Montgomery County fire officials say a man is in critical condition at a burn center after a two-alarm blaze in Silver Spring on Tuesday morning. Several other people, including a six-year-old child, were also taken to hospitals, according to officials.
Pictures from Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service.
Beth Anne Nesselt, spokeswoman for the department, says dispatchers received a report of a fire at 415 Silver Spring Avenue shortly before 7 a.m. The department was just a short distance away, literally up the street, from the apartment building.
Once firefighters arrived on scene they found orange flames shooting from the top floor of a 6-story apartment building. Cell phone video captured the intense fire. A request for a second alarm was transmitted shortly after arrival.
Firefighters to rescue several elderly residents who threw their belongings out of the window. Some residents were escorted down the stairs to safety. Four people were rescued by ladder.
As many as eight people were injured. A fire spokesperson said, “One is an elderly adult with priority one, serious, life-threatening injuries as a result of burns and smoke.” A 57-year-old man was also burned. A middle-aged woman suffered non-life-threatening injuries and a six-year-old child was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
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Video & pictures: Four rescued by ladder from Silver Spring, MD high-rise fire. Eight injured with one critical.4 comments
Announcement from Fairfax County:
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors today appointed Richard R. Bowers Jr. as the county’s next fire chief. Bowers succeeds Chief Ronald L. Mastin, who plans to retire May 7. Bowers’ appointment is effective April 29, allowing overlap time for the transition of leadership.
A 35-year veteran of the Montgomery County, Md. Fire and Rescue Service, Bowers has served as MCFRS fire chief since 2008, managing the combined (career and volunteer) service of over 2,100 firefighters/rescuers. While serving as chief, he managed an operating budget of $204 million and a six-year capital improvement program budget of $44 million.
Bowers began in Montgomery County as a firefighter/EMT, rising through the ranks in numerous positions. He served in every rank in the department up to and including fire chief. A Pentagon and Hurricane Katrina New Orleans Citation Award recipient, he was Montgomery County’s Firefighter of the Year in 1985 and received the Marvin Gibbons Award for Excellence in Firefighter I – Recruit Class 35-1977.
He attended the University of Maryland, University College where he earned a master degree certification in human resource management, a bachelor of fire science degree and a public fire-protection management and administration education certificate. He also holds an associate degree from Montgomery College (Rockville). In addition, he has successfully completed the Montgomery County Government Leadership and Management Course as well as numerous courses from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Training Academy, the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute Training and the National Emergency Training Center. Bowers also is currently enrolled in the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Emergency Training Center.
Currently chair of the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments National Capital Region Fire Chiefs Committee, Bowers is a past chair of the Council of Governments Fire, Health and Safety Subcommittee. He also has served as an adjunct professor for the Montgomery College Rockville Fire Science Program, and was a Pentagon 9/11 operational response task force member and served as a member of the FEMA USAR Oklahoma City bombing disaster response team.
He will receive an annual salary of $187,500.
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During yesterday’s inaugural Hero Rush event in Clarksburg, Maryland participants saw smoke in a distance. These three videos show you what people saw up close.
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Maryland county executives pulling back a bit from volunteer fire commission changes. Updates from Prince George’s County & Montgomery County.9 comments
Some interesting developments in the news about plans to change the structure and authority of volunteer fire commissions in both Prince George's County and Montgomery County.
In PG, County Executive Rushern Baker, in hopes that a compromise can be worked out, pulled back emergency legislation yesterday that would radically change the Prince George's County Fire Commission. The original plan would have Baker appoint commission members who live in the county and add career firefighter and civilian members to the panel. Currently, the all-volunteer commission is elected by the volunteer departments. The latest version keeps those changes but the commission would maintain control of its budget.
“The fire chief has advised the county executive that due to the tremendous efforts of our volunteers … they should be given an additional opportunity to come to a consensus on this reorganization, ” Brad Frome, Baker’s deputy chief of staff, told the council Tuesday.
A new executive order that maintains the residency requirement and changes to the appointment process but does not revoke the commission's authority over the $12 million in budget funds, was to be introduced Tuesday afternoon, Frome said. That order would not go into effect until March 1, which the administration feels is ample time to reach a compromise and alter the legislation as needed.
“I agree with the sentiment of trying to provide some level of conformity and some level of direct manning and control and having the chief far more supported than he is today,” said Leggett, who did not attend the public hearing. “There’s still a question that this bill might be able to do that.”
Leggett said he has heard of alternatives but declined to say what they are. Both Bowers and Marcine D. Goodloe, president of the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association, say they remain firm on their stances. Bowers: chuck the veto entirely. Goodloe: keep it as it stands.
The Washington Post looks at fire commission battles in two Maryland counties. The latest from Montgomery & Prince George’s.19 comments
It is an interesting time in the neighboring counties of Montgomery and Prince George's in Maryland. Each county has bills readied that would significantly alter the relationship between the fire commission and the fire chief. Both proposals would shift power away from volunteers and to the career chief. This morning, The Washington Post's Victor Zapana has an article looking at the issues in each county.
Below is an excerpt, But it does not do justice to the article or the topic. Click here and take the time to read the whole thing.
On Tuesday, (Montgomery County) Council members Marc Elrich (D-At Large) and George L. Leventhal (D-At Large) will propose legislation that would take away the veto power of the commission, which has volunteer, union and civilian members.
The bill is the latest salvo in the struggle over how volunteers fit in local communities that were once once largely rural but now are mostly suburban and even becoming urban.
Montgomery County is not alone in grappling with the issue. Next door, Prince George’s County is considering changes, too.
On Tuesday, County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) will present the Prince George’s County Council with two bills to remake the county’s fire commission and strip it of supervisory and budgeting powers.
In both counties, the volunteers oppose the bills.
About a month after the events of September 11, 2001 I was asked by journalist Allison Gilbert to contribute my experiences at the Pentagon on that day to a book called Covering Catastrophe: Broadcast Journalists Report September 11. While I knew I was only one of many TV and radio reporters and anchors who would be contributing to the book, and Allison would only be using a couple of blurbs, it was an opportunity for me to write a chronology of the day and put a few thoughts down.
Below is that account. It is a view of September 11 through the eyes of a TV reporter who arrived on Washington Boulevard in front of the Pentagon helipad six-minutes after impact. YouTube has some of the TV coverage from that day broadcast by my colleagues at WUSA-TV in Washington. I have added those clips at the appropriate times.
I conclude with a postscript written 40-days after the attacks that looks at the public's perception of firefighters following the sacrifice made by 343 members of the Fire Department of New York.
September 11, 2001
8:52 AM: Spending time with my son is always the best way to start the day. Sam, almost two years old, is eating his breakfast. I bring my toast into the den to sit with him. The television is on so we can do what we usually do in the morning, watch my wife, Hillary Howard, Sam’s mom, do the weather on WUSA-TV. Instead of the “Early Show” ending to make way for local news, I see the open to a “CBS News Special Report”. I turn the sound up, but don’t need Bryant Gumbel to tell me that something is very wrong at one of the World Trade Center towers. The thick, black smoke pouring out of many windows and from the roof makes it very clear this is a major disaster in the making. Gumbel says there is a report that a plane hit the building. Those words send me out of the room and upstairs to quickly finish getting dressed.
9:03 AM: I occasionally glance at the TV upstairs. A little slow to comprehend some of what it going on, it dawns on me that this appears to be a crystal clear day. I am starting to wonder if this plane crash is really an accident. As I think about calling the newsroom to suggest we might be dealing with a terrorist attack of some sort, any doubts I had are immediately erased. My head quickly turns toward to the TV as I hear a woman say to Byrant Gumbel, “Oh, there is another one! Another plane just hit! Oh, my gosh! Another plane has hit! Another building! Flew right into the middle of it. Explosion.”
