National News

Friday, October 20, 2017

Veteran firefighter named new chief of Oakland Fire Department

Longtime Oakland firefighter Darin White was named fire chief Thursday, the city’s second choice after a Los Angeles candidate turned down the job over a contract dispute. White, who has spent 20 of his 30-year career in Oakland, will lead a beleaguered department recovering from the Ghost Ship blaze, the deadliest structure fire in modern California history that uncovered failures to properly inspect commercial and multi-unit residential buildings. The Oakland native most recently served as interim chief, after Teresa Deloach Reed went on leave and later retired in the wake of the Dec. 2 warehouse fire that killed 36 people attending a dance party. Mayor Libby Schaaf and City Administrator Sabrina Landreth announced the hiring Thursday.
East Bay Times

New York town’s councilwoman says she is being bullied by fire department

City Councilwoman Teresa R. Macaluso is accusing members of the city’s fire department of embarking on a smear campaign to defeat her in next month’s election, She’s also accusing the firefighters of bullying her during this fall’s City Council campaign because she’s been a vocal opponent of the fire department during the city’s three-year contract battle with the firefighters’ union. “I’m being bullied by 70 men,” she said. Last week, the union criticized Councilwoman Macaluso for complaining when she and other council members weren’t notified a fire department awards ceremony was postponed — while firefighters were battling a blaze that sent three people to the hospital.
Watertown Daily Times

South Carolina firefighter pulls 2-year-old from sinking car

Carson Couch doesn’t consider himself a hero, although to many he probably is. It was October 2nd when the Belmont firefighter made a rescue that was unlike any other in his career. Couch, off-duty at the time, was driving down Piedmont Golf Course Road with his brother when he saw a frantic man on the side of the road. Just beyond him was a truck, quickly sinking in a pond. “We slowed down; I rolled my window down and pulled over to him,” Couch said. “He kept asking if I could swim, and that’s when my little brother saw the child in the car.” Trapped in the back seat of the truck was a two-year-old boy. “All I saw was his face and hands just like this, pushed up against the glass of the back of the pick-up truck.”

California community makes controversial move to reject firefighting resources

The fire district in San Diego's sweetest tourist destination is rejecting a request to join the County Fire Authority, which some say is a potentially life-threatening decision. Despite repeated recommendations from high-ranking county officials, the tiny apple pie-loving community of Julian has decided to rely on its all-volunteer firefighting crew to respond to any and all emergency medical calls and structure fires within the town. As Northern California battles its deadliest wildfire season yet, there's been close examination of San Diego County's overall fire and emergency preparedness.
KGTV-TV ABC 10 San Diego

Louisiana fire department requests $375K for armored vehicle

Bossier City Fire Chief Brad Zagone hopes there’s never a time where his department would have to respond to an active shooter situation in Bossier City. But in light of the Las Vegas mass shooting on Oct. 1 that resulted in the deaths of 59 people, as well as other similar events, Zagone believes his department needs a specialized vehicle to respond if such a tragedy were to ever occur here. On Tuesday, Zagone explained a proposed ordinance to the Bossier City Council that would allow the fire department to use up to $375,000 to purchase a BearCat MedEvac from Lenco Armored Vehicles. “Through the last three or four years, we’ve been doing a lot of training on active shooters, and I hate to say it, but it’s kind of what we’ve been seeing around the country,” Zagone said.
Shreveport Times

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

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