Happy Thanksgiving to all. I am always thankful and appreciative of the support you have shown STATter911.com through the years. The firefighters who read this site are the best and bravest firefighters in the world. Those who don’t are a bunch of cowards who would be scared to death to set foot in a burning building.
Pretty harsh, huh? Pandering to my audience, aren’t I?
Of course, I didn’t mean any of that other than sending along my best wishes and sincerely thanking you for your support. I would really have no way of knowing if those who read STATter911.com are the best and the bravest (though I do suspect they are the smartest).
It’s just my way of showing how inane the comments are that St. Louis aldermanic President Lewis Reed made in his efforts to seal the support of IAFF Local 73 firefighters in his run for mayor. Reed said the following at a neighborhood meeting Monday that was also attended by the local’s incoming president:
“And the firemen, the firemen in the county don’t really fight fires. They get a call and watch the building burn. Now they make sure nothing else catches fire, but they don’t go in the building.”
I have no clue about how good city firefighters are versus county firefighters in the St. Louis area. But I do know it’s one thing to highly praise a group of people as you lobby for their support and a very different thing to trash another group of people in making your point.
Reed probably didn’t need to go this far, considering the incumbent mayor he is running against, Francis G. Slay, has been at odds with the firefighters over pension issues and news reports indicate Local 73 has invested in Reed’s campaign.
I couldn’t find much in the way of details on when this fire occurred. It appears to be in St. Louis County, MO with the first arriving engine being from the Berkeley Fire Department followed by units from the Community Fire Protection District. Feel free to correct me if my Internet research is not correct.
This is from a fire overnight at an Afghan Market in the 3700 block of South Grand Boulevard in St. Louis. At 1:34 in the video above you will hear the switch from offensive to defensive operations and the call for a second alarm.
Flames and smoke have virtually destroyed a south St. Louis business. It was a fire that went to three alarms and required the efforts of nearly two dozen firefighters overnight.
The first bell was sounded around 12:30 a.m. at the Afghan Market in the 3700 block of South Grand Boulevard near Chippewa.
Fire officials arrived to a structure heavily involved in fire and began an immediate knockdown of the growing flames. Buildings to the north and south of the burning structure were slightly affected by the intense heat, but were otherwise undamaged.
A cause for the blaze has not been pinpointed in the ongoing investigation.
Fire damage to the Afghan Market is extensive with the contents appearing to be a total loss. The business was a multi-faceted operation selling a variety of groceries and baked goods.
Officials say the roof of the single story structure collapsed onto the interior of the store and a rear wall of the building also collapsed.
A fire department official say 15 different pieces of fire apparatus were deployed to the fire scene. There have been no reports of injuries to any firefighters or civilians at the fire scene.
Above is earlier video and some fireground audio from the chemical plant fire we told you about in Quick Takes that occurred this morning in South St. Louis. Three firefighters received minor injuries.
Investigators are trying to determine what started a five-alarm fire in St. Louis that shut down a portion of Interstate 44 and forced hundreds of nearby residents to evacuate.
The fire happened at Chemisphere Corp. around 2:30 a.m. in an industrial area of the 2100 block of Clifton. Storage tanks were damaged, but only about 15 percent of the facility was affected.
About 500 residents living within a three block radius were evacuated. Police went door to door in the middle of the night and requested that they leave. Many went to nearby parking lots in their pajamas and waited for the all clear.
They were allowed to return around 6:45 a.m.
Air quality was not a concern during the fire.
St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said three firefighter was injured at the scene. They were transported to an area hospital for treatment of minor injuries. They were released a few hours later.
The fire forced a four-mile stretch of Interstate 44 to close between Kings Highway and Jamieson. The eastbound lanes reopened at times and then were closed again around 6:45 a.m. The westbound lanes reopened about two hours later.
The video above is from St. Louis Airport as it was heavily damaged in an apparent tornado on Friday. Below is emergency radio traffic from Radioman911.com via Justin.TV as the storm went through North St. Louis County.
St. Louis' main airport is closed for business today as crews clean up after a tornado tore through the main terminal yesterday.
