Monday, August 22, 2011

Two Men Badly Burned in Brooklyn Electrical Fire


By Jessica Simeone

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 18, 2011

CT Firefighter Treated for Possible Chemical Exposure

From the Hartford Courant:

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

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

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

Read MORE.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fatal GA Fire Exposes Dangers of Home Security Measures

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

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

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

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

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

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

OR Firefighters Injured in Commercial Fire

From The Oregonian:

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

Read more HERE.

Baltimore (MD) Fire Department Personnel to Undergo Health Screenings

From The Baltimore Sun:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

IL Chief and Renowned Fire Service Leader Paul Boecker Dies

From the Naperville Sun:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more about Chief Boecker's career HERE.

Hidden Fire Hydrants a Problem for WV Firefighters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read MORE.

Funeral Details for Fallen Dallas (TX) Firefighter

Funeral details for Lt. Todd Krodle are as follows:

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

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

SC Chief Collapses, Dies After House Fire Call

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more HERE.

NYC Can't Remove Fire Alarm Boxes, Judge Rules

From the Associated Press, via the Wall Street Journal:

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

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

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

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

Read MORE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fire Damage, Deaths Following OK Wildfires

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

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

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

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

Read more HERE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read it all HERE.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dallas Firefighter Dies After Falling Through Roof

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



More information will be reported as it is released.

Dramatic Footage of Indianapolis Stage Collapse

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

Coverage courtesy of Todd Parker, Todd Parker Photography (

Warning: Graphic Footage

IN Stage Collapse Kills 4

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

View another view of the collapse HERE.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Kansas City (MO) Firefighter Allegedly Waved Gun at Colleagues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read MORE.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

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

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

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

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

Read MORE.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Minneapolis (MN) Fire Department Lays Off 10 Firefighters

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more HERE.

Two Firefighters Injured in L.A. Commercial Fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the entire report and see additional photos HERE.

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

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

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

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

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

Read more HERE.

NYC Fire Commissioner Defends Efforts to Diversify Ranks



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

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

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

Read more HERE:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

Read more HERE.

FDNY Cut Bias Unit While Being Sued for Bias

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

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

Read more HERE.

MO Firefighters Recover After Accident Involving Apparatus

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

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

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

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

Firefighter Still Hospitalized After NJ Shore Fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the rest HERE.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Woman Caught in the Middle of TX Warehouse Fire

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

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

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

Cedeno was on her way to check on her daughter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the complete story and see video HERE.

TX Firefighters Injured in High-Rise 'Fire'

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

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

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

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

Read more HERE.

Woman, 64, Dies in Bronx (NY) Fire


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

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

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

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

Read the article HERE:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

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

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

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

You can read about the story here.

NIOSH Releases Report on 2010 Chicago LODD

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

You can read the entire report here.

The following are the contributing factors according the report:

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

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

  • Dilapidated condition of the structure

  • Dispatch occurred during shift change resulting in fragmented crews

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

  • Not all fire fighters equipped with radios.

Key Recommendations:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more HERE.

Friday, August 5, 2011

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

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

5 Firefighters Injured in Bridgeport (CT) Fire

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

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

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


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

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

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

2 Killed in Kansas City (KS) Fire

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

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

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

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

OR Fire Department Ambulance Involved in Crash

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

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

TX Firefighters Rescue Man from Cell Phone Tower

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

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

Firefighter Dallas Fowler reached him first.

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 4, 2011

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


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

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

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

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cincinnati (OH) Firefighter Hurt in Apparatus Accident

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

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

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

Body Found in CA Home 2 Days After Fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 1, 2011

De Niro to Host 9/11 Film on CBS

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

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

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

Read more HERE

PA Apartment Fire Injures 13, Including 9 Firefighters

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

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

A total of 16 residents were displaced, officials said.

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

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


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

Read more HERE.