Thanks to reader Gillian Hurlburt Cox for sending this article our way.
Chris LeClaire, the fire chief in Portsmouth, New Hampshire is publicly criticizing Portsmouth police officers who entered a burning home on January 31 in an unsuccessful attempt to save 63-year-old Martha Laszlo. When the first firefighters pulled up to the house a police car was blocking their way. In addition, according to this morning's seacoastonline.com article by Elizabeth Dinan, a cop's pants melted, officers had vented the building and one officer had to be pulled out because of smoke. In addition a neighbor had attempted to make a rescue.
Deputy Police Chief Stephen DuBois told the paper that police are not going to stand by and wait when someone's life in jeopardy. DuBois also used a line often reserved for firefighters, "Going into a burning building, while normal people would be running out, is very courageous."
Dubois indicates, despite the fire chief's concern, they will continue to leave this decision to the officer's discretion and points out police are operating on instinct at that point.
In the article Chief LeClaire warned police and the public about breaking windows and opening doors and the impact improper ventilation can have on a fire. The fire chief wants everyone to just "clear the way and let us do our job". He also said that they do expect police to clear roadways for responding apparatus to arrive and not block them.
"You don't help by becoming a victim yourself," said LeClaire, who noted the city spends thousands of dollars to outfit firefighters with encapsulated suits and individual breathing supplies to protect them in fires.
LeClaire said if an ambulance is called from the fire department to a scene where a weapon is involved, "we stage with an ambulance down the street."
DuBois said he would hope that if someone were injured in a gunfight, ambulance and fire crews would "effectuate a rescue."
"Officers are trained to go in and put themselves in harm's way," he said. "We ingrain that."
The picture above, found at timesunion.com and other news sites, is of Bob Welch from Manchester, New Hampshire performing with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Pipes and Drums as part of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Savannah, Georgia. It is an AP photo by Stephen Morton, as is the one below from CTV's website, showing another warm reception for a New York firefighter marching in the same parade.
After the last couple of years of budget problems, pay cuts, layoffs, and more recently, attacks on the collective bargaining rights and pensions of firefighters, aren't these welcomed images?
You can't help but be reminded of the admiration and appreciation shown to firefighters after September 11th. These pictures are a lot different than what is going on right now in some communities with firefighters treated like outcasts and thieves who have to jusify the vital work they do. So, why and how did it get this bad?
In many cases it was inevitable based on the economy and political environment. But too many other wounds have been self inflicted. Sometimes out of selfishness, with firefighters forgetting what's important and thinking it's about themselves and not this special job they do. More often, it's from simply not realizing your image in the community does matter and you should be working at it each and every day. Doing so can build reputation equity that you'll need when the times are tough.
Too often the mistake is made of reaching out to the public only as a desperation move when the bloodletting by the politicians is well underway. It is much easier to get friends who know you well to stand by your side or be willing to go to battle on your behalf. You should be working on that now to be in better shape for the next crisis.
To me, these pictures show how it can be for firefighters. I don't know about you, but if I were a firefighter I would rather be getting warm kisses from the public, even metaphorically, than the rough handling some citizens and political leaders are giving our nation's heroes.
We have been getting questions about why there has been no Hosed Episode 5. Below is your answer from the Hosed Facebook page and it sounds like potentially positive news for the fans of Juston McKinney, Gary Valentine and those true American heroes at Effingwoods VFD:
Thank you to all our fans who are eagerly anticipating our next episodes. We are delaying the release a couple weeks because of a developing production deal to extend the series and bring it to a wider audience. In the mean time we will work on posting more images and behind the scenes videos for all to enjoy.
The Vollies of… Effingwoods.com
Here’s the description of the latest installment from the Effingwoods VFD:
Paula formerly known as Paul before the sex change operation returns to the firehouse and has to try harder than ever to fit in with the Guys. Smitty and Ben get reprimanded by Sammy for their recent behavior on a fire call and Smitty continues to plead his case on why they should all be getting paid to be heroes.
