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August 21, 2014
Former Hall County fire chief lashes out at firefighters - GA

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- Final Thoughts as Chief. That's the title David Kimbrell gave to one of the last email messages he sent out as Chief of Hall County Fire Services.

In the email he praised firefighters for their dedication to the job and urged them to embrace the new Chief, Jeff Hood. But some firefighters have expressed frustration with his use of the term "cancer" to criticize questions raised regarding the safety of a fire truck recently purchased by the county. The Sutphen truck malfunctioned in July, sending three firefighters to the hospital.

In the email Kimbrell called those firefighters "cancer" accusing them of trying to "tear up the department." Kimbrell urged firefighters not to let the cancer "metastasize and consume" them.

"Certainly it was disappointing as I expressed to David Kimbrell," said Hall County Administrator Randy Knighton.

Knighton says he met with Kimbrell Tuesday morning to discuss the email, then sent firefighters a letter of his own, thanking them for their work.

Kimbrell, as part of his job, was the one that went before commissioners with information about the used 2006 Sutphen fire truck. 11Alive learned after the accident, it was the same truck bought back by the company from South Carolina, after a fire department there "had lost all confidence in the truck, due its catastrophic and consistent failures."

In Kimbrell's email he insisted, "no one involved with procuring the ladder had any knowledge of its reported history during the procurement; it was never revealed by the manufacturer."

"That's a part of the investigation we're conducting now. We want to understand the history. We want to understand what was known, what was not known," said Knighton.

Kimbrell expressed frustration that some in the department seemed to have jumped to conclusions instead of waiting for the investigation to finish. It's a frustration shared by the county itself, which doesn't want suspicion to get in the way of real answers regarding the sale and the accident that followed.

It's been nearly a month since the accident and the county still can't say when it will have the answers to those questions. In September the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to perform its own investigation.

Kimbrell had served as Fire Chief and Director of Emergency Management for the county. But the decision was made this week to separate the duties, returning the EMS role to a full time position.
Rebecca Lindstrom, WXIA

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August 21, 2014
Fatal ambulance crash on Floral Park Road in Prince George's County - MD

BRANDYWINE, Md. (WJLA) - A private ambulance crashed into a telephone pole and a tree early Tuesday morning, killing the driver.

The crash occurred just after 2 a.m. Tuesday morning along the 4900 block of Floral Park Road in Brandywine, Md. The male driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

Prince George's County officials have closed that stretch of Floral Park Road while authorities investigate.

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August 21, 2014
Fire chief says firefighters deserve tougher discipline - DC

WASHINGTON - D.C.'s interim fire chief handed out discipline Thursday to three of the five firefighters who failed to help a dying man outside a firehouse last January. None of them are losing their jobs. In fact, one was found not guilty, one was given a reprimand, and one was given a lengthy suspension.

It did not sit well with the chief, who called the punishment “not severe enough.”

Under the collective bargaining agreement, Chief Eugene Jones can only accept, reduce or dismiss the penalties recommended by the trial board. As for the family of Cecil Mills? They said the members of the trial boards should be “ashamed of themselves.”

When Cecil Mills collapsed across the street from a firehouse last January, five firefighters were inside. All of them were assigned to Truck 15. Lt. Kellene Davis was in charge of the truck and the firehouse at the time, and a rookie, Remy Jones, was at the watch desk. Also on duty were Garrett Murphy, George Martin and David Dennis.

Although the news release from the fire department failed to name the firefighters or their punishment, FOX 5 has learned Garrett Murphy was suspended without pay for a week and a half. Murphy was accused of talking to the rookie about the emergency across the street, and the told Lt. Davis but never left the firehouse.

David Dennis was given a reprimand for allegedly ignoring calls for help from rookie Remy Jones, and George Martin was found not guilty. He told investigators he didn't know Mr. Mills needed immediate help.

At the northeast D.C. home of Cecil Mills on Thursday, we were told no comment, but later the family issued a statement which reads in part, ”The Mills family is deeply disappointed, but not truly surprised by the secret trial board panel recommendations. This is what happens when investigations are done in the dark... we find it appalling that any one of the five firefighters/EMTs in the fire station on January 25, 2014 could be found ‘not guilty.'”

Cecil Mills waited at least nine minutes for help that day, and later died at the hospital. Even the dispatch went wrong, with initial help being sent to northwest instead of northeast Washington.

City Council Chair Phil Mendelson said the Mills case touched a nerve in the city because people expect help when they need it.

"Without wanting to comment on specific individuals, I think it's appropriate to send a signal to the rank and file that they need to respond when somebody's in need and that's really what this case was about,” he said.

As for the rookie, Remy Jones? We know he was taken off the street and put to work in the chief's office after receiving threats. One source familiar with the investigation says he will be receiving some discipline but it's unclear what that is.

The lieutenant in charge of the truck that day, Kellene Davis, was allowed to retire before receiving any discipline.

Garrett Murphy declined to comment on the punishment he received. We were unable to reach Dennis or Martin.

The Mills family has filed a letter of intent to sue the city, and in their statement today indicated they will now move forward with those plans.
By Paul Wagner, FOX 5 Reporter

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August 21, 2014
Partner of Fallen Medic Recalls Last Moments - VA

Joshua Weissman
(Alexandria Fire Department)

Medic Beth Honaker holds her son while talking with her mother, Chief Denise Pouget and Cathy Hedrick with the NFFF.
(Susan Nicol/

The shift for two Alexandria, Va. paramedics on Feb. 8, 2012 had been pretty much routine.

They had run a few calls, and were preparing chicken Alfredo for dinner at the fire station.

But it would end up anything but a normal day for Paramedics Joshua Weissman and Beth Honaker.

It would be Weissman’s final shift.

And, Honaker, who has since returned to duty, still struggles with the ‘what ifs.’

The two were in a medic unit dispatched to a car fire on I-395.

“Josh had a soft spot for car fires. While in D.C., he had saved someone from a car fire in front of his station,” she told Frederick County, Md. fire and rescue personnel Wednesday.

As they arrived that rainy night, they observed a person inside the car. Arlington firefighters were already there, and stretched a line across the guardrails.

She would later learn, the person inside the car was a firefighter retrieving a wallet.

“As he got out, I told him to be careful. He said: ‘I will.’”

Seconds later, she turned around. “His eyes met mine, and he was gone.”

She ran where he fell. It was dark. She couldn’t see him. She couldn’t hear him.

When she notified the officer on the engine of her partner’s plunge, she learned he knew of the opening because he had come close to falling earlier.

“I kept thinking Josh fell, Josh fell. But, he’s going to be fine. Maybe he’ll have a broken leg or ribs…But as I kept looking over the ledge, he wasn’t talking to me. I had to get down there and hold C-spine.”

As she approached her partner lying 30 feet below the overpass, she saw her captain doing CPR.

“I knew my friend was gone.”

Along that dark highway in the midst of chaos, she called her mother, Denise Pouget, who at the time was deputy chief of the Alexandria Fire Department.

Pouget said it’s a call she’ll never forget. “Mommy, mommy, mommy, come get me. Josh is dead…He fell. They’re doing CPR on him…”

While officers and fire officials went about their investigation, she sat alone most of the time. “No one would talk to me…”

Honaker praised fellow medics and firefighters who kept her partner alive so she, his wife and other family members could say ‘goodbye.'

For three weeks, there were offers from co-workers to fix dinner and help with chores around her house. But, she said her now ex-husband didn’t want anyone’s help. He didn’t want people coming to their house.

And, soon her colleagues turned a cold shoulder. The calls stopped.

“Some were mad at me. Some said I had nerve to take off two months...They had no idea of the guilt I felt. I’ve played the ‘what ifs’ over and over and over…”

During that leave, she wasn’t basking on a beach somewhere. She was involved with a therapist who specializes in post traumatic stress.

It was obvious, she says now, that her colleagues didn’t know what to say, so they kept quiet. They shunned her.

There were memorial services, but she was never invited. She felt forgotten.

At a special event, all involved with the tragic incident – except Honaker -- were awarded special pins.

“I wasn’t even mentioned...I was there. I lost my partner...I was told a few days later, if I wanted a pin they’d give me one…”

It was yet another example of her co-workers not understanding what to say or how to act. Since then, there's been training for personnel to teach them how to handle situations.

Honaker urged the group not to be afraid to seek help, and to keep an eye on co-workers who may be dealing with issues.

“I miss Josh every day. I named my son after him."

Almost on cue, the blonde-haired toddler ran toward his mother. But, he stopped short to make faces and wave to firefighters in the front row.

Pouget, now chief in Frederick County, said she was proud that her daughter was brave enough to share her story for the first time.

The chief, who has been promoting the NFFF’s 16 Life Safety Initiatives since her appointment last year, told her personnel: “Someone needs to take care of the living.”

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August 21, 2014
Auditor launches probe into Elsmere fire district - KY

The Kentucky State Auditor is launching yet another examination of a Northern Kentucky governmental entity, this one the troubled Elsmere Fire Protection District.

Auditor Adam Edelen notified the district of the pending investigation in a letter dated Wednesday and obtained by The Enquirer. News of the latest inquiry comes just a day after Edelen unveiled the results of his nine-month investigation into the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and its oversight board.

In the letter, Edelen said his office had received notice of several "concerns" regarding operation of the district.

"After careful consideration of these concerns, we have decided to initiate an examination," Edelen wrote. His office declined further comment and would not give a timetable.

Elsmere fire district attorney Steve Martin declined comment, saying he had yet to see the letter. Elsmere fire chief Paul LaFontaine did not return messages seeking comment.

The move comes nearly a year after The Enquirer disclosed payroll discrepancies at the small fire district, which covers 2.8 square miles with nine full-time firefighters, 16 part-timers and a budget of about $1.2 million. Some of those disclosures included potentially awarding employees bonuses improperly for years, severe dysfunction on the board, nepotism and other questionable spending.

Kentucky fire districts such as Elsmere operate on a share of property and car taxes and are separate governmental entities with the power to levee taxes. Boards are made up of some elected members, some appointed by judges-executive and some elected from within the fire house itself. There are 19 such districts throughout Northern Kentucky and 138 statewide. Most major cities such as Florence, Covington and Newport operate their own fire departments as part of the overall city budget.

Elsmere Fire Protection District board member Lynn Lawrence, appointed by Kenton County Judge-executive Steve Arlinghaus two years ago, said she had complained to the auditor's office several times. She says she continues to resort to open records requests to get information that she feels should be readily available to a board member.

"This is great news, because finally we can perhaps get to the bottom of what's been going on here and start operating in a more transparent and efficient way," Lawrence said.

Kenton County Attorney Garry Edmondson also requested an investigation late last year.

"We really look forward to what they find ... this apparently has been going on for some years now," Edmondson said.

This is the fifth such examination Edelen's office has launched in Northern Kentucky in the last three years. In addition to the recent CVG audit, others included Dayton schools, Covington, and Kenton County.
James Pilcher,

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August 21, 2014
Adams County Loses Funding for Fire Apparatus - MS

County Emergency Management Director Robert Bradford Sr. told the Adams County Board of Supervisors Monday he was mistaken when he told them earlier this month the county had secured an $18,000 grant to pay for a truck the county must purchase for the City of Natchez.

Providing a new fire truck is one of a number of stipulations in the county's 10-year fire protection agreement with the city.

That grant, Bradford said, was actually to pay for equipment and other materials, but not for a truck.

The two other grant applications -- each for nearly $300,000 -- were not awarded to the county, Bradford said.

County administrator Joe Murray told the board members the grant funding, which is provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is extremely competitive.

If all the details of the application are not complete, Murray said it likely would not be awarded.

Bradford told the board members he was able to see a few details left out of the original grant application.

County board attorney Scott Slover said after the meeting the delay in the county purchasing the truck did not violate the 10-year agreement.

Natchez Mayor Butch Brown said Tuesday he had not heard of the set back with the grant funding, but said any delay in getting the fire truck puts the city in a difficult position.

The firefighting needs of the area, Brown said, grow even greater with the addition of each new industry at the Natchez-Adams County Port

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August 21, 2014
Fire Truck, NJ Transit Bus Involved In Camden Car Accident - NJ

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – A car crashed into a fire truck then a New Jersey Transit Bus in Camden Saturday night.

This happened just after 9 p.m. at Broadway and Ferry Avenue in Camden County.

There were 10 total people on board the bus at the time of the accident who all suffered injuries, none believed to be serious.

The driver of the car was taken to Cooper Hospital. Their condition is not known at this time.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

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August 21, 2014
4 firefighters injured in Campbellsville U. ice bucket challenge - KY

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Four Campbellsville firefighters that were injured when a fire truck’s aerial ladder came close to a main power line at Campbellsville University at 11:42 A.M. on Thursday, Aug. 21, have been identified.

Officials said at a news conference, "[It] appears energy arced over and ladder didn't actually hit lines. If you get within certain radius that can happen."

UofL Hospital sources confirm that one firefighter remains in critical condition, Tony Grider, while the other, Simon Quinn, has been upgraded from serious condition to fair. Both of them are currently being treated in the hospital's burn unit. Two firefighters, Steve Marrs and Alex Johnson, were treated at Taylor Regional Hospital.

According to the president of Campbellsville University, Michael Carter, the marching band was being sprayed with water, for an "ice bucket challenge" by the Campbellsville Fire Department on one of the university's athletic fields.

Tyler Arterburn, resident director at the university, said there will be a prayer vigil at Stapp Lawn on campus at 7 p.m.

Power was out for a brief time in Campbellsville, but has since been restored.

Campbellsville University released the following statement on their website; it reads in part: Campbellsville University is asking for prayers for two Campbellsville/Taylor County Fire Department firefighters who have been seriously injured on the campus of Campbellsville University.

“We express heartfelt sympathy and prayers for the families of the two firefighters who were injured,” Dr. Michael V. Carter, president, said.
by WHAS11

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August 21, 2014
Yorktown firefighter stabbed while trying to douse blaze - TX

A firefighter was stabbed Tuesday night while attempting to put out a fire in front of a Yorktown home.

The fire department responded to a report of a truck on fire about 8:50 p.m. Tuesday, said Yorktown Police Chief Paul Campos. But when firefighters arrived, they discovered a man burning brush, a couch and a city-issued trash bin in front of his home in the 400 block of West Sixth Street.

As firefighters prepared to douse the flames, the man - Kirk Engle, 35 - began yelling for them to stop, Campos said. Officials told Engle he was not allowed to burn within the city limits.

As the firefighters spoke, Engle lunged at one of the men, Campos said.

The firefighter, Brian Smolik, thought he had been punched in the stomach. But two other firefighters saw a knife in Engle's hand as he pulled away from Smolik.

Smolik, who has been with the department for two or three years, suffered a 2-inch stab to his lower abdomen.

"Luckily, it didn't hit any vital organs, but it did give him a 2-inch gash," Campos said.

Smolik was at a hospital Wednesday evening.

After Smolik was stabbed, another firefighter grabbed Smolik and dragged him behind a fire truck for protection. A third firefighter attempted to speak with Engle, who lunged again, missing that third firefighter, Campos said.

The fire department called for emergency medical services and the Yorktown Police Department.

Engle then left the scene, Campos said.

Police officer Josh Serbin and Campos responded to the stabbing.

The man was found in the 600 block of Kraege Street. Serbin arrived first at the scene as Engle attempted to enter a residence. Serbin got out of his vehicle and, with his gun aimed at Engle, told the suspect to get away from the house and get down on the ground.

"We didn't know if he still had the knife on him, or if he was going to try to stab us also," Campos said.

Engle was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault on a public servant and taken to DeWitt County Jail.

While under arrest, the man told Campos the fire was an attempt to get the police chief to respond.

"He intentionally set fire to all that stuff and was expecting to stab me with a knife so he could go back to prison," Campos said.

The man told Campos that his caseworker would not listen when he said he wanted to return to prison.

"Maybe now they'll listen to me," Campos quoted Engle saying after being arrested.
Sara Sneath /

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August 20, 2014

New York fire officials say one person died and a second person was taken to the hospital with serious burns following a four-alarm blaze in a Hamilton Heights apartment building Monday.

According to the FDNY, the fire started at about 5:45 p.m. in a six-story building at 512 W. 136th St., just off Amsterdam Avenue.

Ten firefighters were also injured, two seriously, but none have life-threatening injuries, a FDNY spokesman said.

The fire raged through all floors and into the bottom of the building's roof, the FDNY spokesman said. The blaze appears to have started in a first-floor hallway. Fire marshals are investigating.

No information was available about which hospitals the injured were taken to.

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August 20, 2014
Review follows ex-Verdoy fire chief's injury - NY

The Verdoy Fire Department is looking into a weekend incident in the fire station that sent its former chief and current safety coordinator to the hospital, according to a statement issued by Chief Brian Girard.

Jason Wheatley suffered the unspecified injury while apparently responding to an emergency call for the smell of smoke at a location within the Verdoy fire district that was ultimately handled by the Latham Fire Department.

He was treated at the station by members of his department and Colonie Emergency Medical Services before being taken by ambulance to Albany Medical Center Hospital following the accident at 7:40 p.m. Saturday. At the request of his family, the department is not releasing Wheatley's medical condition, Girard said.

The district is conducting a review of the circumstances around the incident and cooperating with outside agencies investigating the matter.

"The commissioners, officers and members of the Verdoy Fire District, Verdoy Volunteer Fire Association, and Verdoy Auxiliary have Chief Wheatley and the Wheatley family in their thoughts and prayers as they endure through this challenging time," the department stated.
By Paul Nelson /

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August 20, 2014
Ambulance driver distracted before fatal crash - OH

MANSFIELD, Ohio-The FOX 8 I-Team has learned that an ambulance driver has admitted to investigators that she was using the GPS on her phone, at the time of a deadly crash.

The accident happened on Friday night, when a Community Care Ambulance transporting 56-year-old Michael Willis from University Hospitals to a Columbus hospital, veered off I-71 South near the Route 13 exit outside Mansfield, crashed through a guardrail, careened down an embankment and then rolled over several times.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol says Michael Willis was ejected from the ambulance and thrown a considerable distance. The Richland County coroner says Willis died from blunt force trauma to his body.

The driver of the ambulance, 30-year-old Amber Brown of Cleveland, and EMT James Phillips of Garfield Heights, were treated for their injuries and released.

Investigators say when Amber Brown was questioned by troopers, she admitted that she was distracted at the time of the deadly crash. Lt. Chad Enderby told the I-Team, “she was looking at a GPS device, stated that she was attempting to get their time of arrival in Columbus, when she drifted off the right side of the roadway.”

The Ohio State Highway Patrol says Amber Brown’s phone has been seized by investigators, who will now try to determine if it was also being used for texting or a phone call at the time of the accident. “We will send that to our computer crime unit in Columbus and they will analyze that, and verify if that statement is true,” said Lt. Enderby.

Investigators are also checking the vehicle’s on-board computer, to try and establish how fast it was traveling at the time of the crash.

Community Care Ambulance, based in Ashtabula, issued a statement on Saturday that reads, “we want to express our sorrow and sadness about the situation. We are doing everything we can to cooperate.”
by Jack Shea /

Orginal Coverage

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August 20, 2014
Five FDNY Members Hospitalized After Possible Chemical Suicide - NY

Police interview people at the home in Fresh Meadows on Tuesday night.

The police officer in uniform to the left is holding a box that investigators believe was used to ship the noxious substance.

Five Fire Department emergency responders were taken to an hospital Tuesday night after they were exposed to a noxious substance while attempting to save a man in cardiac arrest in Queens, authorities said.

The emergency workers had responded to a 911 call that brought them to a home on 65th Crescent near 67th Ave. in Fresh Meadows around 9:40 p.m. when they were apparently overcome by fumes from a hazardous liquid inside a bottle at the residence, a fire department official said.

The responders, a mix of firefighters and emergency medical service workers, were taken to New York Hospital Queens, the FDNY official said. They were not believed to be in serious condition.

The man in cardiac arrest died at the scene, police said, after he committed suicide using chemicals to asphyxiate himself.

Police did not identify what the chemicals were but they appear to be what overwhelmed the responders,

Officers also recovered from the home a box that investigators believe was used to ship the noxious substance.

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August 20, 2014
Barred Firefighter Shows up in Gear at Blaze - PA

The Mt. Oliver Fire Department will review surveillance video from its fire station to try to determine how a former firefighter, barred for life from joining a department because of arson convictions, showed up to fight a house fire.

Francis Kestner Jr., the son of fire Chief Francis Kestner, wore Mt. Oliver fire gear at a fire on Saturday despite being dismissed from the department 10 years ago, borough officials said.

"We're going to look at all the angles and see what it shows us. We're going to dive in deep and see if anyone told him to do it," said Tim Sherman, the fire department's vice president, who is leading the investigation. "Something is going to be done. I'm not going to stop until something is done."

Department officials could pursue criminal charges against Kestner if he trespassed to take gear from the station, or they could discipline firefighters if they permitted him to take the gear, Sherman said.

The fire department will change department policy and stop leaving the station's garage door open during fires, Sherman said after an emergency fire board meeting on Tuesday. Kestner may have obtained the fire gear through the open garage door.

The fire heavily damaged a house on Margaret Street and caused minor damage to a neighboring house. Neighbors said a grill might have started the fire.

Kestner could not be reached for comment.

Kestner, 30, pleaded guilty to setting five unoccupied homes and a parked car on fire between September 2002 and January 2003. Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel sentenced him to five years on probation. He pleaded guilty to a sex offense in 2010, went to jail for six months and was given five years on probation.

Because of his arson convictions, Kestner is barred for life from joining a fire department, said Mike Manko, a spokesman for the district attorney's office. Aside from possibly trespassing, officials in the DA's office don't think Kestner committed a crime by being at the fire scene.

Mt. Oliver Mayor James Cassidy, a member of the fire department and a relative of the Kestners, said he worked at the fire and saw Kestner there in full fire gear. He said he did not see whether Kestner fought the fire. Kestner has been at fire scenes in the past observing firefighters, Cassidy said.

"This is the first time I've ever seen him in gear since 10 years ago," Cassidy said.

Cassidy will not participate in the investigation. A department rule bars him from taking part in an investigation involving a relative.
Aaron Aupperlee / The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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August 20, 2014
Fire truck breaking down causing concern - WI

NEENAH/MENASHA, WI --A Neenah-Menasha fire truck plagued by equipment failures, causing public safety concerns. The fire chief is asking for a new ladder truck after the one they have broke down four times this year. But replacing it is expensive and there has been some opposition from city council members.

Both the Neenah and Menasha city councils are taking up the issue of a new truck, but Menasha's council already met once to see if it could get approved, and not enough council members voted in favor.

The truck is breaking down on calls and firefighters have dealt with delayed response times. Once they had to run instead of drive to a scene...Something Neenah's mayor is concerned about " They pulled over, firemen had to get out, put all their gear on, grab their equipment, and run a block to the fire. That's just totally unacceptable," said Neenah Mayor Dean Kaufert.

There is money budgeted for a new truck in 2015, but some aldermen would like to repair the truck they already have.

"We've had to do some repairs to the transmission or some electrical issues," said Chief Al Auxier, with Neenah-Menasha Fire Rescue.

The fire chief says he's found one for just under $800,000, cheaper than most, and says it's time to replace the 17-year-old vehicle.

"We want to have reliable equipment- that's what's in question here," said Chief Auxier.

Mayor Kaufert doesn't want to take any risks either.

"I don't want to play Russian roulette. I don't want to send our guys to the scene of a fire and not know if they're going to get there OK," said Kaufert.

