National News

Friday, January 27, 2023

VIDEO: Person in custody after massive California apartment complex fire

One person was taken into custody Thursday evening in connection with a massive structure fire inside a two-story apartment building in Westlake. Calls about the fire came in around 5:15 p.m. at a building located on the 2800 block of 7th Street, according to a news release from the Los Angeles Fire Department. Prior to the fire breaking out inside the complex, an LAFD engine was already on scene to support an LAPD operation. The call was upgraded to a structure fire response after one of the firefighters saw smoke coming from a window. Heavy flames were showing in both the second floor and attic, and additional resources were requested. In total, more than 100 firefighters responded to the scene, the Fire Department said. The building was fully evacuated and firefighters worked their way through the building to ensure that no people were trapped inside.
KTLA-TV CW 5 Los Angeles

108-year-old man is oldest firefighter at New Jersey volunteer fire department

VIDEO: Vincent Dransfield lives life on his own terms, and that’s not something many 108-year-olds can say. He leased a car two years ago and is still driving — in more ways than one. “I’m still driving everybody crazy,” Dransfield joked. When asked what type of car he drives, he responded by saying “four wheels.” He’s still sharp and quick-witted. “I like to have a sense of humor,” Dransfield said. “It’s good. It gets you somewhere. If you’re nasty and angry, you ain’t going nowhere.” Dransfield is also the oldest firefighter at the Little Falls Volunteer Fire Department. Not as active as he once was, he’s still on the roster at Singac Engine Company No. 3. “I said, ‘When I grow up, I’m going to become a fireman,’ so I became a fireman,” he said. His contributions and pictures from the last 84 years with the department are plastered on the firehouse walls.
WPIX-TV CW 11 New York City

Who Knew? Toyota Has a Fire Department!

Design. Engineering. Technology. Manufacturing. These are a few of the departments you likely think of when you think of a car company. And when it comes to Toyota, you can add fire department to the list. The automaker recently shared a feature highlighting its Fire and Rescue Brigade. There's one at each of its manufacturing plants in North America. Toyota says they are fully staffed and operate like a local fire station. "We have a full-time fire brigade and are authorized to have 18 firefighters," says KB Hallmark, Assistant Chief of Fire and Rescue at Toyota Texas. "Our staff works a 48 hours on/96 hours off schedule - common with municipal fire departments in the area." He adds, "Our staff members are required to have professional certifications through the Texas Commission on Fire Protection and the Department of State Health Services and receive additional training specific to their duties."
San Antonio Express-News

’Not often do you get the opportunity to live both dreams in a lifetime’: Phoenix firefighter is a former Super Bowl champ

VIDEO: The alarm sounds and Roy Lewis grabs his gear and darts to the truck. He feels a rush of adrenaline as he climbs into the driver's seat, starts the engine and turns on the siren. Lewis is a Phoenix firefighter who's living his dream of helping the community. "I always vowed if I ever had an opportunity to give back, I would," he said. Lewis has been fighting Phoenix's fires for almost ten years. He's an engineer with Station 18 who is constantly responding to calls and helping save lives. He always knew this was a job he wanted, but sometimes life throws a curve ball. "Football has afforded me so many opportunities, and I'm very thankful and very humble," he said. "This job reminds me how fortunate I am." In 2008, Lewis joined the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was a cornerback and played with everything he had.

Why Teslas keep catching on fire

When Thayer Smith, a firefighter in Austin, Texas, received the call that a Tesla was on fire, he knew that he’d need to bring backup. It was in the early morning hours of August 12, 2021, and a driver had slammed a Model X into a traffic light on a quiet residential street in Austin before crashing into a gas pump at a nearby Shell station. The driver, a teenager who was later arrested for driving while intoxicated, managed to escape the car, but the Tesla burst into flames. As emergency responders battled the fire in the dark of night, bursts of sparks shot out of the totaled car, sending plumes of smoke up into the sky. It took tens of thousands of gallons of water, multiple fire engines, and more than 45 minutes to finally extinguish the blaze. “People have probably seen vehicles burning on the side of the road at one point or another,” Smith, the division chief at the Austin Fire Department, recalled.
VOX Media

