Fire, EMS vehicles and firefighters having a bad day!!!!!!
2016 April

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Kolbs Home

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It is with great sadness that I will be shutting down this section of the website. After 10 years of posting this information for firefighters, I find myself faced with a lawsuit for inadvertently posting 2 photos that were copyrighted. These photos were from January 2013.

I have been retired for the last 10 years and this site provides me with no income. All information posted on this site is free and provided by myself only.

Following legal advice, it may be in my best interest to remove all photos from this section. With only Social Security as my income I will have a difficult time with the payment if the lawsuit goes against me. Removing all photos will prevent this from happening again if any photos are copyrighted.

I hope you all (volunteer and professional) have safe and rewarding careers.

Ted R. Kolb

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April 14, 2016
Man Hits Fireman With Car, Yells 'F--k You. You're Not the Cops', DA Says - NY

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — A man driving into oncoming traffic on Broad Street in Lower Manhattan blocked a fire truck trying to respond to a call, then hit a firefighter who confronted him, prosecutors said.

Jeffrey Malek, 31, was attempting to avoid traffic on Broad Street just after noon on April 7 when he swerved into the oncoming traffic lane — where he blocked a firetruck that was trying to drive down the road in response to a call, according to a criminal complaint from the Manhattan DA's office.

An FDNY officer then approached Malek and asked to see his license and registration. He refused, responding "F--k you.

You're not the cops," prosecutors said.

When the fireman told Malek to pull over and that he'd call the police and let NYPD to talk to him, Malek tried to drive off in the fireman's direction, hitting his right knee, the complaint said.

The FDNY officer was treated by EMS on the scene and suffered "substantial pain," prosecutors said.

Malek's lawyer, Michael Biniakewitz, called the criminal complaint a "complete fiction."

"The only thing that was bruised was the fireman's ego," Biniakewitz told DNAinfo New York.

Malek was not speeding off into the fireman's direction, he was trying to pull over, Biniakewitz said.

Malek was charged with assault, reckless endangerment and obstructing governmental administration.

Malek was released without bail and is due back in court on June 3.
By Irene Plagianos /

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April 14, 2016

(The Last Call - RIP)

Freeport (IL) FD Firefighter/EMT Michael D. Pontius (IAFF Local 441). Firefighter Pontius, 58, passed away on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 from Line of Duty injuries sustained from exposure to toxic substance while operating at a house fire. It's important to note that the fire that killed him was in 2001.

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April 14, 2016
1 dead, almost a dozen injured in West Campus gas poisoning - TX


A man was found dead in an apartment west of the University of Texas at Austin. A sign was left warning first responders of the presence of the "sewer gas."

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April 14, 2016
City Begins Layoffs, Plans Consolidation of Fire and Police - ME

Auburn Fire Chief Frank Roma confirmed he had been laid off.

AUBURN - City Manager Howard Kroll said Monday that he met the City Council's budget preference with a $39.2 million spending plan, but there will be costs.

"All departments were tasked with presenting an overall city budget that shows 0.7 percent or less," Kroll said a special council workshop Monday night. "I can honestly say we met that directive. It's been a trying process, but we came in that amount. Of course, it's up to you now where we go from there."

Kroll's proposed budget does away with eight positions -- five current staff members and three vacancies. He announced the five staff layoffs Friday.

The budget would rewrite cooperative services with Lewiston. It eliminates Auburn's payments to the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council and cuts $213,000 from the Lewiston-Auburn 911 system and $27,000 from the Lewiston-Auburn Transit Committee, operators of the Citylink bus system.

"I have come to the conclusion that we simply cannot continue to do business as we have over the last 20 years," Kroll said. "It's not one agency, it's pretty much all of them."

Kroll's proposed budget also cuts $45,900 for the library and combines five city departments into two. Police and fire would be a single Public Safety Department under his plan.

The Community Development, Economic Development and Planning and Code Enforcement departments would become one department as well. Reine Mynahan, the current director of Community Development, is expected to retire by theof June and Kroll said her position would be rolled into the other departments.

"Many departments came in flat-funded or even less," Kroll said. "This is not a budget based on wish lists or one that the department recommends to support systems and services and programs the City Council has set. It does take careful consideration of a realistic balance of our real revenues."

Questions about the actual spending plan should wait until the April 25 public hearing. Councilors have scheduled a special budget workshop the next day, April 26.

Councilors held most of their comments on the proposed spending plan, and Mayor Jonathan LaBonte kept public comments to matters of budget meeting protocol.

Kroll said a digital copy of the budget should be available at the city's website, www., by Wednesday.

News about the layoffs began to leak to the public Friday. In a letter to city employees Friday, Kroll said that four employees had been laid off that day: Fire Department Planner Sarah Hulbert, Public Services Planner Jaclyn Beebe, Electrician Mike Soucy and Mike Reed, a building maintenance technician.

Fire Chief Frank Roma confirmed Friday that he had been laid off as well.

Kroll said three other positions had been identified for elimination on or before June 30, but he said Monday that exactly which positions will be cut is still being worked out.

"All the layoffs I've made are reflected and discussed in our documents and are included in this budget," Kroll told councilors. "Any more cuts, I'll leave it up to you how to deal with that. I've done what I could get us to 0.7 percent and here we sit. Some tough decisions had to be made."

Auburn's budget problems this year are twofold: a lower than expected fund balance and low inflation rate.

Budget policy calls for the city to maintain about 12.5 percent of its annual expenditures in an unassigned fund balance, enough to run the city for about a month and a half. For the 2015 fiscal year, the unassigned balance is $4.97 million. That's about 6.3 percent of the annual expenditures, and the city would need to bank about $3.5 million to get it built back up.

"It's a difficult path, but it's one we have to take to give the city the peace of mind it deserves," Kroll said. "We never know when a major financial crisis is going to come, but we have to be prepared for it."

An ordinance requires the city to keep any property tax increases below the Consumer Price Index urban rate, which is 0.7 percent this year. Councilors can override that limit with a five-vote majority, but several councilors have said they want to stick to that rule.

Combined, the two issues account for $1.6 million, he said.

Kroll's proposed budget would increase property taxes by $157,096 -- a 0.66 percent increase. Combined with a $966,974 increase in property taxes for the Auburn School Department and a $25,443 for Androscoggin County, property taxes would still increase $1.15 million -- a 2.71 percent increase.

It would set the tax rate at $21.88 per $1,000 of value, up from the current $21.25 tax rate -- a $94.50 increase in taxes for a $150,000 home. Councilors would still need a five-vote majority to approve such a tax increase.
SCOTT TAYLOR, Sun Journalc

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April 14, 2016
Man's bizarre escape from ambulance at Walmart caught on camera - FL

A man escapes an ambulance Wednesday 4.13.16 outside a Walmart in Florida / (WPEC)

WEST PALM BEACH (CBS12) — A reported heroin overdose victim escaped from medics while being put inside of an ambulance.

The bizarre incident happened at the Walmart store located on 45th Street Wednesday afternoon.

A CBS12 photojournalist was shooting video for an unrelated story when the bizarre incident unfolded in front of the camera.

In the video, you see medics wheeling out the suspected drug overdose victim out of the Walmart on a stretcher.

But before they could load him into the ambulance, he unbuckles himself, jumps off the stretcher and runs away, nearly knocking over the photojournalist.

Police say moments before, the man was found unconscious inside the store's bathroom suffering from a drug overdose.

The man came to after being administered 'narcan' which reverses the effects of Opioids like heroin and pain pills.

Police searched the surrounding area but did not locate the man.
By Victoria Price /

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April 14, 2016
5 Investigates: Overhaul of troubled Boston FD fleet called 'abject failure' - MA

(WCVB Channel 5 Boston)

Safety expert says lessons not learned from deadly 2009 fire truck crash.

BOSTON — A deadly fire truck accident seven years ago triggered what was thought to be a major overhaul of the Boston Fire Department's fleet maintenance division, but 5 Investigates has learned that promised overhaul has been an "abject failure," according to a key safety expert.

The city made changes to the fleet maintenance division after the tragic crash in 2009 that killed Lt. Kevin Kelley. At that time the engines and ladders were not being maintained and were in very poor condition.

Now 5 Investigates has learned that the condition of the fleet is not any better and could be worse, and Boston Police are investigating possible corruption in the Fire Department.

In January 2009, Ladder 26 barreled down a hill, plowing through a major intersection with no brakes. The truck slammed into a building, killing Kelley and injuring two firefighters.

Investigators found brake failure caused by improper maintenance was partly to blame, and the accident exposed major flaws in the department's vehicle maintenance program, flaws that put the safety of firefighters and the public at risk.

The city overhauled the Fleet Maintenance Division, replacing firefighters who were performing maintenance with licensed mechanics.

But a report obtained by 5 investigates calls that move an abject failure, suggesting the hard lessons from Kelley's death have not been learned.

According to the report, daily inspections have been abandoned and preventative maintenance is in disarray, with some trucks more than 200 days past due on inspections.

In addition, the report found no one in the department knows how to use the computerized fleet management system and tests on engines to make sure they pump out enough water at the right pressure were not properly done.

"When you look at a total of 60,000 inspections or tests that were supposed to be done and that less than 500 were done that's problematic," said Boston Fire Department Commissioner Joe Finn, who launched a review after hearing about safety concerns from firefighters.

Richard Paris, president of the Boston Firefighters Union, said the condition of the department's fleet is putting lives at risk.

Firefighters "are concerned when they go out the door," Paris said. "Is that truck door going to open up? Am I going to have brakes? Can I stop at that red light? Will I get water when I show up to a building?"

The safety report found the maintenance department allowed one heat-damaged ladder truck to stay in service for a year, putting "firefighters and civilians at risk. The (fire department) dodged a bullet.'"

And there is also plenty of waste, according to the report. The department paid about $200,000 for a mobile repair truck that sat unused for years and machines to clean diesel parts with a price tag of $10,000 were bought in 2010, but never installed.

The report also questions the purchase of 22 engine trucks from the manufacturer KME even though problems with their motors were well known in the industry. Now Boston's trucks are consistently out of service, "costing the city time and money," the report found.

