San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe sent out an e-mail with his decision Friday. The name of the firefighter has not been released.
“I have concluded that there is no criminal culpability for any individual involved in the response to the airline crash,” Wagstaffe said in his e-mail. “The death of 16 year old Le Mangyuan was a tragic accident that did not involve any violation of our criminal laws.”
Wagstaffe said his office now considers the case closed.
Firefighter Michael Quinn, 43, had just left station one in a ladder truck on a Saturday night in June, on what turned out to be a false alarm. He drove three blocks until the surveillance video picks up. That’s 5th Street heading right to left. The motorcycle came west on Howard, the road that’s top to bottom.
Quinn blew through a red light and smashed into the motorcycle, sending the rider into a fire hydrant. Fire department rules state the driver has to have control of an intersection before going through. That did not happen in this case.
Sources say firefighters from the ladder truck took Quinn into a nearby bar, The Chieftain, and he began chugging water. That’s also captured on a surveillance camera. He left the bar, and hours later, Quinn’s blood alcohol level tested at .13, over the .08 the legal limit, and a violation of the department’s zero tolerance policy.
I’ve learned police have launched a corruption investigation into the firefighters who may have tried to help Quinn avoid arrest, by chugging that water. Sources tell me, several of them denied calling or texting Quinn that night, until investigators showed them their phone records.
On Thursday by phone, Chief Joanne Hayes-White confirmed she sent a letter to the fire commission recommending that Quinn be fired. She also told me the department’s investigation is almost done and she’ll have to decide whether other firefighters from station one violated department rules as well.
The NTSB now confirms an intern did verify for KTVU-TV the erronerous names of the crew on Asiana Flight 214. Here’s a statement issued from NTSB:
The National Transportation Safety Board apologizes for inaccurate and offensive names that were mistakenly confirmed as those of the pilots of Asiana flight 214, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6.
Earlier today, in response to an inquiry from a media outlet, a summer intern acted outside the scope of his authority when he erroneously confirmed the names of the flight crew on the aircraft.
The NTSB does not release or confirm the names of crewmembers or people involved in transportation accidents to the media. We work hard to ensure that only appropriate factual information regarding an investigation is released and deeply regret today’s incident.
Appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that such a serious error is not repeated.
For its part KTVU-TV accepts full responsibility for this amazing error in news judgment and common sense. I hope news managers across the country are paying attention and asking themselves “Could it happen here?”
The answer is yes and it has. This just happens to be a little more humorous and jawdropping than most of the significant errrors that are occurrring too regularly at the local and network level, particularly in breaking news. Maybe it’s time the TV news business does what the military and the fire service do when bad mistakes happen. How about a news stand down where newsrooms work on the basics of confirming facts before relaying them to the public. Here’s KTVU-TV’s statement:
On Friday, July 12, during the KTVU Channel 2 Noon newscast, we misidentified the pilots in the Asiana Airlines crash.
We made several mistakes when we received this information. First, we never read the names out loud, phonetically sounding them out.
Then, during our phone call to the NTSB where the person confirmed the spellings of the names, we never asked that person to give us their position with the agency.
We heard this person verify the information without questioning who they were and then rushed the names on our noon newscast.
Even with this statement from the NTSB, KTVU accepts full responsibility for this mistake.
We issued an apology later in the noon newscast, and we also apologized on our website and on our social media sites.
We have a lot of good people here at KTVU Channel 2. We pride ourselves on getting it right and having the highest of standards and integrity.
Clearly, on Friday, that didn’t happen. So again, from everyone here at KTVU, we offer our sincerest apology.
I thought this story about a TV station reporting the names of the pilots of Asiana Flight 214 as seen in the picture below was itself a hoax (and I am sure that is your initial thought reading this). You would think no one could really be that dumb to put these names on the air. And you would be wrong.