Each council needs to vote in favor with a two thirds majority to buy the new truck. If it passes, the truck could get here within a few weeks. If not, there is still the option to spend the money next year.
By Deandra Corinthios /

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August 20, 2014
Woodstock voters say 'no' to ladder truck repairs - ME

WOODSTOCK — Residents on Tuesday night overwhelmingly voted against appropriating up to $10,000 from the Fire Truck Reserve Account to pay for repairs to the ladder truck during a special town meeting at the Woodstock Town Office.

The $10,000 would have paid for repairing the turntable gears on the truck, Town Manager Vern Maxfield said.

During the Aug. 5 selectmen meeting, the board agreed that “no more than” $10,000 would be spent in repairs.

Fire Chief Kyle Hopps said he was “skeptical” about spending $10,000 on a truck that was over 30 years old.

“I got some quotes on how much it would cost, and it came in at $9,700,” Hopps said. “That's really close to the limit that you guys set. The problem is, if the parts come in just a little bit more expensive than I anticipated, or if there's a few more hours of labor, you're going to go over the $10,000.”

Chairman Victor Young said the problem with asking to appropriate “up to $10,000 means if it goes $50 over, someone's going to have to pay out of pocket to make up the extra cost.”

Selectman Stephen Bies asked Hopps if he had spoken to the town of Greenwood about possibly sharing a ladder truck.

“We talked a lot about doing that, and in the end, we decided it may be possible, but not in the near future,” Hopps said. “Greenwood just doesn't have the money right now to do it. Plus, there would always be the question about where the truck would stay and who would be responsible for maintaining it. I know how we maintain our truck here in Woodstock, but they may have a different way of doing it.”

Maxfield said he spoke with Greenwood Town Manager Kim Sparks about sharing a ladder truck and Sparks agreed with Hopps.

“She said that we should definitely think about working toward something in the future, but that it just wouldn't work right now,” Maxfield said.

The board asked Hopps what his recommendation was in terms of repairing the truck, and Hopps said he would look into purchasing a used truck.

“If you spend the $10,000, you're risking the chance of repairing a truck that won't stay repaired for very long,” Hopps said. “I'm skeptical about it. I would say that you look into buying a used truck using money from the Fire Department reserves.”

The board asked if the town would be better off spending more money on a newer truck.

“With new trucks, there's a lot of bugs and you run the risk of recalls,” Hopps said. “With used trucks, you can find something a little older that has the kinks worked out of it.”

One resident asked the board how much a used truck would cost the town.

“Anywhere between $90,000 and $350,000,” Selectman Ron Deegan said.

Bies said he was against spending the $10,000 to repair the truck, since the $10,000 wouldn't “guarantee us a functioning truck.”

Deegan told the board, “What I want to do is ask for a boost in our funds at the next town meeting so that we can purchase a new ladder truck. I still support the Fire Department 100 percent, but I feel like we need to get some more money in the reserves so we can get a truck that runs good for our town.”

Hopps said that as of Tuesday, the Fire Department had $140,000 in its reserve account.

After 15 minutes of discussion, voters at the special town meeting rejected the article.
MATTHEW DAIGLE, Staff Writer /

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August 20, 2014
Twin Falls Firefighter Injured Knee in Fall - ID


TWIN FALLS – A firefighter who was injured on the job Monday continued to be evaluated Tuesday, said city spokesman Joshua Palmer.

Tim Lauda, a captain with the Twin Falls Fire Department, hurt his knee when he fell through a ceiling in a church, Palmer said.

A man was burning weeds in a parking lot at the Airport Road Freewill Baptist Church at 869 Washington St. S. when the flames burned a bush next to the church. The flames reached the church's eaves and smoldered in the roof, causing damage to the building.

Lauda was inspecting the area beneath the church’s roof to ensure there were no remaining embers when he stepped on a weak spot in the ceiling and fell through, Palmer said.

Palmer said Lauda has been with the city fire department since 2001 and was previously a Buhl firefighter. Palmer did not have specifics on Lauda’s knee injury but said the firefighter was evaluated at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center.

Lauda was not listed as a patient Tuesday afternoon.
By Alison Gene Smith

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August 19, 2014
Fire station damaged in West Salem car crash - OR

Salem Fire Station 11 at 1970 Orchard Heights Road NW was damaged in a car crash.
(Photo: Special to the Statesman Journal)

Tire tracks through shrubs turn into black skid marks along a sidewalk on the south side of Orchard Heights Road NW, right in front of Salem Fire Department's Station 11.

The tracks are the least of the department's worries, though, since the white van that left them also crashed into the front of the building, and into the exterior portion of its museum room, said Deputy Chief Greg Hadley.

The crash occurred around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13. The vehicle, headed west up the hill on Orchard Heights left the roadway, drove over the island between lanes, through the landscaping and into the building.

Hadley said witnesses called the crash in and one of the department's trucks responded to the scene, along with Salem Police officers.

Fortunately, the station is not regularly staffed and no one was there at the time of the crash. While there were people inside it a few months ago for training purposes, the department does not have the budget to staff the station , Hadley said.

A police report regarding identified Scott Clawson, 31, of Salem, as the driver. Lack of attention was the cause of the crash, said Lt. Dave Okada of the Salem Police Department.

Clawson was cited for driving while suspended and careless driving. He was the only one in the white minivan at the time of the crash. Okada said that he was cooperative with officials on scene.

Nearly a week after the crash, a pile of rubble — concrete blocks, bricks and wood — sits outside the front door.

A fire department technical rescue team built a support beam so that the structure doesn't cave in where the car collided with it.

Estimates for the cost of the damage are still being compiled, Hadley said. The city is trying to figure out insurance and how much it will cost to replace everything.

There were no historic apparatuses or items in the museum area that was impacted by the crash, he said.

It has been a frustrating ordeal, but there is nothing left to do but move forward.

"We'll get through it and get it fixed back to the condition it should be in," Hadley said.
Joce DeWitt, Statesman Journal

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August 19, 2014
1 killed 11 injured in Manhattan apartment building fire - NY

A member of the FDNY looks out a broken window at the scene of a multi alarm fire on West 136th Street in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood of New York,
(Credit: AP / Craig Ruttle)

New York fire officials say one person died and a second person was taken to the hospital with serious burns following a four-alarm blaze in a Hamilton Heights apartment building Monday.

According to the FDNY, the fire started at about 5:45 p.m. in a six-story building at 512 W. 136th St., just off Amsterdam Avenue.

Ten firefighters were also injured, two seriously, but none have life-threatening injuries, a FDNY spokesman said.

The fire raged through all floors and into the bottom of the building's roof, the FDNY spokesman said. The blaze appears to have started in a first-floor hallway. Fire marshals are investigating.

No information was available about which hospitals the injured were taken to.

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August 18, 2014
After fire, Wellesley Island first responders ponder road ahead - NY

Wellesley Island residents observe damage to the Commercial Block Building, which housed a station for the Wellesley Island Fire Department and businesses such as the Guzzle ice cream shop.

Crews battle a fire on Wellesley Island early Thursday morning at the corner of St. Lawrence Avenue and Rainbow Street East. A building was severely damaged by the fire.

WELLESLEY ISLAND — Leaders of the island’s fire department are weighing their options after their main station was leveled in a devastating fire at the Commercial Block Building.

Fire Chief Robert C. Markert said that since the department leased space from the Thousand Island Park Corp., which owned the building, the staff is evaluating its next move.

“That’s going to be the big decision over the next few weeks,” he said.

Since the fire early Thursday morning, the department has been flooded with offers to lend equipment, though it has turned down many of them due to a lack of storage space.

“We don’t need any more equipment,” Mr. Markert said. “We need a place to put it.”

The department has enough equipment at its station on County Route 100A to remain in service in a limited capacity.

In a note released Friday afternoon, Jefferson County Emergency Services Director Joseph D. Plummer called the outpouring of support for the department “the true meaning of Brotherhood!”

At least $800,000 in equipment, including a new brush truck, ambulance, fireboat, pumper and tanker, was destroyed, along with a wide range of equipment that was inside the station at the time of the fire.

Department members had no opportunity to save their gear from the fire, first reported at 11:48 p.m. Wednesday.

“It was a matter of minutes from when the first guy got on the scene until the fire got out to the roof,” Mr. Markert said.

Hampering efforts was the loss of power in the building, rendering the station’s bay doors inoperable. Mr. Markert said witnesses have said the building’s lights were out about 15 minutes before the call went out.

“Once they’re down, you’re kind of stuck,” Mr. Markert said.

The department had a standby generator running at the back of the building at the time of the fire, but the lines connecting it to the doors melted, Mr. Markert said.

The intense heat of the fire also melted through pieces of aluminum equipment, which has a melting point of 1,221 degrees Fahrenheit. “The fire was a lot hotter than we ever expected,” Mr. Markert said.

Crews attempted to get in through a back door, but were unable to get through the reinforced steel door.

The station’s siren also was silenced by the outage, though the advent of pager and cellphone alerts downplayed the importance of that loss.

Crews from Alexandria Bay, Cape Vincent, Clayton, Depauville, Fishers Landing and LaFargeville aided the island’s department in battling the fire, including running about 1,000 feet of hose lines to draw water from the St. Lawrence River.

Two firefighters received medical treatment for smoke inhalation, but soon were released.

Mr. Markert said that based on what his crews had been able to view, “nothing is going to be salvaged.”

Much of the equipment may remain in the building for a few days, Mr. Markert said, as insurance officials evaluate other portions of the building.

An insurance adjuster inspected the station Friday afternoon.

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August 18, 2014
State audit: Hughsonville fire district needs more records - NY

HUGHSONVILLE – A state audit found that the Hughsonville Fire District did not always have documented records to back up purchases, according to the Office of the State Comptroller.

The fire district's board did not perform a proper audit of vouchers before payment or ensure that proper documentation was attached, the state audit reported.

Because of this, the audit found the board didn't have "adequate assurance that goods and services were purchased at the lowest cost, were actually received and were for proper District purposes."

But auditors "found nothing that would be inappropriate or illegal and the errors that they did find were largely the result of ... overlooking the documentation," said Hughsonville board Chairman Ronald Andrews. "There was no issue of wrongdoing."

There were 18 vouchers totaling $23,605 not approved by the board prior to payment, six vouchers totaling $24,899 with no invoice attached, and 62 vouchers totaling $151,796 with no receiving or other supporting documentation attached, according to the comptroller's office.

There were also $2,146 in credit card purchases not backed by documents, $1,051 in credit card purchases without documented evidence of the board's approval, and 17 vouchers for purchases, worth a total of $51,730, without verbal or written price quotes attached.

Many of the discrepancies the state found were a result of using the wrong word on a form, Andrews said.

While preparing their response to the state, Hughsonville officials realized that "we should have been using the word 'voucher' on the form and for probably decades, we had been using (the phrase) 'purchase order,' " Andrews said. "That has been corrected."

A voucher is usually used to prove a purchase has been made — it details what was bought and paid for — while purchase orders are payments "before the fact," Andrews added.

The state recommended the Hughsonville board should "ensure that all disbursements" are backed by proper documentation before paying vouchers, procedures should be established to ensure officers and employees get the right amount of estimates to buy goods or services — documenting when necessary, why the quotes weren't obtained before making the purchase — and the board should make sure vouchers include evidence of compliance with the district's purchasing policies, according to the audit.

The voucher and purchase order forms have been updated and rewritten, and the board has reviewed policies to become more familiar with them, Andrews said.

Hughsonville's treasurer has also been instructed to be more diligent when demanding invoices and, while the necessary quotes were obtained, documentation of them could be better, according to the fire district's official response to the state.

"As far as we're concerned, (the audit) was a positive process because not only were the incidents uncovered minor, but (the state) gave us a wealth of information and suggestions on how to better run the district," Andrews said.

The all-volunteer district's 2013 budget was about $809,000, the state reported.
Nina Schutzman, Poughkeepsie Journal

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August 18, 2014

Two Firefighters were injured while battling a blaze early Sunday at a business on Morgan Avenue.

Fire crews responded about 3 a.m. to the fire at the business at the corner of Morgan and Rosewood Street. There they found a man outside the business that was inside when the blaze started and managed to get himself out, Capt. Daniel Valdez said.

While fighting the fire, a wall collapsed on two firefighters. The men were transported to Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial, where one was treated and released, while the other remained hospitalized, Assistant Fire Chief Andy Cardiel said.

Cardiel said the man that was inside the building was transported to a burn hospital in San Antonio. His condition was unknown late Sunday.

"There were still hot spots in the building so we aren't through investigating. It could be accidental or intentional, but we don't know and need to talk to the victim to find out what went on," Cardiel said.

Valdez said fire investigators will return to the scene Monday morning.

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August 18, 2014
Firefighter injured in gas-fueled fire at Oakland warehouse - CA

Oakland warehouse fire

OAKLAND, Calif. — A broken gas line and fallen power lines complicated efforts to put out a three-alarm fire in an East Oakland warehouse Monday morning, a fire battalion chief said.

The fire was reported around 5 a.m. at a warehouse near San Leandro and Stone streets and spread to other nearby buildings, fire officials said.

A second alarm was quickly called and a third alarm shortly after that as electrical lines fell in the area and a gas line broke, fueling the fire, Oakland fire Battalion Chief Adrian Sheppard said.

One firefighter was injured when the lines fell and was taken to a hospital, but was released later Monday morning, Sheppard said.

It took firefighters until nearly 10 a.m. to fully extinguish the blaze.

Firefighters had to fight the gas-fueled blaze defensively as it spread to two adjacent structures -- another commercial building and a house.

The commercial building was largely undamaged but the house was left uninhabitable, displacing its four residents, Sheppard said.

The fire started in a camper parked nearby and a pile of garbage left on the street and then spread into the abandoned warehouse. It was unclear what sparked the fire, Sheppard said.

Sheppard said firefighters were told that squatters sometimes lived in the abandoned building but its roof collapsed in the fire and investigators have been unable to go inside to confirm that.

The downed power lines knocked out power to 5,701 PG&E customers, utility spokeswoman Jana Morris said. Power was restored to about half of those customers by 6:08 a.m. and all but 29 customers as of shortly before 8 a.m.

PG&E also responded to cap the gas leak and was still digging nearby as of about 11 a.m. to access the 5-foot-deep lines around the building because it was too dangerous to go into the building to directly access the gas meter, PG&E spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian said.

Crews expect to have the digging and welding needed to control the leak done by about noon or 12:30 p.m. and in the meantime, there is no threat to others in the area, Sarkissian said. No other gas customers were impacted.

East Bay Municipal Utility District crews also responded to increase water flow to the area to help firefighters put the fire out, Sheppard said. and wires

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August 18, 2014
20 Texas firefighters exposed to hazardous chemicals - TX

FORT WORTH, Texas - Fort Worth fire authorities say 20 firefighters were exposed to hazardous chemicals at a commercial structure blaze.

Battalion Chief Richard Harrison tells the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that none of the firefighters have experienced health complications following the Saturday night fire.

He says their protective clothing will be tested to identify exposure levels. It took firefighters about 15 minutes to extinguish the flames at a metal finishing company in Fort Worth.

No one was at the plant during the fire and no injuries were reported. Harrison says tools including radios, hoses and trucks were decontaminated on-site. Investigators determined the fire was accidental.

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August 18, 2014
Fire Truck, Transit Bus Involved In Camden Car Accident - NJ

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – A car crashed into a fire truck then a New Jersey Transit Bus in Camden Saturday night.

This happened just after 9 p.m. at Broadway and Ferry Avenue in Camden County.

There were 10 total people on board the bus at the time of the accident who all suffered injuries, none believed to be serious.

The driver of the car was taken to Cooper Hospital. Their condition is not known at this time.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

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August 18, 2014
Drunk slams into fire chief's car at crash scene - TX

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player
10-car pileup on North Freeway

Traffic piled up on the North Freeway after one crash triggered nearly a dozen others.

It all started Friday around 11:45 p.m. when a driver crashed near the Cypresswood Drive entrance southbound ramp.

Police said the man was taken to the hospital in stable condition.

The scene was clearing around 12:15 a.m. when an orange Camaro stalled on the entrance ramp.

The driver got out and started pushing the car to get it off the ramp.

That is when police said a maroon colored car with two occupants came up the ramp, apparently did not see the man pushing his car and slammed into the back end, hitting the man.

The driver pushing his car was taken to the hospital in serious but stable condition, and the driver of the maroon car was taken to the hospital in stable condition.

The Spring Fire Department responded to reports of the second accident and parked on the shoulder of the freeway with emergency lights on.

Around 12:30 a.m., police said a drunk driver in a small pickup truck came speeding down the freeway and hit the back end of the Dodge Charger belonging to the Spring fire chief, and then hit the ambulance.

Then around 12:45 a.m. police say a woman driving in the lane next to the ambulance accident stopped to look at the scene.

That caused the driver behind her to slam into the back end of her car.

No one was injured in that accident.

The last accident happened around 2 a.m when deputies blocked all but one lane.

A car struck the back end of an SUV, but it was a minor accident and was quickly moved.

A total of three people were taken to the hospital out of the five accidents.

The freeway was closed for several hours.
Author: Lauren Scott, News Associate Producer /

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August 16, 2014
Judge Denies Union's Request to Rescind Layoffs - CT

A judge has denied a request by firefighters in the Poquonnock Bridge Fire District of Groton for a temporary injunction to rescind the layoffs of nine firefighters.

Judge Thomas Moukawsher, in a written ruling issued Friday, said with an interim request for relief with the State Board of Labor Relations that is likely to be heard within the next 30 to 60 days, firefighters had not proven an emergency exists to allow the court jurisdiction in the matter.

Firefighters had claimed the danger was too great to wait for a decision, but Moukawsher ruled "because it is not substantially probable that the firefighters will face irreparable harm in the next 60 days, the firefighter's request for a temporary injunction is denied."

The fire district board laid off the nine firefighters on July 29 because of a lack of money.

The Poquonnock Bridge Fire Fighters Association filed a prohibitive practices complaint with the state, asking for an interim decision that would reinstate the firefighters. A hearing date has yet to be scheduled.

Layoffs led to a reduction in manpower from five firefighters to a minimum of three firefighters on duty at any given time. Moukawsher, in his ruling, noted that the department still has four firefighters on almost every shift and if needed can maintain that level because the contract "allows the department leadership to call in additional firefighters as needed to ensure 4 men are on duty."

Moukawsher, in his ruling, also listed key points from a hearing on Wednesday that he said showed "no emergency exists." Among those points was the fact that rescues at the scene of structure fires was "the most dangerous things firefighters face."

"There have been three or four rescues at structure fires in the district within the last 28 years," he wrote. There is also the opportunity for mutual aid from neighboring departments, he said.

Moukawsher acknowledged that firefighting was risky business but took issue with statements from a Hartford deputy fire chief who "refused to acknowledge that a lower risk of fires means lower risks for firefighters."

"To him firefighters who respond to 1 major fire a year have just as much chance of being hurt as those who respond to 100 major fires a year. This is like saying a man playing Russian Roulette faces no greater risk by pulling the trigger 5 times than he does pulling it once," Moukawsher wrote.

Union attorney Eric Chester said he was displeased with the judge's decision and thought it "ironic that the court referred to Russian Roulette in the ruling because it's exactly what they're asking firefighters to do."

"They're putting these people's lives in danger," Chester said. "That's what we continue to do every day they run three firefighters. These are real people, real lives. It's not a game."

F. Jerome O'Malley, a lawyer for the fire district, said Friday he thought the court ruled correctly and that the union had not exhausted other remedies before applying for the injunction.

"We're pleased with the decision but it's fair to say everyone agrees it's not an optimal situation here," O'Malley said.

The injunction request is just one of a host of issues facing the fire district, including a budget adopted at the annual meeting that cannot support current operations of the fire department.

The fire district also awaits a judge's decision on pending litigation against the firefighters union, an attempt to negate the 10-year labor contract that current board members claim is invalid in part because there was never district approval for the funding to pay for it. The contract calls for annual wage increases of 3 percent.

"I think it would be in everyone's interest if the parties could conclude a new bargaining agreement, end litigation and get back to running a fire department," O'Malley said.
Greg Smith / The Day, New London, Conn.

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August 16, 2014
Patient Dies In Ambulance Crash - OH

MANSFIELD, Ohio - One person is dead after an ambulance flipped in Richland County.

The crash happened on I-71 at the OH-13 Bellville/Mansfield exit around 11:45 p.m. Friday.

The ambulance was transporting a patient from a Cleveland hospital to a Columbus hospital.

State Highway Patrol Troopers say the ambulance drove off the exit ramp, hit a guardrail and rolled several times down an embankment.

The patient and an EMT were thrown from the back of the ambulance.

The patient was pronounced dead at the scene. The EMT suffered minor injuries and was transported to a hospital.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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August 16, 2014
Responders acted appropriately, hospital takes blame for not transporting patient - TN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Eight Metro Nashville Fire Department personnel will be back on the job next week.

Fire Chief Ricky White put them on administrative leave Wednesday after a NewsChannel 5 investigation revealed an ambulance did not transport a gunshot victim to hospital, despite the fact he was still breathing.

Friday, Vanderbilt University Medical Center took responsibility for medical decisions made in the case.

Chief White told NewsChannel 5 Investigates that none of his employees will be disciplined.

A source close to the case told NewsChannel 5 Investigates that the ambulance workers voiced concern about not taking the gunshot victim to the hospital. But in the end, they listened to Vanderbilt ER doctor who told them not to transport.

The new information raises questions about why a Vanderbilt ER doctor would tell EMS workers not to bring a man who was still breathing to the hospital.

The ambulance arrived at a townhouse in Hermitage Wednesday shortly after 3 a.m. A 32-year-old man had just shot himself in the head.

At 3:48 a.m., EMS workers recorded that his injuries were "not compatible with life" and left.

But more than an hour later, police noticed the man was still breathing and called the ambulance back.

"There is no question that patient should have been transported," said Dr. Corey Slovis, medical director for the Nashville Fire Department.

Dr. Slovis and Fire Chief Ricky White told NewsChannel 5 Investigates on Wednesday that paramedics talked with a Vanderbilt ER doctor who told them not to bring the patient to the hospital.

"The physician didn't know as much as he should have when he made that decision," Dr. Slovis said Wednesday.

But sources close to the case tell NewsChannel 5 Investigates, EMS workers were not comfortable leaving and voiced concern.

They even repeated the doctor's orders back to him, but the doctor said to leave. Protocol is to listen to the doctor.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center released a statement late Friday, taking responsibility for what happened.

According to the statement, fire department personnel on the scene acted "appropriately and responsibly." It said the hospital is refining protocols after this unusual case.

Vanderbilt has refused to release the name of the doctor involved and has said it has no plans to discipline that doctor.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates has asked for the radio traffic from that night which would reveal the conversation between the doctor and the paramedics. That has not been released.

The gunshot victim died several hours after being taken to the hospital.

Vanderbilt has said his injuries were so severe, he would not have survived even if he'd been taken to the hospital right away.

