Fire, EMS vehicles and firefighters having a bad day!!!!!!
2011 April

Return to the current Crashes

This page Will load slowly, lots of info.
Fire Truck
Lights will continuously flash when page completely loads.

Kolbs Home

This will be my last posting until May 14th. I will be taking a trip to Alaska for a little R&R.
Everyone stay safe. I'll be back in the office May 14th.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 30, 2011
Rescuers Hobbled by Worst Twisters Since 1932

AP Photo/Jay Reeves / Firefighters search the rubble of a home in the Alberta City section of Tuscaloosa, Ala. on April 29.

AP Photo/Birmingham News, Jeff Roberts / Emergency responders search for injured and missing people near Warrior River Road and Master's Drive in Concord, Ala.

AP Photo/Birmingham News, Jeff Roberts / Rescue workers search a hillside after what appeared to be a tornado ripped through parts of Concord, Ala.

AP Photo/Birmingham News, Jeff Roberts / Rescue workers tend to an injured person after what appeared to be a tornado ripped through parts of Concord, Ala.

AP Photo/The Birmingham News, Bernard Troncale / Rescue personnel look for casualties after after a tornado touched down in Birmingham, Ala.

AP Photo/Butch Dill / Residents search through what is left of their homes after a tornado hit Pleasant Grove just west of downtown Birmingham, Ala.

Southerners found their emergency safety net shredded Friday as they tried to emerge from the nation's deadliest tornado disaster since the Great Depression.

Emergency buildings are wiped out. Bodies are stored in refrigerated trucks. Authorities are begging for such basics as flashlights. In one neighborhood, the storms even left firefighters to work without a truck.

The death toll from Wednesday's storms reached 329 across seven states, including 238 in Alabama, making it the deadliest U.S. tornado outbreak since March 1932, when another Alabama storm killed 332 people. Tornadoes that swept across the South and Midwest in April 1974 left 315 people dead.

Hundreds if not thousands of people were injured Wednesday - 990 in Tuscaloosa alone - and as many as 1 million Alabama homes and businesses remained without power.

The scale of the disaster astonished President Barack Obama when he arrived in the state Friday.

"I've never seen devastation like this," he said, standing in bright sunshine amid the wreckage in Tuscaloosa, where at least 45 people were killed and entire neighborhoods were flattened.

Mayor Walt Maddox called it "a humanitarian crisis" for his city of more than 83,000.

Maddox said up to 446 people were unaccounted for in the city, though he added that many of those reports probably were from people who have since found their loved ones but have not notified authorities. Cadaver-detecting dogs were deployed in the city Friday but they had not found any remains, Maddox said.

During the mayor's news conference, a man asked him for help getting into his home, and broke down as he told his story.

"You have the right to cry," Maddox told him. "And I can tell you the people of Tuscaloosa are crying with you."

At least one tornado - a 205 mph monster that left at least 13 people dead in Smithville, Miss. - ranked in the National Weather Service's most devastating category, EF-5. Meteorologist Jim LaDue said he expects "many more" of Wednesday's tornadoes to receive that same rating, with winds topping 200 mph.

Tornadoes struck with unexpected speed in several states, and the difference between life and death was hard to fathom. Four people died in Bledsoe County, Tenn., but a family survived being tossed across a road in their modular home, which was destroyed, Mayor Bobby Collier said.

By Friday, residents whose homes were blown to pieces were seeing their losses worsen - not by nature, but by man. In Tuscaloosa and other cities, looters have been picking through the wreckage to steal what little the victims have left.

"The first night they took my jewelry, my watch, my guns," Shirley Long said Friday. "They were out here again last night doing it again."

Overwhelmed Tuscaloosa police imposed a curfew and got help from National Guard troops to try to stop the scavenging.

Along their flattened paths, the twisters blew down police and fire stations and other emergency buildings along with homes, businesses, churches and power infrastructure. The number of buildings lost, damage estimates and number of people left homeless remained unclear two days later, in part because the storm also ravaged communications systems.

Tuscaloosa's emergency management center was destroyed, so officials used space in one of the city's most prominent buildings - the University of Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium - as a substitute before moving operations to the Alabama Fire College. Less than two weeks ago, the stadium hosted more than 90,000 fans for the football team's spring intrasquad Red-White Game.

A fire station was destroyed in nearby Alberta City, one of the city's worst-hit neighborhoods. The firefighters survived, but damage to their equipment forced them to begin rescue operations without a fire truck, city Fire Chief Alan Martin said.

Martin said the department is running normally and has since deployed a backup vehicle to serve the neighborhood. "In reality, it's just an extension of what we do every day," he said.

Also wiped out was a Salvation Army building, costing Tuscaloosa much-needed shelter space. And that's just part of the problem in providing emergency aid, said Sister Carol Ann Gray of the local Catholic Social Services office.

"It has been extremely difficult to coordinate because so many people have been affected - some of the very same people you'd look to for assistance," Gray said.

Emergency services were stretched particularly thin about 90 miles to the north in the demolished town of Hackleburg, Ala., where officials were keeping the dead in a refrigerated truck amid a body bag shortage. At least 27 people were killed there and the search for missing people continued, with FBI agents fanning out to local hospitals to help.

Damage in Hackleburg was catastrophic, said Stanley Webb, chief agent in the county's drug task force.

"When we talk about these homes, they are not damaged. They are gone," he said.

Gail Enlow was in town looking for her aunt, Eunice Cooper, who is in her 70s. She wiped away tears as she pointed to the twisted mess that's left of the housing project where Cooper lived.

"Nobody's seen her," she said, trying to hold back the sobs. "She can just barely get around and she would need help."

But in Hackleburg as in Tuscaloosa, emergency workers had more to do than aid suffering victims. People have looted a demolished Wrangler jeans distribution center, and authorities locked up drugs from a destroyed pharmacy in a bank.

Fire Chief Steve Hood said he desperately wanted flashlights for the town's 1,500 residents because he doesn't want them using candles that could ignite their homes.

In Cullman, a town about 50 miles north of Birmingham, workers have been putting in long hours to clean up debris and exhausted police officers face the same problems as the people they are sworn to protect. Emergency responders have waiting in hourslong lines with other drivers to get gas at stations without power.

False rumors, meanwhile, were sweeping the town. People were pushing debris from their yards into streets because they heard they were supposed to and filling up their bathtubs with water because they heard the city would cut off the supply.

Kathy McDonald glanced around her damaged town and quietly wept. Her family's furniture store, which sold tables and couches for decades, was torn apart.

"I just can't understand this. Are people coming to help us?" she said. "We feel all alone."

Alabama emergency management officials said Friday that the state had 238 confirmed deaths. There were 34 deaths in Mississippi, 34 in Tennessee, 15 in Georgia, five in Virginia, two in Louisiana and one in Kentucky.

Friday night, Obama declared Mississippi to be a disaster area, qualifying six counties in that state for federal funding.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has responded to all affected areas and has officials on the ground in Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia and Tennessee, Director Craig Fugate said. State and local authorities remain in charge of response and recovery efforts, Fugate said.

In the Birmingham suburb of Pleasant Grove, where 10 people died, building contractors used heavy equipment Friday to help clear debris from impassable streets.

Volunteers arrived from as far as Mobile - some 250 miles away to deliver food, water and fuel and help with search and rescue. The National Guard closed the town to outsiders, trying to keep out gawkers and looters.

Police Chief Robert Knight said perhaps a quarter of the town of 10,000 is wiped out.

"We're having a hard time recovering," he said. But he vowed that residents will rebuild.

"We'll do it. We'll do it," he said. "We just will. People out here are resilient. It's a good city."
By JAY REEVES and GREG BLUESTEIN - Associated Press Writers

Please buckle your seat belt

April 30, 2011
Two Firefighters Injured Battling Wildfire - AZ

Two firefighters were injured Friday while working on a wildfire burning near the southern part of Arizona.

Coronado National Forest spokesperson Heidi Schewel said the firefighters were injured while working on the Bull Fire, burning approximately five miles west of Nogales.

Schewel said the specific manner as to how the firefighters were injured was not known.

Schewel said the injuries are not life threatening. The names of the firefighters were not released.

The Bull fire began in Mexico and spread north into U.S.territory, said Schewel. The estimated size of the fire was 3,750 acres, with approximately 300 acres burning in Arizona, said Schewel.
Eric Zotcavage Content Creator, KPHO CBS5 News - Story by / PHOENIX --

Please buckle your seat belt

April 30, 2011
Firefighter Injures Hand at House Fire - OH

April 29--A firefighter was injured while assisting at a house fire Thursday night on Akron's west side.

The firefighter, whose name was not released, sustained a hand injury, a department spokesman said.

Firefighters were called to a home in the 900 block of Stadelman Avenue just before midnight Thursday, according to a spokesman.

Damage was estimated at about $20,000. Firefighters say the fire was started by an electrical short inside a wall.
The Akron Beacon Journal, Ohio

Please buckle your seat belt

April 30, 2011
Ambulance, Car In Crash On Rt. 66 - PA

An ambulance and a car were involved in a crash late Friday morning in Armstrong County, just north of Vandergrift.

The Parks Township Fire Department said the ambulance had a patient inside and was headed north on Route 66 when it collided with a car that pulled out from Penn Avenue.

Channel 4 Action News' Sheldon Ingram reported that two people were injured in the car and had to be cut out. Two ambulance workers were also injured. Their names and conditions are not being released yet.

Sky 4 flew over the crash scene, showing that the car had significant damage and the ambulance had some front-end damage.

State police troopers from the Kittanning station said the car stopped at a stop sign at Penn Avenue before continuing onto Route 66.

Police also said the ambulance was not traveling at a high rate of speed and did not have its lights or siren on. It was a "routine" run to the hospital with a patient who was not in need of trauma care.

The crash remains under investigation. No charges have been filed.
Story by / PARKS TOWNSHIP, Pa. --

Please buckle your seat belt

April 30, 2011
Man Hurt After Two-Car Collision Involving a Medic SUV - MA

LOWELL -- A Saturn Ion rolled over two to four times in the middle of the intersection at Bridge Street and the VFW Highway yesterday afternoon, after a collision with a sport utility vehicle driven by paramedics from Saints Medical Center.

The driver of the Saturn, John Rossman, 25, of East Bridgewater, was taken to Saints Medical Center with minor injuries, according to police. He was alone in the vehicle. He was cited for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.

Two Saints paramedics were in the sport utility vehicle, but they were not hurt. Police identified the driver as Dwight Curtin, 58, and the other paramedic as David Carney, 43.

Police said it appears the Saturn was driving toward Aiken Avenue on the VFW Highway as it entered the intersection and was struck by the paramedics' vehicle about 3:45 p.m.

Christina Baez and her husband, Victor Baez, were in the parking lot at CVS when they heard the crash and looked to see the Saturn flip an estimated three or four times.

"He's lucky to be alive," Christina Baez said of the man in the Saturn.

Stephen Pica and Jared Oljey, both 15 and of Lowell, were walking up Lakeview Avenue when they heard sirens and looked toward the intersection just as the collision occurred.
By Robert Mills / Lowell Sun (Massachusetts)

Please buckle your seat belt

April 30, 2011
Houston Businesses Burn, Firefighter Breaks Leg - TX

A fire that broke at a west Harris County strip mall Friday morning, destroying several businesses, was started by discarded smoking materials, investigators said.

Fire crews were sent to the center on Highway 6 at Clay Road at 9:40 a.m.

"When we arrived on scene, we found heavy smoke, heavy fire from the strip center. We immediately went into a defensive mode attack on the fire," said Robert Rasa with the Cy-Fair Fire Department.

One part of the L-shaped structure was destroyed and flames continued to spread.

Firefighters from six departments, including the Houston Fire Department, helped battle the blaze.

"The smoke is extremely thick," witness Mario Ortiz said. "It was a pretty good (fire). It happened fairly quickly."

"The flames (were) way above the building and quite a bit of smoke. It moved so, so fast from when it first started," witness Arthur Murdock said. "There wasn't too many people out in the parking lot."

One firefighter suffered a broken leg and was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital for treatment. No one else was injured.

Officials said everyone evacuated safely.

"Our investigation indicates the fire started at the base of an exterior awning," said Lt. Chad Shaw of the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office. "The fire was accidental in nature and was caused by discarded smoking materials."

Witnesses said the fire appeared to have started between a hair salon and a Chinese restaurant.

"That's where I saw the flames start to go up," Murdock said.

Eight businesses in the strip center sustained fire, water and heat damage
Story by / HOUSTON

Please buckle your seat belt

April 30, 2011
Rookie Illinois Firefighter Pinned During Training - IL

A rookie East St. Louis firefighter was seriously injured during training Wednesday night, according to The Belleville News-Democrat.

Firefighter Bobby Cole Jr., 27, was pinned between a fire truck and a wall and sustained a broken pelvis and serious internal injuries.

He was transported to St. Louis University Hospital where he remains in the intensive care unit.

His father, a police captain with the East St. Louis Police Department, told the newspaper that he is expect to recover but that it will be a long journey.

The incident remains under investigation.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 30, 2011
Arsonist torches Timber Knob Volunteer Fire Department - MO

An arsonist struck in Ozark County in the most unlikely of places last weekend. The Timber Knob Volunteer Fire Department is the victim, and it's a big blow to the small community.

"I helped start this fire department from the ground up," said Fire Chief Ruby Winslow.

The Timber Knob Volunteer Fire Department is more than just a building.

"It's a little bit of your heart getting thrown out the door every time we turn around," said Winslow as volunteers cleaned up the burnt equipment.

Winslow has been fire chief since 1995 when the department was created.

"Every vehicle we had was black," Winslow said. "You can't tell anything about anything. They were blacked out."

"It's taken years and donations to get it and now it's just gone," said Caney Mountain Volunteer Fire Department Chief Robert Peat.

The fire wasn't electrical and didn't start because of lightning.

"The lights on the trucks -- it was hot enough to melt every light we had," said Winslow.

It started because an arsonist made it start.

"Why? Where do we start to rebuild?" asked Peat.

This isn't the first time tragedy has struck the Timber Knob Volunteer Fire Department. Just last year, they lost one of their own in the line of duty.

Every piece of equipment thrown away is a brutal reminder of all the hard work that they put into making the department a reality.

"It's the firefighters that are helping us tear it down," Winslow said. "A lot of them helped us build it also."

While their spirit might be broken, their resolve certainly is not.

"They can kick us down but we aren't down forever," said Winslow.

The department is in desperate need of help -- anything from supplies and equipment to monetary donations. If you'd like to help call (417) 679-2000.
by Jay Scherder, KY3 News |

Please buckle your seat belt

April 30, 2011
AMBULANCE was hijacked by a naked, drug-crazed man - NM


KRQE-TV has the story in this video report:

AN ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, AMBULANCE was hijacked Friday morning by a naked, drug-crazed man. He had been arrested after some people complained about a naked man running around their neighborhood, creating a distubance, and running on people's rooftops. When the police put the man into the ambulance to be transported to a psycho ward, they advised the EMT's to secure the patient. But the ambo crew declined because he was being "cooperative." As they started to the hospital, the naked wayfarer broke bad in the back of the ambulance and threw the two EMT's out the back door.

He then crawled through the connecting window and attacked the ambulance driver, throwing him out of the ambulance, too. After getting rid of the opposition, he started driving the ambulance himself, getting only a couple of blocks before he wrecked it. The cops found him two hours later.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 29, 2011
Chief Spots House Fire, Jumps Into Action - PA

A Westmoreland County fire chief was in the right place at the right time when he spotted flames on a porch at a North Huntingdon home and jumped into action.

A crew from Jeannette EMS was one of the first to drive by the scene, recording the fire on their dashboard camera while calling 911.

"Talk about being in the right place at the right time they were," said Randy Highlands, of Jeannette EMS.

But so was Dan Musgrove.

Musgrove said he passed the scene at 4 a.m. Tuesday while on his way to work.

"I saw the fire and automatic instinct is I gotta get down there and put it out," said Musgrove, who helped extinguish the fire.

Musgrove said he used his safety vest to douse the flames.

Putting out fires isn't anything new for Musgrove, who is the acting fire chief at the Delmont Volunteer Fire Department.

Although he did admit using a safety vest and a bottle of water to do so was a first.

"Maybe another three to four minutes, it could have been into the wall and they probably could have lost the whole house," said Musgrove.

But Musgrove said what he did comes with the territory.

"It's just what we do. I mean, I'd do it for anybody," said Musgrove.

Hait reported that a resident was sleeping inside at the time of the fire.

Investigators said they believe the fire was intentionally set but have not made any arrests.

Watch the video report
Story by / NORTH HUNTINGDON, Pa. --

Please buckle your seat belt

April 29, 2011
$16K In Equipment Stolen From Fire Station - WA

Deputies have arrested a 30-year-old man accused of using stolen gas cards to get away with fuel valued at more than $1,500.

Investigators say Timothy Moss is also a person of interest in the theft of fire and medical equipment belonging to Cowlitz County Fire District 1.

