National News

Monday, June 17, 2019

9-alarm fire starts in vacant Boston building, spreads to 7 homes, 7 firefighters injured officials say

VIDEO: A nine-alarm fire tore through a Lower Mills neighborhood in Dorchester on Saturday, displacing 14 residents, according to Boston fire officials. The Boston Fire Department said nine people, including seven firefighters, were treated and transported to a hospital by Boston Emergency Medical Services. The injuries are considered non-life-threatening. Fire officials said crews responded at 4:45 p.m. to the area of 39 Old Morton St., which is near the Mattapan neighborhood line. Witnesses told WCVB and investigators that they heard a loud boom. The fire started in a vacant home that was under construction. Upon arrival, firefighters found the home fully engulfed in flames, which eventually spread to seven adjacent homes.

California fire union launches TV ads as it presses governor to hire more firefighters

VIDEO: The union that represents state firefighters is airing commercials in Sacramento this week with a two-pronged message: Cal Fire’s firefighters are overworked and you should take steps to protect your home. The 30- and 60-second spots are meant to be informative, but Cal Fire Local 2881 President Tim Edwards said more aggressive commercials could follow if fire conditions worsen without the state dedicating more money to firefighters. “If we start dragging into another long work period, we’ll get into another thing saying look how long we’re working at a time because of staffing shortages,” Edwards said. At current staffing levels, firefighters can spend weeks away from home when wildfires break out, Edwards said. The union has been pressing the state to boost hiring, pointing out fire conditions are remain dangerous while Cal Fire has fewer firefighters and more ground to cover than in the past.
The Sacramento Bee - Metered Site

Rash of fires in New Jersey puts spotlight on decline in volunteer firefighters

After a rash of devastating fires over the past year, including one that claimed the life of an 89-year-old woman, some city residents are calling for a career company to take over the local volunteer fire department. But the city is standing behind its crew, arguing a career department isn’t necessary with mutual aid agreements already in place. The city is also reviewing its building codes and other ways to mitigate the disastrous effects of structure fires in the densely developed seaside resort. The city is dealing with something many other South Jersey shore towns deal with — balancing the needs of the community while relying on a volunteer service that is becoming smaller each year. “Departments nationwide are trying everything they can to recruit and retain volunteers, and it’s just a never-ending battle that isn’t getting won,” Cape May County Fire Marshal Connie Johnson said. “Here, our numbers have been declining, as far as going through the academy. Our last class was 18. Back in the day, 20 years ago, I can remember having three dozen in a class.”
Press of Atlantic City

FDNY Union says no to oversized mechanical spaces

The Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York has come out in strong support of state-level legislation aimed at limiting the ability of real estate developers to use "mechanical void spaces" to game zoning codes into allowing them to construct taller buildings. In a strongly-worded memo, circulated by the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts group, the Fire Department of New York union says, "Void spaces, often entire floors in buildings put hazardous equipment such as High Voltage Air Conditioning and heating equipment in the middle of buildings, many floors above street level. These void floors bring fire hazards into areas of a building where it is most difficult for Firefighters to fight these types of equipment fires." Two legislative proposals, Senate Bill S3820A and Assembly Bill A5026A, aim to fine-tune how municipalities define a project's floor area.
Archinect News

Maine Has First Fire Department to Digitally Track Turnout Gear Cleanliness

The Bath Fire & Rescue Department has adopted a high-tech solution to protect their firefighters from carcinogens. By adding the “FireLinc” app to its new extractor system, Bath becomes the first department in the state to track detailed information about every wash. “In the past few years, cancer has been recognized as one of the major killers of career and volunteer firefighters,” said Bath Fire Chief Lawrence Renaud. In fact, a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, completed in 2015, concluded that firefighters face a 9% increase in cancer diagnosis, and a 14% increase in cancer-related deaths, compared to the general U.S. population. “It’s the fire service’s responsibility to change past practices that have been proven to cause firefighter cancer, like wearing contaminated turnout gear. By lessening the exposure to contamination, we hope to have a positive impact on the post fire service quality of life,” said Renaud.
City of Bath

Friday, June 14, 2019

IAFF union head calls on White House to back 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund

The head of the nation's largest firefighters union is calling on the Trump administration to back a bill that would grant additional funding for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund until 2090. Harold Schaitberger, who is general president of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), said Thursday that even though the bill boasts strong bipartisan support in Congress it could use more help from the White House. “Quite honestly, it would also be helpful if the administration would kind of weigh in and I haven’t really seen any specific indication from them on where they stand,” Schaitberger told Hill.TV on "Rising." “I do find it interesting that with the president and an administration that does offer their strong support for law enforcement, first responders on a bill that’s so critically important, we haven’t seen any indication of that support at least at this time,” he added.
The Hill

Louisiana will allow first responders to use PTSD for workers’ compensation

VIDEO: Starting Aug. 1, current and past first responders may use a medically documented post-traumatic stress disorder to apply for workers’ compensation. This is part of Louisiana Act No. 112, which unanimously passed through both the Louisiana House and Senate. “It helps from the standpoint if they require inpatient treatment," said Licensed Professional Counselor Craig Kennedy. “This treatment can be expensive and cause a loss of income.” Kennedy helps many area first responders with PTSD treatment. “Shreveport Fire and some other agencies use us for counseling,” Kennedy said. He added that many first responders have bottled up traumatic events for years, causing them to have PTSD. “There is no cure for PTSD but there is treatment,” Kennedy says.
KALB-TV NBC/CBS 35 Alexandria

Media Investigation: Recordings by Elton John, Nirvana and Thousands More Lost in Hollywood Fire

Eleven years ago this month, a fire ripped through a part of Universal Studios Hollywood. At the time, the company said that the blaze had destroyed the theme park’s “King Kong” attraction and a video vault that contained only copies of old works. But, according to an article published on Tuesday by The New York Times Magazine, the fire also tore through an archive housing treasured audio recordings, amounting to what the piece described as “the biggest disaster in the history of the music business.” The fire started in the early hours of June 1, 2008. Overnight, maintenance workers had used blowtorches to repair the roof of a building on the set of New England Street, a group of colonial-style buildings used in scenes for movies and television shows. The workers followed protocol and waited for the shingles they worked on to cool, but the fire broke out soon after they left, just before 5 a.m. The flames eventually reached Building 6197, known as the video vault, which housed videotapes, film reels and, crucially, a library of master sound recordings owned by Universal Music Group.
The New York Times - Metered Site

Firefighting is all in the family for the Munroe’s in Maine

First responders never know what they’ll encounter when the call comes in – and so they practice. They participate in training drills on a regular basis. Firefighters, paramedics, troopers and police officers are all a big family– one that has each other’s backs in the face of any emergency. Ralph Munroe works on Ladder 3 out of the Stevens Avenue station – and the notion of family hits pretty close to home for him. “I wasn’t really thinking about anybody following me into this line of work.” One of his kids had a different idea and clearly got some of his firefighting DNA. It happens a lot… Sons following their dads into this profession. But when it’s your daughter? Well, that’s another story. At the suggestion of her dad, Lida joined Junior Firefighters as a teenager and never looked back. Father and daughter both work out of the Stevens Avenue station – two 24 hour shifts in an 8-day rotation. They are the first active father-daughter team in the history of the Portland Fire Department and routinely work the same shifts.
WCSH-TV NBC 44 Portland

VIDEO: Massive fire injures 2 as it destroys $2M mansion in Texas

Two people are in the hospital after a massive fire destroyed a $2 million mansion in The Woodlands on Palmer Woods. About 15 units from the Woodlands Fire Department were on scene trying to get the flames under control. The conditions were bad upon arrival so the firefighters went into defensive mode, but officials say it will be a total loss. "The whole thing was on fire," said Terri Leuck, the best friend of the homeowners. Leuk said homeowners Pamela and Jeff Stallones were away in Austin while the home was getting remodeled. There were painters inside. "We were doing a whole new remodel for it. We just put all the new stuff in and (were) getting the final touches on the paint," she said. They had paid thousands to have it remodeled so far. Leuck said the people hospitalized were two painters and their exact condition is still unknown. While losing everything they own, the family knows it's all replaceable except for three things, their loving pets.
KTRK-TV ABC 13 Houston

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