Vanderbilt's entire statement:

“Today, after an internal review of the event involving Vanderbilt’s Adult Emergency Department and Metro Nashville Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services professionals operating in the field, we believe the MNFD emergency medical professionals on scene acted appropriately and responsibly in caring for this individual. The responsibility for decisions surrounding patient care in this event resides with Vanderbilt. The physiologic circumstances surrounding this patient’s unusual and unsurvivable injury provide the opportunity for further refinement of protocols used collaboratively by physicians at Vanderbilt and EMS personnel working in the field as they care for and transport dying patients. We will partner with our colleagues in the MNFD on this effort,” said John Howser, Assistant Vice Chancellor for News and Communications, VUMC.
By Ben Hall /

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August 15, 2014
Volunteer FD, KYTC officials clash over emergency scene closure - KY

CLARKSON, KY (WAVE) - You may have seen the Shut It Down campaign spreading fast on social media after the death of a Hardin County volunteer firefighter. The idea is to close interstates as soon as any type of emergency happens so first responders don't have to work alongside traffic. Supporters in Grayson County feel their concerns may not be heard after a confrontation with a transportation official the same day as the fatal crash.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials will meet with first responders in Grayson County to discuss traffic control at accident scenes. It's an important discussion that comes at a time when the death of Lt. Jonathan French is fresh on a lot of minds.

Clarkson Fire Assistant Chief Ken Lashley says he's fully aware of the dangers of their job, but it became even more clear one week ago when French was hit and killed by a semi on Interstate 65 while there for car fire. That same day the Clarkson fire chief updated the department's standard operating guidelines to allow the closure of all lanes of traffic it deems necessary for safety.

"If there's one lane of traffic open on that road people won't slow down, they will come by us running 70 to 80 mph," said Lashley. "People have no respect for red lights or yellow lights."

Just hours after French's death, Lashley and his crew were called to an accident scene on the Western Kentucky Parkway after a pickup truck pulling a 25 foot trailer flipped on its side.

"We deemed that the road needed to be closed for the safety of everyone involved and that's what we did," said Lashley.

Lashley says a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet official showed up to the scene asking to open the road.

"He got pretty irate and some words were exchanged," said Lashley.

Chris Jesse, with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, says in the Bluegrass one agency can't necessarily trump another, but they usually take direction from the law enforcement agency investigated.

"When the emergency is over, we have an urgency to get traffic moving to get them off the road, get them detoured, get them on their way, so they aren't stopped back there in the danger zone," said Jesse.

Stopped traffic, said Jesse, can sometimes cause secondary crashes that are even more serious than the first. Jesse agrees safety is key and that's why it's important to meet with all emergency agencies to make sure everyone is on the same page.

"We do these in different counties throughout our district at different times and while the timing may seem a little ironic with recent events, we've had this meeting in the works for sometime," said Jesse.
By Katie Bauer /

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August 15, 2014
Paramedics, EMTs Frustrated Over Staffing Change - CA

LONG BEACH - It was a typical busy night in Long Beach.

At one end of the city, a woman got into an argument in a 7-Eleven on Long Beach Boulevard, and firefighters were called to assess her health.

Before fire fighters from Station 3 returned to the firehouse, they were dispatched to a location blocks away, on Earl Avenue, where a woman was threatening to kill herself. A paramedic and emergency medical technician duo examined her, put her on a stretcher and took her to a hospital.

Firefighters say such calls illustrate how sworn firefighter paramedics are being tied up with non-life-threatening situations that could be handled by civilian EMTs under an experimental new staffing model. The Long Beach Firefighters Association says the change could potentially lead to slower response times for more critical calls requiring a highly trained medic.

A system called Rapid Medic Deployment, the culmination of 2 1/2 years of discussions, is the first of its kind in Los Angeles County. The Long Beach Fire Department put the two-year pilot program into effect July 10 in the hopes of saving $1.4 million.

Other area agencies, many of which, like Long Beach, have faced tough budget decisions in recent years, are closely watching to see if the new model is an effective way to trim costs while delivering residents the same level of service.

Just one month in, the system is being criticized by paramedics and EMTs.

The firefighters association says its chief concern is that when an ambulance is called out to a critical situation, a paramedic will arrive with a civilian EMT, who is less expensive but also receives less training.

"Our guys feel nobody cares," said Long Beach Firefighters' Association President Rex Pritchard.

"They feel the only ones that care about the service is us."

At the same time, EMTs say the department's increasing reliance on them is putting them into life-threatening situations for which they have neither the proper training nor equipment, and the union representing them has filed a grievance with the state Public Employment Relations Board.

Fire Chief Mike DuRee says Long Beach residents are, in fact, receiving better service under the Rapid Medic Deployment system. DuRee said the average response time to an emergency has dropped, and the most urgent calls are seeing the first paramedic on scene a minute faster on average compared with last year.

Paramedics typically spend 22 minutes in hospitals, no different than in the past, DuRee said.

The average response time to a 911 call is 4 minutes and 51 seconds, and for critical medical calls, the first paramedic arrives in 5 minutes, DuRee said.

While there may be some anomalous hiccups as the system is rolled out, it's too soon to determine the system's effectiveness, he said.

"The point we're trying to make is, it's a pilot program," DuRee said.

"It's basically created on a hypothesis. Could we engage in an alternative staffing model in this city that is equal to or more effective than the one we had before?

"So far, what we're seeing with the data is that it is equal to, and in some cases more effective than, the program we had before - and at the same time we're saving money."

The new model is a hybrid staffing model with one sworn paramedic and one civilian EMT responding together to a variety of calls. Previously, two paramedics would respond to the most urgent calls, and civilian EMTs would respond to less pressing matters.

DuRee said the new model frees a sworn paramedic on a fire engine to respond to the next emergency instead of having two sworn paramedics take someone to the hospital.

EMTs cost less but have less training and in-the-field experience than paramedics.

"The thought was, 'Why do I need (a paramedic) to drive the ambulance to the hospital when I can place him on a fire engine so that he can run another call for someone who may have a critical need, and I can replace the driver of the ambulance with a lower cost EMT ambulance operator," DuRee said.

The vast majority of the department's calls are for medical issues, not fires, according to LBFD statistics.

But in its grievance filed with labor baord, the EMTs' union says their employees are being asked to do more than what is in their normal scope of work.

The union says EMTs are being put in the same perilous situations that firefighters face without protective gear or training.

"Under this plan, on any kind of a fire scene, they are on the fire ground (in the area of a fire) assigned to the battalion chief. They are now in a life-threatening situation that they wouldn't normally have been involved with," said International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers business representative Dave Sterling.

"It's like taking a private security officer who is trained to observe and report and putting them in a black and white (police) car with blue and red lights ... without the tactical equipment to handle that job."

They also don't receive the same benefits firefighters have; should they suffer an injury, they wouldn't have the financial protections granted to firefighters, Sterling said.

DuRee said civilian EMTs are not asked in emergencies to do anything they wouldn't normally do.

"We don't want them to function outside their scope," he said.

"We want to be very clear they're not to function in an (immediately dangerous to life or health) environment."

Deputy Chief Dave Segura said having EMTs on the scene of a fire creates added structure at the scene away from danger.

"There is a benefit to having these folks medically ready," Segura said. "I don't want you engaging in any fire fighting activity. I want you to stand by, medically ready, for either the civilian or firefighter that gets hurt."

Although the department and firefighters are at odds over the new program, both sides say it isn't affecting the responders' ability to work together.

"I want the people in the community to understand that the men and women who go to work everyday and put on the badge of firefighter in Long Beach are consummate professionals," DuRee said.

"When the bells go off they respond quickly. They deliver their service in the same world-class way we always have."
LAUREN WILLIAMS, Orange County Register

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August 15, 2014
Wrong-way driver dies in I-275 crash with ambulance - FL

TAMPA (FOX 13) - For the second time this week, a wrong-way driver has caused a wreck on our roads. This time, the results were deadly.

The latest crash happened on Interstate 275 just before 3 a.m. Troopers say the driver -- who still has not been identified -- started going the wrong direction on I-4, then entered the northbound lanes of I-275.

A witness who called 911 said the driver made a u-turn on I-4 near North 50th Street.

"He abruptly turned around in front of me and started heading in the wrong direction," the witness said in a 911 call. "He's going to cause a head-on collision with somebody."

Near Floribraska Avenue, the wrong-way Honda Accord slammed into an oncoming ambulance, which was flipped onto its side by the force of the impact. There were no patients in the ambulance, but the two EMTs were taken to St. Joseph's with minor injuries. They have since been released from the hospital and are expected to return to work in a few days.

"I saw it right in my rearview," a driver can be heard telling a dispatcher in another 911 call. "There was a guy coming head-on going northbound in the southbound lanes, and I swerved out of the way and he ran right head on into some other truck."

The Honda driver was killed. Troopers have not been able to identify him because he was not carrying any identification, and they say, "registration of the vehicle is currently inconclusive."

Troopers believe alcohol and drugs may have been a factor in this crash, which was the fourth wrong way crash on Interstate 275 since February.

Early Wednesday morning, troopers were chasing a driver until he got on the interstate going the wrong direction. The car went a few miles before a head-on crash at Busch Boulevard. No one was seriously injured and the driver was arrested.

Back in February, a horrific crash on I-275 killed five people. Investigators say the driver of an SUV was going the wrong way on I-275 North and collided head-on with another car just north of Busch Boulevard. Both vehicles burst into flames.

Four members of a USF fraternity died, as well as the wrong-way driver, who was later found to be very drunk.

About a week after that crash, a wrong-way driver made a U-turn in the middle of I-275 and started going north in the southbound lanes. A few minutes later, the car crashed into a box truck.

The wrong-way driver died; the two men in the box truck survived.

Troopers say there's not much that can be done when people choose to get behind the wheel when they shouldn't.

"The roadways are designed properly with warning to drivers regarding traveling in the wrong direction to include signage and red reverse reflectors," Sergeant Steve Gaskins wrote Friday. "Drugs and alcohol are the common factor that only the driver(s) can prevent."
By: FOX 13 Tampa Bay Staff

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August 15, 2014
Fairbury firefighter Darrell Parker dies after crash - NE

(The Last Call - RIP)

FAIRBURY — A Fairbury man has died in a hospital three days after being injured in a crash.

Darrell Parker, 56, died Wednesday at a Lincoln hospital. He'd been transferred there from Jefferson Community Health Center, where he was taken after Sunday's accident.

Police say Parker was a volunteer firefighter who was headed to a fire when his pickup left a roadway, went into a pasture and struck a tree.

Fairbury Police Chief Chad Sprunk says it's suspected that Parker suffered a medical problem before the crash.
The Associated Press

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August 15, 2014
Fire Damages Friendship Hose Company in Sunbury - PA

Sunbury, Northumberland County- Fire crews battled a three alarm fire at the Friendship Hose Company in Sunbury. The fierce fire destroyed the fire house. Several major roads in the area are also closed while crews clean up the scene.

The fire started around 6:30 Friday morning on 10th Street in Sunbury. It started in the kitchen and quickly spread throughout the building.

Fire crews were able to remove their equipment in time but they say the building is in ruins.

Fortunately no injuries are reported and the fire company is keeping their equipment with other area fire departments until they can fire out a plan.

State Police are investigating but they say the fire is not suspicious...

Sunbury Riverfest is still scheduled to take place this weekend...but there are several detours in place. Parts of Route 61 are closed in and around the area so leave a little extra time for those traffic pattern changes...

TO Donate to the Friendship Hose Company Fire Fund GoFundMe Search Miss Vickys One Dollar Challenge

Sunbury, Northumberland County- It's the call no one wants to hear... The call telling you your home is on fire.

For the volunteer firefighters at Friendship Hose Company in Sunbury... That's exactly the call they got 6:30 Friday morning.

With heavy hearts... Friendship Hose Volunteer firefighters immediately got to work. Saving what they could from the building -- pulling out their trucks... Important records... and expensive equipment...

More than 100 firefighters from across Northumberland County came out to help them fight the blaze...

Their community came together too. Local restaurants donated food... water and coffee... Volunteer Vicky Rosencrans has started a fund... To help the firefighters rebuild.

"I seen some fireman pretty upset today. This is their home. But the biggest thing I can say to the community is these are the men and women coming out to help you when your house is on fire or flooded or whatever the case may be. They need the community to step up right now and put the house back together "
Posted By: Jayne Ann Bugda /

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August 15, 2014
Two Ambulances Break Down Transporting Patient - KY

Georgetown-Scott County EMS has battled mechanical problems with their ambulances all summer. Those problems continued Monday.

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August 15, 2014
Firefighter injured in forklift fire at Ore. sand blasting plant - OR

(KPTV - FOX 12)

TUALATIN, Ore. — A firefighter suffered minor injuries while putting out a forklift that had caught fire.

The forklift was being used around 1:30 a.m. Friday to refuel a propone tank at the Oregon Sand Blasting facility when it went up in flames, KPTV reports.

A firefighter tripped and fell during the incident, and suffered minor injuries.

Firefighters were able to keep the flames from spreading to the tank.
By FireRescue1 Staff / KPTV

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August 15, 2014
Motorcyclist hit by fire truck returning from fire scene - PA

WASHINGTON TWP., Pa. — A motorcyclist was hit by a fire truck returning to its firehouse after battling a fire Friday morning. reported that the motorcyclist — identified as 31-year-old Jarad Kulp of Bechtelsville — pulled out of a side parking lot when it was hit by the fire truck. The chief said the rig may have run over part or all of the bike.

Kulp was flown from the scene to a hospital with major injuries. There's no word on his condition, according to the report.

The fire truck driver — 48-year-old Jeffrey Reitnauer — was not hurt, and his four passengers were not injured either, according to the report.

Police are investigating the accident.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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August 14, 2014
Town of Mount Hope Residents Vote to Ax Fire District - NY

MOUNT HOPE, N.Y. -- Voters in Mount Hope voted Tuesday night to remove the newly created Town of Mount Hope Fire District.

The district's president was stunned after learning that his fire district will no longer operate in the area.

"If this fire district isn't any good, why is a joint fire district good?" said Lou Dodd. "I don't understand."

Almost 500 people voted Tuesday, with 264 voting to dissolve the fire district and contract with other fire companies.

Some residents said this decision will keep taxes down.

"I believe that we have adequate coverage with Howells Fire District and Otisville," said Mount Hope resident Christine Venter.

They said it'll also allow the town board to have more control over fire services.

In 2013, the Town of Mount Hope Board approved the creation of a fire district. Recently elected Town Supervisor Chad Volpe said the lack of public input then, has led to the public outcry today.

"The old board didn't have the proper amount of public hearings and in my opinion didn't follow the voice of the people and that's why we're have this election today," said Volpe.

Volpe said the town will stay covered by the Town of Mount Hope Fire Company until 2016.

After that, they will take bids from other fire services.

However, this news has devastated other residents, who said the fire district would have actually allowed more budgetary transparency.

"You see where all the money goes and the equipment they buy, the services they do, and they've done a wonderful job too," said Town of Mount Hope resident Robert Sutherland.
By: Jessica Chen /

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August 14, 2014
Bicyclist Struck, Killed by Ambulance in New York City - NY

A bicyclist was fatally struck by a private ambulance in Flushing Wednesday morning, cops said.

The cyclist was riding north on Parsons Blvd and was making a left hand turn onto 37th Avenue when he was struck around 9:50 a.m. by the ambulance driving south down Parsons Blvd, cops said.

The biker, in his 60’s, was rushed to New York Hospital of Queens where he later died, cops said.

The driver of the ambulance has not been issued any summonses but the NYPD is investigating the accident.

The identity of the biker is pending family notification.

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August 14, 2014
Three hurt in fighting South Cle Elum Ridge Fire - AZ

A log rolled down a hill and injured two Arizona firefighters fighting the South Cle Elum Ridge Fire early Wednesday afternoon, and a third was hurt in a vehicle collision that day.

The first two, firefighters from the Navajo Hotshots crew, were stabilized and sent to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for lower leg injuries, according to fire management team spokeswoman Anne Jeffery.

Several people have needed medical attention fighting fire in Kittitas County in the past two weeks. Most were dealing with illness or dehydration, fire managers have reported previously.

Two hurt Wednesday have already been treated and released and are back at work, according to the fire’s management team. The other is well, but is still being evaluated.

Firefighters worked yesterday to secure the northern edge of the South Cle Elum Ridge Fire along National Forest road 4510, eliminating hot spots within 75 feet of the fire’s edge, fire managers said. The blaze, a bit more than a square mile in size, and was 24 percent contained as of this morning.

The fire continued to burn into the Butte and Taneum creek drainages. Jeffery said Wednesday afternoon fire activity remained relatively light, allowing firefighters to build a large amount of line around the west end of the fire.

A meeting on the fire is planned for 7 p.m. tonight at the Putnam Centennial Center in Cle Elum. Kittitas County emergency managers and fire personnel will be available to provide updates and answer questions.

New team

A new incident management team took command of the Snag Canyon Fire north of Ellensburg at 6 o’clock this morning.

The Northern Rockies Incident Management Team, led by Incident Commander Doug Turman, replaces Washington Incident Management Team 1 and outgoing Incident Commander Bob Johnson.

The new team is called a type 1 team, meaning it’s organized to handle larger and more complex emergencies than the outgoing team, a type 2.

The new team also will take over management of the South Cle Elum Ridge Fire starting Friday morning, management team spokesman Don Jaques said.

He said this morning the Snag Canyon Fire held at about 19 1/2 square miles in size and was 60 percent contained as of Wednesday evening.

Another day of cooler weather and higher air moisture meant firefighters were able to get close and build line near the fire’s edge, he said, and they’ll likely be able to take advantage of the weather today.

Concerns of abundant lighting have largely passed, he said, but there are still storms in the forecast, and despite the rain, it’s still dry enough for strikes to spark new fires.

Evacuation zones and closures around both fires were unchanged as of this morning, and Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office public information office Jill Beedle said it’s likely to stay that way for a few more days.

The sheriff’s office will begin circulating information on post-fire erosion and soil damage resources today, she said, and landowners can contact the county Public Works Department for help.

“We definitely want people to know that they’re not alone in the recovery part of it, that it’s a team effort,” she said.
By ANDY MATARRESE staff writer /

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August 14, 2014
Tipton County firefighters deal with radio glitch - TN

TIPTON COUNTY, Tenn. – Tipton County Emergency Management reported Thrusday the problem with firefighters’ radios is fixed.

The issue began Wednesday due to an antenna problem at a county landfill.

It could have made communication a problem for firefighters in an emergency situation.

A specialist was able to repair the problem Wednesday night, so the radios could run again smoothly.

Tipton County did not report any additional problems as a result of the radio glitch.

The county is in the process of converting responders to a single new radio system to improve communication.

While most of the county’s law enforcement has made the switch, firefighters haven’t been able to yet.

“It’s just going to take some time to get that done. When it’s completed, we will have a super radio communication system put in county-wide,” said Tipton County Emergency Management Director Tommy Dunavant.

Dunavant said it is unclear when all agencies will be on the new radio system, but it will hopefully happen before the end of the year.

People living in the county that WREG spoke with were unaware of the problem.

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August 14, 2014
Safety Officer Douglas Casson dies after training - MY

(The Last Call - RIP)

VAUGHN, Mont. — A safety officer died Aug. 6 after completing fire department training.

The U.S. Fire Administration reported that safety officer Douglas Casson, 46, with the Vaughn Volunteer Fire Department, suffered a heart attack after completing fire department training that included non-routine physical activity on Tuesday, Aug. 5. Casson died the next morning at his home.

He was a 20-year veteran of the department and also served three years in the U.S. Air Force before serving in the Montana Air National Guard, according to

He also once served as fire chief of the Black Eagle (Mont.) Fire Department and was a part owner of Big Sky Paramedics.

He leaves behind his wife, daughter and son.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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August 14, 2014
6 firefighters on leave after man mistakenly declared dead - TN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Six Metro Firefighters were placed on administrative leave following their response to an emergency call early Wednesday morning.

Paramedics pronounced a gunshot victim dead and left the scene, but it turns out the victim was still alive. The 911 call came in just after 3 a.m. A 30-year-old man at a townhome on 735 Tulip Grove Road in Hermitage had shot himself in the head. After Paramedics arrived, paperwork shows they called a Vanderbilt doctor and reported the patient had injuries that were quote, "incompatible with life."

They declared him dead at 3:48 a.m. and left. The physician didn't know as much as he should have when he made that decision," said Corey Slovis, Medical Director for the Metro Nashville Fire Department. It turns out the victim was still breathing, so police at the scene called for another ambulance — two hours after the initial 911 call. The victim was finally transported to the hospital nearly 90 minutes after he was initially declared dead.

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August 14, 2014
Fire destroys building on Wellesley Island - NY

Crews fight a fire on Wellesley Island early Thursday, at the corner of St. Lawrence Avenue and Rainbow Street East. A building was severely damaged by the fire.

Crews fight a fire on Wellesley Island early Thursday at the corner of St. Lawrence Avenue and Rainbow Street East. A building was severely damaged by the fire.

Crews fight a fire on Wellesley Island early Thursday, at the corner of St. Lawrence Avenue and Rainbow Street East. A building was severely damaged by the fire.

(Joe Palmer)

WELLESLEY ISLAND — A large fire and explosion destroyed a prominent building on the island late Wednesday into Thursday morning.

The blaze destroyed the Guzzle building, near the intersection of St. Lawrence Avenue and Rainbow Street East, which housed multiple businesses along with the Thousand Island Park Fire Station for the Wellesley Island Fire Department, according to a witness at the scene.

Jefferson County dispatch said the initial fire and explosion call came in at 11:48 p.m. Wednesday.

Wellesley Island Fire Chief Robert C. Markert said the investigation is ongoing but the fire likely started in the grocery store area because of electrical problems.

He said that at least $800,000 worth of vehicles and equipment, including a new brush truck, ambulance, fire boat, pumper and tanker, was destroyed in the fire. Mr. Markert said he was meeting with an insurance adjuster this afternoon.

Joseph Palmer, a visitor from Fairfield, Conn., who is staying about 100 yards from the site of the fire, said it appeared to start on the upper level of the building, causing the second floor of the structure to come down within 20 minutes.

He said he also heard loud booming noises from the bay areas of the building.

Falling debris nearly struck a firetruck fighting the flames, he said.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Mr. Palmer said. “It was pretty devastating.”

He said the damage was so extensive there was essentially “nothing left” of the building following the fire.

A century ago, a devastating fire in 1912 destroyed much of the east end of T.I. Park, including 100 cottages and the adjacent Columbian Hotel. Before that, in 1890, the Thousand Island Park Hotel had burned to the ground.

The Jefferson County Board of Elections announced Thursday that because of the fire at the Guzzle building, it would relocate its voting location from the Thousand Island Park Fire Station to the Fishers Landing Fire Department for both the Sept. 9 primary election and the Nov. 4 general election.

Voters will receive a letter via first-class mail from the Board of Elections outlining the pertinent details of the move. Any questions should be directed to the Jefferson County Board of Elections at 785-3027.

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August 13, 2014
Lakeside voters strike down $6.2M firehouse proposal - NY

Voters in the Lakeside Fire District tonight said 'no' to a proposal for a new multi-million dollar firehouse by an overwhelming margin of 437 to 146.

The department, which serves Geddes, Camillus and part of Van Buren, had hoped to build a larger facility on the site where their current firehouse stands at 1002 State Fair Blvd.

Built in 1949 with additions added on in 1955 and in 1987, firefighters say their current building is hopelessly outdated and not up to code and its infrastructure is crumbling.

"The sprinkler system is inoperable," said Steve Erwin, one of the district's fire commissioners. "The heating system, when we had it fixed last year, we were told that we needed to do something before next winter."

Beyond the myriad of infrastructure issues, Erwin says their firehouse, now 65 years old, wasn't built for today's bigger and heavier fire trucks.

"The concrete is crumbling under the weight of the trucks," said Erwin. "We can no longer park the heavier trucks in the older part of the building."

According to Erwin, estimates to make necessary repairs and add a new addition totaled about two-thirds of what a completely new building would cost.

