Thursday, June 30, 2011

IN Meth Lab Explosion Injures Firefighter, Badly Burns Man

From the Evansville Courier & Post:
A woman was arrested, her residence deemed a total loss, a firefighter was injured and another man may not survive severe burns following a meth lab explosion late Wednesday, Evansville police said.


Daniel Phillips was flown to a nearby burn center after 51 percent of his body sustained chemical burns. Hospital officials haven't determined if he will survive because his burns are so severe, according to an Evansville Police Department affidavit.

Evansville firefighter Mark Dietsch was hospitalized with a knee injury after falling through a roof, according to the affidavit.

Read more HERE.

For a free training simulation on responding to meth labs, CLICK HERE. For a training program on firefighter meth lab response (including free videos and PowerPoint), CLICK HERE.

NIOSH Report Faults Bridgeport (CT) Fire Department in Firefighter LODDs

Bridgeport fire officials' failure on nearly every level led to the deaths of two firefighters battling a West Side blaze last July, a federal report has concluded.

Among the findings of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health report released Wednesday: The deputy fire chief and his assistant at the scene of the Elmwood Street fire had a discussion about whether they heard a mayday call from the two fallen firefighters instead of taking immediate action to rescue them.

There was no rapid intervention team readily available to come to the firefighters' aid.

The report stated firefighters failed to immediately treat one of the firefighters who managed to make it to relative safety before collapsing.

Officials also did not properly manage firefighters' air supplies -- both firefighters' air cylinders were empty when they were found, the report stated.

The department's incident safety officer, who is required to be on scene for assistance in a fire, did not arrive until more than 20 minutes after the initial dispatch.

Lt. Steven Velasquez and firefighter Michel Baik died while checking out hot spots in the third floor of the wood-frame home at 41 Elmwood Ave.

Read the entire paper write-up HERE. To download NIOSH firefighter LODD reports, go to

Fire Apparatus Accident in FL: Motorcyclist Killed

A fire truck collided with a motorcycle at an intersection in Tallahassee, Florida on Wednesday evening at approximately 8:43 p.m. The fire apparatus and crew were heading west on Tennessee Street responding to an emergency call. The motorcycle, heading south on White Drive, collided with the fire truck in the middle of the intersection of both streets. The motorcyclist, James Anthony Revell, 25, died at the scene, according to a report from WTXL in Florida.

A video report from WTXL gives details of the tragic incident:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

NIOSH Urges New Rules After Chicago (IL) Firefighter's Fall from Fire Escape

From the Chicago Tribune:
The Chicago Fire Department should create and implement standard rules regarding the use of fire escapes and review its safety policies, especially those concerning carrying heavy equipment, a federal report has concluded following an investigation into the falling death of a firefighter from a fire escape 10 months ago.

Christopher Wheatley died Aug. 9 when he fell 53 feet from the the fire escape behind a four-story West Loop building that housed an upscale restaurant.

Dressed in his full firefighting gear and clutching a 63-pound manual hand pump in his right hand, the firefighter/paramedic lost his grip on the metal structure as he tried the climb a vertical fire escape ladder leading to the roof, officials said.

Read it all HERE. Download the NIOSH report HERE.

Acquittals in Deutsche Bank Fire Case

From the AP:
An asbestos-cleanup foreman who said he was a scapegoat for inspectors' failures was acquitted of manslaughter and all other charges Tuesday in a blaze that killed two firefighters at a ground zero bank tower.

Two other construction-company supervisors were still awaiting verdicts in the sole criminal trial stemming from the blaze at the toxic, condemned building.

The 2007 fire at the former Deutsche Bank building killed FDNY Firefighters Robert Beddia and Joseph P. Graffagnino. Read it all HERE.

UPDATE, 1:27 PM: According to the NY Times news blog, supervisor Jeffrey Melofchik was acquitted of all charges in the Deutsche Bank case.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Firefighters Battling Wildfire Find 339 Sticks of Dynamite

From the AP, via
Firefighters battling a massive wildfire in south Georgia discovered 339 sticks of dynamite, and a U.S. Army bomb squad was called to detonate the explosives.

The firefighters battling the wildfire in the Okefenokee Swamp area were told the dynamite found Monday was left over from a construction project decades ago. Authorities said it had been stored in a bunker-like facility near a park building.

Read more HERE. For a free training program on fire response to explosives, CLICK HERE.

GA Firefighter Hospitalized After Suffering Medical Emergency

A Barrow County firefighter was hospitalized after suffering a medical emergency while battling a structure fire Saturday caused by an unattended food fryer, officials said.

Firefighters were called to the 518 Duke Road home in Bethlehem at 3:43 p.m., finding the home ablaze.

One firefighter, who was not identified, experienced a “medical emergency” and was transported to Northeast Georgia Regional Medical Center, where he remained in stable condition Monday, said Barrow County Emergency Services spokesman Lt. Scott Dakin.

Read more HERE.

Los Angeles (CA) City Chief to Retire

From the L.A. Times:
Just 22 months after he took the helm of the Los Angeles Fire Department, Chief Millage Peaks announced Monday that he will be stepping down.

Peaks, who began his career as a firefighter for the city 35 years ago, oversaw the department during a period of unprecedented budget cuts and staff reductions. He said he was leaving on good terms, but acknowledged that the cuts made his time as chief "the toughest years of my life."

"It has been a very rough experience for me and my family," Peaks said.

His retirement comes about a month after the City Council approved a controversial redeployment plan that he crafted after Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ordered the department to trim $54 million from its 2011-12 budget.

