Friday, April 29, 2011

Former Firefighter Drafted by Eagles, Gets Standing Ovation

From Yahoo Sports:

Danny Watkins, the Baylor offensive lineman who was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 23rd pick in the NFL draft, is:

a. The oldest player taken in the first round.

b. Only the fourth Canadian ever selected in the opening round.

c. Without his two front teeth, the product of an old hockey injury (he has replacements).

d. Someone who didn't play football in high school.

e. A former volunteer firefighter.

f. The most compelling story of the 2011 NFL draft.

When his name was read at the draft, Watkins received a standing ovation from a group of his fellow firefighters from the West Kelowna Fire Department in British Columbia. Watkins joined the department as a volunteer at age 16.

See the video of Watkins at the NFL Draft and read more HERE

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Conviction in 2001 Death of Phoenix (AZ) Firefighter

A Maricopa County Superior Court jury on Monday found an Iraq war veteran guilty of negligent homicide in the 2001 death of a Phoenix firefighter.

The jury also found Christopher Benitez guilty of two counts of arson for lighting a fire that consumed a supermarket.

Firefighter Bret Tarver, who responded to the blaze, died of burns and smoke inhalation after becoming tangled in debris inside the burning market.

Benitez will be sentenced June 3.

Read more HERE. Read the complete fatality report on the incident HERE (PDF).

Monday, April 25, 2011

Reno (NV) Firefighter Saves Man from Motel Room Fire

A man is recovering from injuries sustained in a motel room fire that happened over the weekend.

Saturday morning, Reno firefighters responded to an activated fire alarm at the Lakemill Lodge located at 200 Mill Street.

"During investigation, the crew from Engine 1 located a small room and contents fire that was heavily charged with smoke and flames present,” advised Battalion Chief Tim Spencer. “After immediately making entry, Captain Lenon of Engine 1 found an elderly male occupant on the floor of the room and quickly pulled the man to safety.”

As a result of the fire, the elderly male received third degree burns and was transported to a local hospital. His condition at this time is unknown.

Read more HERE.

Colorado Mall Fire Suspect was Just Freed from Prison

From Yahoo News:

LITTLETON, Colo. – The man authorities say they suspect of carrying out an apparent attempted bombing at a Colorado shopping mall had been released from prison a week earlier.

The FBI said Sunday that agents are looking for Earl Albert Moore after Wednesday's fire at Southwest Plaza Mall, about two miles from Columbine High School, where 13 people were killed 12 years ago.

Federal Bureau of Prisons records show that Moore, 65, was released from prison April 13.

FBI spokesman Dave Joly said Moore served time in a Georgia federal prison. Federal court records show that Moore pleaded guilty in May 2005 to robbing a bank in Crab Orchard, W.Va., of $2,546.

A judge sentenced Moore to between 15 and 19 years in prison, but a federal appeals court in 2006 ruled his stiff sentence was "unreasonable" and Moore's sentence was reduced to seven years.

Authorities said they discovered a pipe bomb and two propane tanks in a hallway of the mall's food court after firefighters responded to a fire. The explosives, which did not detonate, were found after the fire in the hallway prompted an evacuation of the mall. No one was injured.

Read more HERE

Bronx (NY) Fire Kills 3

From the New York Daily News:
A fast-moving fire ripped through a Bronx brownstone early Monday, killing three people and injuring six, officials said.

The two-alarm fire erupted on the second floor of 2321 Prospect Ave. in Belmont about 3:30 a.m. and quickly spread to the floor above.

"There were heavy fire conditions on both the second and third floors of a three-story brownstone. When we arrived, numerous people on the street were screaming," FDNY Assistant Deputy Chief James Leonard said.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

Read more HERE.

Long Island Home Explodes on Easter Sunday; 21 Injured by Falling Debris


The former owner of a Long Island house that exploded into pieces on Sunday - as well as nearby neighbors - were calling their survival an Easter miracle.

The explosion leveled the vacant house on Fourth St. in Brentwood about 10:40 a.m., sending debris raining down on neighboring houses and injuring 21 people, officials and neighbors said.

Donna Soto sold the doomed house 2-1/2 months ago after living there 16 years.

"In the last three months, I've had a granddaughter, another granddaughter and a grandson," Soto said, wiping away tears. "Thank God we sold that house, or they all would have been in that house today - all those babies."

Cynthia Lombardi said she was thankful to have been sick in bed on Easter morning - not watching TV in her living room.

"Their garage door came through my front living room window," said Lombardi, whose father-in-law was hospitalized with heart trouble after debris smashed into his bedroom. "My house is destroyed."

Soto said she sold the home to a real estate company, which has been renovating it in hopes of a resale. A "For Sale" sign still stood on the lawn, even as the home it advertised was obliterated.

The 21 injured neighbors were all hurt by airborne debris - but miraculously, no one suffered life-threatening injuries, officials said.

Read more HERE

6 Killed in WA House Fire

Investigators on Monday will return to the scene of a fire at a one-story residence in Vancouver, Washington, that killed six people on Easter morning.

Authorities had initially said two people died in the fire about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. On Sunday evening, Vancouver police revised the number saying firefighters found the additional bodies after sifting through the rubble of the home.

Investigators do not yet know what caused the fire, but have not ruled out arson. Neighbors told CNN affiliate KOIN they heard a loud explosion just before the home went up in flames.

