An exclusive ABC7 I-Team Investigation has learned that there is a looming sex scandal in the D.C. Fire Department involving female trainees.
Sources tell ABC7 numerous women are part of a formal complaint targeting the department. Two training academy instructors have been accused of harassing female cadets and sources say that harassment was sexual in nature.
Young cadets are trained by mentors who shepherd the recent high school graduates into the field of fire fighting.
But multiple sources tell ABC7 that two female cadets recently accused two training academy instructors of sexual harassment.
“A young lady was touched and told to by the official to call them daddy,” says the mother of a female cadet, who asked to not be identified for fear of retaliation. She says while her daughter was “not” harassed, other young women told her daughter about various sexual advances directed at them.
“It was alleged that they mentioned about shaking their behind, mentioning of their breasts to some of the young cadets,” she says. “These young girls, they are in a position where they have to look up to these people and they should be setting some kind of example and not preying on them.”
“There have been some allegations that have been brought forward,” Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe says to ABC7. “We have referred them to our Equal Employment Opportunity Counselor, which means that we can’t discuss it any further
Ellerbe says he takes the allegations very seriously, but believes the alleged inappropriate conduct was not sexual in nature.
“The matter made the young ladies uncomfortable and we’ve done everything we can to remove those members from the process in training them and we’ll take additional action if necessary,” Ellerbe says.
D.C. Councilman Tommy Wells, as the chairman of the public safety committee, says he’s concerned that this is the first he’s hearing about these allegations.
“This is not something that I want to hear and it’s something that’s completely unacceptable, but I realize also they are allegations and there will be an investigation,” Wells says. “But in the event that it’s true it’s absolutely not acceptable. Not in our city.”
The chief says the reason his department didn’t release information about this investigation was the female cadets who brought these allegations forward asked the chief to keep the matter confidential.
But one parent told ABC7 that if these allegations prove true, some very public policy changes need to be made to make sure this never happens again.
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DC battalion chief describes Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe as workplace bully. Washington Times reports Kevin Sloan’s transfer is latest casualty of last year’s beer incident.16 comments
Battalion Chief Kevin Sloan told The Washington Times’ Andrea Noble that Chief Kenneth Ellerbe’s actions are “a classic example of workplace bullying”. Chief Sloan says that he was transferred from operations to the logistics division a week ago, less than four hours after finding Lt. Henry Dent not guilty on charges related to the beer Chief Ellerbe found in a refrigerator at the quarters of Engine 9 last year.
Kevin Sloan said in an article posted this evening on the paper’s website, “It’s not ethical, it’s not moral. It’s retaliatory action.”
Chief Sloan’s case has similarities to the demotion of Battalion Chief Richard Sterne in April after Sterne reduced the penalties against two other firefighters connected to the beer incident.
According to Noble, while Chief Sterne was notified his demotion was directly related to his handling of the disciplinary, Chief Sloan was not given an explanation for his sudden transfer.
As part of Chief Sloan’s findings, he determined that Lt. Dent was not present at the fire station when the beer was delivered, so he could not be held accountable for accepting a gift. He also ruled that when Lt. Dent was notified by another firefighter that there was still beer in the station refrigerator, he told the firefighter to get rid of it but did not have enough time to check to ensure the order was followed through before Chief Ellerbe arrived.
Chief Sloan said the investigation was unusual and that evidence in the case went missing. In one instance, when he requested copies of taped interviews with witnesses the administration simply sent him paper photocopies of CDs, rather than the CDs themselves.
“For the rank and file, this takes away a fair, equitable disciplinary trial for the members,” Chief Sloan said.
According to the article department spokesman Lon Walls refused to comment because the case is a personnel matter, but did say Chief Ellerbe has the final authority in the disciplinary process.
