Video from Jim M of an Indianapolis house fire posted on June 6. No details on when or where it occurred. Here is some of the description:
First arriving companies had significant trouble navigating through the interior of the house to the area of origin due to the tremendous amount of “stuff” piled from floor to ceiling throughout. Consequently, the fire was able to increase in size and obviously spread through the attic. Also, the layout of the house did not allow easy access to the fire room through the front door.
There was a large multi-alarm warehouse fire in Indianapolis on Saturday that required laying supply lines across railroad tracks. In the video above, WISH-TV shows the moment a CSX train took out one of those supply lines. Here’s what the TV station reported:
Firefighters regrouped and laid more lines.
They say CSX officials cooperated from the very start of the fire-fight. But this one train did not have time to stop.
The tracks remained closed for the next seven hours.
Above is raw chopper video from WISH-TV from the fire. Below is undated video of a similar incident with a supply line from Maine that popped up on YouTube this past week.
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My friend Gerald Baron is very good at figuring out what new things mean and the impact on those in emergency management. We’ve been living with “nano news” for a while but probably didn’t realize what it was. Essentially it’s instant news without the editing, processing and context that journalists traditionally provided. Or, as Gerald has written, “realtime information sharing from the source–from the scene, the front-lines or by real time sharing of police scanners and the like”. The aps and websites broadcasting public safety radio traffic that we’ve become familiar with are part of what fuels “nano news”.
What bothers me greatly is that too often these days during breaking news coverage, traditional news media puts unconfirmed scanner information and other unconfimed reports (AKA rumors) on the air and/or on the web. We once counted on reporting by these organizations to be an important source of reliable information. With many of the mistakes made during the Boston Marathon news coverage and other significant events in recent years, some of the major news organizations are becoming no more valuable as a source of reliable information than the neighborhood gossip on Facebook or Twitter. More reason an “official” flow of information on social media platforms needs to be established in the very early stages of an incident.
As the Boston Marathon bombings proved, “nano news” can have a direct impact on the management of an incident. Here’s Gerald’s view as orginally posted in his blog Crisisblogger (a site you will want to read regularly).
In a recent keynote presentation I made to an emergency management conference and in a post on Crisis Comm over at emergencymgmt.com I used the term “nano news.” Since it has been referenced lately by others I thought some further thoughts here might be worthwhile.
Webster defines “news” as ” a report of recent events.” “Nano” is one billionth of a second. Nano has come to refer to anything very small. So what is very small news?
In the Boston bombing manhunt one new feature of reporting news came to the wider public attention. This was the quite wide-spread use of police scanner apps, websites like “broadcastify” and linking police scanners to the internet through Ustream. What all of these methods do is the same: they capture the realtime police communications as the responders are doing their job. In this case, hunting down and capturing the remaining suspect in the Marathon bombing.
News media using police scanners to gather information is nothing new. And of course, there are those, some might call them geeks, who make a hobby of listening in on police radios. What is new is the use of the internet and social media such as Reddit, 4chan and Ustream to share that real time police activity with the rest of the world. This is a game changer in several respects.
One, it takes “instant news” to a whole new level. This is getting as close as it seems possible to being one of the eyewitnesses on the scene, except you can be on the other side of the globe. How do you get faster than instant? Nano, I guess.
Second, it is “small news.” It comes in the tiniest bits and pieces. For example, the Redditor who was following a police scanner app reported during his or her continual stream of reports from the police scanner that “we have movement, arm is moving.” This was one of the first indications to the police and simultaneously to the world that the suspect was alive under the tarp covering the boat. A tiny bit of information, but yet so significant to those “on the scene” eagerly watching events unfold.
