Monday, August 22, 2011

Two Men Badly Burned in Brooklyn Electrical Fire


By Jessica Simeone

Brookyln, NY - Two men are fighting for their lives after getting burned in an electrical fire in Brooklyn today, officials said.

The fire broke out at 8:05 a.m. on an upper floor of a 15-story office building on Montague Street in downtown Brooklyn.

A 64-year-old and 40-year-old were burned on the face and arms, said a spokesman for the fire department.

The victims were rushed to the burn center at New York Hospital in critical condition.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

CT Firefighter Treated for Possible Chemical Exposure

From the Hartford Courant:

A firefighter was treated for possible chemical exposure after a chemical reaction at a metal-treating company early Wednesday.

Firefighters responded to a report of heavy smoke at Metal Specialties Inc., 515 Commerce Drive, shortly after midnight, fire officials stated in a press release. When they arrived, they encountered heavy smoke but no fire, they said.

Crews were ordered out of the building when it became clear that hazardous materials might have been involved. Hazardous materials resopnse teams and the state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection were called to the scene.

Read MORE.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fatal GA Fire Exposes Dangers of Home Security Measures

From the Ledger-Enquirer, an update on a deadly fire in Columbus:
Burglar bars with a dead bolt lock blocked the front door of the home at 3221 Decatur St. where a mother and her two daughters died in a fire early Tuesday.

Those bars are a choice homeowners make between security and safety. They can delay firefighters getting inside a burning house by 90 seconds, said Fire Marshal Ricky Shores.

“It does slow us down,” he said. “That minute could make a difference in saving a life. Sometimes security and fire safety bump heads.”

Such a door can also be a deadly barrier if those in the home can’t find the key to unlock it from the inside.

Authorities say the deceased -- Nordalie Douglas, 32, and her daughters, 10-year-old fifth-grader Zakoya Bankston and 6-year-old first-grader Mackayla Gulley, both students at Brewer Elementary School -- had been in the house about a year. They came from North Carolina to live in a neighborhood that’s seen three homicides in the past week and a half.

Read MORE. For an article on overcoming extreme home security measures, read "Burglar Bar Removal: Strategy and Tactics" and "HVAC Burglar Bars".

OR Firefighters Injured in Commercial Fire

From The Oregonian:

Three firefighters were injured Tuesday night in an explosion at the Stimson Lumber Mill in Gaston. One Gaston firefighter was taken to Oregon Health and Science University Hospital in Portland. One Gaston firefighter and one Yamhill firefighter were taken to Tuality Hospital in Hillsboro, all with non-life threatening injuries. All three have gone home, said volunteer spokesman Ken Bilderback.

Read more HERE.

Baltimore (MD) Fire Department Personnel to Undergo Health Screenings

From The Baltimore Sun:

For the first time, all 1,800 Baltimore fire personnel will undergo departmentwide health tests during a wellness project that officials hope will become a yearly event.

Next week, Professional Health Services vans will begin conducting screenings — including hearing, vision, pulmonary and heart — at five department operations in the city.

he Fire Department will get aggregate data after testing is complete, though individual results will be kept between patients and physicians.

"We will get a good picture of the health of the department in general," said Fire Chief James S. Clack, who will be among the first to undergo the testing. "If there are major issues with our personnel, we will be able to tell."

The newest of the screening vans, which is 71 feet long, parked in City Hall Plaza on Tuesday to show department officials.

The vehicle is soundproof and compartmentalized for privacy, and is equipped with a digital X-ray, an EKG and a centrifuge to expedite blood processing. The facility can handle about six patients an hour, whose assessments will conclude in a conference with a physician.

Read the entire thing HERE. For more on firefighter fitness, read Mike Krueger's column at Fire Life.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

IL Chief and Renowned Fire Service Leader Paul Boecker Dies

From the Naperville Sun:

Former Naperville and Lisle fire official Paul H. Boecker III died Sunday.

He began his career as a firefighter in Naperville in 1952. He rose to the rank of captain with the Naperville Fire Department before leaving to become chief of the Lisle Fire Department in 1971.

He was instrumental in turning the volunteer fire department into a full-time paid fire district during his tenure.

People who knew him said Boecker’s personality was larger than life, and that he put a lot of that passion into the Fire Department.

He guided the Lisle department to where it had five fire stations and more than 80 personnel. The department attained an Insurance Service Office Class 1 designation before he retired in 1994.

During his career he received nine awards of commendation, four awards of merit and the Firefighter of the Year Award in 1993 from the Lisle Fire Protection District.

During the devastating tornado that hit Plainfield in 1990, Boecker was one of 12 recipients of recognition for his leadership during the incident.

In 1983, he was one of two chiefs honored with the Dictography Security Company’s Public Safety Award. He was also awarded the Mason Lankford Fire Service Award.

He served on many regional and national committees throughout his career. He began the Keep the Wreath Red program in 1954 in Naperville which would later be adopted by DuPage County and eventually the state of Illinois.

Read more about Chief Boecker's career HERE.

Hidden Fire Hydrants a Problem for WV Firefighters

A serious safety issue is sending up red flags in West Virginia.

It took nearly a mile of fire hose to put out a house fire Monday in Barboursville.

The issue wasn't the fire itself, but finding a hydrant while using an outdated mapping system. The homeowner and her five pets made it safely, with some help from firefighters, but it begs the question -- why go the extra mile?

Shouldn't your fire department know where the hydrants are located? Sometimes they don't. The answer could be GPS mapping of hydrants.

That's what West Virginia American Water is trying to do right now across the state.

In the case of Monday's fire in Barboursville, an inaccurate map book led to a long line of fire hose. The fire department wasn't aware there was a closer hydrant.

"We connected to the fire hydrant we knew," said Lieutenant Andrew Frazier of the Barboursville Volunteer Fire Department. "Yes, it's a longer lay. But we wanted to connect to the hydrant we knew was definitely there."

What happened in Barboursville could easily be repeated anywhere in the country.

Read MORE.

Funeral Details for Fallen Dallas (TX) Firefighter

Funeral details for Lt. Todd Krodle are as follows:

Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 10:00am
Funeral Service:
Highland Terrace Baptist Church
3939 Joe Ramsey Road East
Greenville, TX 75401

Burial following the service:
Memoryland Memorial Park
808 W. Jack Finney Blvd
Greenville, TX 75402

SC Chief Collapses, Dies After House Fire Call

Fire Chief Dies
A Lancaster County volunteer fire chief collapsed at his fire station Tuesday morning and later died after he took part in fighting a house fire.

According to Lancaster County Fire Marshal Stephen Blackwelder, 54-year-old Dennis J. Cauthen was the Fire Chief with the Elgin Volunteer Fire Department with more than 31-years of fire service in Lancaster County.

The volunteer fire department had just returned from fighting a fire in an old mill house at 937 15th Street in the Gooches area. Blackwelder says the fire sparked around 2:45 a.m. Tuesday morning and crews were on scene for nearly three hours.

Blackwelder says that Chief Cauthen began feeling sick when the crews got back to the station and collapsed. His fellow firefighters called for paramedics and began to give him medical attention.

He was rushed to Springs Memorial Hospital where he died around 8 a.m.

Fire crews on scene told WBTV that the heat was so intense, firefighters had to move their trucks further away from the house fire to prevent the trucks from catching fire.

Read more HERE.

NYC Can't Remove Fire Alarm Boxes, Judge Rules

From the Associated Press, via the Wall Street Journal:

A federal judge has ruled against a New York City plan to deactivate 15,000 fire alarm boxes, saying it would discriminate against the deaf and hearing-impaired.

The fire department last year said the move would save the city $6 million in the first fiscal year. It also said cell phones had substantially reduced the use of alarm boxes and claimed that 85 percent of box calls were false alarms.

