National News

Friday, August 18, 2017

Two Off-Duty California Firefighters Shot, One Fatally, in San Jose’s Japantown

Two off-duty Oakland firefighters were shot, one fatally, in San Jose's Japantown on Thursday night, and one person has been detained in connection with the crime, police say. The shooting was reported at 9:37 p.m. near 8th and Taylor streets, across the street from Gordon Biersch Brewery, according to police. One firefighter, 30, sustained critical injuries and was pronounced dead at a hospital. The second man, 26, sustained a single gunshot wound, but is in stable condition in hosppital. Sources told NBC Bay Area that the victims were recent graduates of the Oakland Fire Department Academy. Deputy Fire Chief Melinda Drayton said that the department has suffered an "enormous tragedy with the loss of one of our own."
NBC Bay Area

Wisconsin officials: Fire sprinkler rule unenforceable

A rule requiring fire sprinkler systems be put in new apartment buildings has been deemed unenforceable by the state. This comes just six months after the Department of Safety and Professional Services decided to keep the rule. It said new apartment buildings with three to 20 units have to have fire sprinkler systems installed. But state law says buildings with 20 or more units must have sprinklers. The three to 20 unit requirement was a state rule. Last month, the Wisconsin Builders Association challenged the rule, saying DSPS can’t enforce a rule that’s more restrictive than state law, based on 2011 Wisconsin Act 21.

Connecticut Fire Chief Put On Leave After Critical Report

The city put embattled Fire Chief Thomas Ronalter on leave Thursday and appointed an acting leader for the department, but Ronalter publicly declared he won't quit over accusations of mismanagement and racial insensitivity. "I detest racism and all of the harm it causes. While I have made mistakes, I have never treated people — firefighters or otherwise — differently based on the color of their skin," Ronalter said in a statement emailed to reporters Thursday afternoon. Mayor Erin Stewart put him Ronalter paid administrative leave and announced that Deputy Chief Peter Margentino will be in charge starting Friday.
Hartford Courant

Proposed Indiana bill aims to track higher cancer rates among firefighters

U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth met with local fire service members Wednesday to discuss a bill aimed at tackling increased cancer rates among firefighters. The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, co-sponsored by Indiana's 9th Congressional District representative, would provide the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the funding and capability to collect and analyze data related to cancer incidents within the profession. It would create a national, voluntary registry for firefighters who have been diagnosed with cancer. A 2010 study by the CDC of almost 30,000 career firefighters across the country discovered they had a 9 percent higher rate of cancer diagnoses and 14 percent higher rate of cancer-related deaths compared to the general population.
News and Tribune

Washington fire department’s new program helped save mother, daughter hit by car

The Spokane Fire Department said Thursday that two people are alive thanks to a program called Automatic Aid. On Wednesday afternoon, a mother and daughter were hit by a car in the North Spokane Costco parking lot. Officials said at one point, the mother was pinned under the car and crews had to lift the car to pull her out safely. Spokane Fire officials said the automatic aid program saved their lives. The automatic aid program is an agreement between fire departments that the closest crew will respond to the incident no matter what jurisdiction it falls in. In the case at Costco, it was in Spokane City Fire jurisdiction but crews from Fire District 8 and 9 were closer, so the responded immediately saving precious time in a life threatening situation.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

FDNY engineer dies at 43 amid battle against 9/11-linked brain tumor, one year after his firefighter dad’s death

Firefighter Robert Alexander always followed in his father’s footsteps — even in death. The 43-year-old — who worked on FDNY fire boats — died Monday of a brain tumor stemming from his time at Ground Zero. For Alexander, succumbing to a 9/11 illness is a heartbreaking family affair — a year earlier, his father Lt. Raymond Alexander, died of cancers linked to his time on the pile, FDNY sources said. "World Trade Center illnesses continue to take the lives of far too many FDNY members, now including two generations of the Alexander family — a father and son who served so bravely, for so long,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said Wednesday.
New York Daily News

Private Probe Finds ’Serious Racial Insensitivity’ Of Connecticut Fire Chief

An independent investigator has determined that the fire department suffers from a fractured leadership team and perceptions of racism and favoritism that are worsened by the "racial insensitivity" of Chief Thomas Ronalter. The monthslong review did not document racism in hiring or discipline, but concluded "it is not unreasonable that a minority firefighter could perceive the existence of racial bias." The report by the DCB Law Group and the city's personnel office indicated widespread morale trouble at the department. "There is a strong and compelling perception amongst the overall membership of the NBFD that the administrative leadership ... is deficient and dysfunctional, mired by a lack of consistent affirmative communication, unfair treatment and favoritism," the report said.
Hartford Courant

After more than 30 hours, search continues for 5 on downed Army chopper in Hawaii

After more than 30 hours, the massive air and sea search continues for five missing soldiers who were on board an Army chopper that crashed late Tuesday off Oahu. Rescuers are focusing their efforts on a debris field that's three to five miles offshore. "This is still a search and rescue mission. We are here to bring our soldiers home," said Lt Col. Curtis Kellogg, public affairs officer with the 25th Infantry Division, in a news conference on Wednesday afternoon. "As we do this work, the soldiers and their families are on the forefront of our minds." The military has confirmed that the five who were on board the helicopter when it went down about two miles west of Kaena Point are active duty soldiers — two pilots and three crewmembers — out of Wheeler Army Airfield's 25th Combat Aviation Brigade. Their identities have not yet been released.
Hawaii News Now

Many hope interim fire chief will bring unity to North Carolina department

Charlotte City Manager Marcus Jones chose someone many feel can unite the fire department which has been engulfed in controversy for years. Deputy Chief Pete Key Key joined the Charlotte Fire Department as a firefighter in 1977 and now 40 years later, he’s in charge of its more than 1,200 employees and protecting more than 840,000 citizens. The selection signals a restart for the fire department, which has been dealing with a series of controversies. Sources said Fire Chief Jon Hannan announced his retirement because his job was in jeopardy due to extremely low morale and the handling of the Crystal Eschert trial. Eschert was recently awarded $1.5 million from a jury that found the city fired her in retaliation for being a whistleblower about a Charlotte fire building.

DC Fire and EMS to review complaint of deplorable conditions inside Deanwood fire station

Firefighters at Engine Company 27 in Northeast D.C.'s Deanwood neighborhood are sounding the alarm about what they are calling dirty and deplorable conditions at their fire station. In the District, fire personnel work in 24-hour shifts and then have 72 hours off. During their work shift, these firefighters live, eat and sleep at the firehouse, and these conditions are nothing new to them and have been going on for years, they say. FOX 5 received an email with photos from concerned citizen that were taken inside the fire station showing trash bags being placed over windows used to keep the heat in the winter, mold issues, sagging ceiling tiles, flooded storm drains and rodent issues.

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