Sunday, July 31, 2011

Another Vacant Building Fire in Camden, NJ

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

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

Read about the most recent one here.

Thieves Burglarize D.C. Firehouse

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

Check out the story here.

Head of New York City's 911 System Resigns

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

You can read the story here.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

NYC Mayor Bloomberg Outlines Plans for 9/11 Anniversary

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

Here's the story.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Minneapolis Fire Department Set to Layoff 50 Firefighters

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

You can read the story here.

Salisbury (MA) Firefighter Dies After Being Injured at Station

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

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

Read more HERE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 28, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AZ Wildland Firefighter Found Dead

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fire Board: Firefighters Made Mistakes at Fatal MO Fire

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Firefighters Suffer Minor Injures in RI House Fire

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

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

Monday, July 25, 2011

CT Firefighters Rescue Woman Who Fell Over Waterfall

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

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


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

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

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

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

Unattended Candles Started MN Fire that Killed 6

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

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

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

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

3 Injured in ND Oil Well Blast

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

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

Atlantic City (NJ) Firefighters Plan Strategy for Massive Casino

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

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

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

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

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

Atlantic City Readies Firefighting Plans for 710-foot Revel


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

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

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

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

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

Read more HERE

MA Chiefs Concerned About Tanker Traffic Hazard

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 22, 2011

41 Killed in Bus Fire in Central China


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

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

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

Read more HERE

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Blast Triggers Four-Alarm Fire in NYC



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

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

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

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

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.

Town Hall Meetings Set for 9/11 Victims Fund


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

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

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

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


FDNY Truck to be Lowered Into WTC Exhibition Space


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

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

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

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


Friday, July 15, 2011

Boozy Bronx Firefighter Busted After Crashing Car

From the

By Lorena Mongrelli

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

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

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

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


3 Killed in Rural IL House Fire

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Man Bursts into Flames at San Francisco Porn Shop


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

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

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

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

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


9/11 Memorial Snubs Survivors


By Jennifer Fermino

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

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

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


Home in Upstate NY Explodes, Killing at Least Four


By Chris Carola

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more HERE

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dallas (TX) Firefighters Injured in Collapse at House Fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

MD Firefighter Hospitalized After Apartment Fire

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


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

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Extreme Heat Takes its Toll on OK Firefighters

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

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

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

Read more HERE.

Four-Alarm Fire Nearly Destroys Historic NYC Synagogue


By Kerry Wills and Barry Paddock

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more HERE

Monday, July 11, 2011

Amtrak Train Hits Tractor Trailer in ME

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

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

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

From news:

By Joe Pompeo

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

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

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

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

Read more HERE

Marijuana Plants Discovered During Yonkers House Fire


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

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

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

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

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

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

The investigation into the fire and marijuana is continuing.

Judge Nixes Firefighter's Suit to Block NYC Mosque

From news:

By Liz Goodman - The Lookout

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

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

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

Read more HERE

Firefighter Rescues 3 from Wreck in LA

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 10, 2011

SD Firefighter Physical Fitness Test Criticized

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

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

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

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

Two Firefighters Hurt Battling OH House Fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

Veteran OH Firefighter Badly Burned in House Fire

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 9, 2011

NJ Trucker Guilty in Crash That Killed MT Firefighter

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

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

Three Canton (MS) Firefighters Injured, One Seriously

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

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

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

Fire Forces Rihanna Concert in Dallas (TX) to End Early

From CNN:
A fire broke out at a Rihanna concert in Dallas on Friday night, forcing the event to end early.

A video posted on YouTube shows a fire burning at the top of the stage at the American Airlines Center, with some sparks falling toward the floor. Some people begin to stream out.

The fire reportedly began due to pyrotechnics that were part of the show. There were no indications of any injuries.

Friday, July 8, 2011

LODD: KY Firefighter, Instructor, Former Fire Marshal Dies at Fire Scene

Veteran Firefighter Charles Sparks of the Columbia-Adair County Fire Department in Kentucky, died at approximately 6:30 a.m. Friday morning after suffering cardiac arrest while operating on the interior of a house fire. Sparks, 49, was treated on-scene then air-lifted to Norton’s Audubon Hospital in Louisville for additional treatment, but died during his stay, according to a report from the Courier Journal.

The report stated that "Sparks worked for the Columbia-Adair County Fire Department for 32 years. He was also a deputy state fire marshal and a state fire rescue training instructor."

In addition the report said, "He is survived by his wife, Tammy, and 15-year-old son, Trent."

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) has released an announcement of the firefighter's death. The announcement has confirmed that funeral arrangements are pending and has provided the following additional information:

Arrangements will be made available on the Stotts-Phelps-McQueary Funeral Home website at:

Tribute is being paid to Firefighter Charles “Sparky” Sparks at

Fellow Firefighters Mourn Coworker Who Died at Baseball Game


It was a difficult Friday morning for the Brownwood (TX) Fire Department as the 30-person staff gathered to grieve the death of Shannon Stone.

