December 04, 2013
Last Moments of Chicago Firefighter Recalled - IL
Capt. Herber 'Herbie' Johnson, left, was killed while battling a blaze.
Chicago Fire Department
Fire Capt. Herbert Johnson, who always had a funny story to tell, who always had everyone's back, didn't fail his friends in the end.
After a probable flashover blistered his face and knocked him down in a burning house in Gage Park last year, his first actions were to see that his men got to safety. Everyone survived but him.
Johnson, 54, was hailed as a hero when he was buried with honors, but details of his last moments are just now coming to light following the conclusion of a federal investigation into the fatal fire on Nov. 2, 2012.
In a newly released report, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health cited poor communications, staffing shortages and inefficient coordination at the scene as "contributing factors" to the tragedy. And while investigators listed missteps by those battling the blaze from outside the building, they also provided details about the selflessness displayed inside.
According to the report, Johnson and another firefighter had been ordered to the second floor with a hose but could not see any flames as they walked down a hall and into a room.
In seconds, the two were hit by a wall of smoke and fire. "Something flashed over because the room was so crystal clear and it got so dark so quickly," recalled firefighter Mike Imparato, who was on the stairs behind Johnson when everything went suddenly black.
Imparato detailed his captain's final moments with the Tribune following the report's release. Though he declined to discuss the investigators' findings, he confirmed the harrowing scene detailed in the 28-page report.
"The heat came down on him really quick. The apartment was completely filled with smoke and was completely dark. I dropped to my knees to put my mask on," Imparato said, then he and another firefighter crawled into the room. "I screamed at Herbie. ... And then I just felt two bodies fall on top of me, right in front of me."
He heard one of them yell out, "We gotta get out of here! We gotta get out of here!" It was Johnson's "deep, brassy voice," Imparato said. Johnson yelled one more time -- "Get out!" -- then fell silent.
"He wasn't making a sound or moving," Imparato said. "I don't have a radio, so I'm screaming, 'mayday, mayday.' Ten seconds seemed like an eternity. I can hear footsteps on the stairs so I knew others were coming. I was screaming 'mayday' the entire time.
"When they finally got there, they asked, 'You have a victim?'" Imparato told them, "No, it's a fireman. It's Herbie."
As they pulled him down the stairs, someone started CPR because they couldn't feel a pulse. "But then I did feel a pulse and everybody just grabbed a limb and got him," Imparato said. "The paramedics were running toward us with the stretcher and we were running toward the stretcher with Herbie. We got him on there, and the medics put oxygen on him.
"He had third-degree burns but actually woke up and said, 'What happened?' I said, 'I don't know,' and we looked out the ambulance window and you can see flames shooting out of the house," Imparato said.
"I was just joking and said, 'I think we lost this one.' He might have chuckled. ... His hands and ears were burned pretty bad, and the inside of his mouth was charred. ... He was in pain but kind of on good terms. He knew he kinda made it out of there.
"He was actually joking around in the ER,'' Imparato said. "I told the nurse to get ready, and they told me to step out. At that time I was so confident he was going to be OK."
But his throat and lungs had been badly burned from air heated to 400 degrees from the flashover, and he died in the emergency room. "His throat started closing," Imparato said.
Johnson was a 32-year veteran of the department who had volunteered in 2001 to help with rescue in New York after the 9/11 attacks. As a lieutenant in 2007, he received a Medal of Honor for outstanding bravery or heroism, the state's highest accolade for firefighters -- the result, his family said, of helping rescue children from a burning building on the South Side.
Imparato said he believes Johnson died a hero. "He wanted us all out of there,'' Imparato said. "He expected us to run out of there. ... I know he was trying to get us out, but he couldn't get himself out.''
December 04, 2013
Firefighter hurt in truck crash can pursue claim against fire company
A North Bangor firefighter injured when an allegedly drunk colleague flipped a fire truck can move toward trial with his claim that the fire company's lax attitude toward drinking on duty led to the crash, a federal judge has ruled.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel refused to dismiss a claim by firefighter Stuart Mintz that the North Bangor Fire Company, Chief Frederick Farleigh and President Christopher Louszko put Mintz at risk by allowing a drinking culture to flourish in the firehouse.
Mintz suffered a serious shoulder injury in July 2010 when Assistant Fire Chief Zachary Romano, then 20, rolled a fire tanker while negotiating a turn on the way back to the firehouse from a parade. Attorneys for Mintz and his wife and the fire company did not immediately return calls Monday.
