Previous coverage of this story here, here, here & here
Lt. Robert "Cadillac" Alvarado is the latest of five DC firefighters injured in Friday's fire on 48th Street, Northeast to be released form the Medstar Burn at the Washington Hospital Center.
Also this evening, IAFF Local 36 is making the case that because three of the city's 16 ladder trucks (Trucks 10, 11 & 16) were out of service at the time of the fire due to maintenance problems it impacted response times. Union President Ed Smith says a combination of transfers to cover the city due to the missing trucks and another working fire caused delays. Smith believes ongoing maintenance issues for the ladder trucks are a big safety problem for firefighters and the public. Here are excerpts from the story by Tom Howell Jr:
Mr. Smith said it is unclear whether anything would have turned out differently at the Deanwood fire — ladder crews may have been able to ventilate the structure or remove security bars from the windows sooner, he noted — but it highlights the burden created by absent trucks.
Pete Piringer, a spokesman for D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services, said response times to the Deanwood incident were within the acceptable range and there was no gap in service.
Union leaders said the District’s aging ladder trucks frequently go out of service, while limited reserve trucks are often in disrepair or tied up on other calls. The problem did not happen overnight, but needs to be addressed in the fiscal 2012 budget before the fire department gets further behind, Mr. Smith said.
Local 36 provided an update this evening about the two remaining members in the Burn Unit, Firefighter Chucky Ryan and Lt. Ramon Hounshell:
As of 1900 hrs. today, two of the members have been released from the Burn Center at Washington Hospital Center. The remaining two members have both been through surgery, and are recovering peacefully in their respective recovery rooms. Local 36 graciously thanks the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation, for their enduring support of these members and their families from the first few moments after the incident on 48th Pl. NE., providing watchmen over the members during their hospital stays, arranging transportation to and from the Burn Center, and arranging for lodging for family members near the Burn Center – all on a voluntary basis by the members of the Foundation. The DC Firefighters Burn Foundation was formed seven years ago, by members of the DCFD who recognized a chance to support other department members during their time of need. As with many organizations focusing on the department, it's strength depends on the commitment of it's members. If you are interested in becoming a member of the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation, or would like to contribute financial assistance, please visit their homepage, and contact their Board of Directors, or simply ask another member around the firehouse. Local 36 would like to express our deep gratitude to them, for readily providing the information necessary to keep our other members informed over the last 5 days, and for the enduring support they have provided for the last seven years.