Gil Taylor, President IAFF Local 1717: “The union believes at this point that Mr. Doherty has been unfairly targeted and that the termination is improper.”
That support comes with a candid acknowledgment about the 17-year department veteran also known for his charitable works.
“He’s recently run a fundraiser to obtain funds to be able to build a ramp for a local handicapped child to gain access to the beach. but he is very vocal. if he doesn’t think something is right, you can’t shut him up. ”
In it (the Facebook postings), he allegedly railed against the police officer over some incident, angrily carried on about being forced to work on the Fourth of July holiday and made a homosexual slur.
Taylor: “He was exercising his First Amendment right to state that he thought he was being treated poorly by these individuals or didn’t like the way they were doing things.”
But town Administrator Thomas Guerino issued a statement Wednesday saying in part — by publicly disparaging and ridiculing the lieutenant and then sergeant (and now police chief), Firefigher Doherty imperiled the link that must bind fire and police personnel. This conduct undermines the ability to serve the public and undercuts public confidence in the town’s ability to provide these services.
After a long day yesterday, Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department PIO Mark Brady started the day with a run down of the significant wind driven fires that provided the department with one of the busiest days in its history. Below is Brady’s press release and pictures:
The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department experienced one of the busiest days in the Departments history due to high winds and dry conditions that resulted in hundreds of brush fires and structure fires. Numerous personnel have been operating at several “hot spots” overnight and into this morning. These locations include Chalk Point, Laurel and Piscataway. The fires are 90% contained and should be near extinguishment today. It is safe to say that Saturday, February 19, 2011, will be remembered as one of the busiest days in our history. The Fire/EMS Department recalled off-duty firefighters to report to work; the last time this was done was September 11, 2001. Fire/EMS Department Public Safety Communications handled 821 calls for service yesterday; a normal day average is about 350 calls. Firefighters were summoned from throughout the state and the District of Columbia to assist on incidents (a complete list of mutual aid jurisdictions is listed below). Of all the homes damaged during this wind/fire event, it is estimated that $1 million + in fire loss occurred. Another estimated $1 million + in fire loss occurred to commercial property.
Photo by PGFD’s Mark Brady showing Engine 841 in position at the Van Dusen Road fire. The crew eventually had to abandon this spot, bringing the rig to safety but losing hose. At the Chalk Point Road fire BR 836 was destroyed by the fire.
There were seven “significant” incidents that occurred yesterday:
…6 am – 8400 block of Potomac Avenue in College Park – House Fire & multiple outbuildings/Brush Fire. Family Helped by Citizens Services Unit. Event closed out at 9:30 am.
…9:30 am – Chalk Point Road, Baden – 60 Acre Brush Fire. 100 firefighters, 1 Brush Vehicle burned up in this event, 1 firefighter suffered from heat exhaustion, units operated throughout the night.
…10:59 am – 5400 block of Van Dusen Road, Beltsville/Laurel – 300 Acre Brush/Mulch Fire. 100+ firefighters, 90% contained, units operated throughout the overnight, potential for a multiple day event. Interstate 95 was closed for 4 hours due to smoke and adjacent land areas burning. Two firefighters suffered non-serious injuries during this event.
Mark Brady photo from Piscataway Road. We haven’t seen much in the way of video or pictures from this fire. It apparently did the most property damage and received the least amount of news coverage.
…11:42 am – 11900 through the 12200 block of Piscataway Road in Clinton – 250 Acre Brush/House Fire, 2 homes, 5 + outbuildings and 5 abandoned farm homes. One family assisted by Citizen Services Unit. 150 firefighters, 90% contained, units operated overnight and will continue today, potential multiple day event.
…1:06 pm – Queen Anne Road in Bowie- 15 Acre Brush Fire
…4:18 pm – 5100 block of Decatur Street, Bladensburg – 2 house fires, 2 families displaced, assisted by Citizens Services Unit
There are firefighters operating in Prince George’s County from all of our routine Mutual Aide Counties, including all of our contiguous jurisdictions, as well as through assistance coordinated by the County Emergency Operations Center and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, from:
- St Mary’s County MD
- Calvert County MD
- Charles County MD
- Anne Arundel County MD
- Montgomery County MD
- Baltimore City MD
- Arlington County VA
- Alexandria City VA
- Fairfax County VA
- Washington DC
- Washington County MD
- Carroll County MD
- Cecil County MD
- Caroline County MD
- Queen Anne County MD
- Natural Resources
Another Brady photo. From Piscataway Road and Windbrook Drive.
The Emergency Operations Center in Landover Hills, was activated and was staffed with personnel from County Police, Fire/EMS, Central Services, Public Works, Emergency Management, Red Cross, Public Safety Communications, Homeland Security, and the County Executives Office.
