Three parts of video with radio traffic by James Botham of a house fire at 2416 Bryant Avenue S. in Minneapolis, Minnesota on April 29. At 8:30 into Part 1 is the first report from Engine 17 on the interior that they had lost water. Water is restored but then Ladder 11 reports that the primary line and back-up line on the second floor have no pressure. This is followed by a report from RIT of pumping issues with Engine 17. This conversation continues into Part 2 when the evacuation is ordered at about 1:15.
First responders were sent to 2416 Bryant Ave South shortly after 12:00 p.m. and arrived to find heavy smoke billowing from the second and third floors of the large home. Unconfirmed reports say the fire started on a deck and soon jumped to other parts of the building.
Firefighters attempted an interior attack but were soon evacuated due to a heavy volume of fire. At that point a second alarm was called and crews concentrated on an exterior attack.
On July 3 Emergency Services Consulting International issued a report to the Minneapolis City Council saying that firefighters had been averaging a little less than eleven 24-hour shifts of sick leave each year or 261 hours, while civilian employees of the department averaged 292 hours. For a fire chief that’s a problem, especially when the local paper made note of it in an editorial looking at what ails the department (Star-Tribune Editorial: Sounding an alarm on city firefighting).
We are happy to report that just a couple of weeks later Chief John Fruetel has already cut this apparent sick leave “abuse” by two-thirds. That’s a pretty remarkable job by a fire chief. You would think that Chief Fruetel would be up for fire chief of the year this week at FRI.
How did he do it? It turns out that the chief did what the consulting firm failed to do, he divided the three year totals by three and came up with the correct annual average sick leave usage. The Minneapolis Firefighters Union, which has been very vocal about the department’s staffing cuts, also did the math.
(Emergency Services Consulting International senior vice president Kent) Greene said that shortly after a Star Tribune editorial published that statistic on July 17, he got a call from Fire Chief John Fruetel wondering where Greene got his numbers. Greene said his office reviewed the statistics and discovered the error.
The 261 sick leave hours for firefighters and 292 for all personnel represented three-year totals, Greene said, and the study’s authors had neglected to divide the data by three. Firefighters actually averaged 87 hours of sick leave per year. Since most firefighters work a 24-hour shift, that represents about 3.6 sick days per year.
In a letter last week to Greene that included a spreadsheet detailing the error, Mark Lakosky, the union president, wrote, “For a department that has suffered low morale because of unfriendly political bosses, the last thing we need is malicious lies about how we performed our jobs.”
Joe Mattison, secretary for the union, also told reporter Furst the report’s findings that sick leave use spikes on Saturdays is also a bit misleading, though it’s what at least one council member is now focusing on.
Above is the link for the audio from Sunday night’s fire at the Wesley Community United Methodist Church that trapped firefighters and left five of them with burns. The “mayday” is heard shortly after the 3:00 point.
Captain Kathrynne Baumtrog remain at Hennepin County Medical Center being treated for first and second degree burns. Her husband, Captain Paul Baumtrog, who helped in his wife’s rescue (see earlier STATter911.com story), was treated for burns and released as were Captain Joe Mattison, Firefighter Sandy Meredith, and Firefighter Christie Nixon.
Some of those firefighters were trapped in the attic without water, their exit blocked by fire and unable to chop their way through the walls and the floor. Captain Mattison was among them. He talked to KMSP-TV:
“Last night was probably the closest that I’ve ever seen us come to losing a group of firefighters,” said Capt. Joe Mattison. “We’re glad we are here this morning.”
Mattison said he and four other firefighters were 30 feet from the fire’s origin when conditions changed rapidly.
“We were down as low as we could get, and my ears were tingling and back was tingling — not tingling, burning,” he said. “We were getting toasted in there.”
Mattison said they didn’t have any water coming from their hose, so the group counted to three and decided to make a dash for it.
On Tuesday, union president Mark Lakosky used the attention on the injured firefighters to remind the public about cuts in recent years to the Minneapolis Fire Department’s staffing telling KARE-TV, “This is far from a union issue, this is a safety issue. We aren’t being protected and I got to say something.”
“Where we are at with these levels and continued cuts, people will die, are we really going to wait for that?” Lakosky said.
Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel isn’t shying away from the fact that he oversees a smaller staff. He says the numbers in the department have been on a downward trend for years. The department currently has 390 people on the full time roster, down from more than 450 a decade ago.