UPDATED: Scores of firefighters in DCFD garb show for mayor’s speech. No comment from Chief Ellerbe on spokesman Lon Walls’ claims that previous protest was ‘racist act’.29 comments
Scores of off-duty DC firefighters wearing the workplace banned DCFD logo showed up at the Historic Sixth & I Synagogue in Northwest Washington for Mayor Vincent Gray's State of the District address. The firefighters are getting attention after they walked out in unison before the question and answer period following Chief Kenneth Ellerbe's speech on January 24 discussing the state of the DC Fire & EMS Department.
Photo above & below by Elliot J. Goodman
A verbal directive received in numerous firehouses on Saturday told firefighters to behave tonight or face punishment. Spokesman Lon Walls, who wrote that the January 24 walkout was a 'racist act' on his personal social media accounts, told The Washington Post's Mike Debonis yesterday that the order did not come from the chief:
Lon Walls, an FEMS spokesman, said “there was no directive” and explained a lieutenant who is also a union member “misconstrued” departmental discussions.
Andrea Noble at The Washington Times reports the Facebook post and Tweets by Lon Walls that brought up the issue of race in connection with the earlier protest were removed shortly after Noble questioned Walls about the comments Monday night. According to Noble, those in the chain of command above Walls, did not respond to questions about this issue:
Reached by phone Tuesday and asked whether he shared his spokesman’s view that the walkout was racist in nature, Chief Ellerbe said he could not talk because he was heading into a meeting. He would be available later but did not respond to subsequent calls.
A spokesman for Mayor Vincent C. Gray also did not respond to messages left Tuesday asking how the mayor regarded the protests and Mr. Walls‘ comments.
Gray did not acknowledge open contentiousness from firefighters who staged a mass walkout at Chief Kenneth B. Ellerbe’s “state of the department” speech last month to protest a proposal to change from 24-hour to 12-hour work shifts.
Dozens of firefighters packed the chambers Tuesday and did not applaud during Gray’s speech.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray is set to deliver his yearly State of the District address–but he may have some unhappy guests at the speech.
As city staffers prepared for the mayor's State of the District address, questions lingered if D.C. firefighters would walk out on Gray as they did with Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe last month. In a tweet, Fire Dept. spokesman Lon Walls called it racism and disrespect.
Many are expected to show up for Gray's address.
On Tuesday, neither Ellerbe nor union president Ed Smith would comment on the tweet, but Smith said Fire Dept. brass have warned that any walkouts tonight will be punished.
"We've received numerous reports there have been various journal messages given in firehouses across the city," Smith said.
At issue is Ellerbe's proposal to shift D.C. firefighters from working one 24-hour day followed by three days off–as they have done for decades–to 12 hours on, 12 hours off.
"It's an EMS department with a few fires," said Kenny Lyons, D.C. ambulance union president.
Lyons said the vast majority of calls nowadays are ambulance calls and firefighters are running the vast majority of the ambulances and that a 24-hour shift endangers patient care."What's best for patient care should reign supreme here, not what's best for individuals or groups of individuals," Lyons said.
But the change to 12 hour shifts would force many firefighters to lose other jobs thy have or quit the department.
Emotions are high, but their union leader wants only professionalism Tuesday night in Washington.
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DC Fire Spokesman Lon Walls calls firefighters’ protest of Chief Ellerbe a ‘racist act’. Posts thoughts on Facebook & Twitter.47 comments
There is another aspect of the ongoing dispute between DC Fire & EMS Department Chief Kenneth Ellerbe and many of his firefighters. After firefighters wearing the banned for work DCFD logos walked out of Chief Ellerbe's speech on January 24, his spokesman, Lon Walls, wrote about it on Twitter and Facebook. What he wrote is the subject of an article today by Andrea Noble in The Washington Times:
Mr. Walls, in one of at least three separate comments on the subject posted on his personal Facebook and Twitter accounts, described the walkout as a “racist act.”
“Just witnessed a blatant display of racism and disrespect shown to an African American leader,” Mr. Walls wrote in a Twitter post on Jan. 24, shortly after Chief Ellerbe’s address concluded.
