Archives for bourne-fire-department
Five-alarm Fargo Fire briefly traps firefighters: This brief video shows fire spreading to all wings of a large apartment building in Fargo, ND yesterday evening, leaving 150 people homeless. According to InForum.com, two firefighters became trapped in a third-floor apartment after the roof caved in and the ceiling collapsed. One was rescued through the interior and the other via a ladder. Both were uninjured.
Bourne to lose, once again: Either we failed to notice or things actually had been quiet for a while at the Bourne Fire Department in Massachusetts. Not anymore. A firefighter is facing suspension for a series of Facebook messages that the chief and others have called unprofessional, inflammatory and scurrilous. According to wickedlocal.com, the posts ”mocked local residents, including one that juxtaposed a picture of a local special-needs adult with a Bourne firefighter.” The chief claims others contain a slur to the homosexual community and some disparaged fire and police department members. Here’s all our previous coverage of a variety of other Bourne issues.
Not fire/EMS related but it could have been: There were DC Fire & EMS Department units standing by yesterday during the filming of scenes for the movie Transformer 3, but it was the Metropolitan Police Department that inadvertently took a leading role (at least in the news coverage). A K-9 officer in an SUV responded on a call through the area where they were shooting. The results weren’t very pretty but certainly added some additional action to the movie. Click here for the video and details.
Rescues in Virginia Beach: Details from an early morning house fire that left an infant and a senior citizen in critical condition.
Career criminal takes ambulance for a spin with crew and patient in the back: This happened in Chicago Saturday morning and a crew on a fire truck helped save the day by blocking in the runaway unit. Firegeezer has the story and the motive behind the theft.
FDNY firefighter’s SUV involved in fatal hit and run: A firefighter turned his SUV into cops about four hours after the early Sunday morning crash that left one man dead. But Pat Quagliariello did not say who was driving the vehicle at the time. Here’s the story.
Impact of layoffs: Details from a Lorain, Ohio City Council hearing looking at fire department operations following cutbacks.
Moonlighting inquiry: In Pensacola, Florida the arrest of a former fire captain connected to his off-duty work has officials asking lots of questions about the other jobs firefighters do and when they do them. Here’s the story.
Amalgamation is part of the campaign platform of one mayoral candidate: That’s what they call the proposal to combine Toronto’s fire and EMS services. TorontoSun.com looks at how that idea worked elsewhere in Canada.
Batavia, NY house fire: Fire started in the basement of a rooming house for those just released from prison. It happened yesterday afternoon.
Ammunition cooks: Early raw video shot by a neighbor of a fire Monday morning in Halstead, Kansas. We have a theme going with the videos this morning, Check below for the gun shop fire in Texas.
Engine that failed to pump in Seattle was a reserve piece: The Seattle Times cites sources as saying Saturday’s fire that left four children and an adult dead apparently started in a mattress. The Seattle Fire Department now confirms the engine that failed to pump was a reserve piece. Here is an excerpt from the paper’s story:
The Fire Department, in a written statement, clarified that the first engine to arrive at the blaze — which suffered a mechanical failure and was unable to pump water — was a 1996 reserve engine assigned to Station 18 because the normal engine, a 2008 model, was in the shop for routine maintenance.
Fire officials previously said the 2008-model engine, stationed on Northwest Market Street, had been successfully tested that morning before the fire was reported at 10:04 a.m. Now it is unclear whether those tests were performed on the reserve truck, Engine 81 — listed in dispatch records that day as Engine 18 — or on the station’s regular Engine 18.
The department also confirmed that the engine at Station 9, closest to the apartment fire, was on a nonemergency call to a Wallingford retirement home when the blaze erupted.
The paper reports the number of non-emergency calls from this retirement facility has been an issue. There have been 486 responses to the facility since 2005.
Union blasts Bourne oath policy: As we mentioned the other day the policy that firefighters must be under oath when political leaders conduct investigations is the latest controversy for the Bourne Fire Department. It has brought a scathing letter from the president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts. Read it.
Clark County commission chairman says he won’t be bullied by fire union ad: The latest from Nevada brings the following quote from Rory Reid, chairman of the Clark County Commission- “The firefighters want the public to think this is about safety. In fact, the only thing at risk is the firefighters’ paycheck and that’s what this is all about.” The union says it is about safety when you cut the county’s heavy rescue and hazmat capability. Read the story.
Ohio captain linked to hidden camera in bathroom: Police have arrested Mayfield Heights Fire Department Captain Daniel Serge after a small digital camera was discovered in a handicapped bathroom at a YMCA. Here’s the story.
All-female VFD shut down: Firegeezer has this interesting story from Alberta.
Firefighters apparently help fuel Charlie Sheen gossip:” ‘I think it’s Charlie Sheen’s car,’ a firefighter who first arrived at the scene initially told RadarOnline.com.” Now that’s journalism for you. Trying to nail down the all important story of the troubled actor’s abandoned car found running in a ditch on Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles, the rag got an “I think” from a firefighter. Sounds good enough for me. Read it if you care.
TV repair and gun shops burn: After an initial interior attack San Antonio firefighters went defensive on this fire Sunday night. Ammunition began popping as the fire spread from the TV repair shop to the gun shop. Click here to listen to fireground audio. More video and more details here.
Trying to save what is going to be destroyed anyway: The plans call for the old BASF plant in Anderson, South Carolina to be torn down to make way for a tissue factory. A fire yesterday helped get the process started. Click here for more details and video.
Letter from PGFD union prez takes on editorial position that ”The public will be safe and money will be saved”: The statement came in a Gazette editorial over Local 1619′s complaint about reduced holiday staffing (here’s our coverage of the issue). Andrew Pantelis makes the point that the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department is the only department in the region frequently staffing its rigs with two people. Here’s the letter.
Major fire in North York, PA: Firegeezer beat us to Steve Roth’s fine pictures as fire took hold of an attic connecting six addresses in North York Tuesday night. We also have the picture to the left from Jeffrey Waltman. Click here for the Geezer’s coverage, including Steve’s photos and some video.
