National News

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

VIDEO: SoCalGas Technician Killed, 15 Injured Including 3 Firefighters, In Natural Gas Explosion At California Home

A damaged gas line sparked an explosion that leveled a home in a Murrieta neighborhood, leaving at least one person dead and 15 others injured. The explosion was reported before 12:15 p.m. in the 23500 block of Wooden Horse Trail, where crews initially responded due to a ruptured gas line, Murrieta Fire & Rescue Deputy Chief David Lantzer said. Crews from Southern California Gas Co. arrived at 11:23 a.m. to begin repair work on the line, but at 12:10 p.m., an explosion occurred, Lantzer said. The explosion started a fire that burned the home to the ground, blew the windows out of nearby cars and homes and sent shards of glass and chunks of brick across the street. At an afternoon news conference, SoCalGas officials confirmed that one of the company’s workers was killed in the blast.
KCAL-TV CBS 9 Los Angeles

New York: 20 Buffalo firefighters injured in last week

20 Buffalo city firefighters have been injured on the job in the last week. Thursday, 7 Eyewitness News reported a firefighter had to be rushed on a stretcher from a blaze on Frankfort. Division fire chief Daniel Bossi said a first year firefighter from Engine 22 lost consciousness. At that point last week, Fire Commissioner Bill Renaldo said there had been 15 firefighters injured fighting three, two alarm fires since the night before. Now, five more of Buffalo’s bravest have been injured in the last 24 hours. Two were hurt fighting a blaze on Gelston Street late Sunday night, and three battling a fire on Goembel Avenue Monday morning. Buffalo Fire Commissioner Bill Renaldo says in the last week, injuries have ranged from heat exhaustion, to sprains, strains and minor burns. “At least one eye injury as well," said Renaldo.
WKBW-TV ABC 7 Buffalo

Into The Fire: Volunteer firefighters are at the front lines of today’s larger, more dangerous wildfires. Are we up for the job?

The call came in on July 5, 2018, at 12:31 pm: a vegetation fire in the vicinity of Klamathon Road, near the town of Hornbrook, California, just a few miles south of the Oregon border. It was a hot, windy day, and bone-dry. Tim Thurner, fire chief for the Hornbook Fire Protection District, was heading to Yreka to have lunch with his wife, Sherri, when they got the tone-out. “Three of us responded,” recalls Thurner. “We took our wildland engine and I was on water tender.” A CalFire engine and battalion were already on scene. Their goal was to set up a fireline, or break, to keep the fire from heading northeast, toward town. But erratic winds pushed the fire toward them. Twice Thurner and his crew had to retreat. As the fire flashed over them, Sherri Thurner barely had time to pull the shield up over the open cab of the wildland rig to keep from being burned. The fire jumped the dozer line and wet line like they weren’t even there. Then it hopped the Klamath River and roared toward Hornbrook.
Jefferson Public Radio

Oregon fire bureau’s staffing issues highlighted by CPR call

Around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, near Southeast Division and 11th Avenue, a 911 call came in about a 23-year-old woman in cardiac arrest. Katie Anders and her sister Rachel Kennedy were walking out of a restaurant on Division when they noticed the woman who needed help. Rachel is a registered nurse, so she sprang into action. “I knew she was dying, so I tried to do a little mouth to mouth, I couldn't get any air in, so I tried compressions and she didn't fight me, so I knew she was, first, you know, I checked for a pulse and couldn't find one, I started compressions and my sister called 911,” Kennedy explained. A police officer also arrived and helped with CPR. Two minutes after the 911 call, a two-person crew from Fire Station 23 got there. But instead of taking over, firefighters asked the officer to keep doing CPR, so they could start advanced life-saving measures.
KGW-TV NBC 8 Portland

Connecticut’s 9/11 first responders urge Congress to make Victim Compensation Fund permanent

VIDEO: Hundreds of Connecticut first responders rushed to New York City on 9/11 to help, and on Monday they urged Congress to make the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund permanent. West Haven sent about 30 firefighters to Ground Zero. Some of them are still suffering the health effects and are demanding to protect their benefits. The 9/11 responders say they're tired of worrying and wondering if the money will be there for them if they get sick. West Haven Fire Department Chief James O'Brien says he is haunted by what he saw two decades ago when he was working in "the pile" and searching for survivors. "We weren't well-equipped. We weren't provided with enough breathing apparatus or filter masks or anything like that. So we just worked with what we had at the end," he says.
News 12 Connecticut

