Grain elevator: No date listed on this from Lake Park, Iowa, but a TV station reports there was a controlled burn of a grain elevator yesterday afternoon.
A list of people to blame: First of all, thank you for putting up with Dave’s trip down memory lane over the last couple of weeks. Friday was my last day as a TV reporter, so the blog should be getting back to normal soon as I start to settle in to a new routine. For those of you who have been looking for someone to blame for my career (I know I have), I’ve come up with a short list. At the top is a wonderful man who, to this day, people confuse me with even though we are of different races and he passed away almost 14-years-ago. Click here to watch editorials on fire and EMS issues from Rich Adams.
A much more significant retirement than Statter's: Without Dave on television the man on the right decided it just isn't worth going to work any longer. Captain Larry Jenkins (on the right, with Battalion Chief James Walsh) spent 36-years with the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department. He worked his last shift yesterday at Fire Station 8 in Annandale. Photo by Sam Statter.
Much more detail from Spotsylvania, Virginia investigation: Free Lance – Star reporter Dan Telvock has been able to get hold of the raw material that made up an investigation into February’s fire where firefighters could not find a woman who was still on the phone with 911. It is worth reading. Click here.
Nearby lightning strike sends firefighter to the hospital: The firefighter was checked out after a bolt hit nearby during storms yesterday in Ponce Inlet, Florida. Click here for details.
Boston mayor says union offer not enough: Things seem to be getting worse in Boston, if that is possible, after Mayor Thomas Menino urges the City Council to reject the offer by firefighters to delay a pay raise. Check it out.
Is it a conflict?: In Massachusetts a state ethics board is trying to determine if it is okay for the building commissioner to also be an assistant chief/call firefighter in Charlton. Curtis Meskus has done both for the past seven years. Here’s more.
Is he exempt or non-exempt?: That’s the question in Southbury, Connecticut where the fire marshal has been making the case for four-years that he is owed thousands of dollars for responding to fires after hours. Read more.
Hazard Zone Management Conference in Indiana: There are lots of well known names heading to South Bend for an October 18 gathering of Brunacini’s Hazard Zone Management Conference. Here’s how they describe the event- “This conference will focus on all three of the major hazard zone breakdowns that are killing and injuring firefighters today; incident command systems, the critical decision making process, along with the most up to date and inclusive fire/ burn studies done over the past two years.” Click here for more details and registration info.
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.
In early March we told you about the February 5 fire in Spotsylvania County, Virginia where 43-year-old Sandy Hill died. Sandy Hill was on the phone with 911 when the first firefighters from Chancellor Volunteer Fire & Rescue pulled up to the scene on and for many minutes after their arrival. Unfortunately, despite a relatively small amount of fire, the crews didn’t get to Hill in her second floor room until it was too late.
As reporter Dan Telvock of the Free Lance – Star started asking questions about the lengthy delay in finding Hill, county officials ordered an internal investigation of the fire. That report was presented tonight to the Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors. According to a press release, County Administrator C. Douglas Barnes has sent “the entire internal review report has now been submitted to four outside experts/agencies from around the country, for their additional close analysis of what took place.”
Tunnel fire training: This is an interesting video with an international flavor. Here’s the description posted with the clip – With Haifa(Israel) Fire Brigade team undergoing Tunnel Firefighting training in VHS-Hegerbach, Switzerland March 2010.
Flint, Michigan continues to burn moments before layoffs: Video at 4:30 AM showed three fires burning at the same time in vacant buildings. At least eight similar fires have been reported since late yesterday. This morning, 23 Flint firefighters are to be let go in budget cuts. Two fire stations are scheduled to close. That’s about 25 percent of the city’s firefighting force. Click here for some pointed quotes from a battalion chief, pictures, video and maps.
New budget proposal brings blunt assessment from Baltimore’s fire chief: Chief Jim Clack says the budget submitted by his boss “goes too far” in its call to permanently close three fire stations (on top of four daily rotating closures) and layoffs of firefighters. It is early in the process and the chief says he has assurances that if money is found the fire department will be a priority. Here’s the chief’s message to the department.
