After a little more than two years on the job, Dallas Fire-Rescue Chief David Coatney appears to be headed for the exit.
Coatney on Tuesday was named the sole finalist to become director of the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, also known as TEEX. State law requires the university and Coatney — who officials say energized the Dallas department and made major strides in promoting safety measures — wait 21 days before making the deal official.
Coatney said the position, for which he was recruited to apply, was too good to pass up — even though "the timing of this was horrible." He bought a house last year in Dallas, thinking he'd be in North Texas for a while.
"I really planned to stay here five to seven years," Coatney said. "But my leadership team, they're in a position where any of them could take the helm right now."
Dallas Morning News
While Virginia firefighters are mourning the loss of one of their own in a fatal crash, the injuries of another are just now coming to light.
Lt. Brad Clark died Thursday while responding to an emergency call as the remains of Tropical Storm Michael swept over Central Virginia. The 43-year-old firefighter was killed when a tractor-trailer struck the fire truck Clark and three colleagues were standing outside of on the shoulder of I-295.
Clark died at the scene while two of his colleagues were transported to VCU medical center with life-threatening injuries.
One of those colleagues was on his first day on the job when the tractor-trailer slammed into their fire truck. He was supposed to graduate on Thursday night, but the accident changed everything. Now, sources tell WTVR that that firefighter had his leg amputated in order to save his life.
WTKR Channel 3 News
When Greg Malmquist became a firefighter in Lake Elmo more than three decades ago, many volunteer fire department rosters listed just a handful of surnames. Sons served alongside fathers and brothers and uncles, and most often stayed in the department for decades.
“Times have changed,” said Malmquist, now the fire chief in Lake Elmo and the only full-time member of the department. Even after adding paid part-time, on-call positions in 2016, his roster — only half full — looks more like a “revolving door,” he said.
As recruiting and retaining volunteer firefighters becomes increasingly difficult, several metro area fire departments have been forced to add full-time positions or are making plans to do so.
In a state that ranks second in the country for its reliance on volunteer firefighters — more than 97 percent of all departments have all or mostly volunteers — fire chiefs across Minnesota are seeking better ways to ensure 24/7 fire service as they try to market their openings.
Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune
Army veteran and Lafayette firefighter Lt. Jason Oliver took off for Cancun last week to celebrate his anniversary with his wife Maigan. Just three days into their weeklong tropical vacation, however, Jason Oliver was confined to a Mexican hospital bed rather than a poolside cabana.
Trained as paramedic firefighter, Oliver said he began to notice some troubling neurological symptoms Friday and was taken by ambulance to the local hospital for a checkup. Following a CAT scan the doctors found Jason's brain had spontaneously started to bleed.
The doctors told the couple the tests would cost $3,000 and it would cost an additional $6,000 a day for him to stay in the intensive care unit and continue to be monitored.
Whether the Julian Cuyamaca Fire Protection District will dissolve and be taken over by the county comes down to a couple dozen signatures.
On Tuesday morning, 615 signatures of registered voters who live in the district were submitted during a rare “protest hearing” at a meeting of the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO).
The residents are trying to overturn a decision last month by LAFCO to transfer control of the county’s last volunteer fire department to the regional Fire Authority.
LAFCO is responsible for overseeing changes to local governmental boundaries, including the formation, consolidation, merger and dissolution of special districts.
If all the signatures are valid, they represent 26 percent of the registered voters in the 52,000-acre district and as such would force an election to decide the ultimate fate of the volunteer department.
San Diego Union-Tribune