You may recall the story we ran from March 4 of an off-duty rookie Virginia Beach police officer who crashed his vehicle on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. This was the case case of Bradley Colas, accused of attempted murder for stabbing two firefighters who came to his aid and shooting at them. At the time of the incident Colas believed he was trying to find Jesus and also to protect his girlfriend.
All charges against Colas were dropped today at the Accomack County courthouse. According to Sarah Hutchins at The Virginian-Pilot, Colas’ attorney, Moody Stallings, said the prosecution dropped the charges after agreeing with the position of the defense that Colas was suffering from “involuntary intoxication” from the antibiotic Biaxin he was taking for a respiratory infection. The attorney supplied testimony from a doctor to backup his claim.
All charges against Virginia Beach police officer Bradley Colas were nolle prosequi in an Accomack County courthouse this morning.
Nolle prosequi is a term meaning that for now, the prosecution has decided not to pursue the charges in question. The charges in question can be pursued at a later time, however.
While leaving the courtroom this afternoon, Colas told WAVY.com that he is glad the firefighters are OK. He said he was “out of his mind” at the time of the alleged attack, and the drug he took was “very dangerous.”
Above is fireground audio from today’s jet crash in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Below is more early video showing forcible entry by police officers and firefighters as they perform searches in units adjacent to the fire.
We were on the road today, out of position, unable to post, when we got word from one of our former TV colleagues that an F/A-18D fighter jet crashed into an apartment complex in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Firegeezer.com and FirefighterNation.com have earlier coverage. On this page are various videos from YouTube, including pre-arrival video taken by those nearby.
Two Navy pilots ejected from a fighter jet Friday, sending the unmanned plane careening into a Virginia Beach apartment complex and tearing the roof off at least one building that was engulfed in flames, officials said.
Six people, including both pilots, were taken to hospitals, officials said. The Navy said both aviators on board the jet ejected before it crashed around noon and were being taken to hospitals for observation .
Bruce Nedelka, the Virginia Beach EMS division chief, said that witnesses saw fuel being dumped from the jet before it went down, and that fuel was found on buildings and vehicles in the area.
“By doing so, he mitigated what could have been an absolute massive, massive fireball and fire,” Nedelka said. “With all of that jet fuel dumped, it was much less than what it could have been.”
The crash happened in the Hampton Roads area, which has a large concentration of military bases, including Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval base in the world. Naval Air Station Oceana, where the F/A-18D that crashed was assigned, is located in Virginia Beach.
Three buildings were destroyed, and two more had significant damage, Virginia Beach fire department spokesman Tim Riley told WVEC-TV.
The fire had been put out, Nedelka said, and now crews were going through the buildings to search for anyone who may have been inside.
Battalion Chief Tim Riley checks in from Virginia Beach, Virginia on yesterday's gas leak and fire sparked by a construction crew:
Construction Crews Struck a 4 inch plastic natural gas line. The gas immediately caught line near the entrance to the US Naval Master Jet Base Oceana. The fire closed portions of Oceana Blvd down for 3 and ½ hours. Fire crews protected the construction excavator valued at $250,000 dollars. VBFD elected to let the fire burn for safety reason, the fire consumed all the natural gas. If the fire was extinguished natural gas would have accumulated in the area making for a potentially dangerous situation. The fire burned for 2/12 hours before Virginia Natural Gas could secured the 4 inch gas line. No injuries and the excavator remained idling during the entire call. It was pretty cool.
The Virginia Beach Fire Department's Ladder 11 ran an unusual call on Friday. They were sent to assist in the rescue of a 150 pound bear in a tree in a residential neighborhood. According to Martin Grube at Fire Rescue TV, the firefighters provided the means to reach the tranquilized animal and let the professionals run the rescue operation.
Watching the multiple stories below from WAVY-TV you will see the bear's visit to the oceanfront attracted a lot of attention and was carried on live TV. Read more here.
Fire Rescue TV’s Martin Grube got the inside shots of a Saturday morning rescue operation in Virginia Beach, Virginia. A former employee of Harold’s restaurant was found by the owner, Harold Owens, with his feet dangling from the exhaust hood over the stove. The place was a mess because the fire suppression system had gone off.
As we previously reported Virginia Beach firefighters found a 16-month-old child and a 73-year-old woman inside a burning home in the 4600 block of Jeanne St. around 2:00 Tuesday morning. Click above to listen to the fireground audio as the two victims were brought to safety. Yesterday the Virginian-Pilot reported the baby was in critical condition and the woman has been upgraded from critical to serious.
The Rube says naked firefighter investigation has broadened significantly: DC’s fire chief tells WTOP Radio’s Neal Augenstein that a firefighter is on enforced leave after an incident over the summer following a retirement party at Engine 11. That’s when the firefighter, off-duty at the time, was photographed cooking breakfast in the firehouse kitchen trying not to burn his sausage. Click here for the latest.
