Above is video by a neighbor (meanscreen) at what turned into a five-alarm fire in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh yesterday morning. At the beginning of the clip is the explosion described by residents of the building. A newspaper article calls it a backdraft but other news sites say the explosion is still under investigation. Below is another view of the blast.
When smoke began pouring out of a utility closet Friday morning in the Oakland apartment building where Charlie Koch lived, he began pounding on his neighbors’ doors.
He grabbed a flashlight, headed toward the stairs and tried to help guide people out of the building. They made it out moments before a backdraft caused an explosion that sent bricks flying off of the building and onto the roof of another complex nearby.
It was “very lucky,” Pittsburgh arson Detective Michael Burns said, that no one was injured when the five-alarm blaze broke out in the basement ceiling of 519 Zulema St., where there appeared to be an electrical problem. Detective Burns said he doubts charges will be filed in connection with the fire.
Detective Mike Burns, who works on the city’s arson squad, said there was an “electrical malfunction” where the fire started between the basement and the first floor. The flames spread through the wood frame structure and two shafts that extended through the height of the building.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. “I have received reports that they heard a boom or an explosion, but I can’t confirm that,” Jones said.
None of the tenants in the six-unit, 15-bedroom building was injured, Pittsburgh fire Chief Darryl E. Jones said. One firefighter cut his hand but the injury was minor, Jones said.
The roof collapsed into the building’s third floor and caused major damage, Jones said.
Firefighters cleared apartments on the first and second floors, then “took a defensive position,” Jones said, explaining that they could no longer save the building and instead focused on preventing the fire from spreading to neighboring homes.
Just when it looked like there was progress in Obion County, Tennessee there appears to be a major step backward, once again making firefighters the responsible party for bad policy. Obion County, as many of you know, does not have its own fire protection but relies on municipal departments that respond into the county to reported fires at the homes of residents who have paid a $75 subscription fee or on all fires where there is a report of someone trapped.
It was one of those municipal departments , South Fulton, that twice made international news when firefighters did not extinguish the burning homes of two non-subscribers in a 13-month period. After really bad publicity from both cases, that even brought death threats to firefighters, South Fulton changed its policy in March (see video below). The firefighters will now respond to all reported fires in the portion of Obion County it handles and bill non-subscribers $3500 for the response. Not a perfect system, but a step in the direction of taking firefighters out of the middle and not putting them in a position of sitting and watching a home burn.
But Obion County, which has long ignored the local fire chiefs and their plea to institute some sort of fire tax, has now made a change in its agreements with the municipal departments. It addresses two points that STATter911.com and our readers brought up when we first told you about this issue in October 2010. Essentially, the latest issue is about the reliability of the information flow. How do you know for sure if someone is trapped or not if you don’t respond and how reliable is the list of subscribers administered by Obion County?
We have asked on numerous occaisions of those who have disagreed with our position which government agency they trust to be 100 percent accurate in its paperwork and data when you have to make a respond or don’t repond decision? Obion County has the solution in its new agreement. They want firefighters to be on the hook if the information is wrong.
Regardless of whether the homeowner paid the fee, firefighters will respond if someone’s trapped inside. The fear is, what if someone’s inside, no one knows and that person dies?
Another common concern is the database of subscribers. What if by mistake someone who paid the fee is left out and firefighters let the home burn?
Folks in Obion county said both scenarios are very real and very scary.
(Town of Obion Chief Jamie) Evans said he’s required to check the computer database before responding to a county fire. While he’s not responsible for putting names in the database, he fears under the new county contract, he would be responsible if someone’s left out.
“I can’t edit it,” Evans said. “I can’t do anything but access and look at it, so I really don’t think it should be my responsibility to take the blame.”
According to WPSD-TV, Obion County officials had told the chiefs that if there is a time more than 70 percent of county residents became fire protection subscribers they would call for a special election to determine if there should be a fire tax. Chief Evans says it has reached that point. No word yet on the election.
There is quite an interesting development in South Fulton, Tennessee. South Fulton is the city that became the poster child for “pay for spray” after firefighters refused to extinguish two house fires because the residents across the line in unincorporated Obion County hadn’t paid their annual subscription fee. After the first incident in October 2010, STATter911.com and others who hate to see firefighters put in that no-win situation strongly urged that if you had to have a subscription fire department it was much better to have a policy of putting out the fire and then sending a substantial bill to the homeowner. No matter how negligent a homeowner may be, it’s the firefighters who end looking bad when they show up and do nothing.
