News -

Syndicate content
Home of the Secret List
Updated: 1 year 3 days ago


Mon, 12/19/2016 - 09:03

Eight people were displaced after a two-story residence fire that happened in the 500 block of West Selman Street Sunday morning.

According to Tyler Assistant Fire Marshal Brandon David, all eight people were unharmed and two were assisted by firefighters.

Around 10:18 a.m., Tyler Fire and Police Departments responded to heavy smoke coming from a two-story residence near the intersection of Border Ave. and Selman St. Four engines and one Ladder Company, along with two District Chiefs and two investigators responded to the scene, according to Fire Marshal PIO Paul Findley.

According to Assistant Fire Marshal David, the home is a total loss. There is no word yet as to the cause of the fire. Investigators continue examining the scene and interviewing occupants.

According to Fire Marshall Findley, a Tyler firefighter was transported to a local hospital following a medical issue that occurred outside of the structure during the incident. At this time, the firefighter is undergoing additional testing and treatment. Updates regarding his condition will be released as more information is obtained.

West Selman Street and North Border Avenue remained closed at this time.

Tyler Red Cross is helping those affected by this fire.

Categories: Latest News


Mon, 12/19/2016 - 08:59

Multiple firefighters were taken to the hospital after an overnight fire on Sunday that engulfed a business and some apartments in Salisbury.

Somerset County dispatch said the fire happened at a tanning salon on the 200 block of Ord Street.

Dispatch also said there are apartments above the tanning salon that were engulfed by the flames.

Dispatch confirmed one firefighter was taken to the hospital for lacerations.

Officials said other firefighters were taken to the hospital for evaluation after coming into contact with hazardous materials.

Dispatch said they aren’t sure if anyone was inside of the building when the fire erupted.

There has been no update on the condition of the firefighters or the building.

The state fire marshal has been called to investigate the cause of the fire.

Categories: Latest News


Mon, 12/19/2016 - 08:56

Driven by a stiff wind, fire spread swiftly through the fertilizer plant in West, Texas, on that spring evening in 2013.

By the time the first volunteer fire companies arrived, flames engulfed the seed room and threatened storage bins laden with 60 tons of ammonium nitrate.

“Gonna blow!” a former firefighter who’d driven to the scene warned West’s chief.

But as crews dragged hoses toward flames licking at stores of the same chemical Timothy McVeigh used to destroy the Oklahoma City federal building, a fire captain who worked at the plant was reassuring.

“It’ll never get hot enough to blow up,” he said.

Moments later, an orange fireball flashed. The explosion obliterated the West Fertilizer Co. plant, killing 15 people, 10 of them firefighters. It was the deadliest day since 9/11 for the American fire service.

The state fire marshal’s office laid much of the blame for the April 17, 2013, disaster on the fire department’s failure to follow safety standards.

Yet not a single firefighting regulation was broken.

That same year, a Dallas fire commander sent Stan Wilson and his crew into an unoccupied building that was in danger of collapsing. Minutes later, the ceiling caved in, killing Wilson.

Once again, multiple investigations found blatant safety errors. But when Wilson’s family considered holding the fire department accountable by filing a lawsuit, they were surprised to learn it couldn’t be done because fire departments generally have immunity from such suits.

“You’re a public employee and you die on the job due to gross negligence, and it’s ‘tough luck, Charlie,’” said Wilson’s brother, Ken. “We have no recourse to hold anyone accountable for this.”

Tough luck sums it up well on both the regulatory and legal fronts, The Kansas City Star found in an investigation of shortcomings in firefighter safety. In most occupations, there are rules to follow and legal consequences for flouting them.

Not necessarily with firefighters.

Because local fire departments are subject to no federal workplace safety rules and scant state regulation in much of the country, firefighters cannot count on government to help correct unsafe practices.

“OSHA cannot come in and do nothing for us, because we are not under OSHA,” Waycross, Ga., firefighter Bill Jordan said.

And because the survivors of fallen firefighters generally cannot file wrongful-death lawsuits against fire departments in Missouri, Kansas and most other states, the fear of shelling out big damage awards won’t spur departments to exercise more caution.

That lack of accountability, especially on the regulatory front, officials inside and outside government say, hampers efforts to prevent injuries and line-of-duty deaths.

“That’s kind of the problem with the fire service,” said Columbus, Ohio, battalion chief David Bernzweig, who is active in developing voluntary safety standards through a fire-service industry association, the National Fire Protection Association. “We don’t fall under any federal regs.”

