Reader Adam Bearne made sure we didn’t miss this video and part of me is sorry he did. My feeling is the only thing that is usually impressive about a fire stunt is the extreme level of stupidity of those involved. Sorry to be a party pooper, but clearly I am not a fan. What I would have been a fan of is that air tanker from Canada swooping down just before the stunt and dropping its load at the moment the motorcycle came racing toward the tunnel.
Look at this video from Sturgis, South Dakota on Wednesday (and I would be just as happy if you didn’t watch it) and imagine how many kids are going to be thinking I can do something just like that right on my bicycle and how many will try. It makes you wonder if fire departments should participate in such events.
Yes, I know movies do fire stunts all of the time. At least there is a purpose with movie stunts and often a more controlled environment. With these things the stunt is the purpose. And this stunt failed and Cliff Ewing, the stuntman involved, is lucky that only his hands were burned.
According to Motorcycle-USA.com (via Big Lead Sports), Ewing was going to drive his Yamaha bike through a 362.5-foot tunnel of fire. The tunnel, made of chicken wire and cardboard, was to be set on fire before Ewing came barreling through on his bike. He was supposed to drive through, come out the other end and be the world record holder when it was all said and done.
It certainly did not go that way, though.
Ewing is lucky to be alive right now. The daredevil came racing into the tunnel, but after what seemed like an entire minute, didn’t come out. He eventually exited the tunnel, but it was through the side, as he came bursting through the wall of fire about halfway down the tunnel.
Ewing spilled out of the tunnel in a ball of fire, and fire fighters quickly raced to the scene. Miraculously, Ewing survived the wreck, suffering some burns to his hands.
News reports identify two firefighters killed during a fire in a coal bin in Britton, South Dakota yesterday morning as 22 year old William Waldner and 20 year old Jacob Waldner from Sunset Colony. The Waldners were cousins. There is also report that the firefighter father of one of the cousins was injured.
The fire call came in when caller noticed smoke coming from one of the coal bins at the colony-starting around 0800 hours. The bins, inside the building and hold coal to feed the furnace for a boiler.
Several volunteer firefighters fought the fire, and it was thought the fire had been extinguished.
At 0915 hours the colony Firefighters noticed smoke again, coming from an opening on top of the building.
The two young Firefighters climbed to the top of the 75-foot structure to put out what was still burning. The men were attempting to knock down the fire through the top of the opening onto the coal bin when the explosion occurred. The blast threw both Firefighters from the roof onto the ground.
Debris from the roof landed on top of one of the Firefighters and the other was pinned beneath a concrete wall that had collapsed. The west wall of the building crashed through to the coal furnace, crushing it. The father of one of the Firefighters, was also is a Volunteer Firefighter himself, was inside a lower level of the building during the blast. He emerged from the building dazed, covered in debris and injured.
Firefighters had to use one of the trucks on scene to remove the roof and cement off of the men and one of the colony fire apparatus was damaged in the blast.
Several departments responded to the blast, including the North Marshall Fire Department, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office and, the Sunset Colony Firefighters. As we pointed out last night, in that area-and several “plains” area rural communities in North America, “colonies” of Hutterite people (similar in some respects to the Amish) maintain their own volunteer fire companies. This is one such community.
From the AP:
Two volunteer firefighters died and one was injured after an explosion Thursday morning northwest of Britton.
Marshall County Sheriff Dale Elsen tells the Aberdeen American News that a 20-year-old man and a 21-year-old man had been on top of a structure putting out a fire when an explosion blew off the top and south wall of the building, killing the men.
Elsen said the man injured was the father of one of the men who died. The man was taken to Marshall County Health Care Center.
Elsen said several volunteer firefighters had fought the blaze and thought it was extinguished when the explosion occurred. The 911 call came in at 9:51 a.m.
In Columbia, South Dakota a house fire was reported around 8:00 on Monday morning. It belonged to Steve Wander, a volunteer firefighter who helped fight the fire. No one was home when the fire broke out on the second floor of the home and there were no injuries. Here are details from AberdeenNews.com:
Steve Wander’s home on the northwest side of Columbia at 303 N. James St. is unlivable, said Columbia Fire Chief Corey Mitchell. Firefighters were able to save the first floor and some contents, but the second floor was destroyed, he said.
Four volunteer fire departments, including Wander and his Columbia teammates; Bath; Aberdeen Rural and Groton, fought the fire in temperatures in the high 20s with 20-mph winds.
A truly fascinating video: I apologize if you have seen this before, but I had not. This version was posted to YouTube yesterday. It’s reported to be a 1941 film of members of Italy’s fire brigade strutting their stuff. The first thing that comes to mind watching the coordination and timing is synchronized swimming. Sure enough, later in the film they are all in the swimming pool. I don’t know if they could fight fire, but it looked pretty and some of those moves took a lot of guts. The idea that Mussolini made sure the trains ran on schedule is now seen as legend rather than fact, but this film seems to show his firefighters had their timing down.
Our reader’s words come to life : It isn’t quite Masterpiece Theatre but we have put together dramatic readings of some of the recent comments to STATter911.com. It is quite moving. Pure poetry. While not really a “must see” video, it’s kind of in a category of its own. Click here to watch the video.
Buy this book! Will Wyatt's And a Paycheck, Too! would make a great holiday gift. Click the image to read why Will wrote it and why Dave likes it.