FireCritic.com’s Rhett Fleitz insisted that I was on the wrong side of this one and strongly argued that it was okay in this case for firefighters to let a home burn. He wrote that the system operated as it should.
Now word comes from the Wall Street Journal that the leaders of South Fulton are considering a significant change that should avoid the publicity that brought the city and its fire department scorn from around the world. This policy change, expected to be voted on today, sounds very familiar (are you listening Rhett?):
Firefighters in South Fulton, Tenn., have let two homes burn to the ground over the past two years since the city commission started enforcing a rule that the department serve only subscribers who pay the $75 annual fee. The city commission is expected to vote Thursday whether to amend that policy to allow the fire department to put out all blazes and then bill nonsubscribers $3,500 for the service. Paying members wouldn’t be billed.
South Fulton Mayor David Crocker didn’t respond to requests for comment. The town’s fire chief, David Wilds, when asked how the crew reacted as it watched a home burn down, said: “They didn’t like it.”
Let’s hope that the city commission votes in favor of the change and their firefighters aren’t ever again forced to watch someone lose their property without lifting a hose. And before Rhett starts rewriting history about who wrote what back in 2010, here’s his original column and here’s mine.
The news from South Fulton is part of a report that takes a look at the reasons behind subscription fire services. The article, by Timothy W. Martin, also looks at Bell County, Kentucky where a voluntary subscription service was recently started. It’s worth your time to read the entire article.
While the overall issue of a strict "pay for spray" policy is still very much alive in Obion County, Tennessee and an important subject for debate, a local chief now says the widely reported facts about Monday's incident are not accurate. Union City Fire Department Chief Kelly Edmison says the South Fulton Fire Department was never on the scene of the house fire. Edmison tells STATter911.com the woman whose home was burning saw a fire engine from Kentucky which did not have the authority to act.
According to the version of events supplied a short time ago by Chief Edmison, unlike last year's incident, South Fulton firefighters were not on the scene refusing to douse the flames. It is unclear why South Fulton's mayor or fire chief previously did not, or were unable to, make this clear to the local news media.
Still, even in this latest version of events, firefighters did respond to the call and came within two blocks of the burning home. Following the South Fulton policy, firefighters did not attempt to put the fire out. As we posted earlier today, this is something Chief Edmison and other municipal chiefs in Obion County are trying to change. Below, Chief Edmison explains the details, as he knows them, from Monday's incident and provides more background about the battle over the subscription fire service:
South Fulton NEVER made it to the scene of the fire! I just talked with Chief Wilds moments ago. The call came in as a city run. Fulton, KY shares the state line with South Fulton Fire Department. they have Auto-Aid between the two of them for CITY calls. The call was dispatched to South Fulton as though it were a city run. They were told fire on "Cavitt." Cavitt St. is in the city. Cavitt Lane, is in the county. SFFD responded to Cavitt St. Fulton, KY Fire Department caught glimpse of a South Fulton Police car heading towards E. Cavitt. They in turn followed. SFFD after getting to Cavitt St, they could see the fire (fully involved) and realized the call was in the county, they also knew those trailers were not covered under the policy. They radioed Fulton to stand down as it was a county non covered property. Fulton's truck stopped two blocks short of the actual fire. It was their truck that was seen by witness's NOT South Fulton. I also talked with the Fulton Chief. It bothered them that they couldn't help but them being from out of state and only having authority by South Fulton could not respond after SFFD standing them down. Both departments then returned to quarters. NO one went on scene regardless what any area news media claimed or even what the local paper reported.
Now, as I have said, I don't like the subscription program. However Union City has operated this way since the early 60's. Currently with a 73% participation in our district. It was the hopes of the 8 city fire chiefs (because there "ain't no COUNTY fire department) that the county commission could be convince to go with a fire tax and contract services from the 8 city departments. They didn't want to pass one and apparently the county residents have choose to remain quiet and not force the issue. The ONLY reason I and the other departments have agreed to go along with the county wide subscription at this time is that it is providing funding for 5 other departments now that have been getting nothing in the past except revenues from their respective cities. Our hopes are that with a 70% collection county wide the commission would favor a tax. Politics now comes into play. We are told that by state law, a county fire tax would place too high of a fee on the farmers. Obion county is mostly agriculture based. Many of the county commissioners are farmers. I'll not say more.