Small advances on the regulatory front offer a glimmer of hope for firefighter safety advocates. But only a glimmer, because it could be years before the rules take effect — if at all — and then in only half the states.

The bottom line, according to the co-leaders of an OSHA committee working on new proposed regulations: “The nation has a moral obligation to protect those who protect our communities.”


Federal officials and industry groups saw the West disaster as horrific proof that when safety standards are voluntary, they are insufficient to reduce injuries and fatalities.

Under those standards, the fire department should have planned for a hazardous materials emergency at the fertilizer plant, but hadn’t done so.

Someone at the scene should have assumed command and directed operations, but not even the fire chief took charge.

Nor did anyone perform a risk assessment, as those standards encourage, to decide whether it would have made more sense to concentrate on evacuating the area rather than trying to put out a raging fire.

“The strategy and tactics utilized by the West Volunteer Fire Department,” the Texas state fire marshal’s report said, “were not appropriate for the rapidly developing and extremely volatile situation and exposed the firefighters to extreme risks.”

Many in the fire service said the West disaster demonstrated the need for tougher regulations nationwide.

“The consideration of a comprehensive rule designed to protect (emergency) responders is tremendously important,” the International Association of Fire Chiefs said, “because it seeks to address a conspicuous absence of safety-centric regulations over an industry widely regarded as one of the most hazardous.”

In late 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration appointed representatives of groups with stakes in improving firefighter safety to an advisory committee charged with drafting proposed new regulations.

“Come up with a standard that will actually be fully protective of emergency responders in this country,” deputy OSHA director Jordan Barab told the committee.

The resulting 42-page draft, published two months ago, is the first rewrite of OSHA regulations governing firefighter safety in decades.

The proposed federal rules would update minimum standards already on the books for oxygen masks and fire-resistant clothing. More important, fire departments would be required to adopt many of the voluntary standards formulated over the years by the privately funded National Fire Protection Association.

Standards, in other words, that focus on firefighters’ safety at emergency scenes.

The proposed new rules would, for example, oblige fire commanders to weigh risks before sending firefighters into burning buildings. Provisions set out conditions for when to establish “exclusion zones” to keep firefighters out of danger when no civilian lives are at stake.

Under the proposed rules, firefighters would undergo annual physical examinations. For decades, heart attacks have accounted for half of the 81 line-of-duty fatalities that occur on average every year. Yet at many departments today, the only time a firefighter’s health is evaluated is when he or she is hired.

Other provisions address the growing cancer risk from toxins by setting out requirements for cleaning sooty protective clothing and gear.

The rules would save lives, supporters say.

But there’s no telling when, or whether, the rules might take effect.

The rule-making process could take years, the fire chiefs association says, and the proposed regulations could be watered down along the line. Plus, no one knows whether they will have the backing of the Trump administration. During the campaign, the now president-elect promised to rein in rather than expand federal regulations.

Even if the proposed emergency responder regulations are approved, they would apply only in the 26 states that have set federal OSHA regulations as their minimum standards. Missouri and Kansas are not among those states.

The reason: When Congress created OSHA 45 years ago, federal, state and local governments were exempt from following workplace safety rules imposed on private employers.

The safety rules would apply only in states that accept federal money to run their own OSHA programs. These OSHA-plan states must use the federal rules as their minimum standards for public employees.

Even then, enforcement varies from state to state. A Kansas City Star analysis of Labor Department records found wide disparities.

In some states, fines can be ridiculously low even in incidents resulting in high death tolls. For instance, the fire department in Charleston, S.C., was fined $3,160 for violations that contributed to the deaths of nine firefighters in 2007.

New Jersey, on the other hand, conducted 2,244 inspections from August 2014 to January 2016 and assessed $1.8 million in fines.

Efforts to extend federal OSHA protection to all public employees have been stymied time after time.

President Barack Obama backed legislation that would add protections throughout his two terms, failing to get much traction even when Democrats controlled Congress his first two years. Most recently, a bill sponsored by Democrats Al Franken of Minnesota in the Senate and Joe Courtney of Connecticut in the House failed to get a hearing in Congress.


Spokesmen for Franken and Courtney did not respond to The Star’s requests for comment. But Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, said there is little hope the proposal will go anywhere in the next session, either.

“Claire is always anxious to protect firefighters and first responders,” McCaskill spokeswoman Sarah Feldman said, “but given the current political realities in Washington, this is one that’s best addressed at the state and local level.”