According to Capt. Corey Huffine with the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, Moss was recorded on surveillance video on two occasions filling up his pick-up truck at an industrial fuel pump.

Huffine says Moss was using gas cards that were registered to the Fire District.

Fire officials say between March 29 and April 11, someone broke into the volunteer station along Woodland Heights Road.

In that theft, Victor Leatzow, a spokesman for Cowlitz County Fire, says equipment valued at $16,500 was stolen. Leatzow says the theft was discovered April 11 when volunteer firefighters arrived at the station.

Leatzow says medical and fire equipment was stolen, in addition to the Jaws of Life.

The value of the gear is roughly 5 percent of the station’s budget, officials say. Because important equipment was stolen, Leatzow says, the station had to shut down for a few days.

Prosecutors have only charged Moss with being in possession of the stolen gas cards. Huffine says they have not linked him to the stolen fire equipment, but are looking at all possibilities.

No medical gear was found during a search of Moss' home, investigators say.

Leatzow says the station is back up and running, but only because they pulled back-up gear from other stations.

During the time Station 3 was out of service, Leatzow says, other stations throughout the county helped with service calls.

Anyone with information on either case is urged to call deputies with the Cowlitz County Sheriff Office
Story by / WOODLAND, Wash.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 29, 2011

Thrown around

Thrown around

While there are numerous horrific stories of how this week's weather has devastated the south, including it impacting numerous Firefighters and departments, this story is absolutely amazing.

While responding on a run before tornado approached his community, the Fire Chief of the Shoal Creek (Alabama) VFD, was actually picked up by the tornado, flipped around several times and dropped upside down in the Coosa River! While the apparatus was upside down in the river, Fire Chief Vernon White amazingly managed to unbuckle his seat belt, get out of the truck through a broken window and swim to safety.

According to the Chief: “When I got to the end of the road, I saw the tornado coming--- I turned left and tried to outrun it. I got a quarter-of-a-mile down the road and the tornado hit me. It picked my truck up, turned it around and around. “I don’t know how many times I rolled and rolled and rolled on the ground. I ended up in the river.” Chief White said the tornado picked the truck up he knows at least one time and they made a complete circle one time before being dropped in the river. Chief White estimates the tornado took him and the vehicle 100 to 150 yards before it landed in the water. “When the tornado first hit the truck, I grabbed hold of the steering wheel and laid down in the seat,” White said. “The force of the wind blew all of the windows out of the truck. I remember being upside down in the water. I had to hold my breath maybe 30 to 45 seconds as I unbuckled my seatbelt and went out the driver’s side window to get out of and swim to safety.” The only injury White sustained was a black eye and he did say he was real sore after all the tumbling. “I am thankful to God I survived,” he said.

First report
Second report
Third report

Please buckle your seat belt

April 29, 2011
Crew Takes Cover as Storm Topples Firehouse - AL

Storm Topples Firehouse
AP Photo/David Bundy / Debris covers a fire truck at the Eoline Volunteer Fire Department near Centreville, Ala.

Storm Topples Firehouse
AP Photo/David Bundy / Debris rests around a fire truck at the Eoline Volunteer Fire Department near Centreville, Ala.

Storm Topples Firehouse
AP Photo/Dave Martin / Gary Clements of Headland, Ala., Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief inspects tornado damage at the remains of the Eoline fire station.

Eoline firefighters inside a station had a very close call Wednesday night as a deadly storm tore through their area.

The crew took cover in the only small room in the firehouse as a tornado neared the small town near Centreville, Ala., according to WALA-TV.

When the firefighters emerged following the storm, they realized it was the only room left standing in the building.

According to the Associated Press, at least three firefighters were injured during the storm.

At least one civilian fatality has been reported in Eoline and it is among the close to 300 reported in seven southern states following the storms.

Search and rescue efforts continue in the area and throughout Alabama.

Another fire station was destroyed in Rabun County, Ga. on Wednesday after if caught fire during the storms there. News

Please buckle your seat belt

April 29, 2011


A Bermuda Dunes house was destroyed by a Thursday afternoon fire that also left one firefighter with minor burns to the hand.

The house was destroyed, and Cal Fire estimated the loss at $180,000. A house on the north side of that home was saved because of firefighters’ efforts.

The firefighter was hospitalized, and a second person with minor burns declined medical treatment from paramedics called to the home in the 41-300 block of Pedro Buff Drive.

Fire crews were first called to the home at 12:38 p.m. They kept the blaze, which produced heavy smoke, from spreading to a neighboring home and also put out brush behind the home that caught fire.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 29, 2011

A 66-year-old volunteer Fire Policeman was hit this morning while directing traffic in Hampden Township. William H. Taylor was keeping traffic off Good Hope Road, where flooding from the Conodoguinet River was blocking parts of the road. Around 0800 hours, a white pick-up truck driven by John L. Kurtz, 66,, hit FPO Taylor as it was making a turn. It isn’t clear if Kurtz was turning onto the blocked road. Police said he was alert after the crash but the extent of his injuries aren’t known. It was stormy and raining at times very hard this morning.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 29, 2011
Fire Tanker Rolls, Driver Injured - NM

Tanker Rolls

KOB-TV Ch, 4 Albuquerque posted the above video:

A 27-YR.-OLD MEMBER OF the Sierra Volunteer Fire Department in Roswell, New Mexico, was responding with the department's tanker to a grass fire Thursday afternoon when he rolled the truck while turning a corner.

The accident occurred at 3 pm Thursday afternoon and according to the fire chief, the tanker valued at $300,000 was a total loss. The driver, Adam Chrisman was admitted to the hospital for observation with a head injury. The state police investigated and issued him a citation for careless driving.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 29, 2011
9 injured after ambulance, 3 other vehicles crash - NY

9 injured

Nine people were hurt Thursday afternoon after an ambulance, two cars and an SUV crashed at South Fulton and Fifth Street.

Police said the injured were sent to hospitals and none was thought to have life-threatening injuries.

The TransCare ambulance overturned on its side in the crash.

The other vehicles were two cars and a white Cadillac SUV.

Daniel Findley, 58, of nearby Hancock Avenue came to the aid of the ambulance crew.

"I was standing in front of my house. I heard this big bang and came out and looked," said Findley, a mechanic.

Findley climbed atop the ambulance and pulled one of the women out the passenger-side door.

Another man pulled the other woman out through the front windshield, which was shattered.

Findley said the women did not appear too physically damaged.

"The woman I helped was not too bad," Findley said. "She was bleeding from her arm."

Findley said there was no patient in the ambulance.

South Fulton was blocked off for hours as police investigated the crash.
Danielle De Souza / The Journal News

Please buckle your seat belt

April 28, 2011
Fire Chief Badly Hurt in Flooded Road Collapse - NY

The storm that swept through the area Tuesday night caused at least one serious injury as it took out bridges and flooded homes in Moriah and Port Henry.

Mineville-Witherbee Fire Chief Paul Tromblee was badly hurt when the Witherbee Road near Silver Hill Road collapsed under his car.

He was returning to a flooding call at 275 Witherbee Road when the roadway gave way.

"He hit hard," Essex County Emergency Services Director Donald Jaquish said. "His car went in."

Tromblee was transferred to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington with a cervical injury. A condition report wasn't available Wednesday morning because he was still being evaluated.

Port Henry Fire Chief James Hughes said a Port Henry fire truck had just left the Witherbee Road location, assisting with a cellar pump-out, when Tromblee came back and the road caved in.

"The road just gave way. It was undermined by all the water, from Moriah Center up to Witherbee."


Moriah resident Anna Mayhood had a narrow escape. She driving across the Broad Street Bridge about 4 a.m. Wednesday when the structure collapsed into the raging stream below.

Her SUV stuck on the edge of the falling roadway; Mayhood jumped to the roadway from the vehicle and was uninjured.

"It was a long night," Hughes said as a power shovel removed debris from the Dock Lane stream off Route 9N/22.

The stream jumped its banks early Wednesday morning and flooded homes at the bottom of Convent Hill in Port Henry.

One resident of Convent Hill, Sandra Easter, had to be rescued by boat by firefighters, Hughes said.

"We rigged a boat with two firefighters in it. We retrieved Mrs. Easter and her cat. The whole area was underwater."

Mrs. Easter, whose husband, John, was out of town, was not injured.


Jaquish said there was flooding all over Essex County, but nothing like in Moriah.

"We're in the process of declaring a county-wide state of emergency. We have roads out in Jay, Keene Valley, North Hudson."

In North Hudson, heavy damage was reported to the former Frontier Town entrance A-frame building. The theme park has been closed since the late 1990s.

Moriah Town Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava said states of emergency were declared in both Moriah and the Village of Port Henry.

"At the bottom of Convent Hill, houses and cars are under water. There's a car hanging off the Broad Street Bridge. It's unreal."

Some areas of the town lost sewer and water services, and Scozzafava said they're working to restore those.

"I hired an emergency contractor. We have to get the sewer repaired immediately. We're trying to get water back to one area that's out."


Boyea's Restaurant on Dock Lane had planned to open for the season Wednesday, but its outside coolers were carried away by the floodwaters and the bridge is closed until it can be inspected by a State Department of Transportation engineer.

Griffith Home Energy and the Flatiron Construction staging area on Dock Lane were also unreachable, except by foot.

The Moriah fire house has been set up as a shelter for flood victims, but the staff there said no one had come in yet.

Essex County Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) said he's preparing a state of emergency declaration for his town as well as the county.

"We have major flooding over here, too," Douglas said. "We have nine roads closed."
Lohr McKinstry - The Press-Republican, Plattsburgh, N.Y. / MORIAH, N.Y. --

Please buckle your seat belt

April 28, 2011
Close to 200 Killed in Southern Storms

The death toll from severe storms that punished five Southern U.S. states jumped to a staggering 193 Thursday after Alabama canvassed its hard-hit counties for a new tally of lives lost.

Alabama's state emergency management agency said it had confirmed 128 deaths, up from at least 61 earlier.

"We expect that toll, unfortunately, to rise," Gov. Robert Bentley told ABC's "Good Morning America."

Mississippi officials reported 32 dead in that state and Tennessee raised its report to 14. Another 11 have been killed in Georgia and eight in Virginia.

The fierce storms Wednesday spawned tornadoes and winds that wiped out homes and businesses, forced a nuclear power plant to use backup generators and prompted the evacuation of a National Weather Service office.

The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said it received 137 tornado reports around the regions, including 66 in Alabama and 38 in Mississippi.

One of the hardest-hit areas was Tuscaloosa, a city of more than 83,000 and home to the University of Alabama. The city's police and other emergency services were devastated, the mayor said, and at least 15 people were killed and about 100 were in a single hospital.

A massive tornado, caught on video by a news camera on a tower, barreled through the city late Wednesday afternoon, leveling it.

By nightfall, the city was dark. Roads were impassable. Signs were blown down in front of restaurants, businesses were unrecognizable and sirens wailed off and on. Debris littered the streets and sidewalks.

College students in a commercial district near campus used flashlights to check out the damage.

At Stephanie's Flowers, owner Bronson Englebert used the headlights from two delivery vans to see what valuables he could remove. He had closed early, which was a good thing. The storm blew out the front of his store, pulled down the ceiling and shattered the windows, leaving only the curtains flapping in the breeze.

"It even blew out the back wall, and I've got bricks on top of two delivery vans now," Englebert said.

A group of students stopped to help Englebert, carrying out items like computers and printers and putting them in his van.

"They've been awfully good to me so far," Englebert said.

The storm system spread destruction from Texas to New York, where dozens of roads were flooded or washed out.

The governors in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia each issued emergency declarations for parts of their states.

President Barack Obama said he had spoken with Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and approved his request for emergency federal assistance, including search and rescue assets. About 1,400 National Guard soldiers were being deployed around the state.

"Our hearts go out to all those who have been affected by this devastation, and we commend the heroic efforts of those who have been working tirelessly to respond to this disaster," Obama said in a statement.

Around Tuscaloosa, traffic was snarled by downed trees and power lines, and some drivers abandoned their cars in medians.

"What we faced today was massive damage on a scale we have not seen in Tuscaloosa in quite some time," Mayor Walter Maddox said.

University officials said there didn't appear to be significant damage on campus, and dozens of students and locals were staying at a 125-bed shelter in the campus recreation center.

Volunteers and staff were providing food and water to people like 29-year-old civil engineering graduate student Kenyona Pierce.

"I really don't know if I have a home to go to," she said.

Storms also struck Birmingham, felling numerous trees that impeded emergency responders and those trying to leave hard-hit areas.

The Browns Ferry nuclear power plant about 30 miles west of Huntsville lost offsite power. The Tennessee Valley Authority-owned plant had to use seven diesel generators to power the plant's three units. The safety systems operated as needed and the emergency event was classified as the lowest of four levels, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.

In Huntsville, meteorologists found themselves in the path of severe storms and had to take shelter in a reinforced steel room, turning over monitoring duties to a sister office in Jackson, Miss. Meteorologists saw multiple wall clouds, which sometimes spawn tornadoes, and decided to take cover, but the building wasn't damaged.

"We have to take shelter just like the rest of the people," said meteorologist Chelly Amin, who wasn't at the office at the time but spoke with colleagues about the situation.

In Kemper County, Miss., in the east-central part of the state, sisters Florrie Green and Maxine McDonald, and their sister-in-law Johnnie Green, all died in a mobile home that was destroyed by a storm.

"It's hard. It's been very difficult," said Mary Green, Johnnie Green's daughter-in-law. "They were thrown into those pines over there," she said, pointing to a wooded area. "They had to go look for their bodies."

In Choctaw County, Miss., a Louisiana police officer was killed Wednesday morning when a towering sweetgum tree fell onto his tent as he shielded his young daughter with his body, said Kim Korthuis, a supervisory ranger with the National Park Service. The girl wasn't hurt.

The 9-year-old girl was brought to a motor home about 100 feet away where campsite volunteer Greg Maier was staying with his wife. He went back to check on the father and found him dead.

"She wasn't hurt, just scared and soaking wet," Maier said.

Her father, Lt. Wade Sharp, had been with the Covington Police Department for 19 years.

"He was a hell of an investigator," said Capt. Jack West, his colleague in Louisiana.

In a neighborhood south of Birmingham, Austin Ransdell and a friend had to hike out after the house where he was living was crushed by four trees. No one was hurt.

As he walked away from the wreckage, trees and power lines crisscrossed residential streets, and police cars and utility trucks blocked a main highway.

"The house was destroyed. We couldn't stay in it. Water pipes broke; it was flooding the basement," he said. "We had people coming in telling us another storm was coming in about four or five hours, so we just packed up."

Not far away, Craig Branch was stunned by the damage.

"Every street to get into our general subdivision was blocked off. Power lines are down; trees are all over the road. I've never seen anything like that before," he said.

In eastern Tennessee, a woman was killed by falling trees in her trailer in Chattanooga. Just outside the city in Tiftonia, what appeared to be a tornado also struck at the base of the tourist peak Lookout Mountain.

Tops were snapped off trees and insulation and metal roof panels littered the ground. Police officers walked down the street, spray-painting symbols on houses they had checked for people who might be inside.

Mary Ann Bowman, 42, stood watching from her driveway as huge tractors moved downed trees in the street. She had rushed home from work to find windows shattered at her house, and her grandmother's house next door shredded. The 91-year-old woman wasn't home at the time.

"When I pulled up I just started crying," Bowman said.
By JAY REEVES and HOLBROOK MOHR / Associated Press / TUSCALOOSA, Ala. --

Please buckle your seat belt

April 28, 2011
Fallen tree causes ambulance accident but no major injuries - MS

Gibson County Emergency Management officials reported an ambulance accident because of a down tree at Highway 54 between Trenton and Bradford at about 1 a.m.

Gibson County Emergency Management Agency Director Rickey Graves said the ambulance could not stop in time to avoid a tree in the road. Three people were in the vehicle, but only minor injuries resulted, Graves said.

“They did a remarkable job of taking care of everyone,” Graves said.

He also reported fallen trees and some house damage, but Graves said there was not “a tremendous amount of structural damage.”

Please buckle your seat belt

April 28, 2011
Firehouse Burns Down Amid Violent Storm - GA

Firehouse Burns Down
AP Photo/Atlanta Journal Constitution, Bob Andres Justin Nichols, 16, stands with an American flag recovered from the Church of the Covenant debris in Bartow County, Ga., about two hours west of where the Wildcat fire station burned down.

Firehouse Burns Down
AP Photo/Atlanta Journal & Constitution, John Spink Retired Spalding County Sheriff Sgt. Charlie Manor, left, views damage with Sgt. Joe Peavy with the Spalding County Sheriff Department in Griffin, Ga. about two hours south of where the Wildcat fire station burned down.

Firehouse Burns Down
AP Photo/Atlanta Journal & Constitution, Bob Andres John Franklin, Jr, and his wife Kathy, help recover belongings from their son's home, in Bartow County, Ga., about two hours west of where the Wildcat fire station burned down.

A fire station in Rabun County, Ga. burned to the ground last night as it fell victim just one of the storms in a series that spawned tornadoes and claimed the lives of more than 200 people throughout the south, according to The Clayton Tribune.