There will continue to be smoke and odors from all of these fires for days. Citizens should keep their windows closed, and if they are sensitive to smoke, avoid areas impacted by these events.
Some roadways may become blocked from time to time as hoselines are stretched across roads. We did not officially evacuate anyone, nor prohibit them from returning to their homes, however people were not able to physically drive to their homes. We did close the Ice House in Beltsville/Laurel, due to the hazardous smoke and travel conditions.
Interstate 95 was closed in both directions in Laurel for approximately 4 hours.
Tucson Fire Department Station 6 houses MMRS. From department website.
Mark Ekstrum, a 28-year veteran of the Tucson Fire Department, retired two days after refusing to respond to the shooting scene where U.S. Rep. Garbrielle Giffords and 12 others were wounded and six people were killed. The retirement came as disciplinary procedures had been started, according to the Arizona Daily Star. The paper has city memos it received in a public-records request.
The paper reports that Ekstrum was part of a specially trained team that handles mass casualty incidents and was dispatched to the shopping center about 90-minutes after the January 8 shootings. The memos indicate the refusal caused “confusion and delay” as another firefighter had to be picked up from a different station to respond to the call. In statements to the Daily Star the department downplayed the delay issue. The Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) from Station 6 responded non-emergency to the scene after the last patient was already delivered to the hospital.
In a Jan. 9 report on Ekstrum’s actions, fire Capt. Ben Williams wrote that when Ekstrum first told him he would not go out on the call, “he mentioned something about ‘political bantering’ and he did not want to be part of it.” He said he was acting “for the good of the crew.”
Williams said he told Ekstrum he could not refuse a call for that reason, and then talked to the firefighter privately in his office. He said Ekstrum “started to say something about how he had a much different political viewpoint than the rest of the crew and he was concerned.” Despite being told that was not acceptable, Williams said Ekstrum informed him he was going home “sick,” so they answered the call without him.
In a statement provided to the Fire Department late Wednesday, after he was contacted by the Star about the incident, Ekstrum said he was distraught over the shootings and had no problem with U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who is recovering from a bullet wound to the brain, and even voted for her in the last election.
After the crew returned from the call, Ekstrum was waiting at the station with his wife and asked if he could come in to apologize to the crew, the memo said. The crew accepted his apology, and then Williams talked in his office with Ekstrum and his wife.
“He stated that there were underlying issues regarding the call that brought up a lot of anger and made him ineffective as a firefighter,” the memo said. “I told him that as his captain I had lost confidence in his future ability to perform his duties. He stated that he felt this call was unique and did not think this would happen again.”
In Colorado, a Denver TV station is looking closely at mutual aid agreements telling the public that the closest fire company may not respond in a life and death emergency when seconds count. KDVR-TV explains to the public the difference between automatic aid and mutual aid following an incident where a woman in the Golden Heights area of Golden called 911 saying she was trapped in the basement of her burning home.
West Metro Fire Station 6 is less than a mile away from the home. According to the TV station, firefighters from that station told West Metro not to respond to the emergency. The mutual aid agreement between the two departments requires a firefighter on the scene confirming there is a fire and the request has to be approved by a chief, a captain or lieutenant.
KDVR-TV reports Golden firefighters arrived in about eight minutes from stations 4.2 and 7.2 miles away. The woman’s husband apparently made the save before firefighters were on the scene.
Similar mutual aid agreements are in effect throughout the area. But the chief of the Cunningham Fire Department believes in automatic aid and has such agreements in place with Aurora Fire and South Metro. Here’s more from the station’s report:
“Response time is the most important thing for the citizen,” Cunningham Fire Chief Jerry Rhodes told FOX 31. “Citizens don’t care what the name is on the side when their house is on fire. They want firefighters there in a hurry.”
Chief Rhodes thinks the closest fire department should respond no matter which district it’s in. He believes the community would be better served if all the metro area fire stations with a mutual aid system switched to an “auto aid agreement,” which means the closest fire department is automatically called.
But Denver Fire, West Metro Fire, and many other large fire departments defend the mutual aid agreement saying auto aid would take resources away from their cities and from the taxpayers who pay for fire protection.
“We have to be available for our citizens, not that we would ever turn down a request for mutual aid, but we don’t want have it to where it’s just an automatic,” West Metro Chief Doug McBee explained.
Golden’s Fire Chief also stands by the mutual aid system. He would not agree to an on camera interview, but sent us a statement which states, in part:
After reviewing response times for the (Golden Heights) incident, Golden Fire Department has directed a dispatch/response change…to include West Metro in the initial call for personnel. It states, On any reported structure fire in the Golden Heights area…Golden Dispatch shall immediately notify West Metro Dispatch…and…Pleasant View (Fire) to respond immediately after toning Golden Fire.
