Rhett Fleitz has announced to the world he will be at the JEMS & FireEMSBlogs.com Meetup (sponsored by Physio Control) tonight at Uno Chicago Grill – Harborplace Pratt Street Pavilion, 201 East Pratt Street, 2nd floor in Baltimore from 8:00 until 11:00. Captain Willie Wines, his chaperone, body guard and driver, is on the way to Baltimore with this true fire and EMS celebrity as I write this.
Please line up early for the self-proclaimed King of Fire & EMS blogs to sign your FireCritic.com paraphenalia. Be orderly. We don’t want Willie the Moustache to have to break bad on you. And please, please, don’t speak to the King until he speaks to you first. And whatever you do, don’t touch him (that’s protocol with royalty and he’s also very fragile). I have been assured that Willie has the fake ID so King Rhett can get in the place and won’t have to sit outside like last time.
I believe there will be some other bloggers there (including me). But we know that’s not important when the King is around.
Despite this rare and important event for his loyal subjects, STATter911.com has learned all may not be well in the Kingdom. This little video above will give you a preview of what to expect in Baltimore.
Previous discussions of emergency scene photography & videography on STATter911.com can be found here, here, here & here.
My friend Rhett Fleitz posted the video above on his site FireCritic.com yesterday. I can’t say I blame Rhett for doing so. It is the type of video that most of the fire/EMS bloggers would run (including me) because it’s unusual and is probably of interest to our audience (and judging by the more than 100 thousand hits, it is isn’t just fire and EMS people interested in this one).
Rhett wrote the following:
Bonus Video of a patient at a house fire giving the medics the finger! This freakin guys is hilarious! I don’t have a clue what is going on here, other than firefighting is not one of them!
With Rhett not providing any background, I was curious about the story behind it. So I did a few minutes of research.
It turns out the fire occurred in January of this year on Stewart Avenue in Nanaimo, British Columbia. As you will hear in the news video below, the man being wheeled out and putting on a bit of a show for the crowd is physically disabled. Firefighters found him in his cottage on the property and carried him to safety (seen on the video). Firefighters say they didn’t put water on the fire immediately due to a downed power line at the burning home.
To me, both of these videos are very interesting in that they bring up a lot of news judgment and ethical questions for both traditional media and those of us in the blogging world. I will admit, now that I know the man is disabled (something I am sure Rhett didn’t know), I feel a little dirty about running it. I am sure I will rightfully get criticism for posting it anyway, but my reasoning is that I want to illustrate this issue (some will call that a convenient excuse and I wouldn’t blame them a bit). But I don’t think running a video on my blog that is all over the Internet will necessarily cause any additional harm (more pitiful justification by Dave).
Maybe I have lost my hard edge since leaving TV in June, but I am even questioning if I would I have run the video in the news story of two firefighters carrying the man to safety. I know news directors who, upon learning of the disability, would be concerned about the man’s dignity and ordered that it not air or that we cover up the man’s face. At the same time photographs and video of firefighters rescuing people have long been a staple of the news media and are some of the most powerful images many of us have seen. The dignity of the victims in those pictures is usually not a topic of discussion.
In previous postings (see links above) many of you think there should be restrictions on showing stuff like this, or wrongly believe it is a HIPAA violation (if this was in the U.S.). Others have pointed out the news media often sanitizes things too much and we should show the public what it’s really like. Usually I fall in the “show the reality” category. The “reality” for fire and EMS bloggers could include video of a guy shooting the bird to an EMS crew (something TV news isn’t likely to show).
Let me be clear that I absolutely defend the right of both photographers to shoot the video and to air or post it. The same goes with what Rhett and I have done. To me the question of, “Can you do this?” isn’t even up for debate. It’s a question of should we.
With 38 years in the news business I have had to make a lot of these decisions. Some are easier than others. This one has me a bit stumped. What do you think?
