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2015 September

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September 02, 2015
Three Departments Don't Pass Muster - NC

ROCKINGHAM -- Three of Richmond County's nine fire departments have been put on probation by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

The Derby, Mountain Creek and East Rockingham volunteer fire departments all received failing marks following recent inspections. However, most of the issues were clerical.

State records show East Rockingham -- inspected in June, along with the Rockingham and Hamlet departments -- failed because of not meeting the standard minimum response of one truck and four firefighters to a structure fire.

Mountain Creek didn't pass because of low personnel, no roster and no maintenance record, while Derby had an issue with incident reporting. The two were both inspected in July, along with the Cordova and Northside volunteer fire departments.

The Ellerbe Fire Department was last inspected in March 2014, while the Hoffman department hasn't been inspected since January 2013. Neither department failed during its last inspections.

N.C. Department of Insurance spokesman Colin Day said many volunteer departments struggle with recruitment, which could be a contributing factor.

Once a failure occurs, Day said, the Office of the State Fire Marshal will put a department on probation for up to a year to give the department an opportunity to correct the issue or issues.

"We appreciate the opportunity to assist these local fire departments as they strive to improve their service to local communities," said state insurance commissioner Wayne Goodwin, a Richmond County native. "We are committed to working with them to find solutions to any challenges they face."

Richmond County Emergency Services Director Donna Wright was present at all the inspections.

"There were some documentation issues found during the inspection of some fire departments," she said in an email. "These issues are being addressed by each department individually."

Wright said the departments are working with the fire rating inspector and she sees that they are making progress "correcting the identified deficiencies."

Mountain Creek Fire Chief Keith Smith said Friday that the less than favorable inspection was "a matter of lack of documentation."

"I didn't have it at the time of the inspection," he said, adding that he has since sent in the requested paperwork to the inspector. "Some of it was oversight on my part, but it's been handled. We're good now."

According to Smith, the department has 25 firefighters on its roster.

Mitchell Watson, the East Rockingham chief, said his department either had three firefighters to respond to a structure fire -- below the state mandate of four -- or the engine was never en route before a response was canceled.

Watson said it's a problem for volunteer departments throughout the state, but doesn't want those in the district to be alarmed.

"Those guys never got credit for a call," he said. "They're taking time out of their day to respond to a call. If it's canceled, they just go back to what they were doing."

Watson said he will now be sending a monthly report to the inspector, showing that an appropriate number of firefighters responded to each call.

According to Day, neither the department ratings or homeowners' insurance rates have changed due to the recent inspections.
William R. Toler / Source: McClatchy

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September 02, 2015
Man stuck in tree bites firefighter's arm - SD

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. A Sioux Falls man is in custody after allegedly biting a firefighter and then fleeing from a hospital, police said.

The incident started at 2:20 p.m. Sunday when police were called to a man stuck in a tree. Residents in the 2900 block of North Wayland Avenue said they heard a man yelling from a nearby wooded area, public information officer Sam Clemens said.

Police found a 44-year-old Sioux Falls man with his arm caught between branches in a tree. When authorities worked to free him, he bit a firefighter on the left forearm. The bite did not break the skin but left a mark, Clemens said. Police took the man to the hospital.

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September 02, 2015
Information passed along
Firefighters smash car window to 'rescue' infant manikin - CA

(ABC Breaking News)

OAKLAND, Calif. Oakland firefighters and police officers quickly smashed a car's window to rescue an infant trapped in a hot parked car Monday.

It was only after getting inside the car that they realized the infant was actually a lifelike doll in a car seat, reported KGO.

"Although this incident did not involve a baby or small child, it was unknown at the time," Officer Johnna Watson, Oakland Police Department told ABC News.

The infant manikin was in a car seat, but it is not clear why it was in the car and police did not say if they have talked with the car's owner.

