This is the second video from the Gaithersburg, Maryland house fire last Wednesday that we originally posted last night. In it the person taking the video asked multiple times if someone called the fire department. The answer is yes, someone did call. Here is the description with this video:
A response video to those rude commentators oh so “Concerned” (Bored)
Also, this was posted in our comments section:
TO EVERYONE THAT SEE’S THE FIRE DEPARTMENT AND POLICE WHERE CALLED BEFORE WE ARRIVED THEY HAD BEEN CALLED! MY FRIEND WASN’T ASKING HERSELF!! SHE WAS ASKING THE FOLKS STANDING OUTSIDE WICH WHERE SEVERAL ONLOOKERS. RESPONSE VIDEO WILL BE POSTED SHORTLY WHERE YOU CAN ALL SEE THE “FIRE” BEING PUT OUT!
You know, I really don’t have much to say about this video other than, according to the caption, it was recorded on a cell phone Monday in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Watching this makes me feel like Lewis Black when he has one of those his head might explode moments. Thank you Richard Schaffer for alerting me to this video. I think.
Three San Diego firefighters were arrested on suspicion of robbery and assault in connection with a weekend run-in with two brothers on a Normal Heights roadside, authorities disclosed Tuesday.
(Captain) Vadid Cisneros, 36, Andrew Brennan, 29, and Gregory Econie, 26, allegedly attacked the siblings, ages 44 and 46, following an exchange of words near the intersection of Adams Avenue and 34th Street shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday, according to San Diego police.
The incident allegedly began when the firefighters, after a night of drinking, got into a scuffle with a man in the Normal Heights neighborhood. Minutes later, the man and his brother — both in their mid-40s — confronted the firefighters and a second fight ensued, according to officials.
One of the brothers reported being hit in the head with a rock. The firefighters allegedly took wallets from the two, and Brennen allegedly warned the two not to report the incident to police.
Along with assault and robbery, Brennen has been charged with intimidating a witness to a crime.
Two assailants restrained at least one of the victims while a third assaulted him, said police Lt. Andra Brown. One of the victims told police he thought he had been hit in the head with a rock, causing him to black out.
The attackers then took the brothers’ wallets and cellphones. Brown said one of the assailants allegedly made a threat, saying: “We know who you are and where you live.”
The victims gave vague descriptions of their attackers, and officers spotted the potential suspects shortly after in the same area. The stolen property was recovered, Brown said.
San Diego Fire Department Spokesperson Maurice Luque told NBC San Diego the men have not been placed on administrative leave, saying these are just charges and the police department is continuing its investigation.
He also said this is a personnel matter and the fire department is conducting an administrative review to see if there is grounds for any other discplinary actions.
One thing the lawyers for the company that owned the TV station where I used to work drummed into our heads was what to do if you made a mistake in a story. The answer was pretty basic and pretty smart, clearly correct the record and apologize immediately. It won't always make all problems vanish but it sets you in the right direction for cutting your losses and getting the problem behind you. And more important, it's the right thing to do.
But too often organizations don't see that as an important first step when it is very clear someone has screwed up. Some lawyers or bosses will tell you to just shut up.
Spalding County, Georgia Captain Lee Slaughter told ABC's 20/20 that's exactly what happened when he learned one of his firefighters, Terrence Reid, had taken and distributed cell phone video of a dead woman who was in an automobile collision last July 17. The victim was Dayna Kempson and, as I am sure most of you know, that video eventually found its way to Kempson's father. Jeff Kempson went public with the story in October.
Reid was fired and Slaughter was one of seven firefighters disciplined because of Reid's actions. But according to Jeff Kempson, the apology from Captain Slaughter (in the video above) is the only official one the Kempsons have received. Congratulations to Captain Slaughter for doing what is right even when those above him couldn't find the decency to do the same much earlier in this process.
You have to ask yourself what were Slaughter's bosses and the Spalding County lawyers thinking. There was no doubt from the start that this was an enormous screw-up on the part of Firefighter Reid and the department. Knowing that, it seems to me that the one of the initial and most important steps in trying to make this right should have been to first privately and then publicly apologize to Dayna Kempson's family. Not doing so is a great insult on top of the injury the department already inflicted.
Slaughter, as acting scene commander, was chastised in the investigators' report for not properly supervising the scene and for being unaware Reid was taking the video.
Slaughter agreed to speak to "20/20" to apologize to the Kempsons on behalf of the fire department. During the investigation, he said, he was prohibited from contacting the couple.
"We never got an opportunity to tell the family," he said, "that we're very sorry that this happened and we did not, or do not condone what his young man did."
