Thanks to our mutual friend Mike Brooks for passing along this really wonderful story about Firefighter Tad Landau, DeKalb County (GA) Fire Station #1. Please take a break from our usual fire porn to watch this.
An assistant chief is one of four DeKalb County, Georgia firefighters demoted after an investigation into drinking or being intoxicated on duty during a major ice storm in January. It is a rather complicated and detailed story about various roles investigators say the firefighters played in this latest black eye for the DeKalb County Fire Rescue.
It was a little more than a year ago that the department was dealing with bad publicity surrounding a fire call to an elderly woman’s home. Ann Bartlett died in her burning when firefighters failed to properly respond to her initial 911 call. The fire chief and a number of firefighters and officers lost their jobs during that investigation. With the exception of Chief David Foster most everyone was ordered reinstated to the department.
On Tuesday, Fire Chief Eddie O’Brien announced that Assistant Chief Joseph Tinsley had been reduced in rank to captain despite a month-long investigation that exonerated him, but the chief refused to say why. It was determined that Tinsley drank at Twain’s Billiards & Tap in Decatur with the disciplined firefighters.
Capt. Marcus Reed was demoted two ranks to a firefighter level 2 because his own admission proved his level of intoxication, an investigatory report said. Fire Apparatus Operator William Corbett and Firefighter Joshua Crawford were demoted because they possessed alcohol at Fire Station 24.
O’Brien emphasized that the investigation found no evidence that the firefighters went on any calls while inebriated. He said the intoxicated men reported to the fire station the night before they went on duty intending to sleep off the effects of their drinking.
“They’re all sincere in apologizing to the department, to the county and to the citizens,” O’Brien said. “They didn’t just let me down. They let everybody down.”
NOTE: This is a slightly different version of the original video which had been removed.
This is a very interesting video I found posted on Firefighter Spot. It was uploaded to YouTube on October 10. The video is from an apartment fire in DeKalb County, Georgia (date and location not given). Listen to the comments of the camera operator and others about what the firefighters are or aren't doing to combat the fire.
It appears that one firefighter keys in on what the neighbors are saying and attempts to provide an explanation. It sounds like he says they were dealing with a report of a firefighter trapped.
Three-alarms in Baldwin, New York: Seven firefighters suffered heat exhaustion after a fire broke out at Jerry’s Pizzeria in Baldwin and spread to apartments and other businesses. Click here for Part 2 of the video. More on the story.
Medic unit stolen this morning: A TV station was on the scene when police recovered a Columbus, Ohio paramedic ambulance and took a man into custody. Check it out.
“It was disgusting Lorain politics at its best”: The words of the fire chief of Lorain, Ohio after the City Council killed a deal to save the jobs of four firefighter. Chief Tom Brown says the budget cuts could mean days when only two of the city’s four stations will be open. Here’s the story.
Fire chief and deputy get to sue over “toxic comments” made to website: Firefighter Nation’s Bill Carey found this very interesting story from Halifax, Nova Scotia where two top fire officials have the court’s okay to go after their “anonymous” enemies. The lawyer for the chief and deputy chief says he now has information on who made the posts thanks to previous rulings that forced a newspaper and Internet providers to cough up the data. The comments centered on allegations of racism. Here’s the story.
Fire chief’s actions on medical call brings suspension: A man in Carlisle, Iowa tells KCCI-TV the person helping his diabetic wife was slurring his words and didn’t seem to know what he was doing. The man who responded to the 911 call is the chief of the Carlisle Fire Department. He’s now been suspended. Check out the story. Watch the video.
A ‘far cry’ from Ricci: That’s what a federal judge wrote in ruling against a white firefighter from Mount Vernon, New York who had filed a discrimination case. Read the details.
Another DeKalb County firefighter wins his job back: WSB-TV reports a second DeKalb County firefighter has won his job back after being fired for his role in the botched response to a fire that killed an elderly woman. Click here for the latest.
Former firefighter witnesses murder of police officer: Bill Langevin ran to the side of Sgt. Joe Bergeron Saturday after seeing the Maplewood, Minnesota police officer being shot in the head. Langevin spent four years as a St. Paul Police Department officer and twenty more as a firefighter for the city. He got on the officer’s radio, called for help and provided a description of the killers. Click here to read the story and here to watch it.
