Video above from CuseRecorder of a fire yesterday that started in a construction company garage. I believe I hear the evacuation ordered at 3:18 in the video and an order to breach walls from the outside to reach the fire.
A snowmobile, a boat and two pickup trucks caught on fire Monday afternoon, causing extensive damage to two businesses on Erie Boulevard West in Syracuse.
The fire started in the rear garage of the Corbett Custom Construction Co., 718 Erie Blvd. W., and spread to the adjacent Marcone Supply Co., said Syracuse Fire Department Lt. Joseph Galloway, a fire investigator. Corbett sustained heavy fire damage and Marcone sustained moderate fire, water and smoke damage, he said.
According to Deputy Fire Chief Bill Elderbroom with the Syracuse Fire Department, the building is so compartmentalized that it made it very difficult to attack the fire. He said fire crews had to cut through the side of the building to let out some smoke. And to make things worse, Deputy Chief Elderbroom said there was a slight collapse on the mezzanine level inside.
All firefighters were pulled from the building. Elderbroom says they’re all safe and they believe everyone who was inside the building at the time of the fire made it out safely.
“Anytime you do have a fire burning this long though, one of your prime considerations is collapse of the structure. This is ordinary construction. So, it’s made of block and heavy timber wood. So, that way it gives us an opportunity to go in, open up the roof and see if we can get the smoke up, so we can go in and make a final attack on the fire,” Syracuse Deputy Fire Chief Bill Elderbroom said.
Video from CuseRecorder shows a house fire in Syracuse, New York on Saurday. From the description:
Engines 2,9,6 Truck 2, Rescue, Squad and car 4 were dispatched to a reported fire in the 200 block of John st around 3:32 PM. Caller reported basement was on fire and the house was filled with black smoke, audible detectors in the background.
House fire in Wheeling, Illinois: Firegeezer.com has the Larry Shapiro pictures and details to go with the video above from what started out as a dryer fire Saturday morning.
Can we laugh at ourselves?: The topic is the first two webisodes of the series Hosed on YouTube (webisode 1 here and webisode 2 here). Did you laugh at Reno 911? For the Firegeezer crowd, how about Car 54 Where are You? Do you believe that Rescue Me makes the public think all New York firefighters are drug addicts, sex addicts, philanderers and wife beaters? The large majority of people who commented so far on STATter911.com about comedian Juston McKinney’s Hosed think it is just a funny series of shorts about a fictional volunteer fire department in New Hampshire. And like all good satire, it has some characters many of us can identify with. Others see it is something more sinister. That Dave Statter is running it because he is anti-volunteer. Does anyone out there honestly think I wouldn’t post them if this was about a fictional career fire department? Some who have written comments to STATter911.com and Firefighter Nation’s Facebook page believe Hosed does nothing but make volunteers look bad. Should volunteer firefighters be off limits to comedians? Bill Carey at Backstep Firefighter put together some of those comments and provides his own unique response.
Raw video from mayday in Southern Maryland: In Calvert County there was a mayday during a house fire on Saturday in Lusby. Raw video shows a firefighter being carried from the building. There is a lot of video to look at with this clip. Click here.
Is a 1997 fire leaving a deadly legacy?: That’s the question being asked in Hamilton, Ontario following the deaths and serious illness of firefighters who were on the Plastimet fire 14-years-ago. TheSpec.com reports the four day industrial blaze had such high levels of hydrochloric acid that metal on fire trucks melted. Check out the story.
Connecticut’s OSHA cites Bridgeport in firefighter deaths: Click here to read what CONN-OSHA listed as violations following its investigation into the deaths last year of Lt. Steven Velasquez and Firefighter Michael Baik. The department is fighting the charges. You will also see that Dave takes a little swipe at the news media coverage of this story.
He does more than make us laugh & stir trouble … he even shows up at a fire every so often: Will Wyatt recently had to go underground after exposing the world to TIMIS in his FireRescue1.com column (click here for the column and the comments). Rather than to organize a telethon to wipe out this awful syndrome, Will just went into hiding. But he surfaced last week at his real job and snapped the picture to the right of a two-alarm apartment fire in Harris County, Texas. If you want to read about the fire and see some video, click here. By the way, Tiger Schmittendorf is the latest to discover that Will’s book And a Paycheck, Too! is quite funny (click here to buy it). Tiger plans to have Will on his Firefighter Storytellers netcast in April (check out Tiger’s other shows, including his recent interview with Fire Chief’s Janet Wilmoth).
Even checking fire hydrants isn’t safe: In Syracuse, New York, a firefighter making sure hydrants are clear of snow found himself threatened by a knife wielding man. Click here for the story.
Two-alarms in Baltimore County, Maryland: The picture at left is from Michael “firepix1075” Schwartzberg from a house fire yesterday in Chestnut Ridge. Click here for his video. Here’s what Michael wrote about the fire-
“Units reported smoke showing while responding, and when units from nearby Chestnut Ridge Volunteer Fire Company arrived they were met with heavy smoke in the rear of the house, where the fire possibly started on a porch. The fire extended into the attic and roof area and flames vented through the roof. Access to the house was extremely limited, making firefighting operations challenging. This area has no fire hydrants, so firefighters had to use a tanker shuttle, bringing water from a hydrant more than a mile away via fire department water tankers.”
