Fire, EMS vehicles and firefighters having a bad day!!!!!!
2014 April

This page may load slowly, lots of info.
Fire Truck
Lights will continuously flash when page completely loads.

Kolbs Home

View States Abbreviation

April 16, 2014

An Elmwood Park fire captain had a blood alcohol content 2½ times the legal limit when he crashed a firetruck while returning from a call over the weekend, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.

Russell Fenn IV, 37, was “visibly swaying” after the engine slammed into several utility poles on East 54th Street and Molnar Drive around 1:15 a.m. Sunday, Bergen County Police Department Capt. James Mullin told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this afternoon.

Another firefighter in the rig had to be taken to Hackensack University Medical Center with what appeared to be minor injuries, he said. The engine was taken out of service leaving borough firefighters one short in battling a blaze at a Route 46 hotel this afternoon.

County police charged Fenn, of Elmwood Park, with assault by auto, DWI and reckless driving, the captain said. He was issued summonses and released to a responsible adult.

Elmwood Park police requested the BCPD investigation that led to Fenn’s arrest to avoid any potential or perceived conflict of interest, Mullin said.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 16, 2014
Several injured when fire truck crashes into Monterey Park restaurant - CA

At least 14 people, including four firefighters, were injured Wednesday afternoon when two fire trucks collided in Monterey Park, sending one crashing into a restaurant, officials said.

No fatalities have been reported, but authorities are still determining the extent of all injuries, according to Monterey Park officials.

Few details were immediately available, but Monterey Park police Lt. Carrie Mazelin said the trucks collided about 3:12 p.m. at the intersection of Garfield and Emerson avenues.

At least one person inside the Lu Dumpling House restaurant was injured, Mazelin said.

Television footage showed at least three people sitting up on stretchers being wheeled to nearby Garfield Medical Center.

The Alhambra Fire Department said one of its trucks was involved, but that a Monterey Park fire truck crashed into the restaurant. Officials did not immediately have information on what the trucks were responding to or what caused them to collide.

Television footage also showed dozens of firefighters and police officers at the intersection by mid-afternoon, with triage tarps still in the street. The truck had crashed into a significant portion of the restaurant and was surrounded by rubble.

Streets in the area were closed until further notice, police said.
By Kate Mather /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 16, 2014
Driver charged with DUI after crashing into ambulance - KY

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A Louisville man is facing DUI charges after he crashed into an ambulance. Dennis F. Humphrey, Jr., 41, of the Germantown neighborhood, was arrested April 14.

The accident happened at the intersection of S. Preston Street and E. Breckinridge at 9:23 p.m. and involved an ambulance from Bullitt County.

The arrest report says Humphrey and the front seat passenger originally told officers that another person who they did not know was driving the car. Another passenger told police Humphrey was driving.

Officers said Humphrey smelled strongly of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet. Police also said Humphrey's injuries were consistent with a front end crash.

After treatment Humphrey was booked into Louisville Metro Corrections. He is charged of operating a motor vehicle under the influence an failure to maintain insurance.
By Charles Gazaway / WAVE

Please buckle your seat belt

April 16, 2014
Firefighter rescued after fall through floor at Stuyvesant Falls house fire - NY

Janet Shumsky

Janet Shumsky

Firefighters spent several hours battling an overnight fire at 913 County Route 25 in Stuyvesant. No one was home at the time, but one firefighter became trapped and needed rescue.

Stuyvesant Fire Department responded to the blaze around 12:30am Saturday, with mutual aid from Stuyvesant Falls, Niverville, Valatie, Chatham, Stockport and Stottville.

Officials say one firefighter needed to be rescued after he fell through a floor and became trapped. He was taken to Albany Med with non-life-threatening injuries.

It took firefighters around 5 hours to put out the blaze. Officials say the fire spread quickly throughout the home. The cause and origin are under investigation, but at this time fire officials don't believe it's suspicious.

The home is considered a complete loss.
By: Cadence Acquaviva /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 16, 2014
Fire at Red Carpet Inn in Elmwood Park - NJ

ELMWOOD PARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- A third alarm fire burned at the Red Carpet Inn motel in Elmwood Park, New Jersey.

Initial calls were for a 2nd alarm fire in the basement of the hotel on U.S. 46.

Fire officials report 3 minor injuries. One person jumped out of the window, but was not hurt.

The fire started at about 1:30 p.m. on the first floor, and spread to the second and third floors, forcing the hotel to be evacuated.

The hotel is on Route 46 near the intersection with the Garden State Parkway. The fire forced the temporary closure of eastbound Route 46.

The cause of the fire is not known at this time.
Eyewitness News

Scene Photos

Please buckle your seat belt

April 16, 2014
Trial boards set for 3 DC firefighters in Mills case - DC

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The three firefighters accused of failing to respond when 77-year-old Medric Cecil Mills collapsed right across the street from the firehouse now face charges of neglect.

The three were among five firefighters on duty at a Rhode Island Avenue station on January 25th when Mills collapsed from a heart attackt.

Their supervisor Lt. Kellene Davis was found guilty of six neglect of duty charges including failure to command, assist, and giving a false statement. But the 30-year-veteran is basically walking scott-free because she filed for and received retirement with benefits.

Now, according to our sister radio station WNEW, the firefighters under her watch are facing charges for failing to answer the cries of family members and witnesses after Mills, a long time city worker, collapsed right across the street from the Northeast fire house. He later died at the hospital.

Firefighter Garrett Murphy has been on administrative leave. The three remaining firefighters are George Martin, David Dennis, and rookie Remy Jones.

The men will face a trial board in three separate trials on May 12th, May 13th and May 15th.
Delia Goncalves, WUSA

Please buckle your seat belt

April 15, 2014
Pittsburgh firefighters union sues to end Act 47 status - PA

The union representing the city's firefighters has sued to overturn the decision to keep the city under financial oversight, saying Gov. Tom Corbett overstepped his authority when he made the announcement.

The lawsuit, filed Friday by the International Association of Firefighters Local No. 1 in Commonwealth Court, claims it was not the governor's call to make. Instead, the suit says, it was the authority of Secretary C. Alan Walker, head of the Department of Community and Economic Development that administers Act 47. The suit also names Mayor Bill Peduto, the city of Pittsburgh, Mr. Walker and DCED.

In a news conference last month, the governor and Mr. Peduto announced that the city would stay in the program. The determination means the city will remain under the tutelage of two state-appointed coordinators and will have to formulate another recovery plan, a sort of blueprint guiding the city's financial decisions. It also means the city's public safety unions will have less leverage as they head to the negotiating table this year because any proposal they submit will have to be within the confines of a recovery plan.

The suit also claims that there was no written correspondence related to the decision to remain in Act 47. But DCED on Monday produced a letter sent to the mayor and city council along with a DCED order denying the city's petition to get out of Act 47, signed by Mr. Walker.

Union president Joe King said he's trying to get to the bottom of what transpired.

"The No. 1 priority of the mayor is transparency," he said. "We want to know what went on."

The suit asks for a judge to void the decision to keep the city under Act 47 and to remand it to Mr. Walker.

Spokesmen for both Mr. Peduto and DCED declined comment because it is a pending legal matter. The governor's office could not be reached for immediate comment.
By Moriah Balingit / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Please buckle your seat belt

April 15, 2014
Phoenix Fire Department can't account for 850 keys - AZ

More than half of the keys that Phoenix Fire Department uses to access commercial buildings throughout the city have gone missing, officials said.

The keys open lock boxes attached to the exterior walls of retail businesses, office buildings, apartment complexes, banks and the like, and are commonly referred to as "Knox-Boxes."

Each lock box contains a key specific to the building that firefighters can access in the event of an after-hours emergency.

"That key will allow us to get in without having to break a window or take an ax to the door," said David Carter, deputy chief over the department's fire-prevention section.

Just one Knox-Box key falling into the wrong hands can give that person access to about 9,000 businesses, which is why the city is paying about $50,000 to re-key all 9,000 boxes throughout the city in the next 12 weeks.

Shelly Jamison, a department spokeswoman, said the department started with about 1,350 copies when the city began using the boxes in 1999. Of those copies, about 850, or 63 percent, have disappeared over the years, according to a recent internal audit.

Fire officials don't think any of the keys were stolen — just misplaced.

Jamison said crews do an equipment check of their vehicles at the beginning of every shift, which includes a check of the Knox-Box key.

The missing keys, Jamison said, could be from when personnel who were issued copies failed to return them when they retired or quit. Another possibility is that some apparatuses, such as ladder trucks and engines that had a key, could have been retired and their keys were not retrieved, she said.

Keith Wolski, director of engineering and manufacturing for Phoenix-based Knox, said that, since one key can access all the lock boxes in the city, the security of those businesses is only as good as the controls put in place to safeguard key copies. The Phoenix Fire Department, Wolski said, is one of Knox's largest customers.

But Jamison said the risk to businesses is minimal: only sworn staff were allowed access the copies and the keys are not obvious to any working outside the fire service.

"If you saw it lying on the ground, you'd have no idea what it was, so it's not your standard key," Jamison said, adding that nothing bad has ever occurred "because of a Knox key procured by a bad guy and used to get into a business."

Phoenix Fire is implementing new key controls: fewer key copies will be made, and logs will be kept to record whoever is assigned a key or checks out a key, Jamison said. A police report must now be filed if keys go missing from firetrucks.

Jamison said Knox-Box owners that have questions or concerns should contact the department's fire-prevention section at 602-262-6771.

Missing keys

The Phoenix Fire Department reported hundreds of missing keys that give fire crews access to commercial buildings, apartment complexes and subdivisions around the city. Officials advised anyone with questions or concerns about the losses to contact the department's Fire Prevention section at 602-262-6771.
D.S. Woodfill, The Republic |

Please buckle your seat belt

April 15, 2014
Ascension of Fire Department’s top brass appears political, some charge - NY

For the past three years, the Buffalo Fire Department was run by a trio that, for the first time in anyone’s memory, didn’t include a single person with enough civil-service rank to oversee a fire scene or a firehouse.

The department’s top brass included Deputy Commissioner Vincent R. Gugliuzza, who was plucked from the fire union and was Mayor Byron W. Brown’s largest campaign donor among city employees in the last election. The other deputy, Joseph J. Tomizzi, saw his career skyrocket but is now under investigation for allegedly abusing his authority to do criminal background checks.

Both hold the civil service rank of firefighter.

Their boss, Fire Commissioner Garnell W. Whitfield Jr., also never rose through the uniformed ranks as a lieutenant, captain or battalion chief. Whitfield is a former chief fire administrator who served as the department’s liaison with the state Civil Service and Pension systems. That is not a firehouse command position.

Some firefighters say this recent regime brought a level of politics not seen in the department in recent memory and created an atmosphere where some believe campaign contributions buy promotions.

They also describe a department often stuck in the past – using carbon paper and lacking enough modern computer equipment – and a brass so obsessed with a City Hall edict to cut overtime that it put firefighter safety in jeopardy.

In one case, they argue, a commissioner’s order prohibiting top officers from being called in for overtime meant firefighters and lower-ranking officers would do the work of more-qualified superiors. That order was viewed as so dangerous to firefighters that chiefs in the fire halls refused to enforce it.

The Brown administration did not directly address all of the issues raised, but spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge emailed a statement to The Buffalo News saying promotions are based on ability and performance.

In fact, the Brown administration over the years has indicated that prior administrative or other management experience can trump uniform rank. Whitfield was fire administrator for six years and a deputy commissioner for an additional six years before being named commissioner.

Gugliuzza, who was ousted two weeks ago, was a union vice president and president and has a master’s degree in criminal justice. Tomizzi ran the department’s arson investigation office before being named deputy.

“Rising through the ranks – lieutenant, captain, chief – is outstanding experience. However, there are equivalents,” said J. Gregory Love, a former firehouse chief in Detroit who later served as a deputy fire commissioner with Whitfield under former Mayor Anthony M. Masiello.

“Garnell’s ability comes from working in one of the busiest battalions when he was in the field, which helped him when he became administrator, which helped him when he became commissioner,” said Love, who is currently a consultant with the International City County Managers Association in Washington, D.C.

Still, there’s speculation that the lack of rank within the department brass was part of the reason Gugliuzza was forced out at the end of the month, abruptly ending his stint as a deputy commissioner. At the time, the administration cited “overtime and other issues,” but department overtime hours dropped over each of the past two years. Gugluizza’s successor, Kevin D. Peterson, is a captain who previously headed up the department’s hazardous materials unit. Peterson begins his new duties this week.

The Brown administration in the past has said some firefighter complaints stem from administration efforts to curb sick-time abuse and overtime used to boost pensions for firefighters nearing retirement. Officials also have said no one is expected to make campaign contributions to get a job or promotion.

Gugliuzza, though bitter over the way his ouster was handled nonetheless spoke highly of Whitfield. He said the department has tried to modernize, despite budgetary restrictions, and noted that the union contract allows those from lower ranks to fill in for higher officers, even though the directive banning officers from overtime was retracted,

There is no law requiring that top public safety brass come from the uniformed ranks. But lack of firehouse command rank is rare among city Fire Department brass.

Whitfield, who earns $142,116 a year to command the 700-member department, is the first fire commissioner anyone interviewed could remember who never held a uniformed officer position within a firehouse. And the recent top-brass trio of Whitfield, Gugliuzza and Tomizzi is the first any could remember with no firehouse leadership experience.

“The commissioner is a nice man,” said Daniel Cunningham, president of Buffalo Firefighters Association, Local 282. “A good family man. But he doesn’t have a lot of respect from some officers because he doesn’t have any official rank.”

If Whitfield, Tomizzi or Gugliuzza returned to a firehouse, they wouldn’t have the rank to command it, or even a fire scene, added a lieutenant, who, like many of the dozen firefighters who spoke with The News, did not want to be identified.

Still, there was no public outcry from firefighters when Whitfield was named commissioner, and Gugliuzza was named his deputy.

But firefighters did speak up when, on the same day it was announced Whitfield’s predecessor would not be reappointed, the Brown administration announced six new lieutenants – but bypassed two who scored higher on civil service exams. It marked the first the fire union leadership could recall the city invoking that option. The two were never told why they were skipped over, and both were promoted within the next two years.

In fire halls, some interpreted the move as City Hall’s not-so-subtle way of tying promotions to campaign contributions.

Some firefighters who never before contributed to a political campaign suddenly made donations. Of the six fire captains promoted to battalion chief in September 2013, five contributed to Brown’s campaign in 2012. The sixth captain did not contribute to Brown, but someone else in his household did, according to campaign reports.

Most firefighters, however, didn’t make political contributions. Just three of the 23 firefighters promoted to lieutenant last September gave to Brown. One of those promoted even gave $5,000 to Brown’s Democratic primary opponent, Bernard Tolbert.

Gugliuzza said that he doesn’t believe there is a connection between contributions and promotions. He gave $5,700 to Brown’s 2013 re-election campaign and was just ousted from his $129,273 a year post as deputy commissioner. Gugliuzza said the donation was a way of thanking Brown for his promotion; he didn’t donate to Brown prior to being appointed deputy in 2010.

The other promotion that raised eyebrows occurred on April 2010 when Tomizzi was named arson squad supervisor. He became a firefighter in 2000, and moved into the arson unit in 2004. With 10 years in the department and without having moved up the uniformed ranks, he was still considered relatively new when named unit supervisor.

In addition, some wondered if Tomizzi was abusing his authority to perform criminal background checks, including checking on some firefighters. City and county authorities are now investigating those claims which Tomizzi, through an attorney, has denied.

Regardless, because the union contract requires the arson unit supervisor have at least lieutenant rank, Tomizzi served as acting lieutenant until the city created a new position, arson squad commander, so Tomizzi could remain in charge, Cunningham said. That commander job didn’t require a civil service test, but also didn’t carry the extra money Tomizzi was getting as acting lieutenant, Gugliuzza said.

Gugliuzza said he later was talking with Deputy Mayor Steven M. Casey about some upcoming promotions when Casey brought up Tomizzi and asked, “What can we do to get Joe more money? Can we make him a deputy commissioner?” Gugliuzza said he was then asked to leave the room, while Casey spoke to Whitfield. Casey, however, denied ever having made such a remark.

The Brown administration statement said Tomizzi was promoted because of his strong management skills and the success of the arson squad he headed. The number of arsons dropped, and the percent of cases cleared by arrests increased from 2006 to 2013, the statement said.

In 2011, with 11 years on the force and firefighter rank, Tomizzi was named to his $120,778-a-year deputy commissioner post.

And with that appointment, a management trio that once consisted of a battalion chief, a lieutenant and a firefighter/fire administrator had been replaced by a firefighter/administrator and two firefighters.

Before the recent forced resignation of Deputy Commissioner Vincent R. Gugliuzza, the Buffalo Fire Department top brass included no one from the uniformed ranks. The department’s leaders were:

Garnell W. Whitfield Jr.

Title: Buffalo fire commissioner

2013 gross pay: $142,116

Civil service status: Firefighter; chief fire administrator

Original hiring date: September 1984

Age: 57

Whitfield worked as a firefighter for 14 years before moving into headquarters as a fire administrator in 1998. He was promoted to deputy commissioner in 2004 by former Mayor Anthony M. Masiello and to commissioner in 2010 by Mayor Byron W. Brown

Joseph J. Tomizzi

Title: Deputy fire commissioner

2013 gross pay: $120,778

Civil service status: Firefighter

Original hiring date: March 2000

Age: 48

Tomizzi was a firefighter for four years before being named an arson investigator in 2004 and head of the arson unit in 2010.

He was named deputy commissioner by Brown in 2011.

