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2015 November

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November 27, 2015
(The Last Call - RIP)
Assistant Fire Chief Terry Culver has died in the Line of Duty / Medical - KY

Calvert City, Kentucky Assistant Fire Chief Terry Culver has died in the Line of Duty. Assistant Chief Culver suffered a cardiac-related event while responding to an emergency call on November 12th. He was resuscitated but never regained consciousness. He died Tuesday afternoon, November 24th. Assistant Chief Culver was 65 years old and served as a firefighter for over 38 years -- the last 15 years as Assistant Chief. He is survived by two adult sons, Jason and Erik Culver, and a brother, Garry Culver.

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November 27, 2015
Paramedic wrestles loaded gun away from man whose car hit ambulance - NJ

In Jersey City, New Jersey overnight, news reports indicate an ambulance crew member with law enforcement experience was able to disarm a man carrying a loaded weapon. The suspect had crashed his vehicle into the Jersey City Medical Center-Barnabas Health ambulance. The ambulance was transporting a patient. It happened at 12:30 a.m. today (Friday) at Caven Point Road and Chapel Street.

According to initial reports at the scene, the driver of the vehicle exited the vehicle and begin to attack the EMT.

The EMT reportedly began to struggle with the suspect (who was heavily intoxicated) when the man pulled a weapon and pointed at the EMT according to reports.

The EMT escalated his attempt to subdue the suspect who would not voluntarily drop the weapon.

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November 27, 2015
Wrong-way Driver Hits Ambulance - TX

A driver traveling the wrong way in the northbound lanes of the Southwest Freeway crashed into an ambulance near the Bissonnet exit early Thursday morning, according to news reports.

Both drivers were transported to the hospital, though their condition was not known, KHOU and KPRC reported. There apparently were not any patients in the ambulance.

The accident caused an hour-long road closure.

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November 27, 2015
Thief breaks into firefighter's car, steals gear - NM

The thief broke into the firefighter's personal call while they were out on a call.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A thief stole life-saving equipment from an Albuquerque firefighter Monday.

News10 reported that when firefighters were away on calls, a thief took advantage of an empty house.

"When we came back, some guys noticed that some stuff of mine was on the ground," said firefighter Justin Spain.

Spain’s personal car was the target. It was parked in the lot at the station.

"My rescue gear, because I hadn't moved it all in the station yet, had been taken," said Spain. "It's very specialty from everything to clipping into helicopters, to repelling, haul systems."

Spain said a lot of the equipment says "AFD" or "Albuquerque Mountain Rescue" on it. He asked for people to contact APD if they spot anything.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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November 27, 2015
3 firefighters injured in recycling plant fire - NJ


About 50 firefighters responded; the firefighters' injuries were minor.

LYNDHURST, N.J. — Three firefighters have been injured while battling a blaze at a New Jersey paper recycling plant.

Authorities say the fire was reported Thursday morning at NY NJ Recycling in Lyndhurst.

About 50 firefighters from Lyndhurst and surrounding communities responded.

Authorities say the fire spread to a nearby plastics business, but it was quickly extinguished.

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.
The Associated Press

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November 25, 2015

Three people were injured in a collision between a fire engine and a SUV early Tuesday evening in McDavid.

The engine, with lights and sirens activated, departed the McDavid Station of Escambia Fire Rescue at 5:14 p.m. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 62-year old Gordon Janksy of Pensacola failed to stop his 2012 Chevrolet Traverse for the firetruck, driven by 32-year old Mark Carter of Century. Both vehicles came to rest in the parking lot of a convenience store across the road from the fire station.

Carter was transported by ambulance with a non-life threatening injury to West Florida Hospital where he was expected to be released. A second member of the fire department, 19-year old Jared Carnley of McDavid, was a passenger on the fire truck and was not injured.

A total of six individuals were in the SUV. Driver Gordon Janksy was not injured in the crash. His passenger, 61-year old Linda Jansky of Pensacola, was airlifted to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola in serious condition after being extricated from the vehicle. An adult male, whose name was not released, was transported to Sacred Heart Hospital by ambulance. An addtional adult female and two children in the SUV were not injured.

Gordon Jansky was cited for violation of right of way to an emergency vehicle, according to the FHP.

The fire engine was responding emergency to a reported structure fire in Molino. The fire turned out to be from a microwave oven that caused smoke in the Shifko Road home; that fire was handled by other Escambia Fire Rescue units on scene.

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November 25, 2015
1 Resident, 2 Firefighters Hurt During Deptford Township House Fire - NJ

A resident and two firefighters were injured during a house fire in Deptford Township.

The fire started at a home on the 1100 block of Lexington Drive Monday night. Fire crews were eventually able to bring the flames under control.

A resident inside the home as well as two firefighters were hurt during the blaze. The resident was taken to the hospital. Officials have not yet revealed his or her condition. The two firefighters were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Officials continue to investigate the cause of the fire.
By David Chang /

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November 25, 2015
Information passed along
Safety Advisory: Translucent Corrugated Roof Panels May Contribute to Increased Fall Risk during Roof Operations

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends that all fire departments immediately take the following actions to reduce the risk of fire fighters being injured or killed while operating on roofs that contain translucent corrugated roof panels:

  • Ensure that all fire fighters, company officers and chief officers are aware of and are trained to recognize translucent corrugated roof panels.
  • Establish policies and procedures to ensure that fire fighters do not walk or stand on translucent corrugated roof panels.
  • Ensure fire fighters immediately inform the incident commander and other fire fighters when translucent corrugated roof panels are identified.
  • Ensure fire fighters follow safe roof operating practices including sounding the roof, having enough ladders for safe exit and always wearing the proper PPE, including self-contained breathing apparatus.

Safety Advisory

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November 25, 2015
Lessons Learned:
Firefighters: ‘Slow down’ near crash scenes - MI

( Video)

Blocking traffic as other emergency responders deal with a traffic accident isn’t the most exciting assignment for firefighters, but it’s a necessity — one that makes them sitting ducks when it comes to crashes.That was the case Saturday morning for the crew of the Grand Rapids Fire Department’s Ladder 3, which was called to a crash on I-196 near Lake Michigan Drive.

“We arrived on scene to be their blocker, just to protect them until our utility could get on scene, which is our dump truck with a trailer,” GRFD Lt. Matt Keusch explained.

But as Keusch and his crew sat in their truck, which was angled across westbound I-196, some drivers still weren’t paying attention.

Equipment Operator Justin Holmes saw one vehicle headed straight for the rig, despite the flashing lights and chevron safety stripes painted on the back. Holmes told Keusch and the rest of the crew to brace themselves as he put the truck in gear to try to get out of the way. Still, the other vehicle caught the back of the rig.

The other driver wasn’t injured, and neither were any of the firefighters. Keusch got out of the truck and told him to pull ahead of the ladder for his own safety. Holmes reset the brake on the ladder truck.

“I get back in the cab and he yells, ‘We’re going to get hit again.’ Nothing we could do,” Keusch recalled.

A yellow Ford Focus hit the back of the rig, becoming pinned underneath it. A Grand Rapids man, his sister and three children were in the Ford.

At this point, not only did crews have to contend with the original accident, but the firefighters sent to protect them also had to contend with the new emergency.

And the danger wasn’t over. Keusch was about to jump out and help the family of five trapped under the truck when he saw another vehicle headed his way.

“About the same time, a Dodge Durango split between my side of the truck and the guardrail. If I’d been out two seconds sooner, it would have got me,” he said.

When we think of the dangers faced by firefighters, smoke and flames come to mind. But close calls with other vehicles are also common. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 6 percent of the 64 firefighters killed in the line of duty in 2014 died as the result of being struck by a motor vehicle.

“These cars, they can bounce off another car, the guard rail. We don’t really know where they’re going to go. We can’t plan for that. A house fire, we can plan for a house fire, we can read signs of what a house fire’s doing. This, we don’t,” Keusch said.

“No matter the circumstances — snow, rain — slow down. Take your time. If you see a fire truck, take caution and always pass us slowly,” Holmes advised. “Anybody on the side of the road, a motorized vehicle having trouble. Pass them with care.”

Both the driver of the Ford and his sister were injured in the wreck. Their conditions were not known Monday. The kids were also taken to the hospital, and were expected to be OK. No firefighters were hurt.

Orginal Coverage

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November 25, 2015
Lessons Learned:
Firefighter & sheriff deputy talk about wreck that split fire engine in half - VA

(From Dinwiddie Fire & EMS Facebook page)

(From Dinwiddie Fire & EMS Facebook page)

“I just happened to look up just in the nick of time to see this tractor trailer coming toward the back of the fire truck,” recounts Dinwiddie Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Fields. “It’s maybe 10 yards away at the most and I said ‘oh shoot, run.’”

“I ran,” says Dinwiddie firefighter Lamonte Fields. “And the next thing I remember is tripping over something and falling down and just praying that I wasn’t going to get hit.”

Both men can’t believe they are alive to even look at the aftermath of Sunday’s collision. The impact split a 51-thousand pound fire engine in half. But they both escaped with just scrapes and bruises.

Orginal Coverage

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November 25, 2015
San Angelo firefighter injured - TX

SAN ANGELO, Texas - A San Angelo firefighter was taken into emergency surgery this morning after falling through a ceiling while fighting a house fire, according to a the City of San Angelo Public Information Office.

Emergency dispatchers received a call of a fire at 2451 Baylor St. at 1:37 a.m. Monday. The first San Angelo Fire Department engine arrived at 1:42 a.m.

After the blaze was extinguished, the injured firefighter was cooling hotspots in the attic – to ensure the fire didn’t reignite – when he fell through the ceiling, landing one story below. The firefighter was wearing full bunker gear at the time.

An ambulance transported him to Shannon Medical Center, where he was taken into surgery at about 7 a.m. He was alert and able to move his extremities. He remained in surgery as of 8:30 a.m.

The firefighter's name has not been released at this time.

This is a developing news story. Check for updates.

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November 25, 2015
Shots Fired at W. Va. Firefighters - WV

MAYBEURY — The West Virginia State Police and the State Fire Marshal’s office are investigating a McDowell County fire where firefighters reported that they were fired on when they arrived at the scene.

Northfork Fire Chief Eric Graham ordered his firefighters to withdraw from the scene of a structure fire on Simmons Mountain Road, a road that intersects with Tony Lane and runs parallel to U.S. Route 52, near the southern town limits of Maybeury. Trooper D.R. Murray of the Welch Detachment, West Virginia State Police responded, investigated the area where firefighters reported the gunshots were coming from. After Murray completed his preliminary investigation, firefighters resumed battling the blaze.

“I don’t think they were trying to hit the firefighters,” Gary Dove, president of the Northfork Volunteer Fire Department board of directors said. “They were probably just trying to scare them off.”

According to Dove, the call in Maybeury Friday morning was the department’s third call in about an eight-hour period. Firefighters assisted a hunter in their service area who was severely injured when he fell as he was getting out of his tree stand. Dove said the firefighters returned to quarters soon after assisting with that call, and between 8 and 9 p.m., received a call about a structure fire in Switchback Bottom.

“The access to Switchback Bottom off of Route 52 has a low clearance and our fire engines can’t take the direct route to get in there,” Dove said. “We had to go on down through Maybeury, go up Powerhouse Hill and through Delta Hollow to get there.

“We had only returned back to the station when we got the call for the second structure fire on Simmons Mountain Road in Maybeury,” Dove said. “When firefighters arrived, someone on the hillside started shooting at them.” Dove added that neither structure had electrical service.

McDowell County 911 dispatched the State Police at 2:15 a.m., according to Sgt. B.S. Burner, assistant detachment commander of the Welch Detachment.

Lawrence Messina, communications director of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, said that a deputy with the state Fire Marshal’s office joined the state police in the investigation. Messina stated that the state police reported that there were no injuries in the incident.

Messina encouraged anyone with information about the incident to contact the State Police or State Fire Marshal’s office.

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November 25, 2015

McGEE'S CROSSROADS, NC (WTVD) -- Police are constantly warning the public not to take the law into their own hands. But what happens when a couple of paramedics do that by chasing what they believe is a drunk driver?

Two who did that in Johnston County this week are now facing disciplinary action.

The pair work for the 50/210 EMS service in the McGee's Crossroads area north of Benson. It's a private service that contracts with Johnston County. Part of the problem with what they did early Wednesday is leaving their jurisdiction, which is a violation of their contract.

Still, their boss says they had the best of intentions when they radioed in to tell a dispatcher what they were doing.

Here's part of the radio conversation: "She rolled right out into the middle of an intersection and stopped there. She wouldn't make eye contact with me when I walked up to the window. And as soon as I got there, she sped off and was going over a hundred, um, trying to get away from us down 210. And now she's pulled into this McDonald's here and she is acting like completely incoherent."

But following a drunk driver down Highway 210 was a violation of paramedic protocol according to the director of Johnston County EMS. And considering the two paramedics were following someone they estimate was going 100 miles an hour in a 45 zone also calls into question whether they were speeding too.

But the biggest violation is leaving their contracted district in Johnston County. And there's no question about that since the paramedics ended up following the driver all the way to a McDonald's in Angier in neighboring Harnett County.

Speaking with ABC11 Friday, customers at that McDonald's had vastly different feelings about what the ambulance crew did and the disciplinary action against them.

"It was very commendable. Not only could she have killed herself but someone else in the process," said Angier resident Betty Combs.

"It was probably a somewhat reckless activity on their part. They're not law enforcement. Their radio should have been employed and allowed the police to take over for them," said resident Ted Martin.

The head of the 50/210 EMS wouldn't say what kind of disciplinary action has been taken against the two paramedics.
By Ed Crump /

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November 25, 2015
Fire Station Closed After Feces, Feathers Found in Lungs of Firefighters - FL

(WPBF 25 News)

BOYNTON BEACH -- Boynton Beach firefighters who work out of Station 3 have been asked to get chest X-rays after two of them were found to have feces and feathers in their blood and lungs, The Palm Beach Post has learned from city officials.

The station at Congress Avenue and Miner Road has been closed for more than a month, and employees have been working out of Station 5, which is southeast of there at High Ridge Road.

No employees have missed work or been out sick as a result of this, Fire Rescue Chief Ray Carter said.

When the building was closed about a month ago, the city told The Post it was because of the discovery of three dead mice in an air duct.

On Monday, the Post was told the city has received two workers compensation claims from two firefighters who had chest X-rays and blood work done that showed an elevated amount of feces and feathers, said Tim McPherson, the city's human resources and risk manager.

The dead mice were found in the air duct in the bathroom, and rodent feces were also found in the bathroom. An air-quality test showed mold there as well, McPherson said.

Meanwhile, the city has offered employees who have slept at the station since Oct. 1 to get tested at Boynton's expense. They've been offered to get chest X-rays locally and then take the results to a Port St. Lucie doctor for pulmonary function testing and review of the X-rays. McPherson said about 35 employees could end up getting tested, which would cost the city about $15,000.

Vice Mayor Joe Casello, who represents the district which houses the station, was told the investigation began after the two firefighters complained of respiratory issues, went to independent doctors, and came back with the feathers and feces results.

The building, which was built in 1991 according to the property appraiser, has since been cleaned, following the recommendation of air-quality testing companies and restoration experts hired by the union and the city, City Spokeswoman Eleanor Krusell said. The drywall and ceiling tile has been replaced and the ducts have been cleaned. Those repairs cost about $7,000, McPherson said.

Results of final air-quality and swab testing are expected by Thanksgiving or the Monday after. The employees will return sometime after that.

Casello said he is pleased with how the city has handled the situation and is getting the employees tested.

"The city's doing everything they can to get this back up and running," he said. "In the end, the problem will be resolved."

But, he has two main concerns.

Emergency response times have increased by about 34 seconds, he said.

Regarding that, Krusell said: "Station No. 3 zone has not suffered significant increases and delivered the service in the most efficient and timely manner possible."

The other concern, Casello said, is if other city buildings have a similar problem.

He said what happened in Station 3 turned out to be "pretty serious."

Casello said he's not saying every building is contaminated, but questioned whether the buildings should be monitored.

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November 25, 2015
Somebody allegedly tries to set fire department on fire - OK

who reportedly tried to set a fire department on fire this week.

Police tell us it's believed the thief stole a tractor and set it on fire. From there, the tractor was set on fire and then pushed into the fire department building.

"The fire departments got fire wagons in the building," a resident said. "If they had gotten on fire in there, it would have been a bad deal."

Luckily, crews were able to put the fire out and save the building. We're told the tractor wasn't so lucky.

Town officials say they were going to sell the tractor for $2,500 and use the money for public safety. Obviously, that will no longer be possible.

So far, a description of the suspect hasn't been released
By Michael Purdy /

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November 25, 2015
Spike in Providence firefighters' sick and injury time deemed 'suspicious' - RI

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The city’s firefighters are sabotaging a cost-savings plan by calling in sick and claiming on-the-job injuries, Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Paré said Tuesday, citing statistics and a handful of incidents that point to what he describes as a “manipulation” of the Fire Department’s injury policy.

The number of firefighters filing injury claims has surged since Aug. 2, when Mayor Jorge O. Elorza tried to limit the city’s exposure to overtime expenses by reorganizing firefighters from four platoons to three and by instituting a different schedule.

Paré, who took on the role of acting chief over the weekend in an administrative shakeup, said he suspects firefighters are intentionally creating overtime by calling in sick and claiming on-duty injuries.

The timing of the claims, which shot up following the reorganization and have remained above previous levels, is “highly suspicious,” he said.

Injured-on-duty claims were below 20 firefighters per week, with just a handful exceptions, for most of 2014 and 2015. But after Aug. 2, the number of weekly injury claims shot into the 40s and hovered between 45 and 53 through September, October and into November, according to Paré.

“The speed and severity of the change is, in my opinion, statistically impossible under normal circumstances,” Paré said, “and inconsistent with what we would expect from fatigue or work environment changes.”

One chart shows that 64 percent of the firefighters’ sick days in August took place on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays.

“It’s impossible that your body gets sick more frequently on one day than the other,” he said.

One firefighter blamed his on-duty injury on stress caused by the new platoon system, Paré said.