It hit me instantly that our lives have suddenly changed.
9:05 AM: On the phone to the station, I talk to Dave Roberts, our news director. I am convinced that if the people who did this were organized enough to quickly hit two targets like the World Trade Center towers, Washington would be next. We decide I will head into town to start looking around for increased security measures and be ready if another attack occurs.
9:10 AM: No time for our normal goodbye ritual. I give Sam a quick kiss and hug. Sam says something about “Jay Jay”. “Jay Jay the Jet Plane”, Sam’s favorite TV show, comes on soon. Not knowing what he may have already seen on TV this morning, I tell him calmly that “Jay Jay” is having a bad day. With the uncertainty of what was ahead, I didn’t want to leave Sam. I knew, though, he was in good hands with Glenda, the woman who takes care of him while we are at work.
9:15 AM: Realizing my good friend, Dan Patrick, our night assignment manager, is probably asleep and has no idea what is going on, I wake him. Dan doesn’t believe me when I describe the events of the morning along with my concern that Washington is next. Certainly I would have thought this was one of his sick practical jokes if the situation were reversed. Hanging up, I’m not sure he is convinced that this is for real.
9:25 AM: My first stop, the State Department. I circle the block and notice some extra officers being deployed around the building. Other street activity appears normal. Checking out the Pentagon never enters my mind.
9:38 AM: East bound on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House, I turn north on 17th Street. At that moment the scanners in my car come alive. On numerous police and fire radio frequencies, people are yelling that a plane hit the Pentagon. Making a fast U-turn, I see the smoke rising across the Potomac River. I get the assignment desk on the phone. It’s a bad connection. I yell into the phone, “Pentagon, Pentagon, Pentagon. Send everyone to the Pentagon. I should be there soon."
I carefully bust a few lights on southbound 17th Street. Making a right turn, traffic is light on westbound Independence Avenue.
9:41 AM: Anchors Mike Buchanan and Andrea Roane break into CBS coverage to report that there has been an apparent plane crash at the Pentagon. They have distant, but clear pictures of the Pentagon ablaze from our rooftop camera in Rosslyn.
9:43 AM: There is also little traffic heading outbound on the Memorial Bridge. Across the river, I now have a distant view of the Pentagon. The very black smoke I am seeing is surely caused by the fuel, now burning, that was in the plane’s tanks. I call the control room to try and get on the air, but the call cuts out as the anchors lead to me.
9:44 AM: Somehow I end up on southbound Washington Boulevard directly in front of the Pentagon helipad. That is good news, but for the moment it does me no good because there is wireless gridlock. I am unable to get a phone call out.
9:46 AM: I have my home video camera out and on the tripod, rolling off a few shots. The phone still isn’t working.
9:48 AM: Walking down Washington Boulevard is Heather Cabot a recently hired reporter for WUSA. She tells me her phone isn’t getting out either. I ask her to take over my camera and I will work on trying to get a phone call to the station. Heather tells me she is with photographer Mike Trammel. I look back to see Trammel and put my camera away.
9:52 AM: Heather’s phone finally gets through. I describe the scene as firefighters from Ft. Meyer and National Airport put the first water and foam on the burning Pentagon. Some people are looking at the sky, making sure another plane isn’t approaching. I suggest to Heather, that it is probably a good idea for us to do the same. Amazingly traffic on northbound Washington Boulevard has not been blocked and drivers are just whizzing by the burning Pentagon as they head to work.
A familiar red van pulls a few feet past us. It is one of our microwave vans with Bruce Bookholtz at the wheel. I am a bit amazed that, with no communication, we all end up at the same spot.
We hear a number of small pops and explosions. I am guessing those are tires popping from the vehicles that were parked against the building and are now burning, or possibly some small canisters exploding. Among the vehicles on fire is the new crash/rescue fire truck, belonging to the Ft. Meyer Fire Department. It is stationed at the Pentagon and is routinely on hand for helicopter landings and takeoffs, in case of an emergency. It is a fire truck designed for just this rare event, a plane crash, and it can’t be used.
9:55 AM: Heather tells me to look down on the street around us. I was so intent on watching the burning Pentagon, I hadn’t noticed there are what appear to be small pieces from the airplane at my feet. I had already seen the large amount of debris scattered on the Pentagon lawn, but so far no piece is large enough to be easily identified as an airplane part.
9:57 AM: Our first live video is on the air. You see flames crawling up the familiar face of the Pentagon along with some of the first victims as they are carried away from the building.
9:59 AM: I am on the air with Michael Kelly, an eyewitness Heather pulled out of the crowd. Kelly was driving on nearby I-395 when he saw the plane take aim on the Pentagon.
10:00 AM: Anchor Andrea Roane interrupts me, “Dave, Dave, Dave. We want to break in, because we want to go back to New York, where Dan Rather is anchoring our coverage, where one of the towers at the World Trade Center has collapsed”.
These words stop me in my tracks for a moment. I have no TV monitor to see this for myself. Just Andrea’s words. It doesn’t compute in my brain. I had been a firefighter. I had studied high-rise firefighting. There had been a number of major high-rise fires throughout the world that burned for many hours. To my knowledge there had never been a catastrophic collapse of an entire building. This was just one of many things happening today that no one has ever had to deal with.
Knowing how aggressive New York firefighters are, I realize there must be scores of dead rescuers. The last pictures I saw out of New York were from an hour ago. Even then it was pretty apparent, from the amount of fire, that anyone at the impact points and above had little chance of survival.
10:05 AM: They come back to me for our first interview with someone who was in the Pentagon at the time of the attack. Two or three men on stretchers pass by us. It is our first close-up look at the injured and they are severely, if not critically burned over a good portion of their bodies. These victims are flown out by helicopter to a hospital burn unit. Their lives will never be the same.
10:10 AM: A Virginia State Trooper starts moving everyone back. There is concern another plane is coming toward the Pentagon. We don’t move.
10:15 AM: As they come back to our live shot, five floors suddenly collapse around the jet's impact point. There is now a large gash on the west side of the Pentagon.
10:18 AM: People start running away from the Pentagon. This time, FBI agents are telling us another plane is just minutes out. They order us to move immediately. I am able to get in a few quick words, attempting to explain to Mike and Andrea what is happening, before the transmitter is turned off and the live truck’s mast starts coming down.
10:28 AM: We move just a short distance off Washington Boulevard and down the ramp to Columbia Pike. As Bruce tries to re-establish a signal, I hear through my earpiece that the second tower in New York has collapsed. I just can’t imagine what it going on in Manhattan. The death toll must be staggering. I recall my wife once telling me her grandfather hauled truckloads of steel used to build the Twin Towers. Now those buildings don’t exist.
10:32 AM: We are again feeding live pictures of the burning Pentagon.
10:36 AM: Witnesses are giving different descriptions of the plane that hit the building. Some say it is an American Airlines 757, while others believe it was a business jet. The fire is still burning out of control.
10:38 AM: Mike Buchanan asks me if I have seen any large pieces of an airplane at the scene. As I answer this question, he interrupts me,“Hold on Dave. Hold on just a second. We’ve got a bulletin from AP. A large plane has just crashed in Western Pennsylvania.”
Mike also reads an AP report about a car bomb going off at the State Department. We are just across the river from State and we didn’t hear an explosion.