In a subsequent post, Mr. Walls referred Twitter followers to his Facebook page, where he linked to a news story about the walkout and wrote that “the response depicted in the news story was the most blatant, ignorant and racist public display of disrespect I have ever seen.”
The walkout consisted mostly but not exclusively of white firefighters.
Asked Monday to verify the authenticity of the accounts, Mr. Walls noted that the comments were made on his personal, rather than government-related, accounts.
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President Obama gets DCFD T-shirt at ACFD firehouse. Firefighter hands it over at veterans’ job initiative announcement.7 comments
Above is a picture from IAFF Local 36 showing one of its members handing a t-shirt to President Barack Obama yesterday during an event at Arlington County (VA) Fire Department Station 105. President Obama was there to talk about his jobs initiative to help veterans find work as firefighters, police officers and park rangers. The President is now the owner of a shirt that firefighters in the District of Columbia would not be allowed to wear while on-duty because it has the DCFD insignia banned by Chief Kenneth Ellerbe. The Washington Post's Mike Debonis writing in his District of Debonis blog is on top of this story:
Ed Smith, president of Local 36 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said there were no political overtones intended in handing POTUS the shirt.
”Those were shirts we had made up last year, before the change,” he said. “Those are the shirts we wear when we’re out in the community, attending different events. … We try to look uniform.”
Lon Walls, an FEMS spokesperson, said he wasn’t reading too much into the giveaway.
“People give stuff to the president all the time,” he said. “I’m sure he doesn’t know what all the issues are.”
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Furniture store & apartments burn in Syracuse, NY: The fire was Saturday afternoon. YNN.com has more video and these details of a close call - "Mark Mclees, Syracuse Fire Chief said, 'We knocked the fire down, we were advancing in to the structure and the back porch on the back of the building came down and knocked my firefighter down. So we did have a firefighter who was knocked down by a back porch collapse. He's still operating, he's okay. We don't have any other reports of anyone missing.'" Syracuse.com has some good pictures and more details about the fire.
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READ THIS – Special fundraiser for FDNY Rescue 2 Mayday Fund: Our friend Zach Green at MN8-Foxfire, who has those extremely unique and useful illuminating products for firefighters, has teamed up with IronFiremen.com and FireCritic.com to do something really nice over the next week. They are raising money for the FDNY Rescue 2 Mayday Fund to help Firefighter Robert Weidmann and Firefighter James Gersbeck who were burned in the fire in Crown Heights on December 19. From today through midnight on Monday January 30, MN8-Foxfire will donate 50 percent of all product sales through the company website to the FDNY Rescue 2 Mayday Fund. There will also be a way to directly donate.
The uniform crisis in our Nation's Capital continues: Two more TV stories Friday about the battle between DC Fire & EMS Department Chief Kenneth Ellerbe and the troops over issues that have developed after what is being described as the fifth change in the policy for outerwear in the last year. The latest controversy boils down to whether the city can require firefighters to put identifying marks on jackets, seaters, sweatshorts and hats the department does not provide. Union president Ed Smith gets the airtime in the story from ABC7/WJLA-TV. In the other story, Chief Ellerbe, who had previously issued a statement saying he "wouldn't comment further on this one", does an interview with Fox 5/WTTG-TV reporter Paul Wagner. In the same story, Lt. Robert Alvarado again speaks out saying the chief is showing a "lack of leadership" and calls the latest order "unconscionable". Click here.
DC lieutenant's suit against TV station gets thrown out of court: The story is one that I thought, when it aired a year ago, was poorly done, had the wrong focus and tried to hold the wrong people accountable. The lieutenant featured had even stronger feelings and sued the TV news operation. A DC judge recently threw it out of court based on a fairly new law. Click here.
Arrangements for Hopelawn ex-chief Bruce Turcotte: Click here for funeral details following the death of Bruce Turcotte last week during a house fire in Woodbridge, New Jersey. It turns out a neighbor found the firefighter slumped behind the wheel of a rig on the fireground. Here's that story.