Finally, a settlement in Boston: The battle between Mayor Thomas Menino and Boston firefighters is older than this blog. The average Boston firefighter will receive a check for $29,000 in back pay in the coming months after a compromise was reached on their contract. The City Council approved a 17% salary increase over five years (2006-2011). The deal means a savings of $45 million over the controversial award by an arbitration panel. It also means mandatory drug and alcohol testing for firefighters. Read more.
Health also an issue in Boston contract: According to Boston.com, “The contract will award a 1.5 percent annual increase in the base pay of firefighters hired after June 30 who undergo an annual physical”. This isn’t a requirement for those already on the job. Dr. Michael Hamrock, a former Boston firefighter who oversees medical issues for the department, wanted mandatory annual physicals and a wellness program for everyone. Here’s the story.
Bourne now battles over investigations that haven’t happened yet: For while last year the Bourne Fire Department in Massachusetts seemed to be in the news daily over a series of serious personnel problems. Now the union and town officials are fighting over how to go forward. Bourne wants to compel firefighters to testify under oath in future investigations. Read details.
We have an all Massachusetts show going this morning: Remember the young firefighter who wrecked the Provincetown ladder truck while taking a friend for a spin? OUI charges have been dropped against Elias Martinez because of problems with how the evidence gathering was handled. Read the latest.
How is that sprinkler argument holding up now? The place where Al Capone got his kicks is destroyed by fire: The Riveria Roadhouse on Route 66 in Gardner, Illinois is no longer. The former speakeasy and Al Capone hangout burned Tuesday. In recent years the owners have been in a battle against a required sprinkler system citing the historic nature of the building and that it was on the National Registry. Not sure how well that argument is playing right now. Here’s more.
No water training meant firefighters couldn’t help fishermen: In Scotland an inquiry is underway over the actions of firefighters the night three men died. Firefighters heard their last cries but were forced to stand on the banks of a loch because of a lack of water safety training. By the time a fire boat from 70-miles away arrived the men were dead. More details.
Seattle talks about cutting from four to three: The proposal by Mayor Mike McGinn would bring the minimum staffing for an engine company down to three. Here’s the story.
Early video of house fire in Tinley Park, Illinois: A neighbor boy with a camera catches this one before firefighters arrive. Listen to the questions asking where is the fire department (did they call?). You can read a few more details about the fire here.
Fire engines, but no fire department: I urge you to take a few moments to watch the videos and read the information about the state of fire protection on Mudge Island in British Columbia. It is a place with two fire trucks and no real fire department. But the citizens have taken the matter, and the hose lines, into their own hands. Some of our readers find what they see inspiring. Other think it is ridiculous. Either way it sure is interesting. Click here.
Another police chief makes the case for taking over the fire department: In Auburn, Maine the acting fire chief feels the bosses showed disrespect toward him and the fire department for failing to include the fire service perspective in the city’s study of combining the police and fire departments. That job went to the police chief who says it could work just fine having public safety officers showing up at fires, putting down their weapons and going in to fight a fire. Watch the story.
Bourne’s back: For a while the Bourne Fire Department in Massachusetts just stayed in the news as the department dealt very publicly with a series of problems (click here and scroll down). The recent quiet from Bourne has now been broken. Two paramedics are claiming an on-call firefighter drove his personal vehicle recklessly through a crash scene on the way to a fire call. The medics says they were almost struck while tending to a patient. Here is the story.
Probation in hazing incident: A judge has given a year probation to three Connecticut firefighters and another person after a hazing incident we had told you about. This is where a 14-year-old member of the Quaker Hill Fire Department, who had pulled a chair out from underneath a firefighter’s girlfriend, found himself bound to a backboard, gagged and shot with an air gun. Here’s the update.
Consulting firm fired because it had never recommended layoffs: In Palo Alto, California a consultant was dropped midway through a staffing study of the fire department. Council members were shocked to learn the firm had never recommended layoffs in any of its previous studies. According to MercuryNews.com, some on the council were hoping the study would pave the way for cut backs. The official reason for the dropping of the consultant is a “conflict of interest”. Check out this line from the article – “they were surprised to learn at an April 20 finance committee meeting that consulting firm Emergency Services Consulting International was affiliated with an international fire chiefs union.” I knew those fire chiefs would eventually unionize.
What happens in Las Vegas may be shared with Clark County: With both Nevada jurisdictions in battles with firefighters over budget issues, leaders hope to share services like hazmat and heavy rescue in an effort to save money. Here is the latest.
CFSI: The Congressional Fire Services Institute’s National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner and Seminars start today. Click here for details.
It is Bonanza time: May 7 is the start of the two day Bonanza Extravaganza put on by the Professional Firefighters of Hagerstown, Maryland (IAFF Local 1605). This event, involving music, gaming, big money prizes and much more has become a real happening. The union says, through a foundation set up to handle the profits from the event, firefighters have given away hundreds of thousands of dollars to non-profits in the community and ”a $40,000 donation to Children’s Village that funded every second grader in Washington County to be able to attend a two day fire and police safety educational program”. Click here to read more background information on the event. Here’s the website.
Another fired DeKalb County, Georgia firefighter makes the case for reinstatement: William Greene goes public in his efforts to get his job back after being fired with four others following a botched response to help an elderly woman who said her house was on fire. Greene says he was not given complete information by dispatchers. Read the story.
Mayor’s fund raiser attracts firefighters: We have shared with you a number of stories about the relationship between North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi and his firefighters (click here and scroll down for a recap). If you have read any of them you know that if a large group of firefighters showed up at a fund raiser for Lombardi it wasn’t because they were invited. There were about 250 firefighters with picket signs outside the restaurant last night. Click here for the story. Watch the video.
Three-alarm church fire threatens hotel: The two buildings are connected in Portland, Oregon. Firegeezer has the story.