It has long been a goal of mine to see a movie or TV show about volunteer firefighters. In fact, about ten-years-ago a friend wrote a movie script based on some stories I told him and the experiences of another friend who is a volunteer. It was pitched to a few folks in the entertainment field but never got anywhere.
Thirty-two-year-old Matt Cole wears a number of hats in the fire service in New Hampshire. Cole is a career firefighter in Concord, a newly appointed volunteer deputy chief at the Chichester Fire Department and until recently an on-call firefighter in Gilmanton. It’s his resignation from the Gilmanton Fire Department that has Cole making news in the Concord Monitor.
Cole’s resignation comes at a time when he is facing up to a $1000 fine after being charged with speeding while responding to a garage fire in a Gilmanton fire engine on July 7 . New Hampshire State Police Trooper Matt Partington says the fire engine almost hit a BMW that had pulled off the side of the road to let the rig pass. More on this from the article by Matthew Spoler:
Cole was rounding a curve too fast on Route 107 near Kitchen Lane and more than half of his vehicle left the pavement, leaving skid marks on the road, Partington said. The driver of the idle BMW had to slam on the gas to avoid the fire engine, which then overcorrected and crossed into the oncoming lane before straightening out.
The BMW suffered damage to its undercarriage because it drove into an embankment to avoid the fire engine, Partington said.
Though Cole was not clocked at a particular speed, Partington said his investigation showed Cole’s speed “was greater than reasonable under the conditions.”
The article quotes Gilmanton Chief K. G. Lockwood as saying the resignation is not because of the pending court date for Cole. Lockwood says it is due to Cole’s new duties as the Chichester deputy chief.
But Chief Lockwood must understand the position Matt Cole is in. The chief is also in the news over another driving issue while responding. More from reporter Spoler:
The incident involving Cole was the second near-accident caused by a Gilmanton fire vehicle this summer.
The first driving incident occurred June 4 when a command vehicle crossed into an oncoming lane to pass a fire truck and ambulance, nearly striking a motorcyclist. Following an investigation by the county sheriff’s office, the selectmen placed Chief Lockwood on a weeklong administrative leave starting the week of Aug. 1.
Lockwood returned to work last Tuesday. The town has refused to say whether he was paid during his time off. State law requires all payments to public employees to be made public.
Investigating the June incident, Sheriff Craig Wiggin wrote town officials that a review of policies and training for the Gilmanton Fire Department may be needed, saying, “There is no question that these incidents have placed the town at tremendous risk of significant civil liability.” The Gilmanton selectmen responded by requiring mandatory driver training for the firefighters.
“Deputy Sheriff Joseph Schillinger, who was assigned to investigate the incident involving the motorcyclist, interviewed several firefighters whose names were redacted by the town in his report.
According to one of the firefighters, after the incident the driver of the command vehicle blamed the motorcyclist for failing to “yield the right of way to a fire apparatus,” Schillinger wrote.
Though the driver is not identified due to the redactions, he appears to be in a position of power in a department with four full-time firefighters and about 40 on-call members.
“Being that he is (redacted), other members of the department probably take their cue from him as to what is, or is not, acceptable behavior,” Schillinger wrote. “If he did in fact make statements at the fire station blaming the motorist for the near miss, then this sends the wrong message to the rest of the department.”
Union in Dayton says fire is an example of why citizens are at risk: Controversy after a fire destroyed three homes and damaged two others over the weekend. The chief says show him the overtime money where he can fully staff his department. You can read and watch more here. Similarly, Firegeezer has been following the situation in Philly over whether rotating closures or another policy impacted a fatal fire. Click here and here.
Where’s Dave?: You may have noticed fewer posts than normal. I am on a three week vacation with the Mrs. STATter911.com and STATter911.com Jr, driving from San Francisco to Chicago, seeing family and the sights along the way. We plan to be in Chicago in time for Fire Rescue International. I will be posting as time and Internet connection allow. I am hoping to show some fire and EMS sights along the way.
