Arkansas News

Friday, February 17, 2017

Conway’s police, fire employees win ruling

Conway police officers and firefighters suing the city can do so with class-action status, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled Thursday. Faulkner County Circuit Judge Troy Braswell did not abuse his discretion when he certified a class of more than 100 firefighters and more than 130 police officers in a lawsuit against the city over a breach of contract, the court determined. "A court abuses its discretion when it acts improvidently, thoughtlessly, or without due consideration. ... We cannot say that the court abused its discretion here, when it carefully considered the complaint and matters in the record to find that common questions were present," Justice Rhonda Wood wrote in the court's majority opinion. Further, the employees all had a common complaint regarding promises made about their pay, the parties who sued had typical complaints compared to the class as a whole, and a class-action lawsuit would be the most efficient way of resolving potentially more than 200 claims, the court ruled.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette & Arkansas Online - Metered Site

Fire engulfs El Dorado home

A woman and her adult son escaped from a fire that destroyed their home Thursday morning. It was around 7:45 a.m. when the neighbor across the street, Reginald King, noticed smoke fuming out of the house at 1218 S. Rock Island Ave. “Mom, Sharon’s house is on fire,” King yelled. He ran to help her, but noticed the front and back doors were locked. King heard Sharon Burgie inside and began breaking windows to try and help her escape. The flames grew and the smoke fled higher before the local fire department was able to help Burgie escape and extinguish her home.
El Dorado News-Times

Blytheville police and fire upgrading radios

Blytheville's Police and Fire Committee discussed updating their radio system. According to Police Chief Ross Thompson and Fire Chief Mike Carney, radio communications are the backbone of emergency services. Thompson said the plans for an upgrade started four or five years ago after some FCC regulation changes. However, he said the police department decided it would be best to involve the Blytheville Fire Department in this communication upgrade. Thompson said they are currently working on combining their channels and equipment, along with working on a plan to build their own network with other emergency responders in the city.
KAIT-TV ABC 8 Jonesboro

Fire hydrant point of contention at El Dorado Works Board meeting

After some discussion Thursday, the El Dorado Works Board agreed on a funding request that was supported by Mayor Frank Hash to bolster the water infrastructure at Mellor Park Mall to make way for new and expanding businesses there. Hash said the situation had become murky and boiled down to a question of who was responsible for the fire hydrants at the mall: the El Dorado Water Utilities or the property owner, Multi-State Holdings. Multi-State is based in Effingham, Illinois, and is owned and operated by Dr. Surendra Agarwal and his son Sajal Agarwal. The mayor explained that replacing two missing fire hydrants at Mellor Park Mall is required to accommodate a new Hobby Lobby and the expansion of an existing discount store, Dollar Tree. The News-Times previously reported that Hobby Lobby will move into the Dollar Tree space, and discount retailer will relocate within Mellor Park Mall.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Couple escapes burning Black Oak home by climbing out windows

A couple managed to escape their burning home early Wednesday. The home was reportedly engulfed in flames as firefighters responded to the 100-block of Coleman Avenue in Black Oak. According to Monette Fire Chief David Clark, Shawn Bunch and his wife had to climb out windows to avoid the flames. The couple's children were not home at the time. A family member told Region 8 News the man was treated for a first-degree burn and smoke inhalation. The fire appears to have been electrical and started in the laundry room area, according to Clark. The house is a complete loss.
KAIT-TV ABC 8 Jonesboro

Fire burns Texarkana house

Police officers responding to a burglar alarm found a house fire. It happened tonight in Texarkana, Ark. The officers noticed smoke coming from a residence in the 3500 block of Water Oak Drive and notified the Fire Department. Flames already had moved into the attic when firefighters arrived and burst through the roof soon after, Fire Chief David Fletcher said. Firefighters were able to get one of three vehicles out of the residence's garage. Now authorities are trying to determine what started the blaze. No one was injured while fighting the fire. As for the homeowners, Fletcher said, they have yet to return after leaving the country to go home for Christmas.

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