How sad: During a retired firefighter’s funeral in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, burglars broke into the home the firefighter shared with his brother. Read more.
Union called out for stealing story of 1953 fire: A paranormal researcher who had written a story in 2008 on the 55th anniversary of a nursing home fire that killed 33 people says IAFF Local 2427 reposted that same story on its site. The author says her name wasn’t on the story but credit inhstead was given to someone affiliated with the union. Here’s the story about the story, that we are crediting to TampaBay.com.
Man’s duck story apparently doesn’t hold water: The man admits he set the fire inside the Ride the Ducks building in Seattle. But the story about why he did it might quack you up. (Seriously, what kind of an idiot writes this junk?) Here’s the story.
NIST staffing and response study out this morning: I am not sure NIST’s efforts will have much meaning on Mudge Island (see here), but a lot of fire chiefs are hoping it will help put things in perspective when the boss says cut. We spent a frigid day in January of last year at the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service Training Academy when this study was first publicized (above). Christopher Naum has one of the more detailed looks at what it is all about on his Command Safety blog. Expect more at Command Safety (and here) later today.
Fireground audio of 3-alarm Oregon fire with water supply problems: Click here for the radio traffic from FireSceneAudio.com of the fire in a large vacant early 1900s building at the Fairview Training Center in Salem. Read more.
A welcome home from Haiti: Away for 15 days, Virginia Task Force 1 helped bring 16 people to safety who were trapped in the rubble of the earthquake in Haiti. Watch the welcome the team received yesterday evening in Fairfax County. Also, click here for a slideshow of the welcome home.
Report faults firefighters for not following procedures during fatal fire: Four members of the DeKalb County Fire Department, including two captains and a battalion chief remain suspended with pay after a report puts a lot of the blame on their shoulders for failing to find the burning home of a woman who called 911 early Sunday. They did return about five hours later to find the house destroyed and the woman dead. Read the report and more details.
Woman hit by hose falls off fire engine: You had probably seen the earlier story on this one from Cambridge, Massachusetts. A loyal reader and Firegeezer alert us to the update that an 82-year-old woman died when she was hit by hose that fell off the rig as the crew was responding. Click here.
Ambulance with a very bad reputation lives up to its past and burns: The ambulance that helped push New Jersey lawmakers to widen the states “Lemon Law” to include emergency vehicles self destructed yesterday and few are surprised. Click for pictures, video and the to read the story.
Mayor and fire department director finally talking in Memphis: With the TV station into its second week of stories on hiring practices at the Memphis Fire Department, city officials are now answering some questions about the arrest of 80 firefighters over the last five year. Click for the mayor and here for Director Alivin Benson.
Fire department takes $128,000 loss on new fire engine that was just too big: Pennsylvania’s Lawrence Park Fire Department (Erie County) sold its new, 37.9-foot-long Pierce Dash Pumper just 17-months after getting the $510,000 rig. They found Engine 284 too big for the township’s alleys. And the sale has caused some controversy. Read the story.
Omaha heating up again: Loyal reader Ron Young points us to some stories out of Omaha where there has been controversy over a proposed new fire boat and other items being purchased from a special fund. Click here for that one (and an earlier article here).
The news never stops in Bourne, Massachusetts: Just when we thought things might calm down after the resignation of Lt. Kelli Weeks, there is even more controversy in the Bourne Fire Department. The acting chief now has some allegations against him. Click here for that story. Also, the firefighters’ union has some harsh words for how the town selectmen handled the Weeks affair. Check it out.
Another blue light special: In Des Moines police say a Grand Junction volunteer firefighter apparently wants to also be a volunteer police officer. The cops say 29-year-old Richard Collogan was pulling people over with his blue light. Read the details.
The wife tells me I must run this one: She was charmed about the story of a 3-year-old boy who very effectively used 911 to help her grandmother who was having a seizure. Click here for the story from Maple Shade, New Jersey and here to listen to the call and meet Jaden Bolli. We need to get Jaden to teach everyone how to be that calm when calling 911.
It is not the CNN employee I expected to do this: If there was ever someone from CNN who I could easily see an old firehouse in New York to live in, it would be my friend, and fire buff extraordinaire, Vito Maggiolo. But the story at HuffingtonPost.com isn’t about Vito. It’s about Anderson Cooper paying $4.3 million for such a privilege. Click here for the story and pictures.
Fireground audio & video from Chicago 3-11: A very cold Steve Redick shot this fire in the cockloft of a large commercial building at 47th and King yesterday. Click here for the radio traffic from FireSceneAudio.com. You can read more about the fire here.
Bourne, Massachusetts Lt. Kelli Weeks, at the center of the storm, is moving on. Capecodonline.com reports Lt. Weeks turned in her resignation a day after a disciplinary hearing was postponed for a third time. She is on paid administrative leave until the paper work is completed. The focus has been on Weeks since allegations she appeared on a video of a town drug surveillance while on duty.
Matthew Burke, who has been on the Bourne beat for months, breaks the news about the closing of this chapter of many months of controversy involving the fire department. Here are excerpts from today’s story:
Multiple town sources familiar with the negotiations said Weeks had cleaned out her locker at the department and had submitted her signed letter of resignation. The document still must be signed by other parties before it is official, (Town Counsel Robert) Troy said, which will most likely happen before Tuesday’s rescheduled disciplinary hearing.
It remains unclear whether Weeks will be given any severance or whether she will be able to apply for fire service jobs elsewhere. Troy said Weeks would be eligible for extended health benefits and money for accrued benefits.
Troy said that all of the issues between the fire department’s union and the town, and also between Weeks and the town, “had been worked out.” He said that once the resignation letter is signed by all parties it will become a public record. Troy said that town officials felt her resignation was “in the best interest of all parties.”
Weeks, 33, who came to the department in 2001, was promoted to lieutenant in 2006. Her 2008 salary was $72,059, according to town records. She is originally from Attleboro.