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said he, too, is concerned about the safety of firefighters, but the Kansas City Democrat stopped short of endorsing more government regulation without knowing how firefighters and fire departments in his district feel about that.

Pause Current Time0:00 / Duration Time0:00 Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% 0:00 Fullscreen 00:00 Unmute

“As a member of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, my number one concern is the safety of the firefighters who risk their lives to save others and the property of others,” he said. “I want them to have the most efficient equipment and the most current training they need to perform such an arduous calling.

“However, I am cautious about unintended consequences without specific engagement and review by the men and women in my district most impacted.”

The union representing career firefighters, the International Association of Fire Fighters, has been working for years to include all firefighters under federal OSHA protection, “supporting national standards for safe apparatus, equipment and practices,” according to the union’s website.

At a meeting in February, Pat Morrison, the union’s representative on the OSHA rule-writing committee, advocated applying the new emergency responder rules to all states.

He declined to discuss how that might be achieved in the current political climate when a Star reporter tried to interview him at the Labor Department this summer.

Morrison said he needed permission from the union-affiliated local in Kansas City before commenting, and the local had not allowed it. Reached later, Local 42 President William Galvin said the union was displeased with The Star’s coverage of the deaths of two Kansas City firefighters in 2015 and refused to comment further.

Others in the fire service wish the federal government would go beyond a rule rewrite and give enforcement powers to the federal agency that already investigates firefighter fatalities, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH.

“That’d be great if we had something that would connect NIOSH and OSHA,” said lawyer Curt Varone, a retired firefighter who has written books on firefighting law and runs the Fire Law blog.

But that would require greater federal funding, as NIOSH is currently unable to investigate nearly two-thirds of firefighter fatalities. Plus, Varone’s opinion is not shared by others in the fire service, who say the institute’s role as a research organization would be undermined if it had police powers.

None of the three largest organizations representing firefighters — the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the firefighters’ union and the National Volunteer Fire Council — has lobbied to give the institute “teeth.”

Indeed, some within the fire service worry that any kind of increased regulation, be it through the safety institute or OSHA, would weigh heavily on small volunteer departments. They might lose volunteers or disband if forced to comply with expensive new restrictions.

“I don’t think that heavy hand is the answer,” said volunteer fire council chairman Kevin Quinn.


“Mayday! Mayday! Collapse!” Truck 53’s captain barked into the radio mic. “I have two men missing!”

Dallas firefighters charged into the blazing apartment building and quickly rescued one of their trapped comrades on that day in May 2013. But it would be hours before they found 51-year-old Stan Wilson under 4 feet of broken drywall, soggy carpet and splintered lumber.

According to the autopsy report, the 28-year veteran of the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department suffocated when the ceiling fell on him. But a contributing cause of death, authorities would later determine, was a commander’s decision to send Wilson and his crew into a building that was in danger of collapse.

“People screwed up,” his widow, Jenny Wilson, told The Star. “Stan wasn’t supposed to die.”

Yet when Wilson and her husband’s siblings considered suing, they learned what the families of other fallen firefighters across the country have discovered: It’s next to impossible.

Cities and fire departments are immune because of workers’ compensation laws. They are designed to limit employers’ exposure to big damage awards while guaranteeing at least some help for a family after the loss of a breadwinner.

The amount varies. In Missouri, the surviving spouse of a firefighter, like any other worker killed on the job, receives two-thirds of the deceased’s salary for life, or until he or she remarries. In Kansas, the death benefit is a flat $300,000.

Survivors must leap over high hurdles to have any hope of collecting damages beyond workers’ comp. To win in court, said Kansas City lawyer Mitchell Burgess, the error must have been so far beyond the pale as to seem intentional.

That’s the foundation for a pending lawsuit in Connecticut.

Kevin Bell, a 48-year-old Hartford, Conn., firefighter, died in 2014 when he and another firefighter became separated while fighting a residential blaze. A lawsuit alleges that Bell’s partner left him behind to die and that the commander on the scene “made a conscious and deliberate decision” to delay sending in a rescue team. It also alleges that the fire department outfitted Bell and other firefighters with faulty oxygen tanks.

“Our world crashed that day,” Bell’s widow, Wayatte Statham-Bell, said when the suit was filed last year. “Our lives have never been the same.”

Fire department officers deny the allegations, but Connecticut’s state office of occupational safety cited the Hartford Fire Department for several “serious” violations, including failure to properly test firefighters’ breathing equipment.

In Georgia, a trial judge recently dismissed a similar lawsuit brought by the widow of firefighter Jeff Little against the city of Waycross and Fire Chief David Eddins. Lawyers for Dianne Little are trying to get the suit reinstated by the state court of appeals.

