(Thanks to reader Joe Chamberland for alerting us to this video.)
To give you an idea how stubborn this van fire in Vancouver, BC was on Monday, the image below was taken from the video by NepaliUnited above more than 15 minutes after firefighters began putting water and foam on the burning vehicle. Two men from the van were seriously burned and fled the scene after a collision with another vehicle sent the van into the wall and onto the home’s front yard. Police initially said the fire inside the van was being fueled by chemicals and that the vehicle was a rolling meth lab. A follow-up statement by police indicates there were no chemicals and this was not a meth lab. It turns out there were containers of gasoline inside the back of the van.
VPD spokesman Const. Brian Montague said two men aged 19 and 25, both residents of Coquitlam, eventually walked into Eagle Ridge Hospital with serious burns to their upper body, arms, hands, head and face.
Meanwhile, police continue to investigate the collision that happened around 3:15 p.m. when a white panel van crashed into a concrete wall at Oak Street near 53rd.
Montague said that it initially appeared that equipment or chemicals for a meth lab were in the van.
However, he said later that gasoline, not chemicals or a meth lab, were involved in the fire and explosions that destroyed the van.
Video above from phatman43 and below from mrbman2u2 of a fatal apartment fire on Wednesday morning at a seniors apartment complex in Langley, British Columbia. One person died and three others were hospitalized.
The fire broke out around 9:30 a.m. PT on the second floor of The Elm building, a four-storey seniors apartment on 203 Street and 54 Avenue.
Firefighter had to evacuate several residents off their balconies after smoke filled the building. At least one person was taken to hospital in critical condition, and at least two others were recovering from smoke inhalation.
Initial reports indicated everyone had survived the fire but later in the day Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender confirmed that one person’s body was found in a hallway.
This video taken by Martin Frobisher (MsBDigital) of a house fire yesterday on Church Road in Parksville, British Columbia. Timing is everything. Watch what happens at 3:29 in the video as more apparatus arrives and a supply line is being stretched to the hydrant. I’m just wondering who called the Marine Division on a landlocked house fire.
Several businesses have been left in ruins after a blaze engulfed a three-storey building in a Surrey strip mall early Thursday morning.
The extent of the damage is not yet known and the cause of the blaze is still being investigated. Firefighters spent hours battling the blaze at 83rd Avenue and Scott Road. The fire rapidly spread through the building, devastating several businesses, including restaurants and a gym.
This story from last June should have made my 2011 year end review and won a STATty for the biggest loser caught on video. We featured Dustin Anderson's confrontation with a Vancouver firefighter during the rioting that occurred after the Canucks were defeated in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Anderson was interviewed by CBC News after the video developed quite an audience and said:
"I went to him for help because I had been pepper sprayed. He told me to go home… He was trying to get in my face."
Anderson will now have the opportunity to tell his story to the judge after being charged with hitting the firefighter.
Dustin Anderson also told CBC News in June that he felt "horrible" and that he can't leave his home "because everybody recognizes me". The charges are bringing a new round of publicity for Anderson which may help everyone by keeping the man home bound again. Make sure you check out the Arrest Dustin Anderson Facebook group for more on this upstanding citizen.
Click here & here for previous coverage of this story
(Thanks to STATter911.com reader Jason Low for the update.)
Twenty-two-year-old Dustin Anderson says he hasn't been arrested yet, but that he plans to turn himself into police today. Anderson is the man we have been featuring on STATter911.com since last week who slugged a Vancouver firefighter and swung his bag at riot police after the Canucks were defeated in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
If you saw the video we posted last night of the guy slugging the firefighter in Vancouver after the Canucks loss (click here if you didn't) you will want to check out this video at 1:57. Thanks to reader Jason Low for finding it and bringing to our attention (BTW, Fire Cricket Rhett Fleitz has now twice called STATter911.com readers "trolls" but we will have more on that later).. It appears to be the same guy swinging his purse at police. Let's hope he wasn't separated at birth from his twin and there's only one of these jerks roaming the streets of Vancouver. Good catch Jason.
