National News

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

New York city to pay $1.2 million to firefighters passed over for promotions

The City of Buffalo will pay a total of $1.2 million to a dozen white Buffalo firefighters who claimed they were passed over for promotion because of their race. The $1.2 million settlement was approved Tuesday by the Buffalo Common Council and brings to a close a 2007 lawsuit that accused the city of illegally allowing two promotional lists to expire because minority firefighters had performed poorly on civil service exams. The 12 Buffalo firefighters alleged that if the promotional lists had not been allowed to expire and instead had been extended – as had been historical practice – they would have received promotions within the fire department, according to papers filed by the city’s law department with the Clerk’s Office. In 2007, former State Supreme Court Justice John A. Michalek ruled the city illegally passed over the 12 firefighters for promotions because of their race.
Buffalo News

Massachusetts mayor sees ‘disturbing’ conditions at firehouses during tour

Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern toured three of the city’s eight firehouses June 6, calling the conditions at Monday’s City Council meeting “extremely disturbing.” Firefighters were sleeping on mattresses with holes. Floors were being held together by duct tape. Some stations didn’t have carbon monoxide detectors or Wi-Fi, McGovern said. Seeing the conditions in those fire houses -- Station Two at Lafayette Square, Station Nine on Lexington Avenue, and Station One at the Broadway headquarters -- prompted the mayor to call for a facilities survey of all buildings. McGovern was told the state of these three facilities was representative of conditions across the department, according to a follow-up email with McGovern’s chief of staff, Wil Durbin. “These folks deserve much better,” McGovern said.
Wicked Local Cambridge

Florida firefighters save one of their own after he collapses at work

A Lehigh Acres firefighter went into cardiac arrest, and fellow firefighters resuscitated him inside Station 105 to save his life. Rick Pride, 47, was on the treadmill inside the firehouse workout room when the nearly 13-year firefighting veteran wound up unresponsive on the floor in the firehouse. "Our firefighters reacted very quickly that day, immediately going into emergency mode and starting to help him," Chief Robert DiLallo said of his team at Station 105 of the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District. "They did not give up. They worked him and worked him until they had a shockable rhythm." Pride is missed this week around the firehouse where he's best known for his witty humor, love of the Red Sox, and an engineer who everyone wanted to work with. "He's one of our key team members," the chief said. "We're a family here. We work together."
WZVN-TV ABC 7 Naples/Ft. Myers

Chicago paramedics under investigation after not immediately tending to teen with gunshot wound to head

The Chicago Fire Department said Tuesday it was “not acceptable” for paramedics to leave a teen unattended after he was shot in the head and severely wounded as they treated others hit by gunfire at a party on the Near West Side this week. “It is not the policy of the Fire Department to leave people on the street, even if they are mortally wounded,” said department spokesman Larry Langford. Asked whether the department would discipline any responders, Langford said, “Our investigation will determine if any rules were violated which may have contributed to this delay.” Erin Carey, 17, was among six people who were shot after two cars circled a party in the University Village neighborhood around 4:50 a.m. Monday, according to Chicago police. A sheet was draped over his body — his bare arms, jean cuffs and boots exposed — as paramedics tended to other victims.
Chicago Tribune

Former Texas fire chief appeals ruling

Brownsville’s former fire chief, Carlos Elizondo, has appealed a ruling denying his claim that the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office has charged him twice for the same alleged crime to a higher court in Corpus Christi. Authorities arrested Elizondo last October and accuse the former city official of stealing $8,000 from the Brownsville Firefighters Association Political Action Committee through unauthorized ATM withdrawals, according to a police report filed by the association’s president. Elizondo has pleaded not guilty to the charges. On June 11, 107th state District Judge Benjamin Euresti Jr. denied a writ of habeas corpus filed by Elizondo’s attorney, Eddie Lucio, which accuses the DA’s office of charging the former fire chief for the same crime twice. On Friday, Lucio appealed to the 13th Court of Criminal Appeals in Corpus Christi.
Brownsville Herald

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Virginia firefighter dies following training exercise

Firefighters in Amelia County are mourning the loss of one of their own after he died during a recent training exercise. Amelia County Volunteer Fire Department Company 1 Chief Justin Wargofcak said William Moore IV, 48, of Amelia County, suffered a medical emergency and went into cardiac arrest Thursday, June 14. He was transported to the hospital where he later died. Moore, who went by Billy, was a volunteer with the department for nearly two-and-a-half years, and was someone Wargofcak said responded to almost every call. “[He joined for] that excitement and being able the help the communities,” Wargofcak said. “He was from Amelia, born and raised here, so he wanted to help the county out in any way he could."
WWBT-TV NBC 12 Richmond

9 Charleston firefighters killed in Sofa Super Store blaze honored for ’unthinkable sacrifice’

The crowds hadn't yet arrived at Charleston 9 Memorial Park on Monday when Jacqueline Drayton introduced her son to the site where his grandfather died fighting a massive blaze 11 years ago. They stopped at the memorial for Drayton's father, Charleston Firefighter James "Earl" Drayton. And one by one, they visited the plaques honoring the other eight Charleston firefighters who perished on June 18, 2007. Drayton told 11-year-old Shawndell Davis Jr. that those men were like family to his grandfather. And she explained to her son how the park on Savannah Highway was once the location of the sprawling Sofa Super Store, where a small fire that started on the store's loading dock quickly grew to a raging inferno.
Charleston Post and Courier

California city paying $440K to helicopter medics to settle overtime lawsuits

San Diego is paying seven helicopter rescue medics a total of $442,000 because they didn’t receive overtime pay despite regularly working 56-hour weeks. Federal law requires overtime pay of one and a half times the regular wage for all hours worked over 40 in one workweek, but there is an exemption for government workers engaged in fire suppression. Helicopter rescue medics had long been covered under that exemption, but a federal appeals court ruling in 2014 ended that because the duties of helicopter medics don’t include putting out fires. San Diego officials shrunk the workweeks of the medics down from 56 to 40 hours in early 2017, but the medics filed lawsuits last year seeking overtime pay for the period between the federal ruling and when their workweeks were shortened.
San Diego Union-Tribune

Ohio firefighters suspended for allegedly making porn recording on city property

Two romantically involved Akron firefighters are on paid leave for possibly getting too hot in a firehouse. City administrators have suspended Lt. Art Dean and Provisional Lt. Deann Eller after receiving a tip that the pair of officers allegedly produced pornographic videos on city property, then posted their flames of passion on the internet. Chief Clarence Tucker and Mayor Dan Horrigan spoke strongly Monday about how the alleged behavior did not reflect the values of those who serve and save the city from fires. During a news conference called Monday to address the rumors, Tucker said that Eller and Dean could face additional discipline, including dismissal, if an ongoing investigation concludes they broke the city’s anti-fraternizing rule for men and women.
Akron Beacon Journal

Importance of TIM, physical health highlighted by NFPA 2017 LODD Report

The recently released NFPA report of 2017 firefighter fatalities is both encouraging and troubling. Clearly, the efforts of many of our industry partners have had an effect on reducing our mortality numbers – the 60 on-duty deaths reported reflect the lowest number reported in over 40 years. However, some of the unexpected shifts identify room for improvement. What common causes should we focus on to continue the reduction in firefighter fatalities? Are there still reporting and documentation gaps? How do we engage and motivate all levels within our ranks to be part of the solution? Here are my top three takeaways on the LODD report.

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