Little’s lawsuit alleges that Eddins ordered firefighters inside a vacant and condemned house long after it was safe because he had a grudge against one of the firefighters. The suit contends that Little, fearing for his job, went inside and died when part of the building collapsed.

“It’s not about the money,” Dianne Little said. “I want the answers. I want to know why.”

The city said it was shielded by workers’ comp. Eddins declined to comment when a Star reporter paid him a visit, but in a YouTube video said he was unsure why Little and the others had entered the building.

Dianne Little’s lawyer, Sean Simmons, predicted from the start that the case would be an uphill battle, but he thought it was worth pursuing.

“If somebody doesn’t take cases like this, nothing will ever change,” he said.

In the rare instances where firefighters’ lawsuits have been successful, they’ve led to safety improvements.

In Baltimore, 29-year-old Racheal Wilson and other recruits were sent into a “live burn” training exercise in 2007. The National Fire Protection Association has recommended standards for such exercises. An independent investigation later found the Baltimore fire department violated 50 of them.

Wilson, who was trapped on the third floor, died of burns and asphyxia. A lawsuit sought more than $10 million. Baltimore settled the case for $200,000. But the director of the training academy was fired, as was the safety officer, and the longtime fire chief resigned after votes of no confidence by the firefighters’ and fire officers’ unions.

Also successful in bringing safety improvements was a case this year in New York, where firefighters have a court precedent that lets them seek damages regarding safety equipment.

In 2005, six New York City firefighters were trapped on the fourth floor of a burning tenement in the Bronx. Fire management had stopped issuing safety ropes — because they added 3 pounds to firefighters’ 30 pounds of gear — so their choice was to wait to die or jump into the alley below.

Jeff Cool lived to tell about it, in part, because he had brought his own safety rope.

“I shattered both my shoulders,” Cool told The Star outside a fire station in midtown Manhattan. Titanium screws hold his fractured pelvis together. Without transfusions, he said, he would have bled to death 10 times over.

“My body right now,” he said, “is basically held together with Krazy Glue and duct tape.”

Like Cool, firefighters Gene Stolowski and Brendan Cawley still deal with pain nearly a dozen years later. Less fortunate were Lt. Curtis Meyran and firefighter John Bellew, who died on impact. Cool’s friend, firefighter Joseph DiBernardo, died six years later from an overdose of the painkillers he took to cope with severe injuries.

The department began issuing ropes again soon after the fire but claimed immunity from legal claims. Nearly a decade later, a jury disagreed and said the city owed $146 million. Rather than risk losing on appeal, the plaintiffs settled for $29.5 million this fall.

Stan Wilson’s family had hoped a lawsuit would compel the Dallas fire department to accept responsibility for his death and improve safety for other firefighters. Above all, Jenny Wilson wanted Dallas Fire-Rescue to begin recording its firefighter-to-firefighter radio channel, as virtually every other major metropolitan fire department has done for years.

Had a recording system been in operation the day her husband died, Wilson said, it might explain how his crew came to be inside an empty building that was in danger of collapsing. The incident commander denied issuing the order, although the surviving crew members claimed otherwise.

“It was never in my heart to file a lawsuit,” Wilson said. “The only reason I would have, if I could have, is to shake things up. Make things happen.”

Ultimately, the department did address a number of safety concerns without a court order. This fall the recording equipment Wilson wanted was installed as well.

Still, the inability to file a lawsuit nags at Ken Wilson. A court action, he said, might have forced the fire department to own up to its mistakes.

This year, on the anniversary, Wilson and a few friends stood outside Dallas City Hall with signs that said, “Three Years, No Accountability.”

Wilson said he would make it an annual tradition until the department takes responsibility.

“That’s been the saddest thing,” he said. “They won’t man up.”

That lack of accountability, especially on the regulatory front, officials inside and outside government say, hampers efforts to prevent injuries and line-of-duty deaths.

Categories: Latest News


Mon, 12/19/2016 - 08:53

Two San Juan firefighters were taken to the hospital after their fire truck flipped over.
San Juan police chief Juan Gonzalez said it happened around 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the westbound lanes of the expressway not far from the Basilica. The crash caused traffic on the expressway  from Donna to San Juan for hours.
Officers said the driver lost control trying to get onto the ramp. The crash remains under investigation.
The firefighters’ injuries are considered non-life threatening. They have been released from the hospital.