The city had proposed an alternate plan using public pay phones combined with a tapping system that would allow deaf callers to signal whether they needed emergency services.

In his ruling on Monday, Judge Robert Sweet said public pay phones were unreliable.

Read MORE.

Code Violations, Safety Issues at Complex Where Dallas (TX) FIrefighter Died

The Dallas apartment complex where a firefighter died has a history of "numerous and persistent" code violations, city officials said Monday.

Lt. Todd Krodle fell through a second story roof of the Ridgecrest Terrace Apartments on Walton Walker Boulevard near Keeneland Parkway on Sunday. He fell as he tried to approach a fire that started in a ground-floor unit, Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman said.

It took time for firefighters to rescue him from the burning unit below, and he was later pronounced dead at Parkland Memorial Hospital.

The blaze was one of two fires at the complex Sunday that were both blamed on electrical problems, residents said.

Tenants and outreach workers who helped residents with landlord complaints said better attention to ongoing maintenance problems could have prevented the fires and the roof accident.

Residents of both apartments that burned Sunday said they complained to the landlord about electrical problems before.

Read more HERE. See a remembrance piece on fallen firefighter Lt. Todd Krodle HERE.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fire Damage, Deaths Following OK Wildfires

On Sunday, Pawnee Co. area firefighters say a second man died of injuries he sustained as he tried to leave his home during the wildfire last week. The man in his 60s tripped on a rock and hit his head, and died over the weekend in a Tulsa hospital.

Also Sunday, firefighters responded to an arson about a half mile from where the original fire broke out. They have made an arrest.

Firefighters have also released a detailed report on structures destroyed in last Monday's blaze: Houses - 16, trailer homes - 29, garages - 9, motor homes - 2, travel trailers -7, shops - 26, sheds - 24, barns - 10, livestock trailer - 1, utility trailers - 4, more than 100 cars/trucks, boats - 10, tractors - 5.

Pawnee County damage assessments are adding up, close to $15M from the wildfires last week Emergency Management officials said Friday.

Read more HERE.

Firefighters Rescue Workers Stuck in Elevator with Water Up to Their Necks

Amazing rescue scenario, as recounted by the New York TImes:
In his 34 years with the New York Fire Department, Capt. James Melvin has seen his share of stuck elevators. But he had never witnessed anything quite like what happened Sunday on Staten Island.

Two construction workers were stuck in an elevator that was filling with water, Captain Melvin explained, with a hint of amazement in his voice. By the time firefighters arrived, the water level had risen as high as the two trapped men’s necks.

“We’ve had plenty of elevator emergencies, but never one that’s down sinking in water,” said Captain Melvin, of Ladder Company 86 on Richmond Avenue. As for the two men, he added, “They were happy to see us.”

The men were working in the former Staten Island Hotel in Graniteville, which is being renovated into an assisted-living residence for older people.

About 9 a.m., the two workers were riding in the elevator and discovered that the door did not open. The men, identified as Edward Tyler and Windell Admaker, began to hit the buttons for various floors in the hope that the doors on one of them would work.

“They figured they’d try the basement level,” Captain Melvin said.

On another day, that would probably have been fine, but the rainfall on Sunday had led to severe flooding in the basement. And when the elevator neared the basement level, “it hit water and started sinking slowly, until it sank to the bottom of the shaft,” Captain Melvin said.

The two men were alone in the building, he added. There was no one inside to hear their shouts, and a security guard outside was unaware of the disaster unfolding inside, Captain Melvin said.

With a cellphone the men reached the Fire Department. While neither knew the precise address of the building, they said it was near the intersection of Richmond Avenue and Christopher Lane.

When firefighters finally found them, about an hour after their initial call, the two men were standing atop the plastic cart they had been using to transport supplies between floors. Even with the cart’s added height, the water was up to their necks, and about three feet from the elevator’s ceiling, Captain Melvin said.

Read it all HERE.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dallas Firefighter Dies After Falling Through Roof

A Dallas Lieutenant was killed today when he fell through the roof of a burning apartment building. Lt. Todd Krodle was operating on the roof when it collapsed. He was transported to a burn center where he later died from his injuries. Lt. Krodle leaves behind a wife and two children. The staff at Pennwell and Fire Engineering express our condolences to the Krodle and Dallas Fire Department families.



More information will be reported as it is released.

Dramatic Footage of Indianapolis Stage Collapse

Dramatic footage of the Sugarland stage collapse in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Coverage courtesy of Todd Parker, Todd Parker Photography (

Warning: Graphic Footage

IN Stage Collapse Kills 4

At least four people were confirmed dead and 40 injured in a stage collapse just before a Sugarland concert at the Indiana State Fair. A sever thunderstorm warning issued 16 minutes before an estimated 70 mph wind gust caused stage to collapse.

View another view of the collapse HERE.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Kansas City (MO) Firefighter Allegedly Waved Gun at Colleagues

From the Kansas City Star:
Kansas City police were called to a fire station Wednesday morning after a firefighter allegedly waved a gun at four other firefighters during a dispute.

The victims later said they didn’t want to prosecute. Fire union representatives went to the suspect’s home after the incident and escorted him to a psychiatric hospital, according to police reports.

The incident began about 6:50 a.m. Wednesday when the 47-year-old suspect arrived to start his shift at Fire Station 28, at 930 E. Red Bridge Road.

The suspect “started complaining about the new guys never putting fuel in the fire trucks,” the police report said.

A 29-year-old firefighter “wasn’t really listening to the suspect,” police said, because he was trying to get ready to go home. This angered the suspect, who said, “I’m talking to you, too!”

The younger firefighter asked “what his problem was…and why he was yelling,” according to police reports. The suspect then allegedly shoved the younger firefighter with both hands.

A fire captain intervened and told the suspect to go home and take a “sick day,” according to police reports.

A few minutes later, the suspect showed back up in the fire house with a gun and “began waving it back and forth and pointing it at” four firefighters who were sitting in a common area. The suspect “stated he was going to shoot them all,” police reports said.

The fire captain told the suspect to put his gun away. The suspect complied and left.

Read MORE.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Firefighters Can't Campaign in Political Races, Tulsa (OK) Judge Rules

A Tulsa judge agreed with the mayor when it comes to firefighters campaigning in political races.

The judge ruled firefighters do not have the right to participate.

The firefighter's union filed for an injunction that would have allowed them to campaign in elections while off-duty, saying it's part of their first amendment rights.

Read MORE.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Minneapolis (MN) Fire Department Lays Off 10 Firefighters

From the Star-Tribune:
Ten Minneapolis firefighters got calls from Fire Chief Alex Jackson on Tuesday telling them they are losing their jobs as the result of state budget cuts.

Even more firefighters might have gotten laid off, but Mayor R.T. Rybak and City Council President Barbara Johnson said they're urging the council to dip into the city's reserves for $1.75 million to save 31 additional firefighter jobs and avoid any police layoffs.

While Rybak and Johnson blame the Legislature for skimping on local government aid, a frustrated fire union President Mark Lakosky put the blame on Rybak. The number of sworn firefighters has dropped from about 469 in 2003, which was Rybak's first budget, to 401. He warned that firefighters will be stretched even thinner and it will take them longer to respond to emergency calls.

"It's amazing how public safety has been cut each year under Rybak," Lakosky said. "But when there's some fluff program, he finds money for it."

The layoffs were no surprise. Rybak's budget anticipated 32 layoffs in the Fire Department this year, but he and the council put money aside to keep them on the payroll if the city got its full allotment of local government aid. The Legislature froze local government aid at last year's level, meaning the city received $23.5 million less than Rybak had hoped.

The firefighters who lost their jobs have been on a layoff bubble almost since their hiring in 2008. One of them, firefighter Johnathon McClellan, said his mind went blank when Jackson called: "You go through all the training and go through the firefighter hoops in hopes of doing a career. When you go through all that, you don't anticipate that this is going to happen."

