Fire Service


Firefighter Close Calls - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 23:14

By Maki Becker, The Buffalo News:

Firefighter Eric Whitehead lay on the floor of the burning attic, blinded by smoke and steam.

He couldn’t find his hose line.

His hands were burned.

But he wasn’t afraid.

“I just knew my brothers were there,” Whitehead recalled.

A month after being pulled from the burning house on Butler Avenue, Whitehead remains in Erie County Medical Center, where doctors are treating third-degree burns on his hands.

Yet he couldn’t be more thankful – to both his fellow firefighters and to those helping him recover. He looks forward to the day he’s back at work with his crew on Engine 21.

Read the full story here.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

Radio traffic from controversial Polk County, Florida fatal fire

Statter 911 - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 16:54

Looking for a quality used fire truck? Selling one? Visit our sponsor Command Fire Apparatus Previously- News report: Incident commander on Snapchat despite woman still trapped in Florida home Radio traffic (above) from the November 23, 2018 house fire in Polk County, Florida that took the life of 73-year-old Loretta Pickard. Ms. Pickard was still …

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Categories: Fire Service


Firefighter Close Calls - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 13:19

An alleged drunken driver was arrested by police after crashing into a Wayne Township Fire Department engine early Sunday morning.

Firefighters were called around 6 a.m. to the area of Rockville Road and Interstate-465 on the report of an unconscious person in a car, Wayne Township Fire Department Captain Mike Pruitt said. When they arrived and began to approach the car, the driver started to drive away and crashed into Engine 83.

The driver was then arrested by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers on the suspicion of drunken driving, Pruitt said.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

Technicality saves DC firefighter from discipline after fire engine fatal crash

Statter 911 - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 09:12

News report says engine sped through red light - Other driver drunk & high on PCP

The post Technicality saves DC firefighter from discipline after fire engine fatal crash appeared first on Statter911.

Categories: Fire Service

Today is Monday the 11th of February, 2019

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 08:16

We kick off the new week with the following stories…

Be safe out there!


The post Today is Monday the 11th of February, 2019 appeared first on ARFFWG | ARFF Working Group.

Female pilot and her passenger have to be cut out of a single-engine plane after it crashed in California while attempting to land at an airport, leaving them in ‘serious condition’

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 08:14
  • Female pilot and male passenger were ‘seriously injured’ in crash on Saturday
  • Authorities said the incident happened around 10.40am during a landing  
  • Firefighters had to cut off right wing to pull pilot and passenger from fuselage
  • Victims were airlifted to a local hospital; their identities haven’t been released 
  • It wasn’t immediately know what caused the crash; the NTSB will investigate


Two people were hospitalized with serious injuries after a small plane crashed into a field at Monterey Bay Academy Airport. 

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the single-engine Bellanca Citabria crashed around 10.40am Saturday while attempting to land at the airport.

Firefighters had to cut off the right wing of the plane in order to pull the female pilot and her male passenger from the fuselage.

Harris said the plane’s nose and left side were damaged when it ended on the runway next to a farm field.

Battalion Chief Mike Harris with CalFire’s Santa Cruz unit said the pilot and passenger were airlifted to the hospital with serious injuries.

Their identities have not been released.

FAA records show that the plane, with tail number N11666, is registered in Aptos, California.

The plane is believed to belong to Eva Twardokens, a former Olympic skier.

Twardokens is an avid aviator who shared a photo of the same plane parked at the Watsonville Municipal Airport on her Instagram page last month.

The light, single-engine Citabria plane entered production in the United States in 1964. 

When it was introduced, it was the only airplane being commercially produced in the US which was certified for aerobatics.

Videos on Twardokens’ Instagram page show her performing aerobatics in what is believed to be the same plane that crashed on Saturday.

It wasn’t immediately know what caused the crash.

The National Transportation and Safety Board are investigating the incident.

The post Female pilot and her passenger have to be cut out of a single-engine plane after it crashed in California while attempting to land at an airport, leaving them in ‘serious condition’ appeared first on ARFFWG | ARFF Working Group.

Single-engine plane slides off ice runway at Alton Bay

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 08:11

By DOUG ALDEN New Hampshire Union Leader

ALTON — A single-engine plane was damaged Sunday after sliding off the ice runway and striking a snowbank on Alton Bay.

The pilot and two passengers on the plane were not injured in the rough landing at the frozen air strip around 11:45 a.m. Sunday, said Paul LaRochelle, ice runway manager at Alton Bay Seaplane Base.