A rather unique story from Richmond, California. Peter Pan, employed by Councilman Tom Butt to handle fire prevention duties on Butt’s property, was being pursued at high speed by Sparkle. Both ended up sharing the same small ledge half-way down a 300 foot cliff on the shoreline waiting to be rescued. Peter Pan is a sheep. Sparkle is a dog. A friend of Sparkle’s owner, a human female, also almost became stuck when she tried to rescue the black Labrador retriever. The rescue attempt by the Richmond Fire Department was much more successful and was watched on TV by Tom Butt while he busy doing the taxpayer’s business at a City Council meeting.
“The dog and sheep, who were shortly before chaser and chasee, found themselves reluctant buddies stranded a few feet apart on a ledge,” Butt wrote to his constituents today in an e-mail.
Richmond firefighters converged on the scene and rappelled down the cliff. Sparkle, a black Labrador retriever, seemed eager to be rescued and was quickly scooped up. But Peter Pan went on the lam for a few tense moments, skittering away from rescuers a couple of times.
Finally, the sheep was snatched. All’s wool that ends wool.
Butt said he keeps three goats and two sheep on his property in the Point Richmond hills to munch on the fire-hazard brush.
Firefighters have discovered the body of a man after battling a house fire in Oxon Hill and overcoming complications from this morning’s massive water main break.
Mark Brady, spokesman for Prince George’s County Fire and EMS, says firefighters were called to a the fire at 305 Corla Drive around 8:20 a.m. Firefighters arriving on scene found low water pressure in the area when they went to work to put out the flames.
Brady says two extra tankers were automatically dispatched to the fire scene because of the potential for water pressure problems caused by a break in a 54 inch water main that serves areas south of Central Avenue.
Brady says extra tankers were moved into areas affected by the water main break earlier this morning. Each tanker carries 2,000 gallons of water. Each fire engine also carries 500 gallons of water, which the responding crews used to knock out most of the flames.
Right now firefighters are hitting hot spots using water from the extra tankers called to the scene.
The fire victim has not yet been identified. Brady says the fire victim was mobility challenged.
This is an example of what not to do when the press comes knocking at your door with a story impacting your department’s reputation. Leaders and members of the Elmont Fire Department made it clear they do not believe they have to answer questions about the department’s logo and allegations that there is a Confederate flag on display inside the firehouse.
My guess is that’s not going to make this story go away. If you have a defensible position then come out clearly with your message defending your actions. If it is indefensible change your policy, handle the problem and move on. Ignoring, running from and hiding from reporters and cameras will fail to serve you almost every time. It makes a bad situation worse and a one day story into a multi-part series.
The Elmont Fire Department on Long Island is responsible for about 35,000 residents, most of whom are black. Yet if you look at the logo for Elmont Engine Company 3 you will notice a consistent symbol — a symbol that looks like the confederate flag.
On Engine Company 3’s patches and former fire truck a logo shows a firefighter wearing what looks like confederate flag shorts. On the new fire truck, a skull is wearing what looks like a confederate flag bandanna.
We contacted the Elmont Fire Department, but they declined an on camera interview. Commissioner Ralph Esposito, who is in charge of Engine Company 3, at first declined to give his last name, then said the engine company had a long tradition going back “1924.” He said the flag in the logo was an “American flag,” then threatened legal action.
A black community leader who looked into the matter said the department told her the flag was used because the company is known as the rebels.
We went to the firehouse to get some answers. When we asked if there was a Confederate flag inside of the firehouse the firefighters did not say anything and quickly shut the garage door which was open.
The Elmont Fire Department is a volunteer fire department but funded by taxpayers. Officials from the town of Hempsted, which overseas Elmont, say they have no control over the Elmont Fire Department because it is the Fire Commissioners who make all the decisions.
Several calls made to some Elmont Fire Commissioners by NBC New York were never returned.
We are now hearing from the Northwest Fire District crew, the firefighters and medics first on the scene of the tragic Tucson shooting. Station 33 units were the first to arrive. The firefighter and medics initially staged for about three minutes waiting for the okay to enter from sheriff’s deputies. The incident commander was Battalion Chief Lane Spalla.
Firefighter Kyle Canty said:”Yeah I’m the engineer, I was driving the engine, I didn’t even put it in park, we just kinda kept creeping up, kept creeping up. One of the things I remember hearing I think from one of the guys in the back was we need to be in there we need to be first in there , let’s get in there.”
That let Paramedic Tony Compagno get to work. It was his job to triage everyone—determine the dead, assess the living and decide who will die first unless they get help right away.
He says just getting an accurate count was a challenge.
Two victims stood out as the ones to move first. A little girl we now know was Christina-Taylor Green, and a woman shot in the head, who was still breathing. That woman was Gabrielle Giffords. Getting her to the hospital alive was Colt Jackson’s assignment.
