March 07, 2014
Man Saved During Sept. Floods Could Sue Rescuers - CO
Roy Ortiz says the flooded road should have been closed, and crews took too long to respond after he became trapped in his upside-down car.
A Broomfield man who was rescued from his submerged car during the September floods has filed papers indicating he might sue his rescuers and first responders.
Roy Ortiz was rescued by North Metro Fire Rescue District and others who responded to the scene after his car was washed off the road on Sept. 12. He says crews took too long to respond to the accident after he became trapped in his upside-down car near the intersection of U.S. 287 and Dillon Road in Lafayette.
He also claims the road should have been closed, thus the accident that left him trapped in the submerged car would never have happened.
No lawsuit has yet been filed, but Ortiz's lawyer, Aurora attorney Ed Ferszt, has filed a legal document that is a typical precursor to filing a lawsuit against a government agency.
The document, called a government immunity notice, is addressed to agencies in the cities of Boulder, Broomfield, Westminster and Lafayette. The document specifically names Boulder County sheriff's deputies, a member of the Westminster dive team, Broomfield and North Metro Fire Rescue District.
The document claims first responders, Boulder County Sheriff's deputy Jeannette Cunning and Sgt. Mike Linden, and an unnamed member of the Westminster dive team, failed to see Ortiz was trapped in the car, and that he ended up spending two hours submerged in Rock Creek until he was rescued.
In the document, Ferszt stated Ortiz survived "by pure grace."
David Hughes, Boulder deputy county attorney, said Boulder will investigate the claim, "which is what we do with all notices of claim," he said.
The document also states the road should have been closed and marked as dangerous.
If Broomfield had closed the road, Ortiz would not have suffered physical trauma, such as hypothermia and muscle spasms, and would not have suffered property damage and emotional distress, the document states.
Ortiz has incurred about $40,000 in medical bills from the accident, and about $500,000 in total damages, according to the document.
Sara Farris, a spokeswoman for North Metro Fire, said the document was sent to the fire department and other agencies who responded to the accident, but the fire department has not received word about further action.
Ferszt did not immediately respond to calls for comment from the Enterprise, but in a CBS 4 story, he said it was "unfortunate to have to try and cast liability and responsibility for this act of God on the men and women who risked their own lives."
CBS 4 reported that Ortiz reluctantly filed a notice of intent to sue because he needs help paying medical bills.
Farris said North Metro realizes Ortiz's ordeal was traumatic, but said responders did all they could to rescue him.
"We sympathize with what he went through," she said. "Given the challenging conditions, we feel our responders performed well and professionally."
News of potential legal action comes nearly six months after Ortiz was rescued from his submerged car during the historic floods in September.
Ortiz, who was driving to work on Sept. 12 on Dillon Road near U.S 287, saw the street was washed out by flood waters. He tried to stop, but became trapped in his car when a bridge collapse caused him to slide off the road into Rock Creek.
In September, Ortiz said he called his wife when he fell off the road, then called 911. Before he could get out of his car, two more vehicles on the road crashed into the same creek, causing his car to flip over in the water.
Ortiz said he survived by positioning his head in a small air bubble near the back of his car, but the sound of the flood waters made it impossible for him to yell for help.
"Everywhere I moved, there was the water," he said. "Two hours was an eternity."
North Metro Fire personnel rescued him from his submerged car. Farris said records indicate rescuers had Ortiz out of the car in just a little more than an hour after the 911 call was received.
Ortiz and his rescuers shared an emotional moment after Ortiz was released from the hospital on Sept. 13, where, at a press conference, he thanked North Metro for rescuing him and said his faith in God helped keep him calm during the flood.
Jim Chalat, a Denver personal injury lawyer not related to the case, said it is not uncommon for people to sue public entities such as ambulance companies or fire departments. To win a case, however, the plaintiff must be able to show that the company showed "gross deviation from reasonable care" or that the plaintiff received care or services that caused them a significant or unreasonable injury.
"It would have to be a type of "Oh my God" screw-up," he said.
Megan Quinn / Source: Broomfield Enterprise, Colo.
March 06, 2014
Police ID man killed in Greenport house fire - NY
Officials with the Suffolk County Arson Squad begin their investigation of a fatal house fire in Greenport Wednesday night.
(Credit: Paul Squire)
Firefighters on the scene Wednesday night.
(Credit: Paul Squire)
One man was killed and three others — including a Greenport firefighter and a Good Samaritan who tried to rescue the man trapped inside —were hospitalized after a fire ripped through a Greenport home Wednesday night, authorities said.
Homeowner Jack Pollack, 61, was killed in the blaze at 630 1st Street, according to a Southold Town police statement. Police at the scene said Mr. Pollack — who was physically handicapped — was found in the living room area of the house.
Fire officials added that a pet, believed to be a dog, was also killed in the fire, which police said doesn’t appear to be suspicious at this time.
The fire was first reported at 6:44 p.m., while firefighters were gathered at headquarters for a Hazmat training session, said Greenport Fire Department secretary and information officer Jim Kalin.
“Upon arrival, the chiefs found fire coming from the front windows, front door and from the roof,” he said.
Another resident of the home, 58-year-old Karen Pollack, had already made it out of the house and did not appear to have suffered burns, police said. She was taken to Eastern Long Island Hospital by ambulance crews, treated for minor injuries and released, according to the police statement.
Police said passerby Wade Hackett saw the fire break out and attempted to get into the house, but couldn’t rescue Mr. Pollack inside. Mr. Hackett brought himself to Eastern Long Island Hospital for treatment of minor injuries and was released.
Greenport responded with its entire department, with assistance from the Southold and East Marion fire departments.
While fighting the blaze, Greeport firefighter Lt. Jeff Weingart suffered “minor injuries” and was hospitalized at ELIH, Mr. Kalin said. He was released later that night, police said.
The fire was under control just after 7 p.m., Mr. Kalin said.
The victim’s body remained inside the home as Southold Town police, the Suffolk County Arson Squad, Suffolk County crime investigators and the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office investigated, authorities said. The cause of the fire has not yet been released.
by Paul Squire / http://suffolktimes.timesreview.com
March 06, 2014
Firefighters Deal With Grief After Two Fatal Blazes - IN
Words cannot describe the pain some Sullivan firefighters are feeling right now.
"It's pretty tough we'll be doing some debriefing later, we just gotta get through what we gotta do," Rob Robertson, Sullivan Fire Chief said shortly after his team battled its second fatal fire in less than a week.
Two fatal fires.
One small department, in a close-knit community handling at all.
"I knew the gentlemen from the high-rise just from going on runs before and his family. The father of the child I've met a few times," Charles Reed, a Sullivan firefighter said.
Reed worked both the fires.
He had connections to both the victims.
Making an already tragic situation even more difficult for him to handle.
"It's hard having a connection there, knowing that they know you and you know them. It adds a little more emotion to it," Reed said.
James Ramer is a recovery specialist at the Hamilton Center in Terre Haute.
He says the grief first-responders in Sullivan are dealing with right now is normal.
"When it is involved in a very small community that person has connection it become very personal for that person," Ramer said.
A personal impact that doesn't immediately set-in.
"It sets in especially after the event is over when that person or first responder has time to sit down and start thinking through that event," Ramer said.
And when Reed thinks back to both fires, he knows he gave it his all.
"We all did our best and did what we could do, we're sorry for their loss. You hate to see anybody lose a life," Reed said.
Kyle Inskeep / mywabashvalley.com
March 06, 2014
One woman killed, two others injured in head-on crash - IL
WOODFORD COUNTY, Ill. -- One person is dead and two others are injured after an ambulance crashed head-on with a car.