Read MORE.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mayday! Mayday! Audio Tapes from Fatal Deutsche Bank Fire Played for Jury in Trial

"We're getting no water on (15)," a firefighter stated on audio from the fatal Deutsche Bank fire in lower Manhattan on August 18, 2007. The audio was played for the Jury during the trial of three building contractors charged in the deaths of two FDNY firefighters: Joseph Graffignino and Robert Beddia. The Deutsche Bank building was heavily damaged from the collapse of the adjacent World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 and was being demolished when the fire occured in 2007. At the center of the trial against the contractors is the inoperability of the building's standpipe system which, according to testimony and audio of the fire, was broken at the time of the fire. For more on the audio, click here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Toaster Reportedly Sparked Fatal MO House Fire

Investigators believe a toaster sparked a fire Wednesday that killed a mother and two children.


39-year-old Linda Light, a 10-year-old boy named Ben, and a 16-month old girl named Brooklyn died in the fire.

Just after 8:30 a.m. Wednesday Rolla Rural and Doolittle Fire Departments arrived at a home about two miles south of the Rolla along the 14000 block of South U.S. Highway 63.

Phelps County Sheriff Richard L. Lisenbe says initial 911 calls reported as many as 20 people trapped inside the burning building.

When deputies arrived, they called in more help from the Rolla City and St. James Fire Departments. Due to the heavy smoke and flames, entry couldn't be made.

Read MORE.

At Deutsche Bank Fire Trial, FDNY Captain Tells of Finding Unconscious Firefighter

From the New York Daily News:
An FDNY captain testified Thursday his chilling discovery of an unconscious firefighter who had gone missing in the blinding smoke of the fatal Deutsche Bank fire.

Capt. Matthew Moog described following a limp hose on his hands and knees as his oxygen tank ran low in the desperate search for two missing firefighters.

"I couldn't see much. I was going by feel," said the 25-year FDNY vet.

He then encountered one of the men, firefighter Robert Beddia, lying between two stairwells on the 14th floor of the burning building.

Read it all HERE.

D.C. Firefighters Injured in Fire Tell Their Story

From The Washington Post:
D.C. firefighter Theodore Douglas remembers hearing the call crackle over the radio just after 12:30 a.m.: single-family home, heavy fire in the rear.

Within minutes, Douglas and his crew were at the wood-frame house in Northeast Washington. As thick smoke filled the air, some firefighters swung their axes to break windows. Others put up ladders.

Douglas was among those who went inside. They were ready to tackle the blaze. But a fire is unpredictable, even to those who are trained to tame them

Read more HERE.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Colorado Wildfire Suspect Surrenders to Authorities

From Yahoo News:

FORT COLLINS, CO. (AP) – A man authorities say started a northern Colorado wildfire that destroyed 13 homes has turned himself in.

The Larimer County Sheriff's Office say 36-year-old Thomas Howie, of Fort Collins, surrendered Thursday, a day after an arrest warrant was issued.

He was booked and then released on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.

Read more HERE

Firefighter Injured in AZ WIldfire

From the AP via KSWT News:
A volunteer firefighter has been hurt while battling a wildfire near Sonoita.

Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Diane Drobka says the volunteer was taken to a hospital in Tucson Wednesday evening. The Arizona Daily Star reports that the extent of the injury was unclear but the firefighter was conscious.

Read more HERE.

Bomb, Propane Tanks Found at Colorado Mall

From Yahoo News:

LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) – Investigators want to question a person of interest about a pipe bomb and propane tanks found after a fire at a Littleton mall, a discovery that raised the possibility of a connection to the Columbine massacre anniversary.

Firefighters found two propane tanks and the bomb near the Southwest Plaza Mall's food court after a small fire broke out Wednesday that was quickly squelched. The mall was evacuated around noon. No one was injured and the bombs didn't explode.

Wednesday was the 12th anniversary of the shooting rampage at nearby Columbine High School and officials expressed concern that the mall incident could be somehow linked.

"The fact that has happened on April 20, 12 years later, near the school and with similar devices is very disturbing," Jefferson County sheriff's spokeswoman Jacki Kelley said.

A possible connection to Columbine will be explored.

"It's something that can't be ignored and won't be ignored," Kelley said.

Read more HERE

Editors: People with information about the man on the video or the incident call the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office tip line at 303-271-5616.


Information from: The Denver Post,

Woman, Infant Killed in MI Mobile Home Fire

From the Detroit Free Press:
A mother and her 10-month-old baby died in a St. Clair County mobile home fire Wednesday night.

Smoke was billowing from the home in the Americana Estates when Ira Township Fire Department crews arrived at about 9:30 p.m., Incident Commander Mike Holt said in a release. Inside they found the 30-year-old woman, her baby and 4-year-old twins.

Read MORE.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Firefighter Rescues Teens from CA Duplex Fire

A fire damaged a duplex in Huntington Beach today, and a firefighter rescued two teens unharmed from a second-story bedroom, authorities said.

The fire was reported at 6:48 a.m. in the 7800 block of Talbert Avenue, Huntington Beach Assistant Fire Marshal Jeff Lopez said.

The fire began in the garage of the two-story duplex, and spread to the interior of the building. The teen-age boys tried to get out through the hallway, but were driven back into the bedroom by the smoke, Lopez said.

Read more about the incident HERE.

LODD: Texas Firefighter Elias Jaquez, Dead at 49

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) has reported the death of Volunteer Firefighter Elias Jaquez, 49, of the Cactus Volunteer Fire Department of Cactus, Texas. Jaquez died as a result of serious burns on Wednesday, April 20, 2011.

The USFA notice states:

"Firefighter Jaquez, and three other firefighters were injured after a Dumas and Cactus, TX, fire truck became stuck in the rough terrain while operating on a wildland firefight. Jaquez suffered 3rd degree burns over 60% of his body and was rushed for treatment to the Lubbock Burn Center where he remained in critical condition until his passing."

