crash, which occurred shortly after 8 p.m. The ambulance was southbound on Northville Turnpike and the Ford Explorer was westbound on Middle Road when the vehicles collided, the SUV striking the ambulance rig on the driver’s side.

All five crew members aboard the ambulance, as well as the driver and sole occupant of the SUV, were transported to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.

The patient in the ambulance, who was being taken to Stony Brook with a broken femur, was not injured in the accident, RVAC assistant chief Lisa Corwin said. Manorville Community Ambulance responded to transport the patient to Stony Brook.

The Riverhead Fire Department was called to remove the driver’s side door of the ambulance.

No summonses were immediately issued, police said.

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October 11, 2014
Man Becomes Combative With Firefighters After Vehicle Crash - CA

At roughly 7:09 pm Friday, a man who crashed into a tree on E. 18th near Phillips Lane became combative with members of Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

Antioch Police were called where they took the subject into custody and placed him in an American Medical Response Unit where he will be taken for a blood test. It appears no firefighters were injured in the exchange.

According to witnesses, the man was driving along E. 18th without headlights swerving in and out of lanes while even hopping the curb.

The vehicle was out of Oakley according to radio traffic. No further details were provided on scene.

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October 11, 2014

Houston firefighters battled a house fire on Garden St. near Fir Street in southeast Houston on Friday. No one was hurt, but there was a close call for one firefighter who briefly became trapped inside the front door. Other fire fighters quickly pulled him to safety and no one was not injured. The firefighters was badly burned and his helmet melted from the intense heat.

No one was home at the time the fire started. The homeowner, Alejandra Oliva, and her husband were both at work. Their two kids were in school.

“My husband called me and said: ‘The house is on fire,’” she said to Local 2.

The home is complete loss. Neighbors saw the flames just before noon and called 911.

Investigators said something about this fire seemed unusual. They discovered a broken window in the back of the house and some blood on the ground nearby, like maybe someone had been trying to break in.

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October 11, 2014
Burning pick-up takes off during building fire - NC

(Johnny B Bradshaw)

Burning pick-up takes off

Burning pick-up takes off

Smoke from the fire could be seen for several miles. Firefighters from several departments, including some from Guilford County, responded to the scene.

Roughly 30 minutes after the fire call, a fire truck from the Huntsville Volunteer Fire Department was involved in a crash at Murphy Street and Market Street in Madison, troopers said. The crash involved injuries, though the number or extent of injuries isn’t clear.

The fire truck was hit by another vehicle, went off the road and hit a building, troopers said.

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October 11, 2014
NFFF/CFSI Congressional Flag Ceremony 9-10-14


A look at the Inaugural NFFF/CFSI Congressional Flag Ceremony held on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday September 9, 2014. Detail on the ceremony can be found here.

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October 11, 2014
Firefighter knocked to ground battling house fire in southeast Houston - TX

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A firefighter was knocked to the ground while tackling a house fire in southeast Houston.

The fire is believed to have been smoldering before it finally erupted into flames that shot through windows and the roof of the small home. The family wasn't home at the time. Neighbors called the fire department.

"We were just right here and I called my mom," said neighbor Franciso Peneda. "She quickly ran out and tried to start helping, but there was nothing you could do."

The fire trucks arrived and three firefighters broke through the front door. The first one through was Gabriel Salazar. He was suddenly separated from those behind him when the door slammed.

HFD Deputy Chief Herman Gonzales explained, "So the other guys immediately opened the door and pulled him out cause he was taking some heat."

SkyEye HD was overhead when Salazar was pulled from the house, just before he really started feeling the heat through his protective suit. As soon as he was out, Salazar and fellow firefighters went back into the smoke and flames to at least bring it under control and finally put it out.

The family who owned the home has been here for 16 years. Rebuilding their lives will be difficult as there's no insurance to cover the loss.
By Deborah Wrigley / KTRK

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October 11, 2014
Firefighters still 'homeless' over fire station asbestos - IN

GARY, Ind. — For more than two years, firefighters have been without a permanent fire station.

IndyStar reported that firefighters were forced to leave its firehouse in August 2012 in when a contractor doing upgrades on the interior of the building discovered asbestos.

The firefighters were moved, where the Gary Fire Department rented space for $3,000 a month at the fire station, according to the report. Less than a year later, they moved to another location.

Firefighters describe themselves as "homeless," which is perhaps fitting because they share a building with a homeless shelter. The facility is also used for hall rentals.

Shortly after moving into the new location, firefighters nearly missed a call because of the booming DJ music coming from the hall below them, according to the report. The music was so loud on one occasion a former captain slept in their fire truck.

Accessing the fire truck when responding to a call entails walking down stairs and out the front door of the multipurpose center and hustling across the parking lot that is sometimes filled with puddles of water or snow, accoridng to the report.

“The response time is much slower here,” firefighter Tom Bober said.

Station 5 firefighters call their current accommodations less than ideal, according to the report. Unlike at the old Station 5 firehouse, there is no laundry facility and they can’t wash their turnout gear after a fire.

"At least Merrillville was a firehouse," firefighter Bober said. "We had to make compromises, but it was still a firehouse."

Firefighter James Powell said at the end of the day, despite all the neglect, they still do their job.

"We’re not trying to put the administration on the spot or the chief on the spot," he said. "We just want what’s right for us. We need to be in a fire station."

Gary Fire Chief Teresa Everett said Station 5 closed because it was in need of extensive repairs.

“We have not yet determined if a new station will open at that location,” she said. “We will operate out of the multipurpose center until such time as we are able to relocate. There are plans to open a new station; the location has not been finalized.”

She said the fire department doesn’t own the Multipurpose Center, so any potential improvements to the structure are limited, according to the report.

“We recognize the facility has some limitations, but it provides an opportunity to for the city to continue to provide emergency response services to our residents,” she said.

In September, Gary firefighters joined city police at City Hall to protest a lack of pay increases and equipment, according to the report. Some firefighters are now selling T-shirts to raise money for that equipment. Bober said Gary firefighters aren’t asking for much.

“Just make us feel like firemen,” he said. “Give us the pride we deserve.”
By FireRescue1 Staff

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October 10, 2014
Dallas Fire Fighters Association to call for investigation into statements about firefighter’s death - TX

The Dallas Fire Fighters Association will request an investigation into whether a deputy chief and others the group’s own members have been truthful about what they did and said the night of a blaze that killed a firefighter last year.

The association’s members discussed casting a vote of no confidence in Fire Chief Louie Bright and his command staff at the members-only meeting Thursday, which was called specifically to discuss two reports detailing Stanley Wilson’s May 20, 2013, line-of-duty death.

Their main issue was that three firefighters told investigators that Deputy Chief Bobby Ross ordered them to search inside of a burning condo building, but Ross said he only told them to break exterior windows to rouse anyone still inside the building.

Despite divisions in the room of reportedly more than 100 firefighters and some grumblings from some while leaving the building, association president Doug Dickerson said the consensus by the end was to request another investigation.

Dickerson said the association is not seeking any investigation or discipline for fireground decisions. The reports detailed numerous errors, miscues and miscommunication at the fire scene by Ross and other commanders. But Dickerson said he wants to get to the bottom of the conflicting statements.

“What we have today is clarity,” he said. “We can clearly see that they shouldn’t have been there. But there was something that caused them to be in there. Did someone give a specific order? What caused that to go down?”

Dickerson said he does not remember another time when the association called for another investigation following a line of duty death report.

He said there is a possibility that some firefighters could have omitted facts, remembered incorrectly or “maybe flat-out lied.”

He said several of the association’s members – including Ross – could be targets of the investigation. Wilson wasn’t a member of the association when he died. Ross did not attend Thursday’s meeting.

He said the benefit of an internal affairs investigation would be that it is done from a different perspective than the death report.

Dickerson said a firefighter who was involved firefighters will file the complaint with internal affairs in the near future. That would likely mean one of the complaint would come from someone who was “intimately involved” in what led to Wilson’s death. That would likely mean one of three firefighters who narrowly escaped the crumbling condo building: firefighter Michael McCaleb, Capt. Jeffery Modawell and Section Chief George Tomasovic.

When asked for comment, Modawell said he “would love to,” but has been given a direct order to not talk about the incident.

It would be up to internal affairs to take up the investigation. Dickerson said the association would “strenuously object” if the department didn’t do so.

Chief Bright declined to punish or investigate any of the firefighters involved in the report, saying “no one person bears all responsibility” and that mistakes had been made at many levels that night. But a week after the report’s release, Bright temporarily reassigned Ross to a staff position where he no longer serves as an incident commander.

Bright has declined or not responded to interview requests from The Dallas Morning News. He referred comments to his aide Joel Lavender, who said he was seeking clarification of what the association is planning to do.

Wilson’s widow, Jenny Wilson, publicly called for the report’s release and then retained an attorney to help her get it. The attorney, Barry Hasten, has said he believes the fire department has withheld more information about the report.

Hasten said he isn’t surprised the rank-and-file stepped up to demand answers.

“On behalf of Jenny Wilson and her family, we are grateful,” he said.

Dickerson said the association will also work with department officials to improve training and procedures in light of the findings in the report.

And when the internal investigation is done, “we’ll see where we’re at after that,” he said.
By Tristan Hallman /

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October 10, 2014
Aurora theater shooting report: Breakdown between police and fire caused chaos - CO

A breakdown in police and fire communication resulted in a chaotic response to treating victims of the Aurora theater shooting, a review of the largest mass shooting in U.S. history found. Police officers didn't know how to communicate directly with fire officials as they confronted hordes of blood-soaked victims streaming toward them, the report states.

A maze of parked police cars, curbs and panicked moviegoers blocked ambulance drivers from reaching the critically injured. Fire officials didn't know whether the threat had been defused, leaving them unsure of their own safety as they navigated a crime scene that looked like a battlefield.

The report found that 28 minutes lapsed between the arrival at the scene of the fire battalion chief in control of emergency medical services and contact with the police lieutenant in charge of law enforcement issues.

