National News

Friday, March 24, 2017

Calm in the chaos: It’s always rush hour for Seattle firefighters and paramedics

She was blue when her neighbor found her at lunchtime, unconscious and slumped in an overstuffed leather chair. Minutes later, her studio apartment is crammed with people in uniform who have been summoned to save her. Getting there after the 911 call had been excruciating, even with light afternoon traffic: an 11-block drive with sirens wailing, followed by a cramped ride in a slim elevator that crept slowly toward the ninth floor, as if powered by AAA batteries. The hallways in the vintage apartment building are narrow, and the doorway barely wide enough to accommodate a modern gurney.
Seattle Times

‘Oh my God, it’s terrible’: Frantic 911 calls tell of devastating Kansas fire

A construction worker called 911 as he frantically honked his horn to warn other workers away from a fire at an unfinished apartment building in Overland Park — one of 69 calls reporting a massive blaze and flaming embers raining down on nearby homes. The 911 dispatch recordings, released to The Kansas City Star on Thursday, reveal workers’ and residents’ frantic pleas for firefighters. The fire started in an apartment building under construction at the CityPlace development at Nieman Road and College Boulevard. In one of the first emergency calls from the construction site, a dispatcher said, “Tell me exactly what happened.”
Kansas City Star

California fire district backs off plan to seize parcels for station expansion

Pushback from Belle Haven residents forced Menlo Park’s fire district to drop a plan to seize two residential properties to expand its station. About 50 residents packed Tuesday night’s meeting of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, held inside a small classroom at its 300 Middlefield Road fire station. They opposed the fire station expansion plan and praised the family at 351 Terminal that would have been displaced as pillars of the community. After the emotional outpouring of support for the family, the fire board decided not to acquire the Hoermanns’ parcel as well as one at 321 Terminal, with Director Rob Silano first to state his position: “I’m not voting to take your house, Alex.”
Mercury News

How fire chiefs can head off ’stickergate’ problems

A fire chief in Kansas finds himself the target of anger and frustration over, of all things, stickers. Sedgwick County certainly isn’t the first fire department to wrestle with a "stickergate" controversy. I’m guessing most departments have had at least one. That helmet and apparatus decals could set off a department-wide dust up is not surprising. Firefighters have a powerful relationship to their symbols; they can be a source of strength and comfort. For those who missed the story, the Sedgwick County chief ordered several stickers removed from department rigs. The 10-year-old stickers are a memorial to one of three firefighters who died in the line of duty. The chief reasoned that honoring only one fallen firefighter was disrespectful to the families of the other two.

Kansas City firefighter watches intruder rummage through his home in real time as he’s on duty

VIDEO: A Kansas City firefighter is anxious for an arrest, after someone broke into his home and stole his belongings while he was on duty. The break-in happened Tuesday night around 9 o’clock in a South Kansas City neighborhood near Little Blue Road and Breckenridge Avenue. The victim, Sammy Belgiere, is an 18-year veteran and captain with the Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department. Belgiere was on duty at Fire Station 29 when his Canary security camera app on his smartphone alerted him.
WDAF-TV Fox 4 Kansas City News

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Miami Fire Rescue’s First African American Chief Retires After 32 Years

Talk about big shoes to fill. Standing at 6’9", City of Miami Fire Chief Maurice L. Kemp is not only literally a towering figure at the department, but the 32-year vet is a respected leader within the city of Miami. After more than decades of service with the City of Miami Department of Fire Rescue, Chief Kemp is retiring. He served as the Director of Fire Rescue for eight years and in the department’s 119- year history, he was the first African-American to hold the position of Fire Chief.
WFOR-TV and WBFS CBS 4 Miami

Firefighter from iconic Oklahoma City bombing photo retires; ‘It’s still tough to talk about’

Memories come in all shapes and sizes. Chris Fields has a trunkfull, packed away from a 31-year career as an Oklahoma City firefighter. From fighting infernos to rescuing pets, Fields has done it all. "You roll up and prepare yourself for what you're going to see," Fields says. But nothing could have prepared Chris for April 19, 1995. "I was at Fire Station Number 5 at N.W. 22nd and Broadway. I felt it. We were standing in the station around the kitchen. We heard the boom and felt the station rattle. We looked outside and saw the plume of smoke and self dispatched ourselves," Fields remembers. Rolling up to the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, they had no idea of the magnitude.
Fox 6 Now

New York state court will hear firefighter demotion case

Lawyers for the city and the firefighters’ union will present their arguments before the state Appellate Court on May 24 on whether an issue over eight demoted fire captains goes to arbitration. Union President Daniel Daugherty said the Watertown Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 191 has been waiting for the case to move forward in the state Appellate Division, Fourth Department, in Rochester since last fall. In September, the city appealed State Supreme Court Judge James P. McClusky’s decision to allow the union to take the city to arbitration over the issue of the eight demoted captains.
Watertown Daily Times

Maine town board debates firefighters washing personal vehicles

Selectman Raquel Welch told the board Monday evening that she wanted to speak with the fire chief about firefighters washing their personal vehicles at the Fire Station. Welch said when she drives past the station on nice days, she sees people washing their private vehicles. “It’s not a car wash,” she said. “People can’t just pull up there and say that they want to wash their cars. I don’t think that should be a privilege.” Selectman Larry Snowman said the only people he sees washing their vehicles at the station are volunteer firefighters, deputies with the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office, Maine State Police troopers and ambulance personnel. “Business vehicles, I don’t mind,” Welch told Snowman. “It’s the private vehicles. It just bugs me.” Chairwoman Carol Roach said she’s read about other towns discussing the same issue and it “hasn’t been resolved.”
Sun Journal

Fired California firefighter suit to move forward despite city, fire district denials

The lawsuit filed by a fired firefighter against the city and its fire department is still ongoing, despite both agencies denying his request for permission to present a late claim. Former American Canyon firefighter/paramedic Carlos Teruel, 34, says he was let go shortly before his probationary period expired and since officials declined to tell him why, assumes it can only be because he took time off to care for his sick wife and small children. At Tuesday’s American Canyon City Council meeting, two special council lawyers for the public entities officially acknowledged the city and the city’s Fire Protection District had rejected Teruel’s late claim request and said they’d be filing reports.
Vallejo Times-Herald

Florida wildfire started by book burning destroys at least 10 homes

At least 10 homes in Nassau County, Florida, were destroyed in a wildfire caused by a man who was burning books Wednesday. Only a few minor injuries to emergency personnel have been reported in what's being called the Garfield Road Fire, according to the Florida Forest Service. But it has burned an estimated 350 to 400 acres near Bryceville, about 20 miles west of Jacksonville. Officials said in a news conference Thursday morning the wildfire was 65% contained and no longer spreading. Firefighters will continue to work in the area but a full containment of the fire is not expected on Thursday.

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