(NOTE: One of our regular readers says this story reminds him of the humorous Episode 5 of Freeway Patrol posted to YouTube in 2010. I had forgotten about it. I’ve added it to the bottom of this post.)
The picture above is a view we’ve all seen many times. How about if I told you firefighters took the top off this car despite the fact that the woman driving it, Janice Dunlop, had completely avoided the wreck in front of her? Almost sounds like a fire department burning the wrong house down during training, but it isn’t.
There was not a scratch on Dunlop’s Vauxhall Vectra except the ones inflicted by firefighters. Janice Dunlop lost her car by being a good Samaritan. She gave shelter to two victims of the collision that occurred in front of her on A27 near Arundel in West Sussex in the South of England.
What happened, according to BBC News, is that the two people told the arriving paramedics from South East Coast Ambulance Service that they had neck pains. The crew, working with firefighters, determined the only safe way to get them out of Dunlop’s car was to pop the top. Now Dunlop has lost her family’s only car and it’s unclear if insurance will cover the damage. Here’s more:
“[The emergency services] took a long time trying to see whether they could get the couple out any other way, but that’s the decision they came to,” she said.
A spokesman for the South East Coast Ambulance Service said: “While the pair were sheltering in the car they developed neck pain.
“Paramedics explored every opportunity to get them out of the vehicle. However, in the end they had to get the fire service to cut the roof off and take them out on back boards.
“We can only apologise to Mrs Dunlop for the inconvenience of that.”
He added that no one was seriously injured in the collision.
Prince George’s County Police have confirmed the death of PGPD Officer Kevin Bowden who was killed this afternoon in his take-home cruiser in an off-duty crash on Route 5 in Clinton, Maryland. Officer Bowden was 28-years-old and had been on the police department for six-years. He leaves behind two young children.
The accident occurred at Route 5 (Branch Avenue) and Surratts Road in Clinton. Branch Avenue is closed in both directions.
This is the second serious crash involving a Prince George’s County officer in three months. Officer Adrian Morris, 23, died after his cruiser ran off Interstate 95 while he and his partner were pursuing theft suspects Aug. 20.
Julie Parker, a Prince George’s County police spokeswoman, said the officer was headed northbound on Branch Avenue when the crash occurred about 3 p.m. near the intersection with Surratts Road. She said the officer and a civilian driver were taken to a nearby hospital, though she declined to specify the extent of their injuries.
It remains unclear what caused the crash, which Parker said involved just the two vehicles. Police are holding a news conference at the hospital at about 6 p.m. to provide more details, Parker said.
Official Tweets – latest first:
@PGPDNEWS Police Chief Magaw announces the death of #PGPD #Police Officer Kevin Bowden after a car crash on Branch Ave. 6:19 PM
@PGPDNEWS #PGPD will hold a press conference in front of the Southern MD Hospital ER at 6:15 pm in reference to the officer involved accident. 5:22 PM
@PGPDNEWS Please contact PIO at the top of the hill at the corner of the Colony South Hotel for all media requests 4:58 PM
@PGPDNEWS officer involved in serious accident on Branch Ave/Surrats Rd. Media staging area at Colony South hotel parking lot. 4:03 PM
@PGFDPIO Critical MVC involving County Police at Branch Ave and Surrats Rd in Clinton. Contact Police PIO for Updates 3:15 PM
I am sure many of you recall the video we showed you last September of the attempted rescue of a motorcyclist trapped under a car in Brooklyn when the hydraulic spreaders in the hands of a member of the NYPD Emergency Services Unit didn’t do the trick and the car came crashing down? This occurred while firefighters were attempting to use an air bag to lift the car (click here). Now Bill Carey at BackstepFirefighter.com has come up with a new example of FDNY and ESU sometimes working at cross purposes.
It happened yesterday during a partial scaffolding collapse on East 66th Street in Manhattan. ESU had a police officer rappel off the roof to reach the trapped workers. FDNY handled it in a different way. They opened a window and let the men and the police officer inside the building.
According to WNBC-TV, one of the workers thanked ESU Detective James Coll (interviewed in the stories below) for coming to their aid sending him an email that read, ”You did the most courageous work and I really can’t thank you enough for risking your lives to save us. Thank you again and God bless you.”