Houston’s Jane Draycott, at center of controversy, arrested for shoplifting: We have covered the story of Jane Draycott for quite a while now. Draycott is the Houston firefighter who says she was discriminated against. Draycott reported finding racially and sexually charged graffiti inside the women’s quarters at her firehouse. How her case was handled brought the resignation of one fire chief. Now Draycott has been arrested on a shoplifting charge. Draycott is accused of taking a DVD player, a bag of ice and other items from a Wal-Mart. Read the story.
More from Houston – problems found in recruit death investigation: NIOSH has issued its findings in the death of Cohnway Johnson after a 4.4 mile run. The Houston Chronicle writes, “A 26-year-old Houston firefighter trainee who collapsed and later died of heat stroke after a 4.4-mile run in April 2009 probably would have survived if department trainers had provided water during the run or an ice water immersion facility to lower his body temperature, a federal safety investigation concluded.” Firefighter Nation has the article and the report.
Fire chief and two others charged in training death: The fire chief in Ontario’s Village of Point Edward and two other town employees are facing 11 charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act after the death of 51-yea-old Gary Kendall. Volunteer Firefighter Kendall died in January after becoming trapped under ice during a water training exercise. Here are more details.
Lieutenant says department ”thrives on favoritism, nepotism, false records or no records at all”: I should say former lieutenant. Harry Lamb resigned from the Weare Fire Department in New Hampshire as he called the department an embarrassment in front of a public meeting. Click here for the story.
Haunted (fire)house: In Bangor, California they are in the process of replacing Station 55 and everyone, including the firefighters, seems to be worried about what the ghost will say or do. The firefighters aren’t shy about going public with details such as the ghost sitting on one firefighter’s chest. Read it if you dare.
Charges indicate firefighter referred to workplace shootings in Connecticut as he made threats: In Syracuse, New York Firefighter Douglas Martin seems to have a number of issues facing him. Syracuse.com reports on Martin is accused of having a run in at the credit union on Friday where the Connecticut reference was made. On Thursday he is accused of pulling up next to a deputy chief in traffic and threatening him for giving Martin a three-day suspension. This followed a 44-day suspension that Martin says stemmed from a racially motivated incident with another firefighter. Martin also is dealing with a recent stalking charge. Read the story.
Listen to 911 call from man stuck in wall while home is on fire: I am sure many of you considered the option of going through the drywall as a means of escape if fire trapped you in a room. A man in Keizer, Oregon did just that after he first fled to a bathroom when his home caught fire. The man became stuck in the wall, but was able to call 911 for help. Click the image to watch the story and click here to read about it.
When it rains it pours – - it never seems to end in Westbrook: The fire department in Westbrook, Maine has had lots of troubles in recent years. Despite a new chief, it doesn’t seem to be behind them yet. The department put three of its firefighters on leave in recent days because of a variety of legal problems. A call firefighter was suspended after a domestic violence arrest. While investigating the charge, police determined the roomate of that firefighter, a full-time Westbrook firefighter, was in possession of firearms. That is a no-no because the full-time firefighter has a 1983 felony robbery conviction. Unrelated to this is the suspension of another firefighter who has a protection order against him after being accused of harassing a social worker who works with his wife. Read the details.
About two weeks ago, one of two female firefighters who had sued the department for sexual harassment came back to the job. Those suits brought about “a rash of firings, resignations and discipline involving top administrators and rank-and-file firefighters”. Read more in the Portland Press Herald.
Inspections found problems at New Jersey home where four died: Starting in January firefighters and inspectors discovered problems with the wiring inside a Paterson, New Jersey boarding house where four people died and three others were hurt in a fire early yesterday. Read details on the inspections. Firegeezer has more on the fire.
No wonder it saves energy and money: When the quarters for Louisville, Kentucky’s Engine 6 was finished 15 months ago it was touted as being energy efficient. The chief told reporters, “We’re looking at about a third of the cost to utilize that system as it would to use traditional either gas or electric systems”. Well one reason for the savings may be that the air conditioning in the new firehouse just doesn’t work. After two grievances filed by firefighters over four hot weeks, the city has installed not so efficient window units. Read the story.