Vincent R. Gugliuzza

Title: deputy fire commissioner (resigned March 31, 2014)

2013 gross pay: $129,273

Civil service status: Firefighter

Original hiring date: April 1985

Age: 61

Gugliuzza became active in union activities about 10 years into his firefighting career, and was voted in 1999 to a three-year term as union president. He was serving as union vice president when appointed deputy commissioner in 2010 by Brown. Gugliuzza was forced to resign from the post March 31, and reverted back to a firefighter position in the department’s mask room. He plans to retire by the end of the year.

Peterson taking over

Buffalo’s newest deputy fire commissioner is Capt. Kevin D. Peterson, head of the department’s hazardous materials unit. Peterson replaces former deputy commissioner Vincent R. Gugliuzza, who was forced to resign at the end of March. Peterson is expected to start his new job this week.

Kevin D. Peterson

Title: deputy fire commissioner (as of April 1)

2013 salary: $121,597 (as captain)

Civil service status: Captain

Original hiring date: April 1987

Age: 47

Peterson is a 27-year veteran of the Fire Department, with the civil service rank of captain, who was serving as head of the department’s hazardous material unit before being appointed deputy commissioner April 1.
By Susan Schulman | News Staff Reporter /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 15, 2014
Hydroplaning ambulance flips on Highway 385 - TN

An ambulance flipped over from the eastbound lane on Highway 385 near Ridgeway Road.

According to Lt. Martin Boldt with Memphis Police Department, the ambulance hydroplaned off of the road

MEMPHIS, TN -(WMC-TV) - An ambulance flipped over from the eastbound lane on Highway 385 near Ridgeway Road. The accident happened early Monday morning.

According to Lt. Martin Boldt with Memphis Police Department, the ambulance hydroplaned off of the road. The accident was weather-related.

At least one paramedic was taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital in non-critical condition.

According to Lt. Boldt, the paramedics will be issued a ticket.
By Staff

Please buckle your seat belt

April 15, 2014
Vol. Ambulance Co. Threatened With Suspension - MD

The all-volunteer Emmitsburg Ambulance Co. No. 26 could be stripped of county funding and have its services suspended due to ongoing leadership woes and failure to meet minimum standards.

Eric Smothers, president of the Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, said he will ask the county commissioners to stop the company's operations and defund it. The company received $67,932 in county funds in the current fiscal year, according to a memo that County Attorney John Mathias sent Wednesday to the board.

The ambulance company has been operating on Code 2 status since it underwent a 90-day review of ongoing problems, Smothers said; that means that the company can dispatch only for secondary ambulance calls.

The 90-day review was extended to 120 days to allow the company more time to get operations in order, Smothers said. During that time, two paid county employees, who had been placed at the station to help improve operations, were moved to nearby Vigilant Hose Co. No. 6, Smothers said, so they would not be drawn into problems with the volunteer organization.

Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services Chief Denise Pouget said the two companies are close enough that "it doesn't affect the service to the citizens."

Personnel from the ambulance company did not return phone calls Monday.

"They've known this was coming for some time now," Smothers said.

Smothers detailed his executive committee's ongoing frustration in a three-page letter sent April 7 to County Manager Lori Depies. The company has failed to respond to a majority of dispatched calls since December, Smothers wrote. The company is also violating county codes that require each fire, rescue, ambulance or first responder company to have "10 members who live in the first due area or within five miles of the station," Smothers wrote.

The company also has no qualified operational officers, Smothers said. Priorities were more about fundraising than operations, Smothers also said in the letter.

In January, the company provided the association's executive committee with a list of active members, he wrote; that list was inaccurate and included people who had not completed emergency training, some Pennsylvania residents and at least one person who lived in Mount Airy and had a medical problem. Other addresses were wrong, he wrote.

"The board felt insulted that the ambulance company would not be truthful," Smothers wrote.

The committee also found that some members had not completed physicals, as required, Smothers said in a phone interview.

The association has offered help along the way, including assistance from two chiefs that run successful companies, but those offers were ignored, Smothers wrote.

"It's like they don't want to help themselves when people tell them what they should do," he said in the interview.

This is not the first time the company has been under the association's scrutiny.

According to Smothers' letter, similar problems cropped up as far back as 1998. In 2001, an investigative panel wrote that the company lacked "basic management skills which are essential to run efficient operations," he wrote.

If the ambulance company is suspended, it can make a written request for a hearing during which it would have the burden of establishing that it meets minimum standards. According to Mathias' memo, if the commissioners choose to defund the company, commissioners would have to determine whether to seek the recovery of county-allocated money during the suspension. Among other things, commissioners would also need to figure out whether the company should receive ambulance transport fees during the time it failed to meet minimum response standards.

"I think the citizens of Emmitsburg will be better off if the company gets defunded," Smothers said. "The service would be better."

Please buckle your seat belt

April 15, 2014
Home Lucasville woman arrested for theft of fire dept. funds - OH

WSAZ-TV posted this video report from the fire station:

A Lucasville woman is facing charges of theft of money from a fire department. Emily Campbell, 27, of Kennision Road, is charged with one count of felony theft, a felony of the fourth degree, after the chief of the Valley Township Fire Department told the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office on March 26 that they were missing several thousand dollars from an account they had established.

A report was taken and given to a detective for a follow up. During the ongoing investigation detectives learned of a possible suspect, the treasurer of the account who was also a member of the fire department.

Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini said the suspect was contacted and came into the office for an interview which resulted in charges being presented to the Scioto County grand jury. An indictment warrant was filed on Friday (April 11), which resulted in the suspect being arrested on Saturday (April 12).

The Valley Township fire department stated that all of the stolen money was from a fundraising account. They told detectives they had been working hard to raise money to build a new fire department and none of the money was from the tax levy. Detectives said no tax money was taken in the alleged theft.

Campbell is currently being held in the Scioto County Jail without bond. Anyone with any information concerning the theft is being requested to contact Detective Jodi Conkel at 351-1091. All calls will remain anonymous.

Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.
By Frank Lewis /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 15, 2014
CPR By Colleagues Saves Retired Conn. Firefighter - CT

FARMINGTON -- There's really no good place to have your heart stop beating, but Ed Lescoe is grateful nonetheless than when his stopped Friday night in a buffet line at the Farmington Gardens banquet facility, he was surrounded by people who knew what to do.

The occasion was a party to honor retiring Farmington Fire Chief Tim Vibert. The room was full of emergency medical technicians, paramedics, firefighters and police officers.

"I'm in the buffet line. I started feeling a little light-headed, a little faint," Lescoe recalled Monday night from his room at the University of Connecticut Health Center. "So I put my hand out just to steady myself on my wife Kathy's shoulder. That's the last thing I remember."

"He was right behind me," said Lescoe's daughter, Mary-Ellen Harper, who is Farmington's director of fire and rescue services. "My husband was next to him. My mother was there, too."

Harper said at first she thought that her father had stumbled. "I thought he just tripped, so we all reached out to steady him. His eyes closed and he just crumbled and we gently laid him on the ground."

Harper checked to see if her father was breathing while her husband, Tom Harper, who is a paramedic, checked for a pulse.

"We couldn't find either," she said.

Tom Harper began performing CPR. Mary-Ellen Harper said that a fire chief stepped forward and told her to let the others take care of her dad. Farmington Police Chief Paul Melanson took over CPR from Tom Harper.

Mary-Ellen Harper said that she took her mother and children to the other side of the room. "Mary Grace Reed sat down with my mom and the kids and she just kept talking to them," Harper said. Reed is the chairwoman of Farmington's board of education.

Harper and her husband stepped into another room.

"It was one of those situations where we had too much information," she said. "Reality just set in. I know that you have to be clinically dead for somebody to be doing CPR on you."

At the same time, the University of Connecticut paramedics on duty that night, who happened to be having dinner at the event, went to their truck to grab their gear, which included a defibrillator.

As she and her husband began to prepare for the worst, one of the firefighters stepped into the room and said, "He's talking."

Harper went to her father, who was being prepared for transport to the UConn Health Center.

"He was talking and he was saying he was light-headed and he was hungry because he didn't have his dinner yet," Harper recalled.

On Monday, Lescoe said he did not suffer a heart attack, but instead experienced an arrhythmia, which is an abnormal heart rhythm. Doctors inserted an implantable cardioverter defibrillator to prevent another problem.

Lescoe, a retired Bloomfield firefighter and former Hartford Times photographer, said he's a lucky man. "If it happened anywhere else, I probably wouldn't be here to talk about it," he said. "People ought to learn how to use and know where the closest automatic external defibrillator is."

Harper said that her father was the third person this month to be saved by CPR in Farmington.

"I champion the chain of survival -- the links needed to make up the chain to give someone the best chance of survival," she said.

They include early recognition of the medical emergency, an immediate call to 911, early CPR and early defibrillation and early access to advanced medical care.

"If you have all of these, the better your chance of surviving," she said.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 15, 2014
San Antonio fire trucks collide, two firefighters taken to hospital - TX

Emergency personnel work the scene of an vehicle accident involving two San Antonio Fire Department vehicles at the 2200 block of South Zarzamora, Monday, April 14, 2014. A male was transported from the scene by EMS.
(Photo By Jerry Lara/San Antonio Express-News )

A victim is transported to an EMS unit at the scene of an vehicle accident involving two San Antonio Fire Department vehicles at the 2200 block of South Zarzamora, Monday, April 14, 2014.
(Photo By Jerry Lara/San Antonio Express-News )

SAN ANTONIO — Two fire trucks collided Monday morning while responding to a fire on the West Side and two firefighters were taken to the hospital.

The crash occurred in the 2200 block of S. Zarzamora near U.S. 90 at around 11:05 a.m. and the two firefighters were not seriously injured but were taken to the hospital for cautionary reasons, said SAFD Fire Chief Charles Hood.

“We are very, very happy there weren't more serious injuries,” Hood said.

Engine 33 was coming down an exit ramp when it collided with Ladder 8 while responding to a call for a structure fire and possible electrocution, he said.

All firefighters in the vehicle were wearing a seat belt.

“If they were not, we probably would have somebody in the street, unfortunately,” he said.

Hood said it is unclear if rainy weather conditions caused the collision or if the crash was the result of equipment or an operating error.

The fire department will tow the vehicles back to a station to run inspections to determine the cause of the collision and assess damages. Two reserve firefighters will be called in for the injured.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 15, 2014
Lessons Learned:
Miami-Dade firefighter shares viral video of girl's near drowning to save lives - FL

It took about a minute for two-year-old Alayna Ishmael to leave a playground at a mall, walk out of the mall and fall into a decorative water fountain last year.

Baby drowning in fountain pool caught on camera

It took seconds for two-year-old Alayna Ishmael to walk away from a play ground at the mall, walk out of the mall and find an outdoor decorative water fountain to play with.

The game would nearly kill her. A surveillance video captured her climbing up to the edge and falling inside. She struggled in the water for about 2 minutes until a boy spotted her. A woman pulled her out alive.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesman Arnold Piedrahita shared the viral video Monday in his personal Facebook. In the past month, five children under the age of three have drowned in Miami-Dade and Broward, he said.

"If me posting this video scares someone enough to install a pool gate then my job is done," Piedrahita posted on Facebook.

Kids can drown in a tub. And in Florida, the summer heat means more drowning deaths in backyard pools. Piedrahita is one of many concerned parents who have shared the surveillance video since it became public last year.

The Augusta Chronicle reported Alayna's mom Ashley Ishmael told authorities that she was looking for her daughter in stores at Augusta Mall in Georgia when the girl nearly drowned outside Aug. 28, 2013.

"I was playing with her and then she had gotten up into the top part of the slide playing with two or three other kids," she told a WRDW reporter. "And next thing I know she was gone."

After a nurse who was nearby revived Alayna, rescue took her to Georgia Regents Medical Center in critical but stable condition. Alayna was on a breathing tube at the Children's Hospital of Georgia and was later taken to the Children Hospital of Atlanta where she was on a feeding tube.

When she was released about two months later, she was bound to a wheelchair. On Facebook, a page called Alayna's Angels reports on the needs of Alayna and her mom.

Piedrahita said drowning is the main cause of death of children under the age of two in Florida. He recommends parents get a pool fence, and only unlock it when they are "physically in the pool."

Piedrahita said that in the majority of child drownings adults were nearby.

"I ran on a 13 month old boy who drowned in the family pool with 11 adults home at [the] time," Piedrahita posted. "Everyone thought someone was watching the baby."
Author: Andrea Torres, Reporter/Producer

Please buckle your seat belt

April 15, 2014
Man charged for firing gun at firefighters battling blaze - TX

KYLE, Texas (KXAN) — A man was arrested Monday after firing at firefighters responding to a nearby blaze, Kyle police said.

Kyle firefighters responded to a shed fire at 390 Buggy Whip Drive in the Sunset Ridge Trailer Park about 1 a.m. After putting out the flames, the firefighters heard at least one gunshot and then a bullet impact a wall behind them.

Police officers arrived on scene and determined the shot had come from a home in the vicinity.

During their investigation, officers found Jason Montalvo, 18, asleep in his bed with a rifle by his side. After waking Montalvo, he became combative and refused commands to surrender his firearm.

Kyle police used a stun gun to subdue Montalvo and took him into custody.

He was booked into the Hays County Jail on assault on a public servant charges in addition to an outstanding warrant in Travis County for marijuana possession.
By Eric Janzen / KXAN

Please buckle your seat belt

April 14, 2014
Crews Rescue Victim from Third Floor - WI

Two people were injured in a Racine house fire Sunday afternoon.

Racine firefighters were sent to a three-story home in the 2600 block of Taylor Ave. at 2:45 p.m., according to the Racine Fire Department. Heavy smoke was billowing out of the third floor when rescue crews forced their way into a second-story apartment.

Climbing to the third floor, they discovered a victim, who was taken to a local hospital. A firefighter suffered a minor injury in the blaze.

Damage was estimated at $100,000.
Meg Jones / Milwaukee Journal Sentine

Please buckle your seat belt

April 14, 2014
Flames injure one firefighter in Dauphin County - PA

A huge house fire in Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County on Sunday evening injured one firefighter. It broke out on the 3500 block of Elmerton Avenue just after 6 p.m.

The firefighter is being treated for minor burns.

The house is a total loss with about $100,000 in damage. According to the fire marshal, the house was being remodeled and no one was living inside, although the owner stopped by to check on the progress. When he opened the front door, flames shot out and burned him, but he refused treatment.

The fire had already ripped through the home when fire crews arrived and flames started again at the chimney.

“Progress Fire Company was the first on the scene. They had a well-involved structure to the point where the second floor had already collapsed into the first floor,” says George Drees, Susquehanna Township Fire Marshal.

There’s no word on the cause yet and the damage was too extensive for fire officials to narrow down an area of origin on Sunday night.
by Jaime Garland Anchor /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 14, 2014

A barn caught fire on Oak Grove Road north of Barron Road in Howell Township after 4 p.m. today. Firefighters from the Howell Area Fire Department, Brighton Area Fire Department and Fowlerville Fire Department as well as Livingston County EMS personnel responded to the scene.

The road was blocked off while firefighters battled the blaze. Large amounts of black smoke and flames came from the roof of the building.

It is unknown if anyone was inside. Two firefighters were injured while fighting the fire, one transported by helicopter to the hospital.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 14, 2014
Union Files Grievance Over Door Opener Use - NY

LOCKPORT -- The City of Lockport and its firefighters' union, which have had a prickly relationship for months, now are at odds over who should be able to use garage door openers to let the trucks in and out.

The union has filed a grievance over the installation of garage door openers in all Fire Department vehicles, claiming that the rules surrounding the openers violate their contract.

The city went to court Friday to seek a ruling that the Lockport Professional Fire Fighters Association's rejected grievance can't be taken to state arbitration.

The court paperwork the city filed over the signature of Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey sought to paint as ridiculous the dispute over how and by whom the overhead doors to the firehouse are to be opened.

"It is utterly incomprehensible to the reasonable taxpayer and the city as to why Local 963 has chosen to waste valuable city resources and thousands of dollars in potential arbitration fees, resources and time in defending this," the mayor wrote.

But the latest squabble may be a symptom of the continuing poor relations between the city and the union.

"At this point, nothing's changed from the previous mayor," union President Kevin W. Pratt said. "We're still waiting for a call from them to go back to the bargaining table."

All five city union contracts ran out at the end of 2012, and only the police union has reached a new agreement with the city.

Deputy Corporation Counsel David E. Blackley, who handles the city's labor litigation, is using the same tactic he used in the lawsuit over the union's objections to changes the city made in eligibility rules for promotion to fire chief, a case that was heard but not settled by Kloch on Thursday.

The tactic is asking a judge to bar the union from referring the matter to the state Public Employment Relations Board.

Pratt said, "This appeal is a new thing to Dave Blackley. He's found it a good way to avoid the inevitable, which is going back to the bargaining table."

The job of opening the overhead doors at the firehouse to let the vehicles in and out used to belong to the Fire Department's dispatchers. But in May 2010, the city transferred those dispatching duties to the Police Department and installed a remote-control garage door opener at the police desk. Firefighters could still open the doors themselves with a button on the wall inside the firehouse.

In December, the city took the step of placing garage door openers inside all fire vehicles, like the ones many drivers have inside their cars. Fire Chief Thomas J. Passuite issued official guidelines detailing use.

"It has to do with breaking the contract," Pratt said. He said the union objects to taking work away from the police. "It's their work, and we don't think it comes back to us," he said.

He said the rules on door opener use and disciplinary provisions improperly supplement the union's agreement with the city dating back to the transfer of dispatch work to the police.

