National News

Monday, August 3, 2020

3-Alarm fire destroys warehouse, Houston Fire Department ladder truck

VIDEO: A cavalry of firefighters and response crews had to go into defensive mode as they battled a massive fire at a southwest Houston business that went to three alarms and destroyed an HFD ladder truck. Explosions continued to erupt hours after the fire broke out some time before 10:30 a.m. Friday in the 7800 block of Westpark Drive near Hillcroft. A Shelter-in-Place order was issued for residents in the area bordered by Westheimer, Hillcroft, Harwin, and Gessner. The order was lifted just before 5 p.m. Officials cautioned people nearby may continue to see smoke until the fire is fully extinguished. Two firefighters were also sent to Memorial Hermann hospital for evaluation of heat exhaustion. They were stable, HFD said. Crews sprayed water from above with ladder trucks and on the ground with engine crews for the first few hours before turning off the hoses due to environmental concerns about the runoff, according to Houston Fire Chief Samuel Pena.
KTRK-TV ABC 14 Houston

Delaware firefighters’ families call new shift ’exhausting’

Josie Harris Robinson and her husband are both front-line shift workers in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. She's a nurse and her husband, Aaron Robinson, is a Wilmington firefighter. They both had to scramble, with just six days notice, to figure out a new way of life when a required shift change took effect for firefighters on July 1. City firefighters have transitioned--against their will after losing the latest legal battle in an appeal to the Delaware Public Employee Relations Board--to a 24/48 shift. The shift requires them to work 24 straight hours and then have 48 hours off. They used to have 72 hours off. Local 1590 leader Joe Leonetti Jr. called the new shift change "exhausting." "I don't think a month gives you enough time to have a fair assessment, but our guys are working around-the-clock because now that we're being forced to work 48 hours a week, a lot of guys aren't working the voluntary overtime."
WDEL 1150AM &

App that tracks COVID-19 symptoms shows startling variety, including numb fingers and toes

A smartphone app that tracks COVID-19 symptoms has collected information from more than 4 million people worldwide, and is giving doctors a closer look at the different symptoms patients are experiencing. The variety of different symptoms people are exhibiting with COVID-19 is startling. "I've seen more varied presentations of COVID that anything I can think of in my career so far," said Dr. Troy Pennington of Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton. The app, called the COVID Symptom Study, was created by doctors and scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital, The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, King's College London and Stanford University School of Medicine, working along with ZOE, a health science company. Users can input their own health information and get statistics on those also participating around their area.
KGO-TV ABC 7 San Francisco

Report: FDNY forbids use of hoses against unruly crowds

The FDNY has formally prohibited the use fire hoses to disperse unruly crowds, following several weeks of civil rights protests and rioting across the city that left several police officers and civilians injured. “While the vast majority of these (protests) in NYC have not involved the response of the FDNY, there is the potential for civil unrest, or acts of violence causing immediate danger to our members,” reads an order obtained recently by the New York Post. In 2011, firefighters came to the rescue of two police officers outnumbered in Mariners Harbor, in a scene so chaotic that members of the FDNY’s nearby Engine Co. 158 employed a truck-mounted deluge gun -- a water cannon -- to fend off the large group of teens. That incident aside: “It has been the Department’s longstanding practice that hoselines should not be used in any offensive or defensive manner against people,” the FDNY memo reportedly reads.
Staten Island Live

Massachusetts Firefighters Become First In Country To Wear Biometric Rings

VIDEO: The Duxbury Fire Department has become the first in the country to have its firefighters wear biometric rings. The rings can monitor vital signs, including pulse, temperature and sleep cycles. They could help detect early warning signs of coronavirus. They are also designed to withstand the rigors of a tough job. “It’s pretty durable. It’s waterproof. They can be worn under gloves. Wristwatches are kind of expensive – they can take them off, they get damaged. The department bought 38 of them and offered them to the members on a voluntary basis. About 90% of the members took advantage of it,” said Duxbury Fire Chief Kevin Nord. Each individual firefighter can monitor his or her information through a smartphone app.
WBZ-TV CBS 4 Boston

Friday, July 31, 2020

Massive apartment fire displaces 100 people, injures at least 7 in Pennsylvania township