Third, it is fully unfiltered, unchecked and unreliable. It’s long been said that the first reports about almost anything are bound to be wrong. But when those first reports are not about what HAS happened, but what IS happening, it seems almost more certain they will be wrong. We saw that to tragic effect in the Boston situation, where a police scanner referencing the name of a possible suspect was picked up and distributed widely throughout the internet. One women’s organization with 300,000 Facebook likes put that name out and apologized when it turned out to be a missing student who was found dead a few days later. The apology included the explanation “I’m not a journalist,” as if that excused the distribution of a false report to hundreds of thousands. What the new “nano news” reporters seem to not understand is that they are “journalists” or “broadcasters” in the sense that what they say can and often is distributed to thousands or even millions and they bear some responsibility when the false information ends up impacting response activity or the lives of those involved.
Fourth, related to the above, information true and false can be harmful. It can hurt police or response operations. It can compromise public safety. It can cause untold damage to reputations and cause extreme emotional pain. Because of this, no doubt the emergence of “nano news” will prompt the further use of encrypted radios, but I would guess may also spur legislation. Legislation is often a recourse when people act irresponsibly and most “5-0 Scan kids” as I call them (after the popular app 5-0 Scan) would not consider it irresponsible to simply relay what is on the police scanner. But it can be and often is. When they use their computer to live video a police scanner and share that on Ustream they would not think of the harm they could be causing. But they should.
We have left an era of “processed news.” That is information that is gathered, vetted, verified, compressed, packaged and distributed to a waiting audience. The audience has become the broadcaster and those charged with vetting, approving and packaging are struggling mightily to figure out how to be responsible when they can’t possibly beat the police scanners or the on-the-scene eyewitnesses sharing what they observe on Twitter. As they get closer to nano news themselves, mistakes with potentially huge consequences are inevitable. But, when it is desperately important to us, we can accept those errors are part of the price we pay for getting what we want right now.
Video from esdras alvarado of a house fire in Bellingham, Washington. I know it is no surprise to anyone, but watch around the 2:00 mark and someone starting to pull a vehicle right in front of the burning home.
Video from Frank Wesnoski (fwesnosk) from a house fire on Wednesday at 640 W. Rolling Road in Springfield Township, Pennsylvania (Delaware County).
From video description:
Pd arrived reporting 2nd floor fully involved. 44-9 requested a working fire dispatch, he arrived reporting fire through the roof and a hydrant right out front. 44-1 came right in and went in service with 2 2 ½ lines 56 put a blitzfire on the exposure which was already taking heat damage to the siding. Tower 44 put 2 elevated master streams in service and knocked the bulk of the fire. Crews then went interior with extensive overhaul and salvage.
Three people were routed from their beds by an early morning fire that caused significant damage to their Rolling Road home.
An unidentified jogger passing by 640 W. Rolling Road at about 4:45 a.m. on Wednesday saw flames coming from the roof of the two-story house. He banged on the front door of the home, alerting the two residents and their 5-year-old grandson to the fire. All three escaped without injury.
Fire Capt. Pete Hendrickson, with the Burbank Fire Department said the 9-1-1 call came in at 10:17 a.m.
“The first arriving engine company found flames outside Beauty Kiss Carpets and heavy smoke in the attic,” he said. “At some point, all the carpets in the entire interior became on fire and the roof collapsed.”
Hendrickson said about 75 firefighters knocked down the fourth-alarm fire in about two and a half hours.
He added two of the firefighters suffered “heat-related injuries.”
“Nobody should judge me on one incident,” is the message TribLive.com reporter Liz Zemba got in a phone conversation with Uniontown, Pennsylvania (Fayette County) Fire Chief Chuck Coldren yesterday, three days after his tirade against a citizen with a camera was posted to YouTube. The citizen is self-described activist Chris Shellhammer who, along with his mother, has been involved in protests at the courthouse and police station and regularly videos police activity.
Uniontown Mayor Ed Fike, who says the incident will be investigated, reiterated what he told other reporters, “For him to come unglued like that, somebody had to provoke him.” But according to reporter Zemba, who has seen additional raw video shot by Shellhammer, there is no indiction of anything leading up to the confrontation.
“I’ve devoted 40-plus years of public service to the city of Uniontown,” Coldren said. “I’ve always been totally professional. People who don’t know me have no right to judge me.”