The Kempsons said that's the first official apology they've received. They're still waiting for one from Terrence Reid.
If you view the clips that follow Captain Slaughter's apology you will see 20/20 focused on an aspect of the story that is similar to what I brought up the other day about a problem in Pasadena, Texas. In that case the fire chief discovered, despite handling the issue three years ago when a firefighter took nude pictures of his wife inside the fire station and posted them on the Internet, the offending pictures are sill on the web haunting the department.
Similarly, the video of Dayna Kempson is still on the Internet and probably always will be. The other clips are interviews with experts about the legalities of the Internet and tips on how Kempson's grandparents can try to make sure Dayna's children don't stumble upon those images.
This morning two STATter911.com readers sent me articles from Illinois that, on the surface, look like overkill or a politician's cover for a different agenda. Reading the news coverage it gives you the impression that Rep. Tom Holbrook, a Democrat from Belleville, was able to get a bill past an Illinois House committee that would ban most picture taking within 500 feet of an accident scene.
According to the news coverage, Holbrook believes amateur photographers are just getting in the way of emergency personnel. The law maker described it this way to WBBM Radio in Chicago, “Putting your cell phone over the firemen’s shoulders as he’s using the jaws of life, maybe to get your grandmother of the front seat of her car while she’s bleeding.”
There is no doubt that there are a large number of cameras at emergency scenes these days carried by both the first responders and the public. And members of each group have done stupid things with those cameras. I pointed one out recently where a driver rode past a bunch of police cars on the shoulder of the road and under a burning overpass on the Capital Beltway in Maryland while his passenger shot video of the truck engulfed in flames that was the source of the fire. Stupid, stupid stuff.
My first reaction was this law would fight stupidity with stupidity. Lawmakers willing to solve a problem that has many other remedies by launching an assault on the First Amendment (and Mr. Holbrook I don't think the public is putting cameras on the shoulders of firefighters … yet). The Supreme Court just ruled 8 to 1 on Wednesday that those vicious idiots from the Westboro Baptist Church have the right to protest at military funerals (as much as it hurts, the Supreme Court is right), yet the Illinois lawmakers want to ban taking pictures of a scene that is in public view. Something isn't right here.
But wait, that may not be the case and if what I am finding online about this bill is correct, this may make perfect sense.
Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that no person may use a wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle within 500 feet of an emergency scene except for specified purposes. Adds digital photographs and video to the definition of "electronic message" in provisions prohibiting the use of electronic communication devices while operating a motor vehicle. Effective immediately.
What I am getting from this is they want to ban the operator of a motor vehicle from taking pictures while driving when approaching an incident. Am I wrong in my interpretation? Doesn't seem to prohibit the passenger or anyone else from snapping away.
That appears to be quite a different animal from what is implied in the news coverage. I guess if you already are restricting cell phone use while driving, limiting picture taking by the driver isn't that bad of an idea. Seems it will increase safety for first responders, if nothing else.
Now, I admit my limited investigation of this may be missing some important facts. It could be my reporting that is suspect and not the articles from Illinois. But that's what I have so far. We will keep you informed if there is actually more to this and another bill that is a bit more sinister.
New information this evening about the cell phone video taken of the dead body of 23-year-old Dayna Kempson-Schacht in side her crumpled car last July. WKEU Radio and WAGA-TV''s Darryl Carver are identifying the firefighter who has already been suspended. From WAGA:
Spalding County's board of supervisors met Tuesday to determine the fate of Spalding County firefighter Terrence Reid, who allegedly took video of a gruesome fatal accident.
The board announced that it is recommending that at least one person will be fired as a result of the controversy, but that person won't be named until the full investigation is concluded.
Interim Assistant Spalding County Manager Virginia Martin said, "There are times when it's acceptable for photos or videos to be taken for training purposes or scene documentation. It is my understanding that this is not.
"This was a personal cell phone for personal use – whatever that might be. We don't find it acceptable at all. And we are horrified that the parents had been exposed to this video."
Spalding County has issued a photo and named the Fireman who videoed with his cell phone a deceased victim of a auto accident in July. Terrence Reid was identified in an e-mail forwarded to WKEU on Tuesday.
Following the release of the Name and Photo of the Fireman in question the County issued the following press release. And we quote:
“At this time, there will be no formal statement from Spalding County regarding the investigation into the videotaping at the July 17, 2010 accident scene where Ms. Dayna Kempson-Schacht lost her life.
