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July 31, 2015
Fire truck on hold after City Treasurer refuses to sign check - OH

Galion City Council President Carl Watt shook his head Thursday night during a heated Police, Fire and Health Committee meeting.

“I thought I (saw) every low-down dirty trick,” Watt said, talking about his experience on Galion City Council and the Crawford County Commissioners Board. “But this tops them all.”

Watt’s frustration was backed by a variety of Galion officials who were angered by City Treasurer Paula Durbin’s refusal to sign a check to pay for the Fire Department’s purchase of a $695,000 aerial fire truck.

According to officials during Thursday night’s meeting, City Council had originally approved the purchase in 2013 through state appropriations, the truck was ordered in 2014 and was supposed to be picked up Thursday.

One problem, the check wasn’t signed Thursday.

Durbin said she wouldn’t sign the check in an email to City Auditor Brian Treisch and Safety Service Director John Swain Thursday morning. She elaborated her contention in an email to the Inquirer following the meeting Thursday night, by saying that she felt the following steps were not taken.

“I am asking for the documentation for the fire truck,” she said in the email. “Is there an ordinance authorizing the service/safety director to do bids for the fire truck? Is there an ordinance authorizing the service/safety director to enter into a contract?

“These have to be done according to Ohio Law ORC 5705.41, (which) states that a contract cannot be signed until appropriations are in place. I spent hours this past weekend reading every council agenda from January, 2014 to present. I could not find an ordinance concerning the two things mentioned. When I asked (City Auditor Brian) Treisch on Monday about the documentation, his response was “this is the way (City Fiscal Supervisor) Belinda (Miller) wanted it done.

“I sent an email to Ms. Miller asking her what Brian meant, (but) she never answered my question. She went on about (how) the fire truck takes a year to build and monies were appropriated and the city did the purchasing through the state purchasing agency, I understand, (but) my question remains where are these ordinances authorizing the safety service director to do these two things. I have asked at least three times and have received nothing. If these were in place I would have signed the check by now. Dr. (Thomas) Fellner, (another Galion Councilman) texted me this afternoon and I explained to him why I could not sign the check and he said he understood.”

Durbin did not attend the committee meeting Thursday night. Other Galion officials say they feel her contentions were a road block that was inappropriately used.

“We used a state schedule to get the best price,” Galion Fire Chief Phil Jackson said. “There have been no questions in the past two years. We assembled a great truck for the city of Galion. It’s simply playing politics with safety. It’s jeopardizing my guys and the city of Galion.”

Galion Law Director Thomas Palmer said he is investigating the matter and says the city could take action in The Common Pleas Court of Crawford County as early as next week to try to get the check signed.

“We’re checking to make sure every ‘i’ was dotted and ‘t’ was crossed,” he said. “The information that (Durbin) has shared hasn’t led (me) to believe that something was done incorrectly. It takes time, but we know that we need the truck. We’re moving as quickly as we can. It’s $695,000 of taxpayer money. The human element is also important and merits attention.”

Durbin disagreed, saying in her email following the meeting that she felt she wouldn’t be following the law if she signed the check.

“This is not a legal transaction per Ohio law,” she continued. “I am not willing to forfeit my bond for someone else’s mistake. I have been in contact with the State Auditor’s office in Columbus and was told if you are not comfortable signing the check, don’t sign it. If I have the documentation I requested, I would sign the check, but so far nothing has been given to me.”

Palmer said he feels that Durbin’s ability to not sign checks is limited.

“The discretion that treasurer has is remarkably small,” he said. “If things are done right. she has no right (to not sign the check).”

Other committee members were quick to agree with Jackson and Palmer.

“This is bush league in my opinion,” Councilman Jon Kleinknecht said. “It’s politics being played with public safety and safety (of) our firefighters. There’s no logic in this.”

“She only comes to meetings when she has a complaint,” Councilwoman Shirley Clark said.

“She doesn’t come to meetings, where she has ample opportunity to express concerns,” Councilwoman Sarah Capretta said. “It’s a game (to her) and I don’t appreciate it at all. These questions have been answered in meetings. You have a duty to come to meetings and have a chance to express concerns. (She is) wasting taxpayer’s money, all because she can’t come to meetings. If she can’t do her job now, she can’t do her job (as a councilwoman). I’ve only heard a report form her once since I joined Council. You’re not for the city, you are against it. The Fire Department deserves more.”

Galion Mayor Tom O’Leary said Durbin should have handled the matter better.

“It’s not a game,” he said. “This is something that could have been brought up elected official to elected official. It’s no big deal. We’ll work through it. I appreciate the frustration . I’m frustrated. It’s eating up a lot of the city and chief’s time. It’s important to note we’ll have the truck and try to procure it without the tit for tat. The citizens deserve more and they are getting more. It’s sort of sad. It diminishes a profession of public service. Maybe we’re making a mistake by giving this stunt too much attention.”

Durbin said she didn’t feel her act was a stunt at all.

All I asked for was the documentation to back up this expenditure and it turns into an Inquisition,” she said. “Just a simple question. If the ordinances were done where are they? I take my job very seriously and try to be a good watchdog of the citizens public funds and they turn it into this … Just doing my job. But what really made me question this was when Mr. Treisch said “this is how Belinda wanted it done”. This made no sense to me and when I asked Belinda what Brian meant by that, she never answered me. That’s when I felt something was not right.”
By Chris Pugh -

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July 31, 2015
Detroit Firefighter Couldn't Save His Own Home From Fire - MI

Donavan Dickerson is used to being called on by others to put out fires. He has been a firefighter since April 2014. The call he received Tuesday night, however, was more personal.

The Detroit firefighter was at a family friend’s home comforting them after a recent death, when he received a call around 10:30 p.m. from a family member staying with him. James Cox, 57, was in Dickerson’s home and was awaken by smoke. He stated he was barely able to get out of the house.

When Dickerson arrived home, he found several of his firefighter colleagues fighting the fire while his home burned from the ground to the roof.

According to the Detroit Free Press, he then went into firefighter mode and helped erect hoses, but he knew his home couldn’t be saved.

“I knew it was gone, because I have been on a scene like this before. So I know what to expect – water damage, smoke. All that,” he said. “They preserved as much of my property as they could.”

The home on Detroit’s east side has history behind it that Dickerson said could never be replaced. His grandfather bought it in 1948 and it has been in his family ever since. As a family home, there were irreplaceable pictures and other memories inside that were destroyed.

The cause of the fire is not clear. James Houseworth, a senior fire chief, said he couldn’t release any details about the fire, but said the department was “saddened by our member’s hardship.”

Dickerson always looked to firefighters as role models, which is why he became one. He says firefighting is the best job in the world.

Dickerson didn’t have property insurance and was in the process of renovating. An inspector was to come to his home Wednesday to look at the kitchen to begin the renovation process.

A fellow firefighter set up a fundraising website on Dickerson’s behalf. So far, the page has raised $6,946.

In addition, Detroit firefighters are also selling t-shirts on behalf of Dickerson to help raise funds.

Dickerson is trying to look on the positive side of the tragedy. He wants to work even more so he can help save more homes. He wasn’t able to save his own, but he can’t wait to be able to save others. He doesn’t want the same thing to happen to anyone if he can help it.
Detroit Free Press

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July 31, 2015

A West Bloomfield firefighter suffered smoke inhalation while battling a fire in the 3800 block of Pinnock Avenue, near Green Lake Road and Upper Straits Boulevard, at around 1:20 a.m. July 30.The firefighter was transported to Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital for treatment, and as a precaution, he was then transferred to Detroit Receiving Hospital, according to a press release from the West Bloomfield Fire Department.

“He’s doing better. We’re expecting him to be discharged from Detroit Receiving this afternoon,” Fire Chief Greg Flynn said. “He was in good spirits when I left him this morning. … All was progressing well with his treatment. That’s all good news for us.”

Flynn declined to comment on what exactly caused the smoke inhalation; however, he said the entire incident is being reviewed through the department’s action review process to identify any training points to minimize risk to firefighters in the future.

“There is inherent risk in firefighting, and we take on those measured risks when these kinds of things come up,” Flynn said.

After a followup visit with a physician, and depending on the firefighter’s treatment, Flynn said he expects the crew member to return to full duty.

Fire crews from all six fire stations were dispatched to the scene. When crew members from Station 3 arrived, the residents were outside of the house and safe. The fire was blazing throughout the single-story home, and firefighters were able to extinguish the fire quickly, the press release states.

The homeowner was reportedly awoken by the smell of smoke and found a fire in a bedroom. All occupants exited the residence, and the homeowner attempted to extinguish the fire with a garden hose; however, he was unsuccessful, the press release states.

“The West Bloomfield Fire Department would like to remind everyone that it is important to establish a meeting place outside of your home for family members to meet in the event of a fire. once you are out of your home, don’t go back for any reason.

“Heat and smoke of a fire are overpowering. Firefighters have the training, experience and protective equipment needed to enter burning buildings,” West Bloomfield Fire Department officials said in the press release.

West Bloomfield Fire Department investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.

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July 31, 2015

A 53-year-old father who lost his right leg after a crash sent a fire truck careening into a restaurant last year is poised to receive a $15 million settlement from Alhambra and Monterey Park, according to court documents. As Kenneth Thai of Monterey Park waited to cross an intersection on April 16, 2014, an Alhambra fire ladder truck heading south on Garfield Avenue collided with a Monterey Park fire engine going east on Emerson Avenue.

Both emergency vehicles had lights and sirens activated and were responding to a house fire in Monterey Park.

Monterey Park’s fire engine veered onto the sidewalk, hit Thai, pushed him through the wall of Lu’s Dumpling House at 330 N. Garfield Ave. and left him pinned underneath the massive vehicle, according to court documents.

“Prior to this incident, I was healthy and had no physical limitations,” Thai said in a court declaration. “I spent weeks in the hospital and lost my right leg above the knee. … I have spent the last 15 months in near constant contact with physicians, surgeons, therapists, psychologists, prosthetic consultants and other medical professionals in order to address my injuries and limitations.”

The city councils in Alhambra and Monterey Park have both agreed to the $15 million settlement without admitting fault, according to court documents. The settlement is scheduled to be paid in three installments with full payment made no later than Aug. 31.

In addition to a crushed right leg, Thai also suffered numerous afflictions including facial nerve damage; injuries to his penis, eyes, head and right shoulder; and fractures in his face, vertebrae, left elbow and wrist, and femur, according to court documents. As of July 23, Thai’s medical expenses reportedly exceeded $530,000.

Thai and his attorneys declined to comment because of a confidentiality agreement they expect to sign to finalize the settlement.

“Mr. Thai requires extensive and immediate medical evaluations and treatment, purchase of a new home with ADA-compliant bathrooms, counter tops, ramps, etc. to accommodate his disabilities so he can begin his transition into what will be a severely limited lifestyle,” according to the court documents.

Thai lives in a small Monterey Park apartment with his son. The money he is poised to receive will go for such things as eye surgery to correct double vision, pain management, orthopedic care, in-home care assistants, above-the-knee prosthesis, psychological services, physical therapy and medication, according to court documents.

In total, 15 people were hurt — four pedestrians, five restaurant patrons and six firefighters — but none of the injuries were as serious as Thai’s.

A California Highway Patrol investigation faulted Alhambra’s fire ladder for the collision, but Alhambra disputes the CHP’s conclusions, said attorney Mark Mulkerin. Thai suffered “catastrophic injuries,” he added. Mulkerin expects the $15 million settlement to be finalized by the end of next week.

Bryan Butler, 46, drove the Alhambra fire ladder; Nicolas Lima, 31, manned the Monterey Park fire engine. This collision was the second time in recent history where an Alhambra emergency vehicle had a major accident while responding to emergency calls.

A total of 22 claims were filed in each city, but one has been dropped. Monterey Park and Alhambra have reached two settlements worth $10,000 and $27,000 and is finalizing Thai’s $15 million, said Tom Cody, Monterey Park’s risk management director.

Monterey Park has budgeted a self-insured retention of $300,000 for the fire engine collision, and Alhambra has allotted $250,000 to the accident, experts in each city said. Thai’s settlement surpasses these amounts, meaning the remaining funds will come from liability insurance with the Independent Cities Risk Management Authority, said Monterey Park City Manager Paul Talbot.

“It was a tragic accident, and we wish Mr. Thai the best we can in his long and difficult recovery,” Talbot said. “For both cities, it will have an increase in their insurance premiums over the next 10 years because we’re in a risk management pool. The more money you spend on insurance premiums, the less money you can spend on general services.”
By Zen Vuong, Pasadena Star-News

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July 31, 2015

Arson investigators have arrested a man for allegedly causing a massive fire that injured three firefighters and left dozens homeless Tuesday in northwest Houston, reports (

Officials charged Danny Isidoro, 18, with reckless arson for allegedly sparking a fire that grew to four alarms and gutted four buildings at the Gentry House apartments in the 9000 block of Kempwood Drive.

Rhonda Hayes stopped by the complex to see the damage. Her apartment is among the 70 or so fire officials consider a total loss.

Firefighters responded to the fire around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. There was little time for residents to react as flames washed over four buildings within minutes.

Three firefighters were injured, including two who suffered from heat exhaustion. "Fighting fires are already difficult enough with the gear and the heat of the fire," said Capt. Ruy Lozano. But when you add a 100-degree day like Tuesday, it can get dangerous.

"That gear absorbs a lot of heat when they're inside.These guys come out, you touch that gear, it's pretty hot, then it's hard to cool off just by walking outside," Lozano said. It's the main reason the fire department called for additional resources at the apartment complex. One hundred and twenty firefighters took turns every 15 minutes battling the flames.

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July 31, 2015
Police Provide Firefighter Cover at Tire Fire - NM

A large fire ignited late Thursday afternoon on the property near the Rio Puerco that was recently the site of a SWAT situation, authorities said.

Larry Gallegos, a spokesman for the Bernalillo County Fire Department, said it was a tire fire on the far corner of the southwest mesa property, away from the house.

"It will be going on for a while," Gallegos said. "Once those start, they're hard to put out."

Officers with the Albuquerque Police Department Open Space Unit provided cover for the firefighters due to the property's recent history with law enforcement, said APD spokesman Tanner Tixier.

On Sunday, the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office SWAT team was called to the site to arrest a man on a felony warrant. The man, Edward Jaramillo, 45, shot and killed himself during the hours-long SWAT situation.

The property is in a nearly-deserted mesa southwest of the city and firefighters ran into trouble with the muddy roads.

"As firefighters were arriving on scene, their truck became stuck in deep mud and needed to be pulled out by our Open Space SUVs," Tixier said. "This is a great example of inter-agency cooperation between local first responder agencies."

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July 31, 2015
Aerosol Can Objected From House Fire Strikes Fire Apparatus - SC

(Jeremy Robinson)

A South Carolina firefighter shared dashboard camera footage of an aerosol can being flung from a house fire and striking his fire truck.

Jeremy Robionson, a firefighter with the Flat Rock-Bowen Fire Department, posted a video to YouTube featuring footage captured by a fire truck dashcam at a June 2 house fire in Homeland Park.

An amused witness retrieves the object from the ground and holds it up to the dashboard camera, revealing it to be a Lysol aerosol can that apparently burst in the fire and propelled itself out of the house.

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July 31, 2015
Firefighter hurt battling house fire - MI

WEST BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A West Bloomfield Township firefighter suffered smoke inhalation while battling a house fire early Thursday morning.

Fire Marshal Pat Riney said the fire started around 1:30 a.m. on Pinnock Avenue, which is near Green Lake and Commerce roads.

Two people inside the home were able to get out before firefighters arrived. "We do know the homeowner did try to extinguish the fire by himself. It was too large for him," Riney said.

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July 31, 2015
Fire truck collides with casino bus; 10 hurt - NY

YONKERS, N.Y. — Ten people were injured when a fire truck collided with a casino shuttle bus in Yonkers.

Authorities say it happened at about 6 p.m. at the intersection of Kimball and Yonkers avenues. They say the fire truck was responding to a fire alarm when it struck the Empire City Casino bus.

The Journal News says six people on the bus and four firefighters were taken to local hospitals with varying injuries.

Authorities say the injuries to the firefighters were not life-threatening. The conditions of the bus passengers were not immediately known.
The Associated Press

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July 29, 2015
Trailer Filled with Rescue Gear Stolen from Fire Station - KY

There's still no sign of a utility trailer stolen this past Saturday morning from the East Bernstadt Fire Department.

The trailer was used by the volunteer department to tow lifesaving equipment to fires, accident scenes and other emergencies when seconds count.

When firefighters needed it, the trailer was gone.

Deputy Chief Frank Votolato noted the experience has been one of frustration ever since.

"There's been nothing new on this. We got the video surveillance on the truck that stole the trailer, and we have a good description of the truck. I'd say that person who took the trailer got it around 1 a.m., but I'm assuming that by 1 p.m. the next day, it was cut up. The likelihood of us getting that trailer back's probably slim to none," he said during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon.

The theft came at a time when East Bernstadt firefighters were already at a non-emergency event. But the tone of urgency rang when the crew was called out to an accident in the woods.

That's when they discovered something missing.

"We were working Friday night at the Wildcat Harley-Davidson birthday celebration, and we got paged out to an ATV accident. We were going to take our Ranger that we have and put it out on our utility trailer, and discovered it was gone. We were able to get the people out of the woods with equipment from the London-Laurel County Rescue Squad. When we got back to the station after the call, we started going back to the footage, and that's when we discovered around 1 a.m. that the pickup came around the yard, and stole the trailer," said Votolato.

The utility trailer was parked at the fire station when surveillance photos from the scene of the theft showed a suspect vehicle leaving with the trailer. According to the Laurel County Sheriff's Office, that occurred between 12:48-1 a.m. early Saturday.

Votolato mentioned, "We leave the trailer locked to a van that we pull it with. It had a padlock and we backed it up against a cargo trailer, so it would be hard for people to steal the utility trailer. But they cut the padlock off and wheeled that trailer to the truck and took off."

The stolen trailer is described as a 6-by-16 foot red utility trailer that's missing the front rails, has a fold-down gate, with the East Bernstadt Fire Department logo sticker attached to it.

The words "East Bernstadt Fire Department" are also painted on the trailer's floor.

The Sheriff's Office described the vehicle that took the trailer as possibly a 1999 to mid 2000s model year, white Chevy 3500 extended cab, flatbed model truck. Or the vehicle could possibly be a white Ford F350 extended cab, flatbed model truck.

The investigation into the trailer theft is continuing.

Should you have information regarding the suspect vehicle, or the persons involved in the theft, you're asked to call the Laurel County Sheriff's Office at (606) 864-660 or (606) 878-7000. The information will be strictly confidential.

At this point, Votolato pointed out they're looking at other options, but like many other volunteer fire departments in the Tri-County, they're hampered by operating on a shoestring, which could take a bite out their budget.

Still, he added it's not the cost, but the principle, of someone stealing the trailer.

"We're going to have to work on getting another trailer, because if we get another call, we can't move our equipment around. That's all we know we can do. It's not the monetary value, it's a $1,500 trailer. It's because someone was in need, because we couldn't do our job. A person steals something from a volunteer fire department. It's pretty aggravating. It boggles my mind."

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July 29, 2015
Information passed along
Silly Nonsense In The Fire Department

After working for a while in any job you notice some pretty silly things that go on. And, since we have a lot of free time in the fire service that most occupations don’t have we have more time to notice things of no consequence.

What to Wear
We sure waste a lot of time discussing what firefighters need to wear around the station.

For a while we had to wear a button up shirt with a badge, unless we were in bed. Then we got smarter and only had to wear that shirt and badge outside the station.

We could wear a sweatshirt, but we had to wear a uniform shirt under it even if you couldn’t see the uniform shirt.

Then the whole big thing about workout shorts. You could take off the uniform shirt and wear shorts if you were working out. That brought about the problem of when are you done working out.

A lot of wasted time goes into deciding what we are going to wear. If we are called to a fire we are going to be wearing bunker gear over whatever clothing we have on underneath. Stop wasting time arguing about what to wear, and find something to resolve that will make a difference.

Measuring Production
Since we don’t me a product it can be hard to see if we are doing our job. You can’t measure our production by number of calls because we don’t control the number of calls and each call is different.

Evaluating firefighters has proven to be very difficult for most departments. Finding a good evaluation system can take years, and for some departments it still seems impossible.

Instead of measuring how well you perform on the fireground we decide to make 90% of our evaluation based on how well we conform to the departments rules. Shoes shined, proper uniform belt, and the length of our hair outweighs our performance because no one is confident enough to evaluate how we do on the fireground.

It’s not that hard, can you get the apparatus to the correct location in a safe manner, and operate all the tools properly and confidently?

