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.
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.