National News

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

California lawmakers focus on fire prevention as blazes rage statewide

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

“I thought it was a bomb”: 9 injured in natural gas explosion at Colorado home

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.
Denver Post

Alabama fire chief pushes for city-owned ambulance service

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.
Decatur Daily

Driver slams into Houston Fire Department fire truck, gets trapped in crushed car

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.
Houston Chronicle

Massachusetts First Responders Begin Training on Ultrasound Technology

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.

Did delayed dispatches at Indiana 911 center affect outcome of emergency responses?

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

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Firefighter from Utah dies battling Mendocino Complex, the largest wildfire in California

A firefighter from Utah died Monday battling the largest wildfire in recorded California history, marking the latest fatality in a fire season that has taken a grim toll on first responders. The firefighter, who was not named, was injured while working on an active portion of the Ranch fire within the massive Mendocino Complex. He was airlifted to a hospital, where he died. Authorities said “fact-finding on the accident” is underway. “We are extremely heartbroken for this loss. We are dedicated to investigating what happened,” said Sean Kavanaugh, an incident commander for the complex, at a brief news conference. “We mourn as we also battle California’s largest wildfire that continues to to burn extremely steep and remote terrain.”
Los Angeles Times

Florida firefighters rescued after live power line falls on fire engine

Rescue crews freed three Miramar firefighters late Monday after they became trapped when a live power line fell on their fire engine, authorities said. Jose A. Gregorisch, a spokesman for the Miramar Fire-Rescue Department, said the fire engine struck a low-hanging power line in the 9000 block of Miramar Parkway as the engine left the station on a call. A car had crashed into a utility pole moments before and damaged the power line, Gregorisch said. One of the firefighters suffered minor injuries but was not hurt by the power line, Gregorisch said. The power line also cracked the windshield of the fire engine. Paramedics took the firefighter to a local hospital. Police closed Miramar Parkway from Fairmont Avenue to Douglas Road.
WPLG-TV ABC - Miami & Fort Lauderdale

North Carolina firefighter dies after rescuing person trapped in trench

A veteran firefighter with the Orange Rural Fire Department died at the main station in downtown Hillsborough on Monday after helping to rescue a person trapped in a trench. Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens identified the firefighter as Assistant Chief Jeff Holden, who had been with the department since 2001. The Hillsborough Town Board held a moment of silence Monday night for Holden. Holden, 32, was found unresponsive at the station at about 1:30 p.m. following the call. Neither the crew on shift nor emergency workers who arrived could revive him. “We are devastated,” Orange Rural Fire Chief Jeff Cabe said in a news release from Hillsborough town government.
The Herald Sun

Police: 15-year-old former junior firefighter steals firetruck in Pennsylvania

A 15-year-old boy drove off in a firetruck from the Strinestown Community Fire Co. station over the weekend after walking out of a juvenile facility in Springettsbury Township and stealing a county-owned vehicle he drove to the station, officials said. It happened in the early-morning hours of Sunday, Aug. 12, according to Northern York County Regional Police — one of three local police departments investigating the teen's actions. Police said the teen stole a county-owned Ford Explorer from the parking lot of the York County Youth Development Center after leaving the facility and drove the SUV to the Strinestown station. The youth who stole the SUV had walked out of the Youth Development Center but was not an escapee, county spokesman Mark Walters confirmed.
York Dispatch

Ohio firefighter named CrossFit’s fittest 50-year-old man

Cliff Musgrave been named the world’s fittest 50-year-old CrossFit athlete in the men's division. He also happens to be an Akron firefighter. "It’s a very blue collar job with structural firefighting," said Musgrave. "So being in shape certainly makes it better." Musgrave isn’t just in shape, he was named the world’s fittest 50-year-old man after competing in the year’s Reebok CrossFit Games. "Purely by the numbers, I’m stronger now than I was at 25." It was just about eight years ago when Musgrave got involved in CrossFit, making regular visits to the gym CrossFit Utility on S. Arlington St. in Akron, owned by friend and fellow firefighter Doug Price. "I think [CrossFit] is better suited for what we do here at the fire department," said Musgrave. "There's no bias towards strength or endurance." Where does Musgrave's motivation come from? His family.
WKYC-TV NBC 3 Cleveland

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