Keeping the public in the dark: FirefightingNews.com has the story from Springfield, Illinois where officials don’t think it is important to let the public know which fire stations will be closed for a week at a time. The union says it will take care of that role.
Paper calls for outside review in Spotsylvania, Virginia fire: The Free Lance-Star says it shouldn’t have taken a prying reporter to prompt the internal review of the February fire that took Sandy Hill’s life. Now, an editorial wants to see outside experts take over the probe of why, for about 20-minutes, firefighters couldn’t find the woman talking to 911 during a relatively small fire. Click here.
Baltimore paper is against cancer presumption: The Sun has an editorial telling Maryland lawmakers to be cautious before they re-write workers comp laws in connection with firefighting. Read it.
Up close and personal with MERV: We first heard about the new Metro Emergency Response Vehicles from WMATA’s emergency management team. They have been involved in training Washington, DC area firefighters in the use of the portable, battery-powered rail cars. We have a series of videos you should see that show how the cars are quickly put together by firefighters, a ride down the rails on a MERV and details from the press conference. Click here for all of the clips and the story (you can also find the videos loaded in the player near the top of the right hand column).
The video of the day.
Sad upate from India: Firegeezer.com followed up on the video we showed you the other day from Calcutta. The death toll jumped from six to 23 in a building fire after 17 bodies were found at the top of a stairwell. Here’s the latest.
The must see video from Belgium: You will want to see this video first spotted in the domestic fire service media by Firegeezer.com. Firefighters in Brussels work to get to an elderly woman on a balcony as fire is licking at her back. Click here.
Cow stampede prosecution is going ahead: That firefighter in the U.K. will stand trial on manslaughter charges after he responded through a group of cattle causing a stampede that killed a farmer. Here’s the latest.
4th-alarm in Park Ridge, New Jersey: The fire destroyed the Krell Lighting and Electrical Supplies building at 70 Park Avenue on Friday night. STATter911.com reader Paul Bassett shot this video and has many photos here. FirefightingNews.com has more on the fire.
Read DC internal report into 2007 fire that left four firefighters injured: We have the 100-page report that takes a close up look at the October, 2007 fire on 4th Street, NE. Four firefighters were burned after being trapped on the second floor of an adjoining rowhouse. We also have the video put together by Chief Dennis Rubin giving a tour of the structures. There are links to the original fireground video by Vito Maggiolo and a few other extras. Click here for our coverage.
The fire chief and the council member – the latest: DC Fire & EMS Department Chief Dennis Rubin and Council member Phil Mendelson were face-to-face twice in just five days. As you can imagine, there wasn’t a lot the two men agreed on and in one of the hearings there were a few fireworks. Click here for the videos.
Reporter takes a closer look at Virginia fire where woman died while talking to 911: Dan Telvock at the Free Lance – Star delves deeper into the February fire in Spotsylvania County where Sandy Hill died. This was the fire where the woman was on the phone for about 20 minutes with 911 as firefighters tried repeatedly to find her in the two-story Cape Cod. The fire itself was relatively small, confined to a hallway and closet on the first floor. Hill was on the second floor. The door leading to her room had no doorknob. Telvock’s article focuses on lack of ventilation, ladders not being raised to the second floor and thermal imaging cameras sitting in the rigs unused. An investigation into the fireground operations is ongoing. Here’s Dan’s follow-up story. Here is the previous coverage.
Not only do the firefighters get their jobs back, but the chief who fired them is sent packing: We told you last week about the two top union officials in Butler Township, Ohio who went to court to successfully get their jobs back after being fired in 2008. A judge believes they were fired for union activities and not for viewing inappropriate material on the job. Now comes word that the man who fired them is on his way out. News reports indicate Chief Robert Weiffenbach is on administrative leave as details are worked out on his separation from the department. Here’s the story.
Firefighters mistaken for terrorists: Firegeezer has the unusual story of a group of firefighters from Spain who were in France for a mountain climbing class. Somehow their pictures were flashed across both countries as being part of a terrorist group from Spain involved in the killing of a police officer. Sounds like this could be the makings of a movie script. Geezer tries to straighten it out.