“You can’t go out on stress because you don’t like the system you’re working on,” he said.

About a month ago, he said, another firefighter, a supervisor, reported an on-duty injury, citing stress. This was about 36 hours after the supervisor was disciplined for not properly managing some firefighters who were using their sick time inappropriately, Paré said.

Despite 24 years in the department, another firefighter had not collected any sick time. He called in sick anyway over a period of six to eight days, and the department has refused to pay for the absence, said Paré.

Prior to the Aug. 2 restructuring, firefighters were divided into four groups: under their regular schedule, each platoon’s 48 hours of on-duty time was mixed with 48 hours of time off duty and all within a 96-hour period. Then, after that, the platoon went off duty for 96 hours.

The problem for Paré has been that the department is contractually mandated to staff each shift with no less than 94 firefighters.

The absence of a small number of firefighters from a platoon of about 100 firefighters forced the department to call back firefighters from one of the other platoons and pay overtime to fill openings.

So Paré and Elorza set out to save money on overtime by operating the Fire Department with three larger groups of about 120 firefighters and by curtailing the firefighters off-duty cycle from 96 hours to 48 hours.

Paré asserted that each firefighter has worked an average of 53 hours per week since the reorganization, an increase of four hours from the previous average of 49 hours. The firefighters union has mounted a legal battle, and its president, Paul A. Doughty, said Tuesday that the new plan reduced firefighters’ time off-duty by 50 percent and increased firefighters’ on-duty time by 33 percent.

“It’s not illogical to conclude that firefighters would be injured more often,” he said, adding that there hasn’t been a single instance when the city’s independent doctor has invalidated a claimed injury.

“I am not surprised that the city has had to resort to using statistics to support its claim of fraud by firefighters,” he said. “It’s because there isn’t a shred of proof.”
By Mark Reynolds / Journal Staff Writer

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November 25, 2015
Bullet hole found on fire truck leaves Houston River Fire Dept. frightened - CA

(KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana)

Houston River Fire Department Chief Dean Lappe was enjoying his Sunday afternoon when he received a text message that one of his firetrucks had a bullet hole in it.

It has Lappe and his crew frightened and asking, who would shoot at firefighters?

"In my 26 years, this is the most scary thing I have ever seen in my a bullet hole in the side of a firetruck. In the rural, country, North Sulphur, it just shouldn't happen. It shouldn't have never happened here," he said.

Lappe was watching football at home when he received this message.

"My officer sent me a text that they found that the truck had been shot. At first I thought he was kidding. Through more of the conversation, he wasn't joking and it's not a joke. I came down and got a hold of the sheriff's office; they're investigating it," said Lappe.

The size of the damage is about as big as a dime.

The volunteer firefighters conduct daily equipment checks and prior to Saturday evening, the dime-sized bullet hole wasn't there.

Firefighters suspect the shooting may have happened between 5 and 6 p.m. Saturday while answering a call about a fallen utility pole.

The size isn't the main concern for the chief.

"I can train these people. I can train my guys what to do in a structure fire. I can train my guys what to do on the side of the road when we're taking care of a vehicle wreck. I can train these guys what to do Saturday afternoon at a down power line," Lappe explained. "I can't train them what to do if someone's going to be shooting at us."

Visibly shaken, Lappe said he will make sure his team uses more caution before responding to another call.

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident.
By Liz Koh / KPLC

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November 23, 2015

(The Last Call - RIP)

It's with great sadness to report another Detroit Firefighter has been lost in the line of duty. Captain Walter Szelag of Fireboat 1 passed away this afternoon from an apparent heart attack. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and members of the City Of Detroit Fire Department through this very difficult time.

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November 23, 2015
Detroit Firefighter Sergeant Smith Passes Away - MI

(The Last Call - RIP)

Veteran Detroit Firefighter Passes Away

The U.S. Fire Administration has announced the official on-duty death of Sergeant Vince Smith, 49, of the City of Detroit Fire Department on November 19, 2015.

Sergeant Smith passed away in his sleep at the fire station from a nature and cause of fatal injury still to be determined. According to media reports, Smith complained of not feeling well just before retiring for a rest period. Sergeant Smith was assigned to Detroit Fire Department’s Ladder 13 but was working an extra shift at the station housing Engine 48 at the time of his passing.

Tribute is being paid to Sergeant Vince Smith at

To date, 73 firefighter fatalities have been reported to USFA in 2015. Year-to-date and annual USFA firefighter fatality reports are posted online at
United States Fire Administration

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November 23, 2015
Dallas Fire departures fueled by pension, pay worries - TX

DALLAS — Brian Crawford noticed something curious during his two-year stint as chief of Plano Fire-Rescue: Lots of Dallas firefighters wanted to work in his city.

Crawford, who hired a few of them before he left this year to become Shreveport’s city manager, said plenty of firefighters want to work in Plano. And Plano officials liked being able to hire trained firefighters and put them on trucks quickly. But the experience level of the Dallas applicants struck Crawford as odd.

“Normally, it might be firefighters with one or two years,” he said. “But the last group, we had a couple of guys who had actually been in Dallas for a good long while. After five, six, seven years, normally you wouldn’t leave a department where you have that much seniority and that much vested.”

Crawford said he heard the Dallas firefighters were worried about their pensions. And firefighter group leaders share that worry, saying pension troubles and comparatively low pay have made Dallas Fire-Rescue just another rung on the career ladder for some.

The numbers seem to back up the fears. Dallas Fire-Rescue, which employs about 1,900 firefighters with a median age of 40, saw retirements and resignations spike in fiscal year 2011 and remain high every year since. Between fiscal years 2005 and 2010, the rate of retirements and resignations was three times smaller — about 1 percent of the department, sometimes lower.

Dallas Fire Fighter Association Vice President Scott Clumpner, a captain, said an increasing workload and relatively low pay have many of his co-workers willing to quit for another career or go to work in the fast-growing suburbs, where most Dallas firefighters live.

“We all take pride in being public servants and helping the public,” Clumpner said. “But when it’s all said and done, you still have to feed the kids and pay the mortgage.”

‘Bad for the city’
Dallas Black Fire Fighters Association President Marcus Armstrong said it’s “bad for the city” when firefighters leave and take their experience with them.

Police attrition is also up, but police associations blame both low pay and what they say is low morale within the department. Firefighter associations say morale at Dallas Fire-Rescue is just fine. But firefighters don’t face the same scrutiny in their jobs as cops.

Pay seems to be the bigger concern. A firefighter in Dallas currently starts at about $45,000. Plano firefighters start at more than $60,000. McKinney and Frisco start around $50,000.

Mayor Mike Rawlings and Police Chief David Brown have pushed for higher starting salaries for cops, and negotiations on new wages for both firefighters and police are scheduled to take place next year.

Dallas Hispanic Firefighters Association President Cristian Hinojosa said the city has long attracted firefighters on the basis of a lucrative retirement that makes up for lower pay. But with changes to the pension system — which the police and fire departments share — meant to ensure that it doesn’t run out of money too soon, Hinojosa said “it makes perfect sense that we are losing folks to higher-paying departments.”

The city has hired 183 firefighter recruits the last two fiscal years, above attrition. The department invests tens of thousands of dollars in training each rookie, and more in those who go to paramedic school.

“We’re not actually training new people,” Clumpner said. “We’re training new paramedics who quit.”

Hinojosa said the department is “effectively bankrolling years of training for which we receive little, if any, return.”

Paramedics who do stay with the department are busier than ever. Last fiscal year, the number of EMS-only 911 dispatches topped more than 200,000 runs. A few years before, EMS made about 30,000 fewer runs.

Heavy workload
Dallas Fire-Rescue officials have studied ways to slow that increase. The department launched and expanded a community paramedic program that makes regular visits to frequent 911 callers.

They have also looked into buying a priority dispatch system, which prompts dispatchers to ask 911 callers a series of questions to help send a proportional response. Dallas currently sends lights-and-sirens ambulances to heart attacks and ankle sprains alike.

But former Lewisville Fire Chief Rick Lasky, who consults with departments nationwide, said the heavy workload doesn’t scare away everyone. He said small-town firefighters usually want to become big-city firefighters.

Lasky said the wave of retirements and resignations in Dallas could be just that: a wave that will subside. People have many reasons for retiring from the stressful and dangerous line of work. A few may jump at money. Some might want promotions. Others might be trying to take it easier in the suburbs after years of the city’s hustle and bustle. Some may even try to go elsewhere because their performance isn’t good and they want a clean slate, Lasky said.

Crawford, the former Plano chief, said he always told his firefighters that their families come before the department.

It’s that philosophy that may have him dealing with some of the same issues as Dallas fire officials. Shreveport firefighters make $32,000 to start, and many may have their gaze trained elsewhere.

“I can’t blame them,” Crawford said. “They’re trying to do the best they can for their families.”
The Dallas Morning News

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November 22, 2015
FDNY Rookie Injured After 10 Days on Job - NY

A female firefighter who was allowed to graduate the Fire Academy despite failing physical tests has already gone out on medical leave — just 10 days into the job, The Post has learned.

Probationary firefighter Choeurlyne Doirin-Holder injured herself Monday while conducting a routine check of equipment at Queens’ Engine 308 in South Richmond Hill. Getting off the truck, Doirin-Holder missed a step and landed on her left foot, suffering a fracture, sources said.

It was her second shift after a transfer from Engine 301. In training for a hazmat assignment, officers found her struggling to perform the required tasks.

Firefighters called the tripping incident embarrassing — and alarming.

“If you’re going to get hurt in the firehouse checking a rig, what would happen at a fire?” an insider asked.

On Nov. 6, Doirin-Holder celebrated her FDNY graduation as one of four new female Bravest, bringing the number of women to 49 — an all-time high in the FDNY’s 150-year history.

But Doirin-Holder’s competence was questioned by sources familiar with her training. They said academy instructors let her pass the Functional Skills Test, a rigorous obstacle course of job-related tasks, even though she had failed to complete it in the required 17 minutes and 50 seconds or under.

In addition, when she failed to finish a 1.5-mile run in 12 minutes or less — even after the course was shortened — she was allowed to demonstrate aerobic capacity on a StairMaster machine under watered-down requirements enacted by FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro.

Doirin-Holder, who turns 40 this month, is one of 282 “priority hires” passed over in 1999 and 2000. Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis ordered they must get preference as victims of past discrimination against minorities.

It was Doirin-Holder’s third attempt to pass the academy. She failed midway through an academy class in 2013 and returned to her former job as an EMT. Two other female priority hires in that class did well.

Doirin-Holder started another class in early 2014 but dropped out because of an injury. The FDNY then gave her a desk job and kept her on the payroll at top firefighter salary, $76,488. She made $81,376 with overtime in 2014 and entered her third class this summer.

Since she was injured on duty, she is eligible for a disability pension that would pay three-quarters of her annual salary, tax-free, if deemed unfit to return.

In an online FDNY forum, firefighters fumed at the preferential treatment.

“If you can’t meet the standards, you are a danger to yourself, the public and most importantly everyone operating on the fire ground who is doing their job,” one wrote.

The FDNY said it won’t discuss personnel or medical matters.

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November 22, 2015

A serious car crash involving family of five and a Grand Rapids firetruck shut down a portion of westbound I-196 for several hours Saturday morning.The stretch of highway reopened shortly before 3 p.m., according to police.

At approximately 10:12 a.m., a firetruck with the Grand Rapids Fire Department was responding to another accident on westbound I-196, between Lake Michigan Drive and Market Avenue, when a Ford Focus lost control and crashed into the rear of the truck, police told FOX 17.

Five people were in the Focus at the time of the collision: a 31-year-old male driver, a 26-year-old woman, and three children. The children, ranging from ages 5 to 8, were not hurt but were taken to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital for observation, police said.

Police said the driver was trapped under the truck and is said to have suffered extensive leg injuries after being extricated. The woman—the driver’s sister—was unconscious at the scene. Both were taken to Spectrum Health for treatment for non-life threatening injuries.

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November 22, 2015
Tractor trailer splits fire truck in crash that closed I-85 - VA

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. -- A North Carolina man faces charges in an accident involving a tractor trailer, a fire truck and a Dinwiddie Sheriff's Office vehicle on I-85.

Police have charged Lonnie Mixter of Highpoint, NC with reckless driving after his tractor trailer struck the fire truck, causing it to hit the sheriff's deputy car and split in half.

The right lane, where the accident occurred, reopened at about 8 a.m. The left lane remained closed for cleanup, VDOT advised.

The crash

A firefighter on scene said crews first responded to an accident involving a semi-truck at about 1:30 a.m. Police say that a fire truck and a sheriff's deputy car were blocking off the right lane on I-85 by mile marker 43 when they noticed a 2013 Volvo tractor trailer approaching and saw that it was not slowing down. The tractor trailer then struck the firetruck, causing it to hit the deputy vehicle. The tractor trailer continued on, taking out more than 200 feet of guardrail before it overturned on its left side.

The impact of the hit split the fire truck.

Officials said the driver of the tractor trailer was airlifted to VCU Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. The sheriff's deputy and the fireman were transported to a local hospital in stable condition.

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November 22, 2015
Fire Truck Catches Fire at Station - GA

A Columbus Fire & EMS truck caught fire Wednesday night at the department's station on 4617 Warm Springs Road, officials said.

Fire Marshal Ricky Shores said Columbus Fire Station 11 was evacuated when the incident occurred around 11:03 p.m. No one was injured.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating the origin of the fire.

"It appears to have initiated from a fire within the engine compartment of the fire truck, but it's still under investigation," he said. "The exact circumstances are undetermined at this time."

Shores said truck sustained about $400,000 worth of heavy damage, and the apparatus bay portion of the station sustained approximately $100,000 of significant structural damage. Two other vehicles in the building suffered minor thermal damage.

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said the city obviously has to share trucks after the fire. "We have some that are just sort of backup trucks, but we're using those as a need arises throughout the city," she said. "This is something that we plan for strategically, not necessarily a truck catching fire but a truck being out of service."

The city already has started the process with a claim in connection with the fire.

"Our objective, of course, is to see if we can't get this resolved with the insurance company very quickly," the mayor said. "I can tell you they've already been out to assess the circumstance, so we're already in the claims process."

The mayor said she hasn't learned of any issues with the fire truck, but its maintenance history will surely be a part of the investigation.

Columbus Fire Station No. 11 housed an engine company with four personnel, a squad truck with about three to four personnel and an ambulance crew of about two personnel, according to a news release.

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November 22, 2015
Blown Tire Eyed as Cause of Fallen Firefighters Crash - WA

TWISP -- The three U.S. Forest Service firefighters who died Aug. 19 in the Twisp River Fire were fleeing a chaotic scene of 60-foot, wind-driven flames when a tire may have failed and their engine left the steep, narrow roadway, leaving visible skid marks, and plunged down a 40-foot embankment where it was overtaken by flames.

Those are some of the main points in a status report, released by the Forest Service on Friday, of the ongoing investigation into the deaths of three wildland firefighters and serious burn injuries to their fourth crewmate.

The agency's final report won't be released until next year. This is the first official document that refers to the Engine 642 incident as a "crash." The investigation has not revealed any indication of criminal activity or malicious intent, the report said.

The firefighters who died were Tom Zbyszewski, 20, of Carlton; Andrew Zajac, 26, of Winthrop; and Richard Wheeler, 31, of Wenatchee.

Their fourth crewmate, Daniel Lyon, 25, was released from Harborview Wednesday following three months of treatment and 11 surgeries to repair burned skin and amputate his fingertips, which were too badly burn to save, one of his burn doctors said.

The four-man crew, assigned to Engine 642, was working up the narrow and winding Woods Canyon Road, about 6 miles west of Twisp off of Twisp River Road, to protect a home identified as "house 2" in the report from the approaching fire. Rapidly worsening conditions forced them to get out fast.

"The wind had shifted and increased speed," the report said. "Correspondingly, extreme fire behavior was observed, which astounded even the most experienced firefighters at Twisp."

"One firefighter in the area saw the Engine 642 crew members scramble to get into their truck," the report says. "He watched them drive up the road in the opposite direction of their safety zone. He noted there were 60-foot flame lengths and could feel the heat as the fire licked over house 2 after Engine 642 left. This firefighter, who was in his ninth year of firefighting in the local area stated, 'I have never seen fire move this fast."

"The right side 'point of contact' saw Engine 642 driving up to him, so he whistled and swung his hand over his head, indicating they needed to turn around and get out... Engine 642 turned around in the road and was the first engine to head toward the escape route."

"As Engine 642 drove down toward the safety zone, the road was completely obscured by smoke," the report continues. "The engine jolted and dropped down as if a tire had popped. They kept driving downhill, but they had zero visibility, and the engine went off the road. The engine came to a stop, and the surviving firefighter got out and was immediately engulfed in flames. He went through the flames and made his way to the road."

"During this period of evacuation the radio traffic was incredibly busy; too many firefighters were trying to use the radio at the same time for anyone to communicate effectively."

The report doesn't contain a clear chronology of all events, but at 3:08 p.m., the report says, incident commanders ordered all resources, including Engine 642 and three other engines in the area, to disengage from the fire and head to the staging area. The commanders alerted dispatchers that they had firefighters trapped on the right flank of the fire, the report said.

A minute later, the lead plane began directing retardant drops. Others followed, for eight drops in total. At least one of the drops helped cool the area around a dozer crew, which had deployed their emergency shelters near a burning garage.

"Another firefighter who had escaped the fire blow-up on foot reached 'switchback 1.' He heard his name being screamed and someone yelling, 'We need help up there! Please, we need help!' As he got closer, he realized the person yelling was one of the crewmembers of Engine 642. He was severely burned, had taken off his yellow shirt and was no longer wearing a hardhat."

The report continued, "Most of the air resources left the fire thinking no one was seriously injured... Most of the resources on the fire thought disaster had been averted. It was not was not until the pilots landed that they found out there were fatalities in Twisp."

Back at the staging area, others realized that Engine 642 had not made contact after the fire blew up, the report says. An experienced firefighter went back up Woods Canyon Road in a pickup to find the dozer group and look for Engine 642.

