Texas News

Friday, June 14, 2019

New Texas law ensures firefighters and EMTs with certain cancers can receive workers compensation

A new law signed by Governor Greg Abbott will ensure that firefighters and EMTs throughout Texas can receive worker's compensation if they get certain types of cancer due to their job. Steve Countryman was serving as a captain for the Tyler fire department in 2016. "I served just under 30 years with the Tyler fire department," said Countryman, a now retired firefighter. In 2016, he was also diagnosed with prostate cancer. "Firefighters are exposed to a lot of things, whether it's the heat, the smoke, the radiation," said Countryman. "There are carcinogens that we're around daily and it’s not just at the emergency scenes. Whether it's at the fire station and the exhaust from the fire trucks or our bunker gear." Countryman was one of 35 firefighters in Texas who filed for worker's compensation that year.

21-year-old Houston fire truck catches fire after crews extinguish flames at funeral home

VIDEO: A Hazmat team was on the scene after a fire truck caught fire at a funeral home in the Third Ward. Firefighters were called to the 2500 block of Wheeler Street early Wednesday morning. The building on fire is a funeral home that was undergoing renovation. The fire was contained to the garage area. About an hour after crews extinguished the flames at the funeral home, a fire truck caught fire. The 21-year-old truck left oil in the street which prompted Hazmat crews to be called. No injuries were reported, but the cause of the fire is under investigation.
KTRK-TV ABC 13 Houston

Two people burned, pets feared dead in multi-million dollar mansion fire in The Woodlands

VIDEO: Fire burned two painters finishing renovations on a multi-million dollar mansion near The Woodlands. Battalion Chief James Washington of The Woodlands Fire Department said the fire was so big and had so much fuel that firefighters could not save anyone inside. They had no need, though. Both painters saved themselves. Both ran for their lives. “The one painter who was (burned) ran out and jumped into the pool,” neighbor Teri Leuck, who is friend’s the mansion’s owners Pam and Jeff Stallones. Nearly a third of one worker’s body burned. LifeFlight carried the man in his mid-30’s to the Texas Medical Center for treatment. His co-worker had less severe burns on his hands and went to the same hospital. “They’re very lucky to have gotten out of that home,” Battalion Chief Washington said.

Harris County firefighters rescue disabled man from home during fire

PHOTOS: Harris County firefighters pulled an elderly disabled man from a home that was starting to catch fire Thursday night in north Harris County, according to Metro Video. Firefighters initially responded to a mobile home fire around 9 p.m. in the 7600 block of Bamwood. While setting up to fight the blaze, firefighters learned the elderly man was in the house next door, which was starting to catch fire. he man suffered minor injuries. Two firefighters were also injured, Metro Video reported. The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office was working to determine the cause and origin overnight.
My San Antonio.com

Multiple units respond to West Shelby County home fire

Firefighters from Martinsville VFD and West Shelby County VFD responded to a residential mobile home fire about 1:45 p.m. Thursday off of West Hwy 7 west of Excelsior School. The address firefighters were dispatched to was 11845 Hwy 7 West. A woman related to the occupants said no one was home at the time she reported the fire when she arrived to find smoke coming from the home. She said it appeared the fire started in the kitchen area of the residence. When firefighters arrived smoke was billowing out all around the roof line of the home both front and back. Two West Shelby VFD units were on the scene while one truck from the Martinsville department was the first to arrive, the woman said. The fire appeared to have resulted in heavy smoke damage with extensive fire damage too. Firefighters reported the fire out about 3:35 p.m. Thursday when they were clearing the scene.
Light and Champion

Prop B ’Pay Parity’: Court sends city and firefighters back to mediation before considering case

The fight over Houston's Prop B is not going away any time soon. The Texas 14th Court of Appeals ordered the City of Houston and the Houston firefighters union back to mediation. Firefighters had asked court to consider the constitutionality of the voter-approved pay parity decision. The proposition means firefighters would have been paid the same as police officers of similar rank. On May 15, a district court judge ruled Prop B unconstitutional. Firefighters immediately appealed, which has resulted in this move. Early Thursday morning, a court ordered the city and firefighters to mediate within 60 days. A previous round of mediation failed. If a settlement can be reached, the appeals court ordered both parties to drop their lawsuits over Prop B. On Wednesday, Houston City Council voted to rescind the firefighter layoffs that were issued back in April. There's no immediate word what impact the latest ruling may have on those jobs.
KTRK-TV ABC 13 Houston

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Petitions seek to establish new emergency services districts in Wilson County