Coordination was so poor that a fire battalion chief reported at one point to a colleague, "So far, it's running pretty smooth." In reality, at that time, "police were facing a chaotic situation and ambulances were not getting through to many of the wounded," the report states.

"The glaring omissions of a lack of communication between police and fire commanders, and the lack of a victim transportation coordinator, could have jeopardized having as favorable an outcome as was obtained," according to the report.

Read the complete report

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October 10, 2014
Firefighter, Homeowner Hurt in House Fire - PA

As firefighters walked through the charred wreckage of her Shrewsbury Township home, massage therapist Lori Runkle poured water on her bandaged hands and leg.

Runkle, 54, saved her two dogs, Anja, a Rottweiler, and Riley, a yellow Labrador retriever, after her West Forrest Avenue home caught on fire, but suffered burns to her hands, nose and leg, she said.

A firefighter was also injured during the fire, which began just before 11:30 a.m., according to Shrewsbury Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Tony Myers.

Myers said a Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal determined the fire was accidental, caused by a candle that caught onto some paper products on the first floor. The fire caused about $90,000 in damage to the home and its contents, Myers said.

Video: Homeowner talks about fire.

Runkle said she had lit the candle to have the house smelling nice for a prospective buyer. She and husband David Runkle, 47, planned to move to Iowa.

"I wanted it to smell pretty," she said. "It won't smell pretty anymore."

Runkle said she and her daughter, Julie Delozier, 38, started with a single-wide in 1983 and then bought a double-wide trailer in the late 1980s and placed it on a foundation.

Runkle was in her downstairs home office when a client, Barb Lee, heard some crackling upstairs, she said. Runkle opened the basement door and saw flames.

Telling Lee to call 911, Runkle ran upstairs and quickly shooed Riley outside. But Anja was scared and kept running and trying to get out a window.

"I felt like I was going to be overcome, so I went down" to the ground, Runkle said. "I grabbed a hold of as much fur (on Anja as possible) and drug her out."

Runkle said she called Delozier and told her "don't panic" and then said there had been a fire. Delozier said she thought it had been a small kitchen fire, until her mother said, "My hands are burned, my house is burned."

Runkle wasn't the only person to be injured in the fire. Firefighters from several companies arrived and attacked the fire, but during the attack, a firefighter from one of the companies fell down the stairs, suffering an injury to his lower back, according to Myers.

Myers said as soon as it was known the firefighter was hurt, a "mayday" call went out, activating the rapid intervention team -- a four person squad whose sole job is to respond to downed firefighters.

The RIT rescued the firefighter within a minute, Myers said.

"It obviously brought my blood pressure down, knowing he was OK," Myers said.

The firefighter, whose name he did not release, was taken to York Hospital for treatment. Myers said he was fairly sure it was a minor injury.

The fire was under control in about an hour, Myers said. "It was a good job by all the crews," he said.
Ted Czech / Source: York Daily Record, Pa.

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October 10, 2014


A firefighter from Unit #7 Fire Protection District Station 2, Benld, remains hospitalized at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, according to a press release issued by Chief Larry Norville. No one else was reported injured in the blaze, which was first reported on Sunday, October 5, at 11:08 p.m. in the 200 block of West Walnut in Benld.

The residence sustained heavy fire and smoke damage. Fire crews from Benld arrived on scene first and immediately dispatched Gillespie for additional equipment and manpower.

I am very proud of the way our guys responded

A pump operator from Benld’s department was found slumped at the controls at 11:23 p.m. The firefighter was unconscious, not breathing and had no pulse, the press release explained. An ambulance was dispatched and fellow firefighters initiated CPR. The patient was then defibrillated twice using an AED from one of the trucks on scene and following the second defibrillation, the firefighter had spontaneous return of circulation. The firefighter was then transported to Community Memorial Hospital in Staunton by Gillespie-Benld Area Ambulance where he was stabilized before being transferred to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield.

The firefighter remains hospitalized in Springfield in stable condition.

“One of the greatest fears in the fire service is getting that call to save one of your own,” Chief Norville closed. “We were very fortunate to have an AED at the scene and all of our firefighters trained in CPR and in the use of the AED. I am very proud of the way our guys responded and could not be more thrilled and relieved by the outcome.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Illinois State Fire Marshall’s Office.

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October 10, 2014
Bee Attack Extends From Victim to Paramedic - TX

A man hospitalized after being attacked by bees in Hearne on Tuesday morning has been upgraded to fair condition.

Clark Rudy, 56, had been mowing the lawn near the C&C Secure Self Storage facility in the 800 block of West Brown Street at about 11 a.m. when the bees attacked, Hearne police said.

He was airlifted to St. Joseph hospital in critical condition, but a Hearne police dispatcher said Rudy was awake and communicating through written notes on Wednesday.

A paramedic who responded to the call on Tuesday morning was also treated, but a shift captain with Robertson County EMS said that person was doing well.

The area around the storage facility and an abandoned hotel were roped off Tuesday, and beekeepers from Moody Ranch Outfitters in Anderson vacuumed up the bees Wednesday morning.

Representatives at Moody Ranch Outfitters did not respond to requests for comment, but the website said the company relocates bees to its ranch in Grimes County instead of killing them.

Bill Baxter, the state's assistant chief apiary inspector, said beekeepers typically vacuum the bees and use smoke to pacify them.

While police have not revealed what kinds of bees were involved or where their colony was located, Baxter said bees can be found inside walls and even in a hole in the ground.

"The public needs to realize that this was an isolated incident, and the one thing I always tell people is before you crank up the lawn mower, walk around the yard and be aware of what's there," he said.
Andrea Salazar / Source: The Eagle, Bryan, Texas

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October 10, 2014
Woman Steals Ambulance, Drives 145 Miles - MN

A Minneapolis, Minnesota woman has been charged after police said she stole an ambulance from an Arlington Heights hospital and drove it about 145 miles south to the village of Rantoul early Friday morning.

Samantha Sligar, 27, was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, according to a statement from Rantoul police.

An ambulance crew was dropping off a patient at Northwest Community Hospital in the northwest suburb about 4 a.m. Friday, according to the Arlington Heights fire department. When the crew returned the ambulance was gone.

A woman took the ambulance and fled the area. She was later spotted by Matteson police traveling southbound on Interstate 57, according to Illinois State Police.

By 6:30 a.m., police had stopped the ambulance along I-57 near exit 250, according to the Rantoul Police Department. No injuries were reported.

Rantoul police said when they responed at 5:36 a.m. the ambulance was using its siren and running vehicles off the road while southbound at I-57.

A request for "stop sticks" was made and the state police terminated their pursuit of it at the Ford and Champaign County line. Rantoul officers waited for the ambulance and at 6:13 a.m. it was located and stopped at 6:15 a.m., police said.

Sligar was taken into custody without incident. She was taken to the Champaign County Correctional Center, police said.

Arlington Heights police Commander Rick Kappelman said the charge is a felony.

A mugshot of Sligar was not immediately available.
Source: Chicago Tribune

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October 10, 2014
Ambulance Burglary - FL

A St. Augustine woman is facing serious charges after police say she targeted an ambulance and stole medical supplies all while the crew was having dinner.

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October 10, 2014
Mold, air quality issues at fire stations part of labor dispute going to special magistrate Thursday - FL

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — It’s a dangerous job, but could the bigger danger for some local firefighters be found in their own station houses?

In Indian River County, health and safety concerns are just one part of a prolonged labor dispute.

John O’Connor shows pictures of mold that covers a wall inside Fire Station 1 in Vero Beach.

The president of the local firefighters union said recent tests show poor air quality inside this building, and other county fire stations, sometimes in areas where emergency personnel sleep.

“It’s dangerous to our crews. Long-term exposure to toxic environments like that, we’re finding out, is not conducive to health and wellness,” said O’Connor.

Since May, the firefighters have been at an impasse with the county over a new contract, so a special magistrate is being brought in.

A special magistrate will hear both sides Thursday then make a nonbinding ruling. Final contract decisions are in the hands of the Indian River County Commission.

O’Connor says morale is low.

“It’s very hard, we’re losing quite a few people to surrounding counties. We’ve lost five people to Indian River Shores,” said O’Connor.

Despite the pictures, county leaders will tell you they’ve spent millions of dollars building and improving fire stations in recent years.

“We’ve spent $14 million on renovations since 2004. We had 13 bargaining sessions. There was no mention of building conditions,” said Indian River County Administrator Joe Baird.

Baird said two station houses will get new roofs in the near future.

He disagrees with other union concerns, such as the age of some of their vehicles.

“I think if you looked across the nation at some of the equipment, you’d see we have some of the newest equipment,” said Baird.

Baird said he’d like to see caps on shift swapping and adds right now, there’s a waiting list to become a firefighter.

“We’ve got great employees, they do a great job but there’s only so much money to go around.”

The union has paid for specialized blood testing for some firefighters to see whether there have been any ill effects.

The union says they haven’t had raises in years.
Jon Shainman, WPTV NewsChannel 5

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October 10, 2014
Pesky problem: Bed bugs pop up again at local fire station - OH

CLEVELAND- Firefighters at a Cleveland fire station are dealing with an ongoing bed bug problem.

The bed bugs were first reported at Fire Station 40 on St. Clair Ave. in September.

Crews were called in to handle the situation, but the bugs resurfaced again this week.

The city released the following statement on Wednesday:

“The City of Cleveland takes the health and safety of all employees and personnel seriously, including the possibility of bed bugs at a fire station. Due to the transient nature of emergency response personnel, bed bugs can become a frequent issue; however, it is an issue that the city deals with promptly. In fact, the city has a contract with a bed bug specialist to handle such situations if they arise.

Action was taken when the city was first notified that bed bugs may be present at Fire Station 40. The contractor the city uses for these situations was notified on September 26 and the city received notice on September 30 that Station 40 was “clear.” On October 6, the city received a subsequent notification that the issue was not resolved. The city’s contractor was again notified and will be assessing the situation at Fire House 40 today.”
by fox8webcentral

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October 08, 2014
Mayday Called, Philadelphia Firefighter Injured in Fall - PA

(CBSPHL Video)

Reports indicate a Philadelphia firefighter was injured after a near-miss on the fireground today.

