At least six fatalities have been confirmed following the collapse of a pedestrian bridge over Tamiami Trail on Thursday.
But at a press conference held Friday morning at the Florida International University Tamiami campus, Miami-Dade Police Department director Juan J. Perez said the names of the people killed in the collapse would not be made public until their families had been notified.
Perez implored the media to refrain from revealing the names of the deceased, out of respect to their relatives. He also warned that the final death toll could climb, since the painstaking process of clearing rubble, documenting evidence and removing the dead is still in progress.
Hillsborough County firefighters and paramedics will vote on a new union contract next week that for the first time would require random drug testing.
Union leadership says it is up in the air whether the contract will pass, citing growing discord between the rank and file and Fire Rescue Chief Dennis Jones.
One thing that might help? If Jones and non-union department leadership agreed to drug testing, too, said Derrik Ryan, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 2294.
"I can tell you this: it would not hurt," Ryan said. "Certainly we have other issues, morale issues, besides drug testing here. But that certainly would not hurt if they fall in line and do this drug test with us."
For many of the firefighters who worked for hours to free a teenager from a North Side cave last week, it was the first time they were required to do so, as cave rescues in the San Antonio-area are extremely rare. On March 8, the San Antonio Fire Department’s technical rescue team was called out to the Robber Baron Cave, which stretches for a mile about 30 to 80 feet underground. Inside the cave, an 18-year-old Lee High School student on a field trip found herself trapped in an area called the Hole in the Floor.
“I’ve been here for 13 years and I’ve made two cave rescues” before the March 8 call, San Antonio Fire Department Capt. Brendan Pohlen said. “Most of these guys have been in caves and trained in caves, but for most of them, this is their first cave rescue.”
San Antonio Express- News
Researchers recently conducted a study that suggests firefighters are still absorbing toxic chemicals through their skin despite wearing full turnout gear.
A study conducted by University of Ottawa researchers found that firefighters had anywhere from three to more than five times the amount of toxins in their urine after battling a blaze than they did before. The study, which involved collecting urine samples and wiping the skin and clothing of more than two dozen firefighters, suggests that the chemicals are entering the body from skin absorption.
"There's a relationship between firefighters' urinary PAH metabolite levels and the levels of PAHs on their skin, which leads us to suspect that dermal contact may be an important route of exposure," Jennifer Keir, an author on the study, said.
Ottawa Fire Department Captain Dave Matschke was named a co-author on the study and said the research is a “big step forward.”
Utica fire Chief Russell Brooks is back to Square One.
A motion to reargue his lawsuit against the City of Utica -- in which he claimed the city rejected an application for benefits offered to responders affected by health conditions related to 9/11 recovery efforts -- was denied Thursday in state Supreme Court in Rome.
Brooks has chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He is enrolled in the federal World Trade Center Health Program, which covers the fire chief's medical costs related to his certified World Trade Center-related illnesses.
Given that, Brooks said he only is seeking acknowledgement from the city that he is eligible for benefits.
"I want justice," he said. "Moreso, this will reflect on the firefighters that went down to ground zero on 9/11. At that time, some of them were very young and, to me, they're still young. They got cancers that young guys don't get. How can I not fight for myself and for them to get justice?"