Read more HERE.

Two Firefighters Injured in L.A. Commercial Fire

From the LAFD News Blog:
Two firefighters were injured battling a major emergency structure fire in a South Los Angeles business on Sunday, August 7, 2011.

s firefighters were responding to the 6:30 PM alarm, a large "loom up" of dark smoke could be seen from blocks away.

Firefighters arrived at 121 West Florence Avenue where they found a row of one-story commercial buildings under a common roof with heavy smoke showing. Shortly thereafter, flames erupted outside the structure and careful attention was given to protecting attached and nearby businesses from flame impingement. Firefighters were strategically placed around the large structure as others forced entry inside to do battle with the intense flames.

Multiple ladders were rapidly tilted against the structure from all angles allowing firefighters assigned to truck companies to reach the roof and begin vertical ventilation using chainsaws. Moderate amount of smoke began pouring out of the holes as the chainsaws sunk in and continued to cut. Firefighters inside searched through the dark to reach the seat of the fire. As the fire ripped through the attic, a portion of the roof collapsed on one side, preventing firefighters to continue to make entry from that area.

Firefighters raced the clock as they worked intensely to stop the spread of the flames and save the adjoining businesses along with their contents.

The fire appeared to have started in southwest side of the commercial building and ran up to the attic where it quickly traveled northeast. A total of four businesses, selling furniture, carpet, mattresses and cabinets were damaged. Shortly thereafter the smoke began to lighten as firefighters started to gain the upper hand, then worked on saving the contents of the business. Due to the aggressive work, an offensive attack was used and there was no need to pull firefighters out into a defensive mode.

The building created additional challenges to firefighters due to having an unusual double roof on the northeast side described as an arch truss with 1x6 straight sheeting below, and a corrugated metal roof approximately six feet above.

Read the entire report and see additional photos HERE.

Off-Duty L.A. Firefighter Critically Injured in Blast

From The Los Angeles Times News Blog:
An off-duty Los Angeles city firefighter was among two employees critically injured during an explosion an at alternative-energy company in Sylmar, multiple sources told The Times late Tuesday.

The injured firefighter was identified as Timothy Larson, who was undergoing surgery after suffering major injuries to his arms and legs, according to two sources briefed on the incident.

Larson was undergoing treatment at Holy Cross Medical Center, said the Fire Department and law enforcement sources, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak on the matter.

The explosion ripped a hole in the roof of the one-story building at 12349 Gladstone Ave. and shattered windows of nearby businesses. Rubble was strewn on the street.

Read more HERE.

NYC Fire Commissioner Defends Efforts to Diversify Ranks



Under firm, if generally polite, examination, New York City’s fire commissioner defended his efforts to recruit minority candidates in court on Tuesday, saying the Fire Department has measurably increased its number of black applicants while rebuilding its ranks a decade after the losses from 9/11.

“Even as we’re improving, recovering and rebuilding, we’ve still had it in mind to focus on diversity,” the commissioner, Salvatore J. Cassano, testified at a two-hour proceeding in Federal District Court in Brooklyn.

Mr. Cassano’s appearance before the presiding judge, Nicholas G. Garaufis, comes amid bitter litigation in which the city was found to have discriminated against minority candidates through the statistical effects of two prior entrance exams, in 1999 and 2002. His appearance was unusual; neither side had planned to call him as a witness, and the judge ordered it personally on Thursday.

Read more HERE:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Baltimore City (MD) Firefighter Injured in Fall from Responding Apparatus

From The Baltimore Sun:
A Baltimore City firefighter was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center shortly after noon Tuesday after he was injured while responding to an emergency call.

Department spokesman Chief Kevin Cartwright said the firefighter fell off a fire truck that was turning a corner while en route to the 3000 block of Liberty Heights Ave. shortly after noon.

The firefighter suffered injuries to his head and elbow, including lacerations, and was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center as a precaution, Cartwright said. The firefighter did not appear to have fractures or life-threatening injuries, he said.

The firefighter was alert and talking with staffers when he got to the hospital, the city Firefighters Union Local 734 said in a Twitter message.

Read more HERE.

FDNY Cut Bias Unit While Being Sued for Bias

From the New York Times:
The New York Fire Department office that handles discrimination complaints shrank during a period when the federal government was suing the agency on the grounds that its hiring tests were biased, an assistant fire commissioner testified in United States District Court on Monday.

Over the objections of the city, the assistant commissioner, Lyndelle Phillips, who leads the Equal Employment Opportunity Office in the department, was called to testify by Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis in Brooklyn. During more than two hours on the witness stand, she described how resources in her office had dwindled since 2006.

Read more HERE.

MO Firefighters Recover After Accident Involving Apparatus

Two firefighters suffered injuries Monday after an accident involving a fire truck on Highway B near Doe Run, Missouri. That is in St. Francois County, Missouri.

Authorities say around 4 p.m., a tanker in Doe Run was on its way to a house fire on Highway B near Crocker Court when the driver, William Nokes, 36, was going too fast around a curve. This sent the tanker off the road where it flipped over and rolled, totaling the vehicle.

The driver was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, suffering only minor injuries. Another firefighter, 17-year-old Haylie Hagermann, was airlifted to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Her injuries are described as moderate.

Read more HERE. For training tips on fire apparatus driving, visit our fireEMS section for the On the Road column.

Firefighter Still Hospitalized After NJ Shore Fire

From the Asbury Park Press:
One firefighter remained hospitalized Monday as investigators combed through the debris of a restaurant and two apartments that burned in an intense blaze the night before.

A total of six firefighters were taken to the hospital following the blaze at La Casa Del Sol Restaurant at 1105 Boulevard at 5:15 p.m. Sunday, according to Fire Chief Sam Samarelli.

“The building was so badly burned we condemned the property (Monday),’’ Samarelli said.

A total of 150 firefighters from the borough, as well as Lavallette, Toms River, Island Heights and Point Pleasant, battled the general alarm fire, according to the chief.

Lavallette firefighter Mike Phillips, who Samarelli said was hurt when he fell and struck his head, remain hospitalized in stable condition at Community Medical Center in Toms River.

The other injured firefighters, according to Samarelli, are Dan Jensen, Pat Duffy, Lou Nardone, Anthony Delicia and Stephen Vierschilling. He said the firefighters each suffered smoke inhalation, which occurred when the firefighters removed their air masks to put on fresh air packs.

He said all the firefighters — members of Seaside Heights, Lavallette and Seaside Park companies — were treated at Community Medical Center.

Read the rest HERE.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Woman Caught in the Middle of TX Warehouse Fire

Smoke could be seen as far as Horizon City after an abandoned warehouse caught fire in south central El Paso. One woman found herself driving right in the middle of the fire.

At around 11:15 a.m. Sunday, traffic was flowing along in south central El Paso.

"We were gonna go straight to get Alameda Street," said Josefina Cedeno.

Cedeno was on her way to check on her daughter.

"I have to go to the hospital because I have my daughter in the hospital," she said.

Around the 2300 block of East Mills Avenue she found herself unable to go anywhere.

"The car stopped right there and we couldn't move," she said.

Things didn’t get any better for Cedeno,“we saw some explosions from the wires," she said.

Several transformers started exploding, and a vacant, abandoned building at 2316 East Mills Avenue became fully engulfed in flames.

"The fire department started screaming at us to stop the car, don't do nothing cause the car could explode," said Cedeno.

Cedeno ran for cover. With the roof collapsed firefighters had no choice but to battle the flames from the outside. Hoses had to be pulled over the railroad tracks forcing Union Pacific to shut down for 45 minutes. Those were minutes that felt like hours for Cedeno, whose car couldn't be seen because of the thick smoke.

