Flint officials are investigating a fire early Sunday morning that left a woman dead. Firefighters were dispatched to what is being called an accidental kitchen fire in the 3900 block of Leerda around 6:30 AM. They put the fire out and left. But neighbor Vincent Collier kept wondering where the woman who lives in the house was. He tried to find her by calling her phone and checking local hospitals.
Taking the LODD social media column to heart: We already know of at least one IAFF local that suggested its members read yesterday’s column on the race that now occurs between official notification of next-of-kin and postings on Facebook after a LODD or serious injury. A little education from the union trying to make sure its own members or their families don’t contribute to this problem in the event such a tragic situation were to strike the department. Here’s the column.
Georgia cell phone camera video at fatal crash still making the news: If you haven’t heard by now, Spalding County, Georgia has called for an outside investigation of the video made by a firefighter of a dead woman at a crash scene. The firefighter involved remains on suspension. Here’s the latest.
West Virginia volunteer dies in her own burning home: In Summers County the Green Sulphur District Fire Department responded to a blaze at the home of one of its members. Shawnna Toth died inside the home, but her family escaped. Read the story.
Volunteer claims there are “felons” all around him in the fire department: With his identity hidden a volunteer firefighter in Las Cruces, New Mexico has told KFOX-TV that a lack of background checks has allowed close to a dozen people to be firefighters who shouldn’t be. He also says some people without driver’s permits are driving fire trucks. Read and watch the story.
Buffalo air supply unit involved in hit and run: A firefighter is on leave without pay after being accused of failing to report he ran the rig into a brick building doing a total of about $80,000 to the structure and the truck. Here’s more.
Flint, Michigan’s new layoff talks has people looking very closely at SAFER grant: Flint’s mayor doesn’t think the feds would hold the city to its no layoff requirement that it agreed to get grant money allowing the city to rehire firefighters from previous rounds of layoffs. But the SAFER language seems pretty clear on this issue. Mayor Dayne Walling wants double digit concessions from the public safety unions to prevent the new layoffs. Read details.
“Carl is the most shameless politician in San Diego history”: A nasty battle between the firefighters’ union and City Councilman Carl DeMaio. After DeMaio criticized extra pay received by firefighters the union pointed out Demaio’s staff received raises when firefighters and police were getting pay cuts. Here’s more.
5th alarm in Orange, New Jersey: This is a fire from yesterday in an H-shaped building at 399 Lincoln Avenue. It was reported around 8:00 AM. See parts 2 through 7 of the video. Read more.
Videos of firefighter riding down a collapsing stairwell: We have two videos from Friday’s fire in Coatesville, Pennsylvania that show at least one firefighter in the stairwell of an apartment building as it collapses in a ball of flame. If you haven’t seen it you will want to. Click here.
Old story from PGFD: Not doing daily TV news anymore has me occasionally missing some local developments. One that I am sorry didn’t get on my radar screen earlier was the serious burns to Bowie VFD Firefighter Patrick Ivey. Firefighter Ivey’s facepiece became dislodged at a September 4 house fire. While fixing that problem he was then hit in the head with debris from the ceiling. PGFD PIO Mark Brady reported despite that, Ivey continued with the interior attack until all firefighters were pulled out of the building for defensive operations. It was only then that his burns were discovered. At last word on the Bowie VFD website Firefighter Ivey was expected to be in the burn unit for two weeks with multiple surgeries for third -degree burns to his head.
Baltimore City firefighters battled a three-alarm fire in the 3400 block of Auchentrolly Terrace around 4:15 Sunday morning. The fire was in a vacant apartment building. This image is from IAFF Local 734.
New York volunteer blows whistle leading to department safety violations: Adam Crown needed information about his own department for a fire officer course he was taking. When he couldn’t get that information from Danby VFC he filed a Freedom of Information Act request. What he learned in his course soon brought Crown to file an 11-page complaint with New York’s Department of Labor about safety issues at his fire company. The department was then cited for a number of those issues including eight violations deemed serious. As you might imagine Crown soon became an ex-member. Danby officials say they’ve now dealt with the violations. Here’s the story. Here’s more.
Update on burned Flint firefighter: You may recall the August 16 story of Flint, Michigan firefighter Jeremy Turner. Turner was brought back to the department thanks to a SAFER grant that Flint used to rehire firefighters who were part of layoffs. Firefighter Turner fell through the floor of a vacant home that had been set on fire and was critically burned. Flint Journal’s Laura Misjak looks at Turner’s recovery and how bringing back 39 firefighters has made the department safer. At the same time the arson problem is out of control-
The suspicious fire that injured Turner was one of 48 abandoned structure fires in August — more than double the average of 23 for August in the previous four years.
In fact, in every month since March, the number of vacant house fires this year has outpaced the average number for the month in the previous four years.
Image from WJRT-TV interview with Jeremy Turner in April.
WJRT-TV is reporting that 31-year-old Jeremy Turner, a rookie firefighter in Flint Michigan was badly burned at a house fire around 5:30 this morning. Turner, who has second and third degree burns, was one of the firefighters recently brought back to the department following layoffs. The TV station had interviewed Turner in April.
This morning’s fire was at Wolcott Street and 8th Avenue. This is the second fire at the home and the home had been shot up with bullet casings found around the home. The first fire was aroud midnight.
Turner was among the firefighters responding to the second fire. He was at the front door with a hose when the floor beneath him gave way, causing him to drop into the basement, which was engulfed in flames.
“He was ‘Am I going to live? Am I going to be able to fight fire again?’ And it just breaks you up,” (Battalion Chief Theresa) Root said. “An excellent firefighter.”
His wife, who’s eight months pregnant, is by his bedside right now.
Root says it really hit her hard when Turner held up his arms up, and it was clear that he was badly burned.
She says Turner’s family has said he was born to be a firefighter.
Do you know the way to San Jose (because that’s where the fire is)?: A very busy holiday weekend for San Jose, California firefighters. Above is video from a six-alarm fire yesterday that destroyed a 28,000 square foot elementary school building. The loss is estimated at $8 million. The fire is considered suspicious. Read more here. At the bottom of the page is a fire-alarm warehouse fire on Saturday.
Fireworks firm has a history: If news accounts are accurate, 45 people have been hurt in three different July 4th incidents involving displays put on by Schaefer Pyrotechnics of Ronks, Pennsylvania since 2004. The most recent was Sunday in Palmyra, Pennsylvania. Three years ago it was Vienna, Virginia. Before that the problem happened in Pittston, Pennsylvania.
We have video of the errant fireworks in Palmyra and Vienna. Click here.
Paying $5 a call to save the fire department: That’s the plan in Wallkill, New York where the Mechanicstown Fire District wants to increase the number of firefighters and hold on to the ones they have. The firefighters could earn up to $6,000-per-year. Firefighters would get that in lieu of a retirement program, arguing that the 18-year-olds they are recruiting aren’t looking 40-years down the road. The leadership of the department believes the poor economy is one factor in the loss of volunteers. The idea for this program is not without controversy. Here’s the story.
Four Scaramento firefighters were in or around this house when it blew up yesterday. Responding to a report of a gas leak, reports indicate the firefighters had shut gas and electricity to the house before it exploded. Investigators are now looking at the possibility this was a deliberate act. Click the image to read & watch the story.
Unfortunately it was that kind of weekend: Besides North Charleston and Sacramento we have a roundup of incidents from the holiday weekend where a number of firefighters were hurt and one from Wharton, Texas was killed. The details are here.
Radio traffic from deadly runaway horse at July 4th parade: Listen in as firefighters and EMS crews in Bellevue, Iowa deal with a tragic situation at a parade on Sunday that left a woman dead and many injured. Here’s the story.
Quiet Dell wasn’t so quiet: The West Virginia community had a little excitement at the Exxon station last Thursday when a car came off the roadway and hit a pump bursting into flames. The first arriving engine rolled in with the camera running. Here’s the video.