Sad to report the hoax was on San Francisco’s KTVU-TV and they fell for it. They broadcast these names on the air during the noon newscast today, followed a little while later by this apology:
Earlier in the newscast we gave some names of pilots involved in the Asiana Airlines crash. These names were not accurate despite an NTSB official in Washington confirming them late this morning. We apologize for the error.
An autopsy was being conducted Sunday to determine whether one of the two teenage passengers killed on the Asiana Airlines flight had been run over by a San Francisco fire rig at the crash scene.
The 16-year-old girl was found near the evacuation slide near the left wing of Asiana Flight 214 that crashed Saturday during a landing at San Francisco International Airport.
San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said Sunday her injuries are consistent with having been run over.
“As it possibly could have happened, based on the injuries sustained, it could have been one of our vehicles that added to the injuries, or another vehicle,” Hayes-White said. “That could have been something that happened in the chaos. It will be part of our investigation.”
Hayes-White said a runway video recording of the first seconds of the crash could help unravel what occurred. “Part of it was a pretty good vantage point,” she said.
While federal investigators began piecing together what led to the crash, San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault disclosed that he was looking into the possibility that one of the two teenage passengers who died Saturday actually survived the crash but was run over by a rescue vehicle rushing to aid victims as the plane burst into flames. Remarkably, 305 of 307 passengers survived the crash and more than a third didn’t even require hospitalization. Only a small number were critically injured.
Foucrault, the coroner, said senior San Francisco Fire Department officials notified him and his staff at the crash site on Saturday that one of the 16-year-olds who was killed may have been struck on the runaway. Foucrault said an autopsy he expects to be completed by Monday will involve determining whether the girl’s death was caused by injuries suffered in the crash or “a secondary incident.”
Foucrault said one of the bodies was found on the tarmac near where the plane’s tail broke off when it slammed into the runway. The other was found on the left side of the plane about 30 feet away from where the jetliner came to rest after it skidded down the runway.
Authorities said Sunday that the girl, found near the west wing of the aircraft, suffered injuries consistent with being run over by a vehicle. She also did not suffer extensive burns.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee described the situation for first responders to the crash site as “very chaotic” with “lots of smoke” as he spoke with reporters at San Francisco General Hospital, where many of the surviving crash victims are being treated.
Lee said given that scene, it might be possible a vehicle could have run over the girl – but he said that determination would have to be made by the coroner and crash investigators.
Amateur video surfaced on CNN Sunday showing Asiana Airlines Flight 214 approaching the runway and striking what appears to be a seawall before rotating counterclockwise and coming to a stop. Fred Hayes said he shot the video about a mile from the crash scene.
“We were expecting a lot of burns,” said Dr. Margaret Knudson, San Francisco General Hospital’s chief of surgery. “But we didn’t see them.”
At San Francisco General, 19 survivors remained hospitalized, six of them in critical condition.
The cockpit voice recorder of Asiana Flight 214 reveal the pilots called to initiate a “go-around” at another landing 1.5 second before impact, NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman told reporters on Sunday.
“There is no discussion of any aircraft anomalies or concerns with the approach,” National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman told reporters Sunday, providing an update on Saturday’s plane crash. She said a call from a crew member to increase speed was made approximately seven seconds before impact.
Last Friday we told you the San Francisco Fire Department released its official report into the deaths of Lt. Vincent Perez and Firefighter/Paramedic Anthony Valerio. At the time, only a summary was available online. Now you can read the entire report:
An internal safety investigation on the June 2, 2011, fire at 133 Berkeley Way indicates that firefighters Lt. Vincent A. Perez and Firefighter Paramedic Anthony M. Valerio were killed by extremely high temperatures of up to 700 degrees caused by a sudden flare up, known as a flashover.
The intense fire event, which lasted several minutes, was caused when a window shattered in the room where the fire started, sending a rush of oxygen to the flames, according to the report. The heat was drawn up a stairwell from a below ground-level floor, where the fire began, to the ground-level floor where Valerio and Perez were standing.