Read more HERE.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Small PA VFD Faces Repairs and Equipment Issues with No Money

The small Graysville Volunteer Fire Department has a number of issues from fire trucks in need of repair to equipment in need of replacement. The department's chief is faced with the reality that the needs of this department depend on funding that is not quickly available to their small organization. The department operates on county and state funding which totals approximately $13,000 a year, according to a recent report from

The report outlines an issue the department chief is facing with a 1987 GMC truck that is in desperate need of repair or replacement. The report tells how Chief Mike Chapman feels about the issues:

"the problems with the truck include a badly rusted tank and a non-working pump, among others. "It is $18,000 from one place just to fix the pump and a couple of other small things, plus around $2,000 to get the tank fixed," Chapman said. "Another company wanted $25,000 to repair it." Included in the higher price was an option to sandblast the tank but Chapman said that wasn't possible. "It is so badly rusted there wouldn't be anything left," he said. "A new tank and bed is $33,000."

Where will the money come from to deal with these issues?

Read the entire Observer-Reporter story HERE.

Fire, Floods Threaten Nuclear Facilities

This morning, two separate United States nuclear facilities are threatened by fire and flood. In New Mexico, the Los Alamos National Laboratory (i.e. the "nation's nuclear weapons laboratory" according to Reuters), has been evacuated due to a "fast-moving" wildfire. In Nebraska, rising floodwaters have breached a protective berm surrounding the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant and the head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is headed to the facility.

At Los Alamos, special fire crews have been dispatched to protect the nuclear laboratory from a fire a mile away and the lab has said, "All radioactive and hazardous material is appropriately accounted for and protected," reports CNN. A statement on the lab's site reads: "All laboratory facilities will be closed for all activities and nonessential employees are directed to remain off site."

Read more HERE.

Pasadena (TX) Warehouse Fire Prompts Shelter-in-Place Order

A two-alarm fire destroyed a warehouse in Pasadena on Sunday and forced a shelter-in-place order for some residents.

A transformer blew during the blaze at Global Plastics Co., 6224 Spencer Highway, temporarily putting a Pasadena sewage treatment plant out of service. In addition, one of the more than 60 firefighters at the scene had to be treated for heat exhaustion. No other injuries were reported.

Officials said the last employee left the facility around 3 p.m. Passers-by noticed the smoke from the recyclable plastics facility around 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Authorities issued a shelter-in-place order that from the site to Beltway 8 and Red Bluff. It was later canceled. Hazmat was called to the scene because officials had concerns about hydrocarbons in the building.

Read more HERE.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Deal Spares 20 FDNY Companies

A budget deal in NYC saved 20 fire companies that were on the chopping block, as well as thousands of teacher positions.

From the NY Post:
The 4,100 teacher layoffs Mayor Bloomberg has been threatening for months were scrapped last night in a budget deal with the City Council that also saved 20 fire companies.

But more than 1,000 other less fortunate city workers still faced pink slips as the $66 billion budget battle ended in a handshake deal before the July 1 deadline.

Read more HERE.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Deadly Amtrak Collision in Rural Nevada

A semi crashed into an Amtrak passenger train carrying 200 people on the way to California from Chicago. The crash occurred approximately 70 miles from Reno, Nevada. The truck's driver and the train's conductor where killed instantly during the collision; other deaths are feared as fire and law enforcement, along with federal investigators, determine if there are any more casualties.

For more on the deadly crash, click here.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Boston (MA) FD Suspends 54 FFs After Investigation

An investigation conducted by the Boston Fire Department regarding fake medical training certifications has resulted in the suspension of 54 firefighters. The department announced the suspensions on Thursday after a year-long investigation examined 200 EMTs statewide, according to reports from the Boston Herald and reports:

"While many private ambulance companies planned to fire emergency medical technicians named in the state public health investigation, the Boston Fire Department began its own yearlong inquiry that concluded yesterday, the department said.

“They did not follow established procedures when they were going to be recertified,’’ said Fire Department spokesman Stephen McDonald."

See more about this story

Thursday, June 23, 2011

VA FD Gets Federal Grant to Hire 12, $1.4M

A $1.4M federal grant will bring the fire and rescue department of Manassas City, Virgina up to national staffing standards.

The Manassas City fire chief plans to hire 12 people with the $1.4 million Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant, according to a report from the Washington Post:

"Chief Brett Bowman says the funding will cover the positions for two years, and the city will then fund them in 2014. Bowman says the grants help departments to increase staffing in critical operating units. He says the search for new employees has already begun and that officials hope to have people hired within the upcoming months."

Read the complete report HERE.

Twin Towers Steel Sent for Memorials Across America

From Yahoo!News:

By Paula Rogo

NEW YORK (Reuters) – As the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks nears, workers at an airplane hangar filled with World Trade Center steel have dispatched charred hunks of metal to towns across America for building memorials.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the steel left behind when the World Trade Center collapsed, has already dispatched thousands of artifacts and is hoping to fill hundreds of last minute requests before the 10th anniversary of 9/11, when many memorials will be unveiled.

"These serve as centerpieces of history for towns all over the country," said Bill Baroni, deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York.

"The public will have access to this piece of history displayed with honor, dignity and respect."

The most iconic pieces, such as the last standing column of the World Trade Center and a FDNY Engine 3 fire truck, will be on display at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum when it opens on September 12 this year.

Most of the 12,000 pieces of steel the program began with have been dispatched to fire departments, police departments, and cities from 50 states and five countries which requested a piece of World Trade Center metal.

Read more HERE

Dallas (TX) Firefighter Dies After Being Found Unresponsive at Station

A Dallas firefighter has died after he was found unresponsive. The 32 year-old firefighter was attached to Fire Station 49.