Chief Fruetel says he is looking to change that. “Obviously we would love to have more firefighters and that is frankly a challenge of mine as the Chief to grow us back and provide a means for us to hire firefighters,” Chief Fruetel said.
There is quite an unusual story coming out of the fire over the weekend at the Walker United Methodist Church in Minneapolis. According to Randy Furst at StarTribune.com, Captain Kathrynne Baumtrog was filling in Sunday evening for a friend at Station 5 when they were dispatched to an alarm bells call at the church. Since his wife was working, Captain Paul Baumtrog had decided to take a call-back at Station 21 and his company was also dispatched to the fire.
Investigating with another firefighter Kathrynne Baumtrog says they discovered a fire that suddenly became a blowtorch that burned her and tried to get out of there.
But as she tried to exit, she missed a turn. “I was burned so bad, I couldn’t focus enough to remove my radio,” she said. “I shouted ‘Mayday.’”
Unknown to her, she said, her husband was in another crew called to the fire. He knew she was in the attic.
He said he saw the fire erupt. “It rolled over the entire ceiling space. It came directly toward the exit where most of us were standing.” He and the other firefighters retreated. “We all thought she had bailed with us.”
But when they got down a floor, they realized she was not there, and Paul and several firefighters headed upstairs to find her.
He said he found her. “We have to get out of here,” he shouted at her.
This is an apartment building at 17th & Minneapolis in Wichita, Kansas. The fire was just after noon on Sunday. Some tenants had to escape down ladders because the man who is being blamed for starting the fire apparently made a bad situation worse. Here is an excerpt from Kansas.com's coverage:
… a tenant in a basement apartment used a cigarette lighter as a light source to search for something under his bed, Wichita Fire Capt. Stuart Bevis said. The open flame ignited the box springs, and the flames quickly spread to the bedding.
The tenant tried to remove the box springs from the building, Bevis said, but abandoned the effort in the stairway because of the smoke and flames.
At about 1:40 in this video (shot by Amy Koppel) of a multi-family home burning in Minneapolis it appears a master stream knocks a ladder off the roof onto the D side of the building. It is difficult to see. The description with the video says one firefighter was hit in the head. KMSP-TV reports:
One firefighter was injured when water pressure from the hose knocked a ladder on top of him. He is expected to be okay. No other injuries were reported.
Below is earlier video from the fire on 1st Avenue near East 25th Street in the Whittier neighborhood. The fire was reported around 1:00 PM. Here's more from KMSP-TV:
Emergency crews said the fire started in the basement and worked its way up through the walls until it got into the attic. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it's believed to be electrical.
A natural gas line exploded in south Minneapolis near 60th St. and Nicollet Ave. on Thursday, sending flames shooting high into the sky, scorching nearby vehicles and forcing authorities to close a busy freeway until officials could inspect it for damage.
Assistant Fire Chief Cherie Penn told reporters that authorities shut off the gas in the area late Thursday morning. There were no fatalities and no injuries as a result of the explosion.
A major trunk gas line for that section of Minneapolis exploded, and state pipeline safety officials spent much of Thursday afternoon on the scene, according to Rebecca Virden, a spokeswoman for CenterPoint Energy.
The blast left a large hole in the road. The flames died after authorities shut off the gas line a little more than an hour after the explosion.
Surveillance video from the nearby Cub Foods store shows three cars driving on 60th St. directly over the road just before the explosion.
Gas levels in the air had reached 80 parts per million but were back down to zero within a few hours, Penn said, adding that people were still being evacuated from the area as a precaution.
“I think the situation is as under control as it can be,” Mayor R.T. Rybak told reporters.
The blast happened around 8:45 a.m. on the street in front of a Cub Foods supermarket located at 5937 Nicollet Ave. S., in a residential and industrial area near the interchange of Interstate 35W and Highway 62. Penn said there was a secondary explosion shortly after the first. Cars in the parking lot were scorched in the blast.
House fire in Wheeling, Illinois: Firegeezer.com has the Larry Shapiro pictures and details to go with the video above from what started out as a dryer fire Saturday morning.