Around 3 p.m. Eastern, several news sources Tweeted about a Mayday call in Philadelphia and a firefighter being removed after falling from the second floor to the first.

The local CBS affiliate reported that a firefighter was injured and transported during a building fire in the Tacony section of the city. It was not clear how badly the firefighter was injured.

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October 08, 2014


MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Memphis Fire Department has “browned out” some ladder trucks on certain days in order to cut the costs of service.

On Saturday in South Memphis, it cost an elderly woman with disabilities her life.

The family of Floree Hardy is wrestling with her sudden death.

"She was a nice lady, she had lots of friends," said 10-year-old Jeremy Hardy.

What's left of the 65 year-old stroke victim's motorized wheelchair sits outside the charred Raven Street house she shared with her daughter and two grandsons, including Jeremy.

They were able to save their lives early Saturday morning.

"They were just covered in smoke and stuff and," said Hardy's sister and neighbor. "I dialed 911, that's all we could do and the house was just burning up."

Hardy's family hopes smoke got to her before the flames did.

WMC Action News 5 learned the closest ladder truck, number 19 (housed at station 29) was "browned out" that day. Meaning, the truck was out of service to save money.

"I don't know if that would have helped any," said survivor Tamara Hardy.

Hardy says several other fire trucks did make the scene, but that she hates to think that the browned out truck would have made a difference.

A fire department spokesperson sent an email saying "the impact of having truck 19 browned out on 10/4 is undetermined."

MFD adds that "brownouts" would stop if it became convincingly clear that public safety was adversely impact
By Jason Miles / WMC Action News 5

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October 08, 2014
Code Enforcement Failure Results in Charges and Wrongful Death Suit - LA

(FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports)

A fire in Grand Isle, Louisiana in 2012, that killed two people has led to criminal charges against a fire inspector and a civil suit that names the inspector and the state fire marshal’s office.

The September 26, 2012 fire in the Rusty Pelican motel happened months after fire inspector Nunzio Marchiofava was supposed to have followed up on complaints about fire code violations. Marchiofava was later charged with falsifying documents related to his inspections of the motel.

Killed in the fire were Belle Christin Brandl, 60, and Timothy Foret, 46. Their families filed suit against the motel’s owner, Lloyds of London as the building’s insurer, the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal, and Marchiofava.

Although the suit was filed in 2013, and the plaintiffs have reportedly settled with the motel’s owner and Lloyds, leaving the state and Marchiofava potentially on the hook for the balance of damages.

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October 08, 2014
Ambulance Involved in Chain-Reaction Crash

Four people were taken to the hospital Monday night due to a chain-reaction crash involving an ambulance that was heading to Flagler Hospital. The crash happened around 8:30 p.m., according to Jeremy Robshaw with St. Johns County Fire Rescue.

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October 08, 2014
More than $20,000 worth of equipment stolen from fire station - TX

Detectives say expensive equipment was stolen from a SW Houston fire station and they need help tracking down a person of interest

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Detectives say expensive equipment was stolen from a Southwest Houston fire station and now they need your help tracking down a man they're calling a person of interest.

The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office on Tuesday released video of a person leaving the Community Fire Department in the 16000 block of Bellaire Boulevard during the wee hours of July 20. Detectives want to identify and track down the person to inquire about a theft at the station.

Officials say about $20,000 worth of hydraulic equipment was stolen. This is what's commonly known as the "jaws of life." Investigators say they don't know where thieves would even sell this equipment.

"We don't really think this is something you could go just go pawn," said Capt. Dean Hensley, with the Harris County Fire Marshalls Office. "We're not really sure why it was taken. "

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information called in to the 713-222-8477 tips hotline or submitted online at that leads to the location of the person in this photo. All tipsters remain anonymous.

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October 08, 2014
City heated over NM firefighter's photo on political mailer - NM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A state representative’s picture in her fire department uniform on a political mailer has drawn the city’s attention.

KRQE reported that city officials wrote a letter to state Rep. Emily Kane, a Democrat, warning her about using Albuquerque Fire Department property in campaign materials.

“You are absolutely not to wear your AFD uniform, or to utilize or display your badge or insignia in photographs related to your legislative or political activities,” assistant city attorney Rebecca Wardlaw wrote.

AFD spokesperson Milissa Romero said the political mailer did not come from the Kane campaign. It was paid for by the state Democratic House Speaker’s Ken Martinez Leadership Fund, according to the report.

“Emily Kane had no idea this mailer was going to go out,” said Michael Cadigan, Kane’s attorney. “We have a problem with the use of this photograph. We’re trying to be careful not to use City of Albuquerque insignia that you can read, implying some sort of endorsement by the City of Albuquerque.”

The city and Kane have been at odds ever since she announced her candidacy in 2012. The city attorney’s office has maintained that she is in violation of a charter provision barring any city employee from holding an elected position, according to the report.

A district judge later ruled that the provision was unconstitutional. The city appealed the decision to the New Mexico Supreme Court, which has agreed to hear the case, according to the report.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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October 08, 2014
Crews Salute as Pilot Geoffrey Craig Hunt's Body is Recovered from Crash - CA

(The Last Call - RIP)

(CBS SF Bay Area)

Smoke rises from a plane that crashed Tuesday.
(Photo credit: AP)

The body of an air tanker pilot killed in a crash while batting a fire near Yosemite National Park was recovered Wednesday and taken to a staging area where, wrapped in an American flag, the body was saluted by firefighting colleagues.

Cal Fire identified the pilot as Geoffrey Craig Hunt, 62, of San Jose. Battalion Chief Richard Lopez said Hunt served as a pilot for 13 years with DynCorp International, whose pilots are contracted by Cal Fire.

Hunt had successfully flown "hundreds and hundreds" of fires throughout his career and was stationed at Hollister Air Attack Base, Lopez said.

Hunt's body was transferred to state officials Wednesday just outside the park's entrance. The body, draped in a flag, was transferred from an emergency vehicle to a hearse while firefighters stood at attention and saluted.

Cal Fire director Ken Pimlott said contact with the pilot was lost at about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Yosemite National Park search and rescue crews were sent to the last known location of the plane, and confirmed the tanker crash. The crash site was described as being a quarter of a mile long.

The body was found near the wreckage, and removed from the crash site around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday>

All Cal Fire air tankers were grounded Wednesday. The agency normally does such a safety stand-down after a crash, State Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Alyssa Smith said.

It was not clear how long the planes would be out of service.

Yosemite officials say the blaze, named the Dog Rock fire, had grown to around 210 acres with no containment as of Wednesday morning.

The fire broke out about 3 p.m. Tuesday near Highway 140 in the El Portal area. The fire is located between the Yosemite View Lodge and the park’s Arch Rock entrance station, in hard-to-reach terrain near the Merced River. The fire is about 3 to 5 miles west of the entrance to the park, according to the National Park Service.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The community of Foresta, with about 60 homes, was evacuated

The fire has closed the Highway 140 entrance into Yosemite, forcing park visitors to use state Highways 41 and 120 to reach the valley.

Anna Grefer, a visitor from Germany who was making her to Yosemite through Highway 140 on Tuesday night, was turned back around by Highway Patrol officers. Grefer and her three friends had made reservations at Curry Village, but after calling the campsite around 10 p.m., she was told the power was down and no electricity was available for the heated tents they had reserved. "We didn't know there was a fire," Grefer said. "W’re not sure what we;re going to do yet…I guess we’ll head back and find somewhere else to spend the night." There is no estimate of how long the road closure will be in place, officials said.

Kirstie Cari, owner of El Portal Market, said the plane crashed right in front of her store. She was in the kitchen at the time and didn’t see it, but said witnesses told her the plane came tumbling over the ridge, cartwheeled and crashed right in front of a large rock wall.

Cari said the crash lit a second fire in front of the first fire and brought debris tumbling down into the road. “There were bunches of people having ice cream sitting outside and watching a fire” when the plane crashed, she said. “It was really sad. Little kids saw it.”

"It was crazy. I hope it never happens ever again."

Tuesday’s incident was the first Cal Fire air tanker crash since 2001, when two tankers collided above Mendocino County, killing both pilots. The last Cal Fire crash, which involved different aircraft, was reported in September 2006 in Tulare County. The pilot and a battalion chief were killed in that crash, Berlant confirmed.

Cal Fire has used the aircraft since the 1970s and last acquired new additions to the fleet in 2005. The planes were manufactured by Grumman Aerospace out of Bethpage, N.Y., according to Cal Fire’s website.

The Big Meadow fire burned more than 7,400 acres in late August and early September near Foresta. Nearly 5,000 acres burned near Old El Portal and Foresta in late July and early August, according to the park service.
The Associated Press

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October 08, 2014
Firefighter Kevin Bell dies battling house fire - CT

(The Last Call - RIP)

(WFSB 3 Connecticut)

HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Hartford officials have identified the 48-year-old firefighter killed in the line of duty while battling a two-alarm blaze Tuesday evening.

While everyone living in the home was able to get out safely, firefighter Kevin Bell died.

The flames broke out at a two-family home at 598 Blue Hills Ave. around 6:30 p.m. Smoke and fire quickly spread throughout the residence, but the firefighters knocked down the flames in about 30 minutes.

"We lost one of our own so others would be saved. He is a hero who lost his life through heroic efforts to save others," Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, who was visibly shaken, said during a late Tuesday night press conference.

Bell, who is six-year veteran of the Hartford Fire Department, was born and raised in the capital city. He was a member of Engine 16, where black bunting now hangs.

The Hartford Fire Fighters Association said Bell was advancing an attack line in efforts to extinguish the working fire when he suffered critical injuries and was removed from the building in cardiac arrest.

"All efforts were made to revive Brother Bell, but unfortunately these efforts were unsuccessful and he was declared deceased at St. Francis Hospital," the association said in a statement.