McCaffrey's document said, "Essentially, Local 963 is objecting to the option, provided for and installed at city expense, of using one of the fingers of a firefighter to press down on a button located on the remote control device within the cab of every fire apparatus in order to open the overhead doors of the Fire Department, all for the convenience of firefighters."
Thomas Prohaska / The Buffalo News, N.Y.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 14, 2014
More Drugs Stolen From Virginia Beach EMS - VA

VIRGINIA BEACH -- A month after medications were stolen from ambulances at two rescue stations, more drugs have been taken from Emergency Medical Services -- this time from a locker at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital.

A hospital pharmacy technician was replenishing the boxes in the EMS room at the hospital last week when she noticed one of them was open and narcotics were missing, according to a search warrant filed in Circuit Court. Morphine, Valium and Ativan were among the drugs taken, according to the document.

To access the lockers, an EMS member must get a key from an on-duty emergency room nurse, who has to log into a secure computer system to get it, according to the search warrant.

The EMS room is where emergency responders exchange used drug boxes for new ones.

Medications were stolen in five break-ins at the General Booth rescue station and the Courthouse station on Princess Anne Road over a week in March. The boxes, stored in locked cabinets, are used in emergency vehicles throughout the region.

Crews have increased security procedures since the break-ins, including more frequent equipment checks, EMS spokesman Ed Brazle said.

EMS conducted an audit last week to ensure no other drugs were stolen. No break-ins were discovered, but some vials needed further investigation because it wasn't immediately clear whether they had been tampered with, Brazle said.

"We're looking at every angle," he said.
Margaret Matray / Source: The Virginian-Pilot

Please buckle your seat belt

April 14, 2014
Fire truck out for repairs after collision with car - MO

A ladder truck in Missouri was damaged Saturday afternoon after a collision with a car.

The Columbia Fire Department rig was returning from a call, according to

The truck was traveling west on Hinkson Avenue when it came to a four-way stop at the intersection of North William Street. As the truck was turning left into the intersection, a silver Volkswagen Jetta, which was heading north, struck it on the side.

It was unclear whether the Jetta stopped at the stop sign, said Patrol Officer Dan Wright, who is investigating the crash.

The three firefighters were all wearing seatbelts and not injured, reported.

Division Chief Jerry Jenkins told the truck had “significant damage” to its side and a reserve truck will be used until it is repaired.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 14, 2014
Firefighters battle brush fire in Salem County - NJ

SALEM COUNTY, N.J. - April 13, 2014 (WPVI) -- Several firefighters suffered heat exhaustion as they battled a brush fire in New Jersey Sunday.

The flames also destroyed two emergency vehicles near Grieves Parkway and South Front Street in Salem City.

Officials say more than 20 acres of wetlands have been burned.

Experts say the tall thin grass called Phragmites can burn ferociously.

"It spread across the Phragmites toward an apartment complex on Oak Street," said John Turner, Salem County Fire Marshal. "The fire consumed approximately 20 to 25 acres unofficially."

Wind carried embers that ignited stacked firewood in a neighboring yard. Firefights had to douse the flames multiple times.

"This is the third time today," said Winfield Divon Conaway.

The steadily moving main blaze destroyed two fire trucks called Brush Trucks; the first got stuck in the mud.

"The second brush truck went in to pull out the first brush truck but also got stuck as the fire was progressing. They had to evacuate; bottom line we lost two brush trucks out of Salem County," said Turner.

An unofficial estimate to replace those two trucks about $200,000.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation
Action News

Please buckle your seat belt

April 12, 2014
Hydrant Painting Poses Risk to San Fran Crews - CA

They come in the middle of the night, sneaky and silent. They're up to no good, and their mischief puts public safety at risk and costs taxpayers thousands of dollars.

They paint fire hydrants. Artists to some, vandals to others, they've taken it upon themselves to spray-paint dozens of hydrants around the city. And while the average resident may see the silver, neon green and red hydrants as guerrilla art, officials say the actions are causing a dangerous problem.

San Francisco has two separate water systems: its domestic water system that we all drink from and its emergency supply, a high-pressure system used exclusively for firefighting, built after the 1906 earthquake and fire leveled much of the city.

There are also two types of hydrants. The approximately 1,600 in the emergency system pump bay water and are larger and sturdier, with color-coded tops. There are also 9,800 smaller low-pressure hydrants. Both types have identification numbers and tags stamped and painted on them to give firefighters information about water pressure, the water main the hydrant is connected to, and the distance to a shutoff valve.

When a fire breaks out or a car runs into a hydrant, first responders can lose precious time if that information isn't immediately available because someone painted over it, said Bill Gunn, a supervisor of the emergency water supply system unit at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

It also costs the city about $4,000 each to repair the hydrants -- or about $140,000 over recent months, he said, when 35 to 40 have been painted.

"It's a big life safety issue. ... It's hindering the operations of the Fire Department," he said. "If a firefighter rolls up and there is no information, they have to look at another hydrant or call it in. That's time wasted. and it's a lot of money."

Expensive operation

It's expensive because it's not as simple as just painting over the hydrant, Gunn said. To fix the smaller hydrants, SFPUC workers must shut off the water main, remove the hydrant and bring it back to their shop, where it is sanded down, restamped and repainted. A substitute hydrant is put in its place while the work is completed.

Sledgehammer work

The emergency-system hydrants are too big and control too much pressure to be removed, so the work must be done in place. Sometimes crews have to use a sledgehammer to get the color-coded caps off because the vandals' paint job causes them to stick.

A stuck cap also poses a safety problem, said fire Lt. Mindy Talmadge, if the SFPUC is unable to fix it before an emergency occurs.

"When that paint dries, it can make it difficult to get the caps off the outlet or open the hydrant gate, and that all delays us," she said. "We will get it off -- if we have to bust it we will, but it definitely delays our operation."

Gunn said many hydrants have been painted around Dolores Park and in the Castro, but they've also showed up in Bernal Heights, Chinatown, Pacific Heights and, last week, some in the Financial District.

'Big advocate'

Supervisor Scott Wiener, whose district has been hardest hit, said he's a "big advocate" for public art and would like to see whoever is painting the hydrants channel the energy into city-approved projects. He recently proposed legislation that would require utilities such as AT&T to let murals be placed on utility boxes.

"I understand people are looking to do interesting artwork and make neighborhoods more beautiful, which is great except you need to work with the city if you are going to do that," he said.

The good news, said Talmadge: Most fire crews are "pretty familiar with the hydrants in their districts," so no public safety issues have come up.

"However, people who work in different areas aren't as familiar, and we don't memorize the water pressure or where the shutoff valves are," she said. "Everything about the hydrant and the numbers and arrows means something. It's all stuff we need to know when we get there."

'Public safety problem'

Wiener said it's possible that the hydrant painter or painters have no clue of the harm they are causing.

"I think the most important thing for the public to understand is that doing this may seem like a good idea," he said, "but it creates a significant public safety problem, and whoever is doing it needs to stop."

Please buckle your seat belt

April 12, 2014

A Hanover firefighter is in the hospital after he was injured battling a house fire Friday afternoon.

Officials told CBS 6 that crews were dispatched to the 9300 block of Studley Plantation Drive around 1:40 p.m.

When crews arrived on the scene, they found heavy fire coming from the brick home. While firefighters were battling the blaze, hundreds of rounds of ammunition inside the home detonated.

One firefighter suffered burns to his back and was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The house was a total loss. No one inside the home was injured.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 12, 2014
Ambulance burns at Mansfield hospital - OH

Ambulance catches fire outside hospital
IAFF Local 266

Mansfield Ambulance catches fire
Brittany Schock

According to Assistant Chief Jim Bishop with the Mansfield Fire Department, the vehicle was parked in front of OhioHealth MedCentral at the Wound Care area, on the east side of the hospital.

The drivers of the ambulance had gone inside the hospital to pick up a patient and the ambulance vehicle was turned off when the fire started. The drivers were in the cafeteria when they were advised their ambulance was on fire.

“A couple was parked next to (the ambulance) and when they got out of their vehicle they looked in and saw the fire,” said Bishop.
Brittany Schock,

Please buckle your seat belt

April 11, 2014
For BMW at East Boston fire scene, blocking hydrant proves costly - MA

Someone had parked a BMW coupe in front of the hydrant near the blaze

At the most dangerous point during what became an eight-alarm fire in East Boston Wednesday night, Boston firefighters scrambling to get water to their colleagues ran into a barrier: Someone had parked a BMW coupe in front of the hydrant near the blaze.

So they punched out the windows, ran a 4-inch hose from the hydrant through the driver’s side window, through the passenger’s side window, and out to an engine waiting to pump water to firefighters directly engaged in quelling a powerful fire threatening the neighborhood.

“The general reaction is that some people find humor in it,’’ said Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald. “But it’s really a serious situation. That water supply is the lifeblood of the engine company. The engine carries 750 gallons – and that could be gone in just two minutes. With that number of alarms, every hydrant is important.’’

“There is really nothing funny about it,” he added.

At the fire scene, MacDonald said, firefighters noticed that the way the hose was snaked through the car created a major kink, slowing down the volume of water flowing to fight the fire that eventually displaced an estimated 30 people.

A small platoon of firefighters circled the two-door, lifted it slightly and moved it about a foot away from where the driver had originally parked it, MacDonald said.

“I’ve seen that done many times,’’ MacDonald said of the “lift and slide” maneuver firefighters used. “It was a small car, and you get a bunch of firefighters there with one purpose. … They slide it over a little bit and the water obviously flowed a lot better.’’

Once the firefighters deployed the hose through the passenger cabin, the car and its unusual passengers stayed in place for the next several hours until firefighters were released from the scene, MacDonald said.

MacDonald said firefighters don’t go out of their way to damage property as they were forced to do by the driver of the BMW. He said they rarely encounter someone parked in front of a hydrant at a fire scene, perhaps a handful of times every year.

The goal, he added, is to protect the people’s lives and they need water to do just that.

“People always think it will never happen to me. But fire is so unpredictable, you just never know when that hydrant is needed,’’ MacDonald said.

Boston police said an officer ticketed the vehicle last night. The fine for such a violation is $100.

This morning, the BMW is no longer is parked next to the hydrant.

“It’s similar to those who park in a handicapped spot,’’ MacDonald said. “It’s just something you don’t do.’’
By John R. Ellement | GLOBE STAFF

Please buckle your seat belt

April 11, 2014
Fairview fire chief who uttered anti-Semitic slur to retire - NY

Fairview Fire Chief Anthony LoGiudice announced his retirement Thursday at the Fairview Fire commission meeting.
(Photo: David McKay Wilson)

GREENBURGH – Fairview Fire Chief Anthony LoGiudice on Thursday night announced his retirement, three weeks after Tax Watch reported on the anti-Semitic remarks about town Supervisor Paul Feiner attributed to him in an age-discrimination lawsuit.

Disclosure of the remarks sparked rebuke from the Anti-Defamation League, local rabbis and Greenburgh citizens. LoGiudice apologized for the remarks on March 28.

LoGiudice announced his upcoming departure at the end of a rancorous meeting of the Fairview Fire Commission, held in the fire station on Rosemount Avenue.

"I will be retiring at the end of the year," he said.

LoGiudice declined to say why he was ending his firefighting career. But he said his decision was not related to the criticism that rained down on him after his vulgar remarks about Feiner were made public.

"Not at all," he said.

LoGiudice's announcement means that one of the department's deputy chiefs will be elevated to chief in the coming months. Commission Chairwoman Vikki Simmons said the board would be able to train LoGiudice's successor, without promoting a deputy chief to executive deputy chief, has had been proposed.

Several residents on Thursday night urged the panel to keep that job open, saying that Fairview taxpayers couldn't afford another supervisory position in the fire department.

They also called on the department to consider consolidation with the Hartsdale Fire Department, another one of the three paid departments that serve an estimated 73 percent of the town's unincorporated area.

"This town is bleeding money," said Shawn Thomas. "People can't take these taxes anymore."

References to LoGiudice's anti-Semitic remarks appeared in a federal age discrimination lawsuit, filed in 2012 by David Hecht, 45, who has charged that the district passed him over for a job because of his age. Fairview Deputy Chief John Malone testified that LoGiudice told him that he didn't want Fairview spending $7,000 on training Hecht because he would retire before qualifying for a pension after 20 years.

Hecht, a Fairview volunteer who still wants to join the department, said change will be good for the department.

"Morale there is terrible now," he said.

But others were disappointed that LoGiudice decided to retire. Greenburgh activist Tom Bock said the town was losing the services of "a good man."

"He was a very well-qualified man, and he is getting short-changed for political expediency," Bock said. "The town is losing a good man."
David McKay Wilson /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 11, 2014
Jacksonville's SAFER Grant in Jeopardy Due to Discrimination - FL

The federal government is reviewing a $5.9 million grant to hire Jacksonville firefighters because of discrimination claims against the fire department, letters the city released Thursday show.

"It has come to the attention of the department that a number of complaints and allegations of illegal discrimination have been made against JFRD regarding both its hiring and promotion practices," a Department of Homeland Security administrator wrote to General Counsel Cindy Laquidara last month.

The city isn't worried, a spokesman said.

"We are comfortable that, as the review concludes, the City will move forward under the intent of the program," said the spokesman, David DeCamp.

It's not clear how long the review will last.

Homeland Security officials asked the city to deliver 16 pieces of information, including rosters of firefighters and "a position statement on the subject matter" on the review, by late May. The city is putting together the information, DeCamp said.

When city officials announced the grant in January, they said it would allow the city to hire 67 firefighters.

DeCamp said the grant money remains "part of our financial plans" for next year's budget, which Mayor Alvin Brown will propose in July.

The federal review is touching on a time-worn topic in the fire department.

The Justice Department sued the city in 2012, saying there had been a "pattern or practice of employment discrimination" within the department. That case is still pending, and Homeland Security officials noted another federal court fight started in 2013.

The city has denied discriminating, and has consistently agreed to follow federal policies as it has received a series of earlier grants.

Despite that, the Homeland Security letter said, "we have been alerted to actual findings discussing JFRD's conduct with respect to its nondiscrimination obligations."

The letter quoted a finding from a 1995 federal court case that the "city has a history of discriminating against African-Americans in the fire department" and a 2006 report by the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission of "[f]ar too many instances of unfair or alleged discriminatory treatment."

Please buckle your seat belt

April 11, 2014
Lessons Learned:
NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Investigation: Indiana Firefighter Killed in Tanker Crash

Photo of the crashed tanker at the incident scene.
(Photo courtesy of the police department)

On November 11, 2012, a 26-year-old male volunteer fire fighter (the Victim) was killed when the tanker he was driving crashed en-route to a grass fire.

The Victim drove his personal vehicle to the fire department from his residence upon hearing his department dispatched to the scene of a grass fire. Upon arriving at the department, approximately seven minutes after other fire department members responded, he readied Tanker 64 to respond. He asked other members if they wanted to go with him but they declined saying enough resources were already en route.

He boarded the tanker and left the station with lights and siren activated. The apparatus crashed approximately five miles from the department.

The Victim was ejected and suffered fatal injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Read the NIOSH Report / NIOSH

Please buckle your seat belt

April 11, 2014
Los Angeles Firefighters Battle a Reseda House Blaze; Multiple Injuries - CA

RESEDA - The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) responded to a fierce structure fire at 17000 block of W Vanowen Street on April 10, 2014 that injured multiple people.

Firefighters received several 9-1-1 calls starting at 12:46 PM for a Structure Fire with a person possibly trapped inside. The LAFD arrived to a one-story home with garage converted to living quarters in the rear, both well involved in fire, and the flames were rapidly spread to a neighboring home and garage. An aggressive fire attack ensued.

Over 75 firefighters, under the command of Battalion Chief Jeffrey Elder, fully extinguished the stubborn flames in one hour and 16 minutes.

An 18 year-old female was heroically rescued out the window by LAPD Officers and neighbors. She was brought to awaiting Firefighter/Paramedics who rapidly treated and transported her to a local hospital in fair condition. A 54 year-old female neighbor suffered minor smoke inhalation and was transported in fair condition. One Firefighter suffered minor burns through his glove to his hand during the fire-fight, and was transported in fair condition. Three Law Enforcement Officers were medically evaluated for minor injuries, declined transport, and were left in the care of LAPD Officers. Firefighters also rescued a litter of six kittens trapped inside the burning home, and they are in good health. Lastly, one pet bird was found dead inside. Animal control was requested for assistance.

A systematic search of the homes proved no others were injured or trapped inside.

Firefighters were met by multiple challenges:

•Reports of extreme storage inside some residences, which can create complications to occupants attempting to escape and for firefighters attempting to rescue residents.
•Firefighters encountered live power lines that burned through and dropped to the ground creating a life threatening hazard.
•High temperatures created physical challenges to emergency personnel.
•Wind gusts rapidly spread the flames.

The fire cause remains under active investigation by the LAFD Arson Section, and the estimated dollar loss is being tabulated.
Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman / Los Angeles Fire Department

Please buckle your seat belt

April 11, 2014
Boston EMT Recalls Crash Victim: 'She Was With Me Until the End' - MA

Boston Emergency Medical Services EMTs Richard Berrio and Lisa Hines should have been asleep the afternoon of Nov. 26, having just worked their regular 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift. But two days before Thanksgiving, EMS had openings to fill, so they agreed to work overtime. The 2 p.m. radio report of a pedestrian struck on Olney Street in Dorchester was a call they'll never forget. In an interview with the Herald's Laurel J. Sweet, an emotional Berrio recalled the death of 7-year-old Brianna Rosales, who had been walking home from school with her mother, Grendalee Alvarado, who was critically injured in the crash that was blamed on a drunken driver.