Can we laugh at ourselves?: The topic is the first two webisodes of the series Hosed on YouTube (webisode 1 here and webisode 2 here). Did you laugh at Reno 911? For the Firegeezer crowd, how about Car 54 Where are You? Do you believe that Rescue Me makes the public think all New York firefighters are drug addicts, sex addicts, philanderers and wife beaters? The large majority of people who commented so far on STATter911.com about comedian Juston McKinney’s Hosed think it is just a funny series of shorts about a fictional volunteer fire department in New Hampshire. And like all good satire, it has some characters many of us can identify with. Others see it is something more sinister. That Dave Statter is running it because he is anti-volunteer. Does anyone out there honestly think I wouldn’t post them if this was about a fictional career fire department? Some who have written comments to STATter911.com and Firefighter Nation’s Facebook page believe Hosed does nothing but make volunteers look bad. Should volunteer firefighters be off limits to comedians? Bill Carey at Backstep Firefighter put together some of those comments and provides his own unique response.
Raw video from mayday in Southern Maryland: In Calvert County there was a mayday during a house fire on Saturday in Lusby. Raw video shows a firefighter being carried from the building. There is a lot of video to look at with this clip. Click here.
Is a 1997 fire leaving a deadly legacy?: That’s the question being asked in Hamilton, Ontario following the deaths and serious illness of firefighters who were on the Plastimet fire 14-years-ago. TheSpec.com reports the four day industrial blaze had such high levels of hydrochloric acid that metal on fire trucks melted. Check out the story.
Connecticut’s OSHA cites Bridgeport in firefighter deaths: Click here to read what CONN-OSHA listed as violations following its investigation into the deaths last year of Lt. Steven Velasquez and Firefighter Michael Baik. The department is fighting the charges. You will also see that Dave takes a little swipe at the news media coverage of this story.
He does more than make us laugh & stir trouble … he even shows up at a fire every so often: Will Wyatt recently had to go underground after exposing the world to TIMIS in his FireRescue1.com column (click here for the column and the comments). Rather than to organize a telethon to wipe out this awful syndrome, Will just went into hiding. But he surfaced last week at his real job and snapped the picture to the right of a two-alarm apartment fire in Harris County, Texas. If you want to read about the fire and see some video, click here. By the way, Tiger Schmittendorf is the latest to discover that Will’s book And a Paycheck, Too! is quite funny (click here to buy it). Tiger plans to have Will on his Firefighter Storytellers netcast in April (check out Tiger’s other shows, including his recent interview with Fire Chief’s Janet Wilmoth).
Even checking fire hydrants isn’t safe: In Syracuse, New York, a firefighter making sure hydrants are clear of snow found himself threatened by a knife wielding man. Click here for the story.
Two-alarms in Baltimore County, Maryland: The picture at left is from Michael “firepix1075” Schwartzberg from a house fire yesterday in Chestnut Ridge. Click here for his video. Here’s what Michael wrote about the fire-
“Units reported smoke showing while responding, and when units from nearby Chestnut Ridge Volunteer Fire Company arrived they were met with heavy smoke in the rear of the house, where the fire possibly started on a porch. The fire extended into the attic and roof area and flames vented through the roof. Access to the house was extremely limited, making firefighting operations challenging. This area has no fire hydrants, so firefighters had to use a tanker shuttle, bringing water from a hydrant more than a mile away via fire department water tankers.”
Response time concerns in Minneapolis: The union, worried about budget and staffing cuts that have occurred, and possibly more on the way, says 11 minutes is too long for a ladder truck to show up on the scene of a house fire. That’s what happened Saturday on Beard Avenue South. The fire chief says he is looking into it. So is a TV station. Click here to read and watch the story.
Early arrival of photographer for Burrillville, Rhode Island explosion & fire: Matt Gregoire from has the first units on the scene as a garage fire extends to the attached home on Mt. Pleasant Road yesterday. The homeowner was seriously burned. The fire went to a second alarm. More at providencefirevideos.com.
Three-alarm house fire in Uxbridge, Massachusetts: A three-alarm fire in a duplex on Hazel Street Saturday night left four firefighters and two civilians injured. As you can see in the video above, shot by Matt Gregoire for ProvidenceFireVideos.com, firefighters had issues with power lines and natural gas.
Manassas, Virginia fire chief quits over frustration with combined system: Chief Mike Wood says for 25 months he was has worked to successfully combine the Manassas Fire and Rescue Department, the Greater Manassas Volunteer Rescue Squad and the Manassas Volunteer Fire Company. On Friday, Chief Wood sent in his letter of resignation, effective January, and makes it clear there is a “philosophical divide concerning fire and rescue services which continues to undermine improvements in configuration, accountability, revenue, and safety. Until this division is remedied or proactively managed, I fear that the combined fire and rescue system will continue to possess significant operational deficiencies and administrative inefficiencies that, in my professional view, pose detriment to our public and first responder safety.” InsideNOVA.com’s Aileen Streng has the story.