Speaking of comments: We have quite a lively debate over the ambulance wars story from Las Vegas. A lot of interesting arguments over the best model for providing EMS. Click here.
30th anniversary of a deadly fire: There were a lot of lessons from the MGM Grand fire of November 21, 1980. But as one of our reader’s wrote, not all of them have sunk in 30-years later. Particularly how effective automatic sprinklers are. We have gathered reports and videos for your reading. This history lesson is well worth your time. Please take a look. Over at Command Safety, Christopher Naum had the same idea but went quite a few steps further.
Two for the price of one in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania: I always like it when I am researching one interesting story and find another one in the process. That was the case over the weekend where a search for the details behind the video of a burning ambulance brought me to the story of a rugby team that trashed the Bloomsburg Fire Department banquet hall. Read it all here. Update- Bloomsburg FD was able to hold a Sunday morning breakfast fundraiser despite the damage. Click here to read and watch the story.
Looking again at FDNY firehouse closings: Firegeezer has the latest on the revived plan to shut down 20 firehouses at night on a rotating basis.
Controversy over FDNY calendar: It’s not what you think. It isn’t about sex. It’s about money. Here’s the story.
Distracted driving: One of our readers from South Portland, Maine sends this reminder of distracted driving. A driver on a cell phone hit this police car and injured Officer Rocco Navarro. Click the image to watch an interview with the officer.
Mississippi house fire: I have no clue how to pronounce the name of the time but this is our second recent video of a fire in Kosciusko. Check it out.
And they are off – turkey fryer fire week: Already one in Fort Myers, Florida. My guess is it will be the beginning of a trend for the week. (What, is Carnac the Magnificent now running this blog? Are you sure you want to go out on a limb with that prediction, Dave?)
The volunteer blues in South Dakota: Around the Rapid City area volunteer fire departments are seeing the same trend as elsewhere in the country. The Rapid City Journal has a detailed article on the impact of the reduced availablity of volunteers and how many departments are wrestling with the idea of hiring career firefighters. Here’s more.
Texas fire leaves four dead: A Sunday morning fire in a Harlingen trailer park left four people dead and one injured. Read more.
My favorite story of recent days: The Fire Critic got in early on the woman who almost laughed herself to death at a comedy club. Read the story and watch the video. It’s a shame the “Critic” isn’t old enough to get into a club where they sell booze and have adult humor.
They’re out. They’re in. They’re out again?: The saga of Flint, Michigan firefighters. They have been asked to take a 10 percent pay cut or lose a dozen firefighters. Likely cut, the firefighters who were brought back from previous layoffs thanks to federal grant money. But, of course, if the new layoffs occur, the city might have to pay back that money. What a mess.
Mountain Thunder sparks a major blaze: An annual gathering of motorcyclists in the Catskills was interrupted by a fire at the dining hall of the Blackthorne resort on Saturday. Click here and here for more video and here for Firegeezer’s details about the fire.
Elvis has left the building and jumped into his car with lights and siren. A must see video of a man accused of impersonating a firefighter: This is truly one of the strangest fire stories I have seen in a while. In New Zealand, Elvis Piggot was recently arrested for dressing up as a firefighter and showing up at car crashes in his vehicle decked out with lights, sirens and a fire insignia. Elvis decided to go public with his side of things. It turns out he had been a firefighter in two departments many years ago, but in both cases it ended poorly after just a few months. This is a case where telling your own story may not have been the best idea. Click here to watch this rather interesting video.
PGFD house fire video sparks debate: As if that is a surprise. We posted the video yesterday of a fire two weeks ago in Boulevard Heights, Maryland. There are already more than 35 comments about tactics. As usual, some of the remarks are interesting and well thought out. Some are just about my hose being bigger than yours. Read at your own risk.
Drinking policy for volunteers scrutinized in South Dakota after arrest of firefighter: Two weeks ago a Madison, South Dakota firefighter was arrested on a DUI charge after driving a fire truck to a call. The firefighter had just finished his shift working at a local bar. The arrest has sparked controversy and has prompted a local paper to look closely at drinking policies among the state’s volunteer departments (along with a few other issues). Click here for the article.
Dave’s been a bad boy: Even though I am no longer the one digging up stories about the fire service in the Washington area, some think I shouldn’t be linking or posting stories on the blog from other news organizations that aren’t flattering to firefighters. That’s the reaction of a few after I posted the naked chef story from DC. Here’s the story and the comments.
Community shows appreciation for the work of firefighters: The firefighters and other first responders who handled the Fourmile Canyon fire in Colorado were celebrated by a grateful public with a mile-long parade through Boulder yesterday. Read more.
No parade here – union official wants to know how the public image of firefighters took a dive in the nine years since 9-11: In a battle with New Jersey’s governor over pensions and benefits a letter to the editor from the president of Fireman’s Mutual Benevolent Association Local 46 asks for the public’s support, saying they are the same firefighters who the community looked up to after 9-11. Read the letter.
Some pension relief in Arizona was ignored: Dozens of communities and fire districts in Arizona failed to apply for state tax dollars to offset some firefighter pension liabilities. Here’s the story.
$2 million and 37 firefighters could go in Gary, Indiana: It isn’t a pretty budget picture for the fire department in a city that continues to struggle with money issues. Check it out.
Newspaper profiles one of our regulars: The Southeast Missourian takes a look at Cape Girardeau, Missouri fire training coordinator John Sachen who has been known to lurk on this site. Click here.