National News

Friday, October 23, 2020

California’s I-80 reopens after crash, brush fire

VIDEO: A crash that sparked a brush fire forced the closure of part of Interstate 80 in Placer County for several hours Thursday. A vehicle slammed into a power pole on westbound I-80 at Highway 193 in the Newcastle area, knocking powerlines onto the highway and Ophir Road and igniting a fire, according to the Placer County Sheriff's Office. I-80 was closed in both directions between Highway 49 at Auburn and Highway 193 at Newcastle. The roadway reopened around 10:50 a.m. No one was injured in the crash and crews were able to contain the blaze.
KCRA-TV NBC 3 Sacramento

It takes nerves of steel to be a tillerman, and a female firefighter lands the job in New Jersey

On Thursday, Brittani Rawls became Passaic Fire Department's first female tillerman. That's the firefighter who sits in a seat in back and steers the tail end of a firetruck. It's the kind of challenge she relishes, because in a city crammed with traffic, tight streets and double-parked cars, life for the tillerman is never dull. There are no brakes. Instead the job requires a feel for how the back of the truck swings and for what the driver is doing so that the tillerman can adjust the movement of the back end. Rawls often has to steer one way and then quickly recover. "It kind of glides," Rawls said, adding that often people don't realize how far the rear of the enormous ladder truck might have to swing out. "I love it. I live for the thrill of things." Becoming certified as a tillerman requires nerves of steel and lots of training. It's a big achievement, fire officials say. (Bergen County Record & Herald News) - Metered Site

Firefighters in Texas using federal grant to vaccinate homeless, low-income families for the flu

This is the first year the Victoria Fire Department will administer flu shots for the homeless and low-income families and it’s all part of a long-range plan for the department to have more public health outreach. “Due to COVID-19 we felt this was a great year and a great opportunity to start that,” said Tracy Fox, VFD Chief. …and they’re not just doing it to help the most vulnerable members of our community. “Well we also want to reduce the impact on the hospitals are going to be faced with COVID-19 and then flu after that,” Fox said. It’s clear the homeless community’s health needs are not being met, Fox said, which makes outreach important. “This is just one of those ways where we can also help our response by improving the health of our homeless and vulnerable populations,” Fox said. “By vaccinating them for flu, we won’t have to take care of them during the flu season.”
KAVU-TV ABC 25 Victoria

Georgia firefighter puts on heels to raise awareness for domestic violence

Tifton fighters are trading in their boots for high heels to show support for the fight against domestic violence. Kiefer Daughtry is an engineer at the Tifton Fire Department, and right before the interview, he traded in his work shoes for a pair of fuchsia-colored high heels. “What’s going through your head right now? How does it feel?” asked Poitevint. “It feels terrible. I’m ready to put shoes on," said Daughtry. “How long have you been in them right now?” asked Bobby. “Five minutes,” replied Daughtry. Daughtry said it’s nothing like anything he’s ever worn before. “Oh, absolutely not. The boots we wear are steel-toe and pretty sturdy. These shoes are way worse,” explained Daughtry. This is all part of an outreach initiative by Ruth’s Cottage and the Patticake House.

Fire truck being raffled off in Pennsylvania

Have you ever heard of a fire truck being raffled off? That's what one Schuylkill County fire company is doing. "We've gotten some messages. I've gotten some messages from people saying, 'what are you guys thinking?' But honestly, it's a good truck, and we're going to give it a shot," said Sam Detweiler of Liberty Fire Company No. 4 in Schuylkill Haven. "Wherever it goes, it'll get a good home." Liberty Fire Company is raffling off this 1992 Pierce Arrow Pumper fire truck. "We had this apparatus for sale three months ago, and it's been for sale ever since," said Aaron Schimpf of Liberty Fire Company. "I think because of the pandemic, fire companies just not interested in making an investment at this time, so we decided to raffle the truck." If you want it, you'll be facing some competition. It's $100 a chance, and the fire company is only selling 250 tickets and a good chunk of those are already sold. Bids have come in from all across the country, including Oregon.
WNEP-TV ABC 16 Scranton

Thursday, October 22, 2020

A grim anniversary in Delaware: ’I questioned how many of us were going to walk away’

