Raw video above from TV news chopper via WUSA-TV of a fatal fire in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Fire officials say they were hampered by stored hunting ammunition exploding. In the video, neighbors are also using garden hoses and in the image below (from about 5:30 in the raw video) it looks like one civilian picks up something a little bit bigger. Reporter Scott Broom talks to neighbors and firefighters in the video at the bottom of the page.
Rescuers trying to get to a disabled man trapped in a burning trailer home were met with flying bullets as ammunition stored inside the house exploded on Wednesday morning.
The trapped man was eventually discovered dead inside the home. Fire officials have not released his identity, but neighbors said he was a 55-year old husband, father and grandfather who was disabled. His wife had gone to work.
The fire is being investigated as an accident. Rescuers believe the ammunition was for hunting and was stored inside the house.
After briefly taking cover, rescuers quickly determined they were not under attack and began pouring water on the house quickly, said Lt. Cliff Kooser of the Anne Arundel County Fire Dept.
Neighbors said the fire was so intense, there was little hope of rescuing the trapped man, despite the exploding ammunition.
The fire was reported just after 8 a.m. at 9 Zona St. in the Parkway Village trailer community in Maryland City.
Press release from Anne Arundel County Fire Department Division Chief Keith Swindle:
At 8:26 a.m. on Wednesday, January 2, 2013, Anne Arundel County Firefighters were dispatched to a reported dwelling fire in the unit block of Zona Road in the Parkway Village Mobile Home Park located in the Maryland City area of Anne Arundel County. The first unit to arrive on the scene reported visible fire coming from a one-story double-wide mobile home. An aggressive fire suppression and search/rescue operation was then initiated by the first arriving crews. In all, it took approximately 40 Firefighters from Anne Arundel, Ft.Meade, Prince Georges and Howard County Fire Departments 45 minutes to bring the “All Hands” incident under control. After the fire was extinguished, Firefighters working on the first floor living area of the home located the body of an occupant that Fire Department personnel determined had suffered fatal injuries as a result of the incident and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The fire was reported by neighbors who were alerted to the incident when they observed smoke coming from the home. The fire which originated on the first floor of the dwelling caused an estimated $150,000 in damages. The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation.
At this time, the name of the victim and the immediate cause of death are being withheld pending positive identification and the result of an autopsy by the State Medical Examiner. A preliminary investigation into the incident did reveal that there were smoke detectors in the dwelling however, it is unclear if they were operable at the time of the fire.
Shawn Coleman posted this video on his Tower82Photography YouTube channel of a two-alarm fire in Odenton, Maryland (Anne Arundel County) yesterday afternoon. The air horns sound at 1:32 in the video.
Here’s Shawn’s description:
Units from Company 28 arrived with heavy fire from Side Charlie of the 3 story apartment/condo type structure. An aggressive interior attack was made but crews were eventually evacuated. Conditions were very windy on the scene as a storm was approaching the area. Once the exterior attack was made the fire was darkened down and crews soon thereafter made entry to mop up. Red Cross was notified, BGE gas & electric were on scene, and a County Building Inspector was requested. The incident went to a full 2nd Alarm with a special call for 3 additional engines later in the incident.
It’s getting down to the wire on the planned permanent July 1 closings of three fire companies in Baltimore, Maryland. Union officials and others have been making the case that recent fires involving the units on the chopping block prove that these fire companies are extremely important to the safety of the citizens and city firefighters. One of those stories from WMAR-TV, above, looks at this issue in connection with the five-alarm fire in Fells Point on Monday.
WBFF-TV looks at another aspect of this battle over closing companies and the Fells Point fire. It focuses on the online forum run by the Baltimore Fire Officers Association, IAFF Local 964. Specifically, a thread titled What a Shame!, that contains very passionate comments quite critical of fellow firefighters and officers who may have responded as volunteers, or had connections to suburban volunteer fire companies that provided mutual aid to Baltimore City during the five-alarm fire. Those postings believe such assistance undermines the work to save the three companies. The TV station reports Chief Jim Clack says the comments are under investigation.