Firefighters responded to the accident on Route 116 between Metamora and Roanoke just after 5pm Wednesday.
A witness tells News 25 he saw an ambulance spinning out of control before hitting a black car. The driver of that car, 64-year-old Galeen Driscoll of Metamora, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Firefighters used the jaws of life to pull two people from the Peru, Illinois ambulance.
The driver, 44 year old Daniel Dempsey, was listed in fair condition at O-S-F St. Francis Medical Center Wednesday night. The passenger, 61-year-old James Zborowski, was treated and released.
March 06, 2014
Ferndale firefighter injured while fighting residential blaze - MI
Firefighters work to extinguish a fire that broke out on the 500 block of E. Troy Street, south of Nine Mile Road between Woodward Avenue and Hilton, in Ferndale on Wednesday afternoon.
(For the Daily Tribune/JEFFREY WILLIAMS)
A Ferndale firefighter was injured while working on a house fire that caused an estimated $30,000 in damage Wednesday afternoon, according to Ferndale fire officials.
Fire crews were called about 1:30 p.m. to the burning two-story structure at 518 E. Troy Street south of Nine Mile Road between Woodward Avenue and Hilton after neighbors noticed flames and called the fire department, said Fire Marshal Brian Batten. No one was home at the time, he said.
Investigators said the cause of the fire is not yet known. It began on the second floor, which is now “gutted.”
“The first floor (has) lots of water damage,” Batten said. “We don’t the cause yet.”
Fire Chief Kevin Sullivan said one firefighter was hurt during the initial attack as he worked in extreme conditions on the stairwell to the upstairs. The firefighter, who possibly has an injured hernia, was taken to an area hospital Wednesday evening for treatment but his condition was not immediately available.
Also, another firefighter fell through the second-story floor during the fire battle but was not hurt, the chief said.
Firefighters from neighboring Hazel Park, Madison Heights and Royal Oak assisted Ferndale crews. They worked to prevent flames from spreading to nearby homes. Firefighters climbed to the roof to spray water in the windows to suppress flames leaping from the house.
The assisting fire agencies responded as part of a mutual aid agreement among the cities. Southfield fire personnel arrived on standby to cover Ferndale’s fire station during the incident.
Batten said an investigation is underway to determine the cause.
By CRYSTAL A. PROXMIRE, For the Daily Tribune
March 06, 2014
Man Arrested in Assault of Firefighters, Residents - NC
The man struck one firefighter with a tree limb after assulting two women.
MAXTON -- A Maxton man has been charged with setting fire to the home he and his girlfriend rented and then assaulting two firefighters who tried to extinguish the blaze, according to the Robeson County Sheriff's Office.
Michael Lee Clark, 29, was arrested on Sunday after a brief visit to Southeastern Regional Medical Center for shoulder injuries, according to Lt. Brian Duckworth, arson investigator.
Firefighters responded to Clark's Porcelain drive home at about 5:30 a.m. on Sunday and by the time they arrived, the home was consumed by flames, Duckworth said.
Duckworth said Clark then assaulted two females, telling one "it was her fault and she made him do it." While one of the women was sitting in a car, Clark smashed the windshield, Duckworth said.
Clark also struck one firefighter with a 10-foot tree limb and hit a second firefighter in the face with a coat.
When sheriff's deputies arrived, Duckworth said, Clark resisted arrest.
Clark and his girlfriend, Amber Chavis, lived in the mobile home, which was owned by Deryl Smith. Duckworth said the home, valued at $10,000, along with $10,000 worth of items inside were destroyed.
Clark is charged with second-degree arson, burning personal property, assaulting the two firefighters, assaulting the two women, damage to personal property and resisting arrest. Duckworth said Clark was also served with an old warrant for failing to appear in court regarding a DWI.
Clark has been placed under a $38,300 bond -- $25,000 for the arson charge, $4,000 for each firefighter assaulted, $2,000 for resisting arrest, $800 for the old warrant and $2,500 for assaulting the two women.
Sarah Willets / The Robesonian, Lumberton, N.C.
March 06, 2014
Four Dead in Jersey City Blaze, Crews Sent to Wrong Street - NJ
A firefighter inspects a charred home while standing on a ladder from a fire truck in Jersey City, N.J. on Thursday, March 6, 2014.
A woman is consoled by another woman near the scene of a four-alarm fire in Jersey City, N.J. on Thursday, March 6, 2014.
Officials exit from a home where a fire broke out early on Thursday, in Jersey City, N.J.
Officials carry a body out of the charred remains of a home where a fire broke out early in the morning on Thursday, March 6, 2014, in Jersey City, N.J.
Jersey City crews were dispatched to Grand Street, not Grand Avenue, but officials say that did not contibute to the loss as the home was already fully engulfed.
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — A fast-moving fire claimed four lives on Thursday in New Jersey's second-largest city, where the mayor said a mix-up over the street name delayed the emergency response.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said the fire also likely destroyed five houses and displaced at least 30 people. He said it took firefighters 7 to 8 minutes to get to the scene instead of the usual 3 to 4 minutes because a dispatcher misunderstood a caller.
But the mayor told The Associated Press that officials do not believe the delay cost lives because the home was already engulfed when the first calls came in.
"The calls indicated the house was already engulfed in flames," Fulop said. "It was already a multi-alarm fire out of the gate."
The fire happened on Jersey City's Grant Avenue, but the mayor said an initial caller did not specify the street or avenue, and a dispatcher thought the person said "Grand" instead of "Grant." Firefighters were routed to Grand Street instead of Grant Avenue.
"The 911 dispatchers are obviously trained to deal with high-pressure situations," Fulop said. "But in the mix-up, the caller didn't distinguish ... You're dealing with people in the heat of the moment, and it's hard to get them to answer questions. That issue was part of it."
The fire swept through part of a block of row houses. Authorities recovered two bodies by late morning, and brought out two other bodies later in the day.
Authorities hadn't released the identities of the dead by Thursday afternoon, but neighbors and people who said they knew the family said the victims were a pastor and his wife and children. Before the bodies were found, the mayor said a couple in their 80s and their two sons, who are in their 50s, were unaccounted for.
Carolyn Oliver-Fair, of Jersey City, and Bernadine Byrd, of Newark, said pastor William Pickett often held services at his house and also preached in Newark and other areas.
"He was just a likable, lovable guy," Oliver-Fair said. "This is absolutely devastating. It's a tragic loss for the community."
Authorities haven't said what they believe caused the fire.
As stunned neighbors looked on, firefighters used a ladder truck to peer into the second floor of the charred structure.
A man who lives across the street said he had returned home at about 1 a.m. after celebrating his 40th birthday when he looked out his window to make sure he'd turned out all the lights in his car.
"I saw the flames coming out of the first floor entrance," Charles Davis said. "At some point the wind was blowing the fire across the street and into the other houses, and they had to evacuate everybody."
Video shot by Davis appeared to show a man running up to the house and trying to enter as the fire raged, only to be grabbed by police. Davis said he heard the man shouting, "My grandmother is in there!"
Fulop said the fire broke out during a particularly difficult week for the Jersey City Fire Department. A funeral is scheduled for Friday for Fire Captain Gregory Barnas, a 29-year veteran of the department who also volunteered with the Wallington Fire Department. Barnas was killed last week after falling from the roof of a burning restaurant in Wallington.
DAVID PORTER / Associated Press
March 06, 2014
Philly FFs Duck for Cover as Bullets Hit Fire Station - PA
Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said "it appears that someone was shooting directly at the firehouse."
At least two bullets hit a firehouse Thursday afternoon in the city's Kensington section, causing firefighters to duck for cover in the middle of their lunch break, said Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.