Firefighter/ arsonists – handling the problem: If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this article from FireEngineering.com on coming to grips with this fire service problem. Click here.
Interesting cause of gasoline tanker truck fire: In Flint, Michigan there was a deadly tanker collision on Saturday on I-475. It wasn’t the fire that caused the fataility. It was the other way around. A motorcyclist ran into the rear of the rig and was killed. The driver of the truck didn’t realize that had happened. The collision sheared off a valve allowing gasoline to leak. The truck burst into flames down the road a bit. Here’s the story.
The mob mentality and a little explosion: Officials in Los Angeles are trying to identify some of the people in this video “celebrating” the victory by the Lakers Thursday night. If you haven’t seen or heard about this yet, these folks are taking part in the destruction of a taxicab. Isn’t that the standard way to show joy? But smashing in various parts of the vehicle wasn’t enough, so it was set on fire. Watch the little explosion coming from Side A of the cab at around 5:42 in the video. Lucky the cops had arrived or some of these brilliant people might have been standing in the way of the blast and that would have been a shame. The driver was pulled from the cab by the mob. He’s okay and has already received a $10,000 donation.
Picture from the New York Daily News.
Defaced image of President Obama at Bronx firehouse under investigation: The New York Daily News reports the defaced image of President Barack Obama has been placed on a tool box at a Bronx firehouse next to a picture of the Unabomber. Here’s an excerpt from the story-
An iconic picture of the President above the word “BELIEVE” appears to have been stenciled on a large toolbox visible inside Engine 45, Ladder 58 in East Tremont.
Right across Obama’s face is the word “HUSTLER” in big red letters.
And underneath the image, someone scrawled “Allah Akbar” – “God is great” in Arabic – in black ink.
An investigation was started after the newspaper brought the image to the attention of FDNY officials.
There are all kinds of reasons for arson, but have you heard this one?: A 19-year-old man is accused of setting a vacant house on fire in Stowe, Pennsylvania to lure a 21-year-old volunteer firefighter to the scene. The plan was to beat-up the firefighter (did they think he was coming alone?). The motive is a broken heart by a 15-year-old girl who the firefighter said he parted ways with after learning her age. Check it out.
Firefighter remained on the job while in jail for four months: An investigation is underway in Haverhill, Massachusetts over the somewhat secret New Hampshire jail sentence of Firefighter Kevin Thompson. His shifts were covered and the top brass apparently were in the dark about the incarceration. Thompson has put in his retirement papers, an effort the mayor is trying to fight. Read more.
While were in Haverhill: Another Haverhill firefighter is suspended while an investigation is underway into what his role may have been in the ever-widening EMS scandal in Massachusetts. Jeffrey Given is one of 30 Haverhill firefighters who have lost their EMT certification as state officials probe allegations that required training never happened. Given’s EMT suspension is for two years, while the rest of the Haverhill firefighters face suspensions of nine-months or less. The Eagle-Tribune reports the city wants to know more about money changing hands to pay for recertification without the training. Click here.
A fire early yesterday morning in Harford County, Maryland. Click the image to learn more from the Joppa Magnolia VFC website. Photo by Craig Tontrup JMVFC
Cop suspended after arresting man who rushed his wife to the hospital: Interesting story from Chattanooga, Tennessee where a police officer is on administrative leave. The cop’s actions are being investigated after he confronted a man at a hospital emergency department. Eric Wright says he thought his wife Aline was having a stroke and knew he could get her to the hospital faster than an ambulance. The officer saw Wright bust three red lights. Read the details.
Deputy goes out with a bang: Firegeezer Bill Schumm has the story of the final shift for Deputy Chief James Coughlin of the Peabody Fire Department in Massachusetts. The multi-alarm fire was still burning when Chief Coughlin was relieved. Here’s the story.
It never ends in Flint: Another round of arsons kept firefighters busy over the weeked. Eight fires in 15 hours. Watch the story.
Ex-Raven fights fires in Howard County, Maryland: He’s the son of a 23-year veteran Phoenix firefighter, but Joe Maese only has a year on the job in Howard County. Before that he was a professional football player, having spent four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. Read more.
Dale City VFD loses assistant chief to cancer: From Prince William County, Virginia comes word that Dalve City VFD Assistant Chief Carl Persing has died. From the department’s website-
Carl retired from the City of Manassas Fire and Rescue Department in 2007. He also served with distinction with the Burke Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, the Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Department, the Dumfries-Triangle Volunteer Fire Department, the Fort Belvoir Fire Department, the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority Fire Department, the Silver Hill Volunteer Fire Department, and the United States Army.
Ten-years-ago in Boston: A five-alarm fire in Dorchester shot on November 2, 2000. This is another in a series of videos posted by Bill Harrigan, a retired freelance TV news photographer who worked the overnight hours covering Eastern Massachusetts from 1981-2007.
Apartment fire: This is from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan yesterday afternoon. You can read more about the fire here, but try not to laugh too heard when you get to the line, “A pumper truck high in the sky sprayed water onto the three-storey brick building.” Maybe Mike Wilbur can teach me how to drive one them things.
Memo from the DC Chief Rubin points out harm in councilmember’s overtime cuts: I can’t tell if it is a good thing or a bad thing, but a memo to the DC Fire & EMS Department from Chief Dennis Rubin includes a link to STATter911.com. The memo has Chief Rubin explaining the error of Councilmember Phil Mendelson’s ways in cutting overtime expenditures and changing rules over who can get OT and how much they can earn. Here is the latest in the battle between the chief and the committee chairman.
Alibi-cam: Besides providing some very early video of an Austin, Texas building fire, these YouTube clips attempt to make clear that the person who found the fire had nothing to do with it starting. Check it out.
PGFD FF/PM meets man she helped save: Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department Firefighter/Paramedic Kathleen Murphy meets Chris Larsen for a second time. At their last meeting in Oxon Hill Larsen didn’t look too good with a truck sitting on top of him. Murphy was recognized for her life-saving actions yesterday. Click here to watch the story.
Firefighter helps save cop: An on-duty Camden, New Jersey firefighter saw a police officer being attacked and rushed over to offer a hand. According to news reports, after hitting him in the face the man tried to grab the officer’s gun. Firefighter Gamalier Rivera helped get the situation under control. Here’s the story.
They are back and they are busy: Firefighters returning to the Flint Fire Department after lay-offs found little rest this past weekend. Watch the story.
If you don’t pay we don’t play: That’s the word from Nova Scotia’s Hubbards VFD to its neighbors across the line at Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service. Halifax says it will not triple its payment to Hubbards which runs about half of its calls in Halifax. Click here to read more.
Volunteers say no to consolidation in North Carolina: Many volunteer firefighters are trying to fight plans in New Hanover County to cut stations, have one chief and make them county volunteers. Read the story.
On the cutting edge: My co-worker James Hash lets the public in on a problem most of you already know about. Above is his report on how auto extrication has been made more difficult by tougher steel being used to make many new cars.
Check 1:05 in this video: Newsworking.org shot this video around 1:30 Monday morning at 1533 Turner Street in Allentown, Pennsylvania. At 1:05 you will see a third floor room light off as a firefighter is inside near the door to the balcony.
A badly dressed firefighter impersonator is arrested at the scene of that vacant furniture factory in New York: The fire we told you about over the weekend in Salamanca, New York is being called the largest fire in the history of Cattaraugus County (click here for video). A police investigator who discovered the fire says five juveniles are about to be arrested and charged with arson. Besides dealing with arsonists Sgt. Ben Whitmore arrested a man decked out in stolen fire gear at the scene of the fire. Here are details from Rich Place at OleanTimesHerald.com:
Bradley M. Thomas, 30, of Olean was allegedly walking near fire trucks on Rochester Street at approximately 9:52 p.m. wearing blue jeans, an upside-down air pack, a firefighter’s helmet belonging to the Kill Buck Volunteer Fire Department and a firefighter’s jacket belonging to the Salamanca Fire Department, according to Salamanca Police Sgt. Benjamin Whitmore.
