The 1997 fire at the Delaware Trust building was a wake-up call.
Firefighters were confused about who was in charge and struggled to coordinate during the high-rise blaze that injured 15 of them at what is now the Residences at Rodney Square, federal investigators said in a report two years later.
The feds recommended additional training. They said Wilmington should utilize nearby training facilities, conduct exercises with county companies and "evaluate their in-service training program to ensure that it is adequately preparing fire fighters to respond to various incidents," the report said.
"There were people going every which way," then-fire union president Mike McNulty told The News Journal in 1999. "We were lucky we didn't lose anyone."
Nearly two decades later, the department wasn't so lucky. A blaze on Sept. 24, 2016, in Canby Park took the lives of three Wilmington firefighters: Christopher Leach, Jerry Fickes and Ardythe Hope.
A lack of training for firefighters and officers was cited among the factors that turned the fire fatal, federal investigators said in a November report.
Wilmington News Journal (Delaware Online)
Four McDowell County firefighters were arrested Thursday on charges of intentionally setting fires in the War area of McDowell County.
Cody Patterson, 26, James Stutson, 40, Michael Click, 28, and Brandon Short, 22, have all been charged by the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office with first-degree arson and conspiracy, according to a press release from the agency.
The suspects were setting fires “for the excitement of it,” according to the investigating officer, Assistant State Fire Marshal L.T. Hamrick.
“The guys were all bored and wanted a call to go on,” Hamrick said Thursday, after the suspects were arraigned in Welch.
The investigation began after investigators were called to a vacant apartment fire in War on Oct. 31, 2018, where it was determined that the fire was incendiary in cause, according to the fire marshal’s press release.
Hamrick said the investigation is continuing and more charges are possible.
Times West Virginian
Though still in critical condition, Clinton firefighter Adam Cain now is breathing on his own and “continues to slowly improve” from a Jan. 5 explosion that killed a colleague, according to an update Thursday from the city.
The 23-year-old’s ventilator was removed Wednesday, City Administrator Matt Brooke said.
Cain was badly injured in the grain-silo explosion at the ADM plant in Clinton. Clinton fire Lt. Eric Hosette, 33, died in the blast.
Cain “is scheduled for surgery on one of his broken arms this morning,” Brooke wrote in the update.
A firefighter at the Charlotte Volunteer Fire Department, where Hosette served as chief, said Cain sustained many injuries. In addition to respiratory damage, the firefighter said, Cain also suffered many broken bones and cuts.
He has been undergoing lifesaving treatment at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City since the incident, which remains under investigation.
Brooke said the Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health are looking into the cause of the fire and the resulting explosion.
VIDEO: Firefighters treated four patients including a sheriff's deputy at the courthouse in Santa Ana after a package was opened that made them feel ill, officials said.
A sheriff's deputy opened a package on the third floor of the courthouse and several people immediately felt ill, officials said.
An Orange County hazardous materials team and the bomb squad responded around 2:30 p.m. and that area of the courthouse was blocked off, though the rest of the complex continued operations.
The Sheriff's Department said three civilians and one deputy were treated and were transported to a local hospital. They underwent decontamination before being transported. They were not considered to have life-threatening injuries.
There were no evacuations and the situation was described as "contained."
By around 5 p.m., officials said the initial investigation was complete and there was no additional threat to others at the courthouse.
The package was sent to a crime lab for further analysis.
In an effort to incentivize volunteer firefighters and encourage their continued life-saving efforts in Plymouth Township, the governing body unanimously approved a pay-per-call retention program.
Active volunteer members with Plymouth Fire Co. and Harmonville Fire Co. are eligible for nominal payments for service and training provided members either respond to a minimum of 15 percent of the total number of dispatched emergency calls or attend at least 50 percent of the total weekly fire company sponsored training/drill nights.
Council Chair Marty Higgins said the pay-per-call effort is aimed at “compensating volunteers for some of their activities.” The objective is to help fire companies increase their volunteer rosters while demonstrating the value of firefighters’ services.
The pay-per-call fee schedule includes $5 per dispatched emergency call fee; $10 fee for emergency calls that exceed 60 minutes; $10 per in-station duty staffing at six-hour increments; and $20 per certificate training by an accredited institution for classes of a minimum of 12 hours.
Higgins said the pay-per-call effort will hopefully prevent or at least postpone the need to hire paid fire staff. Doing so would cost the township “millions of dollars,” he said.
The Times Herald