About 1:25 p.m., several shots were fired in the area of the firehouse at Boudinot Street and Hart Lane, Ayers said. A lieutenant and three firefighters were inside the station's lunch room at the time.
"They were having lunch and all of a sudden, shots," Ayers said. "They got down, got out of the way," and called for police.
One bullet pierced a lunchroom window and another struck an air-conditioning unit, he said. No one was hurt. The medic unit assigned to the firehouse was out on a run at the time.
Police are investigating, but Ayers said "it appears that someone was shooting directly at the firehouse."
The firehouse is across the street from a city playground.
Robert Moran / The Philadelphia Inquirer
March 06, 2014
Chief Calls Fire/EMS Staffing 'Threadbare' - MA
Methuen relies on mutual aid for about 100 medical transports annually, costing the city about $80,000 a year in foregone revenue.
METHUEN -- The Fire Department likely will have to take at least one, and possibly two, vehicles out of service between now and July due to overtime costs caused by injuries and a short staff, Fire Chief Steven Buote said.
The department is running up against its $1.1 million overtime budget, and with the mayor and City Council not adding funding, Buote said he will have to take a fire engine and maybe the rescue vehicle, both assigned to Central Station, out of service. Both vehicles have been taken out of service previously.
Meanwhile, Mayor Stephen Zanni said he is considering adding funding in next year's budget proposal for four firefighters, a move he said would reduce some overtime spending.
"We've already taken two pieces of apparatus out of service at points during the year, and we're going to have to take at least one, possibly two, pieces of apparatus out of service again before the end of the year just to meet the budget," the chief said.
Buote said his overtime spending dropped to between $6,000 and $7,000 per week earlier this year, a level he and city officials estimated could be sustained for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends June 30. But to achieve that level, he sometimes had to take a fire engine and the rescue vehicle out of service.
"Since then, we put those two pieces of apparatus back into service, but we're once again at an unsustainable level," Buote said. He estimated his current overtime spending at about $20,000 per week.
The department currently is budgeted for 92 personnel, broken down into 22 people in each of four shifts. The remaining four are the chief, the deputy chief and two captains. The department also has a clerk and an administrative assistant, according to department documents.
Buote said each shift had 23 people before 2008. Since then, four positions have not been funded, requiring one of the three ambulances to be out of service and the rescue vehicle to be staffed with only one firefighter. Methuen relies on mutual aid for about 100 medical transports annually, costing the city about $80,000 a year in foregone revenue, Buote said in a document to the City Council.
In July and August, the department spent about $30,000 per week, and as much as $46,000 one week, for overtime to cover vacation and injury or disability vacancies. Buote said at one time, 13 employees were out on injury or disability, including some with on-duty injuries. Six other firefighters were away at the state Fire Academy.
Staff also typically take vacation during the summer, leading to the highest overtime expenditures. Buote said by contract he cannot control when firefighters take vacation.
Calling the staffing level "threadbare," Buote said the only two options he has when people call out are to hire someone on overtime to fill that spot or take a piece of equipment out of service.
"When we have 22 personnel per shift, that's the absolute minimum number of personnel we need to keep all the apparatus in service," he said.
Zanni said adding the four positions lost since 2008, bringing each shift back to 23, would ensure the department could keep the fire engine and rescue vehicle in service, but would still consume the $1.1 million overtime budget. He estimated the cost of four new firefighters at about $230,000, including benefits.
"They're short and that's where they're escalating," Zanni said. "If we can put on four more firefighters, that would offset that (spending) and we wouldn't have the overtime situation we have."
New hires are pulled from the city's reserve firefighter roster, which is comprised of people approved from a Civil Service list, and must complete training at the state Fire Academy.
Two or three firefighters are out long term, Buote said, so even with four more firefighters, the department would be down two people, meaning some overtime would be needed to fill those two spots.
Buote estimated that a staffing level of 22 per shift would require $1.7 million in overtime. A level of 21 per shift would require $1.57 million and would take Engine 6 out of service. A level of 19 per shift would require $1.34 million and take Engine 6 Rescue 1 out of service. A level of 18 per shift would take $1.23 million and close north station on Howe Street, with Engine 6 and Ladder 1 out of service. The rescue vehicle would be back in service.
Ambulance 3, which has been inactive since 2008, would remain unstaffed in those scenarios.
Douglas Moser / Source: The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass.
March 06, 2014
2 firefighters injured in Bronx bodega fire - NY
NEW YORK (WABC) -- A three-alarm fire burned through a bodega in the Morrisania section of the Bronx.
The fire was on both floors of the Pamela Deli Grocery on East 163rd Street.
Two firefighters were injured with burns and smoke inhalation. They are in stable condtion at Cornell.
The fire started at 3:30 p.m. and quickly went to three alarms.
There were 33 units and 138 firefighters plus additional EMS at the scene.
Fire was placed under control at 6:17 p.m.
There was a mayday transmitted after a firefighter was briefly seperated from the others as the fire spread, but he was found quickly and is OK.
The cause of the fire is under investigation by fire marshals.
March 06, 2014
Ventnor man charged with DWI after his SUV overturns on Atlantic City beach - NJ
An SUV overturned on the Atlantic City beach Tuesday.
A Ventnor man who overturned his sport utility vehicle on the Atlantic City beach with his two young children inside was drunk, according to charges against him.
Police were called to Kingston Avenue just before 4 p.m. Tuesday, and found the SUV overturned with two children inside.
Mike Tripician, 30, a Ventnor firefighter, apparently tried to flee police by running into the ocean, and also kicked an emergency medical technician in the face, according to the report.
The children — ages 2 and 16 months — were in their car seats and did not suffer any physical injuries, Sgt. Monica McMenamin said. Both were taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center’s City Campus right after the crash as a precaution.
Tripician is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, careless driving and obstructing the administration of the law.
McMenamin said the EMT was stunned, but not injured, so did not file a complaint against Tripician.
March 06, 2014
Heavy Flames Force Firefighters to Evacuate Burning Building - MIfont>
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (March 6, 2014) — Firefighters have had to leave a burning apartment-style home and evacuate neighboring residences while crews try to gain control of a quickly-spreading fire.
First calls early Thursday morning were at 4:33 a.m. at a building on Bridge Street NW.
Flames quickly spread into the upper portions of the structure, which led the firefighters to take what is called a “defensive approach,” where crews are ordered out of the building and fire repression efforts continue from outside, said Battalion Chief Bart Perry.
All crews were ordered out of the building due to the threat of a potential collapse. They then proceeded to evacuate neighboring homes due to the threat the flames could spread.
by Steve VanBergen / AM Content Manager / http://fox17online.com
March 06, 2014
Woman driving an SUV crashes into Ashland fire station - OR
ASHLAND — A Jeep Grand Cherokee abruptly left the road, plowed through a flower bed, and sliced through a light pole and fire hydrant before slamming into Ashland Fire & Rescue's Station No. 1 Tuesday evening.
Ashland fire officials reported the crash at 5:35 p.m.
The driver, 65-year-old Dianna Plunk, was traveling north on Siskiyou Boulevard toward downtown when she struck the station right between the offices of Chief John Karns and Fire Division Chief Marguerite Hickman.
"She impacted the station with such a great force that it actually moved her car into a parallel-parking position," said Battalion Chief Dana Sallee. "It actually had to be slid out sideways."
A lane of Siskiyou Boulevard was blocked for two hours following the crash. Both lanes had to be blocked for about 20 minutes while the car was pulled from the sidewalk and towed away.