When questioned about the gear, police say Thomas claimed to be with the Machias Fire Department, which had been on standby, but not dispatched to the scene.
UPDATE – DC firefighter goes back to work in Flint: Flint, Michigan firefighters who had been let go to help balance the budget are returning to the job this week. We are told among them is DC Fire & EMS Department Probationary Firefighter - Paramedic Rob Green, who went home to Flint. The first of the 34 firefighters returned yesterday. Twenty-one are from the lay-offs that occurred in March. Others were cut as far back as 2007. Read and watch the story.
Also in Flint, the City Council has sent the appointment to chief of retired Assistant Chief John Linker back to the mayor’s office. The council doesn’t believe now is the time to hire a new chief and take on the expense that goes with it. Here’s that story.
“We’ve had someone call 911 to say ‘My rectum hurts.’”: Vancouver, Washington Chief Don Bivins with an example of one of the many calls he describes as non-emergency that his department has sent a fire truck to in the past. Chief Bivins wants to stop dispatching Vancouver Fire Department firefighters and paramedics to the lowest-priority medical calls to improve response times. Those calls would still be handled by a private ambulance service. According to the Columbian’s Andrea Damewood, “Examples of non-emergency calls include hip, leg and arm fractures; emergency reactions where someone is not having difficulty breathing; and possible miscarriages in women who are 20 weeks pregnant or less.” Union President Mark Johnston says the plan “doesn’t save any money and people are going to be harmed”. Here’s the article.
Pittsburgh public safety director grilled about city’s snow response: You may recall the strong words from Michael Huss after an ambulance crew didn’t hike in the snow to a dying man’s home. A Pittsburgh City Council task force has been looking into the city’s snow response and ended up issuing a subpoena to Huss after a councilwoman says Huss declined to answer seven invitations to appear. Huss believes the task force is too political and not productive. One question Huss was asked is why he left town to celebrate the mayor’s birthday when there was a major snowstorm bearing down on the city. Read more here. Watch the story.
Man too embarrassed to call for help or take his pants off: Both things would have expedited the rescue of a man stuck in silt along a river in China. Firefighters believe pride added seven hours to the man’s ordeal. Read the story.
House fire in Arlington Heights, Illinois: The Arlington Cardinal reports this started as a fire in the crawlspace around 7:30 PM last night. As fire shot through the roof an evacuation order was given. Above is Part 2 of the video. Part 1 is here.
Fuel tanker in deadly California crash: This is video from yesterday morning on Highway 99 in Chico. The driver of the rig was briefly trapped but got out on his own. Officials say a woman was killed when she tried to pass traffic and ran straight into the truck. According to ChicoER.com, “Cal Fire-Butte County officials said the tanker was allowed to burn itself out, partly over concerns that putting water on it would spread the fuel.” Read more here. Check out this photo gallery (really good pictures).
Thanks so much for helping my friend: A man in Seminole, Florida showed his gratitude to firefighters who responded to his friend’s medical problem by sneaking into their rig and stealing a lieutenant’s helmet. Here are the details.
Fire truck turned prom limo crashes, but no pictures allowed: Taking two of its members and their dates to the Shippensberg (PA) Area High School senior prom, two rigs from the Pleasant Hall VFD pulled up to the event Saturday night. The Sentinel Online reports one of the fire trucks hit a light pole. When two photographers tried to shoot the damaged pole and truck they say they were surrounded by firefighters. Here’s what one of the photographers wrote to the paper-
“When the firemen saw we had cameras, they acted as if it was a crime or homicide scene and insisted that we were not permitted to take photographs. The driver was a bit too aggressively assertive.”
The chief of the department admits some of his people, including the embarrassed opererator of the fire truck overreacted. Here is the story.
Did chief violate privacy by telling reporters the reason a firefighter was fired?: A former firefighter has filed suit in Pasco County, Florida claiming the City of Zephyrhills fire chief did just that. Shawn Baptist, a 16-year-veteran, says the chief shouldn’t have gone beyond acknowledging the firefighter was no longer employed by the fire department. City Manager Steve Spina defended Chief Kevin Williams telling TBO.com-
“When you are a public safety officer and you get fired for a certain reason, that’s the public’s business. You know that going into it.”
Council members want to know if a new chief is really necessary: In Flint, Michigan the question is whether the expense of the new fire chief is needed considering they have had an acting chief for more than a year. There are also questions about two lawsuits the nominee, John Linker, had filed against the city that gave him more that $200 thousand. Linker, who retired in 2002 as an assistant chief, now says he actually regrets filing the suits claiming discrimination. Watch the story. Read the story.
Newborn rescued from pit toilet: Firefighters and paramedics in Durban, South Africa responded after someone heard the cries of a newborn child from amid the waste in a pit toilet. Here are the details.
Big bust in topless arson case: The headline, no surprise, is from Firegeezer (who consistently breaks new ground on ways to sneak sex into these boring fire/EMS sites). This is a follow-up to the story we both ran last June of the fire at a topless coffee shop in Maine called Grand View. Here’s the update.
Indy apartment burns again: You may recall there was an apartment fire in Indianapolis on April 23 during FDIC. The vacant building at Nottingham Village burned again this morning. A firefighter was slightly injured when a stairwell fell on him. Click here to read and watch the story.
Baltimore County two-alarm apartment fire: Michael “FirePix1075” Schwartzberg says this started out as a smoke investigation for Engine 1 (Towson) at Rodgers Forge Road and Blenheim Road around 11:40 PM last night. Soon it was a second-alarm with fire in the basement of the apartment building. One firefighter suffered a knee injury.
Gas main fire: In Somerset County, New Jersey firefighters spent a good portion of yesterday dealing with a burning gas line in Franklin Township. The fire started after a crew working on a drainage project struck the 6-inch plastic line around 10:40 AM. The fire destroyed two trucks and a backhoe belonging to the contractor. It also scorched power lines with about 115 customers losing power. The gas burned until about 2:00 PM. Read more about the fire. Pictures from the fire. Watch a video from one of the responding fire companies.
Videos ‘R Us (How do you make that backwards “R”?): We haven’t done a video roundup in months, but Emily Cyr loaded so many in the player to the right yesterday they just spilled over into the main blog. The best video shows drivers apparently doing self colonoscopies instead of realizing that towering geyser coming from the sheared off hydrant in Carson, California could have very well undermined the roadway as they drive through the flooded street. We also have fires from Michigan, Massachusetts, Illinois and California. And we added the awful looking aftermath video of Houston’s Engine 13 after it struck a bridge support injuring three firefighters yesterday. Click here to see all of the clips.
Mayday in Columbus, Ohio around 4:30 this morning after a firefighter fell though the floor of a home on Medina Avenue. We are told the firefighter was quickly removed. Another firefighter suffered smoke inhalation. The injuries to the firefighters aren't considered life-threatening. An elderly woman who was missing has been found dead inside the home. Click the image for more from WBNS-TV.
More complaints and some regeneration work-arounds: Looking at our stats yesterday there seemed to be quite an interest in Boca Raton Chief Tom Wood’s guest column about DPF regeneration on newer rigs. Some writing in shared similar time-out problems and others had ideas on at least partial solutions. Click here and scroll down for the comments.
Arbitration panel orders drug testing and a big pay raise in Boston: Four years of a bitter standoff between firefighters and Mayor Thomas Menino apparently have come to an end. An arbitration panel gives the firefighters a 19-percent pay raise over four-years (retroactive to July 1, 2006). At the same time there will now be random drug and alcohol testing. The raise is significantly more than other city workers, including police, have received. Here’s the story.
Chief loses buggy after stopping to help at crash scene: A Cal Fire battalion chief stopped to help at the scene of a traffic collision near El Cajon yesterday. One of the people involved in the crash jumped in and took off with the pickup truck. It was soon recovered undamaged. Here’s some more info.