The parade passing by may be a record breaker: Glenn Usdin's FireTruckBlog.com has the story from Oklahoma on Friday of what may be the longest fire truck parade ever. They are sending the info to Guinness World Records. Click here.
Lessons in reputation mismanagement: The story of the wife who says she was left on a Maine roadside by the ambulance carrying her dead or dying husband continues to play out in the news. In fact, I think you can say the hospital that runs the ambulance service is helping keep this one alive by failing to follow some basic rules when confronted with bad news. The two most recent stories are here and here.
Mayday audio from Edmonton: Firefighters had a tough time getting out of an apartment building on Thursday when the evacuation order came. Click here to listen.
Firegeezer has the story of a real man: Yes, this guy punches out fire sprinklers in Chicago night clubs and then tries to say his head hit it. The video shows otherwise. Check it out.
Hero Rush: The obstacle race and experience created for firefighters and the general public. And you will be contributing to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation when you sign up. Click here to see when Hero Rush is coming to your town.
The message is loud and clear but was it a good idea?: A firefighter with a colorful employment record, who was recently fired in one Ohio town, has his termination letter signed by 13 of his colleagues. Some writing in our comments section are debating the merits of getting the troops involved in the separation in this manner. Read the details and the comments.
House fire in Milton, Kentucky: Dash-cam video from the chief's vehicle.
One firefighter with two off-duty rescues in 12 days: A great story about Omaha Fire Department Firefighter Phil Lopez who has been making the news quite a bit recently.
Singing the blues in Mesa: That's where country singer Lee Brice's tour bus caught fire. Watch the raw video and TV story.
Shift trading limited in Cleveland: After lots of criticism and bad publicity over firefighters living as far away as San Diego, limits have been put on shift trading for the Cleveland Fire Department. The amount of time firefighters can owe to each other or be owed will be 144 hours, or six, 24-hour shifts. Prior to this some firefighters were off for months at a time. Here's more.
High school cadet program for Prince George's County, MD: For two of the people in the picture at the right it was apparently their first time dragging a hose inside a burning building. Can you figure out which two it is? The picture was taken following a press conference on Friday announcing that PGFD will be working with the school system to start a high school cadet program. Okay, so from left to right it is Deputy Chief Ben Barksdale, Chief Marc Bashoor, School Superintendent William Hite and County Executive Rushern Baker. But that still really doesn't answer the question, does it?
Firefighters bury dog: In Wake Forest, North Carolina a house fire Friday night took the life of the family dog. A neighbor was so touched that the firefighters went above and beyond, and took care of burying the dog for the family, she alerted the local news media. Thanks to Michael Greenham and Mike Legeros at Legeros Fire Blog for alerting me to the story.
Connecticut newsman and emergency services legend dies: Here is an interesting article from Connecticut's Naugatuck Valley about the passing of 91-year-old Edward Cotter Jr. A founding member of Storm Ambulance, Cotter had also been a photographer and sports reporter with the former Evening Sentinel. When Cotter joined the paper at age 19 his father encouraged him to join the fire department which was next door to the newspaper's offices. Read more about the life of Edward Cotter Jr. Thanks to Chris Schwartz at firstduefirephotos.com who sent us this and has more on Ed Cotter Jr on his site.
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A new uniform order from DC Chief Kenneth Ellerbe has Lt. Robert Alvarado again publicly calling him out. Says fifth change in a year is ‘unconscionable’ & shows ‘lack of leadership.’24 comments
From Paul Wagner at Fox5 News/WTTG-TV (reprinted with permission):
D.C.'s firefighters are taking a stand against the chief, refusing to comply with another uniform change. It is the fifth in the last year.
It is a change they are all expected to pay for. The union sees it as retaliation while the chief says it is necessary for security.
11 days after FOX 5 first aired footage showing firefighters turning their jackets and sweatshirts inside-out to comply with the latest uniform change – here comes another.