Plunk, the car's sole occupant, was transported to Ashland Community Hospital. She was cited and released by the Ashland Police Department for driving under the influence of intoxicants, police said. The source of her alleged impairment is under investigation. No one else was injured in the crash.
Sallee said the damaged light pole cost about $2,500 and damage to the station could exceed $30,000. Drywall was pushed into the station's interior, and the impact left a three-foot hole that has since been covered to keep out moisture. Damage to the fire hydrant was minimal, as hydrants are built as "breakaway" units that are made to shear off if struck by a vehicle.
By Ryan Pfeil / Mail Tribune
March 06, 2014
3 Firefighters Hurt Extinguishing Foundry Fire In Batavia - IL
BATAVIA, Ill. (CBS) – Three firefighters went to the hospital overnight after they slipped and fell on ice while battling an extra-alarm blaze at a foundry in west suburban Batavia.
The fire started around 9:30 p.m. at the Master Cast foundry at 106 S. Mallory Av. in Batavia.
Flames quickly engulfed the building, and crews from about 15 neighboring suburbs helped fight the fire, which caused part of the factory building to collapse.
“We had a partial collapse in the roof area in about the center of the building earlier in the night,” Batavia Deputy Fire Chief Randy Baker said Thursday morning.
Three firefighters were hurt and were taken to the hospital when they slipped and fell on ice that formed at the scene due to temperatures that dropped as low as 10 degrees overnight.
“The biggest problem tonight has been the ice. We’ve had three people hurt and sent to the hospital from slips and falls, so that’s the biggest problem. The cold just slows you down. It’s tough on the equipment and the people,” Baker said.
The company supplies permanent mold aluminum castings.
According to the Master Cast website, the company took over the building in 1969. Baker said the factory has been around for at least a century.
While the walls were still standing, the building was a total loss.
Crews were still on the scene at 6 a.m. Thursday. Although the fire had been extinguished, firefighters were keeping an eye on the building to douse hot spots and prevent the fire from flaring up again.
Baker said he doesn’t expect any more of the building to collapse, but crews are keeping people away from the building to make sure it’s safe.
No other injuries were reported, and the building was empty at the time of the fire. The cause of the blaze was under investigation.
March 05, 2014
Any move toward dissolution long away for financially struggling Elbridge - NY
ELBRIDGE, N.Y. -- There are more questions than answers in the village of Elbridge as local leaders look for ways to deal with some recent financial struggles.
Issues started when the Town of Elbridge voted unanimously to end its fire service contract with the village.
Firefighters say waiting for responders in Jordan and Mottville could cost people valuable time when seconds matter most.
But the issue being discussed last night was money.
The village of Elbridge says it has taken a 17 percent hit in its budget at a time when paying for services is tough.
Mayor Henry Doerr has recently talked openly about the possibility of consolidating the village and town into one local government body, although any movement on that front is still a long way off.
After last night's meeting, Doerr discussed how consolidating would simplify some issues.
"If one of us didn't exist there wouldn't be a question of how much is that fire truck worth or how much is that firehouse worth or how do we divide it or how do we lease it. All those questions go away. Because that's something that has to be negotiated which as you can see when nobody's in the other chair it's impossible to negotiate," Doerr said.
No formal proposal has been put forward.
Elbridge Town Supervisor Ken Bush did not have a comment at this point because the discussion is so preliminary.
TWC NEWS - BINGHAMTON NY
March 05, 2014
Volunteer needs new heart, firefighters rally - NY
Chelsea Fire Company volunteer Mikey Cabrera, Jr., left and fellow firefighter Jim Tompkins, at the Spirit of Beacon Day parade in September
(Courtesy photo\Deborah Cortes)
WAPPINGERS FALLS — A volunteer fireman with a kind, "big heart" needs a heart transplant, and his fellow firefighters are determined to help his family offset some of the costs they're accruing as they travel back and forth to hospitals.
Mikey Cabrera, Jr., a 45-year-old Chelsea Fire Company volunteer and resident, is awaiting heart transplant surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, said his friend and fellow fireman Sean Cahill.
"He's had a bad heart for over 20 years," Cahill said. "Mikey's been in hospitals since before Christmas. At the firehouse, we're all looking for something to do for him."
Cabrera is on a heart transplant list and could be in the hospital until June, Cahill said.
The volunteer's dad, past Chelsea Fire Chief Mike Cabrera, Sr., has also had medical issues recently. Firefighters said they want to help a family that has had a long-standing commitment to the community.
The fire company is selling t-shirts to raise money for the family. For information on how to purchase one, visit: http://on.fb.me/MJ8Sas
Cahill wants to raise at least $2,500 and hopes to surpass that benchmark.
ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE
March 05, 2014
Peekskill firefighter Kevin Bristol dies after battling blaze - NY (The Last Call - RIP)
Peekskill firefighter Kevin Bristol
Peekskill's bravest mourned one of their own today.
Firefighter Kevin Bristol, 48, suddenly passed away yesterday after suffering a heart attack. Bristol suffered the attack after fighting a small kitchen fire Monday afternoon in Peekskill.
Bristol is survived by his wife and three children. Funeral arrangements are still being finalized.
News 12 Westchester
March 05, 2014
Former NY fire chief Ross Huffer dies on-duty (The Last Call - RIP)
NESCONSET, N.Y. — A former fire chief died Friday morning after suffering a medical emergency while on-duty.
Firefighter Close Calls reported that former Chief-of-Department Ross Huffer, with the Nesconset Fire Department, was serving as the department’s EMS responder when he was found in his bed unresponsive.
He was transported to a hospital where he later died, according to the report.
Chief Huffer was a 48-year member of the department.
By FireRescue1 Staff
March 05, 2014
Firefighter saved after falling through floor in burning home - NM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —A couple of Albuquerque firefighters had a scary moment last week when one fell through the floor of a burning home
The firefighter's lieutenant pulled him to safety, but it was a frightening, intense situation.
Police said a man ran into a home in downtown Albuquerque, refused to come and started a fire inside.
Albuquerque firefighters rushed in after the situation was secure.
"The fire wasn't backing down as we attacked it," Lt. Calvin Lang said. "We could see flames and smoke coming from the second-story window."
Lang and firefighter Wuentin Andes eventually made their way to the second floor.
"I just took one step and my foot went out from underneath me. I didn't even know what happened," Andes said.
Andes fell through the floor. Thankfully, Lang was next to him.
"I just reached down and grabbed his strap and pulled him out," Lang said.
Lang said this is exactly why firefighters work in teams.
"Had we not been so close, there may not have been someone there to grab, pull or help. If we caught alone that could be a bad situation for us," Lang said.
Andes suffered few scratches and bruises but is fine.
"There were a couple of bumps and scratches around my legs, but no big deal. I feel great today. Ready to do it again," Andes said.
Andes is the only three months out of the academy. He said he can't imagine doing anything else.
"It's just great to work with guys who are really passionate about what they do," Andes said. "We love coming to work. We love serving the community. That's what we do."
By Royale Da / koat.com
March 05, 2014
Fire Service Grant Programs Face Reduction Under Obama's Plan - US
Cuts also will impact the U.S. Fire Administration and Urban Search and Rescue.
Fire service grant programs are facing the budget ax in the spending plan unveiled by President Barack Obama on Tuesday.
The U.S. Fire Administration and the Urban Search and Rescue Response System also face reductions.
The plan calls for SAFER and the FIRE Act grants to be funded at $670M, a $10M reduction.
Obama proposes spending $41.4M on the USFA, which is $2.6M less than what Congress approved in '14.
A 20 percent cut is headed for search and rescue functions. The White House is proposing $27.5M.
CFSI officials who keep the nation's fire service informed about legislative issues also noted that the Volunteer Fire Assistance (VFA) Program remains virtually intact.