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Risk management experts, fire chiefs join battle on catastrophic fires

If Frank Frievalt was a guest on the old “What’s My Line” game show, it’s likely the panelists would guess he’s a property and casualty insurance executive. Frievalt can expound knowledgeably and passionately about such things as property loss calculations, disaster risk assessments, actuarial tables, and wildfire mitigation efficacy. But while he admittedly sounds like an insurance exec sometimes, he is actually senior policy advisor for the Western Fire Chiefs Association, a non-profit that represents fire-related emergency service organizations throughout the west coast and Western Pacific Islands. He is also fire chief of the Mammoth Lakes, Calif., fire department. But the fact Frievalt's interests and job frequently align with the insurance industry was made clear this month when the Fire Chiefs Association announced a strategic alliance with Milliman, a global leader in risk management for insurers and others, to “intelligently drive down risk in the Wildland-Urban Interface.”
Insurance News Net

Investigators to look into cause of deadly Chicago fire that spread to multiple floors of high-rise

VIDEOS: Chicago firefighters were back on the scene of a deadly high-rise fire early Thursday morning, and investigators are expected to start trying to determine a cause of the blaze. One woman died and nine others were hurt in the incident, including a firefighter, at an apartment building on South Lake Park Avenue Wednesday morning. The fire broke out in the 15th floor of the 25-story Harper Square Co-Op building in the 4800-block of South Lake Park Avenue just after 10 a.m. Wind caused the fire to spread very quickly, going vertically from floor to floor all the way up to the 24th floor. It took hundreds of firefighters to knock out the flames, and the elevators were out, so all of the equipment had to be lifted up manually. One woman was killed, found on the 15th floor. Eight other residents were injured.
WLS-TV ABC 7 Chicago

Uber for EMS, Israeli-modeled program will be tested in Iowa

VIDEO: Call it Uber for EMS – at least that's what Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg calls it. An Iowa pilot program plans to give two EMS providers $50,000 each to use an app to notify nearby first responders to quickly respond to an emergency before an ambulance can arrive. Providers can now apply for the grant and must match it with $25,000 of their own money. "Hopefully, we'll have a couple of communities that can take advantage of technology to really reduce the response time," Gov. Kim Reynolds told Chief Political Reporter Amanda Rooker in a one-on-one interview last week. "It's similar to a model that the Lt. Governor had seen when he did a trade trip to Israel."
KCCI-TV CBS 8 Des Moines

YouTuber Buys $1.5 Million Fire-Damaged Tennessee Mansion

VIDEO/PHOTO: Mike Thakur, content creator/YouTuber, has purchased one of the most talked about home listings, reports WSMV. It’s a Franklin mansion that has extensive fire damage and was listed for $1.5 million. The listing went viral, receiving 1 million views on Zillow and shared on the account Zillow Gone Wild. Thakur didn’t disclose how much he purchased the home for but will be documenting the renovation of the home on YouTube. Due to the fire damage, the home was listed “as is” for $1.5 million. On Zillow, the listing stated, “TRAGIC TOTAL LOSS by FIRE, of a CLASSIC MANSION !!! Sold As is !! Rare opportunity to own approx 5 acres with 2 existing homes on this one site in Williamson County. Five mins from I-65. Guest home is included and was not touched by the fire.”
Davidson County Source

Digital reporting tool in Florida aims to protect fire investigators, boost public safety

After a fire, investigators charged with determining the cause of the blaze sometimes stumble on unstable surfaces, breathe in toxins, or face other health and safety risks. But they had no central place to document their exposure to hazards at work, and researchers had no central place to evaluate that data to try to mitigate those risks — until now. This week, researchers with Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center are launching an online tool that allows fire investigators to voluntarily document accidents and near misses — part of an effort to improve conditions for the first responders who are vital to public safety. The outreach comes from the Firefighter Cancer Initiative, housed at Sylvester at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, the only National Cancer Institute-designated center in South Florida.
South Florida Hospital News

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