The Fire Critic finds his own must see video: Rhett Fleitz posted this first last night on FireCritic.com. It is from a week ago at 22 SE 9th Drive in Pendleton, Oregon. At the :35 mark the firefighter on the porch roof taking out a window finds it warming up very quickly and is engulfed in flames for a moment. There were no injuries reported. Also from the Fire Critic (my wife came up with and likes the name Fire Cricket better), Rhett shows us just how out of touch with reality he can be with his very first effort at directing a video. The feature stars the two people he most admires and wants to be like when and if he grows up. Please take a look. Rhett produced this video because he is feeling a little left out of the conversation these days and doesn’t think his fellow bloggers pay enough attention to him. Please cheer him up by clicking here and letting him know how much you like his video (even if you really don’t).
Who knew there was a Blue Ball Fire Company outside of Pennsylvania?: This one is in Freeport, New York and it’s fire chief has been suspended for thirty days. All because of blue balls. Blue plastic balls found by Freeport’s mayor in the cab of a fire truck. It is an interesting and unusual story. You don’t want to miss it. Click here.
Collapse video: In case you missed it there is good video of a wall collapse during a fire at a truck parts store with apartments above in Stroud Township, Pennsylvania. There were also some small explosions. Check it out.
Bracing for layoffs in Camden, New Jersey: It’s a busy fire department in a run down city with lots to burn. They haven’t had a recruit class in more than four years. But the plan right now is to lay off 30 percent of the firefighters plus gut the police department. Here’s the latest.
Another house fire in Kosciusko, Mississippi: This is the third one we’ve posted in a month with raw video from Kosyonline.com. Watch the video.
The anonymity of the Internet: Regular reader John Sachen sent this one along and while it is not specifically fire or EMS related it is well worth reading. It is titled, Online Anonymity Breeds Contempt. The New York Times op-ed piece by Julie Zhuo includes this line, “Morality, Plato argues, comes from full disclosure; without accountability for our actions we would all behave unjustly.” The column points out there is no accountability with the anonymity the Internet can provide and society may not be the better for that. Check it out.
Budget trumps need to recruit paramedics: In Montgomery County, Maryland the County Council clearly said no to a plan to raise the pay for paramedics to get it closer to what others in the region are paying. Chief Richard Bowers pointed out that only ten of the last 2600 applicants had ALS training. Here’s more.
Union fighting 24/48 shift change: In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania the mayor says she can save lots of money by moving firefighters to a 24 hours on and 48 hours off shift and cut 12 positions in the process. The issue is said to be $1.6 million dollars in OT. The union has been strongly against this and has scheduled a press conference for later today. Here’s more.
Union president disciplined for refusing to work 72-hours straight: In Winchester, Kentucky a letter of reprimand has been ordered by the Winchester City Commission for a firefighter who refused to work three days straight during a busy period. Raymond Patrick, the union president in Winchester, declined a supervisor’s order last month to keep working though a second extra 24-hour shift. Here’s the story.
Raw video from Prince George’s County, Maryland restaurant fire: The Pizza Hut in Upper Marlboro was heavily damaged around 4:30 yesterday morning. This is Morningside VFD video. Click here for a WUSA9.com slide show.
Our friends at FireEMSblogs.com including Backstep Firefighter Bill Carey and Fire Critic Rhett Fleitz have been running something called a blog carnival for a while. Looking at some of the silliness that has been going on in the fire blogosphere of late, a three-ring circus might be a better description. The idea is for a bunch of us write about the same topic and it is all posted together. This is my first carnival but not my first rodeo.
ChiefReasonArt.com lowers its standards. Click the image to lower yours.
This time the goal is for us to come up with a social media policy for our departments. Obviously I don’t have a department to write a policy for. When I did have a department, more than 30-years-ago, we didn’t have social media, just social diseases. Now we have both. I guess it’s progress that you can blog about your social disease and how you caught it.
I gave the project of coming up with this policy to my crack staff here at STATter911.com’s World Headquarters. The video above is what they came up with.
If you can sit through latest in the back and forth that has taken place between Iron Firemen’s Willie Wines and Rhett (more on that in a second) there are actually some nuggets of useful information (seriously). My top ten suggestions for firefighters using social media are buried somewhere in the video.
You will also find that in many ways the video itself is a good example of why you need to have good social media practices.
Now, for the few who have been following the three-way blog/video conversation that Willie, Rhett and I have been entertaining ourselves with, there is bad news. It has grown. It is now a foursome.