VIDEO: Flames jumped from unit to unit as a fire engulfed a North Coventry Township, Pennsylvania, apartment building, displacing 100 residents and leaving at least seven people, including three firefighters, hurt. The three-alarm fire started at the Ashwood Apartments on 782 Worth Boulevard shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday. A resident told Telemundo 62's Isabel Sanchez that the fire began in a single unit before it quickly spread. The fire destroyed the entire roof and the building was evacuated with multiple people rescued. Witnesses said at least one person was rescued from the third floor. "It was popping like fireworks exploding," Oscar Brunner, a neighbor, told NBC10. "Something was fueling it." Sherry Ruchinski, a resident in the apartment, was on the third floor watering her sister's plants when the fire began. "I didn't take it seriously. I thought it would be out in minutes," she said. "I came down five minutes later the alarm went off and a fellow was banging saying, 'Get out. There's a fire.'"
WCAU-TV NBC 10 Philadelphia

Florida first responders testing positive for COVID-19 denied workers’ compensation

First responders with the Reedy Creek Improvement District have launched a legal battle to collect workers compensation benefits after being tested and diagnosed with COVID-19. Michael Grant, a paramedic with Reedy Creek since 2018, tested positive with the virus “on the job” on July 3 and quarantined at home for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended 14 days. “I lost taste and smell quickly and I haven’t gotten back,” Grant said. “I have a 3-year-old and a 7-year-old and obviously they were my biggest concern.” Before working with Reedy Creek, Grant worked for the city of Palm Coast and the Seminole County Fire Department. Records confirm he was diagnosed with COVID-19 on July 3, one day after he was on his shift with Reedy Creek. Despite his contention that he was infected on the job, he was denied workers compensation benefits and because of a unique policy, was forced to use his own personal sick leave.
WKMG-TV CBS 6 Orlando

First firefighter on scene remembers Chicago’s Arlington Park fire 35 years later

Four years into his budding career as a firefighter, Glenn Ericksen was used to putting out routine fires in apartments, single-family homes and small businesses in Arlington Heights. Then in the early morning hours of July 31, 1985, he and his co-workers at the firehouse got the call they'll never forget: A fire had broken out in the Horseman's Lounge at Arlington Park. Ericksen drove the first engine that arrived on the scene. "When we got on the grounds itself, we were met by a security guard in a vehicle flashing his lights. We've never seen that before, so it was kinda like, 'Uh oh,'" he said. "Still, it didn't really look bad, but they were telling us the fire was on the other side of the building. We pulled out on the track surface where we saw the bulk of the fire. It's where we sat til the early afternoon that day." Ericksen, who became Arlington Heights' fire chief years later and now coordinates a statewide firefighting response consortium, has fought a lot of blazes over the course of some four decades in the fire service.
Daily Herald - Metered Site

New York City Fire Museum honors frontline workers from COVID-19 pandemic

For over a month Tony winner Brian Stokes Mitchell serenaded the streets of Manhattan from the window of his Upper West Side apartment to honor frontline workers who were fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. The cause, meaningful to the 62-year-old as he was diagnosed with coronavirus in late March but has since recovered. On Thursday he sang the same song “The Impossible Dream” - this time from the New York City Fire Museum where officials unveiled plans for a new exhibition - “Unmasking our Heroes”. “It allows me to further honor the men, women, emergency service workers, the firefighter department, everyone who kept the city going during this time,” Mitchell said. And to allow others to honor the first responders, museum officials are acknowledging the heroes who continue to put themselves in harms way to save the lives of others.
WNYW-TV FOX 5 New York

’Rebuilding Paradise’ to be released online via virtual cinemas

More than a year and a half after the Camp Fire, the documentary Rebuilding Paradise is finally being released to the public on July 31. The documentary, directed by Academy Award-winner Ron Howard, depicts the 2018 fire and the rebuilding efforts of the Ridge through the eyes of those who lived it. KRCR spoke with the former mayor of Paradise, Steve “Woody” Culleton, who is featured in the doc. He says that while it may be difficult to watch as a Camp Fire victim, it's an important story about the community's strength. "The story's not about the fire. The story's not about global warming,” says Culleton. “It's about the resiliency of the people of the town of Paradise." The documentary was originally released at the Sundance Film Festival this past January and then later in June to some residents of Butte County in an online screening.
KRCR-TV ABC 7 Redding

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