Weeks has yet to comment on allegations levied against her by the police in November that she met with a suspected drug dealer while in uniform and on duty in May.Over the summer, Weeks’ fellow firefighters alleged a townwide cover-up, saying she was not sanctioned to be at the drug surveillance operation and also that public safety was at risk. Town officials originally denied the May incident had taken place, but reversed course after the Times obtained fire union logs that detailed years of alleged drug and/or alcohol abuse and also after no action was taken when the incidents were reported to the fire department and other town officials.
Weeks was placed on leave for several months but has been back with the department the past three months, fire officials have said. Since she has been back to work, her duties have changed, and new complaints about her behavior and work performance have been reported to town officials.
Weeks rushed away and declined to comment after her abbreviated disciplinary hearing Thursday afternoon.
Basement fire in St. Louis: Fire on Friday at 3337 Missouri Avenue. It is a described as a two-story, two-family flat. It had burglar bars on the basement windows that a firefighter aggressively attacks.
Did FDNY EMS crew on break refuse to help dying pregnant woman?: That’s the claim in Brooklyn following an incident at a coffee shop near FDNY HQ. Read more.
We have heard from the NC firefighter seen with his helmet on fire: Will Gregory from Erwin, North Carolina sent us a comment about the dramatic pictures from a house fire a week ago. Gregory and another firefighter were briefly caught in a flashover but walked away with no injuries. Click here for the pictures by Brian Haney and scroll down for Gregory’s comments.
Chief Ellerbe speaks: Sarasota Chief Kenneth Ellerbe assures those in Florida he is not coming back to Washington despite still being on the DC payroll. We also hear from Joe Morgan, the critically burned firefighter who didn’t quite find it as easy to stay on the fire department’s rolls. Check it out.
Cheating scandal widens: Two Omaha, Nebraska firefighters are now implicated in the effort to give test answers to new applicants of the Papillion Fire Department. In October and November we first mentioned the cheating scandal that required officials to throw out the test and discipline some employees. Omaha World-Tribune has received a confidential report about the incident that quotes one of the firefighters saying it is part of the “brotherhood” to “help” family and friends get on the job. Click here for the update.
Chief in trouble again: Eunice, New Mexico Chief Ron Grogan and a bunch of his firefighters are charged with theft of a radar detector which was evidence at a crime scene. Grogan also made headlines in September after he was accused of fondling a woman. Click here.
What were they thinking?: It appears that Tampa’s MJ Morning Show crew got what they wanted. That would include a blazing fire from turkey fryer inside a van and a lot of publicity. But will this stunt end up giving them a little MORE than they wanted, once fire investigators finish up? Click here for our first posting on this stupid act. Then click here as Dave points out that one of the radio crew’s biggest crimes is that they weren’t even funny and constrasts it to a radio turkey stunt that was hilarious.
Fireground audio, video and pictures from triple fatal fire: Click here for the coverage from the deadly fire in Rochester on Saturday.
I’ve fallen and I can’t get up: That’s probably what Konrad would have yelled if he could. But Konrad is a horse. And this horse slipped on the ice and had a great fall (miserable winter though). A three hour drama in Connecticut ended happily after firefighters put Konrad back together again. Click here and here.
San Diego commercial fire: This is from a week ago after a two-alarm fire destroyed Blowout Video and the largest selection of DVDs in the area, along with the corporate office of Showgirls, a strip club business.
Cape Cod Times reporter Matthew Burke has had a busy few months keeping tabs of the various scandals involving the Bourne Fire Department. At the center of this ongoing drama is a name that has surfaced often, Kelli Weeks. She is a 33-year-old lieutenant who is also married to Deputy Chief Paul Weeks. Weeks, who once posed for a female firefighter charity calendar, has been under investigation since the spring.
It took a while, but Burke was able to determine weeks ago that the probe centered around Kelli Weeks showing up in the middle of a drug investigation by the Bourne Police Department. But it wasn’t until this past week that reporter Burke has been able to tell us the details. They come from a memo addressed to Weeks informing here of a disciplinary hearing that was scheduled for this past Wednesday and has now been rescheduled for December 29.
Burke reports that Town Administrator Thomas Guerino, who along with the fire chief, threatened to fire anyone who provided information to the press, gave the memo to the reporter. Here are excerpts from the latest article:
In his memo, which provides the most information to date regarding allegations against Weeks, Guerino states that Weeks faces discipline or termination stemming from an incident “on or about” May 7 at approximately 4:35 p.m. It is alleged that Weeks was seen at the rear parking lot of a Sandwich Road location in uniform, meeting and having a conversation with someone who was later accused of selling drugs from that location.
Weeks was driving a fire department vehicle at the time, according to the memo.
“It is further alleged that you were not assigned to be at that location by the Bourne Fire Department and that you were not acting at that time in accordance with your responsibilities as a Bourne Firefighter,” the memo reads.
The memo states the meeting was “reported” to the police, who were “conducting an undercover drug surveillance operation at the same time and location.”
At the selectmen’s Nov. 10 meeting, acting Fire Chief Daniel Doucette said Weeks’ actions “were appropriate,” according to meeting minutes. Doucette did not return messages left for him at the station this week.
Guerino’s memo lists nine rules allegedly broken by Weeks, including “no employee shall be absent from duty without authorized leave” and “any type of conduct which reflects discredit upon an employee as a department member, or upon his fellow employees, or upon the fire department is prohibited.”
Weeks did not return messages left for her at the fire station this week and was unable to be reached at her parents’ Attleboro home. Her attorney, Richard Sullivan of Milford, declined to comment through a spokeswoman.
Last month, Police Chief Earl Baldwin admitted at a selectmen’s meeting that Weeks had appeared at a police drug operation earlier this year.
Fire union officials then released logs that documented years of odd behavior exhibited by Weeks while on duty. The logs also detailed instances when town and fire department officials were notified of problems concerning Weeks but did nothing, as well as examples of town police officers contradicting public statements made by town officials.
Union officials alleged a cover-up and said public safety was at risk.