They may be playing your song, but it is not music to their ears: Firefighters in Williamsport, Maryland are the latest to get an earful about their house siren. It sits atop City Hall and neighbors aren’t too fond of it. The noise scares the quests at a nearby bed and breakfast (if I stayed there I would think it added to the charm of the town). The fire chief says despite technological advances it is still needed. Read more.
Firefighters describe close call: More from the large apartment building fire we showed you yesterday in Fargo, ND. The two firefighters separated after a collapse tell their story. Check it out.
Not sure the bar will be doing a thank you video: You may recall our recent posting of a nice video from a Clermont County, Ohio firm thanking the Union Township Fire Department for saving the company’s headquarters building after a fire broke out. I don’t think the department will be getting a similar reception from the owner of a township bar after a brawl between two biker clubs broke out. Police say in the middle of it, carrying a handgun, was a Union Township firefighter. Cincinnati.com reports that firefighter has had some recent department issues.
Fire in the hole: In this case the hole was one of the tubes of the Ft. McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore. A bus was burning in the middle of rush hour. Here’s the story.
More on Virginia Beach saves: Click here for the press release from Virginia Beach Fire Department Battalion Chief Tim Riley on the child and senior citizen pulled from a burning home early yesterday morning.
Thieves ransack firefighters’ lockers: It happened at a firehouse in Kansas City, Missouri while the firefighters were out. Click here.
The brilliant Firegeezer: Bill has started a category for the stories we have all done illustrating why there will always be ”job security” for fire and EMS (why didn’t I think of doing that?). The most recent entry is a motorcycle powered merry-go-round. As you will see it is a brilliant group of guys who invented this. Maybe even more fascinating is the airbag demonstration with a man sitting on the bag as it inflates that he posted in August. As Joe Flaherty and John Candy on SCTV famously said in their roles as Big Jim McBob and Billy Sol Hurok, “He blow’d up real good”. See for yourself.
A fire yesterday that destroyed three single family homes in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Here’s the description sent to STATter911.com from Battaltion Chief Tim Riley:
Virginia Beach Fire Department responded for a single family house fire at 5208 Bathley Rd. Upon arrival of the first engine, heavy fire was showing from 3 separate homes. A second alarm was transmitted immediately. Fire was under control in 70 minutes. Three homes were totally destroyed. Four family pets died in the fire (2 dogs and 2 cats). Investigators are currently on scene to determine the cause of the fire. One firefighter suffered a minor hand injuries. The heat index was 105, Virginia Beach Fire Department received mutual aid from the City of Chesapeake Fire Department who send their new Rehab Apparatus.
Lieutenant Winters, a seven-year-old Belgian Malinois/Shepherd died Friday after being injured during a training exercise in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Win was a part of Virginia Task Force 2. Win had been deployed five times by FEMA, including during Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti.
In a press release today, Virginia Beach Fire Department Battalion Chief Tim Riley explained how the dog was injured:
He entered through a small opening of the rubble pile, where the victim was located, when the accident occurred. A piece of concrete reinforcing wire punctured his chest cavity causing internal bleeding. Although Win was injured, he finished his search, located the victim, and laid at her side. The canine handler immediately sensed a problem and Win was quickly transported to Bay-Beach Veterinary Hospital where Team Doctor/Veterinarian Mark Honaker was unable to save Win. He died shortly after arriving at the animal hospital. Win died doing what he was trained and loved to do, performing his job to the very end.
Click the image for a series of pictures taken by Angelo Speach
A fire this morning damaged a second floor apartment and an art store downstairs in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The building is along the oceanfront at 305 16th Street. Battalion Chief Tim Riley, who handles media relations for the Virginia Beach Fire Department, says the call came in at 9:20 AM with the first units arriving on the scene at 9:24.
According to Chief Riley, the fire was handled with the first alarm assignment of 3 engines, 2 trucks and a heavy rescue, along with a RIT engine. It was brought under control within 20-minutes.There were no injuries. Riley says the fire started in a second floor front bedroom and is believed to be accidental.
Five firefighters tumble into the basement: Only two of the firefighters who ended up in the basement when the first floor collapsed at an Anne Arundel County, Maryland house fire yesterday afternoon were sent to the hospital. Neither has life threatening injuries. The video above is from Sky9. I have edited it so all of the shots are in chronological order. The mayday was over when the chopper arrived. The video begins with the Maryland State Police helicopter ready to take off with one of the injured firefighters. You can click here for the slideshow. You will find the fireground audio and many more details about the three-alarm fire here.