The program provides funding to state forestry agencies to deliver grants to fire departments for the purchase of firefighting equipment and training to respond to wildland fires in rural jurisdictions. Last year, the budget was $13.025M, while $13M is proposed now.
"While a President's budget proposal reflects the fiscal priorities of an administration, it is the Congress that appropriates the funds," CFSI Executive Director Bill Webb said in a prepared statement. "So now that the White House has released its budget, CFSI will begin its work with the other national fire service organizations and our supporters on Capitol Hill to shield these programs from budget cuts as Congress begins its work on the Fiscal Year 2015 appropriations legislation."
March 05, 2014
Sunrise fire truck hits ice, crashes into wall - MO
No injuries, minimal damage in the incident, district reports
SUNRISE BEACH, Mo. — A Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District fire truck succumbed to slippery roads as crews responded to an emergency medical call on Monday.
The vehicle was en route to assist an EMS unit with a medical emergency on March 3, when it reportedly hit a patch of ice, slid off the roadway, and hit a retaining wall. The incident occurred at the residence where the EMS unit was operating.
The unit did not sustain any damage, the district reported, and it was pulled out by a tow truck. The retaining wall that the vehicle hit suffered minor damage.
The patient was transported to a local hospital, in stable condition.
“We are very thankful that no one was hurt and there wasn’t any substantial damage,” SBFPD Fire Chief Dennis Reilly said. “It could have been much worse. Given the right conditions, we could have had our people hurt, the apparatus could have rolled over, or there could have been major damage done to the citizen’s home.”
At the time of the incident, the district says the truck was using chains it was moving slowly. This is the only crash involving district apparatus this winter.
“This incident just goes to show how dangerous the road conditions can be,” Reilly said. “We will work with the owner to ensure that any damage to their property are repaired to their satisfaction.”
by Janet Dabbs / http://lakeexpo.com
March 05, 2014
Firefighters sent to hospital after exposure to coolant at nursing home fire - NJ
At least seven members of the Jersey City Fire Department were taken to the hospital late Friday for precautionary examination after they were exposed to potentially hazardous materials while controlling a fire at a nursing home on Lembeck Avenue, officials said.
The firefighters were exposed to a coolant from a damaged air conditioning unit in an office at the Saint Ann’s nursing home at 144 Lembeck Ave. and Old Bergen Road, after they extinguished a one-alarm fire there, city public safety spokesman Bob McHugh said.
The seven firefighters returned to duty after they were examined at the Jersey City Medical Center, he said.
The fire was reported just after 10:30 p.m. and the last fire companies left the scene at 12:45 a.m. Saturday.
Twenty-five residents of the facility were relocated without injury to an adjacent wing. The fire is believed to have begun in the window air-conditioning unit, which emitted the hazardous material, McHugh said, adding the incident remains under investigation.
However, the hospital reported that nine firefighters, not seven, were sent for treatment for smoke-inhalation and cold-related injuries while fighting a Jersey City fire.
Eight firefighters were sent to the Jersey City Medical Center on basic life support, while one firefighter was sent there on advanced life support, said hospital spokesman Mark Rabson.
All nine firefighters were treated and released, the one leaving just before noon Saturday, according to Rabson.
Officials with the hospital and the city last night both stood by the number of firefighters they reported going to the hospital.
By JONATHAN LIN and KEN THORBOURNE / JOURNAL STAFF WRITERS / The Jersey Journal
March 05, 2014
Infant Left at Florida Fire Station - FL
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- A 4-day-old healthy infant identified only as Lisa was left at a county fire station on Midway Road on Tuesday night and will end up being offered for adoption, according to the Safe Haven for Newborns of Florida.
Since 2000, Florida law has designated fire departments and hospitals as places where uninjured newborns, 7 days old or younger may be left, no questions asked.
In the past 13 years, 206 infants -- including five on the Treasure Coast -- have been turned in instead of being "abandoned in places such as in dumps or along canals," said Nick Silverio, spokesman for the statewide nonprofit Safe Haven group.
"We're trying to prevent those tragic decisions," he said.
About 8 p.m. Tuesday, firefighter-paramedic Ryan Sapp heard a knock at the door of his fire station on Midway Road east of U.S. 1. He found a man holding a tiny infant with its eyes closed from the bright lights.
The man said he wasn't the father and he was there because the mother wasn't able to take care of the infant.
"We aren't allowed to poke or pry," Sapp said.
"He treated her gingerly. He looked like he was genuinely concerned" before turning and walking away, said Sapp.
"She was quiet and kept her eyes closed most of the time," said Sapp.
He went with the infant to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute for an examination. Then the hospital can turn the child over to a licensed child placement agency, said a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Under state law, it is presumed that parents who leave an infant at a fire station or hospital emergency room are relinquishing their rights to the child. However they have 30 days to reclaim a child. So far only five have in the last 13 years.
Unless there are signs of child abuse, the parents have the right to remain anonymous and may not be followed.
Fire officials said the baby was healthy and didn't show any signs of mistreatment. "She never cried," Sapp said.
The baby girl is the second infant to be left with St. Lucie County fire officials since 2011. On April 21, 2011, a newborn girl was brought to the fire district's administrative offices.
Infants taken in by Safe Haven for Newborns of Florida 2000-2013
Indian River County: 2
St. Lucie County: 2
Martin County: 1
Elliott Jones / Treasure Coast Newspapers, Stuart, Fla.
March 05, 2014
Readington fire truck overturns, volunteer fireman medivacked - NJ
(Photos by Rich Maxwell)
A Readington volunteer was medivacked after the fire truck he was driving overturned en route to a call late Saturday evening.
It was the second time in less than a month that a volunteer with one of the township's three companies crashed a fire truck while responding to a call. The accident on Feb. 5 involved a Three Bridges Fire Company truck and volunteer.
Ken Apsley, 54, an active, veteran fireman and the Readington company deputy chief, was trapped in the March 1 accident and extricated, then taken by medical helicopter to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, township police reported.
The accident happened shortly before 11:30 p.m. on Brookview Road, between Witherspoon Street and Federal Lane, on what police described as a "slight bend" in the road.
The accident happened around the corner from Readington Fire Company, which is on Hillcrest Road. Brookview parallels the Holland Brook.
Police said that Readington volunteers were responding to a fire call in neighboring Branchburg Township.
The truck that crashed is Tender 32, described on the fire company's website as a 2002 Kenworth that holds 3,500 gallons of water. Water from the tanks spilled onto the roadway when the truck overturned.
Township police said that Brookview Road was dry at the time of the accident. No other vehicles were involved in the accident. Apsley was alone in the tender at the time of the accident.
Police said that Apsley complained of head pain following the crash. Readington Fire Company posted on its site that he had been released the following day. It also wrote, "A big Thank You to all who have reached out and offered support and concern."
Readington Township police continue to investigate the accident. Whitehouse rescue and Hunterdon Medical Center paramedics also responded.
A witness at the scene reported that the medical helicopter took off from nearby Solberg Airport.
By Renée Kiriluk-Hill/Hunterdon Democrat
March 05, 2014
60 firefighters face layoffs in Fall River - MA
FALL RIVER, Mass. - The city of Fall River finds itself in a familiar spot, facing the possibility of significant layoffs in the fire department.
Mayor Will Flanagan is warning of significant staff reductions. About one-third of the city's firefighters are on the chopping block.
“I'm doing everything I can as mayor to prevent layoffs within the Fall River Department,” Flanagan told NBC 10 Monday.
Firefighters’ union president Jason Burns said, “It's a scary day. It's a scary thing.”