Same guy? Looks that way to me. At left is from his swing at a cop and the picture on the right comes from his attack on the firefighter.
Pollice described them as criminals and anarchists disguised as Canucks' fans. But whatever they were they caused a bit of damage Wednesday night after their team lost to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Most likely by now you have seen the burning police cars and other vehicles in stories from Vancouver. But have you seen the video above? After a confrontation around a fire truck a fan gets a shot in and connects with the jaw of a firefighter.
Vancouver firefighters say they were heckled and hit with debris as they tried to work during the riot.
Assistant Operations Chief Wade Pierlot tells us it was a situation his team isn't used to. Several firefighters were hurt; some were accosted and at one point even had to run to safety.
"The angry crowd is something we're not exposed to very often," says Pierlot. "(It is) certainly not a firefighter's way of being treated. It was new to many of us, a new experience for us. We also had rocks and bottles thrown at our trucks."
Pierlot adds getting to problem areas was hard because of crowds, but he thanks the many people who pushed garbage bin or dumpster fires away from buildings to prevent things from getting worse.
The website also posted an article on how police may use the large amount of video evidence available to prosecute rioters. Click here.
Three alarms in Vancouver, BC: A large $6 million home burned Friday at Angus and Granville.
Joint funeral set in San Francisco: Saint Mary’s Cathedral at 1111 Gough St. in San Francisco will be the site of a joint funeral for firefighter Anthony Valerio and Lt. Vincent Perez. Firefighter Valerio died Saturday following the fire Thursday that had taken the life of Lt. Perez. Services are tenatively scheduled for 12:30 PM. Firefighter Close Calls tells us that San Francisco Fire Fighters Local 798 has established trust accounts at the San Francisco Fire Credit Union. Donations can be made to SFFCU, 3201 California St., San Francisco, CA 94118. Condolence messages can be sent to Fire Station 26, 80 Digby St., San Francisco, CA 94131. Click here, here & here for previous coverage.
Stratford, Connecticut's woes continue: Glenn Usdin's FireTruckBlog.com has an update on the fire department in Stratford trying to recover from January's wrecks on I-95 that took out two pumpers. Here's the latest.
Chiefs make more than governors: The Washington Examiner takes a look at what fire and police chiefs make in and around the Nation's Capital. Click here.
Seven years in Bret Tarver death: Christopher Benitez gets a seven-year sentence, minus 699 days already served, for negligent homicide in the 2001 Phoenix supermarket blaze where Firefighter Bret Tarver died. Here's more.
The controversy continues in Alameda, California: Alameda County disputes the Alameda Police Department's statement about a mutual aid request to assist in the water rescue that never happened. Here's that story. Some Alameda citizens have been adding their thoughts to our comments section as the discussion continues over an incident that has, as expected, become an enormous image problem for firefighters. Click here, here & here.
Remembering Mark Falkenhan & others: The Maryland Fire-Rescue Services Memorial Foundation held its annual ceremony yesterday at the Maryland Emergency Services Memorial Park in Annapolis. Mark Falkenhan's name was added to the Wall of Honor. Falkenhan, a member of both Lutherville VFC and Middle River Rescue Company in Baltimore County, died during an apartment fire in January. Anne Arundel County Fire Department Chief John Robert Ray was the keynote speaker. Jim Brown from MIEMSS took the picture to the right.
Getting paid just for showing your face: A man who didn't call the fire department in Colorado Springs, Colorado is upset over a $700 bill he received after firefighters showed up at the scene of a car crash. Their services were not needed. Firegeezer has the story.
Amazing Grace & Mickey Mouse ears: A most unusual firefighter funeral in Concord, New Hampshire as those remembering Robert Bottcher donned Mickey Mouse ears in tribute. Here's the story.
Restaurant critics?: Two suspicious fires early this morning at fast food restaurants in the Toledo, Ohio area. Here are the details.