Weeks has been back at work for two months after being out for four months on medical leave, union officials previously told the Times.
When she returned to work, her assignment within the fire department had changed, and fresh complaints regarding her work habits were reported to town officials.
Baltimore 2nd alarm (and rally info): This fire on Ostend Street Friday morning left one firefighter with minor burns. Firefighters point out the closest engine company, Engine 55 in Pigtown, was closed for the day. The rotating closures and the budget cuts are behind today’s rally as firefighters march from the Baltimore City Fire Museum (old Engine 6 on Gay Street) to City Hall at 5:00 PM. IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger is scheduled to join IAFF locals 734 and 964 (officers) WJZ-TV has the story.
VIDEO ADDED – DC & Sarasota officials signed ageement to allow new Florida chief to remain District employee: STATter911.com now knows what happened to allow Sarasota County Chief Kenneth Ellerbe to stay on the rolls of the DC Fire & EMS Department in able to enhance his retirement pay. We even know a DC assistant fire chief and the city’s head of human resources approved Kenneth Ellerbe’s leave without pay status. What we don’t know is why this was allowed to happen, especially since Chief Dennis Rubin originally declined to sign the deal. We are also trying to determine the benefit for the city to engage in a formal personnel exchange arrangement to fill a fire chief’s slot in Florida. The DC Fire & EMS Department and the DC Department of Human Resources aren’t exactly filling in the blanks on a lot of unanswered questions. One question from a STATter911.com reader is one we hadn’t thought of: Will the DC Fire & EMS Department now offer this arrangement to every firefighter who may be almost a year short in reaching retirement age? Click here for the latest, including Wednesday’s 6:00 PM report for TV.
Also in Sarasota County, Florida, a 911 problem causing a 20 hour delay: Listen to the audio and read the details on why help wasn’t sent to a man later found dead in North Port, Florida. Click here.
Construction workers make rescue at Beltway vehicle fire: Raw video from the air, pictures from the ground and the story from Scott Broom on yesterday’s save after an SUV crashed and burned on the Capital Beltway near College Park, Maryland. Construction workers pulled a woman from the burning vehicle.
Rape charges dropped against Bourne, Massachusetts deputy chief: Paul Weeks is eager to go back to work and his bosses want him on the job as soon as possible. The rape charge against the deputy chief has been one of many dramas involving Bourne’s fire department in recent months. While the papers say they don’t identify rape victims, the victim in this case declined to prosecute citing “marital privilege”. Read more.
NEW – Developer on home confinement after off-duty firefighter shot: We were a little late in telling you about the arrest in the off-duty shooting of a Milton, Massachusetts firefighter in an apparent road rage incident. Read about the charges against a well known developer.
Anthropometry, a word Dave has never heard before: Ann who? Dave showing his ignorance on reading an interesting press release from the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service. MCFRS will be working with NIOSH in using anthropometry to to “improve the fit and performance of equipment that interfaces with the body”. Anthropometry “is the science of measuring the human body”. Read the release.
Fire chief and city sued by landlord: Readers in Utica, New York alerted us to this story about a fire in September that killed four people, but Firegeezer already had this interesting case well covered. Click here.
Firefighters replace money stolen in Salvation Army robberies: IAFF Local 660 in Charlotte, North Carolina has donated $6000 to make up for some men going around to Salvation Army kettles trying to steal Christmas. Read the story.
It isn’t getting any prettier in Bourne, Massachusetts where we have been watching the ugly dispute involving the fire department devolve. It centers around Lt. Kelli Weeks. News reports indicate that Weeks, a former firefighter charity calendar model, had apparently been subject of a secret investigation since the summer. It eventually came out that Weeks had found her way into a police drug surveillance operation. Lt. Weeks not been charged with any crime.
Firefighters had filed complaint about Lt. Weeks they say were ignored. She has been on medical leave for months.
Her husband, Deputy Chief Paul Weeks, is facing a rape charge. He was originally allowed to go back to work while waiting for trial, but has since been placed on leave.
There has been a long battle between the union and the town administrator over this and other issues (including an animal clinic held at a firehouse). Recently firefighters got the attention of selectmen who ordered an investigation of the whole mess. But how that probe is being conducted is causing its own controversy, and bringing out new allegations.
CapeCodOnline.com’s Matthew Burke has been on top of all of this and here are excerpts from his story filed today about the latest dust up:
Several high-ranking firefighters, acting on the advice of union counsel, refused to testify under oath at a hearing Tuesday regarding fire Lt. Kelli Weeks, whose on-duty behavior has been called into question by several of her fellow firefighters.
The firefighters declined to testify because they feared they might be made scapegoats for the town’s failures in the Weeks investigation or punished for being whistle-blowers, union attorney Leah Barrault of Boston said yesterday. Instead, they offered to give voluntary statements but were turned away.
Town officials countered by saying the interrogations must be under oath to ensure that the truth is told.
Yesterday, nasty letters and e-mails surfaced between Barrault, Town Administrator Thomas Guerino and Town Counsel Robert Troy of Sandwich, further widening the divide.
“I was shocked at your behavior (Tuesday) at the Veterans Community Building,” Barrault wrote to Guerino after the proceedings. “You stood in the hallway speaking to a civilian freely about this investigation. I clearly heard you tell that civilian during this conversation that your intention was to ‘fire all of them.’ I have grave concerns regarding your behavior and your future involvement in this investigation.”
Guerino then sent a letter to Barrault that dismissed her allegations as “ludicrous” and a “juvenile outburst.”
Barrault said yesterday that she confirmed what Guerino said with the person he was speaking with, and that union president Penny Fusco also witnessed the exchange.
Barrault accused Guerino of being “unprofessional” and told Troy that Guerino’s comments regarding the “juvenile outburst” were clearly directed at her “age and gender.” Guerino then requested that Barrault deal only with Troy.
“You can’t give much of what (Barrault) says very much credence,” Troy said in regard to Guerino’s alleged comments. “She is loose with the facts.”