10:42 AM: An F-16 makes a low pass near the Pentagon. That, along with the plane crash in Pennsylvania, makes me think there was something to the threats that forced us move away from the building. I notice a large group of people huddled under the Washington Boulevard overpass.
10:52 AM: A Lt. Colonel with Air Force Public Affairs passes our location. We snag him. He urges people to keep far away from the Pentagon. If you have loved ones you can’t account for, he asks that you not come to the Pentagon. He has no idea of the number of dead or injured. Not much in the way of information, but it is the first official word.
WUSA anchorman Gordon Peterson, who was originally sent to nearby National Airport for a flight to New York, arrives at our location.
10:54 AM: Mike and Andrea confirm there was no car bomb at the State Department. A little bit of good news.
11:06 AM: Gordon interviews Mike Walter, a television reporter for “USA Today Live”. Mike, on his way to work in Rosslyn, witnessed the Pentagon crash and offers the most vivid description so far.
11:10 AM: We are again ordered to move our live truck further away from the Pentagon.
11:31 AM: Our shot is back up. This time, from a hill in front of the Quick Mart. This Citgo, looks like a normal service station, but it is exclusively for use by military personnel.
11:39 AM: The fire is spreading. Suddenly there are flames showing in a number of windows far from the point of impact.
People again start moving quickly from the Pentagon. There is more talk of another hijacked plane heading our way.
11:52 AM: Again, more people rush from the Pentagon.
12:16 PM: I listen to Dan Patrick, with a phone report, describe his attempts to get from Northern Virginia to the TV station in Northwest Washington. Dan says he had to show identification to a police officer and explain his business in the city. Only then was he allowed to cross Key Bridge into Georgetown. The city is in lockdown.
12:18 PM: Gordon notices an ambulance convoy from the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad pull up along Columbia Pike. It was a repeat of a scene I had witnessed, just on the other side of the Pentagon, almost 20 years earlier. The same Maryland squad sent a similar contingent after Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the 14th Street Bridge on January 13th, 1982.
12:20 PM: If I am not convinced how much turmoil there is in the country from these attacks, this does it. Mike and Andrea announce Disney World is being evacuated.
12:28 PM: A Navy public affairs officer officially confirms what has been painfully obvious. Besides the dead on the aircraft, Pentagon workers are dead inside the building. He has no idea how many people didn’t get out.
12:32 PM: Talking on the air with Mike and Andrea, it still isn’t clear which of the four hijacked jets smashed into the Pentagon. Right now, American Airlines believes the hijacked flight from Dulles crashed into one of the towers in New York.
Police move everyone, including the news media, off the hillside. Bruce pulls the truck around to the other end of the service station lot. This fourth move winds up being our last. It becomes home for the better part of two weeks.
1:19 PM: The first official briefing from the Pentagon. Rear Admiral Craig Quigley, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, announces that this was “a full assault on the United States of America”. The admiral says there was no way to prepare for an attack like this. I am shaking my head at the fact that the spokesman for the military headquarters of the United States of America is forced to talk to the world from a service station parking lot.
1:30 PM: CNN Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre joins me on the air for a few minutes. Our first time working together was at WTOP radio, 20 years ago, covering the Air Florida plane crash. Jamie says they always anticipated a terrorist attack at the Pentagon, but figured it would be on the other side of the building where all the top brass is located.
Off camera, Jamie tells me that just yesterday his son’s class in middle school had a discussion about the bombing in Oklahoma City. Jamie’s son told the class he always worries about his dad being hurt by an attack like this, because his dad works at the Pentagon. Jamie tried getting word to the school to let his son know he was okay.
1:50 PM: Andrea announces that the Urban Search and Rescue Team from Fairfax County, known as Virginia Task Force 1, has been activated and will be at the Pentagon shortly.
American Airlines now says they aren’t sure where Flight 77 ended up.
WUSA-TV's Mike Trammel's shot of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (third from the right) helping carry one of the injured from the Pentagon to a waiting ambulance.
1:56 PM: Admiral Quigley sets the tone for his second briefing by saying “you are going to have a lot more questions than I have answers.” Quigley doesn’t have an answer to the one question all of us are asking. He can only say, “we know there are casualties.”
He tells us Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was among the Pentagon workers hurrying from the building after the explosion. Rumsfeld helped the injured for about 15 minutes, getting several people onto stretchers. Then he went back inside to the National Military Command Center. The command center is reportedly smoky, but not damaged. (NOTE: Approaching the one-year anniversary of the attack, CNN's Vito Maggiolo contacted me after looking at the raw video from September 11 shot by WUSA-TV photojournalist Mike Trammel. While many people had viewed that video, and all of it played out in front my own eyes, Vito was the only person to notice that one of the men carrying a stretcher with one of the first victims removed from the Pentagon was Secretary Rumsfeld.)
2:10 PM: Virginia Task Force 1 arrives. Normally Fairfax County’s Urban Search and Rescue Team is sent to some far off land by way of military transport. This time it was just a quick drive down Interstate 66 to the county on its eastern border.
2:23 PM: WUSA Photographer Greg Guise is able to provide some details surrounding the hijacked jet that went down in Pennsylvania. Greg grew up a few miles from the crash site and has business interests in the community. Greg relays a description of the scene from a radio engineer friend in Somerset County.
2:43 PM: For the past few hours we’ve seen no ambulances leave the area with lights and siren. We’re pretty certain that anyone alive is already being treated. Now reporter Jennifer Ryan, at the Virginia Hospital Center, confirms no more victims are expected from the Pentagon.
2:49 PM: Mike and Andrea report it’s now fairly clear the plane wreckage at the Pentagon is from American Airlines Flight 77 out of Dulles.
2:55 PM: Rear Admiral Stephen Pietropaoli, U.S. Navy Office of Information, tells us that in the recently renovated wedge of the Pentagon, where the attack occurred, there is blast resistant glass on the windows. In the days to come we hear from many who believe that this very expensive glass saved lives.
3:53 PM: Now briefing us at the Citgo press center, Pentagon spokeswoman Torie Clark and Defense Protective Service Chief John Jester. Jester tells us the impact from the jet extends through to the C ring, the middle of the 5 rings of the Pentagon. All we see from our location, is that a portion of the E ring, the outer most portion of the Pentagon, has crumbled.
Clark admits she can’t confirm that all members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are accounted for. That news is a bit unsettling. We also hear about a Navy captain who burned his hands rescuing others. Clark says that man is already back from the hospital and wants to be put to work again, helping at the Pentagon.
4:12 PM: Rumors have been spreading that the U.S. military brought down the hijacked plane in Pennsylvania. Rear Admiral Craig Quigley says, “That didn’t happen. I cannot explain to you the cause of the crash of the airplane near Pittsburgh, but it was not engagement by a U.S. fighter aircraft.”
The Pentagon now confirms all the Joint Chiefs are accounted for.
4:54 PM: The second Urban Search and Rescue Team arrives. This one is from Montgomery County, Maryland.
5:04 PM: I see International Association of Firefighters General President, Harold Schaitberger and his press person, George Burke arrive at the Citgo. I grab Harold for a live interview. Harold has been in close touch with his people in New York. We learn for the first time that more than 200 New York firefighters probably perished when the towers collapsed. He calls firefighters “our domestic soldiers”. Schaitberger says the civilian death toll will be in the thousands. Off camera he lets me know that much of FDNY’s command staff was lost, including the Chief of the Department and the head of Special Operations.
5:36 PM: Harold Schaitberger joins me again with the story of two Ft. Meyer firefighters who were at the Pentagon when the crash occurred. They were standing near the fire truck we saw burning this morning. Both men were knocked down and injured by the force of the crash. They helped rescue a group of people through some of the office windows, before the firefighters themselves were hospitalized.