"I knew it was bad. I mean, I could tell. There was a guy standing on the corner of Olney Street and he was pointing and crying. I noticed a hydrant knocked out and a car up on the lawn -- an SUV. It was actually eerily quiet. There were people just praying out in the street and crying. School had just let out.

"When we pulled up, I grabbed my gear and went to Brianna. There was a fence and a wall that this truck went over so I climbed up over that. There was no movement. I took out my scissors, I cut off her backpack. You know, it's the little things I remember, like how her school papers were blowing in the wind."

Berrio, 41, credited two Boston firefighters with helping him restore the mortally wounded child's breathing.

"I looked in the firefighters' eyes and they seemed to be thinking, 'We got her back, she's going to make it.' Time was critical. We got to (Boston Medical Center) and went into the trauma room. I stayed with her ... I knew these injuries were life-threatening."

Doctors went to work on Brianna as Berrio performed CPR, but she slipped away, he recalled through tears.

"I looked at her and held her hand and said a little prayer. I haven't seen everything, but I've seen a lot, and something about this little girl stuck with me and probably will for the rest of my life. Being a father of four children, I was just glad that I could be there with her. She was just a little girl, you know? She was 7. She was with me until the end and I was with her.

"I didn't want to let go. I just didn't want her mother to think her child was alone -- that somebody was there who cared."

Please buckle your seat belt

April 11, 2014
Fire burns several homes on Staten Island - NY

WOODROW (WABC) -- Flames raced through multiple homes in the Woodrow section of Staten Island, but all residents escaped thanks to an off-duty firefighter and sanitation workers.

The fire broke out in one home on 106 Pitney Avenue around 7:30 Friday morning and quickly spread.

The flames engulfed four townhomes before firefighters got the upper hand.

They had the fire knocked down shortly before 8:30 a.m.

Lisa Colagrossi reports that an off duty FDNY firefighter and 2 sanitation workers awoke neighbors to get them out of burning town homes.

"The quick actions of Sanitation Workers Jay Visone and August Cocuzza, assigned to Staten Island District 3, saved lives today by knocking on doors, ringing door bells, and alerting local residents of a three-alarm fire on their block," Sanitation Commissioner Garcia said in a written statement. "These (workers) are the embodiment of dedicated public servants -- taking quick action in time of need and still completing their regular collection routes. These workers embody the Sanitation Department's dedication to public health and safety in the City."

A neighbor, off-duty firefighter Leonard Tyrell, called dispatch as he alerted residents, officials said.

Seven firefighters suffered minor injuries, but no residents were hurt.

The townhouses appeared to be destroyed.

Staten Island House Fire Photos

Please buckle your seat belt

April 11, 2014
Fire chief proposes revising ambulance deployment, removing truck, engine in Shaw - DC

The District’s fire chief faced stiff opposition Friday to a surprise proposal to remove the fire engine and firetruck from the only station in Northwest Washington’s Shaw neighborhood, which he said was necessary to increase the number of ambulances citywide during peak call times.

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson called the idea — mentioned in the last line of a 59-page document submitted to the Public Safety Committee as a “resolution with a little bomb in it.”

At a public hearing, Mendelson criticized Chief Kenneth B. Ellerbe for not seeking comment from residents, unions and lawmakers before rolling out the proposal. He said the chief had failed to hire a sufficient number of paramedics, and he challenged Ellerbe to “bet your paycheck” on whether more than the current 191 paramedics would be on the payroll next year.

The debate over staffing at the fire station on New Jersey Avenue, which houses Truck 4 and Engine 6, overshadowed a goal that otherwise virtually everyone supports more ambulances on the streets when they’re needed most. It is an effort by Ellerbe to respond to persistent problems such as slow response times, inadequate care and broken equipment. The deficiencies have drawn the wrath of residents and council members, and some have called for the chief’s ouster and labeled the department a national embarrassment.

The committee chairman, Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), said he wants “to move forward” with the chief’s proposal, “but that doesn’t mean we will close firehouse 6. .?.?. What’s causing heartburn is closing a firehouse with fire trucks.”

Wells said that if the chief wants to decommission the engine and truck he has to ask for public comment, hold hearings and do an impact study.

Residents in many neighborhoods are attached to their firehouses, treating firefighters as neighbors and the stations as valued community fixtures. Rachelle P. Nigro, an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Shaw, told the panel that the neighborhood is growing, with a new hotel and an apartment building planned. “I take great comfort knowing that these firefighters are only two blocks away,” she said. “Extra minutes could cost lives.”

Ellerbe said he is trying to move the fire department away from its old role of primarily fighting fires to one that also emphasizes responding to medical emergencies, which account for most of the calls.

Last year, the council rejected his proposal to make more ambulances available during peak times, roughly 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. The proposal would have meant eliminating advanced life support units between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m., and council members and union representatives worried that would be too risky.

On Friday, Ellerbe said budgetary limits require some compromises, and he presented his latest proposal. He said he can keep 25 ambulances and 14 advanced life support units on the streets 24 hours a day and add six more advanced life support medics on overlapping schedules when call volumes are the greatest. But to do that, Ellerbe said, he would have to decommission Shaw’s Truck 4 and Engine 6 and send the firefighters elsewhere to make room for the medical units.

The chief said he needs the space for the six additional ambulances in a central location. Ellerbe also presented maps showing other fire stations within a two-mile radius, including stations in Capitol Hill, Mount Vernon Square and Chinatown.

“We must adapt to the reality the city faces,” Ellerbe said. “I understand the challenges that may come in any particular neighborhood. .?.?.But adding these transport units will allow us to meet a demand that I see every day as we run out of resources to provide emergency medical care.”

Edward C. Smith, president of the D.C. firefighters union, called shutdown unnecessary. “It’s absolutely mind-boggling to me that in this age of prosperity, that we’re doing this,” he said. “It’s another robbing-Peter-to-pay-Paul scenario. The last time, it was taking away advance life support at night. Now it’s taking away fire protection to the Shaw neighborhood.”

The chief can seek hearings and public comment on his plan or return with a new proposal, Wells said.
By Peter Hermann and Rohan A. Nadkarni /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 10, 2014
Two-Alarm Fire Destroys Philadelphia Business - PA

Watch the YouTub video

Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29

PHILADELPHIA (MyFoxPhilly) - Raging flames destroyed an Old City business in just minutes Wednesday morning and left two firefighters injured.

Our cameras were rolling as dozens of Philadelphia Fire Department firefighters battled the blaze at the "Suit Corner." The store is located at the corner of Third and Market streets, just a few feet away from a piece of American history.

The fire broke out around 9:15 a.m. on the same block as FOX 29's studios, while "Good Day Philadelphia" was live on the air. During an interview, fire trucks rushed past our studio, and it didn't take long to see something very serious was happening.

Soon, the fast-moving flames were shooting out of the building and into the street.

Witnesses and neighbors were left standing in the street, watching the flames spread from building to building.

Gary Ginsberg, owner of Suit Corner, spoke to FOX 29 during the fire. He said he and his employees heard an explosion and they began running outside.

"I tried to get the fire out," Ginsberg said. "We had our extinguisher, but it was just too powerful. We all ran out."

They also called for a tailor working on the second floor to evacuate.

The 60-year-old Suit Corner business is a retail icon in the city. There were no customers inside the store at the time of the fire.

Damage was heavy to the Suit Corner. Neighbors in an apartment building next door either were not home at the time or were forced to evacuate.

The fire quickly raced to a second alarm at 9:42 a.m. as more than 75 firefighters with 22 pieces of equipment battled the blaze and heavy, choking smoke that could be seen for miles around the scene.

Hundreds gathered along Market Street as firefighters scrambled to get the roaring fire under control.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 10, 2014

A Fire Lieutenant received minor injuries after the 2000 gallon tanker that he was driving rolled over onto its side early Wednesday morning. While operating at a mutual aid wild land pasture fire in rural Wabaunsee County, KS (west of Topeka), a Lieutenant with Shawnee County Fire District #4 was moving the tanker to reestablish a water fill point to refill brush trucks that were bringing the fire under control. On a narrow, gravel country rode under limited visibility nighttime conditions, the LT (who was headed south to turn his apparatus around at a cross road) met another tanker that was also directed to move his water fill point also. Both apparatus were traveling at an estimated 10 mph when they met. Both were attempting to give each other adequate room to pass on the narrow road. The LT, pulling his apparatus too far over to the right side of the roadway, dropped the right front steer tire off into the ditch, causing the apparatus to lean to the right. Continued forward momentum dropped the entire tanker into the ditch as the soft country road gave way and the fully loaded tanker overturned onto its passenger side. The LT sustained minor injuries during the rollover injury and had to be extracted by firefighters and responders on scene through the front windshield. The LT was transported to a local hospital in Topeka and was treated and released with no significant injuries. Damage to the apparatus is significant and the accident is still formally under investigation.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 10, 2014

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A firefighter suffered second-degree burns on his hands battling a blaze early Thursday morning.

It happened around 12:30 a.m. in the 2400 block of East Weaver Street.

The Durham Fire Department said two people in the home got out safely. It said firefighters the fire was extinguished quickly and contained to the front of the house where a porch was being constructed.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

The injured firefighter was treated at Duke University Medical Center.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 10, 2014

HALE — An early morning fire caused major damage to the Plainfield Township Fire Department building April 10 but caused no injuries as mutual aid from eight fire departments helped extinguish the blaze.

Captain Ed Lauria said the fire, which started around 2:30 a.m., was brought under control within two hours and the cause of the blaze is still under investigation.

He said no major firefighting apparatus was damaged by the fire and the department would be outsourcing locations to store fire trucks until repairs could be made.

No estimates had been made yet as to how much damage was done.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 10, 2014
LAFD Firefighter Injured Battling Exposition Park House Fire - CA

EXPOSITION PARK - A firefighter was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries after getting hurt battling an early-morning fire in the Exposition Park area of Los Angeles on April 9, 2014.

The Los Angeles Fire Department was summoned at 5:17 AM to the 1500 block of W 37th Street. They arrived to find a vacant single-family-dwelling with heavy fire and smoke erupting from the attic.

An aggressive fire attack ensued. Firefighters laddered the roof and quickly determined the structure was beginning to compromise. Considering Risk vs Gain, compiled with the home being unoccupied, the Truck Captain and Incident Commander wisely decided to get firefighters off the roof and cease making an interior attack. A defensive attack of the flames commenced from the exterior of the structure.

Shortly thereafter, a portion of the roof collapsed in the front of the structure, causing a section of the roofline and debris to fall on top of a firefighter. Fortunately he was able to remove himself from the rubble and was treated and transported by Firefighters/Paramedics to a local hospital in fair condition. He has since been released and is recuperating off-duty.

A total of 47 firefighters, under the command of Battalion Chief Michael Greenup, fully extinguished the flames in 27 minutes.

The estimated dollar loss is $140,000 ($120,000 structure and $20,000 contents), and the estimated dollars saved is $201,000. The cause of the early morning fire is under active investigation.
Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman / Los Angeles Fire Department

Please buckle your seat belt

April 10, 2014
Paramedic & parking officer turn ambulance parking dispute into WrestleMania at 7-11 store - CA

“I heard the screaming and I turned to look at what happened,” said (witness Lourdes) Martinez. ”Everything was fast.” Moments later, the men took their argument inside the 7-Eleven.

A 10News viewer called the station to say his roommate watched inside as the incident unfolded. He says the two men argued and then the paramedic put the parking officer into a headlock. Once he released him from the headlock, the parking officer punched the paramedic in the face.

About 90 minutes later, both men drove off in their respective vehicles. There is no word if they will be reprimanded.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 10, 2014
Daly City firefighters injured when trucks collide - CA

DALY CITY, Calif. — Two Daly City fire trucks heading to battle a Wednesday morning blaze collided, heavily damaging the vehicles and sending two firefighters to the hospital.

En route to a call on a kitchen fire, engine truck 92 and ladder truck 95 collided at the intersection of Brunswick Street and Crocker Avenue at 9:18 a.m. Wednesday.

Neighbors in Daly City said the crash sounded almost like an explosion. Two firefighters were injured and taken to San Francisco General Hospital in serious condition.

"I see them with a lot of blood on the face," Angela Guzman told KTVU. "The firefighters- there was a lot of blood and their hands broken."

A parked car was also smashed up. A witness said the man sitting in it was shaken but not injured. One resident said a paramedic on the engine truck almost immediately began attending to his injured colleagues.

"My heart goes out to them and their family," said Favio Sanchez, a Daly City resident who said he's done volunteer work with the firefighters. "Hopefully they will recover soon."

The cause of this crash is under investigation by Daly City's Police Department.

Neighbors say the firefighters are a part of their community, shopping and sharing time with the residents they serve.

"They shop at Lucky's, they shop for the firehouse," said Maria Guzman, viewing the crash debris Wednesday afternoon. "My heart broke because they mostly are my friends."

Please buckle your seat belt

April 09, 2014
Firefighter DUI arrest following off-duty crash highlights previous loss of license - DC


Veteran DC Fire and EMS firefighter-technician Jason Siegel worked out of Engine 13 in Southwest Washington. One aspect of his job was driving the fire truck that waits on White House grounds when the president comes and goes via Marine One. if there’s an emergency, those firefighters can quickly respond. Now Siegel is on leave after a DUI arrest.

According to police, the 40 year old lost control of his SUV early Sunday morning and crashed into a pole at the intersection of New Jersey Avenue and O Street Northwest.

According to the crash report, Siegel told police: “A person he knows as Andrew was operating the vehicle at the time of the accident, and fled the scene on foot.”

He added, “Officer, I’m not trying to get a DWI arrest, take me to the firehouse and let me sleep it off, and I’ll come back later and deal with this.”

Later, when asked about the incident he stated: “I was driving southbound when I lost control.”

This is not the first time Siegel has been arrested. According to online court records, Siegel was picked up in Maryland for DUI in 2007, in 2012 and 2013 for driving with a suspended license. And now in the district for DUI.

A good deal of debris remains at the scene of Sunday’s crash. According to the report, Siegel was not injured and refused to take a breathalyzer test.

There have been so many firefighters arrested – well over a dozen since the fall that the department issued a special order back in January calling on all members to report any arrests or driving revocations in the last three years.

A department spokesperson says Jason Siegel did NOT self report and could face disciplinary action for not doing so.
Jay Korff, WJLA-TV

Please buckle your seat belt

April 09, 2014
Five firefighters, resident hurt in Montvale deck collapse - NJ

Five firefighters and a resident were hurt when the deck they were standing on collapsed after a chimney fire Tuesday night at a borough home, police said.

Fire crews were wrapping up at the Jan Court home, near the New York state border, around 8:30 p.m. after they doused a chimney fire when the rear deck gave way, according to authorities.

One firefighter was hospitalized with an ankle injury, according to Police Chief Jeremy Abrams. Four other firefighters, including one who suffered a broken foot in the fall, were treated and released from Valley Hospital in Ridgewood.

A sixth firefighter declined medical treatment, police added.

The resident was also treated for unspecified injuries and released, police said Wednesday morning.
By Noah Cohen/

Please buckle your seat belt

April 09, 2014
Reno Fire Department Faces Budget Cuts, 35 Layoffs - NV

Officials with the City of Reno say denied federal funds could mean layoffs for nearly three dozen employees at the Reno Fire Department.

Fire officials say a Federal Department of Emergency Management Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant will not receive money due to funding limitations.

That will result in changes for Reno Fire Department's day-to-day operations.

266 firefighters work for the City of Reno including administration and prevention staff. The layoffs are determined by seniority affecting firefighters that were hired most recently."You've been here 6,7,8,9 years, serving our community and unfortunately, come July 1, we're going to have to give you a pink slip. That's probably one of the most difficult things, as Chief, that I have to do," says Chief Michael Hernandez.

It costs roughly $100,000 to employ each firefighter. The ones that are losing their jobs will get paid for their holiday, vacation, and sick days as well as insurance extension. "We will do everything that we can in the next 60 days and beyond to help those 35 firefighters and their families," says City Manager Andrew Clinger.

Despite rising home values and sales tax revenues -- the cuts are a clear sign that the economy is still recovering. "For us, when you look at property tax, for example, which is the greatest impact of the home prices, we don't see the results of that for three years."

Officials say the timing of the cuts was determined by the federal government.

In addition, N. Virginia Street's Station #10 will join two other stations that are currently being "browned out" on a regular basis, which means removing all personnel and equipment from the station, but the actual building will remain there for possible future usage.

Station 10 is being browned out just three days after station 12 was officially opened in Damonte Ranch. "That station was already staffed and equipped. We were operating out of a temporary facility...So we, in essence, just moved from one facility into another," says Hernandez.

The Station 10 brownout means it will be closed except during specific times like during red flag warnings when wind or lightning is expected. It also means response times in that area will increase by two to four minutes. "Those are the stations that have the least amount of call volume and they're located in areas where we can actually pick up their response calls from their neighboring stations."

Two fire stations have already been browned out over on Skyline Drive and in Sommersett.

Clinger calls the news "disappointing," but promised to continue a high level of service. He says their primary concern is providing support and helping any impacted firefighters transition.

Budget talks will get underway this month for the next fiscal year and if possible, officials are hoping they might be able to save a couple of those jobs.
Written by Paul Nelson / 2NEWS

Please buckle your seat belt

April 09, 2014
Photo could cost six firefighters their jobs - MO

UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. (KSDK) – Six firefighters could lose their jobs over a photo. The city says it's investigating whether the photo violates campaign laws. But the firefighters promise they followed all the rules.