Another note, in fairness to the county, the not responding to non-subscribers is NOT a county policy. That is left up to each city to make that decision. They are only collecting the money for the individual departments.
Until the county residents rise up and demand a county fire tax, I don't see the problem being solved. With 70% county wide supporting the subscription program, you would think they would support a tax which reduces that fee.
Bottom line, the cities are not going to provide fire protection to the county for nothing. We as chiefs have to carry out the policies of our individual governments or we can choose to "go elsewhere." I currently am committed to protecting the City of Union City taxpayers AND the 73% of the county customers in our district.
As was stated above, all cities pulling back to their city limits would probably force the issue. But I believe in my case, our "city fathers" aren't quite willing to do that to the 73% who have supported us for so many years.
We'll get through this; we chief's haven't given up. The fires remain hot; but sometimes the politics burns hotter.
You may recall in October, 2010, when the world became familiar with Obion County, Tennessee and learned about something much of the general public was unfamiliar with, subscription fire service, one person spoke up right away on behalf of the firefighters who protect county residents. He is Union City Fire Department Chief Kelly Edmison.
Chief Edmison wrote a column for STATter911.com and made it clear that the firefighters aren't happy with the system either and have been trying to change it. (During last year's incident we pointed out, instead of trying unsuccesfully to chase the TV news crew from the scene, South Fulton FD should have explained this fact from the start so the public fully understood who was responsible for this system.)
Union City FD also protects part of Obion County through a subscription fee and has policies similar to South Fulton. But Chief Edmison indicated last year his department, once on the scene of a burning home, would have had a different outcome.
Even before last year's fire that the South Fulton FD watched burn, the chiefs had submitted a proposal to Obion County officials to implement a fire tax. Instead, the county went in the opposite direction and expanded the subscription service.
In addition, Wednesday night we showed you the story of Randy Evans with the Obion City Fire Department who also is trying to make it clear the firefighters want this system changed. Obion City firefighters, while not involved in the fire on Monday, have been receiving death threats because of mistaken identity, due to the name of the department (click here for that story).
As for Chief Edmison, he sent STATter911.com the following email Wednesday and asked me to share the latest efforts to get firefighters out of the middle and allow them to do what they are supposed to do. Here's Chief Edmison's update:
First off, the call that SFFD received initially was for an in town structure fire. The particular street has both a “Street” and a “Lane”. The “Lane” portion ended up being in the county. Not the city limits.
Where the County is at this time, is that the whole county has implemented a subscription program (July 1, 2011). As you may remember, South Fulton, Kenton and Union City were the only ones with such a program. The county is now doing the collection of the subscription fees for the departments (with the exception of South Fulton who has decided to continue to collect their own). Countywide right now we are seeing almost 70% participation.
The “Chiefs” hope that this figure will encourage the county at some point to pass a county fire tax and be done with this problem. The current subscription fee is $75 per year. If it were a tax and 100% compliant that fee/tax would probably be down around $55 or $60. How often does a politician have the opportunity to pass a tax, when 70% of the populace are in favor of it AND save them $15 or $20 per year?
Our Chief’s aren’t looking at the subscription program as the “Goal.” It’s merely a step in what we hope will eventually “fix the problem.” Meanwhile, our fellow firefighters continue to take a beating for something they truly aren’t in control of.
One firefighter was killed and another was seriously injured when part of a burning apartment building collapsed in Worcester early Thursday morning.
John (local paper has it as "Jon") Davies, a 17-year veteran of the department, was killed when he and another firefighter went back to search for a missing person inside the burning building at 44 Arlington Street after 4 a.m.
Firefighters initially cleared 12 occupants from the building. One of the building's occupants told firefighters that there was another person who may be trapped in a rear back bedroom.
Video above from Michael Brogan.
Firefighter Davies, a 17-year veteran of the Worcester Fire Department and father to three sons, and his partner, Firefighter Carroll, a 14-year fire veteran, went back inside to search for that victim. The building collapsed on top of them. Firefighter Davies was killed, and Firefighter Carroll was trapped for almost an hour until his colleagues could free him from the rubble.