The USFA notice continues to advise that funeral arrangements are pending and that a benefit fund has been established in honor of Firefighter Elias Jaquez at the Happy State Bank at

A tribute is also being paid to Firefighter Elias Jaquez at

The USFA reports that to date, 31 firefighter fatalities have been reported to USFA in 2011.

New L.A. County (CA) Fire Chief Wants Better Wildfire Protection

Los Angeles County's new fire chief wants to better protect the communications towers and historic observatory on Mount Wilson against wildfires.

The Los Angeles Times reports Tuesday that Fire Chief Daryl Osby wants to expand the brush clearance zone around Mount Wilson to 100 feet, or perhaps 300 feet in some areas.

Mount Wilson was seriously threatened by a major 2009 wildfire. Read more HERE.

GA Firefighters, Civilians Injured in Apartment Fire

From The Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Fire destroyed a building Tuesday afternoon at the Winding River Village apartments in Sandy Springs, displacing about 10 families.

Two firefighters and two civilians were taken to North Fulton Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. They are expected to be ok, according to Sandy Springs Police Lt. Steve Rose.

Crews continued to fight so-called hot spots -- areas of the building that had not completely cooled and could easily reignite -- late Tuesday afternoon, said Sandy Springs fire marshal Jeff Scarbrough. While authorities have some preliminary information on what may have caused the fire, it won't be until at least Tuesday morning before they can start investigating.


The fire began at about 12:30 p.m., said Scarbrough. Firefighters arrived to find a mother and three small children in the parking lot. They were in the apartment unit that caught fire, he said.

Crews went to the first and closest fire hydrant, which did not have water, Scarbrough said.

Scarbrough said the lack of water slowed their efforts, but crews already were hooking up hoses to other hydrants nearby.


The fire moved into the attic within 10 minutes, causing part of the roof to collapse, Scarbrough said. Crews then had to stop and come out of the building to account for each of the firefighters before they could begin working again, Scarbrough said.

Read the entire article and see photos HERE.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Worker Killed in Unusual House Collapse in NOLA

A house in New Orleans East collapsed as contractors worked to elevate it, and one person was killed, according to the New Orleans Fire Department.

It happened in the 8000 block of Mercier Street at 1:30 p.m. Monday, according to the New Orleans Fire Department. Contractors from Fusion Shoring were working to elevate the home when it collapsed.

A 32-year-old worker was killed, and fire officials were able to remove his body around 3 p.m., fire officials said.

An engineer reported that the unusual thing about the collapse was that the house moved five feet horizontally. Read the rest of the circumstances HERE.

DeKalb County (GA) Officials: Dismissing Recruits Won't Mean Loss of Federal Grant

eKalb County officials say they don't believe their decision to dismiss 82 firefighting recruits will cost them a $3 million federal grant.

The county recently received a $3 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to hire emergency staff.

The cuts reduce the total number of DeKalb County firefighters from 915 to 715. County officials say the cuts come from ambulances and the number of firefighters on trucks will not change, making the county still eligible to keep the money.

Officials say releasing the recruits is expected to save the county $5 million.

Read more HERE.

TX Firefighter Burned While Rescuing Colleague

Injured and in pain, Matt Clark is having trouble with his new label.

"I don’t feel like I'm a hero," he said. "I did what any fireman would do."

Clark has only been a firefighter for six months. He's a volunteer. His full-time job is as a prison guard in Abilene.

But when a raging brush fire broke out near his home in Gorman on Friday, he answered the call with his chief.

Almost instantly, they were surrounded by the flames.

"At this point, we are at a dead sprint, trying to outrun the fire," Clark said.

A blast of flames scarred his face with first degree burns. He suffered third degree burns to his hands.

The fire truck they were on was destroyed.

And that's when he saw one of his fellow firefighters collapse.

Read it all and watch related video HERE.

Tampa (FL) Firefighter Rescues Man Trapped Behind Burglar Bars at Fire

A fast-acting firefighter rescued a man trapped behind the burglar bars on his front door as his home filled with smoke late Monday, according to fire officials.

Hazziz Crawford, 34, suffered smoke inhalation and minor burns, but was expected to survive. No one else was injured.

Fire crews responded to a house fire at 2204 E Chipco St. about 10:48 p.m., arriving about five minutes later. Firefighter Jason Luna grabbed a prying tool and rushed to the front porch.

He quickly sprung open the burglar bars and helped Crawford away from the smoke.

Read more HERE.

Monday, April 18, 2011

MS Volunteer Firefighter Killed in Crash Responding to Fire

An 18-year-old volunteer firefighter on his way to a fire died Sunday in Monroe County after his SUV ran off the road and hit a tree.

Jacob Anthony Carter, of Amory, was eastbound on McCullen Road in a 2002 Ford Explorer when his vehicle left the road and overturned at about noon Sunday, according to Monroe County Coroner Alan Gurley. He was not wearing a seatbelt.

Read more HERE. The USFA fatality notice is HERE.

Firefighters Help Remove Commuters Stuck on L.A. Metro Train

From the L.A. Times:
A Red Line train was stuck in a tunnel Monday morning between the Westlake and Alvarado stations, prompting the evacuation of 200 morning commuters.

The Los Angeles Fire Department was called at 9:08 a.m. to assist in the evacuation, said spokesman Erik Scott.

Read more HERE.

5 Firefighters Injured in Detroit (MI) Fire

Five firefighters were injured early Monday morning while fighting a fire inside an abandoned commercial building near Oakwood and Sanders in southwest Detroit.

The firefighters were taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital for treatment. Three of them have since been released.