Bell was called an excellent firefighter by his relatives. They said he was very considerate and not only cared about his job, but fellow firefighters as well.

"Firefighter Kevin Bell represents and embodies the best in all of us. He made the ultimate sacrifice and we honor you," said Hartford Fire Chief Carlos Huertas at a Wednesday afternoon news conference. "The pain and anguish in the loss of one of our firefighters is beyond measurable."

Bell is the second cousin of retired Hartford Fire Chief Charlie Teale.

"He turned out to be a very enthusiastic, energetic individual and he remained that way even after I retired, so that was comforting," Teale said.

Teale said he hired Bell and said his commitment to his job and the community were remarkable.

"He had that love and appreciation for all people in the community he lived in, so I saw that more than I did anything else," Teale added.

Kevin Bell was a loving husband of Wayette and the father of a daughter, Raquel.

"He was a hands-on father. Raquel, from the day she was born, had the best of everything. Underlying love for Wayette and the whole family. The type of father we need. (He was) very committed," said his brother Shawn Bell.

Kevin Bell was also known as Kutmaster B-stro and posted videos of himself as a DJ on YouTube. His brother also said he enjoyed playing football and sports were his first love.

"His death is a loss to the community," Shawn Bell said. "He was elated at the fact that he was becoming a fireman. He wanted to be chief. He loved his job."

Firefighter Jason Martinez, from Manchester, suffered burns on 10 percent of his body and was taken to the Bridgeport burn unit. He has been with the fire department since 2007. Two other firefighters were also injured and have been identified as Kevin Burke, 51, of Engine 5 and Colin McWeeny of Engine 14.

"This tragedy has severely impacted our fire department," Segarra added.

The devastating loss is the first line of duty death in 40 years, and the last line of duty death in Hartford was Tommy Fischer in 1974.

The fire also left two families without a home.

"I saw smoke billowing out of the top of the house,” said Kerry Williams, a relative of the victim. “It looked like my mother's house and I was like ‘oh my God, my mother's house is on fire,' and sure enough it was."

Williams said when he spoke with his mother over the phone last night, she was so distraught he couldn't even make out her words.

Eyewitnesses told Eyewitness News that they are still in disbelief.

"I just saw the homeowner a few minutes ago,” Sam Russell, of Bloomfield, said. "He's totally shaken, so it's sad something like this happened.”

Gov. Dannel Malloy directed State of Connecticut flags to be flown at half staff in honor of the fallen firefighter.

“Last night's tragic events are another reminder of the incredible sacrifice that our state's first responders make on a daily basis,” Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said in a joint statement on Wednesday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the hero we lost and those who were injured in the line of duty in our capital city.”

Segarra said a critical incident stress team has been deployed to help the first responders struggling with the loss.

Many came to pay their respects on Wednesday, including members of the Blue Hills Fire Department in Bloomfield. They stopped by Engine Company 16 in Hartford with flowers and their condolences.

"Something like that really hurts everyone in the neighborhood,” Russell said.

The city weeps once again for its firefighters and this family.

"Families are grieving; we are grieving along with them,” Segarra said.

Blue Hills Avenue, which is also known as Route 187, reopened on Wednesday afternoon after being closed for more than 20 hours.

As for the cause of the fire, the state fire marshal's office is assisting with the investigation. Funeral arrangements have not yet been released.
By Joseph Wenzel IV, News Editor / By Matt McFarland / By Jill Konopka / By Rob Polansky /

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October 07, 2014






At approximately 0930 hours, the Operator of Truck 16 pulled the truck on the front ramp to conduct his routine morning checks of the vehicle and part of the check including flying the aerial.

As required by standard procedure, the jack pads, which where the aluminum style, were positioned on the ground and the outriggers were fully extended prior to the operation of the aerial. The aerial was raised out of the cradle, rotated to the right and extended approximately 75-80 feet and at the time of the incident the tip of the aerial was 10 feet above the power lines. When the arc occurred, the operator reported seeing a bright flash and then observed the power line being drawn up or “sucked up” toward the tip of the ladder. He stated at no time did the power line come in physical contact with the aerial.

Instinctively, the operator raised the ladder away from the vicinity of the power lines, and climbed down off turntable.

The Saw Firefighter, who was conducting the morning start-up of the power saws on the ramp adjacent to the truck did not see the event, but heard “explosion” and felt a “whoosh” of air go by him, looked over toward the truck and observed a large brownish smoke cloud on the opposite of the truck. From his vantage point the tip of the aerial was well above the power lines.

Crews inside the station heard the “explosion” immediately followed by complete loss of power to the station.

A physical check of the area and the truck found the left front out rigger appeared to be the point where the arc grounded. There was heat damage to the jack pad and discoloration to the concrete ramp. This appeared to be the only damage to the vehicle.

A secondary area of burn was found at a remote spot from the location of where the outrigger grounded out the arc. This spot was located approximately 30 from the location of the outrigger at the expansion joint in the concrete pad that separates the front ramp from the apparatus room floor. In this expansion joint is a piece of steel that makes up the edge if the apparatus floor pad. This steel was partially burned through with surface burn marks on the concrete.

Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) repair crew that came to inspect the power lines speculated that the electrical current that passed to the truck to the ground may have also been transmitted through the re-bar in the concrete pad and also grounded out at the steel expansion joint.

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October 07, 2014


A Mineral Wells firefighter received a slight concussion responding to a house fire Sunday afternoon when a roof rafter struck him in the head.

“He had a board fall and hit him in the head,” said Fire Chief Mike Pool of the injury sustained by firefighter Kramer Harbold. “He was wearing his helmet.”

Harbold will be off a few days before returning to duty, Pool said.

The rafter fell as a result of a fire at the home of Don MacPhail at 3402 N.E. 10th St., Pool said.

“This is just a hazard of the job,” Pool said.

None of the five people living in the house were injured, MacPhail said, as he rested Sunday afternoon in the shade of a neighbor’s carport.

“I was the only one in the house watching NASCAR,” he said. “Everybody got out, except maybe the cat.”

He said the rest of his family was outside decorating the house for Halloween when the fire started inside.

“It started in my back bedroom,” he said.

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October 07, 2014
3 Firefighters Hurt Battling Hartford Blaze - CT

3 Firefighters Hurt
"I'm fine," says a Hartford firefighter who is treated by emergency medical workers on Blue Hills Avenue in Hartford on Tuesday evening. At least three Hartford firefighters were injured while battling a house fire
(Patrick Raycraft)

3 Firefighters Hurt
At least three Hartford firefighters were injured at a house fire on Blue Hills Avenue in the city on Tuesday evening
(Patrick Raycraft)

Three firefighters were rushed to the hospital Tuesday night after they were hurt while battling a massive house fire on Blue Hills Avenue in Hartford, according to police.

Police said some firefighters could have serious injuries but have not elaborated on their conditions.

An ambulance arrived on scene at the intersection of Blue Hills Avenue and Litchfield Street around 7 p.m. One firefighter was strapped to a stretcher.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra took to Twitter to show his support Tuesday night.

It's not clear if anyone was inside when the fire broke out. The pastor of the homeowners' church group arrived at the scene to pray Tuesday night and said none of the residents were hurt.

Blue Hills Avenue is blocked off near the intersection of Litchfield Street. Authorities are still at the scene of the fire but have contained the flames.

An NBC Connecticut crew is at the scene. We'll bring you more details when they come into the newsroom.

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October 07, 2014
911 Call Leads To Fatal Police Shooting - UT

The family of a Utah man who was fatally shot by police last month say a 911 logging tape supports their view that police overreacted to the situation. They admit that Darrien, Hunt, 22, was carrying a samurai sword, but said he wasn’t a threat to anyone because the sword was a replica souvenir that didn’t have a sharp edge. A citizen dialed 911 at 9:45 a.m. to report that Hunt was carrying the sword near a strip mall, although the caller didn’t say—and the dispatcher didn’t ask—if he was threatening anyone, waving the sword or acting aggressively. A Saratoga Springs police spokesperson said two officers responded to a “suspicious person” incident, confronted Hunt, and that he “lunged” at them. The officers fired their handguns at Hunt, who then began running away. The officers continued shooting, and Hunt collapsed and died about 200 yards away. Police released the three-minute 911 logging tape last week. On the tape the dispatcher answered, and then listened as the caller described the location and then explain, “But he was walking with a samurai sword.” Immediately after that, the sounds of loud keyboard typing are audible on the tape, and the dispatcher begins asking a long series of specific questions about the suspect’s description. The dispatcher never asked about the suspect’s posture, interactions with other pedestrians or other behavior. She also did not keep the caller on the line as the officers responded, but instead told him, “We’ll go ahead and get this out to an officer.” Sartoga Springs Police Chief Andrew Burton said the dispatcher felt that the simple presence of such an unusual weapon was sufficient to classify the incident as “suspicious,” and to dispatch officers to investigate. The dispatcher then ended the call.

listen to the 911 call

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October 07, 2014
Fire forces fire chief from his own home - MI

UNION, Mich. — Firefighters responded to a fire Monday morning after their fire chief called in a fire at his own home.

Porter Township Fire Chief Mike Holdeman said just like every other homeowner who experiences a fire, he had to fight the urge to go back in the house to put out the fire, WSBT reported.

"The urge to go back, and see if you can do anything about it was all there," Chief Holdeman said. “But from my training, I know that I cannot do that, that would be a very dangerous thing to do, so I was able to put that aside."

Chief Holdeman said he used his fire radio to call dispatch about a fire on the second story of his home. He got his family and pets out safely.

“I guess, I’d never realized, quite to the extent, the emotional end of it and that kind of set,” Chief Holderman said. “Actually, sets in now more than it was at that time.”

He was wearing two hats in this particular situation — concerned about his family’s safety and also about how the fire would be dealt with.

“It definitely puts a little bit, adds that little bit of extra emotion, into responding to the scene because you know, we know it's one of our own and we know the family,” Asst. Chief Bill Sullivan said. “There’s certainly that extra urgency to get in there.”