The above clip includes video from Matthew Gregoire, Providence Fire Videos.
Randy Evans has been a volunteer firefighter for 30 years and is a member of the Obion City Fire Department. His department is one that serves Obion County with a subscription fire service but was not involved in Monday's fire that has again put the local fire department's in the news around the world.
Even though it was the South Fulton Fire Department that followed it's town policy of letting property belonging to non-subscribers burn, Obion City FD has been receving hate mail and death threats because of its name. They have been forced to take down the department's Facebook page.
"We've had everything from "I'm going to shoot every firefighter to we're going to burn station to we're not American," Evans said.
But as nasty as these confused callers can be, deep down, this firefighter shares their concerns, since his own department has the same pay for spray policy.
Evans said in addition to a countywide public relations nightmare, pay for spray makes it tough to recruit new, young firefighters. He fears if something doesn't change, you'll see fewer new firefighters and more empty lockers.
"We plead with the county court to turn our hands loose, work with us, give us the opportunity to serve Obion County," Evans said.
It's just sheer luck that Obion Fire Department has never had to turn down a call. But it could happen someday. We asked Evans what he would do if they got a call from someone who hadn't paid the fee. He said he didn't want to discuss that.
Yes, it's deja vu all over again in Obion County, Tennessee. The same fire company, the same TV station and the same subscription fire service have all come together to make news more than a year after the pay for spray policy made headlines around the world.
Yesterday's fire was at the home of Vicky Bell who called 911. The South Fulton Fire Department responded but WPSD-TV reports they kept their distance and watched the mobile home burn because a $75 subscription fee had not been paid.
South Fulton provides fire service to its residents but charges a fee for homeowners living in adjacent unincorporated areas of Obion County. Obion County does not have its own fire department and there is no fire tax. Local fire chiefs in the past have lobbied the county to get them out of the middle, so they aren't put in a position to watch someone's property burn.
In October 2010, WPSD-TV was on the scene with firefighters as Gene Cranick's home burned. The firefighters refused to put water on the home but sprayed a subscribing neighbor's residence nearby. The story was extensively discussed on cable TV by Keith Olbermann and Glenn Beck.
While I was quite busy yesterday gathering material for a very, very special Thanksgiving Day message that will soon be posted (in it I will reveal something that may shake the world of fire and EMS blogging) two of my blogging colleauges were actually finding dramatic must see videos.
Above is video from Anthem, Arizona that Firefighter Spot posted showing a burning box truck running into the fire engine that was working on extinguishing the flames.
On October 21 through October 23 I am heading to St. Charles, Missouri as part of a roving gang of fire service educators who make up Go Forward Training. Looking at the names of who will be there I am figuring they brought me along as the court jester to provide comic relief (or they just need someone to abuse).
Apparently they are going to use me in a couple of roles for the weekend (most likely sweeping floors and carrying bags) but my main purpose will be to teach you how to keep your fire department from being one of those "must see videos" or "must read stories" on STATter911.com. You know the type of stories I am talking about. Ones where the local news media or a citizen's video doesn't show the department in the most favorable light.
I proposed that the easiest way to handle this was for those attending the weekend show up with large check in hand made out to STATter911 Communications. The Go Forward corporate attorneys frowned upon that idea using words like terrorism and blackmail. Typical lawyerly response. They seem to shoot down every foward thinking good idea.
Instead, I am going to have to actually prepare something and teach you about the common mistakes that plague fire department after fire department, particularly in the age of social media. I think there is a lot to learn right from the pages of STATter911.com (he's so modest). The session is titled Don’t Be a STATter911 Headline: Reputation Management in the Digital Age.
As many of you know, the new James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act does not cover cancer. But the administrator of the World Trade Center Health Program is charged with making regular studies to see if the data shows that cancer can be linked to those who worked at Ground Zero. The first review was released today and it indicates that, so far, the evidence isn't there to put cancer on the list of covered illnesses.
Erik Eitel, who is vice-president of IAFF Local 3786 (Robbinsville, New Jersey), was on his way into work early yesterday morning and was down the street when this call came in on West Manor Way. Here's what Erik wrote about the video:
The fire was dispatched at approximately 05:45 hours. It's a 100 x 50 wood frame, metal skinned warehouse that contained a limo business and landscape company.