Houston fire captain critically wounded at birthday party: Senior HD Captain Ricky Johnson, assigned to Station 74, was shot in the lower abdomen while attending a birthday party off-duty. A neighbor, complaining about the noise, killed the man throwing the party for his wife and wounded another man. Click here for more.
Missing equipment? Check eBay: That seems to be the pattern these days. In Sheboygan, Wisconsin a lot of the $20,000 in PPE and other fire & EMS equipment that was missing was being sold on line. A now former firefighter has been charged. Here’s the story.
Punishment for firefighter who lost equipment seen as too harsh: In Toledo, Ohio an arbitrator ruled a firefighter gets 80 percent of his wages back after being docked 120 hours for leaving a radio on the running board of a rig. The firefighter also is no longer required to pay for the lost radio. Here’s more.
New head of internal investigations in Los Angeles: Following a 220 page report critical of how discipline was documented and handled in the Los Angeles Fire Department, a new boss of the Professional Standards Division has been announced. She is Assistant Chief Roxanne Bercik, a 26-year veteran who most recently ran the Homeland Security Division. Read more.
Early video of house fire in Tinley Park, Illinois: A neighbor boy with a camera catches this one before firefighters arrive. Listen to the questions asking where is the fire department (did they call?). You can read a few more details about the fire here.
Fire engines, but no fire department: I urge you to take a few moments to watch the videos and read the information about the state of fire protection on Mudge Island in British Columbia. It is a place with two fire trucks and no real fire department. But the citizens have taken the matter, and the hose lines, into their own hands. Some of our readers find what they see inspiring. Other think it is ridiculous. Either way it sure is interesting. Click here.
Another police chief makes the case for taking over the fire department: In Auburn, Maine the acting fire chief feels the bosses showed disrespect toward him and the fire department for failing to include the fire service perspective in the city’s study of combining the police and fire departments. That job went to the police chief who says it could work just fine having public safety officers showing up at fires, putting down their weapons and going in to fight a fire. Watch the story.
Bourne’s back: For a while the Bourne Fire Department in Massachusetts just stayed in the news as the department dealt very publicly with a series of problems (click here and scroll down). The recent quiet from Bourne has now been broken. Two paramedics are claiming an on-call firefighter drove his personal vehicle recklessly through a crash scene on the way to a fire call. The medics says they were almost struck while tending to a patient. Here is the story.
Probation in hazing incident: A judge has given a year probation to three Connecticut firefighters and another person after a hazing incident we had told you about. This is where a 14-year-old member of the Quaker Hill Fire Department, who had pulled a chair out from underneath a firefighter’s girlfriend, found himself bound to a backboard, gagged and shot with an air gun. Here’s the update.
Consulting firm fired because it had never recommended layoffs: In Palo Alto, California a consultant was dropped midway through a staffing study of the fire department. Council members were shocked to learn the firm had never recommended layoffs in any of its previous studies. According to MercuryNews.com, some on the council were hoping the study would pave the way for cut backs. The official reason for the dropping of the consultant is a “conflict of interest”. Check out this line from the article – “they were surprised to learn at an April 20 finance committee meeting that consulting firm Emergency Services Consulting International was affiliated with an international fire chiefs union.” I knew those fire chiefs would eventually unionize.
What happens in Las Vegas may be shared with Clark County: With both Nevada jurisdictions in battles with firefighters over budget issues, leaders hope to share services like hazmat and heavy rescue in an effort to save money. Here is the latest.
CFSI: The Congressional Fire Services Institute’s National Fire and Emergency Services Dinner and Seminars start today. Click here for details.
It is Bonanza time: May 7 is the start of the two day Bonanza Extravaganza put on by the Professional Firefighters of Hagerstown, Maryland (IAFF Local 1605). This event, involving music, gaming, big money prizes and much more has become a real happening. The union says, through a foundation set up to handle the profits from the event, firefighters have given away hundreds of thousands of dollars to non-profits in the community and ”a $40,000 donation to Children’s Village that funded every second grader in Washington County to be able to attend a two day fire and police safety educational program”. Click here to read more background information on the event. Here’s the website.
Another fired DeKalb County, Georgia firefighter makes the case for reinstatement: William Greene goes public in his efforts to get his job back after being fired with four others following a botched response to help an elderly woman who said her house was on fire. Greene says he was not given complete information by dispatchers. Read the story.