Troy said the town would commence the interviews when she returned, adding that she should advise her clients to speak or they will face disciplinary action.
Troy has said that, after the testimony is examined, the town would pursue legal options against firefighters if they were guilty of wrongdoing. He has also said that Guerino will pursue disciplinary action for insubordination if the firefighters do not testify.
Troy said that Barrault has vowed legal action and that she filed an unfair labor practice charge with the state Division of Labor Relations yesterday. A division spokesman could not confirm the charge yesterday.
Judge orders New Haven to promote firefighters: Operating under the instructions from a Supreme Court decision, a U.S. Distict Court judge has ordered the promotion of 14 firefighters. The judgement officially finds the City of New Haven violated the rights of a group of white firefighters after two promotional exams were tossed out five-years-ago. New Haven officials say they will follow the order “as soon as practical”. Watch the video above and read the latest on this closely watched case.
NEW- EMS crew officially passed over for fire company: The conflict between New Jersey’s Quakertown Fire Company and Quakertown VEMS came to light for most of us after a passing incident between a firetruck and an ambulance went bad (click here & scroll down for previous coverage). A recent Tri-Data study determined the fire company was best at providing EMS for Franklin Township. Now Franklin Township has made it official. Read the latest.
It never ends in Bourne: The last we looked at the troubles in Bourne, Massachusetts, selectmen had launched their own investigation into the ongoing troubles surround Lt. Kelli Weeks. But now that the investigation is underway, firefighters are not happy statements are being taken under oath and are concerned about repercussions. Click here for the latest story. Click here for our previous stories and updates on the Bourne Fire Department.
Los Angeles County chief says 21-years is enough: Chief P. Michael Freeman is not the longest serving chief in Los Angeles County’s history. It would take another 6-years to reach that record. But Chief Freeman says it is time to go. Already allowed to serve beyond the normal mandatory retirement age of 60, the chief says he wants to spend more time with his family. Chief Freeman came to Southern California after 24-years with the Dallas Fire Department. Read more.
A very unusual situation in New Jersey leads to chief’s resignation: There are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the Fair Haven fire chief’s plunge into the Navesink River Sunday night. It happened after Shaun Foley hit a pole while driving the chief’s vehicle. Foley was rescued after a 45-minute search that included the U.S. Coast Guard and New Jersey State Police. Foley, who faces drunk driving and other charges, has now resigned. Here’s the latest. And here’s what was reported earlier in the day.
Crack pipes found at fire that hurt ex-Knicks player: Dean Meminger was pulled unconscious from the burning Bronx home Sunday. Now there are reports crack pipes were found in the house, but a cause of the fire has not been listed. The 62-year-old former New York Knicks player is currently in critical but stable condition. Read details.
Family Dollar update from the expert: Our resident expert at Family Dollar store fires at FireEmsBlogs.com is Firegeezer Bill Schumm. So we leave the update to Monday’s fires in Rochester to the Geeze. Click here for the latest.
Third alarm in Allentown, PA: This is from NewsWorking.org. Here’s some of what they wrote about the Wednesday morning blaze at 903 N. Penn Street- Engines 6, 4 (reserve E5), 9, 11 (acting Ladder 2), 10 (RIT) and Battalion 4 (Grim) respond on the box. Engine 6 arrives and reports heavy fire in a 3-story M/O/R. Crews stretch a handline and find fire on all floors of the house. BC 4 strikes the second alarm. Engines 14, 13, air 1 and Cars 40, 46, 47, 48 respond. The fire spread to the ‘Delta’ exposure on the third floor of 901 Penn Street, which is the End of Row (E/O/R). Chief 40 struck the third alarm, bringing in Engine 11 (reserve E8) and Truck 1. A may-day was called for a downed firefighter on the second floor of the original fire building around 0954 hrs activating the R.I.T. The firefighter was taken to the hospital (at 7:48 on the video) with minor injuries. the fire was declared under control at 1100 hrs by BC 4.
Station fire report questions aggressiveness of U.S. Forest Service. Forest Service fights back. Read entire report: Click here to read the complete report from Los Angeles County into the Station fire that took the lives of Captain Ted Hall and Firefighter Arnie Quinones. It has sparked a battle between the county and the U.S. Forest Service. The report says the federal agency should change its policy to allow night water drops and make better use of local resources during fires in the Angeles National Forest. The Forest Service points out when it did its own report into the fire Los Angeles County officials did not voice those concerns. Read more from the Los Angeles Times.
Charles Scott Doyle: A firefighter from Montgomery County Maryland who was injured while BASE jumping died yesterday. We told you about Scott Doyle shortly after his accident in May as firefighters worked to bring him home from Idaho. Click here for details on arrangements.
Lt. Kevin M. Kelley Avenue: Boston’s City Council unanimously passed a resolution to name a section of Huntington Avenue after Lt. Kelley who was killed when the ladder truck he was in wrecked in January. Read the story.
An idea that is spreading: A while ago we told you that the idea of replacing career firefighters with volunteers was being floated in Cumberland, Maryland. Yesterday it was the surprise suggestion from the mayor of La Crosse, Wisconsin. And now there is Johnson City, New York where the mayor wants to save money by recruiting volunteers to replace full time staff.
Guilty plea for Pennsylvania firefighter who used firetruck to steal fuel while drunk: Forty-six-year-old Michael Gorr admits he was drinking when caught driving a firetruck up to the Upper Macungie Township municipal pumps and filling up some fuel containers for his own use. Apparently he had done this at least 10 other times. Gorr also had been charge with breaking into a south Allentown home. He is the second firefighter caught stealing fuel. Read more.
Probe into hidden account may force Baltimore to return cash to Washington: Do you recall the Baltimore Sun investigation in 2007 about breathing apparatus, some hidden accounts and unauthorized purchases by the training academy? It came under the administration of former chief William Goodwin. Now it appears Baltimore may have to return $164,000 in DHS grant money because of the mess. Click here for the details.
