Firefighter treated for injuries at fire near Burke Co. landfill
(VIDEO) Crews in Morganton are working a fire at the Burke County landfill and a firefighter is being treated for injuries.
The Chesterfield Fire Department was dispatched to the fire along Duckworth Drive. This is near the John’s River Waste Management Facility.
WBTV has learned that brush used to make mulch is burning. Officials say the fire is about an acre wide, right now, with the pile being about 30-feet deep.
The fire is expected to burn for a while. Crews said it could be one or two days before it burns to a level where putting water on it could make a difference.
"Like a giant campfire," one official said.
Chesterfield Fire Chief Harmon confirms one firefighter was transported to the hospital for heat exhaustion and says he is fine.
Crews are working in shifts around the fire because of the intense heat.
Officials are hoping for some rain but say even that won’t put it out right away.
Firefighters have set up a perimeter around the fire so that it won't spread. Though no structures are nearby, crews are concerned about wooded areas and some power lines that are not far away. So far, the fire has been contained in a one-acre area.
Wilmington Professional Firefighters pushing for education incentive
(VIDEO) Members of the Wilmington Professional Firefighters Association Local 129 are pushing for an education incentive for Wilmington firefighters.
“We know that this isn’t our father’s fire service," WPFFA’s Scott Monroe explained. “They hold numerous certifications in EMT, hazardous materials, technical rescue, and now we have employees and the firemen who are going to get their higher education degrees in business, in fire science. We have guys with masters in public administration, and public administration leadership.”
The fire officials say they met with the city manager and HR personnel in May to discuss the incentive for employees with Associate's degrees and Bachelor's degrees to receive extra pay.
They say, however, their requests have fallen on deaf ears, and what's even more upsetting is that the Wilmington police officers have been receiving incentive pay for advanced degrees for years. Police officers receive $1,000 more for having an Associate's degree and $2,000 more for a Bachelor's.
City leaders say the budget was done too long ago in May, to discuss any changes.
“What is the cost? What would be the recurring cost? What would be the return on investment? What is the retention rate of the department? Are we able to attract qualified candidates? These are the reasons we looked at and instituted at the police department was to attract high quality candidates and to better retain them,” City Spokesperson Malissa Talbert explained.
But union members said the city has not given them an opportunity to answer these questions. In fact, they also said retention for the department has been an issue.
According to Derek Mickler of the Wilmington Professional Firefighters Assoc. Local 129, the Wilmington Fire Department has had 50 resignations in 10 years and 25 resignations in 5 years.
“Just one person leaving this department is a huge hit to the city and to the citizens,” Mickler noted.
Talbert said the rise of baby-boomers retiring is partly responsible for the resignations.
Mickler also noted that the fire department has a fairly new policy in place that requires them to have an Associate’s degree to be a captain and a Bachelor’s degree to be a Battalion chief.
WSFX Fox Wilmington
New Hanover Co. emergency management combining technologies to better track resources
(VIDEO) New Hanover County’s Emergency Management and 911 Communications department is integrating some of its mapping systems to better utilize resources.
The department currently uses a Computer-aided Dispatch (CAD) map and a Emergency Operations Center (EOC) map. CAD is used daily to send public safety personnel to emergency situations throughout the county. The other system is used to track resources during a major event such as a tropical storm or hurricane, according to Charles Smith, the department’s public information officer.
Smith said the EOC map currently doesn’t show active emergency calls. The department is trying to change that.
“The integration of these two maps together will certainly enhance our situational awareness in the EOC,” explained Smith.
He said the new system would put the emergency units and significant events on the same map. Smith referenced tropical storms and hurricanes as some events that would require the integrated system.
“With a major event, it’s important to know what resources you have on-hand, the number of fire apparatuses or EMS units available. In a large event the integration of these two tools will assist us in knowing what we have at-hand,” said Smith.
He said the system is still being evaluated by New Hanover County and its public safety partners in the region.
WSFX Fox Wilmington
Remaining ember sparks flames at New Hanover County metal recycling plant
(VIDEO) Emergency crews were called to respond to a fire at OmniSource Corporation, a metal recycling center off US-421, around 5:15 Thursday morning.
Deputy Fire Marshal Ray Griswold said the company crushes cars and separates metals and non-metals into different piles. Thursday's fire started in one of the non-metal piles.
Investigators believe a remaining ember from a fire at the facility Wednesday caused the 120 foot pile of plastic to catch fire. Griswold explained that fires at OmniSource Corporation are not uncommon.
The deputy fire marshal said the facility had turned their fire pump off for maintenance after the fire Wednesday and forgot to turn it back on, which initially caused an issue for firefighters Thursday while they were trying to contain the flames.
They eventually turned the pump back on after realizing it had been shut off, and crews were able to contain the fire within 30 minutes.
Griswold plans to educate OmniSource officials about the dangers of turning of the pump to prevent a similar issue in the future.
There are no reports of any injuries or damage to any equipment.
WSFX-TV Fox Wilmington
Lincoln County workers evacuated after carbon monoxide scare
County workers were evacuated after a carbon monoxide scare necessitated testing within the facility of Transportation Lincoln County (TLC) at 1323 Gaston Street in Lincolnton.
The call was made to emergency crews after concern over carbon monoxide levels in the facility were brought by county workers.
The facility is shared with Mohican Mills, which has used its space for storage. The company closed its textile facility in the spring and was using multiple forklifts in the company’s designated storage area, which, according to officials from the Lincolnton Fire Department, caused the elevated carbon monoxide levels.
Lincoln County employees of TLC and Mohican Mills workers were evacuated from the building before noon on Wednesday. The Lincolnton Fire Department responded to the call and was backed up with firefighters from the Boger City Fire Department. Lincoln County EMS was on site to evaluate the condition of the evacuated employees, who returned to work after two hours. Firefighters worked to ventilate the building to bring levels back down to acceptable readings.
“We never found levels that put anyone in immediate danger,” Lincolnton Fire Chief Ryan Heavner said. “But the levels were certainly elevated.”
According to Heavner, TLC installed carbon monoxide detectors in its offices within the building and a meeting was held with Mohican Mills representatives to facilitate better ventilation while crews are working within the structure.
“We will be back to monitor those levels again,” Heavner said. “All parties involved are working together for overall safety.”