Safety

TENN. FIREFIGHTER INJURED AT ‘SUSPICIOUS’ FIRE

Firefighter Close Calls - Mon, 02/11/2019 - 23:21

By Josh Breslow, WKRN:

A firefighter was injured battling a structure fire Monday morning in Rutherford County.

According to Rutherford County Fire Rescue, crews from several agencies responded around 4:30 a.m. to Keystone Drive where a previous fire had been reported Sunday.

The fire was extinguished but officials said one firefighter was transported to a hospital for non life-threatening injuries.

Read the full story here.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

BURNED AND LOST, N.Y. FIREFIGHTER SAYS HE ‘KNEW HIS BROTHERS WERE THERE’

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

ANOTHER RIG STRUCK ON THE INTERSTATE – THIS TIME IN THE INDY AREA

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

FIREFIGHTERS ENDANGERED AT 200-PERSON BRAWL

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

TWO FIREFIGHTER CANCER DEATHS-SAME FD-RENEWED CRIES FOR STATE PRESUMPTION PROTECTION

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, awilhelm@citizen-times.com

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/awilhelm@citizentimes.com)

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

FIRE CHIEF TALKS ABOUT HIS CANCER AND WATCHING STATION MATES DIE OFF

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

INDY FIREFIGHTER HURT IN ROOF COLLAPSE

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

WOMAN ON PHONE IN FL WITH 911 FOR 12 MINUTES NEVER RESCUED BY FD

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

PGFD ENGINE 821 STRUCK ON THE BELTWAY

Firefighter Close Calls - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 11:20

Around 5:20 am Sunday PGFD Engine from Oxon Hill 821 was providing “barrier protection” for accident scene on OL local lane of Beltway prior to RT 210 when a civilian vehicle hit the engine. The 2017 @PierceMfg engine sustained $9k in damage, however, saved crew and civilians on scene-no injuries. The striking vehicle had to swerve to avoid another vehicle driving recklessly on the Beltway.

Images provided by Batt Chief D Fletcher

 

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

FIREHOUSE FIRE IN KANSAS

Firefighter Close Calls - Sun, 02/10/2019 - 09:03

Trego County Rural Fire Station One was destroyed in a blaze Friday afternoon.

Trego County Communications received a call shortly after 2 p.m. for a report of flames coming out of the building.

The Wakeeney Fire Department and Trego County Fire Department responded to the fire. Crews were on scene until after 6 p.m.

No one was hurt.

Firefighters were able to save all four of the station vehicles but officials say the building is a total loss.

Western Cooperative Electric Association has offered to provide housing for the fire vehicles and will allow the department use of the building.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

4 FIREFIGHTERS INJURED WHEN CAR SLAMS FL ENGINE

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

Six people were hospitalized with injuries after a car slammed into a fire truck in Orlando near Orange Blossom Trail Saturday night, officials said.

The incident occurred on I-4 around 2:40 A.M.

Officials say that while assisting another disabled vehicle the car crashed at a high rate of speed into the fire engine.

Four firefighters were taken to the hospital and the driver and their passenger in the car were also hospitalized.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

FOR MD FIREFIGHTERS – WAITING FOR MAYDAY HELP FELT LIKE ETERNITY

Firefighter Close Calls - Sat, 02/09/2019 - 19:20

Josh Montague and Rebecca Budnick realize it could have been a lot worse — the fire in the home on North Stepney Road this week could have been roaring — but that didn’t make it any less scary when Montague fell into a hole in the steps and couldn’t get out.

He didn’t know what was below him in the basement, he wasn’t completely sure the fire was out and he was afraid something might spark it back up again.

Even with Budnick holding on to him, the assistant chief of Aberdeen Fire Department couldn’t pull himself up, and if he fell, Budnick was going to fall, too.

Montague sounded a mayday call and within minutes he was pulled to safety early Monday morning by members of Aberdeen’s Rapid Intervention Team.