Guest columnist on the trooper versus photographer video: Dave Levy is a lawyer and former firefighter who spent many an overnight shift with his father Sheldon in DC and New York shooting news. In addition, he is a friend of mine. Despite all of these strikes against him, Dave is still able to function well enough to write an interesting column giving us his insight into the confrontation eight days ago between a Connecticut State trooper and a news photographer. Click here to read it. Maybe you have an opposing view? STATter911.com is interested in running that, too. Just contact me at STATter911@gmail.com.
One house fire and 129 dogs: All but four of those dogs lived following the fire early yesterday morning in Huntingtown, Maryland. We have a WUSA9.com video and some pictures and videos from the Huntingtown VFD. Check it out.
Firefighters and medics question role award-winning state park ranger played in saving shocked teen: It isn’t often you see this type of story. Last week a state park ranger in Aptos, California received a Medal of Valor Gold Award from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for rescuing a teenager who came in contact with a power line on a state beach. Now, firefighters and medics who were also on the scene are speaking up saying it didn’t go down the way the ranger said it did. You will want to read this one.
Cops claim chief had meltdown: In Clark County, Indiana a fire chief on the scene of a fatal ambulance accident is accused of using foul language on the radio. An investigation is underway into how the chief interacted with law enforcement and others following last week’s crash. Here’s more.
Steroid probe implicates cops and firefighters: The Star-Ledger in New Jersey has been following the trail of a dead doctor from Hudson County. His practice of liberally prescribing anabolic steroids and HGH was apparently too much for more than 200 firefighters and cops to pass up. Click here for Part 1 of this three part series.
Two dead, others rescued, fire trucks delayed in snow covered Minneapolis: From KARE-TV – “Two people are dead and three others were hospitalized after fire crews struggled to respond to a Minneapolis house fire in blizzard-like conditions early Sunday. Just after 1:30 a.m., firefighters responded to 3616 Elliot Ave South on a report of a house fire. The first fire truck to respond was delayed after getting stuck in the snow on the same block, according to Fire Chief Alex Jackson. When crews arrived on scene, several people were found on the roof and porch on the second floor. Crews began an interior attack on the fire but were evacuated after conditions became too dangerous to continue. No firefighters were injured.” Click here to watch video from the fire.
Ambulance fee defeated in Montgomery County, Maryland: In an extremely controversial campaign that pitted career versus volunteer, voters soundly rejected the idea of billing insurance companies for EMS service in Montgomery County. The vote was 135,000 to 116,000. Without the fee, county officials have warned of significant budget cuts for fire and EMS that could include the loss of 100 career firefighter positions. Read details.
Fire based EMS to remain in Sheboygan, Wisconsin: It was a narrow victory separated by 500 votes but a move to take EMS from the Sheboygan Fire Department and farm it out to the private sector was defeated. Chief Jeff Hermann sees this as a victory for the citizens. Read more.
Child born hours after mother escapes fire that killed two other children: A pregnant woman suffering from smoke inhalation gave birth shortly after escaping a fire in Norman, Oklahoma. The fire took the lives of two young children and injured others in the Larkins family. Here’s the story.
Video of a 1989 close call in Phoenix: Video and lessons learned in an old video from Phoenix showing the crew from Ladder 27 falling though the roof of a home with a lightweight truss roof. Here’s a look back.
No love here: As expected, the man accused of stealing a helmet from Boston’s Ladder 26 isn’t getting much sympathy from STATter911.com readers. If you haven’t seen it, here are the video and the comments.
Reasons to laugh: I offered an olive branch to my friend and mutual tormentor Fire Critic Rhett Fleitz yesterday and sang his praises for giving us a reason to laugh (other than at him) with a great video posted yesterday showing the cops view of fire and EMS on the scene of a highway crash. Click here if you haven’t seen it (it’s worth the time). The good will didn’t last long because Rhett’s good friend, and our fellow blogger, Willie Wines, went and ruined it all by having us once again laugh at Rhett Fleitz, the King of the fire/EMS blogs. Long live the king. If you are really bored, but need a really good laugh, click here.