Read more and see photos from the scene HERE. View a video about the incident HERE.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Firefighter Killed in North Texas Wildfires

The harsh winds and dry temperatures in Eastland County in North Texas have hampered efforts to contain wildfires that claimed the life of Eastland (TX) Volunteer Firefighter Gregory M. Simmons, 51. Reports state Simmons was overcome by smoke on a rural road. The fires have also claimed more than 30 homes with 200 more threatened by the rapidly-spreading fire. "Greg was a seasoned veteran and invaluable member of the department and community and we are all at a loss for words at this time," Eastland Fire Chief Phillip Arther said in a news release. Simmons is survived by his wife, Carrie, and two daughters. For more on this fire and Firefighter Simmons, click here and here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wildfires: Good Information About Tools for Prediction and Mitigation

Many regions across our nation have seen months of dry weather conditions and high winds which have created a perfect recipe for one of natures most powerful hazards. Wildfires, like tornados, hurricanes, and floods are one of natures most feared and hazardous forces. The strength and speed of a wildfire incident can destroy hundreds of acres in a matter of hours and thousands of acres in days. Property, lives and time fall victim to this force which can exhaust even the best human efforts and skill. Recently, Dr. Ahmed Abukhater, Esri Global Industry Manager for Community Development, authored the article "GIS-Based Community Risk Assessment: Tools for wildfire prediction and mitigation" which profiles how regional planners and individuals responsible for establishing policy, need tools and technology to make accurate decisions regarding use of land and assets to avoid hazards such as wildfires in regions most vulerable to natural disasters and earth changing human-created accidents. Abukhater leads ESRI's global marketing strategies in planning and economic development and works as a visionary of enterprise GIS. In this article, Abukhater states: "GIS is an invaluable tool for conducting this analysis to produce actionable knowledge and intelligence. By integrating data, geoprocessing tools, ModelBuilder, and visualization tools, the impact of human activities on the natural and built environment can be evaluated. State-of-the-art GIS visualization and analytic tools help officials understand and analyze the spatial and temporal characteristics of wildfire." Dr. Abukhater explains further: "GIS can provide these effective planning tools and insights to prepare for natural and manmade disasters and mitigate their impact. Both policy makers and the community at large can plan for pre- and postdisaster response and mitigation efforts." He outlines that making improvements in those areas most vunerable to wildfires and their dangers based on information produced by data process through technologies can spare human lives and our natural resources. "Given the importance of forest-urban interface fire prediction and mitigation, this article describes how to conduct a community risk assessment from a planning point of view and proposes a GIS-based multiple-criteria evaluation (MCE) framework for analyzing, predicting, and ultimately mitigating the impact of wildfires" Abukhater says. Read More of Dr. Abukhater's article HERE

Man, Young Child Die in MI Fire

Tragic news from the Detroit Free Press:
Authorities say a man and a young child have died following a Grand Rapids house fire that authorities believe started in the basement.

Police tell The Grand Rapids Press the man died at the scene of the fire late Thursday and the child died after being taken to an area hospital for treatment.

A neighbor who noticed the fire called 911. Fire officials say the man was found in a living room in the front of the house and the child was in a second-floor bedroom.

There were reportedly no working smoke detectors in the home. Read more HERE.

FL Man Accused of Shooting AK-47 at Firefighters

Another hazard of the job...assault rifles:
Police arrested a 20-year-old man they say fired an AK-47 assault rifle at firefighters early Thursday.

Calvin Teodoro Foronda, of St. Pete Beach, faces two counts of aggravated assault on a firefighter and two counts of aggravated assault on a paramedic. None of the fire rescue personnel was injured.

Authorities say the incident began when St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue was dispatched to 6401 31st St. S,, Apt. 904, shortly before 4 a.m. for a medical call.

Read more HERE. The Firefighters Support Foundation has a good, free training program on situational awareness for firefighters and paramedics HERE.

Huge Midwest Storm Leaves Trail of Death and Destruction

From CNN:
A powerful storm system pushed its way into the Southeast early Friday after tearing across the Plains, killing at least five people in Oklahoma and Arkansas, authorities said.

Severe weather including tornadoes will be a possibility across northern Mississippi and Alabama and into central Tennessee on Friday afternoon.

The storm system will then press forward into Georgia and the Carolinas overnight Friday and into Saturday morning. The forecast from the National Weather Service says the primary threat there will be damaging thunderstorm winds, but there also will be the possibility of isolated tornadoes.

Read more HERE.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

5 Dead, 57 Injured in Paris (France) Fire

According to the AP, via FOX News:
Police say five people died and 57 were injured in a fire in an apartment building near Paris' Pere Lachaise cemetery.

Paris police say four people died when they jumped out windows to flee the flames and another was found dead in the charred building.

A fireman was seriously injured during the rescue after he fell from a ladder. A total of six people suffered serious injuries and 51 people, including 6 children, suffered light injuries.

Read more HERE.

Virginia Beach (VA) Firefighters Rescue Bear from Tree

Not your usual cat-stuck-in-a-tree call:
A dangling, dozing black bear would still be in the tree at 16th and Cypress at the Oceanfront had it not been for the Virginia Beach firefighters.

"We train to get people out of trees so bears [are] not that far off," said firefighter Mike Hopkins.

Except for the claws and teeth which is why Hopkins had to wait for the tranquilizer to take effect to do his job.

"We wrapped the sling around the tree and then hung the pulley on the sling over top of the bear," he said.

Read more at HERE.

RIT Rescue in PA: Injured Firefighter Saved After Fall

From, a report from Pennsylvania on a RIT save:
In most cases, rapid intervention teams assembled outside of structure fires have little more to do than watch as crews fight the flames.

But when a Dickson City firefighter fell through the first floor of 1140 Frieda St. on Wednesday as flames ripped around her, Olyphant Firefighter Jerry Tully and Dickson City Firefighter Frank Mazur knew what they had to do.