Read the complete story and see video HERE.

TX Firefighters Injured in High-Rise 'Fire'

Three Irving firefighters were hurt battling what was originally described as a three-alarm fire at a Las Colinas high-rise office tower Sunday morning.

But the white "smoke" seen billowing from the top of the 26-story central tower in the Williams Square complex at 5215 North O'Connor Boulevard turns out to have been water vapor from a malfunctioning sprinkler system.

Two of the firefighters were hospitalized after a hose popped off a standpipe and struck them. A third firefighter was also taken away in an ambulance for treatment. Their injuries were said to be not serious.

Irving Fire Department Assistant Chief R.W. Wilson confirmed that the 7:30 a.m. incident was not a fire. He said a "deluge system" designed to extinguish fires had been triggered by a malfunctioning sensor. The water then cascaded down on the fan blades of the building's air conditioning system, which spun the water into a cloud-like vapor seen rising from the top of the tower.

Read more HERE.

Woman, 64, Dies in Bronx (NY) Fire


(AP) -The victim of a deadly fire in the Bronx has been identified.

Police say 64-year-old Alease Jenkins was pronounced dead at a hospital following the Sunday night blaze at Parkside Houses in the Bronx.

Authorities say a 49-year-old woman was treated for smoke inhalation and is in stable condition.

The cause of the fire is under investigation but is not deemed suspicious.

Read the article HERE:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Chicago Inspector General Asks Mayor to Fire 54 Chicago Fire Prevention Firefighters

The City of Chicago's Inspector General is recommending that Mayor Rham Emmanuel terminate 54 Chicago firefighters assigned to the Fire Prevention Bureau. The bureau has been under investigation for several years for fraudelent reporting of mileage reimbursments.

The Chicago Fire Department (CFD) Commissioner has already demoted two of the bureau's top supervisors, and a CFD spokesman stated the following of Commissioner Hoff's action, “When (he’s) made aware of deficiencies in senior leadership positions, he knows that it’s important to quickly take action to ensure that the right leadership is in the right place. That includes that bureau.”

You can read about the story here.

NIOSH Releases Report on 2010 Chicago LODD

NIOSH has released its findings and recommendations after a line of duty death (LODD) fire on December 22, 2010. Two firefighters were killed after the roof collapsed at a vacant commercial building on Chicago's southside.

You can read the entire report here.

The following are the contributing factors according the report:

  • Lack of a vacant / hazardous building marking program within the city

  • Vacant / hazardous building information not part of automatic dispatch system

  • Dilapidated condition of the structure

  • Dispatch occurred during shift change resulting in fragmented crews

  • Weather conditions including snow accumulation on roof and frozen water hydrants

  • Not all fire fighters equipped with radios.

Key Recommendations:

  • Identify and mark buildings that present hazards to fire fighters and the public

  • Use risk management principles at all structure fires and especially abandoned or vacant unsecured structures

  • Train fire fighters to communicate interior conditions to the Incident Commander as soon as possible and to provide regular updates

  • Provide battalion chiefs with a staff assistant or chief's aide to help manage information and communication

  • Provide all fire fighters with radios and train them on their proper use

  • Develop, train on, and enforce the use of standard operating procedures that specifically address operations in abandoned and vacant structures

Asheville (NC) Fatal Fire Update: Water Pipes Appear to Have Worked

A pipe system designed to carry water from a street hydrant to the inside of an office building where a firefighter died battling a blaze appears to have been working, the Fire Department's commander said Friday.

In his first interview since the July 28 fire, department Chief Scott Burnette said the standpipe system at 445 Biltmore Avenue will be investigated, though he has no indication of problems.

“It is critical to us to understand whether or not that was functioning as it was designed,” he said. “We have no information, as of today, that there were issues with that standpipe system.”

Nearly 25 minutes passed from the time the first trucks left their stations about 12:30 p.m. until a crew reported they were finally putting water on the blaze from a ladder truck, according to recordings later published on a website.

Firefighters, in a recording of their transmissions during the fire, repeatedly made references to a lack of water.

Capt. Jeff Bowen, a 13-year department veteran, died from cardiac arrest after exposure to heat and smoke.

Federal investigators said Thursday that the fire had been deliberately set.

Read more HERE.

Friday, August 5, 2011

NIOSH Report on Chicago (IL) LODDs in Collapse at Abandoned Building

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation site has released a report on the fire and collapse that killed Firefighters Cory Ankum and Edward Stringer in December 2010. View the complete report HERE.

5 Firefighters Injured in Bridgeport (CT) Fire

Five firefighters were injured in a fire at a multifamily home in Bridgeport early Friday morning.

One firefighter suffered a shoulder injury when the roof of 143 Coleman St. collapsed. Four other firefighters suffered heat exhaustion.

The fire broke out in the 19th century boarding house at 3:50 a.m. and it was escalated to two alarms.


Firefighters helped the residents who were not able to get out on their own.

“We had people in the windows. We were pulling them out, one after another,” Deputy Chief Bruce Porzett, of the Bridgeport Fire Department, said. “These guys were walking through walls of fire. They did a great job. Nobody died, which I'm really surprised (about).”

Fire officials said the building had half a dozen roofs on the building, but should not have had more than three.

2 Killed in Kansas City (KS) Fire

From The Kansas City Star:
An early morning fire swept through a Kansas City, Kan., house, killing a 70-year-old woman and a 12-year-old boy.

The two were pulled from separate upstairs bedrooms by firefighters and rescuers performed CPR on them outside the house before taking them to a hospital in critical condition, said Deputy Chief Kevin Shirley, a spokesman for the Kansas City, Kan., Fire Department.

The woman, Naomi Denham, was pronounced dead at the hospital. The boy, Javeon Denham, died a little while later, Shirley said.

They both died from smoke inhalation and burns suffered in the fire, Shirley said. Firefighters said the two were related, but they didn’t know if the woman was the boy’s aunt or grandmother.

OR Fire Department Ambulance Involved in Crash

From the Yamhill Valley News-Register:
A Newberg Fire Department ambulance with a patient on board was involved in a two-vehicle, high-speed crash about 2:30 Thursday afternoon at Southwest Scholls Ferry near Barrows Road.

Firefighter/paramedics Shannon Hankel, 39, who was driving the ambulance, and Jared Wick, 26, who was in the back treating an unidentified 90-year-old woman with a broken hip, sustained minor injuries. The woman was transported to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, the ambulance's original destination from Providence Newberg Medical Center. Hankel and Wick were also taken to the hospital, treated for minor injuries and released.

TX Firefighters Rescue Man from Cell Phone Tower

A cellphone tower worker is in stable condition after a long and harrowing rescue by Burleson firefighters, who climbed 760 feet of hot metal to bring him down.

Officials say the man became disoriented in the heat and took off his safety harness, collapsing on a ledge at the top of the tower late Wednesday evening.

Firefighter Dallas Fowler reached him first.

"I was cramping," he said. "I had to stop, but I had to keep pushing on through."

Two more firefighters joined him at the top. Their arms, hands and legs burned in pain while the wind blew their ropes sideways. Since they couldn't get to the stricken worker out onto the platform, they tossed him a bag of saline intended for an IV, which he drank.

"When we got to him, I didn't know we could get him down," Fowler said.

They started their climb at about 8 p.m. and the rescue lasted nearly seven hours.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fire That Killed Asheville (NC) Firefighter Was Arson, ATF Says


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), along with criminal investigators from the Asheville Fire and Police Departments and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI), have determined that the fire on July 28th, at the Medical Office Complex Building in Asheville was deliberately set. Asheville Fire Department Captain Jeffrey Scott Bowen was killed in that fire and several other firefighters had to be treated at area hospitals.