The fire department asked for voters to approve a plan to build a new facility that would not exceed $6.2 million. The proposal called for a tax increase of $1.20 per $1,000 of assessed property value, or $120 for a home assessed at $100,000. Now that voters have struck down the plan, the fire department says it's not sure what approach it will take next.
Kellie Cowan /

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August 13, 2014

One person has been taken to a hospital after a fire truck struck a house in Florence County.

The Howe Springs Fire Department was responding to a crash on Highway 52, Billy Dillon, with the confirmed, when the fire truck collided with a log truck on the bend of Howe Springs Road.

When the crash happened, the fire truck struck a home where a person lived.

South Carolina Troopers are on the scene and have opened investigation, as protocol.

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August 13, 2014

Two people were seriously hurt when the vehicle they were in rear-ended a fire truck on the scene of another crash this morning on the Bishop Ford Freeway on the Far South Side, authorities said.

The first wreck happened about 5:50 a.m. on the Bishop Ford Freeway near 130th Street and the Beaubian Woods, said an Illinois State Police District Chicago Trooper.

As paramedics got there and were treating two people who were in fair-to-serious condition and three people who had signed refusals to go to hospitals, a vehicle rear-ended a fire truck there for the first crash, said a Chicago Fire Department official.

The trooper said the second crash happened about 6 a.m. at the same location.

The fire official said one person in serious to critical condition was taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County while the other person was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

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August 13, 2014
FDNY EMT attacked by patient - NY

A member of FDNY EMS was punched in the back while she was trying to tend to her assailant in Greenwich Village, cops said.

The medic was responding to a call about an intoxicated man when Keith Doyle, 23, assaulted her on La?Guardia Place near West Houston Street on Sunday at about 5:30 a.m., cops said.

Doyle punched her, grabbed her collar and pulled her forward, causing the medic to fall, cops said.

The 24-year-old FDNY-EMS member was taken to Bellevue Hospital and treated for swelling and bruising to the back, cops said.

Doyle, who was arrested, was believed to be drunk, authorities and police sources said.

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August 13, 2014
Three hurt in Manchester ambulance crash - NJ


MANCHESTER – Three Whiting Volunteer First Aid Squad members were injured during the weekend on the way to an emergency call when their vehicle was hit by a box truck, police said Monday.

The ambulance, driven by Albert Stover, 80, of Whiting, was struck at 11 a.m. Saturday while leaving the first aid squad building on Route 530 near Lake Road, according to township police Capt. Lisa Parker.

The ambulance had its lights and siren activated when it was struck by a large box truck that was traveling east on Route 530, Parker said.

The crew members who were passengers in the ambulance were Bryan Platt, 56, of New Egypt and John Valdora, 73, of the Whiting section of the township, police said.

The box truck, driven by David Pinuel, 20, of Fairlawn, was registered to Optimum Moving LLC out of Elmwood Park. Neither the driver or two passengers in the box truck reported any injuries at the scene, police said.

Stover and Valdora were taken Community Medical Center in Toms River by Quality Medical Transport for complaints of pain, police said.

Platt complained of right arm pain but refused medical attention, police said.

The crash is under investigation by Patrolman Antonio Ellis of the Manchester Township Traffic Safety Section.
Stephanie Loder /

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August 13, 2014

A woman was injured and a firefighter ran out of air in a fire in a South Loop apartment building Wednesday morning.

Fire trucks and ambulances descended upon the area around 7:47 a.m. Wednesday morning after a fire was started in a third-floor apartment in a building in the 1100 block of South Plymouth Court, said District Chief Steve Chikerotis.

"During the process of putting out the fire and the searches, one of our firefighters ran out of air and was a little disorientated, which can happen, and guys quickly got him to a window and in a short period of time were able to get him out of the apartment. He was treated and he's fine," Chikerotis said, adding the firefighter refused medical attention at the scene.

A "pretty decent"-size fire was discovered in Apartment 303, which firefighters were able to contain inside the apartment. The occupant of the apartment was transferred to an area hospital in good condition, Chikerotis said.

The apartment building holds 75 units, which meant the fire had the potential for a lot of damage, Chikerotis said.

Haytham Abuzayd, 36, lives across from Apartment 303 with his wife and two sons. He was one of the first people to discover the fire and rushed his family out of the fire before attempting to enter his neighbors apartment and knock on other neighbors' doors to alert them.

"The poor kid ran out of the house with no shoes on," Abuzayd said holding his 5-year-old son on his lap outside the apartment building.

Abuzayd helped his neighbor out of her apartment, but wasn't able to locate the woman's cat because of the thick smoke, he said. The fate of the cat was unknown Wednesday morning.

"It covered the whole hallway within seconds. I tried to go in with a fire extinguisher but the smoke hung 3-4 feet down," he said of trying to enter her apartment. "I couldn't see the fire through the thick smoke. I couldn't step more than a foot in. It just hit me right in the throat."

Abuzayd wasn't in fear for his life or belongings because the fire was contained, but his wife was. He was said he was surprised, however, with how long it took for emergency crews to arrive at the building. But when they arrived they got right to work, he said.

"You should've seen it, they kicked all the glass out the windows and the smoke just poured out," he said.

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August 13, 2014
Student Firefighters Contract MRSA Superbug at FDNY Academy - NY

Probationary firefighters at the Randall's Island facility, seen her in 2009, have contracted the bacterial infection known as MRSA.
(Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

RANDALL'S ISLAND — Several probationary firefighters at the FDNY Academy have contracted a serious drug-resistant bacterial infection and at least one has had to be hospitalized, according to officials.

The students from the current class, which began in July, were pulled from the academy after the first case of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, was reported last week, according to the FDNY.

At least one trainee in the class was hospitalized as a result of the infection but has since been released, according to a source.

An official with the FDNY said "less than 10" probationaries were removed and placed on medical leave, and of those "several" had confirmed cases of MRSA.

Some of the students who have been placed on medical leave did not have a confirmed diagnosis but were removed for precautionary reasons, the official said.

In the wake of the infections equipment was cleaned, but the academy was not shut down.

The FDNY was also consulting with the Department of Health on best steps to prevent the spread at the Randall's Island facility.

"We’re very concerned," said Fire Department spokesman Frank Gribbon. "We’re taking aggressive action to prevent any further occurrences."

Equipment at the academy has been scrubbed clean and every probationary firefighter has been ordered to wear knee pads during crawling drills to prevent scrapes, an official said.

They will also be told to bring in their own exercise mats and open wounds will be given special consideration going forward, according to the official.

The students from the 300-plus trainee class who were removed for medical reasons may be forced to sit out until the next class in January if they miss too much of the aggressive 18-week program, an official said.

MRSA is usually spread by direct contact with wounds or contaminated hands or equipment and can cause pneumonia and bloodstream infections, which could be life-threatening, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The risk can increase when the infected person shares equipment or supplies and is common among athletes and those in military barracks, the CDC said.

According to a 2013 study, MRSA was listed as a serious public health threat with more than 80,000 cases and 11,000 deaths nationwide.

Still infection levels appear to be declining, according to the agency.

Incidents are tracked via two databases that the CDC maintains, but it was not clear if reporting was required in this case.

Two firefighters were treated for the infection in 2007 after contracting it at their firehouse, according to a report.

Earlier that year, a 12-year-old Brooklyn boy died after contracting the disease.

The city's Health Department and the Uniformed Firefighters Association directed enquires to the FDNY and the CDC did not immediately comment.
By Katie Honan /

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August 13, 2014
Lessons Learned:
Following a Firefighter's Death, Chief Announces Changes - KY

Local fire departments are considering making changes to their protocol in the wake of a Glendale tragedy which claimed the life of a 25-year-old volunteer firefighter on Wednesday morning.

Jonathan E. French, a second-generation volunteer firefighter, was killed in the line of duty in the early-morning hours of August 6 as he worked to put out a vehicle which was burning in the southbound lane of I-65.

French was struck by a tractor trailer as he worked alongside other firefighters, including his mother, who was seriously injured in the accident as well.

While most people recognize the danger firefighters place themselves in the face of during structure fires, they may not realize the hazardous situation they are in when working accidents along local roadways. While each situation varies and each department follows a strict set of protocol, first responders often find themselves working very close to open lanes of traffic.

Clarkson Volunteer Fire Department's Chief Andy Cain announced on Wednesday morning that his crew would be changing their protocol for such situations effective immediately.

As Cain stood in the westbound lane of Western Kentucky Parkway, where his volunteers had shut down traffic just hours after the tragedy which took French's life, the chief said that from this point forward, his department will not work alongside moving traffic.

"We will shut it down completely," Cain said, citing the safety of his firefighters, other first responders on scene and accident victims.

Ryan Hatfield, the department's Lieutenant and Public Relations Officer was at the scene as well, and said that the morning's tragedy "hit close to home." While Hatfield volunteers with the CVFD, his works full time in Emergency Services in Hardin County and frequently deals with the Glendale Fire Department.

Hatfield said that he and Cain, along with other members of the department, met for breakfast just hours after the Glendale incident to discuss what changes they could implement to make things safer here in Grayson County.

Leitchfield Fire Department's Chief Jerry Schlosser said following the incident that his department will be looking into the possibility of protocol changes as well.

"When a tragedy like this happens, it makes you say, 'Hey we need to do something about it or at least take a look at what we're doing and make sure it's the best possible option.'" Schlosser said.

"There may be other alternatives to shutting the whole thing down," Schlosser said, "and I'm going to look into that."

Schlosser called French's death 'heartbreaking,' and noted that during televised coverage of the fatal accident, he noticed that the fire trucks nearby were parked mostly off of the roadway instead of in the right lane of traffic as to force moving vehicles over into the left lane. Schlosser feels that the placement of trucks has the potential to create either a safer situation in which to work or a more dangerous one.

He concluded by saying that protocol changes will likely be a big topic of discussion at the next meeting of area fire chiefs on Tuesday, September 2.

Caneyville Fire Department's Chief, Anthony Clark, said on Thursday that he does not plan to implement any changes at this time in how his department handles accidents on roadways.

"If its safe for traffic to flow, we let it flow." Clark said, "If it's not safe for us or for a victim of an accident, then we stop traffic."

Orginal Coverage

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August 13, 2014
Firefighters fight city hiring policy - IL

A group of Chicago firefighters has hired a lawyer in anticipation of a possible legal challenge to a city hiring policy that will give graduates of Chicago public high schools an advantage in an upcoming Fire Department exam.

The firefighters say the preferential hiring practice that will affect the December exam should be extended to all Chicago residents, including those who, like the children of many firefighters and city workers, attended private high schools. Their legal fight is funded by a $20,000 donation from Firefighters Union Local 2.

The situation points to the competing political constituencies Mayor Rahm Emanuel faces as he approaches his re-election bid in February. Emanuel doesn’t want to anger firefighters, especially so soon after announcing a new contract with the union that was passed overwhelmingly by rank-and-file firefighters and the City Council. He also is loath to pick a fight with voters who choose private schools for their children, among them many of the city workers who are required to live in Chicago.

At the same time, the mayor needs to repair a relationship with African-American and Hispanic voters that has eroded since his first election thanks to factors including persistent violent crime and his push to close schools, a move that mostly affected minority neighborhoods.

Given the large minority enrollment at Chicago Public Schools, it makes political sense for Emanuel to stick up for giving preferential hiring treatment to CPS graduates. He did just that following a City Council meeting last month, saying he wants “the goal of CPS attendance of schools to be a credit so the diversity of the city, the strength of that diversity, is represented in the workforce of the city.”

“I think we should make sure that kids that are graduating from CPS have a shot at working for the city, and get points for it, is consistent with what we want to do, because of the diversity of the city and the diverse talent in our city,” Emanuel said.

The Emanuel administration instituted the hiring standards that favored CPS graduates for many municipal jobs in 2012. The Department of Human Resources was directed to “ensure that a minimum of 20 percent of the candidates referred for a position that has the CPS hiring consideration are CPS graduates.”

The rule was met with applause by some aldermen and became an accepted element of city hiring until it became clear that the preference would be applied to the Chicago Fire Department entrance exam in December, the first such exam offered since 2006.

Chicago Fire Department Lt. Peter O’Sullivan said he and other firefighters hired an attorney because of the outcry inside the department and from Chicago residents who aren’t firefighters but have now realized the children they sent to private high schools will have a tougher time making it on the hiring list.

Only about 9 percent of CPS students are white, according to the district. O’Sullivan dismissed any suggestion that opposition to the city policy is racially motivated.

“This has nothing to do with race,” O’Sullivan said. “It has to do with fair and equitable treatment of all applicants.”

O’Sullivan lives in the far Southwest Side Mount Greenwood neighborhood, an enclave of firefighters and other city workers. His son graduated from nearby St. Rita Catholic high school and plans to take the fire department test. “So now he’s going to be at a disadvantage,” O’Sullivan said.

Firefighter David Quintavalle’s son and daughter attended Marist High School, a Catholic school in Mount Greenwood. He said it was a decision he made “because of my religious beliefs.”

“I have nothing against the public schools. This was a decision I made based on my values and the values I wanted imparted to them, and I don’t think they should be punished for that if they take the test,” Quintavalle said.

He said he hopes the city changes the preference standards and that a lawsuit is not necessary.

Michelle Adamowski, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, said the city’s Catholic high schools can help provide the diverse pool of applicants for city jobs sought by Emanuel.

According to Adamowski, 13 of Chicago’s 20 Catholic high schools have a student population that is more than 50 percent minority, and about half of the total student population of Chicago Catholic high schools is minority.

On the far Northwest Side, another area packed with city workers, Ald. Mary O’Connor, 41, said residents have been pulling her aside for weeks at block parties to complain about the city’s preferential treatment for CPS graduates.

“Many of these people have made significant sacrifices to send their children to parochial schools, while their property taxes go to support CPS,” O’Connor said. “I respect what the mayor is trying to do, but my position is that this is unfair.”

O’Connor and Southwest Side aldermen Matthew O’Shea, 19th, and Marty Quinn, 13th, sent a letter this week to Soo Choi, commissioner of the City Department of Human Resources, asking to meet to find “middle ground.”

Emanuel spokeswoman Shannon Breymaier declined to comment on a potential lawsuit by firefighters, but noted in an e-mail that “the hiring preference encourages Chicago Public School students to stay in school and get their diploma so they are prepared for college and a career.”

And Ald. Howard Brookins, 21st, defended the hiring policy, saying it’s right to give CPS students a leg up in applying for good city jobs. “The city is really trying to do something to give value to public education,” Brookins said.

The fire department “is probably overwhelmingly Catholic and white,” Brookins added, pointing to the public school preference as a “non-race based way” to help diversify the department.
Tribune reporter / Tribune Reporter Hal Dardick contributed.

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August 13, 2014
Man steals computer from firefighters treating patient - AZ

A man was arrested Sunday after the computer tablet he stole from firefighters fell out of his pants.

Firefighters were called Sunday around 2:30 p.m. to the Roy Laos Transit Center, 205 W. Irvington Road near El Pueblo Park, for a man who was having a seizure.

When they set their equipment, including the tablet, on the ground to treat their patient, a man walked by, grabbed it and ran away, Sgt. Chris Widmer, a spokesman for the Tucson Police Department, said in a news release.

A TPD officer in the area spotted a man fitting the description of the thief with what appeared to be the tablet under his shirt and chased him down.

The suspect, later identified as 27-year old Joseph Lesperance, jumped a fence behind a business and the tablet fell out of the waistband of his pants before the officer caught up with him, Widmer said.

Lesperance was booked into the Pima County jail and faces one count of theft, a Class 4 felony.
Kimberly Matas Arizona Daily Star

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August 13, 2014
Fallen firefighter's partner shares final moments inside burning bldg. - IN

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player
New Carlisle firefighter shares his story

Exactly one week after New Carlisle firefighter Matt O'Donnell ran into a burning building with Assistant Fire Chief Jamie Middlebrook, O’Donnell shared his story about what happened that night.

O’Donnell reached out to WSBT, saying he felt it’s important for people to know Middlebrook’s final moments were not filled with fear or sadness.

Middlebrook, O’Donnell and one other firefighter went inside the K-Fex building on the LaPorte-St. Joseph County line to set up a hose line that could be unmanned and fight the fire from the inside. They thought they could save part of that business, O’Donnell said.

“We weren’t in a bad spot. I did not feel heat at all,” he said Tuesday.

With 18 years of firefighting experience, O’Donnell said he did not feel unsafe inside the building.

“Not once. We read the building, we read the smoke coming out of the building,” he continued.

The hose line was almost set when he heard a rumble. Seconds later, he recalled being trapped under heavy debris, screaming his partner’s name.

“I take the flashlight off my helmet that was given to me by my family, and I started to look around. Jamie's not visible. Jamie's reflectors off his coat aren't visible, his boots aren't visible,” O’Donnell said. “I would have taken anything.”

He described banging on the roof that had collapsed around him, hoping someone on the outside might be able to hear him.

“The radio is going ballistic. Somebody is screaming, ‘We have a collapse!’ Somebody is screaming, 'We have a mayday,'” he said.

For a second, everything stood still. O’Donnell said he thought about his family.

“I’m lying here in what could be the spot they come and find me later. I was pretty nervous, started getting a little anxiety,” he described. “Eventually, I was able to calm down. It was probably only a brief second, because the mind works so fast. It was that moment of sheer terror.”

But O’Donnell had to make a choice for his pregnant wife, their unborn child and their 3-year-old daughter.

“I had to go. I had to find a way, I had to die trying,” O’Donnell continued, describing his thought process. “I would have stayed with Jamie. I would have done anything to get him out. Now that I can't find him, maybe he's out, maybe I'm the last one in the building.”

He recalled activating a button on his air pack to let his brothers on the outside know something was terribly wrong, kicking the outside wall as he tried to crawl out.

Seconds after running out of air, O’Donnell remembers hands grabbing him, pulling him to safety. O’Donnell said he knew his partner didn’t survive when he was in the ambulance asking for Jamie and no one could tell him where he was.

“I was the last person to see Jamie alive. It was an honor. I would have done anything to change what happened,” O’Donnell said. “Once the autopsy came back, I was able to find peace with it. I was slowly going crazy in my mind, because this guy never would have left me in a building, not for a second. I was so fearful that I left him in a building without a brother.”

That autopsy showed Middlebrook died from a broken neck. LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan told WSBT the weight of the ceiling coming down on his helmet killed Middlebrook instantly.

O’Donnell broke his right leg in the roof collapse. He said he doesn’t have a timeline on the healing process but is scheduled to see a surgeon this week.
Kelli Stopczynski /

Orginal Coverage

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August 12, 2014
Firefighter Injured In Jeffersonville Apartment Fire - IN

A fire at an apartment building in Jeffersonville Monday night sent a resident and a firefighter to University of Louisville Hospital and displaced 16 families. The blaze occurred about 10:30 p.m. at Executive House Apartments, located at 810 Howard Ave., between Eighth and Ninth streets.

Jeffersonville Fire Chief Eric Hedrick said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but no foul play is expected.

He said the adult man who lived in the building was taken to U of L Hospital burn unit and is in critical, but stable condition.

The firefighter, Capt. Doug Sneed was released from the hospital at about 2 a.m. His injuries resulted from a falling ceiling while he was in a stairwell. Hedrick said Sneed is at home and doing well.

"[Sneed] got knocked out for a second, but was retrieved," Hedrick said. "When he left the scene, he was alert and talking."

Firefighters responded in nearly three minutes to a 10:06 p.m. alarm call to find fire and smoke coming from the two story, brick building, which has 19 units, three of which were unoccupied.

Hedrick said about 24 Jeffersonville firefighters eventually arrived to the scene.

"When the report came in, it was a working structure fire with possible rescue, so we thought people may be trapped inside," Hedrick said.

Three adults were rescued from the building's second story, and each received medical treatment at the scene.

"Prior to our arrival, one of the occupants got out by himself and was transported to U of L Hospital with some burns and some lung problems," Hedrick said. "He is still in the hospital's burn unit."

Hedrick said the building is not a total loss, but a complete renovation is needed, primarily because of damage from smoke and water.

He said the residents were able to retrieve some personal items before leaving their homes to find other places to take residence.

The majority of the families were able to stay go to the homes of friends and families, and the American Red Cross gave assistance to a residents who needed housing.

Hedrick said several assisting agencies helped his firefighters conduct their duties and the victims receive needed care.

"The Jeffersonville Police Department worked really well with [the firefighters]," Hedrick said. "They did a great job securing the scene and helping with the patients and getting them out of here."

He also gave credit to Yellow EMS and Red Cross for their responses and efforts.

Hedrick said the fire comes several days after the fire and police departments had to coordinate in response to the Greater Clark County Schools' school buses wreck Friday.

"There was some discussion on how [the two agencies] can work better together," he said. "I think this incident went even better than what we had on Friday."
The Evening News and The Tribune (Jeffersonville, Ind.)

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August 12, 2014

Police arrested a woman after a crash that injured a Berea firefighter Sunday night.

Police say the firefighter was responding to a call along KY-1016 in a department pickup truck with the emergency lights flashing when a car crossed the center line and hit it. The truck slammed into a plank fence. Officials say a piece of that fence hit the firefighter in the shoulder.

EMS took both the driver of the car and the firefighter to the hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Police arrested Sonya R. Smith, 44, after she was released from the hospital, and charged her with DUI and assault.

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August 12, 2014


A man has been taken into custody after gunshots aimed at a fire engine led to an armed standoff Monday afternoon in a residential area in Far North Dallas.Dallas police Lt. Jose Garcia said fire-rescue units responding to a dumpster fire about 3 p.m. near Frankford Road and North Forty Place were fired upon as they arrived at the scene.

Dallas police Maj. Max Geron tweeted that there was a "man with gun actively shooting" and that firefighters reported "15 rounds as [their] engine drove by."

Suspected North Dallas Gunman Arrested: Police

[DFW] Suspected North Dallas Gunman Arrested: Police

Dallas police say a suspect has been arrested after an investigation into shots fired Monday afternoon in Far North Dallas.

At least one of the rounds struck the fire engine, but nobody was injured.

As the firefighters sought cover, police units sent to the same scene on a missing persons call arrived.

Search for Suspected Gunman in North Dallas

[DFW] Search for Suspected Gunman in North Dallas

Dallas police were searching for a man suspected of firing gunshots Monday afternoon in Far North Dallas.

Garcia said officers didn't hear the initial gunshots but were fired upon, themselves, as they went to the door.

Garcia said that as officers joined firefighters in seeking cover, the police tactical squad was summoned.

Traffic along Frankford Road was being diverted at the Dallas North Tollway and Preston Road, and people who live nearby were trying to notify neighbors, while police searched a nearby wooded area for the suspect.

"We were trying to call all of the neighbors and make sure nobody was home in case this guy tries to approach a house," said neighbor Wendy May.

Just after 5 p.m., Geron said the suspect had been taken into custody.

Bomb squad investigators located several suspicious devices allegedly left behind by the suspect, including what appeared to be propane tanks.

Police said the man, whose identity has not yet been released, faces seven charges of aggravated assault.

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August 12, 2014
4 Firefighters Suffer Minor Injuries After Truck Crashes - VA

Four firefighters suffered minor injuries after their fire truck crashed on the way to a call in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County Tuesday morning.

Four firefighters suffered minor injuries after their fire truck crashed on the way to a call in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County Tuesday morning.

Police say it was raining heavily when the driver of the Station 11 fire engine lost control and crashed in the area of Beacon Hill Road around 4:40 a.m.

The truck flipped onto its side, knocking down some power lines and leaving about 100 residents without electricity.

"It's difficult to see. It's not something we see often," Battalion Chief Brad Cochrane said. "We just feel fortunate that all four members were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries."