“The snowbank was just hard enough that it broke the nose gear,” LaRochelle said.

The propeller was also damaged by the snowbank, LaRochelle said. The plane will remain grounded until repairs can be completed.

The single-engine Piper was coming from Connecticut and the pilot, who was unfamiliar with the air strip on Lake Winnipesaukee, may have been going too fast when he landed with a tailwind, LaRochelle said.

LaRochelle said the conditions Sunday morning were good overall, although there was no snow on the ice, which made landing a little more tricky than usual.

“Most of them come in and they have no issues whatsoever. This was someone who had never been here before,” LaRochelle said.

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Plane makes emergency landing on Route 3

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 08:09

CULPEPER COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) — A plane made an emergency landing on Route 3 Sunday afternoon.

According to the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office, the plane landed at 4:05 p.m. on Route 3.

Sheriff units arrived at Germanna Highway and Yellow Bottom Road when the plane made it’s emergency landing.

According to Virginia State Police, their preliminary investigation revealed that the plane suffered engine failure after taking off from Warrenton Airport.

The aircraft made an emergency landing on Route 3 and then struck a utility pole. The impact also caused the aircraft to strike a fence.

The pilot, 47-year-old Hyunju V. Ko, was not injured in the crash.

There were also two juveniles in the plane, but they weren’t injured.

The crash remains under investigation.

The post Plane makes emergency landing on Route 3 appeared first on ARFFWG | ARFF Working Group.

Search suspended for captain of downed cargo plane

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 08:08


After rescuing one crew member on Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search Saturday afternoon for the captain of a downed cargo airplane, which crashed about 13 miles east of Bay Harbor Islands after departing from the Bahamas.

Captain Robert Hopkins, 68, was identified as the missing crew member Saturday evening by Conquest Air Cargo, the Miami Lakes-based company that owns the airplane. The Coast Guard searched for about 21 hours in an area of 364 square nautical miles before calling the search off.

“Our thoughts remain with the family of Captain Robert Hopkins at this difficult time,” Conquest Air Cargo said in a statement. “This is a tremendous loss for our company; Captain Hopkins’ selfless leadership was and will always remain an example for us all.”

The Coast Guard rescued one crew member from the wreckage off the coast of the Bay Harbor Islands on Friday afternoon. Dramatic helicopter rescue, captured on local TV footage, showed rescuers hoisting crew member Rolland Silva, 28, out of the water.

The 64-year-old Convair 131-B aircraft took off from Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau to Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport on Conquest Air Flight 504, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

In a statement to the Miami Herald, the company said the airplane declared an emergency and attempted a water landing when it crashed 13 miles offshore about 12:15 p.m. Television footage showed the aircraft upside down in the water and with parts detached.

The fixed-wing, multi-engine aircraft was returning from a cargo delivery in Nassau, the company said. It is certified with the FAA.

“Our concern is with our flight crew and we will continue to coordinate with the relevant authorities,” Conquest Air Cargo said.

The Coast Guard sent a rescue helicopter and a 45-foot boat to the scene. The helicopter crew transferred the rescued passenger to emergency medical services at Air Station Miami. His condition is unknown.

“Preliminary indication is that two people were on board,” the FAA said in a statement.

Conquest Air Inc., which registered to do business in Florida in 2002, is a cargo airline providing daily trips to Nassau and regular service to the Caribbean. It has an office at Lynden Pindling International Airport.

Responding agencies include the Coast Guard, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and Miami-Dade police. Commercial salvage crews also assisted. Miami-Dade police notified the Miami Coast Guard station of a possible downed two-engine Cessna plane with two people reportedly aboard, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

Coast Guard Chief Crystal Kneen confirmed that a crew was responding to the crash site Friday afternoon.

On Saturday, when the search was halted, the Coast Guard’s Capt. Megan Dean said in a statement:

“Suspending a search is never an easy decision and a lot of factors are considered and calculated before we make that decision. We have been in regular contact with the family members throughout our search efforts and extend our sympathies for what we know is a very difficult time for them,” said Dean, commander of Coast Guard Sector Miami.

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One killed in Mount Diablo plane crash

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 08:06


MOUNT DIABLO — A small plane crashed into a hillside in Mount Diablo State Park overnight Friday, killing the pilot, authorities said.