Romano, Upper Mount Bethel Township, where the fire company is located, and township officials are also named as defendants in the suit.
Although Mintz's lawsuit originally argued Romano's actions violated his constitutional rights to be free from injury, the judge rejected the claim, saying that a government employee must intentionally cause an injury for such a claim to succeed.
In a new complaint filed in July, Mintz added a claim that his injuries were the result of a "state created danger." He alleged fire officials were to blame for the crash because they created "a custom and policy" of allowing firefighters to drive firetrucks after drinking.
Addressing a motion by the fire officials to dismiss the claim, Stengel wrote in a decision issued last week that Mintz's allegations show the crash was foreseeable, that fire officials willfully disregarded the danger, that the fire company had a responsibility for Mintz's safety and that a misuse of authority led to the crash.
Under court procedures, a judge must assume a plaintiff's allegations are true when considering a motion to dismiss, although the defendants can disprove them later in the case.
Mintz alleged the fire officials knew about Romano's history of alcohol abuse and that he would be in charge of the company's activities at the parade where alcohol would be consumed.
"The plaintiffs sustained injuries when defendant Romano lost control of the tanker truck, which certainly is a foreseeable result of drunk driving," Stengel wrote.
Mintz also alleged the fire company's officers were aware that firefighters had been operating fire trucks while drunk for at least five years before the crash. "To ignore or fail to stop this practice would appear to be deliberate indifference," Stengel wrote.
Stengel also noted that the risk created by the fire officials' failure to stop Romano from driving drunk was foreseeable, particularly because Mintz allegedly was ordered to ride in a vehicle driven by an intoxicated firefighter.
Finally, Stengel found that the fire company's custom of allowing firefighters to drink before operating firetrucks combined with Romano's promotion to assistant chief and leadership on the day of the crash were affirmative acts that contributed to the crash.
Police found open beer cans rolling around the cab of the tanker Romano crashed three miles from the firehouse while returning from the Tatamy firefighters parade, according to a report.
Romano, now 23, was charged with drunken driving after the crash in Plainfield Township. Police alleged he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.16 percent, eight times the limit for drivers under the legal drinking age of 21.
State court files contain no record of how Romano's charges were resolved. Because none of the charges rose above a misdemeanor and he was a first-time offender, Romano may have qualified for the accelerated rehabilitative disposition program, which would allow his record to be expunged.
By Peter Hall, Of The Morning Call / mcall.com
Dashcam video of raging Hidden Valley structure fire: This four-minute video is from the camera on a Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District battalion chief’s dashboard as he arrives at the fire on Hidden Valley Drive on Saturday evening.
Fire engulfs Hidden Valley home of car dealership’s chief in Reno: A fire Saturday evening destroyed part of the Hidden Valley home of Jones West Ford President Richard West.
County, city fire departments still at odds since divorce
A day after an irate Mayor Bob Cashell expressed his disgust with the response to the blaze that destroyed a prominent family’s Hidden Valley home, Reno City Manager Andrew Clinger said the city remains ready to negotiate a workable automatic aid agreement with the county so that the nearest crew to a fire is called first regardless of jurisdiction.
But Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District Chief Charlie Moore, who continued to defend his department’s response, said Tuesday that Cashell’s comments have reignited lingering animosity from the ugly battle two years ago to deconsolidate the two fire departments.
“I thought we had started to make progress with melting the ice,” Moore said. “But then the mayor starts with this bombastic crap on this fire and we are right back to where we started.”
On Monday, Cashell and Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez said the response to the fire that destroyed the home of Richard and Debbie West calls into question the county’s ability to adequately protect residents from structure fires.
Although the first two-person fire crew from the county’s Hidden Valley station was on scene just six minutes after the first 911 call, it took 16 minutes for the first full Truckee Meadows fire engine to arrive from Sun Valley. Cashell argued that if the county had called for mutual aid from Reno’s station three miles away, a full engine crew could have arrived much more quickly.
But a review of county records indicates the engine from the Mira Loma station was out on another call when the fire started and couldn’t have been available immediately anyway.
“They weren’t even there,” Moore said. “It would’ve made no difference if we had called them first.”
The decision to call for mutual aid wasn’t made for 25 minutes into the fire. The county crews on scene thought they had the blaze confined to the garage and under control when flames suddenly exploded from the roof of the house itself. By that time, the Mira Loma crew had returned to the Reno station and was called along with Sparks to assist.