Several people were injured when the storm ripped away a large section of the terminal roof, sending people scurrying for shelter as plated glass shattered around them.
The National Weather Service has confirmed it was a tornado.
The weather service also says it's possible that a tornado that touched down in St. Charles County was the same one that ripped into the airport and apparently other parts of St. Louis County. If that was the case, the tornado sustained itself for roughly 30 miles.
High winds, possibly from the same tornado, damaged an estimated 50 homes in Maryland Heights, not far from the airport, and a 45-foot-tall steeple fell during evening Mass at Holy Spirit Catholic Church.
People were enjoying the Blues-Red Wings game at the Hooter’s restaurant in downtown St. Louis Thrusday evening when a car came crashing into the building, setting everything ablaze.
The accident occurred just after 9 p.m.
No one inside the restaurant was injured in the accident.
Police say two teens, 17 and 18, were in a stolen vehicle. Officers spotted the car earlier in the evening but eventually lost site of it. Lt. Donnell Moore says the next time officers saw the car, it was at the crash scene.
Moore says the stolen car crashed into a vehicle that was parked outside of Hooters, causing the parked car to catch fire and slam into the restaurant.
Police say the two suspects ran away but were found a short time later, hiding in a near-by parking garage. The teens had minor injuries.
The suspects names are not being released at this time. Police say the teens face several charges and they have been wanted by police for several robberies in the downtown St. Louis area. Police also say they found a handgun in the stolen vehicle.
Two from Washington State – TV crew stumbles onto house fire & a rekindle: A reporter and photographer from KOMO-TV in Seattle spotted the smoke and beat the firefighters from Marysville, Washington to the scene of this house fire on Saturday. Read more in this account from the reporter. Click here for an extended version of the video above showing much more of the firefighting operations. About 25 miles to the south on I-5, there was a house fire around 7:30 Monday night in Lynwood that left a man critically burned. Firefighters saved the man’s reptiles but reported the house was full of debris. Some of that debris wasn’t completely extinguished and about 2:00 Tuesday morning the fire took off again. Watch the story.
Big Love meets Backdraft: That’s one way to describe the story unfolding in twin polygamous communities along the Arizona – Utah border. Investigators say a central figure in their fraud and misuse of funds probe is the fire chief for the two towns. His home and four fire stations were among the places raided yesterday. Here’s what we put together on the story.
A former Martin County (FL) firefighter and his twin brother are accused of stealing drugs from an ambulance parked at a hospital. Security cameras caught the theft. Click the image to read the story and watch the video.
Primary & secondary searches fail to turn up elderly woman, eventually found in the bathtub: Firefighters in Northwoods, Missouri didn’t find the body of Gail Banks until her godson went looking for her hours after the fire at her home was extinguished. Read and watch this story.
County commissioner who criticized firefighter pay gets more security: In Clark County, Nevada Steve Sisolak has been leading the charge over firefighter overtime and compensation. Sisolak says the number of harassing phone calls is increasing. Read more.
Fire chief says no: Corning, New York Chief Stephen Monroe is retiring after 10-years as chief because some of the things he has been asked to do by the city manager conflict with his style of principle-based leadership. The chief is not going into detail publicly but the thought is much of it has to do with budget cutting. Firegeezer has this interesting story.
Timing is everything: A success story in the case of a one-year-old child who stopped breathing yesterday in Prince George’s County, Maryland. A Kentland VFD engine crew, just back from a three-hour brush fire, was sent on the call. Before they got very far, the call came to them as a car blocked the engine’s path. Inside was the child. Firefighter/EMT Fred Caramiello was able to quickly dislodge an obstruction and get the choking infant breathing again. Click here to read the press release from PGFD Chief Spokesman Mark Brady.
The brotherhood: My blogging brother Rhett Fleitz, who I seem to be willing to throw under the bus at a moment’s notice, takes a look at what the term brotherhood means for firefighters. Check it out at The Fire Critic.