The pilot is believed to have been the only person aboard the single-engine Mooney M20 that crashed 2 miles southwest of the Mount Diablo summit, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

The crash happened “at an unknown time Friday night,” Gregor said, and the plane caught fire after it crashed.

A spokeswoman for California State Parks said one person was killed and no other injuries were reported in the crash.

The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District was called to Mount Diablo State Park at 2:41 p.m. Saturday for a report of a plane crash, but a dispatcher said the call was canceled when crews were on the way to the scene.

The pilot was flying from Hayward to Lincoln, northeast of Sacramento, and was reported overdue by a family member on Saturday, Gregor said.

Authorities have not released any information about what may have caused the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board will lead an investigation into the crash, along with the FAA, Gregor said.

One killed in Mount Diablo plane crash

The post One killed in Mount Diablo plane crash appeared first on ARFFWG | ARFF Working Group.

Small plane crashes behind Indian River County Jail

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 08:05

By: WPTV Webteam

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. — A small plane has crashed behind the Indian River County Jail, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The agency tweeted a photo of the aircraft, with the tail number N9219J, in a grassy area.

The Sheriff’s Office said the plane crashed by the jail Friday, just to the south of a retention pond.

The pilot was trying to land on a jail access road because he couldn’t make it to the airport, the agency said. He landed in a grassy area, then the plane hit a ditch and turned around.

No one was hurt.

The post Small plane crashes behind Indian River County Jail appeared first on ARFFWG | ARFF Working Group.

Elderly man killed after being struck by gyrocopter’s blades

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 08:03


Johannesburg – A man was killed when he was hit by a gyrocopter making an emergency landing at the Vaal Marina in Vereeniging on Sunday, paramedics said.

Netcare 911 paramedics responded just after noon to reports of an aircraft crash on the shore of the Vaal Marina next to the R54 in Gauteng, Netcare 911 spokesman Shawn Herbst said.

“Reports from the scene indicate that a gyrocopter collided with an elderly male believed to be in his 70s while trying to perform an emergency landing. The patient was assessed on [the] scene by a Netcare 911 emergency care practitioner and found to have no signs of life and declared deceased on the scene.”

The circumstances leading up to the incident were unknown, but police were on the scene and had secured the area for South African Civil Aviation Authority investigators, Herbst said.

In another statement, ER24 spokesman Werner Vermaak said the man was killed by a gyrocopter at the Vaal Marina in Vereeniging.

“Paramedics from ER24, Midvaal fire, and other EMS arrived on the scene where they found an elderly man [who] was apparently killed by a gyrocopter. Sadly, due to his extensive injuries, there was nothing that could be done for him and he was declared dead on the scene.

“It is understood from bystanders that members of a family scattered ashes of a loved one from the gyrocopter when it allegedly made an emergency landing on the bank. Other members were standing on the bank at the time. The elderly man was apparently struck by its blades as it made the emergency landing,” Vermaak said.

African News Agency (ANA)

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Today in History

ARFF Working Group - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 08:00

41 Years ago today: On 11 February 1978 a Pacific Western Boeing 737 crashed during a go-around at Cranbrook, killing 42 out of 49 occupants.

Date: Saturday 11 February 1978 Time: ca 12:55 Type: Boeing 737-275 Operator: Pacific Western Airlines Registration: C-FPWC C/n / msn: 20142/253 First flight: 1970-04-24 (7 years 10 months) Engines:Pratt & Whitney JT8D-9A Crew: Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 5 Passengers: Fatalities: 38 / Occupants: 44 Total: Fatalities: 42 / Occupants: 49 Aircraft damage: Destroyed Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair) Location: Cranbrook Airport, BC (YXC) (   Canada) Crash site elevation: 939 m (3081 feet) amsl Phase: Landing (LDG) Nature: Domestic Scheduled Passenger Departure airport: Calgary International Airport, AB (YYC/CYYC), Canada Destination airport: Cranbrook Airport, BC (YXC/CYXC), Canada Flightnumber: 314