Many of those repairs were under warranty and fixed by Boston fire mechanics. But Fleet Safety Director Peter Cakaridas admitted he never sent the manufacturer a bill so the city could be reimbursed.

Cakaridas resigned nine days before the report was finished.

"I was completely at my wits end as to why equipment was not up to snuff and why all these safety concerns were coming forward," Finn said.

"It's a big risk for the person inside the building and our firefighters," said Paris, the union president. "You can't put a dollar sign on someone's life."

5 Investigates attempted to speak with Cakaridas, but our calls were not returned.

We also took a look at the maintenance division's overtime, which cost taxpayers about $500,000 last year. The division's second in charge raked in almost $89,000 alone.

5 Investigates has also learned a criminal investigation by the Boston Police Department is underway, focusing in part on overtime costs, payments to vendors and billing, missing property, and missing maintenance and inspection records.
WCVB NewsCenter5

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April 14, 2016
Live ammunition goes off, forcing firefighters away from Minnesota garage fire - MN

Some unexpected gunfire delayed Farmington, Minn., firefighters as they worked to put out a garage fire Tuesday night in Empire Township.

Ammunition stored in the garage on Canberra Court started going off while firefighters worked, forcing them to back off.

“You can hear them going off,” fire chief Jim Larsen said. “It sounds like any other gun going off.”

Firefighters were called at 8:57 p.m. Larsen said there was a family gathering at the home. Someone heard popping noises from the garage, and when they checked they found fire.

There were no injuries.

When the first firefighters arrived they found the homeowner trying to fight the fire with a garden hose, but when the ammunition started going off he backed away.

The garage was “well involved” when firefighters arrived, Larsen said.

The fire did what Larsen called extensive damage to the garage and to a vehicle parked inside. There was smoke and heat damage inside the house. Fire investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.
By Nathan Hansen /

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April 14, 2016
Ambulance catches fire on highway - PA

The ambulance burst into flames while transporting a patient; no one was reported injured.

NAZARETH, Pa. — An ambulance burst into flames on a highway while transporting a patient Wednesday.

Lehigh Valley Live reported that the Nazareth Ambulance caught fire and was seen burning along the highway. The ambulance is similar to a unit that was on display last month for the groundbreaking of the squad's new headquarters.

The Highland Park Hose Company, assisted by the Mifflin County Regional Police Department, responded to help put out the blaze.

No one was reported injured.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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April 13, 2016
Information passed along
Senate passes bill aimed at protecting volunteer firefighters - NY

Senate passes legislation on Monday that would provide presumptive cancer coverage to New York's Volunteer firefighters.

GENEVA — In January 2012, Matthew Foe, a volunteer firefighter from Geneva, passed away after a eight-year battle with brain cancer.

Along with his personal fight with cancer, 40-year-old Foe also helped battle for benefits of fellow volunteer firefighters suffering from various forms of the disease.

On Monday, the state Senate took a step forward to honoring that battle by passing legislation that would provide presumptive cancer coverage to New York state’s approximately 100,000 volunteer firefighters.

“This bill will ensure that dedicated volunteers, like Matthew, who risk their personal safety and well-being to protect their fellow neighbors and their local communities will not be neglected when facing a cancer diagnosis,” said Sen. Michael Nozzolio, R-Fayette, who sponsored the bill.

The bill would expand cancer coverage to the Volunteer Firefighters’ Benefit Law, which is the volunteers’ workers compensation. Under the current legislation, only paid firefighter services are covered.

The legislation as written provides that any cancer resulting in total or partial disability, or death, to a volunteer who had successfully passed a physical examination when they became a firefighter would be presumptive evidence that the cancer was incurred during firefighting duties.

“Volunteer firefighters fight the same fires as paid firefighters and they take the same risks to protect our safety and I believe they should be provided with the same insurance coverage,” Nozzolio stated in a press release on Monday announcing the bill’s passage.

Based on numbers in medical studies, including those released by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the conclusion is that firefighters are at a higher risk for many types of cancer than the general population. This is attributed to the high levels of carcinogens and other toxins found in burning homes and buildings.

Presumptive cancer coverage was a hot-button issue during last weekend's legislative outreach effort conducted by the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York at Ontario County's training facility in Hopewell.

“We’re at a point where we are trying to convince people to become volunteer firefighters, yet we aren’t able to say to them 'if you get sick from being a firefighter we’ll be able to protect you,” said Paul Zuber, a FASNY representative, after Saturday’s gathering that included dozens of volunteers from around the county.

“This is an issue of right and wrong,” he added.

The bill now awaits action by the state Assembly.
By Aaron Curtis /

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April 13, 2016
2 children, firefighter among 6 hurt in 3-alarm fire - IL

The two boys, ages 2 and 4, were airlifted in critical condition to burn units; a firefighter suffered minor burns and was treated on scene.

KANKAKEE, Ill. — Two young boys were critically injured and 22 people were displaced after a fire in suburban Kankakee early Wednesday, officials said.

The blaze broke out just before 2 a.m. in a building in the 800 block of West Station Street that housed businesses and eight apartment units.

Two boys, ages 2 and 4, were airlifted in critical condition to burn units at hospitals in Chicago. Three other people also were hospitalized: a man who jumped from the second floor to escape, a woman with smoke inhalation and a woman whose hand was burned.

A firefighter suffered minor burns and was treated at the scene.

In total, eight children and 14 adults were displaced because of the fire. Rescues were made from the back of the building, since the fire blocked at least one possible route of escape, officials said.
Chicago Tribune

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April 13, 2016
Man Refuses Treatment, Strikes Ambulance With Car - OH

CHILLICOTHE - A man who refused treatment by emergency medical staff struck an ambulance with his vehicle several times before police arrived, officials reported.

Police were called to the scene at 11:51 p.m. Monday when the EMS crew requested assistance.

Medics were called Monday night to the 200 block of Independence Drive to assist a person in pain, according to Chillicothe Police Department reports. When they arrived, they reported they met 71-year-old Stuart Phillips, who became upset as they spoke with him. Reports show Phillips was allegedly yelling at a particular EMS staff member, telling them to "shut up," and pointing a finger in the medic's face.

A second medic told Phillips they would take him to the hospital, but Phillips refused assistance and walked away, saying he would drive himself.

The medics who responded to the call got back into the ambulance, and Phillips got into his 2015 Jeep Renegade. That's when reports state Phillips began backing his vehicle toward the ambulance.

A third medic was in the driver's seat and warned the other two: "He is going to hit us." Phillips allegedly continued to pull forward and back into the side of the ambulance four times.

The three medics were able to get out of the ambulance, and Phillips was able to get out from around the squad's vehicle, circled around and hit the front of the ambulance, officials reported. The strike pushed the ambulance into the rear of a parked white Chrysler Town & Country. Two medics were able to open the driver and passenger side doors of Phillips' vehicle and took the keys out of the ignition, officials said.

Phillips then reportedly got out of his vehicle, walked to the back of the ambulance, got inside and laid on the cot until police arrived.

Phillips told police he has medical issues and the medics didn't want to help him so he was going to drive himself to the hospital, according to reports.

He was taken to the Ross County Jail and charged with three counts of felonious assault. None of the EMS staff were injured in the incident, but the ambulance sustained a "moderate amount" of damage, according to police.
Sara Nealeigh / Source: Chillicothe Gazette

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April 13, 2016
Union: 'Somebody could possibly die' after firefighter layoffs - OH

The city is reducing the number of firefighters per shift from 10 to eight; the union is suing the city for violation of contract.

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — City officials are reducing the number of firefighters per shift from 10 to eight, a move many say puts the fire department and its residents in danger. reported that the firefighters union claims the East Cleveland Fire Department is already understaffed, claiming 14 per shift is a minimum safety level.

"It could mean we're going to have to let the building burn down," Firefighters' Union President Thomas Buth said.

East Cleveland firefighters also double as paramedics and officials are unsure what will happen if there's a simultaneous fire and ambulance run. The department, however, does have a mutual-aid agreement with neighboring departments.

"We're going to have to rely on other cities to come in, or (residents) will have to wait … somebody could possibly die because of this," Buth said.

Laying off 10 part-time firefighters will save the city $500,000, according to the report. The budget cuts follow a recovery plan approved by city officials.

"The last thing we wanted to do was cut the fire department," Mayor Gary Norton said.

Norton said the chance of fatality caused by the cuts is a "real possibility," according to the report. Cuts have already been made in other city departments, including police.

The firefighters union is suing the city for violating its contract, which contained minimum manpower requirements.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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April 12, 2016
Four Injured After Car Crashes Into Ambulance - CA

A San Francisco Fire Department ambulance transporting a patient was broadsided by a car that failed to yield at an intersection, police said Monday.

Four people inside the ambulance were injured, including the patient, who suffered a head injury during the crash, said Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman.

The ambulance, which had its emergency lights and sirens activated at the time, was T-boned at the intersection of Alemany Boulevard and Justin Drive on Friday evening.

The driver of the silver sedan that crashed into the ambulance received a traffic citation, police said.
Kimberly Veklerov / Source: San Francisco Chronicle

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April 12, 2016
Ambulance driver charged for reckless driving in I-75 crash - FL

The driver of an ambulance involved in a crash with a tractor-trailer on I-75 near mile marker 65 Monday afternoon has been charged with reckless driving, according to reports.

Fawn Hanning, 26, was driving a Collier County EMS ambulance west on I-75 in the left lane when the ambulance drifted left onto the median rumble strips, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report. The report states Hanning oversteered to the right and lost control of the ambulance, which overturned and struck the tractor-trailer.

The impact caused the tractor-trailer to jackknife into the right shoulder. The crash was not alcohol-related, according to reports.

Two of the four passengers in the ambulance were taken to the Physician’s Regional Medical Center on Collier Boulevard to be treated for minor injuries.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Roberto Reyes of Miami, sustained minor injuries but was not transported to a hospital.
By Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas /

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April 12, 2016
Volunteer firefighter loses 'everything' in house fire - TX

The house was fully involved when crews arrived on scene; the family lost all of their belongings and their dog.

BROWN COUNTY, Texas - A Brookesmith firefighter lost his home Monday in a fire on County Road 189 in Brown County.

