The fire caused major damage to the room where it started, a service room at the extreme end of the church that’s used by altar boys to prepare for services. It also caused serious damage to the church’s slate roof. There was major water and smoke damage to the entire church.
A chandelier in the middle of the church crashed down to the floor. The stone building’s slate roof made it difficult for firefighters to cut holes in the roof to vent the fire and get at the blaze, according to Capt. Michael Morin, a fire marshal for the Woonsocket Fire Department.
The thorny constitutional principle of separation of church and state is rearing its head over a 1921 World War I monument featuring a prominent Christian cross on city property. Unlike the recent prayer banner controversy in Cranston, which was sued by the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the threat of legal action in this case is coming from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national nonprofit organization halfway across the country.
On April 13, the Madison, Wisc.-based foundation sent Mayor Leo T. Fontaine a letter calling the display of the “Latin cross” on public property “unlawful” and demanding that the situation be rectified.
The monument, a cross, at the Woonsocket Fire Department Station 2 on Cumberland Hill Road, was originally erected in 1921 to honor William Jolicoeur, a member of the American Expeditionary Forces killed in France during World War I, according to The Woonsocket Call. Later, it was rededicated in honor of three brothers killed in World War II, Alexandre, Henri and Louis Gagne.
“No secular purpose, no matter how sincere, will detract from the overall message that the Latin cross stands for Christianity,” the FFRF’s staff attorney Rebecca Markert said in the letter.
Tom Poole, a disabled veteran, is one of many in Woonsocket trying to protect a cross that stands on top of a monument located in the parking lot of the city’s fire station on Cumberland Hill Road.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation wants the cross removed on the grounds that the monument violates the separation of church. The group also wants the Woonsocket Fire Department to remove “The Firefighter’s Prayer” and a picture of an angel from its website because it is a direct violation of the First Amendment and the Constitution.
I thought I had seen enough video from last night's fire at the Alice Mills in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, but as usual Matt Gregoire changed my mind. This is a bit earlier in the operation than we showed you before (though Corey Welch had some great shots). Matt, with Providence Fire Films and SNEFireNews.com, also has radio traffic to go with the pictures.
In the clip above you see and hear when some of the early arriving companies are ordered to pull back and the emphasis shifts to exposure coverage (including hosing down the fire trucks).
I've said this before, those who are want to make nice looking fire films that your audience will enjoy watching should check out the videos from Matt and Corey.
Above is Corey Welch's video from the fire first reported around 7:30 PM at the giant complex that once housed the Alice Mills Rubber Manufacturing Plant. Alice Mills was once the largest rubber goods factory in the world. The plant dates back to 1899. News reports indicate two firefighters were hospitalized for dehydration.
Fire Chief Gary Lataille said 10 to 15 departments from Rhode Island and Massachusetts were called in to help battle the seven-alarm blaze. While the fiire appeared to be small at first, according to Mayor Leo T. Fontaine, the fire quickly spread to engulf the 180,000-square-foot mill structure.
Lataille said that with the river bordering one side of the complex, and a huge parking lot bordering another, he determined early that the best strategy was to contain the fire so it would not spread to houses along River Street and to let it burn completely to the ground..
"By the looks of things, the fire is cooperating," he said, as crowds watched various walls come crashing down at various intervals. There were also at least two explosions.
It is interesting how two different news stories that came across my computer screen today show opposite conclusions on the same issue. One story is about the ruling of a judge in Rhode Island who found no connection between the safety of firefighters and the browning out of Woonsocket Fire Department's Ladder 1. The other is a study by the University of Georgia that discovered under-resourcing is among the four major causes of firefighter fatalities.
Superior Court Judge Bennett R. Gallo ruled that there was no public safety risk to firefighters or residents in Woonsocket as a result of the removal of Ladder Truck 1 and the reduction of the minimum amount of firefighters on duty from 26 to 23 on Wednesday afternoon.
"On the evidence presented,” said Gallo, “I’m unable to discern any measurable decrease in the firefighting capabilities of the Woonsocket Fire Department or any increase risk to the firefighters of Woonsocket or to the public regarding,” the removal of Ladder 1 and the reduction in manpower.