Categories: Latest News


Mon, 12/19/2016 - 08:52

Two firefighters in Tucson who were assaulted while responding to a medical emergency have been released from the hospital.

The two first responders answered a call about a man with stomach pain at approximately 3 p.m. Sunday, according to Captain Andy Skaggs with Tucson Fire Department.

Skaggs said the firefighters tried treating the patient but he became agitated and grabbed a knife.

The firefighters avoided the knife and wrestled the patient to the ground, according to Skaggs.

“It did turn into a wrestling match in which the firefighters were injured,” he said.

They were released from Banner UMC in a couple of hours.

Skaggs said both are expected to be okay.

Skaggs said medicals calls for help rarely escalate to a situation like Sunday’s. He said everyone is thankful that it didn’t end worse.

“Our job is a very dangerous job,” he said. “Day in and day out, we never know when that’s going  to happen and today was an example of that. And how this could’ve turned into a tragic situation.”

The patient is in the hospital for treatment for his original stomach pains, according to Sergeant Pete Dugan with Tucson Police Department.

He said the man will be booked into Pima County Jail when he’s released from the hospital.

Dugan said the man is not cooperating with the investigation and he will be charged with three felony counts of aggravated assault.

Categories: Latest News


Sun, 12/18/2016 - 18:21

An overnight 4-alarm fire in an abandoned warehouse left one firefighter injured in the middle of a brisk winter storm that swept through the St. Louis-area over the weekend.

Just after midnight Sunday, the St. Louis Fire Department responded to a fire at the intersection of N. Lenor K. Sullivan and Biddle just north of the Arch.

Upon arrival, firefighters rescued two people trapped inside of the engulfed warehouse.

draftSt. Louis firefighters try to decide how to de-ice the front of Hook and Ladder 2 while water is sprayed on a six story high warehouse in eight dregree temperatures in St. Louis on December 18, 2016. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI   (Photo: BILL GREENBLATT, Custom)

 Visible fire and heavy smoke were seen throughout the entirety of the abandoned warehouse as firefighters fought to put out the flames.

During the rescue, one responding firefighter was reportedly injured. There was no information immediately given on their condition.

The fire blazed throughout the night, but firefighters were able to control the flames.

Categories: Latest News


Sun, 12/18/2016 - 18:20

A firefighter was injured battling a house fire Saturday evening.

At 5:23 p.m. Saturday, the Battle Creek Fire Department responded to a house fire at 109 Oneita St. Upon arriving at the scene, firefighters observed heavy fire and smoke showing from the main floor of the structure. At that time it was unknown if the house was occupied.

Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire and it was discovered that the house was unoccupied.

One firefighter was treated at Bronson Hospital Battle Creek for an injury and was released.

Damage was estimated at $20,000 to the house and $15,000 to its contents.

The fire remains under investigation by the fire marshal.

Categories: Latest News


Sun, 12/18/2016 - 18:12

An early morning residential fire killed one person and left a firefighter wounded, city fire officials said.

Trenton Fire Chief John Barone said that an alarm rang out around 3:30 a.m., summoning firefighters to 41 Sanford Street.

The flames were under control after about 15 to 20 minutes, Barone said, but the fire had already taken its toll.

One man was killed — his identity and the specifics surrounding his death are being withheld pending the notification of his next of kin — and a city firefighter also sustained injuries to his back.

The firefighter’s injuries are not life threatening, officials said.

The address belongs to an abandoned home and is attached to another abandoned home – 39 Sanford St. Both homes sustained fire damage, officials said.

Barone said the fire started in an upstairs bedroom at 41 Sanford St.

There is no official determination as to what caused the blaze.

Fire officials said that it is a possibility that a homeless resident could have been trying to light a fire in the shelter to stay warm overnight, but the official cause of the blaze is still being investigated.

Trenton Fire 41 Sanford

Categories: Latest News


Sun, 12/18/2016 - 17:04

A semi truck crashed into a Smiths Grove fire apparatus early this morning.  At 0600 Sunday morning, the fire department was responding to a crash at the 38 mile marker of I-65 South. While on scene, a tractor trailer driven by 33 year old Kumar Amandeep of California, was southbound when he lost control, hitting Smiths Grove Fire Department Rescue 30. The truck separated from the trailer and overturned, hitting Chief Kenneth Priddy and Assistant Chief Steven Wilson with the Smiths Grove Fire Department. Chief Wilson was transported to the Medical Center at Bowling Green by the Medical Center EMS for non-life threatening injuries. Chief Priddy and Amandeep were not injured in the crash. The fire truck was a total loss, with most equipment damaged.

