Amid a relentless onslaught of horrific wildfires, state lawmakers found it easy Tuesday to pinpoint the most important response: Reduce the fuel feeding the conflagrations that have scorched more than 750,000 acres this year.
But making that happen, on a meaningful scale, is fraught with problems, they found.
“Obviously, we are in — again — one of the most devastating and destructive fire seasons,” Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott told the 10-member bipartisan committee charged with crafting a legislative response by the end of the month.
As Pimlott spoke, at least 15 active wildfires were raging from Shasta County to San Diego County, and he wore a black band on his badge memorializing the Utah firefighter killed Monday while battling the Mendocino Complex fires, the largest in state history.
“The risks are real; the challenges are real,” Pimlott said.
The Press Democrat
Alexander Ponton thought it was a bomb.
Debris smashed into Ponton’s car as he drove east on West 4th Avenue near Santa Fe Drive. The 24-year-old Thornton man got out and heard screams for help coming from a six-unit residence complex. It had exploded.
Ponton jumped into action, assisting a man and woman out of the rubble who had cuts and scrapes on them.
“First when I got out of the car, delirious, you don’t really think to help anyone right away, but when they’re crying for help, it doesn’t matter your situation,” Ponton said. “If I was still standing, I could still go help them out, so that’s kind of what I did.”
Nine people were injured in the natural gas explosion Tuesday afternoon in Denver’s Baker neighborhood, according to the Denver Fire Department. Two people were hospitalized — one in critical condition.
First Response ambulance response times failed to meet Decatur City Code requirements, but the EMS committee on Tuesday did not recommended City Council action or make a finding that the ambulance service had good cause for its failure.
Decatur Fire Chief Tony Grande said he’s frustrated at First Response’s failure to meet the requirements of the city code, but noted that some of the failure could have been the result of overly conservative classification of calls as emergencies by Morgan County 911 and by delays at Decatur Morgan Hospital in preparing patients for non-emergency transport from the hospital. Grande also reiterated his preference for a city-owned ambulance service.
A driver had to be pulled from his vehicle early Wednesday after he crashed it into a fire truck, according to an official with the Houston Fire Department.
The crash happened about 3 a.m. in northeast Houston, near Little York and Maple Leaf. The black Chevrolet Impala drove up under the truck, he said. The vehicle was crushed and the driver's leg was trapped under the dash, so firefighters had to use tools to open the door and pull him from the car.
A pumper truck was backing into a fire station, lights flashing, when the driver tried to go around it at a high rate of speed, said HFD District Chief Eric Hutzley.
The traffic signal outside the station was flashing a red light, but firefighters who witnessed the crash said the driver "didn't even hit the brakes," Hutzley said.
First responders in Foxborough, Massachusetts, will soon be first in the state to carry a new device that has the potential to save lives.
Firefighters filled a classroom Tuesday to train on new ultrasound technology. Unlike most ultrasounds in doctor’s offices, the new device is not bulky and the probe can be plugged into a phone or tablet.
“It’s like a flashlight,” said Foxborough Deputy Fire Chief Michael Kelleher, who spearheaded the effort to bring it to the community. “We can see into the human body and see what’s going on. It allows making an actual diagnosis as opposed to using our best judgment.”
Kelleher said it can help them diagnose everything from collapsed lungs to internal bleeding, which can be critical given the number of highway crashes officials respond to in Foxborough.
Leaders of the St. Joseph County 911 center near here know thousands of dispatches have been delayed this year because of computer problems that are being fixed. But they still don’t know how long delays lasted, or if they might have affected responses to emergencies such as fires and heart attacks.
Officials say that to investigate those delays, data needs to be provided by Tyler Technologies, the Plano, Texas-based software company whose New World computer-aided dispatch system has been riddled with problems since the center started using it in June 2017.
During a phone interview Tuesday, Ray Schultz, the center’s executive director, said he hadn’t yet requested data needed from Tyler Technologies. But in reaction to The Tribune’s questions, Schultz sent an email to a company representative to request the data.
Schultz suspects it will difficult to get the data from Tyler Technologies, which has come under fire because of problems.
South Bend Tribune