It is a directive from the chief forbidding firefighters from wearing unmarked jackets, saying it is a risk to homeland security. It is an order that left many firefighters dumbfounded and furious.
"I know it looks like a Home Shopping Network display here, but this is what we have gone through,” said Lieutenant Robert Alvarado with Truck 13, showing FOX 5 on a table all of the winter weather gear he has purchased that is now no longer compliant with the uniform policy. “We started out at the end of the year with this t-shirt here and this sweatshirt here and both were an acceptable uniform item. As of January 1st, these items are done, can't wear them. This jacket as well because it has DCFD on the back, and this is a winter jacket purchased with my own money which makes me clearly identifiable as a member of the department. That's no longer good.”
What is infuriating to Lt. Alvarado and others on the department is the fact these changes don't come cheap.
The fire department does not pay for winter outerwear and the only option for firefighters to remain compliant and not be disciplined is to buy additional outerwear with the proper identification or wear their turnout gear around the clock.
"I don't understand how in good conscience this man can put on the chief’s uniform and issue an order that sends his people into inclement weather with no protection. It’s unconscionable and it shows a lack of leadership," said Lt. Alvarado.
The lieutenant is speaking out on his own, risking discipline for what he has to say.
Union President Ed Smith says he is behind the lieutenant along with every other firefighter who has decided to take a stand.
“If they want to make uniform changes, they should purchase all articles, including the cold weather jacket,” said Union President Ed Smith. “Yeah, they're taking a stand on their own, most of them. They don't have to be told, but yeah, we are taking a stand, we want this stuff bought.”
But as you may imagine, Chief Kenneth Ellerbe sees things differently.
"What I did was I took away the ability to wear any personal equipment that doesn't readily identify employees as firefighters,” said Chief Ellerbe. “It seems there's been a movement to wear just plain blue or black jackets, but that creates a problem for other agencies in terms of identifying our members, and it also creates a problem for the public because they don't know who represents the fire department and who doesn't.”
What is doubly upsetting to firefighters is the fact the chief issued outerwear to EMS personnel and the top brass, but has so far refused to buy it for the people who staff the trucks, engines and rescue squads.
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Video & pictures from PA fire: This is from a two-alarm fire last Wednesday in Duryea (Luzerne County). Read details here.
Clearly, you people really need to find something better to do with your life: Web traffic on STATter911.com for the past two months is up by more than 50 percent compared to the same time period last year. Despite the headline, I am extremely grateful for the support. Don't forget you can view STATter911.com through Facebook by clicking here and hitting 'like". We now have more than 5000 fans, but there is always room for more. You can also be among the almost 4000 or so who follow us via Twitter by clicking here.
Speaking of people who need to find something better to do with their lives, have you seen grocery-cam?: A Brooklyn man who thinks he's Mike Wallace and Morley Safer combined, armed with a camera, searching for public servants wasting your tax money. Thank goodness for a guy like this, because we all need something to laugh at. So, how does a fire chief handle the universal complaint about firefighters shopping for groceries? Click here, watch the video and read my thoughts.
How can 13 minutes be an 'acceptable' police response time to firefighters in trouble?: Would that be an acceptable response time to a police officer in trouble? I think not on both accounts unless this occurred in a rural area. But how about Detroit, Michigan? The Detroit Police Department told a TV station when asked why Detroit firefighters couldn't get a scout car to the scene when they were surrounded by an unruly crowd at a fatal fire that 13 minutes was acceptable. We have the audio of that incident and have a suggestion for better wording by police. Click here.
Have you seen this remarkable video before?: I am not claiming it's new, but I had never seen raw video of two men, reportedly firefighters, scaling the wall of a highrise to rescue a child from a burning apartment and tossing the child to people below. Check it out and let me know. (UPDATE – We found a better quailty version on the Russian website were it was originally posted. But there are no details with it that I can see.)