Daniel Kinder, the primary lawyer for the city, stated in his closing remarks that the experience of the past three months proved that safety was not a concern. He said that since the policy to remove Ladder 1 from service whenever less than 26 firefighters reported for duty was implemented on January 30, there has been no firefighter injuries, no change in firefighter response times, no harm to the public and no harm to any mutual aid firefighter.
In Georgia, what is being called a comprehensive UGA study, has revealed patterns in firefighter fatalities. According to a press release from UGA, "Researchers in the UGA College of Public Health found that cultural factors in the work environment that promote getting the job done as quickly as possible with whatever resources available lead to an increase in line-of-duty firefighter fatalities."
The four major causes identified in the study are "under-resourcing, inadequate preparation for adverse events during operations, incomplete adoption of incident command procedures and sub-optimal personnel readiness."
Here is what the release said about under-resourcing:
Many of the recommendations can be traced to a lack of finances, said (co-author David) DeJoy. Not only does under-resourcing affect the ability of a fire department to acquire innovative technology, it can lead to a shortage of personnel at a fire, compromising rapid intervention and the ability to maintain command and control functions during operations, he said.
The study is published in the May edition of of the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention. It examined data gathered from 189 NIOSH firefighter fatality investigations for five years beginning in 2004.
So who are you going to believe, the judge or the professor?
Early video from last week’s fire in Girardville, Pennsylvania: Firegeezer did a good job of covering Wednesday night’s fire that ran part of the block and resulted in a close call for a firefighter. Since then Coal Region Fire uploaded this video that gives you an early view of the fire and its progression. And you will find a whole bunch of pictures from the fire here.
Knowing more than the computer: If you haven’t had a chance yet to listen to the 911 call from the Nation’s Capital that WTOP/WJLA reporter Mark Segraves uncovered, you will want to do so. The director of the 911 center says the 14-minute delay in figuring out a location of a deadly incdent on a major roadway, described very well by a citizen, was a glitch in the system. I’m not buying that, and judging by the comments, few of you are. Click here for our coverage.
Glenn looks at lessons learned from the controversy over a blown engine at a Maryland pump test: The Deale VFD and the Anne Arundel County Fire Department aren’t seeing eye to eye after a 1991 pumper ended up needing a new engine. FireTruckBlog.com‘s Glenn Usdin has some interesting insight on this one and some practical advice. Click here.
Firefighter’s first fire is at a home he owns: What are the odds? Raul Thaper is a new firefighter in Greenville, North Carolina. His first fire was on Friday. That fire was in a home that Thapar owns and rents to someone else. Here’s the story.
Fractured spine for Sacramento FD captain: It was a fall from a roof at a house fire over the weekend that has put Captain Gene Dibble in the hospital. Officials say there is no paralysis but the captain is in a lot of pain. Here’ more.
Playing with fire: While I was in New York with the family in December we saw and thoroughly enjoyed the Flying Karamazov Brothers. It’s a comedy juggling act with enough stupid puns to keep me happy for weeks. In today’s City Room blog from The New York Times there is an interesting look at the Flying Karamazov Brothers putting their talents to good use with the FDNY in an unusual fire safety message. Check it out.
Flames quickly engulfed the garage and office of the home which is owned by Paul Jacob and his wife. They arrived home from lunch to find their home on fire, and could only watch as crews worked to save the place they’ve called home for almost 50 years.
The firefight was so intense that a Woonsocket firefighter was treated on the scene for exhaustion.
Jacob owns a video and sound company, and often tapes and often tapes City Council and other events for the city of Woonsocket. A cart of his expensive equipment was doused in water. He’ll now have to figure out what can be salvaged.
Firefighters arriving on scene from the North Main Street Fire Station found the flames erupting from the upper floors of 97 Rebekah St. and spreading over to the eaves and roof of a similar five-family building close by at 105 Rebekah. The responding company set to work knocking down the fires at both structures, according to Deputy Fire Chief John Danis, scene commander.
“They knocked down the fire on the outside of 105 Rebekah Street and then went inside 97 Rebekah St. to attack the fire on the second and third floor of that building,” Danis said. The second-floor back apartment, where the fire is believed to have started, was unoccupied, he said.