Pacific Western flight 314 was a scheduled service from Edmonton, AB (YEG) to Castlegar Airport, BC (YCG) with stops at Calgary, AB (YYC) and Cranbrook (YXC). The flight departed Calgary at 12:32 in the afternoon. The Boeing 737-200 climbed to FL200 which was reached at 12:38. Calgary ATC then reported to the Cranbrook Aeradio station that flight 314 was underway with an ETA of 13:05. At Cranbrook it was snowing with visibility reported as 3/4 of a mile. A radio equipped snow removal vehicle was sweeping the runway at the time. The Aeradio operator at Cranbrook alerted the driver of the vehicle about the incoming aircraft and gave him the ETA of 13:05; they both expected the flight would report by the “Skookum Beacon” on a straight-in approach to runway 16, thus giving the vehicle operator about seven minutes to get off the runway. At 12:46, while descending out of FL180, flight 314 contacted Cranbrook Aeradio. One minute later the crew were advised that snow removal was in progress. No further transmissions were received from the flight by Aeradio. The aircraft passed the Skookum beacon inbound on a straight-in instrument approach, and flew the ILS for runway 16 to touchdown. The aircraft touched down at 12:55 some 800 feet from the threshold and reverse thrust was selected. Suddenly the crew noticed a snow plough on the runway. A go-around was initiated immediately. However one of the thrust-reversers didn’t fully re-stow because hydraulic power was automatically cut off at lift-off.
The aircraft became airborne prior to the 2000 foot mark, and flew down the runway at a height of 50 to 70 feet, flying over the snow plough. The left engine thrust reverser doors then deployed and the crew rapidly selected the flaps up from 40deg to 15deg. The airplane climbed to 300-400 feet, banked steeply to the left, lost height and side-slipped into the ground to the left of the runway. The aircraft broke up and caught fire

Probable Cause:

1. The estimated time of arrival of the aircraft at Cranbrook, calculated by Calgary ATC, and used by Aeradio for advisory purposes was considerably in error and resulted in a traffic conftict between the arriving aircraft and a vehicle working on the runway.
2. The flight crew did not report by the Skookum beacon on final approach, as was the normal practice at Cranbrook, thereby allowing the incorrect ETA to remain undetected.
3. Regulatory provisions concerning mandatory pilot position reporting during instrument approaches were inadequate.
4. The interfaces between the organizations providing Air Traffic Services, Telecommunications (Aeradio) and Airports Services were not well enough developed to provide a reliable fail-safe flight information service.
5. The pilots lost control of the aircraft consequent upon the left engine thrust reverser deploying in flight when the aircraft was at low speed, and in a high drag configuration.
6. The FAA design standards under which the Boeing 737 was constructed did not adequatety provide for the possibility of an aborted landing after touchdown and thrust reverser initiation.
7. The lack of a suitable national system of incident reporting, investigation, and follow-up corrective action allowed operational problems to remain uncorrected.
8. Rescue efforts at the accident scene were hampered due to lack of a fire fighting vehicle capable of negotiating deep snow and shortage of trained rescue personnel.

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Firefighter Close Calls - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 19:03

By Georgie Silvarole, Rochester Democrat Chronicle:

When firefighters with the Henrietta Fire District responded to a call for an overcrowded bar early Sunday morning, they had no idea what was about to happen.

Lt. Jared Guhl, who was not at the scene but debriefed with the firefighters who had been on duty overnight, said the massive brawl that unfolded about 1 a.m. outside Schramrocks Irish Pub at 200 Park Point Drive in Henrietta near Rochester Institute of Technology was unexpected.

“We have to treat every call as routine,” Guhl said. “We were kind of amazed at what transpired.”

In a post on Facebook, Henrietta Fire District Chief Mark Strzyzynski shared a retelling of that brawl: The fire department had been called in to assist with the bar being over occupancy, but when Engine 642 arrived, more than 200 people had spilled out of the bar and into the parking lot in a massive and chaotic fight.

Read the full story here.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 18:09

Cancer took Karen Schuart’s life on the day that would’ve marked her 25th year of service with the Asheville Fire Department.

During the time she spent working in the downtown station, Schuart came to be a cornerstone of her firefighter family. Known as “Skippy” because of her upbeat, enthusiastic take on life, Schuart forged friendships and bonds with her comrades and the community at large. Her absence has left a void.

“There’s just this emptiness that you can’t explain, and I’m sure it’ll be this way for a long time,” said Kelly Klope, spokeswoman for the department and a close friend of Schuart.

Schuart’s death also called to mind a familiar and growing fear and the need for legislative relief.

Karen Schuart, 58, died of cancer on Jan. 31. Schuart served nearly 25 years with the Asheville Fire Department. The North Carolina Industrial Commission has yet to declare her’s a line-of-duty death. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

On Jan. 31, she became Asheville Fire Department’s second casualty of cancer — now the leading cause of death among firefighters — in a span of less than 12 months. Firefighter Will Willis died of a rare form of kidney cancer in late February 2018.