Fall from ladder kills Pompano Beach, Florida firefighter: Here's the latest on Friday's death of Firefighter William Elliott during an aerial ladder drill on the ramp of Station 61. Here's our earlier coverage.
Aerial ladder collapse injures firefighter: Glenn Usdin's FireTruckBlog.com has the story and video from yesterday of the ladder from a 1976 ALF 100 foot rear mount collapsing at a fire in Aliquippa, PA. There is also a link to a 1996 USFA report on operator training being a significant factor in the collapse of older aerial ladders. Check it out.
My favorite story in recent days: A nurse who lost her home in the fire last month that took the life of Peabody, Massachusetts Firefighter James Rice, has named her daughter, born last week, in honor of the fallen firefighter. Please check out this one.
Video of local government official being rescued from her burning home: Check out this fire from Huntingdon, Pennsylvania where the woman making it out of her bedroom window just in time is the Huntingdon County clerk.
Stockton on offense and defense: We ran two videos of the Stockton (CA) Fire Department in action in recent days. Stockton FD, has been on a roll with our fire critics (not to be confused with THE Fire Critic, please!) since a house fire video we posted a month ago. The most recent video is a fire that required a transition to defensive operations (click here). The earlier one was not quite as stubborn and was knocked down rather rapidly (click here).
Brother of David Rosenbaum doesn't like either shift for DC firefighters: Marcus Rosenbaum, whose brother David's death spawned a task force on EMS in the Nation's Capital, thinks 24-hour shifts for firefighters must go but also points to studies showing Chief Kenneth Ellerbe's 12-hour shift plan is a "horrible idea". Read the latest opinion piece on this topic in The Washington Post.
And in case you aren't up to date on the other big controversy, click here for the latest in the DCFD logo dispute.
Video, pictures & fireground audio from an automatic fire alarm: Interesting compilation from Edgewood, Maryland (Harford County) where the first units, dispatched for an AFA, found a good deal of fire.
Domestic shootout leaves Martin County, FL lieutenant in critical condition: Firegeezer has the details of Lt. John Richardson Jr. being in a gun battle with his brother-in-law. The brother-in-law, who is a former cop, and Richardson's wife were killed. Richardson and others were helping Richardson's sister move out when the shootings occurred.
Businesses burn in Newburgh, New York: Raw video as fire runs the roof of a commercial strip on Friday.
Fire chief & sheriff's deputy under investigation for coverup: Curt Varone's FireLawBlog.com has an interesting story from West Virginia where the off duty deputy, who is a volunteer firefighter, is accused of falsely claiming he was driving a vehicle to coverup for an accident by the chief where alcohol may have been a factor.
Short staffing but quick work at a house fire: Raw video from Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
Free download of firefighting book: Click here to get all chapters of Barry Greer's PipeNozzle: Firefighting Prose You Can Read. Learn more about Barry and his writing at PipeNozzle.com.
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DC firefighter who was seriously burned last year publicly disputes Chief Kenneth Ellerbe over logo order. Lt. Robert Alvarado: ‘All we are asking is to be is dealt with fairly’.53 comments
Lt. Robert Alvarado has spent 11 years responding to emergencies and fires in the District of Columbia. Just last April, he was severely burned with three others while searching a burning house in Northeast. The lieutenant says he loves his job, but he has a problem with the chief.
"All we are asking is to be is dealt with fairly," said Lt. Alvarado. "If you want us to wear a certain item of clothing, issue it to us and we will gladly wear it instead of expecting us to come out of pocket to meet his agenda. We are sworn order takers, but make it fair and give us the tools to do that.”
On Tuesday night on FOX 5 News, Ellerbe had this exchange with anchor Laura Evans.
Evans: "It is expensive though, we have to say, winter wear is expensive to buy, if you are talking about buying a whole new set of uniforms."
Ellerbe: "They don't have to buy a whole new set of uniforms. We supply over $5,000 in outerwear and equipment for our employees. What they are talking about is purchasing sweatshirts and t-shirts that have the “DCFDEMS” on it. They are not talking about the outerwear that we provide.”