All four firefighters were treated and released.

An investigation into the crash is underway.

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August 12, 2014
Leonia Council takes step toward resolving dispute with firefighters - NJ

LEONIA – The Borough Council introduced changes to its fire department regulations Monday that – if adopted – could help resolve the borough’s 14-month dispute with its firefighters.

“I for one want to put this behind the borough,” said Councilman Greg Makroulakis, who sits on the council’s fire committee.

Borough officials and the town’s firefighters have been bitterly divided since June 2013, when the borough briefly closed the firehouse and suspended the fire company in reaction to the alleged molestation of a child at the firehouse. In October, the council enacted new regulations intended to give the borough more oversight over the volunteer fire department.

The fire company is suing the town over the closure of the firehouse and suspension of the fire company, and over the new regulations. A trial is scheduled to begin next week.

Makroulakis said he hoped the changes would put an end to the litigation and lead to an open dialog between the two sides.

Before Monday’s meeting, fire company President Brendan Reilly called the changes “a step in the right direction,” but said the two sides still had issues to work out.

Those issues include stipends for the volunteer firefighters, the amount of which are not specified in the borough’s ordinances.

The ordinance introduced Monday makes several concessions that borough firefighters had been seeking.

Perhaps the most significant change would be that the council’s fire committee would have discretion in deciding whether an individual with a criminal record could be a firefighter.

The regulations imposed in October require all firefighters to undergo criminal background checks every two years. If they fail, they can make their case to the council’s fire committee. If they disagree with the committee’s decision, they can appeal to the full council.

Neither entity has much leeway in making their determination, because the new rules prohibit anyone who has been convicted of certain crimes – including any sex-related offense or a crime involving fire – from serving on the Fire Department.

Under the new ordinance, the fire committee would be able to consider several mitigating factors, including how old the person was when the crime was committed and when the offense took place.

Firefighters and their supporters have objected to the recent expulsion of two long-standing members – Fire Chief David Bohnert and Lt. Arnold Davenport – for crimes committed more than 15 years ago. A third member, Charles Pipitone, has been suspended pending a hearing before the council.

Other changes in the regulations include:

- The fire chief would be involved in the Fire Department application process. Currently, prospective members apply to the mayor and council, who decide whether that person can join the department. Under the new ordinance, the application would first go to the fire chief, who would have 30 days to make a recommendation to the council’s fire committee. The council would then vote on the application.

- Fire Department members would elect their deputy chief, captain and lieutenants. The mayor currently appoints these officers.

- Firefighters could undergo a physical examination by their own doctors, rather than one selected by the borough. Firefighters would have to pay to see their own doctor, whereas the borough would pay for an examination by its physician.

- The borough would enter into an agreement with the fire company “for purposes of extinguishing fires and for such other purposes as the borough shall deem appropriate.” The borough used to have such an agreement with the fire company, until the council enacted the new regulations in October, according to Makroulakis.

- The council will provide all active firefighters with $25,000 in life insurance. Currently, members are covered only through their 70th birthday; retired members over 70 or who have served at least 25 years receive $12,500 in life insurance.

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August 12, 2014
Fire burns over 3 firefighters; all OK - CA

SAN FRANCISCO — Three trapped firefighters had to deploy their personal fire shelters as a rapid wind shift sent a Northern California wildfire burning over their location Monday, authorities said. All three survived with no serious injuries.

The firefighters had created a predetermined safety zone earlier in the day and retreated there when the fire worsened about 5:30 p.m. Monday, Beaver Fire spokesman Corey Wilford said. Still, the flames burned over their location. A thunderstorm produced winds as high as 35 mph, causing extreme fire behavior.

Wilford said all firefighters in the area were withdrawing as the thunderstorm approached. All personnel were safe late Monday night, he said.

The three were not immediately identified. Wilford said he didn't know if they suffered any minor injuries.

The fire in Siskiyou County near Klamath River, California, has burned across nearly 40 square miles and was reported 30 percent contained.

The sheriff's office issued more mandatory evacuation notices Monday but Wilford did not immediately know how many homes were affected.

The Beaver Fire and a second Northern California blaze reportedly were threatening nearly 750 rural homes.

Meanwhile, crews were anticipating the possibility of more lightning strikes while battling a lightning-sparked wildfire in Mendocino County about 200 miles southwest of the Klamath blazes. The fire near Laytonville had burned through nearly 15 square miles and was threatening nearly 60 structures. Mandatory evacuation orders remained in place.

Elsewhere in the West, rescuers escorted to safety 19 hikers trapped on Sunday by a wildfire atop Saddle Mountain State Park near Seaside, Oregon.

And in Idaho, firefighters made progress against the state's largest wildfire, which had burned 101 square miles on the Idaho side of the Snake River near the Oregon and Washington border. The fire was nearly 50 percent contained, though crews were expecting triple-digit temperatures and gusty winds later in the week that could pose problems.
The Associated Press

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August 11, 2014
Tribeca blaze injures 8 — though none seriously - NY

Eight people, including a firefighter, suffered minor smoke inhalation in a blaze at a residential high-rise in Tribeca.

The FDNY says the fire broke out in a fifth-floor apartment at Independence Plaza North at 310 Greenwich St. around 8:40 p.m. Sunday. The blaze was under control by 10:25 p.m., but not before five people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

The firefighter was among them.

Three people refused medical attention

Fire marshals are investigating what sparked the blaze in the 39-story tower.
BY Joseph Stepansky / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

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August 11, 2014
Two Buffalo Firefighters Hurt in Overnight Fire - NY

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Two firefighters received minor injuries while fighting an overnight fire on the city's west side.

The fire started at a vacant home on Busti Avenue around midnight then spread to the occupied home next door. Eight people inside were able to get out on their own.

Buffalo Fire Division Chief John Mogavero said fire investigators will be back at the scene today to try and determine a cause.

The first floor of the vacant home was heavily boarded up. Mogavero said the home where the fire started will be knocked down.

The Red Cross is assisting the residents whose home was damaged.
Heather Ly, WGRZ

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August 11, 2014
Ambulance Strikes, Kills Man o Interstate - WA

PATEROS — A man who walked into a highway was killed early Sunday morning when he was struck by a passing ambulance, according to the State Patrol.

Kevin M. Lang, 20, of Philadelphia, was pronounced dead at the scene along Highway 97 about one mile south of Pateros. Lang was walking south along the shoulder of the highway about 3:10 a.m. and the Lifeline ambulance was driving north, according to the report. The ambulance was not on an emergency call and did not have a patient on board, said State Patrol spokesman Darren Wright.

The ambulance moved to avoid Lang but Lang entered the highway and was struck in the northbound lane.

Driving the ambulance was Christopher G. Christiansen, 28, of Orondo, according to the report.
Dee Riggs / The Wenatchee World, Wash. (MCT)

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August 11, 2014
Stolen Ambulance Generates Police Pursuit - PA

READING, PENNSYLVANIA, AREA POLICE in several jurisdictions became involved in a pursuit of a stolen ambulance Saturday morning. The chase ended after about 10 miles when spike strips were successfully used to bring the ambulance to a halt. The 47-yr.-old thief is facing several felony charges after he took the unattended unit that was parked at a Reading hotel with the motor running while the crew was tending to a patient inside.

Felony charges against Kevin Fountain include theft and fleeing police, according to Reading police. He is also charged with driving without a valid license. Police said Fountain’s driver’s license expired way back in 1992.

Fountain is also accused of using a false name to identify himself. According to court documents, when police asked Fountain for his name, he identified himself as Casey Stengel, which is the same name as a legendary professional baseball manager.

Immediately after the ambulance was stolen around 6 a.m. Saturday, Reading police issued an alert to authorities throughout the region, and the ambulance was spotted by police in Boyertown a short time later.

Boyertown police said the driver of the stolen ambulance, Kevin Fountain, then led police on a nearly 10-mile pursuit, but not at high speeds. The driver was nabbed in Exeter Township after police placed spike strips along Route 562.

There were no injuries and, other than the tire situation, there didn’t appear to be an damage to the Western Berks ambulance. Fountain told the police that he took the ambulance because “I just wanted to go for a spin.”

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August 11, 2014
Two-alarm blaze in Madison damages fire trucks, melts vinyl siding like butter; What caused it? - WI

A fire in a Wisconsin apartment building under construction damaged a Madison fire truck dispatched to the scene.

The blaze started Friday night in the 105-unit building, reported.

An engine crew connected to a hydrant and pulled a hose line — but the company officer reports that by the time they got the hydrant charged, fire conditions had worsened to the degree that plastic on the engine was melting — and window glass was breaking due to the heat.

“I’ve never been to a fire as intensely hot as this. Multiple, multiple big fires — but nothing this intensely hot,” Lt. Grab said.

According to the city of Madison’s website, crew members quickly detached from the hydrant — and moved the engine.

The fire was so hot, siding on the homes across the street began to melt, according

No one was injured in the blaze, which remains under investigation.

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August 11, 2014
California fire truck flips twice, injuring 7 - CA

A California fire truck flipped two times before coming to rest on its side Saturday.

The crash injured seven, reported.

Four of the injured were firefighters inside Truck 21 who were headed to a kitchen fire, according to

Witnesses said the massive truck rolled two times, and crushed a GMC Yukon, which landed upside down, trapping the man driving.

It took more than a half hour to free him from his SUV, and he was airlifted to John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek, where he was reported in serious but stable condition. Witnesses said he was talking and moving, when he was extricated from his vehicle.

Also lucky to survive: the four firefighters on the truck, which ended up twisted on its side, the rear cab completely destroyed.

“The firefighters who were in the rig got out to help that other driver,” witness Bill Tweedy told KTVU, “they were patients too, they were in shock, but they were trying to help him.”

One witness told he saw the firefighter in the back: “It looked like God had his hand on him, because I saw him go flying out and all of a sudden he comes back inside his little compartment and it was demolished! He unlatched himself from the seatbelt and walked away. I don’t know how he lived through it, but he did.”

The crash is still under investigation.

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August 11, 2014
Stolen CAL FIRE Equipment Discovered by Maintenance Worker - CA

Stolen items taken from a CAL FIRE Butte County Fire volunteer station earlier this week have been recovered.

A maintenance worker discovered the missing items behind the Almond Orchard Shopping Center.

Kyle Pierman said he does find some interesting items behind this shopping center and these items he found this morning were no exception. It was the CAL FIRE logo he found on them that he realized these were something special.

He recognized the chainsaw, power-head generator for the Jaws of Life, and the big screen TV when he saw it on the news. Pierman immediately rushed to a phone to call authorities.

CAL FIRE and Butte County sheriff deputies came to reclaim the stolen items that were taken by the thieves who were caught on surveillance video Monday.

CAL FIRE said there's no back up set for these items at that station, and he explained it is the first to respond to all of the traffic accidents near Butte College. It shaves off 5 to 10 minutes of response time from stations in Durham or Oroville; which is why they are glad a key item was recovered, the power head for the Jaws of Life.

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August 11, 2014
2 firefighters injured battling house fire - AL

MOBILE, Ala. — Two Mobile firefighters were injured early this morning fighting a fire at a vacant house.

Steve Huffman, Public Information Officer with the Mobile Fire-Rescue Department, said Captain Clay Lyons and Firefighter Pat Henderson were injured when two heavy objects fell from the attic and struck the two men. The fire was reported around 4:00 a.m.. It happened at a vacant home, Huffman said on Lincoln Boulevard in Mobile.

"Firefighters had been told the structure had been vacant for about six months, was used for storage, and that one of the caregivers had been on the scene approximately 8:00 p.m. Friday," said Huffman in a press release to FOX10News. "While fighting the fire, what is believed to be a heavy wooden object fell from the attic and struck Captain Clay Lyons on the head, knocking him to the ground where he landed on a large screen television and Firefighter Pat Henderson had a heavy object strike him on the foot."

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August 11, 2014
Audit reveals fire department's error in tracking narcotics - CA

SACRAMENTO — An audit of fire department procedures on controlling inventories of narcotics has also recommended that firefighters undergo random drug testing. The audit was in part instigated by a whistle-blower complaint on how morphine and other addictive drugs are handled by paramedics and EMT's in the fire department.

City auditor Jorge Oseguera found irregularities in record keeping including improperly logging in drugs when they were received and keeping track of drugs that were used or thrown out when the expiration date was reached. In one instance records made it appear that 100 vials of morphine were missing.

"We able to find some deficiencies in those controls that needed to be addressed right away," said Oseguera. His audit made numerous recommendations including one which asked the department to consider randomly drug testing firefighters as some large departments around the state currently do.

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August 11, 2014
Firefighter injured in crash en route to another crash - KY

BEREA, Ky. — Officials say a firefighter who was responding to crash on I-75 collided with another vehicle on Highway 1016 in Berea.

Berea Police say the firefighter was driving a fire department pickup truck when another vehicle crossed over the center line and the two vehicles collided. The crash shut down part of that highway for more than an hour. Police say the firefighter swerved after being hit and then hit a fence which sent a piece of wood from the fence through the windshield.

"Both vehicles had left the roadway as a result of the collision and the fire truck actually struck a fence and one of the wooden planks came through the windshield and actually struck the firefighter in the arm," said Sgt. Jake Reed, with Berea Police. Three young teenagers were nearby and heard the crash. We are told they were some of the first on scene, running to help.

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August 10, 2014
Four Firefighters, Three Drivers Hurt in Calif. Fire Truck Crash - CA

VALLEJO, Calif. (AP) — Four firefighters and three drivers were hospitalized Saturday after a chain-reaction crash involving a ladder truck that was rushing to a kitchen fire in Northern California, authorities said.

The ladder truck had its sirens on when it collided with a car at a street intersection, causing it to strike at least one vehicle, overturn twice and crush an SUV, Vallejo Fire Department spokesman William Tweedy said.

The truck took out street signs and sheared a fire hydrant before coming to a stop on its side a block away from the initial collision.

The final collision caused a GMC Yukon to flip. It took about 35 minutes to extricate the driver from the SUV, Tweedy said.

The injured were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Tweedy said, adding that the firefighters "all seem to be OK."

He said he couldn't believe that nobody was seriously hurt or killed in the crash. The SUV was badly mangled, and the ladder truck's rear cab — used to help steer the long truck — was mostly destroyed.

"The guy in the back of the truck could have easily been killed ... all that's left in the cab is the seat," Tweedy said. "If you saw the (SUV), you'd never thought anybody could have survived it. It was horrific really."

The front part of the ladder truck was flipped onto the driver's side, while the rear part of the long vehicle was upright.

The collisions left a trail of broken glass and auto parts from the truck and vehicles. The hydrant gushed water for a period before firefighters were able to cut off the water.

Investigators were trying to determine who was at fault in the initial collision.
Source: The Associated Press

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August 09, 2014
8 FF injured in Lodge fire in Mendocino County - CA

Last evening, eight (8) Firefighters, three (3) Santa Clara County Firefighters and five (5) CAL FIRE/CDCR inmate Firefighters, received burn injuries while fighting the Lodge fire in Mendocino County. All were medivaced and transported to the regional burn center at UC Davis. Initial reports indicate their burn injuries are serious, but are not life threatening.

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August 09, 2014
The cost of fire protection in the town of Elbridge, $25,000 for one call - NY

Elbridge, NY -The dispute over fire protection in the town of Elbridge has come to this: an unpaid $25,000 bill for services rendered.

The town is refusing to pay a bill submitted by the Village of Elbridge for services provided by the Elbridge Volunteer Fire Company during an emergency call on April 22 at the Elbridge Motel on Route 5 near Sandbank Road. The motel is outside the village in the town.

The village has sent the town the bill three times.

"We've just ignored them," said town Supervisor Ken Bush.

The town believes that there should be no charge for the service. It was provided by the Elbridge department under the customary mutual aid agreements in the fire service and is therefore free, Bush said.

The unpaid bill is just the latest issue in a dispute that includes a lawsuit over which department will provide emergency services to residents of Elbridge who live outside the villages of Elbridge and Jordan. Service in the villages is provided by their respective fire departments.

The Elbridge village fire department will hold a meeting at 7 p.m., Aug. 19, at the fire house on Route 5 to explain what's going on with the dispute and the effect it has on residents, village Mayor Henry Doerr said.

The dispute stems from the town's decision to combine two fire districts into one and its desire to force some changes at the Elbridge fire department. The town wrangled with the village throughout the fall over the fire department.

Unable to come to an agreement, the village on Dec. 16 warned the town that it would charge $25,000 for any call in the new fire protection district answered by the village's fire department.

On Dec. 26, the town overlooked Elbridge and hired the Jordan and Mottville fire departments to provide fire service in the fire protection district.

The Elbridge Volunteer Fire Co. Inc. in February sued the Jordan and Mottville fire departments, the Jordan Ambulance, the villages of Elbridge and Jordan and their boards, the town of Elbridge and its board, and the 9-1-1 center. It wants a judge to order the town to give the contract back to the Elbridge fire department.

A settlement with the village tearing up the $25,000 bill appeared to be on the horizon Friday, Doerr said, but the town refused to agree.

"They're being bullies and they're holding to their bully position," the mayor said.
By Charley Hannagan |

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August 09, 2014

MOUNT VERNON – Ten people from two families were displaced by a three-alarm fire at 3 Willow Place on Thursday afternoon.

The fire in the multifamily home was reported around 12:30 p.m.

The house is considered a total loss.

No residents were injured, but five firefighters — four from Mount Vernon and one from Pelham — were transported to the emergency room. Mount Vernon Fire Chief Al Everett said their injuries were not severe.

He said the fire started in the kitchen but the cause remains unknown.

"We made an aggressive interior attack, but the fire had advanced far beyond our expectations," Everett said.

Every available Mount Vernon firefighter on duty responded to the blaze, with mutual aid from surrounding departments, including Pelham, Pelham Manor and Yonkers.

Louis Antunez, 22, was sleeping in his first-floor bedroom Thursday when his dog, Lulu, a rat-terrier mix, began barking.

"I woke up and I saw all this smoke," he said. "I was a Boy Scout for 15 years, so I knew exactly what was up."

With smoke pouring out of the bathroom, Antunez dropped to the floor and crawled toward the back door. He punched out a glass panel in the door and, holding Lulu like a football, he said, escaped.

The fire left the six members of Antunez's family and the four members of the Bauer family, who lived on the top two floors and owns the building, without a home.

"We lost the stuff in the house, but everybody has their life, so you can't really get upset," Antunez said.

The Red Cross provided emotional support, financial assistance and referrals to community agencies, spokeswoman Carolyn Sherwin said.

"The emotional support the volunteers provided was extremely helpful," Sherwin said.
By Ned P. Rauch and Terence Corcoran /

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August 09, 2014

Three firefighters have been injured and six structures have burned in a 46,000-acre blaze near Lewiston.

Fire spokeswoman Jill Cobb says one firefighter received a 3-inch gash on his right leg from a chain saw and required stiches. Another firefighter suffered heat related problems and a third sustained a scratched cornea.

The fire grew to 76 square miles Friday, but Cobb says an 8-mile fire line built on the north side of the Big Cougar Fire appears to be holding.

Cobb says at least 200 homes are near the fire and residents have been told to evacuate or be ready to evacuate.

About 450 firefighters plus aircraft are battling the blaze bordered by the Snake and Salmon rivers. Firefighters reached 15 percent containment Friday.

On Thursday, crews put the communities around Waha and Redbird on a Stage 2 Evacuation notice. It means homeowners need to be ready to leave at any moment as 250 firefighters work to stop the flames.

Witnesses along the fire lines said the flames destroyed four cabins on Wednesday evening.

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August 09, 2014
Motorcyclist Critical After Slamming Into Fire Engine - CT

The scene of a crash involving a motorcycle and a New Haven Fire Department truck near James and Woolsey streets Thursday.
(Rich Scinto — New Haven Register)

NEW HAVEN >> A West Haven man is in critical but stable condition after his motorcycle and a city Fire Department truck collided at the intersection of Woolsey and James streets Thursday evening.

The motorcyclist was identified as Casper Amodio Jr., 53, of Brown Street, said police spokesman Officer David Hartman.

Engine 10 out of the Lombard Street station was responding to a medical call on Woolsey Street when it and the motorcycle collided at about 5:35 p.m., said Fire Chief Allyn Wright.

Police are in the process of reconstructing the accident, Hartman said. That will include the determination of the motorcycle’s speed.

“Interviews with the firefighters indicated they didn’t even see the motorcycle coming,” Hartman said.

There was a long skid mark on the asphalt that lined up with the motorcycle’s path of travel.

“We have nothing to indicate at all that the operator of the fire truck did anything wrong,” Hartman said.

Hartman said in a later release that Amodio was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

“Witnesses at the scene reported the motorcycle was traveling at a high rate of speed,” Hartman said in the release.

However, he said, “It should be noted that an individual’s perception of speed is not always accurate.”

The fire truck and motorcycle were still at the scene Friday evening. Amodio’s sneakers were in front of the motorcycle that was partially under the truck.

Neighborhood resident Danielle Cornelius said she looked out of her second-story window when she heard the fire engine’s sirens. The motorcycle was traveling down James Street from Chapel Street as the fire engine was making a left turn onto Woolsey Street.

Cornelius also said she did not see a helmet. Firefighters rushed out of their apparatus and aided Amodio.

“They were .. .doing CPR immediately,” she said.

Amodio appeared to have severe injuries to his head and hip, she said.

The four Fire Department personnel weren’t injured, Hartman said.

Wright also said the firefighters were OK, but shaken by the incident. They have been offered the city’s Employee Assistance Program.

“This type of forensic investigation is very in-depth and can take weeks, if not months for any final conclusion to be realized,” Hartman said in the release.
By Rich Scinto, New Haven Register

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August 09, 2014
8 firefighters burned battling wildfire - CA

SAN FRANCISCO — Eight firefighters who suffered minor burns while battling a wildfire in Northern California left the hospital Saturday as crews gained enough ground on other blazes across the West to allow hundreds of people to return to their homes.

Three firefighters from Santa Clara County and five inmate firefighters from the Salt Creek Camp, a minimum-security facility in California, received minor burns as they battled a fast-moving blaze about 160 miles north of San Francisco in Mendocino County late Friday night.

The inmate crews work side by side with firefighters and do everything from battling blazes to helping build containment lines, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff said.

The injured firefighters were released early Saturday, just hours after being airlifted to the burn center at the University of California, Davis, for treatment, Tolmachoff said. No details were immediately available on how they were injured.

"They are in good spirits," Tolmachoff said. "Although their injuries were minor, we still take them very seriously."

An evacuation order was issued late Friday for the fire that now threatens nearly 60 structures across six communities, Tolmachoff said. The blaze, which was started by lightning on Wednesday, has charred more than 11 square miles in steep and rugged terrain but is partially contained, officials said.

Nearly 2,000 firefighters and 15 helicopters battled the fire in the Wilderness Lodge Area near Laytonville, Capt. Carlos Guerrero said Saturday.

"The fire is burning in heaving timber and is proving to be quite a challenge," Tolmachoff said, adding that crews faced dry, breezy conditions in anticipation of more lightning strikes Sunday.

"That could create a whole new set of problems," she said.

Elsewhere in the West:

— In Oregon, crews gained more control over a wildfire in the wind-swept Columbia River Gorge, allowing the evacuation order for 740 threatened residences to be lifted, the state Department of Forestry said Saturday.

Officials told residents to remain on alert because firefighters were concerned about unburned fuel near the fire, which has charred about 5 square miles since it started Tuesday.

— In Idaho, crews reached partial containment of the state's largest wildfire, which has burned about 92 square miles on the Idaho side of the Snake River across from Oregon and Washington.