Busy morning on Detroit's East Side: One dwelling fire at Joseph Campeau and Ferry and then two more homes burn at 3475 Garland Street.
This is from a fire yesterday in a 26-unit apartment building on Athol Street in Port Alberni in British Columbia. Fire chief Tim Pley told reporters on-duty crew discovered smoke and flames in one of the stairwells and called for assistance.
"The wall the fire was into is where the electrical service goes in," Pley said, which made it difficult for firefighters to knock into the wall and attack the flames. "Another challenge is just the search and rescue of 26 suites."
Six firefighters evacuated the building floor by floor, while others set up to fight the fire, which had already reached the attic.
"When it's in the attic space, it's almost always a defensive fire," he said.
"We were never able to control it."
From Heather Thompson at Alberni Valley Times:
"Because of the extreme heat, we had to pull everyone out," Pley said.
"We put our energy into getting people out," he said. "We had to rescue two by ladder." He said all of that took quite a bit of time.\
The fire quickly ran through the walls and into the ceiling, the fire chief explained. "It is hard to get into the walls," he said. "We are focusing on a defensive attack."
One week ago the Port Alberni released details of a consultants report looking at how the department is run. Click here for the details.
This is a four-alarm fire on Thursday that damaged or destroyed four homes near 28th Avenue and Kingsway Drive in Vancouver on Thursday. The Vancouver Sun reports this was the second fire at this address in less than a month. Here are excerpts from the article:
By the time firefighters arrived, the house was an "inferno" and had collapsed. The fire had also spread to the neighbouring houses to the east and west of the collapsed house.
(Battalion Chief Rod) MacDonald said fire crews could not enter the first house because it was destroyed, but went into the second house after reports there were people inside.
By that time, a third house had gone up in flames and a fourth also had caught fire.
"At one point, we thought it might spread to six houses," said MacDonald. "It was an intense fire."
Pizza shop & video store burn: This looks like fairly early video of a fire Sunday in Prince George, BC that took out Boston Pizza and Blockbuster video on Central Street. Read more.
TOP STORY – Osama Bin Laden dead: Almost a decade after the attacks of September 11th that left almost three-thousand people dead, including 343 New York firefighters, al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden has been killed by U.S. forces in a mansion outside the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. President Barack Obama made the official announcement from The White House just after 11:30 PM Sunday night. Retired FDNY lieutenant, Kenneth Specht told CNN a short time later, "I hope he rots in hell". You will find plenty of coverage on TV and across the Internet.
Roof operations at East Palo Alto apartment fire : From California, helmet-cam video taken by a Menlo Park truck crew a the two-alarm fire. Click here.
It's rodeo time: Glenn Usdin's FireTruckBlog.com is featuring video from the fire truck rodeo that was part of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival and has links to the firefighter's parade video. Click here.
Rescued teen now is in the business of saving others: From Gowanda, New York, the story of a teenager who owes his rescue after falling off a cliff while hunting to volunteer firefighters. Now Andrew Carriero is a member of the Gowanda Fire Department. Read his story.
A really nice story: Firegeezer has Steve Roth's photos from a farewell tour by the long-time fire commissioner in Hanover, Pennsylvania. And the commish got to ride on the back step one last time. Check it out.
Nicely shot, good quality video from a fire on Saturday in Richmond, B.C. The fire damaged or destroyed three businesses among a dozen in a commercial strip at Voyageur Way and Simpson Road. The video shows interior operations that were later abandoned. The fire was reported around 6:00 AM. Here is part of the description with the video.
Blocked doors and unnapropriate stowage slowed down the fire crew's offensive attack. Flames spread inside the structure and through the roof within 30 minutes.
Previous discussions of emergency scene photography & videography on STATter911.com can be found here, here, here & here.