"They were caught in a chimney," said Assistant Chief David Franklin, who worked on the team that prepared the report.
"We were well on our way to developing some of the new policies that, in some ways, could have made a difference," Chief Joanne Hayes-White said. "But basically, you'll find that the key factor was something that was a variable that we really had no control over. It was the failure of the window on the back end of the floor where Tony and Vince were."
The report describes a number of errors and communication problems at the scene and makes recommendations for how the handling of future incidents can be improved. But fire officials said the flashover was not something that could have easily been prevented or predicted.
"What Vincent and Tony did is exactly what all of us would have done," said Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, noting that it is standard practice in the department to make an aggressive attack and try to get water on a fire as quickly as possible. "The key factor was something that we really had no control over."
Hayes-White said the department is developing a risk assessment policy to help determine how to approach fires, particularly in difficult situations such as that presented by the multi-level home.
Official release from the San Francisco Fire Department:
(San Francisco, CA – February 10, 2012) The San Francisco Fire Department held a press briefing today, reviewing the results of their Internal Safety Investigation related to the Line of Duty Deaths of Lt. Vincent Perez and Firefighter/Paramedic Anthony Valerio at a fire at 133 Berkeley Way on June 2, 2011.
Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental. The ignition source was “a nonspecific electrical sequence”, likely caused by either a failure in a ground outlet or in the appliance connected to the outlet.
The results of the Safety Investigation determined that the two Firefighters, who died as a result of internal and external thermal injuries, were conducting fire operations in a stairwell of the home above the fire room. The stairwell acted as a chimney when a large window failed in an oxygen deprived room that was below them, “causing them exposure to a rapid high heat event at temperatures that no Firefighter would have been able to survive”, said Assistant Deputy Chief Jose Velo, a member of the Safety Investigation Team.
Inspection of the Firefighters’ Personal Protective Clothing indicated that they performed according to their specifications. “We do have some concerns related to the handheld radios that all of our Firefighters carry”, said Chief Velo. “Both radio microphones appear to have failed from exposure to extreme heat conditions.”
Upon receiving the findings related to the radios, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White requested that the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) research and develop a standard for Firefighter handheld radios.
The Safety Investigation Team identified three factors that contributed to the tragic outcome of this event. These factors include an excessive live fuel load which contributed to the growth of the fire, the layout of the building with the origin of the fire being in a room below grade and, extreme heat conditions accelerated by the failure of a window on the fire floor.
Chief Hayes-White indicated that this Safety Investigation was internal and initiated immediately following the rescue of the two Firefighters. Additionally, she stated that an independent Safety Investigation had also been conducted by the National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH). The NIOSH Report is pending.
“Twenty-five recommendations have been made as a result of information gathered from the Safety Investigation”, said Chief Hayes-White. “We take to heart all of the findings and recommendations in this report and will vow to do everything within our power to ensure a similar tragedy does not occur again in our Department.” The Department is in the process of implementing all recommendations and has initiated research and development where required.
President of San Francisco Fire Fighters Local 798, Tom O’Connor said, “While there is nothing that we can do to change the outcome of that fateful day, we can learn lessons from this tragedy and make every effort to ensure that this does not happen again.”
“The two brave firefighters who died tragically in the line of duty in June last year – Lieutenant Vincent Perez and Firefighter/Paramedic Anthony Valerio are heroes,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “As a city, we will follow up on every recommendation and finding from the report issued today by the San Francisco Fire Department to ensure our first responders are as safe as possible as they serve the residents of San Francisco.”
The Fire Department has forwarded their report to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Cal-OSHA, the State Fire Marshal, and the CA Professional Firefighters Association for their review.
When I was growing up, one of Baltimore's most famous citizens lived down the street from my elementary school. Everyone knew her. She was a businesswoman who, one year was grand marshal of my brother's little league parade, was well known for her charity work in the community and had been featured on national television for her efforts helping wounded Vietnam veteran's adjust to life back home. In fact, she was so well known, her life story was told in a 1989 movie starring Lolita Davidovich and Paul Newman. I am talking about the stripper Blaze Starr who operated the legendary Two O'Clock Club on Baltimore's Block.
