Iowa News

Monday, February 24, 2020

Two girls rescued after falling through ice in Cedar Falls

It was a scary situation for two teenage girls Sunday evening when they fell through the ice on Big Woods Lake, bringing the number of people falling through the ice Sunday to six in Black Hawk County alone. The two fell through the ice around 6:20 p.m. Cedar Falls Public Safety Officers were able to get to the two and have them rescued by 6:40 p.m. They were about 40 yards off the bank. Both were in the water when crews arrived and were unable to get themselves out. Public Safety Officers with ice rescue equipment went out to bring both to safety. They were taken to a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries. According to Captain Tim Smith, the fire shift Sunday was made up of PSOs. They were assisted by patrolling PSOs, Black Hawk County sheriff's deputies and MercyOne paramedics. This was the second time, according to Capt. Smith, Cedar Falls Public Safety had been called to Big Woods.

Follow Up: Cedar Falls Firefighter Union reacts to PSO decision, Mayor’s veto

The Cedar Falls Firefighter Union President says he is disappointed after Thursday’s city council's decision to start replacing firefighter positions with Public Safety Officers or PSO's. "Last night's council vote was saddening to firefighters, though not unexpected," said Scott Dix. However, he says he is optimistic that Mayor Rob Green's veto, opposing the restructuring plan, will stand. "We hope the other council members will respect the power of the mayor and the veto," he added. Thursday, City Council also voted to create a task force for monitoring the transition of firefighters into PSO's, saying that they can either transition, find a different job with the city or accept a severance package. Dix says he met with city staff Friday morning to discuss the next steps moving forward with removing firefighters, but still has concerns.
KCRG-TV ABC 9 Cedar Rapids

Mohning named Battalion Chief for Le Mars Fire

A dream that started when Charlie Mohning was a kindergartener was realized when he became a firefighter 12 years ago. Now today, another dream became reality when Mohning was named the new battalion chief for Le Mars Fire and Rescue. It was on Wednesday, Feb. 19, when Le Mars Fire and Rescue Chief David Schipper made the announcement. “It’s a big honor to receive this,” Mohning shared. “I recently found something I did back in kindergarten where I said I wanted to be a firefighter. It’s been a long dream of mine and now to see it realized means a lot.” The battalion chief position became vacant after Steve Schwarz, who formally held the title, was named assistant fire chief at the beginning of January. He replaced Mike Wise who left the department to serve as the Le Mars Ambulance executive director.
LeMars Daily Sentinel

Fire at Manchester home displaces family

A house fire on Saturday night caused damage to a Manchester home, according to fire department officials. At around 7:45 p.m. on Saturday, February 22, 2020, the Manchester Fire Department received a report about a house fire at 612 East Fayette Street. Firefighters arrived to discover an ongoing fire in the attic. They were able to contain the fire within the attic but removed part of the upstairs ceiling to do so. Nobody was injured in the fire. The occupants of the house were displaced and are receiving assistance from the American Red Cross. An investigation into the cause of the blaze is ongoing, though initial indications are an electrical issue may have sparked it.
KCRG-TV ABC 9 Cedar Rapids

Apartment fire causes damage on southeast side of Iowa City

A fire at an apartment building on Friday night caused significant damage to the structure, according to fire department officials. At around 8:57 p.m. on Friday, February 21, 2020, the Iowa City Fire Department was sent to a report of a fire at 1100 Arthur Street. The calls from nearby residents said that smoke was emanating from the building. Firefighters located a fire in unit E4 which only took around nine minutes to get under control. Officials estimated that the blaze caused $40,000 damage to the building. Nobody was injured in the incident. The cause remains under investigation.
KCRG-TV ABC 9 Cedar Rapids

Friday, February 21, 2020

Cedar Falls to replace firefighters with Public Safety Officers

The Cedar Falls City council voted 5 to 2 to slowly start replacing firefighter positions with Public Safety Officers or PSO's. Thursday night's meeting got heated quickly as both the fire department and police department had the chance to share their thoughts ahead of the vote. Many others also spoke, spending more than an hour sharing their opinions. Cedar Falls approved combining the roles of police and firefighters in 2014, calling them public safety officers. The city hoped this would save money and increase the number of responders. But many have criticized the change. During the four-hour meeting council members and city leaders took different positions on the program. Dozens of community members wore red in protest of the idea. Many firefighters have quit over the program, saying they don't feel safe working with PSO's. A referral was added to the end of the agenda which adds a task force to oversee the new department and operations.
KCRG-TV ABC 9 Cedar Rapids

Ames Fire Department awarded $7,500 grant for fire training facility

BASF Agricultural Solutions, a Germany-based company, has awarded the Ames Fire Department $7,500 for its new fire training facility in east Ames. The 90,000-square-foot training facility will allow the fire department to train in real-life fire situations, but keep them in a controlled area, Ames Fire Chief Rich Higgins said. “Having a training site of our own will be extremely helpful,” Higgins said. “Being able to conduct fire training in a controlled environment will be a wonderful opportunity for our fire fighters, and to be able to extinguish a fire in these containers and not worry about what we’re burning is good, too.” The training facility is at the intersection of Pullman Avenue and Carnegie Street, and will be built out of old shipping containers that are cut to add windows. The containers are stacked together “like LEGO’s” to create a virtual city.
Ames Tribune

City prepares ordinance requiring carbon monoxide alarms

The Clinton City Council approved the first reading of an amendment to an ordinance last week that will require carbon monoxide alarms in certain residences. The new requirements would affect not only new construction, but also existing structures that contain sleeping quarters utilizing any fuel-fired appliance or having an attached garage with an opening that communicates with the dwelling, the ordinance says. Amending Chapter 152 of the city code was necessary to include broader and more well defined provisions regulating the installation of some detectors and carbon monoxide alarms, the resolution says. “Everybody has to do this,” Clinton Fire Marshal Jeff Chapman told the city council during a January meeting. The state mandated that any multiple-unit residential buildings or single-family dwellings constructed after July 1, 2018 that meet the criteria above include carbon monoxide alarms.
Clinton Herald

Davenport family loses pet in fire that destroys home

A family of five lost their pet while safely escaping a trailer fire in Lakewood Estates, Davenport, on Thursday morning. Davenport Fire Department told Local 4 News that they responded to the fire around 8:16 a.m. The cause of the fire is unknown and the incident remains under investigation. Red Cross was at the scene assisting the family.

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