National News

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Miami Fire Rescue’s First African American Chief Retires After 32 Years

Talk about big shoes to fill. Standing at 6’9", City of Miami Fire Chief Maurice L. Kemp is not only literally a towering figure at the department, but the 32-year vet is a respected leader within the city of Miami. After more than decades of service with the City of Miami Department of Fire Rescue, Chief Kemp is retiring. He served as the Director of Fire Rescue for eight years and in the department’s 119- year history, he was the first African-American to hold the position of Fire Chief.
WFOR-TV and WBFS CBS 4 Miami

Firefighter from iconic Oklahoma City bombing photo retires; ‘It’s still tough to talk about’

Memories come in all shapes and sizes. Chris Fields has a trunkfull, packed away from a 31-year career as an Oklahoma City firefighter. From fighting infernos to rescuing pets, Fields has done it all. "You roll up and prepare yourself for what you're going to see," Fields says. But nothing could have prepared Chris for April 19, 1995. "I was at Fire Station Number 5 at N.W. 22nd and Broadway. I felt it. We were standing in the station around the kitchen. We heard the boom and felt the station rattle. We looked outside and saw the plume of smoke and self dispatched ourselves," Fields remembers. Rolling up to the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, they had no idea of the magnitude.
Fox 6 Now

New York state court will hear firefighter demotion case

Lawyers for the city and the firefighters’ union will present their arguments before the state Appellate Court on May 24 on whether an issue over eight demoted fire captains goes to arbitration. Union President Daniel Daugherty said the Watertown Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 191 has been waiting for the case to move forward in the state Appellate Division, Fourth Department, in Rochester since last fall. In September, the city appealed State Supreme Court Judge James P. McClusky’s decision to allow the union to take the city to arbitration over the issue of the eight demoted captains.
Watertown Daily Times

Maine town board debates firefighters washing personal vehicles

Selectman Raquel Welch told the board Monday evening that she wanted to speak with the fire chief about firefighters washing their personal vehicles at the Fire Station. Welch said when she drives past the station on nice days, she sees people washing their private vehicles. “It’s not a car wash,” she said. “People can’t just pull up there and say that they want to wash their cars. I don’t think that should be a privilege.” Selectman Larry Snowman said the only people he sees washing their vehicles at the station are volunteer firefighters, deputies with the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office, Maine State Police troopers and ambulance personnel. “Business vehicles, I don’t mind,” Welch told Snowman. “It’s the private vehicles. It just bugs me.” Chairwoman Carol Roach said she’s read about other towns discussing the same issue and it “hasn’t been resolved.”
Sun Journal

Fired California firefighter suit to move forward despite city, fire district denials

The lawsuit filed by a fired firefighter against the city and its fire department is still ongoing, despite both agencies denying his request for permission to present a late claim. Former American Canyon firefighter/paramedic Carlos Teruel, 34, says he was let go shortly before his probationary period expired and since officials declined to tell him why, assumes it can only be because he took time off to care for his sick wife and small children. At Tuesday’s American Canyon City Council meeting, two special council lawyers for the public entities officially acknowledged the city and the city’s Fire Protection District had rejected Teruel’s late claim request and said they’d be filing reports.
Vallejo Times-Herald

Florida wildfire started by book burning destroys at least 10 homes

At least 10 homes in Nassau County, Florida, were destroyed in a wildfire caused by a man who was burning books Wednesday. Only a few minor injuries to emergency personnel have been reported in what's being called the Garfield Road Fire, according to the Florida Forest Service. But it has burned an estimated 350 to 400 acres near Bryceville, about 20 miles west of Jacksonville. Officials said in a news conference Thursday morning the wildfire was 65% contained and no longer spreading. Firefighters will continue to work in the area but a full containment of the fire is not expected on Thursday.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Entire New Hampshire volunteer fire department quits after vote

A Town Meeting Day vote caused an entire volunteer fire department to resign. At Unity, New Hampshire's Town Meeting Day on Saturday, a 65 to 38 vote ruled in favor of an article giving selectmen the authority to appoint the fire chief and firefighters. Selectboard members said the article was petitioned by many residents, which is why it appeared in the town warrant. Despite a large number of people voting in favor of the article, some residents said they don't agree with the final decision. Wayne Woodbury is one of them. A retired Unity firefighter, he believes it gives the town more control over the department, but not in a helpful way.
NBC5: Burlington, VT and Plattsburgh, NY

IAFC wildland fire expert dies suddenly

Friends, family and colleagues are mourning the unexpected death of a wildland fire expert who died while attending the IAFC Wildland-Urban Interface conference Sunday. Christina Randall, who gave an insightful interview for the latest Fire Chief Digital edition, was an expert in mitigating wildland and WUI fires and a member of IAFC’s Wildland Fire Policy Committee, IAFC stated in a press release. She spent the last 14 years as the wildfire mitigation administrator for the Colorado Springs Fire Department. Prior to that, she worked with the U.S. Forest Service for 19 years.

Massachusetts fire chief reinstated after audit

The fire chief who has been on paid administrative leave for more than two months has been reinstated. In a 3-0 vote Tuesday, the Board of Selectmen reinstated Fire Chief Peter Martell and took him off paid administrative leave, which he has been on since Jan. 10. On Jan. 10, Chief Martell was chastised by Stephen J. Comtois II, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, and Linda M. Lincoln, vice chairman, for spending $33,814 of town money - money that was put aside for such a purchase - for a 2017 Ford Expedition. In addition to the purchase, Ms. Lincoln said, Chief Martel submitted an electric bill from his home address with two Fire Department bills that was flagged by the town accountant. Chief Martel repeatedly said that submitting the personal expense was an honest mistake.
Worcester Telegram

Firefighter Completes Los Angeles Marathon in Full Gear to Raise Money in Honor of Fallen Colleagues

Dressed in full gear and carrying an American flag, Ventura County firefighter Rudy Marin completed the Los Angeles Marathon Sunday as he raised money for a memorial honoring his fallen colleagues. Marin was one of thousands who made the 26.2-mile trek from Dodger Stadium near downtown L.A. to the Santa Monica shoreline. To complete the race, Marin said he alternated between running and walking; it took him about eight hours to finish. In an interview with KTLA as he made his way through the course, the fire engineer noted his gear was about 70 pounds, which is approximately 100 pounds less than he weighs.
KTLA-TV WB 5 Los Angeles

Connecticut firefighter applicant files complaint alleging discrimination based on prior federal conviction

A former Branford firefighter convicted of federal embezzlement charges has filed a state complaint alleging the city illegally rescinded a conditional employment offer after learning about his past criminal charges. A Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities complaint dated March 2 and filed by Andrew Konspore said the City of New Haven violated state statute when it withdrew its conditional offer of employment in September. Konspore alleges this was done despite his having proper certification and ranking highly in his application for firefighter. He pleaded guilty to charges in 2006 that were unrelated to his work as a Branford firefighter.
New Haven Register

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