Wilson County commissioners voted June 10 to accept petitions to establish two new emergency services districts (ESDs) in the county. By accepting the petitions, commissioners take a preliminary step toward putting the two ESDs on the November ballot for residents to approve or disapprove. If both ESDs are approved, the districts would receive tax support to provide emergency medical services and fire response to most of the county not currently covered by ESDs. The level of taxes to support ESDs is prescribed by state law, which already applies to the county’s existing three districts. “It’s another tax, but [emergency services] needs to establish other locations,” county Pct. 2 Commissioner Paul Pfeil said after the meeting. “The tax was not included in the discussion this morning.” Members of the Floresville Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) and Floresville-based Wilson County Volunteer Emergency Medical Services (EMS) presented the petitions.
Wilson County News

Driver killed when SUV barrels into SE Houston restaurant

VIDEO: One person has died after an SUV slammed into a restaurant in southeast Houston. According to Houston police, the crash happened in the 5900 block of Martin Luther King at around 11:40 a.m. Wednesday. Signs bearing the location identify it as Medi Grill. An SUV hit the building and kept going all the way through, coming to a stop at the opposite wall. Surveillance video captured the SUV barreling through the restaurant. It took out a wall and everything in its path. Employees arrived just 30 minutes earlier. "We got lucky because there was nobody in there," said Ahmed Rajhed of Medi Grill, who added at least six people would have normally been inside. "I thank God there are no other injuries. None of my family members were there," he said. According to police, the 55-year-old driver was killed. No one else was hurt. Police say the driver had a minor crash just down the road prior to slamming into the building. A witness named Dominique saw the aftermath and checked on the driver.
KTRK-TV ABC 13 Houston

New Waverly firefighters reunite with victim after life-saving actions

A quick response can generally be the difference between life or death. Earlier this week, a victim that was saved by New Waverly firefighters was reunited with the heroes that quickly responded to his near-fatal car crash in February. On Feb. 22, New Waverly firefighters, along with Walker County EMS crews, were dispatched to FM 2296 with reports of a major accident near the Phelps community. Upon arrival, first responders noted that two vehicles had collided, and one person was still trapped in his car. The firefighters on duty — Jacob French, Shane Gehovak and John Waldo — were on scene in a matter of minutes and quickly determined that the trapped driver was rapidly losing blood due to a damaged artery. The firefighters deployed two tourniquets to stop the bleeding, while at the same time working to free the victim from his vehicle. Crews were able to extricate the victim shortly after stabilizing him.
Greenville Herald Banner

Willow Park Fire presents Hazard Mitigation Plan

Willow Park is one step closer to implementing a Hazard Mitigation Plan and Fire Chief Mike LeNoir presented information about the benefits of having the program at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. Hazard mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessing the impact of disasters, according to the FEMA website. A FEMA-approved plan is a condition for receiving certain types of non-emergency disaster assistance, including funding for mitigation projects. “We kicked this off in November 2018 and it’s continued all the way up to our mitigation workshop [this month]. We’re going to review and adopt the plan as soon as we can and we will be presenting it back to [the city council] and getting it approved,” LeNoir said. “I tried to get this setup for the storm sirens — that’s what started the entire program. We didn’t have the Hazard Mitigation Plan in place, so I wasn’t able to get funding for that. So this gets the ball rolling on getting this plan.”
Corsicana Daily Sun

Belton to outsource ambulance services for one year

After months of staffing problems with the city of Belton’s ambulance service, city council members voted Tuesday night to outsource all ambulance services to private companies for the next year.’ Beginning in April, the city entered a test period, operating with just one ambulance, and calling for backup if a second call came in. The move came after months of staffing issues that forced paramedics to work 48-hour shifts in what city spokesman Paul Romer called a staffing crisis. Results from the trial showed more than 60 percent of priority 1 calls were answered by the fire department with a typical response time of six to seven minutes. The rest of the priority 1 calls were left to outside agencies, which had a response time of 13 minutes. “We think response time will go down significantly once they're here in the city.” Romer said.

Man taken to hospital after fallen pipe traps him in Longview trench

VIDEO: One person has been transported to a hospital after a fallen pipe trapped him in a trench. About 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, the Longview Fire Department responded to 1114 West Harrison Road in front of Genpak to a report of a man being trapped in a 10 to 12-foot deep trench after a pipe fell off a machine. Training and Special Operations Chief Andy Parker with Longview Fire Department said that the man was struck in the trench when they arrived at the scene. He said the man was conscious but was having trouble breathing. An oxygen mask was sent down into the trench and the man was able to put it on himself to assist his breathing. Three firefighters were put down into the 12-feet deep trench to secure the man and lift him out. He was put on a gurney and into an ambulance, and then taken to a local hospital. The extent of his injuries is not known.

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