Neighbors reported hearing a loud explosion and then seeing black smoke pouring out of the house.
Dennis Rodriguez, a deputy in the Lenawee County sheriff’s reserves, lives on the opposite corner and was outdoors when the fire started. He said the house was in flames almost immediately.
Lt. Tim Bartenslager of the Adrian Fire Department said no injuries were reported and the house is likely a total loss. The fire appears to have started outside, he said, but the cause is undetermined. He said the Adrian Police Department is conducting an investigation.
Fire departments from Adrian, Cambridge, Madison and Raisin Townships and from the cities of Tecumseh and Morenci joined Adrian city firefighters on the scene. Bartenslager said Palmyra Township firefighters manned the Adrian station while the fire was being fought and responded to four or five medical emergencies in the city.
A Wayne-Westland firefighter’s life has been tragically cut short. Wednesday, 29-year-old Brian Woehlke was killed on the job.
At 8:17 a.m., a 911 call from a cell phone reported a working fire at The Electric Stick on Wayne Road in Westland, previously a pool hall converted into a charity poker venue. The 13,000 square foot structure includes Marvaso’s Italian Grille.
While fighting the fire, it was discovered that Woehlke was unaccounted for.
While checking an area of the building that had collapsed, they discovered the missing firefighter. He could not be revived. People watching the fire immediately began holding hands and praying.
Jennifer Woehlke made the following statement: “Brian loved going to work every day, and he worked his whole life to become a firefighter. Brian was proud a Wayne-Westland firefighter.”
The body of a Wayne Westland firefighter has been recovered from a blaze at a pair of businesses in a Westland strip mall today.
Brian Woehlke, 29, was found today, said Deputy Fire Chief Rob Arbini. Woehlke had been a firefighter for 10 months, Arbini said.
Mayor William Wild said he received notification of the body’s recovery at about 12:40 p.m. No information is being released about the firefighter.
Firefighters responded to a blaze at the Electric Stick, a billiards hall, at about 9 a.m. They received a mayday call through the communications system at about 9:30 a.m., indicating a firefighter was in distress. The call was received after a roof collapsed. The strip mall is located at Hunter and Wayne roads.
Woehlke is the first firefighter to fall in the line of duty in the City of Westland Fire Department’s 47-year history.
A Dearborn resident, Woehlke was married and the father of one child.,
Woehlke was among firefighters who responded to the fire sometime after 8 a.m. Wednesday. A may day distress radio call from Woehlke was received about 9:30 a.m. His body was recovered from the collapsed building about 12:40 p.m.
Woehlke is believed to have been trapped in debris from the collapsed Electric Stick and adjoining Marvaso’s Italian Grille.
Five firefighters reportedly went in and only four came out after the Electric Stick pool hall went up in flames Wednesday morning. Electric Stick is located on Wayne Road just south of Warren.
A restaurant was also destroyed in the fire.
Black smoke could be seen pouring from the building for miles.
Business owner George Marvaso says, “we will rebuild.” Marvaso, a man of strong faith says it is his faith that he will rely on throughout this time.
Electric Stick opened in 1993 as a billiard hall and in recent years had become a charity poker hall. Over the years Marvaso has been able to host tournaments that have raised more than $3-million dollars.
Video from firewolfranger of a house fire on Saturday. While it doesn’t say in the description I believe this is Ada Fire-Rescue Department in Kent County, Michigan. The word to evacuate the house comes around 1:30.
Thanks to Warren Anderson of Conneaut, Ohio for making sure we got his video from this Detroit fire that occurred last Friday. Warren, and many of the closest companies, were around the corner at a fire in a commercial building when this fire was reported at 5321 Vancouver Street.
According to Warren, this went to a second-alarm. The initial companies were E-17, 29, L-8,Sq-2 & 5.
Crews spent several hours Sunday night and Monday morning fighting a house fire in Manistee.
Crews responded to the fire in the 200 block of St. Mary’s Parkway at about 9:00pm and found the building in flames. Shortly after police crews arrived, there was a “flashover” and the entire front of the house went up in flames.
Watch the attached video from Manistee Police for the flashover which happens about two minutes in.