This all started 5 years ago. A budget mess back then meant big cuts. The fire department was reduced to 153 firefighters in 2009.
But temporary federal grant money brought the numbers back. Now that money is running out in June.
The city has not added funding to the budget to replace the expiring grant money.
“This is a difficult fiscal year for me,” Flanagan said.
The mayor says 60 firefighters could be laid off and the department would be back to the smaller size of 153, down from the current 213.
Flanagan said, “Currently at 153 firefighters you are meeting national standard response times.”
Burns says technically that is correct, that a first fire truck would get to a scene on time, but help would lag behind.
“If he thinks that's adequate, I don't. I don't want my family's health, I have four daughters, they shouldn't be waiting on just two people,” Burns told NBC 10.
The mayor says he's looking at ways to save, like early retirements or changing health insurance. Flanagan said, “It's important that the fire department work together with me during these difficult times to do everything we can to prevent layoffs within the department.”
Burns says the union already went to the city to recommend not filling 20 positions, saving $1.5 million.
He says now the burden is falling back on the firefighters, “I'm asking, where's the shared responsibility?”
The union claims Flanagan made it seems to them that the cuts were coming no matter what.
By Brian Crandall / turnto10.com/
March 05, 2014
Northwest Fire to disband Ironwood Hotshot crew - AZ
The Northwest Fire District announced Tuesday it would disband its hotshot crew at the end of the wildfire season as a cost-saving measure and an effort to improve core services and reduce the tax rate for district residents.
“The simple fact is that their resourcing and overhead demands are intensive,” Capt. Adam Goldberg, a district spokesman, said about the firefighting unit that he praised as being “a bright and shining star for the district.”
He said the decision to eliminate the hotshot crew came down to the need to focus on the department’s “core services” to residents. The specially trained crew is deployed to fight major wildfires, mainly in other areas, and is not used to fight structure fires or respond to other emergency calls in the district.
Seven full-time employees of the Ironwood Hotshots, who focus strictly on wildland-fire-related duties and special projects in the off-season, will be moved to fill “critical open positions” in the fire district that are now being staffed using overtime, Goldberg said at a news conference.
Thirteen seasonal employees of the team will be let go after the wildfire season, which starts in March and ends around October, which is standard procedure.
Goldberg disputed claims made in an online petition on change.org that the decision was made to prevent costly lawsuits, like those filed after the Yarnell Hill Fire last year claimed the lives of 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.
“The original reasons that we were told that they were considering getting rid of the crew were due to insurance rate problems,” said hotshot crew member John Hoellerich, who started the petition. “I don’t know what the reasons are now because the rates did not go up.”
Goldberg said the department’s insurance carrier did not project any additional costs to the agency this year, and the Yarnell fire did not influence the department’s decision to disband the crew.
Joseph Lainson, who was part of the hotshot crew for four seasons, said crew members were devastated and confused when they learned of plans to disband the team. He said the team for many years received praise from the district and the public for its work, including their efforts in the Yarnell fire.
Goldberg said the Ironwood team is the only hotshot crew that is not operated by a federal, state or county agency.
“The crew must be deployed outside this community in order to generate the revenues needed to offset these expenses,” he said. “This conflicts with our primary mission of core services delivery at the local level.”
The district is reimbursed by the state for direct costs associated with the crew like fuel, wages and overtime, but cannot charge the state for overhead costs, said David Gephart, the finance director for the district.
The reimbursement rate for wages was $39.50 per hour for each firefighter from last year, and this year it went up to $40.50,
Gephart said. But it’s all of the associated costs that are not reimbursed that make the program unsustainable for the district.
Some years the district has lost money, and others it has made money from the crew, he said. However, the last three fiscal years the wildland fund has ended the budget year with a deficit ranging from $300,000 to $1 million.
Northwest fire officials said disbanding the crew is one of several coming changes in the district to keep the property tax rate from continuing to rise.
“It’s not the only organizational and operational change this district is going to make over the course of the next 90 to 120 days,” said Assistant Chief Brad Bradley. “It is, however, our first.”
By Veronica M. Cruz / http://azstarnet.com
March 03, 2014
Atlanta fire truck gets trapped in sinkhole - GA
ATLANTA — A sinkhole opened on a southwest Atlanta street Monday afternoon, trapping the back of an Atlanta Fire Department ladder truck.
Atlanta Fire and Rescue spokeswoman Janet Ward told Channel 2's Jeff Dore the hole opened up as the truck drove down Ashby Grove just after noon.
The fall bent up the rear of the ladder truck, which is in the shop for repairs. Ward estimated the hole at eight feet across and at least five feet deep.
"The front wheels made it over and the tiller, the back part of the truck, just went down in the hole," Ward said.
Ladder truck 1, from a station near the Georgia Dome, was familiarizing itself with houses in the area, driving slowly down Ashby Grove.
Atlanta Fire Sgt. Justin Turner was onboard when the truck went down.
"I felt the asphalt start to crumble and (the truck) fell into a sinkhole," Turner said.
Turner had initially thought it was just another pothole and told the driver to keep going.
"I looked out the door and saw it was much greater than a normal pothole," Turner said.
Neighbors came outside to a sight they'd never seen.
"I just (saw) the back end of the fire truck wheel deep down in the ground," one neighbor said.
It took a giant wrecker, the kind that tows semis, to pull the truck from the hole.
Officials are happy to report there were no injuries.
March 03, 2014
Two firefighters hurt battling Lindenhurst blaze - NY
Two firefighters suffered minor injuries early Monday while battling a blaze that damaged a vacant house on South Wellwood Avenue in Lindenhurst, March 2, 2014.
(Credit: Paul Mazza)
Two firefighters suffered minor injuries early Monday battling a blaze that damaged a vacant house on South Wellwood Avenue in Lindenhurst, officials said.
The fire was reported in a 911 call at 1:37 a.m., Suffolk County police said. Suffolk fire officials said volunteers from fire departments in Lindenhurst, North Lindenhurst, Copiague, Babylon and West Babylon responded to the scene.
By JOHN VALENTI firstname.lastname@example.org
March 03, 2014
3 FFs Injured In Chicken Coop Fire - NH
The Valley News
(WMUR-TV video report)
THREE CLAREMONT, NEW HAMPSHIRE, FIREFIGHTERS were injured Sunday night at a house fire that started in an adjoining chicken coop.
The fire was first noticed around 6 pm as the family was eating dinner and they saw smoke coming from the coop. It rapidly extended into the house prior to the arrival of the first-in units who found fire on all three floors.
As they were making an interior attack the situation worsened considerably and two of the FFs became distressed, eventually suffering from what was described as “serious” burns. A third FF hurt his hands while helping the two injured leave the house.
The house which is valued at $234,000 is a total loss.
March 03, 2014
Firefighter Jerry Campbell dies from heart attack - TN (The Last Call - RIP)
COCKE COUNTY, Tenn. — A firefighter died Saturday morning of an apparent heart attack while preparing his crew to help control a wildfire.
Firefighter Close Calls reported that Tennessee Division of Forestry firefighter Jerry Campbell became ill while preparing his unit to deploy to help fight and control a wildfire in the Cherokee National Forest.
Firefighter Campbell was taken to a hospital and was on a helipad getting ready to be flown to another hospital for additional care when he suddenly deteriorated and could not be revived, according to the report.
By FireRescue1 Staff
March 02, 2014
Firefighters injured battling Osborne Place blaze - PA
Bradford Area Rapid Intervention Team member Josh Cobb, of the Corydon Township Volunteer Fire Department, left, and Bradford City firefighter J.D. Tehle work on the roof at the rear of a house on Osborne Place Friday morning.