At a Y in the road they saw a fire shelter and watched the three members of the dozer group come out of their shelters, the report said.

"While taking the dozer group down the road for medical care (they) noticed what appeared to be skid marks leading off the road, near 'switchback 3.' They saw Engine 642 off the road with the rear door on the driver's side open. The engine was still burning and the area was all black... They confirmed that there were three fatalities."

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November 22, 2015
Stolen Ambulance Leads to Pursuit Chase - ND

Timothy Blowers was involved in a pursuit Friday while driving a stolen ambulance on U.S. Highway 52 south of Carrington, according to the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

The vehicle was stolen from Trinity Medical Center in Minot earlier on Friday, the NDHP said.

The NDHP said Blowers was driving south while evading officials. Cole Zaderaka was traveling north on Highway 52 and pulled his vehicle off onto the side of the road due to the emergency lights he observed on the highway. Zaderaka then moved his vehicle into the east ditch to avoid the ambulance that was traveling toward him on the highway.

The NDHP said Zaderaka's vehicle was struck by the ambulance on the driver side, causing the SUV to rollover. The ambulance rested on its roof.

Zaderaka was taken to Trinity Medical Center for serious but non-life threatening injuries, and Blowers was taken to Jamestown Regional Medical Center and is in custody.

The incident remains under investigation by the Foster County Sheriff's Department and Minot Police Department. The vehicle crash is being investigated by the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

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November 22, 2015
Lessons Learned:
Blinded by smoke, firefighters drove off road to their deaths, report says - WA

Daniel Lyon, Jr., the firefighter who survived the deadly Twisp blaze in August, speaks about his recovery process and how excited he is to go home.
(Video courtesy of Q13)

Daniel Lyon, Jr., the firefighter who survived the deadly Twisp blaze, speaks during a news conference at Harborview Medical Center on Wednesday in Seattle. At right is his father, Daniel Sr.
(Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

Clockwise from top left: Richard Wheeler, Daniel Lyon Jr., Tom Zbyszewski, and Andrew Zajac. A critically burned Lyon was the only survivor from the Twisp firefight.

A new report offers the most detailed account to date about the circumstances surrounding the deadly Twisp wildfire that killed three firefighters and critically burned another.

Strong, shifting winds that dramatically fanned a wildfire near Twisp in Okanogan County in August pushed walls of flames and smoke onto a team of firefighters, catching them off-guard and forcing them to retreat blindly down a winding dirt road to their deaths, according to a joint state and federal report released Friday.

With “the road completely obscured by smoke,” the four U.S. Forest Service firefighters fleeing in Engine No. 642 — one of several crews battling the blaze — raced down Woods Canyon Road as flames exploded around them.

“They kept driving downhill, but they had zero visibility, and the engine went off the road,” the report said. “The engine came to a stop, and the surviving firefighter got out and was immediately engulfed in flames. He went through the flames and made his way to the road.”

The report, offers the most detailed account to date about the circumstances surrounding the deadly blaze that killed U.S. Forest Service firefighters Richard Wheeler, Andrew Zajac and Tom Zbyszewski on Aug. 19. The fire also critically burned Daniel Lyon Jr., who staggered away from the wrecked engine to safety.

The report — authored by a team of employees from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the National Park Service — offers a narrative of the fire’s circumstances as part of a larger, ongoing review that seeks to assess the tragedy for safety improvements.

The status report doesn’t assign blame or draw any firm conclusions, but lists various questions officials plan to consider as part of further analysis:

• Do crews fight fires differently if there are structures threatened and should there be a reconsideration of the “objectives, strategies and tactics” in what firefighters call the wildland-urban interface?

• What improvements can be made under the current firefighting system?

• How did weather predictions for another wildfire affect decisions for battling the Twisp blaze?

“Like us, you certainly have unanswered questions about this incident,” the report states. “We do not know all the answers to the questions we are facing, and some questions may never be answered.”

But overall, the report does offer far more details and new insight into the large tactical response employed to battle the fire that ignited about five miles west of town.

Tactical plan
Firefighters from three different agencies — Okanogan County Fire District 6, Washington DNR and the USFS — were assigned to fight the fire, tapping a variety of resources. Various crews assigned to 14 different-sized fire engines, two water tenders, two bulldozers and several helicopters and air tankers worked to control the terrain-driven fire that was initially assessed at about three to four acres.

“Within four hours, the fire had spread dramatically over the area … and doubled in size in approximately 15 minutes,” the report said.

The first incident commander on scene, from the local fire district, drove from house to house up the dead-end Woods Canyon Road, telling residents to evacuate. He later established a staging area at the rear of the fire on the nearby Twisp River Road, as more crews assembled to battle the blaze.

Three incident commanders representing the various agencies soon agreed on a standard tactical plan to “protect life first, then property,” the report said. The initial plan had firefighters “start at the safe, already burned area at the heel of the fire and work their way around the fire, staying as close to the black (burned) area as possible.”

Personnel were split among different sides of the fire. On its left flank, which initially had more active flames, firefighters took a more aggressive approach, with helicopters helping.

On the right side, crews scouted and assessed conditions, while several engines assembled along the Twisp River Road near the heel of the fire, looking for hot spots to douse and protecting homes.

Eventually, four fire engines headed up the already evacuated Woods Canyon Road as part of a coordinated effort to protect structures amid rapidly changing plans. Varying radio-frequencies between the multiagency crews made it difficult to communicate and fully understand that area had already been evacuated, the report said.

Then, at about 2:45 p.m., the winds shifted from the fire’s left flank to its right.

“The wind had shifted and increased (the fire’s) speed,” the report said. “Correspondingly, extreme fire behavior was observed, which astounded even the most experienced firefighters at Twisp.”

The fire’s shifting smoke plumes were so thick, aerial crews couldn’t safely fly into the blaze’s right flank.

“We need help!”
According to the report, one firefighter recounted seeing Engine 642’s crew members scramble to get into their truck, as the flames exploded. The truck initially drove up the road “in the opposite direction of their safety zone.” As it fled, 60-foot flames could been seen shooting up above the house the crew had been trying to protect, with the blaze’s intense heat pressing down onto crews in the area.

As Engine 642 headed up the dead-end road, a coordinating crew member known as the “point of contact” for the fire’s right flank whistled and yelled to its crew, “RTO!” The warning meant “Reverse Tool Order,” or turn around and head back down the escape route. The engine turned around and retreated blindly into smoke described later as “black as night,” before crashing a short time later.

Lyon, 25, eventually came out of flames screaming, “We need help up there! Please, we need help!”

Another firefighter helped him along the road to paramedics in the staging area. He was later evacuated by ambulance, and flown by helicopter to Harborview Medical Center. He was released from the hospital this week.

Crews on the three other engines along Woods Canyon Road managed to flee to safety. Some later reported they’d “never seen or heard anything like the fire behavior they experienced.” According to the report, the crew members “could not hear anything due to the deafening noise, which one firefighter described as, ‘like a giant TV tuned to static and turned up full blast.’?”

High radio traffic
As the fire exploded, one engine crew pulled the point of contact, still on foot on the roadway, into their truck. The point of contact then radioed to the staging area, “Emergency traffic! Road compromised! Need aerial support!”

“During this period of evacuation, the radio traffic was incredibly busy,” the report said. “Too many firefighters were trying to use the radio at the same time for anyone to communicate effectively.”

Meantime, up the road, a bulldozer crew huddled in a garage that caught fire and nearly collapsed, before they fled toward the nearby road. The dozer’s operator had left his fire shelter in the bulldozer “because it was attached with a bungee cord to the dozer cage, and he did not think he would need it.” Together, the three men deployed the two available shelters and survived.

Jennifer Zbyszewski, mother of Tom Zbyszewski, has read the report, and called it “well-written and a good summary of what happened.”

Zbyszewski herself is a Forest Service employee on the Methow Valley Ranger District, and is now back on the job.

Read the Report: Twisp River Fire Fatalities and Entrapments
By Lewis Kamb & Hal Bernton / Seattle Times staff reporters

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November 22, 2015
Firefighter injured in Jeffersonville house fire - IN

(Photo submitted by the Jeffersonville Fire Department)

JEFFERSONVILLE — One Jeffersonville firefighter was injured in a house fire on Holmans Lane early Friday morning.

Jeffersonville Fire Department Chief Eric Hedrick said the firefighter was treated for first and second-degree burns to the face from radiant heat. The firefighter was released back to work later in the morning.

Around 25 firefighters responded to 3210 Holmans Lane near Brian Drive at 6:41 a.m. after a driver passing by reported the fire, Hedrick said. The ranch-style home was unoccupied and the fire was believed to have originated in an attached garage.

"The investigation of the cause is still ongoing, but anytime that we have an unoccupied house catch on fire we're always interested," Hedrick said.

The fire was under control by 7:02 a.m. No other homes were affected.

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November 20, 2015

JEREMIAH, Ky (WYMT) A volunteer firefighter who was responding to a fire in Letcher County was injured in a traffic collision.

The crash happened Friday morning on Highway 7 South in the Jeremiah community.

Officials say the firefighter had to be cut out of his personal vehicle which caught fire.

"You go on runs all the time involving your family but firefighting, police officer, EMS, we're all brothers and sisters," said Charles Polly with the Sandlick Fire Department.

Once removed from his vehicle the injured firefighter was transported by helicopter to a trauma center.

No information on the firefighters condition or name is being released at this time.

Fire departments in Letcher and Perry counties were dispatched to battle the fire which burned a barn and endangered other buildings along Talent Branch in the Red Star community of Letcher County.

Neighbors call this a dangerous curve, and Polly agrees.

'They've knocked all the trees down. They've went through and into that rock wall, and been all over the yard," said Andrew Vaughn, who lives in the area.

"If you come around here with any kind of speed behind you at all, you always lose control," said Polly. "It's a real dangerous curve, and we work several wrecks a year."

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November 20, 2015

A Morgantown firefighter is expected to make a full recovery after he was struck by a car while responding to a call.Fire crews were responding to a fire alarm on Richwood Ave. Wednesday night at 11:15. As the crew was exiting the fire truck, Yasmine Ghantous, 30, of Langhorn, Pa. tried to drive her car around the stopped fire truck. Ghantous struck one of the firefighters, dragging him about 25 feet and running over his leg.

The firefighter was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital and was later released. A second firefighter injured his hand in the incident. He too was treated and released from the hospital.

Ghantous was arrested and charged with DIU with injury. She was taken to North Central Regional Jail pending arraignment.

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November 20, 2015
Houston firefighters fall through roof at house fire - TX

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A house fire in southeast Houston was extinguished at 4 p.m. Friday.

The fire happened at a home on Luca and Tierwester Streets.

KPRC 2 was told that the house was unoccupied when the fire started.

Officials with the Houston Fire Department said there were no injuries. A firefighter fell through the roof while battling the blaze, but is expected to be OK.

Aerials from Sky 2 showed the home's roof had collapsed.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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November 20, 2015
Fire Department Projects $650,000 Budget Overrun - AK

Anchorage's fire department is expecting to overspend its current budget by about $650,000, which the fire chief Wednesday chalked up in part to higher-than-expected costs from larger call volumes -- some of which were responses to users of the drug Spice who became sick.

Fire Chief Denis LeBlanc said at an Anchorage Assembly public safety committee meeting the $92.1 million budgeted for 2015 wasn't enough to cover the department's costs.

Half the cost overrun, LeBlanc said, is due to the department having fewer vacant positions than expected. That's actually a good problem, he said.

Meanwhile, firefighters and paramedics have responded to 7 percent more calls over last year, LeBlanc said. That statistic includes an unprecedented number of responses suspected to be related to Spice, a synthetic drug. The incidents peaked in October and snarled emergency resources.

While calls have increased, fire and emergency equipment is aging, and city mechanics are in short supply, LeBlanc said. He said maintenance costs have been higher than expected this year as a result.

LeBlanc said he had a theory for part of the higher call volume: Anchorage's population is aging.

"We're seeing a lot more strokes and cardiac arrests," LeBlanc said, though he didn't have an exact estimate.

The fire department also logged about 900 suspected Spice-related calls that it didn't see last year, LeBlanc said.

At Wednesday's public safety committee meeting, LeBlanc said fire officials had identified a single suspected Spice user who had been taken to the hospital 21 times in a four-month period.

Assembly Chair Dick Traini asked whether exhaustion was a problem for first responders. LeBlanc called it a "No. 1 priority" and said he's examining how to better balance workloads and identify which first responders are not getting enough rest between shifts.

LeBlanc has lobbied for a larger budget in 2016. He said Wednesday the department is underfunded in some areas. At a proposed $93.9 million, next year's AFD budget now under consideration by the Assembly, would be $860,000 larger than the current budget, and includes funding for new positions.

While cost overruns have been typical for the Anchorage Fire Department over the years, LeBlanc pledged his administration would come in under budget in 2016.

"I don't think we've exhibited the discipline that is perhaps more common to private industry," said LeBlanc, who became chief after working as director of maintenance and operations for CH2M Hill's North Slope operations. "That's one of the things I'm taking on."

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November 20, 2015
Fire Truck Catches Fire at Station - GA

A Columbus Fire & EMS truck caught fire Wednesday night at the department's station on 4617 Warm Springs Road, officials said.

Fire Marshal Ricky Shores said Columbus Fire Station 11 was evacuated when the incident occurred around 11:03 p.m. No one was injured.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating the origin of the fire.

"It appears to have initiated from a fire within the engine compartment of the fire truck, but it's still under investigation," he said. "The exact circumstances are undetermined at this time."

Shores said truck sustained about $400,000 worth of heavy damage, and the apparatus bay portion of the station sustained approximately $100,000 of significant structural damage. Two other vehicles in the building suffered minor thermal damage.

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said the city obviously has to share trucks after the fire. "We have some that are just sort of backup trucks, but we're using those as a need arises throughout the city," she said. "This is something that we plan for strategically, not necessarily a truck catching fire but a truck being out of service."

The city already has started the process with a claim in connection with the fire.

"Our objective, of course, is to see if we can't get this resolved with the insurance company very quickly," the mayor said. "I can tell you they've already been out to assess the circumstance, so we're already in the claims process."

The mayor said she hasn't learned of any issues with the fire truck, but its maintenance history will surely be a part of the investigation.

Columbus Fire Station No. 11 housed an engine company with four personnel, a squad truck with about three to four personnel and an ambulance crew of about two personnel, according to a news release.

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November 20, 2015
Arson charges against Centre, Clearfield firefighters - PA

Four firefighters from Centre and Clearfield counties face arson charges from two separate fires.

State police Fire Marshal Cpl. Greg Agosti said in a release that the fires were not connected.

The first fire was allegedly started by Columbia Fire Company volunteer Justin Varner, 23, of Osceola Mills. Police said he started a fire at 12:30 a.m. Sept. 30 at an unoccupied building at 500 Lingle St. in the borough and also said he confessed to setting it.

According to the criminal complaint, Varner said he was walking home from the Columbia Fire Company the evening of the fire and thought it had been a while since there was a fire call. He also said he thought the Hertlein building was an “eyesore in the community.”

He entered the building through an unsecured door, the complaint said, and lit a pile of cardboard on fire. He later returned to the scene to combat the fire with the company when they responded.

The second fire, police say, was caused by Hope Fire Company volunteers Hunter Harris, 21, of Philipsburg, Kenneth Lee Moore, 20, of Lanse, and Samuel Conner, 19, of Howard. Police said the three men also confessed to starting a fire, this one at 4 a.m. Oct. 9 at 309 Ida St., Chester Hill in Clearfield County. The building was unoccupied.

According to the criminal complaint, Harris, Moore and Conner explained they were at the Hope Fire Company in the early morning hours of Oct. 9 when they collectively discussed setting fire to the vacant house on Ida Street so they could respond with the company and extinguish the fire.

They gathered some hay and paper products to create a “fuel package,” the complaint said, before driving to the area. When they arrived, Harris and Conner placed the package inside of a wood-framed shed attached to the rear of the house before igniting it.

The three returned to the station to await the dispatch, which came 15 minutes later, the complaint said.

Police say the Columbia and Hope fire companies cooperated during the separate investigations.

Harris, Moore and Conner were arraigned on arson charges and released on $50,000 unsecured bail Thursday. Varner, incarcerated in Clearfield County Jail for a probation violation, was arraigned by video conference the same day with bail set at $25,000 secured.

Harris, Moore and Conner were removed as members of Hope Fire Company when it learned of the men’s individual statements to police, said Hope Fire Company No. 2 public information officer Justin Butterworth.

He said the company will review background check procedures, implement new policies and provide educational programming to current and incoming members.

Varner was removed as a member of Columbia Fire Company when it learned about the police investigation, according to a company statement.

“It is the hopes of the fire company that the public continues to offer their overwhelming support as they have in the past,” the Columbia Fire Company statement said. “This one incident may cast doubt and mistrust in the minds of some, but Columbia is determined to push forward (and) continue to offer the best fire and rescue services to the citizens they protect.”

Clearfield County District Attorney William Shaw Jr. said in a news release that he was disappointed in the young men for starting the fires, noting that the area relies on volunteer firefighters and the business of fighting fires is extremely dangerous.

“The actions of these individuals placed the lives of our volunteers in danger and will not be tolerated,” he said in the release.

Shaw thanked the firefighters and emergency personnel who responded to the fires for their courage and dedication to the community.

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November 20, 2015
4 firefighters hurt in 2-alarm house fire - PA

The fire started in the basement and quickly spread; the firefighter suffered non life-threatening injuries.

DARBY, Pa. — Four firefighters were injured while battling a two-alarm house fire Wednesday.

6ABC reported that arriving crews reported fire and heavy smoke coming from the two-story home.

"We just were met with a high-heat, high-smoke and fire conditions and we had to make a hasty retreat to regroup," said Chief Bill Childs, with the Darby (Pa.) Fire Department.

The fire started in the basement and quickly spread.

"When the firefighters went over and broke through the roof, the smoke was just coming out and you could see the flames and all," witness Karen Yates said.

The injured firefighters suffered non life-threatening injuries. The fire was under control in an hour and caused moderate damage to the home and heavy smoke damage to two other homes.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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November 20, 2015
Burglars targeting volunteer firefighters' homes - NC

There has been multiple home break-ins and their station's sign was shot at by a pellet gun.