Jackson says, “I didn’t know she was a Congresswoman, once I was assigned a patient, so once I got on the scene, really, I treated her just as I needed to treat any other patient with the same training and the same throughtude as I would anybody else.”
The little girl, Christina Green was first in the ambulance and first on the way to the hospital. Based on her injuries, Gabrielle Giffords was next.
Paramedic Tony Compagno says, “Those were the two I would have wanted to go first and those were going to go in the helicopter but the people that were assigned to those patients did such a phenomenal job, they were ready to go before the helicopters got there and they made a quick decision and went.”
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing made it pretty clear today that, while a lot was happening with Detroit fire and EMS services that left him unhappy, the most recent story was the final straw. It was another one by WJBK-TV reporter Charlie LeDuff. LeDuff and his advocacy, in your face style of journalism, clearly has had influence in Detroit. This story was about a wallet apparently taken during a CO alarm run at a citizen’s home that ended up in the quarters of Engine 40 and how the incident was handled by the department.
Reporter LeDuff used internal documents and information from sources to indicate there was a cover-up about the stolen wallet that extended all of the way to the office of Commissioner James Mack. Mayor Bing apparently found some credence to the TV news report. A day after the story aired the mayor requested and received the resignations of Mack and Deputy Fire Commissioner Seth Doyle.
Many of us were reminded of an important truth in life from the Watergate conspiracy of the 1970s. It is worth repeating for those who have forgotten or are too young and don’t know their history: The cover-up is worse than the crime.
Reading the reports written at various levels in this specific case you could come away with the impression there were members of Engine 40 sincere about making this family whole. They collected $150 to cover the cash and driver’s permit taken from the wallet. But you could also be left with a more sinister view of the reports.
Just two days ago I learned from an old friend who is a veteran fire officer in the Washington area that when he handled situations like this or wrote reports he always applied the “Dave Statter test”. He would ask himself, “How would this look if Statter got a hold of it and put it on Channel 9 News?”.
While I was flattered learning this after all these years, I know many other smart leaders have done similar things, but without using my name. I work for someone who applies the “Washington Post” test. In Detroit, if anyone was on the ball about this they would have used the “Charlie LeDuff test”. How would these reports look if LeDuff got them?
They found out that answer the hard way.
Reading through the reports the first thing that sticks out to me is that it is likely a crime was committed. Where did the fire department engage the police in this process? Also, a less charitable review of the reports could leave the perception for some that the cash given to the family was hush money.
On top of giving, at the very least, the impression of a cover-up, and then failing to apply the “Charlie LeDuff test”, Mayor Bing pointed out another major mistake by Commissioner Mack: He failed to keep his boss informed.
If you are a fire commissioner, chief or leader of any organization, you have stakeholders. Those stakeholders, especially your boss, should not first learn of bad news from a reporter or watch it on TV. If Commissioner Mack did not know prior to yesterday this should be SOP, he and the rest of Detroit know it now.
Let’s face it, things like a firefighter stealing a wallet happen in the fire service and everywhere else in life. If that was all this story was, Detroit most likely would not be looking for a new fire commissioner. But by compounding the original crime with people at every level of the Detroit Fire Department apparently failing to take appropriate action and then not telling the big boss, it becomes a very different type of story.
Here’s the advice from the person the “Dave Statter test” was named for. When the hint of a crime occurs in your department, take the appropriate action. If there has already been a cover-up, don’t compound it. And again, take appropriate action. Also, make sure you tell your boss about it. Then go put it out to the news media yourself with as much information as possible to get this story behind you. Don’t wait for Charlie LeDuff to knock on your door or call your boss.
This way the citizens will be better served and you will have a getter chance of getting a paycheck every two weeks.
Dave’s phone problems were no accident: If you missed it, on New Year’s Day we ran a special report about a secret video sent my way that blows the lid off the plot to shut down STATter911.com. My own employees and a certain fire blogger are implicated in this sinister plan. This all comes as a terrible, terrible shock to me. I had no idea. I thought everyone liked me. You will see, along with the video, my attempt to go undercover and infiltrate the group headed by the evil Mr. Big (at least that’s what I am guessing he makes everyone call him). Click here, if you dare.
The FDNY versus MTA video really took off: I believe the video of FDNY Engine Engine 276 and the MTA Bus 5004 on Brooklyn’s Kings Highway has been shared by more people on Facebook than any other STATter911.com story. It was put up on Friday morning. Click here if you somehow missed this must see clip.
Pictures from New Year’s Day Chicago 2-11 that left three firefighters injured: Tim Olk has lots of pictures after his early arrival to the fire Saturday at 4315 W. 25th Place. Six people, including three firefighters were hurt. Firefighters rescued a mother and child from the home. ChicagoAreaFire.com has Tim’s pictures and details.