Three firefighters there have been injured: One received a gash on his leg from a chain saw and required stiches, another suffered heat-related problems, and a third had a scratched cornea.
By Terry Collins / The Associated Press

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August 09, 2014
Ammunition explodes during fire - IN


INDIANAPOLIS - Firefighting efforts at an east side home were complicated Friday after ammunition inside began exploding.

Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) crews said sometime around 8:15 a.m., firefighters headed to a home in the 5000 block of East 34th Street to fight the fire, which reportedly began in the basement and spread throughout the house.

Two men and a woman inside the home got out safely, IFD says.

Firefighters were able to get the fire under control, but they also had to deal with ammunition in the house that exploded as a result of the flames. No crew members were hit.

One firefighter was burned on his wrist, but no other injuries were reported. Staff

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August 09, 2014
Two Teenagers Arrested After Monroe Fire Trucks Stolen - OK

Two teenagers stole a fire truck, crashed it, then brought it back to the Monroe Volunteer Fire Department before stealing another fire truck and getting arrested after driving past an off-duty deputy’s house, police say.

LeFlore County Sheriff Rob Seale said two 17-year-old males broke into the Monroe fire station sometime before 10 p.m. Thursday and stole a brush truck. They drove from Oklahoma 83 to Poteau Mountain Road just outside of Monroe, where they crashed the fire truck into a tree, Seale said.

The teenagers returned the damaged truck to the fire station before stealing a second vehicle, a pumper truck, and driving it into the Poteau city limits, Seale said.

With sirens blaring and emergency lights on, the two drove toward an off-duty deputy’s home, where they stopped. The deputy saw the engine, which at that point had been reported stolen, and got into his personal vehicle after the fire truck started moving again. The deputy called Poteau police, who assisted in following the stolen truck, Seale said.

The teenagers parked the vehicle at the Poteau Tag Agency on North Broadway Street, where they were taken into custody.

Both teenagers were arrested on suspicion of burglary, two counts of motor-vehicle theft and malicious damage to property. One of the boys was arrested on suspicion of public drunkenness, and the other with suspected DUI, Seale said.

Deputies are unsure how the teenagers got into the fire station.

“Somehow or another they got the code,” Seale said. “We’re trying to figure out how they did that.”

Both teens appeared before a judge Friday morning. One was taken to juvenile detention in Muskogee, and the other in Talihina, according to Seale.

Seale said deputies spoke with the parents of both boys.

“I’m sure they were less than thrilled,” he said.
By Stacy Ryburn / Times Record

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August 09, 2014
Firefighters battle workers compensation law - ID

BOISE -- A somewhat hidden danger is affecting Idaho firefighters, and some say it's time for a new law on the issue.

Research shows there is a connection between chemicals in smoke and serious medical conditions like cancer.

But, those illnesses are not covered under Idaho's workers compensation law.

So, the Professional Firefighters of Idaho has been pushing a law to change that.

A previous draft easily passed through the Senate last session, but never got a hearing in the House.

Eagle Fire Captain Rob Shoplock says it's needed to protect the firefighters who work to protect the public.

"We're one of the last states in the nation that does not have presumptive illness for firefighters, we don't have it for heart and lung, we don't have it for cancer," said Shoplock.

Presumptive illness allows firefighters to be covered under workers compensation laws for medical treatment connected to a condition caused by their time spent fighting fires.

But, Shoplock says proving the two are related is difficult in Idaho.

"When it comes to cancers, trying to identify what day or what fire you may have gotten that exposure, it could be over 10 years that your body starts developing those cancers, that's really the uphill battle that we fight," said Shoplock.

Shoplock is also the executive vice president for Professional Firefighters of Idaho.

For years, he has been pushing the law that about 40 other states already have.

In order to be covered, firefighters have to take annual physical exams, have no family history of their condition, and not be a smoker.

They must also be a full-time firefighter for at least five years.

State Rep. Stephen Hartgen says he understands the reason behind the bill, but worries about the possible burden it would put on taxpayers.

"I think it really comes down to the question of presumption of cause, if you have a medical condition brought on by an injury and you can show that, that's the current law and it's worked well for more than a hundred years," said Hartgen.

For Shoplock, it's a simple change that firefighters, risking their lives for others, deserve.

"We're building a healthier workforce and I think that will save the state in the long run," said Shoplock.

Shoplock tells us there are two cases in Idaho where firefighters believe their job did lead to cancer.

Hartgen says they will review the new draft of the bill next session.
Karen Zatkulak, KTVB

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August 07, 2014
Two local firefighters pull man from burning house - NY

Two firefighters pulled an elderly man out of his burning home Wednesday. Those firefighters also saved one of their own, who was overcome from the smoke inside that house.

The fire happened on Simpson Road near Seneca Avenue early Wednesday morning. The two people who lived in that home are recovering. The man who was rescued from the burning house is at Strong Memorial Hospital in guarded condition.

He was severely injured, but alive, thanks to what some are called the heroic effort of two firefighters who had never worked together before today.

Dave Kasenov and Mike Napoli are volunteer firefighters in two separate fire districts. They arrived at a burning house on Simpson Road at the same time. The fire trucks hadn't gotten there yet. Together, they have 64 years’ experience. Wednesday morning, it was put to the test.

Mike Napoli, Ridge Culver Fire District, said, "We spoke with the wife and she says her husband is in there. Just inside, just inside could be just in the door. It could be on the other side of the house."

They took a gamble and went inside with no air packs. Little did they know, a former fire chief who lives nearby was already inside trying to get the woman’s husband out, but he was in trouble.

Kasenov said,“He went inside and did what he did for many years for us, but he got overcome by the smoke.”

The firefighters knew they were running out of time. So again, without their air packs, they went into the burning house and brought both men out.

Napoli said, “We have to make a decision as a team. We are teamed up as a team and you are hoping, at that point, that you have guys who are ready to go in with an air pack, but it happened that it was so quick.”

St. Paul Fire Chief Bill Dyrland said, “In my eyes, they did a great job.”

Chief Dyrland says he would never recommend firefighters enter a burning building without their equipment; however, he's commending these firefighters for what they did this morning.

Chief Dyrland said, “Had Mike and Dave not gone in there, we might be dealing with a dead homeowner and a commissioner in the hospital in intensive care. It's hard to say.”

The chief is also applauding the work of the former fire chief. He says his efforts made a difference as well.
By: Lynette Adams /

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August 07, 2014
No conclusion yet in Torrington ambulance accident investigation - CT

TORRINGTON -- Police continue to investigate a motor vehicle crash involving a Winsted ambulance that snapped a utility pole in half and shut down a portion of a road for hours.

Police identified the driver of the ambulance as Ryan Baca, who was one of three emergency medical technicians aboard. There was no patient in the ambulance, which was leaving the hospital after transporting a patient.

Police Sgt. Mark Cattey said the crash happened just as the ambulance was at the apex of a curve at Litchfield Street near Ivy Lane.

There was another ambulance heading in the opposite direction. Cattey said the driver pulled over but struck the pole, which is on the edge of the road and was leaning toward the road, Cattey said.

"Unfortunately, there wasn't quite enough room between the edge of the pole and the edge of the vehicle," said Beverly Dillon, president of the Winsted Area Ambulance Association

The crash caused minor cosmetic damage to the ambulance.

Dillon said the association reported the incident to itsinsurance company. The association also has its own internal process for reviewing the crash, but it will rely heavily on the police department report, which is not yet available.

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August 07, 2014
This Is What The Gates Of Hell Look Like

(Amanda GREY)

Don't know any more about this video than the title.
Amanda GREY

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August 07, 2014
Rural/Metro Shuts Down Billing Operations Nationwide, Affecting 50 Workers

Rural/Metro has shut down its coding and billing operations nationwide in a move to boost revenue and cut costs, which also affects about 50 employees in Buffalo.

Some employees will be offered jobs locally through a company Rural/Metro has hired to do the work, and those who are not hired will be paid 60 days' severance, according to Rural/Metro spokesman John Karolzak.

"RevMD is required to hire a material number of Rural/Metro's billing staff as part of the transition," according to a company news release.

Most of Rural/Metro's billing staff is located in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the company headquarters is in the same building as RevMD, though they are separate companies.

Rural/Metro could not say how many employees would be hired for new positions with RevMD, but said that some billing operations will remain in Buffalo.

The ambulance company's coding and billing operations were spread across the country, and hiring RevMD and LexiCode helps Rural/Metro focus on patient care, Karolzak said.

Rural/Metro won the support of Mayor Byron W. Brown in June for a new five-year contract, and has had the right to operate exclusively in the city since 2005. The new contract requires Common Council approval.

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August 07, 2014
Ambulance Crash Leaves Patient Dead, Medics Hurt - MO

A patient died and two medics were injured Wednesday night when a Missouri ambulance crashed.

The 23-year-old medic with riding with the patient was seriously injured when the Vernon County Ambulance District ambulance overturned on I-49 north of Harrisonville, according to

The driver lost control on the wet highway, causing the ambulance to veer off the road and overturn.

It is not known if the 65-year-old patient being transported to a hospital died of crash injuries or an existing condition. The driver suffered minor injuries.

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August 07, 2014
Firetruck stuck for two hours in St. Louis sinkhole - IL

One end of a St. Louis firetruck was stuck in pavement up to its axle for about two hours this morning after a street partly collapsed.

It happened before 6 a.m. near Ninth and Wyoming streets, south of the Anheuser-Busch brewery.

The pumper truck and a medic unit had been in the 900 block of Withnell Avenue for a report of a 62-year-old man who collapsed on a sidewalk and died. St. Louis police say the man had no apparent signs of trauma, and a witness who knew him said he'd been in poor health recently. The case is being classified as a sudden death, not a homicide, police say.

The pumper was on its way back from that call when it got stuck in the sinkhole, said Capt. Garon Mosby of the St. Louis Fire Department. No one on the firetruck was injured in the incident.

An inspector with the St. Louis streets department examined the collapse and the pavement surrounding it to decide how to get the truck out. The obvious concern is that the sinkhole will get bigger as crews work to remove the truck.

"Sinkholes, they go small to big," Mosby said. "We basically have this truck sitting in a hole that's already started."

The truck was removed from the hole by 8 a.m. Crews used an inflatable bag to raise the truck, then put a steel plate over the hole and the truck was backed out safely. The truck weighs 48,500 pounds and costs about a half-million dollars. It was not damaged. Tow hooks on the front of the truck braced the truck from falling even more — the hooks caught on the pavement so the truck's undercarriage didn't drop. Firefighters took core samples in three spots east of where the truck was. Those tests told them that there was support beneath the street and they would be able to safely back the truck out.

Most of the time when a sinkhole starts in a street, it's a sewer that fails or a water main, and those utility companies will have to do the repairs. Normally a sewer collapse is the culprit when the hole is deep, said Todd Waelterman, the city's street director.

The gas company shut the gas off in case a gas line ruptured, then the truck was removed. Sometimes, these holes take two or three weeks to repair.

Since only the truck's front tire was stuck, that is the sign of a small hole. Last September, about the same time of morning, "we had a whole trash truck fall in" when a sinkhole opened up in an alley, Waelterman said. "The guy went to go pick up a Dumpster up and the truck fell in six feet. All you could see was the driver's head."

The trash truck driver wasn't hurt. The city ended up excavating the alley and built a road, then drove the truck out of the hole that afternoon.

The trash truck was brand new, $230,000, and had only been on the road about a month or two. In that case, it was an entire sewer main that collapsed at about 6:45 a.m. Sept. 24, in an alley near Blair and Newhouse avenues.

"The hole was as big as your kitchen," he said. "This hole (on 9th & Wyoming) here is probably the size of a bathroom."

Waelterman said these things happen in a city with aging infrastructure.

"It's a failing infrastructure," Waelterman explained. "We have sewers that are over 100 years old and there are no resources out there to replace them. And the water pipes are just as old. Those two things are reaching the end of their life in many areas."

With only the front tire of the fire truck in a hole, it could be just a six-inch pipe known as a sewer lateral, which connects to a sewer main.

The streets department gets "a couple thousand calls a year" in which somebody spots the ground sinking a little bit and suspects a sewer lateral has gone bad.
By Kim Bell

View the Slideshow

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August 07, 2014
Vandals hit Cleveland fire station...again - OH

Vandals took aim at a Cleveland fire station again.

The Cleveland Division of Police is currently investigating a breaking and entering, petty theft and damage to a city vehicle at Fire Station 30 on St. Clair Avenue.

Preliminary investigation reveals that the incident occurred between 3 and 9 a.m. on Tuesday. Members of the fire department contacted police after they saw two vehicles parked in the station's fenced lot with damage to fuel tank areas, as well as wet pavement stemming from underneath them.

"You would think that any person would understand that that's a pretty risky and stupid thing to do," said Frank Szabo with the Cleveland Firefighters Union.

Further investigation revealed that a hole was cut into the western side of the fence.

One vehicle was a city van assigned to parks and recreation, and the other was a personal vehicle of a fireman. Both vehicles had been drained of fuel.

The total loss after damages and theft is estimated at $1,000 for each vehicle.

This is not the first time this station has been hit by vandals. On July 20, when firefighters returned from an emergency run, they found a bullet hole in the window of one of the station's bay doors.

Firefighters wonder what's going on.

"They're generally concerned. There seems to be a pattern developing," said Szabo. "We're here to protect and serve the community, and it's difficult, it's challenging to be able to do that effectively when the security and safety of the fire station is compromised."

The Fifth District Detective Bureau is investigating this incident. Anyone with more information is urged to call police at 216-623-5500.
Posted by 19 Action News Digital Team

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August 06, 2014

An ambulance was involved in a crash with a car at the intersection of Beach and Garden Grove boulevards in Stanton Monday night

STANTON, Calif. (KABC) -- An ambulance was involved in a crash with a car at the intersection of Beach and Garden Grove boulevards in Stanton Monday night.

There was significant damage to both the ambulance and a silver sedan. The collision created a big traffic jam at the intersection as officers investigate the crash.

Significant injuries were reported. Three people were hospitalized. Some of the injuries are reportedly traumatic.

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August 06, 2014
Man Charged for Being 'Combative' with Paramedics - PA

TROY -- A 37-year-old Canton man who reportedly became combative after being treated by paramedics July 26 in Canton has been charged with drug-related offenses and summary disorderly conduct, according to court papers filed at the office of Magisterial District Judge Jonathan Wilcox of Troy.

The papers noted that Travis Levi Ott of Elm Street, Canton, was jailed in lieu of $35,000 bail and faces a preliminary hearing before Wilcox at 2:30 p.m. Aug. 13.

In an affidavit, Canton Police Officer Trey Kurtz said he received a call at around 6:33 p.m. July 26 from the Emergency Operations Center, informing him that Western EMS and Canton Fire Department had responded to an overdose at Ott's residence in which the patient, later identified as Ott, was being combative. Kurtz said that first responders told him that Ott was found by his mother and a friend, unresponsive in the upstairs bedroom. In addition, emergency responders told Kurtz that Ott was unresponsive and not breathing, with a weak heart rate. They administered Narcan and Ott began to breathe, eventually waking up on his own. The emergency responders said that when Ott woke up on the bathroom floor, he was irate, would not hold still or stay on the floor to be treated, forced his way up, pulled off his heart monitor patches and oxygen mask and ripped the IV from his arm, exposing blood that began to run down his arm. Afterwards, the paramedic reached out his hand and asked Ott to "come here" and "at least let me bandage that up for you."

According to the affidavit, Ott then raised a closed fist at the paramedic and, using a curse word, told the paramedic to not touch him or "I'll knock you out," or words to that effect. Then, Ott began yelling at everyone, using a curse word, and telling them to get out of his house.

Kurtz said that he was told that most of the first responders had walked out to "de-escalate the situation," but the few who remained described "Ott walking back and forth in the house as if he was looking for something."

According to Kurtz, Ott eventually walked downstairs, rolled a cigarette, and sat on the porch, smoking it. Kurtz said he asked Ott what happened, and Ott, using a curse word, told him to get off his porch. Ott was taken into custody and placed in the rear of the patrol vehicle, without further incident.

Kurtz said he returned inside the residence and found a red wash cloth, beside the kitchen sink, covering two hypodermic needles, one of which was loaded with 80 cc's of a clear, unknown substance, a 100 mcg/hr Fentanyl patch, a burnt spoon with residue, a small pocket knife, a cigarette filter, and a bottle cap. Kurtz was also told that Ott was found with a needle in his arm and "other things nearby his body."

In addition to summary disorderly conduct -- engage in fighting, Ott was charged with two misdemeanor counts of "prohibited acts; penalties," one for possessing a controlled or counterfeit substance and one for using, or possessing with the intent to use, drug paraphernalia.

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August 06, 2014
Suburban Fire Department Fights Mass Layoffs - IL

Private company takes over McCook Fire Department.
(NBC 5's Natalie Martinez reports.)

Workers at the McCook Fire Department have taken to the picket lines to protest a mass layoff.

The town, located just south of Chicago, decided to privatize its fire service and gave the contract to a company called Kurtz Ambulance Service, Inc.

"They really never negotiated," veteran firefighter Danny Golden said. "They said take severance or there's the door. They did offer a $15,000 cut that would put them-us under the savings what they're saving with Kurtz."

The eight fired union firefighters picketed in front of the village hall Monday.

"He's affecting my wife, two young kids, my ability to make money to put food on table," firefighter Chris Dospoy said.

Village leaders initially tried to merge with the nearby Pleasantview Fire Protection District, but residents did not pass the proposal. Negotiations between the two sides were unsuccessful.

According to the Des Plaines Valley News, the nine-person fire department cost the village $1.2 million a year. McCook Mayor Jeff Tobloski told the newspaper that the village has been running on a $1.5 million deficit, and the tax base isn't strong enough to manage the fire department's expenses.

NBC 5 was unsuccessful in obtaining a response from Tobloski or Kurtz officials.
By Natalie Martinez /

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August 06, 2014
Passing tractor-trailer rig Strikes Pump Operator FF Jonathan French - KY

(The Last Call - RIP)

Jonathan French
(Source: News Enterprise)

KSP: Glendale firefighters hit in fatal I-65 accident were mother and son
(By Charles Gazaway)

Procession carries fallen Glendale firefighter to Louisville
(By Charles Gazaway)

ELIZABETHTOWN, KY (WAVE) - The Glendale firefighter killed and another who was injured in an accident on Interstate 65 in Hardin County while fighting a vehicle fire have been identified as a mother and son.

Trooper Jeff Gregory, public affairs officer of the Kentucky State Police Elizabethtown post, said the wreck, which involved a semi and fire truck, occurred around the 87 mile marker near Glendale around 3:30 a.m. Gregory said the Glendale Volunteer Fire Department was on the scene of a fire in a 15-passenger van that happened about 30 minutes before the accident.

The firefighter killed has been identified as Jonathan French, 25, of Glendale. Gregory said the injured firefighter is French's mother, Lisa French, 43, who is also the sister of the Glendale fire chief. Both were outside the fire truck and were struck by the semi before it hit the fire engine.

Jonathan French was pronounced dead at the scene. Lisa French, a seven year veteran of the Glendale department, was airlifted to University of Louisville Hospital where she is listed in serious condition.

The last line of duty death in Hardin County was in 1970 when an Elizabethtown firefighter was killed.
By Ali Hammond /

SLIDESHOW: Glendale firefighter killed in crash

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August 06, 2014
New Carlisle Assistant Chief Jamie Middlebrook killed in late night blaze - IN

(The Last Call - RIP)

New Carlisle Assistant Fire Chief Jamie Middlebrook
Photo provided courtesy of Heroes Memorial Foundation Inc.)

Dawn Janiszewski, lifelong New Carlisle resident and former high school classmate of the fallen firefighter, places flowers at the base of a flagpole outside of the New Carlisle Fire Department in honor of a firefighter that lost his life while battling an overnight fire
(Robert Franklin, South Bend Tribune)

Flowers are placed at the base of a flagpole outside of the New Carlisle Fire Department in honor of a firefighter that lost his life while battling an overnight fire on Wednesday in New Carlisle.
(Robert Franklin, South Bend Tribune)

Firefighters battle a blaze on County Road 800 East, New Carlisle, about 10 p.m. Tuesday. A South Bend Dire Department truck is at the left. Witnesses said they counted fire trucks from at least five different localities.
(Photo provided/TIM CREASON)

Firefighters from many departments wait for a search team to recover the body of a fallen New Carlisle Firefighter that died in the blaze at K-Fex, an excavation company, on Tuesday night.
(Santiago Flores)

NEW CARLISLE — A New Carlisle firefighter was killed Tuesday night when the roof of a burning commercial building fell on him.

Assistant Chief Jamie Middlebrook died in the fire at K-Fex, an excavation business at 5885 N. 800 East outside Hudson Lake. The location is in LaPorte County, just west of the St. Joseph County line.

Another firefighter who was with Middlebrook inside fighting the blaze was injured. That firefighter was identified as Matt O'Donnell, a three-year member of the department.

Officials said O'Donnell suffered a broken ankle, minor burns and other injuries not believed life threatening.

He was taken to Franciscan St. Anthony Health in Michigan City, said LaPorte County Sheriff Mike Mollenhauer. He had been released by Wednesday afternoon, said Robert Johnson, an assistant state fire marshal.

''Nothing real serious,'' Mollenhauer said.

He was rescued by another firefighter, but Middlebrook was not able to be found underneath the burning debris right away.

Middlebrook's body was recovered about 50 feet inside a door way with help from a backhoe sifting through the charred rubble of the building, which contained several vehicles and pieces of equipment, Mollenhauer said.

''The roof pretty much all collapsed and that's what evidently fell on him and evidently the other firefighter,'' he said.

Mollenhauer, who was at the fire with officers from his department handling traffic control and other matters, said there were firefighters from at least 15 other departments from Indiana and Michigan at the scene.

''Very sad and solemn,'' is how Mollenhauer described the mood after it was evident that Middlebrook would not come out of the burning structure alive.

''It can happen. We know it can happen but we've been very fortunate that it hasn't happened in our area for quite some time. These are volunteers that go out there and try to save property and save victims from fire and here this one's the victim of a fire,'' said Mollenhauer.

Middlebrook's father is also a member of the New Carlisle Fire Department.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence issued a statement after learning of Middlebrook's death.

"I was saddened to learn of the death of New Carlisle Assistant Fire Chief Jamie Middlebrook, who lost his life protecting the safety of Hoosiers," Pence said. "Today, Indiana mourns the loss of a true Hoosier hero. On behalf of the state, the First Lady and I extend our condolences to his family and friends and hold them in prayer during this difficult time."

The cause of the blaze was still being investigated by with help from the Indiana State Fire Marshal's office.

LaPorte Fire Chief Andy Snyder said some of his department's heavy equipment was sent to the fire scene to help determine the cause.

Middlebrook's body was removed from the building draped with an American flag and was taken from the scene under a police escort.

The Heroes Memorial Foundation, based in Okeechobee, Fla., has arranged a “Lights On” event in Middlebrook’s honor at 9 p.m. CDT Friday. The organization’s president Jon Folbrecht said that so far this year 80,000 households across the country have responded to the foundation’s invitation to participate in such remembrances by shining a light or candle in honor of fallen police officers, firefighters and military heroes.
By STAN MADDUX Tribune Correspondent

Photos from the scene of a fatal fire near New Carlisle

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August 05, 2014
A Challenge You Can't Afford to Take

Countless challenges have captivated teen video enthusiasts: The popular "Cinnamon challenge", the frigid "Polar Plunge challenge", that painful "Salt-and-Ice challenge". Some are potentially more dangerous than others, but the latest — the "Fire Challenge" — is one of the most concerning yet.