Reports indicate other firefighters found him Thursday morning and performed CPR.

He was rushed to Methodist Charlton Medical Center where he later died. The cause of death has not been released.

Read more HERE.

OK Controlled Burn Takes Out Mobile Homes

Four mobile homes were destroyed by a grass fire — but only one that was occupied — Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

Wind caught the flames from a controlled burn and sent fire into a densely wooded area near SE 29 and Pottawatomie Road about 2 p.m., Harrah Assistant Fire Chief Neal Young said.

The Country Haven Mobile Home Park, 3701 Pottawatomie Road, was evacuated as flames encroached upon the park from the north, he said.

Four mobile homes were destroyed and about 100 acres of grass and brush scorched, but only one injury was reported, Young said. A firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion at the scene.

Read more and see a video and photos HERE.

New Ladder Trucks Cause Excitement in OH

The Columbus (OH) Fire Division has replaced eight of 15 ladder trucks within the past four years. An approved income-tax increase in 2009 provided funds to purchase three of these last year, according to a recent report from the Columbus Dispatch.

The Dispatch story tells how these new ladder trucks have effected the division:

"It is needed," Battalion Chief Michael Fowler said. "With all the technology that has changed in the last few years, it makes a big difference." The three new ladder trucks will be outside City Hall today for Mayor Michael B. Coleman and City Council members to inspect."

The story also states, "The purchase of the three trucks is part of a $28.3 million capital-budget investment to replace an aging fleet, officials said.

Since 2007, the city has paid for five ladder trucks, 24 fire engines and 31 medic vehicles.

By upgrading the Fire Division's fleet, Fowler said, firefighters and emergency crews will have vehicles that are more efficient, clearly marked and offer more visibility for drivers."

Read the complete report HERE.

Photo by Fred Squillante, The Columbus Dispatch

MO House Fire Kills 2 Children, 1 Man

Three people were killed during a house fire in Chaffee, Missouri, early Wednesday morning. Two-year-old Bryton Nicholson, three-year-old Jaden Nicholson, and 21-year-old Andrew Biler, the uncle of the two young boys, died of smoke inhalation, according to reports from KFVS 12 News.

KFVS Reported:

"The state Fire Marshall is investigating. Although, an official cause of the fire has not been determined, the Chaffee fire chief says it appears the fire started in a back bedroom and spread through the house. No foul play is suspected at this time."

Read the full story HERE.

Photo provided by

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mother, Two Sons Die in TX Fire

From the AP:
A woman and her two young sons have died after flames swept through their rural mobile home in East Texas.

Firefighters found the bodies of the victims after extinguishing the flames. Read the full report HERE.

Zadroga 9/11 Health Fund Expanded Past Ground Zero to People in Neighborhood Sickened by WTC Attacks


By Alison Gendar

WASHINGTON - The $2.7 billion Zadroga 9/11 fund to help sickened Ground Zero responders is set to include area residents who breathed in the poisons.

Residents who lived anywhere south of Reade St. between the Hudson and East rivers would be eligible for the health and compensation program under federal regulations proposed Tuesday.

"It is a good thing, a fair thing because it means people who didn't work at The Pit, but got sick, can still be helped," said John Feal, a 9/11 advocate and demolition supervisor who worked at Ground Zero.

While the danger area grew exponentially larger than the 16-acre World Trade Center site, advocates did not have immediate estimates for how many additional sick people could apply for the funds.

Tallies from 2007 suggested up to 91,000 first responders - some 26,000 of them volunteers - worked at Ground Zero in the 10 months after the towers fell.

On top of that, at least another half-million people lived below Canal St. on Sept. 11, 2001, a study by the RTI International health group found.

Read more HERE

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

FDNY medical tech arrested for allegedly fondling patient


By Jaime Schram, Police Bureau Chief - An FDNY Emergency Medical Technician was busted yesterday after he fondled the breasts of an injured female patient while rushing her by ambulance to a Staten Island hospital, police sources said.

Perverted EMT David Taranto, 31, responded in an FDNY ambulance to a car accident that involved the 39-year-old victim at the intersection of West Cedarview Avenue and Kensico Street in Richmond Town around 3 p.m. on May 16, sources said.

The injured woman was loaded into the ambulance, which then took off, heading for Staten Island University Hospital North.

Read more HERE

Firefighter Injured Fighting WV Mobile Home Fire

A firefighter was in stable condition at Winchester (Va.) Medical Center after being injured Monday morning while attacking a mobile home fire in Jefferson County, Shepherdstown (W.Va.) Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Craig Simpson said.

The unnamed firefighter was expected to be released yesterday. Read more HERE.

Two Firefighters Killed Fighting FL Wildfire

Two firefighters died and two others were injured Monday while fighting the Blue Ribbon wildfire in northern Florida, officials said.

The deaths occurred in Hamilton County near the Florida-Georgia border, the Division of Forestry said late Monday.

WJXT-TV reported that according to its sources the two men were on tractors trying cut fire lines in the ground to stop the fire from spreading when the flames overtook them.

The names of the firefighters have not yet been released pending family notification. Read more HERE and HERE.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Indianapolis (IN) Firefighters Cope with Fire and Rain

A heavy rain caused fires and floods in Indianapolis. Details from
The fast, heavy downpour flooded streets and kept emergency workers busy.

The Indianapolis Fire Department received 205 calls and went on 95 runs between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. Twenty of the calls were for water rescues, mostly submerged cars, and 16 were for fires reported by residents who, in most cases, believed lightning struck their houses.