There was moderate damage to a second floor bedroom. No one was hurt in the fire.

This is the second fire involving a home belonging to a Porter Township firefighter in the last week, according to the report.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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October 07, 2014
Firefighters still without permanent station after black mold closes Station 48 - CA

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on Monday made a surprise visit to firefighters who've been without a permanent home for almost seven months.

In March, the crew working Station 48 on Treasure Island lost their firehouse due to an infestation of black mold. The facility was built decades ago by the Navy and was severely run down.

"It was pretty bad," San Francisco Fire Department Lt. Steven Williams told KTVU. "When it would rain, it would leak really bad. We'd put out buckets and it was pretty deplorable."

Since then, the firefighters have worked out of a cinderblock training center. All 11 male and female crew members are currently sleeping in a classroom. What was meant to be temporary has tested nerves and morale.

"We've adapted so far," said Williams, "but we can only adapt so long before eventually the morale takes a dive."

Mayor Ed Lee on Monday visited the site and told the firefighters the city will expedite the building of a new $1.5 million firehouse.

"Cut the time hopefully in half of what we usually would do it," Lee told KTVU. "I think our firefighters deserve it."

The announcement came after meetings last week with fire department employee groups who've called for the removal of Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White over ambulance delays, staffing levels, lawsuits and other issues in the department.

Chief Hayes-White, who showed Mayor Lee the Station 48 facility, said she thinks relations are improving. "I do think by and large the general membership is appreciative and very proud to be a member of the San Francisco Fire Department," said Hayes-White. "Along the way, they know that there's issues that need to be addressed and they look to me addressing them, and that's what I'm doing."

Hayes-White's critics say efforts to build better housing for Station 48 firefighters have dragged on for too long.

"This should've been done in March or April of this year. Again, these conditions were horrid and and this should've been addressed as it was happening," said Fire Fighters Local 798 President Tom O'Connor. "You wouldn't do it to someone in public housing, you wouldn't do it to a college student, you shouldn't do it to a firefighter. Nobody should live in a classroom."

City officials say the new temporary firehouse made of modular trailers should be completed by next March. A permanent firehouse is set to start construction in 2018 once the entire island is remodeled.

Firefighters said they'll hold department and city leaders to their promise. "The mayor came here; we heard it right out of the mayor's mouth that they're going to expedite this new facility. So people, the morale is up again."
By David Stevenson /

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October 07, 2014
Fire truck bursts into flames during response - MD

Fire truck bursts into flames

A Maryland fire truck itself burst into flames while responding to an emergency call Monday afternoon.

A Montgomery County Fire and Rescue truck was responding to a commercial building fire in the 8200 block of Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring when mechanical issues forced it to pull over. Soon after, the vehicle’s engine and cab area burst into flames.

Another Montgomery County fire unit that was with the truck extinguished the blaze. All firefighters aboard were unharmed.

The crew managed to save a majority of the truck’s equipment, which will be tested before being put onto a new fire engine. The truck was Fire Station 16’s only vehicle equipped with a ladder, so crews are working to get another in service shortly, according to officials.

Investigators are working to determine the fire’s cause, although darkness forced them to quit for the night.

The fire which the truck was initially responding to, which appears to have originated in the air conditioning, was quickly put out as well.

The cost of the damage is unknown.
By Madeleine Overturf /

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October 06, 2014
'Luxury' Ambulance Co. Sued for Dropping, Killing Patient - NY

A private ambulance company boasting “luxury” transport dropped an elderly patient going home from the hospital, resulting in injuries that eventually killed her, a lawsuit claims.

Citywide Mobile Response Corp. was taking Maddalena Santoro from St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center — and up the stairs and into her apartment on West 43rd Street in Manhattan on Dec. 12, 2012 — when workers dropped her, according to papers filed last week in Manhattan State Supreme Court.

“Her head hit one of the marble stairs, and she ended up in a coma,” said lawyer Jeffrey Antin, who is suing on behalf of Santoro’s daughter, Vincenza.

Santoro, 90, a mom of three, was in otherwise good health at the time of the accident, according to the lawsuit. She was going to the hospital for wound care, her lawyer said.

On its Web site, Bronx-based Citywide Mobile cites 40-plus years of operation and plush ambulances featuring 400-thread-count linens, flat-screen TVs, surround sound and a “multi-mode lighting system.”

“Regardless if our patients are going crosstown for treatment or even across the country for a scheduled procedure or to consult a specialist, the luxury ambulance experience we’ve created will ‘transport’ you even before you begin your journey,” the site touts.

Santoro was taken home in an ambulette, her lawyer said. Citywide did not return calls. The suit seeks unspecified damages.
Source: New York Post

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October 06, 2014
Patient attacks paramedic inside ambulance - TX

SAN ANTONIO - A man was arrested early Monday morning after he attacked a paramedic while inside an ambulance, San Antonio police said.

An Acadian Ambulance crew picked up the man around 2:30 a.m. and was transporting him to University Hospital when police said he suddenly grabbed a female paramedic and began to choke her.

The man then jumped out of the ambulance and fled on foot down the highway.

Police managed to catch up to the man near West Avenue and take him into custody.

The paramedic suffered bruising on her neck and arms, police said.

Officials did not say why the man was initially being transported to the hospital.
By RJ MarquezWeb - News Editor

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October 06, 2014
Dallas Paramedic: We Weren’t Contacted After Working in Ebola Exposed Ambulance - TX

HOUSTON, Texas -- A Dallas paramedic claimed he drove the ambulance that the US Ebola patient was transported in and that he was not contacted by anyone about the potential exposure. He claims he drove the ambulance sometime after the patient was transported. The Dallas Fire Department left the ambulance that transported Ebola patient Thomas Duncan to the hospital in service for at least 48 hours before putting it in quarantine on Wednesday. The ambulance was exposed to the Ebola virus when Duncan was transported on September 28th.

“All the people in the back of the ambulance 48 hours later before they finally took the ambulance out of service,” said Dallas Paramedic Geoffrey Aklinski in a discussion on Facebook, “none of them have been contacted. None of the paramedics that were on that shift and went in the ambulance were contacted. I’ve been off three days now. No one contacted me and I was in and drove that ambulance after it was infected.”

Aklinski said he was going to a doctor on his own initiative to be tested for the Ebola virus. “This is definitely a concern and exposed workers have not been contacted or tested… like me,” he explained. “I had to call into control in Dallas at 8 pm and complain to get evaluated.”

“Three days after the fact,” an exasperated Aklinski stated, “I had to demand exposure testing and they are reporting following up with all the people in the ambulance??? Bull crap!!! They haven’t even followed up with the ten firefighters that were on duty Sunday.”

Aklinski went further in explaining the frustration he and most likely, other firefighters, are feeling. “How do you not test and contact the firefighters at the station on Sunday!!! Only the two medics and the intern on the ambulance? I was freaking in that ambulance hours later driving it!!! No one bothered to contact me about it?!!!”

He went on to say he has contacted other news outlets and they won’t report his side of the story. “They just go with the official reports,” Aklinski stated.

Aklinski said he is going in for testing today and then will go into a 21 day home evaluation period.

Breitbart Texas contacted the Dallas Fire and Rescue Department and the Dallas Firefighters’ Association for comment. No response was immediately available.
by Bob Price /

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October 06, 2014
Rash of two-way fire radio thefts put NJ crews on alert - NJ

HILLSBOROUGH, N.J. — The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety issued an advisory reporting the recent theft of two-way radios at multiple fire departments.

There have been a total of 23 radios stolen. An alert went out warning fire departments across the state to look out for anyone trying to sell the radios, reported.

Hillsborough Township Fire Company No. 2 has reported six radios stolen. The biggest theft occurred at the Amwell Valley Fire Company, where 16 radios were reported to be missing, according to the report.

One radio at the Quakertown Fire Company was reported stolen.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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October 05, 2014


A Delaware fire truck crashed on the way to a large barn fire in Leipsic, Kent County. The fire broke out at approximately 0430 hrs today on the 1800 block of East Denney's Road. Several tanker trucks carrying water were called to the scene due to a lack of fire hydrants in the area. The fire truck, which is just one of two in the Leipsic Fire Company, flipped while headed to the blaze. The driver of the fire truck, 72-year-old John Burkett, was transported to Kent General Hospital where he was examined and released. Four firefighters on board the truck were uninjured in the incident.

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October 05, 2014
Seven 911 Dispatchers Transported To Area Hospitals from Northwest Central Dispatch System After Spark, Extinguishing Agent Discharged, Arlington Heights - IL


Arlington Heights police and firefighter/paramedics responded about 3:19 PM Saturday to an activated fire or smoke alarm at Northwest Central Dispatch System 9-1-1 Center 1975 East Davis Street Arlington Heights, IL. Police and firefighter/paramedics next received a report that some evacuation was taking place

For at least three minutes Northwest Central Dispatch System did not respond to radio traffic from Arlington Heights fire units responding to the scene.

Fire units reported that a police squad car was blocking access to the scene.

Some type of spark in electrical or electronic equipment arced when power was turned on. The spark apparently set off an FM-200 automatic fire extinguishing system.

Firefighters checked on air quality in the center, but did not report any fire or explosion.

Three Arlington Heights rescue ambulances responded to the 911 dispatch center. Six or seven dispatch center personnel were transported to three area hospitals — Northwest Community Hospital, Alexian Brothers Medical Center, and Lutheran General Hospital.

No word on the extent of injuries to the staff members. Police immediately set up a wide perimeter around the 911 center. No vehicle or pedestrian traffic was permitted to travel east on Davis Street from Arthur Avenue. Mount Prospect police also responded to the scene.

The 9-1-1 center switched to a backup method, which may have caused minor delays for a short time. Elk Grove Village dispatched there own calls out of fire stations for a short time period.

The 911 center is undergoing renovation, but it was not immediately known if the renovation was directly connected to the incident that activated the fire suppression system.