Some Baltimore City firefighters criticized some of their own for using Baltimore County vehicles to respond to the fire. The city called on the county and other outside help during the fire, even though the department is now considering shutting down three fire companies because of budget cuts.
City Fire Chief, Jim Clack, says mutual aid is something the city has been practicing for decades. He says it’s important to maintain good relationships with other jurisdiction, not just for safety, but for many other reasons.
A third suspicious package has possibly been found at the state office complex On West Preston Street in Baltimore. Earlier, packages sent to two state buildings created a small flash of fire, smoke and an odor when they were opened, but did not cause any serious injuries.
State officials initially said the two packages exploded, but later said there were no blasts. One of the packages was addressed to Governor Martin O’Malley.
It’s not clear whether or not the third package is related to the other two packages.
Spokesman Rich Wolf says it is not known if the package at the building on Preston Street near downtown is incendiary. The package is at the building that houses the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and other agencies.
U.S. Postal Inspector Frank Schissler in Baltimore says the package was being examined.
Wolf said it was not known if the Baltimore package was related to the two packages that emitted a flash and smoke when opened at two state buildings in Annapolis and Hanover.
WJZ’s Derek Valcourt reports fire officials initially responded to a report of an explosion in Hanover at the Department of Transportation headquarters.
Officials say the incident happened in the 7200-block of Corporate Center Drive around 1 p.m. Thursday. The package under investigation was addressed to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation.
The building has been evacuated. Buses have been brought in to help employees stay warm as they wait to get inside the building.
Several people were transported to the hospital as a precaution, but their injuries are believed to be minor.
Meanwhile, a Maryland State House mailroom employee was injured early Thursday afternoon while handling a package addressed to the governor around 12:30 p.m. It happened at the Jeffrey Building on Francis Street in Annapolis is being investigated by various agencies.
When the package was opened by a mailroom employee, it triggered a reaction involving smoke and a sulfur-like smell. The mailroom employee had minor burns to his hands and refused treatment.
The employees of the building were immediately evacuated and reentered the building at approximately 2:30 p.m. after the building was declared safe.
Maryland State Police Spokesman Greg Shipley says mailrooms at state offices across Maryland are being quarantined Thursday until it is determined if any other packages have been sent.
Shipley says the packages were small, describing them as about the size of a book. Shipley says the packages did not cause any damage to the buildings.
Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger told WJZ one of the packages did have a return address that was traced to a Washington, D.C. parking garage.
The FBI’s joint terrorism task force was assisting in the investigation, the state police spokesman said, adding that the state fire marshal and a number of other law enforcement agencies also responded to the two scenes.
A Homeland Security Department official said the department was aware of the incidents and monitoring them.
New Jersey state police also said they had notified agencies across the Garden State about what had happened, saying it was part of normal protocol when such incidents occur. The New Jersey agencies were advised to be “extra vigilant” in handling mail and packages.
In neighboring Delaware, Detective Britt Davis, a spokesman for the Delaware Capitol Police, said police were operating in a state of raised awareness, but they are not doing much differently.
A UMD Alert was also sent out to all UMD Alerts users (messages sent out to e-mail, pagers and cell phones from the University of Maryland) that read: “Suspicious mail exploded @ 2 state bldgs DO NOT OPEN ANY MAIL until advised. Report any suspicious mail to 911.”
DC Mayor Vincent Gray’s spokesperson Doxie McCoy confirms that the mailrooms for District government agencies have been closed down, as a precaution, because of the incidents in Maryland government buildings this afternoon.
Eighty-nine-year-old Ruth Johnson of Severna Park, Maryland died over the weekend. It was the second time in a little more than two weeks Ms. Johnson was pronounced dead. This time it appears she’s not coming back.