I am sure if, back in the day, Blaze had a donation for a fire department charity she would have just walked around the corner a half block to the quarters of Engine 32 and Truck 1 and dropped it off, or gone north two blocks to Baltimore City Fire Department headquarters and done the same. No one in Baltimore would have thought anything unusual about it.
I am also sure that today if a stripper had such a presentation for the Baltimore City Fire Department, Chief Jim Clack and his bosses at City Hall would have some discussions about the appropriateness of such a donation and the image it would present holding the event at a fire department facility. Most fire chiefs would do the same. Times have changed.
In fact, such a scenario just played out in San Francisco yesterday when BSC Management wanted to present a check to the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program. BSC manages three "adult" clubs in the city. BSC employees donated money raised from their "dances".
The trouble came when it was time to present the check. It was supposed to happen at Fire Station 1 on Howard Street near Third Street, but Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said no.
Hayes-White said the proper paperwork hadn't been filed, but even if it had been, she probably would have still said no. She said she didn't want anything to impede the operation of the fire station and she said having "entertainers" inside the station didn't live up to the wholesome work environment she's trying to maintain.
"We certainly respect the chief's decision," publicist Kevin Sanchez said. "We're disappointed, we would have preferred to make the donation there as scheduled, but we certainly understand her decision."
Back to Blaze for a moment. In about 1965 when I was in fourth grade, three or four of us left Campfield Elementary one day after school with the idea that we were going to walk down Essex Road to Blaze's house on Queen Anne Road to secure an interview for our school newspaper, the Campfield Chatter. At least that was our cover story. I carried the camera (which had no film in it). After knocking on the door, a woman answered. We knew it wasn't Blaze, but she certainly could have been employed by the club (my memory tells me it was her sister, but that could be wrong). The woman told us Blaze wasn't home. She was very nice and thanked us for coming, offered us some cookies and sent us on our way. Something told me we weren't the first boys to try this.
Twenty-four years later, right after the movie "Blaze" came out, I was all set to finally complete that assignment and interview Blaze Starr for Channel 9, Eyewitness News. But, much to my disappointment, breaking news occurred that day and I never got there. But I did get to talk to her on the phone and she laughed about the fourth grade story and confirmed mu suspicions that such visits from young boys were not that unusual.
I believe that home on Queen Anne Road in Lochearn no longer exists and is part of a flood plain. As I recall, in the 1970s Baltimore County firefighters had to rescue Blaze from the roof of that house after one of many times the adjacent creek overflowed its banks.
California's Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Occupational Safety and Health has issued fines in connection with the fire that killed Lt. Vincent Perez, 48, and firefighter-paramedic Anthony Valerio, 53 on June 2. Both the agency and Chief Joanne Hayes-White say that the violations were not a direct cause of the firefighters' deaths. Fire officials go further and are disputing some of Cal OSHA's findings.
In recommending that the Fire Department be fined $21,000, the state investigators also said the department had violated state rules requiring that two firefighters be designated outside to assist any two firefighters who venture into a life-threatening environment.
The state also cited the Fire Department for an incident – evidently before the fatal flareup – in which an unidentified battalion chief ventured into the burning building alone, without keeping in contact with Perez and Valerio. That was also deemed a serious violation of safety rules.
"These are serious in that they had protocols in place, but they weren't following them," said Erika Monterroza, spokeswoman for the worker safety agency. "There's no question that a lack of communications was a big issue here. The investigator found there was a breakdown there.
Three alarms in Vancouver, BC: A large $6 million home burned Friday at Angus and Granville.