Stone, 39, fell over a railing in left field at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and landed on a concrete surface about 20 feet below. He was transported by ambulance to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, where he was pronounced dead. Stone's 6-year-old son witnessed the fall.

Stone was a lieutenant and 18-year member of the Brownwood Fire Department. Those he worked alongside for years spent time with each other Friday morning, along with one of the department chaplains.

"You worry about him getting hurt fighting a fire, and I always worry about that with my guys, but this is something you don't expect," Brownwood fire chief Del Albright said. Albright said he found out about the tragedy when he received a call Thursday night from someone in the Arlington Fire Department wanting to confirm Stone worked in Brownwood.

Albright said Stone's son and any other family or friends that were at the game returned to Brownwood early Friday morning. Funeral arrangements have not been made.

Read more and watch Richard Durrett's report, and listen to A's pitcher and witness Brad Ziegler HERE

TX FF Dies After Fall at Baseball Game

Shannon Stone, a firefighter from Brownwood, Texas, died from injuries suffered after a 20-foot fall from the left field bleacher seats during a Texas Rangers baseball game in Arlington, Texas, on Thursday. Stone jumped forward to catch an in-flight baseball, tumbled, then fell head first over a railing to the concrete below, according to a San Jose Mercury News report.

The report indicated that many of the players who witnessed the scene were visibly upset and Texas Rangers president Nolan Ryan, former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, also in attendance, were sitting together during the game. Ryan issued the following statement, according to the report:

"We are deeply saddened that the man who fell has passed away," the statement read. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."

A similiar incident occured at Rangers Stadium, approximately one year and one day ago, when another firefighter, 25-year-old Tyler Morris was injured after falling from the second deck resulting in a fractured skull and a sprained ankle, according to the same report.

The Brownwood Fire Department has posted a memorial on their web site.

Read more HERE.

Fire Union Furious with Deutsche Fire Verdict, Demands Another Investigation


By Brian Kates

Furious that no one has been held responsible for the deaths of two firefighters in the Deutsche Bank building blaze, a fire union wants the case reopened.

In a letter to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr., Uniformed Fire Officers Association President Alexander Hagan demanded a "review all of the evidence ... in a renewed effort to pinpoint blame" in the 2007 inferno.

Hagan, a fire captain, singled out the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the building's owner, saying its failure to heed warnings of fire hazards and repeated violations of its emergency action plan "adds up to criminal negligence."

The letter came a day after a judge acquitted the project's asbestos abatement chief - the last of three defendants to be cleared of manslaughter and other charges in the deaths of Robert Beddia and Joseph Graffagnino.

Read more HERE

Firefighters Rescue Couple from Brooklyn (NY) Apartment Fire

From the NY Post:
Firefighters rescued two elderly people from a Brooklyn fire early this morning, including an unconscious 200-pound man.

The 71-year-old man was in critical condition from burns and smoke inhalation, and a 69-year-old woman was discovered in cardiac arrest from smoke inhalation.

Firetruck chauffeur Francis Valerio, 40, climbed up a ladder to the fifth-floor apartment where he broke open the bedroom window and discovered the victims inside by crawling on the floor through the black smoke. Another firefighter climbed in through the fire escape to assist in the search.

Several firefighters struggled to pull the unconscious man out, who sources said weighed about 200 pounds, and managed to get both victims out while other firefighters coming up from downstairs extinguished the flames. The woman was unconscious but firefighters were also able to pull her out alive.

Read it all HERE.

Firefighter Dies After Fall at Rangers Game


ARLINGTON, Texas -- A firefighter has been identified as the Texas Rangers fan who died after falling from the stands while reaching for a baseball tossed his way by All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office said Friday the victim was 39-year-old Shannon Stone of Brownwood. City Manager Bobby Rountree says Stone had been a firefighter for nearly 18 years in Brownwood, located 150 miles southwest of Arlington.

Stone fell about 20 feet onto concrete Thursday night, tumbling over the left-field railing after catching the ball and falling into an area out of sight from the field as the Rangers faced Oakland. Stone's young son witnessed the fall during the second inning.

"We are deeply saddened to learn that the man who fell has passed away as a result of this tragic accident," Rangers president/CEO Nolan Ryan said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."

The Rangers closed the clubhouse to the media after their 6-0 win.

The left-field wall is 14 feet high and the fan went headfirst over the railing, which is a few feet higher, for an approximately 20-foot drop. There was an audible gasp in the stands when the man tumbled over the rail, eerily similar to an accident last July when a man fell about 30 feet from the second deck of seats down the right-field line while trying to catch a foul ball. The area where the man fell Thursday is out of sight from the field.

Read more HERE

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Five Firefighters Taken to Hospital After Series of TX Fires

From the Beaumont Enterprise:
Lightning is suspected as the cause of at least two Beaumont fires and one store evacuation Wednesday afternoon. While about two inches of rain fell in places, around 100 lightning rods were reported in the northern Beaumont area within a 15-minute period, said Patrick Vaughn, chief meteorologist at 12 News HD.

While residents and shoppers escaped injury, five firefighters were taken to the hospital in relation to extinguishing the fires.

