National News

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

South Dakota Department Reflects On Training Following Scary Incident

A Tea family of six is now homeless after a devastating fire Sunday morning. Fortunately, they still have each other as no one was seriously hurt in the blaze. However, Tea Volunteer Fire First Assistant Chief Steven Oberle said there was a scary moment after a firefighter fell through the floor of the burning home. “He went around the corner and was on the floor and then next thing you know, it just went out from underneath him,” said Asst. Chief Oberle. While sounding the floor during the house fire, a Tea Volunteer Firefighter found himself trapped in the basement after the floor fell through. Oberle said he alerted his teammates of the fall and the RIT, or Rapid Intervention Team, sprang to action.
KDLT-TV Sioux Falls

Los Angeles firefighters save 4 children from burning home

Four children were hospitalized in critical condition Tuesday morning after being rescued from a burning home in the Vermont Knolls neighborhood of South Los Angeles. Firefighters found the front of the home in the 800 block of West Manchester Avenue heavily involved with flames when they arrived about 10:51 p.m., Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said. Officials said the fire ripped through the 400 square-foot bungalow at a rapid pace. Bystanders told firefighters people were trapped inside the home, which is mostly secured with bars and steel screen doors, Humphrey said. A firefighter found an un-barred window at the back of the home and climbed through.
KTLA-TV WB 5 Los Angeles

Multi-agency panel to review deadly Tennessee wildfire

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash said a team that will review the forest fires that spread from the park into Gatlinburg and beyond has been activated and “should be here in the next week or two.” Fed by near-hurricane-force winds, the flames swept through Sevier County on Nov. 28 from a fire that was first detected near the top of the park’s Chimney Tops trail 5.5 miles away on Nov. 23. Fourteen people died and more than 2,400 structures in the city of Gatlinburg were damaged or destroyed. Cash said he had not received word on who the team members are or the number, but explained the composition of the group. His comments came during a Friday morning interview with the News Sentinel.
Knoxville News Sentinel

Update: New Jersey city ordered to pay nearly $1M in firefighter lawsuit

The final judgment in a long-awaited civil lawsuit against the Trenton Fire Department was released last week, ordering the city to pay nearly $1 million in damages and fees, according to the court document. The judgment stems from a 2014 lawsuit filed by former firefighter Jesse Diaz, who alleged that he overheard a racial slur made by a co-worker of his at the department in 2012. Diaz said he faced retaliation and harassment after complaining about the incident, so much so that he was forced into retirement, the lawsuit said. The lawsuit went to trial and in September, a six-person jury ruled in Diaz's favor, awarding him $750,000. But last week, the final judgment revealed that the city would be expected to pay much more than that.
Trenton Times

California department delays reductions in firefighter staffing after union objections

The Kern County Administrative Office has delayed, for now, a plan to reduce staffing at nine largely rural fire stations after the Kern County Firefighters union objected. "The union requested a 'meet and confer' on the staffing adjustment late last Friday afternoon. We've temporarily delayed implementation due to their request," County Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop said in an email Monday. "We felt like there was a need for further discussions," said Kern County Firefighters President Derek Robinson. The county plan to reduce "constant" staffing at nine stations from three firefighters to two was announced last week and set to take place Monday. County officials have the ability to reduce staffing in a fiscal emergency under a contract with the Kern County Firefighters, which it was planning to invoke. But union President Derek Robinson challenged whether the county truly faces a fiscal emergency.

8 firefighter SAFER grant priorities

The goal of the SAFER grant program is to assist local fire departments with staffing and deployment capabilities to respond to emergencies and to assure that communities have adequate protection from fire and fire-related hazards. Local fire departments accomplish this by improving staffing and deployment capabilities so they may more effectively and safely respond to emergencies. With enhanced staffing levels, communities should experience a reduction in response times and an increase in the number of trained personnel assembled at the incident scene. You can also make the argument that more on-scene staff saves individuals money by reducing the amount of time to contain the emergency — thus reducing the human or property damage. More staff also reduces the risk of death or injury to firefighters — thus reducing those associated costs to municipalities.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Alabama fire chief killed in accident