Seriously, what does this guy Fleitz have against me that he would publish these old photos? Have I done something to him?
Art Goodrich has added his mighty pen to this battle of nitwits (you would think he would be smarter than to get involved with us). Art may be the only one who has any real talent. He can actually write.
Please view ChiefReasonArt.com’s I-Team investigation (did you know there is no “you” in I-Team?) on my running battle with The Fire Cricket (AKA Fireboy from Roanoke, King of the Fire Blogs, Cotton Candy & Willie’s Little Buddy). Art somehow penetrated the security at the STATter911.com World Headquarters Building. You can read what he found at CSI – Roanoke; Special Blogs Unit.
I have prepared an official response to this absolutely scurrilous report. Here is my statement:
It has come to our attention that a blogger who goes by the name Chief Reason Art has made some allegations about our operation. We are distressed that a former fire chief and respected member of the fire service community would print what amount to lies and innuendo. At the advice of legal counsel we will not be able to provide specifics about any of these allegations and will have no further comment on this matter.
These assaults on me are coming from many different directions (including my own people). The video below (from IronFiremen.com’s Willie Wines) was apparently shot in an emergency department in Roanoke. It includes someone they claim is me standing over a gurney carrying an apparently unconscious fire blogger. You will have to view it to get the full context.
And finally The Fire Cricket checks in from Roanoke. He has uncovered two pictures from my past that I am sure my enemies (and there are many) will enjoy seeing. I really don’t understand why this guy Fleitz is after me. Seriously, what have I done to tick him off?
A truly fascinating video: I apologize if you have seen this before, but I had not. This version was posted to YouTube yesterday. It’s reported to be a 1941 film of members of Italy’s fire brigade strutting their stuff. The first thing that comes to mind watching the coordination and timing is synchronized swimming. Sure enough, later in the film they are all in the swimming pool. I don’t know if they could fight fire, but it looked pretty and some of those moves took a lot of guts. The idea that Mussolini made sure the trains ran on schedule is now seen as legend rather than fact, but this film seems to show his firefighters had their timing down.
Our reader’s words come to life : It isn’t quite Masterpiece Theatre but we have put together dramatic readings of some of the recent comments to STATter911.com. It is quite moving. Pure poetry. While not really a “must see” video, it’s kind of in a category of its own. Click here to watch the video.
Buy this book! Will Wyatt's And a Paycheck, Too! would make a great holiday gift. Click the image to read why Will wrote it and why Dave likes it.
Speaking of comments: We have quite a lively debate over the ambulance wars story from Las Vegas. A lot of interesting arguments over the best model for providing EMS. Click here.
30th anniversary of a deadly fire: There were a lot of lessons from the MGM Grand fire of November 21, 1980. But as one of our reader’s wrote, not all of them have sunk in 30-years later. Particularly how effective automatic sprinklers are. We have gathered reports and videos for your reading. This history lesson is well worth your time. Please take a look. Over at Command Safety, Christopher Naum had the same idea but went quite a few steps further.
Two for the price of one in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania: I always like it when I am researching one interesting story and find another one in the process. That was the case over the weekend where a search for the details behind the video of a burning ambulance brought me to the story of a rugby team that trashed the Bloomsburg Fire Department banquet hall. Read it all here. Update- Bloomsburg FD was able to hold a Sunday morning breakfast fundraiser despite the damage. Click here to read and watch the story.
Looking again at FDNY firehouse closings: Firegeezer has the latest on the revived plan to shut down 20 firehouses at night on a rotating basis.
Controversy over FDNY calendar: It’s not what you think. It isn’t about sex. It’s about money. Here’s the story.
Distracted driving: One of our readers from South Portland, Maine sends this reminder of distracted driving. A driver on a cell phone hit this police car and injured Officer Rocco Navarro. Click the image to watch an interview with the officer.
Mississippi house fire: I have no clue how to pronounce the name of the time but this is our second recent video of a fire in Kosciusko. Check it out.
And they are off – turkey fryer fire week: Already one in Fort Myers, Florida. My guess is it will be the beginning of a trend for the week. (What, is Carnac the Magnificent now running this blog? Are you sure you want to go out on a limb with that prediction, Dave?)