The battle played out on Election Day. The firefighters have been in contract disputes with the city for more than a year. Leading up to the elections, they got involved in political campaign for the candidates they support. But, now their involvement could leave them unemployed.

Jen Stuhlman has been a University City firefighter for 13 years.

"It's an incredibly rewarding job," Stuhlman said.

That's one of the reasons she's afraid of losing it, after posing in a campaign photo with a city council candidate.

"We all understood what the law allowed us to do," Stuhlman said.

The law allows first responders to "engage in political activity while off duty and not in uniform."

"We went to a neighboring community, off duty, out of uniform," Stuhlman said.

The city has specific guidelines defining a uniform, to which the firefighters say they paid special attention. Even so, one of those pictured claims the Fire Chief told him they would all be without a job by Friday.

The city manager of University City tells NewsChannel 5 none of the firefighters have been fired. But, he confirms the city is investigating whether the picture violates the law. And, he says there is a possibility the investigation could end with jobs lost.

"It depends on a variety of factors. We would take a look at the entire situation before we make a decision like that," said City Manager Lehman Walker.

"We just feel like this is an outrageous abuse of power by the city," said a spokesman for the local firefighter union, Kurt Becker. "I do feel like there is a very strong intent on the city's part to try and stifle their participation in this election process."

And so, the firefighters are vowing to keep fighting.

"This is where I have invested my adult life and where I planned to invest the rest of my career," Stuhlman said.

Late Tuesday, NewsChannel 5 learned all six firefighters received notice that they were to report to the city's human resources department Wednesday morning. We will continue to keep you updated as this story develops.
Stephanie Diffin, KSDK

Please buckle your seat belt

April 08, 2014
Loss of fire department SAFER funding 'major disappointment,' Flint officials promise contingency plan - MI

FLINT, MI -- FEMA's denial of a third round of federal fire department funding is a "major disappointment" says Mayor Dayne Walling, who vowed the city would continue to seek other grant sources.

The city announced Monday, April 7, that the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied the city's $7.9 million SAFER grant request.

"It's a major disappointment to lose the SAFER grant," Walling said. "But the planning (has) to be with the fire department on a reduced force."

The grant would have provided funding for 39 firefighters. The city has said previously that the loss of the grant could lead to the layoff of 19 firefighters as it is forced to supplement the lost funding with $4.1 million over the next two years with money from a five-year public safety millage approved by voters.

The loss of funding could also mean the closure of two fire stations in Flint.

Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley said in a statement issued Monday that the denial of the grant application was not unexpected after the city was awarded the grant twice previously.

"We have known that addressing the funding issues in public safety were parallel to our overall budgetary planning," Earley said. "Now that those parallel paths have met, we will need to address fire funding in the overall context of the city's budget, goals and objectives in order to find a sustainable mechanism for operation, given this critical loss of revenue."

"We're very concerned about how we're going to operate going forward," said Flint Fire Firefighters Union President Mark Kovach. "In September, we can apply for next year's SAFER grant, and hopefully we'll have more luck than this year."

City spokesman Jason Lorenz said the city has a contingency plan that was put together to deal the potential denial of the grant. He declined to elaborate on the plan but said more details could be released in the coming days.

Kovach said he was unaware of any contingency plan in the works.

"All they said was if we did not get the grant there will be layoffs," Kovach said. "I don't know yet how many."

The city has projected that it will have 75 firefighters each year through 2018 without the grant. The city would pay for 55 firefighters out of the general fund with another 20 paid using the millage.

"I know the grant originally was supposed to have funded 29 positions," Kovach said. "There are probably 9 or 10 right now that are vacant that have not been filled yet. Some of the other 19 people or so will be picked up through millage money."

The Flint Journal obtained a copy of a letter FEMA sent to the Flint Fire Department announcing the agency's decision not to approve the grant request.

The federal agency told the fire department that it was unable to give an exact reason for the denial, and that Flint's application scored well. The letter said the agency did not have enough funding to fulfill Flint's request after funding the agencies across the country whose requests scored higher.

"I'm not sure the city fulfilled all the expectations," City Council President Scott Kincaid said, including keeping minimal staffing at 105 firefighters. "We fell well below that amount."

FEMA received more than 1,500 SAFER applications that requested a total of more than $1.67 billion in federal assistance in fiscal year 2013, according to the letter. Just $321 million was available for grants, FEMA says.

"I'm thoroughly disappointed, but I'm not surprised," Kincaid said, noting a third time receiving the grant would have been unprecedented.

Walling said the city will continue looking for funding opportunities.

"The city will continue to look at future grant opportunities," said Walling, including the SAFER grant in future years, as well as other grants to help with items such as equipment costs.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, said that persuading FEMA to renew the grant for a third year was an uphill battle. He said he will continue looking for funding sources from the federal government.

Flint firefighters respond to the second-highest number of fire calls in the nation per capita and the department has the most runs per firefighter, according to city's grant application that cites federal statistics.

Two years ago, the city reported 736 structure fires, including 352 that were deemed arson, according to Flint's SAFER grant application.

Flint has held the No. 1 ranking in the nation for per-capita arson in cities of 100,000 or more residents and a Flint Journal analysis last year found there were 1,631 suspicious fires at vacant buildings from 2008-2012.

"We're going to have a difficult time handling the fire load that we are going to see," Kovach said. "It's going to spike up dramatically, just because we will have fewer vehicles responding and we're getting into summertime, where there's always a spike in calls."

Flint resident and business owner Josh Spencer said he would be disappointed to see the city lose any fire protection, but he said he believes Flint's fire problem could be resolved if authorities crack down on arsonists and insurance scammers.

"I think if we have better police patrol, it will help solve some of these fire issues," Spencer said.

Flint resident Henry Tennenbaum said he believes the city should look at moving toward a volunteer fire department.

"Volunteer firemen have been around this country since the country began," Tennenbaum said.

Grand Blanc Fire Chief Jim Harmes said it's still too soon to know what type of impact the decision could have on his department, which provides mutual aid to Flint two to three times per year.

Harmes said he informed his fire board of the potential loss of grant funding in Flint but he will wait and see what FEMA's decision will mean for his department.

"We have to be concerned about the firefighters in Flint and their safety," Harmes said.

Flint fire chief David Cox Jr. could not be reached immediately for comment.
By Gary Ridley |

Please buckle your seat belt

April 08, 2014
Two firefighters hurt battling Port Washington blaze - NY

Two firefighters sustained minor injuries while fighting a fire at a commercial building on Haven Avenue in Port Washington on Monday, April 7, 2014. The building was unoccupied at the time of the fire, officials said.
(Credit: Paul Mazza)

Two firefighters had minor injuries battling a blaze at a commercial building early Monday in Port Washington, fire officials said.

Several fire departments, including Port Washington, responded to the fire at 2 Haven Ave. at about 12:08 a.m., according to Brian Waterson, assistant fire chief for the Port Washington department.

Waterson said the building, primarily office space, was unoccupied at the time of the fire.

The cause of the fire, according to the Nassau County fire marshal, was an electrical issue on the second floor, Waterson said.

"When we arrived on the scene, there was extensive smoke on the second floor and fire in the ceiling on the whole side of the building," Waterson said.

Two firefighters with minor injuries -- one for smoke inhalation, the second for hypertension -- were treated and released, he said.

Waterson said firefighters needed about three hours to get the blaze under control. Other departments responding included Manhasset-Lakeville, Roslyn, Plandome, Great Neck Vigilance and East Norwich.

The building was severely damaged, he said. "It's going to need extensive repairs."

Please buckle your seat belt

April 08, 2014
Fed safety agency eyes own probe of fatal Beacon Street fire - MA

The same federal agency that blamed poor Boston Fire Department policies for the deaths of two firefighters in a 2007 restaurant blaze is considering a probe into the Back Bay fire that killed Lt. Edward J. Walsh Jr. and firefighter Michael R. Kennedy, the Herald has learned.

A spokeswoman for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health said the agency is “currently reviewing the incident and in communication with the Boston Fire Department, and will make a final decision on whether we will investigate.”

The NIOSH spokeswoman declined to say when the agency — an arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — will make its decision.

Boston Fire spokesman Steve MacDonald said the department is “in the preliminary stages of having NIOSH come in to investigate the fatal fire.”

“We’ve had them in, in the past, and we welcome them again,” he said.

An internal panel of Boston fire officials already is investigating the department’s response to the blaze, and the fire is also being probed by police and fire investigators, along with the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office.

Investigators announced last week that the nine-alarm inferno started when sparks from a welder’s torch blew into the Beacon Street building’s clapboards and festered, with the fire being fueled by heavy winds off the nearby Charles River. Officials said the welding work apparently was done without a permit. No one has been charged, and prosecutors pointed out last week that Massachusetts lacks a negligent-homicide statute.

A 2009 NIOSH report said poor training and incident management in the 2007 Tai Ho Restaurant fire contributed to the line-of-duty deaths of firefighters Warren Payne and Paul Cahill.

The report singled out “an insufficient occupational safety and health program, ineffective incident management system at the incident, insufficient incident management training and requirements, insufficient tactics and training, (and) ineffective communications.”

The agency, citing media reports of substance abuse by both firefighters, said it was unable to obtain toxicology reports and made no comment on that aspect of the investigation.
John Zaremba / Boston Herald

Please buckle your seat belt

April 08, 2014
Firefighter injured battling house fire on west side - IN

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind (April 8, 2014) – A firefighter was injured while battling a house fire on the city’s west side Tuesday morning.

The Indianapolis Fire Department was dispatched to the scene around 5:05 a.m. in the 5600 block of Regency Drive near West 34th Street and Moller Road.

When crews arrived they saw flames coming from the rear of the house. While crews were attacking the fire, one firefighter had chest pain and was transported to IU Health Methodist Hospital for observation. Crews had the fire out in about 30 minutes.

The homeowner told officials that she went out for food, came back and fell asleep in her car. When she woke up, a neighbor was kicking in her front door and the house was on fire. Investigators said an unattended space heater caused the fire.

The house was a total loss with damage estimated at $75,000.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 08, 2014
Drunk driver arrested after interfering with firefighter training exercise - NY

GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. — A woman was arrested Monday night after interfering with a fire department personnel training.

WIVB reported that Pamela D. Detig, 64, drove up to a Grand Island Fire Department training area that was next door to her residence. She allegedly began yelling and arguing with the personnel, according to the report.

Deputies arrived at the scene and charged Detig with driving while intoxicated.

She submitted a breath test that revealed an alleged .15 percent BAC, according to the report.
By FireRescue1 Staff

Please buckle your seat belt

April 08, 2014
Firefighters worry about shortage in reserve fire engines - CA

SAN DIEGO - San Diego firefighters are worried about a shortage of reserve or backup fire engines.

City Council is scheduled to hear the findings of an independent audit regarding the city's fleet maintenance division at its meeting Tuesday.

Union leaders say the city is down to just four reserve engines. The union president, Frank De Clercq, maintains the standard is one reserve for every front line engine. That is 47 engines.

"My concern would be that we have these vehicles up and ready so that when that event, that time takes place, and we're all recalled, our crews have the engines to get on," De Clercq told 10News.

There are nearly two dozen fire vehicles parked at the city's fleet maintenance yard in Kearny Villa. De Clercq said there is a shortage of mechanics to work on them.

"They're backlogged right now, just trying to do the general maintenance and repairs of things that break down today, they can't keep up with it," he said.

According to De Clercq, an engine for Fire Station 17, the busiest in the city, has been sitting in a repair shop in Ontario for months.

San Diego Fire Chief Javier Mainar agrees the situation is not ideal, but he told 10News he only needs 15 to 20 reserve engines. He said the city does have 15 right now, but they are considered "stripped" engines, or engines that are not fully equipped.

"It's not that the equipment doesn't exist," said Mainar. "It's just in other locations and we'd have to take the time to load it onto those strip reserve engines. They're fully capable. They're just missing the equipment. It's just in the midst of an emergency, you don't want to have to do that."

De Clerq said, "You can't throw this stuff together on a whim. The reason they refer to them as a ready reserve – that means they are ready and they are reserved to go to work."

He added, "You bring a few hundred people to get on these things, to try to stop a big conflagration, they can't be trying to get something started or try to put a battery in or try to put hose on. Hodge-podging it together is not the intent."

City leaders say there are 66 vacancies right now in the fleet maintenance division. They said the implementation of managed competition, which allows private companies to bid on public work, is part of the problem.

James Nagelvoort, the city's director of public works, said the city is still working with Local 127 to relocate staff and train employees.

"We have more staff assigned to other types of vehicle types and not assigned to the fire fleet and not trained for the fire fleet," said Nagelvoort.

Nagelvoort said managed competition is saving the city $4 million a year, but there have been growing pains.

"You're not going to get synergies right away," he said. "People, when you bring them together, it isn't instantaneous, so we are still looking at having to train staff."

They hope to increase the number of reserve engines by the summer.
Rachel Bianco /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2014
NYC cops, firemen get in massive brawl at charity hockey game - NY

Wingo 1017

A bench-clearing brawl broke out during a charity hockey game between New York City cops and firefighters on Sunday in Uniondale, LI.

“It was reminiscent of the old-time Rangers-Flyers games in the mid-’70s,” quipped an NYPD cop who was at the game at the Nassau Coliseum. “I was waiting for [legendary Philadelphia Flyers enforcer] Dave Schultz to come out on the ice.”

The ugly scene erupted in the second period as referees struggled to control multiple, one-on-one fisticuffs. Sticks and gloves littered the ice during the incident.

It was 3-3 when the second-period violence broke out. The NYPD eventually won, 8-5.

Although witnesses said fan loyalties were decidedly even during the game, a YouTube video of the thuggish display captured fans loudly chanting “PD sucks, PD sucks” during the brouhaha.

The brawl led to a 25-minute delay as equipment was picked up and refs made laundry lists of penalized and ejected players.

The cop in the stands said he’s been coming to this NYPD-FDNY game for 20 years and had never seen a bench-clearing, cop-firefighter brawl before.

Despite numerous black eyes and bruises, no players appeared to be seriously injured.
By Larry Celona and David K. Li /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2014
I have no explation

My only thought is April Fool, I hope. Hate to think of someone being this stupid, then again.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2014
Semi Hits Fire Truck; Three Firefighters Hurt - FL

BOYNTON BEACH -- Three firefighters from Boynton Beach Fire Rescue were taken to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries after their truck was involved in a crash Saturday afternoon on Interstate 95, a Florida Highway Patrol spokesman said.

The firefighters were responding to a separate two-crash that occurred shortly before 6 p.m. on I-95, just north of the Boynton Beach Boulevard exit.

The injured firefighters were taken to Bethesda Hospital East.

Their truck was moving across lanes and trying to slow down when their fire truck was struck by a semi-tractor trailer, said Sgt. Mark Wysocky, FHP spokesman.

The driver of the semi-tractor trailer was not paying attention to the other traffic, Wysocky said. The crash is still under investigation, but it is likely that that driver will receive a traffic citation, he said.

The were no serious injuries in the initial crash, or to the driver of the semi-tractor trailer.

The crash temporarily shut down all southbound lanes, but all lanes have been reopened since about 7 p.m.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2014
Ambulance involved in 4 vehicle wreck - NC

LELAND, NC (WECT) - An ambulance was involved in a four vehicle car crash Saturday in Leland.

The crash happened on River Road near Egret Nest Circle.

According to Highway Patrol officers, a white van ran off the road on the right hand side of the road, the van then reportedly side swiped a red Subaru and rear-ended a Volkswagen.

According to officers, after that the van hit an ambulance head on.

The driver of the van and a passenger in that vehicle were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

The driver of the van was charged with failure to reduce speed. More charges are pending.
By: Kasey Cunningham / WECT

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2014
Police arrest man accused of stealing Bellefonte Borough fire chief's emergency vehicle - PA

BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- The search for a man accused of stealing the Bellefonte Borough fire chief's emergency vehicle ended with an arrest Wednesday. Police said Jason Wenrick is responsible for stealing an official Bellefonte Borough vehicle and taking it for a joyride over the weekend.

"This is just one of those things that looks to be random and one of those things that can happen," Ralph Stewart, Bellefonte Borough manager said. According to police, the emergency service vehicle belonged to the Bellefonte fire chief.

They said it was parked outside of his home with the doors locked and the keys in the center console. It was reported missing and later found crashed on Garbrick Road in Spring Township.

"I got that call Sunday morning that the fire chief's vehicle had been stolen from his driveway and at that point all we knew was that it had been spotted in the Centre Region several times," Stewart said.

According to the criminal complaint, there was damage to the right front end and the fender. Police released an image of a man who was believed to be the driver joyriding in the stolen vehicle.

Thanks to the community, police were able to identify the man as Wenrick. "That is very favorable, we appreciate that. All of the input from the community that always does help, it tends to help solve these kinds of crimes when they do happen," Stewart said. Wenrick is facing several charges, including receiving stolen property, unauthorized use of an automobile and several other traffic violations.
By: Lauren Hensley /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2014
Truck strikes ambulance, rolls over in Midtown area - TX

A driver had to be extricated from a truck after it struck ambulance in the Midtown area.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- At least two people were transported to the hospital after a vehicle struck an ambulance responding to a call in the Midtown area.

The wreck happened around 11:15am in the 2600 block of Hamilton at McGowen.

According to officials, the ambulance was traveling westbound on McGowen when a truck on Hamilton failed to yield and struck the ambulance. The truck rolled over to its side and the driver had to be extricated from the cab. The ambulance sustained moderate damage.

Police say at least two people were taken to a nearby hospital, but none of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries.