Calvin Wells' home was destroyed in a blaze that occurred about 3:30 p.m., Bangs Fire Chief Dennis Lilley said Tuesday.

“Unfortunately the home was a total loss, with the family losing everything,” a message from the Bangs Volunteer Fire Department said on Facebook.

Lilley said he believes the family's dog died in the fire.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family:

"Calvin, JoAnn and Lizzy Wells lost their home and nearly all of their belongings in a house fire this afternoon," the family's GoFundMe page says. "Calvin is a Brookesmith resident, alumni and fireman. Any donations provided will go directly to the Wells family to help ease the burden. Please keep the Wells family in your thoughts."

Lake Bridge, Early, Brownwood, Winchell and Brookesmith fire department units arrived to find “a trailer house fully involved, heavy fire showing.”

It wasn’t immediately clear the size of the firefighter’s family and the ages of those involved.
By Joshua Peguero, Brownwood Bureau Reporter, / By Doug Myers, Digital Media Manager,

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April 12, 2016
Ingram volunteer fire company disbanded as borough opts for Pittsburgh services - PA

The Ingram Volunteer Fire Company was basically fired by a 6-1 vote of borough council tonight, prompting angry citizens and Ingram firefighters to ask who would now respond if a fire broke out.

The city of Pittsburgh’s paid professional firefighters would be answering calls, Ingram Council President Sam Nucci said.

“There will be no lapse in service,” borough solicitor Robert Garvin said.

Officials did not answer questions about how Pittsburgh’s public safety officials would immediately know that Ingram council had approved what is officially known as an Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement with Pittsburgh for fire protection services, for a fee.

Screams and boos erupted from the more than 150 residents who filled the meeting room and spilled into the hallway. Many people sobbed and hugged each other, some wearing the dark-colored dress uniforms of the volunteer fire company that has served the western suburb for more than 100 years.

“No more!” yelled one of the three Ingram police officers who rushed to the front of the room to stand between the council members and the angry audience.

Council member Jerry Ellis cast the only no vote. Voting for the contract with Pittsburgh were council Mr. Nucci, Karen Dixon, Greg Butler, Don Bennett, Samantha Wilfert and Joe Chesno.

“This is a step toward regionalism,” complained resident James Watson, one of many residents who spoke to extol the virtues of small communities and local control.

Residents and VFD Chief Don Browning have said the city contract will be more expensive than services provided by volunteers.

“We can absolutely afford either option [the city contract or the local volunteers] without a tax increase,” Mr. Nucci said.

Ingram will pay Pittsburgh $459,170 over five years.

After the meeting, Chief Browning said the volunteer company costs the borough about $73,000 a year — or $365,000 over five years.

Council members and Mayor Sharon Stetz have largely declined to elaborate about why they wanted to drop the volunteer company. They have said they have concerns about public safety.

“You are breaking my heart,” said Eileen Taylor, who said the volunteers have answered five calls to her house in 15 years. Pittsburgh firefighters will not provide many of the services provided by local volunteers, she said, including “the Halloween parade that is my kids’ favorite thing” and other community activities where the firefighters show up with their trucks.

At an earlier presentation, Pittsburgh officials said that they would not stay around for hours to completely pump out flooded basements, as the volunteers do, another resident said. Professional firemen will stay on the scene long enough to prevent an emergency, Pittsburgh officials said.

Ingram borders the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Fairywood, Crafton Heights and Windgap. The suburb has 3,300 residents and the volunteer company had 30 members and mutual aid pacts with other fire companies, including Pittsburgh.
By Linda Wilson Fuoco / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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April 12, 2016
Information passed along
Scott signs bill at PBSO benefitting fallen first responders’ families - FL

Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Pine was killed in February 2014 after he was ambushed while chasing a car thief.

If that tragedy was not enough to bare, Pine’s wife and three small children were left with the prospect of little monetary support and a bleak financial future.

Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation Monday at Palm Beach County Sheriff’s headquarters on Gun Club Road that will keep that scenario from taking place again.

The bill — SB 7012 — will give 100 percent of the monthly salary earned by deceased first responders to spouses for their lifetime. Currently, survivors are eligible for 50 percent of the monthly salary.

The legislation is retroactive to July 2013 and applies to police, firefighters, paramedics, correctional officers and others who are enrolled in the state retirement system and lose their lives in the line of duty.

“This right here is going to be a game-changer without a doubt,” PBSO Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said. “This will enable (survivors) to have some sort of comfort level that the rest of their lives will not be as devastating as it was in the first minutes.”

The Officer Down Memorial Page lists 128 police officers killed in the U.S. while on duty during 2015. The National Fire Protection Association reports 64 firefighters died in 2014, the most recent year where statistics are available.

During the news conference at PBSO, Scott referred to the death of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy John Kotfila who was killed March 12 by a wrong-way driver in Tampa. Scott said that Kotfila had purposely placed his patrol car in the path of the wrong-way driver before it could smash into another vehicle.

“Our law enforcement officers put their lives at risk each and every day,” Scott said. “SB 7012 is going to make sure our law enforcement is being taken care of in case the worst thing happens…”

Bradshaw said the new law will keep the family of fallen officers from being victimized twice.

“The initial blow to the family is that they just lost a loved one,” Bradshaw said. “But after that wears off, the second blow to the family is that monetarily, they have no income anymore and their benefits are significantly

“What this bill does is lessen that second shock. The state says, ‘They gave their life in the performance of their duty….and now we’re going to take care of you and your immediate family members. It’s the right thing to do.”

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April 12, 2016
3 firefighters hurt battling blaze on Hoke, Moore line - NC

RAEFORD - A fire destroyed a house and several smaller structures Sunday in Hoke County while the owner was away celebrating his birthday.

Three firefighters were injured fighting the fire at the home of Carl and Rebecca Chavis, on the 3300 block of Reservation Road, near Moore County, said Maj. Freddy Johnson of the Hoke County Sheriff's Office.

Johnson serves as emergency management director and fire marshal for the county.

Although the house is in Hoke County, it has an Aberdeen address.

"The home is located in a more rural area of Hoke County, located well off the primary road," Johnson said.

The fire was reported about 7:15 p.m.

"The fire went undetected until it was well involved and was then reported by a neighbor."

Chavis had allowed truck parts, tires and other items as well as small storage sheds and animal shelters to collect around the house, Johnson said.

The fire, which started outside, quickly spread from the debris and sheds to the Chavis home, Johnson said, burning everything in its path.

The Pine Hill Fire Department was the responding agency, Johnson said, and upon arrival found the left side of the house fully involved and called for assistance.

North Raeford, West Hoke department in Hoke County were dispatched as were the Aberdeen and Crestline departments from Moore County, Johnson said.

Three firefighters were taken to an area hospital - Johnson did not say which one - for treatment.

Two from the Pine Hill Fire Department were transported, one for torn ligaments and another with breathing problems.

The third firefighter, from the North Raeford department, had chest pains due to smoke inhalation.

While the cause of the fire has not been determined, Johnson said it appears it started accidentally.
By Nancy McCleary Staff writer /

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April 11, 2016
Two firefighters injured battling Cedar Grove duplex fire - NY

Firefighters work to contain a fire in an occupied home on Brookhaven Drive in Cheektowaga on Saturday, April 9, 2016. / (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries in a fire that heavily damaged a duplex in the Cedar Grove neighborhood in Cheektowaga Saturday afternoon.

“It was a doozy,” said Cleveland Hill Volunteer Fire Company Chief Joe Lewis.

The fire started on the right side of the duplex at 3 Brookhaven, went into the attic and spread across to the apartment on the left side of the house. No one was home at the time the fire was discovered shortly after 2 p.m., although firefighters did rescue a dog from one of the apartments.

“It was very hard to fight the fire because it was up in the attic,” Lewis said.

He said one firefighter suffered an electrical shock inside the house, and a ceiling fell on another firefighter. Both were taken to Erie County Medical Center and released early Saturday evening, he said.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but Lewis said it does not look to be of suspicious. The families are staying with friends or relatives, he said.

About 35 firefighters from Cleveland Hill, U-Crest, Pine Hill and Rescue battled the fire.

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April 11, 2016
2 firefighters among 4 injured in extra-alarm fire in Back of the Yards neighborhood - IL

Two firefighters were among 4 hurt after an extra-alarm fire broke out Saturday evening in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the South Side.

The fire involved four buildings and started around 10 p.m. in the 4700 block of South Bishop Street, according to Chicago Fire Departmentmedia information.

Two firefighters was taken to Rush University Medical Center after suffering injuries. One of them was in fair condition, and a second one was in good condition.

Two civilians were taken to Holy Cross Hospital, and both were in good condition, according to the fire department.

The blaze was struck out about 11:25 p.m. No other information was immediately available.Two civilians were taken to Holy Cross Hospital, and both were in good condition, according to the fire department.

The blaze was struck out about 11:25 p.m. No other information was immediately available.
(c)2016 the Chicago Tribune

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April 11, 2016
Car slams into SF ambulance, injuring 4 on board - CA

A San Francisco Fire Department ambulance transporting a patient was broadsided by a car that failed to yield at an intersection, police said Monday.

Four people inside the ambulance were injured, including the patient, who suffered a head injury during the crash, said Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman.

The ambulance, which had its emergency lights and sirens activated at the time, was T-boned at the intersection of Alemany Boulevard and Justin Drive on Friday evening.

The driver of the silver sedan that crashed into the ambulance received a traffic citation, police said.
By Kimberly Veklerov /

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April 11, 2016
Ambulance Crashes in Campbell County - VA

An Altavista ambulance crashed on U.S. 29 Sunday. Photo credit: Altavista EMS Facebook page

An Altavista life saving crew ambulance crashed on U.S. 29 in Campbell County Sunday afternoon, according to Virginia State Police.

The crash took place at 1:49 p.m. in the 3100 block of Wards Road in the Altavista area due to a left front tire blowout, said Trooper T.L. Barr.

There were five occupants in the vehicle at the time of the crash: two medics, an 84-year old patient and two juveniles participating in a ride-along program, Barr said.

All occupants were transported to Lynchburg General Hospital with minor injuries and have been released, except the 84-year-old, who Barr said has fractures and will possibly be admitted.