PARKTON, N.C. — For more than a month, volunteer firefighters have had their homes burglarized and vandalized while running calls.

WRAL reported that authorities believe that volunteers with Parkton (N.C.) Fire and Rescue are being personally targeted. The suspects have even shot at the station’s sign with a pellet gun.

Captain Jason Viar said several of his firefighters have been answering burglar alarms at their own homes.

"We've had five homes that have been broken into. One was the assistant chief. The most recent one was just three days ago and he's actually a city firefighter as well," Capt. Viar said.

The first break-in happened in October. The most recent incident occurred when someone kicked in the back door of a home belonging to a volunteer and stole his TV, computer and cell phone. The break-ins have happened while firefighters were at the station or out on calls.

"We've had a yard set on fire that belonged to a firefighter. We've had a vehicle that's been vandalized; our sign [was] vandalized. It's just sad," Capt. Viar said. “We’re out here to help the community.

"We’re providing a service. We drop everything we’re doing just to go out and try to help people that are in need and when you find out we’re being targeted, or it appears we’re being targeted … it’s disheartening.”

The sheriff’s office is investigating the incidents.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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November 20, 2015
Volunteer firefighter Wayne Remer was struck and killed by tree limb - WI

(The Last Call - RIP)

Wayne Remer
(Photo courtesy Omro Rushford Volunteer Fire Department Facebook page)

Wayne Remer, 55, was a 35-year veteran and served eight years as an assistant chief.

OMRO, Wis. — An off-duty volunteer firefighter died last Wednesday after he was impaled by a tree limb.

Wayne Remer, 55, with the Omro (Wis.) Rushford Volunteer Fire Department, died from injuries he suffered when a tree limb entered the cabin of a bulldozer he was operating, FDL Reporter said.

Remer served on the department for more than 35 years, including eight years as an assistant chief.

"To refer to Wayne as a dedicated and exemplary firefighter would not even come close to accurately describing his contribution to the department and the community," the department's Facebook page said. "All of us, as members of the department, felt safer on calls because of Wayne. His loss has left an emptiness that we cannot express."

A memorial is being established in Remer's name.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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November 19, 2015

Officials are investigating if wet conditions caused a fire apparatus crash after a fire engine crashed in Rowan County early Thursday morning.

Crews said the fire truck crashed on Enochville Avenue and Earle Street in the town of Enochville just after 7 a.m. while responding to a call in Kannapolis.

Investigators said the fire truck crossed the road and went up an embankment but authorities told Channel 9 there were no serious injuries.

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November 19, 2015

A fire damaged three homes in suburban Philadelphia.

The blaze broke out shortly before 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in Darby.

Fire Chief Bob Childs says crews encountered heavy smoke and fire in the basement of one of the homes. He says conditions rapidly deteriorated and two members quickly left the building.

The four firefighters were taken to hospitals with injuries that Childs says aren't life-threatening.

Three homes suffered smoke and water damage due to the blaze. It's unclear how many people were displaced.

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November 19, 2015
Ambulance Video Obtained in Minneapolis Police Shooting - MN

Man was reportedly interfering with paramedics helping a patient.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — State investigators looking into the fatal shooting of a black Minneapolis man by police during a scuffle have several partial videos of the incident but won't release them at this time, despite demands from protesters, an official said Tuesday.

Jamar ONeal Clark, 24, died Monday evening, a day after he was shot by police during an early-morning dispute, the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Tuesday.

Some witnesses said Clark was handcuffed when he was shot. Police initially said he was not handcuffed, but authorities later said handcuffs were at the scene and they were trying to determine whether Clark was restrained. His death sparked protests including one Monday night in which hundreds of people blocked traffic on an interstate highway, leading to 42 arrests.

The BCA is investigating the case, and federal agencies agreed Tuesday night to Mayor Betsy Hodges' request for a civil rights investigation. That satisfied one of the protesters' demands, but investigators haven't met two others: the release of any video and the identities of the officers involved.

The federal investigation will be conducted by the FBI and will be concurrent to the BCA's probe. In a statement, federal authorities asked for cooperation from any witnesses and urged calm during the investigation.

Police said the incident began when they were called to north Minneapolis around 12:45 a.m. Sunday following a report of an assault. When they arrived, a man was interfering with paramedics helping the victim, police said. Officers tried to calm him, but there was a struggle. At some point, an officer fired at least once, hitting the man, police said.

BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said at a news conference Tuesday that investigators have video from several sources, including an ambulance, a mobile police camera stationed in the area, public housing cameras and citizens' cellphones.

But he said none of the videos captured the entire incident and none will be released while the investigation is ongoing to avoid possibly tainting it.

Authorities have said the officers involved weren't wearing body cameras. Evans said there is no police dashboard camera video of the shooting. He declined to release any identifying information about the officers, including their race, pending interviews with them.

When asked if the video shows whether Clark was handcuffed, Department of Public Safety spokesman Bruce Gordon reiterated that the video captures a portion of the incident, but not everything, and said officials can't discuss specifics because it could potentially taint witness statements.

Evans said at the news conference that there were handcuffs at the scene and authorities were still investigating.

"We're still examining whether or not they were on Mr. Clark or whether or not they were just (fallen) at the scene. That's what we're trying to ascertain," he said.

Evans also confirmed that Clark was unarmed. Pressed on the timeline for results of the BCA investigation, Evans said two to four months is typical but that the Clark case "has been given top priority."

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Tuesday that Clark died from a gunshot wound to the head. Clark's father previously told The Associated Press that his son suffered a single gunshot wound over his left eye.

Clark's brother, Jamine Robinson, 32, of Rochester, told the AP earlier Tuesday that family members had gone to the hospital Monday evening to take Clark off life support.

"I want the officer to be arrested, prosecuted and put in jail for eternity. Life without parole," said Robinson.

In seeking the civil rights investigation on Monday, Hodges said she was concerned about "transparency and community confidence." She expressed faith in the state investigation but said the city needs "all the tools we have available to us."

Protesters have set up tents around the 4th Precinct station near where the shooting occurred and said they won't leave until authorities release the video and officers' identities.

The protests are just the latest expression of tension between the department and minorities in the city.

The rocky relations have led to discussions between police and minorities and the creation of task forces designed to quell concerns. This spring, Minneapolis was selected for a federal Justice Department program to rebuild trust between police and the communities they patrol.
AMY FORLITI, Associated Press

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November 19, 2015
2 firefighters injured in Koreatown blaze, 1 at Grossman Burn Center - CA

It took 111 firefighters about 90 minutes to knock down the fire at 838 S. Crenshaw Blvd.
(Photo by Rick McClure/Special to the Daily News)

LOS ANGELES — Two firefighters were treated at a hospital Wednesday for injuries they suffered in a fire at a vacant house in Koreatown, authorities said.

One of the firefighters suffered a sprained ankle, was treated at a hospital and released, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said. The other was hospitalized with second-degree burns over 10 percent of his body and small burns on his hands, he said.

The firefighters were hurt when a section of the ground floor of the vacant two-story residence collapsed, Humphrey said.

The fire was reported at 838 S. Crenshaw Blvd., at 1:12 a.m., Humphrey said. It took 111 firefighters about 90 minutes to knock down the blaze.

The burned firefighter was transported to the Grossman Burn Center in West Hills.
By City News Service

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November 19, 2015
New Orleans firefighter injured in two-alarm fire in Seventh Ward - LA

The blaze was reported around 1 a.m. in the 1400 block of St. Anthony Street, according to the New Orleans Fire Department.

Officials received a 911 call about a home on fire. Firefighters found one side of the single-story, wood-framed double engulfed in flames.

The NOFD said two alarms were called to keep the fire from spreading to the surrounding homes. During the fire attack, one firefighter suffered an injury to his leg and was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Firefighters were able to bring the blaze under control just before 2 a.m. The other side of the double had damage to the roof and an exterior wall.

Officials said an investigation into the fire will begin. The condition of the injured firefighter has not been released.
By Juan Sanchez /

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November 19, 2015
Police Crack Down on Illegal First Responder Warning Lights - PA

(WTAE-TV Pittsburgh)

Pennsylvania State Police are cracking down on the illegal use of concealed lights by firefighters and first responders on their personal vehicles.

State law prohibits the use of blue and reds lights used on the interior and concealed behind parking lights. Only one light on top of the vehicle, visible 360 degrees is permitted.

According to WTAE TV based in Pittsburgh, state police officers are targeting Pittsburgh-area firefighters who are allegedly using their lights illegally.

The TV station reported that some volunteers are using blue lights in their windshields and concealed behind factory installed vehicle lights and chiefs are using red lights in the same manner. The only problem is, they are illegal.

The station interviewed East Carnegie Fire Chief Adam Kauer who has dozens of concealed lights on his pickup, in the grill, in the windshield, behind the DOT lights, on the back window of his pickup truck’s cap and even in the running boards.

"Anything you see interior mounted on this vehicle is illegal,” Kauer told the television station reporter, adding that he did not intentionally break the law.

Kauer said he didn’t know the lights were illegal until a state trooper issued warnings to him and two of his firefighters using similar lights.

Pennsylvania State Trooper Robin Mungo told the television station the problem is the motoring public might think the firefighters and first responders are undercover police officers. She said there’s no thought firefighters are trying to impersonate officers, but there are safety issues that can’t be overlooked.

State police say they have issued 25 warnings to Western Pennsylvania firefighters for illegal use of warning lights in the last few months, according to WTAE.

While some firefighters are changing their lights to comply with the law, others are working to change the law so they will comply.

The television station reported that State Rep. Dan Miller, D-Mt. Lebanon is sponsoring legislation to change the law after he heard complaints from fellow firefighters.

"We want them to have the right stuff they need to keep everybody safe when they're responding,” Miller told the television station.

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November 19, 2015
Denver fire truck, tow truck collide in Stapleton - CO

Denver police are investigating after a city fire truck was struck by a tow truck that allegedly ran a red light Tuesday afternoon.

The collision happened at the intersection of Central Park and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards, police say.

First responders were evaluating one of the two people in the tow truck, but investigators say there were no serious injuries in the wreck.

Further information on the crash was not immediately available.
By Jesse Paul / The Denver Post

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November 19, 2015
Detroit firefighter found dead in firehouse - MI

It's unclear what caused the death of Sgt. Vince Smith.

A Detroit firefighter was found dead at his firehouse early this morning.

It’s not yet clear what caused the death of Sgt. Vince Smith, but firefighters said they found him dead in his sleep shortly before 7:30 a.m. at Engine 48’s firehouse in southwest Detroit where he was on duty.

The company had no runs last evening.

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November 19, 2015
Pierce recalls 910 fire trucks to fix wheel problem

The recall covers the Arrow XT, Dash, Enforcer, Lance and Quantum models from the 2006 and 2007 model years.

DETROIT — Pierce Manufacturing is recalling 910 fire trucks because the wheels could come loose while being driven.

The recall covers the Arrow XT, Dash, Enforcer, Lance and Quantum models from the 2006 and 2007 model years. Boots that cover the ball joints can rip and cause the joints to fail, increasing the risk of a crash.

The recall comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating the trucks in March. The agency received a complaint in January from a fire department that a driver had trouble steering a truck and never felt in control. Mechanics found problems in the ball joints, which connect wheels to the steering system. No injuries were reported.

Dealers will inspect trucks for torn boots and replace worn ball joints starting Nov. 30.
The Associated Press

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November 17, 2015
Audit says East Kingston fire company overcharging town of Ulster - NY

TOWN OF ULSTER >> Auditors from the state Comptroller’s Office say the town should have a signed contract with the East Kingston Volunteer Fore Department and has overpaid for services.

Town Supervisor James Quigley, who provided the auditors’ report last week, said Monday that it supports his contention that East Kingston fire officials have not provided accurate requests for funding for at least the past 12 years.

“The state comptroller basically said ... that they overcharged the town,” Quigley said.

The auditors reviewed financial information from Jan. 1, 2013, to March 31, 2015, but noted there has not been a town contract with the fire company for services since 2003.

“We reviewed East Kingston’s 2013 tax return and found that its expenses were $141,737,” the auditors wrote. “The town paid East Kingston $210,176 in 2013, which was $68,439 more than East Kingston’s expenses.”

East Kingston is a hamlet within the town of Ulster.

The report from the Comptroller’s Office said that without a contract, town officials have limited “recourse when East Kingston does not provide the expected fire protection services to town residents.”

“By not ensuring that the town has a valid contract with provisions for reviewing the service provider’s operation, the [Town] Board has not fulfilled its oversight responsibility and may put town residents at risk of loss of property, life and finances.”

The board included $218,281 in the town’s 2015 budget for coverage by the East Kingston Volunteer Fire Department.

In a letter to East Kingston fire officials, Quigley said tax forms show there have been overcharges to the town since he came into office in January 2010.

“The town has funded a total of $1,019,754 for the years 2010 through 2014 as requested in the annual budgets submitted by the East Kingston Fire [Department] ... to the Town Board,” he wrote. “Based upon the federal Form 990 for the same years, the ... [department] spent only $576,364 in direct firematic expenses in providing services to the fire protection district. This results in an excess funding to the East Kingston of $443,390.”

Quigley said the fire department spent $185,247 of the excess on apparatus. He also noted the department’s 2011 budget included spending $3,000 on an audit that company officials acknowledged was not been conducted.

Fire department President George Gallo was not available for comment Monday.

Complaints about the East Kingston Volunteer Fire Department became public earlier this year when town officials were told the department has poor response times to emergency calls. Quigley said there is a five-year history of the department being shorthanded and that a Jan. 28 chimney fire at which responding volunteers lacked proper training demonstrated the severity of the problem.

Quigley said the town if considering severing ties with the East Kingston department and expanding the coverage are of Ulster Hose Company 5, which in March was authorized to act on a co-first responder basis with East Kingston.
By William J. Kemble,

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November 17, 2015
Detroit ambulance involved in accident, power lines down on top of EMS rig - MI

Sparks flew around a utility crew as they worked to repair power lines brought down by an ambulance crash.

DETROIT (WXYZ) - DTE Energy crews, Detroit police, fire and EMS units were all on the scene of an ambulance accident on the city's west side.

The accident resulted in power lines down on a Detroit EMS rig.

The accident happened in the intersection of West McNichols and Schaefer.

"I heard an explosion and sparks fling and I ran over here, from what I understand the ambulance was going through the light and the car at the same time and they hit each other,” said Greg Houser, who was working across the street.

Detroit Police told 7 Action News the ambulance had its lights and sirens on, carrying a patient to Sinai-Grace Hospital, just a block away.

Police said the car didn’t yield to the oncoming emergency vehicle and hit the ambulance in the intersection.

"It hit the ambulance, when it hit, the ambulance veered over onto the pole and hit the pole,” Rodney Luke saw the whole thing happen.

Luke was one of the first people to reach the ambulance and help the people inside.

"I pulled up in there as quick as I could and I ran under about 6 wires you know, to make sure they were alright,” said Luke.

The power lines were down because when the ambulance crashed into the power pole, it took lines down with it.

Five people were taken to the hospital after the crash, two people from the car and three people from the ambulance.

Police said all five have non-life threatening injuries. The woman driving the car could potentially get a ticket.

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November 17, 2015
Raw video & radio traffic: Water supply issues at Buffalo house fire - NY

(Erie County New York Incidents)

Engine 26 on scene with a 2 story vacant dwelling heavy fire in attic. Crews attempt to make entry but are forced back by a bad water supply.

B-47 sets up for Defensive Operations with Ladder 4 going airborne. B-56 Requests extra 2 & 1 to scene for water supply and manpower.

Fire contained to 2nd floor and attic. Emergency Demo ordered for structural damage to roof and floor joists. Slight exposure damage to adjacent house #4 side.

3 -2½" Lines in use + Ladder 4 Flowing

ON Scene:
Engines: 26, 19, 38, 36, 37 - Trucks: 13, 4, 2, 7 FAST, Rescue 1
Chiefs: B-47, B-41 & B-56 - Support Staff: F-20, 9, 11

Damages: $ 47K
Erie County New York Incidents

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November 17, 2015
Group Calls for Fire Departments to Merge - MO

ST. LOUIS COUNTY -- Combining 43 fire districts and municipal departments into a single agency to protect St. Louis and St. Louis County would bring response times down to national standards 90 percent of the time, according to a study released Monday.

Currently, St. Louis meets the four-minute response standard with its 30 firehouses. But only 70 percent of the calls for 42 St. Louis County departments and districts, operating from 88 stations, meet that standard, the study notes.

The county is broken into 19 municipal departments and 23 fire protection districts.

The study is the result of a year-long dialogue among the organization Better Together and fire chiefs and firefighters.

It says other benefits of a single regional district include:

--A unified command and control structure with standardized equipment.

--Large-scale equipment purchases at a discounted rate.

--A better structure to form specialized units for unique disasters.

--Elimination of equipment redundancies.

--Uniform training and pay parity.

The change would require an additional 24 fire stations and about 1,130 more firefighters, along with clerical staff and mechanics, for a cost of about $192 million.

But, the study notes, the costs could be spread out over time and savings from a variety of factors -- in health care, repair and maintenance efficiencies, improved insurance ratings and greater purchasing power. It suggests the unification could be cost-neutral by year five.

The current services cost approximately $334 million annually, according to the study.

It does not deal with fire departments outside St. Louis and St. Louis County.

"The modern firefighter's job is incredibly demanding and complex, and our region's firefighters work tirelessly to save lives and property," said Nancy Rice, executive director of Better Together, in a statement. "However, the unfortunate reality is that problems within the structure of our services create an environment that is both inefficient and potentially dangerous."

St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson, a member of the study committee, said that while many details need to be negotiated, the report provides a road map toward better services.

Better Together is a St. Louis-based nonprofit studying a city-county merger, through a series of reports that point to inefficiencies in public safety, public finance, public health and economic development. The city operates as its own separate county.

In September, the group released its first report on the fire districts, pointing out how a lack of standardized operating procedures, training and repair facilities increases inefficiencies and jeopardizes public safety. The result, it said, is a disparity in what the region's poorer and wealthier areas receive in fire protection.