An investigation into the cause of the wreck is ongoing.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2014
Two injured in wreck involving ambulance on North Freeway - TX

Two people in a red sedan were injured after the car rear-ended an ambulance on the North Freeway.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Two people were taken to the hospital after a driver lost control on the North Freeway and hit a sign.

The accident happened around 10:30pm Friday near West Road. While an ambulance was on the scene, another driver rear-ended it.

The paramedics weren't hurt. The driver and the passenger from the original wreck were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2014
Ambulance Stolen Outside Chicago Hospital, Later Found - IL

April 07--Someone drove off in an ambulance that had parked at a Chicago hospital moments earlier Sunday night, according to police.

Police in southwest suburban Lyons later located the ambulance and took a suspect into custody, according to a police dispatcher.

About 8:45 p.m., someone stepped into a private ambulance parked outside John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County and drove away, police said.

Police in Lyons found the vehicle near the intersection of 1st Avenue and Ogden Avenue, near a Burger King restaurant, according to a police dispatcher. A suspect was taken into custody, the dispatcher said.

The dispatcher referred further questions to supervisors.

The ambulance had been parked at Stroger while paramedics dropped off a patient, according to Chicago police. The hospital is located at 1969 W. Ogden Avenue, about 9 miles from where the ambulance was found.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2014
Heavy Rain Causes Honey Creek Fire Truck to Flip - IN

Heavy rain caused a fire truck to flip this afternoon in southern Vigo County.

It happened just before 1 p.m. on Carlisle Street.

Two Honey Creek firefighters were inside the truck at the time.

Neither was injured in the accident.

Officials say they were returning from a training exercise when the driver lost control.

"They were coming to this hill, they tried to slow down and the truck kind of shifted to the side of the road and got off into the soft ground which pulled it on into the ditch and onto its side," Monte Huges, the Honey Creek Fire Department Assistant Chief said.

No word yet on damage to the truck.

It was towed from the scene.
Kyle Inskeep /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2014
Neighbor uses skidder to help free stuck fire truck in Walpole - NH

WALPOLE - A fire truck racing to a house fire on March Hill Road Saturday morning got stuck in the home's long, muddy driveway until a neighbor came to the rescue.

Fire Chief Richard Hurlburt said the neighbor brought his skidder to help. "He ended up pulling our truck all the way to the top with his skidder," he said.

The two-alarm fire at the home of Barry Fletcher destroyed about 80 percent of the structure, the chief said.

He said the cause of the fire was "an improperly installed woodstove."

The owner had left home around 6 a.m. Saturday.

A neighbor reported the fire around 8:30 a.m.

It took 40 minutes for about 35 firefighters from Walpole and Bellows Falls and Westminster, Vt., to bring the fire under control.

Hurlburt said they likely could have prevented about half the damage if the fire engine could have gotten up the 1,100-foot driveway faster.

While firefighters did manage to save the contents of three rooms downstairs, he said, "The whole second floor and attic and roof are gone."

Hurlburt said Fletcher and his son are staying with relatives; the home was insured.
Shawne K. Wickham/Sunday News Staff /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2014
Suspected drunken driver crashes into Arlington firetruck, injures three firefighters - TX

Three Arlington firefighters were released from the hospital early Saturday after a suspected drunken driver smashed into their firetruck, Fire Department officials said.

ARLINGTON — Three Arlington firefighters were released from the hospital early Saturday after a suspected drunken driver smashed into their firetruck, Fire Department officials said.

Two fire engines were dispatched at 2:30 a.m. to a vehicle rollover in the 2600 block of East Interstate 30, near Six Flags Over Texas. At about 3 a.m., the driver of a black SUV crashed into the driver’s side of one truck, which was protecting the scene from oncoming traffic, said Lt. Lee Tovar, a department spokesman.

Two firefighters and one lieutenant were inside at the time of the crash. The three — one with an open head wound and the others with minor injuries — were taken to Medical Center of Arlington, where they were treated and released.

The driver was also taken to the hospital and released into the custody of the Arlington police. He was identified as Hugo Humberto Veloz, 28.

He remained in the Arlington Jail on Saturday evening on a charge of intoxication assault with a vehicle causing serious bodily injury, said Tiara Richard, police spokeswoman. Bail was set at $5,000.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2014
Collision with fire truck sends Coatesville woman to hospital - PA

COATESVILLE A 29-year-old Coatesville woman was sent to a hospital Monday morning with back pain after her Jeep swerved into the side of a fire truck on its way to an apartment fire.

Erin Griffy of the 100 block of Harlan Drive was traveling eastbound in her 2012 Jeep Patriot on Lincoln Highway at around 10:30 a.m. when a fire truck came up behind her with its lights and sirens on, police said. Griffy, who was traveling alone, switched lanes to get out of the way but, for unknown reasons, swerved back into the front passenger side of the truck as it passed, police said.

As of Monday afternoon, the police had not been able to question Griffy and did not know her condition or which hospital examined her.

The crash occurred near the 600 block of Lincoln Highway, police said.

The Sadsburyville Fire Company truck was one of several responding to a low level fire in a room of an apartment building on Pennsylvania Avenue, police said. Firefighters quickly put the fire out. No injuries were reported.
Michaelle Bond /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2014
Firefighters say promised changes still haven't happened after car break-ins - GA

ATLANTA — Firefighters in south Fulton County believe they're easy targets for thieves.

We first reported on their safety concerns six months ago.

“They can't put their vehicles in the bay. They can't secure them. They have to go on calls. They have to serve the public,” said Wayne Hines with the Fulton County Professional Firefighters’ Union. “And they're just open, easy targets. There's more burglaries going on down there around those stations. Those fire fighters car have been broken into again. Nothing's changed."

Fulton County firefighters first called Channel 2 Action News in November after thieves broke into 10 cars.

They were parked outside Station 1 on Welcome All Road, Station 5 on Bethsaida Road, and Station 7 on Buffington Road.

Police said they forced locks and smashed windows. In one incident a pickup was stolen.

Last week, thieves struck Station 5 again.

According to a Fulton County police report, the firefighters were out on a call for three hours.

When they returned they found a large rock and shattered windows.

In November, Chief Larry Few told Channel 2 Action News he requested police do an immediate security assessment.

"If a combination of fencing and cameras are necessary we will do that," Few said.

On Friday, Few said over the phone, the assessment is complete. He said all existing lighting has been prepared. He expects all quotes to begin fencing work to be finalized by early next week.

He said he's working with the county to get this done.

Firefighters think they have waited long enough.

"They feel abandoned," Hines said.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2014
Williston paramedics unionize; city upset by move - ND

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Nearly all of the full-time paramedics in Williston have formed a union, a move that city officials are not welcoming.

Thirteen of the city's 15 full-time paramedics have formed a local chapter with the International Association of Fire Fighters, which represents nearly 300,000 firefighters and first responders in the United States and Canada, but at least one commissioner is challenging the move and even telling the members of the new union to move elsewhere.

The paramedics entered the union two weeks ago, the Williston Herald ( ) reported. In a discussion with several captains and battalion chiefs, as well as a city commissioner, the members of Local 3743 said they felt "underutilized," and added that most of them have training in firefighting that could help the city in greater capacity.

"We would like to ask the city if you guys would like to have a contract with us," Cameron Bradley, a paramedic and member of the union, asked during the meeting, according to a recording provided to the newspaper.

But the officials told the group they were disappointed and upset about their decision to enter the union.

"We're a non-union state. We're going to stay that way. We're going to follow what the state says is right at this point...," said Tate Cymbaluk, the city's police, fire and ambulance commissioner. "... If you want to be union, grab your stuff and go somewhere else guys, because it (isn't) going to work in Williston."

The general president of the international association, Harold A. Schaitberger, sent a letter to Cymbaluk on Wednesday countering that North Dakota law does allow public employees to unionize.

"Unlawfully threatening and intimidating firefighters for their membership and participation in a union is unacceptable and must cease immediately," Schaitberger wrote.

The newspaper reports Cymbaluk also on Wednesday said members of the union had the right to organize and the city wouldn't terminate them for joining the union.

"But it doesn't mean we will honor them, however, we still need to honor their needs in the department," Cymbaluk added.

The members of the union say they won't push demands on the city — such as pay raises — but simply want open communication with officials, a safe work environment and some training.

Only 8.5 percent of North Dakota wage and salaried employees were represented by a union in 2013, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. North Dakota is a "right to work" state, meaning that employees have the right not to associate with a union. But state law also says workers have the right to join a union if they wish.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 05, 2014
Crew Performing Water Rescue Also Needed Rescuing - MO

JOHNSON COUNTY -- Three Johnson County firefighters attempting a rescue had to escape flood water Thursday.

The rescuers' jet skis became clogged with debris, lost power and capsized while they sought to rescue a woman stranded in high water in the 500 block of Highway F.

Fire Chief Larry Jennings said the water rescue unit received a call at 4:23 a.m. about a woman sitting on top of her car. Three firefighters on two jet skis tried to retrieve the woman, he said.

When the first jet ski capsized, the second turned to help and also capsized. Water carried the three men and jet skis downstream, Jennings said.

One firefighter got out of the water and radioed for help. The firefighter then helped another firefighter out of the water. A third firefighter, reported missing, turned up on the opposite side of the creek, Jennings said.

"(They) were trying to secure themselves to keep from floating away," he said.

One firefighter received treatment at the scene and the other two went to Western Missouri Medical Center, Jennings said. The hospital released one after treatment but kept the other to evaluate a possible back injury.

Jennings said other rescuers, after flood water receded, waded into the water and brought the motorist to dry ground at 6:32 a.m.

An air search found the jet skis off County Road 475, Jennings said, and firefighters went to retrieve them.

Rescuers also responded to reports of stranded motorists at Route DD and Southeast 341st Road at 5:56 a.m.; the 300th block of East Division Road at 6:09 a.m.; and Northeast 151st Road at 6:53 a.m.

Jennings said Sheriff's Office personnel rescued occupants of a house surrounded by water on Northeast 175th Road.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 05, 2014
EMS worker fired after "bad judgement call"

DECATUR COUNTY, GA (WALB) - An EMS worker from Decatur County was dismissed Thursday for not providing mutual aid on an emergency ambulance call in nearby Seminole County.

After Decatur County refused to help Seminole County with an emergency call, a man died, and the counties are examining how their Emergency Medical Services operate and promising changes to make sure they cooperate better.

"I've got both of mine out on calls, both of mine are out on calls, this gentleman is at the lake," said the Seminole County dispatcher.

In the 911 call, you can vaguely hear Decatur County EMS worker JoAnn Joiner. She goes back and forth with Seminole County dispatch about a request for help. Joiner decides not to make a Decatur County ambulance available.

"It was a judgement call and it was a bad judgement call," said Decatur County Administrator Gary Breedlove.

On March 12th at 12:47am Peggy Gubar called 911 in Seminole County because her husband was unresponsive.

"He was breathing deeply and when I said Dick are you okay, he didn't not answer to me," said Gubar. Both ambulances in the county were busy, so Seminole County dispatch asked Decatur County to handle the call. It's possible nothing could have been done to save Richard Gubar, but Decatur County administrator Gary Breedlove says Joiner was wrong to deny the help.

"You start rolling, you get a crew and you start towards the scene," said Breedlove.

Decatur County EMS had not responded to a call since before midnight, and didn't respond to another call until after 10 the next morning. Breedlove says changes will be made to make the mutual aid agreement more clear.

"We've been in operation, helping each other for years and years and as a result now we're looking at do we have a written mutual agreement? Well we don't."

Joiner was first suspended, then sent a termination letter Thursday.

The county administrator says he made the decision to let Joiner go based on impact of Joiner's actions on the entire public safety operation, this was not the first disciplinary action against Joiner.

"It's not the first time, it's the first time in approximately seven years, there is no recent disciplinary action," said Breedlove.

Peggy Gubar said she didn't want anyone to get fired over the situation; she believes her husband of over 50 years went in peace.
By Troy Washington / WALB

Please buckle your seat belt

April 05, 2014
Fire Chief George Underwood dies of heart attack - WV

(The Last Call - RIP)

Photo courtesy Facebook

LAKE, W.Va. — A Logan County community is mourning the death of longtime volunteer fire chief George Underwood, who died Thursday of an apparent heart attack.

Underwood, 64, was on a call working to unblock a culvert when he collapsed and died.

MetroNews affiliate WVOW in Logan described Underwood as a community icon who not only led the fire department but also ran the Lake Community Center.

He was a 1968 graduate of Logan High School where he was a standout athlete.

Southern West Virginia wrestling fans may also remember Underwood as the “Cuban Assassin.”

Evans Funeral Home in Chapmanville is in charge of arrangements.
By Jeff Jenkins /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 04, 2014
Firefighter rescues partner who tumbled into raging North Las Vegas blaze - CA

8 News NOW

Reaching through flames atop a crumbling roof, a firefighter on Thursday afternoon rescued a fellow crew member who fell into a burning North Las Vegas apartment building.

The dramatic save happened while the firefighters tackled a blaze that erupted shortly before 3 p.m. in the 3000 block of St. George Street, just south of Cheyenne Avenue and Civic Center Drive.

Heavy smoke billowed from the building’s attic when the team of first responders arrived, though they could not immediately find its source, Capt. Cedric Williams said. The firefighters tried to cut a hole on the home's roof to find the fire and release some of the trapped heat, but within seconds the smoke turned into a raging fire that enveloped the top of the building.

One firefighter tumbled inside, while a second partially fell through. Once the second firefighter regained his balance, he reached into the roof, and through the flames he grabbed his partner by his air pack with one hand, pulling him out to safety.

The rescued firefighter’s clothing, which was partially on fire, protected him from serious injury, Williams said.

Both men were rushed to University Medical Center with injuries not considered serious. They are in stable condition.

The four-unit building was gutted and it is considered a complete loss. Eight people who were displaced by the fire are receiving aid from the American Red Cross. None were hurt.

Williams said the fire was extinguished within 17 minutes of the first firefighter’s arrival.

Fire officials don’t know what ignited the blaze.
Ana Ley /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 04, 2014
Ambulance Crashes, Burns on Side of Freeway - CA

A burned ambulance on the side of the 605 Freeway Thursday April 3, 2014 after a crash

An ambulance crashed and burned Thursday morning after a crash involving at least three other vehicles on a freeway east of downtown Los Angeles.

The fiery crash involving a private ambulance operator occurred on the southbound 605 Freeway in the Industry area, about 20 miles east of downtown LA. Aerial video showed the ambulance on its side off the side of the freeway near Valley Boulevard.

Lanes were closed for the investigation after the 6 a.m. crash and fire. All lanes reopened later Thursday morning.

No serious injuries were reported.
By Jonathan Lloyd and Oleevia Woo /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 04, 2014

The City of North Las Vegas Fire Department responded to 3005 St. George Street this afternoon for a reported house fire. The call came in at approximately 2:58 p.m., on Thursday, April 3, 2014. Upon arrival at 3:05 p.m., crews found a single story, multi-family dwelling with smoke showing from the roof. Once crews gained entry into the house they reported heavy smoke and flames in the attic. Outside crews made their way to the roof and attempted to cut a hole in order to search for the fire and release some of the heat and smoke. Within seconds, the smoke turned into a raging fire coming through roof. One of the firefighters fell into the roof with flames surrounding him. A second firefighter also partially fell through the roof; once he regained his balance, he immediately reached into the roof, through the flames to grab his partner by his air pack and with one hand, pulled him from the flames. Once the danger was identified, fellow firefighters called for a firefighter MAYDAY (a MAYDAY is only called with a firefighter in serious danger of injury or death). The rescued firefighter’s protective firefighting clothing was partially on fire, but it protected the firefighter from serious injury. Both firefighters were transported to University Medical Center Trauma Center for evaluation; they are in stable condition with no serious injuries. The occupants of the home were able to self evacuate and did not suffer any injuries. A total of eight (8) confirmed residents have been displaced due to the fire.

The North Las Vegas and City of Las Vegas Fire Departments were able to contain the fire to the original four-plex saving the immediately adjacent structures from any damage. The main fire was extinguished within 17 minutes of the first firefighter’s arrival. Fire investigators and firefighters remain on scene investigating the incident.

Red Cross will be assisting the occupants with their housing and personal needs. The building sustained severe smoke and flame damage and is considered a complete loss, and the estimated cost of damage and cause are undetermined at this point.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 04, 2014
Agitated Driver Runs Down Paramedic At ER - CA

KCBS-TV covers the details in this video report:

According to KCBS-TV, FF Case then took a camera and started taking photos of the car, license plate, and other related damages.

Molina came back outside and saw what Case was doing and went into a rage, getting back into his car and driving it directly at the paramedic and striking him. Case was tossed over the hood and into the windshield of the car, breaking a side-view mirror in the process.

Molina then drove away from the area. FF Case suffered some minor injuries to his legs and arms, but was able to return to work three days later. The police later located the car at a Hertz car-rental drop-off lot still showing damages from the two collisions. After a 24-hour surveillance, officers captured and arrested Molina. He is being charged with felony hit and run and assault with a deadly weapon, along with an enhancement of battery on a peace officer.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 04, 2014
Homeowner charged in Florence brush fire that injured 3 firefighters - SC

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF)- A Florence resident faces a fine after a brush fire ignited in a debris pile on his property, destroying a structure and causing injuries to three firefighters Wednesday afternoon.

Mingo Robinson, a Florence resident, faces more than $700 in fines after a brush fire ignited in Florence County. Robinson's charges include failure to notify before burn and a charge for allowing the fire to spread to other's property.

The fire was located off of East Ashby Road in Quinby and consumed 12 acres.

It started from a pile of debris at Robinson's home on Ashby Road, according to Anthony Eaddy with the South Carolina Forestry Commission.