Categories: Latest News


Sun, 12/18/2016 - 10:47

A driver looking down at his phone collided with a firetruck Friday night in Marion County.

Jesse Myers, 34, of Belleview, had been driving a 2004 Nissan Quest at 7:50 p.m. on State Road 326 when he failed to stop at a stop sign, according to an accident report from the Florida Highway Patrol.

Andrew Smith was driving a Marion County Fire Rescue truck and realized that Myers was not going to stop at the stop sign so he swerved in an attempt to avoid a collision. Meanwhile, Myers realized what was happening and applied his brakes, but could not stop in time to avoid a crash. The FHP report noted that Myers’ vehicle left 109 feet of skidmarks.

Smith suffered minor injuries. Two other firefighters who had been passengers in the truck, 42-year-old Brian Lilly of Ocklawaha and 19-year-old Cameron Romanac of Ocala, escaped injury.

Myers and a passenger in his car, 25-year-old Richard Isenhower of Ocala, were uninjured.

Myers was ticketed for running a stop sign.

Categories: Latest News


Sun, 12/18/2016 - 10:45

Two people were killed and a firefighter was injured in a house fire in the Parkway neighborhood early Saturday morning, according to the Sacramento Fire Department.

Crews arrived around 12:10 a.m. at the home at 190 Creekside Circle near Brookfield Drive, said Chris Harvey, a department spokesman.

The victims who died in the fire were described as a 76-year-old woman and an 87-year-old man.

The injured firefighter suffered minor burns and was sent to a hospital where he was treated and released, Harvey said.

Harvey said the fire was confined to the single home but could not say where the fire originated or which areas of the home were affected.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, Harvey said.

The identities of the two victims will be released by the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office.

Read more here:
Categories: Latest News


Sun, 12/18/2016 - 10:44

A Kansas City Fire Department pumper truck rolled over late Saturday morning in the Northland.

The wreck was reported about 11 a.m. at 78th Street and North Brighton Avenue.

Roads in the area were icy.

The Fire Department has not said if any firefighters suffered injuries.

Categories: Latest News


Sun, 12/18/2016 - 10:42

A roof collapsed on three Kansas City firefighters in the Northeast area early Friday, sending two firefighters to the hospital with minor injuries.

The firefighters were in the front of the one-story house in the 700 block of North Agnes Avenue, Kansas City Fire Department spokesperson Deputy Chief James Garrett said, in the final stages of putting out the fire.

“As we were going through the process of putting out the fire, we had a roof failure, a roof collapse,” he said. “The ceiling came down on three firefighters.”

Debris covered the firefighters, and a rapid deployment team rushed into the structure. The team retrieved the firefighters within three minutes, Garrett said. Two went to the hospital, and the third was treated at the scene.

No one was in the home at the time of the fire, which started about 7 a.m., but it appeared that the house, in an industrial area, was occupied, Garrett said. Furniture and other personal items were inside.

The fire took crews about 40 minutes to extinguish. Fire incident commanders assessed the risk to fire crews every few minutes, Garrett said.

“If there is an offensive attack (inside a structure), they will look and see how that is coming along,” he said. “If there’s anything about the scene, about the fire, whatever, that would lead them to believe that the ceiling or main supports are sagging … they are trained to look and assess that.”

Fire officials will conduct an after-action review or evaluation of the incident to assess how firefighters performed and what lessons can be learned. That session involves all fire companies that worked the incident and re-creates what happened, Garrett said.

Not all departments take those steps. But such followup investigations can help prevent future injuries and fatalities, if departments incorporate those lessons into their operating procedures, safety experts told the The Star during the course of its reporting for a series of stories on firefighter safety published last week.

The Star’s investigation found that hundreds of firefighters were killed and tens of thousands injured over the past two decades when fire departments failed to learn from others’ mistakes by following recommendations of a federal safety agency that investigates firefighter fatalities.

Experts say, and The Star’s analysis of 201 fatalities at structural fires confirmed, that firefighters are far more likely to die in an empty building than in one that is occupied.

Friday’s fire was challenging because of the weather, Garrett said. “It is tough fighting fires in extreme weather, when you are trying to put water on the fire and the water is freezing,” he said.

The debris that fell on the firefighters was still burning, he said. “It was a very tense situation.”

Katy Bergen and Mike Hendricks contributed to this report.