The Mt. Olive Volunteer Fire Department confirms their fire chief Tracy O. Sanders, 44, has passed away following a wreck near Mudd Street and Highway 77 near Ohatchee Friday afternoon. Sanders was in a truck when she trying to turn left off of Highway 77 and her vehicle was struck from behind by a tractor trailer. Sander's truck then struck the vehicle in front of her. The flag is at half staff Friday night at the Mt. Olive VFD fire stations. Firefighters, friends and Sanders' sister all met to talk about their loss. They remembered Sanders as a woman who loved her fire department, believed in training and encouraged many other women to get into fire service.
WMC-TV Action News5

Firefighter injured, 3 workers killed after being overcome in Florida manhole

An unimaginable tragedy struck in a small community of a few dozen homes on Long Key Road in the Florida Keys Monday morning, when three workers from a private contractor tasked with fixing a roadway climbed into a hole in the ground and, ultimately, to their deaths. By the time a Key Largo firefighter climbed into the same hole near Lake Surprise in a desperate attempt to save the men, they were dead. And within seconds, the firefighter was also overcome by poisonous gas and was fighting for his life. The hole, just wide enough to fit a body and about 15 feet deep, was filled with hydrogen sulfide and methane gas created from years of rotted vegetation. It was so poisonous, Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay said, that the firefighter was unconscious within seconds.
Miami Herald

Delaware city loses insurance gamble, must pay $9M for firefighter injuries

The Sept. 24 fire in a Canby Park rowhome will go down in Wilmington as one of the most traumatic events in city history. The tragedy ultimately took the lives of three firefighters and injured four more, leaving the department and community reeling. In the days that followed, city officials realized they had another "very serious" problem, said Mayor Mike Purzycki. Because of a decision made in the 1980s, Wilmington had no insurance to cover workers’ compensation costs. Now, the city has to pay an estimated $9 million or more out of pocket to cover health care costs for firefighters injured in the blaze, Purzycki told The News Journal.
USA Today

Texas fire department uses cancer-sniffing dogs to catch disease beforehand

Dogs have long been used to sniff out drugs and bugs and even bombs! But can these furry friends also identify the smell of cancer? A special program in San Antonio has been designed to help protect some of our most vulnerable heroes, firefighters. "Everything a firefighter does is a calculated risk," San Antonio firefighter Joe Arrington said. And firefighters may be at risk for cancer since those who work the Hazmat team and other dangerous assignments are exposed to hazardous chemicals every single day.. A joint effort between the San Antonio Fire Department and the Firefighter's Association has launched a program to find out using these special test kit masks. "I found out about this program last summer. I was up in Illinois doing a firefighting study," Safety Division Executive Officer Jennifer Chadwick said.
CW39 Houston

Former Utah firefighter’s sexual harassment suit headed to federal court

A woman’s lawsuit over alleged sexual harassment and discrimination in the Farmington Fire Department is headed to a jury trial in U.S. District Court. Judge David Nuffer recently denied Farmington city’s motion for summary judgment against Sarah Mojazza, who sued the city in February 2014, saying a fellow firefighter sexually harassed her and that she was fired after she complained about it. Mojazza, a probationary part-time firefighter/EMT, was fired Jan. 8, 2013, after five months on the job. The city said in court documents that Fire Chief Guido Smith terminated Mojazza “because of her using the word f—- while on duty, in uniform, in public and in the presence of Farmington citizens,” and because she showed her supervisor and another firefighter a photo on her cellphone of a man with his genitalia exposed.
Ogden Standard-Examiner/StandardNET

Cow Trapped In Swimming Pool Rescued By Oklahoma City Firefighters

VIDEO - Oklahoma City firefighters were called Sunday morning after a homeowner reported hearing some sort of "snorting" noise coming from his swimming pool. Emergency responders arrived and discovered a hole in the swimming pool's liner and a cow trapped in the water. Oklahoma City Fire Department Battalion Chief Benny Fulkerson says firefighters used their pumps to remove about 5 feet of water from the pool so the cow wouldn't experience hypothermia. Crews then brought in a wrecker to hoist the nearly 1,500-pound animal from the pool and to safety.

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