"That's your job, to go in there, and you'd better get them out," Mr. Tully, 29, said.

At any fire, a rapid intervention team tasked with rescuing injured firefighters is established by the chief in command and, in most Dickson City cases, Olyphant firefighters are selected, said Dickson City Fire Chief Joseph Chowanec Jr.

The Dickson City firefighter had just walked through the home's front door when the flame-scorched floor fell from underneath her, leaving her wedged between intact floor boards and a joist holding up the home's first level, the fire growing around her.

Another Dickson City firefighter had narrowly avoided the fall, but Mr. Tully and Mr. Mazur had to pull the female firefighter by her coat's collar until they could reach under her oxygen pack to yank her out completely.

Read the full account HERE.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Study: Cultural Factors Lead to Increase in Firefighter LODDs

While the number of fires is on the decline, firefighter deaths are not —and a new University of Georgia study helps explain why. 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 research, published in the May edition of the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, examined data gathered from 189 firefighter fatality investigations conducted by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health between 2004 and 2009. Each NIOSH investigation gives recommendations directed at preventing future firefighter injuries and deaths. The researchers looked at the high-frequency recommendations and linked them to important causal and contributing factors of the fatalities.

Read the whole thing HERE. For more on the human factors affecting firefighter safety, check out this piece on learning from firefighter near-miss data by Dane Carley and Craig Nelson.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Man Gets Prison Time for Setting Fire that Killed Yonkers (NY) Firefighter

From the AP via The Wall Street Journal:
A man who set a blaze that killed a Yonkers firefighter has been sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.

Rafael Roldan previously pleaded guilty to murder and assault.

A 39-year-old firefighter, Patrick Joyce, was killed and two other firefighters were seriously injured in October 2009.

Read the rest HERE.

Apparatus Woes Hinder OK Firefighters in Wildfire Fight

From in Oklahoma:
Wildfires are sweeping across Oklahoma, and volunteer firefighters are on the front lines trying to keep you safe.

In Osage County, firefighters are having issues getting to the fires. Some of their fire trucks are from the 1970's, and they keep breaking down. That's not getting firefighters to the scene any faster.

The fire trucks at the Green Country Volunteer Fire Department are running low on juice.

"The fire's coming at us and we're trying to get our trucks to work and they're just not working," said volunteer firefighter Blake Fredericksen. But replacing them isn't an option right now.

For more on this story, including video, CLICK HERE.

Sen. Gillibrand, Commissioner Kelly Want Wireless Network for First Responders


Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and New York City (NYC) Police (NYPD) Commissioner Raymond Kelly are calling for legislation to create a wireless broadband network that would let law-enforcement agencies communicate with each other during an emergency.

NYC acted to improve coordination between the police and fire departments after the 2001 terror attacks, but Gillibrand and Kelly said the NYPD still needs a broadband network that would allow it to communicate with other agencies, including federal law enforcement.

“We must ensure that our officers, firefighters, and emergency workers can effectively communicate with one another during a real time of national crisis,” Gillibrand said. “It’s time to bring our first responder technology into the 21st century.”

Deputy Chief James Dowd of the NYPD told WCBS 880 last month that the broadband network would “give us all the capabilities, not just two-way voice like we do now, but would give us the ability to do video, data, any type of information that we need to share regionally or nationally, we would be able to do on this network.”

Read more and hear the report from WCBS 880's Peter Haskell here

Detroit (MI) Firefighter Back on the Job After Legal Fight

From the Detroit Free Press, a firefighter in that city is back at work after he was fired for apparently letting his firefighters take a door from a vacant:
After months of battling with Detroit to get his job back, Detroit Fire Lt. Mike Nevin is expected to go back to work today.

The city fired Nevin for allowing members of his rig to take a door from an abandoned building, according to court records. He was reinstated, filed a whistle-blower lawsuit and reached a settlement with the city. But months later, he was fired again over the incident.

On Monday, Macomb County Circuit Judge Matthew Switalski upheld his original order that the city had to bring Nevin back to work, Nevin's attorney Paul Addis said.


Nevin has said he believes he is being retaliated against for being outspoken about his concerns with the department.

According to his 2009 lawsuit, Nevin told officials from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that the personal alert device worn by a firefighter killed in a 2008 fire was found to be inoperable.

For more, CLICK HERE.

MD Firefighters Survive Roof Collapse

From, a close call in Maryland:
Prince George's County firefighters survived a close call, after a roof collapsed while they were battling a blaze in Beltsville Monday morning.

It happened at the 4100 block of Ulster Road. Firefighters arrived to a burning two-story, single family home with an attached garage at around 10 a.m., officials said.

Heavy flames and smoke were coming out of the home when firefighters were heading in to fight the fire, officials said. That's when part of the roof fell into the burning home.

A precautionary second alarm was sounded as fire consumed the garage and had extended into the second floor and roof area.

As firefighters were searching for any people inside the home, they thought the roof might collapse and they evacuated the home. They continued to fight the fire from outside the home.

Read more and watch video HERE.

Firefighter Critical from Burns in TX Wildfire

The AP reports via
A firefighter is hospitalized after being critically burned while battling a wildfire in the Texas Panhandle.

A nursing supervisor at University Medical Center in Lubbock says Cactus firefighter Elias Jacquez remained in critical condition Tuesday.

Jacquez suffered third-degree burns over 60 percent of his body Saturday while fighting a fire that charred 60,000 acres about 40 miles north of Amarillo.

Read MORE.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Los Angeles (CA) Apartment Fire Injures 6

From the AP via
A fire in an apartment complex above a South Los Angeles church has injured six people, one critically.