Capt. Rita Burris said no rescues had to be made of people in cars and none of the home were on fire.

But she said residents who think their home is hit by lightning should call 911 and evacuate immediately.

Read more and see photos HERE.

St. Louis (MO) Chemical Fire Spurs Evacuations

About 500 people were evacuated and a portion of I-44 closed early Monday as St. Louis firefighters battled a five-alarm chemical fire, the city's fire chief said.

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries, Chief Dennis Jenkerson said.

The fire at Chemisphere Corp.'s west St. Louis storage yard involved tankers, rail cars and other storage tanks containing solvents, Jenkerson said. A Fire Department spokeswoman said the solvents were acetone and ethanol.

The fire was under control as of about 6 a.m. CT. But when firefighters arrived at about 2:30 a.m., "We had the whole yard going," Jenkerson said.

More HERE.

Chicago (IL) Fire Kills Infant Girl

From the Chicago Tribune breaking news blog:
An infant girl was killed this morning in a house fire on the city's West Side, authorities said.

Firefighters found 2-month-old Tiniya Coleman in a first-floor bedroom during a search of the 1-1/2 story home in the 800 block of North Laramie Avenue in the Austin neighborhood at about 2 a.m., officials said.

The child died at the scene.

Read more HERE.

Another Camden (NJ) Multi-Alarm: 7-Alarm Fire Destroys Plant

Firefighters remain on the scene of a massive warehouse fire in Camden - still a concern about 24 hours after it first started.

The fire broke out around 5:15 a.m. Sunday at the now vacant Concord Chemical Plant on the 1700 block of Federal Street in Camden.

Shortly after firefighters received reports of smoke coming from the building, flames began shooting from the upper floors.

Read more and see photos HERE.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

NFPA Issues Third Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has just released its Third Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service. The report, the third installment of a similar assessment conducted in 2001 and 2005, respectively, was conducted to determine the collective needs of the American fire service; and the impact of DHS and FEMA grant awards in reducing these 'needs.'

The report can be downloaded here.

The report focused on the following needs:

Personnel and their capabilities, including staffing, training, certification, and

Facilities and apparatus

Personal protective equipment, including some of what may have been
categorized as firefighting equipment in the DHS/FEMA grants program

Fire prevention and code enforcement

Ability to handle unusually challenging incidents, including personnel,
equipment, and plans or agreements to facilitate working with others

Communications and new technologies

While there were reductions in many of the researched 'needs,' there were indications that the economy is significantly impacting equipment and staffing in U.S. fire departments and little progress in reducing these two needs.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

IL FF Killed: Wall Collapse During Massive Fire

A massive fire at the Antique Mall and the Kunz Opera House in Pinckneyville, Illinois, killed Firefighter Corey Shaw, 22, son of Du Quoin Fire Chief Bob Shaw. Shaw was fighting the fire near the east wall of the antique store when it collapsed, according to reports from The

Early reports stated that a firefighter had been injured after a wall collapsed during the incident. Shaw was airlifted to a local hospital for treatment but later died of his injures.

More from The

"The younger Shaw, whom officials described as a son, husband and father, started as a volunteer firefighter in 2010. Mayor John Rednour Sr. said, "It's a sad night for citizens of Du Quoin" and added, "We've just got to rally together and support the family." Police and Fire Commissioner Josh Downs said Corey Shaw did what all firefighters do: put his life on the line for the protection of the community. "He cannot be forgotten," Downs said. "We will do our best in the community to rally around those who are most affected." City Commissioner Rex Duncan said all public flags would be flown at half staff and asked all residents and businesses to do the same."

Read the entire story HERE.

FDNY Whistleblower Files Suit Over Fireboat Safety

Francis Domini, a lisenced FDNY marine engineer, has filed a suit in New York after blowing the whistle on FDNY's fireboat safety culture. Domini claims the FDNY fails to follow the advice of lisenced mariners. Domini's suit stems from a training incident in which the fireboat: Firefighter II side-swiped its sister vessel, the 343, during rough seas. Domini states that the Firefighter II's pilot advised against the training exercise due to the rough weather and seas. Domini also claims that he was forced to "walk the plank" after failing to participate in training exercises with the new boats. The FDNY refused to comment on Domini's lawsuit and the incident in question.

The FDNY's 343 has been plauged with technical glitches and has recently been dry-docked in Connecticut, for a paint job.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Man Crashes Truck into IL Fire Station

People in one southern Illinois town are without their fire department. That's because a vehicle crashed into the New Haven Volunteer Fire Station and Senior Citizens building early Thursday morning in Gallatin County. Police say the driver was under the influence.

These New Haven fire trucks are trapped inside their own fire station.

"You think a pick-up hits it and a big strong building like this would withstand that, but if you hit anything in the right place, it's going to do a lot of damage," Mayor Kevin Edmonds said.

Read more HERE.

Suspicious Item Found Near Pentagon 'Disrupted'

From CBS News:
A suspicious item found inside a vehicle near the Pentagon has been "disrupted" and "rendered safe," a law enforcement official has told CBS News.

The U.S. Park Police have in custody a man believed to be connected to the item, according to Park Police spokesman Sgt. David Schlosser.

The man was detained after the Park Police came across him overnight in Arlington National Cemetery. The Park Police then launched a search for the man's vehicle, which was found near the Pentagon, Schlosser said.

Previously, the man was suspected of planting suspicious devices just outside Washington, D.C., in the area of Arlington, Va., at the national cemetery, the Pentagon and the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial.

Schlosser did not confirm that report; however he said the Arlington County Fire Department's bomb disposal unit was called in to examine the vehicle out of precaution.