Monday, July 15, 2019

Agencies in Idaho boost efforts to stop wildland firefighter suicides

Shane Del Grosso spent some 30 summers crossing smoke-shrouded mountains and forests to fight increasingly devastating wildfires in the U.S. West. Toward the end, his skills and experience propelled him to lead a federal multi-agency team that responded to large-scale national disasters. On some days he directed a thousand firefighters and helped coordinate aircraft attacks on massive blazes. But then came the long offseason lacking the shared-risk camaraderie. Isolation closed in, his family said, along with marital problems that can be exacerbated by first-responder jobs that require missed family events and birthdays. Del Grosso, 50, killed himself May 9, 2016, not long before the start of another wildfire season.
ABC News

New Jersey cops and firefighters are asking for much bigger raises

After West Windsor’s police contract expired at the end of last year and negotiations with the township stalled, the union turned to an arbitrator to break the impasse. The local union’s demands? Four percent annual pay hikes for sergeants and for patrolmen at the top of the scale and 2 percent annual wage increases for everyone else, in addition to the standard wage increases officers receive for additional years of service. The township of course came in with a lower counter-offer. And, ultimately, the arbitrator awarded two years of 2-percent raises and two years of 2.25 percent raises for everyone. Sound like business as usual to you? No, say local government lobbyists. They fear it could be a sign of bigger raises for police and firefighters who are emboldened to ask for more following the state’s controversial decision not to renew a law designed to help curb property taxes.

Is Cincinnati a ’slumlord’ to its aging fire stations, old buildings with millions needed for repairs?

Fire Station 49 on Prentice Avenue in Madisonville was built in 1910, when firefighters traveled by horse and buggy. Except for modest updates over the years, such as turning the horse stalls into a kitchen, the building hasn’t changed much. It’s clean and meets city codes, officials say, but the tiny space isn’t comfortable for the firefighters who work 24-hour shifts here. “They have to get this vehicle in a certain spot because if they don’t, they can’t get out of the kitchen door … because it’s so tight,” Cincinnati Fire District Chief Steve Salmons said, pointing to an engine parked inches from the kitchen door. The first floor bathroom, which Salmons described as “a box,” is so tiny the door won’t open if the toilet seat is down. Space is so tight that uniforms are stored in rolling lockers.
WCPO-TV ABC 9 Cincinnati

More Than 400 Elevators Got Stuck During Manhattan Blackout, FDNY Says

VIDEO: More than 400 elevators got stuck when a massive blackout wiped out power in parts of Manhattan on Saturday, the city’s fire commissioner said. The blackout left 73,000 customers without electricity for several hours on Saturday evening, Con Edison said. At a press conference on Sunday, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said more than 400 elevators got stuck during the outage. Some of the rescue efforts ended up being “quite difficult,” but “everyone was removed safely,” Nigro said. It wasn’t immediately clear exactly how many people got stuck. “I think our members reacted quite quickly — they reacted quite well — and they took care of people in this area of the city,” he said. “Thankfully it was all over by midnight.”
WNBC-TV NBC 4 New York

Firefighters tell the story of North Carolina man’s ‘miraculous’ rescue in home explosion

VIDEO: Finally, firefighters saw his face. Cardiologist Jebran Karam was buried under six to eight feet of rubble when his Ballantyne house exploded July 2, firefighters from Charlotte Fire Station No. 3 told reporters Friday. Somehow, Karam stayed conscious. He called 911 on his smartwatch and stayed on the phone with dispatchers, so his rescue team knew he was alive. As more than 80 firefighters rushed to the area, Karam was able to call out and talk to them directly. They maneuvered around two-by-fours and chunks of stone to create a “basketball-sized” hole all the way down to his head, firefighter Matt Saraceno said. A helicopter was standing by, ready to airlift the 59-year-old doctor to Carolinas Medical Center, firefighter Chris Cangemi said. It would take hours to bring him to safety. His wife, 58-year-old Rania Karam, was found dead after an even longer search.
The Charlotte Observer

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