Mayor’s fund raiser attracts firefighters: We have shared with you a number of stories about the relationship between North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi and his firefighters (click here and scroll down for a recap). If you have read any of them you know that if a large group of firefighters showed up at a fund raiser for Lombardi it wasn’t because they were invited. There were about 250 firefighters with picket signs outside the restaurant last night. Click here for the story. Watch the video.
How sad: During a retired firefighter’s funeral in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, burglars broke into the home the firefighter shared with his brother. Read more.
Union called out for stealing story of 1953 fire: A paranormal researcher who had written a story in 2008 on the 55th anniversary of a nursing home fire that killed 33 people says IAFF Local 2427 reposted that same story on its site. The author says her name wasn’t on the story but credit inhstead was given to someone affiliated with the union. Here’s the story about the story, that we are crediting to TampaBay.com.
Man’s duck story apparently doesn’t hold water: The man admits he set the fire inside the Ride the Ducks building in Seattle. But the story about why he did it might quack you up. (Seriously, what kind of an idiot writes this junk?) Here’s the story.
Steering the rig: It is drill day at STATter911.com. Do your know your apparatus? See how these steering and driving tips from the Los Angeles Fire Department apply today. Click here for Part 2.
Firefighter handcuffed & put in cell, but it is the sheriff’s deputy who is facing charges: An interesting turn of events in that dispute in Colorado between the Lake County Sheriff’s Department and Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue. The prosecutor has decided not to file charges against Battalion Captain Dan Dailey in connection with that March 27 EMS run at the Lake County Jail. Instead, Deputy Steve James has been charged for interfering with the work of Captain Dailey. Read the details.
Click the image for the slideshow from yesterday's house fire in Glen Echo, Maryland. The link for the raw video is to the right.
Raw video from Maryland house fire: WUSA9.com’s Greg Guise and Bruce Leshan were on the scene of yesterday’s house fire in Glen Echo. Here’s the video.
Read report into Los Angeles Fire Department disciplinary problems: “Despite repeated vows to reform the way it handles costly discrimination and misconduct complaints, the Los Angeles Fire Department relies on a disciplinary system plagued by poor documentation, uneven punishment and a lack of clear guidelines, according to a new city audit.” That’s the summary by the Los Angeles Times of the new 220-page audit and report. Click here to read the entire report and here for the article.
Questions about another DeKalb County fire: Too early to tell which way this one will go, but the damage was done long ago on the PR front and DeKalb just can’t catch a break. Neighbors claim they had trouble getting through to 911 to report a house fire this week. They also insist firefighters couldn’t find the hydrant behind bushes across the street, delaying a water supply. The fire department says there are indications the times by the neighbors are wrong and that there was no delay with the water. Of course this comes in the wake of the fiasco that shook up the department after firefighters couldn’t find a burning home until it was way too late. Here’s the latest.
Retired firefighter volunteers to ride browned-out unit: A 53-year-old former Chicago area firefighter/paramedic makes a pitch to San Diego’s mayor to help staff units closed each day to save money. It will likely take more than this one guy to run as many as eight engines shut down each day. Check it out.
Firefighters picket taxpayers: Specifically Atlanta firefighters have been in the face of the Fulton County Taxpayer Association which is taking a strong stand over the pension benefits enjoyed by the firefighters. Here’s the story.
In Clark County, Nevada it never ends: The battle over overtime and overall compensation continues. The latest article has emails that the Las Vegas Sun reports shows the union resisting efforts to allow a promotional exam to fill vacant positions for engineers. Here’s the story.
Tire & muffler shop burns: A fire at 6708 Northeast 23rd Street in Oklahoma City on Wednesday. This is one of many videos from around the country added each weekday by WUSA9.com’s Emily Cyr. They all can be found in our video player over here >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
More on injured Baltimore firefighter: There is a nice article from his native Montgomery County, Pennsylvania that profiles Jeffrey Novack who was seriously injured in Wednesday night’s fire next to the firehouse in the 3900 block of Liberty Heights Avenue. Firefighter Novack, assigned to Truck 12, was forced to bail out of a third floor apartment after rescuing residents. He is in a medically-induced coma to treat burns and other injuries. Sources indicate the two closest engines were on other runs, and the third was closed due to staffing issues. Here is our previous coverage of the fire, including fireground audio of the mayday. Sources indicate this version of the audio, besides compacting the time by removing dead air, misses some key radio transmissions.