6:42 PM: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield briefs the press. For the first time since the crash, the press conference is held inside the Pentagon. I watch it from our van. Pushed for a body count, Rumsfeld says, “It will not be a few”. The Pentagon “will be in business tomorrow”.
8:45 PM: New information has been slow in coming, but marching up Columbia Pike with the television lights reflecting off his orange vest is a member of Montgomery County’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Team. Captain Scott Graham gives us the first solid information about the fire and rescue efforts. Scott becomes a lifeline for information in the days to come.
Despite the large fire still burning, Graham says the USAR team members are always optimistic about finding people alive. He says, “We have to look at it as a rescue effort for us. We have to look at it as a very unstable building. And our job, pretty much, is to take the name of the Pentagon off the outside of it and go in and rescue the people that are in there”.
9:52 PM: Another familiar face shows up at the Citgo. Ed Plaugher is the fire chief of Arlington County. The Pentagon is in Arlington County, Virginia and Chief Plaugher is the man in charge of the fire and rescue operations. None of the other reporters nearby seem to know who Plaugher is, or if they do, they don’t care. Ed joins me live at 10:00 PM with the first solid news about the loss of life at the Pentagon. There are no figures as of yet, but the Pentagon has given him a range to work with. Plaugher says it is believed that anywhere from 100 to 800 people work in the area where the impact occurred. While that is fairly large range, it lets us know that the death toll will likely be in the hundreds at the Pentagon, as compared to the thousands presumed dead in New York. Plaugher’s guess is, when it is over, the number at the Pentagon will be in the low hundreds.
Plaugher later receives some heat when his statements are taken out of context. Some news reports claim Plaugher estimated the death toll at 800. Days later we learn that 125 were killed on the ground and 64 perished aboard Flight 77.
On another topic Chief Plaugher says, “To be honest with you, we always were afraid of the Pentagon as being a target, but never in our wildest dreams to this extent. I am still in disbelief.”
11:03 PM: Fire has broken through in at least four places along the Pentagon roof. Chief Plaugher says aggressive interior firefighting operations will cease until daylight. But, crews overnight, will continue to pour in water from the outside to keep the fire from spreading further.
I relay a phone conversation with Scott Graham a few minutes before our 11:00 PM newscast. Scott and most of the USAR team members from Montgomery and Fairfax Counties worked very closely with Deputy Chief Ray Downey from the Fire Department of New York. Downey, commander of FDNY’s Special Operations, is unaccounted for after the towers collapsed. Scott says Downey commanded all the USAR teams in Oklahoma City after the bombing there. He says Downey wrote the book on urban search and rescue. Skills Downey taught will be utilized in New York and Arlington by hundreds of rescuers in the difficult days to come. His voice cracking, Scott tells me, “We lost a damn good man”.
We lost a lot of good men and women today.
October 27, 2001
11:15 PM: As I am looking back at September 11th, I have just spent a week covering the deaths of two Washington, D.C. postal workers, from inhalation anthrax. Others are hospitalized because of anthrax that was sent through the U.S. Mail. No one knows how this story will play out.
There is a lot of uncertainty since September 11th. Our war efforts, our security in public places, our ability to travel safely by air, our economic future. Like all parents, Hillary and I worry over what this will mean for our young son.
This much I’m sure of. Through the thick smoke hanging over New York and Washington, it became clear that some remarkable people walk among us.
Some are just ordinary citizens who put other people’s lives ahead of their own. Staying behind, trying to make sure everyone gets out.
Others are paid to protect us. But I don’t think anyone believes for a moment that a police officer, paramedic or firefighter’s modest salary is enough to encourage someone to walk into the places that these men and women did on September 11th. It takes much more than money. It takes heart, and courage, and a belief you can make a difference.
I know firefighters the best. Six years in a busy volunteer company during my youth, and almost 30 years making the fire service my beat as a reporter, have given me some perspective.
In many big cities, including our Nation’s Capital, the fire departments have long taken a back seat when it comes to funding. Citizens who can tell you how many times the police patrol car comes down their block, or how many officers are walking the beat, have no idea how many firefighters are on duty in the neighborhood fire station. Political leaders know this to be true and through the years have made drastic cuts in fire protection, often without protest from the public.
Through the years, I have reported many stories where citizens and firefighters have died because of these cuts. Just last week an understaffed ladder company became an issue in Houston, Texas, after a fire captain died in a high-rise apartment building fire.
Firefighters are can-do people. Their skills at making things work under adversity often hides from the public the shortcomings in their staffing, equipment and facilities.
Some of the good that has come from the sacrifices made by the 343 members of FDNY who died on September 11th, is the recognition, by the public, of what firefighters really do.
A recent trip to Arlington County Fire Station #2 brought this home. The firehouse is covered with cards and letters from all over the world. Many are from school children, with drawings of the firefighters in action at the Pentagon and World Trade Center. All say thanks.
Veterans of more than 20 years in the fire service are astounded by the reaction these days as they drive through local streets. People stop and wave. When the firefighters walk into a building in uniform, they are applauded.
On October 7th, I was at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Just two hours before military action in Afghanistan began, President Bush told the stories of some of the 99 domestic soldiers who died in the line of duty in the United States last year. I watched as spouses and children received a flag and a red rose, and heard a bell toll in honor of their loved one, our hero.
I have forced myself on most days since September 11th to read the New York Post, Daily News and Times and the accounts of the daily funerals of New York firefighters. It is difficult to read about the pain their wives and children are going through. It is the least, though, that we can do. It is important to remember this unbelievable sacrifice.
My hope is that people all over the United States are paying very close attention to these same stories of heroism. My hope is that they don’t forget these stories when someone is trying to save a little money and close down their local firehouse.
Right now when Sam sees a fire truck he says, “Evan”. “Revvin’ Evan” is the animated fire engine on that “Jay Jay the Jet Plane” cartoon show he loves. When Sam is old enough, I will make sure he knows a lot more about firefighters. I will make sure Sam understands exactly who those people were climbing up the clogged, smoke filled, stairways, as he sat in his high chair, watching the first pictures transmitted from New York, at 8:52 AM, on September 11th, 2001.
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue have released the 9-1-1 call from Monday's amazing river rescue after a woman was thrown from her kayak on the Potomac.
We still don't know a lot about the woman, except for the fact that she's 31-years-old and lives in Woodbridge.
But Wednesday, we have a much better idea what she was going through when she was suddenly separated from her kayak on a fast-moving stretch of the Potomac near Dickerson, Md.
The call was made by a bird watcher who was standing on the banks of the river and saw the whole thing happen.
Raw video: Woman clinging to tree in rain swollen Potomac River rescued by Montgomery County, Maryland firefighters. Also, failure to raise Georgetown flood wall swamps restaurants.11 comments
Recent rains in the Washington area have sent the Potomac River out of its banks. The two big stories so far are the rescue of a woman caught on video in Montgomery County, Maryland and the flooding of the Georgetown waterfront in DC.
Montgomery County firefighters rescued a woman clinging to a tree in the Potomac River. The woman was stuck near Darnestown.
Officials say she was kayaking and lost control of her boat. A fire department spokesman says they are taking her to a local hospital.
There have been several rescues in that section of the Potomac today, as high waters have created dangerous conditions.
DC Fire/EMS units are on the Georgetown waterfront helping with evacuations after significant flooding in some buildings.
The affected area includes waterfront restaurants in the 3000 K Street, Northwest.
Cars were towed from flooded parking garages.