Beaumont firefighters responded to the house fire on Oakleigh Boulevard at 3 p.m. The fire caused heavy damage with fire damage to the attic and smoke and water damages throughout the house, Beaumont Fire Capt. Brad Pennison said.

One firefighter at the house fire was taken to the hospital for heat-related injuries, Pennison said, and the fire was put out before 5 p.m.

Lightning was suspected in another Wednesday fire at a Beaumont apartment complex that sent four firefighters to the hospital.

Read MORE.

Urban Villages vs. Fire Departments: Construction Makes Access Difficult for Firefighters

From USA Today:
Urban villages, quaint and pedestrian-friendly developments embraced by environmentalists, are sparking opposition from fire officials who say the streets are too narrow for their fire engines.

The popularity of such residential complexes sprouting throughout suburbia is forcing a rethinking of street design so the villages can accommodate both emergency responders and a desire for more intimate neighborhoods.

"It's far different than it was 10 years ago because people have actually started talking," says Jim Tidwell, a former chief of the Fort Worth Fire Department and a member of the city's planning commission. "Let's try to find a solution."

U.S. guidelines set by the International Code Council call for 20-foot-wide streets, but individual communities can adopt the codes and regulations they want. Some require 24-foot widths.

Read more HERE.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Final Defendant Acquitted in Deutsche Bank Trial

From the NY Times:
The third and final supervisor at the former Deutsche Bank building was acquitted of criminal charges stemming from the fire there that killed two firefighters in August 2007. The supervisor, Mitchel Alvo, the abatement director while the building was being deconstructed, was found not guilty of manslaughter and other charges on Wednesday by Justice Rena K. Uviller, who presided over the case in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. Two other defendants had previously been found not guilty by a jury.

Read more HERE.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Close Call Video from a Recent Fire in Milwaukee

Incredible close call video from a recent fire in Milwaukee:

Here is a description of the fire from YouTube:

This video is of a fire and subsequent Mayday that occurred on Friday June 3, 2011 in the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. MFD Engine 31 experienced a collapse in the attic while searching for two children who were reported trapped. The hose line they were on lost pressure and the collapse cut off their primary egress to the stairwell. As a result of rapidly deteriorating fire conditions, the Officer and Nozzleman were forced to bail out the front attic windows.

Body of Missing Wildland Firefighter Recovered from OR Forest

From The Register-Guard:
Lane County and U.S. Forest Service search crews have located and retrieved the body of Steven Dickerson, a 32-year-old Forest Service wildland firefighter, northeast of Oakridge in the Willamette National Forest.

There appears to be no indication of foul play in Dickerson’s death, officials said. Dickerson, of Oakridge, had left behind a note indicating that he was despondent, officials have said.

Dickerson was declared missing after failing to report to an out-of-state firefighting deployment on June 29. His body was found Sunday afternoon northeast of Grasshopper Mountain, officials said. Law enforcement personnel from four agencies, K9 tracking dogs and a helicopter participated in the search.
Read more HERE. As the story notes, donations in Dickerson's name are being accepted by the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation.

Two Firefighters Sent to Hospital During AR Fire

More than thirty firefighters from eight departments rushed to Walnut Ridge to help fight an overnight fire on NW 3rd Street.

Walnut Ridge Fire Chief Frank Owens said the fire started low, moved up toward the attic, and spread into the house. Since the house was being renovated and had walls in the attic, Owens said the fire was especially hard to contain.

The fire department had to call in help from Alicia, Black Rock, Clover Bend, Hoxie, Imboden, Portia, and Sedgewick to assist because of the heat stress his firefighters had to endure. Two firefighters were sent to the hospital and one has been released. The other firefighter's condition is still unknown.

Read more and see video HERE For more on the dangers of operating at house fires, read Jerry Knapp's Suburban Firefighting column HERE.

TX Firefighters Injured in Ceiling Collapse at Mexican Restaurant Fire

From the AP, via
hree Texas firefighters have been slightly hurt battling a blaze at a restaurant in the Lake Travis area.

The Austin Fire Department says the fire broke out around 3 a.m. Tuesday in the attic of Los Pinos, at a time when the Mexican restaurant was closed.

Battalion Chief Thayer Smith says two Lake Travis firefighters were hurt when part of the ceiling collapsed. Smith told The Associated Press that both made it out of the building on their own with non-life threatening injuries. They were transported to a hospital to be checked.

Read more HERE.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Stockton (CA) Lays off 35 Firefighters

A report yesterday from

The City of Stockton has laid off 36 firefighters due to budget constraints.

Stockton Fire Department Deputy Chief Paul Willette said 48 positions will be cut Friday at 8 a.m.

Before city and fire union negotiations became deadlocked Thursday night, seven fire fighters opted for early retirement and several others agreed to take demotions over layoffs.

The lay offs will reduce staffing of all engine companies from five to four and drops staffing on trucks from three to two; 19 fewer firefighters will be on duty.

Engine Company 1 will be closed by Friday.

Read more HERE.