You light up my life … and the 911 lines: Video of a meteor streaking through the sky and getting attention in Utah and beyond.
Union opposes new chief: That’s the story from Robbinsville, New Jersey where the chief’s position will now have the title of director. Union officials says the person picked has never run a career department and doesn’t even have EMT. Here’s the story.
Three-alarm fire last month in Lynn, MA: This is from October 9 at 144 South Street.
Early video and fireground audio from office building fire in NJ: This is from Sunday in Bridgewater Township, New Jersey. The fire was in a medical office building. Click here for the Google Maps Street View of the building.
DC fire investigators get blasted by the city’s own lawyers: The latest people taking a shot at the DC Fire & EMS Department are the lawyers whose job it is to defend the department in a lawsuit over the April, 2007 fire at the Georgetown Library. Washington City Paper’s Jason Cherkis has the emails from the Office of the Attorney General wondering why fire investigators can’t produce the notebooks and other documents that have long been requested in the case. In one email, a city attorney writes, “This is a 13+million dollar law suit. Enough for DC to hire many firefighters, or lawyers for that matter (or avoid layoffs or furloughs). Is there nothing that can be done to get this information?”
Another city lawyer wrote, after hearing that notebooks don’t exist, “If indeed there are no notes or diagrams, both for the purpose of trial preparation and to respond to the motions for sanctions, can the investigators explain why they did not follow the national standards? Is it that they weren’t trained on these standards, or they forgot, etc.?”
Canary in a coal mine: The sensitivity of birds to carbon monoxide is why canaries were used as crude CO alarms in mines. It is apparently why 23 out of 24 birds in a Rockville, Maryland house died during a fire early yesterday morning. Click here to read and watch the story.
Fire chief accused of fondling police dispatcher gets pension: Former Truro, Massachusetts fire chief E. Thomas Prada resigned in March, 2008 shortly after he was accused of grabbing the breasts of an on-duty police dispatcher. Prada had been the part-time chief for 20-years and a call firefighter with the department for 49-years. A retirement board ruling now allows Prada to keep his pension. Read more.
Deadly arson in Oklahoma City: Firegeezer has the details and the video of a fire believe set in two places in a wood frame apartment building that killed three people Tuesday morning.
Almost 40-year battle over LODD: An interesting story how a 26-year-old Santa Barbara County firefighter collapsed and died in 1970. His widow has now gone to court to in an effort to reverse the retirement board’s ruling that the death was not service related, even though Mark Common’s name is on the California Firefighters Memorial.
Former fire chief elected mayor in Toledo, Ohio: Mike Bell had been the Toledo fire chief for 17 years and most recently the state fire marshal. He will now be the new mayor, having beat out an old high school classmate. Chief Bell calls the city’s current economic situation a three-alarm fire.
Four firefighters hurt at garage fire: A variety of injuries as fire spread to two garages in Pelham, New York. Here’s the story.
Mayor outlines plan to pay back OT to firefighters: Louisville’s mayor explains how he is coming up with the $45 million to settle that years long suit over firefighter’s overtime. It is expected that 800 former and current firefighters will share in the money with pay-outs ranging from $100 to $120,000. Read more.
L.A. geyser: No fire engines disappearing on this one, but nice pictures of a water main putting on a show. Click here.
A call for 9-11 video: Greg Jacobs with Siskel/Jacobs Productions has asked me to pass along this request for video-
The producers of the Emmy-winning documentary 102 Minutes That Changed America are seeking amateur and professional video from 9/11 in and around Washington, D.C. for a forthcoming National Geographic Channel documentary. That includes footage of buildings being evacuated, man-on-the-street conversations, home movies of people responding to the news, saved phone messages, etc.—anything that helps illustrate not just what happened, but how the day felt. If you have or know of any such material, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fiery truck crash on I-95: Click here for details of an overnight wreck in Fairfax County Virginia near the Lorton exit. Video shot by Rob Barrett.
Union tries to halt police interviews of firefighters. The latest in the continuing saga of the Bourne Fire Department.No comments
There is a new twist to the continuing saga of the Bourne Fire Department in Massachusetts. The union representing the town’s firefighters has sent a letter to Bourne officials in an effort to halt further interviews of firefighters by police who are conducting an investigation of Lt. Kelli Weeks. The union points to the police chief’s statement to the press that the interviews aren’t pertaining to the criminal probe of Weeks.
Despite the best efforts of CapeCodOnline.com, we still don’t know what this investigation is all about. Statements are expected later today from the union and the town’s selectmen that could possibly shed some light on the mess.
We do know that Lt. Weeks, the Ms. October 2008 for a charity calendar, has been a target of an investigation since the summer. In the meantime, her husband, Deputy Chief Paul Weeks, is on full duty status despite a rape charge hanging over him. You can click here to learn more about some of the many other related and non-related issues facing the Bourne Fire Department.
Penny Fusco, president of the Bourne Professional Fire Fighters Union, and Gil Taylor, a union spokesman, confirmed yesterday that the union’s representative, Leah Barrault of Boston-based Pyle Rome Ehrenberg PC, had sent the letter to town officials.
Barrault did not return messages left for her yesterday at her office, but Taylor said that in explaining why the union considers the police interviews unlawful, she cited a Times article from Saturday in which Police Chief Earl Baldwin was quoted as saying that the interviews were not pertaining to the criminal investigation of Weeks. He stated that noncriminal issues are generally dealt with internally.
“The union attorney sent a letter to the town today,” Fusco said. “She said that it is unlawful to be questioning us in that manner, and that we will no longer be complying with the interviews.”
The Times confirmed the police investigation into Kelli Weeks late last month after making a public records request for documents involving the investigation in mid-August. That request was denied by Baldwin.
The Times appealed that decision to Secretary of State William Galvin’s office and was told that the state’s supervisor of public records had requested the police documents for review before deciding whether the Times can obtain them.