Joint funeral set in San Francisco: Saint Mary’s Cathedral at 1111 Gough St. in San Francisco will be the site of a joint funeral for firefighter Anthony Valerio and Lt. Vincent Perez. Firefighter Valerio died Saturday following the fire Thursday that had taken the life of Lt. Perez. Services are tenatively scheduled for 12:30 PM. Firefighter Close Calls tells us that San Francisco Fire Fighters Local 798 has established trust accounts at the San Francisco Fire Credit Union. Donations can be made to SFFCU, 3201 California St., San Francisco, CA 94118. Condolence messages can be sent to Fire Station 26, 80 Digby St., San Francisco, CA 94131. Click here, here & here for previous coverage.
Stratford, Connecticut's woes continue: Glenn Usdin's FireTruckBlog.com has an update on the fire department in Stratford trying to recover from January's wrecks on I-95 that took out two pumpers. Here's the latest.
Chiefs make more than governors: The Washington Examiner takes a look at what fire and police chiefs make in and around the Nation's Capital. Click here.
Seven years in Bret Tarver death: Christopher Benitez gets a seven-year sentence, minus 699 days already served, for negligent homicide in the 2001 Phoenix supermarket blaze where Firefighter Bret Tarver died. Here's more.
The controversy continues in Alameda, California: Alameda County disputes the Alameda Police Department's statement about a mutual aid request to assist in the water rescue that never happened. Here's that story. Some Alameda citizens have been adding their thoughts to our comments section as the discussion continues over an incident that has, as expected, become an enormous image problem for firefighters. Click here, here & here.
Remembering Mark Falkenhan & others: The Maryland Fire-Rescue Services Memorial Foundation held its annual ceremony yesterday at the Maryland Emergency Services Memorial Park in Annapolis. Mark Falkenhan's name was added to the Wall of Honor. Falkenhan, a member of both Lutherville VFC and Middle River Rescue Company in Baltimore County, died during an apartment fire in January. Anne Arundel County Fire Department Chief John Robert Ray was the keynote speaker. Jim Brown from MIEMSS took the picture to the right.
Getting paid just for showing your face: A man who didn't call the fire department in Colorado Springs, Colorado is upset over a $700 bill he received after firefighters showed up at the scene of a car crash. Their services were not needed. Firegeezer has the story.
Amazing Grace & Mickey Mouse ears: A most unusual firefighter funeral in Concord, New Hampshire as those remembering Robert Bottcher donned Mickey Mouse ears in tribute. Here's the story.
Restaurant critics?: Two suspicious fires early this morning at fast food restaurants in the Toledo, Ohio area. Here are the details.
Busy morning on Detroit's East Side: One dwelling fire at Joseph Campeau and Ferry and then two more homes burn at 3475 Garland Street.
Dozens of grim-faced firefighters from across the city flocked to the hospital to pay tribute to Valerio, whose death was yet another blow to the city, its firefighters and Engine Company 26.
The Diamond Heights station crew had already lost Lt. Vincent Perez, who died Thursday after being rushed to the hospital with Valerio and a third firefighter, Tracy Courtney. Courtney was released after being treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation.
There are new details from Thursday's fire in San Francisco that took the life of Lt. Vincent Perez and critically injured Firefighter Anthony Valerio. The two were part of the crew from Engine 26 inside a four story hillside home at 133 Berkeley Way in Diamond Heights. In the video above, union President Tom O'Connor says the two men were above the main body of fire when they were burned and mentions wind as a possible contributing factor behind the intense fire conditions.
Lt. Vincent Perez (l) and FF/PM Anthony Valerio.
According to an article by Jaxon Van Derbeken at the San Francisco Chronicle, Engine 26 arrived on the scene at 10:47 and Lt. perez soon could be heard coughing as he provided a situation report.
"We have an active fire, zero visibility, third floor," Perez said. The home's third floor is actually the ground level from the street, with two floors below it built into a hillside.
A scene commander, identified by firefighters as Battalion Chief Thomas Abbott, ordered a crew from Engine Company 24 to back up Perez's crew inside the building. For several minutes, however, scene commanders repeatedly tried to find the Engine 26 firefighters, without success.