Chief Massucci, 48, a 22-year veteran, said firefighters wound up aiding the officer, too. They pulled him in through the same 17th-floor window because he could not climb back up the building’s facade and most likely did not have enough rope to reach the ground, the chief said.
Firefighters racing to save a man's life put on a display of brute strength this morning when they teamed up to lift a 3,200-pound car off pedestrian who was pinned to a Northeast Portland street.
"It was pretty impressive," said Tommy Schroder, a firefighter who was on his way to work and heard the call on his radio. "I had arrived just after the accident and watched these guys get around the car and lift it up."
Firefighters with the city’s Heavy Rescue unit arrived and a paramedic crawled under the vehicle to begin treating the injured man. Because of the man’s serious injuries, firefighters realized they didn’t have much time to use equipment to free the victim. Eight firefighters lifted the 3,200-pound vehicle as two firefighters moved the pinned man to an awaiting ambulance.
“It wasn’t pretty, but it worked,” said firefighter Mick Held, a 16-year Portland Fire Bureau veteran.
An arriving paramedic determined that the man had grave injuries. Firefighters made a quick decision to forego some safety procedures and simply lift the Chrysler PT Cruiser off the man, said 16-year veteran firefighter Mick Held.
"We were putting a plan together and realized how many of us were there," Held said. "We had two firefighters with the patient to help pull him out from beneath the car. And then eight of us lifted the car off of him. It wasn’t pretty but it worked."
A STATter911.com reader alerted us to this much better video of the attempt to remove a motorcyclist from under a car in Brooklyn on Thursday morning. This is the one where a member of the NYPD's Emergency Services Unit (ESU) tries to lift the car off of 21-year-old Karam Rampersaud using hydraulic spreaders under the rear of the Ford Taurus but the car comes crashing back down. New York officials have told reporters that Rampersaud died because of the original accident and not the mishap with the spreaders.
Here's what I see in this latest clip. (Feel free to correct me if I miss something or use the wrong terminology, particularly when it comes to ESU.).
This video begins more than three minutes before firefighters and police arrive. Engine 225 and Ladder 107 are on the scene first. Two firefighters from the engine walk over to evaluate the scene. One takes a close-up look at the victim and the other appears to set the emergency brake on the car. The officer from Ladder 107 comes up, takes a quick view and speaks to his crew. They appear to immediately begin setting up for air bag operations.
Forty seconds after the arrival of the firefighters an ESU REP (Radio Emergency Patrol) vehicle arrives followed about 15 seconds later by an ESU truck (similar to a heavy rescue squad). Within 50 seconds of their arrival ESU is deploying the spreaders under the rear of the Taurus as the firefighters appear to be continuing to set airbags.
Only a minute after he pulls up on the scene, the ESU officer already has the back raised (far from the four feet witnesses described), but seconds into the lifting the vehicle comes off the spreaders and slams back down. It looks like a bit of a close call for an ESU member on the drivers side of the vehicle placing cribbing (the same officer also appears to have moved aside FDNY equipment placed on that side of the vehicle).
After a bit of commotion the ladder officer appears to talk with two of the ESU officers and airbag operations continue with involvement of both firefighters and police officers.
At 9:45 into the video, about 6:40 after FDNY's arrival, the rescuers begin pulling the victim from under the car.
The incident has many in our comments section talking about the working relationship between FDNY and the police department's ESU. There have been some very public battles through the years.
Below is a NYPD video called Inside the NYPD: Emergency Services Unit.
I have been looking unsuccessfully on the web for a detailed listing of primary responsibilities for ESU and the official working relationship between ESU and FDNY at scenes similar to his one.
UPDATE: A STATter911.com reader has sent along a document (2009 version) outlining the Citywide Incident Management System (CIMS) for New York. It is attached. It lists the "primary agency" for auto extrication as "NYPD/FDNY (First to arrive)".
FDNY is listed alone as the "primary agency" for confined space rescue, elevator incident or emergency, entrapment/impalement, fire and structural collapse.
An ESU REP at a recent fire in Brooklyn. Click above for the video.