More Highland Park, Michigan helmet-cam video from HPZ1442 and still pictures from our friend Steve Redick. Here’s the description:
This video is from Firefighter Tikkanen’s helmet camera. He was responding on Engine 2, the 2nd due engine for this fire. Crews responded to a report of an occupied dwelling fire on Connecticut street. They arrived to find heavy smoke showing. Upon 1st due crews entry they found heavy fire conditions on 1 and 2nd floor. The crew was able to extinguish the fire before it made its way into the attic. Not much fire footage on this video since the camera man was going in on the second line. You can see the heavy smoke in the beginning of it. I edited out most of his footage since it was just darkness. The guys described this one as an ass kicker, 3 bottle each fire. I was not personally on this fire. Photos at the end are compliments of Steve Redick and can be viewed or purchased on his web site http://ksc711.smugmug.com/. The camera used is a Firecam 1080. You can check them out at firevideo.net
From Highland Park, Michigan Firefighter Scott Ziegler (HPZ1442) during a fire last Thursday. Here is what Scott wrote about the video:
We responded to a report of flames showing from the side and front windows of a liquor store on the 1st floor of a 4 story apt building. We arrived to find smoke and flames showing, and that the Police Dept had already evacuated the occupants of the building. The liquor store was sealed up pretty tight and it took us a few extra minutes to get into it. While we worked on that, PD informed us that they may have heard screams on the 2nd floor while they cleared the building but that it was to smokey to go check. # of us responded to the main entrance and to the second floor where we found smokey conditions and limited visibility. PD and one of our off duty FF’s informed of the apt number the woman was believed to live in. The manager had said she was unaccounted for. We masked up and advanced in to find her. She was found in her unit, and carried out by Firefighter Eason. We were then informed of another possible victim. We went back in to search for him but while searching his apt we were informed that he had already made it out. My camera died at this point because I cannot seem to remember to charge it! At this time fire had extended into the 2nd and 3rd floors. We advanced hose lines through the windows from units adjacent to those that were on fire. The fire was brought under control in a little more than an hour. We operated on scene for several more cleaning up hot spots. We contained the fire to damaging only the liquor store where it had originated, and 4 apt units. Used a firecam 1080 from firevideo.net any sound you hear cut out is not from the camera, I actually edit some of the content out of it.
Video above from Blake Arnold (midwestnews, International Broadcast Services) who arrived on the scene last night as neighbors were just discovering a house fire that spread to adjoining homes. Here’s a brief description Blake sent me:
The fire was on Senator near Beard street on Detroit’s southwest side. We ended up calling it in and were first on scene. Because it was very busy last night it took dfd approx 8 mins to arrive and almost 20 minutes to get water on the fire because of a broken hydrant.
Below are two parts of radio traffic via wildfirevideosWNY as Detroit firefighters handled a dozen fires during the busy night.
WTTG-TV/ Fox 5 reporter Paul Wagner still can’t get DC Fire & EMS Department Chief Kenneth Ellerbe, Deputy Mayor Paul Quander or anyone from Mayor Vince Gray’s office to sit down for a chat about all of the recent problems facing the department. But Wagner’s report last night prompted yet another statement from the chief acknowledging another serious problem uncovered by the reporter and IAFF Local 36.
According to Wagner’s story and Chief Ellerbe’s press release, DC’s aerial ladders are in need of inspection. A union official says records indicate the last time annual inspections were done was in 2009. Chief Ellerbe’s statement only confirms they weren’t done last year. The reason, according to Ellerbe: “Ladder trucks were not tested last year due to a lack of reserve trucks.”
So, how many reserves are there to back up the 16 front line ladder truck’s protecting the Nation’s Capital? That still isn’t clear. There is no press statement yet from Chief Ellerbe on that topic, but the union told Wagner last night that so far they can only account for one reserve. This much is known, one of the 16 trucks in DC was shut down this week because there were no reserves available.
Now the question is what will the DC Fire & EMS Department do about untested aerial ladders? In Detroit earlier this year, they faced a very similar problem. When it was discovered that the Detroit Fire Department had not kept up with NFPA inspection standards firefighters were ordered to stay off aerial ladders unless there was an imminent life safety issue. No indication yet that the DC Fire & EMS Department will go that route.
As you will see in the story above from Wagner (and can read here), DC’s inspector general was already looking at fleet issues last year but has not issued a report. Wagner also pointed out more potential security problems with all of the apparatus parked on the street near the shop (a practice that goes back decades).