Barr said charges will not be placed as the accident was caused by equipment.
Emma Schkloven /

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April 11, 2016
Fire engine driver faulted in fatal crash - MS

Mississippi police say the rig's driver did not yield right of way in the crash that killed one boy and injured six others,

RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. — A Mississippi Highway Patrol investigation faults a fire tanker's driver for a crash that killed a 10-year-old boy early this month.

The intersection crash occurred April 3 when the 67-year-old firefighter driving the fire truck did not yield the right of way to the SUV, according to several news agencies.

The 10-year-old died on impact; two other minors, 4 years old and four months old, and their parents were all injured in the crash, according to WDAM. The driver and one other firefighter were also hurt.

According to the Clarion-Ledger, witnesses said the firefighters told them they were training on the tanker at the time of the collision. The rig was moving from an eastbound road to a southbound road when it hit the Ford Escape.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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April 11, 2016
Fire rescue boats stolen, recovered - AR

The Norman Fire Department had a streak of bad luck, followed by good when two new Zodiac Swift Water Rescue boats were stolen and then recovered this weekend.

Two groups of Norman firefighters went to Alabama for a swift water rescue training this past week, taking two new rescue boats on a trailer which they pulled behind a fire department truck.

“When they were coming home Friday night, they stopped at West Memphis, Arkansas at a Day's Inn Hotel around 5 p.m.,” acting Fire Chief Jim Bailey said.

When they woke up Saturday morning, the boats were gone. Fortunately, due to hotel security tapes and quick action by the police there, the boats and the trailer were recovered.

"My hat's off to the West Memphis Police Department," Bailey said.
By Joy Hampton Senior Staff Writer @joyinvestigates

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April 10, 2016
Firefighters, Residents Hurt at Chicago FIre - MA

Two firefighters were among 4 hurt after an extra-alarm fire broke out Saturday evening in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the South Side.

The fire involved four buildings and started around 10 p.m. in the 4700 block of South Bishop Street, according to Chicago Fire Department media information.

Two firefighters was taken to Rush University Medical Center after suffering injuries. One of them was in fair condition, and a second one was in good condition.

Two civilians were taken to Holy Cross Hospital, and both were in good condition, according to the fire department.

The blaze was struck out about 11:25 p.m. No other information was immediately available.
Alexandra Chachkevitch / Source: McClatchy

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April 10, 2016
Lessons Learned:
NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Report: Texas Firefighter Dies in Residential Structure Fire

The double glass panel doors of the sewing room that lead out to the second floor balcony. Note that the door handle on the right is a nonfunctioning handle and is bent down (see Possible scenarios, #3). FF1 was found on the floor at thebase of the right panel door. / (NIOSH photo)

The victim became separated prior to or after the captain thought the crew was together.

The NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program has released the line of duty death report of a Texas fiefighter who died in a residential structure fire on July 9, 2014.

On July 9, 2014, a 46-year-old male career fire fighter died while conducting interior operations in a two-story residential structure fire. At 15:55 hours, Engine 104 with a crew of four was dispatched to a shed fire. The captain observed fire and black smoke coming from the right side and rear of the structure and called in a box alarm. The crew reported hearing ammunition going off while fire fighter 1 (FF1) and fire fighter 2 (FF2) pulled a 1¾-inch hoseline off the engine.

The captain and FF1 unsuccessfully attempted to force entry into the garage on the front right corner of the structure while FF2 tried knocking down the fire on the right side of the structure. The captain and FF1 were able to make forcible entry at the front door. The captain ordered the hoseline to the front door. After seeing only minimal smoke and no visible fire or civilians on the first floor, they proceeded to a narrow stairway to the second floor.

The captain, FF2, and FF1 went to the top of the stairs and encountered several louvered doors and a scuttle hole to the attic. The captain opened the attic access but could only see dark, brown smoke. The captain used a thermal imager and opened doors, searching for civilians and fire. The captain used a pike pole to open the attic scuttle door and poked holes in the ceiling.

The captain heard one of the fire fighters say he was getting hot, low on air, and, “Let’s go get flashlights.” The crew backed down the stairs. The captain then realized FF1 was missing. The captain radioed FF1 several times with no response, then he informed the incident commander of a missing fire fighter.

The captain went back to the second floor and could hear a PASS alarm in the room on his left and notified command. His low-air alarm was going off so he had to back out. Engine 63 made entry through the rear double doors off the deck on the second floor and located FF1 just inside the double doors.

Engine 63 encountered the rapid intervention crew and took him down a ladder off the rear deck to the yard. After receiving basic life support, he was transported to the hospital where he died from his injuries.

Contributing Factors:

  • Crew integrity
  • Air management
  • Mayday procedures
  • Fire-fighting experience
  • Operational characteristics of the SCBA and other life safety devices
  • Fireground communications
  • Ventilation timing
  • Hoseline deployment
  • Construction features of the residence
  • Munition hazards

Key Recommendations:

  • Fire departments should ensure that crew integrity is properly maintained by voice or radio contact when operating in an atmosphere that is immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH).
  • Fire departments should ensure that fire fighters and officers are properly trained in air management.
  • Fire departments should ensure that fire fighters understand the operational characteristics of their SCBA and other life safety devices.
  • Fire departments should ensure that fire fighters are properly trained in out-of-air SCBA emergencies and SCBA repetitive skills.
  • Fire departments should ensure that fire fighters are properly trained in Mayday procedures and survival techniques.
  • Fire departments should ensure fire fighters are sufficiently retrained when transitioning from the emergency medical service back to fire operations.
  • Fire departments should ensure that accountability officers are proficient in fire fighter tracking/monitoring systems.
  • Fire departments should ensure that fire fighters are trained in situational awareness, personal safety, and accountability.

Read the Report
Career Fire Fighter Dies in Heavy Smoke on Second Floor of a Residential Structure

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April 10, 2016
Information passed along
Paramedics, First Responders Use Cadavers for Hands-On Training - FL

CORAL SPRINGS -- Few classes require a moment of silence before the teaching begins, but this show of respect was the initial lesson learned by a group of emergency workers handling cadavers in Coral Springs.

The three-day Critical Skills Lab, in a converted conference room, gave an estimated 500 South Florida firefighters, paramedics, police, doctors, nurses and medical examiners hands-on training using some of the newest medical equipment on human flesh and bone.

"They are somebody's dad, mom, loved one, and we do a moment of silence before we go in to make sure everyone realizes what a gift to us this is," said Juan Cardona, Coral Springs Fire Rescue EMS Division Chief. "We are very respectful and aware of that."

Three men and a woman chose to serve science and teach students after their lives ended. All died in their 60s. They allowed their respiratory systems, their chest cavities, their organs and limbs to be manipulated in ways that no standard training mannequin could.

"It's very rare that we have experience with cadavers, bodies that are not mannequins, that are not synthetic," said Lt. Frank Pekora, also with Coral Springs Fire Rescue. "These are true bodies with different anatomies that help us learn about different body types and different anatomical functions."

Memphis-based Paragon Medical Education Group has been supplying bodies for training purposes nationwide since 2009, said Chief Operating Officer J. Harold "Jim" Logan.

As with organ donor options on driver's license forms, Logan says some people choose to sign over their entire bodies to organizations like Paragon for research and education purposes.

When the teaching ends, the bodies are cremated and returned to their families with a letter detailing how their loved one helped advance medical knowledge.

This is only the second time this course has been taught in the state and the first time in South Florida, Logan said.

"It's all hands on," he said. "Some guys just want to stand in the back and observe, that's fine, and anybody who wants to try anything that they haven't tried in the field, in advanced procedure, they can just walk to the front and they get a chance."

Crews huddled around and rotated between three training stations during four daily sessions that were held from Tuesday through Thursday.

There was the general anatomy station where crews got to see the whole body's internal physiology on display.

"They get a chance to manipulate some of the internal organs," Cardona said.

The second was the hemorrhage control station where these students learned to apply tourniquets and other equipment to stop bleeding.

The third station featured airway management where crews got to use devices to penetrate a person's respiratory system.

"They also get a chance to practice needle insertion and drills designed for that purpose," Cardona said. "We inject fluids and medications into patients, directly into their bones."

Many experienced life savers came away with a new appreciation for what they do, Logan said.

"A lady paramedic came out and said, 'Wow, this changed my life forever. I'll be able to treat my patients differently,'" he said.

Pekora said he learned a few things about the nature of trauma's impact on the human body.

"We're trained in trauma as it happens not seeing the end result of what our interventions could possibly do or how they're affecting the body on the inside," he said.

When one group was done, the students would strip off their protective gowns, gloves, masks, hairnets and slip-on shoe-covers then file out while the next group suited up for a new session.

All the while, the cadavers lay patiently on autopsy tables waiting to teach again.

"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity for many," Cardona said of his colleagues.
Wayne K. Roustan / Source: Sun Sentinel

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April 10, 2016
County Lawmakers Still Have Questions About 911 System Failure - NY

Higher rate of glitches with upgraded emergency system that includes improved mapping and texting.

(TNS) - A week after Erie County’s 911 system unexpectedly shut down for 3½ hours, county legislators listened with growing frustration Thursday to the litany of failures that occurred in the early-morning hours of March 30.

Some emergency services administrators contend that the upgraded emergency system – with its improved mapping, texting and mobile phone tracking technology – has experienced a much higher rate of glitches and failures than the other 911 systems that preceded it. And that may have implications for many other police and public safety organizations that use the same technology.

Unlike older and less-adaptable emergency systems grounded in copper land-line technology and less-sophisticated interfaces, the county’s 4-year-old, multimillion-dollar upgraded system appears far more trouble-prone.

Steve Matisz, a supervisory fire dispatcher for the Town of Amherst, told legislators he was aware of four past breakdowns of the county’s current 911 system, though none so widespread.

“They want to assure us it won’t happen again,” Matisz said later. “I have to consider that it would happen again.”

The 911 “fail-safe” system failed last week because of a series of technological and human errors, including two major software failures, and one guy who may have simply pushed a wrong button.