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November 17, 2015
Ceiling caves in during 2-alarm house fire, injuring firefighter in Fremont - CA

FREMONT (KRON/BCN) — A ceiling caved in during a two-alarm fire at a Fremont home Monday, injuring a firefighter and displacing five residents, according to fire officials.

Reports came in at 12:39 p.m. about a fire at a single-family home in the 37000 block of Bodily Avenue near Hillview Drive, Fremont Fire Division Chief Diane Hendry said.

Responding crews discovered that the blaze had quickly moved into the attic, which compromised the ceiling and brought it crashing down, Hendry said.

A firefighter suffered minor injuries during the ceiling collapse and was later taken to a hospital.

There were no other reported injuries in the fire, Hendry said. The occupants had evacuated the home upon discovering the blaze.

Crews brought the fire under control at 1:10 p.m. and were still on the scene as of 1:20 p.m.

Hendry did not yet have an estimate on the extent of the fire’s damage to the home, but said the condition of the structure was such that its five residents would be displaced.

Surrounding homes did not sustain damage, Hendry said.

“We were concerned about that, because of the wind,” she said, adding that the weather contributed to the fire’s upgrade to a two-alarm response.

Hendry said an investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the fire.
By Yama Hazheer, KRON

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November 17, 2015
Two rescued during blaze, including firefighter - MO

Two people were injured during a fire Monday night in Cape Girardeau, and a firefighter had to be rescued as well. About 8:30 p.m., Cape Girardeau firefighters responded to a call of a structure fire at 389 Country Club Drive in Cape Girardeau.

Battalion Chief Fred Vincel said one victim was rescued from the house and taken by ambulance to a hospital. Authorities would not release the victim's identity, and the extent of the person's injuries had not been determined.

While trying to extinguishing the fire, one of the firefighters had to be rescued.

"We had one firefighter fall through the floor [into the basement]," he said. "But we were able to rescue that firefighter. ... He has no apparent injuries."

A department report late Monday said another firefighter was injured by falling debris and received treatment at a hospital.

Two dogs that were rescued from the burning house were given oxygen by a firefighter at the scene.

Vincel said the extent of the damage had not been assessed yet, but it was severe.

"There was enough fire damage to burn a hole in the first-story floor," Vincel said.

He also said damage of that sort was consistent with a fire would have started in the basement of the one-story house, but said the cause and circumstances of the blaze had not been determined.

"We've brought our own investigators in, and obviously we've contacted the state fire marshal's office," Vincel said.
By Tyler Graef ~ Southeast Missourian

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November 17, 2015
Man Punched Ambulance Crew Member, Fled in Hospital Scrubs - WI

A man sought by Evanston and Skokie police on Saturday following an alleged attack on a private ambulance attendant has been located in Wisconsin in the custody of Milwaukee police, Evanston police said Monday.

The department was notified that the man, identified as Jumal Lipscomb, of Milwaukee, was located in Lake Mills, Wis., Evanston police Cmndr. Joe Dugan, department spokesperson, said Monday.

Lipscomb is currently facing unrelated charges, pending an investigation by the Milwaukee County district attorney's office, a Milwaukee police department spokesperson said Monday.

Dugan said the incident with the ambulance attendant occurred at approximately 4:35 p.m. on Saturday. The ambulance, owned by a private company, was transporting Lipscomb from a hospital in Skokie to Evanston Hospital.

Police said that when the ambulance reached Gross Point Road and Central Street, Lipscomb, who was reportedly making suicidal threats, struck the ambulance attendant in the face. The attendant, 26, received an injury to her nose, said Dugan.

Lipscomb, still wearing hospital scrubs, grabbed his personal belongings and fled out the back of the ambulance, heading southbound, Dugan said.

Dugan said there is no direct evidence to link Lipscomb to several incidents on Saturday, including a robbery that occurred later in the day, but that due to the close proximity of the locations and time frame of the incidents detectives want to talk to him.

At approximately 5:03 p.m., Dugan said, a resident was sitting in his vehicle in his driveway in the 2400 block of Crawford Avenue when a man fitting the description of Lipscomb, knocked on his vehicle window.v

The witness stated that when a police car pulled up the man quickly walked away eastbound on Colfax Street, Dugan said.

Not long after, at 5:45 p.m., the department received a call of a robbery that had occurred in the 2400 block of Hastings Avenue, Dugan said.

The victim, an 85-year-old woman, reported that she was unloading groceries from her vehicle parked in front of her residence, he said.

She told police that she felt something hit the back of her head, Dugan said, knocking her down and the groceries out of her hand.

She initially thought that, perhaps because of the wind, the trunk had shut on her, Dugan said.

A short time later she realized that her purse, that was around her arm at the time, had been removed and was missing, he said.

The victim was transported to Evanston Hospital where she was listed in stable condition, he said.

Officers searched the area, recovering the victim's purse in the alley of the 2400 block of Hastings Avenue, Dugan said. Her wallet and $16 were missing.

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November 17, 2015
Information passed along
App Would Alert Drivers to Nearby Fire Trucks, Emergency Vehicles - MI

A Michigan city is testing out an application that would alert drivers to the presence of fire trucks and other emergency vehicles, according to a report. reports that the idea was inspired by a close call Cory Hohs with had with a Chicago fire truck while he was driving his motorcycle.

The app is being tested in Grand Rapids, and the city's fire department is reportedly allowing Hohs and his two partners to gather research as they rode with firefighters on fire apparatus during emergency incidents.

Drivers' slower response time in pulling out of the way of oncoming fire trucks, police cars, or ambulance can also be blamed on the distrations of technology, among other factors. The app, Haasalert, would reportedly cmpliment the traditional sirens and flashing lights with alerts sent via Bluetooth to a car or motorcycle helmet.

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November 17, 2015
Austin fire battalion chief suspended after car crash - TX

Austin city officials announced the temporary suspension of a fire battalion chief for being involved in what they described as a preventable car crash involving one of the fire department’s vehicles.

Battalion Chief Jeff Pine was suspended for three days, with his suspension starting Tuesday, a disciplinary memo from Austin fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr said.

Pine was also suspended for wearing an altered uniform without permission, the memo said.

The crash occurred on Aug. 15 while Pine was responding to a fire.

The memo says Pine violated department civil service rules by not setting the emergency brake while the vehicle was parked. No further details of the crash were provided in the memo, and Austin fire spokeswoman Michelle Tanzola said it is department policy to not comment about discipline measures outside of the content of the memo, including providing details about the crash.

The memo says Pine accepted full responsibility for the crash.
Philip Jankowski / American-Statesman Staff

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November 17, 2015
2 Hammonton volunteer firefighters face council charges - NJ

HAMMONTON —Town Council voted Monday night to bring charges against two of its four remaining suspended volunteer firefighters.

The unspecified charges will be handled by a hearing officer, who will decide the firefighters' fates in the company, officials said.

Town Solicitor Brian Howell, who along with Town Business Administrator Jerry Barberio has investigated allegations against six firefighters, did not name the two who will face a hearing. He said he would not be more specific about the charges, either.

The hearing will not be public, but will be a private personnel hearing.

Six firefighters from Company No. 2 were named as suspended at a Sept. 28 council meeting. After the meeting Mayor Steve DiDonato said other volunteer firefighters had made allegations of sexual harassment, sending threatening text messages, and that one firefighter allegedly drove another firefighter off the road on purpose.

"It's important to note there are volunteers that are going to be brought up on charges possibly ... and there are volunteers being treated inappropriately. There are volunteers on both sides of the equation," said DiDonato Monday night.

He also said the entire fire department, which includes two fire companies, will be put through many hours of training to help change the culture to eliminate harassment of any kind.

"It's now 2015 and the world has changed," he said, adding that once council was made aware of the situation it had to act or face the possibility of lawsuits.

Deputy Mayor Tom Gribbin stressed that council did not go looking for the allegations.

"Volunteers are the backbone of Hammonton," he said. "It's not something we asked for but it was brought to council and we had to take action."

Howell said Monday night his investigation has found an ultra-competitive relationship between the two fire companies that was destructive.

"It's not healthy for the town or members of the department," Howell said. He said he found jealousies and personal animosities, and extreme competitiveness that has jeopardized the health and safety of all concerned.

"It's time for the leadership internally to step up," Howell said. But if that doesn't happen, he said it is up to Mayor and Town Council to change the culture of the department.

In early October council cleared two of the six of wrongdoing and overturned their suspensions at a special Town Council meeting.

An investigation found no evidence that John Warren and his son John Michael Warren did what a complaint alleged, said Howell, in recommending they be reinstated as members of Station 2.

Allegations are still pending against firefighters John A. Brigandi, junior firefighter Joe Caruso, and his father, also named Joe Caruso; and Bill Tomasello.

The younger Caruso, still in his probationary period, was removed from the company Sept. 28.

All of the accused belong to Station 2, located on the White Horse Pike.

Brigandi, 43, is the Atlantic County sheriff’s officer charged in June with official misconduct and theft for allegedly improperly withdrawing more than $1,500 from a local PBA account with the help of an alleged accomplice.

Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Jay McKeen said recently Brigandi's case is under grand jury review, meaning it has not yet been presented to a grand jury.

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November 17, 2015
Apartment fire leaves firefighter injured in Van Nuys - CA

A fire at a multi-story apartment building in Van Nuys damaged two units and left a firefighter injured Monday, a department spokesman said.

About 50 firefighters took 19 minutes to knock down the flames at 6700 Woodley Ave., said the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Erik Scott.

The blaze was reported at 11:47 a.m., he said.

Winds blowing 15 to 20 mph fanned the flames as firefighters did their work, Scott said.

A first-floor unit in the multi-story building was “well-involved” in fire and suffered extensive damage, according to Scott. A second-floor unit had lesser damage.

One firefighter suffered a possible fractured foot and was transported to a local hospital, Scott said. There were no other injuries.

The cost of the damage and cause of the fire are under investigation, Scott said.
By Gregory J. Wilcox, Los Angeles Daily News

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November 16, 2015
Information passed along
Waterbury pizza-stealing dog in viral video teaching fire safety - CT

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) – A viral video of a dog nearly burning down a house in Waterbury is now being used around the country to teach fire safety.

The video shows three dogs left alone with a couple of pizzas on a stove. One of the dogs jumped up to take a sniff, and wound up turning on the cooktop. The pizza box burst into flames. The homeowners, Gary and Katie LaClerc were in the next room with guests. They threw the burning box on the floor and put it out with water.

“I knew one of the dogs did it, obviously because the pizza was on the stove. The other two knew better but I should have known that the puppy would be the culprit” said Katie LaClerc.

Among those who saw the viral video, Wolcott Fire Marshal Jim Frageau.

“Id like to definitely use it for training for teaching people that you’ve got to think fire prevention every day because it happens that quick,” said Frageau.

The video is also being used by the National Fire Protection agency.
By Darren Kramer /

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November 16, 2015
Utah Firefighter Struck at Accident Scene - NY

SYRACUSE - A Syracuse firefighter was seriously injured Thursday when he was hit by another vehicle while on the scene of a traffic accident.

Dan Holman, 44, suffered a broken ankle as well as cuts and bruises, some that required stitches.

"He's banged up. He sustained some signficant injuries, but not life-threatening. It's going to be awhile before he'll be back at work. But all things considered, he's really lucky and doing well," said Syracuse Fire Chief Eric Froerer.

Emergency crews responded to a traffic accident in front of Syracuse High School, at the intersection of 700 South and 2000 West, about 7:45 p.m. Thursday.

While some firefighters attended to the patients, Holman was assigned to clear the road of debris from the crash. As he was doing that, he was hit by a car passing through.

"He was hit head-on, and up onto the hood and windshield and thrown forward several feet," Froerer said. "I don't think he saw the vehicle, and I don't think the driver saw him."

Froerer said there were police officers directing traffic, flashing emergency lights all around, and the car that hit him was going an estimated 20 mph. But the driver apparently didn't see Holman.

"It doesn't take much speed in that kind of situation to get somebody hurt," he said. "It's just really scary when something like this happens."

On the Syracuse Fire Department's Facebook page Friday, a reminder for all motorists was posted: "The bright flashing lights are not Christmas lights. My flourescent clothing is not a fashion statement. Slow down. Move over."

"There's a lot of distractions, a lot of flashing lights and a lot of people, and you're looking around and trying to navigate your way through," Froerer said of typical emergency scenes while asking motorists to pay extra attention when passing through one.

Holman has been with the fire department since 2003.

"He is a huge part of the heart and soul of this station," a representative from the department posted on their Facebook wall. "I can't imagine this place without him. He serves us all in so many ways - and it is clear he loves his job. Thank you! Our hearts will be with him and your family during his recovery!"

The Utah Highway Patrol is handling the investigation into the crash.
PAT REAVY, Deseret Morning News

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November 16, 2015
Firefighters, Paramedics Ordered to Shape Up - SC

LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. -- Lexington County is telling its 350 firefighters and paramedics they need to be in shape.

Being ready physically is required under a fitness plan adopted by County Council last week.

All firefighters, paramedics and other ambulance crew members will be tested yearly as well as command staff who normally supervise activities.

"This prepares them for the rigors of their jobs," County Public Safety Director David Kerr said.

The tests developed with advice from University of South Carolina health experts simulate common activities associated with each profession.

Fitness requirements make sense, Council Chairman Johnny Jeffcoat of Irmo said. "You want someone arriving at an emergency scene to be in condition to help," he said.

The tests also are designed to reduce work-related injuries that cause paid time off for recovery, Kerr said.

Firefighters and ambulance crews have three years to pass, while new hires must meet the standards as a condition for getting the job.

There is no similar fitness test for the county's 400 deputies and jail guards, who are not under council oversight.

"While we encourage deputies to be mindful of their own physical fitness and readiness, our only required standard is that they pass a physician-administered medical assessment during our pre-employment screening process," said Capt. Adam Myrick, spokesman for Sheriff Jay Koon.

"That same physical is also a prerequisite for entrance into the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy," Myrick continued. "Successfully completing the academy's timed physical abilities test at the onset of the 12-week basic law enforcement officer course is required for (law enforcement) certification."

Highlights of new Lexington County fitness tests


Do the following in 13 minutes dressed in gear weighing 45 pounds:

-- Climb 75 steps carrying a hose and walk 50 feet with the hose and pair of five-gallon foam buckets.

-- Drag a 45-pound sled 50 feet and then pull a 100-pound sled 100 feet forward.

-- Move the 45-pound sled 5 feet with a sledge hammer, raise a 45-pound bar overhead 10 times and pull a 175-pound dummy on a board 100 feet backward.

Ambulance crews

Do the following in six minutes:

-- Remove 85-pound stretcher from ambulance and place near stairs, push and pull it 100 feet on carpeted course with obstructions, carry it up and down five steps and move equipment bags 10 feet.

-- Lift 150-pound mannequin on stretcher, perform 200 chest CPR compressions within two minutes on mannequin, then return empty stretcher to ambulance.

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November 16, 2015
Minneapolis Police Shoot as Car Lunges, Paramedics Confronted

Minneapolis police fired shots to take control of two threatening situations Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Police shot an assault suspect early Sunday morning after the suspect allegedly interfered with paramedics treating the alleged victim.

According to a news release from Minneapolis police, as officers drove to an assault call in the 1600 block of Plymouth Avenue North around 12:45 a.m., they learned that the suspect in the assault had returned to the scene and had confronted paramedics as they treated the victim.

Police tried to calm the suspect, but a physical altercation took place and one of the officers shot the suspect.

The suspect was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center. His or her condition was not immediately available.

In the other incident, police fired shots at a vehicle after its driver appeared to try to hit them with his car.

The incident happened just before 7 p.m. Saturday, according police statement. Officers attempted to pull the car over on Upton Avenue North and Golden Valley road so they could question the driver about a recent report of gunshots. The vehicle did not pull over immediately, and the officers gave chase.

When the vehicle stopped and officers approached on foot, the driver began to back the car toward the officers. One officer shot and struck the car.

The suspect was taken into custody and no one was injured.

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November 16, 2015
1 firefighter injured in large Great Falls house fire - VA

(Photo: Fairfax County Fire and Rescue)

(Fairfax Fire/Rescue)

GREAT FALLS, Va. (WUSA9) -- Crews responded to a Great Falls house fire overnight, Fairfax County Fire Department said.

The fire happened at 12:54 a.m. at 151 River Park Lane in Great Falls, officials said. Fire was showing from all four sides of the home when crews arrived. The home is rather large, in excess of 10,000 square feet.

Officials say there were no water hydrants in the area, so crews had to shuttle water in using tankers. Nobody was at home at the time of the fire, according to reports. It took several hours for firefighters to put the fire out.

One firefighter was transported with a non-life-threatening injury. The cause of the fire has still not been determined. The house is a total loss.

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November 16, 2015
Fire truck hits, injures man trying to cross street - TX

The rig was responding to a fire call with its lights and sirens on; the man was rushed to a hospital in critical condition.

SAN ANTONIO — A San Antonio Fire Department fire truck responding to a fire call hit a man trying to cross the street Sunday.

KENS5 reported that the incident happened around 12:30 a.m. The man stepped into the path of an oncoming fire truck that was running with its lights and sirens. The driver of the rig didn’t see the man at first, but then tried to avoid him.

The man was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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November 16, 2015
Deputy Chief Thomas Kolarick dies from medical emergency - NJ

(The Last Call - RIP)

Chief Thomas Kolarick
(Photo courtesy Keasbey Fire Department Facebook page)

Thomas Kolarick, a 41-year veteran, had a medical emergency while responding to an incident two months ago.

KEASBEY, N.J. — Deputy Chief Thomas Kolarick, a 41-year veteran with the Keasbey (N.J.) Protection Fire Company #1, had a medical emergency while responding to an incident on Sept. 17. Department officials said he died Nov. 11 from unspecified medical complications.

"Our hearts are heavy as he was an ex-chief and member of the department for over 40 years," the fire department's Facebook page said. "He mentored many of our young members and will be missed."

Kolarick joined the department in 1974 and also served as its president.