Is this a trend? Baltimore police halt CompStat (or ComStat) meetings: This is the famous crime fighting method started by Jack Maple, who brought it to NYPD from New York’s Transit Police in the early 1990s. Since then, police departments and other government agencies, including fire departments, have adopted it as a way to measure performance. Now comes word that the Baltimore City Police Department, which embraced its version of the statistics based management tool more than a decade ago, has suspended the meetings. There are concerns that it has evolved into nothing more than a weekly finger-pointing beat-down session (the fictional version was shown regularly on The Wire) that requires too much prep time by managers. The Baltimore Sun reports on a New York study that showed more than 100 retired high-ranking officers believe it creates intense pressure to manipulate crime figures. Here’ the story.
All PGFD, all the time: There was a time that some people claimed that was our motto here at STATter911.com. Still, this has been a newsworthy few days in Prince George’s Countyl. Here’s what’s been keeping Mark Brady busy-
Governor makes escape from fire followed by lawmakers: A celebration for new members of the Maryland legislature at an Annapolis, Maryland bar last night came to an end when fire broke out. The Baltimore Sun tells the story that Governor Martin O’Malley’s security detail may have been the first to realize the place was burning. Here’s the article.
Facebook shooting threat by firefighter against politician leads to trouble: We have been telling you about the problems in Clark County, Nevada and how County Commissioner Steve Sisolak is leading the charge to cut OT and compensation for firefighters. Sisolak is also concerned about on-duty MD fund raising. Now comes word of the Facebook posting by City of Las Vegas Firefighter Joy Sager saying she wanted ”to shoot Sisolak in the (groin)”. The mayor has called for justice. Sager, involved in the charity work, has written an apology. Read Sager’s letter. Here’s the story.
The fine print in the grant that will help Flint has some worried: Flint, Michigan is getting a SAFER grant to rehire firefighters recently let go and others. But can the troubled city meet the staffing requirements of the grant? Read the details.
An ounce of prevention is apparently not worth much in this budget cycle: What did that Franklin guy know anyway? It isn’t like he and his most famous saying about fires had to face a massive recession like we have dealt with. The latest budget proposal in Mesa, Arizona calls for the elimination of the entire fire prevention and life-safety education units. Read more.
Citizen says it is just fine to cut fire department minimum staffing: This column in a California newspaper shows the perception firefighters are often up against when it comes to budget cuts. In it, a man named Bob Moss explains why he didn’t sign a petition by Palo Alto firefighters to freeze staffing levels. Here is an excerpt-
Fact: The proposal on the table is to cut the required number of firefighters on engines by no more than one person. There will still be plenty of staff to respond to 911 calls. Cutting the number of people on an engine, say from 4 to 3, will have no impact on 911 response times — it may even be a bit faster as it will take less time for three people to get onto the engine than four.
Code thieves?: Thieves who stole radios and other equipment worth as much as $20,000 from an Edmond, Oklahoma fire truck being serviced also got the map book with the codes that allow access to gated communities. Read the story.
Fired DeKalb County captain reinstated: Tony Motes, one of those fired after a botched response to a house fire that turned fatal, won his appeal. Read what it means.
Fallout over gas company’s union negotiation in Fall River: There is debate in the Massachusetts town over whether the installation of locking devices on critical valve shut offs by New England Gas will impact its reponse to help fire crews with gas shut downs in an emergency. The company is doing this to prevent tampering during union troubles. Here’s the story.
Thirty pets die in house fire: This overnight fire is from a week ago in Lodi, New Jersey. The family escaped, but their reptiles, birds and cats didn’t. There is more video- Part 2, Part 3. Read more about the fire.
Oh, come on! My people at their worst: In my opinion Firegeezer Bill Schumm wasn’t worked up enough in his criticism of a TV reporter going after an EMS crew in Omaha, Nebraska. I would dub this “exclusive” story “trivial pursuit” or “Seinfeld’ (a show about nothing). The reporter’s investigative efforts came about because someone heard an 11-year-old boy’s voice come across an Omaha Fire Rescue frequency on the scanner in the newsroom. What was the shocking reason behind this incident worthy of multiple stories by the TV station and an internal investigation? The boy was riding with his sick grandmother to the hospital. Obviously scared, one of the crew members let Joey Roth get on the radio and provide the status of the unit, saying they were on the way to the hospital. It was an effort to calm the boy’s nerves that seemed to work. I hate to tell the reporter in Omaha this isn’t the same as the air traffic controller who put his son on the radio directing pilots during take offs and landings at one of the busiest airports in the country. Give the crew member a medal for innovative thinking and let’s move on. Here’s Bill’s original story and here’s an updated story with remarks from the union president.