The Rube says farewell to the troops: The administration of Mayor Vincent Gray officially began yesterday. As we reported a while back, Gray’s choice for chief is Kenneth Ellerbe. Chief Dennis Rubin said his goodbye over the radio system last Wednesday and we posted the audio on Friday. Click here to listen.
Battle of Waterloo is appealed: In Waterloo Iowa the former fire chief has asked the Civil Service Commission to look at his case after being demoted a month ago to captain. The demotion paves the way for the mayor’s plan to have the police chief run both departments as director of safety services. Check it out.
Retired firefighter hits the jackpot: More than $8 million for a retired firefighter from Leandro, California who hit it big on a caisno’s progressive slot machine. Here’s the story.
WTOL-TV says Reliance Oxygen isn’t so reliable. The company was supposed to supply the Rossford Fire Department with oxygen until January 1. It didn’t happen that way. For three hours yesterday there was no oxygen. Here’s more from Rob Wiercinski and Dave Dykema:
“It’d be like a fire truck going to a fire without any hose or any water,” Rossford Fire Chief James Verbosky said.
“We notified our long time vendor, Reliance Oxygen, we would be making a vendor change come January 1. They sent their driver out here [who then] stripped our whole fire station of all oxygen.”
“In the event we have something bad go wrong–cardiac arrest, somebody having difficulty breathing, somebody in CHF–we need oxygen,” Verbosky said.
Rossford fire received some assistance from Northwood, in the form of two spare oxygen bottles.
Relief came when Rossford’s new vendor made a delivery.
The chief says a call has been placed to the Better Business Bureau. “We did file a complaint with them. I don’t believe that was a good business practice on their part.”
A call was placed to Reliance Oxygen for comment, but that call was not returned.
WJBK-TV’s Charlie LeDuff is at it again with his brand of advocacy journalism. The reporter is on a mission pushing for drastic improvements in the delivery of EMS in Detroit. Lately, LeDuff is making the case that the administration targets paramedics speaking out to the press about working conditions.
LeDuff: How far where you away from that house when you got the call?
O’Neill: My station is Calvert and Linwood, so we’re saying about five miles.
LeDuff: How long did it take you to get there once you got the call?
O’Neill: According to what we’re told downtown seven minutes … once we got the call.
LeDuff: And the lady, it was 20, 25 minutes from the first time she called?
O’Neill: That’s correct.
LeDuff: So, how are you to blame?
O’Neill: Sir, that I cannot tell you.
Paramedics have said they are the scapegoats for exposing department incompetence and management that does not have a clue.
“The deal is the management retaliates against anybody that brings the truth to the public,” said Wisam Zaneih, president of Detroit EMS Association.
So, LeDuff called the fire commissioner’s office yet again, but this time he got a human being. Chief Jerald James of EMS said it is not a punitive action. They just want to get to the bottom of things. Don’t we all?
The Northern Kentucky Technical Rescue team pulled a German shepherd dog from an icy pond in Boone County this morning.
Hope, a two-year-old German shepherd, was pulled from the icy water after falling through the ice of the pond near the 700 block of Richwood Road, Boone County.
Gary Erdman, 68, her owner, said he let the dog out for her morning run on the horse farm where he lives. When he called her to come back in he saw her in the middle of the pond, which is visible from his porch.
He ran down to the pond to rescue her. He said he got about 10 feet onto the ice when it gave way, submerging him up to his neck. He managed to get himself out of the pond and call 911.
DC’s fire chief in waiting Ellerbe & Fire Chief’s Wilmoth both post comments at STATter911.com: Following a number of reader comments about Janet Wilmoth’s blog criticizing the appointment of Kenneth Ellerbe, both the chief and the blogger show up in our comments section. Janet Wilmoth’s comments can be found at the bottom of this post. Chief Ellerbe has two responses, here and a short one here.
Ten hurt as fire rig, medic unit & 3 other vehicles crash in Philly: We have radio traffic from AlertPage.net of last night’s crash of Philadelphia’s Squad 72 & Medic 18. Click here. More details and PhillyFireNews.com pictures by Ron Trout are at Glenn Usdin’s FireTruckBlog.com.
A must read – Charles Bailey’s year-end review: To me Charles is probably among the best writers in the fire service today. On top of his writing skills Charles is always challenging his readers and asking the important questions. While we aren’t always in agreement, I am with him all the way on this one. Reflecting on the year in his FireRescue1.com column, Charles turns the mirror on the “Look at me” generation of firefighters asking them to look at themselves and the impact on the fire service. Please read.
New helmet-cam gets the attention of a local newspaper: An interesting article in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, with video posted on its website, of recent helmet-cam video from the Cedar Rapids Fire Department. The paper looks at how the department plans to use the video for training. Here’s more.