The Wildcat Fire Station on Highway 197 in Clarkesville a volunteer department that is part of Rabun County Fire Services was destroyed in the storm.

"It's pretty rough," Richard Holt, who lives above the fire station and witnessed the fire, told the newspaper.

He said both bays on the station were blown out and that he could see two pieces of apparatus engulfed in flames.

He was luckily able to save one of the trucks.

"The third truck was beginning to smoke so I just worked my way in there and drove it out," he said.

The cause of the fire has not been determined. News

Please buckle your seat belt

April 28, 2011

Truck Fire

Truck fire

The Orlando FD suffered the loss of an Engine Company this morning. The engine caught fire on State Road 417.

Watch the video

Please buckle your seat belt

April 28, 2011
EMTs hospitalized after ambulance, tractor trailer accident - FL

Two Hendry County EMTs were taken to the hospital after an accident involving an ambulance and a tractor trailer, according to the Hendry County Sheriff's Office.

Both victims had to be airlifted to the hospital with injuries.

There is no word on their condition.

The accident happened near the intersection of SR-29 and Jim Kulczy Road just before 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 28, 2011
Sedan Hits Idaho Falls Ambulance - ID

While an ambulance usually does the saving, Wednesday an Idaho Falls ambulance needed some help of its own.

At the corner of Sunnyside Road and Woodruff Avenue an ambulance and sedan collided.

While the sedan needed to be towed away, the ambulance only sustained minor damages.

Luckily, no one was in need of a ride in the ambulance.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 28, 2011
Police say man injured when Redmond EMS unit hits front of apartment complex - GA

Police were called to the Pine Ridge Apartments on Lyons Drive on Monday after a man reported he was injured when the front of the building was struck by a Redmond EMS driver over the weekend, reports stated.

According to Rome police reports:

The name of the driver was not identified in the police report. The complex director stated that on Saturday a Redmond EMS unit struck the front of the building as they were coming to pickup a resident.

Another resident reported that he was sitting in the area where the unit hit when he was injured by falling material. He was taken to Floyd Medical Center where he was treated and released.

Police said a supervisor for Redmond was notified and came to the complex to assess the damage.

Read more: - Police say man injured when Redmond EMS unit hits front of apartment complex
by Lydia Senn, staff writer /

Please buckle your seat belt

April 28, 2011
Unlicensed driver hit Indianapolis ambulance - IN

A driver with a suspended license hit an ambulance Monday evening at 38th Street and Shadeland Avenue, police said.

Police were called to the scene at about 6:45 p.m. Monday. IMPD officers said the ambulance had its lights and sirens on and was going east on 38th Street through a red light at the intersection when it was hit by a Chevrolet Impala northbound on Shadeland Avenue.

Police said the driver, who was cited for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle and driving while suspended, was taken to Wishard Hospital with minor injuries.

The ambulance was not carrying a patient, and no one in the hospital was injured.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 27, 2011

Line of duty death of Firefighter Michael Webb of the Fleming-Neon Volunteer Fire Department in Letcher County, Kentucky (approximately 35 miles east of Hazard near Virginia border).

Firefighter Webb suffered a fatal heart attack at his home Wednesday morning after returning from an earlier response to an ATV incident in a mountainous area.

He is 46 years old and is survived by his wife, a son, and two daughters.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 27, 2011
Four Firefighters Injured in Chemical Fire - WI

Four firefighters were injured in a fire in a chemical lab in Sheboygan County, according to the Sheboygan County Sheriff's Department.

Smoke was reported from Lab 1 at Aldrich Chemical, 5485 County Highway V, in the Town of Wilson. The plant is between Sheboygan and Cedar Grove, just west of Interstate 43.

The Town of Wilson Fire Department was initially dispatched to the scene. Mutual aid from Oostburg, Cedar Grove, Sheboygan Falls and city of Sheboygan Fire Departments was requested.

Lt. Mark Rupnik of the Sheboygan County Sheriff's Department said the fire was under control about 90 minutes after the initial call.

The firefighters were taken to area hospitals as a precaution with non-life-threatening injuries. Their conditions were not known late Tuesday afternoon.

County Highway V between Interstate 43 and County Road A was closed for a few hours but has reopened.
Story by / TOWN OF WILSON, Wis. --

Please buckle your seat belt

April 27, 2011
Three Forest Hill Firefighters Involved In Auto Pedestrian Accident - TX

Four people were injured, one seriously, after an auto-pedestrian accident involving three Forest Hill firefighters Wednesday morning. The accident appears to have happened at the intersection of southeast Loop 820 and Forest Hill Drive at about 9:04 a.m., MedStar spokeswoman Suzy Miller said. A Forest Hill fire truck was blocking traffic at S.E. Loop 820 and Forest Hill Drive when a woman driving another vehicle slammed into it, Forest Hill councilman Gerald Joubert said.

A woman was taken to a hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries and three men were transported with injuries that were not life-threatening, Miller said.

The three men were firefighters and were taken to Harris Methodist Hospital, Joubert said.

The fire engine suffered damage in the wreck and will need repairs, Joubert said.

With the city's staffing cutbacks, the city manager has three-man crews, so other firefighters were called in, Joubert said.

Fire departments in Kennedale and Everman are on standby in case of any emergency calls in Forest Hill, Joubert said.
Written by Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Please buckle your seat belt

April 27, 2011
911 operators caught sleeping on the job - TN

Two Murray County 911 dispatchers who were warned in February about falling asleep on duty did just that in the last month, resulting in one being fired and another resigning before being terminated, officials said.

A woman identified as Zerita Duncan by Interim Sole Commissioner Tom Starnes was given a written warning about sleeping on duty on Feb. 16, said Murray 911 Director Peggy Vick. She was caught sleeping again on the weekend of March 25-27 and was "suspended pending termination" on March 30 for three days before being fired on April 2, Vick said.

An in-house video reviewed by Vick showed Duncan "dozed periodically" on one night of her weekend shift in late March. A phone number listed for Duncan in a phone directory was incorrect.

Another employee was given a written warning for sleeping on duty on Feb. 17. The dispatcher, who resigned before being terminated, according to Vick, fell asleep again on the weekend of April 8-10 and was placed on three days of suspension on April 11 pending termination. In both cases, the three-day suspensions were with pay, Vick said.

Starnes would not provide the name of the person who resigned, saying a reporter would have to ask her why she resigned. Vick referred questions about names to the county personnel department, now under Starnes' leadership.

The woman who resigned was turned in by a fellow dispatcher. She "missed radio traffic" between an EMS unit and the 911 center, Vick said, but did not miss an emergency call into the center from a county resident.

Vick said on Monday dispatchers receive one warning for sleeping on their shift and if caught again are automatically terminated after a three-day suspension. She said four dispatchers have specific assignments on each shift: the Chatsworth Police Department, Murray County Sheriff's Office, city and county fire departments and EMS, and one to "pick up the slack" if the lines get busy.

Assistant Director Jennifer Clayton said sleeping on duty is "absolutely prohibited."

"They have to be ready to take calls from the public or handle radio traffic," she said. "We can't tolerate sleeping on duty. That's endangering citizens and the public's safety, and not only that, it's a huge liability to the county."

Clayton said operators can "get up" from their station for five minutes out of every 30, or 10 minutes out of every hour. To take a bathroom break they have to let other dispatchers know they're temporarily leaving their post, she said. Clayton said using a cellphone while on duty results in an automatic suspension.

The employee who resigned was asleep "quite awhile," said Clayton.

"We have high expectations for individuals serving in critical public safety positions, and we will continue to do what's appropriate to keep those expectations up to standards," Starnes said.
The Daily Citizen

Please buckle your seat belt

April 26, 2011

Two veteran Valentine Volunteer Firefighters were injured while battling a wild fire near Thedford on Friday. JD Osburn and Warren Rockwell were on the back of a Valentine rural fire fighting rig when the truck was trapped by the 50mph wind blown flames. Both men were wearing their complete wildland fire gear which helped to protect them. They were checked out by emergency medical personel on the scene and transported back to the Valentine Firehall on the fire truck. After arriving in Valentine, both men were taken to the Cherry County Hospital for assessment. Warren Rockwell was transferred to the Saint Elizabeth Burn Unit in Lincoln for futher assessment. JD Osburn was held for observation at the Cherry County Hospital.

Several hundred fire fighters from across central Nebraska were called to that large grass fire west of Thedford. Over 25 departments were involved including an aircraft that helped bring the fire under control about 6pm Friday evening. The fire is believed to have started on the Mike Finney place about 9 miles west of Thedford. Fueled by wind gusts of 50mph, the blaze raced for about 7.5 miles before it was finally contained about 1.5 miles west of Thedford. An estimated 11,000 acres were burned. The cause of the balze is not know at this time.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 26, 2011
Wildfires Tough On Volunteers - TX

The Texas wildfires this spring have been brutal for volunteer firefighters who worked through the Easter season, sometimes on top of regular jobs. Two firefighters lost their lives, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. Others have lost sleep and time with their families. Members of the Graford Rural Volunteer Fire Department spent Easter Sunday putting out hot spots around the town, which had been affected by the Possum Kingdom Lake fire.

"We basically canceled Easter," Lt. Diane Burns said Monday. "The church across the street is going to let us use the grass to have a delayed Easter for the firefighters' children. We can't catch a break."

The season also has been hard on equipment and budgets. In Graford, three of eight trucks were unusable by Monday because of what they were put through last week. Burns said the department's annual $26,000 budget will probably be used up repairing them.

Both deaths occurred last week. Greg Simmons, 50, a volunteer in Eastland, was run over by a vehicle in heavy smoke, while Elias Jaquez, 49, of Cactus in the Texas Panhandle, was fatally burned when he fell.

Many volunteers have a grueling schedule. Kevin West, an English teacher at Strawn High School, has been out on the fire lines into the small hours. He finally got an evening off and took his wife out to dinner.
Written by United Press International

Please buckle your seat belt

April 25, 2011
Naked Man on Mushrooms Assaults EMS Providers - PA

A naked man on a bad hallucinogenic trip is accused of assaulting a police officer and an emergency medical worker who had come to help Sunday after he threw himself down the stairs of a home in Palmer Township.

"It started as a medical call," said Palmer detective Sgt. Timothy Ruoff. "It went bad from there."

Garrison L. Goodman, 31, of Upper Nazareth Township had taken "magic mushrooms" at 1202 Dunkle St. when he attempted to "dive or fly" down the steps from the second to the first floor, Ruoff said.

Brian Flavelle of Suburban Emergency Medical Services arrived about 1:25 a.m. to assist Goodman, who was suffering from a cut to his head and broken collarbone, Ruoff said.

Goodman was naked in the front yard and attacked Flavelle, Ruoff said, punching him several times in the head.

When Wilson policeman Marc Crisafulli also arrived, he was punched a number of times in the head by Goodman as well, Ruoff said.

The melee ended when Crisafulli shocked Goodman with a Taser and arrested him, Ruoff said.

Goodman was treated for his injuries at Easton Hospital, then arraigned by District Judge David Tidd and sent to Northampton County Prison under $50,000 bail.

Goodman faces charges that include aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment and possession of a controlled substance.

Flavelle and Crisafulli had head and neck pain, but were not seriously injured, Ruoff said.
Riley Yates / The Morning Call, Allentown, Pa.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 25, 2011
Ambulance involved in crash in Lyons - Il

One person was taken to an area hospital after a crash in west suburban Lyons which involved an ambulance, officials said.

The crash happened about 10:30 a.m. near the 3900 block of South Harlem Avenue, according to Lyons police.

A police dispatcher said one person was transported to an area hospital but no other details were available.

Fire and police officials refused to give any updates or conditions.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 24, 2011


An Elkhart boy who was badly burned in a fire died Friday morning at Bronson Methodist Hospital’s burn unit in Kalamazoo, Mich. The fire broke out just after 7 p.m. Thursday in the 1200 block of Rice Street in Elkhart.

Firefighters say 15-year old Tristan Guffey had burns to 95 percent of his body, many were third degree. Guffey’s clothing was burnt to skin so charred that paramedics could not hook up an IV. Instead, they focused on preventing further peeling of Guffey’s skin.

Rescue workers quickly instructed a medical helicopter to land at nearby Elkhart Central High School to transport the teen. Meanwhile, firefighters setup hose lines as flames continued to pour out of windows.

Upon finding boxes of matches and lighter fluid inside the home, fire investigators determined Guffey had been experimenting with flames before they engulfed him and the home.

Two firemen also had to be transported to Elkhart General Hospital for injuries related to the Rice Street fire.

Just minutes after the first fire started, emergency dispatchers received a call about an explosion in the 1000 block of Maple Row.

Crews arrived to find a home fully engulfed. No residents were injured, but two more firefighters were hospitalized with smoke inhalation and exhaustion.

After investigating, it was determined a cigarette sparked the fire. Both homes were a total loss with a combined damage of $80,000.

In the midst of fighting two fires on opposite sides of the city, crews were called to a third, in the 100 block of Home Avenue.

"Not a normal night, it's been quite busy. This is not the norm, this is the exception," said Asst. Chief Shaun Edgerton.

Edgerton said while their firefighters were very busy, Thursday was a good example of how mutual aid benefits cities.

"Three fires stretch us really thin. If you take a look around we've got Cleveland Township, we've got an Oslo [Township] truck, I believe we've had a Baugo [Township] medic. We do have mutual aid agreements with all of these departments and I'd like to thank them for showing up and helping out. They are invaluable in what we do and we'd do the same for them at any time without a doubt," said Edgerton.

In all, four firefighters with more than 30 years of combined experience were injured in Thursday’s blazes. Fire officials say it’s been more than ten years since the department has seen so many injuries in one shift.

The injured firefighters are, Benjamin Schenk, Robert Cutter, David Leith and Lt. Rob McClintick. All four had been released from Elkhart General Hospital as of Friday morning. However, two are expected to be off the job for a few weeks as they recuperate

Please buckle your seat belt

April 24, 2011

Pictures by Tim Knepp

Chief 33 (Swank) of the Colonial Park Fire and off duty Penbrook Police Officer takes the occupant into custody

Today at 1900 hours while crews were on station a frantic neighbor knocked on the door and advised that the house a few blocks away at 3504 Schoolhouse Lane was on fire. As this report was being taken a still alarm was also taken from a passer by calling the firehouse with the same report. Captain 32 aboard E-32-1 then advised Dauphin County to dispatch the box to 3504 Schoolhouse Lane in Progress for the working house fire. Units arrived to find a working basement fire with smoke showing from all sides. Engine 32-1's crew stretched the front bumper line and the crew made entry on side Alpha. While going down the steps the crew encountered a man with a stick in the basement that was beating the Captain. The crazed occupant then screamed and crawled out the basement window. Crews made quick work of the basement fire after getting their bearings back. The male suspect was then taken into custody by an off duty police officer until he could be arrested by the on duty police.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 24, 2011
Firefighter Burned in House Fire - KS

A firefighter suffered a burned hand as crews put out a fire in a two-story home in the 800 block of North 83rd Street in Kansas City, Kan., this morning.

Neighbors told firefighters as they arrived shortly before 3 a.m. that the home was occupied but they did not know if anyone was home. They found no one in the home.

The fire, which is under investigation, caused an estimated $40,000 in damage. The injured firefighter was treated and released.
Joe Robertson - The Kansas City Star, Mo.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 24, 2011
Extra-alarm blaze injures Berwyn firefighter - IL

A 2-ALARM FIRE IN A BERWYN, ILLINOIS, apartment building Saturday evening heavily damaged all 14 units and caused one firefighter injury.

The fire was reported shortly before 5 pm and was quickly upgraded to two alarms for the attic fire in the 3-story building. Within minutes, the fire spread throughout the entire building bringing a comment from a fire photographer, Josh Boyajian who wrote, "The fire went from an attic fire to a fully involved apartment building. I’ve never seen a building go up so fast."

It was not revealed what the nature of the firefighter's injuries are, other than they are non-life threatening. He was kept in the hospital overnight. Investigation is just beginning into the cause of the blaze that left the entire building uninhabitable.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 23, 2011
Flooding in Guntersville Fire Station - AL

Please buckle your seat belt

April 22, 2011



A 50 year old woman is being treated after a serious crash involving a Huntsville fire apparatus today. Around 0900, the woman was driving a gray SUV when she was struck by fire apparatus from Fire & Rescue Station 5. The fire apparatus was running lights and sirens and was on it's way to respond to another crash when it hit the SUV. That created a chain reaction involving at least one other car in the wreck. The woman in the SUV was thrown from the vehicle and rushed to Huntsville Hospital. At last report, she was listed in critical condition

Please buckle your seat belt

April 22, 2011


Four firefighters suffered minor injuries Thursday morning after a Boyle County Fire Engine flipped Thursday morning while on its way to a chimney fire.The accident happened at about 10 a.m. on U.S. 52, also known as Lancaster Road.Officials said four firefighters had to be cut out of the engine.So far, there is no official word on the cause of the accident.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 22, 2011
Police Investigate Ambulance Involved Accident - IN

Three people were taken to the hospital for injuries sustained in a crash involving an ambulance and a van.

