National News

Friday, July 20, 2018

Missouri duck boat accident leaves 17 dead, including children

A tourist duck boat capsized in a lake near Branson, Missouri, killing at least 17 people, including children, as severe thunderstorms struck the area Thursday night, the Missouri Highway Patrol said. Seven others were injured when the boat plunged into Table Rock Lake, officials said. "Our thoughts and prayers right now are with these family members," Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Friday morning, calling the accident a "tragedy." A total of 29 passengers and two crew members were on board the amphibious craft when it plunged into 80 feet of water and landed upright on its wheels, Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said. It appeared there were life jackets on board, Rader said, but it was not yet clear how many people were wearing them. Severe evening thunderstorms, including winds in excess of 60 mph, struck the area at the time. Eyewitness video showed the craft, which travels on land and water, taking on water as waves lashed at its sides.
ABC News

Texas firefighters union files lawsuit challenging enforcement of ’free speech zones’

Just when you thought the legal battle between the city and the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association was over, another is beginning. The union has filed a lawsuit, challenging the city's enforcement of "free speech zones." The particular location is the free speech zone at the Semmes Branch Library on Judson Road. That's where firefighters first called attention to the issue in March. The union said the free speech zone is 288 feet away from the front door of the library and prevented union members from getting signatures for the union's petition.The city has responded to the lawsuit, saying the purpose of free speech zones is to give library guests and voters space from people engaging in political activity.
KSAT-TV ABC 12 San Antonio

Amid legal fight, former Iowa fire chief named as finalist to lead another department

Former Davenport Fire Chief Lynn Washburn is a finalist to lead the Ames (Iowa) Fire Department. The announcement came less than two hours after the latest court hearing over her employment dispute with Davenport ended. Washburn, who was fired in 2017, is one of two finalists for the fire chief position. She is scheduled to give a public presentation there early next week. Ames spokeswoman Susan Gwiasda declined to answer whether the city was aware of Washburn’s ongoing legal battle in Davenport. But she said the candidates for fire chief “have gone through the civil service process” and “the only thing that can be considered in that process is what’s on the (employment) application.”
Quad-City Times

Georgia assistant fire chief resigns after arrest for altercation with firefighters

Murray County assistant fire chief Chris Butler, a 21-year veteran of the department, has resigned after being arrested for two counts each of simple battery and willful obstruction or hindrance of a firefighter, both misdemeanors, after a dispute at the scene of a fire earlier this month. According to a Murray County Sheriff’s Office incident report, on July 4 around 10:40 p.m. a deputy was sent to 430 Ben Adams Road to a call of a firefighter being assaulted while battling a fire. When the deputy arrived, he found a house that “had been fully engulfed in flames” and was directed to firefighter Troy Lanier. He said Lanier, “who was noticeably upset,” told him he and firefighter Justin Ridley had been assaulted by Butler earlier that evening as they were trying to fight the fire. Lanier said he was trying to enter the front part of the house to try to contain the fire.
Union Recorder

’Pop can alarms’ shelved, new fire alerting system live in almost every Nebraska city’s fire station

VIDEO - Most of Omaha's fire stations are now equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to alert them to emergencies. It's been five months since KETV Newswatch 7 first reported on firefighters at two stations using a "pop can" alarm as a backup to the broken system. Firefighters placed pop cans on top of a printer and listened for the sound of the cans falling to the floor to alert them to an emergency. "There was no need for the pop cans," Battalion Chief Scott Fitzpatrick said. "The new system will speak for itself. It's much better. They'll be able to get the pre-alerts much faster than a computer printer." The alerting system has a digital display of the nature of the call, address and which rigs are dispatched, along with a clock. The goal of firefighters is to be out the door within 60 seconds.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

New Texas fire chief wants department to do more than fight fires

As as assistant fire chief in Columbus, Ohio, Jim Davis battled the opioid crisis and trained firefighters to recognize public health issues when they answered calls. When Davis starts as Fort Worth’s new fire chief in September, he plans to bring that same collaborative approach. Davis’ unique background — he has a 20-year history as a critical care nurse and flight nurse — helped him become Fort Worth’s 13th fire chief. He will oversee the 987-member department that has a $145 million annual budget but Davis doesn’t come in with a predetermined agenda. Davis, 54, said the rapid growth that has made Fort Worth the 15th largest city in the U.S. is part of what intrigued him about taking the job. “When you’re not landlocked or growth-restricted that’s a good opportunity,” Davis said.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Florida fire chief actively recruiting women to join firefighting ranks

Kyleigh Lough, 12, held a large fire hose and opened the nozzle, shooting a powerful jet of water 20 feet into a green traffic cone and knocking it over. “It looks really fun, I think,” Kyleigh said when asked if she might like to be a firefighter one day. “They don’t just fight fires — they help people. They go along with police officers and help people who get hurt.” Kyleigh and about 60 other kids took part in the third annual Teen Firefighter Camp at Fire Station No. 7 next to the airport on Tuesday. The camp is designed to expose teens to the skills necessary to be a firefighter. About half of the attendees were young women, a population the Lakeland Fire Department is targeting for recruitment because only eight of its 150 firefighter/emergency medical technicians are women.
Winter Haven News Chief

1 dead, more evacuations ordered as Oregon wildfire grows to 50,000 acres

A fast-moving wildfire has grown to more than 50,000 acres in Wasco and Sherman counties, burning through structures and forcing people to evacuate their homes. Deputies said they found a person dead Wednesday afternoon near a tractor that had been burned by the flames. The Substation Fire broke out on Tuesday near The Dalles. Wind coupled with the hot, dry conditions caused the fire to quickly spread across the regional terrain of grass and shrubbery. Governor Kate Brown declared the fire a conflagration earlier in the day, which allows the state fire marshal to mobilize fire resources to help fight the fire. Calmer wind conditions are allowing firefighters to better fight the fire, which is primarily burning through the Deschutes Canyon area.
KATU-TV ABC 2 Portland

4 ways to reduce firefighter injuries and prevent fatalities

Firefighter fatalities are occurring at the same rate today that they were 20 years ago. Although the number of fatalities has dropped, it is simply because there are fewer fires. The following graph shows fireground fatalities per 100,000 fires over the last 20 years. Despite all the efforts that have been made to reduce firefighter fatalities and injuries over the last two decades—such as changes in command and control procedures, improvements in personal protective equipment, and deployment of rapid intervention teams—these measures have made little impact, as shown by the black trend line in the graph. Over the past two decades, there’s been an annual average of more than 76,000 injuries and almost 90 fatalities in the U.S. fire service.

Woman admitted she set blaze that killed two Kansas City firefighters, according to testimony

The woman charged with arson, murder, assault and causing a catastrophe in a blaze that killed two Kansas City firefighters admitted her guilt to a fellow detainee soon after being arrested, according to testimony given Wednesday. Thu Hong Nguyen told Misty Levron that she set a fire that killed people by using liquid in her nail salon, Levron testified Wednesday at Nguyen’s trial. “She said she didn’t understand why it went wrong,” Levron said, recalling their conversation on Oct. 26, 2015, two weeks after the fire that killed John Mesh and Larry Leggio. “Nobody was supposed to die.” Levron’s credibility was questioned by defense attorney Molly Hastings, who noted that Levron told her husband in a recorded jail phone call that she had a plan to use some information she had to get a charge against her out of Florida dropped.
Kansas City Star

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