My friend Rhett Fleitz posted the video above on his site FireCritic.com yesterday. I can’t say I blame Rhett for doing so. It is the type of video that most of the fire/EMS bloggers would run (including me) because it’s unusual and is probably of interest to our audience (and judging by the more than 100 thousand hits, it is isn’t just fire and EMS people interested in this one).
Rhett wrote the following:
Bonus Video of a patient at a house fire giving the medics the finger! This freakin guys is hilarious! I don’t have a clue what is going on here, other than firefighting is not one of them!
With Rhett not providing any background, I was curious about the story behind it. So I did a few minutes of research.
It turns out the fire occurred in January of this year on Stewart Avenue in Nanaimo, British Columbia. As you will hear in the news video below, the man being wheeled out and putting on a bit of a show for the crowd is physically disabled. Firefighters found him in his cottage on the property and carried him to safety (seen on the video). Firefighters say they didn’t put water on the fire immediately due to a downed power line at the burning home.
To me, both of these videos are very interesting in that they bring up a lot of news judgment and ethical questions for both traditional media and those of us in the blogging world. I will admit, now that I know the man is disabled (something I am sure Rhett didn’t know), I feel a little dirty about running it. I am sure I will rightfully get criticism for posting it anyway, but my reasoning is that I want to illustrate this issue (some will call that a convenient excuse and I wouldn’t blame them a bit). But I don’t think running a video on my blog that is all over the Internet will necessarily cause any additional harm (more pitiful justification by Dave).
Maybe I have lost my hard edge since leaving TV in June, but I am even questioning if I would I have run the video in the news story of two firefighters carrying the man to safety. I know news directors who, upon learning of the disability, would be concerned about the man’s dignity and ordered that it not air or that we cover up the man’s face. At the same time photographs and video of firefighters rescuing people have long been a staple of the news media and are some of the most powerful images many of us have seen. The dignity of the victims in those pictures is usually not a topic of discussion.
In previous postings (see links above) many of you think there should be restrictions on showing stuff like this, or wrongly believe it is a HIPAA violation (if this was in the U.S.). Others have pointed out the news media often sanitizes things too much and we should show the public what it’s really like. Usually I fall in the “show the reality” category. The “reality” for fire and EMS bloggers could include video of a guy shooting the bird to an EMS crew (something TV news isn’t likely to show).
Let me be clear that I absolutely defend the right of both photographers to shoot the video and to air or post it. The same goes with what Rhett and I have done. To me the question of, “Can you do this?” isn’t even up for debate. It’s a question of should we.
With 38 years in the news business I have had to make a lot of these decisions. Some are easier than others. This one has me a bit stumped. What do you think?
Early video from fatal fire in British Columbia: Looks like two cameras were on the scene rolling as firefighters in Delta, BC pulled up Monday on what appears to be a relatively small fire inside a commercial garage. A man was found dead inside. Witnesses reported hearing a small explosion. Here’s more.
Fallout from Spalding County, Georgia cell phone video: The traffic on STATter911.com yesterday was double what a normal day is. The story I posted on Monday about the firefighter who took video of a woman’s dead body at the scene of a car crash had five to six times the readership of what a popular story usually has and it handily beat the numbers for the blog’s main page. I am not saying this to brag. It’s to point out the reputation issues facing firefighters from this incident. I guarantee you it’s not firefighters who are accounting for my sudden popularity. This traffic is coming from Google searches and is mostly the general public looking for more on a story that has grabbed their attention in the U.S. and around the world. If you don’t believe me, put the word “firefighter” in YouTube’s search engine and choose “today” under search options. Look at how many videos have popped up making reference to this, mostly from people wanting to take advantage of the interest in this story. Both the NBC Today Show and the CBS Early Show featured this story yesterday morning. I think there are lessons to learn from this incident on a number of levels. Here’s my view of it.
Some rules for the road (or the cell phone camera) from Billy G: As you will read in the link above, we have been discussing this issue of picture taking by firefighters since the earliest days of STATter911.com. Billy Goldfeder at Firefighter Close Calls/The Secret List has also thought about this topic for a while. He came up with some general guidelines that are well worth reading. Check it out.
