Twice as many firefighters in the U.S. die by suicide than in the line of duty. Now fire departments are sounding the alarm.
Karen and Lew Lewis still treasure the mementos from their son Billy’s dream job, working as a firefighter-paramedic for the Sacramento Fire Department, at the busiest firehouse in the city.
“Twenty bad calls a shift, you know, that involved everything from suicides to gunshot victims to knifings and fights,” Lew Lewis said. “These guys see some things that you can’t un-see.
The Lewis family said they believe the things Billy saw and experienced changed him. “We knew he was deteriorating and we were helpless,” Karen Lewis said.
Karen says a brutal domestic violence call was a breaking point.
“This woman was laying on the ground covered in blood in front of her children. And when they got back to the station he apparently was throwing things and he just lost it,” she said.
KOVR-TV CBS Sacramento
VIDEO: Surveillance footage released Wednesday shows a man brazenly setting fire to a Lake Forest apartment leasing office in what appears to be a "targeted attack," the Orange County Fire Authority said.
Authorities are asking for the public's help finding the person who set the blaze in the early morning hours Tuesday along El Toro Road.
Video shows a hooded person pouring a liquid outside the building, tossing a lit match on the ground and then running away as the flames erupt.
The fire was burning just 50 feet away from occupied apartments and the attacker appeared to be familiar with the area, fire officials said.
The blaze caused over $100,000 in damages to the building, according to the Fire Authority.
“This is concerning because he is pretty brave in the way that he acts," Orange County Fire Capt. Shaun Miller said.
KTLA-TV WB 5 Los Angeles
Hiking, John Preston says, is "something I actually don't enjoy doing." But for 29 days, the Palo Alto firefighter will be doing just that, making his way on foot from Palo Alto all the way to the deck of the USS Midway San Diego.
It will be an arduous journey, for an important cause: Preston, an Iraq War veteran, is making the 625-mile trek to raise awareness of mental health issues among veterans and first responders.
Preston, an Iraq War veteran, is all too familiar with the crisis. He struggled with post-traumatic stress upon his return from Iraq, and his brother, Michael, died by suicide following his own deployment.
So, during his hike, Preston plans to stop in towns along the California coast to "let the veteran community know that we're here, let the first responder community know that we're here," he said in a video about the project.
South San Francisco Patch
Five family members are dealing with the loss of their home and one of their dogs after an apartment fire in Merced.
Firefighters managed to save a second dog with the help of equipment that was recently donated by a local Girl Scouts troop.
Video recorded by the Merced City Fire Department shows crews battling the blaze that broke out inside an apartment on 19th near T Street Tuesday morning.
Merced Fire Battalion Chief Mickey Brunelli says, "The first engine at scene reported smoke and fire showing from one of the apartments. It was reported that all occupants were out of the building when they got there."
As firefighters made their way inside, they discovered a dog suffering from smoke inhalation. They carried him to safety and started working to revive him with the help of a pet oxygen kit recently donated by Girl Scout Troop 3003.
KFSN-TV ABC 30 Frenso/Visalia
A day after a Delta Air Lines plane dumped jet fuel over several Los Angeles schools, federal authorities said the pilots of Delta Flight 89 did not ask for approval to release the fuel as part of their emergency landing.
Air crews will typically notify air traffic control of an emergency and indicate they need to dump fuel, the Federal Aviation Administration said. Air traffic controllers direct the plane to the appropriate fuel-dumping area.
"A review of yesterday's air traffic control communications shows the Delta Flight 89 crew did not tell air traffic control that they needed to dump fuel," the FAA said in a statement.
Delta spokesman Adrian Gee said the airline didn't have comment because the investigation is ongoing.
KTLA-TV CW 5 Los Angeles