It was Tuesday, October 21, 1980, and Phillies fans, including New Castle County volunteer firefighters, were anticipating the start of what would be a Game 6 World Series clinching victory. But everything changed around 6:30 p.m. when a massive explosion rocked the Amoco plant off of River Road in New Castle south of Dobbinsville, blowing out windows, and shaking houses and residents for miles around. Ken Sturgis was a 28-year old firefighter with Good Will of New Castle fire company and was on one of their trucks that rushed to the scene. He recounted for WDEL what transpired that night forty years ago. "It looked like the whole plant was involved," said Sturgis. "We had about six fires I'd estimate in the marsh between Dobbinsville and the Amoco plant." Daylight was waning, there was no power, and the plant's internal water suppression system was knocked out, but there was the danger of more, and possibly worse, explosions taking place.
WDEL-AM 1150 &

Arizona city develops task force to address workplace problems at 911 dispatch center

The results of a workplace assessment recently completed for Tucson’s Public Safety Communications Department has caused concern among city leaders who are working to address “fundamental problems in the operation of the department.” The department is responsible for dispatching 911 calls for police and fire departments. The third-party review by Traaen & Associates LLC includes interviews with 108 employees and outlines a variety of workplace issues, including staffing levels, recruitment, training, employee morale, instances of harassment and lack of accountability. There are currently 165 budgeted positioned within the department, but not all of them are filled, according to the city manager. “The contents and allegations contained within this report, if true, are simply not acceptable,” Mayor Regina Romero said. “First, and most importantly, our 911 call takers and dispatchers are the first line of emergency response for our community,” Romero said.
Arizona Daily Star

With shortage of volunteers at crisis level, some Pennsylvania fire departments let members live in firehouses rent free

The lounge could pass for a college dorm, ignoring the vintage fire hats, canvass jackets and 1992 training record board hanging on the walls. Half-empty Gatorade bottles and binders sit on end tables next to plush couches the twenty-somethings who live there found on the side of a road. They’ve got a PlayStation system and a kitchenette that, admittedly, they don’t use often, opting for fast food instead. Inside the bunk room, a strobe light on the ceiling illuminates with a rapid high-pitched beep - but this light isn’t a prop for late-night parties. It alerts the volunteer firefighters who live there of a fire call. Within three minutes, live-in volunteers Jake Gallich, 22, Nick Bosga, 25, and Jake Serfass, 19, would be suited up and out the door of Fogelsville Volunteer Fire Co. in Upper Macungie Township.
The Morning Call

CDC Reduces Consecutive Minutes Of COVID-19 Exposure Needed To Be A ’Close Contact’

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has changed the amount of time it would take for someone to be considered a close contact of a person with COVID-19. Previous language defined a close contact as someone who spent at least 15 minutes within 6 feet of a confirmed case. The CDC now defines a close contact as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. People considered close contacts are supposed to quarantine and get tested for the virus. In a study published Wednesday, the CDC and Vermont health officials found that multiple, short and nonconsecutive exposures to persons confirmed to have COVID-19 led to transmission of the virus. During the contact tracing investigation, it was discovered that the coronavirus was transmitted to a correctional facility employee who interacted with individuals later found to be positive for the coronavirus.

Artist in Missouri uses fire helmets as canvas

A Farmington artist has become nationally known for the unique way in which she uses the helmets of firefighters as a canvas on which to honor them for their courage and sacrifice. Miranda DeOrnellis grew up in Womack and has been painting for others since she was 18. “I’ve always been interested in art. I went to college on a full scholarship to MAC for my art. Jim Wilson was my instructor there.” She is the wife of Wolf Creek firefighter Travis DeOrnellis. Her husband’s service brought about the inspiration for this niche of Miranda's artwork. “I saw one painted on Facebook and thought I could do that,” she said. “I wanted to do one for my husband in honor of his fire service. It took off from there.” She displayed a fire helmet with panels painted in different scenes. “I painted this one for my husband a few years ago for Christmas. Every section is just a different depiction or memory from his fire service from the past 21 years. I got my start in painting helmets by painting a different one for him — it just kind of took off from there. I picked up other fire memorabilia stuff that I painted as well."
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