Some businesses in the Washington Harbor area of the Georgetown waterfront were evacuated as a precaution about 10 a.m., said Pete Piringer, a spokesman for the D.C. fire department. The department shut off gas and electric utilities between 8 and 9 a.m., as rising water flooded the basement and parking garage, submerging some parked cars.
Katherine Siahaan, who works at Gelateria Dolce Vita and arrived about 7:30 a.m., said “We didn’t think it was going to be any trouble, but the water kept rising.” By 10 a.m., barstools and a cash register were floating around inside the shop.
Tony and Joe’s restaurant sustained the most damage, Piringer said. Most of the damage could have been avoided had the floodwall been in place, he said.
“We were quite surprised when we arrived on the scene and the floodwall wasn’t erected,” Piringer said. Around noon, with the help of a crane, the floodwall was raised.
Regime change at Burtonsville VFD. Leadership resigns & takes demotions in battle with Montgomery County, Maryland.34 comments
A spokeswoman for the Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Department has told Gazette.net, "As of 0700 hours Sunday morning, we suffered the most devastating loss of leadership in the history of the department. Both our chief and our president have resigned, [and] the majority of our operating officers have resigned their positions as well."
This is the latest development in the battle between the leadership at Burtonsville and Montgomery County Chief Richard Bowers.
Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Chief Robert E. Ryan and four other senior volunteer officials resigned from their posts as Burtonsville volunteers Saturday while also requesting demotions from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service that oversees both career and volunteer firefighters countywide.
The move came in response to county fire and rescue service Chief Richard R. Bowers' Feb. 24 decision to transfer command of the Burtonsville station to career firefighters following complaints that the station's volunteers were mistreating their career counterparts, even urinating on the door handles of career firefighters' vehicles, said county fire and rescue spokesman Assistant Chief Scott Graham. Volunteer officials contested the complaints, saying those that were found to be substantive had been investigated and dealt with while also arguing that Bowers' action was illegal, said Burtonsville Volunteer Firefighter Department spokeswoman Tami Bulla.
Since Saturday, a steady number of volunteers have shown up to help the department staff its emergency response vehicles, according to both Graham and Bulla.
At least two command-level volunteers, a captain and a lieutenant, remain active with the Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Department, Bulla said, but the long-term future of volunteers at the station is uncertain.
Early video from Bossier Parish, Louisiana apartment fire: Citizen on the scene yesterday afternoon at the Reserve apartments before the arrival of the Benton Fire Department. Click here for much more video. Click here for more details on the fire.
Nine firefighters hurt in Calvert County, Maryland: We have details, lots of video and links to still pictures from the fire that started in a chimney late Saturday night in Huntingtown, Maryland. Two of the firefighters went to the burn unit. One has inhalation burns. Click here for our coverage. Christopher Naum at CommandSafety.com has a good before look at this mega-McMansion and diagrams the location for us. Click here.
FiretruckBlog.com’s Antique of the Week: Check out the video of this 1916 American LaFrance that Glenn Usdin posted.
A kiss is still a kiss, but Dave is looking for much more meaning: Please take a moment to view the pictures from last week’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Savannah, Georgia and what I had to say about them. The images may be the most encouraging thing I have seen in a long time when it comes to the reputation of firefighters. Click here. And join me in Indianapolis on Thursday in room 125-126 at 1:30 PM for my thoughts on how to manage your reputation when news moves at the speed of light. The session is called “The PIO Reporter: Telling Your Story in a World Where “Spin” Doesn’t Work”.
Coincidentally, at the very same time, there is a presentation scheduled on social media in rooms 134-135. The host is THE Fire Critic, Rhett Fleitz. As loyal readers know, we have taken a very special interest here at STATter911.com in the career of Lt. Fleitz and always look for ways to promote his work. That’s why we have no problem publicizing this competing session, once again. We also did it in a language that most firefighters in the United States speak and understand. If you click here you will see that THE Fire Critic has a different view on this topic. But, as always, we take the high road when it comes to Rhett. And as a public service, here’s a tip if you aren’t certain you are in the correct room on Thursday. If you just hear a voice and no one is visibile behind the podium, that will be Rhett’s presentation.
Speaking of images: Two people in the fire service who are always worth listening to have some rather serious thoughts about the image that may be presented by the 9-11 Museum. Read the column in Human Events by Bobby Halton and Frank Ricci.
And on the topic of 9-11: The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is holding a 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb at Lucas Oil Stadium during FDIC. It starts at 11:30 AM Friday morning. You can sign up now. The event is limited to the first 343 firefighters. Click here. You can also host your own 9-11 Memorial Stair Climb for the upcoming 10th anniversary of the attacks. Click here for details.
“Just because you’re a first responder, it doesn’t give you the excuse to drive like a maniac”: The quote from the Village of Chester, New York police chief after Kiryas Joel ambulance corps member Menachem Kramer was cited for 21 traffic violations following his response to an accident a month ago. Police say Kramer’s 1999 Tahoe forced a police officer’s vehicle off the road. From RecordOnline.com- “According to the report, Kramer drove at excessive speeds, as well as down the center of Brookside Avenue, forcing cars in the turning lanes to quickly veer out of the way — some into the path of oncoming traffic.” Police say the incident was already clearing when Kramer was responding.
Big one tips in Germany: A Bronto Skylift with a reach of almost 300 feet failed to make a turn on a roadway in Germany. Firegeezer has that story.
Union billboards its complaints: In Lancaster, Pennsylvania a recent no confidence vote in the chief has been followed by a billboard asking the citizens about safety. Here’s the story.
Woman who fled to Nigeria after deadly day care fire is coming back to Houston: Houston’s fire chief apologized to the families who lost children after a fire in a day care center. Fire investigators and the Harris County District Attorney battled over an arrest warrant while Jessica Tata left the country. We told you Saturday that Tata had turned herself into authorities in her native Nigeria. Now there is official word she is returning to Houston and should be back by tonight. Read more.
Last week’s fire in Howard County, Maryland: While traveling the last few days I failed to link to Doug Walton’s photos from Friday’s apartment fire in Columbia that left two firefighters injured. Check out Doug’s coverage.
Montgomery County, Maryland house fire: Jeff Krauss has a series of photos to go with the one to the left from a house fire Sunday afternoon on Whites Ford Way in Potomac. An 87-year-old man is reported in critical condition with burns and smoke inhalation. An 85-year-old woman suffered smoke inhalation and a firefighter had was burned on the shoulder.
Volunteer recruitment in Nebraska: Last week’s volunteer summit in Washington hosted by the IAFC is already making news back home. One of those who attended and is dealing with recruitment issues is featured in a story from the Omaha area. Click here.
Montgomery County takes over Burtonsville VFD. Cites sex, public urination & safety concerns at MD firehouse. Volunteers call it retaliation over ambulance fee fight.30 comments
In a move that some firefighters said is long overdue, Montgomery County took over operations at the Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Department in Montgomery County last week.
What’s allegedly taken place over the last year prompted this drastic step: Public urination, fornication, destruction of property and delays in responding to calls, according to the Montgomery County Fire Department spokesman Scott Graham.
Some firefighters at Station 15 said the situation has become so bad that no one wants to work at the station anymore.
The head of the Montgomery County Career Firefighters’ Association put it this way: “It’s a zoo and the animals have been running the zoo.”
Above is the story on the 2009 incident where a career firefighter was urinated on by a firehouse guest.
In a memo chief Richard Bowers sent out Thursday, anyone now entering the station must report to an on-duty career officer. They must also follow any orders that officers issues.
While leadership there has been put on notice, the volunteers can still carry out their duties. The department spokesman said citizens are still safe.