Here’s what county administrators say they have discovered so far, based on their own research and a report provided by Verizon, which maintains the county’s 911 system:

• An air conditioner broke down in a power supply room in the county’s public safety building. A cooling system circuit board was supposed to activate a second cooling system and issue an emergency alert to county employees after the initial malfunction. It didn’t do either.

• When the room heated to near 100 degrees, a late-shift building engineer responded to an alarm and, administrators contend, “overreacted” in an effort to reset the cooling system. He is believed to have pushed a “kill button” that abruptly cut power to the building, abruptly shutting down dispatch terminals, servers and Internet-powered phone systems, and throwing the Public Safety Campus into darkness. The employee denies pressing the button.

• All 911 calls were supposed to be automatically redirected to police dispatchers in Amherst, the Town of Tonawanda, Cheektowaga and the Town of Hamburg. But a software failure cut off 911 calls to all police departments, except for the Town of Tonawanda, which was deluged with ringing lines.

• Verizon also tried to reroute calls to an emergency dispatch center in the Cheektowaga Fire Training Center, but no calls could be intercepted there because of a software failure. Verizon said this occurred because the emergency dispatch laptops used by the county stored too many old files, which interfered with the software’s function. As a result, the laptops could not communicate with computer servers housed just one room away.

Verizon reported that when the 911 system was compromised for several hours, most calls were eventually answered, though callers likely experienced unacceptably long delays. Marlaine Hoffman, deputy director of information services for Central Police Services, said Verizon reported 180 calls were eventually answered and fewer than 10 legitimate, non-test calls were abandoned or lost.

On Thursday, legislators quizzed county administrators from Information Support Services, Public Works, Emergency Services and Central Police Services to clarify what went wrong, and determine how long it will take to fix the problems. Representatives from Verizon and Siemens, the company responsible for the building’s climate-control system, declined to attend the meeting.

Legislature Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo said no emergency system failure should be blamed on one improperly trained county employee who made a mistake, though the fact that the mistake happened is deeply troubling.

Public Safety Committee Chairman Edward Rath III said he’s scheduling an update on this matter for May 5 and expects more direct answers from Verizon and Siemens, which have contracts with the county.

“If we have to compel them to come in, then that’s what we’re going to do,” he said, referring to possible subpoenas.

Though Verizon initially denied any responsibility for the system malfunction, Emergency Services Commissioner Daniel Neaverth Jr. said he still believes Verizon is ultimately to blame.

“The system, as designed, is supposed to survive a catastrophic attack,” he said.

Clearly, it could not, he said.

Hoffman said the county’s current 911 system is scheduled to be “refreshed” next year. In the meantime, however, more extensive and overnight testing has been conducted on the county’s backup systems. Verizon is also issuing software patches to address software failures that plagued emergency responders last week.

Despite the 911 system’s many advantages, Hoffman acknowledged that more-sophisticated technology can open the door to more unexpected issues.

“It’s wonderful in so many ways, and has more flexibility and functionality than ever before,” she said, “but I guess it is a balance of the level of risk. And again, I want to stress, we tested the hell out of this thing. There are just a series of events than happened that we didn’t anticipate.”
Sandra Tan, The Buffalo News, N.Y. / Sandra Tan, The Buffalo News, N.Y.

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April 10, 2016
Two firefighters burned in Buffalo house fire - NY

Buffalo firefighters battle a house fire on Newton Street on Saturday. Two firefighters were hurt in the blaze, but the residents of the house escaped injury. / (Derek Gee//Buffalo News)

Two Buffalo firefighters suffered burns Saturday afternoon in a house fire on Newton Street, in the shadow of the Central Terminal.

But the two adults and four children who were inside in the two-story home when the fire broke out escaped unharmed.

Battalion Chief Mark Hillery said it was believed the blaze began when one of the children was playing with matches, and a box of clothing caught fire.

None of the smoke detectors in the house was functioning, Hillery said. “Luckily they were alerted by the fire and were able to get out safely.”

The two firefighters were injured while searching for occupants, and were taken to a hospital for treatment. “The conditions deteriorated rapidly and they were burned a little bit, not seriously,” Hillery said.

Hillery said there were “a few frantic moments” when there were conflicting reports about whether children were still inside. “My guys went in there and did an aggressive search and they did not find anybody. During that search, they were burned by the fire.”

The fire caused estimated damages of $70,000 to the structure and $25,000 to the contents. The Red Cross was expected to assist the family, which was renting the property.
By Matt Glynn | News Business Reporter

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April 10, 2016
Paramedic Taken to Hospital After Being Bitten, Hit With Guitar - TX

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A man is in jail after a paramedic was bit in the chest and hit in the head with a guitar Wednesday night in Flour Bluff, police said.

About 7:20 p.m. witnesses called police after they saw a man trying to jump a fence in the 3200 block of Flour Bluff Drive to get into Waldron Field, owned by the Naval Air Station.

Witnesses saw the man fall off the fence and land on his head, according to a Corpus Christi police news release.

Police and fire department medics responded and when a paramedic attempted to check on him, the man attacked, the release states.

The medic was bitten on the chest hard enough to break the skin through his shirt, police said.

The man then picked up an acoustic guitar he was carrying, and hit the medic on his forehead causing a large gash. The medic was taken to Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial to be treated.

Christopher Guldin, 29, was arrested on suspicion of assault on a paramedic and resisting arrest, the release states.

He remained in Nueces County Jail on Thursday. His bail was set at $25,000.
Source: Corpus Christi Caller-Times

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April 08, 2016
Volunteer firefighters fight for insurance - NY

A paid fireman and a volunteer fireman both respond to a fire where there are toxic materials. The paid fireman develops cancer of the pancreas, and his insurance pays for his treatment. The volunteer fireman also develops pancreatic cancer, but he has no insurance to cover it. Thousands of volunteer firefighters are waiting for the New York State Assembly to pass a bill that would allow them to have the same insurance coverage as paid fire fighters.

Jacqueline M. Moline, Occupational Medicine specialist and the chair of the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine said, “Actually the construction today has all kinds of toxins in the smoke and problems for emergency services. People that live in these houses, those people are leaving when volunteers and emergency workers go in. Carcinogens get into everything, into the apparatus after the alarm, onto their equipment, on their clothes, and into their homes when they bring the equipment home with them.”

Moline has been at the forefront of the fight to get the Assembly to pass an amendment to the volunteer firefighters benefit law, adding a new section to provide a volunteer fire fighter who was cancer free when they began service and now has one of several specifically identified cancers incurred such conditions in the performance and discharge of their duties.

Oceanside volunteer firefighter Steven Klein is Second Vice President of The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY). He said they are working on a two-fold approach to the problem. “We are teaching firefighters to decontaminate themselves after every response. They come home with soot and toxins. But they have to take their things off, clean everything, etc., before getting into the apparatus [fire trucks and rescue vehicles]”

Klein said there have been numerous studies showing that firemen are prone to getting different kinds of cancers. “We signed up to serve we did not sign up to get cancer,” he said.

Moline added “Hose off before you get into the truck, decontaminate upon leaving the fire. It is an ongoing education until the mindset of the fire service is changed.”

In Nassau County FASNY is giving seminars, trying to reach the youth so they start off on the right foot and clean their equipment.

The second part of FASNY’s effort is to get the State to pass legislation that will provide insurance to volunteer firefighters equivalent to that of paid firefighters. Last year the Senate adopted the proposed change to the law, but it did not get out of committee in the Assembly. Klein said the Assembly has to look at the economic impact on volunteer fire fighters on NY State if they had to be replaced by paid career fire fighters because of lack of insurance.

Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky has been a cosponsor of this legislation since last year. He rallied with the folks from FASNY to support the legislation, which is still sitting in committee. “We must do all we can for those who routinely, and selflessly, sacrifice so much for us,” said Kaminsky. “The price of volunteering should not be cancer and steep medical bills. We must do more for these heroes.”

Moline was puzzled by the Assembly’s actions. “Why did they not get the coverage?” she asked. “The insurance companies have not said no. The lack of insurance will have some kind of impact. Cancer in the fire service is epidemic.”

Ed Madden, chief of the Island Park fire department, said that he wants to the bill to pass. “We face the same dangers and conditions that career firefighters face,” he said. “If one us contracts a cancer that could be tied to [our service] we should be covered the same as a career firefighter, we should be granted the same protection.” He said that the department also follows all of the requirements for protective equipment and they have classes in continuing education for their members.
By Barbra Rubin-Perry / Rebecca Melnitsky contributed to this story. /

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April 08, 2016
Major collapse at Jersey Shore fire – two firefighters hurt - NJ


A multi-alarm fire injured at least two firefighters and destroyed a group of businesses this (Friday) afternoon in Keyport, New Jersey. The firefighters were hurt during a major collapse of the structure.

The earliest report of the fire came in shortly before 4 p.m. Firefighters were still dousing flames and hot spots in one of the gutted buildings at 6:30 p.m. when the fire appeared to be under control.

There was no word on the cause or on the condition of the injured firefighters. Officials did not immediately release information.

A Mayday alert went out shortly before 5 p.m. for the trapped firefighters. / Shannon Mullen & Ken Serrano, Asbury Park Press:

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April 08, 2016
Paramedic Taken to Hospital After Being Bitten, Hit With Guitar - TX

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A man is in jail after a paramedic was bit in the chest and hit in the head with a guitar Wednesday night in Flour Bluff, police said.

About 7:20 p.m. witnesses called police after they saw a man trying to jump a fence in the 3200 block of Flour Bluff Drive to get into Waldron Field, owned by the Naval Air Station.

Witnesses saw the man fall off the fence and land on his head, according to a Corpus Christi police news release.

Police and fire department medics responded and when a paramedic attempted to check on him, the man attacked, the release states.

The medic was bitten on the chest hard enough to break the skin through his shirt, police said.

The man then picked up an acoustic guitar he was carrying, and hit the medic on his forehead causing a large gash. The medic was taken to Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial to be treated.

Christopher Guldin, 29, was arrested on suspicion of assault on a paramedic and resisting arrest, the release states.