Over $20 million in damage occurred as a result of the fire. The investigation is being conducted jointly by ATF, the Asheville Police and Fire Departments and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI).

For more details go HERE. For more on this fatal incident, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cincinnati (OH) Firefighter Hurt in Apparatus Accident

Cincinnati Engine Truck 32 went left of center just before 9 a.m. and struck an electric pole, along with three other vehicles, according to police at the scene. A fire spokesman confirmed one firefighter was injured. The firefighter’s name has not been released, although officials said injuries were not life-threatening.

Everyone on the fire truck was being checked for injuries, as required by protocol.

For an fascinating training video on aerial rollover accidents, CLICK HERE. Visit our fireEMS section for a series on apparatus driving from Rob Raheb.

Body Found in CA Home 2 Days After Fire

From the AP, via
Authorities say a body has been found in a Pasadena home where a fire broke out earlier this week.

Pasadena police Lt. Rodney Wallace says the body was found Tuesday inside a detached garage, two days after fire broke out at the home on South San Marino Avenue.

Wallace tells the Pasadena Star News that the death is being ruled "suspicious."

Wallace says it's not clear if the person died as a result of the fire or some other cause. The person has not been identified.

Police say the body was found by a private arson investigator who went to the home to conduct a follow-up investigation.

Pasadena fire spokeswoman Lisa Derderian says firefighters searched the burned area twice on Sunday but did not find a body.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Off-Duty Memphis (TN) Firefighter Arrested for Interfering with House Fire

[William] Land, who is a firefighter for the Memphis Fire Department, is currently out on bond. Police say he was charged when he wouldn't leave his home and let Southaven firefighters do their job over the weekend. Land's accused of interfering with firefighters and disobeying the officers who showed up when investigators believe something in his kitchen caught fire sometime before 4 am Saturday morning.

"He had extinguished the fire for the most part, but there was still a lot of smoke."

According to police, land was upset about the fire department’s response time, and let them know it. They say he wasn't wearing any protective gear, and yet refused to wait outside.

Monday, August 1, 2011

De Niro to Host 9/11 Film on CBS

(AP) - Actor Robert De Niro will host CBS' update of its award-winning film on the September 11 terrorist attacks to mark the 10th anniversary next month.

CBS will revisit its film, "9/11," first broadcast in 2002, including new interviews with firefighters and others who were part of the first film. The Peabody Award-winning film contains the only known footage of the first plane striking the World Trade Center.

The special will be broadcast over two hours on the night of the anniversary.

Read more HERE

PA Apartment Fire Injures 13, Including 9 Firefighters

From the Reading Eagle:
Nine firefighters and four residents were injured Sunday morning in a fire in an apartment house in Reading, fire officials said.

The fire started about 10 a.m. on the second floor of the building at 245 S. 10th St. and quickly spread to the second floor of the adjoining apartment building at 243 S. 10th, Deputy Fire Chief Ron E. Wentzel Jr. said.

A total of 16 residents were displaced, officials said.

Four third-floor residents of the building at 245 S. 10th were taken by ambulance to Reading Hospital, where they were treated for smoke inhalation, Wentzel said.

At least one of the victims is an infant, he said.


Eight firefighters were treated at the scene for heat exhaustion, and one firefighter was treated for burns to his hands and wrists, Wentzel said.

Read more HERE.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Another Vacant Building Fire in Camden, NJ

The Camden (NJ) Fire Department took nearly an hour to bring another 3 alarm fire in a vacant warehouse under control early Saturday morning.

The Camden Fire Department has had numerous greater-alarm vacant warehouse fires this summer that included 12 alarm and 8 alarm fires.

Read about the most recent one here.

Thieves Burglarize D.C. Firehouse

Thieves ransacked a D.C. firehouse after burglarized it while firefighters were at a blaze nearby. The thieves ran off with wallets, keys, a uniform, and a firefighter's BMW. In May, the City began deploying fire apparatus to 14 crime-ridden neighborhoods in an attempt to deter crime. Firefighters are not to act as police officers, however, are required to report anything suspicious or happening to the dispatcher.

Check out the story here.

Head of New York City's 911 System Resigns

The head of New York City's embattled 911 system has resigned after spending less than a year at the helm. Glen Funk, who held a similar position in Chicago, was hired to head the Office of Citywide Emergency Communications after numerous problems with the City's 911 response to last year's December snowstorms. City Hall sources state that Funk was 'pushed-out,' while officials deny that claim. Funk's last day in the position will be August 11.

You can read the story here.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

NYC Mayor Bloomberg Outlines Plans for 9/11 Anniversary

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomber has announced the City's plans for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Bloomberg stressed that the anniversary should not be politicized. The ceremony will be led by Presidents Obama and Bush, and Governers Pataki, Christie and Guilliani. The general public will not be allowed into the site until September 12.

Here's the story.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Minneapolis Fire Department Set to Layoff 50 Firefighters

The Minneapolis Fire Department is bracing for the layoffs of up to 50 firefighters after a $1.45M budget shortfall. The chief sent out an email to department members warning them of the possible layoffs after the City lost $23M in State aid.

You can read the story here.

Salisbury (MA) Firefighter Dies After Being Injured at Station

Update: Officials say a Salisbury firefighter was killed after a fire department vehicle he was working on at headquarters slipped from a jack and landed on him.

Salisbury Deputy Fire Chief Steven LeSage said, "It is with great sadness that I announce the death of Salisbury fire Lt. Tim Oliveria who passed away this afternoon." Lt. Oliveria was injured in an accident that occurred at the Lafayette Street Fire Headquarters Friday afternoon while working on a department vehicle.

Read more HERE.

A Salisbury firefighter was seriously injured Friday when he was crushed by a vehicle behind the fire station.

The firefighter, a man in his 50s, was working on a vehicle behind the Lafayette Road fire station when it fell on him. Fire officials did not specify what kind of vehicle fell on him, but did say it was not a fire engine.

The firefighter, said to be a lieutenant and a mechanic for the department, was initially taken to Anna Jaques Hospital but was then flown to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

More Briefings on Tulsa (OK) Firefighter Lawsuit over Political Campaigning

From the Tulsa World:
A federal judge has ordered further briefing in a lawsuit alleging that Mayor Dewey Bartlett violated the rights of Tulsa firefighters when he ordered them not to campaign in municipal elections.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell heard arguments Thursday regarding the firefighters' union's request for a preliminary injunction that would let them campaign in upcoming municipal elections.

The judge gave the parties until Tuesday to submit proposed findings to the court.

The lawsuit, filed by the Tulsa Fire Fighters Association Local 176 and four of its officials against the city and Bartlett, alleges that the mayor's order violates not only the U.S. Constitution but also the Oklahoma Constitution, at least two state laws and at least one city ordinance.

Tulsa Fire Capt. Chad Miller, the only witness called to the stand by either side, said that with primary elections set for Sept. 13, every day firefighters are not allowed to campaign on behalf of candidates they support "is a day we can't get back," he said.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

8 Firefighters Injured in Asheville (NC) Fire; 1 Reported Dead

Eight firefighters were hospitalized after battling a fire at a medical building, 445 Biltmore Center, on the 5th floor.

The Ashville Fire PIO, Kelley Webb, says firefighters responded to the fire at about 1 p.m.

Mission Hospital officials said the building was evacuated. The medical building is not part of the hospital.

More than 50 firefighters responded to the fire. Webb says the part of the building containing the fire did not have sprinklers.

Asheville Fire says two firefighters were lost in the building and had to be taken to the hospital after they were found.
WLOS ABC 13 reports that one firefighter has died. See video HERE and HERE.

New Haven 20 to Settle for $2M in Reverse Discrimination Suit

From the Hartford Courant:
Seven years after suing New Haven in a reverse discrimination case that was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, 20 white firefighters who claimed their promotions were blocked by city affirmative action policy were poised to settle for about $2 million Thursday.

