National News

Friday, August 12, 2022

Video captures house explosion that killed 3 in Indiana; coroner identifies victims

Authorities on Thursday identified the three people killed in a house explosion that rocked a suburban Indiana neighborhood and damaged nearly 40 homes. Meanwhile, officials were still investigating the cause of Wednesday's blast. Initially, Evansville Fire Department Chief Mike Connelly said the explosion was accidental but later retracted that sentiment, explaining the state fire marshal would lead the probe to determine a cause. Surveillance footage from a nearby building showed a burst before debris exploded into the air, followed by a billow of smoke. Evansville Fire Department officials said 11 of the 39 damaged homes were uninhabitable after the blast. The neighborhood was in tatters Wednesday, the splintered remains of homes flung across the road. First responders searched for victims.
USA Today

AT&T is using amphibious vehicles, drones and more to restore its network during disasters

PHOTOS: In a nondescript warehouse outside of Atlanta, nestled among the office parks and chain restaurants that pepper suburban America, AT&T is preparing for catastrophe. This is one of the company's Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) sites, a place where a volunteer group of AT&T workers can test and train on equipment that can quickly spin up connectivity when a local office is destroyed. Longtime Engadget readers may remember our 2008 visit to a similar Chicago-area site, only a year after the launch of the iPhone and long before the company started deploying 4G LTE. Given just how much the world has changed since then — with smartphones in practically every pocket, and billion-dollar weather and climate disasters on the rise. Originally launched in 1991, AT&T has spent over $650 million in the US building up the NDR program (up $100 million since 2008).

Louisiana city renews search for remains of 4 victims in 1973 UpStairs Lounge fire

Nearly a half-century after arson killed 32 people in a New Orleans gay bar, the City Council has renewed the search for the remains of four victims, including three who were never identified. The UpStairs Lounge burned on June 24, 1973, killing 31 men, including two whose mother died with them, and injuring another woman and 14 men. Ferris LeBlanc, 50, a World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and three bodies burned past identification were buried next to each other in the city’s unmarked “potter’s field.” The motion passed Thursday directs the city attorney, property management director and chief administrative officer to provide “all reasonable assistance” toward recovering the remains.
WWL-TV CBS 4 New Orleans

Wisconsin fire department citizenship requirement dropped by Fire and Police Commission

The Milwaukee Fire Department has opened the door for more people to become firefighters. Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski said the change is a long time coming. The Milwaukee Fire Department can now hire anyone who is legally hirable, whether they’re a United States citizen or not. Chief Lipski said the department can benefit from more diversity, people who are multilingual and anyone who wants to serve their community. "The word opportunity comes to mind for a lot of people," said Lipski. "Let’s make sure everybody’s welcome at the table." In the land of opportunity, Chief Lipski wants to invite more people in. "If someone is otherwise legally hirable, whether or not they are a U.S. citizen, that’s fine with us," said Lipski.
WITI-TV FOX 6 Milwaukee

’Earliest detection is best;’ New firefighter app aims to better track cancer risks

It’s the deadlier than fire, on-the-job danger every firefighter faces - cancer. The CDC has found cancer is now the leading cause of death among firefighters, and the World Health Organization has now defined firefighting as a cancer-causing profession. In May 2021, News 13 debuted its investigative documentary Deadlier than Fire, focusing on the need for presumptive worker’s compensation benefits for North Carolina firefighters diagnosed with cancer. Now, News 13 has gotten an exclusive look at an app that helps connect firefighters with potentially lifesaving data through a new cancer-exposure tracking component. “It’s more than a career, Mike Marshall said, flipping back through a photo album of his time working for Asheville Fire Department. It’s been 17 years since the former captain retired. “It’s just a brotherhood, it’s a bond,” Marshall said.
WLOS-TV ABC 13 Asheville

Thursday, August 11, 2022

VIDEO: 1 employee hospitalized after massive fire engulfs Illinois recycling center

Nearly 200 first responders are on scene after a five-alarm fire ripped through a Metro East recycling center. The fire was reported around 10 a.m. Wednesday on Fox Industrial Drive in Madison, Illinois. Heavy black smoke was seen across the area as flames shot out of the Interco building. Workers were inside recycling batteries, Madison Mayor John Hamm III said. A male employee was hospitalized after being burned by the flames. The severity of their injuries is unknown. “There were several explosions due to the hazardous materials and those materials are being identified at this time,” said Matt Coppin with Metro West Fire Protection District. Around 11:30 a.m., Madison County EMA told News 4 they were sending out a Code Red for a shelter in place order around the burning building. It is not known how long the order will be in place.
KMOV-TV CBS 4 St. Louis

‘Getting harder and hotter’: Phoenix fire crews race to save lives in America’s hottest city

PHOTOS: The 911 call came in about an elderly man who had fallen outside a storage facility in central Phoenix. The fire crew, who are also paramedics, found 80-year-old Noel laid on his back on the concrete ramp under direct sunlight; he was weak, thirsty and very hot. Noel, an Englishman with diabetes and hypertension, had been moving furniture when his legs gave way. His core temperature was 104F – dangerously hot. (The typical range for a healthy older adult is 97 to 99F.) His blood pressure was also very high at 242/110, and his pulse was racing. Noel had been lying on the piercing hot concrete ramp for about 45 minutes. A firefighter wrapped an ice cold towel around his neck and inserted IV lines into both arms. It was 3.30pm and the outside temperature hovered above 100F – below the average for the time of year in Phoenix, but several degrees hotter than the previous week when monsoon rains cooled the city.
The Guardian

New report from Maryland agency details what happened on day of fire that killed 3 firefighters

VIDEO: January’s deadly vacant rowhome fire along south Stricker Street rocked Baltimore City to its core. Three firefighters were killed and another was injured that day, and since then the cries for change have grown louder. Now, a new report from Maryland Occupational Safety and Health reveals the possible failures that may have put the firefighters in danger. Several firefighters who responded to the fire told investigators they were not aware the vacant home was damaged in a fire in 2015 which left several firefighters injured, and if they’d known they may have approached it differently. One of the men who responded to January’s fire told MOSH he had actually fallen through the floor in the home in 2015. However, MOSH says dispatch never advised the firefighters, and an old system where x’s were placed on buildings to warn firefighters of damage no longer existed. Councilwoman Odette Ramos says Code X-Ray began in 2010 but didn’t last long.
WBFF-TV FOX 45 Baltimore

Wisconsin fire department celebrates 150 years of service

VIDEO: After 150 years of service the De Pere fire department has gone through many large changes. Despite these changes, the department uses its history to prepare for the future. "We always grow from the big events we have to get a little bit better," said battalion chief Brett Jansen. A technological advancement that is a far cry from the humble beginnings of the fire department back more than a century ago. There's been several large fires in De Pere that have molded the town's history. Jansen said the last major one unlocked a new method to battling fires in downtown. "It allowed us to put in dry hydrants which connect right to the river," said Jansen. Those hydrants allow the department to take water from the Fox River and pump it up to an active scene. Gone are the days of simple coats and boats. In their place, firefighters have full structural gear that Jansen said has helped them save countless lives on the job.
WGBA-TV NBC 26 Green Bay

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