One structure and four cars were completely burned.

Eaddy said plows dug fire walls around several properties that were in danger of catching fire.

Florence City, Windy Hill and West Florence Fire Departments helped battle the blaze. Three firefighters were injured trying to knock down the flames.

Jake Delung, from Windy Hill Fire Department, suffered second and third-degree burns and was transported to Augusta Burn Center. On Thursday, Windy Hill Fire Chief John Delung, Jake's father, said his son had to go into surgery, but he is in good spirits. Windy Hill Fire Rescue tweeted that Jake may have to get grafts in several places.

Anthony Fox, a West Florence battalion chief, suffered an ankle injury, but was back to work the next day, and Florence City Firefighter Ed Richardson suffered a knee injury.
By Brooke Holden /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 03, 2014
Firefighter training for crude oil train fires inadequate, group tells Congress

A massive fireball from an exploding train car rises into the air just west of Casselton, ND, Dec. 30, 2013.

WASHINGTON — Citing the sharp increase in the transportation of crude oil by rail, a group told Congress on Wednesday that most of the country’s fire departments lack sufficient training to respond to hazardous materials incidents.

Elizabeth Harman, assistant to the general president for training and grants at the International Association of Fire Fighters, said recent funding cuts have hurt efforts to train firefighters at the proper level and keep them updated on new hazards.

“There are significant portions of the country where first responders are not prepared for an incident involving hazardous materials,” said Harman, a certified fire service instructor.

Harman told the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials that 65 percent of fire departments that respond to hazardous materials incidents have not trained all of their personnel for it.

“This is an untenable situation that must be rectified,” she said.

According to a 2011 National Fire Protection Association survey, 77 percent of departments have at least some hazardous materials response capability; the majority of those that lack it are in rural areas.

Harman said that hazardous materials incidents have become more complex and dangerous. In the past decade, railroads have begun shipping large quantities of flammable liquids, including ethanol and crude oil, creating new response challenges.

According to the railroad industry, more than 400,000 carloads of crude oil moved last year, up from fewer than 10,000 in 2008, and much of the increase originated in the Bakken shale region of North Dakota.

The volatility of Bakken oil has added another layer of hazard for emergency responders. Regulators have concluded that the lighter oil, extracted by hydraulic fracturing, is more flammable than conventional kinds.

“It’s not crude they may be accustomed to responding to,” said Cynthia Quarterman, head of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., noted that the four refineries in his northwest Washington district plan soon to receive 12 million gallons by rail every day, up “from zero gallons a day.”

Fiery derailments since last summer in Canada, Alabama and North Dakota have state and local officials wondering if they’re adequately prepared.

There are about 1 million firefighters in 26,000 departments across the country, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Harman testified that many firefighters, especially in volunteer departments, receive only the most basic level of training because it’s less expensive and takes less of their time.

However, she said firefighters trained on only the basic “awareness” level are “unqualified to do anything more than call for help.”

She said “operations” training, the next level up as defined by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, is more appropriate for first responders.

Under the current transportation bill, which expires Sept. 30, Congress required that firefighter training paid for by Department of Transportation grants be operations level at a minimum. But training funded by the department’s Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness program represents “a tiny fraction” of what’s needed nationally, Harman testified.

“We have a strong demand for training,” she said. “We have a wait list for classes.”

The program paid for $12.4 million in training grants to state, territorial and tribal governments last year, and $13.4 million in 2012, according to the department.

Harman said refresher training for experienced firefighters is just as important as initial training for new ones.

“Hazardous materials response training is not a one-time event,” she testified.
BY CURTIS TATE / McClatchy Washington Bureau

Please buckle your seat belt

April 03, 2014
Piqua firefighter hurt battling blaze - OH

PIQUA, Ohio (WDTN) – A suspension airbag exploded in a firefighter’s face sending him to the hospital Thursday.

The Piqua Daily Call reports the firefighter, who has not been identified, was on the scene of a truck fire when the incident occurred.

Firefighters were called to the scene at East Ash Street and Interstate 75 after a driver noticed a semi’s trailer brakes were on fire.

The firefighter was “knocked to the ground” in the explosion. Medics were called and the firefighter was taken to Upper Valley Medical Center.
By WDTN Staff /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 03, 2014
Candor Firefighter Struck by Vehicle - NC

MONTGOMERY COUNTY – A Candor Fire Department firefighter was seriously injured Thursday afternoon when he was struck by a vehicle.

Montgomery County Emergency Services Director Corey Roberts said firefighters were responding to an uncontrolled woods fire along Cole Road near Candor.

Due to smoke, there was zero visibility. Roberts said firefighters had just arrived on the scene at 2:14 p.m. and were walking to the rear of the truck when a passenger vehicle struck the firefighter.

The fire truck was pulled about halfway off the road, Roberts said. When the firefighter was struck, he was pinned underneath the fire truck.

The firefighter was taken to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

Roberts could not say if his injuries were life threatening but said he had severe trauma to his leg and called the injury “serious.”

The driver of the passenger vehicle was taken to Moore Regional Hospital for evaluation.

The firefighter’s name has not been released. The North Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating the incident.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 03, 2014
3 Windy Hill Firefighters Injured - SC

3 South Carolina Firefighters were injured late yesterday afternoon-with one being seriously burned.

A resident who started the fire has also been charged in the incident with failure to notify forestry of a fire and not stopping it before it spread to other properties.

The most seriously burned member, a Windy Hill Firefighter, is currently at Augusta Burn Center for injuries he suffered. That Firefighter, Jacob "Jake" DeLung of Windy Hill FD, suffered facial and neck burns, third to second degree burns, when he was in the mobile home that was burning and the floor collapse.

As of this morning, doctors were cleaning his burns and he may require some skin grafts in several places. FF DeLung, who is the son of Windy Hill Fire Chief John Delung, called for help and other Firefighters were able to rescue him.

He was taken to McLeod Hospital first and then airlifted. Not long after FF DeLung was hurt, West Florence FD's Anthony Fox had the home's front porch collapse under him. Fox injured his ankle. Florence City FF Ed Richardson, fell on Fox and was hurt, too. They were both T & R. We wish FF DeLung a rapid recovery.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 03, 2014
New Kensington fire destroys house - PA

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. —Two firefighters are recovering after getting injured while battling an early morning fire so intense that it spread to a neighboring home.

Crews were called to the 1200 block of Victoria Avenue in New Kensington when a house caught fire around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. The homeowner jumped to escape the fast-moving flames.

"He jumped either from the porch or the window, I'm not exactly sure or exactly how that happened," said Ed Saliba Jr., First Assistant Chief for the city of New Kensington Bureau of Fire. "He got busted up pretty much from his fall because medics mentioned he was in severe pain."

The injured man was taken to Allegheny General Hospital. Next door, a family of seven was forced onto the street.

Five children and two adults are now displaced because their house had severe damage to the inside and the outside.

Two firefighters were making their way upstairs, when a brick wall collapsed on them.

"They still continued to fight the fire. And then when they came out, they were checked by our medics and taken to the hospital for observation," Saliba said.

Both firefighters are expected to make a full recovery.

Neighbors who saw their street lined with fire trucks ran to help their neighbors.

"I found out it was one of my daughter's friends. We just wanted to be able to help with whatever we could and find out what they need," said neighbor Cyndee Hamer. "I couldn't even imagine being that family and what they're going through right now. It's gotta be hard. My prayers are with them and the family."

The American Red Cross is helping the families. The fire is under investigation.
By Amber Nicotra /

Scene Photos

Please buckle your seat belt

April 03, 2014
Coupling Smacks Firefighter in Face - PA

CARBONDALE -- A Pioneer City firefighter was injured Thursday as crews battled a house fire at 204 1/2 Gordon Ave.

Brian Chapman was hooking up a hose when the coupling broke and hit him in the face, Carbondale Fire Chief Chris Pezak said. Mr. Chapman was taken to Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton. He is in fair condition, hospital spokeswoman Westyn Hinchey said.

"It comes with the job," said firefighter Steve Wright, who saw Mr. Chapman get hit and was injured himself fighting a fire in December.

"You are eventually going to get hurt."

Firefighters met heavy smoke and flames when they arrived shortly after 10 a.m., Chief Pezak said. The fire appears to have started in a first floor bedroom and spread to the second floor.

State police fire marshal Russell Andress said the fire was accidental and electrical.

Firefighters had it under control within the hour, but not without injury. The coupling that hit Mr. Chapman is not heavy, but the hose it was around was charged with high-pressure water and moved with force.

The house is owned by Cindy Meloni, though no one was not home at the time. Carbondale Mayor Justin Taylor, who was also at the scene, said he believes two people lived in the home.

The house was heavily damaged by fire, smoke and water. Scorch marks scarred the window frames. Broken window screens littered the bushes out front. Basement windows along the side were shattered. An ax was shoved into the front lawn, blade first, underneath an engine ladder stretching from the street to the home's roof. Eventually, a firefighter picked the ax out of the ground and continued on with overhaul, walking past a "for sale" sign on its back.

The home has been on the market for nearly a year, neighbor Candi Kimble said. She saw the smoke from the roof and dialed 911, but someone else saw it first because a fire truck roared down the road as soon as she hung up.

Mr. Chapman's injury conjures memories of fresh wounds for firefighters, Chief Pezak said. On Dec. 9, four firefighters were injured fighting a fire at 96 Fallbrook St.

"I'll never forget it," Chief Pezak said Thursday.

A collapse in the home injured William Walker Hose Company volunteer firefighters Brandon Allan and Greg Davis. Carbondale firefighter Bob Wright and his son, Steve Wright, were also injured. Father and son were treated and released from Regional Hospital of Scranton. Chief Pezak said Mr. Allan and Mr. Davis are still recovering.

"It's a dangerous business," Chief Pezak said.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 03, 2014
Firefighter injured while battling flames at industrial linen company - ID

Firefighters exit an industrial linen company in southeast Boise on Thursday after flames broke out around 2 a.m.
(Credit: KTVB.COM)

BOISE -- A Boise firefighter was hurt on the job while battling flames at an industrial linen company Thursday morning.

The fire broke out at the ALSCO building in southeast Boise. Authorities believe an industrial dryer caught several small clothes bins on fire around 2 a.m.

The smoke and flames triggered an industrial sprinkler and set off an automated alarm.

Firefighters responded quickly and extinguished the flames. The fire appears to have started in the back of the warehouse portion of the building.

Battalion Chief John Peugh said one firefighter was transported to St. Luke's Hospital in Boise after suffering a knee injury while exiting the building.

"As he came out of the building, a lot of smoke was in the area of the loading dock, stepped right off onto his knee and suffered a knee injury," Peugh said.

The injured firefighter was treated and released from the hospital and is now recovering at home.

Firefighters continue to investigate the exact cause of the fire.

Scene Photos

Please buckle your seat belt

April 03, 2014
Fire truck gets stuck as structure burns - OR

Firefighters responding to an Applegate house fire Tuesday night found themselves grounded when their fire truck broke through the wooden deck of a private-access bridge over the Applegate River.

Within sight of the flames, they were helpless to reach the structure, which was a total loss.

Units from Applegate Fire District No. 9 received the call for a structure fire at 11255 Highway 238 at about 10:30 p.m., and firefighters could see flames engulfing the house as they approached the scene, said Applegate Fire Chief Brett Fillis.

The first unit to arrive from the district's Ruch headquarters eased onto the bridge's wooden deck, which had been built on a steel substructure, Fillis said.

"As they were going across the bridge, the front right tire went through the bridge, ending their response, and ending everybody else's response," Fillis said.

"The way these things tend to get constructed, if you're driving very religiously on the wooden decking right over the steel I-beams, you're in pretty good shape, but if you get off the suckers a little bit, then you're in trouble, and that's kind of what happened here."

Crews dumped the water out of the fire truck to lighten the vehicle by about 8,000 pounds, and two tow trucks were able to pull the vehicle off the bridge, which is on the homeowner's property.

The truck was undamaged and no one was hurt.

The access bridge had last been assessed in 2007 and could bear a load of about 50,000 pounds, well above the 34,000-pound weight of the fire truck, Fillis said.

Damage to the house and its contents was estimated at at least $400,000. Jackson County property records list the owner as Arthur Enderle. The two-story, 1982 house is 5,232 square feet and sits on 46 acres, records show.

Fillis said he doubts crews would have been able to save the house even if they had made it across the bridge because of how quickly the flames had already spread.

The owner, who does not have insurance, was alerted to the fire by smoke detectors and was able to make it out unhurt, Fillis said.

When contacted, the owner refused to comment.

"He got out with the clothes he had on, pretty much," Fillis said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
By Ryan Pfeil also by Sam Wheeler / Mail Tribune

Please buckle your seat belt

April 02, 2014
Savannah Fire captains file lawsuit against the city - GA

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - With a class action lawsuit now filed against the City of Savannah, the attorney for Savannah Fire Dept. captains said those city employees tried to work things out with city hall over pay discrepancies but were ignored.

The lawsuit claims some veteran city fire employees are being paid as much as $20,000 less than newly promoted supervisors in the same position.

City officials said they are still looking through the lawsuit and will review it and address it in court. The city claims they have addressed some of the concerns already.

It's the way the city handled the concerns, which the attorney said forced the captains to take action.

"We hated having to file this lawsuit, but it was the only way to focus the city on this issue," said John Hafemann, attorney for the fire captains.

Hafemann, speaking by phone with WTOC, said the 50 captains brought their concerns about pay discrepancies in those supervisor positions to city hall.

"For the last 6 months these guys have been trying to meet with the city manager and city attorney, and using their chain of command to try to resolve this issue, and they have been completely ignored," Hafemann said.

Legal documents show the city has used a formula for supervisors where they make a percentage above their highest paid subordinate.

"It used to be 7.5 percent more, and then Miss Cutter reduced that to five percent," Hafemann said.

However, those captains said the formula wasn't being used.

"In order to save money, at least the last three years, everyone just totally ignored this policy. Totally ignored it," he said.

City spokesman Bret Bell told WTOC the city has addressed the pay issues, but doing it individually creates discrepancies. The lawsuit contends it is city management causing bigger problems.

"Now the city is enforcing this moving forward but hasn't made it retroactive," Hafemann said.

The lawyer used several examples of some veteran supervisors- paid by the city, making thousands less than newly promoted firefighters, including one captain who will be acting as the class representative.

"He makes $49,000 a year and he's been a captain nine years. The most recent captain to get promoted started off at $63,000. It's just not right. It's not fair," Hafemann said. "The last thing I got from the city manager was she was too busy getting ready for St. Patrick's Day to discuss this issue and that's why we filed the lawsuit."
By Don Logana /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 02, 2014
North Plainfield ambulance out of service after collision, police say - NJ

The borough's newest ambulance has been taken out of service due to damage sustained in a Tuesday morning accident while responding to an emergency call, fire officials say.

At about 8 a.m. Tuesday a North Plainfield ambulance was struck by a driver who failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of Duer Street and Lincoln Place, according to Chief William Eaton of the North Plainfield Fire Department.

"Both the driver and passenger of our ambulance were treated and released for injuries they sustained in the accident," Eaton said.

Aaron E. Sanchez, 29, of North Plainfield was driving the North Plainfield Borough Fire Department 2014 Ford E450 ambulance westbound on Lincoln Place when it collided with a 1997 Nissan Pathfinder being driven by Edgar Campos, 27, of Plainfield, according to the North Plainfield Police crash investigation report.

Campos failed to stop at the stop sign and drove through the intersection without stopping, the report said.At about 8 a.m. Tuesday a North Plainfield ambulance was struck by a driver who failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of Duer Street and Lincoln Place, according to Chief William Eaton of the North Plainfield Fire Department. "Both the driver and passenger of our ambulance were treated and released for injuries they sustained in the accident," Eaton said.

Aaron E. Sanchez, 29, of North Plainfield was driving the North Plainfield Borough Fire Department 2014 Ford E450 ambulance westbound on Lincoln Place when it collided with a 1997 Nissan Pathfinder being driven by Edgar Campos, 27, of Plainfield, according to the North Plainfield Police crash investigation report.

Campos failed to stop at the stop sign and drove through the intersection without stopping, the report said.

The ambulance was responding to an emergency call with lights and sirens, the report said.

A borough metal street marker at the intersection of Duer and Lincoln was damaged in the accident, the report said.

Campos was charged with driving with an expired driver's license and failing to stop for a stop sign, the report said.

"I do not know the full extent of the damage to the ambulance at this time," Eaton said. "But it sustained heavy enough damage to render it out of service."

Both vehicles were towed from the scene, the report said.
By Walter O'Brien/

Please buckle your seat belt

April 02, 2014
Two Ambulances Destroyed by Fire - MO

Two ambulances were destroyed at Taney County Ambulance Station No. 6.
(Western Taney Fire Protection District photo)

An electrical short is being blamed for a fire that destroyed two ambulances in Missouri.

The duty crew at Taney County Ambulance Station No. 6 found the fire when they went to investigate a noise, according to a press release.

They were not able to remove the ambulances. There were no injuries in the 1:30 a.m. fire.

The fire marshal determined an apparent short in one of the ambulances started the fire, which caused about $500,000 worth of damage.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 02, 2014
Man Arrested After Joyride in Houston Ambulance - TX

A man took a Houston Fire Department ambulance for a joyride Tuesday night until police finally stopped him about 15 minutes later.

HFD ambulance 46 was stolen about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday while the paramedics were responding to a psychiatric patient in the 6600 block of Scott in south Houston.

The man was able to get into the driver's seat of the ambulance and flee, authorities said.