Read more here:
Categories: Latest News


Sat, 12/17/2016 - 15:26


As we’ve shown you with the fire engine that slid down the hill in Cincinnati and the tanker truck that went off an overpass in Baltimore and burst into flames a lot of places have been dealing with very icy roads overnight and even after daylight today (Saturday).

As shown in these tweets, at least three fire engines ran off the road in three different Virginia jurisdictions and one in Prince George’s County, Maryland. So far, the only information is with the tweets.

cz4eplpwqae9arn cz4zkwmucaa-jbi cz4zkwpuoaalytl cz36kktxeaapaxn

Categories: Latest News


Sat, 12/17/2016 - 15:16

Parker’s Engine 51 was involved in an accident tonight while responding to another motor vehicle accident. I’m happy to report that of 4 firefighters inside, only 1 suffered very minor injuries. He was taken to St Vincent Randolph hospital for evaluation out of an abundance of precaution and has been released.

The roads tonight were extremely icy and treacherous from freezing rain, where even driving 10 mph was sketchy. Numerous accidents were reported in the region due to weather.

This is a reminder of the risks these volunteers take to help others, and how important it is to wear seat belts and harnesses in emergency vehicles. Fortunately all of our guys were buckled in properly. The patient of the original accident was transported to Ball Memorial hospital with minor injuries.

As a fire chief, seeing one of your apparatus in an accident with your brothers inside is a nightmare. I thank God that he was watching over these guys tonight. Numerous other firefighters have been involved in apparatus rollovers and not been so fortunate.

Thanks to our brothers at Farmland Fire Dept for your assistance getting all our equipment unloaded and distributed to the other trucks. You guys are awesome. Everyone be safe out there.

Categories: Latest News


Sat, 12/17/2016 - 15:13

A young child was rescued from inside a burning home in Richmond’s east end Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, two firefighters were burned during the incident.

Richmond fire personnel said that they are unclear about the extent of the firefighters’ injuries, but that they are being treated by emergency personnel at the scene.

The child also suffered an injury, but authorities did not say what sort or how injured the child was. The child is also being treated by emergency personnel. Authorities did not give the child’s age or gender.

Fire officials got word of the fire that took place at 2506 Phaup Street in Richmond at 1:02 p.m. Crews arrived by 1:05 p.m. at which time they met an occupant who said her child was still inside on the 2nd floor.

Categories: Latest News


Sat, 12/17/2016 - 15:11

A woman believed to be in her 80s died in an early morning fire Saturday in the 1900 block of Sixth Avenue West on Queen Anne, according to the Seattle Fire Department.

Fire department spokeswoman Alice Kim said calls about the fire came in around 6:30 a.m.

Neighbors told fire crews that the woman was in the house. One firefighter sustained minor injuries and has been taken to the hospital for treatment, Kim said. There were no additional injuries.

Fire investigators have not yet determined the cause of the fire, Kim said.

She also said that the fire was incorrectly reported in the Seattle fire 911 log as an incident involving a weapon, but that was due to a glitch.

“We always knew we were reponding to a fire in a building,” she said.

Categories: Latest News


Fri, 12/16/2016 - 21:45
We regret to pass on to you that Union County (NJ) Fire Coordinator Louis Kelly-who was also the retired Chief of the Elizabeth FD, NJ, has died in the Line of Duty.  Chief Kelly, 70. was operating in his capacity as a Union County Mutual Aid Coordinator at a working fire in Clark, New Jersey. He collapsed last Thursday at that scene and was in the coronary care unit at Rahway Hospital when he sadly passed at approximately 0055 hours this morning. Chief Kelly served the city of Elizabeth for 34 years and was well recognized as a leader in fire service throughout Union County and the state of New Jersey. Kelly served as chief in Elizabeth from 1990-2003 and also served as a deputy mutual aid fire coordinator for the county.   VIEWING
Higgins & Bonner
Springfield Avenue
Westfield NJ
Monday, December 21, 2016
1600-2100 hours

Saint Genevieve’s Church
200 Monmouth Road
Elizabeth, NJ
Tuesday, December 22, 2016
1000 hours

There will be no internment service. The convocation hall is tentatively schedule at the Kenilworth Fire Department located at 491 Washington Avenue Kenilworth, NJ 07033 following the funeral Mass. Our condolences to all those affected. RIP.

Categories: Latest News


Thu, 12/15/2016 - 13:06

Two firefighters were injured battling a blaze that destroyed about 10 businesses at a strip mall in Monterey Park Thursday morning.