That was not the case on October 1. That’s when Ruth Johnson was on the floor of an upstairs bathroom in her home for three hours as police officers made notifications of her death to her family, a physician and the medical examiner. Often it is fire or EMS taking the blame for these incidents. In this case it appears from news reports the Anne Arundel County Fire Department wasn’t called to the scene until it was noticed by a State Anatomy Board employee that Ruth Johnson was alive (and soon talking).
Officer Christopher Brown and Sgt. Randy Bell went to the home of Ruth Shillinglaw Johnson, 89, in the Colchester on the Severn neighborhood at 4:07 p.m. to check on her well-being.
The officers found an unlocked side door to Johnson’s home and went inside.
The officers walked through the master bedroom and opened a bathroom door. There, they found Johnson motionless on the bathroom floor. Her skin was blue and she was not breathing, the report says. The officers’ experience led them to believe Johnson had been dead for a couple of days.
Thinking Johnson was clearly deceased, the officers did not check for a pulse.
They labeled the call an “unattended death” and contacted Johnson’s adult son, who lives in Utah. He told police his mother suffered from medical problems.
Police learned from Johnson’s son that his mother had made arrangements with the State Anatomy Board to donate her body for science, the report says.
The board was contacted and said they’d have a transport team come to the home.
Charles Morgan, an employee of the anatomy board, arrived at Johnson’s home around 7:10 p.m. – three hours after Johnson was found, seemingly lifeless, on her bathroom floor.
He went upstairs and entered the bathroom. He was preparing to take Johnson’s body away when he heard her take a deep breath and saw her move her arm.
Morgan ran out of the bedroom and yelled for the officers.
Lt. Frank Tewey, a police spokesman, said the department is aware of the incident.
“It is currently under administrative review to ensure that proper procedures were followed,” he said.
There is much debate in our comments section about the use of master streams during the CNG fueled Metrobus fire in Anne Arundel County, Maryland on Friday morning. We originally posted a short YouTube clip and still pictures provided by Chief Drew Mutch of the Cape St. Claire Volunteer Fire Company. What I missed, that a reader pointed out in our comments section yesterday, is another much longer YouTube video. It begins just before the arrival of the first engine and continuously rolls for almost seven minutes.
Rather than a serious discussion on the merits of master streams when faced with this situation, the comments have devolved, as often is the case on the Internet, into name calling and a debate over who has the bigger nozzle. Because of that I don’t recommend you take the time to read the discussion. Depending on your own mental state, doing so could cause you to either do bodily harm to yourself or sue me for wasting your valuable time.
Unlike some of our comments on this subject, the video is quite interesting and seems to give a more complete picture of the conditions to help you choose sides in this issue.
Members of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department were called to the commuter parking lot at routes 50 and 424, Friday morning, for a report of a bus on fire.
Division Chief Michael Cox told 9News Now when firefighters arrived they found a compressed natural gas DC Metrobus fully engulfed in flames.
Cox said the bus was driven by a mechanic. A spokesperson for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said the bus was not in service and test were being conducted at the time of the incident.
There were no firefighter or civilian injuries but Cox said the fire caused damage to about 12-14 other vehicles that were parked in the immediate area.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
There was indication listening to witnesses speak about Saturday’s runaway fire engine incident in Anne Arundel County, Maryland that parents jumped aboard the rig as it rolled away with eight children on board. Now, the Annapolis Capital has confirmed that and other details from the police report. According to the report parents say they steered Engine 201 from the Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Department into a tree to avoid parked cars. Here are excerpts from the article by Lisa Beisel:
The Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Company drove its newest engine to a child’s birthday party Saturday afternoon on Edgewater Road. Eight children were on it when the truck suddenly began to roll down the hill, crossing Edgewater Road before hitting a tree. None of the children were injured.
Tim Hall, the chief of the volunteer company, said yesterday he was at the party and near the truck when it began to move. When he saw what was happening, he took off running to try to stop it.
Picture by Matt Stevens.