Read it all HERE. Download a free training program on fire response to explosive devices and explosions HERE.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Man Found Dead After AZ House Fire

Firefighters responded to a house fire near Gibert Road and Hackamore street in Mesa, Arizona that killed an 83-year-old man early Thursday morning. Fire crews arrived at approximately 2:25 a.m. to find an intense fire and to hear reports that a man was inside the house. The man had reportedly woken a woman from sleep allowing her escape. The intensity of the fire made it impossible for firefighters to rescue the man, according to reports from ABC15.

Read the entire ABC15 report HERE.

CA County Grand Jury Rips Fire Departments Over Medical Calls

A Santa Clara County civil grand jury on Wednesday called for a wholesale rethinking of fire departments and emergency responses, arguing that sending firefighters to what are now mostly medical calls is outdated and wasteful.

A report by the watchdog panel found that 70 percent of fire department calls are medical emergencies, and just 4 percent are fire-related. But even so, firefighters respond as if they are heading to a fire, sending a crew of three or more on a truck or engine costing an average of $500,000 -- five times the cost of an ambulance.

Typically only one of the three arriving firefighters has medical training, the report said. That creates a "mismatch between service needed and service provided," with fire departments deploying "personnel who are overtrained to meet the need" -- that is, paramedics also trained as firefighters.

"Taxpayers can no longer afford to fund the status quo," the report said. "Using firefighter-paramedics in firefighting equipment as first responders to all non-police emergencies is unnecessarily costly when less expensive paramedics on ambulances possess the skills needed to address the 96 percent of calls that are not fire-related."

Read the rest HERE.

6 Dead in OH House Fire

Tragic news from Warren, Ohio, from the Associated Press:
Fire swept through a family's home early Thursday that appeared to have no smoke detectors, killing six people, including four children, fire officials said.

The dead included two adults, their two children and two other children who were visiting, said Shane Cartmill, a spokesman for the Ohio fire marshal's office. It wasn't clear whether the other two children were related to the family or were friends, he said.

Read more HERE.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Off-Duty Firefighter Who Saved Child at CO Pool Credits Training

An off-duty firefighter found himself in the right place at the right time last night in Fort Collins.

Michael Dairon, a Poudre Fire Authority firefighter, performed CPR on a 5-year-old boy who was pulled from a community pool.

The boy was found face-down about four feet from the edge of the pool when his father pulled him out. The boy had no heartbeat, and Dairon immediately started trying to revive the boy.

"At that point my firefighting and EMT skills just took over," said Dairon, who has been a firefighter for six years, all with PFA.

Read more HERE.

Deustche Bank Trial: Prosecutors Begin Summing Up

From the AP via The Washington Post:
Prosecutors are telling jurors that although there were regulatory shortcomings, three construction company supervisors’ actions are to blame for two firefighters’ deaths at a condemned ground zero building.

Prosecutors began their summation Wednesday in the manslaughter trial stemming from the August 2007 fire at the former Deutsche (DOY-cha) Bank building in New York. The building was contaminated with toxic debris in the Sept. 11 attacks. It was being torn down when a fire ripped through nine stories in August 2007.

Read it all HERE.

UK Firefighter Talks of Incident That Made Him Disabled

From, Firefighter Steve Morris talks about a deadly run that changed his life forever:
Three years after being permanently disabled in a house fire which killed a grandmother and her four-year-old granddaughter, Mr Morris has given his support to a disability hate crime campaign to be launched next week.

The blaze, in Little Holme Walk, Great Lever, on June 23, 2008, claimed the lives of Hameeda Begum, aged 71, and her granddaughter Alana Mian.

The firefighter, part of Green Watch at Bolton Central Fire Station, suffered burns to 52 per cent of his body and had to have all his fingers amputated.

He broke his elbow, damaged his spine and had to learn to walk again.

Read it all HERE.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

40 North Las Vegas (NV) Firefighters Told They Will Be Laid Off

Forty North Las Vegas firefighters have been given a thirty day notice that they'll be laid off, but there could be so much more at risk than just their individual jobs.

If those firefighters go response times in North Las Vegas could also rise. There's still thirty days for both the city and the firefighters union to reach some kind of an agreement to avoid this kind of mass lay off.

Read more HERE.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Report: Dangers of Nighttime Firefighting in AZ

From the AP, via
Firefighter Jay Walter knows the sounds of danger in the pitch black of night — the crackling of burning embers, the whoosh of flames whipped by wind, the hair-raising thump of a burned tree hammering down on the forest floor.

The 32-year-old from the Phoenix area is a division crew supervisor overseeing hundreds of firefighters working the night shift on a huge eastern Arizona wildfire that's been burning since May. Vigilance on the blaze is around the clock.

It's dangerous during the day, but at night, things get even more dicey for crews protecting towns, putting out hot spots and beating back the blaze to keep it from advancing.

Read more HERE.

Friday, June 10, 2011

TX Firefighter Found Dead After Fire

From the AP, via
A veteran East Texas volunteer firefighter has been found dead after a blaze in a wooded area near his residence.

Angelina County Sheriff Kent Henson says an autopsy has been ordered on 47-year-old David Goins. Goins was assistant chief of the Huntington Volunteer Fire Department

Get more details HERE.

Report: Contrary to What Alameda (CA) Chief Said, Rescue Swimmers Were Funded

This report from the Contra Costa Times seems to have disappeared from our feed, but here it is, reprinted in full:
By Matthias Gafni Contra Costa Times © Copyright 2011, Bay Area News Group
Contra Costa Times (California)
June 9, 2011

Contrary to what the interim fire chief told the Alameda City Council, his department had funding for water rescue training but apparently never used it, leaving a suicidal Alameda man to fend for himself and die May 30 in the shallow waters off the island, according to an internal Fire Department memo.