“They were at a bomb scare, where people are in harm’s way, and you’re trying to keep people out of harm’s way,” Fike said. “It’s not like Chuck is a mean, degrading, terrible person, because he isn’t.”
“There are two sides to every story,” Fike said. “We have to look at the video and talk to Chuck to get to the real cause of it to determine whatever the reprimand will be, if anything.”
Some thoughts on how Uniontown is dealing with this incident. When a man dressed in civilian clothes, screams “leave” to a citizen standing in an area that is not blocked off and the citizen asks who he is, if your first answer is “I’m the fire chief, do you want to f#$*ing argue with me?”, you should be throwing in the towel immediately. Stop trying to defend the indefensible, making excuses and looking for ways to justify the chief’s response and his apparent threat to do bodily harm to the citizen. All you are doing now is stretching this story into multiple days of news coverage and making sure that even more people see how stupid your fire chief looks and how lame your excuses are.
There should have been an apology from day one. With the apology should be an explanation from the mayor and fire chief that Uniontown and it’s officials recognize the rights of citizens to take pictures along with an announcement that guidelines are in place to prevent this from happening again.
If these leaders have any sense, something similar to that will ultimately occur anyway. It almost always does. Why wait and destroy your credibility and image further? Swallow your pride, get over yourself and deal with it like reponsible leaders.
In addition, if you are the person promising an investigation, when you make a statement that “somebody had to provoke him” when there is no clear evidence in the public record to back up that point, you are letting everyone know that getting to the bottom of what happened may not be your real goal.
There was a lot to learn in the original video showing the chief going nuclear and there is a lot to learn from how Uniontown is handling the fallout.
We introduced you to Chuck Coldren Tuesday night. He is the career fire chief of Uniontown, Pennsylvania (Fayette County) making a little more than $56,000 per year. The chief, wearing a t-shirt and shorts, let Uniontown resident Chris Shellhammer have it on Monday at an emergency incident. Shellhammer’s video is now making news. Local newspapers and at least two Pittsburgh TV stations did the story yesterday trying to get to the bottom of the fire chief’s tirade.
It turns out Chief Coldren missed his latest turn on camera because he is on vacation and reporters could not reach him at his home or office. This left Mayor Ed Fike to answer for Uniontown. Upon seeing the video, Mayor Fiske described Chief Coldren as a low-key guy who had to have been provoked to act that way. Shellhammer claims there was no provocation. The mayor told reporters there will now be an investigation and if an apology is warranted he is sure the chief will have no problem doing that.
The video has prompted lots of discussion with hundreds of comments posted on STATter911.com and related Facebook pages and many other forums. Only a couple of people have come to the chief’s defense so far.
Uniontown resident Chris Shellhammer likes to know what’s going on in his neighborhood. So when he saw police and fire vehicles near his home on Monday, he walked over to see what he could see. He also started capturing video with his cellphone.
In the video, Uniontown Fire Chief Charles Coldren approaches Shellhammer in plain clothes and ask him to move back, which Shellhammer does. Shellhammer suggests the area should be taped off if the public is not allowed. That’s when the encounter escalates.
“You’re not going to tell me how to do my (expletive) job. Now, if you want to keep running your lip I’ll have you (expletive) arrested. You can record me all you want. I don’t give a flying (expletive),” Coldren says in the video.
It’s important to note, Shellhammer described himself and his family members as “community activists,” and they’ve become known in the community as a result. Shellhammer said he’s skeptical of authority and often joins protests at the Fayette County courthouse. However, in the Internet video, Shellhammer’s responses don’t seem to warrant Coldren’s responses and, at one point, Coldren appears to challenge Shellhammer to a fight.
“You want to put that down and take it to another level?” Coldren said in the video. “Let’s go.”
Action News went to Coldren’s Uniontown home looking for answers but he didn’t answer the door. An employee at the fire station said he is on vacation until next week. Channel 4 was first to show Uniontown Mayor Ed Fike the Internet video, which has now been viewed more than 5,000 times.