It happened at State Road 38 at Six Points Road, just west of US 31.

Police say an ambulance from Sheridan was transporting a patient to Riverview Hospital. It was not running lights or sirens.

According to police, a vehicle traveling northbound on Six Points Road ran the stop sign and hit the ambulance at the intersection, causing the ambulance to overturn.

There were no serious injuries although they did initially request air ambulances. Those were disregarded when emergency crews arrived on the scene and realized the injuries were not that serious.

The patient and the medic were both transported to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis by ground ambulance. The driver of the ambulance was not transported. The driver of the vehicle that struck the ambulance was transported by ground ambulance to Riverview Hospital.

There is no word yet on whether the driver of the vehicle will ticketed.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 21, 2011
2 Firefighters Hurt Battling Storage Unit Fire - AZ

"They should both be OK," said Smith. "They are going in for evaluation. Their spirits are up and everybody is looking fine."

Smith said that eight units had extensive fire damage and about 30 units had smoke damage.

According to investigators, the fire appears to have started in a nearby alley and the exact cause is still under investigation.

Mary Lou Deezeeuw and Gabriel Gomez both rent storage units inside the facility. By late afternoon, they had no idea whether their personal possessions had been destroyed.

"My thought was, 'Oh my, is that my stuff on fire?'" said Deezeeuw. "I wondered if there was some type of explosion."

"I just moved into an apartment next door," said Gomez. "I have everything in storage. My satellite dish, daughter's clothes, everything in the house. I just hope it's OK."
Story by

Please buckle your seat belt

April 21, 2011
Ambulance Involved in Serious Collision - IN

Police are investigating a serious accident involving an ambulance in Hamilton County Wednesday night.

The accident happened near the intersection of 6 points Road and State Hwy. 38 east of Sheridan, officials said.

Dispatchers confirmed that two medical helicopters were sent to the scene.

Officials did not release information about the number of people injured in the accident.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 20, 2011

Channel 5 has posted some raw video from the scene:

WEWS-TV image

A LADDER TRUCK ATTEMPTING TO REACH a crossover in an Ohio Turnpike median strip was struck by a tractor-trailer early Wednesday morning.

The aerial truck from the North Ridgeville, Ohio, Fire Department was traveling in the westbound lanes of the Ohio Turnpike shortly after midnight this morning when they received a dispatch for an auto fire in the eastbound lanes. WEWS-TV Ch. 5 Cleveland reports:

Authorities on scene report that the fire truck attempted a U-turn from a lane other than the left-most lane. As the fire truck approached the median turnaround, it was struck by a semi truck that was traveling in the same direction.

The driver of the semi truck was not injured. The Ohio Highway Patrol is investigating the accident.

The semi collided with the ladder on the driver's-side of the cab. The driver of the ladder truck was transported with unspecified injuries.

It has not been disclosed yet whether the FD truck had its emergency lights on at the time of the collision.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 20, 2011
Charges Filed in Fatal Orangeburg County Collision - SC

Charges Filed

Charged are now filed in a crash that involved an ambulance carrying a woman and her newborn in Orangeburg County.

Zachary Thomas, 22, is charged with felony DUI.

Sunday, troopers say a car driven by Thomas collided with an ambulance, which was carrying a woman who just had her baby. She and the child were being taken from Bamberg Hospital to The Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg for further care.

A passenger in Thomas's car died.

State troopers arrested Thomas as he was let out of the hospital Tuesday.

The mother and baby are okay.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 20, 2011
3 firefighters hurt, 1 man dies in Philly fire - PA

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — A fire in a Northern Liberties townhome left one man dead, and three firefighters hospitalized late Tuesday night.

Firefighters, medics and police responded to the blaze on 5th Street near Poplar about 11:30 p.m., with reports that someone was trapped inside the building.

The blaze inside an end-unit, two-story brick rowhome was brought under control by 1:16 a.m., Battalion Chief Derrick Sawyer said. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The identity of the victim was not disclosed.

The firefighters all received burns. Two were taken to Temple University Hospital, and one to Hahnemann. All were reported in serious but stable condition, but the extent of their injuries was not disclosed.

An inspection of the charred home revealed that there may not have been any working fire detectors inside, Sawyer said.

The fire may have displaced up to 11 people, officials said.

Many residents of the four townhomes near the site of the fire stood along North 5th Street huddled in white Salvation Army blankets into the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Sawyer said two additional two people took themselves to Hahnemann University Hospital.
By Phillip Lucas / The Philadelphia Daily News

Please buckle your seat belt

April 19, 2011
3 Firefighters Hurt as Wildland Fire Grows - NM

Firefighters said they are working to control a wildfire that has burned 17,000 acres along Highway 267 in Curry County.

The fire burned a line about 20 miles long and 1.5 miles wide between Melrose and Floyd. It's moving west.

Crews said the fire is 50 percent contained. Three homes have already been destroyed and others are in danger.

Evacuations are in the works for homes along Highway 467 at the Roosevelt County line.

Fire officials said the blaze sparked when a vehicle blew a tire and sparks from the rim landed in nearby grass.

Around 30 fire engines from Roosevelt and Curry Counties are battling the blaze with state forestry crews. Three firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation and minor burns on Sunday. All have been released from the hospital.
Story by / ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --

Please buckle your seat belt

April 19, 2011
Volunteer burned while rescuing fellow firefighter - TX

DALLAS — Injured and in pain, Matt Clark is having trouble with his new label.

"I don’t feel like I'm a hero," he said. "I did what any fireman would do."

Clark has only been a firefighter for six months. He's a volunteer. His full-time job is as a prison guard in Abilene.

But when a raging brush fire broke out near his home in Gorman on Friday, he answered the call with his chief.

Almost instantly, they were surrounded by the flames.

"At this point, we are at a dead sprint, trying to outrun the fire," Clark said.

A blast of flames scarred his face with first degree burns. He suffered third degree burns to his hands.

The fire truck they were on was destroyed.

"It was very scary," Clark said from bed at the Parkland Memorial Hospital burn unit in Dallas. "I’m not going to lie to you; I honestly did not think I would make it home."

And that's when he saw one of his fellow firefighters collapse.

"Actually, the burns weren't even hurting that much at that time. My thought was, 'I got to get out of here, and I got to take whoever I can with me,'" Clark said.

That his injured son stopped to help another doesn't surprise Robert Clark. This father is a Sweetwater policeman; his other son is a deputy. His brother, nephew and two of Matt's in-laws are cops as well.

They all protect the public, never certain they'll make it home.

"Proud doesn't touch it; proud doesn't touch it," the elder Clark said.

But at this point, Matt Clark's recovery is a struggle.

"We thought he'd get to go home today," Robert Clark said, "but the wounds are deeper than they thought. so they are going to keep him; they are infected."

Their thoughts also go to the Eastland firefighter who perished, just about a mile down the smoky road.

"We realize we were lucky," Matt's dad said. "There's a family in Eastland that wasn't. Maybe I can't say it. Our hearts are hurting for them."

Matt Clark will be hospitalized for at least another week. He has skin graft surgery scheduled for Wednesday.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 19, 2011

Kalamazoo Public Safety Officer (Police Officer/Firefighter/EMT) Eric Zapata lost his life last night in the line of duty. Kalamazoo Public Safety is one of the largest combined police/fire departments in the nation. Officer Eric Zapata was shot and killed after responding to reports of a shots fired call. Another officer had also responded to the call and approached a man on a porch. As the officer asked the man if he had heard any shots, the man suddenly pulled out a gun and exchanged shots with the officer. The subject then ran in between two houses where he confronted Officer Zapata. More shots were exchanged and Officer Zapata was struck in the head and chest. The man then committed suicide. Officer Zapata had served with the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety as a Police Officer/Firefighter/EMT for 10 years.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 19, 2011
Two Firefighters, Residents Hurt at Blaze - GA

Fire destroyed several units of a Sandy Springs apartment complex on Tuesday, injuring six people, including two firefighters.

Firefighters arrived to find flames shooting from the roof of the Winding River Village apartments on Winding River Drive just before 1 p.m.

Video recorded by neighbors showed towering smoke and flames pouring out of the building.

Residents said they helped each other escape the fire, including a mother and her three children. They were later treated for smoke inhalation.

Two firefighters were taken to the hospital because of heat exhaustion after fighting the blaze. Officials told Channel 2 Action News that a ceiling and walls fell on one of the firefighters, but his injuries were non-life-threatening.

Investigators said they had not yet determined what sparked the fire.
Story by / SANDY SPRINGS, Ga.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 19, 2011
Medic crew threatened with a knife - FL

NBC News helicopter captured the arrest from their helicopter video camera along with an interview of the medic:

A DERANGED WOMAN IN MIAMI, FLORIDA, threatened a medic crew with a knife when they arrived at a fiery auto crash scene Monday afternoon. When the Fire-Rescue units arrived on the scene on a busy Miami freeway, there was a mini-van smashed against a barrier wall and starting to burn.

When the firefighters checked inside for victims and found none, the medics noticed a woman walking along the breakdown lane and approached her. When FF Robert Webster got close, she pulled out a knife and threatened him with it.

The woman was talking and acting strangely and it took four police officers to get her into restraints before they took her to a psychiatric unit for evaluation.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 19, 2011
LODD: Fire captain dies after EMS calls - OH

CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Ohio — An Ohio firefighter died April 12 following emergency responses.

Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Department Captain Randy Boley, 51, passed away during the night following two back-to-back EMS calls.

The cause of the 29-year fire service veteran's death has yet to be determined.
By FireRescue1 Staff

Please buckle your seat belt

April 19, 2011
LODD: Firefighter dies responding to report of smoke - CT

Windsor is mourning the loss of Volunteer Firefighter Robert Watts, 50, who died in the Line of Duty while operating at a fire call at the Windsor Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center last night. FF Watts was on the first engine to arrive on the scene, and was connecting a line to a hydrant when he collapsed.

FF Watts joined the Windsor Volunteer Fire Department in 2003 and completed his training in 2006. He served in the Marine Corps from 1980-86 and is a graduate of Manchester High School.

Watts' fire service began early when he joined the Manchester Fire Department 8th Utilities District in 1977 as a junior member. He tragically leaves behind 2 children.
By FireRescue1 Staff

Please buckle your seat belt

April 18, 2011

Five Detroit firefighters were hurt when a wall collapsed as they fought a blaze on the city's southwest side early this morning. One had injuries to his arm, another had minor back injuries and the others were being checked out after a brick wall fell.

The fire was in a vacant commercial building around 0130 this morning and went to a 2nd following the collapse.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 18, 2011

A chicken truck smashed into a firehouse this morning, damaging a fire truck that was parked inside. The 18-wheeler, carrying 3,600 chickens, slammed into the front of the Mountain Park Fire Department in Elkin, north of Statesville. The fire chief said nobody was seriously hurt and the chickens all survived. There is no word if anyone will be charged in the accident

Please buckle your seat belt

April 18, 2011
Switching Radio Channels Causes Ambulance Crash - MA

By Kim Ring, Telegraph and Gazette One of the town's three ambulances was heavily damaged and a paramedic is recovering from injuries after an accident early Sunday morning on Dudley-Oxford Road in Dudley. Oxford police said the town's ambulance was responding to a call in Dudley and had picked up a patient when it went off the road, struck a tree and landed in a ditch just before 12:30 a.m. Sunday. A paramedic who was treating the patient in the back of the ambulance suffered a cut to his head that required more than a dozen stitches to close. Oxford Fire Chief Sherry Bemis said the paramedic will be out of work for an indefinite period. She believes the ambulance, a 2000 Freightliner, is a total loss, but she is awaiting word from the town's insurance company. While police in Dudley continue to investigate, Chief Bemis said the accident happened when the EMT driving the ambulance leaned over to switch the communications radio from the Dudley frequency back to the Oxford frequency so he could communicate with the dispatcher. She explained that when the ambulance travels to other towns, the radio must be changed so emergency personnel can talk with the dispatchers in those communities. She said fire officials have tried to come up with a better way to deal with the radio issue, but "there's no solution to the problem with the technology we have." That is just one known ambulance-related problem that was a factor in the crash, she said. The other is that EMS personnel in the back of the ambulance with patients are not secured. While there are systems in place to restrain personnel in the back, ambulances equipped with those devices are far more expensive and most often out of reach for towns like Oxford. The EMT who was driving suffered minor injuries, and the patient, aside from the medical problems that prompted the initial ambulance call, was not injured. Dudley Fire Capt. David J. Konieczny said Dudley EMTs responded to the crash and transported the patient who had been in the back of Oxford's ambulance. Oxford had responded to Dudley under the mutual aid agreement, he said. Dudley Police Chief Steven J. Wojnar said the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section is assisting the investigation. "We're looking into what happened," Chief Wojnar said. "Right now, it doesn't appear there was any negligence or reckless operation." No charges have been filed, he said. Chief Bemis said the lack of a third ambulance will affect her department. She said it is becoming more common to have three ambulance calls at a time and she will have to use mutual aid more often until the ambulance is replaced

Please buckle your seat belt

April 18, 2011

A Volunteer Firefighter was killed in the Line of Duty after being in a car crash while responding to fire call yesterday morning. FF Jacob Anthony Carter, 18, died at the hospital in Tupelo after suffering massive trauma when his 2002 Ford Explorer ran off the road. His personal vehicle then overturned and struck a tree. FF Carter, who was a Firefighter with the Becker-Athens Volunteer Fire Department, was not wearing his seat belt.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 18, 2011
Man Dies in Ambulance Collision - SC

An Orangeburg man was killed Sunday in a collision with a Bamberg Rescue Squad ambulance carrying a mother and newborn baby.

Christopher Harrison, 23, was a passenger of the four-door Dodge in the crash, and died of his injuries, reports the Times and Democrat. The driver, Zachary M. Thomas, 22, has been released from Richland Memorial Hospital.

Paramedic Penny Skinner was reportedly being treated for a limb fracture, while a nurse in the ambulance was uninjured. The unidentified mother and baby were said to be doing well at the Regional Medical Center.

"Everybody is okay," Martha Hammett of Bamberg Rescue Squad Inc., told the paper. "Both passengers, a mother and her new born baby, are both doing good. They were being transported to be admitted. She had just given birth at Bamberg Hospital."

Alcohol was reportedly a factor in the crash. News

Please buckle your seat belt

April 18, 2011
Another Ambulance Stolen in New Albany - IN

A 34-year-old New Albany man was arrested early Saturday morning for allegedly stealing an ambulance at Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services.

Shortly before 1 a.m., EMTs left an ambulance running as they dropped off a patient at the hospital. Jeremy Wooten allegedly climbed into the ambulance and drove about two blocks before stopping and fleeing on foot.

According to a New Albany Police Department report, officers observed Wooten running northbound on Bono Road and onto Country Club Drive. Police caught up to him and ordered him to the ground at gunpoint.

Steven King, 24, of Lexington, Ind., said he was at the hospital visiting his uncle and went outside to smoke. He was standing in front of the building near State Street when he saw security guards escorting Wooten out of the hospital.

"He just started walking around the building," King said. "He was pretty drunk. He was staggering and tripping over himself."

King said the ambulance had just pulled up at the hospital, and moments later, Wooten walked to the ambulance bay and climbed into the emergency vehicle and started to drive. King ran inside the hospital front door to notify security.

"When I came back out, he was coming around the building toward us," King said.

Wooten was charged on Monday with class D felony theft in Floyd County Superior Court No. 1. Wooten has a history of public intoxication and theft charges in Floyd County.

This is the second time in less than a month that an ambulance has been stolen in New Albany. Larry Loughman, 43, of Jeffersonville, was arrested after a high-speed pursuit in a stolen Orange County ambulance. The EMTs had stopped to eat at the Kentucky Fried Chicken along State Street, and Loughman allegedly took off with the vehicle.

He was eventually stopped and arrested on Interstate 65 near the 56 mile marker. An Indiana State Police vehicle was damaged, and police fired shots and used stop sticks to try to slow down the vehicle, which crossed the median at one point.
Matt Thacker / The Evening News and the Tribune, Jeffersonville, Ind.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 18, 2011
Two Residents, Firefighter Injured In Wilkinsburg House Fire - PA

Additional equipment from Pittsburgh, used for the first time under a merger with Wilkinsburg's department, may have prevented the fire in the 1300 block of Wood Street from spreading to houses on each side. Pittsburgh firefighters battled for hours yesterday against a wind-fueled house fire in the 1300 block of Wood Street in Wilkinsburg.

Several times, the companies that responded to the three-alarm fire thought they had doused the flames, only to see wind gusts as high as 50 mph whip through broken windows on the second floor of the three-story Victorian home and fan the embers.

Two residents were transported to UPMC Presbyterian, Oakland, and a firefighter was taken to UPMC Shadyside, an Allegheny County emergency dispatcher said. The firefighter was in stable condition. Conditions of the two residents were unavailable. The Red Cross provided assistance.