"We have been approved funding to recertify instructors and train new swimmers," Division Chief Dale Vogelsang wrote in the March 19, 2009, memo. "However, until this training is completed, per OSHA requirements, no members may be used as rescue swimmers."

A rescue swimmer needs 24 hours a year of training to remain certified.

"We anticipate training to commence within the next 30 to 45 days," Vogelsang wrote.

Fire officials declined to answer questions about why the training apparently never happened during the past two years, pending a citywide review. A call to the Alameda fire union president was not returned.

The day after Raymond Zack died off the Alameda shoreline, Mike D'Orazi, interim fire chief, told the Alameda City Council that budget constraints led to the loss of the department's water rescue ability: "We just did not have the money available to do what we would like to do."

But the 2009 memo indicates money was available -- and, in fact, $20,000 from the current budget is being used to do the training.

Capt. Richard Waggener, identified as the water operations manager in charge of restarting the program two years ago, was on the beach May 30 when Zack waded into the shallow waters off Crown Memorial State Beach. Eight other firefighters, a handful of police and onlookers also watched the mentally ill man stand in the chilly water a few hundred feet offshore and slowly lose his life.

Almost an hour after Zack waded into the water, glancing periodically back to shore, a young woman went in after him and pulled his body to shore, where firefighters attempted to resuscitate him, to no avail. An autopsy is pending.

Police released 911 and dispatch audio, as well as logs and a timeline of the event Wednesday, and the Fire Department released its audio, along with policy documents and its incident report Thursday after a Bay Area News Group public records request.

Although fire audio recordings are bare, the Alameda fire incident commander's report released Thursday describes the decision to stay dry:

"I was told by the Engine 1 captain that his crews were triangulating the subject's position and that he (Waggener) had informed the APD (police) commander that our crews were not able to enter the water," wrote division chief Ricci Zombeck in the June 6 incident report. "I was asked by the APD commander if we would enter the water and I confirmed that we would not."

Zombeck was asked by a television reporter hours after the incident if he would enter the water to save a drowning child.

"Well, if I was off duty I would know what I would do, but I think you're asking me my on-duty response and I would have to stay within our policies and procedures because that's what's required by our department to do," he said at the time.

Their procedures are guided by a 2003 water rescue policy, drafted by the island agency's fire labor management team. Among other restrictions, only certified rescue swimmers could enter the water for a rescue, no matter how deep in the ocean. Each fire engine would have a rescue swimmer on board ready for deployment.

It's unclear why funding for rescue swimmers ceased, but Councilwoman Beverly Johnson said any cuts made were done at the discretion of the Fire Department based on internal decisions.

"I don't know anyone in the city who knew this protocol existed. I know no one on the City Council did," she said.

Johnson said former Chief Dave Kapler -- D'Orazi only started his job a few weeks before Zack's death -- should not have let the swimming certification lapse.

"Alameda is an island city and it just seems like a major shortfall and the chief may not have been paying close enough attention to what was happening," she said.

Sixteen firefighters will soon start swim certification training at a cost of $20,000, the interim chief has said. D'Orazi also made an immediate policy change that would allow a senior firefighter the discretion on how best to respond to a water emergency.

Since the suicide, Alameda police have said they did not enter the water because the 6-foot-3, 300-pound Zack was suicidal and possibly armed or dangerous.

According to the Fire Department incident report, however: "The (Alameda Police Department) commander stated that her crews were not trained to go in the water and that they would not pursue the subject."

A call to the police spokesman Thursday was not returned.

The city's Multi-Hazard Functional Plan for Emergency Operations identifies the Fire Department as the primary surface water rescuer.

The 2009 memo, however, warned, due to the certification lapse: "Under no circumstances shall any member enter the water to initiate a rescue or search."

In the two years since the city's water rescue program ceased, the memo instructed incident commanders to contact the Coast Guard and other surrounding agencies in the event of a water rescue.

Contact Matthias Gafni

at 925-952-5026.A Changing storyFirefighters from the Alameda department did not enter San Francisco Bay to help rescue a man attempting suicide May 30.What happened: Raymond Zack waded for 60 minutes in waist- to neck-deep water off an Alameda beach and later died. Police and firefighters did not enter the water.What was said last week: Budget constraints led to the loss of the Fire Department's ability to train for water rescues.What was revealed: The department had funding since 2009 to "recertify instructors and train new swimmers," according to an internal memo. It was never done.What fire officials said Thursday: No comment.

Video Shows Huge Camden (NJ) Firefight

Check out this YouTube footage from the 12-alarm Camden fire:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Multi-Alarm Fire at Camden (NJ) Tire Factory

According to a report from, there is a multi-alarm fire raging at an abandoned tire factory in Camden, a beleaguered New Jersey city that has seen major firefighter and police layoffs recently. More details will be forthcoming as the fire progresses.

FL Firefighters' Dangerous Driving Caught on Camera; One Fired

Orange County firefighters were caught on camera driving recklessly as they were responding to an emergency, and the Fire Department is apologizing for this behavior.

The Orange County Fire Department said David Jordan and Thomas Veal were caught on the dash cameras of the fire truck driving recklessly, hitting a curb and giving a driver the middle finger.

Jordan, the driver of the fire truck who has been with the Orange County Fire Department for 22 years, was fired on Friday and Veal was demoted.

