National News

Thursday, August 17, 2017

FDNY engineer dies at 43 amid battle against 9/11-linked brain tumor, one year after his firefighter dad’s death

Firefighter Robert Alexander always followed in his father’s footsteps — even in death. The 43-year-old — who worked on FDNY fire boats — died Monday of a brain tumor stemming from his time at Ground Zero. For Alexander, succumbing to a 9/11 illness is a heartbreaking family affair — a year earlier, his father Lt. Raymond Alexander, died of cancers linked to his time on the pile, FDNY sources said. "World Trade Center illnesses continue to take the lives of far too many FDNY members, now including two generations of the Alexander family — a father and son who served so bravely, for so long,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said Wednesday.
New York Daily News

Private Probe Finds ’Serious Racial Insensitivity’ Of Connecticut Fire Chief

An independent investigator has determined that the fire department suffers from a fractured leadership team and perceptions of racism and favoritism that are worsened by the "racial insensitivity" of Chief Thomas Ronalter. The monthslong review did not document racism in hiring or discipline, but concluded "it is not unreasonable that a minority firefighter could perceive the existence of racial bias." The report by the DCB Law Group and the city's personnel office indicated widespread morale trouble at the department. "There is a strong and compelling perception amongst the overall membership of the NBFD that the administrative leadership ... is deficient and dysfunctional, mired by a lack of consistent affirmative communication, unfair treatment and favoritism," the report said.
Hartford Courant

After more than 30 hours, search continues for 5 on downed Army chopper in Hawaii

After more than 30 hours, the massive air and sea search continues for five missing soldiers who were on board an Army chopper that crashed late Tuesday off Oahu. Rescuers are focusing their efforts on a debris field that's three to five miles offshore. "This is still a search and rescue mission. We are here to bring our soldiers home," said Lt Col. Curtis Kellogg, public affairs officer with the 25th Infantry Division, in a news conference on Wednesday afternoon. "As we do this work, the soldiers and their families are on the forefront of our minds." The military has confirmed that the five who were on board the helicopter when it went down about two miles west of Kaena Point are active duty soldiers — two pilots and three crewmembers — out of Wheeler Army Airfield's 25th Combat Aviation Brigade. Their identities have not yet been released.
Hawaii News Now

Many hope interim fire chief will bring unity to North Carolina department

Charlotte City Manager Marcus Jones chose someone many feel can unite the fire department which has been engulfed in controversy for years. Deputy Chief Pete Key Key joined the Charlotte Fire Department as a firefighter in 1977 and now 40 years later, he’s in charge of its more than 1,200 employees and protecting more than 840,000 citizens. The selection signals a restart for the fire department, which has been dealing with a series of controversies. Sources said Fire Chief Jon Hannan announced his retirement because his job was in jeopardy due to extremely low morale and the handling of the Crystal Eschert trial. Eschert was recently awarded $1.5 million from a jury that found the city fired her in retaliation for being a whistleblower about a Charlotte fire building.

DC Fire and EMS to review complaint of deplorable conditions inside Deanwood fire station

Firefighters at Engine Company 27 in Northeast D.C.'s Deanwood neighborhood are sounding the alarm about what they are calling dirty and deplorable conditions at their fire station. In the District, fire personnel work in 24-hour shifts and then have 72 hours off. During their work shift, these firefighters live, eat and sleep at the firehouse, and these conditions are nothing new to them and have been going on for years, they say. FOX 5 received an email with photos from concerned citizen that were taken inside the fire station showing trash bags being placed over windows used to keep the heat in the winter, mold issues, sagging ceiling tiles, flooded storm drains and rodent issues.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Georgia fire department achieves ISO rating of “1”

Property owners may see a break in insurance premiums because Augusta Fire Department has achieved an Insurance Services Office rating of 1-1X, the highest possible, Fire Chief Chris James announced Tuesday. “Augusta becomes one of only 18 communities across Georgia to achieve this top rating,” James said. “This rating is a testament to the hard work our staff has put into raising our rating and making our city a safer place to work and live.” The rating scale goes from 10 to 1, with a 1 being the highest. The rating measures a department’s readiness and response capabilities and is used by insurance companies to determine the price of property insurance. The rating is a first for the 130-year-old department and Augusta’s rating is up from the 3-3X the consolidated government was first assigned in 2011, James said. Prior to that combined rating, the pre-consolidation city was a 2, and the unincorporated county was a 5, he said.
The Augusta Chronicle

Staff shortages are dangerous, Maryland firefighters union says

Firefighter union leaders on Monday accused Anne Arundel County of creating "dangerous situations" for firefighters and county residents because of staffing shortages in the fire department. In a press conference outside the Arundel Center in Annapolis, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1563 president Joe Addivinola said firefighters arriving on the scene of blazes in Shady Side on Thursday and Deale on Saturday had to rely on help from bystanders to start fighting the fires before backup crews showed up. "Right now we're at dangerous situations; we're understaffed," Addivinola said. "We truly think this is a state of emergency and we need more personnel on staff." Fire department and county officials rebuffed the criticism, noting help was close behind in both instances.
Capital Gazette - Metered Site

New York firefighters still seeking justice 10 years after Deutsche Bank fire

This week marks 10 years since the devastating fire in Lower Manhattan that killed two of New York's Bravest. A decade ago, a fire sparked by a worker's cigarette turned the condemned former Deutsche Bank building into an inferno of toxic smoke and flames that killed two firefighters and injured more than 100. "It's pitch black, choking acrid smoke, it was horrible," former FDNY Firefighter Steve Olsen said. Olsen was on the 15th floor wondering why it was taking so long for ground crews to get water up to the fire, but what he and the other firefighters didn't know was that the standpipe --which is the main source for water -- had been cut during the demolition work overseen by contractor Bovis Lend Lease. With no water, the fire raged out of control.

Boston Firefighter, DEA Agent Credited With Stopping Holocaust Memorial Vandal

The two men who took down the boy who allegedly vandalized the Boston Holocaust memorial on Monday evening were an off-duty Boston firefighter and a US Drug Enforcement Administration agent, said the Boston Fire Department. According to the department’s spokesperson, Steve MacDonald, the pair was eating at the Union Oyster House when they heard the ordeal going on outside. They then saw a teenager running away from the freshly damaged Holocaust Memorial and chased him down, said MacDonald. When they caught him, they said he complied. The firefighter did not wish to be identified. City leaders gathered with religious leaders and a Holocaust survivor on Tuesday afternoon to denounce the vandalism. They then saw a teenager running away from the freshly damaged Holocaust Memorial and chased him down, said MacDonald. When they caught him, they said he complied.
CBS Boston

Central Park tree falls; mom, 3 kids hospitalized, FDNY says

A woman walking with her three young children in Central Park Tuesday morning was struck and pinned by a large tree. All four were taken to the hospital after the woman was freed around 10:10 a.m., the FDNY said. The family was treated at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center for non-life-threatening injuries, the NYPD said. The mother was pushing her boys, ages 4 and 2, in a stroller and carrying her infant son when the tree fell, officer Meghan O’Leary of the NYPD’s Mounted Unit said. The woman was hit in the head and was in and out of consciousness as the FDNY worked to remove the tree, FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer said. After cutting some limbs off the tree to prevent it from rolling, firefighters were able to remove it from her about nine minutes after initially receiving the call, he said.

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