The fire, which began about 4:40 p.m., appeared to have started in the basement, then crawled up through the home's thick walls, burning the second floor and attic, Pittsburgh Fire Bureau Deputy Chief Dan Hennessy said.

After the first two companies had responded, firefighters thought they had the fire under control. They had climbed to the third floor, ventilating the home by breaking windows on the second floor on their way up. A sudden gust of wind blew through the broken windows and the second floor re-ignited, with firefighters still in the attic.

The trucks parked outside blew their horns, signaling an evacuation.

"They had to exit from above the fire," Hennessy said.

Once outside, the companies regrouped, conducted a head count and sounded the fire's third alarm.

"We were trying to attack it from all sides," Hennessy said.

Several times during the next two hours, flames would disappear and firefighters would again approach the building only to have to pull back when wind fanned the flames and blew them toward surrounding houses.

The fire finally appeared to be under control at 7 p.m., and firefighters re-entered the attic to douse the remaining flames in the rafters.

It was Hennessy's first fire in Wilkinsburg since the borough cut a $7.6 million deal with Pittsburgh to merge fire departments. The additional equipment the Pittsburgh Fire Bureau was able to bring to the scene might have saved the string of houses on each side, Hennessy said.
Written by Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Please buckle your seat belt

April 18, 2011

During severe storm activity on the afternoon of Saturday, April 16, in Raleigh, N.C., Engine 3 was struck by a tree in the 700 block of Dennis Avenue. The limbs landed perpendicular (exact or abouts) to the cab. (One or more tornados struck the city during this time, and the path of the storm was was pretty close to Dennis Avenue. The Raleigh Fire Department engine company was operating a reserve Pierce pumper. The firefighters were not injured. The apparatus was placed out of service. The tree was cut away from the truck, later that day, and the apparatus was backed away

Please buckle your seat belt

April 17, 2011
EMTs Injured After Ambulance Overturns - TN

KNOXVILLE -- Two emergency medical technicians were taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries this morning after being extracted from an ambulance that flipped on Interstate 640, the Knoxville Police Department reported.

The 2:45 a.m. accident occurred as the ambulance approached the overpass from I-640 to Interstate 40. The driver lost control and the Rural Metro ambulance ran off the right side of the interstate, hitting a guardrail and overturning, the report stated.

Both EMTs were extracted by Knoxville Fire Department and Rescue Squad personnel.

The ambulance was en route to a call and had emergency equipment activated.
The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tenn.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 16, 2011
Firefighter Injured Rescuing Sheep From Fire - VA

April 15--SWOOPE -- A Churchville firefighter cut his arm Friday while rescuing three sheep from a burning barn in Swoope.

Swoope Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief Kevin Wilkes said fire crews got a call to the 100 block of Swoope Road at about 1:35 p.m.

He said Billy Vie, a Churchville Fire Department crewmember arrived first.

Wilkes said the homeowners rushed toward Vie.

"They were frantically saying, 'there are sheep in there,' " Wilkes said, pointing to a smoldering brown barn, surrounded by 14 firefighters.

Wilkes said Augusta County, Churchville and Swoope fire departments battled the flames. Crews tore down the barn to suppress the fire.

Leaning against a tree stump, Vie watched the scene as a Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad crewmember wrapped gauze around his right arm.

"I was opening [the door] and it cut me," he said. "Three came out: Two females and one lamb."

Grazing in a nearby field, a herd of sheep watched lazily as the team of firefighters hosed down their burnt shed.
Chase Purdy - The News Virginian, Waynesboro, Va.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 16, 2011
Firefighter Burned Saving Girl From Blaze - MI

Bay City firefighters were called to a home at 815 Fremont Street on Friday afternoon.

While battling the house fire, one firefighter received minor burns while going into the home to rescue a 3-year-old girl. She was found on the second floor. The girl was transported to U of M Flint Hospital after suffering second- and third-degree burns to 60 percent of her body.

Fire officials said the firefighter was treated for burns to his face and is already back to work.

Several neighbors called authorities after seeing fire coming out of the second story window. At the time, there were two other children in the house, a 15-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl. Both escaped the blaze unharmed.

Crews arrived in under six minutes as Station 2 is about two blocks from the house.

The home was heavily damaged. Investigators are trying to find out if there were adults at the home when the fire started. The fire's cause remains under investigation.
Story by / BAY CITY, Mich.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 16, 2011
LODD: Wildfire burns homes, kills firefighter - TX

Standing in front of a burned out fire truck, volunteer firefighter Steve Forbus pauses while he talks about the firefighter that was killed while trying to escape a wildfire that burned the truck in Eastland County near Gorman, Texas, Saturday, April 16, 2011. "It was a very emotional day for us," said Forbus. Volunteer firefighter Gregory M. Simmons, 51, died as he and other firefighters fled the truck as it was being overrun by flames. Simmons fell in a ditch where the fire caught him, according to an official. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Volunteer firefighters Steve Forbus, right, and Roger Rutledge work to change a flat tire on their fire truck while working hot spots on a fatal wildfire in Eastland County near Gorman, Texas, Saturday, April 16, 2011. A local firefighter was killed when his crew's truck was overcome by fast moving flames, and while fleeing on foot, he fell into a ditch where the flames caught him. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Volunteer firefighter Roger Rutledge stomps on a hot spot in a burned field charred by a wildfire that killed a local firefighter in Eastland County near Gorman, Texas, Saturday, April 16, 2011. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Volunteer firefighter Roger Rutledge uses a water hose to put out a wildfire hot spot on the remnants of a fire that killed a local firefighter in Eastland County near Gorman, Texas, Saturday, April 16, 2011. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Volunteer firefighter Dennis Brazeal takes a break to survey the area while using a water hose to put out a wildfire hot spot on the remnants of a fire that killed a local firefighter in Eastland County near Gorman, Texas, Saturday, April 16, 2011. Brazeal attended the fire academy with the fallen firefighter. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

DALLAS (AP) - A wildfire sweeping across some 20,000 acres in North Texas has killed a firefighter, forced hundreds of evacuations - including an entire town - and destroyed at least 30 homes, state officials said Friday.

The fire was burning in a mostly rural area about 120 miles west of Dallas, although the region also has expensive lake homes and is a popular recreation spot. The blaze was among several charring tens of thousands of acres across the state.

"The fire, it's a bad one," state Parks and Wildlife Department spokesman Rob McCorkle said. "This is pretty unusual to have this many fires going across the state at the time."

Volunteer firefighter Gregory M. Simmons, 51, died while battling the blaze Friday afternoon near Eastland, Mayor Mark Pipkin said.

Simmons had been a firefighter for two decades, including 11 years with Eastland's Fire Department, the mayor said.

"Apparently he was overcome by smoke, fell in a ditch and was consumed" by the fire, said Justice of the Peace James King, who pronounced Simmons dead at the scene, along a rural road.

The fire also prompted officials to evacuate Gorman, a city of about 1,200 residents, and set up a shelter at a church in a nearby town for residents who needed a place to stay.

"The school, the nursing home and the whole city has been evacuated," City Clerk Jill Rainey said.

No injuries have been reported in the town, and no structures have been damaged, said Eastland County fire official Daniel Morgan.

Officials closed Possum Kingdom State Park and cleared out its campsites.

McCorkle said strong winds were increasing the chance that the fire could close off the wooded park's only access roads.

"This being a weekend, it would probably be pretty full," McCorkle said. "They wanted to get everybody out."
By Associated Press

Please buckle your seat belt

April 16, 2011
Driver of ambulance faces a DUI charge - TN

MURFREESBORO — An ambulance driver was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving Thursday after police caught him driving erratically on city streets with a patient in tow.

First Call Ambulance Driver Bradley Lee Cox, 32, of Thompson Station, was arrested for DUI and reckless endangerment after Murfreesboro Police Officer Travis Harris observed him run his vehicle off the road at Middle Tennessee Boulevard near Ewing Boulevard, according to a report written by MPD Officer Chris Wilkerson.

Harris had observed Cox driving on the wrong side of Memorial Boulevard minutes before the ambulance came to a stop at a green light on Middle Tennessee Boulevard at Greenland Drive, according to the report.

Harris initiated a traffic stop after the ambulance driven by Cox left the roadway at Middle Tennessee near Ewing Boulevard, striking two mailboxes and sideswiping a light pole. Cox pulled back onto Middle Tennessee before coming to a stop on a curb near Bell Street.

While talking to Cox, police noted, they smelled alcohol on his breath and saw he had bloodshot eyes. He also failed a series of field sobriety tests given by the officers and was subsequently placed under arrest, according to the report.

As for the patient who rode in his vehicle, another private ambulance from First Call responded to the scene to pick him up.

Cox, on the other hand, was transported to the Rutherford County jail.

The ambulance driver's bond was set at $3,500 and he is now scheduled to appear in court June 14. Cox had no previous charges on file at the Rutherford County Judicial Building.

The private ambulance service First Call has no affiliation with the government-funded Rutherford County ambulance service.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 15, 2011
Firefighter Hurt in Fall Through Floor - TN

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries battling a house fire in south Nashville on Thursday morning.

The fire occurred on Maxwell Road near the intersection of Old Hickory Boulevard and Murfreesboro Road.

Crews were called to the scene at about 5:30 a.m.

One firefighter was taken to the hospital after he fell through a floor and sustained an injury to his knee, according to authorities. Another firefighter was later hurt, but he is expected to be OK.

No one had lived at the home for months, but it was used for storage.

The cause of the fire is unclear.
Story by / NASHVILLE, Tenn.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 15, 2011
Firefighters Briefly Trapped in Blaze - CT

Fire crews in the Taftville section of Norwich battled an overnight fire Friday morning on Harland Place, which displaced a family, and temporarily trapped a firefighter inside.

The fire was reported just after 4 a.m.

Fire officials said two people were able to get out safely. They were taken to the hospital as a precaution, but officials said they were expected to be OK.

"When I was looking out the window, the whole thing was pink, just the reflection of the flames. That thing was totally covered," said Evelyn Fitzgerald, a neighbor

Three firefighters were briefly trapped after the floor gave way, fire officials said, causing one of the firefighters to fall through up to his knee. The other two then tried to help him, and became tangled up in debris and wires. A rapid intervention team, which is designed to help distressed firefighters, rushed into the home and was able to get them out safely.

"They train constantly for it and they're there for the firefighters' safety. They're the guys you see standing on the front lawn, hope they never have to go to work. Once they find the location, they're deployed into the building and they're the ones who aid in the removal of the firefighters," said Taftville Fire Chief Timothy Jencks.

Highway 169 was between Washington Street and Ox Hill Road while firefighters worked to put out the flames, but was reopened after the blaze was extinguished.

The American Red Cross is helping four people, two adults and two children, affected by the morning fire by providing temporary lodging and financial assistance for emergency clothing and food needs.

"Somebody said they crawled out the window. I hope they crawled out that window, got on the roof of the garage, so they wouldn't have to jump that far down," Fitzgerald said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Story by / NORWICH, Conn. --

Please buckle your seat belt

April 15, 2011
Firefighters dodge AK-47 fire during call - FL

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Police arrested a 20-year-old man they say fired an AK-47 assault rifle at firefighters early Thursday.

Calvin Teodoro Foronda, of St. Pete Beach, faces two counts of aggravated assault on a firefighter and two counts of aggravated assault on a paramedic. None of the fire rescue personnel was injured.

Authorities say the incident began when St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue was dispatched to 6401 31st St. S,, Apt. 904, shortly before 4 a.m. for a medical call.

The 911 caller said a man was having seizures.

When paramedics arrived, a woman who came to the door wouldn't let them in, said spokesman Lt. Joel Granata.

Then the woman said everything was okay and they could check out the man, who was later determined to be the woman's boyfriend.

About the same time, authorities said, a different man came running out of the home, screaming for everyone to "run."

Moments later, paramedics heard a gunshot. They took cover.

"They said they were in fear of their life and thought they were being shot at," said police spokesman Bill Proffitt.

None of the firefighters was struck by the bullet, but one of them did get hit in the arm or hand by a piece of building material.

"It looks like the round went through the floor and one of the paramedics was struck by some drywall debris," Proffitt said.

Police arrested Foronda, who they said was the shooter inside the house and the person who had been having seizures.

It appears he and his girlfriend were under the influence of drugs, Proffitt said. The couple told investigators they'd taken some pills earlier that night, he said.

Still unclear, however, was why Foronda fired the gun.

"Apparently he made some statements that it was unintentional," Proffitt said.

Foronda was held Thursday night in the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $40,000 bail.
By Kameel Stanley / St. Petersburg Times

Please buckle your seat belt

April 14, 2011
Air Ambulance Makes Emergency Landing - NV

Air ambulance operators are trained to respond to medical emergencies, not to make emergency landings.

But a team flying a sick passenger into the Reno-Tahoe airport early this morning appears to have had to do just that, when an air traffic controller fell asleep on the job.

It reportedly happened about 2 a.m., when the ambulance, after trying unsuccessfully for several minutes to make contact with the controller in charge, had to make an unassisted landing without the tower's help, according to a source familiar with the incident.

The airport hasn't yet made an official announcement about the event, nor would officials from the Federal Aviation Administration confirm the episode Wednesday morning, but indicated that they were working on an official statement about what happened that would be released later in the day.

The incident, which does not appear to have resulted in any injuries, throws into harsh relief a mounting problem with the force of air traffic controllers in the United States. Several reports in the last few years have documented how air traffic controllers across the country are overworked in terms of hours and work-related stresses, and highlighted a crisis in training: nearly half the air traffic controllers in the country will reach the federally-mandated retirement age of 56 by 2012.

It's a crisis that Congress has taken note of as well, though not uniformly. Air traffic controllers -- considered especially "essential" national personnel, as we learned in the run-up to a potential government shutdown last week -- were a focus of the FAA Reauthorization bill that the Senate passed last month. But the issue hasn't been resolved, since the House's version of the bill comes in at $4 billion less.

The National Transportation Safety Board has highlighted "human fatigue issues" as an area of concern in other similar incidents across the country -- and it appears there's little in the way of a fail-safe backup mechanism to safeguard against such human error.

While large airports, such as John F. Kennedy International in New York, are required to have two air traffic controllers on duty at all times, small and mid-sized airports, which is the classification Reno-Tahoe would fall under, only need have one on quiet overnight shifts.

The rules still require two controllers for busy daytime hours, for the two-part job of controlling the in and outgoing flights from the airport tower, and also directing traffic for the 50-mile radius around the airport. But those rules don't apply during overnight hours when no flights are scheduled -- though those are also the same hours controllers can be expected to be at their sleepiest.

Certain small and mid-sized airports are required to have two round-the-clock anyway, such as Reagan National Airport in Virginia, which serves the nation's capital. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood ordered up the second controller for that airport.

But the requirements are murky enough that the president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association has already made an appeal for the federal government to step up the rule.

"One-person shifts are unsafe. Period," president Paul Rinaldi said in a statement last month.

But hiring more air traffic controllers means you've got to pay for them, and Congress hasn't been able to agree on how to do that yet.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reacted to the news of the incident with the congressional standoff in mind Wednesday.

"My office has contacted the Federal Aviation Administration to make it clear that this situation is completely unacceptable and to request that there be a minimum of two air traffic control personnel in the tower at all times," Reid said. "This is yet another reason we must reauthorize the Aviation Jobs Bill to make important safety enhancements and oppose the House version of the legislation that slashes resources FAA needs to keep passengers safe."
Karoun Demirjian / Las Vegas Sun

Please buckle your seat belt

April 14, 2011
Ambulance Fills With Smoke Odor Responding to Call - TN

-KNOXVILLE -- An ambulance sent this morning to help a person with breathing difficulties itself required attention when the crew noted the odor of smoke in the vehicle.

The 7:40 a.m. medical call came from a residence on Hensley Road, which runs off Kim Watt Drive in West Knoxville, according to Knoxville Fire Department spokesman Capt. D.J. Corcoran.

The KFD crew from Station 12 on Old Kingston Pike was on the scene as a first responder.

While the ambulance was en route to the call, "the crew detected a smell in the cabin," according to a release from Rural/Metro Corporation. The crew requested a second ambulance in case theirs was experiencing a serious issue.

Emergency providers on the afflicted ambulance arrived at the scene and tended to the patient. The crew determined the second ambulance could slow down its response because the patient was stable.

The backup ambulance carried the patient to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center on a non-emergency basis without the need for flashing lights and siren.

While the ambulance crew tended to the patient, firefighters tended to the ambulance.

"There was no fire, but it smelled like something was burning," Corcoran said.

A mechanic at the Ambulance Operations Center determined the troubled ambulance had a burned fuse that carries power to the siren amplifier, according to Rural/Metro. No other mechanical issues were detected.
Don Jacobs / The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tenn.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 14, 2011
Firefighter Injured Battling Dickson City Blaze Released From CMC - PA

A Dickson City firefighter was released from Community Medical Center after suffering bruised ribs when she fell through the floor of a burning Frieda Street home earlier this morning. Dickson City Fire Chief Joseph Chowanec Jr. said the female firefighter and a male firefighter fell through the first floor of 1140 Frieda St. just six feet from the front door and became stuck between the floor's joists while a fire worked its way from the home's basement to its second floor.