The following companies responded:
E 82 (Monmouth County)
RIT E 16
RIT E 32 (Monmouth County)
The fire was brought under control in about 90 minutes, companies operated for several hours doing overhaul.
I am a little slow in bringing you the quite powerful video presentation the Seattle Fire Department produced in conjunction with the Raleigh Fire Department. It looks at the lessons learned following the crash of Raleigh's Ladder 4. But Glenn Usdin's FireTruckBlog.com jumped right on it. If you missed it, click here.
"We issue a sincere and deep apology to Firefighter [Robert] Keiley and this ad will not run again." The New York Post reports those are the words of John Barker, president of the Barker/DZP ad agency. It is a reversal for the agency that originally stood on the ground that a standard modeling waiver signed by Keiley allowed the agency to use his image as it saw fit. (Keep reading for my views on how a firm in the business of influencing the public could be so tone deaf in figuring out how to handle something like this.)
Here are more in excerpts from the latest New York Post article by Jamie Schram:
The Post reported today that Keiley — who joined New York's Bravest only in 2004 — was working as a model when he posed for what he thought would be used for a run-of-the-mill fire-prevention ad.
He appeared in generic firefighter gear and gripped a helmet for the shot — not the photo of the destroyed Twin Towers that was "put" into his hands with Photoshop software for the Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern ad.
"It's an insult to the Fire Department. It's an insult to all the families who lost people that day," said Keiley, 34, an ex-cop who now works out of an engine company in Flatbush, Brooklyn.
Keily had threatened to sue.
I find it fascinating that even people in the image business couldn't effectively deal with this bad news right from the start. While it is possible they may have been legally and technically correct, they weren't going to win the hearts and minds of the public with the agency's initial statement about Firefighter Keiley signing the release. With the emotions that surround 9-11 I doubt that this ad was wise even if it wasn't a real firefighter as the model.
This is a reason why it is good for the deciders (thank you George W. Bush), including fire chiefs, to have people who will provide an honest view of how actions and decisions look to those on the outside. While I saw it as inevitable this ad would be pulled as soon as I read the first paragraph, people who had a stake in producing it might have been too invested in their work to see how this was playing.
Interestingly, the ad agency has figured out the ad must go, but Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern are still in the defend at all cost mode. From the New York Post:
But law firm senior partner Marc Bern insisted it did nothing wrong.
"It was all appropriate, due to the release signed by [Keiley]," he said. "We are trying to help the victims of 9/11."
Below is the complete statement released yesterday from the ad agency, Barker/DZP.
Our agency sincerely apologies for any pain caused by this ad, featured in today’s New York Post.
When creating the ad, we purchased stock photography of an actor dressed as a firefighter, and we obtained all required model releases and real property owner releases, specifically including use for any purpose (such as advertising) as well all rights regarding the manipulation and/or alteration of the image. This is standard procedure for advertising agencies. At no time did we have any idea—or could we have had any knowledge–that the person in the photo, Robert Keiley, was an actual firefighter, much less a New York City firefighter. This unfortunate coincidence makes the ad into something we never intended it to be.
The intent of the ad is very positive: making the heroes of 9/11 aware that funds are now available to help them through the Zadroga Act. It was never our intention to offend anyone with this effort, quite the opposite in fact.
We hold all firefighters in the highest regard, and believe all New York City firefighters are heroes. While our mistake was entirely inadvertent, we understand why the ad has caused hurt, we regret its use, and we accept responsibility. Our client was uninvolved in the selection of this photo and had no knowledge of any of these details. Out of respect for all parties involved, Barker/DZP has voluntarily withdrawn from this assignment.
We sincerely apologize to Firefighter Keiley, as well as the New York City Fire Department, and the brave firefighters who fearlessly served their city and gave their lives on 9/11.
New York, NY
March 28, 2011
Firefighter Robert Keiley is livid. Keiley, who moonlights as a model, was shocked last week to find his image on a flier at a fundraising event for the World Police Fire Games. The ad shows the soot-stained Keily holding a picture of the World Trade Center remains. In bold letters at the top it says "I was there". It is followed by the words "And now, Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern is there for me."
Keiley told the Post he thought he was posing for a fire prevention ad. He says the original photo, before it was altered, showed him holding a helmet and not the picture.