Flint firefighters are at their breaking point: That’s the contention in the headline and story from WJRT-TV after two firefighters were hurt in weekend fires. There have been more than 100 fires so far this month in Flint. The city has been operating with 23 fewer firefighters after last month’s layoffs. That could soon change. Read and watch the story.
Geezer on fire: While many of his fellow bloggers are hard at work in Indianapolis (see below) Bill was posting like crazy yesterday. Just click and scroll.
Network looks at shrinking volunteer force: ABC News is the latest with a story about the nation’s dwindling resource of volunteer firefighters. Click here.
Two Texas firefighters return to the job after lengthy battles. One is sent home: We told you yesterday about the return of Houston’s Jane Draycott nine-months after the graffiti incident at Station 54. Her return was apparently uneventful. You can read more here.
Things weren’t as easy in Beaumont where James Mathews has been fighting to get his job back since an arrest in 2008. He won an arbitration, but was sent home hours after his return to the department yesterday. Here is the latest.
Market fire in the Philippines: This is from Cabadbaran City, a city in the province of Agusan del Norte, where faulty wiring is blamed for starting the fire that destroyed the Cabadbaran City Public Market early yesterday morning. Read more about the fire.
Early this morning in Rochester: Lots of fire on Wadsworth Street in this Guy Zampatori video. Pictures and fireground audio can be found at Monroe County Fire Wire.
The regeneration blues coming to a firehouse near you: Read how one fire chief finds the time-outs for regeneration on his department’s newer diesel engines quite maddening and potentially dangerous. A guest column from Boca Raton Fire Rescue’s Tom Wood. Click here.
UPDATED Houston’s Draycott scheduled to return to is back at work today: “I want to be treated like everybody else. I want to be able to go to work and not be harassed, not be retaliated against.” That’s what Firefighter Jane Draycott told the Houston Chronicle’s Terri Langford yesterday, a day before her scheduled return to HFD’s Station 54 at Bush Intercontinental Airport. Draycott attempted a return in January and found herself in the middle of a “team building” exercise with her fellow firefighters. That four-hour session resulted in a lot of transfers and the resignation of the fire chief. It has been nine-months since Draycott made the news after racist and sexual graffiti were found on Draycott’s belongings in the women’s bunk room at the firehouse. Watch as Firefighter Draycott arrives at Station 54 this morning.
Car smashes into ladder truck … inside the firehouse: Click here to read how police say the driver of a car that crashed through the bay door of a firehouse in Wisconsin may not be at fault.
Driver jailed after crashing into fire truck: Police say two motorcyclists racing near Missoula, Montana led one of them into the back of a fire truck injuring a firefighter. Here’s the story.
A busy weekend in Flint: A dozen fires, including one in a vacant warehouse Saturday that spread to another building. Officials believe 10 of them were intentionally set. So far in April there have been 107 fires compared to 37 last year. This latest arson spree began the day before layoffs were initiated at the end of March. Read and watch the story.
Erosion of political influence: That’s the title of FossilMedic Mike Ward’s latest entry on Firegeezer. Mike is wondering if these budget battles, where firefighter overtime and pensions are targeted, are taking a toll on firefighters who might otherwise enjoy the backing of the public and the politicians. Check it out.
If you would like to tell Mike Ward you agree with him or that he is full of it: You can do so in person this week at FDIC during the big Meetup at Indy on Friday at the Rock Bottom Brewery. Lots of bloggers from FireEMSBlogs.com and elsewhere will be on hand, along with their many groupies. You can even get a free drink ticket for the event by stopping by these booths-
FireRescue Magazine, FirefighterNation.com and FireEMSBlogs.com: Booth #3755
I had hoped to be there, but recent knee surgery is keeping me very close to home. My doctor didn’t think I could handle the trauma of the procedure and at the same time deal with the sharp barbs from Rhett Fleitz, The Fire Critic. But you can listen to the latest Indy news from Rhett and his partner John Mitchell (Fire Daily) on their live Firefighter Netcast (or is it Nutcast with that crew?) out of Booth 3755 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Read more.
Multiple vehicles burn in front of motel: Firefighter Spot found this one first. The cars were burning at the Comfort Inn off Scott Avenue in the Morgantown, West Virginia area on Monday.
Radio traffic from fire engine crash in Baltimore: Baltimore City Fire Department Engine 36 and Engine 14 both were responding on the box at 1223 Mosher Street when each rig ended up on the northeast corner of Edmondson Avenue and N. Fulton Avenue. We have details, some pictures and two versions of the radio traffic (one on the collision and the other focusing on the fire, which went to two-alarms). Here is our coverage.
The chief and the council chairman have a civil public meeting.
A veritable love fest: One of my favorite TV shows are the episodes of the DC City Council Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary where Chief Dennis Rubin is the guest star. For more than a year it has been the place to go if you like public hearings that aren’t dry and boring. Even when they have dealt with the type of budget minutiae that puts many of us in the mood for a power nap, Chief Rubin and Chairman Phil Mendelson have kept the conversation quite lively. Basically they just don’t get along. But if Monday’s hearing on overtime is any indication, maybe these two may have buried the fire axe. In one hour and fifteen minutes of facing each other there was none of the fireworks that we’ve seen in the past. Check it out yourself. Also, here is Chief Rubin’s written testimony explaining the issues behind over budget overtime spending.
Judge reverses arbitrator leaving Buffalo firefighters having to pay back the city: On average, firefighters could be out $230 each month to reimburse the city for a pay raise a judge says they shouldn’t have received. That’s on top of rolling back the increase. The union makes the case this could actually be a good thing. Here’s the story.
Union president fired, two others suspended over spreading of information about chief and his wife: This is an update on a story we previously told you about in Jackson Township, Ohio. Despite support coming from as far away as Colorado, the town trustees fired Scott Harr, who is president of IAFF Local 2672. Two other firefighters were suspended. They are accused of leaking details from an incident report about a response to their chief’s home involving a domestic issue. Even though there is a union, the firefighters do not have collective bargaining under Ohio law that exempts unincorporated areas of less than 5,000 people. Read the latest.
One of the more amazing stories in recent days: Firegeezer takes a close-up look at how that trucker in Dallas, Texas escaped his rig during a fiery crash that left the flaming wreckage dangling over a bridge. Take a look.
Tire & muffler shop burns: A fire at 6708 Northeast 23rd Street in Oklahoma City on Wednesday. This is one of many videos from around the country added each weekday by WUSA9.com’s Emily Cyr. They all can be found in our video player over here >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
More on injured Baltimore firefighter: There is a nice article from his native Montgomery County, Pennsylvania that profiles Jeffrey Novack who was seriously injured in Wednesday night’s fire next to the firehouse in the 3900 block of Liberty Heights Avenue. Firefighter Novack, assigned to Truck 12, was forced to bail out of a third floor apartment after rescuing residents. He is in a medically-induced coma to treat burns and other injuries. Sources indicate the two closest engines were on other runs, and the third was closed due to staffing issues. Here is our previous coverage of the fire, including fireground audio of the mayday. Sources indicate this version of the audio, besides compacting the time by removing dead air, misses some key radio transmissions.
Is this a trend? Baltimore police halt CompStat (or ComStat) meetings: This is the famous crime fighting method started by Jack Maple, who brought it to NYPD from New York’s Transit Police in the early 1990s. Since then, police departments and other government agencies, including fire departments, have adopted it as a way to measure performance. Now comes word that the Baltimore City Police Department, which embraced its version of the statistics based management tool more than a decade ago, has suspended the meetings. There are concerns that it has evolved into nothing more than a weekly finger-pointing beat-down session (the fictional version was shown regularly on The Wire) that requires too much prep time by managers. The Baltimore Sun reports on a New York study that showed more than 100 retired high-ranking officers believe it creates intense pressure to manipulate crime figures. Here’ the story.