He remained in Nueces County Jail on Thursday. His bail was set at $25,000.
Source: Corpus Christi Caller-Times

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April 08, 2016
Firefighter injured in fire at White Sox stadium - MA

The firefighter was transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

CHICAGO — A firefighter was injured after responding to a fire at U.S. Cellular Field Friday morning.

Chicago Tribune reported that the fire started around 2:25 a.m. in a storage room of the first floor of the White Sox stadium. The blaze was put out around 3 a.m.

One firefighter suffered non-life threatening injuries as a result of the fire. He was taken out of the stadium on a gurney wearing an oxygen mask and transported to a hospital for treatment.

It wasn't immediately clear why the fire started or how much damage it caused.

Despite the fire, a White Sox spokesman said the home opener Friday remains on schedule.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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April 08, 2016
Mayday: Fire capt. falls through floor, rescued - ME

(Sun Journal)

Senior Fire Investigator Danny Young, of the State of Maine Fire Marshal's Office, uses a flashlight Thursday to determine how the previous night's fire progressed at 70 Pottle Road, Oxford. At left is Fire Investigator Isaiah Peppard. / (Rick Haverinen/Sun Journal)

A firefighter was injured fighting this house fire at 70 Pottle Road in Oxford on Wednesday night. / (Chuck Blaquiere photo)

OXFORD — A Norway firefighter fell through a floor while searching for possible occupants in a burning home Wednesday night on Pottle Road, officials said.

Norway Fire Chief Dennis Yates said Thursday that his wife, Christine, fell through the fire-damaged floor and was not able to move while straddling a floor joist. She is a captain with the department.

She immediately used her radio to make a mayday call, Yates said. To make matters more complicated, her air supply tank ran out while she was stuck. Yates said the on-site Rapid Intervention Team was able to locate her through the smoke and get her out in about five minutes.

She suffered some smoke inhalation, was treated at a local hospital and released in good condition.

"The RIT team is primarily there to save us if we get in trouble," Yates said. "And they did a great job."

There was no one in the home when the fire erupted. It is owned by Shannon Wiacek.

The Oxford Fire Department received the initial call at 8:55 p.m. Wednesday and, minutes after 9 p.m., the single-family mobile home at 70 Pottle Road was fully engulfed in flames. No one was home at the time.

A team from the state Fire Marshal's Office was at the residence Thursday investigating the cause of the blaze.

Firefighters from Oxford, Paris, Norway and Poland responded to the call, and additional crews from Mechanic Falls, West Paris and Harrison were sent to assist with the blaze. Central Maine Power cut electricity to the building.

Oxford Fire Chief Wayne Jones described the damage as extensive.

Fire officials have not been able to determine whether the home had working smoke detectors at the time of the fire, according to a news release from Jones.
Sun Media Weekly Newspapers

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April 07, 2016
Fire department out of commission after wreck - OK

CADDO COUNTY, Okla. - At a time when wildfire danger is high, Caddo County has lost fire-fighting man power.

The Twin City Fire Department in Albert is out of commission after two of its brush trucks were involved in an accident Tuesday.

“In this community, we don’t have any fire hydrants, and so these trucks also help fight house fires. They consistently go out on structure fires, on equipment fires for our local farmers. This is the life blood of our fire department,” said Todd Pack, a Twin City firefighter.

Three of the department's eight volunteers were hurt in the wreck.

Now that almost half of the crew is injured and two trucks are damaged, Twin City firefighters cannot help their neighbors.

“Well, you feel helpless because, anytime there’s a need in our community, you want to be able to fulfill that need. That’s why we volunteer,” said Kenneth Pack, the Twin City Assistant fire chief.

Todd Pack and his crew were heading back from fighting a grass fire near Binger when they collided with another truck.

“It was very rattling. Our first instinct was to check on everyone who was involved. Even though there were other firemen who were injured, they immediately began to check on the other individuals,” Todd said.

Standing here today, with eight staples in the back of his head, he is counting his blessings.

“The main person I’d like to thank is God. I think he was watching over us as all of that took place. The accident was severe, but the injures were minor,” Todd said.

The first responders are feeling thankful but are also worried about their small community.

“I’m concerned because, even with the wonderful local fire departments we have around us, they’re still a distance aways, so that does slow the response time,” Todd said.

Twin City Fire officials said, combined, the trucks are worth about $150,000.

They do not expect insurance to fully cover costs and said it could be a couple weeks before they can get back to work.

As for the cause of the accident, the fire chief said it is under investigation and would not give details about what happened.
by Kristen Shanahan /

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April 07, 2016
Duvall Fire District hacked; Snoqualmie pays ransom - WA

Hackers submitting faked invoices to local fire districts got at least one payoff, and taught local agencies a lesson in network security.

On Jan. 22, the city of Snoqualmie, which provides information technology services to King County Fire Protection District 45, paid a ransom of $750 to hackers who had taken control and encrypted files on a computer at the fire district. The ransom was required to unlock a computer on the district's network, which was encrypted Jan. 7, when an employee clicked a link in a fake e-mail message.

The e-mail looked like an invoice from the fire district's dispatch center, said Fire Chief David Burke. When an employee opened the email and clicked the link, a program started encrypting all the files on that computer.

Burke said the scam email was nearly identical to the real invoices the district receives for dispatch services.

The attack did not affect essential files.

"None of the financials, payroll, none of those things were accessible," Burke said. "It was more of our daily documents, policies procedures, etc."

Snoqualmie's IT department helped the fire district handle the situation. Snoqualmie contacted the FBI which recommended that they pay the ransom. However, the hackers would accept payment only through bitcoin, a decentralized digital currency.

Burke said Snoqualmie IT went to Tacoma to get the money exchanged to bitcoin. Once the ransom was paid, the department received a decryption key and began to retrieve their files.

Both Burke and Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson said trying to recreate the files would have taken too much time and effort compared to the relatively small ransom.

"They had importance to the agency, trying to rebuild them would have been a considerably greater expense than paying the ransom," Larson said.

Typically, Burke said, a backup system would have prevented the need to pay a ransom, but the fire district was in the process of modernizing their systems and backups had not been implemented yet.

"If our backup had been in place we would have been inconvenienced half a day or less," he said. "The city of Snoqualmie stepped up and took care of everything and paid the decryption code. Snoqualmie went heads and shoulders above what our expectations were, they honored their part of the contract and more."

With their files back, the fire district has a backup system up and running and is doing more training on Internet safety with employees. According to Burke, neighboring fire departments were also targeted, possibly through a mailing list containing information on the various fire chiefs in the region.

"The agency serves a lot of fire departments in the area and all of them got it. The email distribution for fire chiefs was compromised. Some of them caught it and were able to back up. Some of them handled it in house," Burke said. "As soon as it started they were able to shut it down and restore it within a couple of hours."

Burke doesn't believe that the dispatch service was compromised and said the hackers could have gotten their information from any of the agencies working with the service.

After this incident the service has changed the formatting of invoices and moved to a PDF format.

"We have taken care of training and taking invoices in a new way," Burke said. "We've done everything we believe we can, but the education will continue that we will give to all of our personnel."

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April 06, 2016
Cheney firefighter collapses at fire, in critical condition - KA

Cheney firefighter in critical condition after collapsing at fire.

CHENEY, Kan. - A Cheney firefighter remains in critical condition at Saint Francis Hospital Monday night, after collapsing while fighting a grass fire near the Kingman-Sedgwick County line.

The fire department is asking for your support - for now, just in prayers. The firefighter's name isn't being released at the moment, since he's still in very critical condition. Cheney Fire Chief Brad Ewy says he collapsed on scene after suffering a stroke.

The Cheney Fire Department was fighting a controlled burn that rekindled Sunday afternoon.

"We could see flames that were probably 10 feet high," said Crystal Fox, a neighbor in the area.

Then something else went wrong.

"We had a fireman that collapsed on the scene. He went unresponsive," Ewy said.

Neighbors helping with fighting the fire, did notice something was off.

"He just seemed kind of out of it. We didn't know if it was heat because of the heavy gear they have to wear, or what, but we just we could just tell something wasn't quite right," Fox said. We alerted the fire department, and that's when the firefighter collapsed," she said.

The chief says it's still unclear if the medical problem is related to the fire, but he does know that firefighter suffered a brain bleed

"They took him to surgery, and said they removed a clot about the size of your fist from him. He's still in critical condition. Hopefully there's a good outlook," Ewy said.

The department posted on Facebook thanking neighbors who helped with the fire and the medical emergency. The post also asks for prayers.

"He's about 48 years old. He has four children," Ewy said. "Put him in your prayers. We're going to need it."

"We're very very thankful for the community and the fire departments, and hope and pray that the fallen firefighter is okay," Fox said.

The fire department has set up an account to donate here.
Deedee Sun,

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April 06, 2016
Firefighter injured during Cayuga County fire taken to Auburn hospital - NY

THROOP, N.Y. -- An Aurelius volunteer firefighter injured his hand while fighting a fire Monday night in the Cayuga County town of Throop, fire officials said.

Rural Metro Ambulance took the firefighter to Auburn Community Hospital for treatment, Throop Volunteer Fire Chief Brian Dahl said. The chief declined to identify the Aurelius firefighter or say exactly how he hurt his hand, but Dahl said the firefighter will recover.

Volunteers from nine fire departments were called to the house fire at 7463 Day Road in Throop at 5:54 p.m. Monday, Cayuga County 911 said. Throop, Aurelius, Auburn, Cayuga, Fleming, Owasco, Montezuma, Port Byron and Weedsport fire departments spent three hours trying to extinguish the blaze.

A husband and wife got out of the house safely, and the husband called 911 to report the fire, Dahl said. Firefighters say the fire started around a wood stove in the basement, which was used as the primary source of heat, the chief said.

Firefighters battled frigid temperatures as the fire spread from the basement, up the walls to the roof line of the balloon-type construction, Dahl said. The two-story, wood-framed house was destroyed in the fire, he said.

Cayuga County sheriff's deputies and Cayuga County Emergency Management also responded to the scene. Firefighters left at 12:10 a.m. Tuesday, more than six hours after the homeowners reported the fire.

