National News

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Atlanta agrees to $1.2M settlement with former fire chief

The city of Atlanta has settled a lawsuit with a former fire chief over his firing for a book containing passages which some saw as anti-gay. The Atlanta City Council approved a settlement agreeing to pay fired Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran $1.2 million. In 2013, Cochran wrote a book about his Christian faith titled "Who Told You That You Were Naked?" for a men's Bible study and gave it to around a dozen subordinates he said had either requested copies or shared his beliefs. The city suspended Cochran and then fired him in January 2015, with Mayor Kasim Reed saying he fired Cochran because the chief violated policy by promoting the book on the job.
WAGA-TV Atlanta MyFox 5 News

Cal Fire cadets fired for drinking will get their jobs back

Most of the California state firefighters who were fired last year because they drank alcohol during a training academy will return to work in 2018, according to Cal Fire and their union. Cal Fire in April announced that 17 firefighters would be dismissed from state service because they violated a code of conduct during their seven-week academy by drinking alcohol after hours. They’re supposed to stay sober through the training, except on weekends. Cal Fire agreed to reduce the punishment to an eight-month suspension for eight of the firefighters, the department said. Two of them receive a one-year suspension instead of dismissal. Two more cadets are still fighting their punishment and are expected to appear before the State Personnel Board next month. The others resigned or did not contest their dismissals.
Sacramento Bee

Washington firefighter’s invention will close bedroom doors in house fires

VIDEO - It was his daughter’s nighttime habits that turned Joel Sellinger from a firefighter into an inventor. "She'd fall asleep. I'd go shut her door. I'd wake up in the morning, and her door would be open because she had gone to the bathroom or gotten a drink of water," he said. Keeping bedroom doors closed in your home when you go to sleep is critical in keeping your family safe. Sellinger, an Everett fireman, sees it all the time. Twin 3-year-old girls survived an apartment fire earlier this year because their bedroom door was closed. Sellinger was on the scene and took photos of the damage. One picture clearly shows the scorched, blackened outside of their bedroom door. The inside portion looks almost untouched.
KING-TV NBC 5 Seattle

Rhode Island firefighters’ sick pay under scrutiny

The city has suspended an improper practice at the Fire Department involving calculations of unused sick time and payment for that time to firefighters, according to Mayor Joseph J. Solomon. “Activities that may have occurred in the past, when brought to the attention of our fire chief and myself, were suspended way back in July,” Solomon said. The situation involved an agreement that was improperly implemented, and the city’s suspension of the practice triggered a grievance, Solomon said. He would not provide more specifics, saying that the issue is now a legal matter, subject to arbitration, and he is also waiting for reports from auditors. A spokesman for the firefighters union, Michael Carreiro, said the firefighters filed a grievance after Solomon halted a monthly credit that firefighters received for unused sick time, based on a “side agreement” with the previous administration of Mayor Scott Avedisian.
The Providence Journal

Firefighters Sue California Gas Company Over Massive Leak

Firefighters who worked in and around the site of a massive natural gas leak sued the Southern California Gas Co. on Monday, saying the utility knowingly let them be exposed to dangerous levels of toxic chemicals. A blowout in a well at the underground Aliso Canyon storage field about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Los Angeles was discovered on Oct. 23, 2015, and took nearly four months to cap after spewing immense amounts of methane into the air. It was the largest known natural gas leak in United States history. First responders said they went to the storage field and nearby communities without any protective gear because they were assured by Southern California Gas that there was no danger, according to the suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. In fact, the utility knew that the gas contained cancer-causing benzene and formaldehyde, according to the suit.
KNBC-TV NBC 4 Los Angeles

Monday, October 15, 2018

FDNY Commissioner: Injured Firefighter ‘A Very Lucky Individual’ After Surviving 30-Foot Fall Off Ladder

A firefighter survived a frightening fall off a ladder on Sunday night. The incident happened on Mayflower Avenue in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx at around 9 p.m. The firefighter, who was rushed to Jacobi Hospital, was said to have suffered back and neck injuries after falling off a ladder that was propped next to a third-floor window, CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported. FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the firefighter is 38 years old, a married father of three and a 12-year veteran of the department. “Very early in the operation, the firefighter assigned to roof position was climbing to the roof on a 35-foot extension ladder, lost his footing and fell 30 feet to the pavement,” Nigro said. “That firefighter received serious injuries. He is stable and he is conscious. … He is a very lucky individual.
CBS New York

Illinois fire chief’s wife races to get fire truck as their home burns

A firefighting family is dealing with the loss of their own home after a fire on Friday night. The Oraville home of Vergennes Fire Chief Chad Sherman is a total loss, firefighters say. His wife, Trish, and oldest son, Hunter, are also volunteers with the Vergennes Department. “We all practice fire safety and prevention, it’s our number one job,” said Travis Skinner, an area firefighter who knows the family. A devastating fire at a firefighter’s home is “not a common thing to happen.” The National Fire Protection Association, whose annual Fire Prevention Week ended Saturday, says fire departments nationwide respond to nearly 360,000 house fires a year; causing $6.7 billion in damages. No one was injured in the Oraville fire, and the cause wasn’t known Saturday, Skinner said. The Shermans were on the property but not in the home on Friday night, a family friend said.
Belleville News-Democrat

California Sheriff’s Deputy in Hot Pursuit Crashes Into Home, Setting It Ablaze

VIDEO - Both directions of Highway 1 near Bodega Bay in unincorporated Sonoma County have reopened after a solo-vehicle crash involving a Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle and a house fire, the California Highway Patrol said. The crash occurred shortly after 5 a.m. in the 600 block of Highway 1 near Smith Brothers Road, authorities said. A Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputy was pursuing a vehicle suspected in recent thefts when he crashed into the home, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The suspect vehicle was traveling at speeds of 90 to 100 mph. The deputy was able to escape the car and, along with another deputy, helped residents evacuate the home. Shortly thereafter, the patrol car and home caught fire.
KPIX-TV CBS 5 San Francisco

First female firefighters at Texas department recall testing process

The Midlothian Fire Department was first in 1906. It then took 110 years for the department to hire its first female firefighter. Then a couple of months later, the department hired a second. And, now, that number stands at three. With this week being the public observance of Fire Prevention Week, it’s important to remember the civil servants who are among the first to respond to a call. Meet Midlothian firefighters Katie Bean, Samantha McCulloch and Teresa Smith — the women behind the helmet and Midlothian Fire insignia. When Katie Bean was in high school, she often daydreamed about what life would be like as a firefighter. She said she always knew being a firefighter was something she wanted to do; though she rarely thought of the risks and the dangers that came with the profession.
Midlothian Mirror

Detroit firefighters ’bracing’ for more arson as Angels Night ends

Firefighters in Detroit are reportedly “bracing” for another series of Devils Nights this Halloween after the city decided to end its annual volunteer-led anti-arson campaign, called Angels Night, according to a fire official. The decision to end Angels Night and replace it with a more celebratory community event, dubbed ‘Halloween in the D,’ was announced by the city late last year. "Quite frankly, there just isn't the fire activity anymore to justify this kind of mass mobilization,'' Fire Chief Eric Jones told the Free Press last November. "While the city will not be organizing community patrols, many of the city's established citizens patrols have indicated they still plan to have an active presence in neighborhoods this year," said John Roach, a spokesman for the city.
Detroit Free Press

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