All PGFD, all the time: There was a time that some people claimed that was our motto here at STATter911.com. Still, this has been a newsworthy few days in Prince George’s Countyl. Here’s what’s been keeping Mark Brady busy-
Governor makes escape from fire followed by lawmakers: A celebration for new members of the Maryland legislature at an Annapolis, Maryland bar last night came to an end when fire broke out. The Baltimore Sun tells the story that Governor Martin O’Malley’s security detail may have been the first to realize the place was burning. Here’s the article.
Facebook shooting threat by firefighter against politician leads to trouble: We have been telling you about the problems in Clark County, Nevada and how County Commissioner Steve Sisolak is leading the charge to cut OT and compensation for firefighters. Sisolak is also concerned about on-duty MD fund raising. Now comes word of the Facebook posting by City of Las Vegas Firefighter Joy Sager saying she wanted ”to shoot Sisolak in the (groin)”. The mayor has called for justice. Sager, involved in the charity work, has written an apology. Read Sager’s letter. Here’s the story.
The fine print in the grant that will help Flint has some worried: Flint, Michigan is getting a SAFER grant to rehire firefighters recently let go and others. But can the troubled city meet the staffing requirements of the grant? Read the details.
An ounce of prevention is apparently not worth much in this budget cycle: What did that Franklin guy know anyway? It isn’t like he and his most famous saying about fires had to face a massive recession like we have dealt with. The latest budget proposal in Mesa, Arizona calls for the elimination of the entire fire prevention and life-safety education units. Read more.
Citizen says it is just fine to cut fire department minimum staffing: This column in a California newspaper shows the perception firefighters are often up against when it comes to budget cuts. In it, a man named Bob Moss explains why he didn’t sign a petition by Palo Alto firefighters to freeze staffing levels. Here is an excerpt-
Fact: The proposal on the table is to cut the required number of firefighters on engines by no more than one person. There will still be plenty of staff to respond to 911 calls. Cutting the number of people on an engine, say from 4 to 3, will have no impact on 911 response times — it may even be a bit faster as it will take less time for three people to get onto the engine than four.
Code thieves?: Thieves who stole radios and other equipment worth as much as $20,000 from an Edmond, Oklahoma fire truck being serviced also got the map book with the codes that allow access to gated communities. Read the story.
Fired DeKalb County captain reinstated: Tony Motes, one of those fired after a botched response to a house fire that turned fatal, won his appeal. Read what it means.
Fallout over gas company’s union negotiation in Fall River: There is debate in the Massachusetts town over whether the installation of locking devices on critical valve shut offs by New England Gas will impact its reponse to help fire crews with gas shut downs in an emergency. The company is doing this to prevent tampering during union troubles. Here’s the story.
Early video from Tampa: Watch the initial attack on a house fire yesterday at 4906 Wishart Boulevard. Investigators say smoking materials caused the fire.
Close call in Baltimore: It sounds like Truck 12′s crew was by themselves for a bit last night when fire broke out across Berwyn Avenue from the firehouse. Two firefighters were hospitalized. One in serious but stable condition after bailing out of a burning apartment. We have fireground audio and more.
Two-alarm fire in Prince George's County, Maryland overnight. WUSA9.com's Ava-Joye Burnett snapped some pictures as fire damaged three townhomes on Jacobs Drive in Greenbelt. Click the image for more.
Houston has a problem that may take the wisdom of Solomon: Mayor Annise Parker made it clear she wants a “complete house cleaning” at Station 54 after lengthy investigations failed to determine who was responsible for the racial and sexual graffii that targeted two female firefighters. This was the same station where a “team building” exercise in January to welcome back Firefighter Jane Draycott went so bad the fire chief stepped down. Despite the mayor saying yesterday, “We’re going to break up the culture at that station and we’re going to move on”, the Houston Chronicle reports the city attorney and acting fire chief are indicating not so fast. City Attorney Arturo Michel points out what the mayor wants is “not going to happen” because essentially Draycott’s shift mates have already been moved to other shifts and fire stations. Draycott’s attorney doesn’t believe enough has been done to pave the way to bring the firefighter back to the airport station. Meanwhile, the union president points out nine months of investigations essentially exonerated the firefighters and officers of Station 54. And you wonder why Phil Boriskie, the former chief, was glad to take a demotion and get back to firefighting. Here’s the latest.
Lawsuit in Chicago after family finds the body firefighters failed to locate: A lawsuit has been filed by relatives of a man Chicago firefighters failed to locate after a fire a year ago. Read more.
Reporter takes on firefighters in Missouri after they failed to find woman’s body: Calling what happened to Gloria Banks in Northwoods, Missouri an “undignified way to go”, KMOV-TV reporter Mark Schnyder has some pointed comments for the Northeast Ambulance and Fire Protection District. This was the story we first alerted you to yesterday of the woman found in the bathtub hours after firefighters initially left the scene of a house fire. In his blog Schnyder writes, “What an embarrassment for the fire department… but what bothers me more is that someone’s loved one was left inside a burned out building and no one seemed to care enough to find out she was there… in her tub… covered in debris.” Click here to read more.
Why did the firefighter cross the road?Apparently to kill the chicken: No, the next riddle is not why did the chicken wear red suspenders, but it might as well be with this silly story. Much is being made in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania about the police officer, when confronted with a large chicken “terrorizing” a neighborhood, called in his buddy the bow and arrow toting firefighter. The firefighter ended up having a nice dinner, but the meal turned out to be someone’s pet (I don’t recall this transgression coming up in the recent report on firefighters behaving badly … clearly we overlooked something). Click here to find out if someone can turn this bad turn of events into chicken salad.
Kentland firefighter saves infant: Before they could get to the patient, the choking baby came to them. Click above for the details on a life saved in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Road trip to Detroit: Chicago’s Steve Redick made one of his regular trips to Detroit and returned, as usual, with lots of video. The clip above, with fireground audio, chronicles the 3-day visit. You can see Steve’s still images from Detroit here. On the same page you will find links for Steve’s books on rigs in and around Chicago.
Click the image for more pictures from Emmitsburg's Vigilant Hose Company.
Investigators make arrest in Emmitsburg fire: If you haven’t checked in over the weekend you may not have seen all of the early pictures and video from Saturday morning’s fire in the heart of Emmitsburg. The 150-year-old apartment building (former hotel) that houses Stavros Pizza burned. While early news reports indicated careless smoking was to blame, one resident is under arrest, charged with starting the fire during a suicide attempt. In fact, you can hear people talking about a man in custody on one of the fire videos we posted. Click here and here for our coverage.
What’s up Doc? The answer may not be good for your blood pressure: Neil Coplan, an FDNY doctor who occasionally visited fire scenes, receives a $95,000-a-year disability pension because of a heart ailment. The pension was awarded under the same provision that presumes an active firefighter’s heart problems are job related. This one isn’t sitting too well with some people. Read more.
It seems to never end in Flint: WJRT-TV reports there were eight fires Saturday night and early Sunday morning for a total of 20 in three days in Flint, Michigan. One battalion chief says fatigue is setting in for firefighters as they handle this 12-day arson spree with fewer Flint firefighters and reduced resources from neighbors. Click here to watch and here, to read the TV station’s latest story. Here’s our coverage of fires earlier in the weekend, including an arrest in a Friday evening blaze.
Fire report from Prince William County, VA: Click the image to read a report from OWL VFD Chief Jim McAllister on a Woodbridge townhouse fire Sunday evening.
More from the battleground in Colorado over fire and EMS: Today is the day that more developments are expected in Leadville and Lake County over the nasty dispute between the fire department and the Sheriff’s department over who will provide fire and EMS coverage. Firefighters are scheduled to protest at the courthouse this afternoon over the arrest by sheriff’s deputies of a top fire official who had responded to an EMS call at the county jail. This evening there is a special joint meeting of Leadville and Lake County leaders to discuss the incident. Here is the latest. Click here and here for our previous coverage.
No charges in collision of two rigs in Houston that left bicyclist dead: The Houston Police Department has decided not to file criminal charges in the wreck a year ago between Ladder 16 and Engine 7 that took the life of a woman on a bicycle. The final decision is now up to the District Attorney. Read the details. Here is our coverage on the day of the collision.