City News Service says the fire was reported shortly before 1:30 a.m. Monday in a stairwell in the second-floor apartment complex above the New Life Christian Church.

The fire was quickly doused. A 54-year-old man was hospitalized in critical condition.

Read more HERE.

Video: Firefighters Respond to NYC Elevator Failure

A report from CBS New York discusses a YouTube video of a firefighter responding to an elevator full of trapped folks at a New York City subway stop from Friday.

A dread fear for most New Yorkers apparently came true for 28 people in Washington Heights Friday.

A video posted on YouTube shows what happened when the elevator commuters use to get to the #1 train at 181st street failed. It was packed with passengers at the time.

Read more about the incident HERE.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

VFD in Oklahoma Needs Donations to Buy Fuel

The Keystone Volunteer Fire Department of Sand Springs, Oklahoma is in need of donations to buy fuel. Their usual surplus has been exhausted due to the current wildfire issues that affect their area and many counties in the state of Oklahoma. The amount of fuel that usually sustains this department for two months has been depleted in only two weeks according to reports from Fox 23 News in Tulsa. The Keystone Fire Department and its volunteer crew have been working continuously to fight the wildfires in their area and been available to support their fellow departments as these threats spread. Dry conditions and high winds make things difficult, but lack of fuel for their trucks and other departments could cause more problems if not addressed. The department receives an operational grant once a year and also depends on donations to survive. To donate funds and show support for this department, please call the Keystone Fire Department at 1-918-363-8261.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Fireworks Explosion Leaves 5 Dead in Hawaii

Five men were killed in a bunker holding seized fireworks at the Waikele Business Center in Hawaii at 9:00 A.M. on Friday. All six plus an additional worker were in process of destroying the fireworks when the explosion occured according to reports from KITV:

"Three men in their 20s and one man in his 50s were killed in the blast. A fifth man, age 25, was taken to a local hospital's burn center with burns to 100 percent of his body. He died at around 6:00pm Friday. The sixth worker, who suffered minor injuries, refused treatment. Two of the bodies were recovered from the scene by the Honolulu Bomb Squad, which used a robotic device to search the bunker. Officials planned to send the robot back into the bunker at 10:00am local time Saturday because the bunker was still too dangerous for people to search."

Read More About This Story HERE

Gunman Kills 7, Wounds 15 near Amsterdam

A crowded shopping mall was the target of a gunman near Amsterdam on Saturday as he opened fire killing approximately seven people and wounding 15 others before turning the weapon on himself according to a report from the Associated Press. The victims were shot at random according to authorities. Dutch emergency crews covered the area to help the wounded and assist with the aftermath. Reports added: "The attacker was among the dead after fatally shooting himself at the Ridderhof mall in Alphen aan den Rijn, Mayor Bas Eenhoorn said. The suburb is less than 15 miles (25 kilometers) southwest of Amsterdam. Eenhoorn said that children were among the victims, but he could not confirm whether they were among the wounded or dead, or both. "It's too terrible for words, a shock for us all," he said. The gunman's identity was known and it was "all but certain" he acted alone, District Attorney Kitty Nooy said, but investigators were not yet ready to release his name or age. She said he was a native Dutchman from Alphen who has a criminal record."

Read More About This Incident HERE

Friday, April 8, 2011

School Buses Recalled Because of Possible Fire Risk

School bus manufacturer Blue Bird Body Co. is recalling about 3,900 large school buses for a potential fire hazard.

A starter cable may rub against a power steering hose. That could create a short circuit resulting in a fire.

The buses involved are model year 2004 through 2006 Blue Bird Vision buses manufactured from June 26, 2003, through December 9, 2004

Read more about the recall HERE.

NC Firefighter Dies Responding to Incident

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) Web site, Firefighter David Hunsinger Jr. of the Tar Heel (NC) Rural Volunteer Fire Department died of injuries he sustained from an accident that occurred while he was responding to a brush fire call in his personal vehicle. He was 24. Hunsinger is the son of the department's fire chief.

Read more HERE.

Firefighters Injured in D.C. Roof Collapse

Five firefighters are being treated at a local hospital after they were seriously injured while battling a house fire in northeast.

Pete Piringer, spokesman for DC Fire and EMS, says firefighters were dispatched to the 800 block of 48th Place around 12:30 Friday morning for a report of a house fire. Crews arriving on scene found flames shooting out of a one story, single family wood frame home.

Crews called for a second alarm and began to attack the blaze. A rescue squad went inside the burning home to make sure no one was trapped inside. Moments after making entry, the extreme heat of the fire caused a portion of the roof to collapse on top of the search and rescue team.

Two of the firefighters were able to escape from underneath the debris on their own. A third firefighter had to be rescued by a Rapid Intervention team. Two more men were also burned during the rescue.

Read more HERE.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

7.4 Earthquake Hits Japan, Tsunami Warnings Issued

An earthquake measuring a magnitude of 7.4 struck Japan on Thursday prompting Japanese officials to issue tsunami warnings and advisories in specific prefectures, according to CNN reports:

“The Japan Meteorological Agency said the quake was a magnitude of 7.4. The U.S. Geological Survey said it was 7.1. There were no reports of casualties from anywhere in the earthquake zone, the National Police Agency said. Workers evacuated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant following the quake, the Tokyo Electric Power Company said. Tokyo Electric said it has communication with the plant and the power is still on there. There were no immediate reports of damage, it said. The quake's epicenter was off the coast of Miyagi in northeastern Japan, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.”

A witness recalls the incident via the CNN Report


An earlier report from WFTS ABC 28
in Tampa, Florida stated:

“Announcers on Japan's public broadcaster NHK had told residents in the northeast to move to higher ground away from the shore. The warning was for the same area devastated by last month's tsunami, which is believed to have killed some 25,000 people and has sparked an ongoing crisis at a nuclear power plant.”

the video coverage from the WFTS report HERE.