Arson blamed for Sunday afternoon house fires: A pair of homes that burned in Tampa is being looked at for a connection to a strong of 22 arsons in the area. One vacant home burned and a second home used by an adjacent business was damaged in the 1500 block of E. 17th Avenue. Firefighters kept the fire from spreading to the main building of Tommy’s Wholesale. Click here to read more about the 3-alarm fire.
Firefighter John Glaser: A Shawnee, Kansas firefighter died in a house fire Saturday night. Thirty-three-year-old John Glaser was a six-year member of the department who leaves behind a wife and two young children. Here’s our coverage.
What did the firefighters know and when did they know it?: Free Lance – Star reporter Dan Telvock has an interesting follow-up to his story about the fire in Spotsylvania County, Virginia where firefighters couldn’t find the woman talking to 911. According to Telvock, a police report by a sheriff’s deputy who was first on the scene indicates the deputy gave some important details to firefighters about who was in the house. Telvock reports this information was not part of the official review of the incident ordered by County officials. Read more.
Remember her? I warned you this Australian trainer would get more publicity than any of you for her efforts at firefighting. Tash Bennett helped put out a fire in a palm tree while doing some topless sunbathing. Now she is posing for the men's magazine ZOO Weekly (source for picture above) and says a firefighters' organization in Illinois is bringing her in to speak. Click the image to read more.
Hazmat from 22-years-ago: From the STATter911.com Archives (actually I found it on my desk) a 1988 story on a series of hazardous materials incidents in the Washington area and a look at how firefighters were trained to handle such things. There are interviews with the late Warren Isman, then chief in Fairfax County, and Pat Walsh, a STATter911.com reader who was then a DC lieutenant. Check it out.
Firefighter charged in pipe bomb incident: Volunteer firefighter Walter Scott Jr. from Salisbury, New Hampshire told police he found the bomb and then took it back to his garage before calling for help on March 16. Scott is now charged with reckless endangerment for tampering with the bomb. Read and watch the story.
Lt. and crash victim wrestle for gun: In Florida, Port Orange Fire Department Lt. Joe Carrasquillo spent his 44th birthday facing the barrel of a gun held by a man who crashed his vehicle. Read the dramatic story of how this one ended.
Lawyers not interested in case of collapsed gurney: The daughters have the video showing their father hitting the ground after the gurney he was on collapsed during unloading at a Michigan hospital, but no lawyer is interested in helping them sue. Read why.
Sheriff says no to raise for firefighters: In Broward County, Florida where the fire department is part of the sheriff’s department the top man is saying no to a raise ordered by a special magistrate. Read details.
Long Island fire: Lots of video from last week’s fire in Baldwin in a block adjacent to the firehouse. Click here.
Three-alarms for vacant electronics plant in New Jersey: Struthers Dunn electronics moved to South Carolina 16-years-ago but their old building is still around in Mantua Township. It burned early Saturday. Click here to read more about the fire.
Lots of suspicious packages & lots of questions: We told you yesterday how brown was the featured color at the Smithsonian’s Hirshorn Museum on The Mall in Washington, DC. Above is some of the raw material put together by WUSA9.com’s Emily Cyr from Monday night’s incident where an errant UPS truck ended about a foot inside the building (much of it shot by DC Fire & EMS Department photographer Vito Maggiolo). It appears the driver had a medical emergency, but it was treated as a potential terrorist incident with bomb squad crews checking out the vehicle and what it was carrying. You will hear a reporter ask on Monday night why the barriers put in front of the museum to prevent car and truck bombs didn’t stop this vehicle. That was followed up on Tuesday with others asking the same questions about the planter/barriers that were placed around all federal buildings in your Nation’s Capital following the bombing in Oklahoma City and the attacks of 9-11. Click here for Bruce Leshan’s report.
Report released in Virginia fire where firefighters couldn’t find woman who was talking to 911: Spotsylvania County released its internal report into the fire that killed Sandy Hill in February. It looks at why Hill wasn’t found until it was too late, despite being on the phone with 911 when crews pulled up and for many more minutes. Click here to read the report and related coverage.