Fire crews continue to put out hot spots after a fire burned through a strip mall in Monterey Park on Dec. 15, 2016. (Credit: KTLA)

Emergency crews responded to a smoke alarm at the northeast end of the mall in the 300 block of East Garvey Avenue about 1:33 a.m., Monterey Park Fire Department Sgt. Duke said.

Two firefighters were injured while battling the blaze and were taken to a local hospital with minor injuries, Fire Dept. Capt. Matt Hallock said.

The fire managed to spread through most of the strip mall, destroying about 10 businesses, Hallock said.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze just before 4:30 a.m., Hallock said.

As the firefight was underway, residents at a nearby apartment complex in the 100 block of North Nicholson Avenue were forced to evacuate the building due to exposure concerns, Hallock said.

“We had 40 residents that we asked to evacuate … but since that time they have been allowed to go back in,” Hallock said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Categories: Latest News


Thu, 12/15/2016 - 12:56

The family of a Hartford (CT) Firefighter killed in the line of duty has surprisingly settled its wrongful death lawsuit against the city for $350,000. Firefighter Kevin Bell, 48, died in that house fire of October 2014. The family filed suit in November 2015, saying that it wanted answers about why Bell was allegedly “left behind” for more than eight minutes even though a mayday call had been made by the Lieutenant after losing contact with FF Bell in the house. It should be noted that the radio system historically functioned poorly , and that day when the brief and barely audible “mayday” was transmitted by the Lt-after realizing FF Bell was missing-it was unheard by anyone on the fireground. Unfortunately this leaves many questions unanswered such as responsibility, department and company failures leading up to the loss, training and much more.  By settling this could allow some to think that blame belongs in areas and to individuals that, whereas perhaps, it doesn’t.

BUT NOW“The case was happily settled against all parties and it will now be withdrawn,” said Jeffrey Ment, an attorney representing Bell’s estate. The two sides agreed not to comment on the details of the settlement.

Hartford Corporation Counsel Howard Rifkin said that the settlement is about more than money. “As part of the settlement agreement, the City will work with the Bell family to determine an appropriate way of honoring Kevin Bell,” Rifkin said.

The suit previously named Fire Chief Carlos Huertas, Deputy Chief James McLoughlin, who was in charge of the fire scene on Blue Hills Ave., and Lt. John Moree, Bell’s partner, who entered the building with him.

An HFD internal board of inquiry reviewed the fire incident (NIOSH and State Police reports are pending) and found numerous predictable problems and other issues, including that there was a failure to properly search the room in which Bell was trapped…and that the IC and other firefighters did not (or could not) hear any mayday calls.

Once they entered the building, the RIT team found FF Bell within 30 seconds. His leg was tangled in a piece of wrought-iron furniture and his air cylinder was empty, according to the report. The report also identified a lack of training for command officers and other mistakes in firefighting and life-saving procedures. It also found equipment out of service, SCBA’s empty and much more at company levels.

The GOOD news is that current Fire Chief Reginald Freeman, who took over the job in February, has implemented new procedures and is leading the HFD is a positive direction to address the issues highlighted in the report.

NIOSH has not completed its final report on FF Bell’s death, but a preliminary report found that one of the alarms that should have alerted Bell that his air tank was running out of air was not working properly. The CT state fire marshal’s office has not released their findings of its investigation.

In addition to the wrongful death claim, the lawsuit alleged that “sometime prior to Oct. 7  Lt Moree abandoned (Bell) in a fire where they were together on a hose line.” Bell confronted Moree about the “inappropriateness of that behavior so personal animus had developed between the two,” according to the suit.

The suit also alleged that fire personnel deliberately spread inaccurate rumors that FF Bell had cocaine in his system with “the apparent goal of taking the focus off the embarrassing failures of command structure, equipment maintenance irregularities and the lack of state mandated training provided to their firefighters,” and allowing the blame to fall on the victim. Toxicology reports should be able to clarify any unfortunate rumors related to that.  Why not release them?

It’s is beyond tragic that FF Kevin Bell lost his life. It’s nice the city and the family settled-but so many questions remain related to the responsibility at ALL levels as far as what happened at that fire. It is our opinion that no assumption should be made as far as what happened, how it happened and who was responsible (His Officer? The IC? FF Bell? Other FF’s? Other Officers?) until the facts are permitted to be presented. Allowing the TRUTH and FACTS on all aspects of this tragic fire would be the best way to honor the life of FF Kevin bell-so that what went wrong at this fire never goes wrong again at the HFD-or any other FD’s fire.


Categories: Latest News