House Fire Kills One Adult, One Child in CA

Two people were killed, one adult and one child, during a house fire in Sacramento, California . Firefighters arrived on scene to find the home fully engulfed and did not realize that two individuals were inside. Fire crews recovered the bodies from the house located in North Highlands, according to reports from NBC affiliate KCRA 3 in Sacramento. See the KCRA report HERE.

MT Firefighters Face Layoffs

From KAJ News:
The local union was notified by Kalispell City Manager Jane Howington that seven Kalispell firefighters are facing layoffs, with Howington saying that the city budget is too tight for them to keep the jobs.

The union held a press conference on Wednesday in response to the announcement and some of those firefighters spoke about the possibility of losing their jobs.

"I'm a second generation firefighter, I've made Kalispell my home, this affects me, my way of living, how I provide for myself," aaid Kalispell firefighter Soren Koetter.

"What's going through my head today, what am I gonna do on May 15 when that day comes," added Jeremy Grady a Kalispell firefighter. "Just trying to figure out my options and provide for my family, my baby and wife, and just see what I can do down the road. Hopefully the union and the city reach a compromise."

Read more HERE.

3 Children Die in Chicago (IL) Fire

From the Chicago Tribune:
Three children were killed early this morning in a house fire in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side that was caused by one of them playing with a lighter, fire officials said.

Two boys were rescued and taken to Comer Children's Hospital, but were pronounced dead there. The body of a girl was found on the first floor of the house, according to the Fire Department.

According to the report, the children's father tried to put out the fire himself but it spread too quickly. Other tenants escaped only to realize the three were still inside. Two police officers suffered smoke inhalation during the incident.

Read more HERE.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Floor Collapse in House Fire: FF Falls and Lives To Tell Story

Jim Black, a firefighter from Modesto, California, and other members of his crew reported to a house fire at 3:53 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Black and the team began their work on the first floor of the structure to make certain that the fire had not spread. They proceeded to tear down the ceiling, a routine task, to see if the fire had spread to the attic. The scene quickly turned with one step as Black fell through the floor into the burned out basement, according to a report from KCRA 3 in Sacramento:

"Crews reported heavy smoke and fire from the large basement of the home and had it knocked down within minutes of their arrival, according to the battalion chief. Black and several other firefighters started working on the first floor of the home, pulling down the ceiling to make sure the fire hadn’t spread to the attic. The routine task suddenly turned chaotic when Black fell through the floor and into the burned out basement."

Black recalls how quickly situations can change at an incident:

“I took a step and the floor just gave way. My one leg went through, my other leg stayed up and it twisted me upside down and I went down into the basement,” recounted Black.

The report adds,
“I was laying on my back looking up and I saw someone looking down at me so I knew someone knew I had gone down in and I just immediately got up and cruised out.”

Read the entire report HERE.

AK Wildland Firefighter Shot by Soldiers

From, reporting from Fairbanks:
A Fort Wainwright soldier fired multiple shots from a pellet gun at a wildland firefighter who was running near a road on post last week, hitting him twice.

The shooting occurred when four soldiers reportedly pulled up in a vehicle alongside the firefighter Wednesday afternoon and rolled down the windows. Several shots were then fired from a single gun.

The firefighter was reportedly hit in the back and the elbow and not seriously injured.
Read more HERE.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Nebraska Man Convicted of Fire Equipment Theft

A man from York, Nebraska has been convicted of stealing firefighting equipment from the scene of a house fire almost one year ago according to the York News-Times:

"On May 20, 2010, the York Fire Department was on the scene of a house fire on East Seventh Street. Providing traffic control at the scene was the York Police Department. York County Attorney Bill Sutter said that one of the police officers was contacted by a firefighter who said his helmet and face mask were missing. He had removed them while taking a break and when he went to put them back on, they were gone."

The man faced five years in prison for a felony theft charge since the value of the stolen property was between $500 and $1,500. A plea agreement reduced this charge to a misdemeanor which demands a one year sentence according to further reports.

Read the complete story HERE.

Controversy: CA FD Removes Flag from Uniforms

The Bakersfield City (CA) Fire Department is in the center of a controversy which involves the removal of the American flag from firefighter uniforms according to a report from NBC affiliate KGET: "The Department removed the American flag from their uniforms about two months ago. Some firemen feel it has taken away their ability to express their patriotism, but officials said it was a pragmatic decision and has nothing to do with being unpatriotic... Officials added: "Kern County Fire Department is a very patriotic fire department and we do have the flag emblazoned on several parts of our uniform, on our new turnouts we do have a shoulder patch of the flag," said Sean Collins, Kern County Fire Department Spokesperson. For the county, the flag doesn't stop on their shoulder. It's on their t-shirts, pins and patches for Search & Rescue and Hazmat.

Read More Here

Deutsche Bank Fire Trial Begins

The trial of several contractors accused in connection with the 2007 Deutsche Bank fire at Ground Zero that killed two FDNY firefighters, Joseph Graffagnino and Robert Beddia, got under way Monday.

The AP, via The Washington Post, reports on opening statements:
Defense lawyers have begun presenting their case in the manslaughter trial of three construction company supervisors accused of fueling a fire that killed two firefighters in a contaminated ground zero skyscraper.

The defense opening statements got under way Tuesday.

On Monday, prosecutors said Mitchel Alvo, Salvatore DePaola and Jeffrey Melofchik had a piece of a critical firefighting water pipe removed from the building, knew what it was and did nothing to fix it.

Read MORE, and stay tuned to for more updates on the trial as it progresses.