The volunteer blues in South Dakota: Around the Rapid City area volunteer fire departments are seeing the same trend as elsewhere in the country. The Rapid City Journal has a detailed article on the impact of the reduced availablity of volunteers and how many departments are wrestling with the idea of hiring career firefighters. Here’s more.
Texas fire leaves four dead: A Sunday morning fire in a Harlingen trailer park left four people dead and one injured. Read more.
My favorite story of recent days: The Fire Critic got in early on the woman who almost laughed herself to death at a comedy club. Read the story and watch the video. It’s a shame the “Critic” isn’t old enough to get into a club where they sell booze and have adult humor.
They’re out. They’re in. They’re out again?: The saga of Flint, Michigan firefighters. They have been asked to take a 10 percent pay cut or lose a dozen firefighters. Likely cut, the firefighters who were brought back from previous layoffs thanks to federal grant money. But, of course, if the new layoffs occur, the city might have to pay back that money. What a mess.
Firefighter trapped after rig rolls in San Antonio: One firefighter was trapped for about an hour last night as colleagues tried to free his foot after a ladder truck rolled on the way to a call. Injuries to all four on the rig are described as relatively minor.
Firefighter injured in Howard County, Maryland: A firefighter fell fifteen feet down a ravine and was ”mildly injured” last night while tending to a man who was struck by a train in Ellicott City. Here’s more.
From South Carolina, our old friend Pat Walsh sends along this Murrells Inlet/Garden City Fire Department picture from a three-alarm condo fire early Sunday morning. Click the image to learn more about the fire.
Firefighter Chance Zobel: In Columbia, South Carolina they are remembering Firefighter Chance Zobel who was killed over the weekend after being struck by a vehicle while fighting a brush fire on I-20. Click here for the latest. For our earlier coverage on the crash that also critically injured Firefighter Larry Irving, click here.
Pittsburgh firefighter almost falls through the roof: The firefighter was able to catch himself as part of the roof collapsed at a house fire last night. He suffered minor injuries. Here’s more.
Jessie’s (a) girl: Firegeezer has the story of the London Fire Brigade commander who used to be known as Paul and know wants to be called Jessica. The firefighters have been given sensitivity training and a terse warning that, despite knowing this person as a he for quite some time, there will be discipline for those who don’t refer to their boss as a she. I can imagine that a fire station is one of the more challenging environments to try to make this work. Click here for the details.
Firefighter killed in rocket fuel explosion at home: James McGovern, a 22-year-old volunteer with the Longwood Fire Company in suburban Philadelphia died Saturday after experimenting with homemade fuel for his model rockets. Here’s the story.
Two-alarms in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania: Newsworking.org gets some early video from another fire. This one was reported at 2:39 yesterday afternoon. A well-involved home at 10 School Street with exposure problems.
The Fire Critic Rhett Fleitz was the first with this story shortly after it occurred on the Upper West Side of Manhattan yesterday. Rhett found a :20 clip on YouTube showing the burning ambulance after firefighters arrived. The video above is pre-arrival and lasts for a while and through a couple of pops and explosions from inside the unit.
You will see a tow truck in position in front of the ambulance as it’s parked on 59th Street in front of the Emergency Department at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital. Rhett reports the crane had already been called because of some sort problem with the ambulance and was about to be tow it to the repair shop when the fire broke out. The ambulance is a St. Luke’s unit.
On the other side of the street is the John Jay College of Criminal Justice which evacuated its North Hall building (and sent the students and faculty out into the streets).
Click the image below for a slideshow from dnainfo.com:
First due truck closed for Baltimore fatal: Firegeezer takes a look at a fatal fire in Baltimore and the potential impact of rotating closures. Read the details.
While you are in Geezerland you must take a moment to look at the story FossilMedic Mike Ward has dug up. It is the video of a British helicopter pilot doing a medical evacuation mission in Afghanistan. The chopper comes under fire, the aircraft is heavily damaged and Lt. Ian Fortune, the pilot, is struck in the head. Talk about keeping cool under fire and getting the job done. Watch this.