(Era photo by Jay Bradish)
Four Bradford City firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling a house fire on Osborne Place during 12-below temperatures Friday morning.
Capt. Matt Rettger of the city fire department told The Era Friday evening that the house was badly damaged, and four of his crew members experienced injuries.
“I had one guy with shortness of breath, another with a knee injury and two that got frostbite from exposure,” Rettger said. “It was really cold — 12 degrees below zero.”
Firefighters were dispatched to house fire at 4 Osborne Place at 8:18 a.m. Friday and arrived to find heavy smoke and some flames showing from the one-and-a-half-story wooden structure, according to Rettger.
He said the owner of the house is Neil Reynolds. The house was occupied by his nephew, Vincent Reynolds, 34, of Cole Avenue, who was house-sitting when the fire started.
Vincent Reynolds was on the phone with a female friend when he told her he smelled smoke, according to Rettger. He said Reynolds escaped the residence while his friend called 911.
The fire, deemed accidental, started behind a clothes dryer in a first-floor utility room and was the result of an improperly installed dryer, according to Rettger. “If they would have had a vent they probably wouldn’t have had a fire — the lint caught fire,” he said.
Rettger said the house, which is uninsured, was not destroyed in the blaze, but will require quite a bit of work before it is habitable again. He lists the damage at approximately $30,000 between house and contents.
“There was quite a bit of smoke damage throughout the structure, but fire damage was able to be contained to rear first floor area and the roof,” Rettger relayed, noting there was moderate water damage as well. “Everything that got wet was either on fire or already damaged by fire.”
He said the city fire department was dispatched along with off-duty personnel for a total of 16 firefighters, joined by six firefighters from Bradford Township Volunteer Fire Department. Also five personnel of the Bradford Area Rapid Intervention Team were on standby at the scene, according to Rettger.
Firefighters were on scene for about two and a half hours, and they made entry to the residence and knocked down the fire from inside, he said.
By AMANDA NICHOLS Era Reporter / bradfordera.com
March 02, 2014
FIREFIGHTER DOWN - CLAREMONT - NH
3 Claremont, NH Firefighters were injured this evening at 8 Cherry Hill at the scene of a house fire. All have been rescued. The most serious injury is a firefighter with 3rd degree burns to his arms and chest and was medavac'd to Boston. Another firefighter with burns was taken to Burlington VT. The incident occurred during the initial fire attack operations.
March 02, 2014
TANKER ROLLOVER - NJ
Last evening 3/1/14 Readington NJ (Hunterdon County) Tanker 32 overturned at 5 Brookview Rd. The driver was able to self-extricate and suffered head injuries.
March 02, 2014
Firefighters contain two-alarm San Leandro fire - CA
San Leandro house fire
Crews investigate cause of two-alarm fire in East Bay.
An Alameda County firefighter had a close call Sunday morning when he fell through the collapsed floor of a San Leandro home where crews were battling a two-alarm fire, but he was uninjured according to fire officials.
The fire was reported at a home in the 2000 block of Altamont Road in unincorporated San Leandro around 4:53 a.m., according to a fire dispatcher.
Multiple crews responded and found the three-story home fully involved. The fire quickly went to two-alarms.
As crews were bringing the fire under control, one of the floors partially collapsed and one firefighter fell through.
According to the Alameda Fire officials, the firefighter was uninjured and back at work fighting the fire.
This is not the first time Alameda firefighters have been to the home. Back in November, there was a fire at the same address. During that incident, crews discovered a marijuana grow operation but said it was a legal operation.
The residence had been abandoned since that fire, and neighbors reported that squatters had occupied the house in recent weeks, Alameda County fire spokeswoman Aisha Knowles said.
Crews were still on the scene as of 8 a.m. mopping up hot spots from the fire.
Burning embers started a spot fire on the roof of a neighboring home, but that fire was quickly extinguished and the blaze did not spread, Knowles said.
The cause remains under investigation.
KTVU.com and wires
March 02, 2014
I-70 closes after multiple semis, fire truck wreck in Warren County - MO
Multiple lanes of Interstate 70 were closed after a fire truck flipped over while responding to a multi-vehicle wreck in Warren County Saturday night.
Authorities say two semi trucks collided on westbound I-70 between Wright City and Warrenton around 10 p.m.
Police say the firefighter was responding to the wreck when their truck overturned. Authorities said none of the firefighters were hurt.
The interstate was entirely shut down in the area for several hours. All westbound lanes opened back up around 5:40 a.m.
Authorities shut down all I-70 eastbound between mile markers 188 and 193 for several hours. One eastbound lane reopened around 8:45 a.m.
Traffic was backed up for several miles and more than a dozen vehicles were still stuck at the scene Sunday morning. Motorists stranded in the wreck were evacuated by crews at one point.
Some injuries were reported, but more details were not immediately available.
by Elizabeth Eisele and Brendan Marks / KMOV.com
March 02, 2014
Apartment fire injures firefighter, residents - PA
LANCASTER TOWNSHIP, Pa. —One firefighter and several residents were injured when fire struck the Wheatland Arms Apartments in Lancaster Township.
The blaze broke out around 10 p.m. Friday forcing residents to evacuate, according to fire officials.
Officials say two residents were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation and several others were treated at the scene.
One firefighter was injured when a ladder fell on him, but fire officials say he will be OK.
The most severe damage was in a third-floor apartment, but smoke and heat damage extended throughout much of a third floor hallway, according to Lancaster Township Deputy Fire Chief Glenn Usdin.
Usdin estimated the damage at over $400,000. The fire marshal determined the cause of the fire to be an unattended candle left burning that ignited the curtains and spread to the rest of the third-floor apartment.
The apartment building had no fire detection or sprinkler system, according to Usdin.
March 01, 2014
Philly Ladder Truck Involved in Accident - PA
Photo Courtesy of 6ABC.com
Philadelphia Fire Department Ladder-18 was involved in an accident involving a civilian vehicle at the intersection of Fox Street and Hunting Park Ave. An occupant of the civilian vehicle was injured and transported to local hospital. The accident occurred just after 10 PM on Friday Night. The ladder was responding to a reported house fire on the 2700 block of Hollywood Street.
Ladder-18 was using reserve Ladder-292. None of the firefighters on the truck were injured.
March 01, 2014
2 firefighters injured in poultry house blaze - DE
Firefighters put water on the smoldering remains of a chicken house fire on Hayfield Road west of Harrington Saturday afternoon. Two firefighters were injured inside the poultry house and were taken to hospitals.
(Photo: JAMES FISHER/THE NEWS JOURNAL )
Firefighters from Harrington Fire Company and Felton Community Fire Company battled a poultry house fire in the 300 block of Hayfield Road in Harrington Saturday afternoon.
Lt. Doug Poore of Kent Count Emergency Medical Services said two firefighters were injured – one of them was taken by ambulance to Kent General Hospital, and the other was taken by state police helicopter to Christiana Hospital.
"They were inside the structure when they were injured," Poore said.
Kenny Brode, second assistant chief of the Harrington Fire Company, said crews were dispatched to the fire at 1:12 p.m. By 4 p.m., he said, the blaze was mostly under control. Firefighters were still directing hoses of water onto the chicken houses' smoldering remains as of late afternoon.
A Felton online run log says firefighters were called to the scene at 1:13 p.m. Saturday.
A Greenwood firefighter answering the phone at the Harrington fire hall Saturday afternoon said the company's full roster of firefighters was at the scene of the chicken house blaze. No other information was immediately available.
Firefighters from the Greensboro Volunteer Fire Company in Caroline County, Md., also were called to assist at 1:17 p.m., according to their run log.