“You only hear one side of it, not that that makes either side right,” Fike said.
Last night, WTXF-TV reporter Chris O’Connell showed the Philadelphia area TV audience a two-year-old video of the chief and some firefighters from New Jersey’s Somerdale Fire Department (Camden County) mocking a man with developmental disabilities who is also described as a department member. The person who took the video and provided it to the news media is Mike Miller, a former member. Miller, whose family had been firefighters for four generations, explains in the news story why he is a former member and that he is sharing the video now because the recent passing of his grandmother, who had also been a volunteer, prompted him to do the right thing.
Video shows Somerdale’s Fire Chief Steve Daniels, along with a captain, a lieutenant and other firefighters all making inappropriate sexual comments to the disabled man who doesn’t seem to understand why everyone is laughing.
Miller was terminated from Somerdale Fire Department 2 years ago. The department says he was fired because he broke the rules.
Miller says he was targeted for speaking out against department policies.
“This was a continuing pattern of the type of things that went on there and that I needed to record it and have it”
FOX 29′s Chris O’Connell went to the Somerdale Fire House to ask Chief Daniels about the video but he wasn’t there.
On the phone he tells us he’s quote “deeply sorry” for what was said in the video. And says quote “since our training we haven’t had any more incidents. We think we have taken steps so this never happens again.”
FOX 29′s Chris O’Connell did speak with the Somerdale mayor tonight. He explains that he is disturbed by the video, but believes sensitivity training was the appropriate way to handle it.
As you watch this, I will be the first to admit, other than what is evident on the video, I have no clue what kind of scene this was or what the person with the camera did or didn’t do to warrant the expletives coming from the man who says on the video he is the “fire chief”. What I do know is that, much like Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Captain Greg Smart’s infamous on camera tirade, this is probably not the best way for professionals who deal with public to handle with this situation. Even if you are right, you undermine your own authority and reputation with actions like this caught on camera.
The description with the video from ccspagan simply asks, “Is this how public officials should treat taxpayers?”
A new audit of the D.C Fire Department’s fleet of vehicles shows a critical lack of reserve pumper and ladder trucks with just over half of the ambulances owned by the city available for service.
The audit was ordered by D.C. City Councilman Tommy Wells after FOX 5 revealed the fleet numbers given to the city council last February were false.
After taking weeks to count all of the vehicles in its fleet and determining their readiness the D.C. Fire Department now admits it doesn’t have nearly the ambulances and pumper trucks it claimed to have last February.
City Councilman Tommy Wells says there is money in the budget to purchase new vehicles but he is now more concerned with staffing.
Just before he appeared before the D.C. City Council’s Judiciary Committee last February, Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe and his staff told the council it had 398 vehicles in its fleet including 29 ladder trucks, 106 ambulances and 64 pumpers.
Numbers we now know were false.
In a new report obtained by FOX 5 the fire department now admits it has far fewer vehicles with many of them out of service.
In fact an audit now shows the department has available for service:
56 out of 96 ambulances
37 out of 53 pumpers
And 18 out of 26 ladder trucks.
Those numbers concern Tommy Wells.
“I am putting a whole lot of scrutiny on the maintenance and availability of these vehicles, that’s why we got the audit report and i am going to require another audit report as they acquire and fix vehicles and I will stay on this like a laser beam, they must be accountable to the public for the vehicles they have and the vehicles they have been budgeted for”, said wells.
As chairman of the City Council’s Judiciary Committee, Wells points out the fire department has been given 18 million dollars for new equipment but has been slow to spend it.
“This is why I am putting the focus on the fire department right now we need to be assured that we have the vehicles ready and available that we need to keep the city safe”, he said.
An opinion shared by the firefighters union.
“It calls into question our ability to answer calls on a daily basis”, said union Second Vice President Dabney Hudson, “we are coming up on summertime, summers here, we had our first little heat wave the other day, it’s our busy time of the year and we run significantly more calls in the next four to five months”.