DISTRICT FIRE AND EMS CHIEF ELLERBE RESPONDS TO QUESTIONS REGARDING LADDER TRUCK TESTING AND ACQUISITIONS
F&EMS ladder trucks are currently beingtested, with the most recent test taking place this week, on Monday, March 11,2013. Ladder trucks were not tested last year due to a lack of reservetrucks.
With regard to the procurement issue, the processwas complicated by the fact that a winning bidder refused to grant theDepartment a five-year warranty. When the bidding process was reopened,the vendor filed a protest, further delaying the order. The new processis almost now complete and we expect a new vendor will soon be awarded thecontract. New ladder trucks are being built to the specifications developed incollaboration with members of the firefighters’ union.
As we previously have indicated, since 2011, theDepartment has made purchases of apparatus. These deliveries include:
Benton Harbor, Michigan Lt. Doug Bell is in fair condition after being burned inside a house fire at 1034 Jennings Avenue early Thursday morning. According to news reports, Lt. Bell was the only firefighter on duty in the station when the call came in and was alone in the house when he was injured. In July of last year Benton Harbor began using a public safety officer model where police officers are trained to respond to fires bringing a reduction in the number of full-time firefighters. One of the public safety officers who helped rescue Lt. Bell went to the hospital due to smoke inhalation.
Below is a video of the Benton Harbor Fire Department we ran last year before implementation of the public safety officer model.
Three Benton Harbor public safety officers were at the scene with Bell when he entered the house, Lange said.
Bell entered the burning house alone, (Public Safety Director Roger) Lange said. Standard procedure nationally is to have two firefighters inside a burning structure, with two outside.
A lone firefighter can enter a building if there is reason to believe someone is inside, which is what Bell might have done, Lange said.
As of Thursday afternoon, Lange did not yet know if one of the public safety officers was on the way into the house behind Bell when Bell was injured, and said that this part of the incident was under investigation.
Above is a video posted in April of last year before the public safety officer model was introduced.
Above is the memo from Detroit Fire Chief Craig Dougherty we first showed you on Saturday that orders firefighters to stay off aerial ladders unless there is an immediate threat to life. The problem is that the Detroit Fire Department’s fleet of 19 ladder trucks does not meet NFPA’s standards on annual and five year testing. Yesterday, local news coverage caught up with the release of the memo.
It isn’t a pretty picture and once again LeDuff found himself running after a fire commissioner to try to get an interview. Commissioner Don Austin said he was attempting to get permission from Mayor Dave Bing’s office to talk. LeDuff called Mayor Bing’s spokesman wondering why no one would talk to him and was given a very blunt and straight forward answer: “Because we don’t like your show”.
Of course that did nothing to stop LeDuff’s report. The report focused on the impact of last year’s firehouse closings and recent rising insurance rates.
LeDuff with Commissioner Don Austin’s arm. Watch the story for an explanation.
In the end, LeDuff did get a mayor to talk. He ambushed the former officer holder, the one who is again on trial on corruption charges, Kwame Kilpatrick. LeDuff wanted to know what Kilpatrick did with all the money that never made it to the department for capital improvements and equipment. Kilpatrick says the fire department got everything it needed under his administration.
There was a time not that long ago when there was a fire in Detroit, you knew firefighters would be there in a hurry. But that was before the budget cuts.
Since those cutbacks, firefighters are spread dangerously thin and it’s you who may get burned.
“We have a new saying shamefully because the fire department and the city put us in this position that when seconds count, we’re only minutes away,” said Dan McNamara with the Detroit Fire Fighters Association.
The website MotorCityMuckraker.com says a woman watched her Detroit home near Southfield and 8 Mile burn for 21 minutes after 911 was called on Saturday night. The website reports the closest available companies were 18 miles away, Engine 33 and Ladder 13. It also cites last year’s closings of a large number of Detroit fire companies.
“The house was totally engulfed when we arrived, and it had started with a small fire in the basement,” firefighter Ted Copley said. “An old lady now has nothing. Epic fail by the city.”
Fires are burning longer and becoming more destructive because Mayor Dave Bing’s administration has closed 15 stations in the past 18 months, and nearly as many are closed each night as part of temporary closures called “brown outs,” said Dan McNamara, president of the Detroit Firefighters Association.