Read controversial letter captain read to returning Houston firefighter: The letter that apparently helped push Houston Fire Department Chief Phil Boriskie out the door has now been released. Click here to see the four page document that was presented by Capt. Brian Williamson to Jane Draycott on the day she returned to Station 54, six months after making accusations about racial and sexual grafitti in the women’s locker room. The letter, read aloud to Draycott, Chief Boriskie and others, listed reasons why the crew did not want Draycott back at the firehouse. Also, an investigator in the grafitti case says, that despite news reports, Draycott and another female firefighter are not suspects in the case. Click here, here and here for the latest.
“That is all bogus and lies and fabrications” – FDNY EMTs tell their side of the story: Two EMT/dispatchers for FDNY are scheduled to be back to work today after being accused of not providing medical help to a dying woman while on break at the Au Bon Pain near the dispatch center in Brooklyn. For the first time Jason Green and Melisa Jackson tell their story. Click here to read the details.
More from Haiti: Virginia Task Force 2 has been making news in Haiti. The team was heading back to its base on Tuesday when it was flagged down and brought to what used to be a three-story home. There they rescued a boy and girl who had been in the rubble for seven days. Here’s the story. You can follow VA-TF2 on its website and Facebook page.
So, why didn’t the closest team go to Haiti first?: There are some unhappy people in Florida over the fact that the Miami-Dade USAR Team, sitting within easy striking distance of Haiti, didn’t get the first call. There was a time they would have been at the top of the list. But Miami-Dade was dropped from that list after an audit revealed it had overbilled the federal government for some of its trips in the 90s. Specifically, it was an effort to hide the cost of overtime for firefighters to backfill the positions of team members who were deployed. It is a cost the federal government now reimburses. The fire chief says that all happened under old management and wants to see the team back in the first-call category for international responses. Read the story. Watch the story.
Felon hired in Memphis may be tip of the iceberg: A Memphis, Tennessee TV station has been all over the case of Lawrence Batiste a firefighter currently facing a variety of charges including domestic violence, assault, drugs and alcohol. WLMT-TV reports that Batiste was hired by the Memphis Fire Department despite being canned by the Shelby County Fire Department when a previous felony was discovered. But it appears the Memphis Fire Department will be facing more scrutiny. STATter911.com has seen FOIA documents that indicate this problem goes beyond FF Lawrence Batiste. Here’s the latest story.
Captain accused of pretending to be a Klan member is fired: Accusations that he used a pillow case to pretend to be a member of the KKK and made a racially insensitive remark have brought the dismissal of a Captain Robert “Danny” Heil at Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Protection District board in Kentucky. Read the story.
147 firefighters told to be at a meeting Friday about layoffs: That’s the story from Tulsa. Click here.
The latest number we have on people found alive buried under earthquake rubble in Port au Prince, Haiti by Virginia Task Force 1 is 14. The hard and sometimes frustrating work by all of the USAR teams continues as the hours slip away.
In the video above is one of the survivors from the Hotel Montana. There, the crew from Fairfax County joined colleagues from France in searching for those who could still be alive. One of those they found was a neighbor from the Washington area, Rick Santos. Santos, from Silver Spring, Maryland, is the President and CEO of IMA/World Health.
Here is some more information that Fairfax County officials distributed Sunday morning to various interested parties:
The two teams from Virginia Task Force 1 (USA-1 & USA-5) are now combined into one. Apparently this was necessary due to transportation and fuel issues, but has helped in the management of the resources and enhanced the team’s capabilities.
The last live victim removed by VA-TF 1 involved a 26-hour operation at the University of Port-au-Prince. It was completed at 9:00 PM Saturday. The patient was in critical condition.
The operation at the Hotel Montana has been completed.
Satellite telephone reliability is a continuing problem, but the radio system has worked well.
VA-TF 1 along with CA-TF 2, FL-TF 1, and FL-TF 2 are still working out of the U.S. Embassy.
NY-TF 1 and VA-TF 2 are set up at the airport.
It is possible, but not certain, that teams could be used for “humanitarian efforts” once things switch to a recovery operation.
News reports here and here indicate California Task Force 2 located six victims in the rubble at two different locations. The video above and below follows their work at a collapsed building where the team heard tapping within the debris.
Even now, survivors still emerge from under mounds of concrete. By Saturday, American search teams had pulled out 22 people from collapsed buildings.
Early Sunday, a man and a teenage girl were found alive in the rubble of a grocery store housed in a three-story building that had collapsed. A joint New York police and fire urban rescue team found them. Both were taken to a U.N. hospital at Port-au-Prince’s airport, where the girl, about 13, was treated for leg injuries and the man treated for undetermined injuries.
The team was trying to reach three others who were still trapped, according to a statement Sunday from New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne. The five survived on the grocery store’s inventory of food and water, authorities said.
Nearly 30 international rescue teams continued to comb the disaster areas for more survivors.