National News

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Three Idaho firefighters injured when fire truck destroyed by flames during ’freak accident’ at wildfire scene

PHOTO - Three Downey firefighters suffered injuries when their fire truck caught fire at the scene of a wildfire south of this Bannock County town. The fire was reported along South Marsh Valley Road around 11 a.m. Monday and initially threatened multiple houses that were about 100 yards from the flames. The three Downey Fire Department firefighters suffered injuries in what’s being called a “freak accident” that occurred at the fire scene. The firefighters were in their five-ton, 6x6 fire truck when a gasoline can fell off the truck. The truck then ran over the can, which was full of gasoline, and this caused the truck to ignite and quickly become engulfed by flames.
Idaho State Journal

Houston firefighters won’t get November vote on pay as deadline passes

Houston voters will face $1.5 billion in city bonds and nine community college or school board races this November, but will not be asked whether to give firefighters a raise. Monday was the last day on which a candidate can file for the November ballot, and on which local governments can call an election. That means the clock ran out on the petitions citizens submitted backing the firefighters push for "parity" with police officers of corresponding rank. There are exceptions to Monday's deadline. Houston ISD trustee Manuel Rodriguez's death in July means candidates looking to fill his seat have until Sept. 6 to file for office, for example. In broad terms, however, the fall election campaign largely is set.
Houston Chronicle

FirstNet Efforts Slowly Picking Up Steam

A dedicated wireless communications network for first responders answering the call on a large-scale incident is something most citizens might assume is already in place across the country. The unfortunate truth is that they would be wrong, but efforts are ongoing to present all 50 states with plans and options surrounding The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), which was designed to help public safety agencies coordinate their efforts amid emergencies and major events such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods or terror attacks, to name just a few scenarios. FirstNet is an independent authority established by Congress comprised of officials from the public safety, government, technology, finance and wireless sectors.

Upper-management union wanted California chief out, but others backed him

An upper-management union for the Orange County Fire Authority planned to tell the agency’s board of directors that “current tensions” in the department were created by Chief Jeff Bowman, who resigned last week, according to a letter written by the union and sent to the board on Sunday, Aug. 20. The letter also said the union – the Chief Officers Association, which represents battalion and division chiefs – met with Bowman a day before he stepped down and recommended he resign before it submitted a position paper, out of respect for him and “to save the organization further embarrassment.”
Orange County Register

Guilty plea by driver of Michigan firetruck that crashed killing 2 firefighters

A plea deal means a term of slightly less than six years for the driver of a Michigan firetruck that crashed last summer on Interstate 35W in Blaine, killing two fellow firefighters. Michael A. Johnson, 29, of the Upper Peninsula city of Baraga, pleaded guilty in Hennepin County District Court to two counts of criminal vehicular homicide and one count of criminal vehicular operation in connection with the crash on Aug. 27, 2016. Seven related felony counts were dismissed. With credit for time in jail after his arrest, Johnson will serve the first 3¾ years or so in prison and the balance of the 5¾-year term on supervised release. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 9.
Minneapolis Star Tribune

New Hampshire fire chief: Previous staffing plan may not be enough

The Salem Fire Department followed suit with its fellow first responders Monday, requesting the Board of Selectmen consider increasing the previously set staffing plans and potentially renegotiate the Tuscan Village development agreement. Both the police and fire departments have experienced decades of stagnant staffing, which department leaders say have caused longer emergency response times in Salem and more cases in which the fire department has to ask for assistance from neighboring towns. Police officials asked the board last week to double its previous plan for new officers, and the fire department asked the board to also reconsider firefighter staffing levels. "Our shift commanders are often scrambling to staff our apparatuses with off-duty members... I get messages from my shift commanders that say, 'We reached failure point today.'

Monday, August 21, 2017

California rookie firefighter pulls captain to safety after roof collapse

A Menlo Park Fire Captain sustained moderate burns in a house fire after the roof he was standing on gave out as the attic burned beneath him, late Friday. The Fire Captain, a seasoned veteran with the Fire District, had just guided a Probationary Firefighter as he cut a square ventilation hole in the roof of the residence, located on Nassau Drive near the Menlo Park-Atherton border. The Captain stepped across the top ridge of the building's roof holding a pole he was using to check the structural integrity of the roof when he felt the area under him get "spongy." He quickly advised Probationary Firefighter Carlos Carpenter to immediately get off the roof, when without warning, the roof gave way.
KTVU-TV Oakland, San Francisco, Bay Area

Family legacy at Massachusetts fire department ends after 63 years

The number of years was 63 that father and son, Louis “Butch” Chagnon and Michael Chagnon served on the Somerset Fire Department. It included a decade they served together answering the call on fires and medical emergencies, it was announced during a brief recognition by the Board of Selectmen for the retiring son. “The town is losing someone very talented and very dedicated,” Chairman Steven Moniz said before he and the board asked Michael Gagnon to step up and receive a certificate of recognition “for your 32 years of dedicated service.” “We wish to convey our heart-felt appreciation for your long-time service ... Your years of service have been marked by exemplary and dedicated effort, and have earned you the respect of all ages,” said the certificate.
The Herald News

Proposal would reverse course for Michigan town’s public safety model

It's been nearly five years since Bay City's fire and police departments merged into a public safety agency. Now, a City Commissioner is proposing to increase the number of full-time firefighters, a move that would drastically change the course of the combined department. Commissioner Ed Clements, 8th Ward, has authored a resolution calling for the Bay City Department of Public Safety to staff no fewer than 22 full-time firefighters, instead of having a staff made up entirely of public safety officers who can fight fires and perform law enforcement tasks. Public Safety Director Michael J. Cecchini says such a move would be step backward and is unnecessary, with law enforcement needing increased staffing.

Pennsylvania assistant fire chief cited by police for allegedly pulling over vehicle

Police have cited York Township's assistant fire chief, alleging he improperly used the emergency lights on his duty vehicle to pull over a driver. If found guilty, Assistant Fire Chief Scotty Bowman, 32, who lives in the township, could face a substantial fine, plus about $150 in court costs and fees. The summary traffic ticket has a minimum fine of $500 and a maximum fine of $1,000, according to PennDOT spokeswoman Fritzi Schreffler. When asked why a warning to Bowman would not have sufficed, York Area Regional Police Chief Tim Damon said there have been several other instances of York Township fire officials following drivers after roadway encounters involving fire apparatus.
York Dispatch

Former Atlantic City firefighter joins guilty pleas in federal health fraud case

A former Atlantic City firefighter pleaded guilty Friday to health care fraud in connection with a large-scale prescription-drug fraud ring. It was the fifth guilty plea in the past two days and the first to involve a public employee. Federal authorities have been investigating health-benefits fraud in three Absecon Island municipalities, including Atlantic City, over the past few months. Michael Pepper, 45, of Northfield, a retired firefighter, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health-benefits fraud before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler.
Press of Atlantic City

Researchers: OxiClean effectively cleans fentanyl spills

Researchers found that a household product can effectively clean fentanyl spills. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Bowling Green State University President Mary Ellen Mazey announced that OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover has been proven effective in cleaning up fentanyl spills. Sodium percarbonate is an ingredient in the product, which has been shown to break down fentanyl. “This new scientific research is great news for Ohio’s first responders, and responders across the nation, as we are all forced to deal with the day-to-day reality of the opioid epidemic,” DeWine said. “This is the kind of research that can make a difference for Ohioans, which we plan to do more of at the Ohio Attorney General’s Center for the Future of Forensic Science, alongside our amazing scientific partners at BGSU.”

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