For both of them, though, those few minutes felt like an eternity, they said Wednesday afternoon at Aberdeen Fire Department, two days after their harrowing experience.

“It was definitely a scary experience. I hope we never have to experience it again,” said Montague, 30, who works for Baltimore County Fire Department at Station 15 in Eastview.

Montague and Budnick were among the volunteers who responded to the fire just before 3 a.m. Monday in the 1300 block of North Stepney Road in Aberdeen.

When they arrived, the fire was through the roof. Ninety minutes later, the fire was contained, but firefighters still weren’t sure no one was in the house — there was a car in the driveway, an indication someone could be inside.

Montague was inside the housing “hitting what fire was left” when Budnick and another firefighter came into the room he was in.

Because the two are relatively new firefighters, Montague, who’s been with Aberdeen for 11 years, was trying to point things out to them, make it a learning experience.

Montague could see fire still burning in the basement and after feeling around, found steps and decided he would go down and put it out.

He gave Budnick a piece of webbing which she clipped to his breathing apparatus, in case he were to fall it would give her something to help her hold on to him.

Montague did what he was supposed to do, feeling around and kicking the floor to make sure it was sturdy before he moved downstairs. He got to a landing and when he shifted his weight, “the floor went out from under me,” Montague said.

He caught a step and part of the landing. With Budnick pulling on him, Montague was able to get up to chest high on the landing — but that’s as far as he got.

“I glanced below me to make sure there was no fire,” Montague said. “My biggest fear was my legs would burn up.”

When it first happened, Montague said he started to panic and remove his gear, “but something stopped me” and he kept it on.

Budnick and Montague tried to figure out how to get Montague out, but realized they couldn’t. Budnick couldn’t reach her radio, though, because she was using both hands to hold her partner.

“I called a mayday, because I couldn’t get myself up any further, and [Budnick] couldn’t pull me up,” he said. “If I fell though, then she was coming down with me.”

Budnick remembers reassuring Montague.

“I told him ‘I’ve got you, you’re not going to fall. If you fall, we’re both going down,’ ” she said.

Within minutes of Montague’s mayday call, members of the Rapid Intervention Team were in the basement and pulling himto safety.

Before the intervention team arrived, thoughts raced through both of their heads.

“A lot of things flashed in my mind really quick, my family, kids, that I could get hurt on this fire,” Montague said.

“It felt like forever,” he said.

“It happened so quickly, but it took forever,” Budnick said.

She wasn’t sure what had happened once the RIT members got to Montague.

“All of a sudden, he was gone. One minute we were hand in hand, the next minute I couldn’t hear him, feel him,” Budnick said. “I thought he had fallen, I started to panic, to freak out.”

As she quickly exited the house, someone told her Montague was safe.

“It made me feel better knowing he was alive,” Budnick said.

It isn’t often Montague, as the assistant chief, is inside fighting fires. He’s usually outside directing the crews.

“He and I are pretty good friends. He’s one of the people in the department I look up to most and I learned a lot from him — things I know to do I learned from him over the years,” Budnick said.

Montague, as the veteran firefighter, wanted to make sure Budnick, who’s been with Aberdeen for five years, was OK.

Both have replayed the ordeal over and over in their heads.

“I’ve spent Monday and Tuesday thinking about it, how it could have ended very differently, or if we were in a different part of the house where there was active fire,” said Budnick, who manages Spa on the Boulevard in Abingdon. “I thought about how we didn’t get to say goodbye to our loved ones, that my husband was at work.”

Montague wondered if he did something stupid or made a wrong decision that put them in danger. But they both realize they relied on their training did the right things and Montague is “wholeheartedly grateful” for the rescue team members and everyone else who was there.

“I’m grateful it wasn’t worse, I know it could have been,” Montague said. “I hear similar stories of firefighters falling through floors who aren’t here to tell it, others are telling it for them.”