Chief Chowanec declined to identify the injured firefighters, though he did say that the male was treated at the scene for less serious injuries.

After the floor gave way beneath the two firefighters, Olyphant firefighters working as the incident's rapid intervention team entered the structure and pulled them out, Chief Chowanec said.

At any fire, a rapid intervention team tasked with rescuing injured firefighters is established by the chief in command and, in most cases in the Midvalley, Olyphant firefighters are selected, Chief Chowanec said.

The fire, which started shortly after 1 a.m., tore through the two-story home's first floor and extended into its second, though Chief Chowanec said crews managed to get the bulk of the blaze under control within about 15 minutes.

The fire seriously damaged the home, whose owners are currently on vacation, and in Chief Chowanec's estimation, may not be salvageable.
Written by The Times-Tribune

Please buckle your seat belt

April 14, 2011
Fire department ambulance crashes on run - MA

OXFORD, Mass. — One of the town's three ambulances was heavily damaged and a paramedic is recovering from injuries after an accident early Sunday morning on Dudley-Oxford Road in Dudley.

Oxford police said the town's ambulance was responding to a call in Dudley and had picked up a patient when it went off the road, struck a tree and landed in a ditch just before 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

A paramedic who was treating the patient in the back of the ambulance suffered a cut to his head that required more than a dozen stitches to close. Oxford Fire Chief Sherry Bemis said the paramedic will be out of work for an indefinite period. She believes the ambulance, a 2000 Freightliner, is a total loss, but she is awaiting word from the town's insurance company.

While police in Dudley continue to investigate, Chief Bemis said the accident happened when the EMT driving the ambulance leaned over to switch the communications radio from the Dudley frequency back to the Oxford frequency so he could communicate with the dispatcher.

She explained that when the ambulance travels to other towns, the radio must be changed so emergency personnel can talk with the dispatchers in those communities. She said fire officials have tried to come up with a better way to deal with the radio issue, but "there's no solution to the problem with the technology we have."

That is just one known ambulance-related problem that was a factor in the crash, she said. The other is that EMS personnel in the back of the ambulance with patients are not secured. While there are systems in place to restrain personnel in the back, ambulances equipped with those devices are far more expensive and most often out of reach for towns like Oxford.

The EMT who was driving suffered minor injuries, and the patient, aside from the medical problems that prompted the initial ambulance call, was not injured.

Dudley Fire Capt. David J. Konieczny said Dudley EMTs responded to the crash and transported the patient who had been in the back of Oxford's ambulance. Oxford had responded to Dudley under the mutual aid agreement, he said.

Dudley Police Chief Steven J. Wojnar said the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section is assisting the investigation.

"We're looking into what happened," Chief Wojnar said. "Right now, it doesn't appear there was any negligence or reckless operation."

No charges have been filed, he said.

Chief Bemis said the lack of a third ambulance will affect her department. She said it is becoming more common to have three ambulance calls at a time and she will have to use mutual aid more often until the ambulance is replaced.
By Kim Ring / Telegram & Gazette

Please buckle your seat belt

April 13, 2011
Akron ambulance carrying patient collides with car 5 taken to hospital - OH

An Akron ambulance carrying a patient to the hospital was involved in a crash Tuesday morning.

According to city of Akron' s director of communications Mark Williamson, the squad collided with a car at the intersection of Broadway and Voris at about 8:06 a.m. The ambulance had its lights and siren on at the time, Williamson said.

The ambulance was in the process of transporting a patient to Akron General Medical Center.

Three fire department crew members who were in the ambulance, along with the patient and the driver of the other car were all taken to the hospital. The fire department crew members were treated and released. Williamson said the conditions of the patient and car driver aren't known at this time.

The crash remains under investigation.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 13, 2011
2 firefighters injured in fire at recycling plant - NM

EL PASO, N.M. — Three people, including two firefighters, were injured in a fire this morning at a South-Central El Paso recycling plant.

About 45 firefighters responded to the blaze at 9 a.m. at Master Fibers, 1710 E. Paisano. When they arrived, they reported seeing heavy smoke and flames coming from outside of the business, said El Paso Fire Department spokesman Inspector John Concha.

Concha said the fire apparently started in one of 90 bundles of recyclable material outside of a warehouse. A 36-year-old man who worked at the business attempted to put the fire out himself with a small fire extinguisher but was overcome by smoke and powder from the extinguisher, Concha said.

He was treated for smoke inhalation, not for burns as officials reported initially, Concha said.

Two firefighters also suffered minor injuries during the fire but refused transport to a local hospital.

It took about 40 minutes for firefighters to extinguish the fire and managed to keep it from spreading to the warehouse. Damage was limited to 90 bundles of recyclables and is estimated at about $7,000.

According to the company's website, Master Fibers is a recycling company that processes "non-hazardous waste." Among the items it recycles are cardboard, wood and plastic pallets, carpet padding and plastics.

Concha said firefighters and police closed off Paisano Avenue between Eucalyptus and Cole streets but that area is now open to traffic.
By Adriana M. Chávez / The El Paso Times

Please buckle your seat belt

April 13, 2011
Ignited combustibles injure firefighter in home fire - TX

SHACKELFORD CO.,Texas — A man sharpening a lawn mower blade on his front porch Tuesday afternoon ignited a blaze that destroyed a home off County Road 155. The Hamby Volunteer Fire Department responded to the call at 1:15 p.m. to find the home engulfed in flames.

"While he was sharpening the lawn mower blade, gas poured out onto the dry grass set the whole works on fire," said Hamby VFD Chief Ray Watson.

Watson said one firefighter was injured when combustible items located near the home began to explode after being ignited by flames.

"We also nearly lost an engine," Watson said.

The fire quickly spread and burned about six acres surrounding the home.

"We had to save three homes," said Watson, adding that no one was evacuated. Assistance from the Albany VFD and equipment from Precinct 4 in Shackelford County helped prevent a serious wildfire, Watson said.

"We are still monitoring the fire," Watson said. "We can't take a chance due to the conditions were have."

Elsewhere around the Big Country on Tuesday, one more fires broke out while others were brought under control.

By Tuesday evening, the Swenson fire that ravaged more than 103,000 acres in Stonewall, Knox and King counties was reported to be 90 percent contained, according to officials with the Texas Forest Service.

Light winds and mild temperatures Sunday, followed by strong northern winds on Monday, helped fire crews make significant headway against the fire, said TFS spokesman Lee McNeely.

At least 16 area fire agencies were working the fire, in addition to the TFS and Texas Department of Transportation and Department of Public Safety personnel and their resources. More than 160 homes threatened by the fire were saved, officials said. Only two unoccupied homes were reported as lost.
By Celinda Emison and Greg Kendall-Ball / The Abilene Reporter-News

Please buckle your seat belt

April 12, 2011
Dogs Attack Firefighters at House Fire - CA

Firefighters trying to battle a fire in central Fresno were attacked by several dogs this morning, a department spokesman said.

The blaze was reported about 6 a.m. in the 2200 block of East Lamona Avenue. When firefighters arrived, they spotted a residential structure with fire erupting through the roof. As crews tried to enter the home, they were set on by the large dogs, the spokesman said.

Firefighters and the dogs' owner were able to control the animals so that the fire could be suppressed. None of the firefighters were injured.

One man, five dogs and one cat were displaced by the fire. The cause and amount of damage to the home are still being assessed.
Jim Guy - The Fresno Bee, Calif.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 12, 2011
Two Firefighters Hurt in Forest Fire - KY

Two firefighters were hurt while fighting a fire in the Jefferson Memorial Forest.

Firefighters from Fairdale and Pleasure Ridge Park responded to the blaze around 7 p.m. Sunday.

Crews were on the scene until just after 5:30 a.m. Monday. Firefighters said weather conditions were not cooperative with putting out the fire.

A total of 34 firefighters were on the scene. Two were sent to the hospital for heat exhaustion and fatigue, but they have both been released.

Firefighters said they suspect the fire started from natural causes, possibly a lightning strike from Saturday's stormy weather.
Story by / LOUISVILLE, Ky.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 12, 2011
Close Call For 2 Queens Bravest - NY

Two firefighters battling a raging three-alarm fire in Queens were momentarily trapped yesterday in the burning three-story apartment building, the FDNY said. Firefighter Evan Davis had to rappel out of a window at 424 Beach 129th St., and Lt. Richard Barnes was caught in a collapsed floor before he was rescued.

A dozen firefighters suffered minor injuries, FDNY officials said.
Originally published by Doug Auer and Kevin Sheehan. / Written by The New York Post

Please buckle your seat belt

April 12, 2011
Firefighter critically burned in wildfires - TX

Firefighters battled Monday to contain several large blazes that have burned hundreds of square miles of rural Texas and destroyed dozens of homes since last week, getting reinforcements from out of state as they struggled against some of the worst wildfire conditions in state history.

One firefighter was in critical condition at a Lubbock hospital with severe burns suffered while fighting a Panhandle wildfire, officials said.

Powerful winds that sent walls of flame through parched ranchland in and around the West Texas communities of Fort Davis and Midland, incinerating more than 60 homes during the weekend and killing livestock and horses, took pity by directing the fires to largely unpopulated open spaces north and east of the cities.

An overnight thunderstorm — a rare occurrence of late, with the state coming off its driest March since 1895 — gave crews the break they needed to begin containing a wildfire that had scorched about 110 square miles of rolling prairies about 175 miles west of Fort Worth.

All of Texas is experiencing drought, and conditions are classified as extreme or exceptional in 60 percent of the state, according to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor map.

Rain from last summer's Hurricane Alex led to particularly lush vegetation growth, said Mark Stanford, the operations director for the Texas Forest Service. A cold winter and the drought killed off much of that growth, and with fewer cattle grazing on Texas pasturelands, the dried remains have provided a perfect fuel for wildfires to consume, he said.

Thus far this year, the Forest Service and fire departments have responded to 654 fires that have burned 916 square miles of land and destroyed 189 homes.

That's a far cry from March 2006 — when wildfires burned more than 3,000 square miles, destroyed 413 homes and killed 12 people in the deadliest wildfire month in state history. But Stanford said current wildfire conditions are even worse than five years ago.

"We're in new territory because it's drier than it has been for `06, `08 and `09, but there is more fuel to burn," Stanford said.

The parched conditions are expected to last for several days, at least, but the 30-40 mph winds that have been fueling the western blazes are expected to drop into the teens and low 20s, he said.

"And that makes a huge difference," Stanford said.

It'll be too late for those who watched the terrifying, fast-moving fires sweep through their West Texas communities on Saturday and Sunday.

"It was unbelievable, just horrific. There were horses on fire, buildings on fire, houses on fire," said Bob Dillard, a former Jeff Davis county judge and editor of the weekly Jeff Davis County Mountain Dispatch.

One firefighter, Elias Jacquez of Cactus, Texas, suffered third-degree burns over 60 percent of his body Saturday while fighting a fire that charred 60,000 acres — about 94 square miles — about 40 miles north of Amarillo, according to Moore County Emergency Management spokesman David Garrett.

Jacquez was airlifted to University Medical Center in Lubbock, where he was in critical condition Monday night, Garrett said.

Ranchers were combing the burned landscape Monday looking for the remains of charred cattle and other animals to dispose of. There's also plenty of fencing that's destroyed on ranches during wildfires, making it difficult for ranchers to keep their animals on their property.

Fort Davis-area rancher Bobby McKnight, 50, said Monday he was worried last week whether he'd have enough feed for his cattle if it didn't rain soon. Now, he's dealing with the loss of his parents' 100-year-old home, which he thinks burned down because wildfires caused a nearby gas tank to explode. Three horses were killed.

He was there for a time as the fires raced north from Marfa, taking about two hours to go the 21 miles. He left to check on his own home and used sprayers to wet down his home.

"It was close," said McKnight, a lifetime rancher. "The fire was just at our front door."

Thirty-three states have sent firefighters or equipment to help Texas battle the wildfires this year, the state forest service said. A group of about 60 people from southern states is helping to manage planning and assessment of the western-most fires.
By Betsy Blaney / The Associated Press

Please buckle your seat belt

April 11, 2011
Firefighter Attacked On Office Fire Call - KS

Police in Mission, Kansas believe the man hiding in the closet of the burning office set the fire. He is also charged with attacking a firefighter.

Story and Video

Please buckle your seat belt

April 10, 2011
Firefighter Falls Through Floor in House Fire - TN

A deaf woman remained hospitalized in critical condition after an early morning house fire Saturday.

Linda Mackey is at Vanderbilt Medical Center after a fire started at about 4 a.m. at her home near the corner of Foster Avenue and Valeria Street in the Woodbine area of Nashville.

Mackey's son, Charlie, tried to go into the burning home to rescue his mother, neighbors say. However, Macky is deaf and couldn't hear him yelling and the smoke was too thick.

Nashville firefighters said the home was filled with flames by the time first responders arrived.

District Chief Ricky Taylor said one fireman suffered minor injuries when he fell through the floor.

"The other firefighters were able to get him out quickly," Taylor said. "He was evaluated. He's okay."

Firefighters found the woman in a rear bedroom.

"The firefighters got her out quickly," Taylor said. "Paramedics started advanced life support procedures, and she was transported to Vanderbilt (Hospital) in extremely critical condition."

Investigators were still trying to determine what caused the fire.

Neighbors said the home's smoke alarm was going off when crews arrived.

The woman's husband was away camping when the fire began and later returned home to learn about the blaze.
Written By Maurice Miller Story by / NASHVILLE, Tenn.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 10, 2011
Firefighter Hospitalized For Smoke Inhalation - CT

A Shelton firefighter was hospitalized for smoke inhalation and a minor burn on his ear after battling a smoky blaze at a three-family home on Maltby Street. Public Information Officer Nick Verdicchio said the firefighter was pulled out of the fire he was fighting on the third story of the home Saturday afternoon when a fellow firefighter noticed he was in distress and signaled for help.

Shelton EMS transported him to Griffin Hospital where he was treated and released Saturday evening, Verdicchio said.

Verdicchio did not know the name of the injured firefighter, who was part of the department's Echo Hose and Ladder Company.

The fire department received two reports of the fire at 115 Maltby Street about 4:15 p.m. from two families who reside there, Verdicchio said. The blaze started on the third floor back deck and quickly spread to the attack, he said.

All occupants of the home got out safely and the department was able to knock down the blaze in about 20 minutes, Verdicchio said.

"There is lots of smoke and water damage to the home," Verdicchio said. "We had to pull out a lot of ceilings and floors on the top level. The way it looks now, the third floor is uninhabitable, and the second and first floors are unknown."

The fire marshal is investigation the cause of the fire.
Written by Connecticut Post

Please buckle your seat belt

April 09, 2011
EMT Charged After Ambulance Crash - NC

HILLSBOROUGH -- The driver of an Orange County ambulance was charged with failure to maintain lane control after he lost control of the vehicle and it overturned on N.C. 86 on Saturday.

The N.C. Highway Patrol charged Junior Cene, 31, of 3529 Day Road, Walkertown. Cene is an emergency medical technician for Orange County Emergency Services.

He, along with a 43-year-old female EMT from Gibsonville, and a 41-year-old male paramedic from Holly Springs, were taking a 55-year-old man from Hillsborough to UNC Hospitals for a medical condition.

It was a non-emergency transport, and the ambulance was going about 45 mph in a 50 mph zone when Cene ran off the right side of the road just before noon, according to the N.C. Highway Patrol.

He overcorrected and swerved back onto the road, veered back and forth another time, and then the ambulance flipped onto the driver's side and skidded off the road.

Everyone in the ambulance was injured in the wreck and transported to UNC Hospitals for treatment, according to Kim Woodward, EMS operations manager. None of the injuries was life-threatening, although Cene was hospitalized until Tuesday.

Woodward would not give details about the patient's injuries or condition because of confidentiality laws but said that on Saturday evening after the wreck, the patient was listed in good condition.

Orange County Emergency Management has not finished the investigation and there has been no determination about personnel discipline, Woodward said.

 The ambulance, one of the newer vehicles in the fleet, is out of service, but that should not affect day-to-day service, Woodward said. The chassis appears to be destroyed, but the "box" in which patients are transported had only slight damage.

The bigger problem is the temporary loss of the crew.

"We're always short staffed and we're continually hiring new EMT's and paramedics, so that hit us pretty hard," Woodward said.
Beth Velliquette / Chapel Hill Herald (Durham, N.C.)

Please buckle your seat belt

April 09, 2011
Firefighter Hurt at Pittsburgh House Fire - PA

A fire broke out inside a home on Fahnestock Avenue in Pittsburgh's East Hills neighborhood on Thursday night.

Firefighters responded to the scene to find flames and smoke engulfing the home and spreading to a vacant home next door.

After they got the fire under control, investigators were able to determine that the cause was an electrical malfunction in the kitchen area.

Three people lived inside but they were not home at the time.