A city official said New Haven would formally announce a settlement later today. Karen Lee Torre, the Branford attorney who sued and won the case at the nation’s highest court in 2009, was not immediately available Thursday morning.

Although the firefighters, one of whom was both white and Hispanic, won at the Supreme Court, additional issues continued to be litigated as recently as last week in U.S. District Court in New Haven. Offers of settlement filed by the city late Wednesday appear to have ended the case.

AZ Wildland Firefighter Found Dead

Authorities say a firefighter was found dead while working on a lightning-caused fire near Whiteriver last weekend.

Fort Apache Hotshot crew member Deon "Dino" Classay was found deceased after he failed to return to an established camp on the evening on July 23, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Classay, 43, was part of a crew fighting the Diamond Fire on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.

As resources returned to camp for the night, the incident commander determined Classay was not accounted for and initiated a search.

After attempts to locate Classay were unsuccessful, local, county and state law enforcement agencies were called in.

Classay's body was found at 6:18 a.m. on July 24, according to authorities.

Fire Board: Firefighters Made Mistakes at Fatal MO Fire

A group of Weston residents are questioning how firefighters tackled a fire that left a business owner dead earlier this month, and on Wednesday evening they took their concerns to the West Platte Fire Board to try and get some answers.

George Treese, owner of Old Geezer's Mantiques in Weston, was killed in a fire that swepted through his business and attached apartment on July 4th. A Weston resident shot video of the fire, and now many people say that the fire department waited far too long to start putting water on the fire.

"We know there was a delay of 5 minutes of pressurized water to the fire line at the side door, which also delayed entry into the building. The cause of delay was an incorrect pumping procedure," said Kenny Clemens, president of the West Platte Fire Board. The board asked the Riverside, Missouri, Fire Captain Dave Johnson to review the video to study the department's procedures.

"The firefighter that was assigned the pumping the fire was not 100 percent familiar with the apparatus, and the error occurred," said Capt. Johnson, who says that by his assessment, it took over eight minutes for water to be put on the fire.

View our pump operator simulator HERE, or read up on training pump operators HERE.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Firefighters Suffer Minor Injures in RI House Fire

From the Providence Journal news blog:
A fire early Tuesday morning in a vacant triple decker on Federal Hill was quickly extinguished, although three firefighters suffered minor injuries, said Deputy Chief James Mirza of the Providence Fire Department.

The firefighters' injuries were not disclosed. They were transported to an area hospital for treatment.

Monday, July 25, 2011

CT Firefighters Rescue Woman Who Fell Over Waterfall

From the Hartford Courant:
Firefighters rescued a Manchester woman who slipped and plunged 15 feet over a waterfall Sunday night.

The 41-year-old woman was walking with her 14-year-old daughter across the top of the waterfall off a trail on Case Mountain when she slipped and fell, landing in rocks at the bottom of the falls, according to the fire department.


Upon arrival, firefighters found the woman injured and trapped in the rocks at the bottom of the falls. Using ropes, the department was lowered firefighters to the bottom of the falls, where they reached the woman at 8:45 p.m.

The woman, who remained conscious throughout the ordeal, was freed from the rocks and pulled to safety with a rescue basket, according to the department. She was transported to the hospital, where she was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Firefighters said that the rescue, done in the dark, was a difficult maneuver because of the combination of poor visibility, accessibility issues, the water and the heat.

For more info on such rescue situations, read "Establishing the Rope Rescue Anchor System", "Patient Packaging for Rope Rescue Operations", and "Rope Rescue Saves Stranded Hikers".

Unattended Candles Started MN Fire that Killed 6

From the Star Tribune:
Candles lit for an evening meal on a three-season porch were left burning and then started the fire at a New Ulm, Minn., bed and breakfast that killed six people early this month, according to investigators' findings released Monday.

The Bohemian Bed and Breakfast fire July 2 has been ruled accidental.

The determinations were made by the New Ulm Fire and Police departments and the state fire marshal's office.

"Based on witness statements and fire patterns ... the fire built energy before breaking into the home through the picture windows of the TV and the grand staircase area," read the report, submitted by state fire marshal investigator Denise DeMars.

3 Injured in ND Oil Well Blast

From the AP via
Natural gas ignited during drilling operations at an oil well in western North Dakota, starting a fire that severely burned two men, injured another and will likely burn for at least a week before it's brought under control, the state's top oil regulator said Monday.

Lynn Helms, the director of the state Department of Mineral Resources, said the fire started Sunday at the site near Beach. The drill rig toppled during the blaze, and oil, gas and debris were still burning Monday, he said.

Atlantic City (NJ) Firefighters Plan Strategy for Massive Casino

Next year, the city’s skyline will grow taller with the completion of Revel’s 710-foot casino — 200 feet higher than Harrah’s, which is now the city’s tallest building. Only the 781-foot Goldman Sachs Building in Jersey City will be taller in the state.

The towering plans raise the question: Can the city’s fire department handle a blaze on the highest floors of a structure that size?

Fire Chief Dennis Brooks said Atlantic City is prepared for high-rise fires with state-of-the-art suppression systems, training for both firefighters and civilian workers, and lots of planning. That includes fire personnel and casino representatives meeting monthly, and specific plans for each of the city’s approximately 160 high-rises, which are defined by the National Fire Protection Association as any building 75 feet or taller.

All the planning means “you’re not going into something cold,” Brooks said. “You can never completely simulate the actual thing, but you can get close.”

For more on firefighting tactics at high-rise casinos, read "Modern Building Materials Are Factors in Atlantic City Fires" and "Fire Strikes Las Vegas High-Rise."

Atlantic City Readies Firefighting Plans for 710-foot Revel


ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Atlantic City firefighters are facing a tall challenge when one of New Jersey's tallest buildings opens next year.

The 710-foot-tall Revel casino is scheduled to open next May. Among New Jersey skyscrapers, only the 781-foot tall Goldman Sachs building in Jersey City is taller.

Fighting a fire at Revel will rely on sprinkler systems and internal pipes, as well as scores of firefighters working from inside the building.

The fire department's tallest ladders can only reach 100 feet.

Fire Chief Dennis Brooks told The Press of Atlantic City his department is already planning and training for Revel.

Read more HERE

MA Chiefs Concerned About Tanker Traffic Hazard

From the Boston Herald:
After another massive North Shore tanker fire, residents and fire officials say it’s time for the state to step in with new measures to control the truck traffic from local fuel facilities before more people are killed.

“We need to have just one lane for all those trucks, and limit them to 35 miles an hour,” said Allan Huberman, as he lifted debris from his fire-scorched family greenhouse business yesterday. “We’ve had four or five major accidents on that road, just in the last couple of years. People are going too fast, and you can’t, not with all that on-and-off traffic.”

“It’s a serious concern of ours and has been forever,” Saugus fire Chief James Blanchard said about the fuel trucks moving through densely populated areas. His fire crews evacuated 120 people from their homes early Saturday morning.

Blanchard said drug testing of drivers and cutting back on rotaries had helped, but now it may be time for other changes, such as widening sections of Route 1.

In nearby Everett, fire Chief David Butler agreed something has to change. Overturned tanker fires hit Revere’s Brown Circle in 2009 and in Everett in 2007.

“We’ve got a lot of this coming out of my city, and we’re not getting any extra help because of it,” Butler said. “There is an unfair strain put on some of these cities.”

Friday, July 22, 2011

41 Killed in Bus Fire in Central China


BEIJING (AP) — An overloaded double-decker bus burst into flames on a highway in central China early Friday, killing 41 people on board and injuring six, state media said.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the six passengers who managed to escape the blaze in Henan province's Xinyang city were all hospitalized, with one in critical condition. It said the sleeper coach had a 35-passenger limit but was carrying 47 people.