Funeral services will be held Nov. 16 at Mitruska Funeral Home at 10 a.m. A funeral mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church located at 630 Amboy Ave., Edison, N.J.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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November 15, 2015
Canandaigua firefighters battle blaze on Bristol Street - NY

Several Ontario County fire agencies assisted with a blaze at 43 Bristol Street in Canandaigua early Sunday morning during which two firefighters and two tenants of the home received minor injuries.

The fire began about 5 a.m. in a first-floor bedroom of the four-unit home. The injured firefighters received minor burns and the tenants were treated at a local hospital and released.

Crews were still at the multi-unit home several hours later, putting out flare-ups and securing the home.

As Canandaigua firefighters fought the blaze, agencies from Victor, Fishers and other areas were called in to fill in.
Jon Hand, @jonhand1 /

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November 15, 2015
Information passed along
Paramedic's Facebook Post About Fast Food Worker $15 Hourly Wage Fight Goes Viral - FL

LAKELAND, Fla. - "I'm a paramedic with a bachelors degree, and I don't make $15 an hour," said Graham Judd in a Facebook video that's been viewed more than 15,000 times in three days.

The video sparked a conversation online and renewed the wage debate.

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November 13, 2015
EMS Providers Mistakenly Declare Patient Dead - NY

Queens medics mistakenly declared a distraught woman dead after she shot herself in the head Thursday morning — then stunned cops discover she was still alive and transported her to a hospital where she eventually succumbed to her injuries, sources told The Post.

The unidentified 32-year-old woman was on the phone with her boyfriend in Ohio about 9 a.m., telling him she was deeply depressed and threatening to kill herself, police sources said.

Suddenly, the boyfriend heard a gunshot over the phone, and quickly hung up and called the victim’s sister, who lives in New York.

The sister immediately called 911, and EMTs from Jamaica Hospital arrived at the injured woman’s home at 103-26 115 St. in south Jamaica to find the woman crumpled on her bedroom floor with a gunshot wound to the head.

They tried to revive the woman, who sources said was bi-polar, but determined she had no pulse — and pronounced her dead at 9:24 a.m.

Detectives then arrived at the home and began an investigation to rule out foul play and determine what happened.

As they were searching for clues, they suddenly realized about 10:40 a.m. that the woman was still alive and “making noises,” sources said.

Cops called the EMTs back to the scene, and they rushed the woman to Jamaica Hospital.

Later on Thursday night the woman was declared dead, a second time, sources said.

The woman’s sister, who would not give her name, was furious at the mix-up — and said her sister would have had a better chance of recovery had she been rushed to the hospital immediately.

“I asked the [detective] why it took them an hour and a half to get to her to the hospital. They didn’t have an answer. He told me ‘I’m sorry I don’t really know.‘ He kind of brushed off the question,” she told The Post.

“If she had gotten the help sooner maybe she wouldn’t be in this condition and they would have been able to help her.”

She said detectives even offered condolences to a friend of the woman’s who was in the house at the time before they realized she was still alive.

“They told her sorry for your loss,” she said.

She said she was left to believe that her sister was dead for nearly 90 minutes.

“The investigator called me to say they were sending a detective to pick me up. They first told me to go to the 106 precinct. About an hour and a half later they said go to Jamaica Hospital. I had no clue that this happened. I’m just stunned to hear this.”

A spokesman for Jamaica Hospital would only say that the incident was under investigation.

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November 13, 2015
Two Paterson firefighters assaulted by patient, official says - NJ

PATERSON — Two firefighters were assaulted by a patient they were trying to treat on Thursday morning in the back of an ambulance, a fire official said.

The firefighters, who were working as emergency medical technicians at the time, responded to 19 Walker St. around 8:15 a.m. on a report of an unconscious person, Deputy Fire Chief Mike Fleming said.

They woke the man up and as they were treating him in the ambulance he allegedly began punching them, Fleming said. Police subdued him and handcuffed him to the stretcher.

All three were taken to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, Fleming said. The firefighters were treated for cuts and bruises to their faces and arms. He did not have an update on the patient’s condition.

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November 13, 2015
Volunteer firehouse burglarized - OR

A total of $17,000 worth of firefighting equipment was stolen while no one was in the station.

BEND, Ore. — A total of $17,000 worth of firefighting equipment was stolen from a volunteer firehouse Tuesday night.

Nugget News reported that thieves stole chainsaws, automated defibrillators, a thermal imaging camera and GPS units from the Sisters-Camp Sherman (Ore.) Fire District Station 703. The equipment was stolen when there was no one in the station, according to the report.

"The equipment that was stolen is critical to our mission of protecting lives and property," said Deputy Chief Tim Craig.

The station is still in service and able to respond to emergencies.

"We were able to transfer equipment from lesser used wildfire response units at the main fire station to get the units back in service at station 703," Chief Craig said.

The sheriff’s office is investigating.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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November 13, 2015
Report critical of firefighter, medic rig-crash rate

Responsible for about one in five of the 829 firefighter fatalities in the past decade, fire truck crashes are more deadly than fighting a fire.

WASHINGTON — A recent examination of firefighting data shows that 20 percent of firefighter deaths in the past decade occurred by crashing a fire truck or ambulance en route to or returning from a call.

Crashes account for about one in five of the 829 firefighter fatalities in the past decade making rig crashes more deadly than the dangers associated with fighting a fire. Overexertion or heart stress is the only more frequent cause of death, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

"It’s a nationwide problem," said Vincent Brannigan, emeritus professor of fire protection engineering at the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering, told the Washington Post. "You’ve got a patient in back of an ambulance, and the instinct to go like hell is enormous."

Despite safety improvements in fire trucks, injury and fatality rates “remain essentially unchanged over the last decade,” a 2013 study by the Association of the Advancement of Automotive Medicine found. Risky driving practices, including excessive speed and dangerous passing maneuvers, are contributing factors, experts say. The AAAM study also documented “dangerously low” rates of seat belt use by firefighters.

In counties near Washington, the number of collisions has more than doubled over the past five years, from 72 in 2011 to 152 so far this year, according to the report. The Washington Post report focused on how often firefighters were found at fault in these crashes.

The report said that in Montgomery County, there were 246 incidents with department vehicles this year through Sept. 30. Of those, fire personnel were faulted 133 times. The report doesn't detail the seriousness of those incidents where fault was found or the degree of fault.

Each collision is investigated and reviewed by an internal departmental board. Officials declined to discuss which incidents resulted in disciplinary measures, according to the report.

Montgomery County fire union President Jeff Buddle said the vast majority responders use caution when driving. The accusation that firefighters are driven by heedless bravado is perception not reality.

Firefighters say crashes could be reduced if motorists abided by a "hear us, see us, clear for us" policy.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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November 12, 2015
USFA, IAFF, Drexel University Partner to Research Violence Against Responders

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) is partnering on a project with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and Drexel University in Philadelphia to research the occurrences and effects of violence against firefighters and EMS responders.

The study will examine the circumstances surrounding these acts and determine ways to mitigate workplace/on-duty incidents of violence against responders. The study will also provide examples of current best practices where they exist.

In the past several weeks, there have been multiple incidents of violence directed at responders including a Tulsa paramedic struck in the head and nearly stabbed by a patent she was treating, a Michigan fire station hit by bullets, and three Ohio firefighters held hostage, at gun point, at a brush fire.

In Detroit, two EMTs were stabbed at an emergency scene and nearly died and in Idaho, firefighters were confronted by an upset rancher who was armed.

“Firefighters and EMS responders are often called to incidents where they can be exposed to violence,” said United States Fire Administrator, Ernest Mitchell. “USFA is pleased to work with the IAFF and Drexel University on this this study to provide critical and up-to-date information on how to enhance the safety of firefighters and paramedics in dealing with this violence.”

“We need to understand the prevalence of attacks on firefighters and EMS personnel so that we can better determine how to stop them before they occur and mitigate the physical and psychological effects on our members after the fact,” said IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “The IAFF is honored to work with USFA and Drexel University on this important project.”

This initiative supports USFA’s goal of reducing on-duty firefighter fatalities.

Further information on USFA’s efforts which support fire service operations and tactics may be found on the USFA Web site at:

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November 12, 2015
Floor Crumbling Under Fire Station - PA

STROUD TOWNSHIP -- It's an alarming situation for a volunteer fire department in Monroe County: a hole in the floor of their station.

Stroud Township firefighters say the hole in the floor in their station on North 5th Street is about a foot wide, and they have a 25-ton fire truck sitting right on top of it.

The Stroud Township Volunteer Fire Department says since as early as 1991, engineers told the township their floor could not support heavier equipment.

Now decades later, the floor is giving way, and firefighters are worried the next emergency might be their own.

The assistant chief tells us underneath a piece of steel is a hole that at last check was about a foot wide in diameter.

"We've had issues with the floor since the early '90s when a local engineer looked at it and said it was not fit for heavier fire equipment," said Stroud Township Assistant Fire Chief David Smalley.

Township supervisor Ed Cramer has an entire file on the firehouse floor. Engineers inspected the floor just this past July.

"We feel that it's fine. We've put in well over 40 grand in beefing up this floor to accommodate that," said Cramer.

From the basement, you can see where a steel beam was put in to add support to the floor underneath the 25-ton ladder truck.

But the concrete isn't holding up.

The latest inspection shows that "the floor is flexing and moving slightly when the truck enters and leaves the garage bay." Concrete is falling from the underslab and the grout is peeling.

"It's a little nerve-racking. We're wondering if the front of the truck is going to go through or the back end when we're backing in," said Smalley.

This ladder truck is the first to respond to every fire in Stroud Township and if it were to go crashing through the hole, it would cost about $950,000 to replace.

"We understand that they've maybe outgrown this building over the years. We're looking for a place here on 5th Street. We've actually advertised in our newsletter," Cramer explained.

So far, nothing has turned up.

This fire department says they feel trapped in a dangerous situation.

"It appears that the semi-permanent fix is going to be a one-inch steel plate over our gaping hole."

Now firefighters say they're asking for the community's support, trying to find a permanent solution for their station that responds to about 650 emergency calls per year.

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November 12, 2015
Paterson fire truck hit by car heading to emergency - NJ

PATERSON — A fire truck was struck by a car Wednesday evening as it was responding to an emergency, fire officials said.

The truck was hit at Market Street and Memorial Drive just before 8 p.m. The apparatus suffered minor damage, Chief Michael Postorino said. No one was hurt.

Postorino said the car had pulled over to let the truck pass but pulled back out and hit it.

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November 12, 2015
Baltimore firefighter hurt battling vacant building fire - MD

(WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore)

The firefighter suffered minor injuries and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

BALTIMORE —City firefighters battled a fire that engulfed a vacant building Wednesday morning in west Baltimore.

The fire was reported around 5 a.m. in the unit block of South Calhoun Street.

Sky Team 11 Capt. Roy Taylor said there appeared to be a partial roof collapse of one of the buildings, requiring firefighters to battle the fire from the outside of the structures only. Crews also had some difficulties getting water due to issues with nearby fire hydrants.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries and the cause of the fire remains under investigation, city fire department spokesman Sam Johnson said. The fire was under control a little before 7 a.m.

The fire did lead to some road closures in the area.

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November 12, 2015
Man hurt after walking into oncoming fire dept. ambulance - FL

The middle-aged man is critically injured with life-threatening injuries.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A pedestrian hit Wednesday morning by a rescue unit on Interstate 10 westbound near Lane Avenue was taken to UF Health Jacksonville with critical injuries, according to the Sheriff’s Office and fire department.

Witnesses told police they think the middle-aged man walked into traffic intentionally, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The man was struck about 10:30 a.m. Fire department spokesman Tom Francis said he did not think the unit was headed to a call.
The Florida Times-Union

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November 12, 2015
Fire department loses $5M, faces deep funding cuts - NY

Town officials believe the missing money is tied to an alleged scam that took place over many years.

MAHOPAC, N.Y. — A town may cut its 2016 fire protection contract by 32 percent after a probe found up to $5 million missing from department funds. reported that several officials think the missing money from the Mahopac (N.Y.) Volunteer Fire Department is tied to an alleged scam that took place over many years.

The volunteer fire department is a private non-profit organization that contracts with the town to provide fire and ambulance services. It serves about 5,500 of the town’s 13,000 residents.

Fire officials have declined to disclose how the loss occurred. A state police investigation into the allegations of missing money continues.

Town supervisor Kenneth Schmitt, a MVFD life member, said the cut in funding would pay for the district’s operating expenses and eliminate money to buy new equipment.

"If the money hadn't been allegedly misappropriated or embezzled, they would have had enough cash to buy new apparatus," he said.

Residents said cutting the funding would disrupt the department’s need to maintain three firehouses and 11 pieces of apparatus.

Several municipalities have also severed ties with Buckshollow Emergency Equipment Corp., a fire and police equipment supplier headed by MVFD’s former treasurer Michael Klein. Klein resigned as treasurer on Sept. 25 as the probe deepened.

Calls to the department’s accountant were not returned.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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November 12, 2015
Firefighter injured in ambulance vs. SUV crash - PA

Authorities respond Nov. 11, 2015, to a three-vehicle crash involving a Bethlehem Township Volunteer Fire Co. ambulance at Hecktown and Country Club roads in Lower Nazareth Township. Three people were taken to St. Luke's Hospital, Bethlehem Township, according to Colonial Regional police. The crash remained under investigation
(Mike Nester | contributor)

A three-vehicle crash involving an ambulance Wednesday afternoon sent three people to the hospital, according to police.

It was reported about 3:48 p.m. at Hecktown and Country Club roads in Lower Nazareth Township.

The Bethlehem Township Volunteer Fire Co. ambulance was headed east on Hecktown Road to an emergency call when the collision occurred in the intersection at Country Club Road, Colonial Regional police report. A fire company member riding as a passenger in the ambulance was among the injured, police said; no patient was onboard.

The other two people hurt were among three occupants in a Jeep Grand Cherokee that rolled onto its side following the collision, according to police.

None of the injuries appeared life-threatening, police said. The injured were taken to St. Luke's Hospital in Bethlehem Township. In all, seven people were riding in the vehicles involved in the crash.

Police were continuing to investigate how the crash occurred, with the investigating officer saying he had gotten conflicting information.

The incident tied up traffic in the area, including affecting nearby Route 33 at the Hecktown Road exit. Responders cleared the intersection shortly after 4:30 p.m.
By Kurt Bresswein | For

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November 11, 2015
Feds Say No to Fire-Resistant Crude Oil Tank Cars

Federal officials have rejected a call to toughen the fire-resistance of railroad tank cars that carry highly flammable crude oil, hundreds of which pass through the Chicago area each day.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is standing by its decision issued last spring that new and retrofitted tank cars be required to withstand being engulfed in a pool of burning liquid for 100 minutes without exploding.

Critics say slightly more than an hour and a half is too little time for police, firefighters and other first responders to react to the fiery derailment of a train hauling crude oil or ethanol.

Response time is of critical importance in the Chicago area, the nation's railroad hub. Scores of trains pass through each week hauling highly flammable crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken shale fields to refineries, generally on the East Coast.

When a BNSF train hauling 103 cars of crude oil derailed near Galena on March 5, witnesses said it took about only an hour for tank cars to explode, sending fire balls hundreds of feet into the sky. The explosions were so dangerous that firefighters couldn't get close enough to extinguish the flames, officials said.

The Association of American Railroads had urged the U.S. to reconsider its decision, issued in May. The association sought adoption of a tougher standard of thermal protection -- up to 800 minutes, more than 13 hours -- to give responders adequate time to react to an incident.

But federal officials rejected the association's arguments, saying that 100 minutes was adequate time for first responders to assess an accident and take action, such as evacuating the area around a crude oil train derailment.

"There has not been any evidence presented that the current (100-minute) requirement is insufficient for achieving these goals," according to the decision by the Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The decision was signed Nov. 5 by agency administrator Marie Therese Dominguez. The agency also rejected four other appeals of its May 8 rules regarding tank cars.

The decision "provides no comfort level," said Barrington Fire Chief James Arie. "It's confusing at best, disappointing to say the least."

In Barrington, at the intersection of two major rail lines, the Canadian National and the Union Pacific, officials would need to muster personnel and equipment and organize the proper response to a tank car derailment, including the possible evacuation of the heavily populated nearby area, Arie said.

"That's no small feat," Arie said. "It takes a long period of time to get those resources together. One hundred minutes goes by very quickly."

In west suburban Riverside, which straddles the BNSF Railway tracks and where crude oil trains also pass through daily, local police and firefighters would likely be the first to arrive at a derailment, but it could take 45 minutes for assistance to arrive from other departments via a mutual aid agreement, police Chief Tom Weitzel said.

A crude oil or ethanol derailment could necessitate the evacuation of an area within a half-mile of the scene and could take considerable time and personnel, Weitzel said.

"A hundred minutes makes no sense," Weitzel said.

The new regulations announced in May call for a three- to five-year phaseout of older-model tank cars, known as DOT-111s, that the National Transportation Safety Board and other experts have declared unsafe. The cars must be retrofitted or replaced with new ones that have stronger shells and valves, and protective shields to better withstand a collision or derailment

The latest federal data, first reported April 4 by the Tribune, shows about 437,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil being shipped daily from North Dakota to East Coast refineries. That is equivalent to as many as 42 mile-long tank car "unit trains" passing through Chicago and the suburbs each week.

The 100-minute requirement retained by the PHMSA decision is a 20-year-old standard that experts and the railroad industry say was written with liquefied petroleum gas in mind, not volatile crude oil or ethanol.

The PHMSA decision did not cite what happened in recent fiery derailments, including three that occurred in Illinois.

In the Galena incident, authorities said the tank cars survived the derailment intact, only to be engulfed in a flaming pool of oil that leaked from damaged cars and was ignited by a spark. The heat built up so much pressure within the cars that they blew up.

In Tiskilwa, 800 residents were evacuated after an ethanol train derailed and caused a massive explosion on Oct. 7, 2011.

A Canadian National Railway tank car train hauling 75 tank cars with ethanol derailed in Cherry Valley, near Rockford, on June 19, 2009. A massive fireball erupted and resulted in one death, nine injuries and the evacuation of 600 houses.