My gut tells me this isn’t going to be one of the women who proposition him: Remember Chicago Fire Commissioner John Brooks and his most interesting quote when confronted by a reporter over a sexual harassment complaint?
“I have never sexually harassed any woman or man in my life. I do not proposition women. I don’t have to. Women usually proposition me. God has blessed me like that”.
The lady’s man has another woman after him. But she’s a former prosecutor at the state and federal level and associate circuit judge who has been appointed to look at the validity of the complaint against Brooks. Read the latest.
Fighting to get his job back in DeKalb County: Tony Motes was just a few months short of being eligible to retire as a fire captain in DeKalb County, Georgia. But Motes got fired first, along with four others over the botched call to help a woman whose house caught fire. In a hearing appealing his firing, Motes said 911 didn’t pass along all of the information. Here’s the latest on this story.
Federal court throws out firefighter’s suit over sign about mayor: You may recall the story from Edison, New Jersey about the firefighter (and son of the union president) who ended up with five days off because of a sign on his vehicle, parked on fire department property, saying Mayor Jun Choi lies (it was election season and Choi lost). A U.S. District Court judge has thrown out the suit Peter Yackel filed after he received a five-day suspension from Chief Norman Jensen. Read the details.
A real mess: In Florida, the Destin Fire Control District has fire commissioners pointing fingers at each other and one of them releasing very detailed information about test scores on promotion exams. The issue is how much “chief’s points” count in deciding who gets to be lieutenant and captain. Kim Brown, the commissioner who is pushing the issue, shot back at another commissioner , “I’m messing with morale? Do you know where the morale in this department is?” Here is more from theDestinlog.com.
A dozen firefighters arrested in less than 15 months: The Albuquerque Fire Department is dealing with the 12th arrest of a firefighter on alcohol related charges since the start of last year. Knowing they have a problem, the department just finished classes dealing with the issue. Here’s the story.
Handing out money in Georgia: Another hefty award in the latest in a series of sexual harassment lawsuits in Decatur County, Georgia. Read the story.
I am sure recall the recent problems with a fire response in DeKalb County, Georgia that left a woman dead and the chief and five of his employees without jobs. An alert STATter911.com reader pointed out this fire on Wednesday morning that has caught the attention of WSB-TV. Here is what is posted on the TV station’s website:
Firefighters told Channel 2 Action News they went to the home on Magnolia Trace in Stone Mountain three times in 24 hours.
They believe the first fire started near a clothes dryer.
Crews put out that fire and then went back a second time to put out hot spots.
Then another fire broke out in the attic, according to Fire Department officials.
”Roughly 2-3 hours later we responded back to flames through the roof,” said Capt. Eric Jackson of the DeKalb County Fire Department.
No one was at the home when that final fire started.
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.
Captain Sell Caldwell is the fifth member of the fire department in DeKalb County, Georgia to be fired over the January 24 fire that took the life of 74-year-old Ann Bartlett. The impact of the error filled response, detailed in a county report, also resulted in the immediate resignation of Chief David Foster earlier this week.
The video above includes some of the radio transmissions for both the initial response to Bartlett’s home and the response of firefighters five hours later when her home had already been destroyed. Bartlett’s body was recovered from the rubble.
A police investigation continues to see if there were any criminal violations in the actions taken by responding firefighters.
Early video of Santa Rosa fire: A neighbor captured this one, posted it to YouTube but didn’t say where the fire occurred. We were able to trace to a fire in vacant units in a Santa Rosa, California complex late Monday night. Here are details and photos of the aftermath.
Follow the arrow to the player at right for new videos >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Zone911.com has the pictures from a tanker that ran off the road in Levis, Quebec. This is the same fire department that had wrecks with two quints a few weeks apart in October and November and October of last year. Click the image for more from Zone911.com
Breaking news – 3 children pulled from DC fire: A fire just before 6:30 this morning has sent three children to the hospital. DC Fire & EMS Department PIO Pete Piringer reports all three were rescued from 1920 Naylor Road, SE. At least two of the children are reported in critical condition. The fire was on the second floor in an apartment kitchen and according to Piringer is under control. The children were found in a bedroom. Check in with WUSA9.com through the morning for more. The address is a 3-story apartment building. Click here for the Google Maps Street View.