Police told Channel 4 Action News that Pittsburgh firefighter Nick Florien fell and hurt his hand while battling the flames.

Florien and his brother, Ronald, were arrested on suspicion of Pittsburgh's South Side back in March. They are accused of beating a man near 26th and Carson Streets.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 09, 2011
4 Injured, Including Firefighter, When Mattress Catches Fire - IL

A firefighter as well as four people were injured in a fire on the North Side Lake View neighborhood late this evening, officials said. About 10:10 p.m., officials responded to a fire in the 3300 block of North Marshfield Avenue, according to fire Media Affairs spokesman Rich Rosado. The fire resulted from a small mattress catching fire, he said, citing preliminary information.

According to an online directory, a YMCA is located at that address.

The fire was raised to a still alarm, which brought two engines, two trucks and a battalion chief. An EMS Plan 1 was also called, which brought five ambulances, Rosado said.

Four civilians were injured and taken to area hospitals, Rosado said. One person was in serious-to-critical condition; two people were in fair-to-serious condition; and one person was in good condition, Rosado said. He did not immediately know ages or genders of the victims.

A firefighter suffered a minor cut to his hand, and was treated and released, Rosado said.

By 10:53 p.m., the fire had been secured, Rosado said.
Written by Chicago Tribune

Please buckle your seat belt

April 09, 2011
Driver of Boston fire truck is cited in crash - MA

Boston fire truck

This video report from WCVB-TV Ch. 5 tells the full story:

State Police have issued a civil citation to the Boston firefighter who was driving a fire truck responding to a call on Tuesday that collided with an off-duty police officer's vehicle in Mattapan.

State Police said in a statement that a fine "not to exceed" $150 was issued to Francis X. Tierney, 52, of Hyde Park. Tierney was driving the fire truck, which had its emergency lights and siren activated, that collided with an SUV being driven by Boston police officer Darrell Vinson, 46, of Mattapan, at the intersection of Harvard and Morton streets.

In Friday's statement, State Police said Tierney is being fined for a red light violation. Both men were taken to city hospitals with injuries after the accident, authorities said.

Emergency vehicles responding to a call are required to stop at red lights and make sure it is safe for them to continue.
By Travis Andersen, Globe Staff

Please buckle your seat belt

April 08, 2011
Firefighter Suffers Shock During Wildfire - OK

The Oklahoma National Guard was asked to send helicopters to the location to drop water on the fire.

After crews spent hours of trying to put out a wildfire that burned acres of land in Spencer, the fire reignited about 3:15 p.m.

A firefighter suffered an electrical shock during the firefight, crews said. He was taken to an area hospital for treatment. Crews at the scene said a power line shocked the firefighter. No further information on the firefighter's condition was immediately available.

Crews spent nearly 24 hours fighting the fire that originally began on Wednesday near Wilshire Boulevard and Post Road. On Thursday, the fire rekindled near Wilshire Boulevard and Westminster Road.

Deputy Fire Chief Cecil Clay said Thursday the blaze wasn't completely extinguished, and a shift in the winds moved the flames into areas of dry grass and cedar trees that haven't previously burned.

For the second time in as many days, heavy smoke billowed in the sky.

Acres upon acres of land were blackened by the massive blaze on Wednesday.

A shed had caught fire, and homes were threatened by the growing blaze.

As the shed burned, Eyewitness News 5 reporter Amanda Guerra noted firefighters weren't nearby. Their hands were full battling the blaze in other areas.

Clay said about 20 fire personnel are trying to protect homes in the area but no evacuations were ordered and no injuries had been reported.

Clay said the Oklahoma National Guard has been asked to send helicopters to the location to drop water on the fire.

A burn ban was in effect for much of the state as dry conditions continued to plague residents.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 08, 2011

Yantic Fire Department Chief Frank Blanchard and Fire Lt. Joe Murray were taken to the hospital Wednesday for treatment of injuries sustained after a sheet of plywood from the Hale Mill knocked them flat.

Blanchard, who was recovering at home Thursday, said the incident happened shortly after 2 p.m. while he and Murray were walking in the parking lot of the firehouse at 151 Yantic Lane, directly across the street from the sprawling, bank-owned vacant mill.

“One minute I’m standing in the parking lot talking to Lt. Murray … the next thing you know I’m in the back of the ambulance,” Blanchard said. “I asked them if I got hit by a car.”

Both men were quickly treated at the scene by their own volunteer department members and taken by American Ambulance to The William W. Backus Hospital. Blanchard, who was knocked unconscious for several minutes, underwent CAT scans and other tests.

Blanchard said he’s still sore and that Murray injured his arm.

The incident was captured on video by the department’s security camera, which shows the 4-foot by 8-foot piece of plywood, with a half dozen nails protruding from it, come from the sky and hit Blanchard.

Both men were knocked to the ground.

“I didn’t have any time to make any decision,” Blanchard said. “It clobbered me.” Shortly after the incident, City Building Official James Troeger visited the mill to check for other possible projectiles. The Hale Mill failed to sell at a public auction Tuesday.

Troeger said he thinks it’s likely the plywood came from the upper floor of the mill, a 40- to 50-foot drop to the parking lot. Assisted by the Taftville Fire Department’s ladder truck, Troeger said they were able to access the area and pull several other pieces of wood down — for safety.

Blanchard said he couldn’t recall a heavy wind Wednesday, but Troeger said he had heard some reports of “freak” winds in the area. He said otherwise the building looks secure.

Blanchard said until the mill is renovated, it will remain a concern because he recalls debris from the mill ending up in the parking lot in the past. He said it’s a quiet area, but well-traveled by walkers.

He joked that he’s not ready to release the video and watch a life-threatening event go viral on YouTube.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 08, 2011
Partial Roof Collapse Injures Firefighters - PA

April 08--YORK, Pa -- Two firefighters were injured Friday morning while battling the second fire to erupt at a Dover Township apartment building in eight hours.

Emergency responders were called to the fire on Emig Mill Road, near Solar Drive around 7:45 a.m. for reports of flames showing in the second story of the two-unit apartment building.

Two of the first firefighters to respond went up to the attic, where part of the roof fell on them, Dover Township Deputy Fire Chief Glenn Jansen said. The firefighters remained conscious and alert, but suffered strains and some minor burns, Jansen said. They were taken to York Hospital.

Four people, two tenants in each unit, were displaced by the first fire, Jansen said. None of the residents were injured, he added.

The cause of the fire is unknown, according to Jansen. The fire marshal is expected to be at the site today.

Kim Hudson, the director of daycare at New Creation Community Church, said a parent came in and told her about the fire next door.

Hudson said she went to the house and knocked on the door to alert the people who live there. Someone pulled into the driveway while Hudson was knocking and told her there was a fire last night and the house was unoccupied.

Jansen said police first arrived at the house around 2:30 a.m. for a fire that started in the kitchen on the second floor of the building. Crews left around 4:30 a.m., he said.
Mike Argento - York Daily Record, Pa

Please buckle your seat belt

April 08, 2011
Fire Truck Hit With Rock From Overpass - MS

Tuesday night someone threw a rock, or series of rocks, off of the railroad overpass on U.S. Highway 11 in the Ozona community, hitting the windshield of a Carriere Volunteer Fire Department truck. Carriere VFD Assistant Fire Chief Chris Brown said the incident took place just before 9:30 p.m. as a firefighter was on the way back to the Hide-A-Way Lake fire station in the truck after participating in some training at Carriere's station one.

Brown said the rock impacting the windshield caused shattered glass to hit the firefighter in the eye, an injury for which he was treated at Highland Community Hospital and released. While the firefighter's injuries were not severe, Brown said the truck is out of commission waiting on a new windshield which means property is at risk.

A search for the culprit took place shortly after the incident, but Brown said so far that person has not been located. Capt. Kelvin Stanford with the Pearl River County Sheriff's Department said deputies are still looking for the suspect or suspects.

This is the second reported incident of a rock thrown from an overpass impacting and breaking a windshield in the past few weeks, Brown said. An 18-wheeler was hit with a rock thrown from an overpass a couple of weeks ago as it was traveling on Interstate 59 and was going under the Anchor Lake overpass.

While neither incident resulted in any major injuries, Brown said incidents such as these can be the beginning of a tragic accident.

"Kids don't realize the dangers that one rock can cause," Brown said. "They can cause a wreck that could kill a family, kids and all."
Written by Picayune Item

Please buckle your seat belt

April 08, 2011
Mayday: Roof collapse at house fire. - DC

DC Fire & EMS Department spokesman Pete Piringer now says five firefighters were hurt, some seriously, during a two-alarm house fire at 813 48th Street, NE. The fire was reported around 12:40 this morning. Three of the firefighters were from Rescue Squad 3 and were caught in the collapse of the roof of the one story, wood frame, single family home. At 7:30 AM Piringer reported one firefighter is in critical condition with significant burns, three with varying degrees of burns have been admitted and one with moderate burns to the ears is expected to be released. All are at the Medstar Burn unit of the Washington Hospital Center.

According to a preliminary account from Piringer, the first units arrived on the scene with heavy fire showing from the roof and rear of the building. The house is considered vacant but neighbors tell firefighters it is sometimes occupied. Piringer says the first arriving engine was making an aggressive interior attack while another engine was protecting an exposure. Rescue Squad 3's crew began a search for occupants.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 08, 2011
Head-On Ambulance Crash - VA


A PRIVATE AMBULANCE operated by Eagle Transports out of Newport News, Virginia, was returning to quarters from a Norfolk hospital when a car traveling the wrong way on the divided highway struck them head-on.

The crash took place just before midnight Friday morning in Portsmouth. The car's driver was the only passenger and he somehow got onto the wrong traffic lanes where he smashed into the ambulance. The two medics were both injured, but are expected to recover. The extent of their injuries has not been reported.

The driver of the car is in critical condition and has not been able to make any statement to the police. However they say that he will have charges placed against him.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 08, 2011
San Francisco firefighter hurt in fall from ladder - CA

A firefighter was hurt while battling a three-alarm blaze in San Francisco's Mission District, authorities said.

The firefighter fell from a ladder while trying to contain a blaze that broke out at 3212 Mission St. at 8:10 p.m. Wednesday, according to the San Francisco Fire Department.

The injured firefighter was listed in stable condition at San Francisco General Hospital.

The blaze was controlled at about 10:15 p.m. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it did not appear to be suspicious, Deputy Chief Pat Gardner said.
By Henry K. Lee / The San Francisco Chronicle

Please buckle your seat belt

April 08, 2011
Tarheel Firefighter Dies Responding to Woods Fire - NC

David Hunsiger Jr., of the Tar Heel Volunteer Fire Department (Bladen County Station 57) was killed Thursday, April 7th, 2011 in a motor vehicle accident (POV) while responding to a woods fire.

Firefighter Hunsiger’s father is the chief of the Tar Heel Fire Department.

Firefighter Hunsiger was married and has children.

The Tar Heel Fire Department also experienced a Line of Duty death on September 22, 2006. Tar Heel Firefighter Ronald Phillip Allen, Jr. was struck and killed by a motorist while performing hydrant markings.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2011




A potentially tragic situation had a good ending on April 5, 2011 when Chesterfield Fire and EMS Truck 14 was rear-ended at a stoplight and no-one was injured. The accident occurred at 5:25 p.m., the height of rush hour at East Hundred Road and Kingston Avenue.

The accident is under investigation and police have not said if charges will be filed.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2011

A Structure fire came in at 0430 of reports that a garage was on fire. Truck 6 was the first unit on scene and reported there were two single family dwellings involved. There was some uncertainty if all parties were out of the homes. Truck 6 was staffed with 4 personnel made the decision to split the crew and search both structures for victims at the same time. Home number one was found to be evacuated. When the other crew entered home two they found LIGHT smoke about 1' off the celling, They preformed a search on the first floor then the 2nd with no one found inside. As they hit the top of the landing the rooms below flashed and became fully involved causing a chimney effect to where they were located. It is believed there was a natural gas explosion causing the flash. The fire had immediately melted the lapels (that did trigger a emergency tone) and the radios became inoperable. This flash also melted many of the straps holding on the SCBA along with other parts of the gear. It is believed one firefighter was disoriented and had to be thrown down the stairs and out of the structure. As they started to take off the gear they found that much of their skin remained inside their gloves and were transported to a hospital.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2011
Oakland FF Seriously Injured - CA

An Oakland firefighter was seriously injured Wednesday afternoon by an explosion that occurred as he was battling a vehicle blaze on Redding Street.

The firefighter suffered "significant" facial and oral trauma from the blast, and is undergoing surgery, said Oakland Fire Battalion Chief Melinda Drayton. He is in serious but stable condition, she added.

The explosion occurred after firefighters responded to a report of a vehicle fire around 4:35 Wednesday. When they arrived on the 4200 block of Redding Street, fire officials found the owner of a motor home attempting to put out a fire, Drayton said.

The owner told investigators that the blaze began in the engine compartment, she added.

"One firefighter was performing a fire attack on the outside of the vehicle when the explosion occurred," Drayton said. "We've got fire investigators as well as (Oakland Police Department) bomb explosive guys coming out to the scene to do the investigation."

Authorities do not believe that the fire was intentionally set, she said. No one else was hurt by the explosion, and the motor home's owner, as well as other witnesses, are cooperating with investigators, according to Drayton.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2011
Ambulance slams into pole in 146 - RI

Ambulance and pole

A 20-year-old Pawtucket man was hurt Wednesday evening when the ambulance he was driving on Route 146 North went off the road and struck a utility pole, according to State Police.

Michael Bergeron of 6 Hatfield St., Pawtucket, was alone in the Med Tech ambulance van when it struck the pole in front of Cox Communications on Route 146 North just past the Route 99 onramp, according to State Police Lt. Michael J. Gill of State Police Headquarters in Scituate.

Bergeron did not appear to have suffered serious injuries in the 5:41 p.m. crash with the wooden utility pole but was transported by Lincoln Rescue for treatment at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, Gill said.

The van-style ambulance was heading north past the Route 99 interchange when it veered right into the utility pole, Gill said. No charges were lodged against the driver. The incident was investigated by members of the Scituate State Police Barracks and the Lincoln Police Department. Evening commute traffic on Route 146 north was diverted around the accident scene on Route 146 while Lincoln firefighters and a towing company cleared the wreckage.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2011
Ambulance strikes, kills two horses in Franklin Township - MI

Two horses were killed Sunday after they were struck by a Jackson Community Ambulance along M-50 near Tipton Highway.

Bobby Lee Hunt, 36, of Holt was driving the 2006 Ford ambulance east on M-50 at 10:37 p.m. when two of three roaming horses ran into the road and into his path, according to a report released Monday. The horses were dead at the scene, while the ambulance was rendered undrivable by the collision.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2011
One rough ride for South Euclid firefighters - OH

One rough ride

Mike Hersh submitted this photo, showing what happens when a fire truck loses its rear set of tires while driving down a street. This South Euclid ladder truck was heading down Wrenford Road April 4 when it came to an unexpected, abrupt and uncontrolled stop. The U-bolts that hold the differential to the leaf springs snapped, causing the differential to roll out the back. Several tow trucks came to the scene. Those tow truck operators considered several options while trying to figure out how to hook up the truck and load the broken parts. It took about four hours to clear the road.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 07, 2011
RV explodes, injures firefighter - CA

An Oakland firefighter is at Highland Hospital with significant injuries following an explosion Wednesday in the engine of an RV parked in the Laurel district, fire officials said.

The name of the firefighter and the extent of his non-burn related injuries were not immediately available, said Battalion Chief Melinda Drayton.

The fire started in the engine of an RV parked in the 4200 block of Redding Avenue about 4:45 p.m., Drayton said. The occupant tried to use a fire extinguisher, but was unable to douse the flames. Firefighters arrived and were attempting to put out the fire when the explosion happened, Drayton said.

No other injuries were reported.

Police worked with the Fire Department to clear the freeway and side streets so the firefighter could be transported to the hospital quickly. Oakland police have joined fire officials in n investigating the fire.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.
By Kristin J. Bender / TheOakland Tribune

Please buckle your seat belt

April 06, 2011
Fire Apparatus Collapses Bridge over California Creek - CA

Fire Apparatus Collapses Bridge

Fire Apparatus Collapses Bridge

Santa Clara County Fire Department crew responding to a medical call in the 1400 block of Miramonte Avenue 2:30 a.m. Monday collapsed the bridge spanning Permanente Creek. No one was injured. The accident left approximately 12 residents without a way to drive their cars across the private drive, according to resident Richard Feldman, but they were able to get out by walking through backyards. A crew, was working to remove the engine Monday. Battalion Chief Joe Parker, noting the engine weighs approximately 40,000 pounds, said fire crews have crossed the bridge before in similar vehicles. According to Los Altos Engineering Services Manager Jim Gustafson, the bridge’s use permit – issued in 1993 – shows it was capable of holding approxiamtely 36,000 pounds.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 06, 2011

A firefighter from Odessa broke his wrist and at least 300,000 chickens perished in a four-alarm fire near Cecilton, Md., that lasted from Monday night into Tuesday morning.