Finally, what appeared to be the last communication from the doomed crew came over the radio. "This is 26, this is 26. … Battalion 6, what's your location?" said a muffled voice.
"Twenty-six, this is command, I need to know your …" came in reply.
"This is Engine 26, we're on the third…" At that point, the voice over the radio trailed off.
The paper reports it isn't clear exactly when the firefighters were injured. They were found alone.
The paper also confirms what an anonymous person posting a comment to STATter911.com reported, that the emergency alarm that went off around the time it was determined the firefighters were in trouble was an accidental activation from Engine 20. Engine 20 was still responding to the scene.
Perez was a San Francisco firefighter for 25 years. He was born and raised in the Mission District and Bernal Heights, and was known for his courage and sense of humor, firefighters union president Tom O'Connor said.
"He was always the first guy in a fire and the last guy out," O'Connor said. "He lightened up the mood at the firehouse … He was a firefighter's firefighter."
Speaking at San Francisco General Hospital, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White told reporters (see raw video below) that one firefighter has died and another is fighting for his life following a fire reported at 10:44 AM at 133 Berkeley Way. A third injured firefighter is reported in fair condition.
The blaze started on the first floor of the home and spread to at least the second story, (Spokeswoman Mindy) Talmadge said.
Talmadge said firefighters saw a flash while inside the home. Around that time, a firefighter in the home activated an emergency alarm. Dispatch got the alert and notified the incident commander, who tried to reach the firefighter by radio but was unable to, Talmadge said.
Additional crew members were sent in, and they found two firefighters down and "pretty badly burned," Talmadge said.
The third injured firefighter was able to exit the home without help, she said.
Getting a picture of Station 19 off of Google Maps I found that the Street View car caught Engine 19 out front. Click the image & veer right to see the firehouse.
In San Francisco, 29-year-old Eric Miller was arrested after being found inside a fire station Monday, wearing a female firefighter’s clothes. He’s been charged with burglary and possession of stolen property. A firefighter coming on duty was the first to spot Miller and at first thought he was another firefighter. There are nine firefighters on each shift at Station 19. Firefighters detained him until police arrived. It is unclear what time Miller showed up the station. According to news reports the crew in the bunkroom heard someone working out in the gym at 2:00 AM but assumed it was another firefighter.
On Thursday I told you about the new site FireTruckBlog.com by Chief Glenn Usdin. The site has actually been up for a little bit and there are a couple of stories previously posted that I think you might be interested in.
My favorite is the video taking you inside the shop that makes and maintains the San Francisco Fire Department’s wooden ladders. If you have never seen this shop in operation you will probably find it quite interesting. Click here for the story.
Another is the story about the crowding out of FDNY fire trucks by the city’s bike lanes. Click here.
There was also a nice video from a North Carolina Thanksgiving Day parade that featured rigs from many different eras of the Charlotte Fire Department. Check it out.
Both Fire Critic Rhett Fleitz and I ran a video from an apartment fire in San Francisco Sunday morning that is being looked at as a possible arson. Rhett said the impression from the short clip was that the truck work seemed to be going at a much faster pace than the engine company operations. In fact, on this much longer clip (above), you can hear a lot of citizen fire critics wondering where the water was on this fire. As Rhett surmised, there was more to the story. He received an explanation from San Francisco FF/PM Justin Schorr, known as The Happy Medic:
After speaking to some of the first due folks, initial report was nothing showing from the street. Crews made entry to find the building charged with smoke, struck a working fire. Entry was delayed due to the entry door barricaded from the inside. Lines were eventually led through the window inside to make the door.
Crews were able to ventilate natural openings and a lot of heat made a search of the floor above trouble.
This looks to be a 4 story type 5, likely with 12 units. Zero clearance on the sides, no easy view of the rear of the building. Getting to the roof ASAP is the easiest way to do the “360″ and check all exposures, lightwells, secondary victims etc, hence the quick sticks.