Does the firefighter properly carry out his tasks without making mistakes?

Don’t make it too complicated, see how well someone handles the important stuff. I’d rather have you coming to my house confident on your ability instead of aware of the department’s rules.

Dealing With Excuses
How about that guy that constantly calls for someone to hold over for him because there was traffic, or bad weather that prevented him from getting to work on time.

Didn’t you expect there to be traffic when you drive on rush hour? Oh the weatherman was right again and it snowed, too bad you haven’t learned yet that snow creates traffic jams.

Every job has silly nonsense, but if we try, we can eliminate a lot of the time wasting, aggravating things that come up over and over.

Don’t waste your time proving a point, use your time to do something productive.
Written by John Morse

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July 29, 2015
Information passed along
Police, Firefighters, & Soldiers Battle In Homeland Security Dance Off


Homeland Security may be about protecting the public, battling blazes, administering critical aid, and protecting the shores of America…but it’s also all about da bass. Cops, Firefighters, Soldiers, and Medics battle it out in this epic dance off. Who will win?

Cops, Firefighters, Soldiers, and Medics battle it out in this epic dance off. Who will win? Check out more at

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July 29, 2015


Started out as a business fire on Wednesday, but as Eden Prairie firefighters began taking off their gear, it all changed.“That’s when firefighters were experiencing tingling in their hands and arms, and also we had at least two firefighters developing rashes,” Eden Prairie Fire Chief George Esbensen said. “And that's just a very, very uncommon kind of occurrence.”

Esbensen believes six fighters were burned by hydrofluoric acid, a very dangerous chemical that burns through skin. Now, $100,000 worth of contaminated equipment is in quarantine -- hoses, tanks, plus fifteen sets of gear.

“Our hope is that we can figure out a way to bring this back, but we're not going to do that unless we have absolute guarantee that after we're done cleaning it, it's 100-percent safe to use for our firefighters,” Esbensen said.

Investigators were back on scene Thursday at the scene of the fire at SVT Associates, a high-tech manufacturer. The chief said the fire appears accidental, but they want to determine whether the business needed warning signs for the chemicals.

Meanwhile, all injured firefighters are back at home after spending four to five hours in the hospital.

“It started out as I want to say routine fire, but there's no such thing, it turned into a much larger event than I would have anticipated,” Esbensen said.

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July 29, 2015
Firefighters Mourn Loss of Tyron Weston a Veteran Colleague - SC

(The Last Call - RIP)

Columbia Firefighter Tyron Weston.
(Photo credit: Columbia Fire Department)

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The Columbia Fire Department is mourning the death of one of their own when a 25-year-veteran firefighter died Sunday after falling ill earlier in July.

Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins said Firefighter Tyron Weston, 51, fell ill on July 3 and was on his way to recovery when he died Sunday morning.

Jenkins said Weston has been a member of the Columbia Fire Department since August 1990. He spent his career working on first shift at Station 8 Engine 8 located on Atlas Road, before serving his last years at Station 31 Engine 31.

Funeral arrangements have not been finalized for Weston but more information will be released when it becomes available.

Shortly before Weston's death, Firefighter James Allen Jetzke Jr. died on July 13 with his family by his side. Jetzke was a member of the fire department since September 2008. He previously served as a volunteer firefighter with Portage Township Fire Department in South Bend, I.N. for 15 years.

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July 29, 2015
Burglars Target Atlanta Firefighters' Vehicles - GA

Atlanta firefighters were warned Tuesday to keep their vehicles' insides "clean" to avoid thefts, especially since they're often away protecting life and property.

Police said thieves looted four pickups outside Fire Station No. 11 at Atlantic Station early Tuesday morning.

The burglaries were the latest in a string of thefts, said Janet Ward, spokeswoman for the fire department. This year, Fire Station Nos. 11, 14, and 15 have all been hit twice, Ward said in an email.

"Those are the only ones we know about," she said.

Crew members didn't discover the crime at Fire Station No. 11 until 5:50 a.m., but they suspected the Dodge Ram 1500, two Dodge Rams and a Ford F-150 were broken into when they responded to a bogus call of a tree down at Marietta Street and Howell Mill Road, the police report said.

Thieves stole a laptop, an iPad, a .40-caliber Glock pistol with an extended magazine and a vehicle owner's manual, according to a police report.

Investigators were trying to trace the 911 call. Shortly before the bogus call at 2 a.m., Atlantic Station security reported a "suspicious black Lexus" parked at the corner of the fire station.

All fire departments are having security upgrades this year, with installation of security cameras on the short-term to-do list, Ward said.

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July 29, 2015
Providence Volunteer Fire Department Goes Out of Service - NC

The Providence Volunteer Fire Department has been in Union County for 61 years. The fire department is older than the town of Weddington.

The firefighters packed their bags on Tuesday, their last day of service, and moved their equipment out of the station on Hemby Road.

"It's surreal," volunteer firefighter Travis Manning said. "It doesn't make any sense to me. The town voted us out."

Eyewitness News first reported in April that Weddington leaders decided to end their contract with Providence VFD, their only fire station. They said it was in order to save $200,000 in the town's budget.

The Providence VFD chief said he doesnâ??t believe thatâ??s true.

"I've not seen any evidence on them saving money," he said. "I've asked for documentation. We have not received any documentation or proof of where they are saving money at."

Kenny Schott said he's still hopeful that volunteer firefighters will be able to return to service soon.

The Providence VFD still exists as an organization but no longer has a station.

They have filed a lawsuit against the town, and a judge approved a temporary restraining order to prevent the town from selling the fire station.

Even though the building has been taken away, Providence firefighters said they have something that no one can take.

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July 28, 2015
Philly Firefighter Hurt in Rowhome Fire - PA

(My CBSNews 24)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A firefighter was injured early Tuesday morning while fighting a blaze that broke out in Philadelphia.

Fire officials say neighbors woke up around 3:30am Tuesday to someone banging on doors. Soon after that, people were able to see fire burning out of control in a home on the 5900 block of Kingsessing Avenue.

Firefighters say everyone was able to get out of the burning home before they arrived, but a firefighter sustained a minor injury. That firefighter was taken to Presbyterian Hospital for treatment.

The fire is still under investigation, but fire officials say a preliminary investigation shows the cause may be suspicious in nature.

Jan Carabeo has the latest on the fire.
My CBSNews 24

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July 28, 2015
Ontario County fire house catches fire overnight - NY

We have an update to a story we’ve been following since early Tuesday morning where fire destroyed a fire station in Ontario County.

Ten other fire departments responded to the Ionia Fire Hall on County Road 14 between Honeoye Falls and Bloomfield. For now, the Mendon and East Bloomfield volunteer departments will cover fire calls.

In Ionia, there is no municipal water supply to hook into and very few hydrants. In fact, the closest one to this fire station that caught fire overnight is over two miles away. If not for mutual aid from 10 departments and an elaborate system of tankers, pumpers and portable pools, getting water to the scene would have been delayed.

Ionia Fire Chief Lynn Parrish said, “We're used to it. That's the way we operate so we know how to do it. We are good at getting water here quickly. We know enough to get the water started and not wait.”

Luckily, the first volunteers arriving at the station were able to drive Ionia’s four trucks out of the bays and save them. Then they used the 2,000 gallons stored in each pumper to attack the fire as it burned through the attic.

Seeing this happen so close to their own homes made some neighbors reflect. Krista Bunch said, “I was making sure it didn't spread but they did a good job containing it.”

A former volunteer firefighter told us residents voted down a plan years ago to add more hydrants and have a better water system. James Dunne said, “Maybe now that the fire house did what it did, maybe people will change their minds.”

While the fire department rebuilds, the residents in Ionia have to decide what they are willing to pay for peace of mind. If they build a new fire station, most likely fire district taxes will go up. That’s the same for town taxes if a water system is installed. We called the West Bloomfield supervisor to ask him about the water system and Todd Campbell had no comment.
By: Rebecca Leclair /

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July 28, 2015
Ambulance crew leaves crash scene without noticing man inside vehicle - MI


n Flint, Michigan an ambulance crew dispatched to a July 18 car accident didn’t notice there was a man inside the vehicle that hit a tree and they left the scene. A second ambulance crew later dispatched found 28-year-old Cortez Cheathams dead inside the car.

Flint police Chief James Tolbert and a spokeswoman for the ambulance company said the matter is under review after a second ambulance that responded over an hour later reported a dead body was actually in the car.

Tolbert said the police department couldn’t send anyone because officers were tied up at two priority scenes: a homicide investigation and a separate shooting.

Instead, dispatch sent a Mobile Medical Response ambulance following the initial 911 calls, city officials said.
Dominic Adams,

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July 28, 2015
Firefighter Injured After Fire Erupts at Pasadena Courthouse; Hazardous Materials Found - CA

Fire crews found various hazardous materials containers while responding to a small blaze in a storage room at the Pasadena Courthouse early Monday, prompting a HazMat response that temporarily shut down the surrounding area, authorities said.

The fire was reported about 1:30 a.m. on the courthouse’s third floor, according to Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian of the Pasadena Fire Department.

When fire crews arrived at the courthouse — which is located at 300 E. Walnut St. — they made their way to the third floor and discovered smoke along with the containers, Derderian said. The blaze was quickly extinguished, the spokeswoman said.

One firefighter inhaled a possibly toxic substance and had to be treated at the scene for “exposures,” according to Derderian, who stressed the incident was not burn-related.

The firefighter was not taken to a hospital and was expected to be OK, she said.

Neighboring fire agencies have been called in to assist with the removal of the hazardous materials.

Meanwhile, East Walnut Street was expected to be closed from Euclid Avenue to Garfield Avenue for at least a few hours, according to the Fire Department.

The street was reopened by 8 a.m., according to a news release from the department.

Derderian indicated the incident had been “isolated” to the third floor, and that she expected the courthouse to open as scheduled at 8:30 a.m.

However, officials said around 8:30 a.m. that the courthouse was closed indefinitely. It was not immediately known when the court would reopen.

By 8 a.m., a long line had formed outside the building, video from the scene showed.

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July 28, 2015
AFD dispatcher hung up as caller’s friend died - NM

“I’m not going to deal with this.”

That’s what an Albuquerque Fire Department dispatcher told a frantic female caller in June who was trying to keep a 17-year-old Manzano High School athlete alive after what turned out to be a fatal shooting.

Then he ended the call.

The exchange was captured on an audio recording that was released by the fire department on Monday.

The dispatcher, Matthew Sanchez, was removed from his position at the dispatch center and reassigned after officials became aware of the details of the call, according to fire department officials.

“An internal investigation has been initiated,” Albuquerque Fire Chief David Downey said in a news release. “As the chief of the department, I am taking the allegation very seriously.”

Jaydon Chavez-Silver was shot and killed on June 23 as he watched other teens play cards at a gathering at friend’s house in Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights. Police have not named a suspect and have made no arrests in the case.

The fire department on Monday released a portion of the breathless emergency call made by a friend as Chavez-Silver lay dying inside the house.

During the call, a clearly distraught female tells Sanchez, “I am keeping him alive!”

Sanchez asks her, “Is he not breathing?”

The caller responds, “Barely!”

She is then heard frantically encouraging Chavez-Silver to keep breathing.

“One more breath! One more breath! There you go Jaydon. One more breath! There you go Jaydon. Good job! Just stay with me, OK? OK? There you go, good job Jaydon!” she tells Chavez-Silver.

The dispatcher then asked again, “Is he breathing?”

The female responded, “He is barely breathing, how many times do I have to (expletive) tell you?”

“OK, you know what ma’am? You can deal with yourself. I am not going to deal with this, OK?” Sanchez said.

Sanchez appeared to hang up as the caller was mid-sentence.

“No, my friend is dying …,” she said. Then the call ends.
By Robert Browman / Of the Journal

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July 28, 2015
Firefighter Capt. Alan Hicks found dead inside firehouse - NC

(The Last Call - RIP)

(Photo courtesy East Side Volunteer Fire Department)

STANLY COUNTY, N.C. —A fire captain was found dead in a firehouse Monday morning after responding to a fire Sunday night. reported that Capt. Alan Hicks, 44, with the N.C. Air National Guard stationed at the Stanly County Airport Station #27, worked on the scene of a house fire and made an interior attack Sunday night. He died at the station before his shift ended Monday.

An official said an autopsy is pending, but it is believed he may have died from a heart attack, according to the report.

Stanly County’s last fire service LODD occurred in 1965 when a firefighter was killed responding to a fire.

It took crews an hour and 45 minutes to bring the fire under control.

There were only minor injuries on the scene and no firefighters were taken to the hospital. The owners were not home at the time of the fire.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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July 28, 2015
Man charged with stealing fire department radios - TX

HOUSTON — A man has been arrested for allegedly stealing radios from two fire stations.

KHOU reported that Joshua Boyd was charged with felony theft after allegedly stealing a radio from Cy-Fair (Texas) Fire Department Station 11 and Tomball (Texas) Fire Department Station 1.

Boyd stole the radios while taking a station tour with his family. Investigators were able to track down the stolen radios by working with technicians at the Cy-Fair Fire Department via GPS and radio tower tracking, according to the report.

Officials said Boyd took the radios because he wanted to listen to fire department calls.

He's currently being held in jail on a $5,000 bond.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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July 28, 2015
Information passed along
Firefighter in shorts, tennis shoes battles fire - NY

(WPTZ NewsChannel 5)

(Photo courtesy Twitter @BradenFrame)

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — A volunteer fire department recently explained why a man, who was dressed in a T-shirt, shorts and tennis shoes, was helping during a large fire last weekend. They did not explain why he was allowed to do so without full PPE.

Lake Placid News reported that the major structure fire consumed one downtown building and damaged another. The building was described as a total loss.

Firefighters with the Lake Placid (N.Y.) Volunteer Fire Department used aerials to spray the roofs of the buildings and fire departments from other towns helped as well. However, when a series of photos were published of firefighters during the blaze, one man undoubtedly caught the attention of many.

Fire officials said the man, dressed in plain clothes with an SCBA, is not a member of the volunteer department. He was a visiting firefighter in town for the Ironman race. Another career firefighter, also in plain clothes and in town to run the race, helped out at the fire.

An Ironman was scheduled the next day and officials said it would go on as scheduled, despite the fire.

On Facebook, the Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department issued this statement:

"The individual in those pictures is not a member of our department or mutual aid department responding to assist. He is a professional member of another fire department who was in town as a visitor, visiting our community during one of the busiest weekends of the year. That being said, we think it is important to point out that this firefighter felt the need to jump into action, seeing the incident unfold, as most firefighters, paid or volunteer, would feel the need to do … although we do not condone anyone entering an incident without proper PPE, we truly appreciate any and all assistance.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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July 28, 2015
Firefighter hurt battling mulch fire - VA

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — A fire outside a waste management company in Chesapeake forced one firefighter to seek treatment at a hospital.

Chesapeake fire Capt. Scott Saunders says a mulch pile caught fire outside Clearfield MMG on Monday. The company uses mulch to solidify liquid waste.

Saunders says it took firefighters an hour to control the blaze.

Media outlets report one firefighter was taken to a hospital for heat exhaustion.
The Associated Press

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July 27, 2015
Chief Struck Collecting Donations - GA

A Georgia fire chief was struck by a vehicle Saturday while soliciting for donations.

Baldwin Chief Joe Roy was flown to Grady Memorial Trauma Center after the 10:44 a.m. incident.

Roy was standing on the double yellow line near an intersection in Habersham when he was struck by a pickup truck. The driver stopped immediately.

He has been chief for the past 19 years.

There is no word on his condition.

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July 27, 2015

(WNEP Video)

A dozen people were forced out of their homes and a firefighter was injured when fire hit in Columbia County.

Crews were called to this double block home on West Front Street in Berwick at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

According to fire officials, the fire started at the home on the left and it is now unlivable.

The other side has smoke and water damage, but everyone managed to make it out safely.

Fire officials say one firefighter was taken to the hospital to be treated for burns. There is no word on his condition.

Fire officials believe the fire started upstairs at the home in Columbia County.

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July 27, 2015

Eight people were injured in a crash involving a Brevard County Fire Rescue truck and a car Friday night, Brevard County officials said. The crash happened just before 10:30 p.m. on Stadium Parkway and Viera Boulevard in Melbourne.

Two of the people injured were firefighters, officials said.

The firefighters and four other patients were taken to a nearby hospital via ambulance, while the two remaining patients had to be airlifted.

Officials said six people were in the car. The fire truck was seen in the middle of an intersection surrounded by other emergency vehicles. The firefighters were on their way back to the station after responding to a call.

No other information has been released.

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July 27, 2015

Dozens of people were displaced in a fire Sunday involving at least three apartment buildings, authorities confirmed. Fire heavily damaged a building in the 600 block of 10th Street as well as two adjoining buildings on Central Avenue, said Chief Frank Montagne of North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue. Another home on 10th Street was damaged by smoke.

Officer Frank Depinto and his partner Jose Ascencio of the Union City Police Department were on patrol around 4:45 p.m. when they encountered a "wall of smoke" on Central Avenue, Depinto said. A neighbor said a column of smoke from the blaze was visible from the New Jersey Turnpike.

Depinto and Ascencio helped occupants out of the 10th Street addresses, while arriving firefighters assisted other residents, some of whom were unaware of the fire, Depinto said.

Five North Hudson firefighters were treated for dehydration and another two firefighters, from Jersey City, were injured when a banister gave way, Montagne said. One of those firefighters sustained a serious back injury.

No civilians were hurt, Montagne aslo said.

About 60 firefighters from Kearny, Jersey City, Hoboken and other agencies assisted in the blaze, Montagne also said.

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July 27, 2015

EAST BRUNSWICK (WABC) -- It was her last day of work as an EMT for Spotswood, New Jersey. 22-year-old Hinal Patel was starting medical school Monday, but she will never get the chance to live out her dreams. Police say the ambulance she was riding on the way to a call was t-boned by a car, killing her.

"They came through the intersection and were struck by another vehicle, which caused their vehicle to actually spin around and then land on its passenger side and skid across the roadway," says Lt. Kevin F. Zebro of the East Brunswick Police Department.

Police say the lights and sirens were going, with 24-year-old EMT Mark Seube at the wheel. The two were on their way to help another town with ambulance transport less than a mile away, when police tell Eyewitness News that a woman driving a Prius hit them at the intersection of Ryder Lane and Cranbury Road in East Brunswick. The ambulance then hit another car before flipping on its side. It's unclear if Patel was wearing a seatbelt. Her EMT partner and the driver of the Prius were injured in the accident, and taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to Lt. Zebro.

Patel wanted to eventually become a Physician or a Physician's Assistant. Her family tells Eyewitness News that she also worked as an EMT for the last two years at North Shelton volunteer fire company, and was even honored for her work as an EMT.

Chief John Scarpa said in a statement,

"Hinal was a very smart, dedicated member of our family and she will be greatly missed. She had many close friends at North Stelton. The members of the North Stelton Volunteer Fire Company are devastated by her loss."

The crash still remains under investigation, and police do not know if anyone will be cited or arrested.
Renee Stoll /

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July 27, 2015
Information passed along
Data Show Mass Shootings Increasing in Frequency

If it seems like mass shootings are becoming more common, researchers say there's a good reason: They are.

Between a 2011 shooting at an IHOP restaurant in Carson City, Nev., that left four people dead and the 2013 attack on the Washington Navy Yard where 12 people were killed, a mass shooting occurred somewhere in America once every 64 days, on average.

In the preceding 29 years, such shootings occurred on average every 200 days, according to an analysis by researchers from Harvard University's School of Public Health and Northeastern University.

The study defined a mass shooting as an outbreak of firearms violence in which four or more victims were killed and the shooter was unknown to most of his victims.

Not only are such shootings more common, they have also become more deadly. In the 10-year period that ended with the Washington Navy Yard attack, 285 people died in such events. In the 13 years before that, 151 people perished in mass shootings.

Between Jan. 1, 2015 and July 20, 2015 there have been 203 mass shooting events in which victims were both killed and wounded by gunfire, according to statistics from Mass Shootings Tracker, a Wiki-style site.

That doesn't include the two moviegoers who were killed and nine wounded at the Grand Theatre multiplex in Lafayette La., Thursday night.

Although the fatalities in mass shootings are dramatic, they are dwarfed by the number of people killed by firearms in attacks that affect one or two victims at a time and largely escape public notice. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 11,208 people died in homicides involving firearms in the United States in 2013.

Today, American civilians are thought to own as many as 310 million firearms, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. A 2012 report from the Congressional Research Service noted that the number of guns per capita had doubled since 1968.

In street violence as in mass shootings, more powerful guns have also made a difference. An Archives of Surgery study that tracked gunshot wounds in a busy hospital emergency room in Washington found that the average number of gunshot entry wounds per patient rose from 1.44 to 2.04 between 1988 and 1990.