Ambulance plunges into lake killing crew: Firegeezer has a detailed report on the tragic situation on Vancouver Island where a British Columbia Ambulance Service crew was killed. Their ambulance plunged into the frigid Kennedy Lake. Click here for the story.
New York firefighter dies during POV response: William Akin, a 52-year-old volunteer with the Ghent Fire Company, died last night after his pickup truck hit a pole during Akin’s response to a reported traffic collision. Firefighter Nation has the details.
A beer BLEVE: In Oak Ridge, Tennessee a fire at a restaurant and bar’s storage building resulted in an exploding beer keg. Firefighters say parts of it flew 50 yards. Here’s more.
Toddler killed in Winchester, Virginia fire: A four-year-old girl died in a fire that also injured her little cousin and her grandmother. Read the details.
Obion County, TN area chief to guest on Firefighter Netcast: John Mitchell and Rhett Fleitz have convinced Union City Fire Department Chief Kelly Edmison to join their gabfest Thursday night at 9:00. The topic, of course, is the latest move by commissioners to expand subscription fire service coverage to the rest of the county despite the fire chiefs pushing for a fire tax. Here’s the link.
Rescue reunion: It took 14-years but a Methuen, Massachusetts fire lieutenant and the mother and daughter he helped save from a fire were reunited. The family sought out the firefighter because of a special occasion. Read the story.
The photographer is an early arrival on this detached garage in an alley in Vancouver, BC. What really caught my eye on this one begins at 1:55 on the video. Synchronized, but unsuccessful forcible entry on the second garage door. Sometimes even teamwork doesn’t get the job done.
“A major point of concern exists around the types of materials being stored in the building, including a welding supply, irrigation supply and agricultural supply warehouse. A volatile mix of explosive materials combined with fertilizers and pesticides have burnt, hence the need for the evacuation and ongoing concern regarding water contamination due to firefighting water than has runoff from the scene.”
The only reported injury is to a firefighter who suffered smoke inhalation. He has been treated and released.
The glow in the sky and the numerous explosions brought out the crowds. The blasts did not deter some of the onlookers. In the video below police try to move the people away from the burning building. Wonder how they feel now that they know they were likely standing in toxic waste.
Warehouse fire in British Columbia: Fire yesterday at a kitchen cabinet business in Surrey.
Daughter wants apology over man mistakenly declared dead in Prince George’s County: When PGFD paramedics misidentified flesh eating bacteria and related signs as decomposition following death (despite a Glenarden, Maryland man still being alive), the department handled the bad news in text book fashion. Rather than wait for those pesky reporters to uncover the mistake, Chief Spokesman Mark Brady was proactive. Brady sent out a press release before there was a leak and told the story himself. The initial coverage had little shelf life and disappeared from the news rather quickly. A good lesson and reminder for all of us about a story that had the potential to linger for days.
But here’s another lesson. Candor in your efforts to get the bad news out and over with doesn’t necessarily mean you can completely control the message. Now, almost four months later the story has surfaced again because the daughter of the man (who really died the next day) says she wants an apology from the medics who made the error. Click here to watch the latest story and here to read it.
Where telling your own story may not be the best choice: London Fire Brigade Chief Ron Dobson is being criticized for using a blog post to threaten the termination of 6,000 firefighters if the work force doesn’t agree to controversial changes in their contract. According to MarketWire.com, “The Fire Brigades Union regional official Paul Embery said, ‘We’ve heard stories of companies sacking employees by text, but this must be the first time an employer has threatened to sack people by personal blog.’” Read more.
Dave wants to see them fry over radio turkey fryer stunt. Image from WTSP.