More: Asheville firefighter’s cancer caused ‘line of duty death,’ family to receive benefits

The North Carolina Industrial Commission hasn’t yet determined whether Schuart’s will be declared a line-of-duty death, a designation that comes with additional benefits for her surviving family members.

But fellow Asheville firefighter and president of the local union Scott Mullins said he is “100 percent” certain Schuart deserves the distinction, which is rarely awarded to those who died of cancer despite its alarming prevalence in the field.

Asheville firefighter Mikey Riley is running 62 miles in honor of his late friend and firefighter Will Willis.Angela Wilhelm,

Mullins said he is also confident Schuart’s battle with ovarian and intestinal cancer highlights shortcomings in state law, which doesn’t offer workers’ compensation to firefighters diagnosed with cancer.

“For us, this is really frustrating,” he said over the phone Thursday. “We know we have the support of the community, but we don’t always have the support of the government. Karen kept coming to work because she had to; she couldn’t afford to leave.”

More: Asheville firefighter runs 100K for cancer awareness, keeping fallen friend in mind

Brian Turner behind legislative efforts 

On Wednesday, Mullins traveled to Raleigh to meet with Rep. Brian Turner, a Democrat from Buncombe County. The two aren’t strangers. They’ve worked since the 2017-18 legislative session to the pass presumptive cancer legislation, which would extend greater benefits to firefighters afflicted with the disease.

Schuart’s name came up several times during that discussion, Turner told the Citizen Times in a phone interview Friday.

“These folks are putting their lives on the line every time they go to work,” Turner said. “What they’re doing needs to be recognized, and we need to make sure they’re respected and taken care of.

“Karen is an example of the type of situations we’re talking about here. I think it’s tragic when we’re in a situation where people are forced to work out the last days and weeks of their lives because they have no other option.”

More: Asheville firefighter dies of kidney cancer at age 34

Schuart was diagnosed in May. She continued working as an assistant fire marshal until Jan.1, when she took early retirement, Klope said.

Turner said he plans to work this legislative session with his colleagues in the House, and with industry representatives like Mullins, to pass presumptive cancer and special separation allowance legislation for firefighters. Past attempts have received wide support in the House but failed to clear the Senate.

Karen Schuart, 58, died of cancer on Jan. 31. Schuart served nearly 25 years with the Asheville Fire Department. The North Carolina Industrial Commission has yet to declare her’s a line-of-duty death. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

Given the chance, Turner said he will tell Schuart’s story in an effort to move the needle.

“Great steps have been taken in regard to providing additional gear for firefighters, and that’s a great preventative measure,” he said. “But firefighters still get cancer, and when they do, how are we treating these folks?”

More: Cancer: Asheville firefighters face job danger even deadlier than fire

Schuart was a ‘hero,’ a ‘role model’

Schuart spent the last two and a half years with the Asheville Fire Department as an assistant fire marshal, but during the course of her long career she filled many roles.

She drove a fire engine for much of her 25 years. She fought hundreds of fires. She acted as a clown in a fire safety and prevention class that would travel to local elementary schools. And she was a founding member of the department’s female firefighter combat challenge team — a group of five women who competed in and won international competitions.

“At work, she was a hero who impacted so many lives,” said Mullins, who worked with Schuart for 12 years. “She had a tremendous impact on so many Asheville firefighters, especially the women. We don’t have that many female firefighters here, and the women looked up to Karen. She was a role model to us and to the community.”

Buy PhotoThe Asheville Fire departments throughout the city flew their flags at half-staff Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 in honor of fellow firefighter Karen Schuart, who lost her battle with cancer on the day that would’ve marked her 25th year of service with the department. (Photo: Angela Wilhelm/

For Klope, who joined the department shortly after Schuart, “Skippy” will be remembered as “almost like a sister.”

Klope and Schuart ate lunch together almost daily and both competed on the combat challenge team, along with Joy Ponder, a division chief and breast cancer survivor.

“She lived life to the fullest,” Klope said. “She loved life. She made the best of every situation.”

More: Asheville Fire Department’s $780K request for life-saving gear moves forward

These qualities are what Fire Marshal Kelly Hinz will miss most about her friend. Hinz was Schuart’s supervisor during her last few years. She said Thursday that Schuart’s death is particularly hard given Schuart was so close with the other women in the department and that it was her positive personality that traditionally lifted people’s spirits during hard times.