The escalation of wounds per patient was consistent with "a shift in weaponry toward high-capacity semi-automatic handguns," the study authors wrote.

Who are these mass killers? Between 97% and 98% of them are men, according to Columbia University forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Stone. Blacks and whites are represented in their ranks roughly proportionate to their percentages in the general population, although Latinos are underrepresented.

While recent mass shootings have prompted calls to keep guns away from those with mental illness, Stone estimated that only about 22% of perpetrators were "deeply mentally ill."

"Many of them are paranoid and disgruntled, and many are sociopaths," he said. Many mass shooters -- including Jared Lee Loughner, who killed six in a 2011 Tucson shooting that also wounded then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords -- may flirt with psychosis through drug and alcohol abuse, Stone added.

Hopelessness is a common factor, as evidenced by the fact that nearly half of those committing mass killings either take their own lives or are killed by the police in the immediate aftermath of the event. Many psychiatrists call that outcome "suicide-by-cop."

Some people, including those opposed to the kinds of gun control measures routinely proposed in the aftermath of mass killings, dispute the claim that such rampages have escalated. Mass shootings are a constant on the American landscape and are more visible thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, they say.

That's not correct, said Stephen Teret, director of the Center for Law and the Public's Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

"It's not that they were always occurring and we weren't aware of them," Teret said. "People have been collecting these data for a long time."

But the media attention mass shootings receive can make a difference, particularly if it inspires copycat attacks.

"If each mass shooting increases the risk of the next mass shooting, we need to pay close attention to that," Teret said.

The trend lines may soon look even worse. In 2013, President Obama ordered that the definition of a mass shooting be changed to one in which three or more people are killed.

By that accounting, more than 300 people died in mass shootings between Jan. 1, 2014, and May 26 this year, according to data from Mass Shootings Tracker.

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July 27, 2015
Firefighters Removed from Direct Duty Because of Their Weight - SC

(FOX Carolina 21)

This March, three firefighters with Roebuck District Fire Department were removed from direct duty after failing their physicals.

“That individual could drive the rig, they could drive the fire truck, but they could not put on any structural firefighting gear and they could not go into a fire fight,” said Roebuck Fire Captain Chris Harvey.

One of those men is Matthew Newton. The 34-year-old weighed 325 pounds in March. He decided he needed to make a change to this life, reports Fox Carolina 21.
FOX Carolina 21

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July 27, 2015
Trucker Killed, Firefighters Injured in Fire Truck Crash - TX

IRVING -- A truck driver was killed in a fiery crash on Texas 183 Sunday morning after his 18-wheeler hit an aerial ladder fire truck, seriously injuring three firefighters, said police and fire officials.Police identified the truck driver as Ilian Lalev, 55, of Dallas, who died at the scene when the cab of his truck burst into flames shortly after hitting the fire truck.

One firefighter suffered a concussion and the two other firefighters had cuts and bruises in the crash, which was reported shortly after 4 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of Texas 183 between Belt Line and Story roads. As of 9:30 a.m., one firefighter had been released and a second was expected to be released Sunday from Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. A third firefighter was in fair condition at the Dallas and he was expected to stay overnight for observation.

Minutes after the crash, a patrol car working the fatal wreck was hit by another vehicle. The officer was not in the vehicle and was not injured. The patrol car was damaged, and the motorist was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

The chain of events began shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday as police and firefighters responded to a major accident in the eastbound lanes of Texas 183 involving a white GMC pickup.

"The driver had fled the scene on foot after abandoning his vehicle," said Officer Stephen Burres, an Irving police spokesman, on Sunday. He said officers apprehended the driver several yards down the road and arrested him on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

The aerial ladder fire truck with its emergency lights on stayed at the scene to help block traffic while wrecker removed the wrecked pickup, police said.

A few seconds later, the eastbound 18-wheeler traveling at highway speed hit the back of the fire truck.

"We don't know if the driver managed to touch the brakes or not," Burres said. "We don't know if the driver fell asleep or had a medical condition."

The collision sent the fire truck spinning 180 degrees and causing it to roll over once, ending up on the passenger side, police said. The fire truck had been facing east, but ended up facing west.

Two firefighters had been sitting on the front bumper and a third was standing in front of them at the time of the collision, said Assistant Fire Chief Rusty Wilson on Sunday.

"The two on the front bumper were thrown off toward the service road," Wilson said who was at the Dallas hospital Sunday morning. "The third firefighter doesn't remember much of what happened to him."

Crews remained on the scene Sunday morning as they tried to move the 18-wheeler and the fire truck off the highway. Other crews also worked to remove fuel and transmission fluid from the eastbound lanes of Texas 183.

The eastbound lanes and the service road of Texas 183 between Belt Line and Story roads were scheduled to be closed for several hours Sunday, police said.

Police had not identified the motorist arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

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July 27, 2015
Fire chief struck by car during boot drive - GA

BALDWIN, Ga. — Baldwin Fire Chief Joe Roy, 46, is recovering, at Emory Hospital, Atlanta, from injures he suffered when he was struck by a truck on Saturday morning.

Just before 11 a.m. on July 25, a 2012 Toyota Tundra pickup truck, driven by R.W. Nored, 70, Dahlonega, struck Roy while he was taking part in a boot drive in Habersham County. The accident happened on Georgia Highway 384 (Duncan Bridge Road) at Mud Creek Road. Roy was standing on the centerline when Nored reportedly drifted over and the left front of his truck struck Roy from behind.

The impact knocked Roy approximately 15 feet, according to the Georgia State Patrol report. Roy was transported by Air Life helicopter to Grady for treatment of his injuries.

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July 27, 2015
Fire chief suffers heart attack responding to fire - TN

(Courtesy photo)

GIBSON COUNTY, Tenn. — A fire chief is in the hospital after having a heart attack Saturday.

The Jackson Sun reported that Fire Chief Bryan Cathey, with the Gibson County (Tenn.) Fire Department, is recovering in the intensive care unit.

Assisant Chief Ryan Shanklin said Cathey had the heart attack while responding to a fire at 10 a.m. No one was hurt in the fire, according to the report.

"He's doing pretty good," Shanklin said. "He's a fighter."
By FireRescue1 Staff

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July 27, 2015
4 firefighters hurt battling Calif. wildfire - CA

ALTA, Calif. — Four firefighters were burned Sunday while battling a Northern California wildfire that threatens 150 homes in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

The four were injured at around 5 p.m. as they fought the hot, active northern end of the 2-square-mile blaze. They were airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, state fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said.

Two state firefighters and a U.S. Forest Service member were expected to be treated and released. The fourth, also a federal firefighter, had serious but non-life threatening injuries, Berlant said.

He had no details of how the firefighters were injured but said a fire engine was damaged.

The fire erupted Saturday and tore through heavy timber and drought-stricken brush about 45 miles northeast of Sacramento. The area is rural, rugged and steep with homes scattered throughout the trees.

The roads are mainly old, one-lane mining paths, some of them washed out, and some firefighters were having to hike in or be dropped by helicopter, Berlant said.

About 1,100 firefighters, aided by a DC-10 and other aircraft, battled the fire but it was only 15 percent contained Sunday night.

Some 30 to 40 homes in foothill communities, including one belonging to Berlant's parents, were under mandatory evacuation but the flames placed up to 200 homes at risk, ranging from trailers to retirement homes, Berlant said.

"Many of the people live off the grid, they want to be left alone, and they have trees all over the place" which makes it harder to protect them from fire, Berlant said.

The fire didn't expand much throughout the day but there was concern for Monday, when temperatures could start rising toward triple digits and winds could shift and drive flames back south. If that happens, "hundreds and hundreds of additional homes" could be threatened, Berlant said.

The fire was one of about a dozen major blazes that crews were battling statewide. Since Jan. 1, firefightershave responded to some 1,200 more blazes than they typically would face for the period and "as we continue to get deeper into the summer, conditions are only going to be drier," Berlant said.

Meanwhile, firefighters gained ground against a wildfire near Napa Valley wine country, and on Sunday that fire was 65 percent contained.

The Napa-area blaze has burned more than 10 square miles of drought-parched countryside near Lake Berryessa, about 45 miles east of wine country.
The Associated Press

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July 27, 2015
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FDNY recruit fails test, earns $81K desk job - NY

NEW YORK — An FDNY recruit is getting a third chance to pass the training academy after collecting over $81,000 for a year in desk jobs.

NY Post reported that Choeurlyne Doirin-Holder, 39, failed midway through a fire academy class in 2013 and returned to her former job as an EMT. She entered another class in 2014, but dropped out due to an injury. FDNY kept her on the payroll and she made $81,376 last year — about $26,000 more than what she made as an EMT and well more than the $39,370 starting firefighters earn.

"She was qualified as an EMT. She should have been serving the public while waiting for the next probie class, but was paid as a full-time firefighter to do office work and train on the payroll," a high-ranking source told the Post.

A classmate called Doirin-Holder "the most pathetic specimen of physical fitness I've ever seen," saying she failed to run 1.5 miles in 12 minutes, stopped to walk and got winded walking up stairs, according to the report.

Doirin-Holder declined to comment, referring questions to the FDNY.

"We don't discuss individuals or individual cases while in the academy," said spokesman Jim Long.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro confirmed in a letter to firefighter union president Steve Cassidy that probationary firefighters no longer have to pass the FST if they do well on academics and practical skills or individual tasks. Also, they can demonstrate adequate aerobic capacity on a Stairmaster machine if they fail the 1.5 mile run, Nigro said.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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July 24, 2015
Firefighter Hit by Cicada, Gets Black Eye - SC

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- As many Southerners know, cicadas are relatively harmless insects that hatch during the summer and be very loud at night.

But as one Columbia firefighter recently found out, they can also pack quite a punch.

Brick Lewis, a Columbia Fire Department spokesman, said Senior Firefighter Boone Rostad was responding to a call of a stranded boater on the Congaree River when he was struck in the eye by a cicada.

The hit caused Rostad's eye to bruise and swell forcing him to be admitted to the hospital, but he was released shortly after in order to return to his shift.

Fellow firefighters gave Rostad an honorary eye patch and special glasses for his full dedication and service.

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July 24, 2015
Man Accused of Stealing Ambulance, Driving Through Memphis - TN

A 43-year-old man has been arrested after police said he stole an ambulance and drove through Memphis into DeSoto County Friday morning.

Robert Lee Young of Memphis has been charged with reckless driving, fleeing or eluding a law enforcement officer, driving while license suspended and possession of paraphernalia.

Memphis police said officers responded to a motor vehicle theft call around 2:40 a.m. Friday.

Paramedics with Emergency Mobile Health Care told officers they parked the ambulance at the Memphis Mental Health Institute at 951 Court and when they returned about six minutes later the vehicle was missing.

A dispatcher for EMHC ambulance tracked the vehicle as Young drove through several areas in Memphis including Binghamton and South Memphis.

Police said Young crossed the state line into DeSoto County and Olive Branch. Police followed the stolen ambulance as it headed into Southaven.

Southaven police used stop sticks at Malone and Goodman Road and the suspect stopped after two tires were flattened by the sticks.

Young was arrested by Olive Branch officers and remains in the DeSoto County Jail on a $3,650 bond. He is scheduled to be in court on Aug. 20

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July 24, 2015
Psychiatric Patient Causes Utah Ambulance Crash - UT

DRAPER, Utah (GOOD 4 Utah) - Paramedics in a Juab County ambulance became patients Friday after Utah Highway Patrol Troopers said the psychiatric patient they were transporting caused it to roll. "Somehow the psychiatric patient was able to grab the steering wheel of the ambulance and force it to the side of the road," said UHP Sgt. Todd Royce.

UHP told Good 4 Utah, the crash happened about 2:30 in the morning on Northbound I-15 at 118th South in Draper. It's unclear why the patient acted out, but all three people inside suffered injuries. "Both the paramedics and the psychiatric patient were taken to a nearby hospital in serious condition," said Sgt. Royce.

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July 24, 2015
Fire truck stuck in sinkhole in Fountain Hills; repairs underway - AZ

(CBS 5 - KPHO)

FOUNTAIN HILLS, AZ (KPHO/KTVK) - A fire truck got stuck in a sinkhole in Fountain Hills Tuesday night.

It happened in the area of Palisades Boulevard and Sunridge Drive near the SunRidge Canyon Golf Club.

According to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, a water main break caused the sinkhole.

Photos from MCSO showed the fire truck's front tires in the hole. It is not clear where the fire truck was heading when it got stuck.

The truck was removed from the sinkhole and road crews were working to repair the damage Wednesday morning.
By Catherine Holland /

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July 24, 2015
Firehouse firework explosion burns firefighter, damages sole fire truck - UT

A fireworks explosion on Thursday hurt three people and set a Piute County town's fire station ablaze.

Four people were preparing for a Days of '47 fireworks show in Marysvale, a town a few miles north of Piute Reservoir, when static electricity caused one of the fireworks to explode in a volunteer firefighter's hands, said councilwoman Ann Kennedy.

About 5:20 p.m., Kennedy heard the first explosion from the park where the celebration was getting started. That caught everyone's attention.

It's difficult to relate the sound that followed, as 70 to 80 fireworks went off inside the metal fire house, she said.

"There was just smoke and a terrible sound. I don't know how to describe it. Just a huge boom," Kennedy said. "It sent chills."

A medical helicopter arrived and the firefighter who was holding the first firework was flown to a burn center. His hands, arms, and part of neck and face were injured, Kennedy said.

A 12-year-old boy was also taken to a local hospital for carbon monoxide inhalation, since he was stuck in the fire house, Kennedy said. A second man also suffered a small burn to his arm.

A fire truck from the nearby town of Junction arrived and doused the flames, which also damaged an ambulance and Maryvale's own firetruck.

The town is "pretty blessed" that no one died, Kennedy said. When she heard the explosions, she thought someone would have.

The fire house was severely damaged, Kennedy said, though the full extent of the damage was not immediately clear.

The town's firetruck might be back in commission after some repairs, but the ambulance's future is unclear. In the meantime, Junction is loaning the town the same firetruck that came to the rescue Thursday, while Sevier County is loaning them an ambulance.
By MICHAEL MCFALL | The Salt Lake Tribune

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July 24, 2015
Probe: Firefighters responding without enough help - NC

* Twenty-five fire department agencies across North Carolina were cited for not meeting state requirements in the last two years.

* Union County had more fire departments on probation than any other local county. Of Union County's 11 fire departments, three were put on probation at some point in the past two years.

Some local fire departments are on probation after being cited by the state of North Carolina for failing to respond to emergency calls.

That means that the crews either didn't respond at all or didn't have enough firefighters on the truck.

When firefighters get a call for help, the state requires that at least four firefighters respond.

Anchor Blair Miller investigated local fire departments and found that that's not always happening.

Miller obtained a list from the North Carolina Office of the State Fire Marshal, which shows agencies that were cited for not meeting certain state requirements. In some cases, the agencies did not properly respond to calls.

Twenty-five local agencies across North Carolina were cited in the last two years. Of those agencies, five were placed on probation.

Greg Grayson of the Fire Marshal's Office said that in many cases, probation status is a result of fire departments not responding with four required firefighters.

“If a citizen has a fire department serving them, there's an expectation that when they have a problem or they have an emergency, that they will receive a service,” Grayson said.
By Blair Miller /

Download the Fire Department Failure Report

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July 24, 2015
Badly burned firefighter, 16, remains in hospital - DC

A 16-year-old Marshall volunteer firefighter underwent seven hours of surgery and skin grafts Wednesday to treat burns suffered Sunday morning.

Adam Glaze remains in the Washington MedStar Hospital Center, where county career and volunteer firefighters have gathered to offer support.

A rising Fauquier High School junior, Mr. Glaze suffered the most severe burns among three firemen injured as they attacked an intense blaze at 4214 Pickett St. in The Plains on Sunday morning.

Two older colleagues — one from the county career staff and one from the Warrenton Volunteer Fire Co. — received treatment at Fauquier Hospital, according to county officials.

The 1-1/2-story stucco home became a blast furnace as the young volunteer — fighting his first fire — headed upstairs with a 1-3/4-inch hose.

The career firefighter followed closely behind him.

Both wore gear rated to withstand prolonged exposure to temperatures up to 500 degrees and about 10 seconds up to 1,500 degrees “during a backdraft or flashover,” according to Fauquier County Fire Chief Billington.

Command of the fire scene and communication among units — from Fauquier and Loudoun counties — have come into question. Fire trucks jammed the cramped neighborhood with its narrow streets.

At some point, a battalion chief from Loudoun took command of the scene, relieving a local volunteer, according to several sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of ongoing investigations.

“That’s not unusual,” Chief Billington said of the command change. “Whoever’s on the scene first takes command. But, as other units arrive, it often changes.”

The county fire department has launched an investigation of the circumstances that led to the injuries.

The local firefighters’ union — representing 56 career staff members — on Wednesday issued a letter that calls on the county board of supervisors to fund more paid positions. The union also wants a “unified rank structure” that would clarify authority at every incident.

“There is a rank structure in Fauquier County, but it’s different from volunteer company to volunteer company and from volunteer company to DFREM (Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management),” Chief Billington said.

One fire engine each from The Plains and Marshall reached the house first after the 8:47 a.m. alarm Sunday, Chief Billington said. The initial response included seven career and volunteer firefighters.

Charles Glaze, the badly injured volunteer’s father, works as a career firefighter in Washington, D.C. Mr. Glaze has praised the training his son has received in Fauquier, according to Chief Billington and local fire officials.

But, a county ordinance that allows minors to enter burning structures will undergo review, Chief Billington said.

“It’s an issue for me,” he said. “Is it a good idea? I don’t know.”

The Virginia Administrative Code says: “Minors 16 and 17 years of age shall not enter a burning structure.”

But, the code provides exceptions for local governments that adopt ordinances allowing minors — with proper training — to fight fires.

Adam Glaze’s training exceeds minimum standards, Chief Billington said. A student in the FHS fire science program, he repeatedly has undergone training in the county’s “burn building” near the landfill just south of Warrenton.

Mr. Glaze on Thursday evening issued a statement, distributed by the county firefighters’ union.

He told members “he was extremely supportive and confident when he signed the release for his son to act as an interior firefighter.”

Mr. Glaze continued: “If anyone wants to address policies, that’s a separate issue, but the training provided by the county high school program to certify my son as a firefighter provided him the ability to survive a situation that could have been fatal. The extremely qualified instructors ensured my son’s survival.”

A four-member team will investigate the circumstances that led to the injuries in The Plains:

• Fauquier Assistant Chief Darren Stevens.

• Catlett Volunteer Fire Chief Kalvyn Smith.

• Virginia Department of Fire Programs Division Chief John Fugman.

• Chief Richard “Dickie” Mabie of Warren County.

That internal investigation report could be ready “in two or three weeks,” said Chief Billington, who pledged that it would be available to the public.

The Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Administration also will conduct an investigation.

“It’s gonna be important to talk about all these issues,” Warrenton Volunteer Fire Chief Sam Myers said. “There are lots of moving parts.”

Meanwhile, a regional brotherhood of firefighters surrounds the Glazer family, Chief Myers added.

“It’s incredible what they do with the D.C. Firefighters Burn Foundation,” he explained. “Volunteer, career, it doesn’t matter. They provide housing, meals, support, whatever . . . . It’s basically the D.C. fire department that supports it.”
By Lawrence Emerson, Editor /

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July 23, 2015
Fire District Commissioner Accused of Stealing $240K - NY

The former head of the Hamlet of Wallkill fire district accused of stealing about $240,000 from the district says he’ll pay it back. He’s reportedly ready to accept a plea agreement to theft charge.

According to the publication Times Herald Record online, Michael Denardo, 38, who was once chairman of the Wallkill Fire District’s Board of Commissioners, allegedly submitted phony invoices, forged a fellow commissioner's signature and cashed a dozen checks.

The news report indicates that Denardo’s next hearing is scheduled for Sept. 15 before and Ulster County judge, but it is not clear when the suspect will accept a plea or when any sentencing might occur.

Denardo, who was demoted from the chairmanship to commissioner has since left the board.

An investigation was launched after a whistleblower tipped off authorities more than a year ago, according to reports.

Residents are wondering how no one noticed the missing money. The scam allegedly spanned from 2010 to 2013. The fire district has an annual budget of more than $500,000 and is required to submit audits with the state and the Town of Shawangunk, but there are no reports on file from 2010 through 2014.

According to the Times Herald Record report, the state’s Comptroller’s office did receive updates on the district’s fund balance from 2010 to 2013 which showed significant reductions, including a loss of $237,414, or nearly 30 percent from 2009 to 2010.
Source: News

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July 23, 2015
Fire truck gets stuck in sinkhole - AZ

(CBS 5 - KPHO)

FOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz. — A fire truck got stuck in a sinkhole Tuesday night.