Speaking of movies, Sam Statter is not going to be happy about this fire news: It looks like I am going to have to break the news to my 10-year-old son that Hogwarts Castle burned on Friday night. Pyrotechnics were being used on the London set of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows when things got a little out of hand. Read the details (at least dad is writing about something important for a change).
Firefighter who is county commissioner is accused of interfering when his business burns, but chief doesn’t believe discipline is needed: An interesting story from Grand Traverse County, Michigan. A captain/fire inspector wrote a strong letter to the chief saying Anthony Wheelock Jr. and his family got in the way of firefighters as the family business burned. This included claims relatives got up on the roof in an effort to prevent a vent hole from being cut. Wheelock clasims the letter ”is full of unsubstantiated allegations”. The fire chief says there is no need for discipline. Here’s the story.
Councilman told he can come onto the fireground, but police officer says otherwise: A member of the Phoenix City Council, who is also a former cop, is handcuffed and put onto the ground when his neighbor’s home caught fire. The fire department confirms a battalion chief told the councilman it was okay to be there, but that went against the wishes of the police officer. Check it out.
Two firefighters killed in North Carolina: FireNews.Net and Firefighter Close Calls have the story of Jeremy Bolick and Tommy Wright, two young Blowing Rock firefighters killed in a car crash.
Funeral arrangements in West Virginia: The funeral will be Wednesday for Glasgow Firefighter Donnie Adkins who died when the boat he was in capsized during flooding. Click here for the details.
Way too much coverage for a man who didn’t have enough: A TV station in Dallas went all out after a man paraded naked on a billboard near its studios and the fire department came to the rescue. It seemed a little much as they covered this one from every angle. For that matter, a fire service blog, whose standards are apparently no better than the National Enquirer, also went a little overboard with its coverage. But, then again, who am I to judge? It’s you who is still reading this junk. So, in case you missed it, here it is.
Firefighter celebrates anniversary of cheating death by posting video of the close call: This is an interesting seven-year-old video of a Colorado roof collapse that nearly clobbered a firefighter. Click here.
Firefighter charged as peeper in firehouse: Police say a St. Lucie County, Florida firefighter was caught in the act of spying on a paramedic intern who was taking a shower in the firehouse. Here is the latest and here is our initial coverage.
An investigation is underway after firefighters in Spotsylvania County, Virginia failed to find a woman who was on the phone, trapped in her house, while firefighters were inside searching. It apparently took repeated attempts and more than 20 minutes before firefighters finally found 43-year-old Sandy Hill on February 5.
Firefighters were able to rescue another person trapped in the fire. According to Dan Telvock with the Frederickburg Free Lance-Star, Hill was on the second floor of the 2000 square foor, four bedroom, Cape Cod. The paper has the fireground audio, audio of part of Sandy Hill’s conversation with 911 and transcripts of her calls.
Carl Maurice, a Spotsylvania resident who spent 32 years with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, is the only expert who listened to the recordings and also viewed the exterior of the house.
“If someone presented this scenario to me in theory, I would have expected the victim to survive,” Maurice said. “The question everyone has to ask is ‘Why didn’t she?’”
Kevin Dillard, the administrative chief and spokesman of Chancellor Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, initially sent an e-mail a few hours after the fire praising the 45 volunteers involved for an “awesome job.”
But this week, after learning more about the response, Dillard said he thinks an investigation is warranted.
Dillard said he knew few details when he sent the e-mail. Only after after some volunteers criticized the response two weeks ago did he begin to realize “serious” problems related to the response, he said.
For example, thermal imaging cameras that could have helped locate Hill and the teenager were available at the scene but were not used.
Dillard said a ladder was never deployed to Hill’s bedroom windows, and the crews seemed to be confused with the layout of the house and where Hill was trapped.
Dillard said ventilating the house to remove smoke came late in the process because there was a delay in announcing that the fire had been extinguished.
This incident seems to have a lot of similarities to a fire in Fairfax County in May, 2007 where firefighters were unable to find 49-year-old Debra Chiles on the top floor of her small townhouse. Chiles was in the bathroom on the phone with 911 as firefighters pulled up to battle a kitchen fire. The acting chief of the department admitted at the time that Chiles should have been found.