This is a Courier-Mail photo of fitness instructor Tash Bennett. She is not a firefighter. But Bennett is getting more notice about her firefighting efforts than any of you are ever likely to receive. The reason is Bennett did her firefighting topless after a palm tree caught fire where she was sunbathing. Indications are she put on quite a show. Click the image to read and hear about her efforts.
Listen to audio from Connecticut house fire union wants investigated: A battle is underway in Stamford, Connecticut after an assistant chief with the Long Ridge Fire Company canceled automatic aid units before anyone arrived on the scene. It turned out the assistance was needed as fire had taken hold of a 7800 square foot home. Listen to the audio and read more about the dispute.
Blast at training fire in Canada injures six firefighters: It happened at an old farm house in Edgerton, Alberta on Monday as firefighters gathered for the burning of the structure. Here’s how the Edmonton Journal described the explosion-
Hunks of wood, stones and rusty nails flew like bullets; the volunteer firefighters were flattened like wheat before a scythe.
Some as close as six metres to the house fell unconscious. One went down in a hail of debris that broke both his legs and shoulder blade.
Audit clears Tulsa firefighters: A while ago we told you about investigations into why some Tulsa firefighters had records indicating continuing EMS education when they hadn’t taken the courses. The initial state investigation resulted in five people retiring. An audit ordered by the city now indicates the problem was not one of fraud but rather, as one city councilor put it, ”gross mishandling of records”. Click here to read the audit and here for the story.
Unhappy volunteers turning off pagers?: In Fruita, Colorado, a firefighter is qualifiying remarks she made at a Lower Valley Fire Protection District board meeting. Stacy Evans orignally said that unhappy voluteers are turning off their pagers. The comment upset some residents. Now Evans has added it is happening only on non-duty nights where often volunteers would respond in addition to the on-duty crew. Click here to read and watch the story.
New Hampshire arsonist: For the third time in 10 days a building fire has been set along a less than two block section of Manchester’s Myrtle street. Read the story.
Paint factory fire: In the United Arab Emirates a fire on Tuesday destroyed a factory and four warehouses at National Paints in Sharjah. News reports indicate a fire engine burned up in the fire. A firefighter and plant worker suffered minor burns. Read more about the fire. See more YouTube videos.
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.
You will definitely want to see this one: I figured it was just a matter of time before we saw the video from a camera from the locomotive of the Amtrak train that hit Detroit’s Ladder 13 earlier this month. That time is here. Check it out.
Some DC fire action: Broadcast engineer and historian Tom Buckley had his camera at the ready when the DC Fire & EMS Department showed up in his neighborhood yesterday morning. Here are the results.
Rosenbaum son-in-law gives view on latest DC EMS problems: Toby Halliday sat on the task force formed to reform EMS in the Nation’s Capital after the serious problems noted about the care provided to Halliday’s father-in-law, David Rosenbaum. With new, high-profile incidents receiving a lot of attention, Halliday provided The Washington Post his thoughts on the progress made since the task force made its final report. Click here.
Accused firefighter/arsonist doesn’t fit the usual pattern: The stories we find about firefighters setting fires tend to be about younger, newer members of a department. That is not the case with 43-year-old Stark Liedtke who has now been fired after 22-years as an on-call firefighter with New Hampshire’s Alton Fire Department. Investigators say Liedtke admits to setting 11 fires over four years. Here’s the story.
Firefighter reinstated after firing: This is a rather complex sexual harassment case from Westbrook, Maine that we first mentioned in October. The allegations were rather graphic. Now, a state labor board has told the fire department to reinstate Firefighter Matthew Lamontagne. Here is the latest.
Parity means pay up: The City of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania has once again been told to live up to its promise that firefighters are to get pay parity with the cops. It could mean 13k for each firefighter. Read about the court ruling.
Aw chute: This is a really stupid story (but if it weren’t for things like this many of you would find the work much more boring). A 20-year-old man, acting on a dare from some children, wanted to show that he could make it down a home’s laundry chute. You can guess the rest and who had to come save the guy. The rescue apparently traumatized a young girl. Read more from Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.