If the county and the city had been able to broker an automatic aid agreement when the two departments separated in the first place, crews from both jurisdictions could have responded immediately instead of waiting for a call from a chief either on the scene or enroute to the scene. But acrimony from the fire divorce hindered negotiations on such an agreement two years ago.
Washoe Commissioner Dave Humke, who represents Hidden Valley and was a proponent of the initial deconsolidation, also defended the county on Tuesday.
“Deconsolidation is working fine from the county standpoint,” Humke said. “This is frustrating. The county is not pointing any fingers at any other fire agency. With all due respect, we would appreciate if fingers were not pointed at our agency.”
Still, Moore acknowledged that a 15-minute response time for a full engine crew to arrive at a structure fire is too long.
“We would like to see that be better and that’s why we were working to improve the station in Hidden Valley to an engine,” Moore said.
The county had already hired the firefighters to staff that expanded station, which was put in the budget in July, Moore said. In the coming weeks a three-person fire crew will be stationed in Hidden Valley.
Both county and city officials said they are willing to resume talks on an automatic aid agreement, which would allow the nearest engines to be called regardless of jurisdiction. But the lingering tension from the deconsolidation may make that difficult.
“We need to get everybody together and maybe this unfortunate event can be the trigger to make that happen,” Clinger said. “Could we have done better as a community, as a region, yeah, we could’ve done better.”
On Monday, Cashell said the ball was in the county’s court to restart talks. Humke said the county has always “remained ready” to negotiate.
Talks broke down two years ago amid a disagreement over whether the county should reimburse Reno for the costs of responding the county calls. The city council didn’t want to spend city resources covering the county. The county commission argued the city would benefit from their service in city jurisdiction and it would balance out.
“The street runs two ways,” Moore said.
Written by Anjeanette Damon / rgj.com
December 04, 2013
A MAYDAY AND 2 FFs INJURED AT SEPERATE INDY FIRES - IL
It broke out around 6:07 p.m. in the 400 block of Trowbridge Street, which is near Southeastern Avenue and South Keystone Avenue.
Officials say neighbors saw smoke and alerted the occupants.
A Mayday call was made when one of the fire crew's exit was temporarily blocked. Clutter from inside fell and blocked the back door. No injuries were reported.
Firefighters on the scene say six people live in the house. The owner was not home when the fire started. Authorities say that person just had heart surgery.
The house was a total loss and damages were estimated at $80,000.
Firefighters say there were many electrical cords located in the home's basement although the cause was not immediately determined. The fire was under investigation.
Medics took two Indianapolis firefighters to the hospital after a fire late Tuesday.
Fire crews were called to a house on fire on North Bradley Avenue near South Sherman Drive and East Washington Street shortly before 10:30 p.m.
Two firefighters suffered ankle injuries and were taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital for treatment.
The fire was brought under control within 20 minutes.
Damage is estimated at $15,000.
Flames were showing from the back of the two story residence as crews arrived. The house was vacant.
December 04, 2013
Idaho Paramedic Cited for Ambulance Crash - ID
Idaho Falls ambulance collided with another vehicle while responding to a MVA
A certified Idaho Falls ambulance driver was at fault in an Oct. 18 injury accident.
Brian Wood, an Idaho Falls paramedic, was cited for failing to obey traffic control devices, an infraction, while driving an ambulance. The citation was issued following an Idaho State Police investigation.
The accident occurred at 2 p.m. at the intersection of Ammon Road and U.S. Highway 26.
Ryan Wetzel, 33, was stopped at the intersection in a red 2004 Toyota pickup, according to an ISP report. Wood, 38, was driving east on Highway 26 with the ambulance's lights and sirens activated. The ambulance crew was responding to a motor vehicle accident.
According to the ISP report, Wetzel, of Idaho Falls, entered the intersection with a green traffic light. Wood, of Idaho Falls, entered the intersection with a red traffic light.
The ambulance - which had Reed Rockwood, 28, and Jared Johnson, 24, both of Idaho Falls, as passengers - collided with the front passenger's side of Wetzel's truck.
Wetzel was not wearing a seat belt, as were all three men in the ambulance. Wetzel was taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center by ground ambulance.
No one in the ambulance was injured.
According to Idaho statute 49-623, the driver of an ambulance can proceed past a red stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation.