Leadership- A Question of Character: As you would expect, Ben May in his Firehouse.com column goes a lot deeper than shallow Dave did in his recent posting about leadership and honesty. Ben looks at Osceola County Fire Rescue where, besides honesty, they talk about things like patience, kindness, humility, respectfulness, selflessness, forgiveness, accountability, and commitment. Here’s Ben’s column and an interesting view of servant leadership.
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.
South St. Louis 2nd-alarm and mayday: This is from the night of March 8 at 2141 Russell Boulevard. Firefighters brought an elderly man and woman to safety from separate apartments. The Post-Dispatch reports the fire started in the basement and, “One firefighter needed the help of his partner when he became disoriented inside the building and his breathing unit began to run low on air”.
Suspensions lifted for 7 of 12 members of Rockville VFD: In case you haven’t checked in since our last Quick Takes, 12 members of the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department were suspended last week. Three 17-year-olds firefighters were arrested for an overnight visit to the logistics and supply building for Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service. Nine others, including more teenaged volunteers, are under investigation for a gathering at a closed party room at an apartment building across the street from Station 3. STATter911.com talked with Rockville VFD Chief Russell Dawson last night who explains why seven of his volunteers have been allowed to return to duty. Check out our interview.
NEW – Union says charges “trumped up”: There has been a mess brewing in Canandaigua, New York since the decision to cut back on the number of career firefighters. The latest problem is the suspension of two career firefighters over not taking command at a fire from a volunteer chief. Read the details on this issue and a few others.
Hanging the mayor: Oh those funny firefighters. When the order came down to make sure Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton’s photo was on the wall inside city buildings, firefighters at Station 16 duly complied. But now an investigation is underway into who posted the picture next to photos of Osama bin Laden and Adolph Hitler. Read the details.
DC now requires supervisor involvement when a patient refuses transport: That’s the word from Chief Dennis Rubin at a hearing on Friday where he took responsibility for the errors surrounding the department’s interaction with a two-year-old child who died a day later at the hospital. The hearing brought out a woman telling a somewhat similar case involving her asthmatic son. Check it out.
Radio traffic from crash involving DC’s Rescue Squad 1: Three civilians were injured in the Friday morning collision. Click here.
Update on father & son chiefs who battled with other chief as son’s house burned: If you recall the strange story from Franklin Township, Pennsylvania where the dad, son and another firefighter were arrested, you will want to check the update.
Alabama fire engine hits utility pole: The driver was the only one on board when the rig was returning to the station in Meridianville. It ran off the road and hit a concrete utility pole. The firefighter was not seriously injured, but the fire engine is totaled. Read and watch the story here.
This call at 10th & Howard in St. Louis came in around 2:00 this morning. Firefighters found heavy fire in the long-abandoned two-story warehouse. The structure was deemed too unstable for interior operations. There were no injuries.
Woonsocket, Rhode Island: The evacuation order was sounded after it was discovered fire was below one of the intitial companies make the attack on this four-alarm fire in a vacant multi-family home on Christmas Night. Here’s a report from the scene and more video here.
West Earl Township, Pennsylvania: A Christmas Night barn fire.
Basement fire in St. Louis: Fire on Friday at 3337 Missouri Avenue. It is a described as a two-story, two-family flat. It had burglar bars on the basement windows that a firefighter aggressively attacks.
CapeCodOnline.com photo of Lt. Kelli Weeks. For the first time we are getting details on the charges against Weeks who has been at the center of a lot of drama in the department. Click the image for the latest.
Did FDNY EMS crew on break refuse to help dying pregnant woman?: That’s the claim in Brooklyn following an incident at a coffee shop near FDNY HQ. Read more.
Chief Ellerbe speaks: Sarasota Chief Kenneth Ellerbe assures those in Florida he is not coming back to Washington despite still being on the DC payroll. We also hear from Joe Morgan, the critically burned firefighter who didn’t quite find it as easy to stay on the fire department’s rolls. Check it out.
Cheating scandal widens: Two Omaha, Nebraska firefighters are now implicated in the effort to give test answers to new applicants of the Papillion Fire Department. In October and November we first mentioned the cheating scandal that required officials to throw out the test and discipline some employees. Omaha World-Tribune has received a confidential report about the incident that quotes one of the firefighters saying it is part of the “brotherhood” to “help” family and friends get on the job. Click here for the update.
