National News

Friday, November 9, 2018

3 California wildfires destroy thousands of structures and force emergency evacuations

A series of fast-moving wildfires are racing up and down California early Friday, destroying thousands of structures in their paths and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate through flame-lined streets. Fanned by high winds and low humidity, the fires spread rapidly Thursday and overnight Friday. The threat continues Friday morning, with more than 20 million people under red flag warnings. Here's what we know about the trio of fires: Tanah Clunies-Ross woke up in the dark to what sounded like lumps of coal raining down on her Northern California home. Within minutes, her family and thousands of people were racing to escape the raging flames of the Camp Fire. "The smell of the smoke and realizing the smoke was a lot closer than I thought and then seeing flames up to my knees. ... I lost it," she said.

Ground Zero first responders who died of Sept. 11-related health conditions can now receive federal Medal of Valor

First responders who died of Ground Zero-related illnesses are eligible for a federal medal honoring Sept. 11 heroes under a new law signed by President Trump. The law, introduced last year by Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens), makes firefighters, cops and emergency service officers fatally sickened by the toxic debris pile eligible for the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor. The award was initially created to honor first responders who died during the Sept. 11 attacks. Trump signed the Medal of Valor bill into law on Saturday, along with another bill that will allow the National EMS Memorial Foundation construct a monument on federal land in the nation’s capital. “Our fallen heroes will now be honored for their ultimate sacrifice and what better place than our nation's capital,” said Oren Barzilay, head of the union that represents the city’s EMTs and paramedics.
New York Daily News

Chicago firefighter rescued after floor collapse and call for mayday

Fire ripped through a South Side house, causing a collapse and the need to rescue a trapped Chicago firefighter Friday morning. The fire broke out in the 7800-block of South Sangamon Street and there was heavy fire coming from the north side of the building, the Chicago Fire Department said. Firefighters went inside to rescue residents. During that search, the top floor collapsed onto the first floor, a firefighter was trapped inside. That's when a mayday call was sent out. "While conducting our searches, we had a collapse of the second floor down to the first floor," said CFD District Chief Dan Cunningham. "One of our members was trapped, which was the need to call for a mayday. He was briefly trapped and with some assistance, was able to get himself out of the first floor." Two people were inside the two-story duplex. One person made it out on their own, another was rescued. The fire was struck out before 4 a.m., CFD said.
WLS-TV ABC 7 Chicago

Washington department says goodbye to beer truck that saved lives for 2 decades

Not many people know that Central Pierce Fire & Rescue saves lives with what used to be a beer truck. The vehicle is used as a makeshift rescue rig, carrying equipment for the fire department’s most technical emergency calls, including rescues involving structural collapse, trenches and confined spaces. For almost 20 years, it’s done its job — mostly. Now it’s time for the 1981 International Harvester to make way for a brand new rescue rig, saving the department — and taxpayers — thousands of dollars in maintenance costs. “The new rig will be safer for us getting down the road (and be) easier to maintain,” Lt. Josh Farris said.
The News Tribune

Video: Daughter of fallen Tennessee firefighter sings him heartfelt ’Happy Birthday’

The daughter of a fallen Tennessee firefighter sang him "Happy Birthday" while clutching a pillow with his photo on it - and the video will melt your heart. Video shows 3-year-old Korbyn belting out her best birthday wishes to fallen hero Lawrenceburg firefighter Jason Dickey, singing, "Happy Birthday, Dada." Jason would have been 39 on Wednesday. He was tragically killed on Feb. 12 when a home collapsed on him and others while battling a fire. Along with Korbyn, Jason was the proud father of three other children. Jennifer said to celebrate his birthday this year, the family put new flowers on his grave and will release balloons and have a cake.
WTVC-TV ABC 9 Chattanooga