Response time concerns in Minneapolis: The union, worried about budget and staffing cuts that have occurred, and possibly more on the way, says 11 minutes is too long for a ladder truck to show up on the scene of a house fire. That’s what happened Saturday on Beard Avenue South. The fire chief says he is looking into it. So is a TV station. Click here to read and watch the story.
Early arrival of photographer for Burrillville, Rhode Island explosion & fire: Matt Gregoire from has the first units on the scene as a garage fire extends to the attached home on Mt. Pleasant Road yesterday. The homeowner was seriously burned. The fire went to a second alarm. More at providencefirevideos.com.
The video above, by Charlie Hannagan at Syracuse.com, is from Firefighter Memorial Park in Syracuse, New York. On this day in 1939 the Collins Block building collapsed taking the lives of eight firefighters and an assistant chief who died three days later. With this memorial service, the Syracuse Fire Department each year honors all of the city’s firefighters who have died in the line of duty. Currently that number is 45.
What isn’t on the video, but is the focus of an article by Hannagan, are the speeches by Chief Mark McLees and IAFF Local 280 president James Ennis. Each man takes the opportunity to remind political leaders and the public that we are the same ”hometown heroes” who were held in such high esteem after 9-11. They address the budget cuts impacting safety and the attacks on firefighter pensions. An important message that needs to be heard all across the country.
But will the citizens and the politicians listen?
It is extremely tough out there right now for firefighters. It isn’t just that you are often losing these economic battles. That’s horrible in itself and is having a devastating impact on scores of departments. It is the image and reputation of firefighters that is also taking a hit. This week alone, on opposite sides of the country, firefighters are making big news with some very unflattering stories about their work ethic (click here and here).
As I pointed out earlier in the week, I am not here to argue the facts of any of these stories. It is the bigger picture that has me worried. Chief McLees and President Ennis are on the right track, but so much more needs to be done. Make sure you read the comments already popping up about their statements to get the full picture of what’s out there.
Today, “the economy has bottomed out. The government has bailed out Wall Street, the banks, the automobile, insurance and housing industries. Firefighters’ pensions are now being blamed for the financial woes of the state and many other states across the nation,” he (Chief McLees) said.
“Are you kidding me? Firefighters’ pensions are the cause? Seriously?” McLees said.
“The last time I checked there was no plaque with the names of bankers who died in the line of duty. There are no statues of Wall Street executives who laid down their lives for total strangers,” he said.
James Ennis, president of Syracuse Firefighters Local 280, continued on the same theme.
“In these extremely difficult economic times, when pundits and others may argue about the number of firefighters needed to safely operate at a working fire, or complain about the pensions and benefits we receive, I remind you of the 45 brave men whose memories we honor here this morning,” Ennis said.
“I ask, and implore, that you assist us from ever having to add yet another name to the wall behind me,” he said.
Ennis then reminded those present that firefighters and retirees face a shortened life expectancy, a greater risk of getting cancer and other diseases because of their continued exposure to smoke, toxins and other byproducts of combustion in the course of their careers.
Sixty-three-year-old Alan Norcutt will likely spend the rest of his life in jail. But it isn’t for the fire he set as a 17-year-old in December 1964 fire that killed Chicago firefighter Joseph Carone Sr. It also isn’t for the August 1963 Chicago rooming house fire that killed two men. Norcutt served time for a string of 36 fires in Chicago but was released in 1979.
Norcutt is going back to prison for a relatively small fire he set in a storage trailer in Syracuse a little more than a year ago. The Syracuse Fire Department made sure Joseph Carone Sr. wasn’t forgotten in all of this. Firefighters, and the chief of the department, were in the courtroom to support the fallen firefighter’s family.
“You are a dangerous and violent man. You should spend the rest of your life in prison,” Onondaga County Judge Anthony Aloi told Alan Norcutt after declaring him a persistent felony offender under New York’s three-strikes law.
Aloi said that if that maximum sentence amounts to a death sentence for the 63-year-old Norcutt, it was appropriate given the defendant’s background.
About two dozen Syracuse firefighters and fire department officials were on hand – in dress uniforms, some wearing white gloves – for the more-than-two-hour-long proceeding in which Aloi addressed the prosecution’s request to sentence Norcutt as a persistent felony offender and then did as asked.
Fire Chief Mark McLees also was present in a suit and tie. As he emerged from the courtroom following the sentencing, he was hugged by the daughters of the firefighter who died in the 1964 fire in Chicago.
Rose Carone Benson and Cheryl Carone Matthews said they came back to Syracuse for today’s proceeding to see what would happen with Norcutt. They and their two brothers were in town for Norcutt’s trial in September.
“I’m just glad it’s all over,” Benson said, calling the turnout of Syracuse fire officials “wonderful.”
McLees said he welcomed Aloi’s decision to remove Norcutt from the community’s streets for the safety of the members of his department who put their lives in jeopardy every day responding to fires.
The fire chief said Norcutt’s conduct “flies in the face of all of our lives and our efforts to go home safely every day.”
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.