James Fisher, The News Journal
March 01, 2014
Dispatcher Fired for Smoking Pot - On Shift! - OK
CARNEGIE, Okla. - A police department dispatcher is arrested for smoking marijuana on the job. The incident was caught on the jail?s surveillance camera.
Police say Vicki Boyung admitted to smoking marijuana inside the Carnegie Police Department during her shift.
The town has a drug free workplace policy,? Carnegie mayor James Powers said. Powers said Boyung did not follow that policy.
Police reports state an officer was unable to make contact with Carnegie Police Department dispatch on the two-way radio and police say surveillance video shows why no one was answering.
They say the dispatcher was away from the radio smoking pot. In the video you can see her standing near the garage door opening and after about nine minutes goes back inside the police department.
The officer who was trying to contact the dispatcher decided to show up to check on her and moments later you can see him pull up in his police car. He walks by the area where Boyung is accused of smoking and then turns around after smelling what he said he believes is marijuana.
He confronted Boyung about the smell and she finally admitted to smoking pot on the job and gave the officer a small tin container with two and a half joints.
The officer then arrested his coworker on the spot. We enforce the laws equally and fairly, Powers said. Boyung was jailed in the same police department she once worked.
She offered her resignation to the town and shes no longer employed with the town of Carnegie, Powers said. Boyung was charged with a misdemeanor of possession of a dangerous substance.
March 01, 2014
Chief's Job Eliminated as Texas City Looks at Public Safety Dept. - TX
"Sometimes change is necessary," Harlingen City Manager Carlos Yerena said.
HARLINGEN -- City Manager Carlos Yerena removed Fire Chief Michael J. Rinaldi from the post Friday in a move that the longtime firefighter said had not come as a surprise.
"I was expecting this," Rinaldi told the Valley Morning Star, confirming reports of an administrative shake-up.
Rinaldi, however, says he is weighing his options for remaining in the department.
Yerena's decision comes after Yerena's and the City Commission's recent move to create the post of public safety director to oversee the fire and police departments.
For his part, Yerena said: "I felt we needed a change."
Yerena said that he made the mayor and commissioners aware of the decision, but, "this is solely my decision that I made under the authority of the city manager and that is what I did."
Mayor Chris Boswell and most commissioners were not immediately available to comment. District 5 Commissioner Victor Leal said: "No comment at this time. This is a personnel matter."
Suggesting that city officials had expected that he would retire, Rinaldi said that he was weighing returning to the last non-appointed post that he held within the fire department, which is that of lieutenant. Rinaldi had been fire chief for approximately seven years. Prior to that, he held the appointed post of assistant fire chief after having been lieutenant.
Yerena said Rinaldi would be returning to the lieutenant post and that Assistant Fire Chief Cirilo Rodriguez Jr. would take care of the department's day-to-day management pending selection of a fire chief. Yerena said that Rinaldi's salary had been approximately $108,000.
Yerena said his decision had not been politically-motivated, that no one on the commission pressed for Rinaldi's removal and that "it was my judgment call."
He said the fire department needs a "different direction." Asked what that direction is, Yerena pointed to a more efficient and productive department that also provides good customer service. "Sometimes change is necessary. Sometimes it's not popular," he said.
Furthermore, "the city will be going into collective bargaining and I felt that we needed new leadership," Yerena said, adding that there was not one specific situation that spurred his decision.
Yerena said that it should not be long before both the public safety director post and fire chief position is filled.
He explained that the public safety director will actually be a police chief with additional duties. Whoever holds this post would not be fire chief, he said, but would supervise the department, and thus, dual certification is not a requirement. Asked why he preempted whoever will hold the post of public safety director, not allowing the opportunity to assess the department under Rinaldi, Yerena said that he felt that a change had been immediately needed.
"Ultimately, all report to the city manager," he said.
Emma Perez-Trevino / Valley Morning Star, Harlingen, Texas
March 01, 2014
Fire Chief's Plan to Change Fire Station Staffing Stalls - CA
The plan would cut four-man crews in fire engines down to three and create two-person crews that would focus on medical calls.
Directors of the Orange County Fire Authority have put the brakes on a plan to change how firefighters are deployed across 23 cities, arguing they weren't given enough time to review the plan.
Some of the 25 board members also expressed confusion at the plan's details, saying the impacts on cities are unclear.
"The more I studied it, the more questions I had," said Trish Kelley, mayor of Mission Viejo and member of the board.
Introduced by Fire Chief Keith Richter, the plan calls for adding paramedic units and firefighters during peak daytime hours, and reducing the number of firefighters overnight. It would also cut four-man crews in fire engines down to three and create two-person crews that would focus on medical calls.
The purpose, Richter said during the meeting, is to reduce response times as the number of emergency calls is increasing, though the number of personnel is staying the same.
The county Fire Authority provides fire service to 23 of Orange County's 34 cities and more than half of the county's population.
"We made the assumption we're not going to have new money for additional staffing," Richter said.
The plan also focuses on addressing what Richter has said are the new realities of fire service, which include more medical emergencies and fewer calls for fires. It would also rely on software that is expected to be in place in June, which will monitor the location of units via GPS and deploy the nearest available units to a call.
The plan would take about three years to implement fully.
But the plan, unveiled publicly by Richter last week, has gained few supporters.
Union leaders for both rank-and-file firefighters and chief officers have expressed concern about the plan, stating they were not involved in the plan's formation.
"We can't support a plan that is so rushed and complex," said Dave Phillips, president of the Orange County Fire Authority's Chief Officers Association.
The Orange County Professional Firefighters Association has also publicly opposed the plan.
Just before the board meeting Thursday, the firefighters' union -- which represents more than 1,000 firefighters under Richter's command -- decided to hold a vote of no confidence against Richter and his executive staff.
Salvador Hernandez / Source: The Orange County Register
March 01, 2014
City Appeals State Ruling Favoring Firefighters - OH
The suit claims the state was wrong when it determined the city was in violation of a collective bargaining agreement when it hired part-time, nonunion employees to cover fire department work.
The city has appealed a decision by the State Employment Relations Board that ruled city officials failed to bargain in good faith with its firefighters/paramedics over an issue regarding the use of part-time employees.
The suit claims the board was wrong when it determined the city was in violation of a collective bargaining agreement when it hired part-time, nonunion employees to cover fire department work.
"SERB erred when it determined the City assigned bargaining unit work to non- bargaining member firefighters," according to the suit filed in Summit County Common Pleas Court this week.
The city began using supplemental, part-time employees in October 2012 to reduce overtime and vacation buy-back in the veteran 40- member department, where scheduling earned time off can be difficult.
Green stopped using the part-timers recently, before the board's ruling came down, city Law Director Stephen J. Pruneski said.
"Last year, the city paid just north of $405,000 on overtime and leave sale. [Mayor Dick Norton] wants to do something to get rid of it," Pruneski said.
The city in late December began negotiating a contract with the firefighters union. A three-year contract with Local 2964 of the International Association of Firefighters expired at the end of the year, Pruneski said.
"Our position is we tried to bargain [the issue] during negotiations and they failed to do it," he said.
Local 2964 filed the complaint with the state board in September. The board made its ruling Feb. 20.
Union President Matt Craddock, who has 20 years of service as a firefighter/paramedic for Green, said he couldn't discuss how the issue of part-time employees is affecting current negotiations.
While agreeing that the department is staffed with seasoned, longtime employees who sometimes have a hard time scheduling earned vacation time, he said the matter should have been settled by the ruling.
"We just want the city to follow the law. The State Employment Relations Board made its ruling, and we just want them to follow the ruling," Craddock said.
Kathy Antoniotti / Source: The Akron Beacon Journal