The law goes on to state that the exemptions given to authorized vehicles during emergency response ""shall not relieve the driver of an authorized emergency or police vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons, nor shall these provisions protect the driver from the consequences of his reckless disregard for the safety of others.""
The report said a contributing circumstance in the accident was Wetzel failing to yield to an emergency vehicle, however, Wetzel was not cited for failing to yield.
Idaho Falls Fire Chief Dean Ellis said Wood will pay for the Nov. 15 citation out of his own pocket. Wood also has been reprimanded by the department, but Ellis would not comment on the specifics of the reprimand because it is a personnel matter.
RUTH BROWN, Idaho Falls Post Register
December 04, 2013
Chicago fire department faulted in firefighter's death
CHICAGO — Chicago firefighters failed to properly coordinate and communicate their strategy for extinguishing a blaze that killed a 32-year veteran of the department last year, a federal investigation found.
The report marks the second time in as many years that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has cited poor communications as a contributing factor in a Chicago firefighter's death. Though not as scathing as the findings from a December 2010 blaze that killed two firefighters, the latest NIOSH report indicates there are still questions about how the department communicates while battling fires.
The report also describes the harrowing scene inside a burning Gage Park neighborhood two-flat on Nov. 2, 2012, where Capt. Herbert Johnson repeatedly ordered his men to safety after suffering severe burns to his hands, face and the inside of his mouth.
"He was trying to get us out but he couldn't get himself out," said firefighter-paramedic Mike Imparato, who yelled "mayday" — he had no radio — after Johnson fell to the floor.
Both the Fire Department and the firefighters union have reviewed the report, which does not specifically state which, if any, issues had a direct bearing on Johnson's death. Instead it lists a series of "contributing factors" that include poor communication, staffing shortages and inefficient coordination at the scene.
A union official said the report, while an important learning tool, also shows that fires are filled with hidden dangers beyond anyone's control.
"They got on the scene and there was minimal fire showing from the first hole in the roof," said Thomas Ryan, president of Chicago Fire Fighters Union Local 2. "It looked as though they had it under control, then all hell broke loose. Johnson's first instinct was to tell the members to get out. He looked out for the safety of his fellow firefighters. Unfortunately he didn't make it out."
Johnson, who had been promoted to captain that summer, was in the house for only six minutes when things went terribly wrong, according to investigators. As Johnson carried a hose inside, the scene commander announced over department radios that other firefighters were ventilating the building and blasting water into the attic.
Johnson, who was carrying a radio, never confirmed that he got that message. But the plan proceeded anyway. The report specifically chastises scene commanders for failing to confirm that Johnson knew the plan to attack the fire.
"Everyone has to know the strategy that is being implemented and understand their role by acknowledging via radio their position and role," the report states.
The federal investigators also took issue with the strategy employed that day, saying that firefighters on the scene failed to consider that horizontal ventilation — doors were opened on either end of the building, and there was a hole in the roof — would cause the fire and heat to intensify and become dangerous, federal investigators said.
Around the same time as the ventilation plan was enacted, Johnson ordered firefighters on the second floor to get out of the building. His order was followed by a loud noise, as Johnson collapsed on the second floor.
The report confirms that the firefighter-paramedic who found Johnson did not have a radio and was reduced to screaming "mayday" to call attention to Johnson's injuries, according to federal investigators. The report notes that on the day of the fire the city was still awaiting a shipment that would have provided a radio to every member of the department.
Those additional radios were recommended by NIOSH after an investigation into a December 2010 fire in a vacant South Side building that killed two firefighters. The lack of radios was cited as a contributing factor in that blaze.
Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford on Monday initially insisted that all firefighters involved in the Gage Park fire had radios. After reading the report Monday, he conceded that some firefighters at the scene did not have radios but said it would have made little difference.
"That had nothing to do with this incident," Langford said. "Communication was not the issue in this incident from what I determined."
Every Chicago firefighter now has a digital radio, Langford said. Most were distributed on Nov. 18, 2012, about two weeks after Johnson's death.
Imparato, who made the mayday call without a radio, told the Tribune he yelled for about 10 seconds before help arrived. He tried to grab Johnson's radio to call for assistance but couldn't reach it, he said.
"Ten seconds seemed like an eternity,'' he said. "I could hear footsteps on the stairs, so I knew others were coming. I was screaming 'mayday' the entire time."