Houston police pursued the stolen ambulance until officers stopped it along the South Freeway near FM 2234.

The man was taken into custody. There were no reports of injuries.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 02, 2014
Firefighter's Facebook post under investigation - NM

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – One person posting his opinions about APD online could come to regret it.

The Albuquerque Fire Department is looking into a Facebook post.

It shows Firefighter Kenneth Barncastle joking about APD killing people, saying he’d quit the fire department to join APD if they had a criminal population reduction unit.

Fire Chief David Downey says AFD has a social media policy and appropriate action will be taken after an internal investigation.

“The Albuquerque Fire Department has a policy which provides standards and procedures for the use of social media. We take this policy very seriously and have started an internal investigation into Firefighter Barncastle’s postings,” Chief Downey said. “After the investigation has been completed, appropriate action will be taken.”
By Jessica Garate /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 02, 2014
Firefighter Injured Saving Dog from Icy Water - OH

AUBURN, Ohio– A local firefighter is recovering from hypothermia after rescuing a dog from Beartown Lakes.

“The ice kept collapsing and breaking so I had to continue to just hit the ice and pound the ice to get to the dog,” said Nick Tomaselli from his hospital bed in Chardon.

He was admitted to University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center on Sunday.

Julius, who’s a one-and-a-half-year-old boxer, was apparently chasing geese out on the ice, when it gave way and he fell into the water and couldn’t escape.

His owner immediately called 911 for help. The Auburn Fire Department was quick to arrive.

Tomaselli was the first to go in after the dog. He said it was difficult because he had to break through so much ice; and while all that was happening, his dry suit started leaking.

“They pulled me to the shore and when we got to the shore I was pretty well beat and I couldn’t move much and I had to let them know that ‘hey, there’s water in my suit,’” he recalled.

The firefighter is still recovering at the hospital and is expected to be just fine. The same goes for Julius.

His owner said he’s extremely thankful for the Auburn Fire Department’s assistance.

As for Tomaselli’s family, they said they’re proud of him. “He’s one of those, he has to constantly be doing something and he’s always working so I know this is painful for him to just sit around, so he can’t wait to get out of here and go back to work,” said his sister, Jacquelyne Tomaselli.
by Brittany Harris /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 01, 2014
Fire Chief Resigns Over Safety Concerns - ME

WEST PARIS - Claiming town officials have been unresponsive to his repeated requests to improve fire safety in the town, fire Chief Norm St. Pierre submitted his resignation March 18.

On Monday, St. Pierre said he has agreed to rescind his resignation from the force, but a final decision on whether to leave the department is "up in the air." He has been fire chief in town since 2005 and has brought up safety concerns on an annual basis, St. Pierre said.

In his three-page resignation letter, St. Pierre notes multiple safety failings in West Paris, principally a claim that many of the fire hydrants in town have not been maintained by the West Paris Water District and are unreliable.

"Taxpayers have been paying money every year for the rental of these hydrants that cannot be relied on to function in a time of need," St. Pierre said in his letter.

The hydrants also have a maximum use time of less than two hours, based on the water needs of the department and neighboring towns that provide mutual aid, St. Pierre said.

Delay on repairs to the West Paris Fire Station, imprecise and misleading numbering of houses in town and inadequate funding for a replacement squad truck are among the other issues outlined by St. Pierre during a meeting with selectmen last week.

The department has no way of knowing how many of the 43 hydrants in the town are fully functioning, and St. Pierre said he was worried that the department may not be able to react quickly enough to a large fire because of a faulty hydrant.

"I don't feel confident that they are going to work for us, and neither does anyone else, including our mutual aid partners," St. Pierre said. His attempts to obtain hydrant maintenance records have been denied by Water District officials, he told selectmen.

In some cases, the department has not been able to tap into a hydrant and has been forced to plug into nearby rivers and bodies of water, he reported. If those resources are unavailable, which they have been for most of the winter, town firefighters will probably have to rely on water transported into town by mutual aid agencies, he told selectmen.

In a memo to selectmen sent March 26, St. Pierre asked for hydrant maintenance records, repair of some incorrectly installed hydrants with valves that are difficult for firefighters to access, and a feasibility study on enlarging the town's reservoir. At Thursday's meeting he said it was important for his department to improve communication with Water District officials.

The small, all-volunteer West Paris Fire Department responded to a high number of serious structure fires over the last year, including the inferno that destroyed the former Penley Mill last January and an all-day fire at the West Paris Metals scrapyard in August, among other serious structure fires.

Diminishing manpower and limited equipment add to the department's challenges, St. Pierre said. West Paris now has only 12 firefighters on its roster, down from 18 last year, mainly due to the time commitment necessary to maintain certifications, he told selectmen.

The department only has two functioning vehicles and lacks some of the equipment it would need to tackle a serious emergency, like a fire at the Everett Propane facility on Route 26, St. Pierre said.

The department has been allocated $20,000 to spend on a pump truck, but finding a good used vehicle at that amount is exceptionally difficult, St. Pierre said.

The department, with the assistance of resident John Lemmon, had the opportunity to buy a replacement truck from the Trenton, N.J., Fire Department for $25,000, but selectmen did not organize a meeting to authorize the purchase quickly enough and another department bought the vehicle, St. Pierre said.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Wade Rainey said he understood that the department was disappointed it could not purchase the vehicle, but selectmen needed to follow legal procedures when making a purchase of that scale.

The selectmen and Town Manager John White intend to acquire maintenance records from the Water District and find out how many hydrants are functioning, Rainey said.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 01, 2014
Call in '50 Not an April Fools' Prank, Firehouse Ablaze - NC

HIGH POINT -- You might've thought the same thing.

If you were an emergency dispatcher working the graveyard shift on April Fools' Day, and you got a frantic call claiming the fire department was on fire, you'd be tempted to dismiss it as a prank, wouldn't you?

That's exactly what happened in the early-morning hours of April 1, 1950, when an explosion ripped through the downstairs portion of High Point's Fire Station No. 4 on North Main Street. When firefighters called to report their building was on fire, they had trouble convincing the dispatcher they were telling the truth.

"The dispatcher didn't believe them, because it was April Fools' Day," confirms Capt. Denita Lynch, public information officer for the High Point Fire Department.

When first contacted about the incident, Lynch had never heard the April Fools' Day angle nor had any current members of the department she mentioned it to but when she contacted a couple of retired department members who are well up in age, they were familiar with the story, she said.

"They both knew about it," Lynch said. "It was before they came on, but they remembered hearing stories about it."

The High Point Enterprise story reporting the fire gave only a brief mention of the dispatcher's doubt, without actually referencing April Fools' Day as the reason for that doubt.

"When a call came into the central fire department switchboard, there was some reluctance on the part of the operator to believe one of High Point's fire stations was on fire," the paper reported.

The story apparently was picked up by a wire service, too, because a version of the story -- as reported in the April 2, 1950 edition of the Waterloo Sunday Courier of Waterloo, Iowa -- is featured on the Museum of Hoaxes website, which collects April Fools' Day hoaxes and purported hoaxes.

That story actually reported it was firefighters at another city fire station who thought they were being pranked, but Lynch says it was the dispatcher.

According to the Enterprise, firefighters from Station No. 1 arrived in time to help put out the fire, and no injuries were reported.
Jimmy Tomlin / The High Point Enterprise, N.C.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 01, 2014
Man Accused of Assaulting Responding Paramedic - PA

SOMERSET -- A Somerset Township man was jailed Sunday after state police said he assaulted an ambulance paramedic.

A woman called authorities saying her son was intoxicated and might hurt himself, according to a criminal complaint filed by state police in Somerset.

When troopers and a Somerset Ambulance crew arrived at the home on Peirsol Road, they found Michael Douglas Cox, 25, highly intoxicated.

"As Michael Cox was getting dressed to be transported to the hospital, he suddenly back-handed Somerset ambulance paramedic Kevin Fleegle on the right side of the jaw, knocking him to the ground," the complaint said.

Troopers struggled to gain control of Cox, who was shouting profanities and threats, the complaint said.

As Cox was being placed in the back seat of the cruiser, he shouted that he was going to kill everyone and then acted as if he was having a seizure, troopers said.

Cox was charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threats, simple assault, resisting arrest and harassment.

He was arraigned by on-call District Judge Douglas Bell of Meyersdale and sent to the Somerset County Jail after failing to post $3,000 bond.
Patrick Buchnowski / Source: The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 01, 2014
Cleveland fire truck gets stuck in hole - OH

Cleveland fire truck
Workers look at a hole in East 123rd Street in Cleveland today that hung up the fire truck in the picture.
(Thomas Ondrey / The Plain Dealer)

Cleveland fire truck

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A Cleveland fire truck was dislodged from a partially collapsed city side street this afternoon after the vehicle had become immobilized on the pavement.

With the help of a tow truck, the fire vehicle got freed of its predicament three hours after becoming unable to move on East 123rd Street, just south of St. Clair Avenue.

The truck's crew was doing public relations work late Saturday morning delivering and installing fire detectors at residences when the truck reportedly hit a hole in the street, and the pavement partially collapsed.

A department equipment repair unit and the Cleveland Street Department were called to determine the best way to unloose the truck.

The incident happened around 11:30 a.m., said Larry Gray, the fire department spokesman.

Gray said a backup truck was sent over while the truck was hung up, and the crew from the disabled truck switched its gear to the new vehicle. Gray said the area of the city was well-covered by other units.

The department has supplied residents with fire detectors for about 20 years. Residents who need the devices call the city, and during down times mostly on Saturdays crews are dispatched to neighborhoods where they not only deliver the detectors, but install them, Gray said.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 01, 2014
Pool supply company fire on Long Island - NY

SEAFORD, New York (WABC) -- A pool supply company in Seaford went up in flames Monday afternoon.

The fire broke out at about 3 p.m. in Island Recreational, a pool supply store at a strip mall on Hicksville Road in Seaford.

A total of five stores were burned by the fire and three buildings were evacuated.

By late Monday afternoon, firefighters had declared the blaze under control.

"Everybody is using their self-contained breathing apparatus. There was an unknown type of chemicals in the building. We keep taking air quality samples, and so far everything has been negative," said Robert Schmidgall of the North Massapequa Fire Department.

The tests showed there are no dangerous levels of chemical contamination in the air.

There were major delays on the Northern State Parkway as a result of the fire investigation.

One firefighter suffered a minor injury.

Scene Photos

Please buckle your seat belt

April 01, 2014
Firefighter injured in fall from ladder - DE

One firefighter was injured and a family displaced Sunday afternoon when a fire broke out at a Wilmington home.

The fire was reported about 3:38 p.m. at a home in the 2200 block of Carter St., Wilmington Battalion Chief Michael Schaal said.

When firefighters arrived, there was smoke pouring from the house and heavy fire shooting out of the first floor in the rear.

It took 30 firefighters about 20 minutes to bring the blaze under control, Schaal said.

One firefighter injured his hand when a ladder kicked out from under him, causing him to fall.

Schaal said the firefighter broke his fall with his hand.

An investigation determined that the fire originated in the first-floor kitchen, which was heavily damaged.

Adjacent homes on each side sustained smoke damage, Schaal said.

The displaced family is staying with relatives.
Terri Sanginiti, The News Journal

Please buckle your seat belt

April 01, 2014
Detroit files updated bankruptcy, pension cut plans - MI

DETROIT — Detroit's updated bankruptcy plan was filed in federal court on Monday, revealing new details on how the city plans to restructure its debt and provide public services during the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

The amended plan of adjustment — considered Detroit's bankruptcy blueprint — and accompanying disclosure statement offer new details on the terms of a settlement with two banks to pay off a bad pension debt deal. The documents also make minor clarifications in how much pension benefits for city retirees would be cut.

"We believe that the plan we have proposed, and continue to refine, is feasible and allows the city to reduce its staggering $18 billion in debt and live within its means," state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr said in a statement. "The plan puts the focus back on providing essential public services to the city's nearly 700,000 residents."

Orr, the attorney who guided Chrysler through its bankruptcy, was appointed by the governor to take over the city's finances last year.

Under the new settlement, Detroit agreed to pay $85 million to settle claims on a pension debt deal with UBS and Bank of America. The two creditors also have said they will support Orr's plan.

The agreement is the city's latest attempt to settle millions of dollars in debt tied to the interest rate swap deal. Detroit had pledged casino tax revenue in 2009 as collateral to avoid defaulting on pension debt payments, which allowed the city to get fixed interest rates on pension bonds with the banks.

The federal judge overseeing the bankruptcy, Judge Steven Rhodes, must still approve the latest settlement. He denied earlier proposals for $220 million and $165 million settlements.

The new documents also clarify proposed cuts to city retirees' pension benefit.

Under the plan, police and fire department retirees would see monthly checks cut by 6 percent if they vote in favor of the plan, while a "no" vote would result in a 14-percent cut. The city's other retired workers, covered by the General Retirement Services pension system, would see a 26-percent benefits reduction if they approve Orr's plan or a 34-percent cut if they don't. All the plans would eliminate cost of living allowances.

The less-severe cuts would rely on $815 million in fundraising designed to keep city-owned art from being sold to satisfy creditors. But that money would only be available if the retirees agree to the settlement deal, according to Orr's spokesman, Bill Nowling.

The city's General Services Retirement System had 11,790 members receiving benefits, according to 2012 financial reports, while the police and fire system had 9,323 getting benefits.

However, Bruce Babiarz, a spokesman for police and fire retirees, told The Associated Press last week that the city's plan was too severe and "dead on arrival" with pensioners.

Orr said the city is making progress with its retirees and other creditors, and he hopes to reach agreements on a number of issues.

According to a statement from the city, more changes to the plan and disclosure statement are expected before an April 14 hearing.
The Associated Press

Please buckle your seat belt

April 01, 2014
Volunteer Firefighter Nearly Left Blind After Bottle Is Hurled At Fire Truck - NJ

GARFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police on Monday were searching for the assailant who almost cost a New Jersey firefighter her life.

As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, someone threw a bottle through one of the windows of the fire truck while it raced to an emergency this past Friday night. Sanchez talked to the victim – Garfield, N.J. volunteer firefighter Victoria Kovacs, 22.

“It just was like a big bang, and then there was glass everywhere,” she said.

Three nights after the attack, Kovacs has been forced to wear sunglasses around the clock – dulling the pain after the frightening attack nearly blinded her.

“I was sitting over here in the second seat, right across diagonal from this second seat, and we went through the intersection at Monroe near Commerce Street when something hit the window and it shattered,” Kovacs said. “I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know if we had hit something, if somebody was throwing something at us, if somebody had shot the window.”

At the time of the attack, Kovacs with her fire company as they responded to a report of smoke at a local Wal-Mart. While en route, someone hurled a bottle at the fire truck.

A group of suspects was huddled on the corner of Palisades Avenue and Monroe Street in Garfield.

One person with a glass bottle had to have used a great deal of force to whip it clear across one traffic lane and through the fire truck window.

Tiny pieces of tempered glass flew into Kovacs’ face, cutting up both her corneas.

“It hurt to blink,” she said. “It hurt to close my eyes.”

Police were going door-to-door in the neighborhood, looking for anyone who might have witnessed the attack or knows who was involved.

“Throwing the bottle only slowed the response,” said Garfield police Capt. Darren Sucorowski. “I mean, if it was an actual fire, it could have you know, it could have jeopardized someone else’s life.”

Kovacs reminded anyone who would think of committing such an attack of the reason firefighters are out there.

“Some things shouldn’t be taken as lightly as you do I, and you know, if somebody got hurt because of something you thought was funny — and we’re out here trying to help you, so you shouldn’t be trying to hurt us,” Kovacs said.

Police said the attack was no laughing matter. The suspects face aggravated assault and criminal mischief charges.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 01, 2014
Close call for firefighters in Paterson 4-alarm fire - NJ

PATERSON, N.J. (WABC) -- Several people were displaced after a four-alarm fire tore through two apartment buildings in Paterson, New Jersey, late Monday afternoon.

Amazingly, no one was injured, but it certainly was a close call for some firefighters.

The flames made quick work of the two multi-family buildings, destroying the homes of a dozen people as passersby watched in horror.

"People were running out of the building, it was like a movie type of fire," witness Alison Cacares said. "I've never seen anything like that. It was horrible."

The flames broke out around 5:30 p.m. in the house on 23rd Street at 10th Avenue, and there was no stopping the blaze as it spread to a neighboring building.

"I'm just leaving it in God's hands," fire victim Margaret Gibson said. "He fix everything for everybody. Everything happens for a reason."

The Gibson family has lived in one of the homes for nearly half a century.

"Forty six years, how do you go about recovering that?" Frank Gibson said. "That's a lifetime...Everybody's safe. That's the main thing."

But everyone was not safe, as firefighters scrambled to save one of their own.

"Minutes, within minutes, we could have possibly lost a firefighter or lost a crew," Paterson Fire Director Glenn Brown said.

An entire company of Paterson firefighters was just minutes from certain death after one fell and crashed through first floor into the burning basement.

"And those firefighters had to stop their fire suppression and quickly go into rescue mode to pull out their comrade who was in the basement," Brown said.

They all made it out alive, and the building was deemed too dangerous even for them. Firefighters spent the rest of the time mounting an external attack.

Brown said it was the closest he's ever come to losing one of his own.

"I'm going to say a prayer and thank God that we didn't lose anyone," Brown said.

The two buildings were considered a total loss. A third building suffered heavy water damage, and residents there were waiting for an assessment.
Eyewitness News

Images from the scene.

Please buckle your seat belt


Fire Line

Kolbs Home    To NYS Fire Departments    To Teaching and Training Courses    To Fire Reports    Email
To Kolb