Japanese Firefighter's Sacrifice in Quake-Tsunami Disaster

From the AFP:
When Fujio Koshita rang the bell at Otsuchi fire station to warn the fishing village of the imminent tsunami he undoubtedly saved countless lives -- but the bell also tolled for him.

Residents of Otsuchi, in northeastern Japan near the quake epicentre, vividly recall the eerie sound and salute the fireman for his sacrifice, an action they see as in keeping with age-old Japanese notions of duty and honour.

Koshita, 57, one of 28 members of the Second Otsuchi Fire Unit, rushed to his seaside station in the afternoon of March 11 after he felt the first massive jolt of the earthquake.

There, he found an electrical blackout had put the station's siren system out of action.

Amid the frantic melee in the minutes after the magnitude-9.0 tremor struck, Toru Suzuki, a 41-year-old fellow firefighter, also reached the station, but the older man waved him off.

"You go. Don't worry about me," Koshita told Suzuki.

Koshita grabbed an old-fashioned bell, only kept in storage as a back-up for the siren, held it tight and climbed to the roof, where he started ringing it vigorously.

"It was really loud," said Kaito Yamasaki, a 16-year-old high school student, who heard it as he ran to safety. "The fireman was brave. I'm proud of him."

The sound echoed for several minutes across the village until the giant waves came crashing over the horizon, sweeping away the station, its watch tower, and Koshita himself.
Read the entire thing HERE.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Wind a Factor in Columbus (OH) Apartment Fire

From The Columbus Disptach:
A raging, windblown fire heavily damaged a building with eight apartment units on the Far West Side yesterday afternoon.

Columbus firefighters were called at 4:52 p.m. to the Hilliard Park apartment complex off Roberts Road west of Walcutt Road. The building on fire included odd-numbered apartments in the 2460 block of Hilliard Park Boulevard.

"When they got here, they had heavy fire," said Battalion Chief David Whiting of the Columbus Division of Fire.

No one was hurt.

Wind complicated fighting the fire, which took about 45 minutes to bring under control. Whiting estimated that winds gusted to 30 mph.

Read more HERE.

Japanese Firefighters on the Front Lines of Nuclear Incident

From The Daily Beast:
Ken'ichi Kunisawa and his fellow firefighters braved boiling nuclear reactors for more than 13 hours. He talks to Lennox Samuels about radiation fears and why this wasn't a kamikaze mission.

Watching television images of reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant smoking and exploding en route to a possible meltdown, Ken'ichi Kunisawa knew he would be joining the battle to end Japan's worst crisis since the Second World War. Now, almost two weeks after he and his team rushed to help cool down the overheating plant, the Tokyo firefighter remembers getting as close as six feet to the radiation-spewing reactors, acknowledges that he will have to be checked for contamination for months to come—and almost cheerfully says he would do it again.

Read more HERE.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Worcester (MA) Firefighter Memorial Run Returns

Via the Worcester Telegram:
Since the turn of this century, but not including last year, this was always the weekend to get the word out about the Worcester Firefighters Memorial 6K. The race committee would meet to collate and mail the applications to past runners for the race coming in June.

Consider this getting the word out this year: The June tradition that is the Firefighters 6K is back.


“Our goal has always been to keep the memory alive for our fallen brothers,” Franco said, referring to Paul Brotherton, Timothy Jackson, Jeremiah Lucey, James “Jay” Lyons, Joseph McGuirk and Thomas Spencer, who answered the ill-fated call to the Cold Storage Warehouse fire in 1999.

This race will also honor the memory of Kevin Turner, a Worcester firefighter who was stationed with Franco at the Webster Square house. Turner died of a heart attack last July at age 39. While in the Army, he served two tours in the Middle East during the Gulf War.
For more details, go to

Friday, April 1, 2011

Firefighting Technology: Personal Air Conditioning Unit?

From The Telegraph (U.K.):
Scientists have invented a personal air-conditioning unit that could be fitted into the clothing of everyone from firefighters to Formula 1 racing drivers.

The unit will enable people exposed to high temperatures in their working environment to lower their body temperature, helping them to concentrate on the task in hand.

At at around four inches long, a little longer than a pen, and two inches wide, the personal air-conditioning unit weighs around 3.5 ounces, equivalent to around 40 one pence pieces.

Not sure you necessarily want somebody in an IDLH environment thinking how nice and cool it is, but there you go--lots of new technology out there, from flat packs to electric wands for putting out fires. What do you think? Post your thoughts below.

Retrial in Death of Phoenix (AZ) Firefighter

The retrial of Christopher Benitez began Thursday. Benitez is accused in the death of a Phoenix firefighter. His first trial ended in a hung jury four months ago.

Firefighter Brett Tarver was killed on March 14, 2001, at the Southwest Supermarket, when he got trapped by falling debris.

Prosecutors say Benitez, who was a teenager at the time, set the fire as revenge, days after getting caught stealing beer from the store.
Read more HERE. For more on the RIT response in the Tarver LODD case, read Steve Kreis's 'Rapid Intervention Isn't Rapid,' and here is a link to the NIOSH report:

OR Firefighter Attacked During Rescue

GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. - One firefighter suffered a minor injury while responding to an apartment fire late Wednesday night in Government Camp, according to officials.

Firefighters said they responded to a call for help at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday and were set upon by young people as an apartment in the complex where their party was going on went up in flames.

One woman, reportedly trapped on a second floor as the flames spread, jumped into a snow bank to escape the fire. When a firefighter went to help her, he was reportedly attacked by party goers who threw beer cans, water bottles, hard-packed snowballs - and a fire extinguisher.

Read more HERE For more on situational awareness and firefighter self-defense at incident scenes, CLICK HERE.