Both the FDNY and the NYPD were on the scene of an accident in Brooklyn yesterday that is making headlines in New York. It happened around 8:45 AM
on Loring Avenue and Forbell Street in East New York when 21 year old, Karam Rampersaud, on a motorcyle, was run over by a Ford Taurus and became trapped underneath the vehicle.
From the video it appears an NYPD Emergency Services Unit crew member is handling the lifting of the vehicle when the car suddenly comes back down.
Police and fire officials have been giving indications to reporters that Rampersaud died from the injuries during the original crash.
Fire Rescue TV’s Martin Grube got the inside shots of a Saturday morning rescue operation in Virginia Beach, Virginia. A former employee of Harold’s restaurant was found by the owner, Harold Owens, with his feet dangling from the exhaust hood over the stove. The place was a mess because the fire suppression system had gone off.
I have heard of at least one fire engine salesman many years ago pulling up on a house fire and having it knocked by the time the local fire department arrived. This is my first encounter of someone selling rescue tools springing into action. It happened Wednesday morning on I-10 at Sorrento, Louisiana when a woman crashed her car and became trapped in the burnng vehicle. More from WBRZ-TV:
Sorrento Police Chief Earl Theriot said 21-year-old Laura Hall drove off the road and hit a tree near the Sorrento exit on Interstate 10. Her car caught fire, and she was trapped inside.
Several people, including Chris Barrios, stopped to help. Barrios was driving to the northern part of the state to sell emergency extraction equipment, including a tool commonly called “jaws of life.” Barrios used the device to cut Hall free of the vehicle, while other people on the scene used fire extinguishers to beat back the fire.
Paramedics said Hall was taken by helicopter to the hospital, where she remains in critical condition. Theriot called Barrios a hero and said if he would not have stopped to help, Hall would’t be alive.
(Thanks to Todd Rudloff for alerting STATter911.com to this story.)
A 26-year-old man trapped inside his burning Cadillac that had run into the back of another vehicle on I-95 in Laurel is being treated for critical injuries despite initially being declared dead on the scene. STATter911.com has learned firefighters from Prince George’s County, Maryland discovered the man was breathing while untangling his body from the wreckage of the burned out car. The vehicle had slammed against trees in the median strip near Route 198.
When Prince George’s County firefighters extinguished the fire around 2:30 Sunday morning the man was declared a “Priority 4″. Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department Chief Spokesman Mark Brady confirms this in a statement provided to STATter911.com, saying, “A preliminary patient assessment was made soon after the fire was extinguished, while the victim was still trapped within the wreckage, that he was priority 4 (deceased).”
On the emergency radio traffic from the incident, the incident commander tells a dispatcher about the “Priority 4″ at 2:39 AM, 25 minutes after the incident was dispatced and 16 minutes after the first firefighters arrived on the scene.
Brady also confirms at 2:47 AM firefighters were asked by Maryland State Police to help in the removal of the body. About a minute later firefighters determined the man was still breathing.
In the radio traffic from the incident, a firefighter and the “South Side Command” have the following conversation:
Unidentified Firefighter: “We believe the patient is breathing we are yanking him out and bringing him up.”
South Side Command: “You say the patient is breathing?”
Unidentified Firefighter: “We believe so.”
South Side Command: “Okay.”
The injured man, whose identity has not been released, was removed from the car and taken to a burn unit under the care of paramedics. At last word from police, he was being treated for life-threatening burns and other injuries.
Spokesman Brady confirms that a review is underway by the department’s EMS Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement Program to determine what procedures were used to initially determine the man had expired. Brady said in his statement, “The Q&A program provides both a forum for continuous system improvement and a means to review significant events and is implemented under the auspices of the EMS Jurisdictional Program Medical Director.”
Brady also points out, “The preliminary patient assessment was made under extremely challenging and less then ideal conditions.”
A second vehicle involved in the crash was handled by a separate “North Side Command”. Firefighters removed a woman who was trapped in an overturned SUV that had been struck by the Cadillac. That vehicle was not on fire. Police report the 46-year-old woman was treated and released at a local hospital.
Here is a timeline of the incident based on information provided by PGFD and times listed in the radio traffic:
2:14 – Call dispatched.