“The women get to know each other — whether as a means of support or friendship,” Hiz said. “Being a woman in this field, where there’s not many of us, made us have commonality.

“We understood better how to encourage and be there for each other be it during hard times or good times. But under sad times, normally Karen would be that upbeat person.”

A celebration of Schuart’s life will be on Feb. 15 at Salvage Station off Riverside Drive. A service honoring Schuart will begin at 3 p.m. and a gathering following the service will start an hour later.

While the NC Industrial Commission’s verdict is out, the International Association of Firefighters has ruled Schuart’s death to be in the line of duty. Her name will be inscribed on the memorial wall in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 17:53

By Elizabeth Payne, Ottawa Sun:

Jim Andrews remembers the day his doctor phoned with the news.

He was in his mid-30s at the time, a career firefighter, married with two children. He had joined the former City of Nepean’s fire department when he was 23 years old.

Early in 2001, his wife noticed a mole on Andrews’ chest that didn’t look right. His doctor tested it, but didn’t seem too concerned.

And then Andrews got the phone call.

As he listened, he wrote the word “malignant” on the blackboard in his family’s kitchen. He heard his wife start to cry.

With his diagnosis of malignant melanoma, Andrews became one of a band of brothers within the fire department — the so-called Nepean cluster.

Five firefighters, all of whom had worked at Viewmount fire station in Nepean, were diagnosed with cancer around the same time. Two of the firefighters developed brain cancer, one had colon cancer, one had liver cancer and Andrews was diagnosed with melanoma.

Read the full story here.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


Firefighter Close Calls - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 17:04

By Justin Mack, Indianapolis Star:

A man was killed and a firefighter was hospitalized after a Sunday-morning blaze on the city’s east-side.

According to Indianapolis Fire Department Battalion Chief Rita Reith, the fire was reported shortly before 8:30 a.m. at a single-story home near Apple Street and South Ewing Street.

The fire was called in by a person who saw flames coming from the house and reported that someone may have been trapped inside.

Heavy smoke was coming from the rear of the home when firefighters arrived. Reith said crews immediately began an aggressive attack and search operation.

Read the full story here.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

News report: Incident commander on Snapchat despite woman still trapped in Florida home

Statter 911 - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 12:28

Polk County woman was still on phone with 911 when firefighters arrived

The post News report: Incident commander on Snapchat despite woman still trapped in Florida home appeared first on Statter911.

Categories: Fire Service


Firefighter Close Calls - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 11:23

The family of a woman who died in a Polk County fire wants to know why she didn’t make it out alive.

“I think my house is on fire, and I’m here alone and I’m on a walker,” Loretta Pickard can be heard telling a 911 dispatcher.

Pickard’s log home along Rockridge Road in North Lakeland was filling with smoke.

“It’s like unbelievable,” Loretta’s sister Linda Weckle told 8 On Your Side. “It’s like I got a hole in my heart.”

Loretta died in the fire on November 23, 2018, five days before her 77th birthday.

Now her family is trying to figure out why she didn’t make it out alive.

“The steps went right up to the door where she was sitting waiting for help. She was 5 feet away from the door. It’s also frustrating that she was never asked how close are you to a door? She’s being told [during the 911 call] you’re ok, they’re coming to get you, they’re here. She heard them there. She thought it was just going to be moments before they walked in, save the day and everything would be ok. She was trying to wait for the people that were supposed to save her life and they never came,” said Loretta’s niece Amber Addison.

8 On Your Side learned that firefighters had to wait for a second crew to arrive for water.

Deputy County Manager Joe Halman Jr. said in the meantime first responders tried to rescue Loretta, but couldn’t make it around the home.

“At one point they went around the house and the fire was so hot did they kind of got singed themselves in an effort to try to rescue this lady,” Halman said.

“If it wasn’t too hot for her to be in there and be alive then how is it too hot for them to be able to walk around the outside?” Addison questioned.

Loretta managed to stay on the phone and talk to the 911 dispatcher for 12 minutes after hearing sirens.

“Ms. Pickard? Hello?” the dispatcher said as Loretta took her final breaths.

The family believes the dispatcher also needed to try harder to convince Loretta to leave the home.

“She was never asked how close are you to a door? Can you open a door? They would have seen her and surely they would’ve went up and grabbed her,” Addison said.

The family contends that the house was not fully engulfed when firefighters arrived, yet Loretta was never rescued.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety


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