We have been wondering what happened with the radio DJ turkey fryer stunt investigation. Now we know: Do you recall our coverage of one of the most idiotic radio stunts since WKRP’s Arthur Carlson determined turkeys don’t fly? (Click here and here.) The Tampa Fire Department and Florida State Fire Marshal believe using the fryer inside a van and in turn setting the van on fire was a criminal act. You aren’t going to get an argument from me. Both agencies want to see felony charges for arson and injuring a firefighter. The Tampa Fire Department is now accusing Hillsborough State’s Attorney Mark Ober’s Office with dragging its feet in filing the charges. According to news reports, Ober’s people have had the fire marshal’s report for six months. A spokesman says these things take time, something the fire department isn’t buying. I am not a legal scholar, but maybe you just charge the radio team with being criminally stupid and arrogant? And if the State’s Attorney doesn’t see the importance of sending a message that you don’t tolerate setting things on fire just to attract a radio or Internet audience, maybe he’s the one who is stupid and arrogant. Read and watch the update.
Only you can prevent Dave: Patting myself on the back for my insensitive headline on a fire video from Oregon. Check it out for yourself.
All firefighters now home after explosion: The last of four firefighters injured in the explosion of a house in Sacramento a week ago is out of the hospital. Click here for the latest.
Letting the public decide staffing levels: Firefighters in Palo Alto, California are the latest to turn to the citizens in helping to prevent staffing cuts. Here’s their story.
Don’t forget to come by and see me in Baltimore next week: For the third year in a row, Bill “Firegeezer” Schumm and Mike “FossilMedic” Ward have invited me to share their booth at Firehouse Expo. This year we are in Booth 738. Bill was thinking ahead when he ordered a larger booth. Apparently he has turned the place into a homeless shelter for fire service bloggers. I understand THE Fire Critic (not just any Fire Critic) Rhett Fleitz and Fire Daily’s John Mitchell will be originating their award winning Firefighter Netcast from the booth (just don’t block the view of the STATter911.com sign). By the time we are done I think the name will be changed to Firefighter Nutcast.
Apartment fire in Imperial Beach, CA: This is from Tuesday at Palm Avenue and Ocean Lane. You can read and watch more about the fire, here. Make note of the quote by the neighbor who took these pictures, “Those first responders, they really did us a service today”. The brainwashing of the public is complete when they no longer call you firefighters.
In this case the first, first responder is the photographer: Newsworking.org was on the scene of this small basement fire in Whitehall, Pennsylvania Saturday afternoon before the arrival of the fire department. Here’s the caption- “Whitehall FD responds to 3231 South 6th Avenue for a house fire. Engines 4, 14, 3, tower ladder 6 and Chief 35 (R. Benner) take in the box. On arrival, Chief 35 has smoke from a S/F/D with a fire in the basement. Engine 4 arrives and stretches one line into the basement. The Electrical meter was pulled outside because the panel inside failed. Crews knocked down the small fire and vented. The box was held to the first alarm assignments.”
Two-alarm house fire in Surrey, British Columbia: Fire Friday night at 19373 73a Avenue.
Firefighter reported hurt at Cedar Point Amusement Park: News reports from Sandusky, Ohio indicate there was a fire at a machine shop Tuesday evening and that a firefighter was hurt. Click here and here for what is known so far.
The bail out in Rochester: A lot of comments coming in about the video of a house fire in Rochester, New York Monday night. The clip from Guy Zampatori captures the quick exit of one firefighter. There is also fireground audio from Monroe County Fire Wire. Click here for the coverage.
Oliver, British Columbia suspends 35 firefighters over the beer keg incident: Firegeezer has a nice follow-up to the story we brought you a few weeks ago about the fire in the Mesa Hotel and Bar where firefighters rescued a lot of beer and then rewarded themselves. Make sure you read this one and how it was handled.
Congressman’s lawsuit against fire department has become a political issue: Danny Rehberg and his wife Jan filed suit Friday against the Billings Fire Department contending “property and equipment was damaged at Rehberg Ranch Estates because the fire department breached its duty during a wildfire” in July, 2008. The man running against Rehberg, Dennis McDonald, is a volunteer firefighter and is very vocal about the lawsuit. Read more.