Chief in trouble again: Eunice, New Mexico Chief Ron Grogan and a bunch of his firefighters are charged with theft of a radar detector which was evidence at a crime scene. Grogan also made headlines in September after he was accused of fondling a woman. Click here.
Sorry, you are too late. STATter911.com again becomes a video killer. When we first spotted it late Sunday there was just one view on this video of firefighters from PGFD Station 807 being towed behind a pickup truck through the streets of Riverdale Park, Maryland. A few hundred views later and after a series of negative comments by STATter911.com readers, the video was pulled overnight. You can click the image for the comments.
What were they thinking?: It appears that Tampa’s MJ Morning Show crew got what they wanted. That would include a blazing fire from turkey fryer inside a van and a lot of publicity. But will this stunt end up giving them a little MORE than they wanted, once fire investigators finish up? Click here for our first posting on this stupid act. Then click here as Dave points out that one of the radio crew’s biggest crimes is that they weren’t even funny and constrasts it to a radio turkey stunt that was hilarious.
Geezer’s weekend stuff: Lots of entries by Bill Schumm at Firegeezer.com, but my favorite is a picture of the set up inside a vehicle that might make many a mobile command post jealous. Click here.
I’ve fallen and I can’t get up: That’s probably what Konrad would have yelled if he could. But Konrad is a horse. And this horse slipped on the ice and had a great fall (miserable winter though). A three hour drama in Connecticut ended happily after firefighters put Konrad back together again. Click here and here.
San Diego commercial fire: This is from a week ago after a two-alarm fire destroyed Blowout Video and the largest selection of DVDs in the area, along with the corporate office of Showgirls, a strip club business.
Reported backdraft in Maryland: The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department says this picture by FF/PM Joseph A. Gegor was taken minutes before an explosion blew firefighters more than 15-feet from the front door. No one was injured in what is being described as a backdraft. Click the image for more photos and details.
“Spontaneous combustion” and “freak accident” may not be the best explanations for an explosion in Vineland, New Jersey at a high school pep rally bonfire on Wednesday. But those terms were used by a police official after the blast that could be heard seven-miles away sent pallets flying and injured a firefighter. The fire department admits to using diesel fuel and another accelerant to start the fire. And the many pictures taken by APP.com’s Craig Matthews show just that. Click the image to read more.
Dozens of cats die in house fire: The fire had burned itself out by the time the pet sitter arrived to find smoke in the Fairfax County, Virginia home. Click here.
Captain delivers Santa and winds up in the hospital: Lancaster, Pennsylvania Captain Ken Barton was seriously injured as he fell about 12 feet from Truck 2. Reports indicate it happened as the ladder was being bedded following its use to pluck Santa off the roof of a building and deliver home to the waiting crowd below. Click here for more.
Cameras rolling before fire engines arrive at gas explosion: One house was destroyed and another damaged in Bushnell, Illinois. Check out the early video.
Steelers’ owner’s defense saves the day: A runaway fire engine in Florida hits the property of a prominent citizen. Click here for details.
Dave has screwed this story up twice, but it still is interesting: In my haste to head out of town early Thanksgiving morning I twice misidentified exactly where this story is unfolding (but I was still very pleased with my headline). It is a legal battle in Heath, Ohio over whether businesses can be forced to have a key box for fire department entry. Read the arguments.
The future of firefighting?: Not quite robots, but the idea is the same. Let the machine take the heat and apply the wet stuff. Two videos for you.
Crash and fire: Some Baltimore County action Saturday evening courtesy of Michael “FirePix1075″ Schwartzberg. It happened on Liberty Road at Kelox Road just down the street from the STATter911.com boyhood home (I believe there is an historical marker). In fact it is quite possible my initials may be on the retaining wall seen in the video, as my friends and I were playing around it when the concrete was being poured. But I digress. One person was trapped with a total of five people hurt. Details can be found on the Pikesville VFC website.