Officials said they would have to use DNA tests to identify the bodies because they were so badly burned, Xinhua reported.

Read more HERE

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Blast Triggers Four-Alarm Fire in NYC



New York, NY - An explosion rocked a city water treatment plant in Upper Manhattan today and sparked a large blaze.

Plant workers were evacuated after the blast in the engine room on West 135th Street, near Twelfth Avenue around 11:45 a.m. None were injured, but fuel in the plant caused the blaze to hit four alarms, said a fire department spokesman. Two nearby playgrounds were evacuated.

It took 170 firefighters about three hours to place the fire under control around 3 p.m.

Power is switched off at the plant, but the city hopes to reopen it soon, said a Department of Environmental Protection spokesman. The city's water faces no health risks from the disruption caused by the blaze.

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.

Town Hall Meetings Set for 9/11 Victims Fund


JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Officials will hold several town hall meetings next week in New Jersey and New York to speak with potential applicants for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

Special Master Sheila Birnbaum will explain who is eligible and how the fund works.

Last December, Congress approved providing new aid to survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and to responders who became ill working in its ruins.

The town halls will take place at Queens Borough Hall on July 27; at Jersey City City Hall on July 28; and on Aug. 2 at the Marriott Hotel in Melville, N.Y.


FDNY Truck to be Lowered Into WTC Exhibition Space


(AP) - A fire truck that was used during the World Trade Center evacuation will be lowered into exhibition space for the National September 11 Memorial Museum.

The truck is from the FDNY’s Ladder Company 3, which helped civilians escape from the north tower.

A crane will lower it 70 feet into the site on Wednesday afternoon.

The memorial plaza opens to the public on Sept. 12, a day after the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack. The museum will open next year.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Boozy Bronx Firefighter Busted After Crashing Car

From the

By Lorena Mongrelli

A boozed-up firefighter fled the scene of an accident after crashing his car and injuring two occupants in another vehicle, cops said.

Firefighter Lanier Brown was driving a green Corvette northbound on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx when he plowed his car into another vehicle near Bedford Park Boulevard at 10:31 p.m., cops said. A male and female occupant in theother car suffered neck and back injuries, police sources said. Brown sped off but was later apprehended by responding police.

He was charged with DWI, leaving the scene of an accident with injury and refusal to take a breathalyzer.

The victims were taken to St. Barnabas Hospital in stable condition.


3 Killed in Rural IL House Fire

From the AP, via the Chicago Tribune:
The LaSalle County sheriff's department says three people were found dead in a house that was destroyed by fire.

Sheriff Thomas Templeton says the body of a woman and two children were found Thursday in an upstairs bedroom of the house, located in a rural area between Streator and Grand Ridge in central Illinois.

According to Templeton, the home's owner, Gary Shepard, was heading home from work when he discovered the fire and notified the authorities.

Responding deputies and Shepard attempted to gain entry to the home, but were driven back by the flames.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Man Bursts into Flames at San Francisco Porn Shop


SAN FRANCISCO -- A man caught fire Wednesday evening inside a San Francisco porn store and was fighting for his life in the hospital after suffering third-degree burns, KCBS-TV reported.

Arson experts said it was not clear what ignited the fire but police said the man had been watching videos in a private booth when the blaze erupted.

The man ran out the front door of the adult arcade "engulfed in flames" and was spotted by cops standing across the street, a police spokesman told KCBS.

"He came out of the building already on fire," Lt. Kevin McNaughton said.

Firefighters, who luckily were only about a block away on an unrelated call, raced to the scene and doused the flames.


9/11 Memorial Snubs Survivors


By Jennifer Fermino

Survivors who fled the burning Twin Towers are not invited to the 10th-anniversary remembrance of the terror attacks because there's no room at the new 9/11 Memorial, it was announced yesterday.

Members of the WTC Survivors' Network -- who had attended the somber services at Ground Zero every year -- asked to be invited to the observance at the memorial but were turned down.

"Space constraints on the memorial plaza will limit the attendees to victims' families," a spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg said.


Home in Upstate NY Explodes, Killing at Least Four


By Chris Carola

SALEM, N.Y. (AP) — An explosion leveled a two-family home in upstate New York Wednesday afternoon, blowing debris hundreds of feet and killing four people, police said.

Eight others were injured, including a baby. Three of the dead were adults, said State Police Lt. John Agresta. The age of the fourth person, who died later in the day, was not immediately known late Wednesday.

The blast shook tiny Salem, about 40 miles northeast of the state capital of Albany.

"It sounded like a hundred sticks of dynamite going off," said Josh Nelson of Salem, who was several miles away.

The blast shook a restaurant a half-mile away, restaurant employee Diane Keys told the Glens Falls Post-Star newspaper.

Neighbor Joseph Brandmeyer ran to the home after hearing the explosion to find pieces of furniture, board and other debris scattered around the yard and road and in trees. He said he saw at least three bodies under tarps.

Brandmeyer said he was helping a woman out of the rubble when he saw spotted her limp baby under a board.

Read more HERE

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dallas (TX) Firefighters Injured in Collapse at House Fire

From the AP, via
Four Dallas firefighters have been injured battling an early morning house fire.

Dallas Fire Rescue spokesman Jason Evans said when firefighters arrived at the vacant, one-story wood-frame house shortly after midnight Wednesday they saw flames rising from the back of the roof.

Evans said a firefighter working on top of the house was injured when the roof collapsed beneath him.

He landed near a firefighting team working inside the house and was immediately helped out.

Evans said that firefighter suffered facial burns and smoke inhalation and was taken to Parkland Hospital where he was in stable condition.

Two other firefighters had minor burns from falling debris while a third suffered from smoke inhalation. All were taken to the hospital for treatment.

MD Firefighter Hospitalized After Apartment Fire

From the Owings Mills Patch:
A three-alarm fire at Old Coach Lane in Owings Mills Tuesday afternoon injured one volunteer firefighter and displaced 25 people, including 12 children, a Baltimore County Fire Department spokesman said.


Firefighters were dispatched at 2:09 p.m., Ringgold said. When the first firefighters arrived, they immediately requested a second alarm. A third alarm was requested at about 2:30 p.m.

The injured firefighter, from Owings Mills Volunteer Fire Company, was sent to Sinai Hospital for heat exhaustion, Ringgold said. The firefighter’s identity was not immediately available.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Extreme Heat Takes its Toll on OK Firefighters

Nearly two dozen states are experiencing sweltering temperatures, many over the 100-degree mark, creating serious danger for firefighters and other outside workers. A story from Oklahoma serves as a reminder about operating in such temperatures:
If we think we have it bad in this heat, firefighters have it even worse.

Because of the heat, they're working in ten minute rotations at fire scene. They told News On 6 after the threat is over, that's when they really feel the heat.

"When it's over and done, you do feel the heat and realize you've been fighting the fire in 90 plus degree weather, high humidity's and with all the gear that we wear, you're keeping all of that heat in,"Tim Smallwood, with the Tulsa Fire Department, said.

Read more HERE.

Four-Alarm Fire Nearly Destroys Historic NYC Synagogue


By Kerry Wills and Barry Paddock

New York - A raging four-alarm fire nearly destroyed a historic upper East Side synagogue on Monday night.

The powerful blaze broke out about 8:30 p.m. inside Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on E. 85th St., officials said.

Firefighters arrived to find heavy flames pouring out of the top floor and roof of the locked and empty five-story building.

"There was very heavy damage on the upper floors," said FDNY Chief Robert Sweeney. "The roof burned through and collapsed."

Residents of neighboring buildings were evacuated as a precaution as the fire raged for more than an hour.