Acting chief says fire protection is wholly inadequate and tragedy is inevitable: Harsh words from Brian Murphy who took over running the Lawrence Fire Department in Massachusetts a month ago. Murphy says the city is lucky no one died in the late Monday morning fire in a three decker just six doors from the firehouse that was closed in August. Thirty-years-ago when Murphy joined the department there were 44 to 48 firefighters working each shift. Now there are about 20. Read more from Chief Murphy’s comments. Click here for video of the fire.
PGFD on the rescue beat: It has been a busy two days in Prince George’s County. We have video of a couple of unusual rescues. One involves a man who decided he just wanted to stand in the middle of a frigid waterway. It required police to suit up to help the firefighters. Prior to that it was down a 100-foot ravine to rescue a teen who had taken a tumble. You will find those stories here. Also, more information on the ravine rescue can be found in this story from WUSA9.com’s Lindsey Mastis.
By the way, many new videos will show up in the player to the right even before I get to write about them. Emily Cyr and Jillian Coyle at WUSA9.com often post fresh fire & EMS videos from the Washington, DC area and around the country. Please check them out. The player is always filled with 30 of our most recent stories.
With friends like this: In an article at AJC.com about DeKalb County’s departed chief, the point is made by some that David Foster had clashed with his bosses over staffing and was looking to leave before the scandal surrounding the January 24 fatal fire. One politician who indicates he is a Foster supporter might want to choose his words more carefully when describing the chief’s legacy-
“We learned about this after the media. We didn’t know he was going to leave,” said Commissioner Larry Johnson, the presiding officer. “Since he came in, Chief Foster built several fire stations and increased response times.”
Memphis firefighter fired: The focus of a number of news reports in the last two weeks, Memphis Fire Department’s Lawrence Batiste has been fired. A convicted felon when he took the job (after being fired from adjacent Shelby County), Batiste ran into more problems. Here’s more.
Firefighters charged in more than 20-year-old assault against colleague inside firehouse: This story is from Australia where seven firefighters are facing charges in a case from 1989 that allegedly occurred inside a Sydney fire station. A male firefighter claims he was “sexually assaulted, bullied and harassed” and superiors did nothing about it. Read more.
24-on and 48-off was a non-starter in Lancaster, Pennsylvania: We told you yesterday how the mayor pinned the layoffs of four firefighters on the union not providing concessions. Now, the union responds. Click here.
L.A. dog out of pound: Spikey has successfully complete his quarantine and is back with his owner. He’s the dog rescued from the Los Angles River by LAFD’s Joe St. George. Spikey’s teeth left the firefighter with a broken thumb and a lost fingernail (plus some great video to show the grandchildren someday). Here’s the update.
Another cop makes a poor choice in dealing with a man intent on setting himself on fire: Firegeezer recently had the story of the Portland, Oregon officer who thought she was using a fire extinguisher on a man who set himself on fire. Instead, it was a large canister of pepper spray. Now Bill takes us to Perth, Australia where a police officer was trying to subdue a man who was splashing gasoline around the house and himself. The man had gone into the kitchen for matches. He really didn’t have to bother, because a police officer used a Taser. Here’s the story.
DeKalb County Fire Chief David Foster has resigned, CEO Burrell Ellis announced Monday evening.
The shake-up at the DeKalb County Fire Department continues and has now reached the top.
Late Monday afternoon, the fire chief himself, David Foster, resigned.
DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis did not give a reason in his brief press release.
The timing of the resignation is striking, since the fire department is under investigation over the death of Ann Bartlett in a house fire in Dunwoody on January 24.
On January 29, Foster fired four of the firefighters who responded to Bartlett’s house fire, accusing them of neglect of duty.
Ann Bartlett was 74 years old and was using an oxygen machine. She had called 911 to say her house was on fire and she was unable to get out.
Then her phone line stopped working.
Soon after the firefighters arrived at her house, they left, because they did not see any flames. They never knocked on her door.
Five hours later flames broke through the house and neighbors called 911, but Ann Bartlett had already died.
Now the tragedy, and the firefighters, are under criminal investigation.
David Foster had been DeKalb Fire-Rescue Chief since January of 2003.
Monday night, Ann Bartlett’s neighbors said they want answers and changes.
“It’s extremely sad,” said Maria DeArenas, “because she counted on the firefighters and they were not there for her.”