Even more concerning for Wells is the fire chief’s re-deployment plan which would put more ambulances on the street during peak afternoon and evening hours.
“They are way behind in hiring paramedics, way behind in hiring the staffing they need and that’s why I am very, very skeptical about the new staffing proposal they have”, said wells.
According to the fire department’s numbers there are currently 17 ambulances in reserve.
A number the union says should be doubled.
On Monday Morning Tommy Wells says he went to the Office of Unified Communications to listen to 911 calls and see the staffing levels for himself.
Wells says, as of 10:30 he was astounded to see only three out of 39 ambulances were available for service and all of them were in northwest.
Ongoing issues with D.C.’s emergency medical staff came to the forefront Monday after a D.C. councilman toured a district 911 call center and discovered that there were only three medical transport units available for the entire city.
Councilman Tommy Wells said in a statement Monday that the three emergency transport units were also located in NW.
This is not to say that there were no other emergency response vehicles working. During Wells’ visit to the call center at the non-peak time 10:30 a.m., 31 units were on a response call or at a hospital while five of the remaining eight ambulances weren’t available for unnamed reasons.
“This is exactly why we must take a long, hard look at the proposed ambulance redeployment plan. The prevailing issues with our Fire and EMS fleet readiness are of grave concern to me, the Council, and the public,” Wells said in a statement.
Firefighters carried animals from a strip mall pet store after they sawed through a metal gate to enter the unit and attack a fire that damaged the building’s roof Monday morning in Hollywood.
Aerial video showed firefighters carrying a cage of animals — possibly puppies or small dogs — from the building, identified by signage as Kim’s Pets and Fish. It was not immediately clear whether there are more animals in the building.
The fire, reported at about 6 a.m., damaged at least one unit of the strip mall at Lexington and Vermont avenues. Firefighters used a circular saw to cut through a metal gate and enter the building.
The New York Post’s Susan Edelman and Candice M. Giove, the same reporters who broke the FDNY EMS social media scandal stories, are again focusing on FDNY. But this time they are looking at FDNY “wannabes” in an article titled “Culture of FDNY groupies rages out of control as ‘badge bunny’ obsession turns scary”. Women who want to date New York City’s bravest and men who apparently want to be firefighters so badly that they become obsessed.
Sunday’s article focuses on 34-year-old Christine Cuocolo, an IRS employee, and two men she associated with who are fire buffs, Gary Battista and Scott Main. It’s a detailed article that shows a really dark side that resulted in pictures of firefighters wives and children being posted online, threats of physical harm to specific firefighters and even threats to blow up a firehouse.
Here’s an excerpt to get you started, but make sure you read the whole article:
Some buffs listen to scanners and chase sirens, taking spectacular action shots of blazes to display as trophies. “You guys are sooo awesome,” a female fan recently cooed on one page.
Cuocolo, who showed off a scanner, crafted YouTube videos and slide shows lovingly depicting her favorite engine companies.
She brought plates of cookies to firehouses to “show support because I respect them,” Cuocolo told The Post.
She also confessed to crushes on firefighters at Engine 65 on 43rd Street off Sixth Avenue — and a desire to date them.
But Cuocolo popped by so often — she also brought flowers and memorial plaques for the fallen — the crews grew uneasy. FDNY rules permit visitors inside firehouses only during “open houses”; they can’t just hang out.
When the firefighters finally told Cuocolo to stop the surprise visits and Facebook postings, her adoration twisted into obsession and fury, fellow buffs and firefighters said.
Cuocolo, the daughter of an ex-NYPD cop-turned-private investigator, dug up information on some firefighters and posted photos of their wives and children. At least one firefighter demanded she remove them.
Fire fighters rescued several dogs and puppies after an Ogden residence caught fire Saturday morning.