The couple has insurance and is staying with family, Dahl said.
y Catie O'Toole |

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April 06, 2016
Firefighter dies from wreck injuries after responding to fire with teen son - AL

(The Last Call - RIP)

WINSTON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - A firefighter from Winston County suffered fatal injuries and his teenage son was hurt after they wrecked into a parked logging trailer after responding to a woods fire.

Firefighter Charles M. Tucker, 56, of Lynn, and his 16-year-old son, a junior firefighter, responded to a grass and woods fire on Winston County Road 37 on March 30, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

After putting out the fire, Tucker was driving home with his son when his pickup truck went off the highway and hit an empty logging truck. Authorities don’t yet know what caused the crash.

The crash happened on Alabama 5 at the 197 mile marker, near the intersection of U.S. 278, around 5:07 p.m. Wednesday, March 30, state troopers said.

Lynn Fire and Rescue crews and other emergency responders found both Tucker and his teenage son “badly injured and entrapped,” according to a news release.

After they were extricated from the vehicle, Tucker and his son were airlifted to hospitals in Birmingham for treatment.

Tucker died from his injuries at UAB Hospital on Saturday, April 2.

Tucker’s son is still recovering from his injuries at Children’s of Alabama.

State troopers are still investigating the crash.
By Melynda Schauer, Digital Content Producer /

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April 06, 2016
Driver Hurt After Van Strikes Clearwater Fire Apparatus - FL

A 47-year-old driver was cited Wednesday after his van struck a Clearwater Fire & Rescue truck at Cleveland Street and Betty Lane. Heriberto Pabon of Tampa was cited for failure to yield to emergency vehicle. He was treated at Morton Plant for possible leg injury.

Police say preliminary information indicates Pabon was traveling on Betty Lane and failed to stop for the fire truck, which was eastbound on Cleveland Street. None of the three firefighters on board Engine 45 was injured.

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April 06, 2016
Medic's wife suffers heart attack, house catches fire days later - AZ

The family lost a kitten, dog and a ferret to the fire as well as all of their belongings; a GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family.

PHOENIX (KSAZ) - It's been a tough week for a Valley paramedic and his family, not only did they endure a medical emergency last week. Days later everything they owned went up in flames.

We've all had bad weeks, but this valley family will remember this past week as possible the worst week of their lives.

Mark Blackburn a Southwest Ambulance paramedics says the week started with his wife Teresa having a heart attack. She was released from the hospital on Wednesday then while Mark was helping her recover he had to undergo emergency oral surgery. Then when things couldn't get any worse, while the family was napping from a hectic and stressful week, they awoke to the smell of smoke.

"The outside of our house was on fire, and it ended up burning all the way through burning the whole house down, the only thing we made it out with was one of our dogs," said Mark Blackburn.

Sadly all the families belongings were burned in the fire; they also lost three of their beloved pets including a kitten, a ferret, and a dog.

The family has set up a if you would like to help you can donate here:

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April 06, 2016
Fire captain injury renews cyanide safety concerns - RI


Capt. Joseph Fontaine was seriously injured after being exposed to cyanide while battling a fire; the department had removed most of their cyanide detectors due to budget cuts.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A fire captain who remains hospitalized after being seriously injured in a Rhode Island fire has brought renewed attention to the dangers of cyanide for firefighters. reported Fire Captain Joseph Fontaine has undergone treatments for cyanide poisoning and is still facing pulmonary issues following his exposure while battling the massive fire. Four other firefighters were also treated for cyanide poisoning following the fire.

"Hydrogen cyanide affects your central nervous system and you get disoriented," Rhode Island Fire Marshal John Chartier said. "You get confused. That's how we lose firefighters in buildings."

Cyanide poisoning is an issue the city has faced before. After a 2006 fire, where 23 firefighters were hospitalized for hydrogen cyanide poisoning, the city installed cyanide detectors in every truck. Nearly 10 years later, most of the devices are gone.

"(It's) kind of taking a step backwards," Captain Joseph Molis said. "There's no cyanide detection at all."

Most of the devices, which reportedly cost about $300 or $400 in 2006, were removed due to budget cuts.

"We can ask and ask and ask," Capt. Molis said. "It comes down to money. They have to make the tough choices of whether to provide that or not."

Capt. Molis said the detection devices would have been helpful in the most recent fire, but also placed some of the blame on firefighters who knowingly continued working after their air packs ran out.

Paul Doughty, the firefighter's union president, said the firefighters had no choice.

"When their air packs ran out, at times they were forced to maintain their position to make sure that the fire didn't spread because it was that dire of a situation," Doughty said. "It could have turned into a conflagration very, very easily. So, they did operate after their air packs had run out of air."

Capt. Molis said the city needs to work on putting safety first for its firefighters.

"You know, it's not just the cyanide detectors," he said. "We don't have a health and safety officer anymore. There's nobody looking out for the safety of us."
By FireRescue1 Staff

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April 05, 2016
Crashes involving fire truck close I-196 for 2 hours - MI

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A stretch of I-196 in Grand Rapids was closed for about two hours Monday evening after crashes involving multiple vehicles, including a fire truck.

The closure happened around 8:30 p.m. in the westbound lanes of the highway just before College Avenue, according the Michigan Department of Transportation. The highway reopened around 10:30pm.

Grand Rapids police said it started when multiple vehicles were involved in minor crashes. A fire truck responded to block a ramp to College. It was not moving when it was hit from behind by a pickup truck after the passing driver lost control on the icy road.

The initial call to the scene involved three cars. Police did not immediately have a final number of vehicles involved.

There were not any serious injuries, police said.

Poor road conditions caused fender benders all over Kent County Monday evening and led to periodic closures on I-96 near Portland due to minor crashes.

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April 05, 2016
Firefighter critical after collapsing at fire - KA

The firefighter suffered a stroke while responding to a grass fire and remains in critical condition.

A Kansas firefighter who suffered a stroke while fighting a grass fire Sunday is in critical condition. reported the Cheney Fire Department was responding to a controlled burn that rekindled when the firefighter collapsed and became unresponsive.

Neighbors helping the department noticed something was wrong with the firefighter prior to his collapse.

"He just seemed kind of out of it. We didn't know if it was heat because of the heavy gear they have to wear or what, but we just we could just tell something wasn't quite right," Crystal Fox, a neighbor, said. "We alerted the fire department, and that's when the firefighter collapsed."

Fire Chief Brad Ewy said the firefighter suffered a brain bleed but that it was unclear whether it was related to the fire, according to the report.

"They took him to surgery, and said they removed a clot about the size of your fist from him. He's still in critical condition. Hopefully there's a good outlook," Chief Ewy said.

Chief Ewy said the injured firefighter, whose name has not yet been released, is 48 years old and has four children.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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April 05, 2016
Firefighter dies following fire call - AL

(The Last Call - RIP)

Charles Tucker, 56, was returning home with his son after responding to a call when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a logging trailer.

LYNN, Ala. — An Alabama firefighter died Saturday following a crash on March 30.

Firefighter Close Calls reported that Lynn Fire and Rescue volunteer firefighter Charles Tucker, 56, was heading home with his 16-year-old son, who is a junior member of Lynn Fire and Rescue, after responding to a grass fire when his vehicle sped through an intersection, left the highway and crashed into an empty logging trailer.

Tucker and his son had to be extricated by members of Lynn Fire and Rescue and were flown to a nearby hospital.

Tucker died from his injuries on April 2, three days after the crash. His son suffered a broken leg and is expected to recover.

It is suspected Tucker suffered a medical problem which caused him to lose control of his vehicle and veer into the trailer.

Firefighter Tucker was with the department for two years. The crash is under investigation by the Alabama Highway Patrol.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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April 04, 2016
Fire Capt. in Serious Condition After Response - RI



PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- A Providence fire captain was in serious condition Thursday evening after he had trouble breathing after his response to Eaton Street near Providence College where he helped firefighters fight wind-driven flames that attacked three apartment houses, according to a union official.

Paul Doughty, president of the firefighters' union, said Capt. Joseph Fontaine had been unconscious and listed in serious condition at Roger Williams Medical Center and he was being transferred to Rhode Island Hospital.

Fontaine, a veteran firefighter in his mid 50s, had been taken to the hospital with a non-life-threatening injury and then had great difficulty breathing, Doughty said.

The source of the firefighter's medical condition wasn't known, but he had received a precautionary antidote for cyanide poisoning, he said.
Mark Reynolds / Source: McClatchy

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April 04, 2016
Firefighter Hurt in Collapse - NY

(WKBW TV | Buffalo, NY)

A partial collapse left a firefighter with a shoulder injury in Cheektowaga.

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April 04, 2016
Chicago Firefighter Injured in fall down Elevator Shaft - IL

One person was killed and two firefighters injured in apartment fire.

A Chicago firefighter was doing well Saturday after falling down an elevator shaft from the second floor of an apartment building in Austin while fighting a fire that left a man dead Friday.

The elevator wasn't working, and the city had cited the building's owner in February for building-code violations.

The firefighter, who wasn't seriously injured, was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital along with another firefighter who was treated for minor injuries in the fire at 312 N. Central Ave., officials said.

The firefighter who fell down the elevator shaft was released from the hospital Saturday and was doing well, Chicago Fire Department spokesman Juan Hernandez said.

A man whose name hasn't been released was found dead at the scene of the fire, which was contained to a room on the second floor of the four-story building, Hernandez said.

Thirty people were left homeless by the fire, which started around 10 p.m. Friday. The cause remained under investigation Saturday.

Mimi Simon, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Buildings, said Saturday that "the elevator system had not been repaired despite two building-code violations issued on Feb. 23. The elevator remained out of service and stationary on the third floor of the building."

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April 04, 2016
Responders Faced Difficulties Locating Derailed Train - FL

A Tri-Rail train with 56 morning commuters derailed in the rainy dark of early morning, fuel was leaking from a gash in the tank, and the train was reported to be on fire. But no one could find it.

There was mass confusion as firefighters and paramedics searched nearly a half hour for the train in the dawn of Jan. 28, audio recordings and written dispatcher updates obtained by the Sun Sentinel show.

A Tri-Rail representative, the first to call 911, gave an inaccurate location and claimed the train had no passengers.

"The train is derailed and is on fire," he reported.