“I think it was negligence on their part,” said Tom Brooks, who lives next door to Bartlett’s burned home, and says he is still incredulous at what happened. “And hopefully, this won’t happen again. I hope a lot of people have learned some lessons.”
Ann Bartlett’s daughter, Ruth Bartlett, told 11Alive News on the phone Monday that the family preferred to say nothing about the chief’s resignation. She repeated what family members said last week, that they are just waiting as the investigation proceeds and they don’t want this to happen to anyone else.
DeKalb CEO Ellis appointed Deputy Fire Chief Eddie O’Brien to be Acting Chief.
Four firefighters were terminated Thursday and they are being investigated by police for their response to a house fire that killed an elderly woman.
The DeKalb County firefighters responded to a 911 call from the home about 1 a.m. Sunday and left after they didn’t see any signs of flames or smoke.
But according to an investigative report, they didn’t follow department procedure to approach the home, verify the address and make contact with the 911 caller.
Ann Bartlett in a family photo.
Most of the firefighters who responded to the call stayed in their vehicles, only getting out to help the trucks turn around in the cul-de-sac near the home, according to the report.
About six hours later, a neighbor called 911 to report the same house was fully engulfed in flames. Ann Bartlett, 74, was found dead inside from smoke inhalation.
“These officers didn’t follow policy, and that’s why they’re being terminated,” county public safety director William Z. Miller said Friday.
Police in Dunwoody, a northern Atlanta suburb, have launched a criminal investigation into the fire department’s response, police Chief Billy Grogan said.
The four firefighters are acting officer in charge William Greene, Capt. Tony L. Motes, Battalion Chief Lesley Clark and Battalion Chief Bennie J. Paige. A fifth firefighter, Capt. Sell Caldwell, has been put on leave with pay as an investigation into his actions continues, DeKalb County spokeswoman Shelia Edwards said.
Paige did not immediately return a call for comment Friday. There were no public phone listings for the rest of the firefighters and it was not known if they had retained attorneys.
Bartlett’s daughter, Ruth, said Friday she hopes “every firefighter learns from this.” She said her family wants an apology from the firefighters.
“We know those four men feel awful,” she said in a telephone interview. “First, we were very shocked. Then we were very sad, and as the facts started to unravel, we became mad. Now as we see they are resolving and taking actions they deem appropriate, we are starting to heal.”
As we previously reported DeKalb County, Georgia officials launched an investigation into a house fire early Sunday morning. Firefighters responded twice to Ann Bartlett’s home. It was the actions during the first response that resulted in the four fire department officers – Officer in Charge William Greene, Capt. Tony L. Motes, Capt. Sell Caldwell, and Battalion Chief Lesley Clark being put on leave with pay. Today a report into the fire was released by DeKalb County. Here’s more from an article by Jaye Watson from WXIA-TV:
Ann Bartlett in a family photo.
“Our family wants to tell you what a wonderful and kind woman my mother was.”
Ruth Bartlett and her two sisters and their children stand in front of the home their mother Ann lived in for 41 years. The 74 year old Bartlett called 911 shortly after 1 a.m. sunday morning to report that an oxygen device she used for a pulmonary condition had just set the house on fire.
In a copy of the 911 call made by Bartlett you can hear her say her name and complete address. The operator tells her to evacuate the house and then Bartlett says “hurry!” before the phone was disconnected. The operator tried repeatedly to call Barlett back to no avail.
Fire crews arrived just 12 minutes after the call but in a copy of a report from Dekalb County Fire Department Incident Investigation fire crews ‘failed to establish incident command.’ The report also says ‘Houses on either side of 1687 Houghton Court North had visible addresses, and although not in exact sequence(1691 and 1686), should have provided a clue of the location of 1687 Houghton Court North.
Ruth Bartlett, who met with County and Fire officials thursday morning,tells what happened when crews arrived.
“Those on the scene said they looked around from their trucks here in the cul de sac but did not see any evidence of fire. They observed that our family home up the hill was dark. They did not get out of their trucks and their trucks left the scene at 1:22 am seven minutes after they arrived. No one walked up this hill to her house. No one knocked on anyone’s door asking questions.”
More than five hours later at 6:40 a.m. neighbors called 911 to report Bartlett’s house engulfed in flames. Crews found her body just inside her garage.
Ruth Bartlett says, “We believe the electricity must have gone out because the phone went dead and the electric door opener for the garage would not have gone up. She perished there by the door inside the garage.”
