National News

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Wisconsin firefighter killed, several injured in explosion

One firefighter was killed and several other people, including police officers, firefighters and civilians were injured in an explosion in Sun Prairie Tuesday night. The explosion happened at 7:05 p.m. at the intersection of Main and Bristol streets after police said they were called to the area around 6:20 p.m. for complaints of the smell of gas. Construction was happening near the evacuation site, according to police. Officials with WE Energies said they were made aware of an independent contractor hitting a natural gas main in downtown Sun Prairie. In addition to the firefighter who was killed, one police officer was taken to the hospital and released; seven civilians were taken to the hospital and released; and six firefighters were taken to the hospital, four with minor injuries and one who is in stable condition.
WISC-TV Channel Madison

The Last 9/11 Fire Chief Bows Out

Joe Pfeifer had a date in mind for retiring from the job he has done for 37 years. It would be the second Wednesday after Labor Day. After schools were back. Sept. 12. He could hardly wait. Then he decided, no, he wouldn’t delay. “Do some sailing,” he said. “Decompress.” So this will be his last week with the Fire Department, retiring as an assistant chief from the agency where he started as a 25-year-old from Queens in 1981. Now 62 and a grandfather, he still lives in Queens — and is still fit enough to scale 30 stories of the Eiffel Tower and then rappel down it, as he did in an exercise last month with a French hostage rescue team. He was the first chief through the doors of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, and he set up a command post in the north tower lobby. His brother Kevin, a lieutenant, checked in with him, on his way to join 343 firefighters who did not come back.
New York Times

President Trump signs firefighter cancer registry bill

President Donald Trump on Monday signed legislation to set up a national registry for firefighters to help track links between exposure to fumes and cancer. The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to set up a database in order to study possible links between cancer and the fumes and toxins firefighters are exposed to. The idea is use the information to develop better equipment and other techniques to protect firefighters from cancer-causing chemicals. "The brave men and women of the fire services who put their lives on the line for us each day deserve every ounce of support," said Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-9th Dist., who sponsored the bill in the House. "Passing this bipartisan bill into law is Congress's way of having their backs."

Florida firefighter hospitalized after falling out of fire truck responding to a call

A Hillsborough County firefighter was flown to the hospital as a trauma alert after falling out of his fire truck, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Hillsborough Fire Rescue says that around 5:28 p.m. Tuesday, they received a radio alert that one of their own was injured. Eric Seidel with Hillsborough Fire Rescue says the firefighter left HCFR Station 28 at 4551 Sun City Center Boulevard and was in the process of responding to the scene of a fire when he received the injuries. "We are assuming all protocol was followed," Seidel said when asked whether or not the firefighter was wearing his seatbelt.
WFTS-TV ABC 28 Tampa Bay

Maryland firefighters lose rank by failing to meet deadline for certifications

About 20 ranking officers at Harford County volunteer fire stations lost those ranks after failing to submit new required certifications July 1. Roughly 200 officers completed their certifications on time, said Rich Gardiner, a spokesman for the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association. He declined to release the names of those who did not qualify. The certifications requirement was first announced five years ago, touted as an effort to make training at the departments more uniform. The firefighters who did not submit their certifications can still respond to calls, but cannot hold ranks such as chief, captain or lieutenant until they qualify under the new standards, Gardiner said.
Baltimore Sun

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

State launches probe into Houston Fire Department safety procedures

A state commission has opened an investigation into the Houston Fire Department’s safety standards after the firefighters’ union accused the department of failing to protect its members from carcinogens to which they are routinely exposed. Texas Commission on Fire Protection investigators will examine whether HFD complies with state laws requiring departments to clean protective clothing, called bunker gear, and maintain a standard operating procedure to do so. Six current and former Houston firefighters — four of whom are battling cancer — said the department’s gear cleaning procedures are inadequate and force members to repeatedly wear equipment that is contaminated.
Houston Chronicle

In dispute between Missouri city and fire district, both sides warn of potential dire consequences

City officials here and those of a fire district that serves part of the city both say a dispute over their longtime agreement could have dire budget consequences. In December, the city canceled its 23-year-old pact with the Robertson Fire Protection District, saying the contract’s rising cost was jeopardizing other city services. The cancellation prompted the fire district to file suit in St. Louis County in February, alleging that the move was illegal and that the city owed the district at least $3.2 million. Each side faults the other for a lack of communication or cooperation to resolve the conflict. The fallout came after the two entities had spent weeks discussing a merger between the district and the city’s fire department. They jointly spent about $28,000 to study the proposal.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

New Hampshire to fund presumptive cancer law for firefighters

Portsmouth Fire Lt. Russ Osgood was next to firefighter Sarah Fox the day she died from cancer at Concord Hospital when he learned another fire brother, Jeff Bokum, had the disease as well. The toll Osgood faced in that moment at the hospital was emotional, but a financial one came shortly after. Osgood and firefighters worked to raise thousands of dollars for Bokum’s out-of-pocket costs during his six-month battle as they had for Fox in the months before her death, cancer benefits not yet covered for fighters. Tuesday will bring the passage of a law funding cancer treatment benefits Bokum and Fox went without before they died within a five-month span. Gov. Chris Sununu will come to Portsmouth Fire Department at 10:30 a.m. that morning to sign a bill making the funding law. “It’s a great place to sign the bill,” Osgood said. “I think Sarah’s family will feel that way, too. And Jeff’s.”
Foster's Daily Democrat

The dangers of mixing alcohol consumption and firefighting

Just like in citizens, drinking and driving is not a new problem in public safety. For some volunteer fire companies, having volunteer firefighters show up at the scene of a fire while under the influence of alcohol is also not a new problem. Even organizations with career staff may have to deal with crewmembers showing up to a shift planning to firefight while under the influence (FFUI) or while intoxicated (FFWI). Showing up for a shift while still intoxicated, even though you might not realize it, is easier to do than you think. The drug and alcohol policy of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, which our firm mirrors, states that personnel should refrain from consuming alcohol within eight hours of performing any fire- or EMS-related duties.

Video shows Arizona firefighters rescuing woman from car submerged in canal

Mesa firefighters rescued a woman whose car had plunged into a canal during a storm that blew through the area Monday afternoon. The woman's car veered into a canal near Alma School Road south of the Loop 202 freeway in north Mesa, according to the Mesa Fire Department. When responding units arrived they found the car submerged upright. Firefighters, using a rope attachment, found the woman inside an air pocket inside the vehicle, which had flooded, and were able to pull her out, officials said. The woman, who is in her 50s, suffered minor injuries. No firefighters were injured.
Arizona Republic, & KPNX-TV NBC 12 Phoenix

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