"We do get $5,000 worth of gear, but the majority of that is spent on structural firefighting gear that we use to go into burning building,” said Lt. Alvarado. “It’s a complete outright lie that we are issued outerwear. We are not issued outerwear.”
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Lt. Robert "Cadillac" Alvarado in a special message from the Medstar Burn Unit at the Washington Hospital Center last April.
Below is more information on the five DC firefighters injured during a house fire early yesterday morning in Northeast Washington. Critically burned is Firefighter Charles A. "Chucky" Ryan III. Ryan, who is also the chief of the Riverdale VFD in Prince George's County, suffered second and third degree burns over 40% of his body. Below are press releases from the DC Fire & EMS Department and PGFD, along with a message from Riverdale VFD's website.
Press release from DC Fire & EMS Department:
DC FIREFIGHTERS INJURED IN NORTHEAST HOUSE FIRE
Five firefighters taken to hospital, four admitted
Shortly after 12:30a on Friday, April 8th, Units from the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department were dispatched to a report of a house on fire in the 800 block 48th Pl NE. Within minutes firefighters arrived on the scene at 813 48th Place, Northeast and encountered fire showing from a one- story, wood-frame single family house. It was reported that the building was being evacuated.
Moments later additional crews arrived on the scene, including Rescue Squad 3 (RS-3 – Anacostia) whose crew began a systematic search for other occupants. While the first arriving engine crew made an aggressive attack on the fire, another engine crew protected a nearby exposure building. Within minutes a partial collapse of the roof occurred forcing heat and debris on top of the search crew. Another crew from Truck 13 (T-13 – Trinidad) recognized this and called for assistance. Firefighters activated an emergency call followed by a 'Mayday'.
Two of these firefighters self-rescued and the 3rd was assisted by the 'rapid intervention team' (RIT). A 4th firefighter was injured during the rescue and firefight.
Firefighter Charles A. Ryan III, was critically injured in the fire. Ryan is also the chief of the Riverdale VFD in Prince George's County, Maryland.
Emergency medical services personnel treated the injured firefighters. One firefighter was listed as Priority 1, serious and life-threatening, while the other three were considered Priority 2, serious & non life threatening. All have burns of varying degrees. All were transported to the Washington Hospital Center, MedStar Burn Unit. The most seriously inured firefighter is in critical condition, three others are being admitted to the Burn Unit with varying degrees of burns, while another was treated and released.
The injured firefighters are: Firefighter Warren Deavers, RS-3, Lieutenant Robert Alverado, T-13, Firefighter Ramon Hounshell, RS-3, Firefighter Charles Ryan, RS-3 and Firefighter Theodore Douglas (E-10, T-4)
The building was evacuated and defensive fire attack was initiated. Once all firefighters were accounted for an offensive fire attack was implemented and the fire was 'knocked down' within 10-15 minutes.
Neighbors indicated the house is vacant, but was sometimes occupied for one reason or another. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Fire Investigators believe the area of origin was to the rear interior of the house. The house suffered significant damage and is a total loss, estimated to be approximately $150,000.
DC Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe was on the scene and reported to the hospital along with many DC firefighters and family members. The DC Firefighters Burn Foundation is assisting and supporting the injured firefighters. Please keep the injured firefighters and their families in your thoughts and prayers.
Early this morning, at approximately 1:00 am, Chief Charles A. Ryan, III was on the job at Rescue 3 in the District of Columbia (DCFD) at a house fire in the 800 block of 48th Street, NE. While performing as a member of the search team comprised of firefighters from Rescue 3 and Truck 13, Chief Ryan and 4 other members of the DCFD were injured when the roof of the single family home collapsed.
