National News

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Georgia State Patrol investigating two fire truck wrecks

VIDEO: It’s been a tough couple of weeks for firefighters in Walton County and Social Circle. There have been two fire truck wrecks at nearly the same spot. A Social Circle firefighter remained at Grady Memorial Hospital’s ICU, while three other firefighters are at home recovering. The Georgia State Patrol is examining both wrecks to see if it was a terrible coincidence or if roadway improvements might be needed. Social Circle Fire Department Chief Ken Zaydel showed FOX 5 News the spot on Hawkins Academy Road where last Friday afternoon a Social Circle Fire Department truck crashed when responding to a structure fire about a quarter mile away. A week earlier a Walton County Fire Department truck crashed at nearly the same spot, about 40 feet away. “It’s rare, it’s almost unheard of,” said Chief Zaydel. He said Georgia State Patrol’s SCRT, Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team, is comparing notes on the two crashes to determine if it was just a terrible coincidences or more needs to be done for safety. Walton County’s Fire Rescue Fire needs answers too. In total four firefighters, two from Walton, two from Social Circle, were injured.
Fox 5 Atlanta

Fire District in Montana asks judge to dismiss lawsuit, sues state

The Central Valley Fire District asked a Gallatin County judge Wednesday to throw out a lawsuit that claims the fire district doesn’t have the authority to enforce state fire codes on a wedding venue in the Belgrade area. Foster Creek Farm filed the lawsuit against the fire district in Gallatin County District Court in May. The farm built a barn for weddings in 2016, according to court documents. The state inspected and approved the barn for occupancy, but the fire district issued a fire code violation in 2017 for not having a fire sprinkler system. The farm is asking a judge to uphold the Montana Department of Labor and Industry’s Building Standards Division’s occupancy approval, which didn’t require a fire sprinkler system. It is also asking the court to order the fire district to pay any damages related to the lawsuit. In its motion to dismiss the case, the fire district said it has the right to enforce state fire codes. It claims the state building division’s occupancy approval is not a legal certificate of occupancy, and that the farm did not have authority to build a wedding venue that violated fire codes.
Bozeman Daily Chronicle

California teens show off their skills learned at firefighter youth academy

VIDEO: For the past nine weeks, teens from the Sacramento area have been learning what it takes to become a firefighter. The Sacramento Regional Firefighter Youth Academy offers a program that provides life guidance and career exploration for at-risk high schoolers. “We characterize ‘at risk’ as being youth who might have academic, social or economic challenges in their life, and we just want to make sure that we can be a resource and that we can provide opportunities for youth to be successful in life,” said Byron Berhel, a retired fire captain who is now the CEO for Solutions for At Risk Youth. “We know they have what it takes. They just need a little push in the right direction, a little guidance.” Students, decked out in full fire gear, showed off their new skills Saturday, performing ground activities with fire engines, trucks and tools. The fire academy is a partnership between Solutions For At Risk Youth, Sacramento-region fire departments, community-based organizations and school districts.

At a frigid crash on New York interstate, firefighters use industrial heater to help save driver’s life

VIDEO: he wind chill was -30 degrees Monday morning when a rental box truck crashed into the back of a tractor trailer on the Thruway in Henrietta. The driver's life was saved, in part, because the firefighters who got there kept him warm. They used an industrial heater to pump hot air into the cab of the truck when they were trying to pull him out. But the warm-up continued when he got into the ambulance. Henrietta Fire District Assistant Chief Mark Cholach showed News10NBC pictures of the scene on the Thruway between LeRoy and Henrietta. Then, he showed News10NBC what they used to help save the driver. The fire department has an industrial heater with 30 feet of hose. But when firefighters got the driver out and put him on the stretcher, the efforts to keep the driver warm continued. The first responders at the scene on the Thruway injected the driver in the crash with warm IV fluids and covered him with a blanket that automatically heats up when it's exposed to air.
WHEC News 10

Florida fire department rolls out Peer Support training

Deaths of first responders to suicide, increased depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other symptoms of mental health trauma have led some fire department leaders to change the way they want to see their peers cope with the often stressful and heartbreaking job. “Tradition is you just suck it up and go about your day, and just let it go,” Lakeland Fire Department Lt. Phil Green said Tuesday as the agency rolled out training for peer support last week. Green, 36, was one of those peers chosen to take the training in an effort to be a sounding board for fellow firefighters. At 14 years in fire services, he said now that the awareness is there, he hopes people speak up when they need to talk. The peer support model is a program offered through the Florida Firefighters Safety & Health Collaborative and recognizes that firefighters tend to trust fellow firefighters far more because of their shared experiences, said LFD spokeswoman Janel Vasallo. “The Lakeland Fire Department wants to ensure its firefighters, along with others in the region, have access to the resources and expertise needed to prevent a first responder from ever having to suffer through mental health issues on their own,” said Vasallo.
The Ledger

