National News

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Emotional testimony on first day of trial for woman accused of arson, murder in death of two Kansas City firefighters

Emotional testimony capped the first day Monday in the arson and murder trial of a woman accused of setting the fire that killed Kansas City firefighters John Mesh and Larry Leggio. Capt. Steve Davis remembers instructing firefighter Leggio to pull a fan out of a window facing the alley so they could throw more water at the fire within. “He said, ‘Sure thing, Stevie.’ “ “I made a right turn and took a couple of steps,” Davis testified. “I heard a pop and looked over my shoulder. I started seeing bricks coming down.” He saw one firefighter partially pinned under the rubble. “I didn’t see firefighter Mesh or firefighter Leggio,” Davis said. They were killed on Oct. 12, 2015 when the east wall of a three-story building in the 2600 block of Independence Boulevard collapsed. It had been weakened by a fire that Jackson County prosecutors say was set by Thu Hong Nguyen, who managed a nail salon on the first floor of the building.
Kansas City Star

Body of California firefighter killed near Yosemite is retrieved from steep ravine

Crews on Monday extracted the body of a firefighter from a steep ravine that his bulldozer had rolled into days ago as he fought a wildfire west of Yosemite. The body of 36-year-old Braden Varney, a 10-year-veteran with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, remained in a mesh of mangled metal for three days in a site near El Portal that was too remote for bulldozers and too precarious to allow an immediate extraction. Firefighters from Cal Fire Local 2881 had been standing sentinel over their colleague’s body, coming and going in shifts, hiking in and out of the remote niche, in a revolving honor guard. On Monday, Cal Fire said it recovered the body with assistance from California Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 5.

Ohio Deputy Fire Chief Selected for 2018 Training Officer Recognition Award

TargetSolutions, a Vector Solutions brand offering the leading operations and training management software for the fire service, and the International Association of Fire Chief’s (IAFC) Volunteer & Combination Officers Section (VCOS) are proud to announce Deputy Chief Josh Blum, of Loveland-Symmes (Ohio) Fire Department (LSFD), as the recipient of the 2018 VCOS Training Officer Recognition Award. Blum will be recognized with this award at the annual VCOS meeting on Aug. 9 during the 2018 Fire-Rescue International (FRI) in Dallas. Chief Blum is receiving this honor, which aims to honor exemplary conduct befitting of a training officer, for his outstanding work since joining the department nine years ago.

Former Pennsylvania fire company leaders accused of stealing $46K from company

Two former presidents of Falls Township Fire Company No. 1 were charged on July 16 with stealing more than $46,000 from the volunteer organization. Christopher J. Carlin, 48, who served as president in 2017 and treasurer before that, is accused of taking $34,896.59. His predecessor, Gary Margerum, 61, president from 2009-2016, is charged with stealing $11,198.22. Both face charges of theft by unlawful taking, a felony of the third degree. They were arraigned by video before Magisterial District Judge Jan Vislosky of Fallsington, who set bail at $50,000 unsecured for both. A preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for July 25 before Vislosky. According to court documents attached below, Carlin’s thefts happened from mid-March 2013 through mid-August 2017. He was removed as a fire company member in December 2017.
Bucks Local News

Cleaning Lady, Firefighters Hurt In California Bee Attack

A 52-year-old cleaning lady and four firefighters were hurt Monday after they were attacked by a swarm of Africanized bees, leaving the woman in critical condition. CBSLA’s Stacey Butler reported Monday night that the woman’s son said that it appears she will survive her injuries from the bee attack. The woman had arrived to clean a home in the 23000 block of Buckland Lane in Lake Forest just before 10:30 a.m. when she was attacked by a swarm of bees, according to Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Tony Bommarito. According to witnesses Maria was in the house with the other three cleaning ladies when she decided to come outside to get a mop. She opened up the trunk and as she was looking in she turned and that’s when the bees hit her. There was so many bees that when firefighters arrived they couldn’t even see her face. “She probably had a few hundred if not a thousand bees just embedded into her hair and crawling all over her face,” said Orange County Fire Authority Firefighter Ryan Wilson.
KCAL-TV Los Angeles