Houston fire station closed: Speaking of Ladder 16, it has been moved to Station 8 following the closing of Station 16. KTRK-TV reports the building has been shuttered. Not a lot of details other than a report that problems with ceramic tiles coming loose has brought questions about the structural integrity of the firehouse. Here’s more.
A study in fire spread: That’s what Firegeezer calls his look at a fire in West Bend, Wisconsin. Take a look.
5-alarms in Nashville: Five homes were damaged or destroyed in the fire late Thursday night. Check it out.
Blast levels New Jersey home visited earlier by gas workers: In South Amboy two people were hurt in an apparent natural gas explosion that destroyed a home on Friday. The gas company confirms one its people had visited the house 45-minutes earlier, responding to a report of a leak. Here’s the story.
Was anyone on OT during boot drive?: The latest issue in Clark County, Nevada is over collecting money for MD during work hours. The question has also been brought up about overtime money being spent during the boot drive. Click here for the details.
The mature probie: An interesting article about New York’s Syosset Fire Department. Josh Stewart writes about the trend toward volunteers joining the department later in life. Here’s the story.
As we previously mentioned, mutual aid companies, feeling the pressure of the increased responses at a time when Flint is providing less, are reconsidering their agreements with the city. Click here and here to read those stories.
After a fire broke out Friday evening, police announced there is a suspect in custody, but they don’t believe that man is responsible for the arson spree.
UPDATED – In Leadville, Colorado police are responding with the fire department to provide security on all calls. But wait until you learn who they are protecting firefighters from. Trust me when I tell you to read this story: This is one of the more interesting fire service dramas I have read about in quite a while. An on-duty battalion captain in Colorado’s Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue was handcuffed and put into a holding cell by two sheriff’s deputies during an EMS call at the jail. One of the law enforcement officers has been very public about wanting the sheriff’s department to take over the fire department’s job. The Lake County Sheriff’s Department is saying Capt. Dan Dailey obstructed government operations by insisting on tending to a patient inside the county jail. Union and town officials believe this is a power grab by the sheriff’s department which has been pushing a “public safety officer” model. The town is using its police department now to “protect” the firefighters.
Update note – If you read the story last night we have added details from a new article in today’s Denver Post that has the mayor of Leadville saying the sheriff has ordered 911 to have deputies first check out all fire calls before dispatching the fire department. There is also a concise description of the current set-up and relationship between the fire department and Lake County. Click here to read our detailed coverage of this issue.
More warm and fuzzy feelings in the relationship with law enforcement: An ambulance crew in Petersburg, Virginia thought they were being helpful when they used they put the rig between a vehicle being chased by police and a group of pedestrians. The move halted the chase and resulted in an arrest by Virginia State Police. But it also brought a charge of reckless driving against the driver of the ambulance. Check out Firegeezer for this one.
Some suburbs telling Flint they are on their own: With an arsonist(s) on the loose, 30 plus fires, 23 layoffs and two closed fire stations in Flint, Michigan, all over the past eights days, at least three Genesee County fire companies are saying no. Burton Fire Chief Doug Halstead told the Flint Journal, “I can’t solve the city’s problems. I have taxpayers in Burton who are my first priority.” Read the story.
More budget cutting. More mutual aid woes: In Massachusetts, with more cuts looming, fire chiefs are concerned about their participation in MetroFire, a mutual aid pact between 34 cities and towns. Read the story.
Funeral arrangements for Firefighter Brian Carey & update on Firefighter Karra Kopas : In Illinois,Village of Homewood Fire Department’s Karra Kopas has undergone skin grafts and is now listed in fair condition following the house fire this week that killed fellow firefighter Brian Carey. Here is the latest. Also, funeral arrangements have been announced. Click here.
Chief feels “betrayed” by firefighters accused of arson in Pennsylvania: News reports indicate two more firefighters could face charges in Schuylkill County after the initial arrest of three members of the Friedensburg Fire Company. Investigators say the motive was boredom. The chief of the department tells reporters the arrests tear his heart out. Read the story. Watch the story.
Another discipline reversal in Westbrook, Maine: The Westbrook Fire & Rescue Department has been dealing with a lot of issues surrounding sexual harassment claims. Two of the latest stories have covered related firings and demotions that didn’t stick. The story today is about a firefighter who will be returned to the rank of lieutenant with back bay following his demotion in December. A firefighter fired around the same time won an arbitration on March 15 and will now get his job back. Here’s the update.
Transporting the big boss with a severe posterior nasal hemorrhage: In Howard County, Maryland, HowardFire.net alerts us to the EMS run to take County Executive Ken Ulman to the hospital yesterday. Ulman apparently suffered a drop in blood pressure from the nose bleed.
Dave is not suggesting this – but it did give me a chuckle: Jeff Harkey at FireNews.net and Dave Williams have been telling us about the billoard on I-26 in South Carolina. It is from the Home Builders Association of South Carolina and is clearly against the idea of mandatory residential sprinklers. One email that came in to STATter911.com this morning suggested the following tactic as a rebuttal:
… the local FD needs to go out and shoot the deck gun and a couple of 2 ½-inch hand lines over the top of the billboard and make a sign of their own: “WATER DAMAGE …. Your choice…
We are not condoning vandalism or making any suggestions. But I do like the humor behind it.
Did flesh eating bacteria play role in premature death determination?: That’s the word from sources in Prince George’s County, Maryland familiar with Friday’s incident where a man was left for dead in his Glenarden home. While one part of the investigation continues, PGFD officials report the two medics have now been cleared for full duty. Here’s the story.
More from the tragedy in Homewood, Illinois: Through a family friend, injured Village of Homewood firefighter Karra Kopas tells her story about Tuesday night’s house fire that killed Firefighter Brian Carey and left Kopas with burns. Click here. Here is our earlier coverage.
WJRT-TV's tower cam this morning as the rash of fires continues in Flint, Michigan. Click the image for the station's coverage.
A “Dear Firebug” letter: Columnist Andrew Heller in the Flint Journal makes the case that whoever starting setting fires in the wake of layoffs in the Michigan city is not associated with firefighters. Heller wants the fire starter to knock it off before a firefighter or someone else gets killed. Read his column.
And Flint continues to burn: April Fools Day is clearly not a holiday for the arsonist. Five more overnight fires. Click here for the details.
Trio of firefighters in PA charged with arson: Three young volunteers with the Friedensburg Fire Company in Schuylkill County have been arrested on arson charges. Here’s the story.
A two-year-old firehouse may close: In Dover, New Hampshire the Liberty North End Fire Station opened only two-years-ago after decades on the drawing board. It could soon close because of budget issues. Read the story.
And speaking of Emergency!: The County of Los Angeles Fire Museum wants help in restoring Engine 51 (the Ward LaFrance). Read more and watch the videos.
Budget busting overtime makes news again: I wish I could get time-and-a-half each time I link to a story on a jurisdiction across the country sounding the alarm about firefighter overtime. Palm Bay, Florida is the latest. Let me fill out my time sheet.
Pool company burns in Wolcott, Indiana: Officials say a furnace started the fire that destroyed the showroom of San Juan Pools. Read more about the fire here and here.
DC fire and police radio systems crash on Monday night: The fire department worked to switch over to the 800 MHZ systems used by Montgomery County and Arlington County. The police department, on a different part of the radio spectrum, apparently had a little tougher time. It appears to be a pretty significant failure of two different public safety radio systems in the Nation’s Capital. Read more.
Truth serum: The editor of this blog takes a very brave editorial stand and comes out in favor of the truth. He’s a regular Edward R. Murrow, that guy. Finding the truth is near and dear to the heart of a reporter. DC Fire & EMS Department Chief Dennis Rubin writes in this month’s Firehouse that always telling the truth should be near and dear to the heart of a firefighter. Rube’s Rule 7 fits well with a previous posting from STATter911.com. Check it out.
