National News

Monday, December 11, 2017

Maryland Deputy State Fire Marshal and FBI agent struck, killed on interstate

Authorities say an FBI agent and a state fire marshal were struck and killed while standing on the shoulder of I-270 in Montgomery County. At about 10 p.m. Friday, one of the officers was at the scene of a single-vehicle traffic crash on southbound I-270. Police say he requested assistance and used his car to block the damaged vehicle from oncoming traffic. The officer then learned the driver of the disabled vehicle was also an officer. Both men moved to the shoulder, where they were standing when a vehicle approached them. Officials say the vehicle swerved to avoid hitting cars in the other lane and struck both officers. Both men were thrown over the road partition, where at least one of them was struck by a car traveling northbound. One officer died on the scene, according to police, and the other was transported to Suburban Hospital where he later died.
WJZ-TV CBS 13 Baltimore

Texas firefighter dies from cardiac event suffered on duty

Charles Patterson, a firefighter with the Bowie Rural Volunteer Fire Department since its inception in 2007, died on Thursday after experiencing a cardiac event on Dec. 1 while fighting a house fire. A graveside service for the 60-year-old is planned for 2 p.m. on Dec. 9 at Lindale Cemetery north of Bowie. The family received friends from 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 8 at the White Family Funeral Home. Patterson collapsed in the front yard of a structure fire on State Highway 59 the department was working the morning of Dec. 1. According to Rural Chief Randall Preuninger, Patterson was working a hose line when he collapsed with pain in his chest.
Times Record News

Fire union takes Indiana city to court in battle over contract negotiations

Kokomo’s fire union is taking the city to court in the latest development of what’s become a months-long battle over the two sides’ collective bargaining efforts. The Professional Firefighters of Kokomo Local 396, in a civil suit filed this week in Howard Superior Court 4, is requesting that Judge George Hopkins prohibit the city from terminating the existing fire contract at the end of this year and "until such time that the matter can be arbitrated." The step brings to the courts a contentious issue that has festered between city and union officials since negotiations on a new contract began in early June, and represents the most recent chapter in a relationship between City Hall and Local 396 leadership that has on multiple occasions led to public mudslinging.
News and Tribune

Heroism, tragedy, humor from firefighters who’ve spent days on the front lines of California wildfires

The sun had set Tuesday when Tim Hurley and his strike crew from the U.S. Forest Service’s Kernville station first made it to the front lines of the Creek fire above Sylmar. Flames were shooting sideways as they tore through the dry brush, fueled by erratic Santa Ana winds. Hurley immediately got to work manning an engine with one goal: to keep the fire from jumping Oro Vista Avenue into the dense tract of homes below. Even after 11 years as a wildland firefighter, he said there’s still a rush of nerves when he first drives up to such a chaotic scene. “But you get used to it,” the 39-year-old said. “You just go to work.” Hurley worked for 24 hours straight that first day, fueled by adrenaline, coffee and Red Bull.
Los Angeles Daily News

New York Firefighter With Cancer Gets ’Lifelong Wish’ to Attend Super Bowl

A New York firefighter who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer will fulfill his lifelong wish to attend the Super Bowl, his fire department says. In a Facebook post Sunday, the Tarrytown Fire Department said the NFL made Bill Duggan’s dream come true with tickets to the big game. “A couple of weeks ago, he was given earth shattering news that he had terminal brain cancer and only had a brief time to live,” the post reads. Upon hearing the news, Duggan’s family and friends launched a campaign to fulfill his Super Bowl dream. On Sunday morning, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walked into the Main Street firehouse in Tarrytown and personally delivered the tickets. Video shows firefighters surrounding Goodell and Duggan during the special moment.
NBC New York

Friday, December 8, 2017

Tucson Fire chief announces retirement after 29 years with department

Tucson Fire Department Chief Jim Critchley announced his retirement Thursday after six years as head of the department. Critchley sent out a memo to Tucson Fire Department personnel Thursday saying he loved his job, but decided to retire and focus on his family, department spokesman Julian Herrera said. Critchley joined the Fire Department in 1988 and became chief in 2011. As chief, he earned about $176,000 a year, according to a 2016 city database of employee salaries. No date was given for Critchley’s retirement, but city officials said they expected it to be effective before the end of the year. City Manager Mike Ortega praised Critchley for his years of service, saying he was an asset to the community who will be missed.
Tucson Arizona Daily Star

Jury awards former Florida firefighter $245,000 in discrimination case

A jury awarded a former firefighter $245,000 in damages Thursday, deciding she had proved two allegations in her federal lawsuit against the city of Tampa: That she was discriminated against because she was pregnant and the city retaliated against her when she complained. But on the third allegation, the seven-person jury did not find that the city discriminated against Tanja Vidovic because of her gender. The jury spent less than a day deliberating in U.S. District Court. Vidovic, 36, cried quietly in court as the verdict was read, her husband and friends looking on in support. "I feel relieved," Vidovic said later. "I feel that we’re making steps in the right direction on how we treat women personally and in the workforce."
Tampa Bay Times and Tampa

Southern California wildfires burn with little containment as conditions worsen

Firefighters across Southern California are battling six major wildfires with brutal Santa Ana winds expected to continue fanning the flames through Saturday. The newest blazes, the Lilac fire in San Diego County and the Liberty fire in Riverside County, are now being fueled by continued Santa Ana winds and low humidity, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Winds are expected to die down slightly on Friday before picking up again in intensity on Saturday. Red flag warnings have been extended across much of Southern California through Saturday, and high winds warnings are in effect for mountains and valleys in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
ABC News

Wisconsin firefighter charged with sexual assault of coworker, repeated harassment

A Milwaukee Fire Department acting lieutenant repeatedly groped a co-worker and gave her low marks on her work evaluation after she complained, according to a criminal complaint charging him with a felony. Michael Peden, 35, was charged Thursday with second-degree sexual assault after his arrest last weekend. He is accused of a pattern of inappropriate and retaliatory behavior, which began earlier this year. Peden works as a heavy-equipment operator. He was assigned as acting lieutenant to Engine 26, located on S. 26th St. near W. Scott St. in May. Peden's attorney, Rebecca Coffee, said he denies the accusations and maintains his innocence.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

U.K. Firefighters ’Seriously Unimpressed’ After Spending Hour Freeing Man Who ’Cemented’ His Head in Microwave

PHOTOS - A U.K.-based fire service has said it is “seriously unimpressed” with a 22-year-old man after five firefighters spent an hour freeing his head from a microwave oven he had “cemented” himself inside as part of a stunt he was filming for YouTube. The man, based in the English city of Wolverhampton, had mixed quick-dry spackling paste and poured it around his head, which was protected by plastic bag inside the microwave, which was intended to act as a mold, according to West Midlands Fire. However, the prankster soon became trapped and after 90 minutes of unsuccessful help from friends, the fire brigade was called in. After an hour, the fire firefighters managed to rescue the man, who was breathing with the help of an air tube his friends had managed to feed through the appliance, officials said.

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