National News

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pennsylvania Volunteer Fire Chief Killed In West Virginia Explosion

The chief of the McDonald Volunteer Fire Department was killed in an explosion in West Virginia. Scott Albertini, died Tuesday morning at the Midland Resource Recovery plant in Barbour County, West Virginia. Two people were killed and one person was injured in an explosion at the same plant last month. In a preliminary report on Tuesday’s explosion, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection says contractors at the facility were disassembling a 30-gallon tank, trying to render tanks safe from the previous explosion on May 24. The agency says a preliminary report shows one other person was injured and an unknown quantity of Mercaptan, the chemical used to give natural gas an odor, was spilled.
KDKA-TV CBS 2 Pittsburgh

32 members of Chicago Fire Department brass return to rank-and-file

Thirty-two members of the Chicago Fire Department’s brass resigned their exempt positions Monday and returned to rank-and-file status in a fight over pay and benefits that will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. The bosses will return to their career service ranks of battalion chief and, in one case, paramedic field chief, but will continue to “act up” in their exempt positions. That means the 32 will now be eligible for overtime, holiday pay, duty availability, hazmat and other forms of supplemental and specialty pay afforded to members of the rank-and-file. They resigned en masse at 8 a.m. Monday. They represent more than half of the brass on the fire suppression side of the Chicago Fire Department but just one of roughly a dozen bosses overseeing emergency medical services.
Chicago Sun-Times

City plans to play hardball with Houston firefighters union over contract

The city of Houston is gearing up to play hardball with its firefighters union in advance of contract mediation by passing less favorable employment terms that would take effect if the firefighters' current agreement lapses next week. The changes subject to City Council approval Wednesday would come a month after the fire union declared an impasse in negotiations with the city. Firefighters' last contract expired three years ago, and they have been operating under "evergreen" terms since, which has meant forgoing raises in exchange for fewer restrictions on time off. That arrangement expires June 30, at which point firefighters' employment terms would revert to those detailed in city ordinance unless mediation talks set to begin Thursday produce a deal first.
Houston Chronicle

Kansas City firefighter wakes from coma; energy drinks may be to blame for heat stroke

A Kansas City firefighter is awake from a coma after suffering a heat stroke, and doctors are trying to determine if energy drinks may have played a part in his condition. The Kansas City Fire Department says he was participating in a training exercise last Saturday, June 10, when he suffered a heat stroke. He was taken to the hospital and was in a coma until Saturday morning, June 17. Where it happened and what station he works at is unknown at this time. The fire department said that the firefighter may have consumed some energy drinks. "Despite monitoring heat conditions and taking regular breaks for hydration, the firefighter collapsed shortly after noon," the fire department said.

Los Angeles Fire Department could soon seek federal permission to fly drones

The Los Angeles Fire Department could soon seek federal permission to fly drones, a tool that officials say could help them track down missing hikers, gauge the risks in burning buildings and search confined spaces. A Los Angeles City Council committee voted Tuesday to allow the department to start seeking Federal Aviation Administration authorization to use “unmanned aerial systems,” despite objections from groups concerned about privacy rights. That decision now heads to the entire council for approval. “I think there’s a tremendous opportunity to save lives,” said Councilman Mitch Englander, who has championed the idea. Fire officials say no drones will be launched, however, until the Board of Fire Commissioners and the City Council approve a policy outlining how they can be used.
Los Angeles Times

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

1 dead, 2 hurt after Missouri firefighters pinned under vehicle in wreck

A firefighter is dead and another is badly injured following a wreck in Lafayette County, MO. This accident happened shortly after 6 p.m. on Monday evening. It happened on Highway E just north of Wheatley Road, which is north of Interstate 70 in Lafayette County. The area is just south of Mayview, MO. Two Mayview firefighters were involved in the accident. One was killed while the other remains in an area hospital. Three vehicles were involved in the wreck, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol. MHP says the two firefighters were stopped on the road, checking on an abandoned car. That's when a third vehicle, driven by a 59-year-old man from Higginsville, MO, crashed into their car.
KCTV-TV CBS 5 Kansas City

California city to disband 114-year old fire department

The Santa Paula City Council on Monday approved a resolution that, once finalized and in effect, effectively disbands its 114-year-old fire department. The tax-sharing agreement sets the terms for getting coverage from the larger Ventura County Fire Protection District. The district is paid for from property taxes, and Santa Paula will turn over 79 percent of what it gets once it joins, according to the agreement. The district currently includes unincorporated areas, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Camarillo, Ojai and Port Hueneme. The council voted 4-1 on Monday night to approve the tax-sharing agreement.
Ventura County Star

Virginia volunteer firefighter is among 7 sailors killed in USS Fitzgerald disaster

One of the seven U.S. sailors killed on the USS Fitzgerald after a collision with a container ship off the coast of Japan has been identified as Dakota Kyle Rigsby, a Fluvanna County volunteer firefighter. The U.S. Navy said Sunday night that 19-year-old Rigsby, a gunner’s mate seaman from Palmyra, was among the dead. Lake Monticello Fire Department officials had confirmed Rigsby’s death on behalf of his family during a news conference at the firehouse Sunday evening. Assistant Fire Chief Jean Campbell described Rigsby as a “good kid” and a dependable firefighter, calling the death “a tragic loss.”
Lynchburg News & Advance

Massachusetts city council rejects contract for district fire chiefs a third time in prolonged residency dispute

For the third time in less than a year, the City Council has rejected a contract settlement with district fire chiefs in a continuing dispute if the current chiefs should be required to live in Springfield. A motion to give final passage to the contract failed by way of a 6-6 tie vote, needing seven votes to pass. Under the proposed contract, any person promoted to district chief after July 8, would be required to comply with the residency requirement and live in Springfield. Some councilors, however, were opposed to the clause and the contract because it would not require current district chiefs to live in Springfield.
The Republican

Ghost Ship fire: Oakland releases 50-page report on cause of deadly inferno

Seven of them were huddled next to a couch on the second floor. Another was just 10 feet from the front door. Eight others were found together wrapped in a rug, apparently having fallen all at once when the floor under them collapsed. They, like all the other victims of the Ghost Ship warehouse fire, died of smoke inhalation, their lungs and airways clogged with soot. Harrowing details of how the 36 victims of the Dec. 2 fire struggled to live emerged late Monday when the city released a long-awaited 50-page report on the deadliest fire in modern California history.
East Bay Times

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