Like many other Social Media "challenges", it is a dare game. A person voluntarily applies flammable liquids on themselves, then sets oneself on fire for a short period of time, hoping to not cause serious injury. They film the event, then upload it via various social media channels. As you can imagine, numerous people have suffered significant burns that require medical attention.

It appears many are unable to resist the pressure of wanting some fame with a video gone viral or feeling that “everyone is doing it” so maybe they should too, or that they could do the challenge better.

Firefighters know that challenges can be exciting, but these have clearly proven to be a terrible idea. Remember, just because someone challenges you, doesn't mean you have to complete it. Think twice.

You can help stop this craze. If a friend wants to do the "Fire Challenge", talk some sense into them, and choose to not share #FireChallenge videos.
Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman Los Angeles Fire Department


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August 05, 2014
Volunteer firefighters to face stricter background checks with new sex offender law - NY

ALBANY, N.Y. - Volunteer firefighters in the State of New York will now face stricter background checks thanks to a new law signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The law seeks to help prevent registered sex offenders from joining area squads and FASNY is applauding the decision.

According to the governor's office, firefighter's are often in a position where they interact with the most vulnerable, especially children. The new law seeks to make communities safer by allowing volunteer organizations to keep volunteer fire-teams free of sexual offenders.

David Quinn explains that Monday marked a big day for volunteer firefighters across the state after years of pushing for stricter background checks.

“We want to keep the sex offenders out of the firehouses,” said Quinn.

Quinn not only works for the Fireman's Association of the State of New York but also happens to be the Assistant Volunteer Fire Chief himself.

“It’s very critical because not only are we held to higher regard in the public trust, but at the same time we are involved with children," said Quinn.

Whether it's a response to a fire or a career day at area schools, Quinn says he doesn’t want sex offenders on his team. He says this law now allows firehouses to expand the scope of existing checks for new hires.

“Background check would be done on a potential candidate, if that candidate was found to have arson, he was not allowed in the fire department, and this law is going to do basically the same thing,” he said.

Currently, Quinn says smaller firehouses like his often know the candidates who apply, and sex offender websites can let fire administrators know a person’s past, but before now it wasn't technically illegal.

“There were no restrictions against it at the time and again that's one of the reasons we wanted to push the law," Quinn explained.

Many local firefighters believe the law is a good thing, but many were surprised it wasn’t a law already.

Nick Truax has been a volunteer firefighter in Colonie for the past five years. He says he was shocked to hear volunteer fire departments weren’t screening out potential candidates for past sex offenses before now.

“I always assumed it was something that was already there, because of the amount of work we do with kids," said Truax.

FASNY says that even though convicted arsonists have long been forbidden from joining volunteer departments, nothing was on the books to outright say sex offenders couldn't.

Traux says between house fires and career days, the amount of interaction he has with the public as a volunteer firefighter is enormous. He says he would hate to see anyone abuse that privilege.

“When I think my own house caught on fire at one point, and just to think a sex offender could have been in my home that's something that should have been changed a long time ago," he said.

Quinn says that before this law was put in place, specific troops could regulate their own rules regarding who they hire. FASNY champions the law for making it easier on departments to keep sex offenders out.
By Liz Holliday /

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August 05, 2014
Man arrested, accused of DUI in Stanton ambulance crash - CA

Stanton ambulance crash
A Care Ambulance Services ambulance is towed after an accident at Beach and Garden Grove boulevard on Monday evening.

STANTON – A crash involving a vehicle and an ambulance in a Stanton intersection on Monday evening left at least four people hospitalized and authorities arrested a person they suspect of driving under the influence.

Three ambulance attendants in the Care Ambulance Service rig were injured along with the other driver in the two-vehicle crash at the intersection of Beach and Garden Grove boulevards, Orange County Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock said.

The ambulance was traveling westbound on Garden Grove Boulevard, while the other vehicle, a Dodge Charger, was traveling southbound on Beach Boulevard, Hallock said. The other vehicle is believed to have struck the ambulance.

The driver of the other vehicle, a 27-year-old man identified as John Dantzler, was booked at Men’s Central Jail on suspicion of driving under the influence, said Lt. Gary Strachan. He was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

None of the injuries caused by the crash is believed to be life-threatening, Hallock said.

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August 05, 2014

(Stacey Sager reports from New Hyde Park.)

NEW HYDE PARK (WABC) -- Police on Long Island have charged a female driver who survived crashing into a Nassau County firehouse under the most unusual of circumstances.

The incident happened around 7 p.m. Monday on Jericho Turnpike in New Hyde Park.

The driver, identified as 22-year-old Sarah Espinosa, of Albany, apparently lost control of her Toyota Prius, crossed the median, struck a Nissan Maxima and careened into the fire station.

And the reason, according to police, was that a stolen snake in her car had wrapped itself around her neck.

The vehicle plowed through the main door, striking two fire trucks inside.

Fire personnel who were present at the time of the accident rendered aid to the victim, at which time they discovered a small ball python snake wrapped around her neck.

They removed the snake and secured it at the scene.

Officers responded and determined Espinosa had stolen the snake from a nearby PETCO just prior to the accident.

During the investigation, Espinosa was found to be in possession of marijuana.

She was treated and released from a local hospital, and no other injuries were reported. The snake was returned to the store.

Espinosa is charged with reckless endangerment, petit larceny, reckless driving, driving while intoxicated and unlawful possession of marijuana.

The snake costs about $90, but it cost the New Hyde Park fire department much more: they've temporarily lost one of their fire engines as a result of the accident.

"So you're down a fire truck now because someone wrapped a snake around her?", we asked New Hyde Park Fire Chief Steven Waldron.

"Correct. Thank God we're not a very busy department, but you never know. Anything could happen at any time," Waldron said.

And Monday night was the perfect proof of that. "Of all the things in your career, is this one of the weirder ones?", Waldron was asked. "This is definitely in the top five," he said.
By Stacey Sager /

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August 05, 2014
Forest Service Firefighting Funds Running Low - WA

Funds Running Low
This file photo shows a a firefighter with the Anderson, Calif., Fire Protection District dousing hot spots left behind by the Eiler Fire near Burney, Calif.
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service will soon have to tap into programs designed to prevent wildfires so that it can meet the expenses of fighting this summer's round of fires.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday that about $400 million to $500 million in projects will have to be put on hold in what has become a routine exercise toward the end of the fiscal year. He predicted that the money set aside strictly for firefighting will run out by the end of August.

"When we begin to run out of money we have to dip into the very programs that will reduce the risk of these fires over time," Vilsack said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press.

Some 30 large fires are working their way through federal and state forests in California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. With lawmakers back home for the August recess and the public's attention focused on those efforts, Vilsack is lobbying for the administration's request for an additional $615 million to fight wildfires this fiscal year and next.

Lawmakers from both parties generally agree the current funding model is broken. They say it's self-defeating to curtail activities designed to prevent forest fires, such as thinning overgrown forests and clearing underbrush, to cover the full costs of fighting blazes that have become more destructive over the past decade. But there is disagreement about how to fix the problem.

The administration and some lawmakers have called for tapping the government's fund for battling natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes to pay for the most devastating forest fires. They say the change would not impact the government's response to other types of disasters.

The House Budget Committee, led by Rep. Paul Ryan, has said it would be better to work within existing spending caps to fully fund both the firefighting efforts and prevention work.

That would mean finding savings through other the Department of Agriculture and Interior programs. House Republicans also argue that a bill they passed last year requiring greater timber harvesting on federal lands could help reduce the amount of money needed for fire prevention efforts. The administration opposed that bill saying it undermined several laws and rules established to protect the environment.

House Democrats overwhelmingly support efforts to treat the worst wildfires like other natural disasters. Vilsack said it's important to put the most devastating wildfires on par with other natural disasters. "And that's what a forest fire started by lightning most definitely is," Vilsack said.

Vilsack is also making the case that diverting money to fight forest fires isn't just a problem for the Western states. He said it forces officials to scale back forestry projects in every state.

Over the past two years, the Forest Service has transferred about $950 million from other accounts to battle fires, and over the past 12 years, the amount transferred totals about $3.2 billion.

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August 05, 2014
Volunteer firehouse destroyed by fire - KY

WLKY News Louisville

MOUNT EDEN, Ky. — A volunteer firehouse is a total loss after it caught fire Tuesday morning.

Dispatchers say the fire broke out at the Mount Eden Volunteer Fire Department around 5:45 a.m., according to No one was inside at the time and no injuries were reported. About 50 firefighters from at least five departments responded to the fire.

The fire destroyed the building as well as the department’s gear, an engine, a tanker, a suburban and a forestry unit.

Video shows heavy smoke rising from the gutted, collapsed fire station. The Mt. Eden fire chief says a nearby department has offered to loan an engine so they can continue providing service, according to the report.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, according to the report.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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August 05, 2014
Lenox firefighter in good condition after brush truck crash - MO

A Lenox firefighter was improving Tuesday after being ejected from a brush truck involved in a crash in Dent County Monday night, according to a Mercy spokesperson.

Brad Haller, media relations specialist with?Mercy Springfield Communites, told The Rolla Daily News Tuesday that the firefighter, Kyle A. Good, was listed in good condition.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Good, 26, of Rolla, was driving a Lenox Rural Fire Department brush truck westbound on Highway C, about 10 miles northwest of Salem, when the truck’s front left tire blew out.

The truck struck an embankment and overturned, ejecting Good, the patrol report stated.

Good was flown by an air ambulance to Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Missouri.

He was not wearing a seat belt, the patrol report stated.

The incident occurred around 6:15 p.m. The brush truck was totaled.

Sgt. Dan Crain, public information and education officer with the highway patrol Troop I region, said the brush truck was traveling back after responding to brush fires earlier. Crain said the truck was going at a “normal speed.”
By Paul Hackbarth /

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August 05, 2014
Fire Chief Billy Glen Norris, Sr. dies of heart attack - LA

(The Last Call - RIP)

Fire Chief Billy Glen Norris, Sr.
Fire Chief Billy Glen Norris, Sr.

Fire Chief Billy Glen Norris, Sr., 62, with the Lecompte Volunteer Fire Department, was responding to a medical call when he told his fellow firefighters he was not feeling well, the U.S. Fire Administration reported.

Chief Norris complained of pain in one of his shoulders and then left the station to go home. A short time later, he suffered a heart attack and was transferred to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injury.

Chief Norris was a 20-year veteran of the department and is preceded in death by his parents and brother. He was also the president and treasurer of the Rapides Parish Firefighters Association, according to
By FireRescue1 Staff

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August 03, 2014
IAFF Video Expose on Looting of Public Pensions


The IAFF has produced a video explaining the issues and exploding the myths of the public pension crisis. It is a follow-up to the Matt Taibbi article in Rolling Stone Magazine – “The Looting of Pension Funds“.

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August 03, 2014
Options for Respiratory Protection in the Wildland/WUI Environment

The importance of safety in wildland and wildland/urban interface (WUI) firefighting is clear. Less clear, however, is how we, as professionals, should address cardiorespiratory safety in those environments.

In entry-level classes, all firefighter medical classes and most annual refreshers, students learn or are reminded that breathing in superheated air has an immediate and significant detrimental effect. Even in cases of extreme exposure, such as a burn-over, firefighters who survive the superficial burns they suffered sometimes die due to significant inhalation of superheated gasses.

Clear standards have been established to prevent respiratory issues when firefighters are exposed to smoke, particulate matter and airborne toxins during indoor firefighting efforts. Unfortunately, clear standards have not yet been developed to protect firefighters from those same exposures in an outdoor environment. Further, there are hazards with smoke and toxin inhalation that are less obvious, but have a significant long-term effect on firefighter health.

In this article, I’ll discuss both the obvious and the hidden dangers of those exposures, highlight some of the research on this subject, and explore how standards might address the cardiorespiratory safety of wildland firefighters.

The Research

As noted within the guiding document of the IAFC/IAFF collaborative Wellness Fitness Initiative, cardiorespiratory issues remain one of the three leading causes of death and disability in the fire service. Some studies have shown that coronary heart disease and cardiorespiratory-related factors are responsible for as many as two-thirds of firefighter deaths, though most suggest that number is just below one-half.

Long hours and inconsistent shifts, periods of high-intensity work preceded and followed by periods of rest, and exposure to human suffering and emotional trauma are cited as contributing factors, as are irregular sleeping habits, infrequent physical activity, poor dietary habits and exposure to smoke particulates and toxins. Constant variations in stress levels, intense physical demands and exposure to chemicals and toxins have been shown to increase a firefighters’ susceptibility to cancer, lung disease and heart disease. There is also evidence that suggests that exposure to fine particulate matter has, in some cases, led to myocardial infarction.

Most of these studies have focused on firefighter deaths in general, so what remains to be quantified is the significance of smoke exposure within wildland firefighting operations. One thing that is certain: During wildland firefighting operations, firefighters are exposed to smoke and other airborne toxins that might have a physiological effect on them. There is also no question that routine exposure to these byproducts is harmful in many ways; it causes damage to the airway and ventilatory systems, as well as damage to the cardiac muscle and vessels of the body. Routine or significant exposure can have a cumulative effect on cardiorespiratory wellness, so we know exposure should be minimized through whatever means are available.

The NWCG Position

The adverse health effect of smoke is something that has been studied by many, including those tasked with setting protective standards for wildland firefighting. In 1997, the Missoula Technology and Development Center completed a study on these hazards, which was inspired by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG). To my knowledge, this was the first organized study, but others have happened since.

The NWCG study indicated that less than 5% of wildland firefighters were exposed to more than the acceptable limits of smoke particulates, aldehydes and carbon monoxide established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The NWCG group also found that the use of respirators imposed specific burdens upon wildland firefighters—limiting their work capacity (due to the weight of the respirator), causing increased heat stress, and making it more difficult for them to breathe.

The conclusion of this study was that the routine use of respirators in wildland firefighting should not be required, but it did suggest modifications in strategy and tactics to reduce exposures.

In recent years, the NWCG assembled a group now called the Smoke Exposure Task Group, which has been charged with examining the hazards of smoke and the suggested protective measures. Although efforts are still underway to consolidate the existing data, the group noted that most studies have focused on short-term effects of smoke exposure, and that the data on long-term effects aren’t sufficient to draw reliable conclusions. They suggested that the collection of long-term data should be continued to allow for proper analysis.

That being said, the task force’s first recommendation was that administrative and engineered controls be exhausted prior to the application of respirators in wildland operations. These measures include:

- Physically avoiding areas of high smoke exposure.

- Strategically placing firefighters and fire lines where exposure will be minimized.

- Locating incident command posts and incident base camps outside of areas where smoke naturally collects.

- Monitoring carbon monoxide and other toxic gas levels whenever exposure is a threat.

The task force’s second recommendation was that all firefighters and managers be trained to include the risk of smoke exposure in their risk management continuum and to recognize the symptoms of exposure.

Regarding the use of respirators, the task force concluded that the need for respiratory protection would have to be evaluated and determined by each individual responding agency—no single standard could, or should, be created.

The recommendations from this group have further been expanded and published in the 2012 NWCG publication, Guidance for Monitoring and Mitigating Exposure to Carbon Monoxide and Particulates at Incident Base Camps (

information is organized into three main categories for all firefighters to understand:

- The signs and symptoms of exposure

- Methods used to reduce smoke exposure

- Safe exposure levels for personnel operating on the fire line or in ? base camp

The Existing Standards

Indeed, there are standards that outline the expectations of respiratory protection for firefighting and rescue operations. NFPA 1852 explains how an SCBA should be selected for use in atmospheres that are immediately dangerous to life or health, and NFPA 1971 explains how the protective ensemble can be used for structural and proximity firefighting. NFPA 1977 focuses on the protective ensemble for wildland firefighting, but specifically excludes anything on respiratory protection.

Firefighters generally understand that using most types of respirators or an SCBA in wildland situations is questionable. There are certainly occasions, specifically when doing WUI firefighting or structural protection, when the hazardous exposures would warrant the use of an SCBA. However, on most wildland fires, there are few resource types who are within convenient reach of an SCBA and/or are performing tasks that would not be significantly impeded by wearing one. Furthermore, respirators, such as filter masks, are designed to filter out particulate matter, but do not protect against heated air inhalation, and are not designed to filter out airborne toxins found in smoke and all of its byproducts.

There is one standard that specifically addresses respiratory protection in outdoor firefighting: NFPA 1984: Standard on Respirators for Wildland Fire Fighting Operations, which was published in 2011. In essence, this standard specifically outlines what would be required if a manufacturer does decide to develop and sell a wildland fire respirator. However, it remains unclear whether any companies manufacture a wildland fire respirator that meets those specifications. Products such as the popular “Hot Shield” are commercially produced, but they are not intended to serve as a true wildland fire respirator; rather, they are protective shrouds with a built-in or exchangeable filter.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has two rules that are relevant to this discussion:

- 42 CFR Part 84 addresses the approval of respiratory protection devices. This standard identifies two broad categories of respirator: “Air purifying respirators” that operate by removing contaminants as air is passed through an air purifying element; and “atmosphere providing elements” such as an SCBA. However, this standard does not include a recommendation for what, if anything, should be used in wildland firefighting.

- 29 CFR Part 1910.134 contains information for employees about respirators when their use is not required. If employees choose to use a respirator, a copy of this standard should be consulted.

What You Can Do? Although the research does show that wildland and WUI firefighters are exposed to hazards from smoke, there is still no standard that requires the use of respirators in wildland/WUI firefighting, and no commercially available respirators that meet the potential need. The tool of choice for centuries has been a bandana; evidence suggests that its effectiveness is marginal, at best. Clearly, something is better than nothing, and given the choice of bandana (shroud) or no bandana (no shroud), wildland firefighters are encouraged to use one. However, it should not be assumed that this limited tool is providing true respiratory protection.? For personnel who have access to an SCBA (e.g., structural protection engines), perhaps there are times where their use is warranted. However, the limitations imposed by their weight and limited service life must be noted, and should create apprehension about their potential use.? As it stands now, and until a clear and enforceable standard exists, the best way to provide respiratory protection to firefighters during wildland firefighting operations is to limit their exposure to smoke and its byproducts by having good situational awareness and making good leadership decisions about where and how long resources are deployed.

Erik Litzenberg is the chief for the Santa Fe (N.M.) Fire Department. He holds a master’s degree in public administration, and is currently working on a doctorate in sports administration. Litzenberg is a graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program and the Center for Homeland Defense and Security Executive Leadership Program, and represents the IAFC as a member of the Wildland Fire Policy Committee.

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August 03, 2014
Two Fire Trucks Damaged During Wildfire - CA

2 Fire Trucks Damaged
Courtesy of the Redding Fire Department Redding Engine 15 suffered heavy damage while operating at the Eiler fire
(Courtesy of the Redding Fire Department)

Two pumpers were damaged Friday while firefighters were working on structure protection at the Eiler Fire in northern California.

The crews were working to protect homes around 8 p.m. off of Highway 89 in Hat Creek.

According to CAL Fire's Shasta-Trinity Unit PIO Lori Mathiesen, a Redding Fire Department engine suffered significant damage. An engine from the Shasta Lake Fire District received minor damage.

There were no injuries to the crews from these rigs, however another firefighter was evaluated for smoke inhalation.

The extent of damage to the apparatus has not been released and officials are looking into how the rigs were damaged.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, the Eiler Fire consumed more than 22,700 acres by Sunday afternoon.

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August 02, 2014
Firefighters hurt battling Malone blaze - NY

MALONE — Two firefighters were taken to the hospital after debris fell on them while they were working to extinguish flames that destroyed a house in the Village of Malone.

Malone Callfiremen Chief Paul Langdon declined to release the names of the two firefighters, whose injuries appeared to be minor as of 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

"The structure is still standing, but it's pretty well gutted," Langdon said of the house at 25 First St.

His department had been sent to the fire at 5:15 p.m., according to Franklin County Dispatch.

The blaze's cause remained under investigation by county fire investigators Thursday.

Langdon said police had not been asked to assist with determining the cause.

The chief tentatively named the resident and owner as Joseph Faubert and said he wasn't home when the fire started.

One of his three dogs was missing Thursday night.

Faubert has insurance, Langdon said.

Close to 60 firefighters from Bangor, Constable and Burke departments fought the flames at the single-story home for about an hour and a half, he said.

Providing mutual aid were departments from Owl's Head/Mountain View, Chateaugay and Westville.

Malone Village Police and Franklin County Fire Police helped with traffic control.

"Everybody did a fantastic job for what we had to deal with," Langdon said.

Crews were still at the fire site at 9 p.m.
By FELICIA KRIEG / Press-Republican

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August 02, 2014
Seventeen Cleveland fire supervisors disciplined for roles in shift-trading scandal - OH

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Seventeen Cleveland fire department supervisors have been disciplined for their roles in a shift-trading scandal, the city announced today.

The city suspended seven supervisors for one 24-hour shift, five supervisors for two 24-hour shifts and one supervisor for three 24-hour shifts. Two others are suspended for one 24-hour shift that will held in abeyance, which means they will only serve those suspensions if they are involved in future disciplinary matters.

Two more supervisors were reprimanded. Administrative charges are pending against an 18th supervisor currently on leave, the city said.

Read the entire Article

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August 02, 2014

A firefighter was injured Friday afternoon while battling a house fire in St. Louis.

The firefighter fell part of the way through a floor while inside a burning brick home in the 4200 block of Evans Avenue, said St. Louis Fire Capt. Garon Mosby.

The fire was reported about 2 p.m.

A family escaped the burning home safely, Mosby said. Neighbors told firefighters the family of about 10 people had been evicted earlier this week but appeared to have been squatting in the home. Mosby said utilities to the home had been shut off.

Mosby said the fire started on the first floor and caused extensive damage. It was not immediately clear what caused the fire.

The firefighter was hurt when he fell part of the way through a floor, Mosby said. Fellow firefighters caught him and prevented him from falling to the basement. The injured firefighter was hospitalized for treatment and is expected to be OK.

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August 02, 2014
Firefighters Wrestle With Issue of On-Job Injuries - MD

Firefighters not only battle fires every day, they also fight against injury despite the health risks of their job.

County firefighters reported 52 on-the-job injuries in January through June, according to Capt. Kevin Fox, Division of Fire and Rescue Services spokesman. Sixty-three injuries were reported in the first half of 2013, according to the division's website.

"It's the nature of the job -- injuries are going to occur," said Lt. Jeff Shippey, of the Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services.

An estimated 69,400 firefighters were injured in 2012 nationwide, according to survey results collected by the National Fire Protection Association, the lowest yearly rate since the association began collecting data in 1981.

For Frederick County firefighters, sprains and strains topped the list of most common injuries, with 16 reported injuries in January through July 2014. Slips and falls followed with 12 reported incidents. Eight medical events were reported, which includes cardiac arrests and heat exhaustion, Fox said.

Sprains and strains are more common in the fire service because firefighters lift heavy equipment and perform strenuous work as a regular part of their job, Fox said.

"We don't have the opportunity to do much stretching or actual preparatory activity before we do the action," Fox said. "We may be thrust into action on a call."

Some injuries happen by accident. Shippey recently hurt his right knee while responding to a town house fire July 11 on Drawbridge Court, putting him on rest for two weeks. He was surveying the house when the engine's driver yanked the fire hose taut, tripping Shippey.

"(It) tripped me, flipped me up in the air and onto my right knee," he said.

Shippey continued working but soon realized he was having pain in his right leg. Following protocol, Shippey said he reported the injury to a supervisor and was taken to Frederick Memorial Hospital by ambulance.