The man who leads the county’s volunteer fire fighters said this is retaliation for the volunteers’ activities working to oppose the county’s failed ambulance fee proposal.
Eric Bernard, of the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, admits there was a volunteer who brought a guest who urinated in a bunk bed. But he said that was dealt with in 2009.
UPDATED (new video added): High winds slam MD, DC & VA. Prince George’s County hit hard with numerous large fires damaging structures. Mutual aid from as far away as Baltimore City & Maryland’s Eastern Shore.27 comments
Photo by The Washington Post’s Sarah L. Voisin of the fire in the Beltsville – Laurel area. Click the image for more photos.
Since early this morning the area around your Nation’s Capital has been hit hard with winds, sparking numerous brush fires and threatening and burning some homes. Fires are still burning. We will add info to this entry over the next couple of hours. In the meantime you can listen live to some of the area departments.
The winds toppled the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse in Washington, DC.
Prince George’s County ordered the call back of career personnel to handle the numerous large fires. Two of the largest fires are at opposite ends of the county. One is in the Beltsville area along the 5400 block of Van Dusen Road. It forced the shut down of part of the adjacent I-95. Another fire still burning out of control along Piscataway Road. It has required mutual aid from Arlington County, Fairfax County and the City of Alexandria in Virginia. Maryland units are assisting PGFD from as far away as Baltimore City and Caroline and Queen Anne’s Counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore (about 65 miles)..
The fires moved so fast that a brush unit from Baden VFD was burned and a pumper from Belstville had to be quickly moved.
North of the Washington area, Baltimore County has been dealing with a number of multi-alarm building fires since last night, plus numerous brush fires today.
I-95 was also closed for a while in the Dale City area of Prince William County due to a fire near the rest stop. See the picture above.
The morning started in Prince George’s County with a hint as to what was to come with the fire above (video provided by Firefighter Close Calls) at 8400 Potomac Avenue in the College Park area. Here is info from PGFD’s Mark Brady:
Firefighters were alerted around 6:00 am, Saturday, February 19, 2011, to a house fire in the 8400 block of Potomac Avenue. Upon arrival firefighters were met with a challenging scene involving a 2-story wood frame home fully involved with fire, rapid wind driven extension to homes on either side, two sheds on fire in back yards and a natural gas fire on the exterior of one of the neighbors houses.
With high winds and rapid extension with additional structures in imminent danger; the Incident Commander requested a Second Alarm, bringing additional firefighters and resources to the scene.
It required nearly an hour for the bulk of the fire to be extinguished and another 2 hours to completely extinguish the fire in the house of origin. Firefighters kept the exterior natural gas fire in check and were able to extinguish that fire after Washington Gas Company workers shut off the natural gas main at about 8:30 am.
Late morning, at the far south end of Prince George’s County, a brush fire was reported near the Chalk Point Power Plant. I believe this is the fire that damaged Baden’s BR 36, a 1964 Ford.
Not too long after that, a fire that has required a lot of resources through the day was reported in the Beltsville area along the 5400 block of Van Dusen Road. This is the fire just west of I-95. It caused major traffic problems along the highway. The video above is some of the smoke from that fire that I shot while in the area this afternoon. Below are details from Brady released at 1:49 PM:
The largest incident involves about 100 acres of 30 foot high piles of mulch. The brush fire has extended about 2 miles over to Interstate 95. This fire has been burning since 12 noon and is still considered out of control.
In the video above a driver shows conditions on I-95 South near the Beltsville fire. The most interesting part is around 7:20 as Foam Unit 812 from College Park responds to a fire in the median strip of the highway.
Brady also announced a cancellation because of the fire. The event was to be hold where the initial staging area was located:
The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department has been forced to require the cancellation of the charity ice hockey event at the Ice House on Old Gunpowder Road.
This event was a game between Washington Capitals Alumni and public safety officers.
Also on the north end PGFD had a fire at Laurel Mall (short clip above). Brady reports during the 2:00 PM hour, “firefighters arrived at the Burlington Coat Factory, 14700 Baltimore Avenue, with a fire that appears to have started in a dumpster outside the building. The high winds blew the fire into the loading docks and inside the building.”
The picture above, courtesy of Firefighter Close Calls, is from a fire on Decatur Street and shows what PGFD and other departments have been dealing with today.
The other major fire tapping the region’s resources is along Piscataway Road between Clinton and Fort Washington. That battle began when a battalion chief rolled up on a couple of old structures burning on Gallahan Road. Here is Brady’s report at 4:46 PM:
A brush fire that appears to have started at a farm on Gallahan Road spread quickly driven by high winds. The fire damaged as many as 20 structures that include homes (some abandoned), sheds and barns. This incident escalated quickly to a third alarm with about 30 pieces of fire apparatus on location with about 120 firefighters working to extinguish the fires.
Damage to occupied homes are minor to moderate. No civilian or firefighter injuries have been reported.
Command post is set up at Piscataway Road and Windbrook Drive.
Below are news reports from around the region on the fires and high winds from WJLA-TV:
Fire engine transport of heart attack victim may have saved his life. Montgomery County, Maryland firefighters praised for snow response.7 comments
Melvyn Newman shakes the hands of the first responders at Fire Station 23.
He survived his first heart attack during the snow storm that trapped the area’s commuters in a massive gridlock, Jan. 26, 2011. Through the thunder snow, four first responders treated and transported Newman in a fire engine.
During snow fall, Newman felt tightness in his chest after shoveling his driveway around 7 p.m. His wife, Linda Singer, saw him lying down inside the house. She realized he was suffering from a heart attack and dialed 9-1-1.
“He was just totally white, no coloring at all, and he was shaking like a leaf,” says Linda Singer. She says after getting the busy tone a few times, she got through to a dispatcher. Four first responders arrived in a fire engine.
Lead paramedic Dwayne Dutrow says he was determined to get Newman to Suburban Hospital before his heart stopped.
The snow storm slowed down the rescue. The crew treated and transported Newman to the hospital in 18 minutes, according to Dutrow.
The fire engine navigated its way around stranded cars and snow- covered roads.
“I tried to figure the best way to get there, stay away from hilly terrain and go as flat as possible,” says Lawrence Morton, the driver.
“It was unprecedented and the traffic conditions were terrible at best,” says Montgomery County Fire Chief Richard Bowers.
The physicians at Suburban hospital said he had ten or fifteen more minutes before he might not have survived the heart attack, according to Newman.
Fire Chief Bowers says Newman’s rescue is a shining example of the importance of the work done by four-person first responder teams.
The police beat: Maryland cops shooting hostage taking bank robber is shown live on TV. Detroit’s chief releases video of shootout at police station.8 comments
While we focus almost exclusively on fire and EMS here, this is one of those days that dramatic video involving law enforcement from two separate parts of the country is front and center.
The video above is today’s botched bank robbery in Maryland. Police from Prince George’s County and Takoma Park quickly found themselves face to face with the gunman walking out the door of the bank holding a female hostage. She was able to break free when the robber was tripped up by a snow bank. It gave police a chance to shoot the gunman. He died. A Prince George’s County Police officer was wounded in the leg, apparently from a bullet that ricocheted.
TV stations in the Washington area were in the breaking news mode as this all happened. It was one of those moments where someone being shot and killed was seen live on television. Since then the news operations, as far as we can tell, are only showing the edited chopper video on the air. It stops before the gunman falls to the ground. The exception is WTTG-TV, which has put the complete raw video on its website. Click here for that video.
You can read more about the robbery, here. Click here for a police news conference. Earlier fire department briefing about a suspected bomb left by the robber.