Firefighters are no-shows and one quits: As you will see at the end of the above story, there may be more behind the resignation of one volunteer, but what is clear is none of the 35 volunteers of the Fresno City VFD in Texas (about 20 miles south of Houston) showed up for a Sunday morning house fire. The fire chief says he will investigate. You can read the story here.
LEAD STORY – Paramedic in scuffle with trooper last May arrested yesterday during traffic stop off-duty: It was our top story last year and it keeps on giving. Creek Nation Paramedic Maurice White Jr. was put in jail yesterday morning in Vian, Oklahoma, accused of resisting arrest and other charges. White was in that widely seen video where OHP Trooper Daniel Martin had him in a choke hold. Click here for all of the details known so far.
Win one for the Geezer: I made my choice for the best fire and EMS blog of 2009 a long time ago and I am glad to see that Firegeezer Bill Schumm has been going back and forth for the top spot with his sudden surge yesterday. There are some really good blogs in the running, but we have long admitted our bias for the retired fire captain from Fairfax County. Thank you to my mom and dad for voting for me (I think the wife and son voted for Bill), but if your choice is between Firegeezer and STATter 911, may I suggest a vote for my favorite blog. Click here. Voting ends at 5:59 PM EST.
More on burned firehouse in Ashland, New York: WTEN-TV has now posted some early pictures from a passerby as efforts were made to salvage the rigs in Sunday’s fire that gutted the firehouse. Click here for the video. There are also some new details on the fire and the impact on the community here and here. Click here for earlier coverage.
The story behind the picture. The Los Angeles Times discovers why this 1948 fire truck from a different town has sat on the roof of a building in Vernon, California for decades. Click the image for the answer. Photo by Anne Cusack, Los Angeles Times.
Collapse, explosion, video and pictures as NJ bowling alley goes up in flames: Fifty-years old, the Loyle Lanes in Vineland are no longer. We have put together a lot of elements including a video that shows a bit of a collapse, what it looked like before firefighters arrived and even something exploding. Check it out.
As I recall, the last major bowling alley blaze we ran was also in New Jersey. That was last June in Shrewsbury at Memory Bowling and it had some pretty spectacular video and pictures. If you missed it, check here.
House fire audio and pictures from Fairfax County, VA: Click here for the audio/visual elements from Sunday night’s two-alarm house fire.
Looting at large apartment building fire in Massachusetts: So, what the fire doesn’t take, your local thief grabs. That’s the story from Malden following Saturday’s six-alarm fire. Read and watch what is a pretty sad state of affairs. Thanks to Jimmy Daly for finding this one.
Firefighter resigns over concerns about police impersonation: From Lee, New Hampshire, an Epping volunteer firefighter resigned after pulling over a friend in what some perceived as a case of police impersonation in a community that recently has had such a problem. Read more.
Kennebunkport fire chief indicted: This is an update on a story we brought you in September where there was a bit of a lover’s triangle causing a problem that left a man’s face smashed by a motorcycle helmet.
37 firefighters pack their bags in Cleveland: The layoffs took effect yesterday, but it is possible that they could return soon. Read and watch the story.
Mayor Matt Harter's surprise for firefighters. Click the image to watch the interview.
The must read story of the day: The mayor of La Crosse, Wisconsin thinks he has the answer to the city’s budget problems. Turn the 95-member La Crosse Fire Department into an all or partial volunteer force (a similar idea was discussed recently in Cumberland, Maryland). This isn’t sitting too well with the current career force and some stunned council members. A memo indicates the mayor wants the chief to provide a report on converting half the department in 18-months and finish the job in three years. Read the story.
Pay cut in half at firefighters’ request: In an effort to save a reserve firefighters program in Tracy, California, members of the group requested the drastic cut and will now be paid minimum wage for fire calls and training. Click here.
At the other end of the country- I had to read this one twice to make sure I wasn’t seeing things: In Gilford, New Hampshire, the new fire department budget has a 10-percent increase, including a 3.9-percent rise in pay. The town’s budget committee is saying okay for now, despite the tough economic times, because most of the money is going for safety needs. Had to check the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1. Click here for this refreshing story.