The firefighters, from the fire station on Amory Court in Winter Park, were responding to an accident where someone was trapped inside a car at about 3 a.m. on May 1.

Read the full report HERE. For more on emergency vehicle driving, see our On the Road column in our fireEMS section HERE.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Insecticide Ignites, Causing Yonkers (NY) Apartment Fire

A man spraying insecticide in his apartment accidentally started a three-alarm fire that sent smoke and flames through two floors of a six-story Yonkers apartment building Tuesday, fire officials said.

The Red Cross said 13 people from five apartments in the building were homeless. The man whose apartment the fire started in suffered burns to his feet and was hospitalized. A woman who suffers from asthma was taken to the hospital for treatment.

The fire in the 42-unit apartment building at 26 Post St. was reported at 12:42 p.m. Sixty firefighters brought the blaze under control by 1:18 p.m., Fire Chief William Fitzpatrick said.

A flame of some type ignited the insecticide, and the man ended up with burns on his feet, Fitzpatrick said.

Fire and smoke were shooting out of the second and third floors of the brick building and up to the fourth floor when firefighters arrived, the fire chief said. Firefighters had to help 30 people get out of the building.

Read the full report and see photos HERE.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Firefighter, 23, Collapses and Dies at MN Fire Hall

From the Star Tribune:
A 23-year-old firefighter went to exercise at his central Minnesota fire hall, collapsed and died, authorities said Tuesday.

Glenwood firefighter Matthew Chan died Monday evening, said Police Chief Dale Danter.

While a cause of death has yet to be determined, Danter said that there is "nothing criminal in nature or suspicious" about Chan's death and there were no signs of trauma suggesting an accident of some sort.

For more, CLICK HERE.

KS Pet Food Plant Burns for Fourth Straight Day

From The Wichita Eagle:
Firefighters could only watch as a pet food company building continued to burn through its fourth day Monday.

"We have crews on scene, but they're not able to do active firefighting," Capt. Stuart Bevis of the Wichita Fire Department said. "They're only able to put water on the fire... from a distance."

The four-story shipping and packing area of the TreatCo plant appeared like a smokestack with windows, creating a haze over the area near Broadway and 21st Street.

The fire, which began Thursday and appeared to ignite again Friday, left firefighters wondering when it might burn itself out.

Read more HERE.

New Details Emerge About Fire That Killed San Francisco (CA) Firefighters

From The Examiner:
More details emerged Monday about last week’s fatal Diamond Heights blaze, as fire officials said an emergency alert accidentally went off on a nearby fire engine about the same time two firefighters’ personal alarms sounded inside the burning building.


While fighting the fire, one or both of Valerio and Perez’s personal alert safety system devices went off. A PASS device sounds an alarm whenever a firefighter has been immobile for a certain period of time.

Around the same time, a firefighter on Engine Company 20 — which had yet to arrive on the scene — had inadvertently hit the emergency button on the engine.

The significance of the inadvertent emergency alert was unclear, although firefighter union President Tom O’Connor said he doubted it added to any confusion.

Read the entire report HERE.

Funeral services for the two fallen firefighters, Anthony Valerio and Vincent Perez, will be held on Friday. Full details on the services, donations, etc. can be found HERE.

Monday, June 6, 2011

SC Firefighter Critical After Suffering Heat Exhaustion

A Murrells Inlet-Garden City firefighter remains in critical condition today at MUSC after being injured in a fire Saturday, said Capt. Scott Gosnell.

The firefighter has not been identified. He was taken to Georgetown Memorial Hospital on Saturday evening, suffering heat exhaustion while crews extinguished a fire at Cambridge Apartments near the Garden City Connector, and transferred to MUSC.

Two firefighters suffered from heat exhaustion as they worked to contain a second-floor apartment fire that broke out around 3:30 p.m., Assistant Chief Danny Lussier said Saturday. It took an hour to get the blaze under control.

Read the full report HERE.

Responding Rochester (NY) Fire Apparatus Involved in Accident

From the Democrat and Chronicle:
A Rochester fire engine was involved in a car crash a half a block away from a northeast Rochester house that was on fire Sunday morning.

The crash occurred shortly before 9:30 a.m. as a fire engine rushed to the scene of a house fire on Lux Street.

The fire vehicle was headed east on Lux when it collided with a Lexus sedan traveling south on Portland Avenue.

The fire, just a half a block to the east, has left a family of seven homeless but safe.

Read more HERE.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Milwaukee Mayday: 3 Firefighters Injured in 3-Alarmer

Three firefighters were injured while battling a house fire in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Friday night, the Journal Sentinel reports:

There were initial reports of people being trapped inside the house, but no one was found when a search was conducted, [Milwaukee Chief Paul] Conway said.

While searching the top floor, firefighters encountered thick smoke and flames and a Mayday alert was called, signaling that firefighters were in great danger, Conway said. Two firefighters who jumped from a third-floor window onto the roof of a lower story suffered burns, Conway said. One firefighter stumbled in the stairway and injured a knee. The injuries to all three were not believed to be life threatening, Conway said.

Read the entire thing HERE.

MD Firefighter Turns to Advocacy After Losing Sisters to Cancer

From The Washington Post:
Vicky, the oldest sister, discovered a lump in her breast and tested positive for cancer. Two weeks later, her sister Valessa got the same results. And two weeks after that, Penny got word from her doctor.

In the span of one month in 2006, each of Marshall Moneymaker’s three older sisters — all in their 50s — learned that they had the disease that would later kill them. The diagnosis was as grim as it was improbable.

“It’s so rare, I can’t even find the odds on it,” said Moneymaker, a Montgomery County firefighter.