First due truck closed for Baltimore fatal: Firegeezer takes a look at a fatal fire in Baltimore and the potential impact of rotating closures. Read the details.
While you are in Geezerland you must take a moment to look at the story FossilMedic Mike Ward has dug up. It is the video of a British helicopter pilot doing a medical evacuation mission in Afghanistan. The chopper comes under fire, the aircraft is heavily damaged and Lt. Ian Fortune, the pilot, is struck in the head. Talk about keeping cool under fire and getting the job done. Watch this.
Update your widget: The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has redesigned its widget. If you have a website or blog carrying the widget or want to carry the widget, click here to get the new code.
Remember this one? Pride parade verdict upheld: From SignOnSanDiego.com- “An appellate court panel of three justices has unanimously upheld last year’s jury verdict awarding damages to four San Diego firefighters who sued the city because they had been required to participate in the 2007 gay pride parade in Hillcrest.”
A double whammy to start the DC fire chief’s weekend: As you can imagine there is a lot of discussion about the federal discrimination lawsuit filed Friday against DC Fire & EMS Department Chief Dennis Rubin and two of his assistant fire chiefs. That story is here. Earlier on Friday Chief Rubin’s staff contacted WTOP Radio to say the chief had it wrong about enforced leave for the firefighter/nude chef at Engine 11. Here are the details.
Burned Modesto firefighter back on the job today: This morning Engineer James Adams returns to the Modesto Fire Department on light-duty as a battalion chief’s aide ten months after being critically burned over almost half his body. Adams and Jason Clevenger fell through the roof of a burning home on New Years Day. Here’s the update.
UPDATE: This morning Los Angeles Times is reporting that San Bruno’s fire chief says at least 6 four people were killed by the blast yesterday evening and that the number of dead is expected to rise as more home are searched. At last word 53 homes were destroyed and 120 damaged. The fire covered at least 10 acres.
With a thunderous roar heard for miles, a natural gas line explosion ripped through a San Bruno neighborhood shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday, sending up a geyser of fire, critically burning residents and igniting a blaze that gobbled up more than a dozen houses.
The wind-whipped blaze jumped from structure to structure in the area near Skyline Boulevard and Sneath Lane, west of Interstate 280, raging unabated for almost an hour as emergency crews rushed in, residents cleared out, and ambulance sirens filled the air.
The central ball of fire, fed by the gas line, raged past nightfall before abating. By then, about 20 houses and thick stands of trees were engulfed in flames. Power was cut off to the area, and the only light came from emergency vehicles and the smoldering houses.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. spokesman Jeff Smith said one of the utility’s natural gas transmission lines ruptured. The reason for the rupture is unknown, he said.
Fifteen people were being treated at Kaiser Medical Center in South San Francisco for burns, smoke inhalation and other injuries, spokeswoman Stacey Wagner said. Some critically burned patients had been transferred earlier to California Pacific Medical Center’s St. Luke’s campus in San Francisco, she said.
Five injured people were taken to San Francisco General Hospital. Spokeswoman Rachael Kagan said three were in critical condition – a man in his 50s and a woman in her 80s, both suffering from burn injuries, and a woman in her 80s being treated for smoke inhalation.
A woman in her 60s was in serious condition with smoke inhalation, and the fifth victim was in good condition, Kagan said.
One burned in San Francisco apartment fire: A neighbor’s roof top video of a fire during the noon hour in Haight Ashbury on Monday that injured an occupant of a second-floor apartment.