2:23 – First PGFD units report on the scene.
2:39 – South Side Command reports they have a “Priority 4″.
2:47 – South Side Command reports they have been requested by Maryland State Police to extricate “the deceased”.
2:48 - Firefighters report they believe the patient is breathing.
2:49 – Medic 715 from Montgomery County is dispatched to assist with the now breathing patient.
2:56 – Landing site being set up for helicopter.
3:04 – Patient transported by ground to burn unit.
Raw video from deadly basement fire in DC: DC Fire & EMS Department photographer Vito Maggiolo was on the scene Monday night at 9th and Kennedy, NW as firefighters attacked a fire in the basement of a boarded up home and found a victim. Attempts to revive the woman were not successful.
Must see video of extrication by neighbors: One of our regular readers points us to this story from Ft. Lauderdale where a man was purposely run over by the driver of a car. Neighbors jumped in and not only held the driver for police, they joined an arriving cop in lifting the car off of the victim. Click here to see the story.
A timely call in Richmond: Also from VAFireNews.com, the story of a house fire as snow was falling late Friday night in Richmond. According to Lt. Shawn Jones, the department’s PIO, crews were ordered out of the home about 60 seconds before there was a partial collapse of the roof. Click here for details.
Who ya gonna call? Sal, of course: Credentials aside for a moment, Cara Buckley of The New York Times believes the name alone may have been reason enough for Chief Sal Cassano to be appointed FDNY’s new commissioner. Check out her reasoning.
A big issue for the new commissioner: Watch the story of a lawsuit from a man burned trying to do the job of firefighters by attempting to rescue his neighbors in Queens from a burning home. The suit says the fire department was delayed because of an error involving the Unified Call Taker system.
Former battalion chief loses sex discrimination and retaliation lawsuit: A jury ruled in favor of the Kanas City (MO) Fire Department in a lawsuit by Kathleen Kline, a former battalion chief. Read details.
Reported backdraft in Maryland: The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department says this picture by FF/PM Joseph A. Gegor was taken minutes before an explosion blew firefighters more than 15-feet from the front door. No one was injured in what is being described as a backdraft. Click the image for more photos and details.
“Spontaneous combustion” and “freak accident” may not be the best explanations for an explosion in Vineland, New Jersey at a high school pep rally bonfire on Wednesday. But those terms were used by a police official after the blast that could be heard seven-miles away sent pallets flying and injured a firefighter. The fire department admits to using diesel fuel and another accelerant to start the fire. And the many pictures taken by APP.com’s Craig Matthews show just that. Click the image to read more.
Dozens of cats die in house fire: The fire had burned itself out by the time the pet sitter arrived to find smoke in the Fairfax County, Virginia home. Click here.
Captain delivers Santa and winds up in the hospital: Lancaster, Pennsylvania Captain Ken Barton was seriously injured as he fell about 12 feet from Truck 2. Reports indicate it happened as the ladder was being bedded following its use to pluck Santa off the roof of a building and deliver home to the waiting crowd below. Click here for more.
Cameras rolling before fire engines arrive at gas explosion: One house was destroyed and another damaged in Bushnell, Illinois. Check out the early video.
Steelers’ owner’s defense saves the day: A runaway fire engine in Florida hits the property of a prominent citizen. Click here for details.
Dave has screwed this story up twice, but it still is interesting: In my haste to head out of town early Thanksgiving morning I twice misidentified exactly where this story is unfolding (but I was still very pleased with my headline). It is a legal battle in Heath, Ohio over whether businesses can be forced to have a key box for fire department entry. Read the arguments.
The future of firefighting?: Not quite robots, but the idea is the same. Let the machine take the heat and apply the wet stuff. Two videos for you.
Crash and fire: Some Baltimore County action Saturday evening courtesy of Michael “FirePix1075″ Schwartzberg. It happened on Liberty Road at Kelox Road just down the street from the STATter911.com boyhood home (I believe there is an historical marker). In fact it is quite possible my initials may be on the retaining wall seen in the video, as my friends and I were playing around it when the concrete was being poured. But I digress. One person was trapped with a total of five people hurt. Details can be found on the Pikesville VFC website.