Here are two videos from a drowning of a man on Tuesday in a retention pond in Champaign, Illinois. The actions of police officers and firefighters has become a bit controversial as some question why they didn’t go after the man sooner.
The man, 20-year-old Kenneth Brown, had run from police and jumped into the pond. Rather than excerpt some detailed articles about the incident, here are links to two articles that describe the concerns expressed by citizens and the responses from public safety officials.
Remember the controversy last Memorial Day weekend over the drowning in Alameda, California when firefighters weren't allowed to go into the water after Raymond Zack because of a lack of training and/or certification by the firefighters? A somewhat similar incident that happened before the Alameda drowning is making headlines in the United Kingdom as part of a coroner's inquest this week.
It happened at Walpole Park in Gosport, England last March. Forty-one-year-old Simon Burgess drowned.
Testimony indicates the firefighters who arrived to see Burgess face down in the water decided from a distance there were no signs of life and waited 11 minutes for a water rescue team. They cited health and safety rules that prevent firefighters from entering water more than ankle deep. The firefighter in charge also ordered others not to go into the water.
A fire chief ordered a policeman and a paramedic to leave a drowning man in a 3ft deep lake 'because they thought he was already dead', an inquest heard.
Police Constable Tony Jones and paramedic Robert Wallace volunteered to jump into the lake but were given strict orders not to do so by fire station watch manager Tony Nicholls.
Adhering to force policy not to enter water more than 'half a boot' deep unless in a life-critical situation, he ordered his crew not to retrieve the body and to wait for the water rescue team, based at Fareham, which arrived at 12.31pm.
Deborah Coles, the control room manager at Hampshire Fire and Rescue, told the inquest that she took the call from Hughes at 12.17pm and, within a minute, had sent a fire appliance, a water rescue trained crew and a water support unit. She told the inquest, "The specialist teams are there to deal with water which is over half a boot in depth. At 12.20pm, the fire crew confirmed attendance and at 12.25 they told us a male was floating face down." She went on, "The water support unit arrived at 12.31pm. At 12.46, we received a message requesting our press officer attend the scene. At 12.52, an update came in saying a male had been recovered, and at 12.58 he was taken to hospital." Burgess was pronounced dead at 13.42.
After the hearing, Mr Burgess's father, David, said: "We will never know if Simon could have been saved, if he had been pulled from the water as soon as the emergency services arrived on the scene or if it was already too late for him.
"When a loved one is involved in an incident like this, you can only hope that everything possible is done to save them regardless of how small the chances of success are."
On board these New Jersey National Guard vehicles Sunday morning were five soldiers, a police officer and New Jersey Star-Ledger photographer Tony Kurdzuk. According to the Star-Ledger, they were on a mission to aid law enforcement when they were diverted to the town of Manville. This is where South Main Street and Kennedy Boulevard intersect. Chief Warrant Officer Patrick Daugherty told the paper as they tried to make their way down the flooded roadway the vehicles soon shut down.
An onlooker with a camera proceeds to heckle the guardsmen.
“Are you guys that stupid?”
“Why would you take a guy that can’t swim?”
“You guys are stupid.”
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Patrick Daugherty, a spokesman for the New Jersey National Guard, said it was an ambitious effort that took an unexpected turn.
"In many cases, soldiers, fireman, policeman, they overcome the impossible," he said. "Sometimes, they enter the darkest places that people would never enter. Those soldiers were there to search for and assist residents of New Jersey who needed help. … Unfortunately, things didn't work out right."
The video above was taken by a neighbor as the first firefighters arrived at a house fire in Georgetown, Ohio on Sunday. Before the camera was rolling four teenagers had entered the house and pulled a badly burned man to safety.
Josh Fields, 18, Travis Gilreath, 18, Timothy Barrett, 16, and Tyler Gilbert, 16, were driving home from swimming when they saw a house on fire and heard someone calling for someone else to get out of the home.
When no one came out of the house, the teens jumped from the car and ran into the home.
According to the TV station, about 20 minutes before this rescue Josh Fields had saved Travis Gilreath from drowning while they were swimming at a local dam. That scare caused the teens to ditch their swimming outing and head home early, putting them on the path to make the second rescue.
A well known volunteer firefighter from Cobb Island was among two men who drowned Saturday in the Wicomico River, officials said in a news release.
"Christopher Lee Kelly, 24 of Hughesville, Maryland jumped into the water from a pier and struggled to swim back to the pier. Several citizens including volunteer firefighter Christopher Michael Staley, 22, of Cobb Island, Maryland entered the water in an attempt to rescue Kelly. Both Kelly and Staley drowned," St. Mary's County police said.
The men were in the water near the pier at Wicomico Shores on the river, at around 6:15 p.m., officials said.
Monday, the Cobb Island Volunteer Fire Company was draped in black. Staley is considered a hero for attempting to save the other man. Former Chief Jimmy Jackson says the department considers it a death in the line of duty. Staley was Cobb Island's most active young volunteer, credited with responding on more rescue calls than any other member in 2010.
Everyone in Cobb Island is in shock, not only because Staley was so well known, but because the drowning comes only 5 months after his older brother was killed on the job cutting trees. Both men were landscape workers in addition be being members of the volunteer fire company.
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.
Firefighter drowns saving kids: From13WMAZ.com- "A Central Georgia family is mourning the loss of Macon-Bibb County firefighter Michael Dewayne Jones.The 24-year-old drowned at Lake Tobesofkee Saturday evening.He jumped into the lake to rescue his sons, 5-year-old Joshua and 7-year-old Jarell, as well as a little girl who was also playing in the water."
TOP STORY: We have posted up close storm chaser video of the tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri early yesterday evening. Also, there is chilling audio from inside a convenience store as people crowded into a freezer when the tornado hit. The number of deaths is at 89 and expected to rise today. A hospital was among the buildings hit. Fire station damage is reported. We have emergency radio traffic from the first hour and a link to the live radio traffic to listen in on the search operation today. Click here and here for our coverage.
New Detroit commissioner impressive in round 1 with LeDuff: Former LAFD Assistant Chief Donald Austin is supposed to take over the Detroit Fire Department today. Chief Austin sat down with reporter Charlie LeDuff on Friday. There are not a lot of public officials who come off as poised and confidant in front of a camera as Chief Austin did. Based on that performance, I am guessing there is a very good chance the chief doesn't need my advice on going forward with dealing with LeDuff once the questions get quite a bit tougher. But that doesn't stop me from giving it anyway. Check it out.
Waiting for the real story from North Randall, Ohio: Something doesn't seem quite right when the reason for closing the local fire department starting yesterday is maintenance of fire & EMS equipment. A lot more questions than answers. Click here.
Early video & green line in action from Los Angeles: LAFD takes over from a neighbor during an overnight fire in multiple garages. Watch the video.
Multiple homes burning: Exposure problems in Vancouver, BC at a home already familiar to firefighters. Check out the video.
House fire in Wheeling, Illinois: Larry Shapiro video and pictures. Click here.
Push is on to get federal benefits for fire police: Currently fire police are not covered under the Public Safety Officers Benefit program. There is a bill in the House to correct that. Click here to learn more.
Citizen helps avert tragedy at the pump: Firegeezer has the story from Overland Park, Kansas of a very close call for a woman pumping gas and a man who forgets what gear he is in. Here's the story.
Firefighter waits for rapture: New York Magazine spent Saturday with a firefighter from Long Island who waited for the end that never came. Read more.
Magnesium shower for PGFD firefighters: A vehicle fire from May 16 in the Laurel, Maryland area on Mt. Pleasant Drive. The sparks fly at around 2:40 on the video.