Iowa News

Friday, December 8, 2017

Questions remain over Cedar Falls safety staffing

More than two dozen Cedar Falls public safety personnel practiced dousing fires on two vacant flood-buyout houses on Roosevelt Street in the Cedar City area Wednesday. The crew included both full-time firefighters and police trained as public safety officers. It was the largest training exercise yet in which public safety officers and firefighters worked together. “It’s really been great,” Fire Chief John Bostwick said. “We have career firefighters teaching a lot. And the public safety officers who have some experience are teaching the new ones. They are absorbing a heck of a lot.” Such training and firefighting will become more prevalent in the future. All Cedar Falls police officers hired after July 1, 2016, are required to be cross-trained in firefighting skills. Public Safety Director Jeff Olson said officers typically are cross-trained within three years of hire and usually sooner.
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

Related: Iowa police train in firefighting for public safety

Some police officers in northeastern Iowa are being cross-trained as firefighters to expand public safety coverage. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that all Cedar Falls police officers hired after July 1, 2016, are required to cross-train in firefighting to become public safety officers. But the city will still have a force of career firefighters and police officers. Public safety officials say the cross-training is so the city can always have full-time firefighters available and to increase efficiency. Public safety officers arrive early and suppress fires until the full-time crew arrives. The city hasn't hired any full-time firefighters since July 1, 2016. Critics question the cutback on full-time firefighter staffing, which has yet to be defined.
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Garage extensively damaged, firefighter hurt after Decorah fire

A garage was extensively damaged and one firefighter sustained minor burn injuries after a fire in Decorah. The Decorah Fire Department says the call came in just before 5 p.m. Wednesday to a building on the 700 block of Montgomery St. According to the DFD, firefighters were able to put out the blaze in a two stall garage, and recover some personal contents that were returned to the owner. One firefighter suffered minor burns, and was treated and released from the hospital. The cause of the fire appears to a be a wood-burning stove, according to a press release. They don't know how much damage was caused, but do say it was "extensive."
KWWL-TV NBC 7 Waterloo

Huxley Ambulance Service facing challenges

The Huxley Ambulance Service is facing some challenges that many small towns across America are contending with: a lack of qualified volunteers and a lack of incentives to attract and retain them. The Huxley City Council listened to the concerns of EMS Deputy Chief Krista McGinn and Fire Chief Chad Anthony during last week’s council meeting, and voted to approve a temporary increase in the hourly stipend from a current rate of $4 an hour during the day and $2 an hour at night to $10 an hour during the day and $8 an hour at night, with a re-evaluation in February. “This isn’t a job a random person off the street can do,” McGinn said.
Ames Tribune

Cedar Rapids house fire under investigation

The Cedar Rapids Fire Department is investigating a Wednesday night fire. According to a fire department news release, crews responded to 1420 L St. SW at 7:45 a.m. for a report of smoke coming from the vents. Firefighters found and extinguished fire in the ceiling of the home. The home sustained minor damage to the second floor ceiling. The home was occupied at the time, but there were no reported injuries. The residents were assisted by the American Red Cross. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Cedar Rapids Gazette

Fire claims Ottumwa house on West Second Street

Firefighters were called to 915 W. Second Street at about 6 p.m. Wednesday for a house fire. The fire required multiple crews, including the city's largest engine. Two firefighters used to aerial boom to get above the structure. Residents said everyone inside made it out safely. The fire appeared to be primarily in the house's second floor and attic. Flames were visible at the rear of the building before firefighters were able to knock them down using water from multiple directions.
Ottumwa Courier

Santa Cop program helps family of Waterloo firefighter who died of cancer

It's the season of giving and for one area family on the receiving end it means more than words can explain. Justin Junk was a Waterloo firefighter who died of cancer in October leaving behind his wife Sarah and their four children, all under the age of ten. They were one of the families nominated this year to be a part of the Cedar Rapids Police Department 'Santa Cop' program. Each year the department buys for area families nominated for the program. Today they bought for more than 100 kids. Police officers helped pick out everything from coats to boots to gloves and hats.
KWWL-TV NBC 7 Waterloo

Blaze that destroyed Pottawattamie County house, cars remains under investigation

The cause of a house fire that completely demolished 1203 Rolling Hills Loop last week remains under investigation by local authorities. Lewis Township Volunteer Fire Department Chief Steven Burroughs said firefighters responded to the scene at 6 p.m. Nov. 30 to find the structure fully engulfed with flames. "We just did an exterior attack at that point," Burroughs said. The residents — about eight or nine people according to Burroughs — were able to evacuate the house to safety. No one was injured. A gas meter line had ruptured below the house and added to the firefighters’ challenge, but the line was eventually clamped and sealed, Burroughs said.
Council Bluffs Nonpareil

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