"Fortunately, it was not a baby or small child," Watson said.
By FireRescue1 Staff

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September 02, 2015
Firefighter Stabbed by Patient in Hospital Emergency Room in Boyle Heights - CA

A firefighter suffered a non life-threatening wound after being stabbed by a patient at White Memorial Medical Center in Boyle Heights
(Credit: KTLA)

A firefighter with the Los Angeles Fire Department was stabbed by a patient at White Memorial Medical Center in Boyle Heights on Tuesday night.

The stabbing occurred around 9:30 p.m. in the hospital emergency room, according to Officer Mike Lopez with the Los Angeles Police Department.

The patient was in the emergency room on a mental health hold, Lopez said.

He allegedly pulled a knife out of his sock, stabbed the firefighter and threatened other hospital staff members before being tackled by security guards, according to Lopez.

The firefighter was in stable condition with a non life-threatening wound to his arm, fire officials stated.

The unidentified patient was in custody and was expected to be booked on suspicion of attempted murder, according to Lopez.
Posted by Kennedy Ryan and Kimberly Cheng /

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September 02, 2015
Blaze at Randolph fire station destroys fire truck - VT

RANDOLPH, Vt. A fire that tore through the headquarters of the Randolph Village Fire Department in Randolph, Vermont, caused between $750,000 and $1 million in damage, according to an early estimate by a Vermont State Police fire investigator.

"It's rather ironic that you have to go to a fire station for a fire investigation," said Det. Sgt. Todd Ambroz, of the Vermont State Police.

Ambroz ruled out arson, but said Tuesday afternoon the exact cause was unknown. He said the fire started in the cab of a 2011 rescue pumper truck parked inside the fire station.

"It could've been mechanical; it could've been an electrical issue," Ambroz said.

Ambroz said the pumper had been out for training Monday night, but that Randolph Village's volunteer firefighters told him they ended up returning the truck to the station and parking it because it was malfunctioning. Ambroz said he was told an expert was expected to come to the fire station in the coming days to inspect the source of those malfunctions.

Randolph Village Fire Chief Jay Collette said he got the call at about 6:19 a.m. Tuesday that his station was burning. He said initially it took him a moment to process what he had just heard.

"I'm awestruck right now," Collette said. "Fire chiefs don't want this in their own home. It's a bad thing, obviously. But at the end of the day, we'll deal with it. That's what we do."

Another of the department's fire engines avoided destruction. Normally, it would have been parked in the engine bay next to the pumper that was lost, but instead, it was parked across town Monday night at a different fire station. That second engine would have been badly damaged, if not destroyed, had it been parked in its normal spot.

It's still unclear if other equipment, including a tanker and a rescue truck, can be salvaged, Ambroz and Collette said. Protective gear and other equipment also suffered damage from heat, smoke and water, they said.

Collette said he was relieved and grateful that no one was hurt fighting the fire. He said in the short-term, his department will operate from the village highway garage. The department also provides fire protection support for the town of Braintree and for East Granville.

"It's heartbreaking," said Marjorie Ryerson, a member of the Randolph Select Board. "We're all feeling incredible grief over this. These guys are just the life blood of this town, and to have such devastation is just sort of beyond comprehension."

Ryerson said she and fellow board members are already starting to talk about the future of the fire station and its contents.

"It's a strong town," Ryerson said of Randolph. "It's got incredible spirit. And we'll come back from this."

Randolph was insured for the property through the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, said Randolph Town Manager Mel Adams.

Adams said in the community's capital plan, there was a goal to replace the 33-year-old fire station in the coming years and convert the building into a police station.

"The building is a less a concern than the equipment," Adams said. "We may have lost almost the entire fleet of downtown equipment."

Adams said other fire departments, from both within Vermont and from out of state, offered to loan equipment to help the community through the next few weeks. He said he and Collette still have to evaluate those offers.

For now, fire departments in Randolph Center and East Randolph will provide coverage for the village, Collette said.

Ambroz noted that an insurance estimator still needs to inspect the damage and said his initial damage estimate may differ from the insurance inspector's.

Collette expressed gratitude to area businesses that provided refreshments to the firefighters working at the scene Tuesday, as well as to volunteers from the American Red Cross for their assistance.
Jack Thurston / New England Cable News Reporter

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