The other video is from the shootout inside a Detroit police station five days ago. It shows Lamar Moore entering the Northwest District on January 23 and ambushing the officers. Moore was killed in this gun battle and four police officers are recovering from their wounds. The 68 second video, showing two camera angles, was released today by the Detroit Police Department.
The video opens with a message from Police Chief Ralph Godbee. Chief Godbee explains the decision to release this video. The chief called it a commitment to transparency and to show citizens the heroism of his officers. The chief also believes it will of help in the training of police officers.
Below is some of the police radio traffic during the shootout that was posted on YouTube by FirefighterDispatch.
In one view Cmdr. Brian Davis is seen walking up the the desk, where Modreci Draper, owner of a shoe repair business who had come to the station to shine officers’ shoes, is talking to Officer David Anderson.
In the camera view at the door, Moore is seen walking into the building, but a gun is not visible. Then you can see him walk close to the desk.
Davis is talking to Sgt. Ray Saati, with his back initially turned to Moore. Draper leans down, wiping salt from Anderson’s shoes, he told the Free Press Thursday. Suddenly, there is a blast and Anderson falls away into a corridor, with only his feet visible in the frame.
Moore shoots down another hallway, where Sgt. Carrie Schulz is shot in her bullet-proof vest. From that corridor, Sgts. Mike Ingels and James Kirkland begin shooting at Moore, who backs up, according to police.
Behind the desk, Davis takes Saati’s gun and he and Officer Theodore Jackson begin shooting over the desk at Moore, who hurls himself over the counter.
Moore moves toward Davis, who extends his right arm, shooting at point-blank range with the gunman. Moore shoots and hits Davis’ hand and Davis is also hit in the back. He takes cover, while Moore moves to the other side of the desk area. At this point, according to police, Moore is mortally wounded.
Davis throws a trash can at Moore, who staggers and falls into chairs.
Fire yesterday in the 13300 block of Query Mill Road in Potomac, Maryland. Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service Captain Oscar Garcia says firefighters received the call at 5:21 PM and found fire on both floors of the home. This is an area of the county without fire hydrants. Two people who were home at the time escaped unharmed.
What it looked like on arrival. Photo by Chief Larry Gaddis, Bethesda Fire Department.
White’s Ferry is still stuck in the water in Poolesville and the operation to retrieve it will resume Friday.
The 14 people onboard have been safely taken to shore, according to Montgomery County Fire Officials.
The ferry, which travels from Poolesville, Md. to Leesburg, Va. is stranded about 150 feet south of the ramp on the Poolesville side, with nine vehicles still stuck on it.
The cable snapped and the ferry drifted away from the ramp.
Montgomery County Fire and EMS dispatched their strike team to the ferry to evacuate the persons on board until the ferry can be towed back to the ramp so the cars can be off loaded.
The ferry is now stuck 150 feet south of the Maryland shore ramp.
The operation to retrieve the ferry was called off for the night. A team will try again Friday at 8 a.m.
The ferry has been stuck since noon Thursday.
Dog and owner rescued from ravine Thanksgiving night. Belgian Shepherd tumbles 200 feet. Firefighters from Montgomery & Prince George’s Counties bring them to safety.2 comments
Montgomery and Prince George’s County fire departments joined Park Police in an unusual rescue operation in the woods just off New Hampshire Avenue Thursday evening.
It started when Hedin Drive resident Sarah Lesher was walking her dogs Muppet and Ginger along a ridge in those woods at about 5 p.m. Muppet, the 15-year-old Belgian Shepherd whose hips have been described as a disaster area by her vet, took a bad step and tumbled 200 feet down a steep hill into a ravine.
Lesher had a friend call for help and then returned to the top of the hill.
“I slid down on my butt, never falling, and found her standing in a pool of water. I got her out of the water and got her onto a ledge and stood there and wedged her onto the ledge with my knee, and that’s where we stood while we waited,” she said.
“I was lashed into the basket and the dog was then loaded on top of me and the officer held the dog and the basket and we all got pulled up,” Lesher said.
“It took us about an hour and a half to get them safely out of the ravine,” said Captain Oscar Garcia of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Department.
“We took a lot of safety precautions in performing this task and, fortunately, again, nobody was injured,” Garcia said.
Muppet was carried through the woods and into her home by her rescuers.
A few minutes later, Muppet, Ginger, and Sarah were on Hedin Drive again, finishing their walk.
The “Hornet’s Nest” on the scene: Video from DC’s Engine 4 arriving on the scene at 2811 Sherman Avenue, Northwest early yesterday morning.
Raw video & fireground audio from DC 3-alarm hi-rise fire: Click here for Vito Maggiolo’s video, fireground audio and WUSA9.com coverage of yesterday afternoon’s fire at 1444 Rhode Island Avenue, NW.
Ambulance fee defeated in Montgomery County, Maryland: In an extremely controversial campaign that pitted career versus volunteer, voters soundly rejected the idea of billing insurance companies for EMS service in Montgomery County. The vote was 135,000 to 116,000. Without the fee, county officials have warned of significant budget cuts for fire and EMS that could include the loss of 100 career firefighter positions. Read details.
Fire based EMS to remain in Sheboygan, Wisconsin: It was a narrow victory separated by 500 votes but a move to take EMS from the Sheboygan Fire Department and farm it out to the private sector was defeated. Chief Jeff Hermann sees this as a victory for the citizens. Read more.
Child born hours after mother escapes fire that killed two other children: A pregnant woman suffering from smoke inhalation gave birth shortly after escaping a fire in Norman, Oklahoma. The fire took the lives of two young children and injured others in the Larkins family. Here’s the story.
Video of a 1989 close call in Phoenix: Video and lessons learned in an old video from Phoenix showing the crew from Ladder 27 falling though the roof of a home with a lightweight truss roof. Here’s a look back.
No love here: As expected, the man accused of stealing a helmet from Boston’s Ladder 26 isn’t getting much sympathy from STATter911.com readers. If you haven’t seen it, here are the video and the comments.
Reasons to laugh: I offered an olive branch to my friend and mutual tormentor Fire Critic Rhett Fleitz yesterday and sang his praises for giving us a reason to laugh (other than at him) with a great video posted yesterday showing the cops view of fire and EMS on the scene of a highway crash. Click here if you haven’t seen it (it’s worth the time). The good will didn’t last long because Rhett’s good friend, and our fellow blogger, Willie Wines, went and ruined it all by having us once again laugh at Rhett Fleitz, the King of the fire/EMS blogs. Long live the king. If you are really bored, but need a really good laugh, click here.
A serious blog: While I am wasting your time with the foolishness above, over at Firegeezer.com they take their fire and EMS news seriously. Geezer and FossilMedic have a bunch of good postings, including the latest from the strike in London and an update on Roseville, California shopping mall fire and sprinkler controversy. Click here and scroll down.
Another community surprised by firefighter OT: In what as been a pattern in recent years, a news organization is doing a story how firefighters are making as much money as top city managers. This time it’s Long Beach, California where some firefighters and officers have doubled their salaries by working a lot of overtime. Here are the details.
Minneapolis concerns: Firefighters talk about past and future cuts and how it impacts fireground operations and safety for citizens and firefighters. The story is illustrated by a deadly fire in April. Here’s more.
Apartment fire in Spokane, Washington: This is from a fire yesterday at the Houston House Apartments in North Spokane. News reports confirm what the video shows that it started on the second floor and had spread to the roof by the time firefighters had knocked the fire in the original apartment and the one above. The fire went to three-alarms with no injuries reported. Click here for four more video clips.