The STATter911.com family heads to Chicago: I guess it is appropriate that the video above is from San Francisco because that is where our journey began on August 6. Currently Sam, Hillary and Dave are in Dubuque, Iowa, heading out today for four days at Fire Rescue International in Chicago. Along the way we saw some spectacular sights and had many wonderful moments. In the coming weeks I plan to share some fire related photos and videos that I gathered during our journey, like the one on the left when San Francisco Fire Engine Tours & Adventures took us on a tour of the city in a 1955 Mack pumper. Because of the travel, as we warned, the blog postings have been reduced. Thank you for your patience and understanding. I don’t expect to get back into my usual unreliable pattern of posting until next week.
One you should attend in Chicago: If you manage a behavioral health program for a fire department or are a chief officer, peer program manager or EAP professional make sure you get to “Focus Group on New Protocol for Firefighter Behavioral Health – Initiative 13″. Its on Friday from 12:30 to 2:30 in room N230a at McCormick Place. If you need more information contact Dr. JoEllen Kelly at email@example.com.
New fire chief in Houston: The Houston Chronicle and other new outlets are reporting Terry Garrison will be the new chief of the Houston Fire Department. Retired after a 30-year-career in Phoenix, Chief Garrison more recently has been doing the chief thing in Oceanside, California and the Daisy Mountain Fire District in New River, Arizona. Read more.
Triple fatal fire in the Charleston, SC area: Around 9:00 last night a mother and her young twin boys died in a fire in West Ashley, a Charleston suburb. The St. Andrews Fire Department and Charleston Fire Department responded. SConFire.com is on top of the story.
Honors for Tom Carr: As many of you already know from other sources while Dave was distracted by his intimate relationship with the GPS lady, our friend Tom Carr, chief of the Charleston Fire Department (mentioned above), has been named by Fire Chief as the 2010 Career Fire Chief of the Year. A much deserved honor for a man I first met when he was a lieutenant in Montgomery County, Maryland. While we are at it, congratulations to Timothy S. Wall of the North Farms Volunteer Fire Department in North Wallingford, Connecticut who is the 2010 Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year.
Iron and Steel doesn’t make it to Washington but will come close: This weekend steel from the World Trade Center will be escorted to the Pentagon. You may recall the dispute that surfaced in June after the organizers and the DC Fire & EMS Department did not come to terms for this event (click here). The Arlington County Fire Department, under the leadership of Chief Jim Schwartz, stepped in and will host the event. Click here for the weekend schedule.
A much better view of the CNG bus burning in Maryland: We have now posted almost seven minutes of continuous raw video from Friday’s Metrobus fire in Anne Arundel County. It begins just before the first engine pulls up. Despite offering a better representation of what was there when firefighters arrived, I am not sure it is going to change too many minds in our comments section. What could have been an interesting discussion over the use of master streams in this type of situation has turned into the type of Internet free-for-all that can cause brain damage ( if taken too seriously). I just want to apologize ahead of time in case you stumble upon it. Much more interesting is the updated video.
Chief fired over disposal of stillborn babies: We have reported on fire chiefs being fired for many, many reasons, but this is one we have never heard before. WBRC-TV is reporting that in Odenville, Alabama Chief David Davis claimed he was just following protocol when he flushed twin stillborn babies down the toilet. Mayor Buck Christian fired Davis and the Odenville City Council unanimously approved that decision.
But it’s the news media’s fault in Detroit: Thank goodness for the Geezerman. At least Firegeezer Bill doesn’t leave his readers high and dry while he goes gallivanting across the country. Clearly a man with a much better work ethic than I have, Bill Schumm has been posting some great stories at Firegeezer.com. The most disturbing one comes from Detroit. On August 9 I shared the story about Mayor Dave Bing’s administration’s issues with media ride-alongs and attempts to create a new policy. You may recall in the same posting I also disagreed with a documentary producer’s opinion that the news media is the problem in Detroit (at the same time supporting the producer’s efforts to show us the firefighters of Detroit). Well, the nasty news media is at it again. This time they have the nerve to tell people that 31 of 45 ambulances are broken. A TV station shows some people, like the recently injured Detroit firefighters, who didn’t get to the hospital by ambulance. Here’s Bill’s well written look at this tragedy.