A serious blog: While I am wasting your time with the foolishness above, over at Firegeezer.com they take their fire and EMS news seriously. Geezer and FossilMedic have a bunch of good postings, including the latest from the strike in London and an update on Roseville, California shopping mall fire and sprinkler controversy. Click here and scroll down.
Another community surprised by firefighter OT: In what as been a pattern in recent years, a news organization is doing a story how firefighters are making as much money as top city managers. This time it’s Long Beach, California where some firefighters and officers have doubled their salaries by working a lot of overtime. Here are the details.
Minneapolis concerns: Firefighters talk about past and future cuts and how it impacts fireground operations and safety for citizens and firefighters. The story is illustrated by a deadly fire in April. Here’s more.
Lots of fire coming out of what appears to be a detached garage at 35th and Garfield in South Minneapolis this afternoon. No injuries were reported and the fire did not spread to nearby homes or garages. The fire made local news due to the smoke being seen for miles around the city.
“Now is the time to change. The eyes of the citizens are on us.”: The words of Spotsylvania County, Virginia County Administrator Doug Barnes as he announced new minimum training standards for firefighters. This comes following internal and external reports describing significant issues during a February 5 house fire where firefighters could not find a woman who was on the phone with 911. According to Barnes, “Our goal is to move away from on-the-job training for officers and incorporate other training mechanisms to bolster our officer development and training.” Spotsylvania is also dealing with recent allegations of sexual misconduct at two volunteer stations. Dan Telvock with the Free Lance – Star broke all of these stories. Here’s his latest report.
Florida firefighter is shocked during ladder demo in front of campers: In Osceola County a firefighter received an electrical shock in front of 30 children at a camp when a ladder touched a power line. The firefighters were demonstrating their skills. The injured firefighter was flown to Orlando Regional Medical Center and is expected to survive. Read and watch the story.
Dozens dead in hotel fire in Iraq: When you hear 29 people died in Iraq (one report has it up to 40) an electrical short is not likely to be the first thing that comes to mind as the reason. But that’s been listed as the cause of a hotel fire Thursday night in the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah. Read more.
This holiday weekend there have been a number of reports of seriously injured firefighters and a firefighter killed during a large fire in Texas. Here are four incidents that have been brought to our attention.
Click the image to see Steve Skaar's series of pictures at ExtraAlarm.org as Minneapolis firefighters rescue one of their own who dropped onto a porch roof from the attic because of deteriorating fire conditions.
Both Captain Dennis Mack, a 19 year veteran, and Firefighter Jacob LaFerriere, a 9 year veteran, have second and third degree burns and are being treated at a burn unit.
Firefighters burned setting up fireworks display: In Idaho, three firefighters from the Mountain Home Fire Department were burned while setting up the town’s annual fireworks display at a local golf course on Saturday. One of the fireworks exploded in the hands of a firefighter. All had been initially treated and released, but the firefighter holding the shell had first, second and third degree burns and was expected to go to a burn center for more treament. Read and watch the story.
Delaware firefighter revived: As crowds were returning from fireworks in Dewey Beach late Sunday night there was a call for a house fire. WGMD reports It turned out to be some bushes set on fire by consumer fireworks. But at the scene a Seaford firefighter went into cardiac arrest. Bike medics were able to get through the traffic and continue treament started by fellow firefighters. After being shocked twice, the 60-something man regained a pulse. Read more.
This is the nice video: The video above was shot by the Red Deer Advocate of a fire in a detached home in Edmonton’s Sylvan Lake yesterday that spread to three other homes. No one was seriously injured. If you click here, we have details and some early videos shot by citizens including a couple we dub the fire critics (sorry Rhett). They got to the fire before the firefighters and if you can handle the language you might be interested in what they have to say.
Deadly dumpster explosion report: A state fire marshal’s report has been issued in the December LODD of Firefighter Steven Koeser. FF Koeser died when a dumpster exploded at a foundry in Wisconsin. Click here to read the report and our coverage.
It takes a village: An interesting video from Lebanon City, Pennsylvania showing a short staffed crew getting some help from a police officer and other bystanders. Click here.
Chief and councilmember square off this morning: At 9:15 this morning there is another City Council hearing on the DC Fire & EMS Department’s overtime expenditures. As we reported yesterday, Chief Dennis Rubin sent an email to the department explaining the error of Councilmember Phil Mendelson’s ways in drastically cutting OT in the next budget. It is the first meeting since Mendelson requested an investigation of the chief for overspending his budget and Rubin’s response showing the impact of the cuts. Click here if you missed it.