Must see video: It’s a week late, but you should see this video of arcing & sparking lines on top of a beer truck with the driver still inside. More lines came down trapping an ambulance crew. Click here for the story from Cottonwood Heights, Utah.
The battle over ambulance fees in Montgomery County, Maryland: Hours away from Tuesday’s election, The Washington Post’s Michael Laris tries to sort out all of the charges and counter-charges in the divisive fight over whether Montgomery County can bill insurance companies for ambulance service. Here’s the story.
Pikesville, Maryland house fire: Michael Schwartzberg was on the scene at a fire in Baltimore County early Sunday morning that left one occupant burned. Watch the video.
Child & adult dead in collision with fire vehicle in Delaware: DelawareOnline.com reports the two deaths in Felton Sunday evening after a crash on Dupont Highway with a utility vehicle from the Harrington Fire Department. A Delaware State Police report says a 29-year-old man and an 11-year-old boy were killed when their vehicle used the median to pass an SUV driven by a Harrington FD member and then struck the SUV before hitting another vehicle heading in the opposite direction on the highway.
Fire building with a checkered past: In Kalamazoo, Michigan Saturday evening a fire destroyed part of the 88-year-old former Checker Motors complex. The fire has been called suspicious. Checker was famous for its distinctive taxis. Read more.
Mississippi house fire: Video from a fire Saturday in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Click here.
Professional wrestling and amateurish handling of the emergency: Dave recalls his youth watching wrestling matches at the Baltimore Civic Center as he looks at a four-year-old video of a fire during a televised wrestling event. Check it out.
Detroit sees increase in fires over Halloween weekend: Certainly far from the 800 fires on Devil’s Night in 1984, but the three day total was at 129, 10 more than last year. Read more.
EMS chief accused of being drunk at scene: An interesting story from Gloucester Township, NJ where the head of the EMS Alliance was arrested at a barricade scene. Here’s the story.
Minnesota firehouse fire: Firegeezer has the story of the blaze at St. Cloud Fire Department Station 3.
Update on close call with Boston’s Ladder 26 and power lines: Firefighter Close Calls has an updated and detailed account of the recent incident that caused an electrical shock to a Boston firefighter. You will want to read it.
The parrot in the house fire becomes the canary in the coal mine: No smoke alarms in a York, Pennsylvania home that caught fire early Thursday morning. But two people made it out thanks to their squawking pet parrot. Here’s more.
Behind the scenes during Backdraft filming: A look back 20-years to Ron Howard and company shooting in Chicago for Backdraft. Click here.
Turmoil at Texas fire company: The chief quit in disgust, an assistant chief stepped down and at least one other firefighter has left the Noonday VFD. The problem started when a repo man tried to snatch a firefighter’s vehicle. The claim is firefighters tried to prevent the repo man from doing his job. Read and watch the details.
Blockage in vent requires extrication: Martin Grube at Fire Rescue TV had an up close and personal view of an unusual extrication in the exhaust system of a Virginia Beach, Virginia restaurant. Click here for the video.
Garages on fire in Millville, Massachusetts: Matt Gregoire at Providence Fire Videos caught this one on Saturday afternoon.
One person is dead after a commercial “Wolf’s” bus has overturned under the northbound sky ramp onto the I-270 spur, according to officials.
Fire rescue spokesman Captain Oscar Garcia tells 9 News Now that the accident happened at about 4:02 pm, and at northbound lanes of 270 spur between Rockledge and Montrose roads.
Garcia says the preliminary information is that the bus went off an area of the sky ramp.
Garcia says crews on the scene are assessing 10-15 patients, at least two or three that have serious, life threatening injuries.
It isn’t like we live in California. Us East Coast folks aren’t so sure what that rumble means. Even if no one is hurt or property damaged, we need reassurance we aren’t alone. My former colleague from Channel 9 Scott Broom listened to some of the calls that came into the 911 Center in Montgomery County, Maryland just after 5:00 this morning. Here’s what he wrote:
Callers to 911 in the moments after the 3.6 magnitude earthquake that shook the capital region were bewildered by the shaking while equally surprised operators kept their cool.
“Yea, we felt it too,” a 9-11 dispatcher told one confused caller before asking to make sure no one was injured or needed medical help.
Another dispatcher told a caller asking if the shaking was an earthquake: “We’ve taken a lot of calls for it and we’re still trying to figure that out.”
No injuries or medical conditions were reported.
“So there was not an explosion or anything?” asked one caller who said he’d had experience with tremors. “I work for FEMA and I’ve been through an earthquake before, and I think that might have been an earthquake!”
Many of the calls to 911 started with a startled statement: “My house just shook!”
Firefighter/arsonist Jerry Engle enters a guilty plea. Former MD volunteer admits setting fire to vacant home in Riverdale Park. Statement from PGFD chief.26 comments
In May of last year Jerry Engle told me he did not set fire to the vacant house at 5413 Riverdale Road on March 17, 2008, but instead blamed it on other firefighters Engle had turned in to Prince George’s County fire investigators. My guess is that those familiar with the long saga of Mr. Engle won’t be surprised to learn that Jerry didn’t tell me the truth that day (I know I am not surprised).
This morning the 46-year-old Engle entered a guilty plea on second-degree arson. Besides his time at Riverdale VFD (when the fire occurred), Engle had previously been a long-time member of Kentland VFD. After leaving Riverdale he ran with both Bladensburg and Riverdale Heights.
Co-defendant James Martinez, who was also a Riverdale volunteer and a career firefighter in Montgomery County, is scheduled for trial in a month.
Rather than tell the whole story of Jerry Engle again (even I get tired of that stuff) you can listen to the interview (sorry, only Part 1 is available online) and follow the links to the extensive file available on STATter911.com.
Prince George’s County State’s Attorney, Glenn F. Ivey announced today that volunteer firefighter, Jerome Engle, 46, of Bowie, pleaded guilty to second degree arson in connection with setting fire to a building located at 5413 Riverdale Road, Riverdale, MD on March 17, 2008.
Mr. Engle was a firefighter with the Riverdale Volunteer Fire Department.
As part of the plea agreement Engle faces up to 10 years in prison but could receive the guideline recommendation from the sentencing commission of 1 year in jail. The State’s Attorney will seek $200,000 restitution from Mr. Engle on behalf of the property owners.
“We expect our firefighters to battle blazes not burn buildings. Mr. Engle not only violated the public trust but also put property and people at risk. We are holding him accountable with today’s conviction,” said Glenn F. Ivey.
A sentencing and restitution hearing is set for July 1, 2010 in front of Judge Graydon McKee who oversaw today’s proceedings.
The co-defendant in the case James R. Martinez of Damascus is set for trial on July 22.
Investigation of this and similar incidents is on-going; anyone with information should contact the Prince George’s County Fire Department at 301-77ARSON.
Statement from Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department Chief Eugene Jones:
“As the Fire Chief of this Department, I fully support the work of the States Attorney’s Office in reaching a guilty plea in this case of arson. I commend their staff as well as the Fire/EMS Department’s Fire Investigators for their due diligence in compiling evidence and building the case. I also want to acknowledge the volunteer leadership of the Riverdale Fire/EMS Station for their support and cooperation during this difficult period.
To the citizens and residents of Prince George’s County; this heinous act is a result of the actions of individuals and should not be a systemic assessment of our Department. Our combination, volunteer and career, Fire/EMS Department strives to provide the very best in fire and emergency medical services possible and are dedicated and committed to keeping our County safe from the perils of all hazards.
One person has been deemed guilty for his actions and a second person is soon to have his day in court.“