“I just did what I thought I had to do,” he said.
But he fell and hurt his knee before reaching the truck.
Hall said he doesn’t know how or why the truck started rolling. The brake was on and a wheel chock – a device placed in front or behind a wheel to keep it from moving – was in place, he said.
One of the parents told police investigating the crash that he heard a “loud clicking noise” right before the truck began rolling.
He and another parent ran after the engine. One of them was able to get into the rear passenger’s-side area of the fire truck and grab the steering wheel, running it into a tree at an adjacent home. County fire officials said Saturday that the engine rolled from 441 Edgewater Road to 445 Edgewater Road.
According to police, volunteer Firefighter Lisa Hall, the chief’s wife, parked the engine and put the brakes in place. She is in training to earn certification to drive the engine on calls. Their son, Timothy Hall Jr., another volunteer, also was there, police said.
He said he followed safety protocol at the scene. The engine was off, the keys weren’t in the ignition, and there were wheel chocks in place to prevent rolling.
The Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Company had Engine 201 parked on Edgewater Road in Pasadena for a community event. Several children were on the fire engine throughout the day. At one point, the emergency brake was released and the fire engine rolled down the hill, said Battalion Chief Steve Thompson. One firefighter was injured after somehow trying to stop the engine.
“There were several children on the fire engine,” Thompson said. “They were looking at it and crawling inside.”
The must read story from Detroit: It immediately was overshadowed by the events from Austin after I posted this one from Detroit News reporter Charlie LeDuff. Still, it really is worth taking the time to read. LeDuff visited fire stations, apparently against Detroit Fire Department rules, in his effort to determine how money allocated for firehouse repairs was used. He found it was used, but apparently not for fixing the fire stations. The response from fire department officials is quite interesting. Here is the story.
Collision between two fire trucks that appears to be a hit and run: Dave is kicking himself for not finding the time to follow this one after receiving a tip a few days ago. If you haven’t done so already, check out the coverage by the Annapolis Capital of the crash Sunday between a fire engine from Dunkirk in Calvert County and Anne Arundel County’s Tower 40. Police report that charges are pending against the driver of Dunkirk’s engine (whose driving duties are currently suspended). The police report indicates that Tower 40 had the green light as it was responding though an intersection and was sideswiped by the Dunkirk rig. This pushed the tower into two other vehicles. Witnesses say the Dunkirk engine kept going to the call, but Chief Toby Sealy says his firefighters are indicating they didn’t leave the scene. Here’s the story.
$6.2 million discrimination & harrassment award to LAFD firefighter overturned: The 2nd District Court of Appeals says Brenda Lee, a black lesbian firefighter, failed to exhaust administrative remedies. Read the latest.
Dispute between volunteer companies over newspaper ad: In November we told you about the ousting of Fire Company No. 1 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Now, they have taken out an ad urging citizens to vote against the $25 million budget. It has estranged them from two other volunteer houses in the Cherry Hill District. Here’s the latest.
One fire officials answer to slow EMS response times – lie about your symptoms: We just came across an article from earlier this month where a deputy fire chief in Erin, Ontario tells people to exaggerate their symptoms when calling for an ambulance so a fire truck can also be sent. This is his answer to sometimes hour long waits for an ambulance to arrive on the scene. It is a technique that we all know has been widely used by citizens who want a faster EMS response in some of our largest cities. Here is the original story. Here is the response from paramedics who believe this is not the answer to the problem.
The information flow in your Nation’s Capital: We have two stories for you this morning with connections to the DC Fire & EMS Department and how the District of Columbia government communicates with reporters and, in turn, the public. Both cases seem to follow the same pattern: a reporter uncovers something that on the surface doesn’t seem right; the fire chief or his spokesman provides very limited answers, shedding little light on what actually happened; more information is uncovered by reporters; the initial action is reversed; and in the end the department never fully answers what this was all about.