The fire department has been embroiled in controversy as of late. Union officials have sparred with town officials over a weekly veterinary clinic in their Sagamore Beach station in addition to the Weeks investigation.
From the STATter911.com archives: This is a little DCFD action I came across recently. It is the October 15, 1984 fire at the U.S. Postal Service Headquarters building at 475 L’Enfant Plaza, Southwest (20260-2200, if anyone cares).
Bourne’s identity is in crisis: The Bourne Fire Department in Massachusetts seems to be more like a soap opera than a place providing emergency services. A deputy chief is on full duty status while a rape charge goes through the courts. His wife, a lieutenant who posed for a charity calendar, is under investigation for something. Firefighters are being interviewed at the police station about the lieutenant. Town officials refuse to shed any light on what is going on and apparently have accused a firefighter of leaking information to the press. That firefighter is now off duty because of stress issues. And there’s more. Click here for our rundown.
A battle in New Jersey over the effective closing of a volunteer company: We have a detailed article from the Courier-Post’s Jane Roh showing both sides of the fight in Cherry Hill, New Jersey over orders from the chief of the Cherry Hill Fire Department that forced the VFC to close. Interesting stuff that is well worth reading. Click here.
Man arrested for fire at place where 9/11 remains are held: Craven and contemptible is how New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg describes someone who would do this act. Read the story.
Better late than never I: Three days after it occurred, we finally reported on a two-alarm fire a few miles from STATter911.com’s World Headquarters. The fire was Thursday in Alexandria, Virginia and an alert regular reader found some early video. Click here.
Better late than never II: The Wenatchee World is a lot slower than STATter911.com. On Friday, the paper posted a story about a member of the Wenatchee Fire Department who was terminated in July. Apparently the paper only recently noticed that a woman, heralded as the first-ever female firefighter in Wenatchee when she was hired in May, 2008, was missing from the 36 member department. It turns out that Kari Paulson had her probation period extended after a c0-worker filed a complaint (a rather tardy filing) after being sent more than 50 sexually suggestive text messages while on duty. The paper reports, while on the extended probation, Paulson called in sick. On that sick day she was spotted at a Coldplay concert (I admit I had to look it up to find out they are an English alternative rock band). Read the story.
Actions of medics are focus of lawsuit: A story from Ohio on the Bainbridge Township Fire Department. A lawsuit has been filed saying that medics did not provide the proper treatment to a woman in cardiac arrest and changed their story about what was and wasn’t done. WKYC-TV reports word from Bainbridge officials is that appropriate care was provided. At the same time the TV station reports the two paramedics were given remedial training, protocols were changed and the medical director replaced. Click here for the story.
Joy ride in FD vehicle: Police in Massachusetts have arrested a 39-year-old man for stealing a Crown Vic belonging to the Lowell Fire Department. Click here for details.
5-alarms in the Bronx: Firegeezer has the details, pictures and more from the fire that destroyed 14 businesses Saturday morning.
Fire in Delaware: Early video from a fire Friday in Glasgow.
The long road to become a firefighter: A very interesting article about a 40-something who decided to become a firefighter after a career as a chef , on the water and both.
Housekeeping: Some of you who subscribe to home delivery of STATter911.com may not be getting that service now that we have moved. There is a convenient place to re-subscribe (or be a new subscriber) in the right hand column near the top. Also, if you have a site that has been running an RSS feed of STATter911.com, thank you! If you haven’t updated it to our new blog the address is simple- http://statter911.com/feed/ . Don’t forget you can follow STATter911.com on Twitter, our Facebook fan page, on LinkedIn and Firefighter Nation. If none of those work, just send me your number and I will read STATter911.com to you over the phone.
4-alarm house fire: Sunday evening in West Caldwell, New Jersey. Description with the video indicates water issues with the initial companies.
There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear. Every time I look, the 48-member Bourne Fire Department in Massachusetts is in the news.
Earlier we told you about Deputy Chief Paul Weeks, charged with rape, who has been allowed back to full duty while the charges are adjudicated. Yesterday, firefighters were called to the Bourne Police Department to be questioned about an investigation that apparently involves Weeks’ wife, Lt. Kelli Weeks.
That mysterious probe has been going on for a while. We say mysterious, because no one is saying anything publicly about details of the investigation. The Cape Cod Times has been trying unsuccessfully since August to find out some specifics. The state is now reviewing the paper’s appeal to the town’s refusal to supply records. Union officials have urged that the documents be released and have expressed no confidence in Lt. Weeks and Town Administrator Thomas Guerino.
On Wednesday, police were called to the Main Street station to handle a domestic dispute. A female firefighter said she was receiving harassing text messages and phone calls from her ex-husband.
Also, a firefighter is not working because of job related stress after being twice accused by Guerino as being a source for news stories.
And yes, the Bourne Fire Department’s Sagamore Beach station is embroiled in that controversy you may have read about where the weekly veterinary clinic is held in the building.
Bourne police Chief Earl Baldwin confirmed the interviews were taking place.
“They are being interviewed,” Baldwin said. “But this is not in regard to the criminal investigation (into Weeks). This is not a criminal matter. The interviews really don’t have anything to do with the police department other than we’re the ones doing them.”
Baldwin said more information may be available next week.As the controversies have played out, union officials have called for town officials to release information regarding the investigation into Kelli Weeks to the public. Both Guerino and
In a memo from Guerino to (Acting Fire Chief Danel) Doucette, obtained by the Times yesterday, and dated Thursday, Guerino said questionable factual reports have shown up in local papers, a contention that union officials have disputed.
Doucette have threatened to fire anyone caught talking to the press, which has caused tension at the department. At least one firefighter is not working because of job-related stress.
Clearly there are a lot of unanswered questions in Bourne.
Above is a video of the Bourne Fire Department in less turbulent times. The department received some good press for rescuing a cat at a house fire on April 15 of this year. Maybe crossing paths with the cat was bad luck. Click here, here and here for more Bourne Fire Department videos.