Fire companies from Cumberland and Bellingham helped local firefighters fight the flames spreading to the eaves and attic of 105 Rebekah St., while the rest of the city’s fire companies focused on the heavier fire burning in 97 Rebekah St., Danis said. Fire companies from North Smithfield, Blackstone and Burrillville also assisted the local fire crews in controlling the fires in the densely-built neighborhood.
The 105 Rebekah St. extension was quickly extinguished by the fire crews and the 97 Rebekah St. blaze was brought under control within an hour to an hour-and-a-half, Danis said.
Engine 3 arrived and reported heavy fire from the rear of building extending to the exposure. An aggressive interior attack was initiated on both buildings. The exposure was quickly brought under control but fire had taken control of the attic and forced firefighters to evacuate the building and fight it from the outside.
The fire quickly reached 3 alarms bringing in Blackstone, Bellingham, No. Smithfield and Cumberland Hill to the scene.
House fire in British Columbia: Here’s the description with this one - “Just after 7PM on June 3rd 2010, Surrey firefighters were called to a structure fire @ 132nd St & King George Blvd. They arrived to find a vacant building fully involved, and they had reports that someone may still be inside. Crews made an aggressive fire attack to gain entry and search for the possible victim. Luckily, no one was found inside, but a man was taken to hospital by BCAS with undetermined injuries. FD & RCMP are investigating the cause of the fire.”
More from BC: This is from a fire Thurday at the old Silver Ledge Hotel which had been turned into a museum in Ainsworth. One man has been charged with arson after the fire began in a trailer adjacent to the hotel.
Woonsocket, Rhode Island fire: Providence Fire Videos shot this fire on Mowry Street around 4:00 on Thursday morning.
Another one from Providence Fire Videos: A house fire in a non-hydrant area on Buffum Road in Uxbridge, Massachusetts.
House fire in Baltimore County: We are a day late in posting the latest from Michael “FirePix1075″ Schwartzberg. This is from early yesterday morning at 5527 Pembroke Avenue in Woodlawn. Michael tells us an interior attack was abandoned after a gas line ignited. You can read his account at the Pikesville VFC website. There is more video - Part 2 and Part 3.
PGFD responds to union press release on staffing during recent multi-alarm fires: Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department Chief Spokesman Mark Brady has a statement about the press release from IAFF Local 1619. The union pointed out understaffed and failed responses impacted operations at two large garden-apartment fires last week. Brady writes -
Handling the volume of calls for service that our Department does on a daily basis will, at times, stretch our resources thin. Prince George’s County Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones is working with the Local 1619 leadership to find a mutually agreeable way to conduct our day-to-day activities in the safest and most efficient way possible.
Riverdale VFD president critical of our coverage: Stephen Lamphier brings up some interesting issues in his Christmas Day letter to STATter911.com. Lamphier is concerned how I portrayed a video of Riverdale’s members enjoying the recent snow storm. Please take a moment to read it.
We have early video to compare to this later picture by The World-Herald's Jeff Beiermann from yesterday's devastating fire in North Bend, Nebraska. Click the image for our coverage.
A little more than 24-hours left in the contest: We have some good guesses so far (and a few that are really far off) as to what the top 5 most popular stories were on STATter911.com for 2009. We can always use your entry. Click here to read about the rules and the amazing prize.
Raw video from DC second-alarm: Vito Maggiolo was on the scene for the DC Fire & EMS Department at an apartment fire on Sunday. Check it out.
Click the image for details and more Loudoun County Fire-Rescue Services photos from yesterday's two-alarm townhouse fire in Leesburg.
Decision in New Mexico scandal: In Eunice city officials have determined the fate of troubled Fire Chief Ron Grogan and two of the other firefighters charged with stealing a radar detector at a crime scene. But the details haven’t been released. Here is the latest.
Transcipts from dramatic and chaotic fireground audio on Northampton arsons: A local paper has now added transcripts with names of the chief officers to go with the fireground audio we first alerted you to on Sunday. This documents how dispatchers, firefighters and police tried to handle a dozen fires and attempted fires in 75 minutes, including one that killed two men. Click here.
Firefighter hit by parked police car: A secondary crash leaves a firefighter injured in Boardman, Oregon. Read the details.
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.