Retirees must repay pension funds lots of money: For the average retired firefighter it is $43,000 and it is almost double that for the former cops. That’s how much a judge says the retirees must repay two pension funds in Minneapolis because of overpayments. Check out the story.
Chief’s job on the line over apparently innocent ID switch: In Huntsville, Ontario Chief Stephen Hernen has been reassigned after an apparent security breach in preparation for the G8 Summit coming to his town in a little more than a month. It seems the chief temporarily gave his security pass to his assistant chief. Here’s the operative part of the article by Colin Freeze at The Globe and Mail:
Sources say that, as fire chief, Mr. Hernen had a pass to an RCMP-led Integrated Security Unit training site, where some local firefighters were participating in exercises. When one firefighter had to be replaced and another escorted in, the fire chief allegedly sent an assistant in his place – carrying his personal security key.
Right now that assistant chief is running the department.
Firefighter stabbed while working on patient: A firefighter/paramedic with the Los Angeles Fire Department was stabbed in the thigh yesterday and is in stable condition. Charles MacDougal, who had previously been Paramedic of the Year, has been released from the hospital (watch the video as he heads home) At last word the assailant was on the loose. Firefighter Close Calls has more details.
Looking Back: That’s the title of Firegeezer’s regular feature of pictures and advertisements from fire service publications of long ago. If you have never seen it , check it out. It is one of favorites.
Congratulations to some friends in Alexandria: Not that either of them would tell me about it, but two of my friends were recognized by the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce yesterday. You may recall the story we did on Firefighter Doug Townshend last year when he saved his own brother from a house fire. It remains one of my all time favorite stories. Doug received the Gold Medal of Valor. Congratulations Doug. This is a fire/EMS blog and we don’t normally cover the cops unless they get in the way of the fire department (he wrote with a smile). But I became friends with Sgt. Terri Mucci when I was a firefighter (ancient history) and she was barely out of high school. So, I guess that counts. Terri and Fire Captain Doug McDaniel received Silver Medals and other police and firefighters received Bronze Medals for their roles at a shooting scene where a woman was wounded and a little girl was in harms way. Click here to read about all of the award winners and the emcee of the event (another friend and former co-worker), former Redskin Charles Mann.
At least five people were killed and one person is still unaccounted for after a large fire destroyed the building housing McMahon’s Irish Pub and several apartments on Lake Street in south Minneapolis Friday morning.
Officials said two adults and two children died in the fire. The age of the fifth person who died wasn’t released.
Officials have not identified any of the victims, but friends said Ryan Richner died in the fire. The owner of the building said Richner lived in one of the apartments.
Raw video above shot about 35 minutes after the fire was reported.
“My friend’s apartment is upstairs,” one woman said. “He works for us. His name is Ryan and I can’t get a hold of him.”
“We’ve had a terrible loss here, and our deep concern is that it could be worse,” Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said. “So right now, we need help from everybody in the public to bring forth any information they have about who could have been in that building.”
The fire started around 6 a.m. on the 3000 block of Lake Street. When firefighters arrived, fire was already coming out of five windows on the second floors. Crews attempted to enter the building, but had to leave because it was too hot and too dangerous.
Crews rescued one person from the burning building. A witness saw fire crews giving that person CPR on the road. That person was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center where he or she died. Officials have not released that person’s name.
Carrie Carlson, with the Red Cross, said six apartments were affected by the fire and said 15 people were living in those six apartments. That does not take into account any guests any of the residents may have had in the building at the time of the fire.
At 1:30 p.m., fire crews were still working to put out hot spots. The roof and the first floor of the building had collapsed. Officials said it could be days before crews can get into the building to check the structure because of the extensive fire and water damage.
Initially, investigators thought the fire started in one of the corners of the building on the second floor. It could be weeks before they have a final cause of the fire.
Busy Sunday morning in Minneapolis: This fire at 1169 14th Avenue, SE is one of three handled by Minnesapolis firefighters early Sunday. Click here for more information.
