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Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Six dead in Garland house fire    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Six people, including two children, died in an early morning fire in Sampson County on Saturday. Authorities said the call to a mobile home in the 500-block of Gibbs Road came in just after 1 a.m. No cause for the fire has been determined. Authorities have not identified the victims pending positive identifications by the medical examiner's office, but friends, family, neighbors, and teachers identified the large family. The home belonged to Laura Ann Newkirk, who died alongside her longtime boyfriend James Wilson and her son, Johnny Kent Newkirk. Neighbors said Johnny Newkirk's girlfriend, Nita Robinson also died in the home alongside her young children, Tashiya Robinson and Andre Smith. Six people died in this home fire in Garland. "It was just horrible," said Joyce Miles, Newkirk's neighbor. "You could like pick up [hear] the burning, the popping, the burning, the popping." Miles said she and her grandson tried to pull the six out of the home before first responders arrived, but the flames were too hot, and the trailer was already melting. "Ahhh ... it's indescribable," she said shaking her head. "I just asked God 'Lord, please help. Help the children. Help them all.'" First responders arrived from the Garland Fire Department, as well as other volunteer units in Bladen County. "They encountered things this morning that many volunteers should not have to encounter," said Captain Eric Pope with the Sampson County Sheriff's Office. "Pray for this entire community."
WTVD-TV ABC Channel 11

Update: Bald Head Island fires 5 public safety officers    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Four of the five Bald Head Island Department of Public Safety officers who were terminated Thursday were fired for violating village policy against sexual harassment, discourteous treatment of other employees and inappropriate electronic communications, according to termination letters. The fifth man was fired for discourteous treatment of other employees and inappropriate electronic communications. No allegation of sexual harassment was leveled against him, the letters show. The terminated employees are identified as officers Jesse Conner, Herbert Bryant and Donald Koons, and lieutenants Thomas Cannon and Nick Terrell. “In communications that you took part in during the period from July 25, 2014 to August 15, 2014, your conduct violated village policies related to harassment and sexual harassment, discourteous treatment of other employees and inappropriate electronic communications,” the letters to Bryant and Koons state. “The egregious nature of these communications and the flagrant violation of policy constitutes detrimental personal conduct and is thereby grounds for immediate termination.” Cannon’s and Terrell’s letters are the same, but they also are admonished for lacking as leaders. “The Village of Bald Head Island has no tolerance for harassment and especially those in leadership positions are expected to not only abide by policy, but to assist in upholding the principles and policies of the village,” the letters state. Conner’s letter only addressed the discourteous treatment of other employees and inappropriate electronic communications.
Star News Online

Charlotte firefighters to begin carrying Narcan to treat overdoses    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Responding to an uptick in overdoses from heroin and other opiates, Charlotte firefighters will begin this fall carrying the drug Narcan, which can resuscitate victims. The department's nearly 1,160 firefighters have been training over the summer to administer a measured dose of the drug through a victim's airway. They'll begin carrying the drug as soon as the city can obtain a large enough supply. "We have a constant staffing, and generally, we can get there quicker," said Charlotte Fire Chief Jon Hannan. "Now there's one more issue we can intervene earlier on." Medic, the county's paramedic unit, is also working with county fire departments to begin carrying the drug. Training for county firefighters begins this month. According to statistics from the Department of Justice, 110 Americans on average die from drug overdoses every day – more than from gunshot wounds or car crashes. More than half of overdose deaths involve opiates like heroin and some prescription pain relievers. In the U.S., between 2006 and 2010, heroin overdose deaths increased 45 percent. In Mecklenburg, 24 opiate-related overdoses were reported to the county poison center in 2010; 83 were reported last year, according to Medic. "The increase is not just on heroin overdoses but on prescription medication. The amount of painkillers people have been prescribed has jumped up," said Lester Oliva, a spokesman for Medic. In Mecklenburg, firefighters and paramedics both respond to overdose calls. But because there are more firefighters on duty at any given time, and because their stations are located across the city, a fire truck can be at the scene of an emergency crucial minutes before an ambulance arrives.
WBTV-TV Channel 3