Keiley is thinking of filing a law suit but the ad agency, Barker/DZP, told the Post he signed his rights away in a release. The law firm told reporters to call the ad agency for comment.
Here's more from the Post:
"It's an insult to the Fire Department. It's an insult to all the families who lost people that day," said Keiley, 34, an ex-cop who now works out of an engine company in Flatbush, Brooklyn.
"It makes me look like I'm cashing in on 9/11, saying I was there even though I was never there, and that I'm sick and possibly suing, trying to get a chunk of money."
WTC-disaster law firm Worby Groner raised eyebrows in May when news surfaced that its lawyers were ready to take home a third or more of a settlement negotiated on behalf of sickened Ground Zero workers.
An angry federal judge said the arrangement gave too much money to the legal team and too little to sick workers — and the firm reduced its fees.
Keiley said that in one of his most painful moments since the ad surfaced, he had to call his best friend, whose brother died in 9/11, to tell him he had nothing to do with it.
At the bottom, in tiny letters, the ad stated, "This is an actor portrayal of a potential Zadroga claimant," referring to sick 9/11 workers who could receive aid under the federal James Zadroga Act.
For the second year, my friend or fiend (depending on the day, or even the hour) Rhett Fleitz of Fire Critic infamy (explain it to him Willie) is trying to determine your favorite fire and EMS blog. Now, don’t think for a moment Rhett is doing this because he’s so vain he wants everyone to vote for his blogs. Rhett made his blogs ineligible. But, despite his many faults (that list runs longer than he does), Rhett is the man when it comes to promoting fire and EMS blogs and other social media outlets. Rhett is quite generous in this regard, as is his hosting of this contest. Maybe we can do like Miss America and give him the Miss Congeniality award.
While I support Rhett’s efforts and am glad to promote the contest, I really don’t want you to vote for STATter911.com. It’s not false modesty. I just think this honor should go to a blogger who spent more than the few years I did in the fire service. While my time as a firefighter (something Rhett claims never happened) was one of the highlights of my life (right up there with meeting Jerry Engle and Rhett) I think of myself more as a washed up reporter who happens to do a fire and EMS blog (the same way I’m sure most of you think of me).
Last year I put my weight (such as it is) behind my friend, retired fire captain Bill Schumm at Firegeezer. As his campaign manager, I came up short. We were beaten out by a paramedic who doesn’t even respond to 911 calls. If you keep encouraging them, these foreigners are going to take all of our fire and EMS blogging jobs. Can’t we build a firewall around the Internet?
I am still a firm believer that Bill has one of the top fire & EMS blogs in the blogosphere, but the masses have spoken. They want younger, hipper, someone with a funny accent and a lot of 9s in his url (all of you who voted for him, remember it is just the devil doing a handstand). This year I am going with Glenn Usdin’s FireTruckBlog.com and I am asking the legions of STATter911.com fans to do the same. Glenn is younger and hipper than Bill (sorry Bill). At least we are moving in the right direction.
Also, as I have mentioned before, I’ve been working with Glenn on FireTruckBlog.com. So, those of you who are dissapointed I don’t want you to vote for me, it is the next best thing.
But it isn’t just because I have a business relationship that I am supporting Glenn (okay, it does help, but he doesn’t even know I am doing this), I also believe in what he is doing. FireTruckBlog.com’s name says it all.
While the blog is one of the new kids on the block, Glenn isn’t. He has a wealth of experience in the fire service in New York and Pennsylvania, buying and selling fire trucks and as a writer and photographer. If you are looking for stories, video, pictures and links about fire apparatus it is THE site for you. It covers an important aspect of the fire service, there’s lots of new material each day and it is consistent. It’s everything STATter911.com isn’t.
In Cedar Rapids, Iowa a helmet-cam is making news. Cedar Rapids Fire Department Captain Rick Halleran got permission to try one out. A fire on December 8 was captured via the camera and is now the focus of an article in the Cedar Rapids Gazette.
Fire Critic Rhett Fleitz also posted this video and gives his view of how the fireground was handled (I am sure Cedar Rapids Chief Steve Reid had opening night jitters over whether their film would get a good review from the Roger Ebert of the fire service).
Rookie firefighters in Cedar Rapids have another training aid available after a recent garage fire was captured on video.