KPHO reported that a water main break cased the sinkhole. Photos from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office showed the truck's front tires in the hole.

It's not clear where the fire truck was heading when it got stuck.

The rig was removed from the sinkhole and road crews were working to repair the damage Wednesday morning.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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July 23, 2015
Wildland firefighter airlifted after breaking leg - OR

LINN COUNTY, Ore. — Numerous emergency services agencies were needed to rescue a wildland firefighter who had broken his leg Monday evening, according to Linn County Undersheriff Jim Yon.

At 10:10 p.m. Monday, the Linn County Sheriff's Office received a call from the U.S. Forest Service requesting assistance from the county’s Search and Rescue for an injured wildland firefighter.

Michael Lee Burri, 31, from Estacada, sustained a broken leg while working with a 21-person Mount Hood Initial Attack Fire Team that had been fighting a small fire near road 11 off Quartzville road northeast of Sweet Home.
Corvallis Gazette-Times

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July 22, 2015

MOUNT VERNON (WABC) -- Six firefighters were taken to the hospital after battling a fire at a church in Westchester County.

The fire broke out just before 10 a.m. Monday at the Faith Temple Worship Center on South Fulton Avenue in Mount Vernon. Firefighters gained control over the fire by about 11:30 a.m., but it rekindled again just before 2 p.m.

The church is part of a row of businesses that include a deli and a jewelry store. The fire has spread to other businesses, including the deli.

Six firefighters working the fire were taken to the hospital to be treated for heat exhaustion in the morning, and two have since returned to the scene to help with the rekindled fire. Also, the deputy chief suffered an ankle injury at the scene but worked through it.

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July 22, 2015
Lessons Learned:
Several Problems Identified in Houston Fire Tragedy - TX

From left, firefighter EMT Robert Garner, probationary firefighter Anne Sullivan, engineer operator EMT Robert Bebee, and Capt. EMT Matthew Renaud of the Houston Fire Department.
(Photo credit: AP Photo/Houston Fire Department)

The front facade collapsed at 1303 hours striking fire fighters and oficers assigned to the Rescue Group. These members were quickly removed by other fire fighters who picked up the facade and pulled the trapped fire fighters and officers out.
(NIOSH/fire department photo)

HOUSTON (Houston Chronicle) - A federal analysis of a May 2013 fire at the Southwest Inn that killed four Houston firefighters is in "alignment" with earlier local and state reports that cited communication failures and tactics used at the scene of the blaze, Houston Fire Department officials said Monday.

The recently released report, from the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, is intended "to educate not just the Houston Fire Department, but the entire American fire service," HFD officials said in a statement.

The federal investigators noted several factors that contributed to the fire and subsequent loss of life. The fire smoldered for three hours before it was reported to the Houston Fire Department. The construction of the building, heavy winds, personnel accountability, communication problems and a lack of an adequate fire sprinkler system also played a part.

The Houston Professional Firefighters Association said concerns remain about the department's equipment, policies, training and staffing issues more than two years after Capt. Matthew Renaud, 35, engineer operator Robert Bebee, 41, firefighter Robert Garner, 29, and firefighter Anne Sullivan, 24, were killed while battling the blaze inside a restaurant adjoining the hotel at 6855 Southwest Freeway.

"The truth is, we still face staffing shortages, systemic radio failures and other technology problems, an aging fleet and facilities and inconsistent provisions of training," the union said in a statement.

The federal report from the CDC-based agency follows two earlier ones looking into the fire - an internal HFD inquiry and one from the Texas State Fire Marshal's Office.

The most recent investigation also noted issues with the "strategy and tactics" HFD used at the scene. A priority of any fire fighting plan, they said, is to quickly send crews to the back of the blaze - known as the Charlie Side - to make sure the commander has the complete picture of the scene.

But in the case of the Southwest Inn fire, the Charlie Side wasn't manned until 20 minutes after units arrived. Unless there is a risk of human life, fire fighting operations should not begin until a report from the Charlie Side is received, the investigators noted.

"The department did not pre-plan this building based on the risk assessment," the report stated.

The federal investigators also noted problems with the radio system.

The HFD dispatchers switched to a digital radio system about a month earlier. The Southwest Inn fire was the first major incident where the digital radio was used.

An earlier report from the State Fire Marshal's Office also found problems with the city's then-new $138 million digital radio system. State officials said it made communications "difficult if not impossible," hampering the mission to rescue the trapped firefighters.

The CDC investigators noted HFD has been addressing some of the radio problems through changes in hardware, re-programming and re-training.

"This is an ongoing process for the department," the report stated.

The investigators found that high winds that day played a major factor during the fire. It sent smoke billowing across the parking lot where many of the HFD crews were setting up, obscuring their view of the scene. But, they noted HFD has made "numerous changes" in the procedures and tactics need to battle wind-driven fires.

The union urged HFD to "immediately adopt" the 15 recommendations in the federal report.

"More must be done to better and proactively ensure firefighter and public safety," the union said.

HFD officials said they reviewed the report last week with families of the fallen firefighters and those who were injured.

"We did so to fulfill our commitment to never forget and to keep the families as informed as possible," Fire Chief Terry Garrison said in a statement.

NIOSH Report: Houston Southwest Inn Fire

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July 22, 2015

A Collings Lakes Fire Department engine was struck by a vehicle Tuesday afternoon along Route 54 in Buena Borough, State Police said. The accident occurred at about 1:15 p.m., authorities said.

A pickup truck with a mechanical failure swerved and struck the fire truck, which was parked near the roadway by a fire hydrant at the old Library restaurant site, State Police said. No injuries were reported, State Police said.

No further information was available Tuesday evening about the pickup’s driver.

Buena Police, Buena EMS and State Police responded to the scene. Both vehicles were towed, and Route 54 was closed temporarily, State Police said.

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July 22, 2015

Osceola County, FL E-57 on the FL Turnpike MM219 TT vs. Fire engine. No injuries.

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July 22, 2015

Angelo Zapatanga awoke to the piercing sound of screaming on Monday night.It sounded like someone was fighting, he said Tuesday afternoon through a translator, Nestor Rivera. Zapatanga peered out his second-floor window at 141 Fremont Street and saw smoke. A lot of smoke.

Zapatanga escaped safely as flames engulfed the 20-family apartment building, displacing more than 100 people.

The blaze injured 32 firefighters, including eight treated at the hospital, mostly for heat exhaustion, authorities said.

Firefighters returned to the building Tuesday afternoon to douse hot spots.

"It was insane," Rivera said outside the building on Tuesday afternoon.

Rivera, a Peekskill resident, was there to help his brother-in-law, Juan Chuquisala, collect belongings from his second-floor apartment. Rivera said he raced to the scene Monday night.

"The flames were crazy," he said. "I'm surprised it was this bad. But I guess the fire started so quickly."

The city will oppose any attempts to rebuild the three-story structure, the site of three fires since 1985, Mayor Frank Catalina said Tuesday. The apartment house is a legal non-conforming use in the working-class neighborhood, but regulations allow the city to block reconstruction if more than 50 percent of the building is destroyed, the mayor said.

"It's not habitable," Catalina said. "The building was burned down twice before. The homes in the area are two- or three-family and this 20-family monstrosity should not have been rebuilt 10 years ago, in my opinion."

Westchester County and city fire investigators were seeking the cause of Monday's fire, which was first reported at 7:30 p.m.

Fire Chief Bob Fiorio said there was delay in reporting the fire and the flames ended up "completely burning the roof off the structure."

"How long the building was burning until we were called, we don't know," he said. "There was some siding damage to an adjacent building but (firefighters) were able to keep the fire from jumping to that structure."

Catalina said that he had asked the city water superintendent to check on reports of water pressure issues. He said one nearby hydrant hasn't been working for a month and was being replaced. He said other hydrants worked, though it might have taken a few minutes for the pressure to build up.

"There's plenty of pressure," he said. "If there was water pressure problems, it was only for a few minutes."

Johansen agreed, noting he watched firefighters use water guns to spray the flames from ladder trucks.

"From my vantage point, they had adequate water," he said.

The building was home to many Spanish-speaking immigrants, who were assisted with food, diapers and other services by the city and the American Red Cross, officials said.The Peekskill school district opened its middle school for use as a shelter and a place where residents could register for housing assistance.

An estimated 106 people lived in the building, with 84 people from 18 families getting assistance through the Red Cross, volunteer Carolyn Sherwin said Tuesday.

She estimated 40 people — including children — spent the night at the middle school, where the cafeteria is serving meals. She said many residents in the city offered their homes for those displaced. Those not at the shelter stayed with family and friends, she said.

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July 22, 2015
Firefighters suffer minor injuries in blaze at Staten Island motel - NY

Early morning fire in the Midland Motor Inn injures 4 firefighters and 1 resident.
(Video by Irving Silverstein)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A civilian and four firefighters suffered minor injuries in a fire that burned through a three-story Midland Beach motel early Wednesday morning.

About 138 members of the FDNY and EMS responded to the blaze, which was reported at 1:07 a.m. at Midland Motor Inn, located at 630 Midland Ave.

An employee who declined to give his name said that the fire started in a second-floor room occupied by two women.

The employee said he grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried to put out the blaze himself, but the flames spread too quickly. He pulled a fire alarm and then ran through the motel, knocking on doors to make sure everyone evacuated.

Some of the motel's occupants said they did not hear smoke detectors or alarms sound, but the employee said they were operational.

The fire was brought under control at 3:05 a.m., according to an FDNY spokesman.

EMS treated a civilian at the scene, who declined further medical attention, but four firefighters were taken to a hospital with minor injuries, the spokesman said.
By Maura Grunlund |

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July 22, 2015
Bankruptcy Judge: Calif. City May Outsource Fire Department - CA

RIVERSIDE -- Nothing in the city charter prevents San Bernardino from outsourcing its Fire Department, a federal bankruptcy judge ruled Wednesday in a blow to the fire union that its attorneys immediately said they would appeal.

The ruling clears the way for the city's plans to replace city firefighters -- plans that have been underway for months with the San Bernardino County Fire Department and the private firm Centerra submitting bids to provide fire service, and which the city counted on to save $7 million to $10 million a year in its bankruptcy exit plan filed in May.

It's a limited ruling, because U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Jury said attorneys may be able to convince her later that state law requires the city to go through a formal "meet and confer" process with union officials before outsourcing, but it clearly -- and unsurprisingly -- went against the union, said fire union attorney Corey Glave.

"This is not unexpected," Glave told the judge after she gave a tentative ruling and invited him to argue against it. "This has been an anti-labor case from the beginning and it continues as such."

Jury responded: "I don't buy that, but go ahead."

There are several parts of the city charter that the fire union alleges requires the city to have a Fire Department composed of city employees.

The union was backed up by a city attorney's opinion from 1991, when James F. Penman was in office, advising that the charter did not permit outsourcing the police or fire departments. That was countered by an opinion current City Attorney Gary Saenz wrote after the outsourcing move had already begun, asserting the opposite.

Saenz's extremely recent opinion shouldn't be a factor, Jury said, and even Penman's opinion written before the current controversy was more like a lawyer's advice to a client than a neutral finding such as an attorney general's opinion, she also said.

"Quite frankly, almost none," she said of the influence city attorney opinions had on her decision. "I know that case law says I'm to give them (city attorney opinions) weight unless they're 'clearly erroneous.' I guess I think it's a flawed analysis of the law (to say the charter prohibits outsourcing), and if that makes it clearly erroneous, if that's the words I'm supposed to say, I find it clearly erroneous."

Among the charter provisions that the union said imply there must be an in-house Fire Department are requirements that there be a fire chief and as many other employees as the city finds appropriate and outlining how city officials supervise the Fire Department.

Jury said there's no such thing as an "implied" restriction in a city charter.

"Unless something is specifically prohibited by the charter, a city may do it," she said.

There's also the much-discussed requirement (reaffirmed by voters in 2014) that police and firefighters be paid the average of what 10 like-sized cities pay, something Glave said the city was trying to "circumvent" by staffing its Fire Department with people who aren't city employees.

There's nothing inconsistent about having a fire chief who supervises contract employees, according to the city's bankruptcy attorney, Paul Glassman, who noted that he and the rest of the city's bankruptcy team are an example of contract employees who work for someone within the city (the city attorney, who is elected).

Outside of court, Glave criticized the city for not specifying in its request for proposals that the outside agencies being asked to run the department would in fact be subject to management by city employees.

"I'll be interested to see who agrees to that," he said.

Glave and the fire union's other attorney said they are evaluating how best to move forward with an appeal.

City staff are still working with a consultant, Citygate Associates, to evaluate the proposals by county fire and the private firm Centerra, city spokeswoman Monica Lagos said Wednesday.

It will probably be August when staff members ask the City Council to approve going forward with an outsourcing contract with one of them, she said.

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July 21, 2015
Ambulance Flips on Side in Philadelphia Crash - PA

A Fire Department ambulance flipped on its side Monday when it was involved in a crash with a van in North Philadelphia.

The crash happened at Hunting Park Avenue and Fox Street shortly before 8 a.m. Monday.

The circumstances of the crash weren't immediately clear but the accident sent the ambulance onto its side and left the front of the van badly damaged.

The Philadelphia Fire Department said several people were taken to area hospitals after the crash but further details weren't available.

At least one paramedic appeared to be among those receiving medical treatment.

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July 21, 2015
Car parked in front of hydrant gives firefighters problems - IN

INDIANAPOLIS — A parked car was causing problems for firefighters as a house down the block was engulfed in flames.

The fire happened in the 2400 block of Guilford Avenue Tuesday morning. Investigators said the owner woke up and escaped just before fire got worse. They don’t know the cause at this time.

Overcoming the flames wasn’t their only obstacle for firefighters. The first crew on the scene entered Guilford Avenue from the north and didn’t see any hydrants. So they dropped their hoses in front of the house and continued down the block to look for one. They found a hydrant but a new problem was getting in their way.

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July 19, 2015
Information passed along
Understanding Modern Fire Behavior Can Save Lives (FHExpo)

BALTIMORE Md. – Fire is like gravity, it follows laws of physics which means there is no such thing as extreme fire behavior. It’s more likely fire behavior the observer never previously experienced.

Robin Zevotek, P.E., a Research Engineer III at Underwriters Laboratories (UL), gave a presentation at Firehouse Expo Thursday entitled “Modern Fire Behavior, Today’s Fire Environment.” In his presentation he explained that today’s fires burn much hotter and faster than fires of yesterday, but they still burn the same way.

Firefighters who fought legacy fires, with legacy furniture in homes made of heavy building materials had much more time to attack the fire which typically burns slower, Zevotek said. Additionally, most firefighters had very little schooling in fire behavior.

Zevotek pointed out that firefighters with Level I and Level II certification have only a total of three hours of fire behavior and that covers everything including fire extinguisher use and the fire tetrohedon.

“How many of you had high school teachers who only used a textbook and never handed out a pamphlet or used a video as extra material,” Zevotek questioned. No one responded affirmatively.

He pointed out, however, the two most popular books used for firefighter certification were written by firefighters and have been in use for decades. Research is part was part of the publishing process, but it wasn’t a big component.

“We really need to take a hard look at where we get our information from,” Zevotek said, adding that education needs to be supported by research like the kind that UL performs.

Zevotek said UL now has five people dedicated to doing research that will help protect firefighters now and in the future. Fortunately, UL’s mission to keep people safe in their homes and the work place and for firefighters, homes are often the work place during fires, he said.

“So, it’s not too much of a jump for us to do both,” he said.

UL’s research has shown that modern fires burn much faster than legacy fires and, consequently, firefighter fatalities are increasing proportionally.

In the late 1970s, there were 1.8 traumatic deaths per 100,000 fires compared to three deaths per 100,000 fires in the late 2000s, Zevotek said, adding that the number of fires has actually decreased by 53 percent in the same time.

Today’s homes are larger with more open space and engineered lumber which is a recipe for fast moving fires, he said, noting that the homes are also filled with synthetic materials, like kids toys and plastic laced furniture.

The additional space, not only in square footage, but in construction void spaces, allows more oxygen to enter the fires and burn hotter and faster, he said. And, the open concept designs means there’s less drywall or Sheetrock to act as fire barriers, he added.

Building fires can now go from inception to flashover in less than 15 minutes, much less in some cases, Zevotek said, noting that the average response time is about eight minutes in the US. That gives firefighters sometimes just seconds to get a knock on a fire and put it out. Fires in legacy homes grow much slower and can go for almost 30 minutes before flashing, he said.

Zevotek also spoke of the importance of knowing about fire flows and predicting where and when they’ll happen, and most importantly, staying out of them.

He also gave a primer on how turnout gear works to keep firefighters safe and to give them more time to battle fire – which is important given the reduced time afforded by modern materials and modern construction designs.

As a former firefighter himself, Zevotek said he wishes he had the knowledge he has today because it would have helped him do his job better.

“If I knew where I could go and how long I could stay, that would have made a huge difference in how I fought fire,” Zevotek said.

He stressed the importance of controlling oxygen flow to a fire and knowing when to vent and when not to vent. Keeping the front door two-thirds closed after making entry to a burning building will help control the fire flow coming back to the front door and injuring firefighters. He cautioned about the need to keep someone at the front door to make sure the door stays partly closed.

“We all know what happens when we put a two and half gate at the door, it gets closed,” Zevotek said.

Mismanaging or incorrectly predicting fire flow can spell disaster not only for victims and firefighters, but for the property as well, he said, adding that firefighters should experiment with fire flows the next time they get an acquired structure to burn.

“You can burn down a structure really nicely if you try,” Zevotek quipped. Firefighters with axes that randomly take out window or police officers trying to break windows with their batons looking for victims can raise havoc on fire flows.

“That’s why it is critically important to have a coordinated ventilation where everyone works together,” Zevotek said. Zevotek stressed the importance of education and trusting the sources of information. The fire service has lots of people who teach lots of things and not all of it is backed by research and some is just opinion.

“You need to have an understanding of what you are doing before you do it,” he said. “I am not telling you to do away with your truck companies or never go into a burning building. I am telling you to know what you’re doing before you do it.”

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July 19, 2015
Drones Delayed North Fire Response - CA

Drones forced the landing of planes deployed to fight the so-called North Fire in southern California that burned cars and homes along the 15 Freeway Friday, delaying response to the frightening blaze, officials said.

All air units not only pulled back from the fire because of the drones, but all five were forced to touch back down at the airport in San Bernardino after jettisoning their loads, John Miller of the U.S. Forest Service said.

The drones can pose a hazard to the planes, so the airspace must be closed to fixed-wing aircraft if they are seen in the air.

"It can kill our firefighters in the air ... They can strike one of these things and one of our aircraft could go down, killing the firefighters in the air. This is serious to us. It is a serious, not only life threat, not only to our firefighters in the air, but when we look at the vehicles that were overrun by fire, it was definitely a life-safety threat to the motorists on Interstate 15," said John Miller of U.S. Forest Service,

Five drones were initially spotted over the fire, which consumed five homes and more than a dozen cars as motorists frantically fled on foot through the Cajon Pass.

Two drones actually gave chase to air units, and the incident delayed response by about 15 to 20 minutes, according to Battalion Chief Marc Peebles of San Bernardino County Fire Department.

When asked if the delay contributed to the fire jumping the 15 Freeway, Peebles said “It definitely contributed to it.”

Drones appearing overhead have become a growing concern as fire crews try to battle wildfires during the busy season across Southern California.

Similar incidents occurred during the fight to contain the massive Lake Fire and others.

As of 10:30 p.m., the fire, near Phelan, had grown to 3,500 acres and was just 5 percent contained.
By Robert Kovacik and Kelly Goff /

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July 19, 2015
Lessons Learned:
Firefighter recounts when tree fell on him - CA

For a seasonal firefighter, it was a fairly routine day — a hot, lengthy hike up Case Mountain near Three Rivers and putting out a small, brush fire.

All that was left to do in the early evening of July 3 was for CAL FIRE firefighters and the inmate firefighters working with them to "mop up," putting out hot spots and stripping bark from the burnt remains of trees to make sure no fire still was smoldering remained inside.

That's what CAL FIRE firefighter Damien Pereira was doing "When I heard the worst sound you could ever hear. The only way I could explain it is you know when a board snaps? It's like that board being several thousand pounds.

"It made the ground shake. You could literally feel it in the air," said Pereira, who knew instantly from the sound that the trunk of a tree somewhere behind him had snapped, and without looking back he knew he had to run away.

But a pile of burned trees on one side of him and heavy brush on his other side allowed him only one direction to run, and he hardly had taken two steps when the oak tree fell on him.