Imparato said he doesn't believe a radio would have changed Johnson's fate.
"I'd like to say it would have made a difference, and a lot of times it will, but this happened so quickly,'' he said. "I was screaming 'mayday' and people could not hear me at first, but it's not like we didn't get him out of there pretty quick.''
Imparato said he is not sure how Johnson suffered his injuries — the report does not draw a conclusion on that topic either — but he assumes they stemmed from flashover, a near-simultaneous ignition of combustible material in an enclosed area.
NIOSH investigators were not available for comment Monday.
Langford defended the way firefighters attacked the fire. He said the department would review the recommendations listed in the report, though officials already believe it wrongly takes issue with the actions of firefighters at the scene with Johnson.
Federal investigators found that the units that responded to the fire were short at least two firefighters, but Langford said there was enough staff to extinguish the blaze and manage the chaos.
The report also states that Johnson was not wearing his protective hood or gloves when he entered the building. Federal investigators noted that Johnson was not wearing his self-contained breathing apparatus mask when carried from the building, but the report does say he was wearing the mask before he was injured.
Langford said Johnson was wearing the appropriate gear when he entered the building. It's likely Johnson removed his gloves to use his radio and that his mask was knocked off as he stumbled to escape the blaze, Langford said.
If the firefighters are at fault for anything, it was in their decision to proceed with the plan to battle the blaze from the outside without getting an acknowledgment from Johnson that he understood the strategy, Langford said. But even that omission was a small misstep, he said.
"There is always something to be learned," Langford said. "We look at these investigations to see what we may have missed and what we can learn so that safety is improved even more."
December 04, 2013
Responders Forced to Resign From Second Jobs - NC
As of last week, Rutherford County EMS no longer allows paramedics to work part-time for local rescue squads.
Fifteen full-time first responders at Rutherford County EMS in N.C. are being forced to resign from their second, part-time jobs with local rescue squads, reports wlos.com.
An attorney reportedly advised that the county could be in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, because the rescue squad positions entail similar duties and because the county subsidizes the squad. As a result, the attorney advised, the U.S. Department of Labor could consider the two organizations as one, and anything over 40 hours per week between the two jobs would need to be paid as employee overtime.
The news organization contacted five other area counties, and each one allows county staff to serve part-time at local rescue squads, even under similar circumstances.
December 04, 2013
2 ALARM FIRE ON WEST END AVENUE AND 83RD STREET - NY
Video from THEMAJESTIRIUM1 of a fire Monday night at 471 West End Avenue near West 83rd Street in Manhattan. News reports indicate a citizen was seriously hurt. In addition, a citizen and a firefighter suffered minor injuries.
Posted by dave statter / http://statter911.com/
December 04, 2013
Ambulance rolls over on icy I-95 - ME
Maine State Police Trooper Trevor Snow walks away from an East Millinocket-Lincoln ambulance that rolled over while heading south on Interstate 95 on Monday.
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
EDINBURG, Maine — Two East Millinocket Fire Department ambulance workers and a patient were inside an ambulance that went off Interstate 95 and rolled over in icy conditions on Monday, officials said.
The East Millinocket and Lincoln Fire Department ambulance was southbound taking a patient to a Bangor hospital when it slid off the west side of the road near mile marker 214 and rolled once before coming to a stop on its wheels about 9:45 a.m., Trooper Trevor Snow said.
“They are heavy [which provides good traction] but they are also top-heavy so in conditions where other vehicles would just slide off the roadway their momentum can carry them over,” Snow said. “A more top-heavy vehicle is more likely to go over.”
Driver Louis Perreault, an emergency medical technician, of East Millinocket didn’t believe he was hurt but went to Eastern Maine Medical Center of Bangor as a precaution. Paramedic Harvey Frederick of Cary “complained of some pain,” Snow said. The patient, whom Snow did not identify, suffered no additional injuries.
A hospital official couldn’t immediately determine whether Perrault and Frederick had been admitted. They and their patient were wearing seat belts or were otherwise properly secured, Snow said.
Howland Fire Chief Phil Dawson, whose department handled the accident, and Lincoln Public Safety Director Dan Summers could provide no further details. East Millinocket firefighters referred comment to Fire Capt. Peter Larlee, who came to the accident scene, and Fire Chief Les Brown. Neither were available on Monday afternoon.