Fire crews from the Ogden and Roy fire departments responded to a house fire at 280 31st Street at 9 a.m. The house was subdivided into three apartments, and a room of one of the apartments had caught fire. The residents were not home and fire fighters had to rescue two dogs and six puppies from the fire.
The fire was contained to one room, and the other two remaining apartments were not damaged.
At 18:04 Lehigh County Fire Dispatch sent Engine 33 and Ladder 33 (Han-Le-Co) for an apartment building fire at 568 Cedar Hill Drive (Allendale Apartments). With multiple calls being received, Chief 33 (Yoder) special-called Stations 2 (Catasauqua), 15 (Hanover, Northampton County) and EMS 75 for a full response before arriving on location. They were dispatched at 18:10. Ladder 33 arrived on scene and the chief reported a working fire in a two-story apartment building with heavy fire on the top floor.
Firefighters stretched 3 lines and started an exterior attack. They were getting reports of a dog inside the fire apartment. Once firefighters gained entry and started to advance in via the stairwell to the second floor apartment, Catasauqua Firefighter Duke Hartranft found the dog un-responsive at the bottom of the stairwell. Moments later, the dog came through and was walking around.
Fire officials said coals left unattended in a fire pit caused $350,000 in damage to a trailer and an adjacent home in the 1100 block of Meknes Way near Nawa Way on Saturday.
No one was injured, but a family cat perished in the blaze, to which firefighters responded at 10:07 a.m., according to San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesman Maurice Luque.
“A fire pit that had active coals in it ignited an enclosed trailer,” Luque said.”The trailer was a ball of fire, which then spread into the eaves of the house destroying the first-floor bedroom. There was a lot of smoke damage through the rest of the house.”
A second-alarm call for backup units, later rescinded, was sent out by firefighters at 10:32 a.m. when it was feared the blaze threatened nearby homes, Luque said.
“Embers had actually gotten on to the roof of a house across the street and momentarily ignited it,” he said.
Clack, 52, will serve through the end of July, when he and his wife Rose will move back to their native Minnesota, he said. In an interview, he cited no other reason for his departure.
“Her parents are getting up in age, so we want to spend time with them and just get back to home,” Clack said. He and his wife made the decision following a visit to her parents last month, he said.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has appointed Jeffrey Segal, the department’s current assistant chief of operations, as an interim replacement for Clack while a more exhaustive search is conducted to find Clack’s permanent replacement.
Below is the message Chief Clack sent out to the department today:
Fire Department Announcement
June 7, 2013
Today I am announcing my resignation as Chief of the Baltimore City Fire Department (BCFD). My last day as your Fire Chief will be July 26, 2013. Mayor Rawlings-Blake has named Assistant Chief Jeff Segal to serve as Acting Fire Chief while the search for a permanent Chief is underway. Chief Segal is an outstanding fire service leader and I know you will give him the same support and prayers that I have been blessed with over the past five years.
I want each of you to know that it has been a great honor to serve with you protecting the people of Baltimore. Mayor Rawlings-Blake has given me a tremendous opportunity to lead the best fire department in the United States and for that I will be eternally grateful. In the coming weeks, before my family and I return to Minnesota, I hope to have an opportunity to speak to you in person to express my gratitude for your support, commitment, and professionalism.
Mother Nature and the global economy have both tested our resolve as first responders, but together we stood strong, acted with integrity, and built on the 150+ year legacy of this urban fire department. Our ability to respond effectively has been tested by a number of emergency events that hit the Baltimore region over the past five years. These include the blizzards of 2010, hurricanes, floods, the derecho, tornadoes, and even an earthquake. I am proud to say that in each instance, the Baltimore Fire Department showed why we are the best in country at keeping people safe.
In 2012, twelve people lost their lives in our city as the result of fires, which are the fewest fire deaths on record in Baltimore City. This accomplishment is entirely due to the efforts of the men and women who work for the BCFD. I know each of you will continue to work toward our goal of experiencing a year where we can claim zero fire deaths in Baltimore.
Keep up the great work and stay safe. My hopes and prayers are with each of you.