"The first place it hit me was my head, and then it crushed me like nothing."

Pinned under the tree, Pereira said he couldn't move, and could barely breath, as a portion of his chest was crushed. "It was the most powerless I've felt in my entire life."

"I could barely manage the words, 'Get this [expletive] tree off of me,'" he recounted Thursday from the bed of his hospital room at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.

Two of his buddies and fellow firefighters, Kevin Potts and Joe Willingham did just that, coming to his aid in just about a half minute and managing to lift the tree high enough to get it off Pereira's chest, likely saving his life.

Pereira's legs were pinned under the tree, and the firefighters used chain saws to cut away a section of the tree to free him.

The tree also fell on two inmate firefighters who had been working nearby, but they weren't injured as seriously as Pereira. They were briefly hospitalized and have since returned to their inmate firefighting unit.

Though he didn't know extent of his injuries, Pereira said he couldn't feel his legs and figured he had spinal damage. From the color of blood he was coughing up, he figured one of lungs was punctured.

But as urgently as he needed to get to a hospital, getting him there proved to be a slow process.

The fire had occurred in such a steep, remote part of Case Mountain, that it had taken a couple of hours to drive fire engines close enough that hose could be laid from the engines to the fire.

Even then, the fire crews had to lay about 2,400 feet of house, with each firefighter having to hike uphill in rocky terrain for about 35 minutes while carrying and wearing about 100 pounds in firefighting gear, heat-resistant uniforms and sections of hose.

With ground transport not an option and no place to land a helicopter nearby, it took a couple of tries to get a helicopter sent to the scene with the right equipment to lift out and transport Pereira, whose injuries had left him fragile.

"The whole time they were spraying water on me because I kept getting burns on my side — because the ground was so hot."

Pereira finally ended up on a backboard in a basket with two paramedics dangling from a cable 50 feet or more under a helicopter, which flew them to the Three Rivers Golf Course where a helicopter ambulance was waiting to transport him to Fresno.

He said he was grateful to get to the hospital and receive pain medication, as "I was in a lot of pain. I was going on three or four hours now — fully conscious."

CAL FIRE launched an investigation into what caused the tree to fall. While those findings haven't yet been released, Pereira said he was told that the 48-foot tall tree didn't snap at its base but rather at a point a dozen feet up the trunk.

He said officials believe that a burning ember drifted into a hole in the tree and started a fire inside.

"It so high, nobody saw the smoke," Pereira said, adding that even though the tree was healthy and green — despite the Valley's current drought — only six inches of its interior burned until the trunk snapped under its own weight and fell.

"It was a big [expletive] tree," the firefighter said, adding that oak is a particularly heavy wood.
David Castellon,

Please buckle your seat belt

July 19, 2015
Avondale fire: 'No evidence there was a gunfight' - OH


There is no evidence of a shooting endangering firefighters in Avondale early Sunday morning, the City of Cincinnati said Sunday afternoon, contradicting the Fire Department's statement earlier in the day.

The update came seven hours after the Cincinnati Fire Department issued a news release saying gunfire had broken out shortly after firefighters' arrival, with a bullet grazing one firefighter's helmet and "narrowly missing several others." In all, 55 firefighters responded to a structure fire around midnight in a vacant two-story building in the 500 block of Carplin Place.

The firefighter's helmet could have been struck by shrapnel or something else projected out of the fire, city spokesman Rocky Merz said Sunday afternoon.

"It appears something was coming out of the fire," Merz said. "There is no evidence there was a gunfight or there was a shooting."

The firefighters were battling a big fire and could have easily mistaken something else projected from the fire as bullets, he said. A video posted to YouTube shows flames erupting from the roof of the building.

Merz said the police department's forensic teams will examine the evidence, including the firefighter's helmet and the scene, to determine what really happened. The police department will have a clearer idea what occurred in one or two days, Merz said.

That investigation wasn't evident at the fire scene Sunday. Around 10 a.m., the scene showed no activity. There was no crime scene tape or indication that anything had occurred besides the fire earlier in the day.

Merz said the forensic team would still be able to determine what happened, even if there is very little evidence, because of its training.

"This is what they do," Merz said. "They are able to determine what most likely happened."

The firefighter, whose name has not been released, was not injured. The fire caused about $80,000 in damage to the building.

The cause is under investigation, the fire department said.

Sunday morning, before Merz's statement, District 3 Chief Rob McWilliams told The Enquirer that shootings are always in the back of firefighters' minds as they do their job.

"There are so many shootings going on," McWilliams said. "That thought is there. That possibility is always there. The areas that we work -- there's a lot of that going on."

McWilliams said firefighters usually do feel safe doing their job. Whenever there is an incident, police officers go into the building first.

No one lived in the building at the time of the fire, but squatters are known to inhabit it, according to the fire department.
Emilie Eaton and Rebecca Butts,

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July 19, 2015
Baltimore City Paramedic Nicholas Hemingway Dies After Becoming Ill on Duty - MD

(The Last Call - RIP)

A young city paramedic died Friday after becoming ill while on duty a few days earlier, according to the chief of a volunteer fire department where the paramedic also served.

Nicholas Hemingway, who was assigned to a medic unit at the Liberty Heights fire station in Baltimore, was hospitalized after going into cardiac arrest while at work on Tuesday, according to Randy S. Kuenzli, chief of the Bladesnburg Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad. Hemingway, who was 23, had reported feeling sick to his stomach earlier that day, the chief said.

A spokesman for the Baltimore city fire department confirmed a member of the department had died, but said he had no further information to provide. Hemingway's death was announced on the Facebook pages of union locals representing Baltimore firefighters and fire officers. Arrangements were incomplete, they said.

Hemingway served previously with volunteer fire companies in Montgomery and Prince George's counties before joining the Bladensburg department about 2 1/2 years ago, Kuenzli said. He said Hemingway lived for a while in the fire station there before moving to Baltimore to begin the fire academy.

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July 17, 2015
Bankruptcy judge: San Bernardino may outsource Fire Department - CA

RIVERSIDE >> Nothing in the city charter prevents San Bernardino from outsourcing its Fire Department, a federal bankruptcy judge ruled Wednesday in a blow to the fire union that its attorneys immediately said they would appeal.

The ruling clears the way for the city’s plans to replace city firefighters — plans that have been underway for months with the San Bernardino County Fire Department and the private firm Centerra submitting bids to provide fire service, and which the city counted on to save $7 million to $10 million a year in its bankruptcy exit plan filed in May.

It’s a limited ruling, because U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Jury said attorneys may be able to convince her later that state law requires the city to go through a formal “meet and confer” process with union officials before outsourcing, but it clearly — and unsurprisingly — went against the union, said fire union attorney Corey Glave.

“This is not unexpected,” Glave told the judge after she gave a tentative ruling and invited him to argue against it. “This has been an anti-labor case from the beginning and it continues as such.”

Jury responded: “I don’t buy that, but go ahead.”

There are several parts of the city charter that the fire union alleges requires the city to have a Fire Department composed of city employees.

The union was backed up by a city attorney’s opinion from 1991, when James F. Penman was in office, advising that the charter did not permit outsourcing the police or fire departments. That was countered by an opinion current City Attorney Gary Saenz wrote after the outsourcing move had already begun, asserting the opposite.

Saenz’s extremely recent opinion shouldn’t be a factor, Jury said, and even Penman’s opinion written before the current controversy was more like a lawyer’s advice to a client than a neutral finding such as an attorney general’s opinion, she also said.

“Quite frankly, almost none,” she said of the influence city attorney opinions had on her decision. “I know that case law says I’m to give them (city attorney opinions) weight unless they’re ‘clearly erroneous.’ I guess I think it’s a flawed analysis of the law (to say the charter prohibits outsourcing), and if that makes it clearly erroneous, if that’s the words I’m supposed to say, I find it clearly erroneous.”

Among the charter provisions that the union said imply there must be an in-house Fire Department are requirements that there be a fire chief and as many other employees as the city finds appropriate and outlining how city officials supervise the Fire Department.

Jury said there’s no such thing as an “implied” restriction in a city charter.

“Unless something is specifically prohibited by the charter, a city may do it,” she said.

There’s also the much-discussed requirement (reaffirmed by voters in 2014) that police and firefighters be paid the average of what 10 like-sized cities pay, something Glave said the city was trying to “circumvent” by staffing its Fire Department with people who aren’t city employees.

There’s nothing inconsistent about having a fire chief who supervises contract employees, according to the city’s bankruptcy attorney, Paul Glassman, who noted that he and the rest of the city’s bankruptcy team are an example of contract employees who work for someone within the city (the city attorney, who is elected).

Outside of court, Glave criticized the city for not specifying in its request for proposals that the outside agencies being asked to run the department would in fact be subject to management by city employees.

“I’ll be interested to see who agrees to that,” he said.

Glave and the fire union’s other attorney said they are evaluating how best to move forward with an appeal.

City staff are still working with a consultant, Citygate Associates, to evaluate the proposals by county fire and the private firm Centerra, city spokeswoman Monica Lagos said Wednesday.

It will probably be August when staff members ask the City Council to approve going forward with an outsourcing contract with one of them, she said.
By Ryan Hagen, The Sun

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July 17, 2015
Mt Vernon firehouse 'closure' a political hot button - NY

MOUNT VERNON – Mayor Ernie Davis is calling the temporary, unofficial closing of the Fulton Street firehouse on Tuesday a publicity stunt coordinated by his political opponents and “rogue” fire union members.

But two candidates looking to unseat Davis in a crowded Democratic Party mayoral primary said an understaffed department led to an unmanned station that put the city in harm’s way.

Councilman Richard Thomas and union officials held a press conference at the by-then-open firehouse on Wednesday, a day after he had sent the media photos showing two hand-painted signs adorning the front of the building saying the station was closed and urging people to call the mayor.

Davis said the situation was choreographed. If the lights were turned out, he said, it wasn't an administration decision.

“The firehouse was not closed,” he said. “It’s as simple as that. Somebody’s playing unholy games.”

Thomas said the cause for alarm was real. The department has more than 100 members but has as few as 17 personnel on duty at a given time. Even now that the firehouse is reopened, a stretched-thin staff has meant the city is relying too much on neighboring departments for aid, Thomas said.

"The dilemma is if we have one fire and another breaks out, it will be a completely different fire brigade from another town fighting that fire," he said. "Indirectly they are picking up the tab for Mount Vernon."

The question of whether Mount Vernon is asking too much of its neighbors has pitted Davis against some union members from the city and neighboring Yonkers. Davis said more than a dozen department members out on long-term disability, short-term sickness and summer vacations could lead to overtime. Although the city budgeted for more positions, he said the city is still in the process of assessing its actual needs.

Former Mayor Clinton Young, who is looking to take back his seat from Davis, said he felt the firehouse only reopened because of the scrutiny on the closure.

Young also denied anyone was exaggerating the city's public safety issues.

"That is the No. 1 responsibility of the mayor to keep the city safe," he said.

Young questioned why the city budgeted for department positions and then left them unfulfilled for more than half a year.

The Mount Vernon primary set for Thursday, Sept. 10 has six candidates. In addition to Davis, Young and Thomas, state Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, city Comptroller Maureen Walker and Councilwoman Deborah Reynolds are also running.
Mark Lungariello,

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July 17, 2015
Lessons Learned:
The Dangers of Fire Smoke

The old idiom “where there is smoke, there is fire” insinuates that when something looks amiss, real trouble isn’t far behind. But what this timeworn saying fails to convey is that smoke is not just something to be wary of, but is very dangerous in its own right. In my more than 25 years of fire service experience, I have learned all too well that smoke is often a constant, troublesome aspect of every fire; where there is fire, there is always smoke and where there’s smoke, there are usually toxic gases lurking.1

In 2012, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,375,000 fires, resulting in 2,855 civilian fire fatalities, 83 percent of which were a result of fires in the home.2 The leading cause of death in a residential fire is not burn injuries, but smoke inhalation. In fact, a 2011 study by the National Fire Protection Association shows an 8-to-1 ratio of smoke inhalation to burns for home fire deaths.3

While this may seem surprising, when considering the material that burns in a structure fire -insulation, fiberglass, plastic – the possibility of increased losses due to smoke inhalation doesn’t seem so farfetched. As computers, couches, refrigerators, cleaning supplies and other products burn, toxic gases are released into the air: hydrogen cyanide, vinyl chloride, polyvinyl chloride, formaldehyde, and oxides of nitrogen, to name a few.

As many of you know, in the event of a fire, oxygen levels decrease and the environment can be expected to contain high levels of carbon monoxide and a host of other toxins.1 As firefighters, we are trained to be on the lookout for carbon monoxide poisoning, noting symptoms including headaches, nausea and drowsiness. Exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide can be fatal, but what is often overlooked is the presence of cyanide. While many associate cyanide with chemical weapons and HazMat scenarios, research has shown that cyanide is a significant contributor to the thousands of deaths related to fire each year.4,5 Together, carbon monoxide and cyanide - the “toxic twins” - create a deadly chemical asphyxiant.

In the U.S. there are 12.4 fire deaths per million people each year, which is higher than Germany (6.3), the United Kingdom (7.6), France (9.8), Canada (10.7) and the international average of 10.7. 6 These data highlight the importance of making sure that our fire service men and women have the right resources and training to recognize and treat both carbon monoxide and cyanide poisoning. Education and awareness is the first step towards saving more lives.

While we still do not know cyanide’s exact contribution to fire-related fatalities, we do know it is an important factor. Studies have shown that in fire smoke, hydrogen cyanide can be up to 35 times more toxic than carbon monoxide7, a perceived rarity that can cause severe injury or death within minutes.5,7,8 In a review of major fires over a 19-year period, cyanide was found at toxic-to-lethal levels in the blood of approximately 33 percent to 87 percent of fatalities.9

Knowing that cyanide is a contributor is important because it is not often discussed as an important factor in fire-related deaths. Smoke inhalation is deadly and complicated, and the better we can understand it, the more lives we can save. I encourage all fire service men and women, as well as the general public, to better educate themselves on smoke inhalation. While determining a diagnosis of cyanide poisoning is a challenge—as unlike carbon monoxide—there is no readily available test for the presence of cyanide within victims, knowing that cyanide poisoning is a possible outcome of smoke inhalation will hopefully lead to more life-saving awareness.10 If just one victim, firefighter or civilian can be saved by bringing this dangerous issue to the forefront, then we’ve done our job.

I invite you to visit the Fire Smoke Coalition for more information at

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July 17, 2015
Body Cam Video Shows San Diego Firefighter Stabbing - CA

The short video shows suspect Ryan Allen Jones lunging and stabbing San Diego Fire-Rescue Department firefighters Benjamin Vernon and Alex Wallbrett during a medical call in downtown San Diego on June 24

In a preliminary hearing on July 17, 2015, prosecutors played a slowed-down version of a body camera video that shows suspect Ryan Allen Jones attacking and stabbing San Diego Fire-Rescue Department firefighters on June 24, 2015. (Published Friday, Jul 17, 2015)

A preliminary hearing for a man accused of stabbing two San Diego Fire-Rescue Department firefighters brought witnesses to the stand on July 17, 2015. Prosecutors shared a short video of the attack. NBC 7's Elena Gomez reports. (Published Friday, Jul 17, 2015)

Jarring video showing a man stabbing two San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) firefighters was shown in a courtroom Friday during a preliminary hearing for the accused attacker.

The short, 10-second clip – captured on a body camera worn by a security guard for the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) – shows the chaotic moments when suspect Ryan Allen Jones, 34, lunged at firefighters Benjamin Vernon, 37, and his partner, Alex Wallbrett, 32, on June 24 in East Village in downtown San Diego.

Several other firefighters and security guards can be seen rushing to the aid of the wounded firefighters while a guard yells out, “Cover now! Cover now! Cover now!” The violent encounter with Jones happened while Vernon and Wallbrett were on duty responding to a medical call at a public transit station in East Village.

When officials arrived at the transit stop, Jones allegedly tried to interfere as they worked. After officials pushed Jones away, he became enraged, pulled out a knife and charged at Vernon. Wallbrett rushed to his partner’s aid and was also stabbed.

Vernon suffered two stabs wound and a collapsed lung while Wallbrett sustained stab wounds. Both firefighters survived the attack and were hospitalized.

Upon being released from the hospital, Vernon and Wallbrett said they were “damn proud” to work for SDFD despite the traumatic event. Both men said they looked forward to returning to work.

At least eight witnesses were slated to take the stand at Jones’ preliminary hearing, which was expected to last much of Friday.

The first witness was MTS security guard Angel Garcia, who was assigned to the Park and Imperial transit stop downtown on the day of the attack. He said he was called to assist an intoxicated man and Jones was at the scene trying to calm down that man.

The guard said he asked Jones to back away from the man so guards could call in medical help. After several requests, Jones allegedly refused to step back.

Garcia said his partner then called for medical assistance and firefighters arrived. Garcia said firefighters also asked Jones to step back, but again, he refused to listen.

Garcia said a fire captain and his MTS partner pushed Jones back, and Jones tripped and fell over a bench. When he got up, Garcia said Jones began throwing punches and then lunged towards Vernon and Wallbrett, who were standing nearby.

Jones faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted. Vernon and Wallbrett are expected to testify in the preliminary hearing Friday afternoon.
By Monica Garske and Elena Gomez /

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July 17, 2015
Fire police officer dies of cardiac arrest - PA

(The Last Call - RIP)

CODORUS, Pa. — A fire police officer Melissa Doll died Thursday after suffering a cardiac arrest.

The U.S. Fire Administration reported that Melissa "Missy" Doll, 41, with the Jefferson (Pa.) Volunteer Fire Department, responded to a mutual aid structure fire Wednesday. She suffered an apparent cardiac arrest yesterday and succumbed to her injuries.

She was a 20-year fire service veteran.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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July 17, 2015
Information passed along
Firefighters give vacation time to fellow worker battling disease - NM

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (KRQE) – A group of New Mexico firefighters are coming together to help one of their own and they’re giving up something a lot of people wouldn’t.

“It killed my heart, really,'” said Los Alamos Firefighter Matt Williams.

For Matt Williams, the Los Alamos Fire Department means everything. He’s worked as a firefighter for nearly 20 years. Fifteen of those years was at Los Alamos.

“Every sense of the word service. To be there to help and to give,” said Williams.

“He embodies everything as a firefighter,” said Los Alamos Fire Department Deputy Chief Justin Grider.

In September 2014, Williams’ career came to a screeching halt.

“I woke up and I couldn’t move. It was total paralysis,” said Willaims.

The once healthy firefighter suddenly couldn’t do the simplest things.

“If I tried to get out of bed, I fell out and then once I was on the floor it took me several hours to crawl to where my phone was to get it,” he said.

Williams was about a year shy of retirement when he was diagnosed with Neuromyelitis Optica, a rare relapsing autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the optic nerve and spinal cord.

He was hospitalized and bound to a wheelchair for about two months.

He is now recovering and using a cane to get around, but he still can’t work full time.

“Devastating is the only word I can think of,” said Williams.

“I know the pain he is going through and he has a lot to give still and that’s why we are doing everything we can to help him along,” said Deputy Chief Grider.

Nearly 140 people of the 150 people who work for the Los Alamos Fire Department are giving Williams some of their vacation time. Their goal is to help him make it to his October retirement date.

“I can’t even put words to it,” said Williams.

Williams said this isn’t how he envisioned leaving his crew, who he calls his brothers, but he said he is thankful for the time they had together.

“These guys are giving me the rest of my life,” he said.

Williams was a firefighter in Espanola before he moved to Los Alamos in 2001.

Right now he’s on desk duty, working part time.
By Emily Younger /

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July 17, 2015
Firefighter Hurt During Lake Worth Cliff Rescue - TX

LAKE WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A firefighter was hurt early Friday morning while rescuing a man who fell about 40 feet down an embankment at Lake Worth. It happened at about 6:00 a.m. in the 8300 block of Cahoba Drive, on the east shore of the lake.

Emergency crews with the Fort Worth Fire Department and MedStar were trying to reach the 26-year-old man and get him back up to the land above. The man was reportedly hiking with a woman in the dark when he slipped down a steep slope. This was not along any designated walking path.

The victim was originally said to be in critical condition, unconscious with multiple fractures. He was carried to Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth by air ambulance. Officials have now stated that, despite his numerous injuries, the man is expected to survive. He was released from the hospital later Friday morning. His name has not been released.

During the cliff rescue efforts, one firefighter fell about 12 feet and suffered a broken ankle while trying to reach for the equipment being used to retrieve the fall victim along rough terrain. MedStar took him to Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth as well for treatment. He, too, was released from the hospital later Friday morning.