FM 200 extinguishes fires with an inert gas Heptafluropropane, which is commonly used in facilities that include server rooms, telecommunications rooms housing delicate electronics equipment, rooms housing medical equipment and mechanical rooms where water from sprinklers would cause expensive damage.

According to the chemical’s Material Safety Data Sheet, Heptafluropropane is known to cause irritation or minor residual injury upon exposure.

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October 05, 2014
Stolen ambulance chased - IN


An ambulance was stolen outside Community East Hospital in Indiana, and the thief led cops on a chase that ended on a golf course.

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October 05, 2014
Increase in Distracted Emergency Vehicle Drivers - CA

Distracted drivers of emergency vehicles were to blame in collisions that killed three Southland residents and injured about 140 others in California over the last two years, according to a state database and local reporting.

These drivers of police cars, fire trucks and ambulances caused at least 180 traffic collisions in the state last year or about one every other day up from 165 collisions in 2012, according to data from the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System that is run by the California Highway Patrol.

In fact, the number of collisions involving distracted emergency vehicle drivers on public roads who were at-fault increased by 122 percent over the last decade coinciding with a meteoric rise in technology.

"Black-and-whites now are equipped with more equipment that affords faster and more accurate information to officers but at the same time provides a certain degree of distraction while driving," said Robert Stresak, executive director of California's Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.

The use of electronic equipment, such as in-car computers, was cited as a factor in 48 or just over a quarter of such collisions in 2013, up from 26 cases in 2012. The 2013 data, which is periodically updated, is not yet complete.

The fatal collisions were:

--Cal Fire unit chief Timothy McClelland, who was talking on his cellphone using a hands-free device at the time, rear-ended a car on a San Bernardino freeway in August 2012 resulting in the death of Gregory Kirwin, 48, of Banning. McClelland has been charged with vehicular manslaughter. The state agreed to pay his two young daughters $15 million to settle a civil case.

--In September 2012, Adelanto resident Vanessa Rosales, 38, was killed and her son injured after an inattentive San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputy's patrol vehicle slammed into the back of a Honda Accord that in turn struck a Mercedes-Benz. Sheriff's investigators concluded Deputy Jesse Doner was distracted by selecting music on his cellphone and by his in-car computer, according to an attorney for the Rosales family. The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office declined to file charges. A lawsuit on her family's behalf was recently settled and details are still being worked out, attorney Adam Shea said.

--Last December, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Andrew Wood had been typing on his patrol car computer while returning from a fire call when he entered the bicycle lane on Mulholland Highway in Calabasas and fatally struck entertainment attorney Milton Olin Jr., 65, of Woodland Hills. The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office declined to file charges against the 16-year department veteran and Olin's family has sued the county, the Sheriff's Department and the deputy for an undisclosed amount of damages.

In 2008, the total number of statewide collisions in which distracted emergency vehicle drivers were to blame topped 200.

While motorists in California are prohibited from using hand-held cellphones, drivers of emergency vehicles who spend a disproportionate amount of time on the road are generally exempt from such laws in the course of business and can use their in-car computers on the job.

Reviewing policies

In July, the L.A. County Sheriff's Department created an internal committee of experts to tackle distracted driving and make recommendations for policy changes the same month prosecutors revealed that Deputy Wood had been typing on his patrol car computer when he fatally struck Olin.

The Sheriff's Department manual prohibits cellphone use among employees driving county vehicles "absent extenuating circumstances" but there are no explicit limitations or safety guidelines on in-car computer use. Instead, it offers general directives on driving vehicles safely and avoiding negligent behavior.

Many local agencies have similarly vague policies. The Los Angeles Police Department, for example, has no explicit policy in its manual on cellphone or in-car computer use. The vast majority of its vehicles, however, have two officers in a car and officers are trained that "the passenger should be using the phone or (mobile digital computer)," said Cmdr. Andrew Smith, an LAPD spokesman.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department goes further by banning texting while driving and restricts other cellphone use to urgent matters. It does not prohibit in-car computer use but directs members to "avoid extensive use" of these devices while driving.

The California Highway Patrol, which allows cellphone use only in "exigent circumstances," directs field units to use their in-car computers for nonemergency incidents or inquiries only. But a spokesman said officers are allowed to use these computers on a case-by-case basis based on the officers' discretion and the circumstances.

And some argue it's not necessary to explicitly limit in-car computer usage, particularly when an agency has a broad policy on a vehicle's safe operation. And it's also impossible to enumerate every possible distraction that can occur, said Officer Leland Tang, a CHP spokesman.

"Do we legislate or create policies for issues that are not seriously negatively affecting public safety?" Tang said. "If there was this broad situation where you're having people die in record numbers because of negligent operation of (mobile digital computers) and data shows it, then, yes."

Making changes

An increasing number of first-responder agencies around the country are limiting the use of electronic devices behind the wheel partly in response to high-profile fatalities. Many say they are taking such steps to avert millions of dollars in liability -- not to mention save the lives of their employees and the public.

Some departments, including the Washington, D.C., Metro Police, now prohibit drivers from typing messages on their in-car computers for safety reasons. Others allow the use of these devices only at certain speeds or in certain situations. Police in Fort Wayne, Ind., are using software that shuts down functions of their patrol car computers once their vehicles exceed 15 miles an hour.

The software is "a good thing," said Fort Wayne Officer Michael Joyner, in the effort "to reduce any unnecessary accidents and also help protect the officers."

The Yolo County Sheriff's Department in Northern California is also in the process of testing similar software for its patrol cars, a captain said.

And it's often tragedy that triggers or accelerates change. A year after Kimberly Schlau's teenage daughters were fatally struck in a head-on collision by a speeding and distracted Illinois state trooper in 2007, the Illinois State Police banned the use of cellphones and in-car computers while troopers are on emergency calls and those requiring an expedited response.

Agencies "tend to be reactive as opposed to proactive, which is unfortunate," Schlau said. "As more and more of these stories come out, it opens the eyes of departments, and they're looking at changes before something like this happens."
Brenda Gazzar / Source: Daily News, Los Angeles

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October 05, 2014
Ellen DeGeneres Features Firefighter With ALS on Her Show: Watch His Emotional Story


Five-hankie alert! Ellen DeGeneres took some time out of her show on Friday, Oct. 3, to honor two very special guests, former firefighter Matt Onyshko and his wife, Jessica. The comedienne received several emails about the couple from fans, so she invited them across the country to tell their story.

Matt was diagnosed with ALS seven years ago, about one year after he became a firefighter in Pittsburgh, Pa. Three years ago, his condition worsened to the point where he could no longer work — so his buddies at the firehouse banded together and took over his shifts, ensuring he'd still get a paycheck to help support his family. (He and Jess have two young daughters.)

"Guys were working five extra shifts, I mean, just anywhere possible," pal Bill Frisco said. "We were fighting to take the extra days."

Others in the firehouse called Matt their hero, saying that being around him had made them better people. "What Matt's doing today, what Matt did yesterday, what Matt's gonna do tomorrow...that's a favorite memory right there," Captain Ron Bartolowits said, choking up. "It's heroic. He's an inspiration."

Both Matt and Jess fought back tears as they talked about the support and love they'd received from his former colleagues. "We've been very lucky," Jess said. "We're very grateful for the City of Pittsburgh Fire Department and all that they've done and continue to do for us."

"You make a choice to either have fun or be in pain," Matt added. "We really have nothing to complain about."

Watch the video above to see how DeGeneres surprised the couple on her show (and be sure to have a few extra tissues on hand)!
By Allison Takeda / Celebrity News

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October 04, 2014
86-year-old woman hit by fire truck in Brooklyn - NY

woman hit by fire truck

woman hit by fire truck

BROOKLYN (PIX11) – An elderly pedestrian was struck by a fire truck in Brooklyn Friday afternoon.

Sources say the 86-year-old was hit at Coney Island Avenue and Avenue M in Midwood at about 2:30 p.m by a truck from FDNY Ladder 156.

The woman was transported to Lutheran Hospital by a Hatzolah volunteer ambulance and is said to be in stable condition.

The FDNY, along with the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad are investigating.
by Ashley Edwards /

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October 04, 2014
Commissioners Ask Fire Board to Resign En Masse - IN

The Monroe County Board of Commissioners has asked the entire Perry-Clear Creek Fire Protection District Board to resign this week following the demotion of the district's chief, though board members allege there has been no wrongdoing.

Board President Patrick Stoffers confirmed that he called all three board members Steve Emery, John Moore and Roger Stewart Wednesday and asked all three to resign following the demotion of fire chief Joey McWhorter and the firing of the district's longtime office manager by the board the previous evening. Stoffers said he asked for the resignations on behalf of all three commissioners.

"The board of commissioners lost faith and confidence in their ability to manage the Perry-Clear Creek fire district," he said.

Emery resigned, and Stewart indicated that he, too, would step down from his position; Moore was undecided as of Wednesday, Stoffers said. Commissioners appoint all three positions on the board.

However, during the commissioners' regular meeting Friday, Moore and Stewart both asked the commissioners to grant them a public hearing, which the commissioners have agreed to do.

"I have done nothing wrong," Moore told commissioners, outlining some of the things the board has completed since he's been a member, including construction of a new fire station.

Stewart asked that due process be given the board members, noting that rumors have been swirling about his and Moore's performance on the board.

"I'd like to know how one particular party can come forth with evidence that may be accurate or inaccurate," that would prompt a call for resignation, Stewart said.

At issue is the performance of the board, which former and current firefighters are seemingly divided on.

In July, then-fire chief McWhorter, Emery and former firefighter Milan Pece explained to the commissioners some of the issues they had with the board, which included not following proper procedure in disciplinary hearings or chain of command and ignoring the fire chief's wishes in managing the department.

Stoffers said he asked all three board members to meet on July 25. Commissioners Iris Kiesling and Julie Thomas were not a part of the meeting.

"They are our appointees, and there are some issues going on," Stoffers said, adding that the situation did not seem to improve this week. "I gave them our plain feelings on what they needed to do to correct the situation."