A Steve Skipton photo from a four-alarm fire in Burlington, New Jersey Sunday afternoon that damaged seven homes. Click the image for more pictures and details from PhillyFireNews.com.
In one of these cases, the aborted donation of a fire truck and ambulance to a resort town in the Dominican Republic, it took ten months before reports from two DC City Council committees provided some transparency. The council determined policies were ignored, but no laws broken. The DC Fire & EMS Department, which appears to have had a secondary role in all of this, continues to refer all questions to Attorney General Peter Nickles. According to the Washington Examiner, Nickles believes the investigation was a “waste of time and a waste of government resources in what became a very political series of actions”. Despite this case now seeming to be closed, Chief Dennis Rubin still faces a little scrutiny by at least two reporters who have compared emails released in the reports with his sworn testimony at a council hearing last April. Click here for that story.
Then there is the story of the Sarasota County, Florida fire chief who remained an employee of the DC Fire & EMS Department while in his new job. In this one, there is no council investigation shedding light on the issue and there is still no indication anyone in the DC government is willing to explain why this arrangement was made, other than to allow Kenneth Ellerbe to be eligible to take home a more favorable retirement package. Through sources, we learned that Ellerbe, who was a deputy chief, resigned from his DC position on January 15. A department spokesman then confirmed that information on Friday. Click here for the latest.
No delay on information here - a battalion chief & two captains are among those fired in Georgia: Pretty quick action in DeKalb County. A report issued in a botched response to what ultimately became a fatal fire and four firefighters were let go. All of this happened within about five days of the fire. Click here for the latest.
Chaplain who is friends with fired top PGFD official quits: Alvin Graham didn’t like some of the policy issues he was dealing with involving the chaplain corps even before Lt. Col. Victor Stagnaro received his walking papers a week ago. But it is clear Stagnaro’s firing was involved in Graham’s decision making process. It was Stagnaro who recruited Graham for the volunteer post nine-years-ago and the men are close friends. On Friday, Chaplain Graham turned in his car and other Prince George’s County property. Here are the details.
Firefighter detained in Haiti: Drew Culberth is a Topeka firefighter who went to Haiti on a different kind of rescue mission. Culberth and nine members of his church are now being held over issues surrounding the group’s efforts to bring 33 children back to the United States. Here’s the story.
Fireground audio from mayday at deadly Brooklyn fire: Five residents died at a fire early Saturday in Bensonhurst. Thirteen firefighters were hurt, including one who became entangled in a collapsing stairwell. Click here for our coverage.
Tulsa firefighters vote to stop job layoffs: Concessions that include a more than five-percent pay cut and furlough days were agreed to by Tulsa firefighters in an effort to prevent 147 from losing their jobs. Here’s the latest.
Racist graffiti, threats, profanity and a noose hanging in a locker; claims of harassment and a culture of accepted sexism, evidenced in part by a topless female firefighter posing in panties on a widely distributed calendar.
It seems the firefighter protest in Belgium was a bit kinder and gentler than the one in Spain. I guess it is hard to get angry in the middle of a foam fight. Photo from the Daily Mail.
Cop mixes up pepper spray and fire extinguisher containers - plus much more from Firegeezer: Bill takes a look at the awful story from Portland, Oregon as a police officer tries to snuff out the flames of a man who set himself on fire. Click here. (I saw this story and was certain I used it in Quick Takes on Thursday or Friday, but I can’t find it. Now which one’s the geezer?)
Fire truck hit by flying object, Part 1: In this case it was a bullet as a St. Louis crew returned from the repair shop. Here’s the story.
Fire truck hit by flying object, Part 2: In this case it was shrapnel from dozens of exploding acetylene and propane tanks at a Flint, Michigan auto salvage business. We have video, pictures and details. Click here.
And more explosions from another Michigan auto salvage firm: The Flint fire was on Saturday. In Detroit, 24-hours earlier, there was a similar fire at an auto salvage and parts business. It went to three-alarms. Click here for fireground audio, video and pictures.