National News

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Texas firefighter dies in accident while driving tractor to help Harvey flood victim

Houston firefighter Brian Sumrall, described by friends and co-workers as "an amazing person" on Sunday, was in the midst of doing what set him apart: helping others. He was traveling southbound on FM 770 about two miles from the rural town of Batson in a Kubota tractor when he was hit from the rear by a Chevrolet pickup driven by Joe Patton, 35, of Hull. Sumrall, 39, was ejected from the tractor and died at the scene. Patton suffered minor injuries. According to Chief Fred Yust with Batson Fire Department, Sumrall's last act was in service to his community. He was on his way to load hay into the vehicle of a cattle owner impacted by Hurricane Harvey flooding.
Houston Chronicle

’It was time to get him’: Washington chief rams gate to save man from pit bull attack

A fire chief said he had to take matters into his own hands when a UPS driver was attacked by pit bulls. Orting Valley Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Steve Goodwin said he rammed a gate when someone at the house refused to open it. The rolling chain-link gate in question is back upright now after the Fire Department crashed through it Wednesday. Pierce county animal control said 911 received a frantic call from a UPS driver that he was being mauled by four pit bulls. He said he was injured and seeking refuge atop a 4-foot trailer.

Bulletproof body armor and helmets coming to Florida paramedics

Broward County’s firefighter-paramedics are used to wearing protective gear for battling blazes. Now they’ll be getting new protection — body armor vests and helmets — for when they’re assisting victims in incidents involving guns or other dangerous weapons. It’s a sign of the times, officials say, with the proliferation of active shooter and mass casualty cases across the country, including deadly incidents at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in January and at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando last year.
Sun Sentinel

Report: Houston Fire Department has inadequate equipment to handle floods

A City of Houston Hurricane Harvey Preparation Plan, obtained by Channel 2 Investigates, shows the Houston Fire Department has shockingly little flood rescue equipment, and it appears to have contributed to millions of dollars in losses for the city in totaled fire trucks. “The reason I think we sank six engine companies is (that) they’re not built for a high-water environment,” said Houston Fire Chief Sam Pena. The Houston Fire Department lost 28 pieces of equipment during the storm, including six engines, which cost about $500,000 each to replace. Four “boosters," smaller trucks with on-board water supplies, are also total losses.
KPRC-TV NBC 2 Houston

NFPA launces Policy Institute to support fire and life safety efforts

The National Fire Protection Association announced the launch of the NFPA Fire and Life Safety Policy Institute. The Policy Institute will look at a range of issues and advise policymakers on how to improve safety for their citizens, according to NFPA. “We have made tremendous progress in reducing loss from fire since NFPA’s inception, but we are painfully reminded every day that there is more to be done,” NFPA President Jim Pauley said. In 2016, the NFPA said that U.S. fire departments responded to a fire every 24 seconds, and one structure fire was reported every 60 seconds.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Annual memorial honors 190 fallen firefighters from the U.S. and Canada

When Alexander Bingham graduated from the Houston firefighter training academy in 2016, one of his classmates was missing. Steven Whitfield, a cadet in Bingham's class, had perished in a training accident in March 2016 and would not graduate alongside those who had become his brothers. Bingham and his classmates still mourn Whitfield's death, but on Saturday, Bingham said, he felt uplifted by the celebration honoring Whitfield and 189 other firefighters during this year's Fallen Fire Fighter's Memorial ceremony in Memorial Park. "It means a whole lot to our class, not just me, to be here when they put his name on the wall," Bingham said.
Colorado Springs Gazette

New Jersey city approved to layoff 64 firefighters to plug budget hole

The city of Trenton has approval to layoff 64 firefighters who are currently being funded by a federal grant that runs out at the end of October, according to a plan approved by the state. The layoffs are set to occur Nov. 1, 2017, and affected firefighters would need to be officially notified no later than Saturday, Sept. 16 to comply with state 45-day notification rule, the plan says. City spokesman Michael Walker said late Friday that the city will start official notifications on Monday, due to the late hour the city was notified Friday evening that the plan had been approved. NJ Advance Media obtained the approval plan from the state Civil Service Commission via the state's Open Public Records Act.

Surveillance Video, Records Offer New Perspective On UConn Student’s 2016 Death

Alarms were ringing inside a dormitory at UConn in the early morning of October 16, 2016, and as firefighter Dana Barrow began driving out of a firehouse garage, the right front tire of his Chevy Tahoe bumped into something, bringing the SUV to a sudden stop. One second passed. And then Barrow, focused on a possible fire emergency, pressed the gas pedal, inching the 7,130-pound vehicle over the obstruction blocking his way. That decision would come to haunt Barrow and devastate the family of Jeffny Pally, a UConn student who had fallen unconscious in front of the garage bay and suffered fatal injuries when she was crushed by Barrow's SUV.
Hartford Courant

California firefighter awarded Medal of Valor posthumously

Santa Cruz firefighter Clayton Ogden died, at age 47, after a short bout with cancer this summer. This week, Santa Cruz Fire Chief Jim Frawley posthumously awarded Ogden the Medal of Valor for his involvement in protecting a civilian during the fatal Feb. 26, 2013 shootout that left two Santa Cruz police officers dead. Ogden used his own body as a shield against passing gunfire when a woman attempting to take cover fell between the responding officers and alleged killer Jeremy Goulet. A plaque memorializing Ogden was also placed on the outer wall of the downtown Center Street fire station. Ogden was hired in 1999 and was the fire department’s most senior firefighter.
Santa Cruz Sentinel

Former Cleveland firefighter says city discriminated against him because he’s white

A former Cleveland firefighter has filed a discrimination lawsuit claiming the department and city officials mishandled a complaint he filed following an altercation with two other firefighters last year. Samuel Livingston, who was hired as a firefighter in 2000, is seeking an unspecified amount in damages accusing the department of reverse discrimination after an April 5, 2016 physical altercation with his coworkers June Colon and Larry Gray. In the 54-page lawsuit, Livingston says he endured retaliation from city officials because he is white. The lawsuit does not reveal Colon's ethnicity, but Gray, who served as the department's public information officer and has since retired, is black.
Cleveland Plain Dealer &

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