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

BADLY BURNED LA. FIREFIGHTER SLOWLY RECOVERING, STILL UNABLE TO SEE

Firefighter Close Calls - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 10:22

By Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Advocate:

Colleagues of a Jefferson Parish firefighter who was badly burned while responding to a blaze at an Old Metairie condominium complex over the weekend are optimistic that he will fully regain the ability to see and speak.

Daniel Zeigler, who suffered extensive burns after falling through the roof of a burning building Saturday evening, can move his extremities and can respond to questions by writing notes on a pad and pencil. But his eyes are still too swollen for him to see fully, said the chief of his fire department, Dave Tibbetts.

Zeigler also has been on a ventilator that has prevented him from talking, said Tibbetts, who leads the East Bank Consolidated Fire Protection District.

But Tibbetts said he is hopeful Zeigler will soon be removed from the ventilator, and there is reason to believe he will be able to fully see again as the swelling around his eyes subsides.

Read the full story here.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

ILL. JUDGE AWARDS FULL PENSION TO FIREFIGHTER WHO DIED OF CANCER

Firefighter Close Calls - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 09:47

By Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune:

A Lake County judge ruled Tuesday that the family of a 51-year-old Buffalo Grove firefighter who died of colon cancer last year should receive a full pension benefit, upholding an earlier decision by a local review board that his fatal cancer was caused in the line of duty.

Lake County Circuit Court Judge Diane Winter’s ruling, which some said likely will be appealed, comes after Buffalo Grove officials announced last summer that they were challenging a decision made earlier in 2018 by the Buffalo Grove Fire Department Pension Board that the family of firefighter Kevin Hauber should receive a full line-of-duty death pension.

Hauber, a veteran firefighter and paramedic in Buffalo Grove, died in January 2018, roughly four years after being diagnosed with colon cancer.

Inside a courtroom that attracted dozens of suburban firefighters and onlookers, Winter said the court’s role was “not to re-weigh the evidence” already reviewed by the pension board.

Read the full story here.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

BATTERIES STOLEN OUT OF APPARATUS IN TN – UNABLE TO RESPOND

Firefighter Close Calls - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 08:22

A Mid-South volunteer fire department is working to repair a tanker truck after someone stole the truck batteries.

The Hardin County Fire Department learned two batteries were stolen from a tanker when firefighters tried to respond to a call on Tuesday.

The volunteer firefighters got a 911 call for a house fire, and when they got to the fire station they realized someone had broken in.

Video shows the thieves cutting a hole into the side of the building.

Fire Chief Melvin Martin says the crew could not respond to the fire.

It turns out that fire was at the home of one of their own.

Other responding crews were able to put the fire out.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

ALLENTOWN ENGINE AND MOTORCYLCE CRASH

Firefighter Close Calls - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 08:15

A person was injured Thursday afternoon after a city fire truck and a motorcycle collided in Allentown, police said.

The crash happened on American Parkway at Front Street shortly after 3 p.m., on the bridge, Allentown police Capt.Charles Roca said.

The motorcycle’s driver sustained moderate injuries and was taken to an area hospital.

The investigation is ongoing.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

FREEPORT FIREFIGHTER INJURED AT FIRE

Firefighter Close Calls - Fri, 02/08/2019 - 08:11

The Freeport Fire Department says a firefighter was injured while battling a fire on Thursday morning.

It happened around 6 a.m. at the 800 block of Locust Ave. Officials say they saw heavy fire showing from a 2 story duplex when they arrived on scene. First responders tried to enter the building to fight the fire, but had to exit due to the conditions.

Back-up was called to the scene and a total of 25 firefighters were used to put the fire out after 2 hours. Officials say the firefighter hurt suffered a minor injury. No civilians were injured, but one person is being assisted by Red Cross for living arrangements.

Two cats were rescued in the fire, but one cat did die.

Damage is estimated at $60,000 and the fire is currently under investigation.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

MAN CHARGED AFTER THROWING COFFEE ON NY FIREFIGHTER

Firefighter Close Calls - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 16:10

New York State Police tell 7 Eyewitness News they have arrested a person for allegedly throwing coffee on a 68 year-old woman working as a volunteer fire officer in Niagara County.