“The hard part is getting out, especially when you have a patient who’s injured,” said Kyle Clay with the Fort Worth Fire Department. “If you can imagine picking up 200 pounds and climbing a hill with four other people, it’s hard to do. That is what they were trying to do, get up the hill, and one of the firefighters slipped and fell.”

The firefighter was later identified as Lt. David Klemencic, a 23-year veteran of the Fort Worth Fire Department. Both patients had to first be removed from the scene by boat. They came ashore at the Cahoba boat ramp, located off to the southwest of where the fall took place.

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July 17, 2015
County withholds 2 fire departments' funds for more than a year - VA

ISLE OF WIGHT, Va. — No relief is coming to two groups of first responders whose funding has been cut by county leaders.

"Our efforts should really be concentrated on helping our fellow citizens and not worried about whether or not we are going to be able to pay the bills," said Chief Joel Acree, with the Carrollton Fire Department. Chief Acree says that the trouble for his, and the Windsor Fire Department, started when the county leaders presented them with a new service agreement.

"Some of the particulars that were in there that restricted the use of things we actually bought as volunteers, so we actually sounded the alarm then, pardon the pun, that we weren't being listened to, that the elected officials weren't listening to us and obviously the staff wasn't either," Acree said.

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July 16, 2015
Detroit Police Investigate EMT’s Refusal to Help Baby - MI

DETROIT (WDIV) - When 8-month-old I’Nayah Wright-Trussell stopped breathing in a Detroit home on May 30, her mother frantically called 911 for help. But it didn’t come fast enough to save her life. The child died a day later.

So what went wrong? Local 4 has obtained documents and audio transcripts of conversations between the 911 dispatcher and an emergency medical technician who is accused of refusing to help.

According to an internal write-up by the Detroit Fire Department, an ambulance named Medic 51 and a rapid response SUV, named Romeo 33, were dispatched.

Rapid response SUVs, which are outfitted to carry emergency medical equipment like ambulances, were implemented by the city to help cut down response times.

When she stopped breathing, I’Nayah was on an oxygen machine because of complications from a premature birth.

Medic 51: “Copy that. We’re en route. Right now we have 17-minute estimated time of arrival and we have got -- we are getting pounded by rain at the moment in traffic.”

EMT Ann Marie Thomas and her partner were in Romeo 33, right down the street from the scene.

Thomas: “Thirty-three is in position on Pembroke, around the corner from the scene.”

But before the SUV responds, Thomas asks the dispatcher when the ambulance and police will get there.

Time ticks by, and the dispatcher grows more anxious with Romeo 33.

911: “Uh, Romeo 33? Updated information that the child is not breathing. The baby was hooked up to an oxygen machine because it was premature. Romeo 33?”

The computer-aided dispatch record says Thomas “will not make the scene w/o SCT.” Thomas wanted a police car there before she responded.

911: “Romeo 33?”

Romeo 33: “Thirty-three. We copy that. You got ETA on transporting unit?”

Medic 51: “Fifteen minutes, sir.”

911: “Fifteen minutes, Romeo 33.”

Dispatch continues to reach out to Thomas, but she doesn’t answer.

911: “Romeo 33?”

Thomas then calls her supervisor on a cellphone.

Thomas: “Dispatch is not letting us go in position on this run.”

Supervisor: “What do you have?”

Thomas: “It’s a baby not breathing, no scout available. I’m not about to be on no scene 10 minutes doing CPR. You know how these families get.”

To get Thomas on the radio and on the record, the supervisor tells her to call him on a private channel.

In the meantime, the ambulance reports that it’s stuck in traffic.

Medic 51: “Fifty-one, our ETA is about 12 minutes, but we’re on the freeway and it’s downpouring right now. There’s traffic everywhere.”

The supervisor asks dispatch is there are any safety concerns called in about the scene.

He’s told that it's I’Nayah and her mother.

The supervisor gives Thomas a direct order.

Supervisor: “Thirty-three, I’m going to need you to make that scene. I’m going to be en route here, if the scene starts to -- if you feel uncomfortable once you’ve made patient contact, then you can clear the scene, but you’re going to have to make patient contact.”

No answer from Thomas.

The order is given again.

Supervisor: “I’m going to need you to make the scene. If the scene is hostile, if the scene turns hostile, clear the scene. You’re going to have to make patient contact.”

The dispatcher gives another update.

911: “Romeo 33, Medic 51, be advised CPR is being performed on your scene. Romeo 33, Medic 51, CPR is being performed by the baby’s mother.”

Thomas: “Thirty-three. Fifty-one is still giving a 12-minute ETA.”

Supervisor: “Ma’am, you have to make contact with your patient. There’s nothing in the comments that state you have a hostile scene. You have to make contact with your patient.”

Records show that it took Thomas seven minutes to get to the scene, but she sat in the SUV with her partner for another nine minutes.

Thomas finally goes into the home, but the medics are right behind her, and they treat the baby.

You can hear it in their voices how urgent the situation is.

Medic 51: “I have a 6-month-old female in cardiac arrest. Last time seen alive was about 30 minutes ago. Mom says she’s been doing CPR for the last 30 minutes. We’re currently doing CPR on the child. Not breathing, no pulse.”

I’Nayah was revived at a hospital but died the next day.

The department’s investigation reveals that the total response time to get to the baby was 19 minutes.

Supervisor: “Romeo 33. How long did they delay?”

911: “So, nine minutes they were in position?”

Supervisor: “Alright. You know what? I’m putting them off.”

That meant that Thomas and her partner were taken off the street.

Thomas’ partner told investigators that she had no problem responding to the baby, but she was following Thomas’ lead. She likely won't face discipline.

Thomas was disciplined twice by the fire commissioner and subsequently fired.

The Prosecutor’s Office is waiting on the results of the police’s internal investigation, which could result in Thomas facing criminal charges.

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July 16, 2015
Denver Firefighter John Whelan Succumbs to Injuries - CO

(The Last Call - RIP)

John Whelan, Engineer, Truck 8
(Denver Firefighters Local 858)

DENVER – A Denver firefighter hurt in a fall during a fire last month has succumbed to his injuries.

9News reports that firefighter John Whelan has died after being injured in a fire on June 28. The 15-year veteran had responded to a dumpster near an abandoned building at 3860 Blake Street. He and three other firefighters had gone onto the roof of the building to check for the fire’s extension.

While he was on the roof Whelan fell 20 feet through a painted over skylight. He suffered a broken arm, broken ribs and internal injuries. At the hospital he underwent several surgeries and remained in serious condition but was expected to survive.

According to department information, Whelan experienced shortness of breath and was taken to St. Anthony North Health Campus last night. He died nearly an hour later after going into cardiac arrest.

The Denver Fire Department has scheduled a press conference for 10:00 a.m. Thursday outside of department headquarters.
By FireRescue staff

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July 16, 2015
Firefighter responds to crash, gets charged with DUI - VT

BETHEL, Vt. — Bethel Volunteer Fire Department chief David Aldrighetti said he's dealing with a tough situation.

"[I'm] stressed out. You know, this is something that it's harder to deal with than when you have a major fire because it's personal," Aldrighetti said.

The fire chief needs to figure out how to move forward after 66-year-old veteran firefighter James Hart responded to a serious motorcycle accident while intoxicated. "He was driving his personal vehicle ... he lives probably a mile down the road and he drove it up. The hard part for us is Jim is a really good guy, he's served his community for so many years, and he made a mistake," Aldrighetti said.

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July 15, 2015
Fire Station Sat Empty - NY


There was no staffing overnight recently at one of Tonawanda's fire stations due to manpower shortage. Residents and firefighters vow to change that.

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July 15, 2015
Firefighter Hurt in Fire - MD

(WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore)

A Howard County firefighter was injured Sunday while battling a house fire in Laurel.

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July 15, 2015
Fire Stations Out West Facing Major Shortages This Wildfire Season

The Fire department in Spokane, Washington is in need of more volunteer firefighters, as the busy fire season is well underway and they’re battling multiple fires across the state.

Their crews have been stretched thin and a shortage of volunteer firefighters has led to an even bigger workload for existing crews on the front lines, according to KREM News.

Robert Sayers and Gordan Hester, both volunteers, tell KREM that while they come from very different backgrounds, it’s nice to know they’re doing their part when a wildfire threatens their community. Both have been volunteering for six years, and said they were inspired to join the ranks after their homes nearly went up in flames.

Their services are very much in demand this fire season. “In the Spokane area, the rule for firefighters is that there should be around 10 volunteers per station but right now the average is four. There have been several recent instances where help took longer to arrive,” according to KREM.

Hester says the amount of fire calls he received over the last two months is more than he’s experienced in the last six years.

Fire crews were called in from across the county, to battle a blaze two weeks ago. Officials say during the most serious phase of the fire, the station closest to the flames only sent one truck because of the shortage of volunteers.

Local fire departments are accepting applications for volunteers through July 22. They say anyone interested should just call the station nearest to them.

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July 15, 2015

A semi trailer and its load of filled propane tanks was destroyed in a fire on Monday, July 13, 2015 near Carmel.

According to Rock Valley Fire Chief John Wallenburg, about 6:00 PM, the Rock Valley Fire Department was called to the report of semi fire about a half mile east of Eagle Avenue on B30, or about three and a half miles west of Carmel.The chief says the fire department saw the fire from a long way away as they approached the scene. They found a semi with a trailer full of filled 20 and 40-pound propane tanks, similar to the ones used for grills and forklifts. He says by the time they got there, some of the over 200 tanks were already exploding. Wallenburg says the 40-pound aluminum tanks were the most dangerous, as they tended to shatter, sending shrapnel several feet away at high speed. The smaller 20-pound steel tanks either released their gas from the release valve or exploded by blowing the top off the tank.

He says they used lots of water to fight the fire, and they had to spray it from a distance. The chief says that in the most critical moments of the fire, they had to use their fire engine as a shield from the flying shrapnel. When it cooled down somewhat, he says, they had another challenge. The propane delivery truck had rollup doors on the sides, similar to a soft drink or beer delivery truck – and when those doors get hot, Wallenburg says they will not open. So they had to chop through the doors in some spots to get at the fire.

Wallenburg says no injuries were reported – in part because the driver, after trying in vain to unload the burning truck – evacuated the area when the propane tanks began to explode.

The fire department was assisted by the Sioux Center; Ireton; and Hudson, South Dakota fire departments, who provided manpower and tankers of water. The Rock Valley Ambulance crew also provided assistance on the scene.

He says the fire was caused by a burning tire – the rear inner tire on the driver’s side. He says he’s not sure how the tire caught fire, but he would suspect that perhaps it had run flat.

Chief Wallenburg reports that the entire trailer, owned by Tri-County Propane of Irene, South Dakota, and all the propane tanks were destroyed. He estimates that there had to have been at least $50,000 in damage.

He says they used 30,000 gallons of water to fight the fire, and crews were on scene for three hours.

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July 15, 2015
Arbitrator rules firefighters are overpaid, extends work shifts at a lower rate - MI

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Firefighters next year will start working more hours at a lower rate of pay because the city cannot afford "above market prices" for their services, an arbitrator has ruled.

A new work schedule that takes effect Jan. 3 will have Grand Rapids firefighters working an average of 54 hours per week, rather than the current 50.4 hours. That's another 197 hours per year — a 7.5-percent increase — adding the equivalent of four firefighters per shift.

Firefighters will get a 2 percent pay raise to compensate for the extra hours on duty. However, their hourly rate will decrease because the raise won't match the extra time on the job.

"It, in essence, adds firefighters to our staff," City Manager Greg Sundstrom said. "It's like adding them without hiring, because they're working more.

"We were working too few hours for the taxes paid. (Taxpayers) will now receive maximum value for their taxes."

Grand Rapids firefighters currently work three 24-hour shifts every nine days, with a leave day for every 10 work days. The city wanted to eliminate those leave days in a new contract and the firefighters' union was OK with that, so long as they got a pay raise to go with it.

The city and the union didn't come to terms and instead went to arbitration. The union proposed a 53.2-hour work week and a 5.6 percent pay raise to match, but the arbitrator sided with the city.

"It is clear that the city has historically been paying a premium price for its firefighter services," the decision states. "The additional cost of the union's last best offer is prohibitive for a city that is still in the process of placing its financial house in order.

"The city cannot achieve financial sustainability while paying above market prices for city services."

The decision states that Grand Rapids firefighters work fewer hours than peers in comparable communities and yet are paid "well above the average compensation rates."

"Certainly, it didn't go the way we had hoped," said Joe Dubay, union president. "The arbitrator in this case paid a garage sale price for the time.

"We're not going to stomp our feet and be mad about it. We have prevailed in arbitrations in the past and the city didn't stomp their feet. Quite honestly, it's a noble process."

The new schedule was set to take effect this month, but the city and union agreed to postpone implementation of the arbitrator's ruling until January. An additional 1.3 percent pay raise in exchange for eliminating annual longevity payments also will take effect in January, while a negotiated 2.25 percent annual pay increase takes effect this month.

The first step on the pay schedule for firefighters on suppression duty now is $41,211 per year, or $15.72 per hour, rising to $62,961 per year, or $24.02 per hour, at the top of the scale. In January, the pay steps for firefighters on suppression duty will range from $42,594 per year, or $15.11 per hour, to $65,075 per year, or $23.09 per hour.

The arbitrator also ruled that the city may not hire part-time firefighters.

By Matt Vande Bunte |

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July 15, 2015
Woman, children injured after Raleigh fire truck, vehicle collide - NC

RALEIGH, N.C. — A woman and three children were hospitalized Tuesday evening after a car collided with a Raleigh fire truck at Glenwood Avenue and Pleasant Valley Drive.

Angela Peebles, 30; Lamaiyah Peebles, 5; Aniyah McCullough, 3; and Ayden Peebles, 1, were transported to WakeMed. None were believed to have suffered life-threatening injuries, Raleigh police said.

No firefighters were injured.

The fire truck, driven by Dwayne Lee Masseburg, 30, was crossing Glenwood Avenue on Pleasant Valley Drive when it was hit by the Mazda sedan, police said. The fire truck had its lights and sirens on before the collision, witnesses said.

Westbound lanes of Glenwood Avenue were closed at the intersection for hours due to the wreck.

A witness who called 911 told the operator that the fire truck's lights and sirens were on.

"The car is smoking really badly," the caller said. "The whole side of the car is smashed. The fireman is checking on the driver."

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July 15, 2015
Drunk man accused of crashing pickup into fire truck - CO

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A man is facing multiple charges after crashing his pickup into a fire truck while intoxicated Tuesday evening, according to police.

Police said the incident happened around 7:30 p.m. in the 3600-block of Meadowland Boulevard, which is in the area of North Academy Boulevard and Austin Bluffs Parkway. Police and firefighters were dispatched to the area after an anonymous caller reported a possible DUI in progress. The firefighters arrived first, and found an unresponsive driver slumped over the wheel of a full-sized four-wheel-drive pickup truck with the engine running. To prevent an accident, firefighters secured the truck using wheel chocks.

As police arrived, the driver woke up and tried to drive away. Police said at one point, the driver tried to leave by rocking the truck back and forth between the chocks, despite officers telling him not to.

Police said the driver then crashed into the side of the fire truck, causing minor damage. Then, first responders broke one of the pickup’s windows and pulled the driver, 45-year-old John Vest of Colorado Springs, from the truck.

Vest was arrested on multiple charges, including DUI, reckless driving, and obstructing police and fire officers.
By Angela Case /

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July 15, 2015
Clinton fire truck damaged by manhole cover - TN

Tuesday’s strong thunderstorms caused only a few problems inside Clinton, the biggest of which was a water main break that contributed to damaging a city fire truck.

Because of the water main break, likely caused in part by the runoff from Tuesday’s heavy rainfall, a manhole cover came up under the railroad trestle on Main Street and ruptured the fuel tank of a Clinton Fire Department truck on its way to a call.

The truck was able to make it back to the downtown fire hall, and it was towed from there for repairs. No injuries were reported on the truck.

Clinton Utilities Board responded to the water main break, and the utility’s insurance is expected to pay for the damage to the fire truck.

The only other damage inside the city was a downed tree on North Main Street that crews had cleared before 5 a.m. Several trees were reported down in the county, but they were also cleared overnight.

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July 14, 2015
HFD emails contradict mayor's swift water training claims - TX

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player
Firefighters asked for water rescue training in email

Emails that appear to be written by a member of the Houston Fire Department's leadership show firefighters were told they had to use their own money and time to attend training for swift water rescues, because the city did not have training money.

The emails obtained by Channel 2 Investigates appear to contradict Mayor Annice Parker's claim that firefighters who perform swift water rescues get extensive training.

The emails' authenticity was confirmed by members of the fire department, who were not authorized to speak to the media. HFD has not disputed their authenticity.

"It's on your own time. No city funding," HFD Senior Capt. Keith Bobbitt appears to have written in March after a fire rescue team members asked to go to training.

Bobbitt's name appears on another email, too, from 2010 about a swift water tech class in New Braunfels.

"This class is on your own dime as far as lodging and food," the emails said.

Tuition was covered by another group so trainees would not have to cover that.

"As we have stated before, the city has no money available for training," the email said.

Retired Capt. Bert Withers supervised Rescue 42 until 2010. That's the same team whose boat capsized, leading to the deaths of three citizens. He said training was a problem back then, too.

"We knew we never had the training we really needed, which was swift water training," he said. "The only way we could do it is if we did it on our own."

Withers said his team trained on bayous that weren't flooding, lakes or other slow moving water but not swift water. Firefighters still with the department said that's where they still train.

"There's no comparison. When you have swift water, it's nothing like operating on the lake. On a lake, you don't have eddies that are pushing you around and trying to change the direction of the boat," he said.

Though the mayor maintains swift water rescuers get extensive training, Houston's fire chief seemed to contradict that at a June city council meeting when he spoke.

"We have a certain amount of training dollars. We prioritize our training based on risk, the number of people who do it and the frequency of the event. Then we apply the dollars the training. We have not had the opportunity to move this up the list," Fire Chief Terry Garrison said.
Author: Jace Larson, Investigative Reporter,

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July 14, 2015
Information passed along
Volunteer fire dept. to hire full-time firefighters - TN

GIBSON COUNTY, Tenn. — A West Tennessee volunteer fire department manned by hundreds of selfless volunteers can no longer say it's strictly volunteer.

For the first time, the Gibson County Fire Department will go full time with the addition of eight paid firefighters. "When I got appointed as county fire chief, I never thought or considered we would become a full-time fire department," Gibson County Fire Chief Bryan Cathey said.

It's a program never before seen in West Tennessee. "I think it couldn't come at a better time for us," Gibson County Mayor Tom Witherspoon said. "I really do believe that it's just a blessing to us."

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July 14, 2015
Woman questions firefighter response in massive condo fire - FL

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — A woman who lives just feet away from a condo building in Ponte Vedra that burned Monday morning, says she contacted 911 multiple times before firefighters began fighting that fire.

Laura Griffith now has many questions for officials. Her home phone records show she first called 911 at 4:06 a.m. to report that she could smell something burning.

"I definitely told them where I was. I said 'I am at the back of 700,' several times I believe, and as I gave the dispatcher my address she cut me off and said, ‘We know where you are." Jeremy Robshaw with St. Johns County Fire and Rescue confirms firefighters came to Griffiths building, which is just steps from the building that burned.

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July 14, 2015
Naked man sends pit bull after firefighter - TX

WEBBERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) – An emergency call about a man in respiratory distress at his home led to a group of firefighters encountering a naked man and then being attacked by a pit bull on Friday, according to a police affidavit.

Police have charged Samuel Timothy Jones Jr., 26, with the third-degree felony of assault on a public servant.

Travis County ESD No. 4 officials received a call from the suspect’s aunt around noon the day of the incident. The aunt said her nephew had complained about difficulty breathing and dehydration, the arrest warrant states.

Police said emergency crews arrived at the home and encountered a chained pit bull. After trying to find the man in distress, the emergency responders found a “nude black male subject later identified as Samuel Timothy Jones Jr. exit the front door,” according to the affidavit.

Jones allegedly yelled profanities at the firefighters and ordered the pit bull to attack them; the pit bull bit one firefighter. The dog latched down on the man’s lower leg and shook its head, — the bite puncturing the firefighting boot, according to the affidavit. Emergency crews treated and cleaned the wound at the scene.

When police arrived, they found Jones “sweating profusely and talking to himself,” according to the arrest warrant.

Police detained Jones, and he was sent by ambulance to be medically evaluated, the affidavit states.
By David Barer /

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July 13, 2015
Firefighter Burned as Calif. Wildland Fire Grows - CA

A wildfire southwest of Nacimiento Lake had burned 80 acres and was 5 percent contained as of 5 p.m. Friday, according to Cal Fire. One firefighter was taken to the hospital with possible burns on the feet.