But a contingent of firefighters at Friday's commissioners meeting seemed to disagree.

Firefighters Shane Chapman and Craig Patnode both said that training at the department was lax for a number of years, and the current board invested more money in that aspect of the department.

Chapman said the department went from one of the worst trained in the county to one of the best.

"This board saw that problem and fixed it," Chapman said, advocating that the two board members present should be given due process.

Patnode mentioned equipment improvements made by the board, from getting a hovercraft to a new building to simply upgrading equipment.

"These gentlemen are here to help me protect myself when I do my job," he said. He invited commissioners to come by the fire department to see the improvements firsthand.

Joedy Dillard, whose son, Dustin, replaced McWhorter as fire chief, said the disagreements boil down to a difference of opinion in the modernization of the department. He was disturbed by the commissioners' actions, which Stoffers said were decided during the weekly staff time meetings, which are not recorded.

"All I can say is, give these guys their due process publicly," Dillard said.

Only one speaker at Friday's meeting did not support the board members: Joe McWhorter, who said he's been a member of the department since it opened.

He criticized the board, saying that he specifically went to them about the problems with chain of command, even calling Stewart out for knowing but ignoring the process.

Commissioners will hold a formal hearing, which county attorney Jeff Cockerill said would be set up like a quasi-court hearing, with each side getting a chance to present arguments and evidence.
Rachel Bunn / Source: Herald-Times, Bloomington, Ind.

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October 04, 2014
Fire Department Incidents Under State Scrutiny - CT

NEW HAVEN -- The city this week received notice that the state Department of Labor will investigate claims from unnamed firefighters that department leadership lacks proper training, specifically that Fire Chief Allyn Wright "is not a certified firefighter and has not had any training in more than 10 years."

The notice from the state Department of Labor's Division of Occupational Safety and Health lists 10 alleged safety and health hazards, including claims the Fire Department has "no incident command" and as a result "endangered more than 200" firefighters responding to the August blaze that consumed Delaney's Tap Room and Restaurant in Westville.

The notice also alleges one firefighter in training "was in a coma after doing P.T. (physical training) and two (2) more fell off a ladder last week, this endangers more than 200."

Labor Department spokeswoman Nancy Steffens said Friday the name or names of those who filed the complaint will remain anonymous. She also declined to discuss specifics of the notice, citing the fact it is an ongoing investigation.

Wright was sworn in as chief in July following confirmation from the Board of Alders. Mayor Toni Harp appointed him to the post in late March. He first joined the department in 1975 and served two years as assistant chief before retiring in 2000.

In the years between his 2000 retirement and 2014 appointment he worked as a security consultant and private investigator.

Mayoral spokesman Laurence Grotheer said city officials are carefully reviewing the allegations made to the state.

"The city's appropriate response will follow that review," Grotheer said.

Harp meanwhile is due Saturday night to receive an award from the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters. Her appearance will coincide with the organization's convention at the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale.

Grotheer said Harp on Friday would be unavailable for comment, citing a busy schedule of meetings.

Records show the complaint was filed with the state on Sept. 10, one day after Board of Alders President Jorge Perez, D-5, received a letter outlining similar allegations.
Evan Lips / Source: New Haven Register, Conn.

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October 04, 2014
Medical copter crashes; 1 dead, 3 hurt - TX

WICHITA FALLS, Texas — A medical helicopter crashed early Saturday a few blocks from a North Texas hospital where it was headed, killing a patient it was transporting from nearby Oklahoma and seriously injuring the pilot and two medical personnel who were aboard, authorities said.

The helicopter, operated by Air Evac Lifeteam, was taking the patient from Waurika, Oklahoma, to United Regional Health Care in Wichita Falls, about 35 miles to the southwest, when it crashed just before 2 a.m., Fire Chief Jon Reese told the Times Record News.

"The crews are pretty tore up, families are devastated," Reese said.

The patient died at the scene. The pilot was in serious but stable condition at United Regional. The flight nurse and paramedic were in critical condition at the Parkland Hospital burn unit in Dallas, about 125 miles to the southeast.

Their names were not immediately released, but the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said the patient who died may have been the victim of a shooting Friday night at an apartment in Waurika. Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Jessica Brown told The Associated Press it would be up to the district attorney's office in Waurika to decide whether to pursue a murder charge in the shooting case.

The Bell 206 LongRanger III helicopter crashed on a downtown street next to a parking lot and missed nearby structures. Reese, the Wichita Falls fire chief, said an Air Evac Lifeteam crew already awaiting the chopper's arrival reached the crash site first and found the aircraft on fire but intact.

"They made a heroic effort in saving their co-workers," Reese said.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were headed to the crash scene, city officials said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in this accident," Daniel Sweeza, vice president of operations for the O'Fallon, Missouri-based Air Evac Lifeteam, said in a statement. The aircraft involved was based out of Duncan, Oklahoma, he said.
The Associated Press

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October 03, 2014
Forensic Report of Houston Fire Department LODD Released - TX

The Harris County (TX) Institute of Forensic Science confirmed that Line of Duty (LODD) Houston Firefighter Daniel D. Groover died of "smoke Inhalation" at a tragic house fire in July of this year.

After careful examination of all the evidence, they are unable to establish the "manner of death" (how the cause of death arose) and have classified it as "undetermined". Findings from State and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are still forthcoming.

"As an organization we will continue to learn from this tragedy and I have established an organizational Recovery Committee so that we may move forward and implement positive change," Fire Chief Terry Garrison said. "I ask that your thoughts and prayers go out to the Groover family and to all of those who mourn the loss of our fallen brother."

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October 03, 2014
Firefighters Union Responds to Albany Mayor's Plan to Cut Ladder Truck Company - NY

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan's budget proposal Wednesday night included a plan to cut equipment at the South Station.

The heavy equipment in question is Ladder Truck 1. It is the closest ladder truck, geographically, to the Port of Albany.

Mayor Kathy Sheehan's budget would save $1.2 million by removing the Ladder No. 1 company from service. That means there would no longer be a crew dedicated to using that truck, and the ladder truck itself would no longer be in the South End.

It would be taken out of service, and used as a reserve" truck, a back-up if other trucks break down.

The mayor was boo'ed Wednesday night when she announced the plan. On Thursday, the union's displeasure continued.

"We want to be part of a solution, not part of the problem. We just believe it's important that everyone knows our job will be compromised if we remove a company from service," said Albany firefighters union president Bob Powers.

"The next ladder is not that much further away. When you think about the fact they deploy with lights and sirens and we have a piece of equipment that will remain in service there," said Mayor Sheehan.

That equipment Mayor Sheehan referred to is Engine 5. That truck would stay there and respond to calls as usual.

It has all the functionality of any firetruck except for the giant ladder. Of course, ladders are important in many fire fights, and as Bob Powers said: in this business, every second of response time counts.
By: Geoff Redick /

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October 03, 2014


Vallejo firefighters found a large marijuana grow Thursday night inside a burning commercial building at 615 Florida St.

Fire crews responded to the blaze at about 6:45 p.m. to find smoke coming out of all sides of the building as well as the roof, Vallejo Fire Battalion Chief Cliff Campbell said. As crews entered they came across tripwires attached to pepper spray burglar devices and smoke bombs as well as a large number of marijuana plants and indoor-growing equipment, Campbell said.

A bomb squad was called to the scene to investigate the tripwires after crews knocked down the fire.

Campbell said crews found documents inside the building indicating that the grow belonged to a medical marijuana cooperative. He said he didn't know which cooperative was involved and the documents had been turned over to the Vallejo police for further investigation.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

"Typically when you deal with grow houses, the way they run the electrical ... it causes a lot of draw from the electrical system," Campbell said. "Our suspicions are in that direction, but I can't really say one way or another."

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October 03, 2014
Power Line Falls on Engine at 3-Alarm Fire - CA

OAKLAND -- A three-alarm fire severely damaged at least three homes in the city's Maxwell Park neighborhood Thursday night and firefighters were briefly hampered in their efforts to fight it when a power line fell on an engine, officials said.

There were no reports of injuries. The fire was contained about 9 p.m.

The fire on the 4700 block of Redding Street near Kingsland Avenue broke out around 7:42 p.m., according to Oakland fire Battalion Chief Coy Justice. At least one power line fell on Engine 23, though firefighters were able to quickly deactivate it.

Fire crews extended ladders high into the sky to reach the hillside homes.

Jason Smith, a 43-year-old contractor, was at home with his wife and 6-year-old son when the blaze started. His wife was on the treadmill and his son was watching TV while Smith did some paperwork at the kitchen table.

"I looked up and there was a red glow and I heard crackling and I thought ... something's on fire," Smith said. He initially thought it was coming from his grill but realized the entire deck was burning.

"I ran back and got my wife and told her to get my son," he said.

As they ran out of the home, Smith grabbed a few personalitems. He had to vault two 10-foot tall fences and run through a construction site to escape.

Justice said there were no occupants reported missing from the other homes, though crews would still do a thorough check once the fire was out. The houses were built close together and the spaces between them had many trees, which may have allowed the fire to spread more quickly, he said.

Officials were still investigating the cause of the fire and did not have a damage estimate for any of the homes.
Kristin J. Bender / Source: The Oakland Tribune

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October 03, 2014
Firefighter injuries nearly doubled in 2 years - MN

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel gave an eye-opening report Thursday on the increase of firefighter injuries.

Since 2012, firefighter injuries have been rising as the number of firefighters has been shrinking. CBS Minnesota reported that most of the injuries were related to strenuous lifting resulting in back and leg problems.

Mark Lakosky, the president of the Minneapolis Fire Fighters Union Local 82, says it’s something they’ve been dealing with for years since cuts began in their department.

“We’ve been averaging between 19 and 26 injuries, long-term injuries the last few years,” Lakosky said. “I had a guy who just had back surgery yesterday, the second one in a year.”

Lakosky said for the last five or six years, they’ve seen consistent cuts to their department, but the volume of emergency calls have increased.