The 17-minute video follows Capt. Rick Halleran on Dec. 8 as firefighters work to control the fire at 430 20th St. NW. The captivating footage, shot from Halleran’s helmet, offers a rare firsthand glimpse at some of the tactics firefighters use to extinguish fires.
“We always talk about as a crew bringing the pieces of the puzzle together, and this video does a great job of showing that,” Halleran said.
Halleran said he and other firefighters had seen videos shot from helmet cameras on the Internet, and they got permission from Fire Department administrators to try it themselves.
Firefighters agree that the video will be a very valuable training tool in Cedar Rapids, and possibly other jurisdictions. Halleran called it a “textbook” firefight.
“The big thing we talk about in training is having a coordinated attack,” Halleran said. “Now, you actually have the visuals and the audio.”
Fire Department spokesman Greg Buelow said no medical calls would ever be filmed. He said the helmet camera might be rolling again in the future, if the administration approves.
Buelow said some people who watch the video may question the firefighters’ strategy, but he cautioned any rush to judgment. He said firefighters are trained on how to coordinate the attack and must follow strict regulations.
“This is a great learning tool,” Buelow said. “I hope people appreciate it.”
And the wall came tumbling down: Fire Critic Rhett Fleitz is on a roll with videos. He found the one above that turned into a close call for one of those fire people who wear the white helmets. No details about where or when, but it sure is interesting. For Rhett’s other find, see the next story.
Should we run this video?: The truth be told, we are running it anyway. On the surface it is funny. But the video, recently posted on FireCritic.com, gave me pause after I did a little research. Do Dave’s questions and concerns show that the grizzled former journalist has become a wimp now that he’s left TV? Or, are they legitimate? You be the judge. Put yourself in the seat of the news director or fire service blogger and tell me your decision. Click here to read, watch and comment.
Jay Leno’s fire truck: If you’ve never seen the 1941 American LaFrance pumper owned by the Tonight Show”s Jay Leno here’s your chance. Glenn Usdin has a video tour by Leno posted at FireTruckBlog.com. Click here to ride along.
When the news chopper is live overhead someone down below needs to be providing good information: A series of videos from a house fire in Indiana gives us a good lesson for PIOs and fire chiefs. If you think it’s okay to deal with the press when you are good and ready and not before, this may help you to see that’s not a good policy. Check it out.
Dave takes you to new heights: In case you missed it, make sure you take a moment to watch this video of transmission tower workers climbing more than 1700 feet into the sky. While watching it think how you would rescue them if there was trouble. Click here.
Geezer goes off on Gary: Firegeezer Bill Schumm fails to hide his disdain for the continued gutting of the Gary Fire Department and the message to the citizens that all is okay now even though we have gone from 77 to 16 firefighters per shift.
Will Ann Arbor, Michigan move to a paid, on-call fire department?: Ann Arbor is already in negotiations to farm out EMS to the private sector. With a police chief as the public safety services administrator the city of 114,000 had a budget retreat where there was serious talk of reducing it’s 89 career firefighters and using a contingent of paid, on-call firefighters. It is interesting that the fire chief was not at that retreat. At AnnArbor.com there are already 54 comments with some asking why not paid, on-call cops? Read more.
All it took was a firefighter’s coat and a little charm: An interesting story of a probationary volunteer firefighter accused of taking advantage of business people in four different Indiana counties. There’s still a lot of good will out there toward firefighters but guys like this are screwing that up. Here’s the story.
Transparency is a little cloudy in Carmel, Indiana: It was nice of the Carmel government to let the citizens know they have taken action against five firefighters with ”disciplinary sanctions of varying degrees for conduct unbecoming a Carmel firefighter”. But does it really matter if you refuse to tell the people you serve why they were disciplined? Maybe it would have been better not to say anything at all. Check it out for yourself.
Firefighter talks about saving two people and a liver from downed and burning airplane: An interesting story from the U.K. where a Birmingham Airport firefighter tells how he saved the pilot and co-pilot of a plane that had crashed and burned. And for good measure he grabbed their precious cargo, a human liver that safely made its way to the hospital for what is being called a successful transplant. Read more.
Rude awakening: Neighbors rolled out of bed along West 68th Street in Hialeah, Flordia early Sunday morning to see this. A power facility was burning. Click here to see a Google Maps Street View of the complex. Haven’t found anything written about it, but there are a number of videos on YouTube.