Update on NH “mayday”: FirefighterCloseCalls.com has the latest on Hooksett Firefighter Jesse Gayer who was burned when a garage door came down trapping him inside a burning building. FF Gayer is now home recovering.
The answer was just next door: An image from an 18-month-old fire video says a lot. Take a look.
His probation period ends with firefighter committing to permanent probation: In front of family and friends six firefighters were given their badges Washington State’s East Jefferson Fire-Rescue. One of those firefighters decided to use the moment to go a step further. Click here.
Helmet-cam and other cameras from Western Maryland house fire: This video is from the Potomac Fire Company in Westernport. It is of a house fire just before 9:00 last Wednesday morning. There is a detailed account along with pictures at the fire company’s website.
Helmet-cams like the one above are under the microscope: Paul Peluso at Firehouse.com looks at what I have long thought is an interesting issue being dealt with by fire departments all over the world. The debate focuses on helmet-cams, but the problems are similar for any picture taking by on-duty personnel. Paul talks with a public safety director who has a law degree. Click here for Paul’s story.
Finally, some details from Bourne. The firefighters' union provides details of what they say were major concerns about Lt. Kelli Weeks' behavior and the failure by Bourne, Massachusetts officials to properly investigate the matter. This picture of Weeks is from a charity calendar. No details yet on the rape charges against Weeks' husband, Deputy Chief Paul Weeks. Click the image for the latest.
The Firehouse.com story mentions the helmet-cam rescue video taken at an apartment fire by Kentland VFD. After Kentland contacted me and 9NEWS NOW ran the story (so did other TV stations), it brought an immediate ban on helmet-cams in Prince George’s County, Maryland (but not a ban on other picture & video taking). That fire occurred on August 8, 2006 and it also brought a sharp rebuke of Kentland and the news media by then PGFD Chief Lawrence Sedgwick Jr. It read in part, “The release of this video and the media coverage demonstrated a lack of compassion and sensitivity for the family of the deceased. These actions are extremely unethical and unprofessional.”
A look back to a tragic and chaotic 14-hours: This execution of DC area sniper John Allen Muhammad is scheduled for tonight in Virginia. The region and the nation became aware of this series of killings because of what happened in Montgomery County, Maryland on October 2 and 3, 2003. Five people were shot and killed in separate incidents. 9NEWS NOW executive producer Samara Martin Ewing put together the 911 calls and her 2003 interviews with firefighters and medics. That and more about the snipers can be found here.
Punishment for deputy chief and captain in cheating case: Remember the story we told you about from Papillion, Nebraska where cheating was uncovered in the test for fire department applicants. It is costing Papillion about $25,000 to administer a brand new test. It is also costing two firefighters their rank. While it was previously reported this was an inside job, there is now new information that a deputy chief and a captain have both been busted back to Firefighter I. Read and watch the details.
Tragic situation in Fairfax County, VA: Retired Captain Richard Scott and his wife were found dead in their home in what is believed by police to be a murder-suicide. Neighbors and firefighters say Scott, who retired in 1996, suffered from Alzheimer’s. Click here for the story.
Firefighter trapped & burned during 3-alarm NH building fire: According to Firefighter Close Calls one firefighter was burned and others injured during a fire last night at Mow Town Power Equipment in Hooksett, New Hampshire. The building houses lawn mowers and other garden equipment. Here’s some of the details-
The Firefighter was treated in Manchester and is now being transported to Boston with 2nd and 3rd degree burn related injuries after a garage door came down and trapped him during the fire. The Firefighter was reported to be fully geared up in his PPE and other Firefighters were able to get him out by cutting open the door.
First due at Area 51 (sort of … after Nellis AFB FD): Well they might be if people in unincorporated Rachel, Nevada could solve the dilemma that has cropped up with the June, 2008 donation of a 1986 Pierce pumper. They would like to put it in a county building as the start of a Rachel VFD. But Lincoln County won’t let them use it as long as the fire engine is still in private hands. Quite a problem for the closest habitation to the mysterious Area 51. Read more.
Another fire truck donation story: This one’s a 1918 Mack and is heading for the Sioux City Public Museum. Click here for the story.