For about 10 minutes, Emergency Services District 1 firefighters Jessilyn Davis and Lt. Brannon Stengel found themselves surrounded by a brush fire April 11 in western Travis County. The winds, which had shifted toward them, and 20 percent humidity that day only made matters worse. They tried to stay positive, but Stengel said in the backs of their minds, they thought they had come face-to-face with the blaze that would take their lives.
“With the the wind, it would just travel through the coastal grass faster than I could run,” Stengel said. “And the cedar trees and all the other fuels were dry, so the fire spread pretty rapidly.”
The visibility was so low, Stengel said, “you could barely see your hand if you held it out in front of you.”
A judge has sentenced the former fire chief of the Coventry Fire District to three years of probation and ordered him to repay nearly $200,000 for fraudulently receiving retirement benefits.
Paul Labbadia, 52, of North Providence, pleaded no contest in January to three counts that he filed false documents to obtain a public pension. During his sentencing Friday, Superior Court Associate Justice Netti Vogel also removed one year toward his pension credits that the state says he lied to obtain.
Vogel said she was trying to balance a man who worked for years in public safety with someone who committed a crime that violated the public's trust.
"It's a tale of two men," Vogel said.
WPRI-TV Providence 12
Firefighters are breathing a sigh of relief after a nearly year-long struggle.
The Mattoon Fire Department will have to hire a handful of new firefighters. It's after a judge ruled that the city violated their contract last year.
The fire department is supposed to have more than 30 firefighters, but right now they're at 24.
The city says this is all because of money problems, and they plans to present a budget that's not balanced for this year at their council meeting tomorrow night.
Officials say they've been trying to cut back on city staff to close the deficit, but firefighters say enough is enough for cutting down their employees.
As firefighters have left the Mattoon Fire Department, there's nobody new to fill their shoes. After a judge's ruling, that will change.
"We knew we had a really good chance, our contract is extremely cut and dry with the language."
WCIA & WCFN-TV CBS 3 Champaign
People turn to firefighters for help during all kinds of emergencies, but this one might actually be a first.
Wayne Township firefighters woke up in the middle of the night to a woman frantically pushing their doorbell.
"As many times as the doorbell on the firehouse was pushed, the firefighters were quite certain that something bad was going on outside," said Wayne Township Fire Capt. Mike Pruitt.
The woman was upset and saying she needed treatment. Not for herself, but for her pet raccoon.
She said the raccoon had been exposed to a large amount of marijuana.
WTHR-TV NBC 13 Indianapolis
A firefighter from Texas is being lauded for his heroic efforts after he helped pull a fellow passenger back inside a plane when she was sucked outside during an emergency landing Tuesday in Philadelphia.
According to the Daily Mirror, Celina firefighter Andrew Needum was nearby when debris from the engine explosion on Southwest Airlines flight 1380 ripped a hole in the window where 43-year-old Jennifer Riordan was sitting.
Riordan had been sucked outside the aircraft before Needum and another passenger, Tim McGinty, rushed to pull her back inside.
"When we saw the window was gone somebody saw the lady out of the window so just tried to get her back in and wasn't strong enough," McGinty told reporters afterward. "A fireman from Celina, Texas, jumped in there and helped and between the two of us we were able to get her back in."