The East Millinocket and Lincoln fire departments’ ambulance service, which covers 14 northern Penobscot County towns including Lincoln, Lee, East Millinocket and Medway, was launched in July. It fills a niche created when Penobscot Valley Hospital of Lincoln dropped its ambulance service.
The accident was among dozens reported during Monday morning’s rush and after more than 50 reported Sunday night along I-95. Light snowfall, slush and temperatures hovering at the freezing mark made icy conditions dangerously unpredictable, officials said.
A two-mile section of I-95 in Newport was closed for about two hours and a Biddeford man reportedly died as a result of a crash on I-95 in Township 2, Range 9 on Sunday night. A fatality also was reported on Riverside Drive in Auburn on Monday morning.
Monday’s conditions on I-95 created far fewer accidents than Sunday’s but emergency responders still were busy, Snow said. A pickup truck towing a horse trailer and a horse slid into a guardrail near mile marker 219 on I-95’s southbound side about 15 minutes before the ambulance rollover. The man, woman and horse involved were not injured, state police said.
No charges will be filed against Perrault in connection with the accident, which clearly was caused only by weather and road conditions, Snow said.
A previous version of this story said the accident occurred in Argyle. It occurred in Edinburg.
By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff / http://bangordailynews.com
December 04, 2013
Chilling 911 tapes of Sandy Hook shooting released - CT
They not only paint a picture of anguish and tension inside the building, they also show Newtown dispatchers mobilizing help, reassuring callers and urging them to take cover
December 04, 2013
Firefighter injured battling fire at home with live electricity lines - MO
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One firefighter was taken away in an ambulance while battling a house fire near I-435 and Winner Road early Wednesday morning.
A driver on I-435 called 911 at about 5 a.m. after seeing the flames and smoke and reportedly saw electricity arching.
The house was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived on the scene, and fighting the fire was additionally challenging because of live electricity lines.
“Fire was coming from crevasses and cracks,” said Harry Shannon, a witness. “I am very proud of how quickly the firefighters put the fire out.”
The injured firefighter, a 12-year veteran of the fire department, has lacerations to his eyes, according to the battalion chief. The bomb and arson unit have been called in to investigate.
“It was an abandoned house. I know there has been a lot of vandalism going on with it,” said the neighbor named Chet. “My roommate woke me up and said, ‘Take a look at this.’ Flames in the sky. It was an accident waiting to happen, and it did.”
Posted by Michelle Pekarsky / http://fox4kc.com
December 04, 2013
Black Forest fire board to hire investigator after sheriff's arson remarks - CO
The sheriff slammed the fire chief for his handling of the deadly fire and said it was "probably" intentionally set
BLACK FOREST, Colo. — The board of directors for Black Forest Fire Rescue will hire a private investigator to verify exactly what happened during the first few hours of last summer's Black Forest fire that killed two people and destroyed nearly 500 homes.
The investigation comes in the wake of comments made Nov. 21 by El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa. The comments were aimed at Black Forest Fire Chief Bob Harvey. The sheriff issued a statement just hours after Harvey told a television reporter that the early-June blaze was "probably" intentionally set.
In the statement, Maketa said Harvey "may be merely covering his own mishandling of this event in an attempt to avoid responsibility for allowing the fire to get out of hand."
Black Forest Fire Rescue board chairman Eddie Bracken said Tuesday morning that he has full confidence in Harvey and the job Harvey has done since joining the department in 2012.
"Bob Harvey is a superstar as far as I'm concerned right now," Bracken said.
Bracken continued, saying that Black Forest Fire Rescue has been more responsive since Harvey was hired and the chief's "performance and execution during the fire was tremendous. We saved a lot of homes," he said.
According to the chairman, a letter of support for Harvey was given to the board with signatures from the entire Black Forest Fire Rescue staff. Harvey said he also heard from officials at the Westcott and Falcon fire protection districts expressing more support for the chief.
"The entire fire department is behind him," Bracken said.
According to news reports, a petition began circulating around Black Forest over the Thanksgiving weekend. Denver's ABC affiliate reported on its website that the petition declares residents of Black Forest "have no faith in Bob Harvey to hold the position of Fire Chief" and that he displayed "incompetence, arrogance, lack of integrity and ego."
Harvey could not be reached for comment Tuesday morning.
Lawyers for the Black Forest department will now search for a private investigator to handle the case. Bracken said the board will hold a press conference when the investigation concludes. He would not guess how long the task could take and wouldn't share his own beliefs about what investigators might find.