"Everything was in flames," said witness Adi Weintraub, 28, who has relatives who are members of the synagogue. "I was crying. It was painful."

Read more HERE

Monday, July 11, 2011

Amtrak Train Hits Tractor Trailer in ME

From the AP via The Washington Post:
An Amtrak train smashed into a tractor-trailer Monday, causing an explosion that set both on fire and sent flames more than three stories high, a witness and officials said. The truck driver was killed.

Some of the train’s 109 passengers were injured, but it’s not clear how many or how seriously they were hurt, said Steve McCausland from the Maine Department of Public Safety. The crash happened at about 11 a.m. in North Berwick, about 40 miles south of Portland.

Unnnamed former NYC policeman alleges News of the World journalists offered pay for 9/11 victims' phone numbers.

From news:

By Joe Pompeo

The British press Monday dropped two more bombshells in the News of the World phone-hacking saga.

First up: News of the World journalists, who have been accused of horrifically intrusive phone-hacking tactics in the U.K., may also have illegally accessed the cell phones of those who perished in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks.

That's what a source tells one of Britain's other notoriously lurid tabloids, the Daily Mirror. The Mirror reports that an unnamed private investigator and former New York City police officer alleges that News of the World journalists offered to pay him for 9/11 victims' phone numbers and call log details.

The 9/11 allegation comes on the heels of last week's revelations that News of the World had tapped into the voicemails of people whose loved ones were killed in the subway bombings that rocked Britain on July 7, 2005. Thanks to that report, along with similarly damaging scoops that the phone-hacking victims included a murdered 13-year-old girl and veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 168-year-old paper shuttered its operations following Sunday's issue.

Read more HERE

Marijuana Plants Discovered During Yonkers House Fire


YONKERS, N.Y. (AP) — Firefighters discovered dozens of marijuana plants while battling a blaze at a Yonkers house.

Firefighters responding to the fire at 2:40 a.m. yesterday found four bedrooms filled with the plants.

Yonkers Assistant Fire Chief George Kielb told the Journal News “it was basically a pot-growing house.”

Kielb said the house looked like a normal home from the outside but all the windows were covered with plywood.

No one was at home when firefighters responded to the fire, which burned through part of the roof.

Kielb said the marijuana was found under heating lamps in a hydroponic system connected to electrical lines that had been diverted around the home’s meter box.

The investigation into the fire and marijuana is continuing.

Judge Nixes Firefighter's Suit to Block NYC Mosque

From news:

By Liz Goodman - The Lookout

Remember last summer's raging controversy over a proposed mosque in lower Manhattan?

Well, ex-firefighter Timothy Brown certainly does--he's been locked in a court battle to block the mosque's construction ever since. Brown argued that the 150-year-old building on Park Place that will be knocked down to make way for Park51 should have been declared a landmark, and preserved by the city.

Like many opponents of the mosque--which is part of a proposed Muslim cultural complex called Park51--argued that it would be too close to the site of the Sept. 11 attacks. Park51's supporters said that they are promoting a mainstream, ecumenically brand of Islam that has nothing to do with the radical and violent views of the hijackers--and that the furor over the project represented a wider trend of anti-Muslim sentiment in the country.

Read more HERE

Firefighter Rescues 3 from Wreck in LA

Jeff Tarver is a professional firefighter, but he received some commendable assistance from four untrained helpers — his wife, his teenage son and two of his son's friends — during a dramatic rescue.

Tarver said the helpers came through with flying colors, assisting in the rescue of three badly injured victims of a traffic accident in which a vehicle hit a tree and caught fire on La. Highway 457 in the Poland community of Rapides Parish.

Jeff Tarver and his wife, Terri, their son, Payten, and Payten's friends, Mason Guillory and Tyler Hyde, all of the Poland community, helped save a man, a woman and 5-year-old child from the burning vehicle in late May.

The man saved from the accident was Poland resident David Barrios, according to Jeff Tarver. Barrios could not be contacted by The Town Talk.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

SD Firefighter Physical Fitness Test Criticized

From the AP, via
Sioux Falls firefighters are required to pass a physical fitness test that mimics on-the-job duties, but a former labor representative maintains that the test has caused injuries and discriminates against women and older workers.

Administrators with the city department say the test protects the public, incorporates national trends and is a fair way to measure whether a firefighter is fit for the job. The test, which firefighters must pass to keep their jobs, has been modified some and will continue to be tweaked, if needed, they say.

"These tasks are not any more difficult than what a firefighter has to do normally," said recently retired fire Chief Donn Hill, who negotiated the testing into the firefighters' last contract. "If someone can't pass this test, they were basically not doing the job before and were relying on other members of their crew to do the job for them."

It's an issue that divides the opinions of former and current union leadership, compares Sioux Falls firefighter requirements with those in other communities and questions what type of testing is best for both firefighters and community safety.

Two Firefighters Hurt Battling OH House Fire

Firefighters battled both heat and flames while putting out a large house fire in Hamilton Saturday night.

Crews responded to a residential structure fire call in the 1800 block of Kahn Avenue at about 5:40 p.m. Flames were showing on three floors and through the roof of a three-story duplex when firefighters arrived, according to a release.

All residents of the building had left the structure before firefighters arrived.

The release said firefighters began a defensive attack on the fire. The fire was "complicated" to put out, according to the release, because of the hot weather and an electrical service line to the house that burnt through but remained live on the ground.

While battling the blaze, two firefighters suffered heat related injuries, according to the release. One firefighter was treated on the scene while the other was taken to the hospital to be checked out.

For more on electrical safety for firefighters, CLICK HERE and HERE.

Veteran OH Firefighter Badly Burned in House Fire

A veteran University Heights firefighter is being treated at the burn unit of MetroHealth Medical Center after being hurt fighting a house fire on Milton Drive early Saturday.

The injured firefighter, Paul Nees, 58, has been with the University Heights department for about 22 years and a firefighter for more than 30 years, said University Heights fire Capt. Jim Leffler. Nees had second-degree burns to his arms, shoulders and back.

Leffler said the department responded to a call of a house fire with people trapped inside at 1:57 a.m. When firefighters arrived, a woman who lived in the house was climbing down an extension ladder provided by a neighbor from a second-story bedroom. The father and his three children had escaped by climbing out onto a flat roof at the back of the house.

Nees and two of his colleagues then went inside to fight the fire. As the fire grew in intensity, Nees was burned by a "flash over" that knocked him to the floor, Leffler said. Another firefighter helped him outside. A South Euclid rescue squad took Nees to Hillcrest Hospital, where he was taken by helicopter to MetroHealth.

For more on the phenomenon of flashover, try these articles:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

NJ Trucker Guilty in Crash That Killed MT Firefighter

From the AP, via
A 57-year-old truck driver who was involved in a crash that killed a volunteer firefighter responding to a wreck on Interstate 90 near Haugan has been convicted of negligent homicide and negligent endangerment.

The Missoulian reported Friday a jury has convicted Sergey Buslayev, of Emerson, N.J., for the Dec. 17, 2008, crash that killed 59-year-old Jerry Parrick, a firefighter for the West End Volunteer Fire Department in Mineral County. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 9.

Three Canton (MS) Firefighters Injured, One Seriously

A Canton firefighter was hospitalized, and equipment failure may be to blame, a state fire official said.

Three firefighters were injured Wednesday afternoon while battling a fire at 380 N. West St., in Canton, said State Fire Marshal's Office Investigator Jimmy Jackson. The injuries to two of the firefighters were relatively minor -- one had a twisted ankle and the other minor cuts and scrapes, Jackson said.

But the third firefighter, Daniel Watkins, 28, fell inside the burning house and was unconscious, Jackson said. He was burned on his face and chest and suffered smoke inhalation, fire officials said. Watkins remained Friday in the intensive care unit at Baptist Hospital.