‘Tis the season …. : … for giving. Over at Firegeezer, Steve Marshall has been asking for help for a young volunteer firefighter in Pennsylvania who has had a number of tragic situations come his way recently, including a house fire. Take a moment to read this.
Rhett likes how they curse in Canada: The Fire Critic weighs in with a comment on video I posted from Winnipeg that has great, but profane narration from a couple of young locals. Click here, but just don’t sue me wanting to get the two-minutes-and-forty-five seconds of your life back that will be wasted listening to this crew (or reading Rhett, for that matter).
This evening a fire truck and ambulance collided with three other vehicles at Tabor Road and Wagner Avenue in Philadelphia. Five medic units were dispatched to the scene to handle 10 patients. The injuries are reported to be non-life threatening to four firefighters, a paramedic and as many as five civilians. FireTruckBlog.com has additional details.
While responding to a accident scene, Squad 72 and Medic 18 were involved in a serious accident with 3 other autos. A total of 5 medic units were requested along with a full accident response. B/C 2 requested an extra Ladder company to the scene along with ES-5,ES-3 and VCU.
In Cedar Rapids, Iowa a helmet-cam is making news. Cedar Rapids Fire Department Captain Rick Halleran got permission to try one out. A fire on December 8 was captured via the camera and is now the focus of an article in the Cedar Rapids Gazette.
Fire Critic Rhett Fleitz also posted this video and gives his view of how the fireground was handled (I am sure Cedar Rapids Chief Steve Reid had opening night jitters over whether their film would get a good review from the Roger Ebert of the fire service).
Rookie firefighters in Cedar Rapids have another training aid available after a recent garage fire was captured on video.
The 17-minute video follows Capt. Rick Halleran on Dec. 8 as firefighters work to control the fire at 430 20th St. NW. The captivating footage, shot from Halleran’s helmet, offers a rare firsthand glimpse at some of the tactics firefighters use to extinguish fires.
“We always talk about as a crew bringing the pieces of the puzzle together, and this video does a great job of showing that,” Halleran said.
Halleran said he and other firefighters had seen videos shot from helmet cameras on the Internet, and they got permission from Fire Department administrators to try it themselves.
Firefighters agree that the video will be a very valuable training tool in Cedar Rapids, and possibly other jurisdictions. Halleran called it a “textbook” firefight.
“The big thing we talk about in training is having a coordinated attack,” Halleran said. “Now, you actually have the visuals and the audio.”
Fire Department spokesman Greg Buelow said no medical calls would ever be filmed. He said the helmet camera might be rolling again in the future, if the administration approves.
Buelow said some people who watch the video may question the firefighters’ strategy, but he cautioned any rush to judgment. He said firefighters are trained on how to coordinate the attack and must follow strict regulations.
“This is a great learning tool,” Buelow said. “I hope people appreciate it.”
Video of the weekend: We all need a little humor that we can relate to. Here it is.
DC’s new chief likes to write: Ken Ellerbe, who will soon be taking over the top spot at the DC Fire & EMS Department, sent a message or two to his critics and supporters via thewatchdesk.com. In it, the current chief from Sarasota County, Florida and former DC interim chief, provides some thoughts on how he plans to run the department. Chief Ellerbe also responds to Janet Wilmoth at Fire Chief Publications for her blog posting that is critical of Ellerbe’s appointment. Read it all here.
The past and the present at FireTruckBlog.com: Glen Usdin’s blog has some old rigs and brand new ones to look at, along with lots of other apparatus news. Click here for FireTruckBlog.com.
Raw video from Paterson, New Jersey third-alarm: Ed Gray on the scene with video from a fire early Saturday morning in a vacant apartment building. Click here.
Holly is Coyote ugly but CFD saved her anyway: Actually she is quite cute and seemed rather cooperative as the Chicago Fire Department and animal control officers teamed up to save a Coyote that went fishing and ended up floating on a small piece of frozen Lake Michigan. Check it out.
Other ice fishermen save the day northwest of Chicago: These were the two legged kind up early in McHenry Township, Illinois. They found a burning house before they got to a frozen lake and sounded the alarm, saving a family. Here’s the story.
Also in Chicago: Firegeezer Bill looks at the investigation into the drill that was performed at a firefighter’s home and the repercussions from this training. Click here.
Tragedy brings change: In Portland, Oregon the city’s new fire boat saw action two hours after it went in service. The boat fills a response gap that was discovered during a tragic situation involving two young children in 2009. Here’s the story and the video.
Invisible bracelets hit the DC area: The City of Fairfax Fire Department is the first in our area to bring the concept of virtual medical bracelets to the community. Read and watch the story.