Friday, January 18, 2019

City warned about lack of fire training 17 years before fatal blaze in Delaware

The 1997 fire at the Delaware Trust building was a wake-up call. Firefighters were confused about who was in charge and struggled to coordinate during the high-rise blaze that injured 15 of them at what is now the Residences at Rodney Square, federal investigators said in a report two years later. The feds recommended additional training. They said Wilmington should utilize nearby training facilities, conduct exercises with county companies and "evaluate their in-service training program to ensure that it is adequately preparing fire fighters to respond to various incidents," the report said. "There were people going every which way," then-fire union president Mike McNulty told The News Journal in 1999. "We were lucky we didn't lose anyone." Nearly two decades later, the department wasn't so lucky. A blaze on Sept. 24, 2016, in Canby Park took the lives of three Wilmington firefighters: Christopher Leach, Jerry Fickes and Ardythe Hope. A lack of training for firefighters and officers was cited among the factors that turned the fire fatal, federal investigators said in a November report.
Wilmington News Journal (Delaware Online)

West Virginia firefighters arrested for setting county blazes ’for the excitement of it’

Four McDowell County firefighters were arrested Thursday on charges of intentionally setting fires in the War area of McDowell County. Cody Patterson, 26, James Stutson, 40, Michael Click, 28, and Brandon Short, 22, have all been charged by the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office with first-degree arson and conspiracy, according to a press release from the agency. The suspects were setting fires “for the excitement of it,” according to the investigating officer, Assistant State Fire Marshal L.T. Hamrick. “The guys were all bored and wanted a call to go on,” Hamrick said Thursday, after the suspects were arraigned in Welch. The investigation began after investigators were called to a vacant apartment fire in War on Oct. 31, 2018, where it was determined that the fire was incendiary in cause, according to the fire marshal’s press release. Hamrick said the investigation is continuing and more charges are possible.
Times West Virginian

Injured Iowa firefighter breathing on his own

Though still in critical condition, Clinton firefighter Adam Cain now is breathing on his own and “continues to slowly improve” from a Jan. 5 explosion that killed a colleague, according to an update Thursday from the city. The 23-year-old’s ventilator was removed Wednesday, City Administrator Matt Brooke said. Cain was badly injured in the grain-silo explosion at the ADM plant in Clinton. Clinton fire Lt. Eric Hosette, 33, died in the blast. Cain “is scheduled for surgery on one of his broken arms this morning,” Brooke wrote in the update. A firefighter at the Charlotte Volunteer Fire Department, where Hosette served as chief, said Cain sustained many injuries. In addition to respiratory damage, the firefighter said, Cain also suffered many broken bones and cuts. He has been undergoing lifesaving treatment at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City since the incident, which remains under investigation. Brooke said the Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health are looking into the cause of the fire and the resulting explosion.
The Gazette

4 patients treated after suspicious package reported at California courthouse

VIDEO: Firefighters treated four patients including a sheriff's deputy at the courthouse in Santa Ana after a package was opened that made them feel ill, officials said. A sheriff's deputy opened a package on the third floor of the courthouse and several people immediately felt ill, officials said. An Orange County hazardous materials team and the bomb squad responded around 2:30 p.m. and that area of the courthouse was blocked off, though the rest of the complex continued operations. The Sheriff's Department said three civilians and one deputy were treated and were transported to a local hospital. They underwent decontamination before being transported. They were not considered to have life-threatening injuries. There were no evacuations and the situation was described as "contained." By around 5 p.m., officials said the initial investigation was complete and there was no additional threat to others at the courthouse. The package was sent to a crime lab for further analysis.

Pennsylvania township establishes pay-per-call program for fire companies

In an effort to incentivize volunteer firefighters and encourage their continued life-saving efforts in Plymouth Township, the governing body unanimously approved a pay-per-call retention program. Active volunteer members with Plymouth Fire Co. and Harmonville Fire Co. are eligible for nominal payments for service and training provided members either respond to a minimum of 15 percent of the total number of dispatched emergency calls or attend at least 50 percent of the total weekly fire company sponsored training/drill nights. Council Chair Marty Higgins said the pay-per-call effort is aimed at “compensating volunteers for some of their activities.” The objective is to help fire companies increase their volunteer rosters while demonstrating the value of firefighters’ services. The pay-per-call fee schedule includes $5 per dispatched emergency call fee; $10 fee for emergency calls that exceed 60 minutes; $10 per in-station duty staffing at six-hour increments; and $20 per certificate training by an accredited institution for classes of a minimum of 12 hours. Higgins said the pay-per-call effort will hopefully prevent or at least postpone the need to hire paid fire staff. Doing so would cost the township “millions of dollars,” he said.
The Times Herald

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