Suspicious death, fire under investigation in Asheboro    view comments tweat me share on facebook
The Randolph County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a burned car with a body inside was discovered off of Iron Mountain Road in Asheboro Sunday afternoon. The vehicle was located on a power line right-of-way between Old Stagecoach Road and Woodridge Creek subdivision. According to those on the scene, a neighbor reported the fire at 12:42 p.m. When Franklinville firefighters arrived in response to a brush fire, they discovered the body of an unidentified person in the driver’s seat of the vehicle. Also responding were Randolph EMS and Eastside Fire Department. Criminal investigators and evidence technicians for the sheriff’s office, along with fire investigators with the Randolph County Fire Marshal’s Office, processed the scene. Investigators are working to determine the victim’s identity, the cause of the fire and the cause of the victim’s death, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office. The victim’s body was sent to the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Raleigh on Sunday for positive identification and cause of death. No more details were available at press time Monday. The investigation is ongoing at this time.
Asheboro Courier Tribune

Charlotte Fire Department captain confesses to stealing prescription drugs    view comments tweat me share on facebook
A Charlotte fire captain has resigned after admitting that he stole a prescription drug from a home where firefighters had been summoned to help transport a medical patient, authorities said. Capt. Chuck Morris resigned on Thursday, two days after the alleged theft, according to a statement from the Charlotte Fire Department. It was unclear Sunday whether he had been charged with a crime, although the statement says the police are investigating. The fire department hasn’t given details on the call or what drug was taken. Morris was assigned to fire station 31, which responds to the Highland Creek and Mallard Creek areas of Charlotte. His annual salary was $77,419.68, according to city records. He couldn’t be reached for comment Sunday. The alleged theft happened on Tuesday. Firefighters were called in to assist paramedics who were transporting a patient. Afterward, paramedics received a phone call from a family member saying a prescription drug had gone missing. The fire department notified the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, and investigators took statements from all CFD responders. Drug- and lie-detector tests were scheduled for the following day. On Wednesday, Morris confessed. He resigned in lieu of a termination, according to the statement. “An event such as this diminishes our public trust and this is something we do not take lightly,” Fire Chief Jon Hannan said in the statement. “We hold our employees to a high standard and immediate action was taken following the investigation.”
The Charlotte Observer

Friday, August 29, 2014
Farmville Firefighter Was Trapped Nearly To Chest In Fallen Brick   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A firefighter was hit by a falling wall while battling the Friday morning blaze in Pitt County. Three different fire departments were called to the 5600-block of Stantonsburg Road in Bell Arthur at 3:12 a.m. Friday. The fire broke out at 5621 Stantonsburg Road. Chief Virgil O'Neal of Bell Arthur said a Farmville firefighter suffered a broken leg after a wall fell on him while fighting the blaze. However, that firefighter was not burned. No one was home at the time, but according to O'Neal, someone does live at the home. Crews are working to get in touch with the home owner. O'Neal said the cause of the fire will likely be determined once investigators get enough daylight to see things better. For now, crews said they do not consider the cause of the fire suspicious.
WITN-TV NBC 7 Greenville

Oak Island business owners knock the Knox-Box   view comments tweat me share on facebook
The Town of Oak Island is now forcing business owners to spend hundreds of dollars on a piece of equipment that many say is not necessary. In order to access buildings quickly, minimize forced entry damage, and protect firefighters from injury, the Oak Island Fire Department has adopted the Knox-Box Rapid Entry System. Currently, more than 7,000 fire departments utilize the Knox-Box system nationwide including many in Brunswick County and Wilmington. It's a program that's been voluntary for years, but now Oak Island is mandating that every business owner have a Knox-Box which contains a key that firefighters can use for quick access in an emergency. Oak Island Businesses are now forced to spend up to $500 to buy one in order to meet the fire code. Theresa Dearros, who operates the Oak Island Post Office, said that's a hefty price for a piece of equipment that she believes will not get proper use. "We already don't make very much money and to spend extra cash on lighted exit signs and Knox boxes and fire inspector visits - it's a hardship," Dearros said. "It really makes me worry if we can even stay open." Another concern is security. Oak Island Fire Marshal Bobby Carmon said the program is only used during emergencies. "The keys are secure," Carmon said. "We will make entry one way or another, but our goal is to do it with little to no damage."
WSFX-TV Fox Wilmington