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November 11, 2015
Information passed along
CBS4 Investigation Prompts Warnings To Firefighters About Skylights - CO

Days after a CBS4 investigation revealed at least two incidents of Denver firefighters falling through fiberglass skylights, the Denver Fire Department has now begun surveying similar buildings and placing warnings in the department’s computer dispatch system alerting firefighters to the potential hazard.A series of CBS4 reports last week revealed a Denver firefighter fell through a fiberglass skylight on a metal warehouse in 2012. Lt. Joseph Duran was not seriously injured, but the CBS4 investigation revealed department members were subsequently not warned about what happened to Duran and the danger presented by those skylights.

It appears no department-wide warning or safety bulletin ever went out following Duran’s mishap.

Fire Chief Eric Tade said the department was trying to determine why information about that incident was not disseminated. In written reports obtained by CBS4, the incident was characterized as a “close call.”

Then, three years later, firefighter John Whelan fell through the same type of fiberglass skylight June 28, 2015, after responding to a dumpster fire. Whelan fell 25 feet and died the next month.

Three Denver Fire Department sources now say that since the CBS4 reports, fire personnel are now being dispatched to check metal warehouses around the city, and if they have the same type of hazardous skylights, that information is being entered into the fire department’s computer system. Then, if fire crews are dispatched to one of those warehouses, they will instantly see a caution note that the building houses fiberglass skylights that could be hazardous.

Within the last week at least four such warehouses with fiberglass skylights have been identified and entered into the DFD computer system. The buildings are in the LoDo and River North neighborhoods. One of them is just a block away from where John Whelan fell.

CBS4 initially asked a DFD spokesperson Tuesday about the new skylight warnings. She said she had been busy and by Thursday afternoon had not provided a response to the CBS4 inquiry.

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November 11, 2015
(A message from Billy G., thanks for reminding us Billy)

I sure hate to put it this way but the reality is that nearly every week another Firefighter, Police Officer, EMT, service worker or community resident is dying from World Trade Center/9/11 related disease. Some are literally fading away as they pass away. Neighbors, Friends, Brothers & Sisters. They are dying from the toxic dust that everyone was told was not dangerous. Remember that? How'd that work out?

My words aren't at all meant to be disrespectful to those who have died - or will, moreover they are meant to get those ignorant Federally elected officials to understand that supporting the needs of the responders is what they were elected to do-take care of those who take care of us without wheeling, dealing, cutting and game playing. People are fed up and tired of game playing inside the beltway--just look at the polls......

The issue here is that what happened on 9/11 may predictably happen again. Maybe different-maybe the same-but its why we as a nation try to be prepared. But consider that there is another attack-and fire, EMS and cops get exposed...maybe this time in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Miami...or maybe is some smaller areas...or maybe simultaneously in numerous areas, both large or small. How well do you think these anti-support members of congress will support you?

Well, as GG says: The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

This past week there were several more responders that have died. An NYPD Lieutenant - described by family members as a “tough cookie” with “a heart of gold” — died of a 9/11-related illness. Lt. Marci Simms, 51, died Thursday at her Long Island home, just 16 months after she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. The Brooklyn-born officer contracted the disease after operating at Ground Zero for more than four months.

And then there is this one from NYPD, who was also a volunteer Firefighter, Chuck Karen. Chuck was a member of NYPD and fought a tough, tough battle in his attempt to survive rectal cancer related to 9/ others, he ran out of time in his battle.

Chuck started serving the community as a Firefighter in 1991...he became an NYPD Police Officer shortly after. While a police officer he received a medal for pulling someone out of a fire-he loved serving and helping. Chuck worked at the WTC site but was retired after the rescue, recovery and cleanup efforts when he broke his back attempting to subdue a suspect. Chuck has 2 children Charles (9) and Dominic 4, with his wife, Tina.

Chuck lost his battle with cancer on Wednesday 11/4 after a courageous battle he fought for 3 years.

Chuck was a Firefighter with my alma mater, the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department on Long Island. As a good friend of mine wrote " take comfort in knowing Charles is going to a place were there is no cancer, no doctors, no nurses and no elected officials who continue to deny and fight all 9/11 heroes who suffer from 9/11 and its aftermath...."

But what about those who remain?

And The Band Plays On.
And The Beat Goes On.

Call it what you will...Marci and Chuck's costs were taken care of by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health Compensation Act, but Congress failed to renew the program last month. It is now set to fully expire in October 2016. Some of our representatives want to offer up a bill that will keep the Zadroga act up for just 5 more years. WTF does 5 years mean? It means after 5 years there will still be Firefighters, Police Officers, EMT's and others left floating out there with no life preserver from our Country. Our elected officials. No help.

Here...maybe this will help you, our readers, get angry enough to reach out and keep reaching out to your Federally elected officials. We need SQUEAKY WHEELS immediately. We have written about FDNY Firefighter Ray Pfeifer before-a long time friend. “I have Stage 4 cancer,” says Ray..... “It’s not going away in five years. There’s 70,000 people that their illnesses are not going away in five years.”

“One of the chemo pills that I had to take was $9,000,” the father of two says.. “So do I pay for this $9,000 pill out of my pocket, which I did have health care, but it didn’t cover it? Or do I put a roof over my kids’ head, feed them? What do you do??

PLEASE take time now to reach out to your Federally elected officials. Let them know that the Zadroga act (HR 1786) needs to be revisited and renewed without deadlines or changes.
PLEASE sign the petition HERE


RIP Lt Marci Simms and PO Chuck Karen.

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November 11, 2015
Paramedic Dies After Being Taken Off Life Support; Organs Donated - KY

Jessamine County paramedic John Mackey, who was struck by a car last week, died Monday, and his former supervisors remembered him as a caring professional.

"He was a great employee, a dependable employee," said Jerry Domidion, former director of Jessamine County's Emergency Medical Services. "He was fun to be around and he took his job seriously.

"He was one that liked to joke and kid and cut up, but when it came time for patient care he was one to take his job seriously and do the patient care that needed to be done." .

Mackey, 40, was struck by a car on East Maple Street in Nicholasville on Thursday night as he stepped into the street from between two parked cars, Nicholasville police said. Survivors include his wife, Janine, and three children.

"He was bigger than life but if he ever dealt with children he was a big teddy bear," Domidion said. "The kids could relate to him."

Wendell Hatfield, another former Jessamine EMS director, said Mackey had a dry, quick-witted sense of humor. "He was so dry it kind of caught you off guard. It would take you about five or 10 minutes to realize what he was alluding to," Hatfield said.

Mackey was a regular at Renaissance festivals and enjoyed expressing his Scottish heritage and wearing kilts.

"He wore those quite a bit," Hatfield said.

His close-knit group of friends, to whom he was simply "Mackey," took to Facebook in an outpouring of remembrances of his warm, down-to-earth personality.

Jessamine County Judge-Executive David West announced during a vigil Sunday that Mackey was not expected to survive and probably would be taken off life support Monday.

The Jessamine County Emergency Management Agency announced Mackey's death in the following Facebook post:

"Over the past few days our community has experienced the pain of knowing one of our own lay fighting for his life at UK Hospital.

"I have witnessed prayer, compassion and support for paramedic John Mackey's family and the emergency services family of Jessamine County by the thousands.

"This fight was too much for John to battle on his own along with the injuries he sustained when he was struck by a vehicle in downtown Nicholasville.

"John has stepped out of the ring and thrown down the gloves not before giving his all in one last lifesaving act of donating his organs to someone else who may be lying in some other hospital waiting for a match.

"John Mackey will live on in our hearts and we shall never forget him or his contributions to this community."

Betts & West Funeral Home in Nicholasville is in charge of funeral arrangements.

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November 11, 2015
FEMA ignores closed-door fire safety message

FEMA ignores closed-door fire safety message
(Sean Gray)

FEMA opted not to advise people to close interior doors based on focus group results; NFPA may add the message next year.
DALLAS — While firefighters have been taught for years to close interior doors to slow fire spread, critics say national fire safety groups are slow to push that message to the general public.

NBC DFW reported that the research from the Underwriters Laboratories Firefighter Safety Research Institute shows a closed door blocks smoke and slows the flow of heat and toxic gas.

"Open door versus closed door could mean life or death," Steve Kerber, UL Director of Firefighter Safety Research, said. "Lives will be saved if more people hear the message to close the door."

The investigation revealed that the closed-door message is not being widely shared and is rarely mentioned in national fire safety education material. There is a mention of the message on FEMA's website. FEMA officials conducted a focus group and found some people didn’t like it, so they decided not to include it.

NFPA said it hasn’t included the message because it thinks it’s more important to remind people to install smoke detectors, according to the report. The NFPA said it will reconsider adding the language to safety lessons next year.

"Based on this [new] research, and our constantly making sure the messages reflect current information, we will take a look at this," a NFPA spokesperson said.

Some metropolitan fire departments are not waiting for the national groups. The Fort Worth (Texas) Fire Department plans on teaching everyone in the city to sleep with their bedroom doors closed.

"We now have that science … we can say this makes a difference. This is going to give you more time in a house fire," said Fort Worth Fire Department Lt. Kyle Faulkner.

The Dallas Fire Department also has told people to close bedroom doors in some safety materials.

"The more you can have between you and the fire, the safer you'll be," said Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman Jason Evans. "The bottom line is that closing your door to keep yourself safe does no good if you don't have working smoke detectors and an escape plan." By FireRescue1 Staff

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November 11, 2015
Car hits fire truck responding to fire call

BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington fire truck was involved in an accident Tuesday morning while on its way to a fire call at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington.

The truck, with its lights and sirens activated, was struck at 6:58 a.m. by a Toyota Camry at the intersection of Washington Street and Regency Drive, firefighters said.

There were no injuries reported in connection with the crash, but the truck sustained about $10,000 in damage. The car's driver was issued a citation for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.

Another fire truck was dispatched to the fire call, which turned out to be for a burned-out light ballast.

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November 11, 2015
Victorville man suspected of shooting at Hesperia firefighters - CA

HESPERIA >> A 33-year-old Victorville man was arrested for allegedly shooting at firefighters early Tuesday morning during a medical aid call.

Dajuan Kendall was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon just after 7 a.m. at a home in the 13000 block of Sundown Road, in Victorville, according to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s booking records.

The incident took place around 1 a.m., after San Bernardino County firefighter paramedics were called to a home in the 7700 block of E Avenue, according to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s and fire reports.

Firefighters were speaking to a woman at the home when her boyfriend, later identified as Kendall, allegedly pulled out a firearm and shot once into the air and then at the firefighters. No one was hit and Kendall reportedly drove off immediately afterward.

Fire officials confirmed the incident and said sheriff’s detectives are investigating. It’s unclear what led up to the shooting.

Through investigation, officials learned that Kendall’s true identity was different from what his girlfriend knew him as, according to a statement.

Deputies from the Sheriff’s Station in Victorville assisted in finding Kendall.

When fire personnel are summoned to a crime scene, they typically wait until law enforcement states it is safe to enter, explained Tracey Martinez, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Fire Department. Tuesday morning’s call, however, was a routine medical aid call which didn’t require sheriff’s deputies to clear a scene before fire personnel began to render aid.

“This is an uncommon incident,” she said.
By Beatriz Valenzuela / San Bernardino Sun

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November 06, 2015
City of Newburgh to Lay Off 10 Firefighters - NY

NEWBURGH, N.Y. -- Being a firefighter has been a lifelong goal for J.D. Merritt.

Seven months ago, that dream became a reality as Merritt was sworn into the City of Newburgh Fire Department.

"I grew up around here," he said. "I’ve been in and out of the city my whole life. So it’s something I took a lot of pride with."

But as he begins to settle into his new life, Merritt's career is now in jeopardy. On Thursday, Fire Chief Michael Vatter says 10 firefighters will be laid off by the end of this year.

"I’m the newest guy on the job, so I will be affected by the layoff," Merritt said.

In 2013, the department received a two-year grant for $2.4 million from FEMA, which led to the hiring of 15 new firefighters. Vatter says the renewal application for that grant was turned down by FEMA this week.

"We believed we filed an excellent application, demonstrating that we met or exceeded all the goals we set in the original applications," Vatter said.

The fire department will be down to 58 firefighters by 2016. While the layoff won't affect the department's response time, Vatter says it will affect the number of firefighters that show up at an incident.

The layoff will also damage the department's effort to inspect rental properties for smoke and cardon monoxide detectors.

"This is very painful for those guys," Vatter said. "It’s painful for me. It's painful for all the members of the fire department."

The firefighters' union president called the layoffs disappointing. He says he hopes the city can help retain some of the firefighters.

But Chief Vatter says the city has no other funds available.

"There’s no money. It was made point blank," Vatter said.

In the meantime, Vatter says he has already reached out to the state association of fire chiefs to see if other departments can hire any of the 10 firefighters.

"It's kind of all sinking in now, so going forward we'll have to start looking into what our options are," Merritt said.
By Jackson Wang /

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November 06, 2015
EMS Provider Hit by Car, Suffers Life-threatening Injuries - KY

NICHOLASVILLE -- A Jessamine County emergency medical services employee suffered life-threatening injuries Thursday night after he was struck by a car driven by a teenager, police said.

The accident happened about 7:15 p.m. on East Maple Street between Main and York streets in downtown Nicholasville, said officer Kevin Grimes, spokesman for Nicholasville police.

The sequence of events happened like this:

An ambulance was making a first-aid run to the Jessamine County jail when its rearview mirror struck the mirror of a passing pickup on Main Street. That truck left the scene.

The EMS crew turned onto Maple Street and pulled into a parking lot to check the damage to the mirror. Minutes later, the EMS worker, walking between two cars on the opposite side of the street from where the ambulance was parked, stepped onto East Maple and was struck by a car driven by a 17-year-old girl, Grimes said.

The car's windshield was shattered on the passenger side and had dents to the hood.

The injured man was taken to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital with a police escort.

The names of the EMS worker or the car's driver were not available.

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November 06, 2015
Car collides with Iowa fire truck en route to call - IA

The driver received a citation for failing to yield at a stop sign; no injuries were reported.

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — A fire truck that was responding to a medical emergency was damaged when it collided with a vehicle Thursday.

The Associated Press reported that the Cedar Falls (Iowa) Fire Department said the fire truck had its emergency lights and siren activated when it collided with a vehicle that had pulled away from a stop sign.

The fire truck received about $4,000 in damages. The second vehicle was towed from the scene.

No injuries were reported. The driver of the second vehicle was issued a citation on suspicion of failing to yield at a stop sign.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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November 06, 2015

Fire crews battled a three-alarm fire at a three-story warehouse in the city's Bridesburg section.

BRIDESBURG (WPVI) -- Fire crews battled a three-alarm fire at a three-story warehouse in the city's Bridesburg section.

The fire broke out just after 7 p.m. Thursday in the 4800 block of Garden Street at John D' Orazio and Sons Incorporated.

Upon arrival, officials said heavy flames were showing through the roof of the building.

"We heard a loud explosion. The whole place was up within three minutes," said witness Robert Potts.

"We happen to look over, and it was this big a ball of orange coming from the building. ... The whole building was like pouring out with fire," said resident Carmen DeJesus.

A second alarm was struck in less than 10 minutes, and a third just after 8 p.m.

One witness, 14-year-old Kyle Diffield, captured the inferno as he was being evacuated from the Boys and Girls Club next door.

"The wall was burning and then the roof collapsed, and then you heard a big boom and it all went up in flames," said Diffield.

A firefighter was treated on the scene for minor injuries.

As of 11:30 p.m., the fire is reportedly under control.

Officials said they will be monitoring hot spots that may flare up throughout the night.

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November 05, 2015
Man pinned by ladder during firetruck inspection - PA

Emergency responders helped to load a man into a helicopter after he was pinned beneath the ladder of a firetruck Monday at the Clymer fire department.
(Kayla Grube/Gazette)

CLYMER — A Lancaster-area man suffered serious injuries when he was pinned under the ladder of a firetruck at the Clymer Volunteer Fire Department on Monday afternoon.

Mike Keith, safety officer at the Clymer fire department, said the truck was undergoing its yearly recertification as required by the department’s insurance carrier. The rigger that supports the truck failed, causing the truck to tip onto the victim, according to reports. The man, who was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital, is the only one who knows the full circumstances.

“At this point, the only person who knew what was going on was the victim,” Keith said by phone this morning. “No one else saw it.”

Indiana County 911 put a call out to Clymer firefighters to respond to their station along Sherman Street at 2:51 p.m. The Cherryhill Township fire department, Citizens’ Ambulance and a medical helicopter were also dispatched. The victim’s condition was not known at press time today.

The victim was conducting the required annual inspection of the fire department’s 1977 American LaFrance aerial rig. It had been inspected last year, Keith said.

He said a team of investigators would be arriving today.
Kayla Grube/Gazette

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November 05, 2015
Patient Stole Ambulance from Geisinger Wyoming Valley - PA

PLAINS TWP. -- A man that police say stole an ambulance this weekend is now facing criminal charges.

David Joseph Karosus, 55, of Carbondale, is facing one felony charge each of theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property, in addition to a summary charge of driving with a suspended license.

According to the criminal complaint, Plains Township Police were advised at 4:38 a.m. on Sunday that an ambulance had been stolen from Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center.

Luzerne County Communications tracked the ambulance's location using GPS and found the vehicle was traveling north and then later east on Interstate 81.

Karosus was taken into custody after the ambulance was stopped on Interstate 84 in Elmhurst Township, Lackawanna County, by troopers from the Pennsylvania State Police barracks in Dunmore.

Karosus allegedly told police that he was a patient at Geisinger Wyoming Valley and told police that he decided to leave after receiving medical treatment to his leg. Karosus allegedly saw the ambulance parked when he decided to take it back to his residence in Carbondale.

Court documents indicate that Karosus is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 8:45 a.m. Nov. 10 before Magisterial District Judge Joseph Carmody.

Karosus is currently jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $10,000 bail.

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November 05, 2015
Firefighter Speaks Out About Sexual Assault - TX

The Ellis County volunteer firefighter who police say was sexually assaulted by his fellow firefighters is speaking out for the first time.