The initial report has been received from the Balch Law Group and the County Manager and Board of Commissioners. That report contains a great deal of information about the incident and about the conditions which might have led to a situation wherein recording of this video and its release appeared acceptable to those involved. The Board and County administration want to insure that the decisions made with regard to any personnel actions are reasoned and supported by all the available evidence as well as being in compliance with the County’s Personnel Ordinance, so they are continuing to review the report and gather additional facts. Decisions with regard to any personnel actions as well as release of the report will be forthcoming as those decisions are made and in accordance with Georgia’s Open Records laws.
The Spalding County, Georgia firefighter accused of taking cell phone video of a woman killed in a car crash in July may find out his punishment as early as today. The firefighter, who has not been identified publicly, is currently on suspension after the video of Dayna Kempson-Schacht was shared with others and eventually reached the 23-year-old woman's father.
Spalding County Board of Commissioners has hired an outside firm to investigate why a firefighter used his personal cell phone to record video of a deadly car crash and the victim’s body.
The video was eventually sent to people outside the fire department, including the victim’s parent, Lucretia and Jeff Kempson, who filed a complaint with the county last week. The firefighter who took the video has not been identified but has been placed on investigatory suspension.
“Spalding County considers the taking of the video and sharing it in this circumstance to be, at minimum, a grave error in judgment,” said a statement released by county attorney Jim Fortune. “County officials want a full assessment of whether any laws, ordinances or policies may have been violated.”
Danya Kempson, 23, a mother of two, was killed when she lost control of her SUV on Highway 1941 on July 17.
“A firefighter who was part of one of the last groups of rescue units to arrive on scene used a personal cell phone to record a short video of the accident scene and of Ms. Kempson-Schacht’s body,” the statement said. “Later, that video was shared with other firefighters and ultimately with people outside of the department including Ms. Kempson-Schacht’s parents.”
“It’s hard enough losing a loved one or a child,” said Danya’s mother, Lucretia Kempson. “But then to have to see them after a wreck like this. I don’t want anyone to have to go through this kind of pain.”
The Kempsons received a text message containing the graphic video two months after the crash.
“At the moment we heard about this, the anger was just, there’s no way this could be,” Jeff Kempson said. “I was praying when I looked at that video it wasn’t her.”
The images are painful enough, but the Kempsons said the audio is agonizing, too, since they say it reveals a lack of concern and urgency by first responders.
“They didn’t care for my daughter,” Lucretia Kempson said. “I have a hard time that she wasn’t treated with love.”
“The video was recorded after the initial responders had determined that Ms. Kempson-Schacht had been killed on impact and there was nothing that could be done for her,” the county statement said. “Spalding County considers the taking of the video and sharing it in this circumstance to be, at minimum, a grave error in judgment.”
“A report of the investigation should be ready for presentation to the Board at a special called meeting scheduled for Monday, October 25, 2010,” said the statement. “The report will be presented in closed session, but information about the results of the investigation is planned to be released on Tuesday.”
The Kempsons want to push to make personal videos by first reponders illegal.
“I feel like they need to come in, do their job, protect the people that are there, do anything they can to help them and not videotape, not do anything of this nature to disrespect that person, whether they’re deceased or not,” said Jeff Kempson.
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 firefighter posing for a cell phone picture in front of a burning Winnipeg house has written to the paper that published the picture. The firefighter who asked that his name not be used wrote to the Winnipeg Free Press, "The reason I wanted the photo was I wanted a picture that I could give my six-year-old son. The reason for this is personal and I don't want it to be an excuse for my poor judgment."
Previously Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Deputy Chief Ken Sim said while firefighters are provided with cameras for evidence documentation the camera used was not issued by the department. An invetsigation is underway.
The house on fire was vacant and derelict, "used for storage and was filled entirely with stuff," the firefighter wrote. He explained the two were waiting for an aerial ladder to arrive to attack the fire from above.
"Our attack line was taken by other crew members to cover exposures and we staged at the sidewalk waiting to be retasked when conditions permitted," he wrote. "At that point in time I asked the fellow firefighter to quickly take my picture with my cellphone. Once the roof was burnt off, the fellow firefighter and myself were tasked to take a line and begin extinguishing the flames from the front of the house along with the other crew members and the aerial ladder."
The firefighter deemed the photo op an "innocent" mistake. "At the time I deemed the picture to be innocent since there were no life safety issues at hand and we were without a task," he said.
FirefighterCloseCalls.com reports an afternoon collision between a ladder truck responding to a call and a car occurred while the driver of the car was talking on a cell phone. Here is an excerpt:
The civilian driver drove around cars yielding for the ladder, and struck it. All members belted in. The civilian driver was reported to be on their cell phone at the time of the crash. The two people in the car reportedly were trapped briefly but then taken to Christiana Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. There were no injuries on the fire apparatus.