National News

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Ohio fire chief and union president tout strengthened working relationship

Toledo's fire chief and the president of Firefighters Local 92 are looking toward the new year with a strengthened working relationship. Chief Luis Santiago and Pvt. Jeff Koenigseker recently sat down for a joint interview with The Blade at Toledo Fire and Rescue Department head“I think the thrust of this relationship is that both the chief and I realize that the resolution is more important than the argument,” Private Koenigseker said. “We have been striving to resolve issue, after issue, after issue, and we have more issues. But it's the way you resolve [them], I think, that's most important.” Chief Santiago said he is pleased with the amicable relationship between the organizations. He praised Mr. Koenigseker for attending weekly staff meetings and offering input.quarters. They both stressed a desire to support the work firefighters do.
Toledo Blade

Florida firefighters fired after noose found on black colleague’s photos now file grievance of their own

Six Miami firefighters who lost their jobs after a black colleague found lewd images drawn on his family photos and a noose in his fire station dorm room are fighting to be reinstated. Captain William W. Bryson, Lt. Alejandro Sese, and firefighters Kevin Meizoso, David Rivera, Justin Rumbaugh and Harold Santana have filed grievances contesting their terminations, according to Miami’s firefighter union, which will decide Tuesday whether to support their claims. The men were fired last month after firefighter veteran Robert S. Webster returned to his room at fire station 12 on Sept. 10 and found that someone had taken his family photos, removed the pictures, drawn penis images on the photos and then returned them to their frames. Someone also draped a noose over his belongings.
Miami Herald

Witnesses call Ghost Ship ‘death trap,’ defendant ‘manipulative’ during California criminal hearing

During the third day of testimony during a critical hearing for two former Ghost Ship tenants facing criminal charges related to last year’s deadly fire, witnesses called the warehouse a “death trap” and one of the defendants “emotionally manipulative.” Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner will determine after the preliminary hearing if there’s enough evidence to send former warehouse tenants Derick Almena and Max Harris to trial. Each is charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter for allegedly ignoring fire codes and obvious safety controls for the warehouse that burned Dec. 2, 2016, killing 36 people.
East Bay Times

Wisconsin Chief Accused of Malfeasance by Former Employee

A former Janesville Fire Department employee alleges the fire chief and other fire department employees lied to police that he "might be mentally unstable and dangerous," according to complaints filed with the Janesville Police and Fire Commission. The former employee, Donald "Jeff" Bowen, has filed three charges of malfeasance in public office against Fire Chief Randy Banker and one each against Lt. Paul VerHalen and Fire Marshal Sue North. The commission will address the charges behind closed doors at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Banker and other city officials said Friday they could not comment on the complaints.

62,085 estimated firefighter injuries mark lowest rate since NFPA began analyzing data in 1981

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released the latest edition of its “U.S. Firefighter Injuries” report, which highlights data on injuries sustained by firefighters on duty in 2016. The statistics were collected from fire departments responding to NFPA’s annual U.S. Fire Experience survey. There were 62,085 U.S. firefighter injuries in 2016, reflecting an 8.8 percent decrease from 2015, making this the lowest rate of injury since 1981, when NFPA began analyzing firefighter injury data. Of those injuries, 19,050 (30.6 percent) resulted in lost time. The leading injury types in 2016 were: Strains, sprains and/or muscular pains (52.6 percent), and wounds, cuts, bleeding, and bruising (15.2 percent)
National Fire Protection Association

Monday, December 11, 2017

Maryland Deputy State Fire Marshal and FBI agent struck, killed on interstate

Authorities say an FBI agent and a state fire marshal were struck and killed while standing on the shoulder of I-270 in Montgomery County. At about 10 p.m. Friday, one of the officers was at the scene of a single-vehicle traffic crash on southbound I-270. Police say he requested assistance and used his car to block the damaged vehicle from oncoming traffic. The officer then learned the driver of the disabled vehicle was also an officer. Both men moved to the shoulder, where they were standing when a vehicle approached them. Officials say the vehicle swerved to avoid hitting cars in the other lane and struck both officers. Both men were thrown over the road partition, where at least one of them was struck by a car traveling northbound. One officer died on the scene, according to police, and the other was transported to Suburban Hospital where he later died.
WJZ-TV CBS 13 Baltimore

Texas firefighter dies from cardiac event suffered on duty

Charles Patterson, a firefighter with the Bowie Rural Volunteer Fire Department since its inception in 2007, died on Thursday after experiencing a cardiac event on Dec. 1 while fighting a house fire. A graveside service for the 60-year-old is planned for 2 p.m. on Dec. 9 at Lindale Cemetery north of Bowie. The family received friends from 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 8 at the White Family Funeral Home. Patterson collapsed in the front yard of a structure fire on State Highway 59 the department was working the morning of Dec. 1. According to Rural Chief Randall Preuninger, Patterson was working a hose line when he collapsed with pain in his chest.
Times Record News

Fire union takes Indiana city to court in battle over contract negotiations

Kokomo’s fire union is taking the city to court in the latest development of what’s become a months-long battle over the two sides’ collective bargaining efforts. The Professional Firefighters of Kokomo Local 396, in a civil suit filed this week in Howard Superior Court 4, is requesting that Judge George Hopkins prohibit the city from terminating the existing fire contract at the end of this year and "until such time that the matter can be arbitrated." The step brings to the courts a contentious issue that has festered between city and union officials since negotiations on a new contract began in early June, and represents the most recent chapter in a relationship between City Hall and Local 396 leadership that has on multiple occasions led to public mudslinging.
News and Tribune

Heroism, tragedy, humor from firefighters who’ve spent days on the front lines of California wildfires

The sun had set Tuesday when Tim Hurley and his strike crew from the U.S. Forest Service’s Kernville station first made it to the front lines of the Creek fire above Sylmar. Flames were shooting sideways as they tore through the dry brush, fueled by erratic Santa Ana winds. Hurley immediately got to work manning an engine with one goal: to keep the fire from jumping Oro Vista Avenue into the dense tract of homes below. Even after 11 years as a wildland firefighter, he said there’s still a rush of nerves when he first drives up to such a chaotic scene. “But you get used to it,” the 39-year-old said. “You just go to work.” Hurley worked for 24 hours straight that first day, fueled by adrenaline, coffee and Red Bull.
Los Angeles Daily News

New York Firefighter With Cancer Gets ’Lifelong Wish’ to Attend Super Bowl

A New York firefighter who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer will fulfill his lifelong wish to attend the Super Bowl, his fire department says. In a Facebook post Sunday, the Tarrytown Fire Department said the NFL made Bill Duggan’s dream come true with tickets to the big game. “A couple of weeks ago, he was given earth shattering news that he had terminal brain cancer and only had a brief time to live,” the post reads. Upon hearing the news, Duggan’s family and friends launched a campaign to fulfill his Super Bowl dream. On Sunday morning, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walked into the Main Street firehouse in Tarrytown and personally delivered the tickets. Video shows firefighters surrounding Goodell and Duggan during the special moment.
NBC New York

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