Remember, they always get their man: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have a special interest in this one. They are looking for the person who tried to set fire to the RCMP Queen Charlotte detachment. Here’s more.
This is a picture of Cornelius-Lemley Fire & Rescue’s Engine 5, a 2005 Seagrave, and how it looked yesterday morning. The good news is there were no injuries to the four firefighters on board. FireTruckBlog.com by Glenn Usdin has video posted of what this rig looks like after if was brought back on its wheels. Click here to see it.
More on this and other news in the fire apparatus world from FireTruckBlog.com by Glenn Usdin.
I am sure some will argue that if this is the only picture of the upside down engine, from a public relations standpoint it was a bad idea to release it. Why broadcast this image of the department?
That is a point you can’t discount, but I would argue the opposite. To me, the image it is showing is of a fire department that communicates openly and transparently with it’s citizens. It is letting the public know they can rely on their fire department as a source of accurate and timely information, whether the news is good or bad. And the person who they will get that info from is the man in charge.
A good example of getting the bad news out quickly, trying to get it behind you and moving on. Here is what Chief Barbee wrote:
Cornelius Engine 5 was responding to a reported structure fire in a commercial occupancy in Huntersville, NC. Engine 5 was traveling emergency traffic, with regard to the rainy and potentially icy conditions, South on Poplar Tent Rd. While responding, Engine 5 traveled onto a stretch of road encased with heavy black ice that was not visible from inside the cab which resulted in a loss of traction from the rear wheels as the road began to turn. The Engineer driving the apparatus took strict evasive maneuvers; however, the truck continued to slide for approximately 100 yards before the front right of the truck slid off of the road and the rear of the truck continued on ice. The end result was Engine 5 rolling over and coming to rest on the roof. Four firefighters were riding in the apparatus and sustained no injuries, though each were checked, all have been released by a physician for normal duties.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department responded and investigated the incident. The police report notes that the roads were “wet and icy” and the estimated travel speed was 25mph which was the sustained speed at time of impact.
The Cornelius-Lemley Fire Rescue Department recently purchased a 1995 Seagrave Engine to serve as a reserve engine company. This truck will now be placed to front line service and the citizens of the Cornelius-Lemley Fire Rescue district will not see any lapse in service.
The Cornelius-Lemley Fire Rescue Department requires all of its drivers to be certified as a North Carolina Emergency Vehicle Drivers and they must undergo a rigorous in house testing procedure that includes driving the truck on a predetermined driving course.
Two TV station’s in Washington, DC (WJLA-TV & WRC-TV) are confirming that Kenneth Ellerbe, fire chief in Sarasota County, Florida, will be announced by Mayor-elect Vincent Gray later today as the next fire chief in Washington, DC.
Chief Kenneth Ellerbe in a Sarasota County photo.
This will be Ellerbe’s second stint in the chief’s office for the District of Columbia Fire & EMS Department. Between April and July, 2000, Ellerbe was interim chief following the sudden resignation of Tom Tippett, who was also an interim chief. Mayor Williams appointed Ronnie Few to take over from Ellerbe.
Kenneth Ellerbe took the job in Sarasota County in July of 2009, but still owns a house in DC.
Ignoring the rules saved the day: A Grafton, Vermont volunteer lieutenant and his chief have an honest discussion about how breaking a department rule saved the life of an elderly woman. Richard Thompson isn’t supposed to go directly to the scene of a fire when the call is dispatched. But he’s glad he did.
Tragedy in Baltimore: A picture was sent our way late yesterday showing the fire conditions on Homewood Avenue in East Baltimore yesterday morning. That’s where three children and three adults were killed. If you missed it, we also have fireground audio and news coverage of the two-alarm fire. Click here.
Video from Jersey City, New Jersey fire: The two-alarm fire was eight days ago in a vacant house. Ed Gray got his usual up close video. You can find it here.
New Jersey steroid story fallout: The Star Ledger investigation we told you about Sunday of a dead doctor’s former practice that prescribed anabolic steroids and HGH to hundreds of cops and firefighters continues with articles yesterday and today. Here’s Part 3 with links to the other stories. While looking into all of this, the reporters discovered a firefighter/patient of the practice who retired on disability from a New Jersey department and is now working in North Carolina. Here’s that story.
Paid administrative staff for volunteers cut following defeat of ambulance transport fee: In Maryland, the Montgomery County Council has agreed to cut 20 administrative positions for the county’s volunteer fire departments in an effort to reduce mid-year spending. Some see it as retaliation for volunteers leading the charge against an EMS transport fee County Executive Isiah Leggett and his staff say would have brought in 14 million much needed dollars. At the same time the council refused to eliminate 11 ambulances. Here’s more.