Capt. Brent Lee said there was no estimate on when the fire would be contained.

"We'll have quiet a few resources on it tomorrow," he said.

The fire was burning in a difficult-to-access area, but no structures were threatened. Emergency crews and aircraft battled the blaze into the evening. The fire was reported to Cal Fire about 12:30 p.m. in the Running Deer Ranch area at the southwestern tip of the lake.

Seven aircraft dumped fire retardant to stave off the growth of the blaze, while 10 fire engines, two bulldozers and four water tankers trudged through the rugged terrain to reach the area.

An air tanker carrying fire retardant to the fire accidentally dropped its load on the runway at Paso Robles airport at about 4 p.m., causing the airport to close the runway while the bright orange powder was cleaned up.

Lee didn't know how much fire retardant the tanker was carrying at the time, but it holds up to 3,000 gallons, he said.

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July 13, 2015

Shortly after 7:00 PM, Sunday, July 12, firefighters and paramedics from the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS) were alerted by neighbors about a townhouse fire in the 9400 block of Riverbrink Court in Laurel, Maryland. Several neighbors called 911 to report seeing smoke and flames coming from the basement at the rear of the structure.

Crews arrived to find heavy fire coming from the rear of a 2-story end-unit townhouse with a walk out basement. More than 50 firefighters from HCDFRS and the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department (PGFD) were on hand to extinguish the blaze. PGFD units included Laurel #810, Calverton #841, a Medic Unit from Laurel and several command officers. It is common practice for neighboring jurisdictions to share mutual aid fire/EMS apparatus if they are closest to the incident location.

The fire was declared under control approximately 45 minutes later. Interior firefighting operations were hampered because the extensive fire caused significant structural damage, and large portions of the first and second floors were deemed unsafe.

Prince George’s County Fire Captain Donald Fletcher was ascending a flight of interior stairs when they collapsed underneath him. He initially saved himself falling into the collapse area of grabbing onto a superheated stair rail and holding on until other firefighters pulled him to safety. Fletcher sustained burn injuries to both hands and was transported to the Burn Unit at MEDSTAR Washington Hospital Center. He was treated and released last night and is currently resting at home. While it is never good to sustain a burn injury on the fire ground we are fortunate to be only reporting a treat and release burn injury and nothing more serious. Captain Fletcher’s initial reaction to grab a handrail while falling and other firefighters pulling him to safety is a testament to firefighters training and situational awareness. Fletcher is a 10-year veteran of the Fire/EMS Department and is assigned to the Calverton Fire/EMS Station #841. There have been no civilian injuries.

No one was home when the fire began. Red Cross is providing assistance. HCDFRS fire investigators are conducting an investigation to determine the origin and cause of the blaze.

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July 13, 2015
Lessons Learned:
FIREFIGHTER LODD REPORT DOWNLOAD: Report reveals factors of Baltimore firefighter's death - MD

(CBS Baltimore Video)

The need for an improved accountability system is among key findings in the final report on the death last year of a longtime member of the Baltimore City Fire Department. City fire officials held a news conference Friday to release its investigative findings into how Lt. James Bethea died. Chief Niles R. Ford called the report the most comprehensive line-of-duty-death report in his more than 24 years on the job.

“Our goal was to find out what happened to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” said Ford, who added that he has already shared the findings of the report with Bethea’s family.

An eight-person panel of fire experts from Howard and Anne Arundel counties and Baltimore City compiled the report.

Bethea, a 41-year veteran of the department, died following a house fire in the 700 block of East North Avenue on Nov. 12, 2014. Bethea, a fire safety officer, was found in the basement of the house next door nearly 3 1/2 hours after the fire scene had been cleared.

"His life calling was safety of our people and we need to make sure we address that," Ford said.

Half the floor was missing in the house in which Bethea died. He apparently walked off the edge and fell to the basement. The only visible injuries were to his face.

Ford said Bethea died from smoke inhalation and did not have any drugs in his system at the time of death. Bethea’s death was ruled accidental, Ford said.

Fire officials said Bethea had his radio at the time of his death, but a mayday call was neither transmitted nor received from him.

Also, based on the level of soot in his lungs, Bethea was likely alive after he fell, fire officials said.

"A high carbon monoxide level and soot in the deepest part of his lungs, he probably survived in that environment for 15 to 30 minutes," said the panel's chairman, Baltimore City fire Battallion Chief Frank Hazzard.

Ford said the report exposed potential weaknesses in some of the department's protocols, especially those dealing with the safety of department members like Bethea, whose job offered him autonomy on the scene of emergencies.

Often, Ford said, those in positions like Bethea would work alone without people knowing where they are at any given time.

“In emergency responses, you can’t plan for every scenario, but we try,” Ford said. “We thought we had an accountability system that was effective.”

Ford is also making equipment changes. For example, everyone who goes to an active fire scene will be equipped with personal alert safety system devices.

Bethea FINAL REPORT 7-9-15.pdf ------ FINAL APPENDICIES 5-12-15.pdf

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July 13, 2015

(Louisville News, Weather)

When surrounded by raging flames, every second counts."At Second Street, we had a firefighter get into some trouble," Louisville Fire Major Pat Dalrymple told WAVE 3 News.

That firefighter was trapped. Minute by minute, he tried not to panic while he waited, but with every breath came some reassurance.

"With this he didn't run out of air. Without this, he would have run out of air," Major Dalrymple explained while pointing at one of their new air tanks.

He showed WAVE 3 News exclusively what makes the tanks a life-saving upgrade. He explained how they hold double the air, extending a firefighter's time from 20 minutes to 45.

Louisville's fire department has been testing them out for the past few months. They now have 374 new packs, enough for the entire department and their recruits.

The new tanks are smaller, but weigh about the same. And they came with bells and whistles that also can help save lives.

"Green, green, yellow, red," Dalrymple pointed. The lights and sounds now warn when air is running out.

There is also an added bonus. The new tanks allow for a much faster transfer of air from a full tank to a nearly empty one. Before, the tanks would have to be switched out, sometimes in very tight spaces.

The tanks cost a total of $2.6 million. The money came from last year's budget. The switch was made to comply with new standards. The previous tanks had been used for 15 years.

To those risking their lives, the investment in the new tanks is a sigh of relief.

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July 13, 2015

A firefighter was injured last week in a dumpster fire that extended to the loading dock of a Round Hill Road business, Fairfield fire officials said.

The firefighter suffered a burn on his left hand after falling into the dumpster, which was heated by a fire at the Heim Bearing Co. on Tuesday, June 30, according to fire officials.

Officials said the pattern of fire development pointed to an ignition area inside the dumpster, which contained wood pallets, cardboard and plastic wrap.

The dumpster was touching the loading dock and heat transfer caused the padding surrounding the overhead doors to ignite, fire officials said.

Smoke traveled into the main building until an employee closed the manually operated fire door. An employee activated the fire alarm and the building was safely evacuated, fire officials said.

Although the exact cause is undetermined, numerous discarded cigarettes were found around the dumpster, fire officials said.

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July 13, 2015

A fire that started in the first floor of a multifamily home in Yonkers has left 15 people displaces Sunday morning, according to Yonkers Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Fore.

The heavy fire, at 19 Knowles Street, began around 5 a.m. in the rear of the three-story, wood-frame building, Yonkers Ford said, and spread to the upper floors of the three-story home.

First arriving companies found heavy fire in the rear of the building with the fire running up the rear stair case from the first floor to the third floor and extending into the cockloft, Ford said.

The fire went to a second alarm which brought roughly 50 firefighters to the scene.

All companies made an aggressive attack from the interior and had the fire under control in roughly one hour.

Five firefighters were treated for minor injuries, and one resident was transported to St Joseph's Medical Center for difficulty breathing.

The 15 residents, none of whom were injured, are? being relocated by the Red Cross until the owners can repair damage to the back steps and porches.

Three of the six apartments were under renovation and vacant at this time, or more people would have been displaced, Ford said.

The cause and origin of the fire are still under investigation by the Yonkers Fire Investigation Unit and the YPD Detective Division

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July 13, 2015
Backdraft as Arkansas Firefighters Enter House - AR

(Associated Press)

TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) — A burning house in Arkansas exploded as firefighters fought the blaze, but no one was injured in the blast that thrust insulation into the air like confetti.

KSLA-TV ( ) reports the Texarkana Fire Department arrived as smoke wafted from the attic Wednesday night.

Arkansas Fire Marshal Steve Johnson said a backdraft happened as one firefighter entered the house. The explosion was caught on video.

Two firefighters, including Brian Henry, were already inside. Henry says they "heard a boom and then the ceiling fell."

Johnson says backdrafts are rare and that they happen when oxygen is rapidly reintroduced to combustibles in an oxygen-depleted space.

A mother and child who escaped the burning home before fire crews arrived were treated for smoke inhalation.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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July 13, 2015
Close call at Detroit fire leaves two firefighters injured - MI

(1st Due Media)

Working fire in a vacant 2 story 4 family flat that extended to 5 story vacant apartment, While crews were working inside the 4-family, the intensity of the fire grew quickly and the order was given by the Battalion Chief to get all crews out of the building and air horns were sounded. Some firefighters became lost and temporarily trapped trying to locate the exit. At least 1 firefighter ran out of air and suffered smoke inhalation. The building was now fully involved and extending to the 5 story building next door. Firefighting was also hampered by low pressure in the nearby hydrants. A 2nd alarm + special calls for 2 tower ladders and extra companies incl E-44 for more large volume hose were requested to the scene.
1st Due Media

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July 13, 2015
Firefighter Hurt at Food Truck Blast - NC

GREENSBORO -- A preliminary investigation reveals an oxygen cylinder is what caused a food truck to explode in Greensboro on Saturday.

Greensboro firefighters responded to 2309 Fleming Road at 5 p.m. about a food truck on fire. When they got there they found the food truck, Tom Got Grabs, engulfed in fire. An explosion knocked a firefighter to the ground.

That firefighter, Damian Salgado, was taken to Moses Cone Hospital as a precaution, said Deputy Chief Clarence Hunter. Tests were conducted at the hospital. He had a slight concussion, but was sent home Sunday evening, Hunter said.

Salgado will be checked out by city officials, as well, but Hunter said Salgado will likely return to duty when he is next scheduled.

The fire appears to have started in the generator of the food truck, and an oxygen cylinder exploded, Hunter said.

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July 13, 2015
Patient Killed, Two EMTs Injured in Calif. Ambulance Crash - CA

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July 13, 2015
Mapping Application Lets Emergency Responders See Scenes Virtually = TX

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A mapping application that lets first responders quickly and easily “see” an emergency situation with a digital command center is heading to the commercial market.

The app, called SituMap, created by Dr. Richard Smith, Assistant Professor of Geographic Information Science and Geospatial Surveying Engineering at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, is the first product for a newly created company, CartoFusion Technologies ( Technologies will soon conduct product feedback analysis to determine SituMap pricing, how it will be advertised, and other factors. Within the next six months, the company will begin to drive for sales to the wider community.

SituMap acts as a tablet-like digital command center that shows law enforcement officers maps of crisis areas. SituMap is an easy-to-learn, multi-user, multi-touch software mapping application focused on cultivating participation, collaboration, conversation, and rapid decision making.

With the touch of a finger, the table-size display can be zoomed, rotated, and drawn on. Like a personalized version of Google Maps, officers can search for locations and measure distances. But it goes further than Google Maps. A pin can be created in the application that could represent a person, police car, or groups of people. The pin can be strategically positioned around the area and directions can then be relayed to officers at the emergency location.

“The goal is to make the world a safer place,” Smith said.

There is nothing else like it out there, Smith said.

“That’s one of our biggest challenges; to find a competitor to compare ourselves,” he said. “But we are just not able to find one. That’s scary and exciting at the same time. We’ve found our niche, but we’re going into unchartered territories.”

With SituMap, first responders can see real-time information on traffic congestion and weather, which will aid in planning and responding and can result in faster response times. The app can also import multiple sources of information directly into the app, such as UAV imagery, floorplans, and other Web maps.

Smith said the app is currently focused on emergency management and first responders, but there is room to branch out to hospitals, municipal planning offices, oil and gas companies, and any other area requiring mapping capabilities.

One use, for example, is in a public planning meeting, where SituMap can show existing bike paths and highlight where future bike paths are planned, allowing for manipulation in real time based on input during the meeting.

The company has lined up investors and partners, including A&M-Corpus Christi, the Texas A&M University Texas Engineering Extension, and Texas A&M System Technology Commercialization. Smith is also a partner and founding team member in the company.

“We are proud of the progress of SituMap,” said Dr. Flavius Killebrew, President and CEO of A&M-Corpus Christi. “It is a significant moment for the Island University as the first of many unique and innovative products developed by A&M-Corpus Christi researchers that will be available in the global marketplace.”

Smith and CartoFusion will also set up in the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center to take advantage of the resources of marketing, mentoring, and business guidance.

About Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi: Offering more than 80 of the most popular degree programs in the state, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has proudly provided a solid academic reputation, renowned faculty, and highly-rated degree programs since 1947. The Island University has earned its spot as a premier doctoral-granting institution, supporting a UAS test site, two institutes, and 13 research centers and labs. Discover your island at

About the College of Science and Engineering: The College of Science and Engineering is preparing students in an array of life-changing studies such as aerodynamics, software development, genomics, and marine science. Engineering majors are finding solutions to problems using unmanned technologies. Marine scientists are working in the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific to identify new species and harmful algal toxins. The University is also home to a nationally certified Computer Science program, the Plasma Engineering Research Lab, the nation’s premier Geographic Information Sciences (GIS) program, and the Center for Coastal Studies.

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July 13, 2015
Joyride in fire truck lands woman in jail in Delaware - MA

Police in Delaware say they arrested a woman on Tuesday for joyriding in a fire company pickup truck right after she had been released from police custody on an unrelated matter.

Cuve Harding, 43, was detained Monday night for failing to show up for court for traffic citations. Fire officials didn't know the bright red, fully marked truck was gone from the parking lot of New Castle County police headquarters until they received word it was in an accident.

Police believe a spare key may have been inside the vehicle.

Police eventually arrested Harding after she tried to return it.

Harding, of Hockessin, Delaware, is charged with motor vehicle theft and related offenses

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July 13, 2015
Monroe Twp. firefighters expected to be OK after fire truck rollover crash - OH

Watch this story

CLERMONT COUNTY —Two Monroe Township firefighters were hurt after their truck overturned on State Route 222 Tuesday afternoon, only 200 yards from the fire station.

Chief William Jetter said the two man crew was on their way to a fire alarm at a nearby day camp.

"I knew something was wrong," said Jamie Ingram.

The sound of screeching wheels sent her rushing outside her home on State Route 222, just in time to see the fire truck topple.

"I was shaking terribly. I was fighting back, trying not to cry because I didn't know what I was going to come up on. But you just have to very quickly realize, straighten up. These guys need your help," Ingram said. "They've helped me out with my parents. I wouldn't have it any other way."

Investigators said the wheels dipped off the side of the right shoulder as the truck was headed northbound on State Route 222. They said the driver over-corrected, sending the truck off the left side of the roadway.

Inside, firefighter Jeff Dawson and his partner, Tim Goodman, were in a state of shock, Ingram said, but she quickly realized they were going to be OK and helped them out of the busted cab.

"Both guys are out of the hospital. They're doing very well," Jetter said Tuesday evening.

Unfortunately Jetter said he feared the same won't be the true for the wrecked engine. It's the newest in their fleet and one of only a few that can haul 1,000 gallons of water at a time.

"We have maybe a couple of hydrants, but most of it is a non-hydrant district. And we're looking at a quick knockdown on a fire," Jetter said.

For now, the department will rely on mutual aid and backup from their other trucks to fill in.

"We'll get through this. We're very resilient. We have a good community, a good Board of Trustees, and that's how we'll move forward," Jetter said.

Jetter said the company that built the truck went out of business, so getting replacement parts could be difficult. He said it could cost $600,000 to replace the truck all together. The township has insurance, but Jetter said the department will likely rent a truck for now.

Jetter said he expects the two injured firefighters to be cleared to return to work for their next schedule shift in two days. He said the alarm they were responding to turned out to be false.
By Ben Petracco / By Jackie Congedo /

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July 13, 2015
Jihadists hack volunteer fire department website - TX

The website showed a jihadi fighter and a flag accompanied by audio; it also showed writing in Arabic and a threat to Israel

PEARLAND, Texas — A volunteer fire department website is now down after hackers appeared to have taken over the website.

ABC13 reported that for about a day, the Pearland Volunteer Fire Department website showed a jihadi fighter and a flag accompanied by audio. The page also showed writing in Arabic and a threat to Israel on the site.

The department said it became aware of the "malicious intrusion" Friday and issued this statement:

"PVFD immediately notified law enforcement officials and is actively taking steps to remove the offensive materials that are currently displayed on its web page."

The City of Pearland also issued this statement:

"This is not an official City of Pearland website, nor is it hosted on City of Pearland servers. This site is the legacy website for the Pearland Volunteer Fire Department and has not been maintained in over a year."
By FireRescue1 Staff

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July 13, 2015
5 firefighters hurt after SUV crashes into fire truck - CA

CLOVIS, Calif. — A U.S. Forest Service fire truck crashed on Highway 168 east of Clovis Sunday when it was sideswiped by a Kia Sorrento that tried to pass on the right side, the California Highway Patrol said. Six people were injured, one critically.

CHP said the call came in just past 7:30 a.m. The crash occurred where the road curves between East Shepherd and North Academy avenues.

The fire truck was driving around 55 mph in front of the Kia. The Kia attempted to pass the fire truck on the right side in the intersection at Shepherd Avenue.

The Kia’s driver, 53-year-old Maria E. Constable of Fresno, collided her driver’s side door with the front right wheel of the fire truck. The collision caused the truck’s driver, Derek Solden, 29, of Mariposa, to lose control and forced it off the roadway, rolling four times before landing on its right side in a barren field.

The Kia’s driver also lost control and rolled twice before her vehicle landed on its rooftop.

A Life Flight helicopter transported victims to the hospital. CHP said all five firefighters were injured, one critically. The driver of the Kia suffered minor injuries and was not transported to the hospital.

Solden suffered major injuries. The Forest Service said he and a passenger who suffered moderate injuries — identified by the CHP as Lee Sands, 37, of Groveland — were transported to Community Regional Medical Center.

Three other passengers who received minor injuries — Ben Jongerward, 32, of Groveland, Ryan Baker, 28, of Yosemite, and Brittany Dowden, 29, of Madera — were transported to Saint Agnes Medical Center. Two have since been released, but one was admitted to Community Regional for observation.

The Forest Service said the firefighters were traveling from their hotel to the High Sierra Ranger District in Prather. There are currently no fires in the Sierra National Forest.

Dave Cooper, acting forest fire management officer for the Sierra National Forest, said the truck’s driver remains in critical but stable condition.

Everyone wore their seat belts, CHP said. No one was arrested but the accident is still under investigation.
The Fresno Bee

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July 13, 2015
Firefighting planes grounded by drone over wildfire - CA

YUCAIPA, Calif. — Authorities briefly grounded air tankers that were fighting a wildfire in Southern California on Sunday after a drone flew close to the blaze.

The planes fighting a 35-acre fire on the edge of the San Bernardino National Forest were grounded for about eight minutes until the drone left the area, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Carol Underhill said.

"That may not seem like a huge amount of time, but in a fire emergency every minute counts," Underhill said.

It was the fourth time in the last month that a drone disrupted efforts to suppress a California wildfire.

The Forest Service said a reconnaissance plane fighting a series of small wildfires in the Plumas National Forest in northeast California was grounded for about an hour and a half on June 29 after a drone flew in the area. Two tanker planes dropping retardant on a large wildfire in San Bernardino County, 90 miles east of Los Angeles, were briefly grounded June 24 and 25 when drones were spotted over the blaze.

Firefighting aircraft often fly low in the same airspace as drones. When they spot a drone, fire officials ground the planes out of fear of a collision.

Federal authorities place temporary restriction on air travel over a wildfire, and drone operators flying without permission over the blazes face fines.

"I know people are trying to get an eye view of the fire and post the video to YouTube. But it's not OK because you put the pilots' lives in danger and possibly people on the ground," Underhill said.
The Associated Press

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July 13, 2015
Firefighter injured battling apartment fire - CA

A rookie Bakersfield Fire Department firefighter suffered first- and second-degree burns to both hands while working a fire on the second story of a southeast Bakersfield apartment building Saturday.

Jeremy Villalobos, 24, was taken to San Joaquin Community Hospital’s burn unit for treatment and released later the same day.