Check out this video of a close call: In Chula Vista, California a camera was rolling as a firefighter took a bit of a tumble during roof operations at a house fire. Luckily the only thing he lost was the tool in his hand (and I am sure he is wishing there were no camera around). Check it out around 1:45 in the video.
Firefighter demoted for hanging mayor’s picture next to photos of Adolph Hitler and Osama bin Laden: In Memphis when the order came to hang Mayor AC Wharton’s picture in city fire stations it was followed at Station 16. But it was the company that the picture was keeping that has now brought the demotion of a lieutenant to the rank of driver and lesser punishment for a battalion chief and others. Here’s the update.
23 layoffs. 23 fires: Those were the totals yesterday evening in Flint, Michigan. As many firefighter layoffs as fires since Wednesday. The arson spree continues. Read and watch more. Also, the city council wants to set minimum staffing levels for fire and police. Those levels are apparently to keep down future layoffs and not restore what has been lost. Click here for that one.
UK firefighter who lost his son is among those charged with gross negligence: Paul Stephens is one of six people charged in connection with the handling of the tragic fire that killed four firefighters in Warwickshire in 2007. Stephens’ son was one of the firefighters killed. Here’s the latest.
It isn’t letting up in Flint: More vacant building fires in the troubled Michigan city in the wake of fire and police layoffs that started on Thursday. This one is from last night around 10:00 PM at the corner of Oak and Court. Click here for video of a Sunday afternoon fire and details from WJRT-TV. Two more of the fires from early Sunday morning are here and here. And here is one from Saturday. With the city officials openly speculating that the layoffs and the fires are connected, you can’t help think of the early 1980s when Boston was the “arson capital of the world”. That long, ugly and devastating episode had its origins in a group of fire buffs reacting to the layoffs of hundreds of Massachusetts firefighters and police officers. A little history lesson.
Family told for the second time in two days that man was dead: Relatives of George Waters first heard on Friday that the 70-year-old man was dead. That turned out not to be true. Then they heard the same news on Saturday from the Prince George’s County Hospital Center. This time the news was correct. The Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department has two reviews underway looking at why this happened. Two paramedics are sitting on the sidelines as this is sorted out. It is the second such incident for PGFD this year. Here is the latest story. Here is our initial coverage.
Florida chief says better info from 911 might have shaved minutes off door removal to help dying woman: This is a very interesting story from North Fort Myers. Chief Larry Nisbet of the Bayshore Fire Department believes if his firefighters had the same information they had at the 911 center, the crew wouldn’t have waited to remove the front door and help a dying 72-year-old woman. The director of Lee County’s 911 says no policies need to be changed. Here’s the story.
Cops cite firefighter at scene: Not a lot of details of what went wrong at a domestic violence call in Leadville, Colorado leading to a firefighter charged with obstruction. Read what we know.
Listen as firefighters report tornado touchdown: Violent weather yesterday in and around High Point, North Carolina. We have video and pictures along with FireSceneAudio.com‘s radio traffic as things get pretty busy for the 911 center. Here is our coverage.
Jumper from Montgomery County, PA fire: PhillyFireNews.com has a series of pictures from a house fire early Saturday morning in Lansdale. Click here. Read more about the fire.
Raw video, lots of pictures and memories after 5-alarm fire: In Sacramento they are mourning the loss of Iceland, a 70-year-old skating rink. Check it out.
“Useless” firefighter video draws comments: I put this video up to stimulate a little discussion, and it did. A citizen somewhere called the fire department “useless” for laughing off a suggestion they get a cat down from a power pole. The power company ended up handling it. There isn’t anyone arguing the fire department should have done the job, but there are a few making the case that the customer service and PR component might have been better handled (based on the impression of the unknown videographer). Here are the video and the comments.
Friday was Mid-Atlantic train derailment day: We started with the dangling locomotive that almost went into the drink in Chesapeake, Virginia because the bridge was in the “up” position. Click here. That was followed by a derailment in Maryland. While it was posted in our player, we never got to mention the Howard County incident. Here’s that video. Doug Walton at his Howard County blog has details and close-up pictures of the wreckage in Patapsco Valley State Park near the swinging bridge (I used to love that place as a kid).
How can a geezer be only three-years-old?: That’s a lifetime in blogger years. Bill Schumm just celebrated three years at the helm of Firegeezer.com. Congratulations to Bill. What do you get for the third anniversary? More links, of course. There’s lots to choose from, so just scroll down. The most interesting to me is the fire engine in Croatia that lost a battle with a tram. Click here for that one.
Fire in Virginia Beach: We have an early series of still pictures from an apartment fire with an arts store down below on the oceanfront. Click here. Since our posting, FireRescueTV.com added some video to those pictures. Click here.
Early video in Milford, Massachusetts: Cameras were on the scene as a man came out a third floor apartment window while fire raged down below. The three-alarm fire has lots of video and pictures to document it. Here it is.
Apartment fire in Hobart, Indiana: Report of a number of injuries at this fire on Sunday near Hickey and Liberty.
Twenty-three firefighters are scheduled to lose their jobs today in Flint, Michigan. Two fire stations are expected to close this week. Yesterday evening, there were five fires in vacant homes over a four-hour period (some news sites indicate four fires) that left two firefighters injured. Overnight there were at least three more fires.
Three fires burning at once around 4:30 this morning in Flint. From WJRT-TV.
Fire Battalion Chief Theresa Root says all the fires seem to have been set intentionally. All the fires were two story vacant home with fires on both floors. Root says it also seems very suspicious since the fires are happening the day before firefighter layoffs.
“I think they’re trying to make a point and I think they’re going about it all the wrong ways. They need to make a point to elected officials regarding layoffs by communicating their ideas. They’re using an illegal and dangerous act to try and make a point. They need to act intellectually and professionally with options and compromise.”
Flint Journal reporter Laura Angus attended yesterday’s press conference with Mayor Dayne Walling. Here are excerpts:
With the city unable to reach cost-cutting agreements with police and fire unions, planned layoffs will go into effect barring a last-minute deal.
Along with the staffing cuts, the city will also shutter two of its five fire stations Thursday — Station 3 on the city’s north side and Station 8 on the south side.
With 65 city firefighters left on the job, some outcounty fire chiefs have expressed concerns that the city will need added help from outside departments if Flint is overwhelmed with fire calls.
The city is developing a plan so it can call in off-duty fire personnel and equipment before relying on the countywide mutual aid fire agreement, said Walling.
Firefighter union president Raul Garcia accusing Walling of union busting on Wednesday and said he is planning to organize his own recall effort against the mayor.
“He doesn’t care about the city, that’s it,” Garcia said.
Walling said the city will continue to be safe and praised the work of the city’s police and firefighters, calling them “the best in the business.”
“This is not easy but we can no longer afford to live outside our means,” he said.
The red pin to the north is Station 3 and the one to the south is Station 8. Both are expected to close this week. Click the image for more details on the map prepared by the Flint Journal.
Restaurant fire in Guatemala: Posted yesterday, there is no date on this fire in Xela. Listen to the crowd reaction.
Crash between two Maryland fire trucks exposes deeper mutual aid issues: If you read all of the emails and statements coming from both sides of the Anne Arundel – Calvert border you will likely draw the conclusion that the crash of Tower 40 and Engine 51 on February 14 is only a symptom of a greater problem. There are accusations from the leadership of both the Anne Arundel County Fire Department and the Dunkirk Volunteer Fire Department that the other side is responsible for their relationship woes. We have a lot for you to read and to see. Click here for our coverage.
Our friend Steve Skipton took in this fire in Camden, New Jersey on the way home from work last night. He has more pictures from the blaze on Mt. Ephraim at PhillyFireNews.com. Click the image.
Fireground audio and pictures from 3-alarm PGFD fire: A fire yesterday afternoon tore through the garden apartment building on Mistletoe Springs Road. We have pictures from Mark Brady and other sources and radio transmissions from our friends at FireSceneAudio.com. Check it out.