"I'm not going to speculate until we get all the facts verified," Bracken said.
December 02, 2013
Ambulance involved in Norfolk crash - VA
NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - An ambulance was involved in a crash in Norfolk early Friday morning.
Dispatchers told WAVY.com around 1 a.m. the crash occurred near the intersection of Newtown Road and Virginia Beach Boulevard.
There was an entrapment, according to dispatchers, but they could not confirm if the entrapment involved the ambulance. One person in the ambulance was taken to the hospital, but it remains unknown at this time if it was a patient or and EMS worker.
Further information was not released.
December 02, 2013
Firefighters overcome during hazmat call in New Hanover - PA
2 fire-fighters enter the home on Swamp Pike in New Hanover to check air quality after 2 exotic birds died and two firemen were taken to Pottstown Hospital after an unknown gas odor caused an alarm Monday morning
Photo/Tom Kelly III
Montgomery County HazMat crews were at a home on Swamp Pike in New Hanover to check air quality after 2 exotic birds died and two firemen were taken to Pottstown Hospital after an unknown gas odor or smell caused an alarm Monday morning
Photo/Tom Kelly III
NEW HANOVER — Two firefighters with the New Hanover Township Fire Company were taken to the hospital after they reported feeling nauseous and dizzy while responding to a call for an odor of gas Monday morning.
The owner of a home along the 2500 block of Swamp Pike called 911 around 10:36 a.m. and reported that she smelled gas in her home. When firefighters arrived, the homeowner informed them that two large pet birds, a parrot and a cockatoo, had died in the last day or so and that she was suffering from headaches and nausea, according to Fire Chief Phil Agliano.
Agliano said responding firefighters conducted a check of the interior and exterior of the home using gas meters, but their equipment did not detect anything dangerous.
After the first team that responded entered the home, two of the firefighters began complaining they did not feel well, Agliano said. A paramedic team checked out the firefighters and recommended they be taken to Pottstown Memorial Medical Center, according to Agliano.
The female homeowner refused treatment at the scene, he said.
The Montgomery County Hazmat team responded to the home but it was not immediately known what may have caused the illnesses.
Calls placed to the New Hanover Township Fire Company seeking more information were not returned before deadline Monday.
By Eileen Faust, The Mercury
December 02, 2013
Thanksgiving blaze rips through firefighter's home - NJ
Flames engulf the house at the height of the Thanksgiving evening blaze. Working smoke detectors enabled those inside to get out safely, firefighters said. Photo/John W. Carr
Firefighters battle a blaze that destroyed a home home in the 3600 block of East Chestnut Avenue on Thanksgiving Day. The home was owned by a volunteer Vineland firefighter.
Photo/John W. Carr
VINELAND — Volunteer firefighter Freddie Melini was the first responder at the scene of a tragic Thanksgiving blaze at his own house.
Melini arrived at his home in the 3600 block of East Chestnut Avenue just after 5:30 p.m. Thursday, when he saw the flames.
He called 9-1-1 before racing to Fire Company 5 on Panther Road to get a fire truck, according to firefighters.
Vineland firefighters, assisted by those from East Vineland and Buena, battled the raging flames that consumed most of the white, two-story house. More than 55 firefighters joined forces to extinguish the flames.
Firefighters ran a supply hose to tap the nearest hydrant about 1,000 feet away. Tanker trucks ferried water to the property. The fire was deemed under control at 7:52 p.m., according to fire department reports. Firefighters remained on the scene until about 11:30 p.m.
Fire crews returned to the residence at 5:33 a.m. Friday when the fire erupted again.
Smoke detectors did work, and those inside the house were able to safely get out, firefighters said. The family has made temporary housing arrangements, Melini said.
Firefighters surveyed the charred remains of the house Friday afternoon, trying to determine what sparked the fire.
Donald Fiocchi of Fire Company 5 said whenever something needs to be done, volunteer firefighter Melini “is the first one to say yes.”
Fiocchi said he saw Melini drive by Thursday as the fire tones sounded and realized with a sinking heart the fire scene was his colleague’s home.
Firefighters were eager to assist one of their own, but said Melini assured them that he would be OK.
The local Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association reached out to Melini with $500. Other firefighters said they were on standby willing to provide any assistance the Melini family may require.
Written by Deborah M. Marko / thedailyjournal.com