Thursday, November 8, 2018

South Carolina assistant fire chief killed while directing traffic at wreck

The assistant chief of the Van Wyck fire department in Lancaster County was killed Tuesday while directing traffic at a wreck scene, police and coroner officials said. Dennis Straight, 59, of Lancaster died around 8 p.m. at Springs Memorial Hospital, said Lancaster County Deputy Coroner Jennifer Collins. Fire officials in Lancaster County were shocked and deeply saddened by Straight’s death. “It is with deep regret that the announcement is made of the death of Charlotte Road/Van Wyck Assistant Fire Chief Dennis Straight, who lost his life in the line of duty while working at a motor vehicle collision scene,” said Lancaster County Fire Marshal Russell Rogers. Straight was a volunteer for more than 20 years with the Charlotte Road/Van Wyck department that serves much of the Indian Land and middle areas of Lancaster County between Lancaster and the North Carolina border with Charlotte.
The State

12 Killed, Suspect Dead in Shooting at California Bar

Twelve people including a police officer were killed by a gunman at a crowded bar in Thousand Oaks, California, late Wednesday, officials said. Several hundred people were inside the venue, which was hosting a "college country night" for students, police said. Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean described the incident at the Borderline Bar and Grill as a "tragic, tragic situation." The shooter was found dead at the scene from a gunshot wound. Several law enforcement officials identified him as Ian Long, 29. Law enforcement officials had earlier described him as a heavily tattooed white male. He was armed with a single handgun, was apparently not carrying a driver's license or any other form of ID, Dean said on "Today."
NBC News

New York firefighter’s union challenges assistant chief’s reinstatement

The president of Utica’s firefighters union is threatening legal action against the city as to how the Utica Fire Department’s assistant chief, once retired, was reinstated to his former job. A few months after Asst. Chief George Clark retired in April, Mayor Robert Palmieri requested his reinstatement by the Utica Civil Service Commission as he named Scott Ingersoll — Clark’s successor — the department’s new fire chief. Replacing retired Chief Russell Brooks, Ingersoll’s appointment is provisional as the city will host civil service testing in January for candidates. Ingersoll, then, is technically still the assistant chief. That said, Clark cannot be reinstated since the assistant chief’s position is not vacant, said Thomas Carcone, president of the firefighters union. “By reinstating George Clark to that position, you’ve actually filled it. That eliminates his position to return to,” Carcone said Wednesday. “I’ve tried to explain this. It fell on deaf ears, and I was forced to turn to the New York State Civil Service Department.”
Utica Observer-Dispatch

Houston firefighters, mayor disagree on path forward after voters approve pay parity

One day after Houston voters approved a sweeping pay raise for the city’s firefighters, union officials called for an end to “divisive politics” and a return to collective bargaining, even as Mayor Sylvester Turner said the ballot initiative’s passage would force him to downsize the Houston Fire Department, cause response times to rise and endanger public safety. Department, cause response times to rise and endanger public safety. While voters definitively approved Proposition B Tuesday to grant firefighters pay parity with Houston police, firefighters and Turner appeared at impasse over how to proceed Wednesday. Union officials reiterated their call for a return to collective bargaining to hammer out a contract for the city’s 4,000 firefighters, while Turner appeared unwilling to take such action, arguing the city “cannot renegotiate the people’s vote.” In a statement later, a mayoral spokesman said city officials do not believe they can use collective bargaining to override a voter-approved charter amendment.
Houston Chronicle

Inside a Real Rescue With the Chicago Fire Department

VIDEO - Picture everything in your building blowing sky high, the ceiling caving in, and everything landing in a jumbled pile. Now, imagine digging through that pile, perhaps multiple stories of debris, to find a gravely injured colleague. Welcome to the world of collapse rescue, which firefighters and paramedics may face at a moment’s notice. “All of that stuff is still there, and we have to tunnel through it,” says Tim Walsh, Chicago Fire Department’s Chief of Special Operations. “Desks, filing cabinets, light fixtures, conduit, heating elements, heating ducts, it all comes down!” Nowhere was that more evident than last August, when a Metropolitan Water Reclamation District treatment facility exploded on Chicago’s far southeast side. The roof collapsed, trapping ironworker Carl Malinowski under tons of twisted concrete and building debris.
NBC Chicago

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