The Ellis County volunteer firefighter who police say was sexually assaulted by his fellow firefighters is speaking out for the first time. Jason Waldeck, a 20-year-old firefighter, said it happened inside of the volunteer fire department in Ellis County back in January 2015.

"There were a lot of thoughts of suicide, and just, I wish it would all go away, " said Waldeck, in his first television interview. "Just knowing that I've gone through a lot, I want to stay strong, but it still gets to me."

Detectives say Waldeck was sexually assaulted by other members of his department. Eight people, including the chief, assistant chief and a lieutenant, have been indicted for their alleged roles in the attack and attempts to cover it up.

"It was like that (snaps fingers), two or three grabbed me from the chair, and took me over to the couch and I was fighting them and they got on top of me," Waldeck explained. "Someone in the room said 'well, I got a broom stick,' or 'find a broom stick,' and that's when it crossed my head what they were about to do." Court documents reveal Waldeck was later sexually assaulted with sausage.

"I hit the ground and threw up. I was just sickened. My whole stomach was just sickened," he added.

We usually don't identify victims of sex crimes, but in this case, Waldeck says coming forward could help others overcome their fear.

"I couldn't get it out of my head. I couldn't get the shame and embarrassment out of my head. I was scared. There were days I didn't sleep for four or five days," he said. "They just think they can do what ever they want. They really didn't think I would ever turn them in. I became a firefighter to be a hero and to help people. That's my whole goal with this. I'm tired of being in the shadows. I'm just not who I am if I can put my pride and my embarrassment away for a minute, to help somebody else, then in the end, it's all worth it to me."
By Kris Gutierrez /

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November 05, 2015
Fire truck stuck in Lancaster sinkhole; street closed off - PA

The sinkhole opened up on the 400 block of North Queen Street at Lemon Street. Officials say the sinkhole formed under the 26-ton truck.

It was parked there for about 15 minutes when someone noticed it starting to sink. A stabilizer for the ladder, called an outrigger, is currently holding the truck up.

A crane is en route to come and pull the truck out.

Motorists should expect traffic delays in the area. NOTE: Northbound traffic on Queen Street is being diverted at Walnut Street. Traffic traveling east/west on Lemon Street is still moving.
By Katelyn Smith /

See photos of the truck, sinkhole

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November 05, 2015
State fire crew inmate escapes in Highland - CA

HIGHLAND >> A state prisoner assigned to a fire crew walked away from his duties here Wednesday and is still at large.

Inmate Kent Lesporavasky, 43, walked away from his crew and was last seen around 12:30 p.m. near Highway 330 and Highland Avenue, San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials said.

He was last seen wearing an orange California Department of Corrections jumpsuit. A search for Lesporavasky turned up empty after sheriff’s command searched with the use of helicopters and K-9s.

Lesporavasky was described as weighing about 220 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. Officials say he had a long-sleeved white thermal shirt on underneath his jumpsuit. He’s serving a sentence for transportation of marijuana and has prior history for theft, drugs and assault on police, officials say.

Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts is urged to immediately call 911 or the Highland Police Department at 909-425-9793.
By Doug Saunders, The Sun

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November 05, 2015
Firefighter injured in suspicious house fire - NJ

The firefighter suffered a non-life threatening injury after falling through the second floor of the home.

HAMILTON, N.J. — A suspicious two-alarm fire damaged a vacant home in the 230 block of South Clinton Avenue Wednesday afternoon, injuring a firefighter, officials said.

Police officers arrived at the two-story home shortly before 1 p.m. and found heavy smoke pumping from the second floor, Hamilton police said. Firefighters arrived a short time later and were able to contain the fire to the second floor, fire officials said.

One firefighter suffered a non life-threatening injury after falling through the floor from the second floor to the first. District 3 Firefighter Dave Krueger later identified himself on Facebook. "Fell through a floor from the 2nd to the 1st in a fire. Wanted to thank the crew of Engine 19, Aaron Heller, Sean M Golden, and John Smisloff, for being right there as I landed," Krueger wrote in a post.

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November 05, 2015
Driver fleeing police tries to hit firefighter, strikes fire truck - OH

Firefighters responded to a report of an unresponsive male in his car when he woke up and tried to run over a firefighter.

MANSFIELD, Ohio — A man was arrested Wednesday after police said he allegedly tried to run over a firefighter and caused two crashes while fleeing from authorities.

Mansfield News Journal reported that the driver, Kalvin Gross, 21, was believed to be under the influence of drugs during the pursuit.

The Mansfield (Ohio) Fire Department was responding to a report of an unresponsive male in his car when Gross awoke and tried to hit a firefighter with his car. He then drove away and passed out behind the wheel a second time. After waking up, he struck a fire truck while attempting to drive away.

He then led officers on a pursuit and struck another car. He later fled on foot but was quickly apprehended.

Gross has been charged with felonious assault, operating a vehicle under the influence and fleeing and eluding. He also faces misdemeanor charges including hit-skip, obstructing, resisting arrest, failure to maintain reasonable control and driving under suspension.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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November 05, 2015
Tamaqua firefighters robbed while on the scene

TAMAQUA — As Tamaqua firefighters extinguished a house fire Wednesday morning, someone stole their gear.

“While the firemen left the vehicle to fight the fire, the vehicle was entered and radios and equipment were stolen,” Capt. Jason Hartz of the Citizens Fire Company said. “They were caught. They were detained by the police.”

Asked if firefighters had been victims of theft before, Hartz shook his head and said: “No. That’s a first.”

Police Cpl. Henry Woods said the suspect is a juvenile, and police returned the stolen items to the firefighters.

The fire occurred in an empty half of a home at 208 Biddle St. to which power had been severed.

A state police fire marshal is investigating the cause.

The home sits where Biddle Street ends along the bank of the Little Schuylkill River. An alley called Water Street runs parallel to the river toward the east side of the home.

On Water Street, police placed the suspect in a patrol car.

Hand tools and other equipment lay on the ground along in a square until firefighters repacked them on their trucks.

Police spoke to a witness and lifted a hatchback of a sport utility vehicle parked in a driveway to look at a red gas can stowed in the back.

Hartz said all four volunteer companies from Tamaqua arrived, as did the Tamaqua Ambulance.

Firefighters found smoke on the second floor of the three-story home and confined the fire to a bedroom, he said.

At Biddle and Pine streets, fire police directed traffic as spectators gathered at the corner in front of St. John UCC.

With temperatures reaching the 70s and the sun bearing down, firefighters hung their jackets on trucks and fences while rolling hoses and stowing equipment after finishing their jobs.

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November 05, 2015
Firefighter crashes fire truck, resigns - WI

The firefighter is accused of taking the rig on a joyride and then crashing it after a night out drinking.

MOSINEE, Wis. — A Mosinee firefighter accused of taking a fire engine on an early morning joyride and then crashing it after a night out drinking has resigned and his chief has requested that no criminal charges be filed in the case.

Kody Krieg resigned in August after an investigation into the crash, according an internal investigation report obtained by Daily Herald Media under open-records law. He remains employed as a dispatcher with the Marathon County Sheriff's Department.

It is through that job that Krieg was identified as a suspect after the fire truck was found abandoned at the end of Oconto Road in Mosinee in the early morning hours of July 22, according to police reports. A Mosinee Police officer investigating the crash learned that the person who reported it had used an abandoned phone line at the dispatch center to call it in, and Krieg's coworkers there said the caller sounded like Krieg using a faking accent, police reports said.
Wausau Daily Herald

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November 04, 2015
A request to help the 911 responders

We were attacked on 9/11...and while we pray to never experience that again, it is certainly within the realm of possibility...and the next attack-and victims-could very well be from YOUR department. Your family, friends, firefighters, police officers, EMT's...."the next community." now how would you like to be treated? it's a big deal.

Prior to congress taking their winter break, there is a great deal of need for them to support Zadroga-the REAL Zadroga Act that will last until it is no longer needed...without a "sunset" clause.

We are being asked to pass this on-please CALL the offices of the Federal Judiciary Committee at 202-225-3951 and respectfully express displeasure cutting the Zadroga bill to a 5 year that is hardly enough for long term care for those who need it now-and those who don't yet know they need it.

If you wish to use web access to express your concerns, go to

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November 04, 2015

An on-call Hatzolah EMS member was slashed in the back while walking on a Brooklyn street Tuesday night. The 34-year-old man was walking on Eastern Pkwy. near Rogers Ave. in Crown Heights when he was attacked shortly after 8 p.m., police said.

“He was out on an evening walk,” said Binyomin Lifshitz, a member of the local Shomrim, a volunteer Jewish police force. “The guy passes by him and stabs him and flees toward Nostrand. It was a very deep and large laceration.”

The wounded volunteer, who was in street clothes, used his radio to call for help, Lifshitz said.

He was in stable condition at King’s County Hospital, police said.

Hatzolah, the Hebrew word for “rescue,” is a volunteer emergency ambulance corps that operates predominately in Jewish communities.

Cops had made no arrests by early Wednesday. It was not immediately clear if the attack would be investigated as a hate crime.

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November 04, 2015
Video Shows Teenagers Launching Fireworks AT Firefighters While Firefighter Is Attempting To Extinguish Fire


Shocking footage shows youths launching a terrifying firework attack on a firefighter as he attempts to battle a blaze on a residential street.The emergency services employee was responding to a call about a street fire when the rogue fireworks were fired towards him.

In the video, the man is seen pulling the hose away from the fire engine as he prepares to extinguish the blaze.

But as his back is turned, four shadows approach from a side alley before they suddenly throw several fireworks in the man's direction.

Stunned by the attack, the firefighter cowers to one side in the hope that the firecrackers will miss him.

The footage was actually captured in Leeds back in 2014 by the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service but has been shared again on social media ahead of Bonfire Night .

On the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Facebook page, a caption read: "If you haven't seen it yet, check out this shocking footage from our silent witness cameras, installed on all fire engines.

"Shows in graphic detail what our crews sometimes face over the bonfire season."

The video has now had more than 2.7 million views.

One Facebook user wrote: "Unbelievable, one day it might be you they rescue."

Another added: "Can't believe this...That car could have gone up...our emergency services should not have to put up with this."

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November 04, 2015

Around 30 firefighters are being decontaminated after being exposed to acid when responding to a fire.The fire took place around 4:30 p.m. inside the Crystal IS manufacturing plant on on Cohoes Avenue in Green Island.

According to its website, Crystal IS is “an innovative U.S.-based manufacturer of proprietary, high-performance ultraviolet (UVC) LEDs.” Green Island Fire Chief Robert Bourgeois said people working inside the building spilled a chemical, which caused the fire. He said the workers were able to close off the area where the chemical was spilled, and the workers got to safety.

The plant is located in an area with several neighboring warehouses and manufacturing facilities. Employees from surrounding businesses were evacuated while crews fought the fire.

The Albany County Hazmat team was called in to help when firefighters feared chemicals inside the plant had ignited.

Sources close to the investigation said around 30 firefighters had a light exposure to hydrochloric acid while responding to the fire.

“There was some acid involved, some acetones involved, and also some methane,” Chief Bourgeois said.

The firefighters were decontaminated and transported to Albany Medical Center for evaluation.

No actual injuries were reported, and Green Island Fire Chief Robert Bourgeois said the firefighters were evaluated as a precaution.

“We were in contact with the doctors at Albany Med, and they actually sent one to the scene, here,” Chief Bourgeois said. “We also have another one at our decon facility where the guys are getting deconned, and then they’re still going to be sent to a couple of the various hospitals for evaluation.”

The acid exposure occurred when the sprinkler system went off and the water came into contact with the acid.

The chief said the cleanup process will take a few days or weeks because of the extensive water damage. He said the fire is not suspicious and there is no need for an investigation.

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November 04, 2015

Three firefighters and two civilians were injured in a massive apartment fire Tuesday afternoon on Detroit's west side.

One firefighter suffered burns to the face and neck, while the other two suffered smoke inhalation. One civilian also suffered burns to the face, while the other was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

The building had 48 units inside, and was about 75 percent full at the time of the fire.

Firefighters also had delays getting to the fire because the gates of the apartment were locked.

It's not clear what started the fire, but we're told it could have been started intentionally.

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November 04, 2015
Information passed along
Country star honors volunteer firefighters - TN

(Kidde Fire Safety)

Craig Morgan, a former first responder, wants to encourage others to learn more about their local department and recognize volunteers who go above and beyond.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Country music star Craig Morgan is helping Kidde Fire Safety to help raise awareness of the importance of home fire safety and supporting volunteer fire departments nationwide.

ABC11 reported that Morgan, a former first responder, will be joined by national and local fire service leaders to encourage civilians to learn more about their local department and recognize volunteers who go above and beyond the call of duty.

The campaign also helps bring working smoke alarms into thousands of homes. Kidde will donate Worry-Free alarms to select departments along Morgan’s 2016 tour.

For more information about the program, click here.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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November 04, 2015
Firefighter of the Year stuck in elevator before ceremony - MT

BILLINGS, Mont. — An unsung hero of the Billings Fire Department received some public praise Tuesday in a ceremony in the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The "Firefighter of the Year" accepted a personalized Pulaski, a tool commonly used in fire and rescue, but not before getting rescued himself.

Matt Hoppel, training officer for BFD, showed up to his own party late, but he was in time to receive his award from the Billings Downtown Exchange Club, and he had a good excuse.

"We were stuck in the elevator for 10 minutes," Hoppel said. "The fire department came and let us out. I guess my training worked." Hoppel, an 18-year BFD veteran, is the only training officer for the department and is responsible for preparing more than 100 firefighters for the diverse emergencies they respond to every day. In his address to the Crowne Plaza audience, mostly Downtown Exchange Club members, Hoppel said he attributes a lot of his success in developing a training program to having the humility to listen to the men he trains.
Billings Gazette

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November 03, 2015
Three-Alarm Apartment Fire in Detroit - MI

An EMS crew stands by during a three-alarm apartment fire in Detroit (WDIV photo)

DETROIT (WDIV) - An apartment building burned Tuesday afternoon near West Outer Drive and Interstate 96 in Detroit, injuring two people and a firefighter.

The three-alarm fire started about 2 p.m. It has been downgraded to a two-alarm fire.

The firefighter was taken away on a stretcher. He was taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital. His condition is not known at this time.

A spokesman for the Detroit Fire Department said two other people were injured, too. They were rushed to Sinai-Grace Hospital. Their conditions are not known at this time.

Local 4 is on the scene and will update the story as more information becomes available.

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November 03, 2015
Four Vehicles, Including Ambulance, Crash at Intersection - AZ

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - A collision involving multiple vehicles including an ambulance in Scottsdale has an intersection shut down on Sunday night.

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November 03, 2015
Police Investigate Shots Fired Into Ambulance - NC

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Police are investigating after shots were fired into a Guilford County ambulance Sunday night.

Chris Wilson, with Guilford County Emergency Services, said paramedics responded to a call for chest pain in the 1600 block of Woodbriar Avenue.

Shortly after the patient was secured, two shots were fired, shattering the rear window of the ambulance.

No one was hurt and the patient was taken in a separate ambulance to the hospital.

"We really don't know if this was intentional towards EMS, the patient or just a random act," Wilson said. "We see violence against first responders, fire, police, EMS across the nation and it kind of really hits home. We really don't know what the circumstances were involving this particular instance, but it certainly makes us aware that this could happen right here in Greensboro."

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November 03, 2015
Man struck by ladder at Clymer Fire Department - PA

A man doing a fire truck certification test was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital Monday afternoon after he was struck by a ladder at the Clymer Fire Department.

Chief Mike Aikens said a rigger that supports the truck broke at about 2:35 p.m., causing the ladder to fall on the man.

“We had a catastrophic failure on the truck, and he got injured from it,” Aikens said.

The man, whom Aikens didn't identify, was flown to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Oakland.

Information about his condition was not available.

A helicopter landing zone was set up at the fire station on Sherman Street.

The man suffered injuries to his head, arm and ankle, Aikens said.
By The Tribune-Review

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November 03, 2015
Fire truck collides with car on way to call - NY

Officials say two firefighters were sent to a hospital after their fire truck collided with a car in Buffalo.

It happened Saturday night at about 10:45 p.m.

Officials say the truck was on its way to a call at the time of the wreck.

Both firefighters were treated at Erie County Medical Center for upper-body injuries and released.

The crash is under investigation.

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November 03, 2015
Fire truck responding to blaze was involved in a crash in Southeast - DC

Four firefighters and four others were injured Saturday night when a D.C. fire engine was involved in a crash with a passenger vehicle in Southeast Washington while responding to a fire, officials said Sunday.

The crash occurred just after 11 p.m. at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X avenues SE, said Tim Wilson, a spokesman for D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services. The victims were transported to local hospitals with minor injuries, he said.

Wilson said it appeared the vehicle pulled in front of the fire truck, cutting it off as the firefighters were en route to a blaze.

The fire engine was responding to a fire near the 100 block of Ivanhoe Street SW. One person was hospitalized from the fire, with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, Wilson said. Additional units were already on the scene when the crash occurred, he said.
By Faiz Siddiqui and Arelis Hernandez /

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November 03, 2015
Information passed along
Firefighters shave heads for girl battling leukemia - MI

Medics and firefighters had their heads shaved to support a 4-year-old girl's battle with leukemia.
(Mobile Medical Response Facebook photo)

SAGINAW, Mich. — Firefighters and paramedics from Mobile Medical Response and Buena Vista Township Fire Department had their heads shaved in support of a 4-year-old's battle with leukemia.

Brinley Jungnitsch began her second round of chemotherapy Nov. 2, and to support her journey she launched a "bald head challenge", WNEM reported.

Brinley shaved the heads of medics and firefighters Oct. 30, and even cut some women's hair.

Brinley’s father, Frank, was the first to have his head shaved when his daughter started chemotherapy last month.

"Thank you a million ... just to get a smile on my daughter's face is a miracle," he said.

Brinley and her family share her progress on a Facebook page called Brinley the Brave, and also started a GoFundMe campaign to help cover the costs of her treatment.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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