$300,000 severance package for fire chief who makes more than the governor: Chief Scott LaVielle‘s salary running the North Highline Fire District in King County, Washington was $186,370. LaVielle was responsible for two station’s and 35 employees. By contrast, Seattle’s Chief Gregory Dean, managing 32 stations and 1155 employees, makes almost $13,000 less. I am also guessing that Chief Dean doesn’t quite have Chief LaVielle’s golden parachute. In this tough economy LaVielle’s position has been eliminated, but he walks away with a severance package worth $300,000. Keith Ervin at The Seattle Times takes a look at how this came about.
City stalling on funeral bill because more than 40% was for booze: City officials in Buffalo say they aren’t backing down from their refusal to pay for almost $11,000 in alcohol that was part of the $25,000 bill submitted by IAFF Local 282 to cover expenses for the funerals of Capt. Charles “Chip” McCarthy and Firefighter Jonathan Croom. Union says the city is breaking a contract and the law. Read the story from WKBW-TV.
Ops chief is cool under fire: Reno’s Joe Durousseau deftly landed his Cessna 172 in the middle of traffic on I-80 yesterday. The operations division chief was returning from a humanitarian mission to Mexico when the plane had engine problems. No one was hurt. Read the story. Watch the story and the interview.
Volunteer firefighter guilty of speeding to a fire: In Erin, Tennessee, volunteer firefighter and alderman Brian Richardson has been found guilty of going 77 mph in a 30 mph zone while traveling in his own vehicle to a fire. But there is so much more to this story. Richardson blames it all on politics and an ongoing conflict between the cops and firefighters. The story gets somewhat complicated to follow, but I will let you figure it out. Click here.
Our video player to the right: If you had been paying attention to the videos that pop up near the top of the right hand column you would have seen this one before I did. It is from a house fire in Montgomery County two-days-ago shot by 9NEWS NOW’s Greg Guise. Click here to read more. WUSA9.com’s Emily Cyr and Jillian Coyle are constantly adding videos that involve fire and EMS from the Washington area and around the country. Make sure you check it out. The 30 most recent stories are always in there.
Question for fire & EMS in the Washington area: Are you still finding big response problems in the aftermath of the blizzards? Especially in trying to get around on area roads. Let me know. Be specific about the problem(s). You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fire department is tapped as solution to Pittsburgh EMS problem. Plus more on botched snowstorm response: Following the failure to get help to Curtis Mitchell during a snowstorm, Pittsburgh officials on Wednesday began routinely dispatching firefighters to EMS calls in the city. Disciplinary action is also being considered in the case. Here is the latest.
The Fire PIO has a look at the public relations end of owning up to such a controversial incident. I am a little more blunt than Jeff Bressler and don’t use a lot of the PR terms and techniques that he so nicely analyzes. As I have pointed out before, from my experience covering these situations, the only way to get out from something like this is to come clean quickly and thoroughly. If Pittsburgh officials told only part of the story and more starts dribbling out, they will likely lose any good will that came from their very direct response to the incident.
The apology by city officials in the Mitchell case reminds me of how DC handled a story I broke in the mid-1980s during the Marion Barry administration. City Administrator Thomas Downs immediately held a press conference and apologized to a family on Fort Totten Drive, NE whose son had called 911 about a dying parent. The dispatcher at one point told the boy to “grow up”. Obviously there are also parallels to DC with the latest developments. It was the inability to get DC EMS units to patients in a timely fashion (for a variety of reasons) that resulted in the fire department being dispatched on all EMS calls in the Nation’s Capital.
Snowstorm puts strain on Fairfax County: The Washington Post’s Greg MacDonald takes a look at the impact on the back to back blizzards on the budget, staff and equipment, including the loss of the Bailey’s Crossroads station after the roof collapse. Check it out.
DeKalb chief forced to resign: That’s the story from David Foster’s lawyer. Foster’s “resignation” came just after the firings following the botched response to a house fire. There is now a battle over a severance package and a lot more detail about the relationship between Foster and his boss. Click here for the story.
Union responds to overpaid complaint: We told you yesterday about a Clark County, Nevada commissioner who said the average $180,000 compensation package for firefighters was too much. Now the union responds saying the figure is inflated by overtime which firefighters have no control over. Here is the latest.
Out like Flint: What is left of the Flint, Michigan Fire Department will be even smaller in two weeks. Today, 23 firefighters are getting their layoff notices. This will leave the city with only 65 firefighters and the closing of one, if not two more, fire stations. This comes days after response questions about last weekend’s fire that left four children dead. Click here for the story.
Reducing staff in Bloomfield, NJ: Career and volunteer firefighters came out strongly against a plan to reduce minimum staffing and possibly close a fire house. Read the story.
It may be a year before Minnesota firefighter walks again: But Cory Broich is home and recovering with his wife and five kids three weeks after being struck by a car in Clearwater, Minnesota. Click here to read and watch the story.
Assistant chief fired after being found driving a stolen vehicle: I haven’t sorted through all of this one from the St. Louis area just yet, but it is a bit unusual. A man is getting back his 1995 Crown Vic more than three years after it was stolen. Pine Lawn Police say it was being driven by Northeast Ambulance and Fire Protection District Assistant Chief Robert Manuel. Manuel claims he got it from a salvage yard. Still, the chief was fired after being charged with driving with a suspended license, having no proof of insurance and displaying a tag belonging to another vehicle. Here’s more.
Blizzard house fire video: This is the video from last Wednesday’s two-alarm fire in Baltimore where the National Guard’s five-ton truck was the only vehicle to make it up to the burning home. Click here.
Chair purchases called indefensible: Do you remember the story in December about the little used emergency command center in Dutchess County, New York? This is the place outfitted with $1000 chairs that have been featured in Hollywood movies. A memo obtained by the paper that uncovered the story has County Executive William Steinhaus calling the buying of the chairs “excessive and indefensible”. Read the latest.
Report on fire response finds a lot wrong: A January 4 fire in Cayuga County, New York is receiving a lot of scrutiny over a number of problems with the response. These include closer companies not being dispatched to the call and a firefighter entering the home before sufficient help arrived. Click here for the story.
Memphis firefighter with past now charged with murder: More problems for the Memphis Fire Department. A firefighter questioned about the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend has now been charged with first-degree murder. The victim was shot at a hospital where she worked as a nurse. Here’s the latest.
Pole hole results in lawsuit for CNN anchor: Someone told me that legend has it that the former quarters of Fire Patrol 2 in New York is haunted. It is now owned by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper who now must deal with his second controversy surrounding his new home. An interior designer took a 17-foot fall down an open pole hole in November and is now suing Cooper. Here’s the story. The last story was about the removal of a plaque dedicated to one of the patrol’s former members who died in the attacks of September 11.
A mess on I-70: One crash near Kansas City during a snow storm yesterday had more than 40-vehicles piling up. Check out the video.
Hobart, Indiana house fire: This is another Valentine’s Day video from Edward Malik who shot the Gary video at the top of today’s Quick Takes.
Flint Journal photo by Sarah A. Miller. Click the image for more pictures and details.
For the second time in about 24-hours a Michigan auto salvage and parts business has burned, setting off numerous small explosions. Friday’s fire in Detroit, went to three-alarms and kept firefighters busy for 10 hours.
The fire Saturday was reported just after 4:30 PM about 90-minutes after Inter-City Auto Parts closed for the day. The business is at 2308 Toronto Street. The salvage yard and two buildings are surrounded by railroad tracks and a neighborhood of single family homes.
On the two video clips on this page you can hear numerous explosions. A battalion chief told a local TV station there were at least 50 such blasts from propane and acetylene tanks. Shrapnel from one of the tanks smashed a window of a fire truck on the scene.
The fire is reported to have started in the office of the business and spread to the nearby warehouse. The tanks that exploded were stored inside that warehouse.
No injuries were reported.
WEYI-TV image of metal that went though the window of a Flint fire truck. Click above for more pictures.