National News

Thursday, October 19, 2017

California firefighters, officers rushed to help as fires destroyed their homes

Assistant Santa Rosa Fire Marshal Paul Lowenthal was in what sounded like a hailstorm of embers and ash that battered his truck as he tried to find a way through the fire burning above the city. He’d been dispatched to St. Helena the night of Oct. 8 to help manage a Napa County wildfire that started near Tubbs Lane just north of Calistoga. But driving east on Porter Creek Road, he was forced to turn back before he reached the Napa-Sonoma county line. Returning west along Mark West Springs Road sometime after midnight, Lowenthal saw “fire moving everywhere” outside his pickup. Flames were keeping pace with him, churning through rural estates and closing in on northern Santa Rosa even as he reached city limits. He was certain Santa Rosa faced grave danger and called Fire Chief Tony Gossner to tell him he planned to order an evacuation that would ultimately cover almost the whole northern half of the city.
The Press Democrat

New York firefighter dies after responding to motor vehicle accident

The Loch Sheldrake Fire Department was mourning the death of one of its firefighters on Wednesday. Ron Hinkle, 71, died after responding to a call Tuesday afternoon. According to Sullivan County Fire Coordinator John Hauschild, Hinkle was among a group of firefighters who responded to a motor vehicle accident around 2 p.m. Tuesday. Hinkle was found unresponsive some time after returning home from the call. Hauschild said emergency responders tried to revive him but were unsuccessful. Hinkle had served with the Loch Sheldrake department for 18 years.
Middletown Times Herald-Record

Pennsylvania fire company closes after sexual abuse scandal

Lights were out at the West Willow Fire Company on Wednesday. The volunteer fire company on West Willow Road in Pequea Township is closed, effective Tuesday night. “They came out and covered our roof one night,” Charles McGill said. McGill, who lives right next to the fire company, said he was sad to hear the news of the closure. “This company has been in existence for a lot of years,” he said. “My wife’s father used to help.” In 2015, Stanley Todd, a former West Willow volunteer, was charged with sexually assaulting five underage girls. Police said some of the abuse happened inside the fire station. Todd eventually pleaded guilty and two other fire officials were also charged with not reporting the abuse.
WHTM-TV ABC 27 Harrisburg

On their day off from California wildfire duty, Seattle-area firefighters work at farm for abused kids

After a 24-hour shift on the fire lines and bit of shut-eye, a strike team of 22 Washington State firefighters was told to take a break. They didn’t go winetasting. The firefighters from greater Seattle went to work Tuesday feeding evacuated animals, cleaning stalls, moving hay and spreading wood chips at Forget Me Not Farm, a therapeutic refuge for abused and neglected children off Highway 12 between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol. “It was amazing,” said the farm’s founder and director, Carol Rathmann. “They kept saying they want to give, which is a pretty amazing place to be coming from.” One firefighter after another said he was saddened to the see the destruction Sonoma County has suffered, pleased to pitch in and struck by the way local residents are welcoming them and coming to the aid of those displaced or left homeless.
The Press Democrat

Detroit deputy fire chief suspended for driving department SUV to bar

A Detroit deputy chief has been disciplined after video surfaced of his city-issued SUV parked in the parking lot of a bar. The Detroit Fire Department said it was Deputy Chief Robert Shinske who is seen on video parking the DFD-marked SUV outside a Dearborn bar and walking inside. Shinske has been suspended without pay for five days, sources told Local 4. Some people were expected him to get fired. A closed disciplinary hearing was held Wednesday and ended with the suspension for Shinske. The department confirmed Shinski violated policy in the video. Shinske parked the SUV outside a Dearborn bar just after 1:30 a.m. Saturday. He appeared to stagger as he got out of the vehicle.
WDIV-TV NBC 4 Detroit

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Veteran Florida firefighter, paramedic dies on the job