There were no other injuries, but two pet cats died in the fire reported at 1:13 p.m. Saturday at 701 Planz Road.

About 20 people were displaced and referred to the American Red Cross.

Authorities estimated about $750,000 in damage to the apartment complex. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Villalobos only graduated from the fire academy on June 26, said Bakersfield Fire Chief Doug Greener.

Villalobos was the victim of a flashover, Greener said. That’s the sudden and extremely fast floor-to-ceiling burning of a room due to the energy of the fire being radiated back from the walls, floor and ceiling.

“It’s not uncommon for firefighters to suffer first- and second-degree burns,” Greener said. “They have a lot of protective equipment on, but sometimes in the interim of getting dressed, fire conditions can change very suddenly.”

Villalobos suffered radiant heat burns from the first joint down to the knuckles as he raised his hands to shield himself, Greener said.

Arriving crews had found heavy smoke and fire showing from the second floor of the large apartment complex Saturday afternoon.

Firefighters fought the blaze indoors and also performed a “strip” cut in conjunction with a ventilation hole to stop the lateral spread of the fire in the attic. The fire was consuming the attics of four of the upstairs apartments before it was brought under control in about 24 minutes, according to the fire department.

A wood shake roof was a contributing factor in the spread of the fire, authorities said.

Five engines, two trucks, four battalion commanders, two arson units and one safety officer responded.

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July 01, 2015

Incident Commander Chris Wilcox briefs Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, center, on the Washington fire from a command post in the Gardnerville, Nevada, area on Wednesday, June 24, 2015. The lightning-caused fire nearMarkleeville, California, has grown to nearly 17,000 acres since Friday, June 26. Irene Davidson with the U.S. Forest Service is at left.

Two firefighters have suffered minor injuries in the Washington Fire near Markleeville, California, as efforts continue to contain the blaze, which has burned more than 17,700 acres of brush. Crews are continuing mop-up efforts on all fronts, said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Genevieve Villemire. Two fire divisions have been combined on the west front, and the fire's southeast area is being attacked by air with six water-dropping helicopters, Villemire said.

The two firefighters who were hurt sustained knee injuries that were not serious, Villemire said.

Cooler temperatures, increased humidity and some light rain have helped reduce the intensity of the blaze. On Monday, nearly a quarter of an inch of rain fell in the northeast section of the fire, according to the National Weather Service. A 30 percent chance of rain with scattered thunderstorms was forecast for Tuesday.

The fire has resulted in 271 campers being evacuated, including those at the Carson River Resort. No structures on any campgrounds have been affected.

As the fire containment has increased, fire crews have been released back to their home fire stations. The number of fire personnel was reduced from 1,111 on Monday to 860 on Tuesday.

All state highways through the fire area are currently open to through traffic, including State Highway 4 over Ebbetts Pass and State Highway 89 east over Monitor Pass to Highway 395. The fire area was still under a Forest Service closure and was not accessible to the general public; however, closure of the Bureau of Land Management area and the Indian Creek Campground were lifted at 8 a.m. Tuesday, fire officials said.

Law enforcement personnel continued to patrol the fire area and warned that they would issue citations to individuals not permitted in the closure area. The public was encouraged to use caution when traveling on State Highways 4 and 89, with fire crews still active along the roadways throughout the fire area.

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July 01, 2015
Lessons Learned:
NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Report: Cardiac Death Claims Texas Firefighter after Fitness Test - TX

The NIOSH Firefighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program has released the line of duty death report of a career Pump Operator/Paramedic who suffered sudden cardiac death after a physical fitness test in 2014.

On November 16, 2014, a 40-year-old male career pump operator/paramedic (“Pump Operator”) responded to a standby call and later ran 1 mile and lifted weights in the gym during his 24-hour shift. After performing fitness training, the Pump Operator went into one of the fire station’s restrooms. A crew member entered the restroom about an hour later, and found the Pump Operator collapsed on the floor. A cardiac monitor revealed asystole (no heart beat); dispatch was notified and an ambulance responded. After further assessment, the Pump Operator was declared dead on the scene at 2238 hours.

The death certificate, completed by a justice of the peace, listed “atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease” as the cause of death. The autopsy, completed by the forensic pathologist, listed “severe atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease” with “myocardial bridging left anterior descending coronary artery” as the cause of death.

Given the Pump Operator’s undiagnosed heart disease, NIOSH investigators concluded that the physical stress of physical fitness training probably triggered a heart arrhythmia, which resulted in sudden cardiac death.

Key Recommendations:

  • Provide preplacement and annual medical evaluations to all fire fighters consistent with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1582, Standard on Comprehensive Occupational Medical Program for Fire Departments, to identify fire fighters at increased risk for coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • Perform symptom-limiting exercise stress tests (ESTs) on fire fighters at increased risk for CHD
  • Ensure that fire fighters are cleared for return to duty by a physician knowledgeable about the physical demands of firefighting, the personal protective equipment used by fire fighters, and the components of NFPA 1582
  • Phase in a mandatory comprehensive wellness and fitness program for fire fighters
  • Provide fire fighters with medical clearance to wear a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) as part of the fire department’s medical evaluation program

Read the Report
Pump Operator/Paramedic Suffers Sudden Cardiac Death After Physical Fitness Training - Texas


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July 01, 2015
Firefighters fume over BVJA welded fire hydrants - PA

Water authority cuts firefighters' access to water over concerns of pipe collapse

ST. THOMAS >> Volunteer firefighters are steamed that a rural water system has welded shut the largest connections on its fire plugs.

According to the Bear Valley Joint Authority, a pump could suck water from the system and collapse its underground pipes.

The issue has become as much about communication as putting out fires.

"I believe that BVJA has a misunderstanding of fire department operations and instead of consulting with us, they make ignorant decisions," said Mark Trace, fire chief of Franklin Fire Department. "Their actions will most likely decrease the amount of water available to fight a fire and increase the amount of time it takes for the fire department to get water from a hydrant. While the decrease in water may not seem that large, or the amount of time to hook up to the hydrant seem that long, ask the person whose house is on fire how they feel about the delays."

Fire department officials said they were never notified about the pending action and never given a chance to discuss firefighting operations with BVJA.

"It confuses me: Why would you have fire hydrants and limit the use of them?" said Dale Carbaugh, fire chief of Mercersburg, Montgomery, Peters and Warren Fire Company. "We're a little upset over this whole thing. No notification is not good business. If we'd talked first, this may not have happened. To go out and do it on their own, I can't imagine."

BVJA, a public water system, provides water to about 4,300 customers in Hamilton, St. Thomas and Peters townships. Most are homes. Some are dairy farms.

Franklin, MMPW and St. Thomas Township are the volunteer fire companies serving the BVJA area.

BVJA Manager Glynn Kindelan said, "We have in the past notified the fire departments that the 'steamer connection,' one of three connections on the fire hydrants, is not to be used due to the possibility of creating a negative pressure on our distribution system which could cause our pipes to collapse and put our customers without service."

"I've never heard of collapsing a water line with a fire truck," Carbaugh said. "It almost makes me laugh."

"I've never heard of such a thing," Trace said. "And if that's their reason, why did they weld shut the ones being fed off the water tanks? If a negative pressure is created in the system by a fire engine, what will collapse first, the soft fire hose or the metal water mains?"

The operator of the area's largest water system, Lance Anderson said, "It is my understanding from the Chambersburg Fire Department that the hoses connected to the large steamer connection are flexible and will collapse in advance of a rigid water main."

"This is a situation that we do not have to worry about," said Anderson, water and sewer superintendent for the Borough of Chambersburg. The borough's water system is designed with adequate storage in town to supply the capacity of its fire hydrants.

"If there happens to be a large draw on the water system that results in a significant decrease in pressure," he said, "the pressure reducing valves on the supply lines to town will open to allow more water to flow into town."

BVJA has been dealing with supply problems for more than a decade. After paying millions for new distribution lines, the authority is spending more than $10 million on a treatment plant that will bring new wells on line. BVJA's current water sources are a mountain stream and Chambersburg's water system.

The area in recent months has seen several barn fires, which require large amounts of water.

For firefighters, "the more water the quicker, the better," according to Adam McNew, deputy chief of St. Thomas Township Fire and Rescue.

Trace said his department sometimes has experienced low pressure at BVJA hydrants.

A 5-inch diameter steamer connection is nearly twice the size of the other two connections on a BVJA hydrant.

"Several years ago we also painted these (steamer) connections black to indicate that they are not to be used," Kindelan said. "This year we welded tabs on these connections to insure that they are not accidently used."

"This isn't anything new," McNew said. "Before they were spot welds that you could break off. It's a piece of iron now. It's welded pretty solid."

Kindelan said he has "no issue with any fire department."

Trace, McNew and Carbaugh said they were not notified that the steamer connection was being welded shut. They also said they were not aware of any official notification from BVJA about the use of black-capped hydrants.

To a firefighter a hydrant with a black cap means it is totally out of service, Trace said.

"All other connections on our hydrants are good to use as they have been in the past," Kindelan said. "Our fire hydrants are not welded shut."

Carbaugh said it's just a matter of time before insurance companies take a look at this, and insurance rates could go up.

"I think there's a whole host of things they didn't take into consideration," Carbaugh said.

Adams said the fire companies will be contacting township supervisors who appoint members to the independent BVJA.

BVJA has a "very minimal relationship" with the fire departments, he said.

Jim Hook can be reached at 717-262-4759.
Jim Hook,

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July 01, 2015
1 Dead, 6 Injured After SUV, Ambulance Collide - MI

SPARTA TOWNSHIP, MI -- One person is dead and up to six are injured after a Life Ambulance and SUV crashed in northern Kent County, rescue crews are reporting.

The crash happened about 12 p.m. Wednesday, July 1, on M-37 north of 15 Mile Road.

Police were shutting down a section of M-37 and expect the highway to be closed for hours.

Sparta area rescuers at the scene reported to dispatchers that six people were seriously injured and one person was believed dead.

The crash involved an ambulance and Geo Tracker.

Victims were pinned in both the Tracker and ambulance, rescuers told dispatchers. The fatality involved a person in the Tracker.

Life Ambulance released the following statement from company President Mark Meijer:

"The safety of our patients, staff and all those we serve in the community is our number-one priority. We are saddened to report that there has been a serious accident in northern Kent County late this morning which involved one of our ambulances transporting a patient. As we have few details, our primary focus involves our thoughts and prayers to everyone involved."

An Aero Med helicopter is responding to the scene.
By John Tunison |

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July 01, 2015
Groveton VFD receives outpouring of support after station fire - PA

Chief Kenny Kisow of the Groveton Fire Department on Monday, June 29, 2015, in the station. Last week, an all-terrain vehicle sparked a fire that sent the Robinson station up in flames, destroying equipment including specialty aqua gear.
(Philip G. Pavely | Trib Total Media)

Less than a day after fire damaged the Groveton Volunteer Fire Department's station, Chief Ken Kisow was swamped with phone calls and emails offering loaned equipment to replace boats and trucks the blaze damaged or destroyed.

The June 20 fire destroyed the Robinson station's water rescue team equipment and many of the 19 members' personal belongings.

Damaged beyond repair were a pickup truck, the air/light support truck that carried gear, recharged air tanks and lit up fire scenes and the UTV — a six-wheeled, off-road vehicle where the fire appears to have originated.

Surveillance video shows flames starting in the area of the UTV's batteries. Investigators erected a plywood box around the remains of the UTV until it can be determined exactly why it burst into flames while parked in the unoccupied garage.

Kisow got many offers that he was grateful for, but unable to accept. He has run out of space and already has gotten temporary replacements for all the equipment the department lost. An online GoFundMe fundraiser had gathered nearly $3,300 as of Tuesday afternoon, while other donations were mailed to the station.

“I think the outpouring of support and the speed at which the GoFundMe account went up were impressive,” Township Manager Jeff Silka said. “It just shows Robinson Township takes care of its own.”

North Fayette supplied food to the volunteers. And the nearby Forest Grove fire station loaned Groveton a fire engine until Sunday, when Groveton got back the engine that volunteer Steve Campbell crashed through a stuck garage door so it could be used to fight the fire.

Aside from cleaning up, the company wasn't very busy immediately after the fire. Kisow attributed the low call volume to Robinson's relatively new housing stock.

The township's other fire departments, Forest Grove and Moon Run, were on standby to cover for Groveton.

Thanks to the loaned equipment, Groveton is back to answering calls.

After Groveton's truck was repaired, some scuffs above the windshield and marks on the roof were the only evidence of Campbell's escape with the engine. Flames and smoke shooting from bays next door damaged the engine, as pressurized boats melted and exploded, Kisow said.

When the engine was repaired, “As we were bringing it back in, Steve was backing it up. I said ‘We're going to open the door this time,'” Kisow said.

Water-rescue teams in Somerset and Collinsburg, Westmoreland County, loaned Groveton boats and gear to replace some of what they lost. And Coraopolis was lending a pickup truck and some firefighting gear so the volunteers' usual coats, pants and boots could be sent out, cleaned of their lingering smoky stench and recertified, Kisow said.

Along with their gear for water rescues, each firefighter had a bag with enough clothes and personal belongings for three days — the length of a potential deployment alongside the National Guard in the event of an emergency, Kisow said.

He initially estimated the damage at up to $800,000, but hasn't gotten updates from insurance adjusters.

The loss of personal belongings and having to inventory everything destroyed by the fire for insurance purposes gave him a new sympathy for people who ask firefighters to go back into their burned-out houses to retrieve things of special value, he said.

“Twenty-seven years I've been chief, it's always, ‘You go to a house fire, you put it out, you come home.' This time it's at your home,” he said.
By Matthew Santoni /

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July 01, 2015
Woman Charged With DUI After Running Into Fire Truck - IL

A 20-year-old Mundelein woman faces DUI charges after police said she ran into the back of a fire truck after she was attempting to pull out of a parking lot in the 1400 block of North Milwaukee Ave. in Libertyville.

Jordyn E. Satten, of 21601 Lakeview Parkway in Libertyville, has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, unlawful possession of marijuana and failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident following the July 9 crash.

Police were called to the scene of the crash at 1:35 a.m. Police said they smelled alcohol on Satten’s breath and the woman admitted to drinking prior to the crash.

She was transported to Condell Hospital and was later released from the hospital. Police found marijuana in her vehicle prior to it being towed from the accident scene.

She was released from police custody after posting her driver’s license and a $2,000 personal recognizance bond. She is next expected in court on July 10.

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July 01, 2015
2 W.Va. firefighters at same dept. killed week apart - WV

CEDAR GROVE, W.Va. — The Glasgow (W.Va.) Volunteer Fire Department lost its second firefighter in about a week after a firefighter’s vehicle plunged over a hill Wednesday morning.

Firefighter Brandon Mooney, 22, a single father, died in the crash, reports. Three other occupants were in the car and sources say they were off-roading when “something went wrong,” causing the vehicle to go barreling about 150 feet over a hill.

All four occupants were ejected from the car and deputies said no one was wearing a seatbelt, according to the report. Firefighter Mooney was pronounced dead at the scene and the other three were taken to the hospital to be treated.

Deputies said alcoholic beverages were found inside the car and may have been a contributing factor. The sheriff’s office is investigating.

Another firefighter with the same department, Michael Clark, 21, died June 22 when he lost control of his car, rolled over and crashed while on his way to work.

It’s not clear why firefighter Clark lost control of his car. He leaves behind his girlfriend and one-month-old baby.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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July 01, 2015
Mayday: 3 firefighters trapped on 2nd floor - NH

Firefighters from several communities fought a two-alarm fire at 40 School St. in Franklin Tuesday night.

FRANKLIN – A two-alarm fire spread quickly through an apartment building Tuesday night, leaving nine people homeless and the building condemned, according to the fire chief.

No one was hurt, but at one point, three firefighters were surrounded by flames on the second floor of the home, prompting one of them to declare a "Mayday," a call for help that firefighters make only when they feel their lives are in imminent danger.

"An experienced, seasoned Franklin Fire Department officer found the firefighters a way out of where they were, getting them out of the Mayday situation," said Fire Chief Kevin LaChapelle, declining to name the officer Tuesday night.

Police and firefighters were called to 40 School St., a 2-1/2-story apartment building in the streets behind the city's center, at 6:18 p.m. after several callers reported the building was on fire, according to police.

A neighbor who did not want to be identified said the street was quiet until she heard some noise coming from the building. The neighbor said she thought nine people lived in the building.

"People came running out, and then there was smoke coming from the back roof," she said.

LaChapelle confirmed the account.

"When we got there, the occupants were leaving the house because the house was on fire," the chief said. "One of the occupants even ran out of the building with a burning box. "

He added that two cats were missing from the house.

The fire started in the back section of the building, and was confined mostly to the second floor. LaChapelle said the cause is being investigated, but the fire was not suspicious in nature, he said.

"I will say that there was a rumor on the street that this was a meth lab, but there was no meth lab there, this is not considered suspicious," he said. "We believe we have a preliminary cause, and it was not suspicious."

He wouldn’t elaborate further on the cause.

A second alarm was called to bring additional firefighters to make what was termed "an exterior attack" on the home because the fast-moving fire had caused deteriorating conditions in the home.

"After we got our firefighters out of the Mayday situation, we made an exterior attack because it was burning so fast," he said.

The house is structurally not a loss, "but everything in that building burned, everybody who lived there lost all that they had" to fire, smoke and water damage, he said.

The nine residents, who lived in two apartments, were aided by the Red Cross, he said.

One of the home’s residents, according to Sanbornton police, was Frederick A. Temple, Jr., 30, who was arrested on Monday on several charges after an attempted theft at a home in Sanbornton. LaChapelle said there was no known relation between Temple’s arrest and the fire’s cause.

The fire was called under control at about 8:40 p.m. The building has been condemned, the chief said.

The owners of the building, Gary and Melissa Anderson of Sanbornton, were at the fire scene, he said.

Franklin firefighters were aided by firefighters from Andover, Boscawen, Belmont, Bristol, Gilford, Laconia, Sanbornton, and the Tilton-Northfield fire departments, he said.
By DAN SEUFERT / Union Leader Correspondent

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July 01, 2015
6 accused of Oakdale arson fires, including 3 firefighters - LA

Six Allen Parish residents, including three volunteer firefighters, have been charged in connection to Oakdale arson fires in May and early June, according to the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office.

The fires hit both residential and commercial buildings, and some firefighters led investigators to a suspect who eventually was among those arrested, according to the release.

During the month-long investigation with the help of the Allen Parish Sheriff's Office, investigators spoke with the firefighters about the fires and about how they should approach other fire scenes, if more occured. The investigators had the "full cooperation" of Oakdale officials, according to the release.

"These private discussions were also intended to provide an opportunity for firefighters to share their thoughts regarding the fires with an investigator in a confidential setting," reads the release.

The volunteer firefighter mentioned was 21-year-old Johnny West of Oakdale. Officials had determined that West was "often the first to respond when a fire dispatch was initiated," reads the release. But West denied any knowledge of or involvement in the fires when questioned.

Further investigation revealed other suspects who were implicated in three fires, one in May and two in June. "Two of the fires inflicted heavy damage to vacant houses on Locke Street and East Jackson Street, while the third damaged a commercial building located on Industrial Boulevard that the city of Oakdale utilizes for storage," reads the release.

The volunteer firefighters served with the Oakdale and Allen Parish District 6 departments. According to the release, five of the six confessed to setting fires, while one refused to talk to investigators. The release did not specify who allegedly confessed, but did say that no "clear motive" for the fires was established.

Other suspicious fires in the town remain under investigation. More arrests are possible, according to the release.

West was charged with three counts of simple arson, three counts of criminal conspiracy and simple burglary.

The others arrested, and their charges, are firefighter Thomas Lenox Gilbert, 18, of Elizabeth, firefighter Bobby Wayne Murray, 17, of Oakdale and Jeremy West, 20, of Oakdale, charged with three counts of simple arson, three counts of criminal conspiracy and one count of simple burglary; Darryl Edward Blount; 18, of Oakdale, simple arson and criminal conspiracy; and Kenneth Jamal Sweet, 25, of Oakdale, two counts of simple arson, two counts of criminal conspiracy and one count of simple burglary.
Melissa Gregory,

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July 01, 2015
Firefighter missing, family seeks help - MI

BELLEVILLE, Mich. — Timothy Graves, 22, an EMT for HealthLink Medical Transport and Belleville firefighter, has been missing since he was last seen leaving HealthLink EMS headquarters June 28 at 10 p.m.

Although no one has heard from Graves since Sunday night, police located Graves’ car at rest stop near Bowling Green, Ohio, reported WXYZ.

Graves is not married and has no children. He is 5 feet 6 inches tall, wears glasses, and was last seen wearing a HealthLink uniform.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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