Copley said his crew passed “God knows how many closed or browned out firehouses” enroute to Saturday’s blaze.
Also, according to a WXYZ-TV report last week (the video above), Detroit fire inspectors are years behind in their work. Five inspectors try to handle work that was once the responsibility of 32 inspectors. This report comes as a follow-up to the TV station’s recent broadcast about fire safety issues in the city’s firehouses (see video below).
The Fire Marshal Division no longer has a night crew of fire inspectors to regularly check bars and casinos.
Years ago, (Detroit Fire Marshal Steven) Hurst says it took two years for inspectors to get to all the commercial buildings in Detroit. When Action News asked how long it’ll now take for inspectors to complete that same job, he replied “Years”.
And while fire fighters are trained to be able to spot fire hazards and other safety issues, their own firehouses where are supposed to be on the inspection list. But out of the dozens of firehouses around the city, only two were inspected in 2011.
We also never posted the video (and fireground audio) from Steve Redick’s recent trip to Detroit. That is below. And if you are looking for a good Christmas or Hanukkah gift giving mood, don’t forget Steve’s wonderful books featuring his photos from Chicago (click here).
The latest Detroit Fire Department story by WJBK-TV’s Charlie LeDuff has the reporter soaking his feet in a container of dirty water at the site of a burned out home. It’s part of the theatrics we’ve come to expect as LeDuff shows his disdain for one of hundreds of pairs of new fire boots purchased by the City of Detroit. LeDuff makes the case that the boots aren’t very good and that officials paid $12 more per pair than the low bidder.
Now we’ve chronicled leaking fire trucks, missing money, cutbacks, feces bubbling out of the floors of the firehouses and no toilet paper. Now this week’s outrage is the new fire boots.
Now while they are fire certified, fire officials tell us that the new boots aren’t even the ones they agreed to buy this past summer. The new boots are flimsy. They don’t fit. They don’t have support and nails go through the bottoms. Nevertheless, we paid top dollar. Why?
In July, the City of Detroit accepted bids for a $188,000 contract to purchase fire boots. Now the low bid was $106 per pair. But the city went with the high bidder who was asking $118 a pair. Why? Because that company is a Detroit-based contractor, which is allowed to charge more by city ordinance.
Former Columbia Township, Michigan on-call firefighter Michael Freislinger told WOOD-TV the night of a deadly crash where a woman and two children died he “was not acting as a firefighter” when he went to the scene. He claims he was a just a good Samaritan who happened to hear of the accident on his scanner and went to help out law enforcement or medics in any way he could. Freislinger says he didn’t have any gear with him.
Freislinger told reporter Ryan Takeo he is now considering legal action against the Columbia Township Fire Department for firing him for violating department protocal that only allows the chief, assistant chief and captain to go directly to the scene of an incident instead of the firehouse. The firehouse was 9.2 miles away from Freislinger while the scene of the November 13 wreck in Van Buren County’s Geneva Township was half that distance.
Citing policy, the department’s chief did not comment on the story for WOOD-TV.
“I heard all this stuff going on the police scanners — that there were children involved and there were bodies all over the place. So I went to the scene and gave a hand, whether it be with traffic with the police or CPR with the medics on scene,” said Frieslinger.
Freislinger admitted he has gone straight to scenes before and was on probation violating other department rules, all of which he disputes.
He said he doesn’t want his job at Columbia Township back. “Just a clean slate so I can put in my applications in other departments,” he said.
Freislinger went to Tuesday evening’s township board meeting to try and get his record cleared. He said the township supervisor told him the board is investigating.
We are so used to seeing Detroit firefighters fight fires in multiple vacant dwellings or an abandoned factory you take a little more notice when it’s an occupied high-rise apartment building. This caught my attention from BoxAlarmDetroit. It’s a two-alarm fire at a large building at 1415 Parker Street known as the Parkstone Apartments. The fire was reported around 4:30 yesterday afternoon.
It has been a while since we have run a video from Highland Park, Michigan. Here’s the latest from HPZ1442, including this description with the video:
Engine 1 and engine 2 responded to a report of a house fire on Florence. Arrived to find heavy fire on 2nd floor and in the attic. Fire was through the roof. I sped up parts of the video to save on time. Monitor was dumped, and interior attack was made.