Over the next few months, the department will lose a number of firefighters due to retirement or permanent disability.

Chief Fruetel said he’d like to have 418 firefighters; right now they’re at 376 and more than 20 are on leave due to injuries, according to the report.

“We had four or five firefighters on a rig a few years ago now those same tasks are being done by three,” Lakosky said. “Fire and police don’t get more affective with less people. You want a good fire department, you need to staff it appropriately.”
By FireRescue1 Staff

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October 02, 2014
EMS Crew And Ambulance Used In Ebola Case Isolated - TX

DALLAS, TX (CBSDFW.COM) - Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings confirmed that an EMS crew – and ambulance – that transported a patient now confirmed to have the Ebola virus in Dallas has been isolated. “We have quarantined both them and the unit itself to make sure that nothing was there that can be spread and we’re going about our protocol about how to do that,” said the mayor. “We’ve created an emergency center at Dallas City Hall that are going through those procedures right now. So we’re taking all precautions to make sure everybody’s safe. “

The Mayor expressed his concerns for all involved as well. “First and foremost we have got to have our thoughts and prayers for this man who is very sick; who hopefully will get well… but we’re going to make sure everybody else is safe at the same time.”

Dallas Fire and Rescue Officials say the ambulance has been “decontaminated.”

Mayor Rawlings also expressed his confidence in medical workers at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and officials at Dallas County Health and Human Services regarding their handling of a confirmed case of Ebola in Dallas County. “This is a serious issue but I’m very confident in this passenger plane with them as the pilots.”

“I think the great news about living in Dallas is you’ve got a high degree of professionalism both at Presbyterian and at the county level,” he told CBS 11 News. “I have corresponded with those folks; listened to their plans; and I don’t think anything else can be done. Everybody’s got protocol. They’re dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s,” he continued.

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October 02, 2014




This incident occurred last night on the Cross Bronx Expressway. While operating at an accident scene out rig was struck. All members(except for the LCC) had dismounted the rig and were assisting EMS and PD at a minor accident when this occurred. The LCC was belted and not injured. The car never hit it's brakes(no skid marks) if not for proper rig placement this could have been a much different outcome.

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October 02, 2014
Stolen ambulance chased - IN


An ambulance was stolen outside Community East Hospital in Indiana, and the thief led cops on a chase that ended on a golf course.

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October 02, 2014
Buffalo Firefighters Injured in House Fire - NY

Two suffer burns and one has smoke inhalation at Grant Street fire

Buffalo Firefighters Injured
Buffalo firefighters at work on a fire on Grant Street on Thursday, October 2, 2014. Firefighters responded to seven fires overnight.
(WIVB/Lloyd Mitchell photo)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A police officer rescued a person from a house fire on Grant Street Thursday morning. A neighbor witnessed the officer run into the home and save someone from the second floor.

The police officer suffered from smoke inhalation. Three firefighters were also injured during the blaze. Two firefighters suffered burns and were transported to Erie County Medical Center. Another firefighter suffered from smoke inhalation.

Fire crews were called to the scene at Grant Street and Pooley Place around 6:30 a.m. The fire was under control by 7:45 a.m.

Buffalo Fire Department Division Chief Magavero says the fire started in a red box on the side of the building. The fire ran up to the attic. It was difficult for fire crews to put out the fire because the attic was such a confined space.

Buffalo Fire Commissioner Whitfield said they are looking into whether five overnight fires were started by a serial arsonist.

He said they responded to fires on Massachusetts and West Ferry, Grant Street and Gardner, 19th Street and West Ferry, Danforth and Forest in addition to the fire on Grant Street and Pooley. There was also an overnight blaze on Gatchell Street, where one firefighter was injured.

No suspects are in custody.

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October 02, 2014
Feds paid for fighting fake fires

Federal employees working for a Bureau of Land Management program designed to fight wildfires logged hours for fighting conflagrations that hadn’t yet started and bought hundreds of thousands of dollars in gift cards using government funds, a government watchdog reports.

Disorganization within the federal fire-fighting program puts millions of dollars at risk for fraud, the Department of the Interior inspector general said in a report released Wednesday. Officials not only spend the program’s money in wasteful ways, but fail to track many of the purchases they do make.

The report cited an example in which 26 employees were incorrectly paid for fighting a fire that consumed a single tree in Idaho, nearly doubling the reported cost of the incident.

Staff from the BLM’s Southern Nevada office charged time for fighting fires that were not yet burning, and one employee billed that office for time spent fighting a fire that had been put out nine months earlier.

The BLM fire program received $250 million in 2013, part of which was set aside in a “suppression fund” meant only to cover costs incurred while putting out actual fires. The remainder was intended to pay for operational needs such as training personnel and predicting fire activity.

But staff spent money from the suppression fund on everything from meals to janitorial services, the latter of which was billed as the cost of fighting a fire in another state.

In 2011, nearly $800,000 from the suppression fund was spent on gift cards. One BLM employee pleaded guilty in December 2012 to charging $70,000 worth of personal gift cards to the suppression fund using her government purchase card.

A nearly complete lack of documentation for purchase card expenses in some BLM offices prevents the agency from calculating the actual cost of operating the program.

“BLM needs to conduct normal operations within the constraints of its budget like any other agency,” the report warned.

The IG attributed the problems to a perception within the BLM that firefighting efforts and business management are “separate spheres” of operation. However, the BLM’s deputy director had highlighted the same problems with the fire program’s budget in 2012.

Nearly 50,000 wildfires burned more than 4.3 million acres of land in 2013. Wildfire suppression cost the Interior Department, which allocates firefighting funds to each of its four agencies, nearly $400 million last year.
By Sarah Westwood /

Read the full Interior Department IG report.

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October 02, 2014
Fire chief didn't report medic in morphine thefts - UT

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — Police are upset that a Unified Fire Authority paramedic who allegedly stole morphine and may have been connected to a rash of thefts, was allowed to resign without their knowledge.

"A paramedic had actually been caught taking drugs out of the safe,” Cottonwood Heights Police Chief Robby Russo told Fox13. "That firefighter was allowed to simply resign without any further investigation or that being reported to law enforcement."

Russo said the medic may have been connected to a number of 2013 thefts of morphine and fentanyl at several stations. In some cases, the drugs were replaced with other substances.

The paramedic resigned in June, Russo said. Police were not notified and found out three months later from a third party at Unified Fire Authority after they reached out to conduct an investigation and were denied access.

"We haven’t been granted access to any of that information," he said. "We asked for the records, and that request has been declined."

United Fire Authority Chief Michael Jensen referred all questions to the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office, which is conducting its own investigation. So far, no charges have been filed.

Russo also sent a letter to the county’s district attorney, questioning whether Jensen’s role as city council chairman is a conflict of interest.

"I’m not sure we should have elected officials who are also chiefs of police and fire chiefs," Russo said. "I think that’s a conflict of interest, and that certainly might come into play in this instance."
By FireRescue1 Staff

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October 02, 2014
Insurance lapse shuts down fire, police department - OH

CINCINNATI, Ohio — A fire and police department shut down Thursday morning due to a lapse in insurance coverage.

WCPO reported that officials confirmed the Lincoln Heights department shut down at 12 a.m.

"It was not a disciplinary action," Stephanie Summerow-Dumas said. "There was a lapse in our insurance coverage and we want to make sure that our police and firefighters are fully ensured."

Dispatchers were advised to tell callers with non-emergency issues to call the fire and police departments back after 9 a.m. Thursday, according to the report.

A nearby police department and other municipalities have taken over emergency duties for the closed station.

Leaders in Lincoln Heights will meet Thursday morning to evaluate the situation, according to the report.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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October 02, 2014
Firefighters fighting at crash scene 'embarrassing' - NM


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Fire officials are investigating why two firefighters recently got into a physical altercation at the scene of a rollover accident.

“It’s bad. I can’t sugarcoat it. It’s bad,” Albuquerque Fire Department Chief David Downey said. “It's embarrassing and unprofessional. I can't say anything else about it. It's not a behavior we would ever condone.”

Officials are looking into whether or not the firefighters got into the scuffle before the people injured in the rollover were treated, KOAT reported.

“If all of the patient care had not been done and patient care was compromised, that makes a bad situation worse,” Chief Downey said.

Chief Downey said the incident is rare for the department.

“The only time I remember something like this occurring on an incident was almost 15 to 20 years ago,” he said.

One firefighter involved has been with the department for more than 20 years. He is now on administrative assignment, according to the report. The other firefighter has been with the department for about a year and is still working at the station.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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October 02, 2014
Firefighter fights off fire station intruder - CA

PALERMO, Calif. - Butte County deputies are looking for an intruder who broke into a fire station, and got into a scuffle with a firefighter.

It happened in Palermo, just south of Oroville just after 1 a.m. Wednesday. According to the Butte County Sheriff's Office a call came in about a possible fire at the Honcut School.

After many of the firefighters left for that call, an intruder smashed a window and broke into the Palermo Fire Station. He was confronted by a firefighter who had stayed at the station.

The two men got into a short struggle, before the suspect ran out the back door. He is described as a white man, wearing a black hat, black shirt and black shorts. As it turns out, there was no fire at the school.
By Kelli Saam /

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October 02, 2014
Asst. Chief J.B Hutton Jr. collapses at brush fire, dies - AK

(The Last Call - RIP)

DERMOTT, Ark. — An assistant fire chief collapsed and died at a fire scene Wednesday afternoon.

Chief J.B Hutton Jr. had been a firefighter with the Dermott Fire Department since the mid ’60s. In recent years, Chief Hutton’s duties were driving the truck to fires, operating the controls and sharing his experience with younger firefighters, according to the Monticello Olive.

Firefighters were called out to a tree fire that had spread into the woods. As the fire was almost extinguished, Chief Hutton reached down to pick up a hose, and then fell backwards toward a fellow firefighter, according to the report.

Crews immediately performed CPR and called for an ambulance, but he later died at a hospital.

“He died doing what he loved most — fighting fires,” one friend said.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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