The Hernando County Fire Rescue announced the passing of one of their long-term firefighters and paramedics Tuesday. Steven R. Terry was found unresponsive by crew members of Fire Station #9 while on duty around 9:30 p.m. Monday evening. Crew members attempted to perform life-saving measures on him before he was sent to be treated at the Bayfront Brooksville Hospital. Terry passed away despite their efforts. Terry served as a firefighter and paramedic for almost 25 years and was an active duty military member for 20 plus years prior to that. Most recently, he served as a First Sergeant in the Army National Guard 1-111th Aviation Regiment out of Cecile Field.
TSP-TV 10 News

Judge says Ohio firefighter convicted in shift-trading scandal wasn’t fired because he is black

A federal judge tossed a lawsuit filed by a black Cleveland firefighter criminally prosecuted and fired for paying his co-workers to cover his shifts, writing the firefighter did not show that race was the reason he lost his job. U.S. District Judge Christopher Boyko wrote in an opinion released Friday that Calvin Robinson did not show that he was treated differently than 12 white firefighters also prosecuted in the scandal that plagued the Cleveland fire department. The 12 white firefighters, after pleading guilty to criminal charges, were all suspended for nine months without pay instead of outright losing their jobs.
Cleveland Plain Dealer &

After criticism over hiring of Nebraska fire chief, mayor proposes change to city codes

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert is proposing a city ordinance to address concerns that arose during the hiring of Fire Chief Dan Olsen in December. The ordinance would amend city codes that spell out how finalists are selected for promotions in Omaha’s Police and Fire Departments. The proposed changes are part of the city’s efforts to resolve matters raised in a lawsuit against the city over Stothert’s promotion of Olsen to chief, according to a letter to the council from the mayor and officials in the City Law and Human Resources Departments. Battalion Chiefs Robb Gottsch and Dan Stolinski, both finalists for the position, sued Stothert and the city in February. Their lawsuit, in Douglas County District Court, asked for the hiring of Olsen to be declared void.
Omaha World-Herald

Idaho fire chief resigns after being placed on administrative leave

Weeks after being placed on administrative leave, Twin Falls’ fire chief has resigned. Tim Soule sent a letter late Friday notifying city administration of his immediate resignation. The city announced Tuesday that it accepted. Soule had been on paid administrative since Aug. 29 as the city conducted an investigation. City officials have declined to disclose what they were probing, other than to say it was not connected to criminal activity. Tuesday marked one year to the date since Soule was sworn in as fire chief, with an annual salary of $123,188. According to a legal separation agreement obtained by the Times-News, Soule will continue to be paid through Dec. 16, representing gross pay of $26,059.
Twin Falls Times-News

New documentary ‘My Father’s House’ depicts the lasting impact of blaze that killed 12 FDNY heroes 50 years ago

A poignant documentary from the FDNY about the E. 23rd St. fire that killed 12 Bravest will be screened this week – marking the 51st anniversary of the fatal blaze. “My Father’s House” details the tragic fate of the two chiefs, two lieutenants and eight firefighters who died in the line of duty on Oct. 17, 1966. But the film pays special attention to Lt. Joseph Priore, who left behind a 6-month-old daughter. Christine Priore, now 51, didn’t know much about her father’s story until a few years ago, when she decided to pay her respects at the commemorative plaque on 23rd St. There, she was surprised to find members of the FDNY doing the same thing.
New York Daily News

Alabama volunteer fire department receives eviction notice

There's a battle of fire officials in Vance after the fire district sent an eviction letter to the volunteer fire department. Keith Mahaffey, the mayor of Vance, said the Vance Volunteer Fire Department has 30 days to move out of Fire Station One, because Vance is forming their own fire department just for the city. But why the hostile takeover? Well, both parties share two very different sides. "Why can't we work together, this doesn't make sense that we can't work together. This was never our intent for this to happen," said Mahaffey. Yet it is, Vance Mayor Keith Maheffey said for the last decade the Fire district in Vance has helped fund Vance's Volunteer Fire department but they've reconsidered.
WBRC-TV Fox 6 Birmingham

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