Where’s the fire?: Bill Carey at BackstepFirefighter.com knows the answer but reporters don’t. A fire in Prince George’s County last night near Fed Ex Field has the news media describing the location with the names of four different communities or towns. Two are municipalities whose borders are far from the scene of the fire. One problem, which I always ranted about when I was in the news business, is news people and PIOs using the post office address. For example, Capitol Heights, Maryland has a post office that covers a very large swath of PG County. But it’s a tiny town. Many years ago I would get regular calls from the mayor and former fire chief of Morningside, Maryland Gerald Glaubitz. Mayor Glaubitz, who I knew well, would give me on the line to give me a great deal of grief because my TV station referred to a violent crime as being in his little town near Andrews AFB when it was actually outside the borders. Read more about this issue, the fire, and watch an interview with the new PGFD chief, Marc Bashoor, at BackstepFirefighter.com.
U.K. firefighter admits siren caused elderly man to die: You may recall the story of the firefighter who blew a siren starting a stampede that killed a farmer. Now that firefighter admits he is to blame in a plea deal. Read more.
Husband & wife firefighters file suit against Cape Cod fire district: In Cotuit there is a rather complicated story involving a fire captain and his firefighter wife. They have filed suit claiming discrimination. Politics apparently plays a big role in this case. Take a look.
Geezer must have been nice: He’s got Santa hawking his Firegeezer mugs. A nice gift for all those old firefighters in your life. Check it out.
Fire chiefs take on road crews: In Missouri two local fire chiefs go after the state roads department claiming they aren’t doing enough to keep the highways clear during storms. State officials say otherwise.
Three-alarm house fire in Uxbridge, Massachusetts: A three-alarm fire in a duplex on Hazel Street Saturday night left four firefighters and two civilians injured. As you can see in the video above, shot by Matt Gregoire for ProvidenceFireVideos.com, firefighters had issues with power lines and natural gas.
Manassas, Virginia fire chief quits over frustration with combined system: Chief Mike Wood says for 25 months he was has worked to successfully combine the Manassas Fire and Rescue Department, the Greater Manassas Volunteer Rescue Squad and the Manassas Volunteer Fire Company. On Friday, Chief Wood sent in his letter of resignation, effective January, and makes it clear there is a “philosophical divide concerning fire and rescue services which continues to undermine improvements in configuration, accountability, revenue, and safety. Until this division is remedied or proactively managed, I fear that the combined fire and rescue system will continue to possess significant operational deficiencies and administrative inefficiencies that, in my professional view, pose detriment to our public and first responder safety.” InsideNOVA.com’s Aileen Streng has the story.
Guest columnist on the trooper versus photographer video: Dave Levy is a lawyer and former firefighter who spent many an overnight shift with his father Sheldon in DC and New York shooting news. In addition, he is a friend of mine. Despite all of these strikes against him, Dave is still able to function well enough to write an interesting column giving us his insight into the confrontation eight days ago between a Connecticut State trooper and a news photographer. Click here to read it. Maybe you have an opposing view? STATter911.com is interested in running that, too. Just contact me at STATter911@gmail.com.
One house fire and 129 dogs: All but four of those dogs lived following the fire early yesterday morning in Huntingtown, Maryland. We have a WUSA9.com video and some pictures and videos from the Huntingtown VFD. Check it out.
Firefighters and medics question role award-winning state park ranger played in saving shocked teen: It isn’t often you see this type of story. Last week a state park ranger in Aptos, California received a Medal of Valor Gold Award from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for rescuing a teenager who came in contact with a power line on a state beach. Now, firefighters and medics who were also on the scene are speaking up saying it didn’t go down the way the ranger said it did. You will want to read this one.
Cops claim chief had meltdown: In Clark County, Indiana a fire chief on the scene of a fatal ambulance accident is accused of using foul language on the radio. An investigation is underway into how the chief interacted with law enforcement and others following last week’s crash. Here’s more.
Steroid probe implicates cops and firefighters: The Star-Ledger in New Jersey has been following the trail of a dead doctor from Hudson County. His practice of liberally prescribing anabolic steroids and HGH was apparently too much for more than 200 firefighters and cops to pass up. Click here for Part 1 of this three part series.
Two dead, others rescued, fire trucks delayed in snow covered Minneapolis: From KARE-TV – “Two people are dead and three others were hospitalized after fire crews struggled to respond to a Minneapolis house fire in blizzard-like conditions early Sunday. Just after 1:30 a.m., firefighters responded to 3616 Elliot Ave South on a report of a house fire. The first fire truck to respond was delayed after getting stuck in the snow on the same block, according to Fire Chief Alex Jackson. When crews arrived on scene, several people were found on the roof and porch on the second floor. Crews began an interior attack on the fire but were evacuated after conditions became too dangerous to continue. No firefighters were injured.” Click here to watch video from the fire.