They identified him as Luis Molina-Roman, 31, of Lockport. Troopers said he was very cooperative and was apologetic during the arrest.

Molina-Roman was charged with governmental obstruction and harassment in the second.

“When someone does something like that and we find out, the state police are going to track that person down and make the arrest,” said Trooper James O’Callaghan. “This is something that’s inappropriate and something we will not tolerate.”

According to investigators, volunteers with the Rapids Fire Company were helping direct traffic near the scene of a crash Monday night on Old Beattie Road in Lockport.

At one point, one of the volunteers asked the driver of a vehicle not to go down the road because it was closed. That’s when, according to troopers, Molina-Roman threw coffee at the volunteer from the passenger seat.

The Rapids Fire Company Chief says the volunteer officer was not burned.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

5 FDNY FIREFIGHTERS INJURED AT STATEN ISLAND HOUSE FIRE

Firefighter Close Calls - Thu, 02/07/2019 - 16:07

A 21-year-old woman and her dog died and five firefighters were injured in a blaze in a Staten Island house early Thursday, officials said.

The fire broke out just before 6 a.m. in a wood-framed home on Hatfield Place near Crittenden Place in Elm Park. The woman and her dog were alone in the house at the time.

The victim, who was found unconscious, was rushed to Richmond University Medical Center, where she died.

The fire does not appear to be suspicious, a FDNY spokesman said.

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

4 DETROIT FIREFIGHTERS TRAPPED – UNION CLAIMS NO MAYDAY POLICY EXISTS

Firefighter Close Calls - Wed, 02/06/2019 - 20:27

The Detroit Firefighters Association is calling for action after a terrifying fire. Four firefighters found themselves trapped inside a burning building.

The fire started on January 31, just before midnight at a vacant grocery store at Van Dyke and Gratiot.

7 Action News has obtained the dispatch recording. In it you hear the command officer on the scene report there are four firefighters trapped in the building.

A second alarm is then called for, so back-up responds. Was that enough?

“This incident right here, we are very lucky that we didn’t lose some of our members,” said Mike Nevin, the President of the Detroit Firefighters Association.

Nevin says three firefighters are now off the job, recovering from non-life-threatening burns. He believes their injuries could have been prevented had the department had different policies.

“The bullshit stops now. Stop. Tell the truth. We are undermanned and understaffed,” said Nevin.

He shared with 7 Action News copies of Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration complaints he filed asking for more Rapid Intervention Crew Training at the department.

Such training would teach crews how to best react if a firefighter is down.

Nevin says they need more training and manpower. He says the dispatch recording shows that no one called out Mayday, which would clear the radio traffic for the search and make sure everyone knew they had an emergency situation.

“We don’t have a Mayday policy. We don’t even know how to implement it,” said Nevin.

7 Action News went to the Detroit Public Safety Headquarters to ask about these concerns.

“It is a ridiculous accusation,” said Chief Robert Distelrath. “We do have a Mayday policy . The appropriate number of people were dispatched.”

Distrelrath showed WXYZ a copy of the department’s Mayday Policy, which he says is posted in every firehouse.

He says firefighters are trained on it annually. He said just last fall every firefighter was provided with a radio with a Mayday button. They can push that button if they are facing an emergency.

He says staffing is regularly assessed and, as the city grows, he expects the manpower to increase.

He says since he became chief he has added staff.

Firefighters involved in the incident attended “battalion school” on Wednesday, a meeting that allows them to voice concerns and look for ways to better respond in the future. The department believes safety is number one priority.

Distelrath worked as a firefighter before becoming chief.

“I was in the engine house for 32 years,” he said. “I am a firefighter.”

“We are asking for help,” said Nevin of his message to the public. “I am calling 911 to you. Call the mayor’s office. Put pressure on these people. We need training. We need help.”

Categories: Fire Service, Safety

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