As promised, WXYZ-TV spent more than six-minutes of it’s 6:00 newscast last night looking into the off-duty life of a Detroit firefighter. What reporter Scott Lewis found was not very pretty. It starts with two women who claimed Mike Risher hit them outside a bar almost two-years-ago. Much of that incident was caught on video. The women make the case that, despite that video and statements from witnesses, police in Hamtramck refused to investigate the case properly because it involved a firefighter.
Scott Lewis says that allegation is backed up in the story of a witness the reporter tracked down. The unidentified witness related something one of the police officers told him, “I can tell you right now, not much is going to come of this because he’s a Detroit fireman.”
In addition to the fight outside the bar, reporter Lewis shows video of what he says is another bar fight involving Risher. A couple who sued following that fight claimed Risher avoided being arrested after flashing his firefighter’s badge. The couple won a $15,000 judgment against the firefighter.
Lewis also claims police have been called to Risher’s home three times for domestic issues.
In addition to having his private life very publicly displayed, the TV station’s report has brought new issues for Firefighter Mike Risher. It has prompted police to take another look at the fight with the two women and it is bringing scrutiny from Executive Fire Commissioner Donald Austin.
7 Action News emailed Risher a copy of the security video from the Mars Bar. We asked him to point out where in the video he was seen intervening in another fight as he claimed. We also asked him about allegations raised in the prior bar fight and the alleged assault on his wife.
Risher did not respond.
The Investigators also contacted Hamtramck Police Chief Maxwell Garbarino and asked him why officers did not allow the women to make a report or look at their video. Garbarino, who was not the chief at the time of the incident, indicated that a detective should have followed up on the complaint. Garbarino has now assigned a detective to take a fresh look at the incident and he said both women will be brought into the police department for interviews.
7 Action News also contacted Detroit Fire Commissioner Donald Austin and asked him whether Risher’s behavior could be in violation of any fire department rules or regulations. Austin indicated he would be watching our investigation and stated that there is a chance Risher could be charged departmentally with conduct unbecoming of a firefighter.
The last we saw Detroit’s former Deputy Fire Commissioner Fred Wheeler was at the end of May. At that time he was cussing out WJBK-TV reporter Charlie LeDuff and knocking a microphone out of his hand (see the video above). Two days later, Wheeler, who had been interim commissioner before the arrival of Donald Austin, was let go by Mayor Dave Bing for his actions in front of the camera.
Now, a very unusual campaign against LeDuff and Detroit’s Channel 2 is underway and the press release has Wheeler’s name on it. LeDuff has been on his Facebook page asking, “Anybody seen Fred Wheeler pulling around that sign?”. While the reporter apparently hasn’t seen it first hand yet, some viewers have and there are pictures of the movable electronic road sign in the press release below.
Fred Wheeler had been the subject of many of LeDuff’s stories in the past few years. Most of them involved the reporter trying to confront Wheeler over the state of the Detroit Fire Department fleet and firehouses and questions about whether Wheeler lived in the city or not. Wheeler rarely, if ever, sat still for a LeDuff interview, allowing the reporter to do these ambush style interviews, culminating in the one that left Fred Wheeler without a job.
WXYZ-TV reporter Scott Lewis is promoting a story that is scheduled to run on Thursday at 6:00 PM that is bringing more bad publicity to the Detroit Fire Department. This time it’s not the administration under scrutiny but the actions of a firefighter.
The incident is almost two-years-old and it occurred outside a bar while the firefighter was off-duty. But what will make this interesting is the video of the assault and the claim from the women that police refused to take a report.
The firefighter, who Lewis says denies throwing the punches, is described as a 275-pound body builder who stands more than a foot taller than the tallest of the two women.
And before someone else says it, yes, the reason the story is being promoted and scheduled to run Thursday evening is because that also happens to be the start of the November “sweeps” TV rating period.
They say they were viciously punched outside of a Hamtramck bar on Pazcki day in 2011. The women say they’ve never been the same. Both went down hard to the pavement and they say they are still under doctor’s care.
The man, who pummeled them, they say, was an off-duty Detroit firefighter. He denies it, but the women say – and one witness confirms – that the police went easy on the firefighter because of his position.
The two women came to the 7 Action News Investigators looking for justice. They want to send a message that’s it’s not okay for a man to punch a woman.