Records from the Broward Sheriff's Office, which operates the county's relatively new regional emergency dispatch system, claim the response time to the call was five minutes. Responders did arrive somewhere in five minutes -- but dispatchers had sent them to the wrong location.

In truth, it took 27 minutes for the first fire truck to find its way to the crash scene off Southwest Eighth Street in Pompano Beach, dispatch logs and audio recordings show. That truck arrived at 5:46 a.m.; the initial call for help had come in at 5:19 a.m.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Chief Robert Hoecherl said he was left wondering whether enough has been done to prevent a more tragic outcome. The stakes are high, he said.

"It's a commuter train," he said. "It's a train full of people."

Fort Lauderdale is among the several cities that have been critically scrutinizing the quality and response times of the county's emergency dispatching. The city has threatened to withdraw from the regional system.

In this case, by the time firefighters made it to the scene, 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel had spilled to the ground, according to taped conversations among emergency responders and dispatchers.

Tri-Rail representatives gave only one update to the emergency dispatchers, according to the records, advising that the train was north of where they'd originally reported it, but not providing a cross street.

Almost an hour after the first 911 call, emergency officials still didn't know if the train had struck something on the tracks, possibly a car, and sent a helicopter up to search. Commuters all over the area were stuck at the tracks west of Interstate 95, as the gates remained in the down position.

Heavy winds and an advancing thunderstorm contributed to the search difficulties, the recordings show.

On his way to the gym that morning, Fort Lauderdale Deputy Fire Chief Tim Heiser heard the "frustrating" radio traffic as firefighters looked for the train all over the north end of the city. He turned around to go home and change into work clothes.

"I thought this was the big one," he said.

Where is the train?

Fort Lauderdale firefighter-paramedics in two fire engines, an ambulance, a ladder truck, a heavy rescue truck, and a battalion vehicle spread out looking. The police helped, too.

"Can you pinpoint it please? Are they at the Cypress Creek station?" one emergency responder asked the dispatcher.

"We were at the Tri-Rail station," another firefighter interjected. "There is no train there at Cypress Creek."

"OK, you say you're online with the Tri-Rail people themselves," a firefighter said as they strained to figure out directions the dispatcher had given. "Can you try to verify exactly where they're saying?"

"There's nothing at Commercial," a firefighter said a bit later.

Broward Sheriff's Office regional dispatchers never did figure out where the derailed train was.

Fort Lauderdale emergency personnel eventually did, seeing its taillights in the distance north of McNab Road.

It was in Pompano Beach.

Even after finding out where the train was, dispatchers spent another six minutes trying to enter the location into the computer system in order to send out the correct agency, Pompano Beach. The software favors exact addresses, sheriff's office officials explained.

"Can you advise on the exact location?" the 911 dispat

cher asked.

"Negative," says an emergency responder. "You'd have to look at a map."

A 911 recording shows that at least two calls from BSO dispatchers to Tri-Rail went unanswered that Thursday morning. Eventually, someone from Tri-Rail called back.

"We keep getting calls from BSO. That's why we're calling back," a Tri-Rail representative said, explaining that employees were tied up talking to federal rail officials about the derailment.

Tri-Rail officials say information got jumbled as it passed from a shaken train conductor to a Tri-Rail dispatcher to a Tri-Rail safety coordinator to 911 dispatchers.

The location closer to the train, Cypress Interlocking, a safety control point, became "Cypress Creek station," which is to the south and in a different city, said Allen Yoder, director of safety and security for the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, operator of Tri-Rail.

But Yoder couldn't explain why the presence of 56 people wasn't reported to emergency dispatchers. One of the passengers was hurt and taken to the hospital when paramedics arrived.

"There is no one on board," the dispatcher log says.

Yoder also said he didn't "see any scorch marks" and believes Tri-Rail's initial report that the train was on fire was inaccurate.

Firefighters at the scene mentioned "fire suppression" and said they "knocked down the fire," records show, but Yoder said he didn't see evidence of a fire.

The train was a "double draft set," or two trains hooked together, the rear one empty, Tri-Rail spokeswoman Bonnie Arnold said. The front and rear of the train remained on the tracks, while a locomotive and empty cars in the middle derailed, she and Yoder said.

The incident and Tri-Rail's handling of it are still under investigation at Tri-Rail, he said. Investigators have ruled out that the train hit something but haven't identified the cause. The Federal Rail Administration also is investigating.

A repeat is unlikely, though, according to Tri-Rail.

Yoder said Tri-Rail launched new software several weeks ago allowing it to see where its trains are on a real-time map. The technology was already in the works when the train derailed, Yoder said, and was put into use about a month later. Eventually, riders will be able to see where trains are via a Tri-Rail app.

"Our new technology will prevent this from happening again," Arnold said. "We're just grateful to have it. It's been a long time coming."

Off the rails

Broward Sheriff's Office officials reviewed their handling of the 911 call after Pompano Beach complained about the delay.

The review concluded nothing went wrong and didn't recommend any changes. No one involved was counseled or retrained.

Executive Director Bob Pusins of BSO's Department of Community Services said the agency's 911 dispatchers did their best "with the information and tools available."

Finding and accessing a train when it's not at a major intersection can be like finding a lost boater or a plane crash in the Everglades, he said.

"Nothing happens perfectly all the time, and this is one of those cases," Pusins said. "It's not a perfect science."

But in internal emails, BSO and Broward County employees argued over whether the complaint raised legitimate concerns.

The sheriff's office operates the system under a contract with Broward County, and the two have been at odds in the past year and a half over the system's troubles. Getting accurate information to emergency responders has been a key problem.

"6 minutes to generate a call after you have been given the precise location is unacceptable," Jenna Diplacido in the county's Office of Regional communications and Technology wrote to sheriff's office employees, referring to the delay in dispatching Pompano Beach responders.

Brett Bayag, acting director of the Office of Regional Communications and Technology, said the incident will be reviewed for any learning opportunities. Though BSO didn't recommend it, Bayag said dispatchers might need "refresher training" on entering vague addresses, which he said can be done.

"We'll learn from situations like this and make sure that awareness factor is heightened," Bayag said.

Pompano Beach operations division Chief Chester "Butch" Bolton said he no longer had an issue with the delay when he learned all the facts about the call.

The original information from Tri-Rail was wrong, so the search in Fort Lauderdale and the delay in calling out his emergency trucks "was justified," he said in an email.

Hoecherl, the fire chief, said he thought about the commuter train derailment in Philadelphia last year that killed eight people and injured more than 200.

Even when you know where they are, train accidents are often difficult for emergency vehicles to access, he said. Sometimes firefighters have to park far from the crash and carry equipment. A response delay of a half hour in a crisis could have been disastrous, he said.

"You're talking about a train that probably has 300 people traveling through our city several times a day," he said. " ... It raises a concern on the accuracy of the information."
Brittany Wallman / Source: McClatchy

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April 04, 2016
Vehicle Drives Away After Crashing Into Ambulance - TX

FORT WORTH -- A sport utility vehicle hit a MedStar ambulance on Interstate 30 on Sunday morning and drove away before police arrived on the scene, authorities said.

The vehicle was later located near Ridgmar Mall, but police did not find the driver.

No one was injured in the collision.

The incident occurred shortly before 8:30 a.m. Sunday in the 6800 block of the West Freeway.

"They were not responding to a call," MedStar spokesman Matt Zavadsky said. "They were traveling to a location when the ambulance was hit by the SUV."

There were two crew members in the ambulance, Zavadsky said.

The collision disabled the ambulance, officials said.

Police found the SUV near the mall in west Fort Worth and searched the area, but they did not find the driver.
Domingo Ramirez Jr. / Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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April 04, 2016
Houston cadet's death raises concerns about mandatory physicals - TX

The firefighters' union wants annual physicals, but only if there is no punishment for firefighters who fail.

HOUSTON — The Houston Professional Firefighters Union is looking into if firefighter cadet Steven Whitfield II's line-of-duty death last week could have been prevented. reported that one current Houston firefighter, who didn't want to be identified, said Whitfield's death is a reminder that there is no mandatory physical fitness testing or requirements for firefighters once they're out of the academy.

Whitfield, a 32-year-old aspiring firefighter from Beaumont, Texas, had completed nearly all the obstacles at the Houston Fire Department's rigorous Survival House when he collapsed.

"He's probably one of the most fit cadets they had in a long time," union President Alvin White said. "Seems like something went awry that day and hopefully we can get some answers in the near future."

Fire Chief Rodney West said every employee can get free yearly physicals, but there is no requirement to remain fit.

"They don't want anybody to be punished for anyone not being able to do their job, but I think the biggest punishment is a firefighter losing his life. Should he lose his life because he didn't get a physical?" the unidentified firefighter said.

Autopsy results on Whitfield could take weeks, but officials all agreed that he was very fit. Firefighters hope the tragedy will open up officials' eyes to help firefighters maintain their fitness.

The union has maintained that it would not have an issue requiring annual physicals if there is no punishment for firefighters who fail.

"We would love physicals given to our members," White said. "Non-punitive physicals that identify a program and chance to correct that."
By FireRescue1 Staff

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April 04, 2016
Child dies in fire truck, SUV wreck - MI

(16 WAPT News Jackson)

A 10-year-old boy was killed, his mother, father and two younger siblings are in the hospital; the firefighters suffered non-life threatening injuries.

RANKIN COUNTY, Miss.— A 10-year-old boy was killed Sunday night when his family's SUV collided with a fire truck. reported that a family of five, including two adults and three children, were traveling south on a highway as two firefighters in a Lake Harbour Volunteer Fire Department rig were coming off a side road.

"They collided in the intersection," Cpl. Eric Henry, with the Mississippi Highway Patrol, said. "It's a tragic event."

The boy's mother and his two younger siblings are in critical condition after being flown by helicopter to a hospital. His father, who was driving the SUV, was taken to the hospital but is expected to be OK. The boy has been identified as Higuillermo Montreo.

"The mother and the other two minors inside the vehicle had to be cut out of the vehicle," Cpl. Henry said. "None of the firefighters suffered life-threatening injuries, but they are injured and complaining of pain."

The crash is still under investigation. It is unknown if the fire truck was responding to an emergency call.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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