Ruth Bartlett and her sisters can’t bear to think what if? What if the firefighters had walked up the driveway? What if they had followed the ’360 protocol’ which calls for them to walk around the structure and look inside? They believe the firefighters would have found the fire, and their mother, alive.
Bartlett’s children have asked for a personal apology from the firefighters who left the scene. They say their mother, an Atlanta native, lived for her children and grandchildren. A horrible mistake has taken a matriarch away from her family.
“She paid her taxes in Dekalb county for 41 years but when she needed Dekalb County they did not find her. They did not find the person that made that 911 call.”
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UPDATED – Close call in Fairfax County, VA at scene of now double fatal fire: (Click here for slideshow from fire.) PIO Dan Schmidt confirms the bodies of two men were found inside a burning home on Heming Avenue in North Springfield this morning. Earlier three firefighters from Station 422 ran into trouble when the kitchen floor began collapsing around them. Other firefighters assisted them in getting out safely. Schmidt says one firefighter has been hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. All firefighters were accounted for. The fire was reported around 6:40 AM. We will have more later, including video.
Dead, not dead: Firefighters in Prince George’s County, Maryland thought they were doing body recovery early Sunday morning on I-95. The “body” in the burned out car started breathing and things quickly reverted to a rescue operation. We have the details, fireground audio, and a timeline. Click here for our coverage.
More PGFD news – Shake-up at the top: In November, Chief Eugene Jones said about Lt. Colonel Victor Stagnaro, “You are growing into the leader I always believed you had the capacity for” as he gave the 24-year veteran “a rare and prestigious” department award. Yesterday, Chief Jones gave Stagnaro something else: his walking papers. According to Chief Jones, Stagnaro “indicated his intent to retire”. But numerous other sources familiar with what happened at the Largo Government Center tell STATter911.com the chief’s executive officer presented Stagnaro with a letter telling him his last day is February 12. Click here for more on this story.
Close Call #1: This is the "before" picture a neighbor snapped just prior to two firefighters falling through the roof of this burning Phoenix home on Monday. The firefighters were not injured. Police say the house was set on fire by an 18-year-old who had assaulted his parents. Click the image to see more pictures and watch the story.
NEW – Virginia Task Force 1 heading home Thursday: That’s the plan today for the return of the urban search and rescue team from Northern Virginia. They have been in Haiti for two weeks and are now assisting with humanitarian efforts after helping to rescue 16 people who were trapped in the rubble of the earthquake.
More from Memphis: A TV station is into its second week of reports on the Memphis Fire Department. WLMT-TV has been looking at the department’s hiring practices, the number of firefighters who have been arrested and allegations of discrimination over who gets to keep their job and who doesn’t. The latest installment is here. Click here to see what you missed earlier.
New talk of major FDNY cuts: Firehouses and firefighters are again being discussed for possible cuts as mayor’s staff and the new fire commissioner meet on budget issues. Read more.
911 system in DC getting scrutiny after gun is pulled on council member: A fire truck was the first on the scene to assist Council member Yvette Alexander last week when she interupted an armed robbery. There are questions about the accurate relay of information and the timeliness of the response. Read more.
Close Call #2: Three firefighters inside as explosion lifts roof off home during fire in Wells, Minnesota. The chief says he was blown 3-feet out of a door. The firefighters weren't hurt. Click the picture by Brie Cohen for details and more pictures from the Albert Lea Tribune.
Former Columbus, Ohio firefighter who killed dogs walks out of hearing because of TV camera: The latest on David Santuomo, who left the two dead dogs in a dumpster behind a firehouse in December, 2008, is that the Civil Service Commission dismissed the appeal of his firing because the former firefighter wasn’t present. News reports indicate Santuomo got up and left when he saw the camera being set up. You may recall Santuomo executed the dogs because he didn’t want to pay kennel fees while on vacation. Read more.
LAFD defends dog rescue: The Los Angeles Fire Department stands by the decision to commit resources to last Friday’s dog rescue in the L.A. River that left a firefighter with dog bites. Read more. Earlier coverage here and here.
Mayor is shocked: Paramus, New Jersey Mayor James Tedesco is also a volunteer firefighter. Responding on a call for a downed power line, the firefighting mayor touched a fence that had come in contact with the wire. He is okay. Read more.
House fire in New Jersey: This is from yesterday in Oradell in Bergen County.