Moneymaker had rarely spoken with the three over the previous five years, the legacy, in part, of a dysfunctional family. But through three simultaneous rounds of chemotherapy, three reports that the disease was incurable and, finally, three funerals, Moneymaker and his sisters drew closer again.

They are no longer with him, but Vicky Higgins, Valessa Baumgardner and Penny Zeller and their disease have become the focus of his life. Moneymaker has transformed himself into a crusader for a cure — a burly dude on a Harley with an infectious sense of humor who goes around wearing all pink.

Read more HERE.

Friday, June 3, 2011

New Quick Response Vehicles: MT Fire Department Feels Success

The Billings (MT) Fire Department purchased two Quick Response Vehicles (QRV) last year to supplement the city's supply of full sized engines. Statistics indicate that 70% of the department's responses are medical emergencies and since December of last year the newly purchased vehicles have replaced engines during these incidents.

A recent report from KULR in Billings indicated that the purchase of these vehicles has proved successful since they have been used in over 600 calls to date. Billings Fire Chief Paul Dextras commented about the vehicles in this report:

"It not only provides a quality apparatus all the tools and equipment needed for medical emergencies, the same number of people that you would get on any medical emergency,"

(Video provided by

Read the entire KULR story HERE

Badly Burned Houston (TX) Firefighter Back on the Job

Darin Unruh is a survivor. And that’s pretty good for a man who died.

Houston firefighters responded in November 2008 to a frantic 911 call about a burning home at Linder and Tuscon in northeast Houston.

The caller insisted that someone was trapped inside the house, half of which was already up in flames.

Unruh, a captain at Station 39, was one of the firefighters who donned full protective gear to rush inside to search for victims. But the caller had been mistaken. There were no victims inside. Unruh became a victim instead.

The heavy smoke and super-heated air left Unruh with zero visibility. The firefighter’s co-workers still don’t know what happened, but when they found Unruh he was lifeless on the floor. He was no longer wearing his mask and breathing apparatus. His neck and face were severely burned. He wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse.

After extensive surgery and rehab, Unruh is back on the job, but his first call was a rough one. Read the rest of the story HERE.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

FF Killed in CA, 2 Injured in Diamond Heights

A 2-alarm fire has killed a San Francisco firefighter and injured two others in the Diamond Heights section on Thursday morning, according to reports from the California Beat:

"Fire personnel responded to a four-story home on the 100 block of Berkeley Way at 11:00 a.m. and found the home completely engulfed. Two firefighters who were inside the home suffered critical burns when they were overcome by flames, according to a Fire Department spokesperson....One firefighter died at the emergency room, the Beat learned. A third firefighter suffered minor injuries in the fire. The fire was contained 45 minutes later, fire officials said".

Additional reports from KTVU in San Francico give more details:

"Fire department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said the three were injured when the fire suddenly erupted into a fireball called a flashpoint.

Some of the firefighters said they witnessed a flash,” Talmadge said. “As a result of that we have three firefighters injured… When a firefighter refers to a flash it is when everything ignites around them.”

Two of those injured were immediately transported to San Francisco General Hospital in critical condition suffering from smoke inhalation and burns. Unfortunately, one of those firefighters died of his injuries, authorities said."

Read more about this report HERE

Two Firefighters, Worker Injured in New Orleans (LA) Fire

Three people were injured, including two firefighters, after a worker cut a gas line to a home in Mid-City sparking a flash fire, according to the New Orleans Fire Department.

Around 8:15 a.m., firefighters were called to the 2100 block of Bienville Street, according to the NOFD.

Three contractors were renovating a home when one worker cut the gas line from the supply side, causing a flash fire and burning his face and his upper body, according to the NOFD. He suffered first- and second-degree burns and was airlifted to a burn center in Baton Rouge.

Read more HERE.

What's your opinion on the use of the term "flash fire"? Hear it often? Use it often? Not one we hear much of in the Fair Lawn office of Fire Engineering.

Boy Killed in IL Mobile Home Fire; Relatives Injured

Investigators have not found the cause for a fire Tuesday night fire that killed a young boy and seriously injured his mother and two brothers, but authorities believe the blaze was accidental, said Chief Steve Plocher of the Highland-Pierron Fire Protection District.

Six-year-old Braedyn Schmitt died at the scene from smoke inhalation, said Alan Young, the Bond County coroner.

Plocher said the fire happened at about 10 p.m. Tuesday in the home of George and Candace Schmitt in the Country View Mobile Home Park off Illinois 143.

Braedyn's brothers and mother had severe injuries including burns and smoke inhalation, Plocher said.

Read more HERE. Read an article by Jay Lowry about mobile home fires HERE, and another by Joseph Polenzani HERE.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Water Rescue Training Questioned After CA Drowning

For a community surrounded by water on all sides, the need for adequate water rescue training for emergency responders has become a top priority in Alameda after a suicidal man drowned Monday in front of police and firefighters.

In years past, the fire department had a comprehensive water rescue team, interim Fire Chief Michael D'Orazi said before the City Council tonight, a program that included shore-based and surface-based tactics.

But after several years of struggling to balance budgets and making sacrifices, D'Orazi said, the program deteriorated to a state that left firefighters unable to respond Monday, when Raymond Zack, 53, waded neck-deep into the frigid water at Crown Memorial Beach and remained there until he lost consciousness.

Fire department paramedics on the shore were not permitted to rescue Zack because they were not certified in water rescue, the department's acting deputy chief of operations Daren Olson said Tuesday.

Read more and see a video HERE. For more on firefighter water training, CLICK HERE.