Chief Ryan is in critical condition with significant burns at the Washington Hosiptal Burn Center. Three other firefighters with varying degrees of burns were alos admited to the Burn Center. The Washington Hospital Burn Center currently seeking people to donate blood to assist with the injured firefighters. Anyone wishing to participate is encouraged to stop by the Blood Services Center at the Washington Hospital Center. Any help is greatly appreciated and we ask everyone to continue to keep Chief Ryan and the other injured members of the DCFD in your thoughts and prayers.
Chief Ryan has been a member of Riverdale for 25 years and has served as Volunteer Chief for several terms. HIs father is also a Life Member of Riverdale and a past Chief. His stepson, Anthony Anastasi, is also a member and currently serves as Tower Captain.
At this time the Burn Center is limiting visitation to family members only.
As further pertinent information becomes available it will be posted here. Please do not contact the station seeking information.
On behalf of the Riverdale Fire Department, thank you for all of the phone calls and email of support and assistance. It is much appreciated. Please keep all these firefighters in your thoughts and prayers.
Press release from PGFD:
Volunteer Fire Chief Charles "Chucky" Ryan of the Riverdale Volunteer Fire Department was critically injured while battling a house fire while working as a firefighter with the District of Columbia Fire Department (DCFD) on Friday, April 8, 2011 (DCFD Press Release is below). As of this morning he remains listed in "critical" condition.
Ryan has been in the constant company of family, friends and fellow firefighters from the DCFD, PGFD and volunteer members of his Riverdale Station. He is under the very best of care with the staff of the Burn Unit of the Washington Hospital Center. He remains listed in critical condition as he begins to recover from burns over 40% of his body.
Being a veteran firefighter, Ryan demonstrated the difference between life and death; he was described as being very deliberate in maintaining his face piece in place. A firefighters face piece provides fresh breathing air and thermal protection to their face and airway. By doing so Ryan prevented the superheated gases and toxic air from entering his airway which would have complicated and more then likely prevented a recovery of his injuries.
Medical reports and diagnosis have been favorable for Ryan's recovery. Hospital staff stated the burn injuries sustained by Chuck Ryan are "survivable," however, his path to recovery will be long and painful and at this point his stay in the Burn Unit will be measured by "weeks."
Acting Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor has been in contact with DCFD Fire Chief Ellerbe and with the volunteer leadership at the Riverdale Station. Bashoor has extended whatever resources are needed to assist each Department through this period. Chief Bashoor has urged everyone to keep Volunteer Chief Ryan and the other injured firefighters in their thoughts and prayers through this very challenging time. With so many members of the fire service family wanting to contribute in some way, it has been recommended that a blood donation be considered. Potential donors are encouraged to contact the Blood Services Center located in the lobby of the Washington Hospital Center.
‘FEMS’ name topic of hearing. DC Chief Kenneth Ellerbe questioned by City Council over logo change. Also, questions about NFPA compliant uniforms come same day five firefighters are burned.20 comments
DC Fire & EMS Department Chief Kenneth Ellerbe found his recent order to use the name 'FEMS' instead of the traditional 'DCFD' on t-shirts purchased by firefighters under scrutiny by the City Council. It happened at this morning's FY2012 budget hearing in front of the Committee on the Judiciary & Public Safety. Council members Phil Mendelson and Jack Evans asked Ellerbe about the controversial decision by Ellerbe. Ellerbe had previously indicated 'DFCD' does not cover the EMS activities of the department. At the request of IAFF Local 36 officials Chief Ellerbe has delayed implementing the order for 120 days. Jack Evans has introduced a bill to keep the 'DCFD' name alive.
The video above starts after a question by Committee Chairman Phil Mendelson about any cost associated with suh a change.
The video below is a brief discussion of the related issue of having firefighters outfitted with safer NFPA compliant uniforms. Mendelson says more than $2.5 million was budgeted to replace polyester pants and shirts during the administration of former Chief Dennis Rubin. The questioning comes on the same day that five DC firefighters were burned during a house fire. One of the firefighters, Charles Ryan, is in critical condition.