"If somebody is injured on the fire ground, they don't have much of a choice," Shippey said, noting that firefighters are taken to the hospital for all kinds of injuries.

After filing paperwork and receiving X-ray scans, doctors said Shippey had a bruise to his right kneecap and some muscle damage. He was prescribed two weeks of rest, meaning he could no longer ride firetrucks or go to fire scenes.

"Once a firefighter is off duty, whatever the recuperation time is, is what they do," he said.

While Shippey had a two-week vacation scheduled right before his injury, most career firefighters perform "light duty" until they are cleared by Corporate Occupational Health Solutions to begin working again. "Light duty" consists mainly of office work and assisting fire chiefs with paperwork, he said.

"People don't like light duty," Shippey said, laughing. "They don't want to sit in an office all day."

But it allows career firefighters to continue working without using up their sick leave, Shippey said. For injured volunteer firefighters, many stop volunteering until they are healed and are given a letter if the injury impedes with their day occupation.

Only nine of the county's 52 reported injuries were to volunteer firefighters, according to Fox. This differs greatly from national data, which showed volunteer firefighters were more likely to be injured at a fire scene than all other firefighters in 2010-12, according to a National Fire Protection Association report.

Luckily, volunteer and career firefighters do not pay out of pocket for their on-the-job injuries. Instead, workers' compensation covers hospital bills and lost wages incurred as a result of the injury, said Paul Brunner, who works with workers' compensation in Frederick County government.

Better equipment and technology has helped firefighters better protect themselves from injury. During his first few years in the fire service, Shippey said firefighters didn't wear as much protective gear, exposing them to smoke and carcinogens.

"We didn't know, we weren't educated on the dangers back then," he said.

"I've been doing this for 30 years, and it doesn't really get any easier," Shippey said. "You're woken up in the middle of the night (for a call), and your heart is already racing."

Shippey said he has suffered only four injuries throughout his 30 years of fire service, including his recent knee injury.

"I think I'm just clumsy," Shippey said, laughing.

To prevent injuries and identify possible debilitating health conditions, career and volunteer firefighters undergo physical tests every couple of years depending on their age to assess their health, Fox said.

"We have caught cardiac issues (during the test), and it's been more of a lifesaving event," said John Neary, president of the Career Fire Fighters Association of Frederick County.

Fox said he did not know of any Frederick County firefighters who recently died due to an on-the-job injury.

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August 02, 2014

SOUTHINGTON — While officials still aren’t releasing much information about the June 22 fire at the Summer Brook Apartments that killed a teenage girl, area firefighters say rescuing people from apartment complexes can be a challenge.

Kristen Milano, 19, died from smoke inhalation in the blaze, according to the state medical examiner. Eric Morelli, 18, was arrested and charged with first-degree manslaughter in the case.

Friends of Milano have said the fire started after a man threw a lit firecracker up to a second-story window as a prank. While the warrant in the criminal case remains sealed, a police inventory list shows a number of fireworks were seized as part of the investigation.

Police and fire officials have refused to release details of the fire, including how long it took fire crews to reach the apartment after the emergency call at 4:28 a.m. on June 22.

Fire Chief Harold “Buddy” Clark cited an ongoing fire investigation when he declined to comment.

Last week, a lawyer representing Milano’s estate filed notice of intent to sue Southington and the town’s fire department claiming negligence on the part of responding firefighters to find Milano who was asleep.

“The plaintiff claims further that said negligence was a direct and proximate cause of the death of the plaintiff,” the notice states.

Area fire chiefs say apartment fires can be difficult but that the first priority is to rescue people and search rooms to make sure everyone has been removed from danger.

“You have to account for everyone in an apartment complex. That’s a challenge,” said Wallingford Fire Chief Richard Heidgerd.

Neighbors in an apartment complex may not know exactly how many people live nearby. While firefighters will try to get information from residents, that’s only considered in addition to a search.

“We tend to focus on getting in there ourselves and verifying for ourselves,” said Meriden Fire Chief Kenneth Morgan. “In most cases, we do a search anyway.” “No matter what, we always check,” Heidgerd said. “That’s base training no matter what department you’re from.”

For particularly smoke-filled rooms, Morgan said the Meriden department has a thermal imaging camera than can detect heat. That’s used to find the fire as well as people, but is usually augmented by a search. Firefighters are trained to work their way around rooms, trying to find people by feel Morgan said. Such a search in an apartment building can require a number of firefighters.

“You have multiple units with multiple rooms in each unit. It becomes very personnel-intensive,” Morgan said.

Morelli was arrested on June 24.

According to the court file, Morelli is employed as a landscaper. Seized according to the police inventory were a green “TNT flashing fountain” a book of matches, a “TNT pyro fan,” a “TNT mortar fire (showering fountain),” and a box containing three “flashing fountain” fireworks. Morelli is due in New Britain Superior Court Sept. 4.
By Jesse Buchanan Record-Journal staff /

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August 02, 2014
Mahopac Man Broadsides Diaz Ambulance - NY

Saugerties Police responded to a call for a personal injury motor vehicle accident involving an ambulance at the intersection of Finger Street and Warren Place in the village of Saugerties.

Investigation by police revealed that a 2001 BMW being operated by Matteo J. Zegarelli, 26, of Mahopac, NY, ran a stop sign coming off Warren Place onto Finger Street, broadsiding a DIAZ ambulance, knocking the ambulance onto two wheels nearly rolling the ambulance over.

The Ambulance was not on an emergency run, or had a patient on board at the time of the accident. Both paramedics were treated at the Kingston Hospital and released. Neither Zaegarelli or his passenger 25-year-old Ian Rodriquez, of 16 Dreps Drive, Mahopac, NY, were injured in the accident.

Zagarellis was charged by police with the misdemeanors of Reckless Driving, Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle and the violations of Failure to Stop for a Stop Sign, Operating an Unregistered Motor Vehicle, Operating a Motor Vehicle without License Plates, Speed not Reasonable or Prudent, Failure to Yield the Right Away, and Operating an Uninspected Motor Vehicle.

Zagarelli is scheduled to answer his charges in the village of Saugerties Court on August 4, 2014, at 6PM.

The DIAZ ambulance sustained major damage and had to be taken out of service.

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August 02, 2014
Fire Damages Firefighter's Home - PA

Firefighters in northern York County ended up battling a blaze at a townhouse belonging to one of their own on Thursday.

The home where a Fairview Township volunteer firefighter lived with his family in the first block of White Dogwood Drive in Newberry Township caught fire about 3 p.m., sending first responders from the township and the surrounding area to the scene, said Newberry Township Fire Chief Gary Hatterer Jr.

"It's kind of unusual to be helping one of your own," the chief said. "He (the firefighter) helps people every day."

A daughter of the firefighter is a junior firefighter with Fairview Township,he said.

"Our thoughts are out to our fellow brother and sister," he said.

The fire: Crews arrived on scene to find smoke pouring from the front eave of the roof and from a dryer vent, Hatter said.

Firefighters made an aggressive attack on the flames but one firefighter had a close call when he went through a burned-out first floor and fell partially into the basement.

"Fortunately there was a shelving unit to give him footing," Hatterer said, adding nearby firefighters pulled the downed firefighter to safety.

That firefighter, as well as a second one who had a heat-related problem, were checked out on the scene but were not taken to a hospital, the chief said.

Crews had the fire out in about 45 minutes, Hatterer said, but a cat and a hamster died in the blaze.

Cause: The fire appears to have started in the dryer vent system and spread into other parts of the home. The quick work of firefighters and fire walls prevented flames from spreading to neighboring townhouses, he said.

A state police marshal will investigate to confirm the cause.

The house isn't a total loss, but Hatterer said there is major structural damage. He estimated damage at $200,000, the high end of the spectrum.

The family of five -- two adults and three children -- that lives in the house was away at the time of the blaze. They were going on vacation but returned home and are being helped by friends and family.

The York-Adams Chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting the family with food, clothing and other disaster needs, according to a Red Cross news release.

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August 02, 2014
50,000 honeybees killed with foam after fatal crash disturbs vacant house-turned-hive - MI

ST. CHARLES, MI — As many as 50,000 honeybees that swarmed out of a vacant St. Charles home disturbed by a car crash have been destroyed in an effort to keep them from hurting people.

"We would have liked to have saved them, but human life is more important than bees," said Terry Klein, owner of T.M. Klein and Sons Honey in St. Charles.

A 54-year-old St. Charles man crashed into vacant home on Spruce Road about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 30, and a hive of bees living in the home swarmed the area.

Kyle Browne, a a Tri-Township Fire Department captain and St. Charles-based T.M. Klein and Sons Honey employee, estimated the hive at 50,000 to 60,000 honeybees.

Browne and four other employees from T.M. Klein and Sons Honey rushed to the scene, along with Tri-Township firefighters and Saginaw County sheriff's deputies.

The crash destroyed the hive, and the bees were "nasty" without it, Klein said.

"If somebody tipped over your house, you'd be pretty mad, too," he said.

Fire and police officers made a decision to destroy the bees by spraying them with foam, which kills the bees instantly, Klein said.

They destroyed the bees to ensure no one got hurt, Browne said. The bees were covering vehicles and outside walls of the home. He said no one at the scene was stung badly.

The majority of the bees were in the field, and a bee keeping crew stayed to continue spraying bees with foam as they returned, Klein said.

Honey bees don't normally sting, Klein said. He works with them in a T-shirt.

Browne said the remaining bees could start over and build a new hive elsewhere.

The bees in the vacant home had a store of honey, but it wasn't edible after being sprayed with foam, he said.

Although honeybees are dying off because of pesticides, parasitic mites and other problems, losing one hive won't make or break the local population, Klein said.

Michigan bees faced a tough winter — about 90 percent of Klein's bees died off, he said — but they've had a good spring and summer to build up their hives and honey stores.

T.M. Klein and Sons typically does not tear out hives from buildings because it is long and labor-intensive work, Klein said.
Lindsay Knake |

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August 02, 2014
Tips Sought in Ambulance Crash - NC

LUMBERTON -- Officials are hoping that footage captured by a camera mounted inside an ambulance will lead them to the person who caused the vehicle to wreck.

A Robeson County ambulance carrying two paramedics flipped over on N.C. 41 Wednesday after its driver swerved to avoid hitting a green Dodge Neon that had veered into its path, according to Greg Bounds, director of Robeson County Emergency Medical Services. Neither paramedic was seriously injured, but the vehicle was heavily damaged.

The ambulance's camera recorded the car pulling into a driveway after causing the accident before fleeing the scene. Investigators are working to enhance the footage to capture the vehicle's license plate number.

"The Highway Patrol very much wants to speak with those people," Bounds said. "If anyone would like to call and contact them with any information, we would greatly appreciate that."

The accident took place at about 6:45 p.m. while the ambulance was responding to a call in Fairmont. According to Bounds, the ambulance was traveling in the left-hand lane with its sirens blaring and lights flashing when the Dodge pulled in front of it from the right-hand lane.

"It missed them by the merest of distance... . They went down the shoulder of the road and hit a ditch, then the ambulance rolled over and came to a rest on its side in the middle of the highway," Bounds said. "I'd like to commend that driver. Even though we wrecked the ambulance, we could have caused serious injury and I was pleased with their choice. The two paramedics handled themselves very professionally."

Bounds said another ambulance was dispatched to respond to the call.

Bounds did not want to release the sames of the paramedics, who were were treated and released from Southeastern Regional Medical Center the same day.

Bounds was still waiting on Friday for a damage assessment of the ambulance, but called it "severe."

Bounds, who has been with the Robeson County Emergency Medical Services for 26 years, said that motorists moving in front of ambulances is a common hazard.

"We frequently run into problems with people who turn in front of the ambulance or don't know what to do when the ambulance is coming," he said. "The best thing I can tell people to do is, if you can't get to the right safely, don't move at all. Not every circumstance is going to allow us to past to the left, but 90 percent of the time, we're going to go toward the left."

Anyone with information about the driver of the green Dodge Neon should call the Robeson County Highway Patrol office at 910-618-5555.

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August 02, 2014
Family Sues Training Program After Firefighter's Death - TX

The family of an Atascocita volunteer firefighter who died in 2012 during atraining program is claiming that neglectful techniques and procedures used by course organizers led to his death.

According to a lawsuit filed Thursday in a Beaumont state court, organizers of "smoke divers" -- an optional, multi-task course designed to teach firefighters how to survive if their oxygen tanks run out during a blaze -- "chose to ignore routine safety concerns and obvious signs of heat emergencies," that cost 46-year-old Capt. Neal Wade Smith his life.

Touted as an advanced training exercise, the "smoke divers" course is taught in a six-story tower structure in Beaumont. Smith, a U.S. Navy veteran who spent five years with the Atascocita Volunteer Fire Department, died on Sept. 16, 2012, after suffering from severe hyperthermia. Smith became unresponsive after completing a drill and went into cardiac arrest.

Physical demand

The lawsuit -- filed by the family against the training program's sponsor, East Texas Fireman's and Fire Marshal's Association, a non-profit organization, as well as other firefighters training groups and individuals who ran the course -- claims that organizers and instructors knew the high risk for heat-related injuries but neglected to set up protocols to properly address them.

Three other students in Smith's class were evacuated for medical emergencies, at least one also suffered a heat-related injury.

Instructors also pushed students even when they complained of heat stress and used "fraternity-style hazing" as part of their training practices, according to the lawsuit.

"A legitimate training program for firefighters will obviously involve some level of difficult activities because the nature of the job is difficult," said Adam Milasincic, a lawyer from the Houston-based law firm representing the family. "But these folks went far above and beyond that, using tactics that everyone from the (state) fire marshal's office to the federal government to anyone with common sense would condemn and have condemned as totally out of line."

Following Smith's death, the Texas State Fire Marshal's Office and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health investigated the incident. In their 2013 report examining Smith's death, state investigators found that the training course did not follow nationally recognized procedures and standards, in areas of risk management, safety and the "rehabilitation" of those who have gone through physically demanding exercises.

Pending outcome

Investigators also noted that the course's instructors used "various means to raise the students' stress levels," such as throwing firecrackers at them, playing loud music and yelling.

"Really the point of the program became more about proving how tough you had to be to earn this patch for your uniform than it was to learn about how to safely swap out your oxygen tank in an emergency situation," Milasincic said.

According to the smoke divers course website, the training was not offered in 2013 pending the outcome of the investigation. No information on the site indicated whether it would take place this year. Officials and course instructors with the East Texas Fireman's and Fire Marshal's Association could not be reached for comment. Authorities with the State Firemen's and Fire Marshal's Association and the Industrial Safety Training Council, which the operates the facility where the course is held and is also named in the suit, said they had not yet received the lawsuit and could not comment at this time.

The family is seeking more than $1 million in damages.

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August 02, 2014
Firefighter injured in Coolbaugh Township fire - PA

A firefighter fell through a section of a burning floor while helping battle a house fire Thursday morning in Tobyhanna, said Coolbaugh Township Fire Chief Kevin Ambrogio.

Heavy smoke was seen coming from an Orchard Lane residence shortly after 11 a.m., according to the Monroe County Control Center. Ambrogio said the firefighter was taken to Pocono Medical Center for what he was told was a minor injury.

What started the fire and where it started in the home, in which no one was living at the time, is being investigated by a state police fire marshal, Ambrogio said.
By Staff report /

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August 02, 2014
New Orleans firefighters pension fund lost $40.2 million in 2013, audit shows - LA

The New Orleans Fire Fighters Relief & Pension Fund, a lightning rod for Mayor Mitch Landrieu after he slowed the spigot of city dollars headed to that benefits account, has lost almost half its available cash since the mayor took office in 2010.

And 2013 turned out to be especially calamitous, according to its latest annual audit.

The fund dropped more than $40.2 million in soured investments and defaulting loans last year. That fallout, plus draw-downs of retirement and other benefits, left $84.8 million available in December. That's down 41 percent from the $143.5 million available a year earlier and down 52 percent of the $160.3 million available in 2010.

"We hit something like a perfect storm," said Tommy Meagher, a firefighter and secretary-treasurer of the pension fund's board of trustees.

That confluence, Meagher said, rose as the stock market slid and housing bubble burst, throwing the fund's investments into turmoil. Then a hedge fund in the Cayman Islands went bankrupt, costing firefighters $15 million. Meanwhile, the mayor and the City Council began shorting what the city must pay into the fund under state law.

That policy continued in 2013: An actuary calculated the city owed the fund $34.4 million for the year. Landrieu and the council paid $9 million, according to the audit.

And the fund paid out $22.1 million in retirement benefits during that time.

"It's like everything piled on one another," Meagher said.

Similar budget decisions led Civil District Judge Robin Giarrusso in March 2013 to order city officials to pay $17.5 million for 2012 alone. Giarrusso has repeatedly said that poor investments aren't reason enough for the city to skirt state law.

"I wish I could look at my stock account and go, boy, I sure wish I hadn't invested in that, or wasn't that a brilliant decision, but we can't," Giarusso said in court last week. "The statute involving the firemen's pension maybe something that some of us sitting here don't like, but it's the way it's written now and until it's changed, it has to be funded."

After beating back the administration's appeals, pension trustees also are pursuing another $54 million it estimates the city shorted the fund in 2010, 2011 and 2013. And that total debt could rise another $35 million in 2015 if the city continues with its present payment plan.

The pension fund's precarious balancing act could deliver hammer blows to the city's tight budget and its residents' wallets. The 2013 dive in the fund's liquid assets all but guarantees the city's monthly payments will rise -- just as improving investments would cause those payments to drop. And Giarrusso's order, in part, has Landrieu asking statewide voters on the Nov. 4 ballot to let New Orleans residents decide whether to increase property taxes for fire and police services.*

"As we continue to try to find an additional $17.5 million each year for this mismanaged system, our only choices are bad and worse," Landrieu spokesman Tyler Gamble said. "It is not possible to pay these multimillion-dollar judgments without new taxes or significant cuts to critical city services and public safety."

To put further pressure on the fund's managers, Landrieu has said that if voters pass the new tax rate for fire services, he won't collect the full amount unless major changes are made to how its investments are handled.

"We have consistently told the firefighters that the public will not support any potential additional funding for their pension fund without major reforms," Gamble said.

The 2013 audit, obtained by | The Times-Picayune, won't be officially published with the Legislative Auditor's office until the pension board adopts its findings. That could happen as early as next week, board attorney Louis Robein said.
By Richard Rainey, | The Times-Picayune

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August 02, 2014
Heat rising as Dallas Fire-Rescue keeps widow in the dark - TX

Firefighter Stanley Wilson's body is carried from the Hearthwood North Condominiums after the six-alarm fire May 20, 2013
(Sonya Hebert-Schwartz/Staff Photographer)

If it was inexplicable that one year after the fact, Dallas Fire-Rescue still had not released what must be the most comprehensive line-of-duty-death report in its history, where are we today? Inexplicable plus two months.

As she said at the one-year mark, Jenny Wilson just wants to know why her firefighter husband, Stanley Wilson, didn’t come home May 20, 2013. Stanley, 51, was killed in a massive six-alarm blaze at the Hearthwood North Condominiums on Abrams Road in far northeast Dallas. Jenny wants to explain to teen sons Noah and Luke how their father died and, importantly, what caused him to be inside a building that collapsed, crushing him.

As your local editorial board noted then, “After a year’s wait, it’s not an unreasonable request.”

So today’s newspaper brought news, if not the news Jenny Wilson wants. Tired of the fire department ignoring her, she has hired a lawyer to turn up the temperature. Arlington lawyer Barry Hasten, in writing to Fire Chief Louie Bright III to demand release of the report or a date when that would happen, says he was retained for now only to shake loose the investigation.

For now, I think, is a key qualifier.

“I don’t understand why the report is being held because I think it’s complete,” Jenny Wilson said. “They’re not doing right by him. They’re not doing right by me and my boys.

“Out of respect for Stan, I would hope the fire department would no longer hesitate in releasing the report or at least privately providing my family answers.”

Dallas Fire-Rescue Lt. Joel Lavender, a department spokesman, said he, too, is “anxiously awaiting” the completion of the report but declined to further comment, saying the investigation was still underway.

So I dug up my notes from a May 19 interview with Lavender. Given that everyone works for the same fire department, who in the world had investigators not yet interviewed? After a full year, what shred of evidence remained unexamined?

That wasn’t it, Lavender told me. “The information is gathered,” he said. “We’re just compiling it, putting it in the proper order.”

That would make this among the longest and most detailed collations in fire investigation history, wouldn’t it?

The critical question is why did Wilson and his team go back into a burning building when the fire had already gone from an “offensive,” or rescue, operation to a “defensive,” fire-extinguishing mission? Overhead hoses were pumping heavy streams of water onto the building when it collapsed. Wilson’s last radio transmission was that he was trapped and lost inside.

And short of Dallas Fire-Rescue suddenly becoming more forthcoming, here’s a clue as to why this report remains in someone’s bottom drawer:

Jim Crump, a lifelong friend and retired Dallas firefighter, says he believes the department is covering for a commander, who erred fatally in sending firefighters back in under those circumstances. Lavender, a department spokesman, says Crump is a “longtime, respected member of this department, but he wasn’t on the scene. There’s always going to be speculation, people who don’t trust the outcome.”

And as he must know, continued delay only fuels that speculation and mistrust.

In May, Lavender said the department had not and would not speak to the family until the report was done, done and super-done. “The report will be, for lack of a better term, everything,” he said. “We won’t feed them a spoonful at a time.”

Our editorial two months ago noted that Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings went to Parkland Memorial Hospital upon learning of Stanley Wilson’s death on duty. “He is a hero,” Rawlings said. “As I told his two boys, they should be very proud. His sacrifice was complete.”

However, a year later, Rawlings was unable to get a briefing on the Wilson report in time to comment on why it hadn’t been released. He’s only the mayor. And A.C. Gonzalez is only Dallas’ city manager, nominally in charge of Bright and Dallas Fire-Rescue.

Jenny Wilson isn’t going away, fellas. She wants answers, and she deserves them. On top of everything else, why give her ammunition for a lawsuit against the city?
Posted in City of Dallas, Dallas City Hall, Mike Hashimoto

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August 02, 2014
Firefighters locked out of fire station - OR

ROSEBURG, Ore. - The Lookingglass Rural Fire District has not been able to repond to fire calls since July 9.

The combination to the lock on the building has been changed, and firefighters can no longer access the fire station.

A special meeting was held Wednesday night.

Citizens and firefighters hoped to voice their concerns, but the board adjourned the meeting immediately after accepting the resignation of Chief Steve Rhodes.

Rhodes said that in early July, he found out the workers compensation coverage for the fire district had lapsed.

"I wanted to know who was responsible for it and how it was going to be stopped in the future, and all I got was excuses," Rhodes said. "So I lost my temper and decided to leave rather than get anything more inflamed."

The department cannot function without a chief, so the board went to Douglas Fire District 2 for help

"We made an immediate emergency decision to provide resources in the event that they have a call," said Chief Greg Marlar with Douglas Fire District 2.

So why were firefighers locked out in the first place?

The fire district board issued this statement:

"The bylaws of the district state that whenever the fire chief leaves, the combination to the door locks are changed. This is a matter of security. The board has already determined that personnel files, which are property of the district, are missing and need to be returned."

"There's a big issue here of trust between us and the board," Rhodes said. "We're all firefighters, been through our background checks, through the Department of Public Safety and Standards of Training, and we believe that the board shouldn't be in those files."

The next board meeting is set for August 13 at 7 p.m.
By Courtney Schoenemann and News Staff /

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