Update your widget: The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has redesigned its widget. If you have a website or blog carrying the widget or want to carry the widget, click here to get the new code.
Remember this one? Pride parade verdict upheld: From SignOnSanDiego.com- “An appellate court panel of three justices has unanimously upheld last year’s jury verdict awarding damages to four San Diego firefighters who sued the city because they had been required to participate in the 2007 gay pride parade in Hillcrest.”
A double whammy to start the DC fire chief’s weekend: As you can imagine there is a lot of discussion about the federal discrimination lawsuit filed Friday against DC Fire & EMS Department Chief Dennis Rubin and two of his assistant fire chiefs. That story is here. Earlier on Friday Chief Rubin’s staff contacted WTOP Radio to say the chief had it wrong about enforced leave for the firefighter/nude chef at Engine 11. Here are the details.
Burned Modesto firefighter back on the job today: This morning Engineer James Adams returns to the Modesto Fire Department on light-duty as a battalion chief’s aide ten months after being critically burned over almost half his body. Adams and Jason Clevenger fell through the roof of a burning home on New Years Day. Here’s the update.
Firefighters are no-shows and one quits: As you will see at the end of the above story, there may be more behind the resignation of one volunteer, but what is clear is none of the 35 volunteers of the Fresno City VFD in Texas (about 20 miles south of Houston) showed up for a Sunday morning house fire. The fire chief says he will investigate. You can read the story here.
LEAD STORY – Paramedic in scuffle with trooper last May arrested yesterday during traffic stop off-duty: It was our top story last year and it keeps on giving. Creek Nation Paramedic Maurice White Jr. was put in jail yesterday morning in Vian, Oklahoma, accused of resisting arrest and other charges. White was in that widely seen video where OHP Trooper Daniel Martin had him in a choke hold. Click here for all of the details known so far.
Win one for the Geezer: I made my choice for the best fire and EMS blog of 2009 a long time ago and I am glad to see that Firegeezer Bill Schumm has been going back and forth for the top spot with his sudden surge yesterday. There are some really good blogs in the running, but we have long admitted our bias for the retired fire captain from Fairfax County. Thank you to my mom and dad for voting for me (I think the wife and son voted for Bill), but if your choice is between Firegeezer and STATter 911, may I suggest a vote for my favorite blog. Click here. Voting ends at 5:59 PM EST.
More on burned firehouse in Ashland, New York: WTEN-TV has now posted some early pictures from a passerby as efforts were made to salvage the rigs in Sunday’s fire that gutted the firehouse. Click here for the video. There are also some new details on the fire and the impact on the community here and here. Click here for earlier coverage.
The story behind the picture. The Los Angeles Times discovers why this 1948 fire truck from a different town has sat on the roof of a building in Vernon, California for decades. Click the image for the answer. Photo by Anne Cusack, Los Angeles Times.
Collapse, explosion, video and pictures as NJ bowling alley goes up in flames: Fifty-years old, the Loyle Lanes in Vineland are no longer. We have put together a lot of elements including a video that shows a bit of a collapse, what it looked like before firefighters arrived and even something exploding. Check it out.
As I recall, the last major bowling alley blaze we ran was also in New Jersey. That was last June in Shrewsbury at Memory Bowling and it had some pretty spectacular video and pictures. If you missed it, check here.
House fire audio and pictures from Fairfax County, VA: Click here for the audio/visual elements from Sunday night’s two-alarm house fire.
Looting at large apartment building fire in Massachusetts: So, what the fire doesn’t take, your local thief grabs. That’s the story from Malden following Saturday’s six-alarm fire. Read and watch what is a pretty sad state of affairs. Thanks to Jimmy Daly for finding this one.
Firefighter resigns over concerns about police impersonation: From Lee, New Hampshire, an Epping volunteer firefighter resigned after pulling over a friend in what some perceived as a case of police impersonation in a community that recently has had such a problem. Read more.
Kennebunkport fire chief indicted: This is an update on a story we brought you in September where there was a bit of a lover’s triangle causing a problem that left a man’s face smashed by a motorcycle helmet.
37 firefighters pack their bags in Cleveland: The layoffs took effect yesterday, but it is possible that they could return soon. Read and watch the story.