Monday, July 16, 2018

Second-generation firefighter killed battling California wildfire near Yosemite National Park

Officials say a firefighter killed while battling a wildfire near Yosemite National Park was driving a bulldozer and trying to prevent the fire from spreading. Braden Varney, 36, was a second generation firefighter, state fire officials told CBS Sacramento. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Chief Nancy Koerperich said Saturday that Varney was cutting a "fire break" with the vehicle to prevent the blaze from spreading when he was killed. First responders haven't been able to retrieve Varney's body from inside the bulldozer because of a "rollover." Koerperich says he'd been working since the fire broke out Friday night and was making his way out of the fire area when he was fatally injured. Officials are still trying to determine the circumstances surrounding his death.
CBS News

Texas city sues cancer-stricken firefighter to avoid paying insurance claims

A firefighter battling cancer is being sued by Baytown's city government, which seeks to deny paying him insurance coverage for his treatment over the last 18 months. Patrick Mahoney, a battalion chief for the Baytown Fire Department, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in December 2016, forcing him to have half of his thyroid removed and undergo continued treatment, including thyroid hormone supplements and regular blood work. Immediately after his diagnosis, Mahoney, 36, filed a workers' compensation claim, seeking insurance coverage for his treatment, which he is currently paying out of pocket. Mahoney believes he was exposed to carcinogens as part of the hazards of his work as a firefighter, and Chapter 607 of the Texas Government Code, known as the "presumptive statute," ensures treatment of job-related illnesses.
Houston Chronicle

2 plead guilty to manslaughter in house explosion that killed FDNY battalion chief

Two men have pleaded guilty to manslaughter in an explosion at a marrijuana grow house that killed a New York City fire battalion chief, prosecutors said. "This is an extremely rare instance where someone is being held criminally responsible for conditions that caused the death of a firefighter in the line of duty in New York City," Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said Friday in announcing that Garivaldi Castillo and Julio Salcedo had admitted to manslaughter and marijuana possession. Castillo, 33, has been promised a two-to-six-year prison term, Clark said. Salcedo, 36, is to be sentenced to one to three years. The September 2016 blast killed Michael Fahy, a 17-year fire department veteran whom Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro called "a star" of the department.

Two arrested after stealing California fire engine, leading officials on 2 hour chase

VIDEO - Two suspects are in custody after an hours-long chase of a Sacramento County fire truck stolen in Rio Linda ended Saturday near Oroville, authorities said. Several agencies pursued the truck Saturday afternoon as it traveled nearly 100 miles across four counties and reportedly swerved into oncoming traffic. wo suspects are in custody after an hours-long chase of a Sacramento County fire truck stolen in Rio Linda ended Saturday near Oroville, authorities said. Several agencies pursued the truck Saturday afternoon as it traveled nearly 100 miles across four counties and reportedly swerved into oncoming traffic.
KCRA-TV NBC Sacramento

Philadelphia’s first fallen female firefighter honored with not ’just any headstone’

Philadelphia firefighter Joyce Craig gave the ultimate sacrifice — her life — in helping save others from a house fire in West Oak Lane in December 2014, becoming the city’s first female firefighter to die in the line of duty. That is why getting a headstone for her grave took 3½ years. “We didn’t want to put just any headstone there,” said Lisa Forrest, a captain in the Fire Department and president of Club Valiants, an association for black firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians. “We wanted to really memorialize her.” So it has. At a ceremony featuring a violinist and singer, and attended by about 70 of Craig’s relatives, friends, and fellow firefighters — including Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel — a headstone was unveiled Saturday morning at Craig’s grave at Ivy Hill Cemetery and Crematory in East Mount Airy.

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