This is why you should vote for Firegeezer for the best blog: The scene is Sunday afternoon at the World Headquarters of STATter911.com and I have plenty of things to do before I get to work at the TV station after a week-long vacation. So, what is it am I doing? I am mindlessly watching an episode of Emergency! embedded on Firegeezer.com instead of doing my work. This is exactly the reason why Bill Schumm should win FireCritic.com’s Fire/EMS Blog of the Year of 2009 contest. Bill knows his audience and he panders to us big time. Bill realizes fire & EMS types of a certain age can’t resist taking one more look at Johnny and Roy in action. Just like he knows they can’t resist all of his writings about beer and hockey mixed in with a whole mess of fires. If his standards and practices committee (Mrs. Firegeezer) would let him get away with it, Bill would probably throw in some soft porn, too. While I have been accused of being the Jerry Springer of the blogs, Bill is our Phineas Taylor Barnum. Which sort of makes sense, since for five-and-a-half years Bill was assigned to a fire station just down the street (second due) from Bailey’s Crossroads, Virginia. That Bailey is the same family as P.T.’s partner in “The Greatest Show on Earth”. While the name Firegeezer would make you believe the blog is the AARP of the fire/EMS sites, Bill has an instinct for all kinds of news. It’s a talent that many people in my business would envy. Now that you know who I have voted for and why, make sure you send Rhett Fleitz your nomination at firstname.lastname@example.org. Vote early and vote often.
Our top story of 2009. If you missed the New Year's Day list of our top 20 stories and the name of our contest winner, click the image.
It wasn’t Jerry Engle and it had nothing to do with PGFD: In case you missed it, on New Year’s Day we published the most popular stories for 2009 and named the winner of our traditional first-annual, year-end contest (we shall see if it actually shows up again at the end of the year). Your guesses, for the most part, were far off the mark (that’s it Dave, insult the people who actually read this stuff), but they were fun to read. If you click here you can see the top 20 and who won the contest.
Two fired over noose: If you were too busy on New Year’s Eve to check in, you may not yet know the end of the year was also the last day for two Loudoun County, Virginia firefighters. Both were fired for their involvement in an incident where a noose was left in the vehicle of a black firefighter in early December. Read the details.
Remembering Steven Koeser: The funeral for the Wisconsin firefighter killed last week after an industrial dumpster exploded was held on Saturday. We have video and details.
Ladder rescue in Murray, Kentucky: Click the image to take you to WPSD-TV's Facebook entry of a series of pictures taken by neighbor Lisa O'Neal after a woman became trapped on the second floor of a home on Poplar Street on Sunday.
Explorer programs under scrutiny after teens hurt in two incidents in two days: I am just stating fact and not an opinion when pointing out that I, like many others, was in the fire service at a time when 16 and 17-year-olds did just about everything except drive the apparatus (and even that happened once or twice). It was not a rare occasion that I was the only one on the rig who wasn’t in high school. I can think of quite a few of those junior members who are now, or have been, in the upper ranks of some large career fire departments. But times have changed.
We have been getting a lot of comments about the story where one 16-year-old Boy Scout Explorer was hospitalized with exhaustion after apparently taking part in interior firefighting operations in Sonoma County, California. Officials there say it is not supposed to happen that way. Read more.
The second incident was the exploding dumpster in Wisconsin that killed the St. Anna’s Steven Koeser. Captain Adam Schuh, who was on the scene and has been handling press inquiries, says one of those hurt in the explosion is his 17-year old stepson. That teen is of legal age to be a firefighter. Also hurt was a 15-year-old boy who is an Explorer. Captain Schuh indicates the boy was at what was believed to be a safe distance from the fire. Read the details.
Politicians home destroyed: A Pennsylvania state senator escaped in the middle of the night as fire tore through his Montgomery County home. Click here.
The latest from Modesto: Two firefighters were burned, one over 40-percent of his body, after falling through the roof at a house fire on New Year’s Day. Our two earlier postings with video and details are here and here.
Snakes alive …. and some dead: In St. George, Utah they rang out the old year with the traditional trailer fire involving 19 pet pythons. Not all of them saw 2010. Read more.
Fireground audio: Our friends at FireSceneAudio.com have been keeping us busy with timely postings of some interesting incidents. One is a Sunday house fire where a Chicago firefighter was burned. Click here.
We have another entry with fireground audio from a Prince George’s County house fire, a triple-fatal Detroit residential hotel fire, a New Orleans three-alarm fire that damaged three home and a Chicago fire where two people were rescued out of a burning basement. All of that is here.