Health inspector detects elevated CO levels at Charlotte school   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A carbon monoxide scare at a school in Northwest Charlotte is now uncovering a potentially dangerous threat within the district. Thursday, you could see the police, the ambulance, the fire trucks outside of Coulwood Middle School. However, it's what you couldn't see, the carbon monoxide that leaked in the building, that concerns some parents now in schools across the metro. I couldn't even imagine if I was being called at work what would go through my head," said Kimberly Raybon. Raybon's children don't even attend Coulwood Middle School, but after hearing other parents and learning of the leak, she is looking at her kids' schools. "Definitely a safety hazard," said Raybon. It was the middle of lunch time when Principal Janet Moss says she had to evacuate more than 200 seventh graders. A health inspector on a routine visit discovered a high level of carbon monoxide in the kitchen. Principal Moss says it was coming from the ovens. The fan that would have blown air from the ovens outside wasn't working. "Get my kids away from it, that was the biggest thing," said Principal Moss. " make sure the children were safe." She said since they practiced the emergency drill already this new school year, the kids got out fast and safe. When firefighters got there, they took a reading. They say they found that the CO level was at 67 parts per million. Anything about 35 parts per million is dangerous. So, WCCB Charlotte asked fire crews why the school's alarm system did not sound. Investigators revealed that didn't happen because the school did not have a carbon monoxide detector.
WCCB-TV FOX 18 Charlotte

Bald Head Island fires 5 public safety officers   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Five officers with the Bald Head Island Department of Public Safety were terminated Thursday, Bald Head Island spokeswoman Karen Williams confirmed Friday. Williams said she was not able to disclose the reason for the firings, saying the village attorney Charles Baldwin had to review the information first. Baldwin did not immediately respond to a call and email seeking comment. Department of Public Safety Director Caroline Mitchell also did not respond to a request for comment. Mayor Andrew Sayre and Councilmen Art Morris, Robert Helgesen and Joe Ridgeway could not be reached for comment. Bald Head Island has 21 officers within its Department of Public Safety who are cross trained in firefighting, paramedics and law enforcement, Williams said.
Wilmington Morning Star

Asheville Police: Biltmore Family Medicine fire suspicious   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Police say a fire that destroyed Biltmore Family Medicine is suspicious. The fire at 1 St. Dunstans Road just off Biltmore Avenue was reported around 3:15 a.m. on Aug. 3. It appears to have started on a deck near the main entrance to the office or just inside the front door. The Asheville-Buncombe Arson Task Force ruled the fire suspicious. Police are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 828-255-5050. Calls are anonymous. No one was injured in the fire. It spread quickly to the second floor. The two-story structure near Mission Hospital, built in 1922 as a private residence and later converted to office space, housed the offices of family practitioner Dr. Robert Anderson and nurse practitioners Susan Schriefer and Chris Harjes. The office has moved to a temporarily 141 Asheland Avenue. It serves more than 3,000 patients and employs 13 people. Patient medical records had been stored electronically since 2007 and none of that information was lost. Anderson had planned to rebuild at the St. Dunstans Road site. Fire Investigators David Cutshall said suspicious does not mean the fire was an arson. It does mean investigators are still looking into it. He urged people to call Crime Stoppers with any information. "Any tip is a good tip," he said. "We are continue to work it. We are doing interviews."
Asheville Citizen Times

Spaghetti dinner to benefit former Thomasville Rescue Squad chief   view comments tweat me share on facebook
Members of the Thomasville Rescue Squad are hoping the community will support their former chief who is battling brain cancer. A spaghetti fundraiser to benefit 57-year-old Richard Russo Sr. will be held beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday at Oak Hill Memorial Baptist Church,1793 Tower Road, Thomasville. The cost is $5 a plate, and food will be served until the spaghetti runs out. All proceeds will go to the Russo family. Russo, a member of the rescue squad for over 20 years, has been battling cancer for about five years. It started when doctors found melanoma on his back. The metastatic cancer has since moved to his brain...Russo was a firefighter in upstate New York from the age of 16 to 21. He left being a firefighter in New York when his family moved to North Carolina, and he served as a reserve officer with the High Point Police Department. Russo also worked for the City of Thomasville Streets Department and the Piedmont Crossing Retirement Community. Russo joined the Thomasville Rescue Squad on Dec. 31, 1992, and last served as the squad's chief in 2012. Russo's wife, Terri, who teaches at Fair Grove Elementary School, and their sons, Richard and Andrew, also have been members of the squad. Members recently made Richard Russo Sr. and his wife lifetime members of the Thomasville Rescue Squad.
Lexington Dispatch

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