"If it wasn't the biggest it was one of the biggest fires in Cecil County," said Cecilton Volunteer Fire Company Chief Bobby Plato Jr. Plato said the blaze started in a chicken farm building in the 600 block of Sassafras Road shortly before 7:30 p.m. The building belonged to ISE America Inc. which is an egg producer with offices in Maryland, New Jersey and South Carolina.

"It's still under investigation now, but four buildings were affected," Plato said. "Three were completely lost. It went into the fourth building but we stopped it."

All of the buildings were 50-feet wide and 500-feet long, Plato said. He also said one of the buildings alone had 136,000 chickens in it that died. The Odessa firefighter was injured after falling from a 6-foot ladder and a firefighter from Maryland suffered an eye injury. The Odessa firefighter was transported to Union Hospital in Elkton where he was treated. The second firefighter was treated on the scene, Plato said. Plato said 20 companies from Maryland and Delaware were called to the scene, which accounted for 125 to 130 firefighters. The fire initially started at the second building on the side, Plato said. It might have been due to some kind of electrical problem in the sand, he said. "The wind was blowing it into the other structures," Plato said.

Fire crews also had trouble getting to all sides of the building because of water supply issues. The blaze was finally ruled under control at 2 a.m., he said. In total, between $ 6 million and $8 million in damage was sustained, Plato said.

A representative from ISE America said that the dead chickens accounted for 40 percent of their livestock and that they have six barns left on the property, which is about six miles west of Middletown.

She said water and ventilation systems have been restored and that production will resume today.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 06, 2011
Firefighter Falls Through Floor Of Working House Fire - CA

Firefighter Falls Through Floor

A Modesto firefighter was taken to a hospital Wednesday after falling through a floor while battling a blaze.

While battling the fire, a firefighter fell through the floor of the home and landed in the basement, according to the incident commander.

The firefighter got hung up on the debris as he fell through the floor and spun upside down, landing on his head and shoulder.

The firefighter was rescued a short time later after calling out a mayday.

He was alert and walking after the fall, according to the Modesto Fire Department batallion chief.

The firefighter was taken by ambulance to a hospital for X-rays, according to the Fire Department.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 06, 2011
3 Gary firefighters injured in blaze - IN

3 firefighters injured

3 firefighters injured

3 firefighters injured

GARY — Three firefighters suffered injuries when the top-floor ceiling of a three-story burning building collapsed on them late Tuesday afternoon.

Capt. Malcolm Maxwell, Lt. Frank Edmond and Engineer Jesse Shabazz were treated at Methodist Hospitals Northlake campus for non-life-threatening injuries after fellow firefighters carried them out of a third-floor window onto a ladder truck.

“Our guys are all OK,” Battalion Chief Robert Groszewski said about 8 p.m. “I’m on my way to pick them up.”

Groszewski said he didn’t know yet if the men would be released back to their 24-hour shift duty or be taken home.

There were no other known injuries, Groszewski said at the scene.

“I want you to write these guys a commendation,” Gary Fire Chief Donald Williamson had told Groszewski at the scene at the southwest corner of 21st Avenue and Washington Street. The fire broke out about 5 p.m.

Wiliamson referred all questions to Groszewski, who said about 20 firefighters responded to the blaze at the site of the former Campbell Friendship House.

Groszewski said it appeared that the fire may have started in a third-floor stairwell, but added that the cause was still under investigation.

The third floor was destroyed but the first and second floors sustained only water and smoke damage, Groszewski said, estimating damages at about $20,000.

Marcus Boyd, who lived on the second floor, said he was the only occupant of the building.

“If the fire didn’t start in my room then somebody started it. There’s nobody else up there,” said Boyd, who waited across the street for firefighters to let him inside his apartment.

“Everything I have is in there,” said Boyd, who said someone from Studio 21 Web Design, also on the building’s second floor, had texted him at work about the fire.

Only a handful of businesses occupied the first floor, including a phone business, a convenience store, a CD shop and a gym, Boyd said.

Standing in the street, a weary looking Groszewski, fire helmet under his arm, his face smudged with soot, said the lack of fire personnel made it harder and harder to fight fires effectively.

“This is crazy,” Groszewski said. “We’re way short with laid off people. This is the third fire today. We’re getting worn out. Something’s gotta give.”

Budget cuts resulted in laying off 35 firefighters at the first of the year.

“We’ve got 200,” Groszewski said. “At one time we had 325. We’re 10 to 12 guys a shift short.”

In December, then Chief Jeff Ward said staffing cuts did not affect the department’s ability to protect the city, but Firefighters Local 359 President Raynard Robinson had compared the state of fire protection to Russian roulette, saying the need for firefighters, “to hustle to an emergency (has) left areas briefly unprotected.”

Only seven of the department’s 14 stations remain open, Groszewski said Tuesday.

“Our fire trucks are coming from farther away,” he said.
By DIANE Krieger-SPIVAK / The Chicago Sun-Times.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 06, 2011
Ambulance t-bones SUV on Spokane's South Hill - WA

SPOKANE -- Four people were taken to the hospital early Wednesday after their SUV was hit by an ambulance on Spokane’s South Hill.

Authorities said it happened around 4:30 a.m. near 29th and Southeast Boulevard.

Investigators said the ambulance had the right of way to pass through the intersection with flashing yellow lights. They said the SUV did not stop for flashing red lights.

Authorities said the ambulance then t-boned the SUV. The force of the crash sent the SUV into the side of the Miller Paint building.

Four passengers in an SUV were not seriously injured but complained of sore necks and back pain. The driver and passenger in the ambulance were not hurt. There was also minimal damage to the Miller Paint building.

Investigators do not believe alcohol played a role in the crash. They said it is likely a case of negligent driving and not paying attention to the traffic signals.

The ambulance was not responding to a call at the time of the crash.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 06, 2011
Cop's SUV And Firetruck Crash - MA

(Massachusetts) - An off-duty police officer and a firefighter were hospitalized when the vehicles they were driving collided yesterday in a Mattapan intersection, fire officials said. Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald said Ladder 29 was responding with its lights and sirens on to a car crash on American Legion Highway.

As the truck approached the intersection of Harvard and Morton streets at about 3:43 p.m., it collided with a silver SUV driven by the police officer.

The officer was on his way to work in his personal vehicle, police said.

The truck then crashed into a signal light pole, sending it crashing to the ground, MacDonald said. The two injured men were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. State police said Darrell Vinson, 46, was driving the SUV, while Frank Tierney, 52, was behind the wheel of the firetruck.

Vinson was taken to Boston Medical Center with a series leg injury. Tierney was treated for minor injuries at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

MacDonald said it was not clear who was at fault. State police are investigating.

Ladder 29 was involved in a minor accident Monday when it deployed jacks used to stabilize the truck when its ladder is raised, and one of the jacks scraped a car, MacDonald said.
Written by Boston Herald

Please buckle your seat belt

April 05, 2011
Fire Damages Home, Injures Firefighter - AZ

A firefighter sustained a minor injury battling a house fire near Somerton Monday morning. The fire fully engulfed a trailer located in the 3600 block of Ranchito Real. A motorist traveling on Highway 95 reported the fire shortly after 9 a.m. The occupants were home at the time and managed to leave the house safely, according to Robby Rodriguez, firefighter and public information officer for Somerton/Cocopah Fire Department.

One of the family's dogs was killed but another dog escaped. Firefighters reunited the dog with its owner, Rodriguez said.

A Rural/Metro firefighter sustained a back injury and was transported to Yuma Regional Medical Center. Rusty Leonard, public information officer for Rural/Metro, said he could not release the name of the firefighter. However, he said the firefighter was treated briefly at the hospital and released shortly thereafter.

Rural/Metro was the first department on the scene after receiving the call at 9:07 a.m. Leonard said three engines responded and arrived on scene at 9:16 a.m. Two Rural/Metro water tenders and a rescue ambulance responded as well.

SCFD arrived second on the scene and encountered heavy smoke and flames coming from the east side of the home, Rodriguez said.

"The Rural/Metro water tanker on scene did an excellent job containing the fire and kept it from going to the next house," Rodriguez said.

The fire reached a small motor home on the property, but firefighters stopped it before it involved a vehicle also on the property.

The Marine Corps Air Station Fire Department responded to "back fill" for any additional emergency calls in Somerton, Rodriguez said. The Yuma County Sheriff's Office also responded.

Leonard said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

"We won't know until a day or two," he said.
Written by The Sun

Please buckle your seat belt

April 05, 2011
One dead in Secaucus, NJ apartment fire 2 firefighters injured - NJ

SECAUCUS, N.J. — One person was killed Sunday evening in a blaze that gutted two stories of a four-unit town house building, authorities said. Two firefighters were injured.

When firefighters arrived, there was heavy fire blasting out of a second-floor window at 201 Sandcastle Key, part of the Harmon Cove town house complex, Secaucus Fire Chief George Choenrock said. The fire, he said, spread through the third floor onto the roof. The three residential stories are above a parking garage.

Firefighters found a body on the ground, the chief said. "The body was so badly burned, you couldn't tell if it was a man or a woman," Choenrock said. A resident who wouldn't give her name said the victim is a woman. The resident also said there are 96 four-unit buildings in the complex.

Firefighters said they were told that the person had been seen earlier, hanging out of a second-floor window, about 18 feet above the ground.

Choenrock said it took an hour to bring the fire under control. He said firefighters conducted several searches inside the building after the fire was knocked down, but found no one. He said the blaze was contained to the one building, although other buildings are close by.

Two Secaucus firefighters were injured when they were struck by a nozzle. One was taken to nearby Meadowlands Hospital and the other was treated at the scene.

Choenrock said 125 firefighters from Hudson and Bergen counties responded.

Twice while battling the stubborn blaze, firefighters were called out of the building because of concerns that it might collapse.

Late Sunday night, firefighters were still extinguishing hot spots. The chief said one engine company would remain overnight.

Residents, many of them from their balconies, watched the firefighters battle the blaze. One bystander was heard to say, "We need more fire hydrants."
By Justo Bautista / The Herald News

Please buckle your seat belt

April 05, 2011
2 firefighters injured battling brush fires - VA

ROANOKE, Va. — At least two brush fires burned in the Roanoke and New River valleys on Monday, the hottest day this year, authorities said.

Two firefighters were injured, authorities said. No buildings were at risk.

Flames were reported about 2:15 p.m. in Montgomery County near Virginia 8 and Laurel Ridge Mill Road, said Riner Fire Chief Joe Lucas.

The fire spread to about 10 acres but was contained by about 7 p.m.

About 3 p.m., flames were reported near Walnut Run in the upper Smith Mountain Lake area, said Daryl Hatcher, the county's director of public safety.

It grew to as many as 9 acres before being contained.

Two firefighters were recovering from smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion, Hatcher said.
By Jorge Valencia and Sheila Ellis

Please buckle your seat belt

April 04, 2011
Firefighter Injured Battling Duplex Blaze - WI

A Milwaukee firefighter is injured while trying to put out a fire on the city’s north side.

The Milwaukee Fire Department said they were called to a duplex near 44th Street and Good Hope Road just before 3:15 a.m. Sunday.

Investigators said it appears the fire started in an upstairs bedroom.

One firefighter was taken to Saint Joseph’s Hospital for knee and shoulder injuries.

The owner of the building and one resident were at the duplex when firefighters arrived at the scene.

None of the residents were hurt.

There’s no word on the extent of the damage.
Story by / MILWAUKEE

Please buckle your seat belt

April 04, 2011
Two Firefighters Burned Battling Blazes - CO

Two fighters suffered burns battling a wind-driven fire that destroyed two Arvada homes and forced the temporary evacuation of 15 nearby houses early Sunday.

The firefighters, who were burned on their upper extremities, were hospitalized in fair condition Sunday night, said Arvada Fire Department spokesman Scott Pribble. The firefighters, who may be hospitalized a few days, are expected to fully recover. Their names were not released.

Just before 5 a.m., fire crews responded on a call to the 6500 block of Union Street. They found two homes, at 6555 and 6565 Union St., fully engulfed, with flames shooting through the roof, Pribble said.

There was a total of eight people inside the blazing homes, but they all escaped safely, he said.

As a precaution, fire officials briefly evacuated 15 nearby homes.

Crews had the fire out by about 6:30 a.m., Pribble said. Both homes were expected to be a total loss.

Most evacuees were allowed back into their homes by 7 a.m., he said. However, a gas leak in one of the homes kept a few residents out of the area.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.
Alan Gathright and Megan Jurgemeyer - Story by thedenverchannel / ARVADA, Colo. --

Please buckle your seat belt

April 04, 2011
Las Vegas Firefighter Struck by Tool During Blaze - CA

A Las Vegas firefighter was treated for minor injuries after being struck by a tool being used to battle a blaze that damaged a patio roof and attic of a home on the city’s west side.

The fire started at just after 7 p.m. on Shawnee Avenue in the Charleston Heights neighborhood near Alta Drive and Jones Boulevard.

According to firefighters, the couple living at the house was having work done on the patio roof after it was damaged by recent winds. One of the workers was using a torch.

When the day finished, the couple and the workers both left the property, and neighbors reported seeing smoke and flames coming from the roof a short time later, firefighters said.

Two small dogs were rescued from the fire.

The firefighter who was injured was taken to University Medical Center for treatment.

Damage from the fire was estimated at $80,000, investigators said.
Story by / LAS VEGAS --

Please buckle your seat belt

April 04, 2011
Occupant, Firefighter Injured In Bloomfield Blaze - PA

A two-alarm fire in Bloomfield yesterday injured two people, including a city firefighter, and caused $50,000 worth of damage, officials said. The blaze started at 5:19 a.m. in the 300 block of Ella Street in a 2 1/2-story frame house, said Battalion Chief Robert Cox of District 3. He said a firefighter was treated at Mercy Hospital, Uptown, and released after getting a minor burn to the left hand.

In addition, an occupant was treated for smoke inhalation.

The cause of the fire, which was under control in about an hour, is under investigation.

The American Red Cross, Southwest Pennsylvania Chapter, helped three adults and three children with food, clothing and shelter.
Written by Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Please buckle your seat belt

April 03, 2011



Rescue vehicles responding to a fire call in collided this afternoon in Vincennes, Indiana. The wreck between a Vincennes Fire Department rescue truck and a Knox County ambulance occurred about 1:30pm CT at 6th St and Hart St in the city. Reports indicate 2 firefighters in the rescue truck and 2 EMT's on the ambulance were injured. All members were treated and released due to the use of seatbelts by all members!

The Indiana State Police has been called to reconstruct the accident. The vehicles were responding to a fire call with entrapment in the 300 block of Broadway Ave when the accident occurred. At the fire scene, crews rescued the 80 year old man trapped. However, he did suffer burns and has been transferred to Wishard Hospital in Indianapolis.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 03, 2011
House Fire Leads to Injuries for Firefighter - CA

A firefighter was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, but nobody else was hurt Friday in a house fire on Chestnut Court, a San Ramon Valley Fire District official said.

The family who lives in the single-story home was not home when the fire started at about 6:10 p.m., public information officer Kimberly French said. The man taken to the hospital was expected to be released, French said.

Firefighters needed about 25 minutes to bring the blaze under control, French said, and damage was estimated at $250,000. The cause remains under investigation.
Rick Hurd - Contra Costa Times, Walnut Creek, Calif.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 03, 2011
Crashed Porsche Driver Assaults Rescuers - FL

An Islamorada woman who crashed her Porsche while driving more than 100 mph and reportedly drunk faces a laundry list of charges, and not just due to her motoring skills.

The Florida Highway Patrol says it received a call at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday about the 2007 sports car speeding north on U.S. 1 at mile marker 82.

Then four miles north, the driver, Rebecca Hester, 55, reportedly drove into the center turn lane and tried to pass a 2003 Honda driven by Angela Wynn, 40, of Tavernier.

FHP Cpl. Pedro Reinoso wrote in a report that Hester's car hit the left rear of the Honda, then "began to fishtail and continue to travel north in excess of 100 mph." Then, as Hester approached the south end of the Tavernier Creek Bridge, she ran through a metal road sign and spun around counterclockwise, and finally came to a halt.

Miraculously, she "suffered no injuries as a result of the crash," Reinoso wrote, "because of her current impaired state," meaning she is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol.

However, when she was taken to Mariners Hospital to get checked out, Reinoso wrote, "she became violent and physically attacked the Mariners Hospital security officer, Islamorada EMT and a trooper, as well."

Hester is charged with four felony counts of battery on an officer or firefighter, two misdemeanor counts of assault, DUI (third violation), DUI-property damage, hit and run, and five counts of refusing to sign a citation.

Damage to the Porsche is estimated at $30,000. The Honda sustained $2,000 worth of damages, Reinoso wrote.

In July 2009, Hester was charged with felony counts of possessing cocaine, tampering with evidence and battery on a law enforcement officer. She was put into a pretrial diversion program but reportedly violated the conditions of that the following month.
Florida Keys Keynoter, Marathon

Please buckle your seat belt

April 03, 2011
Fire Truck Electrified by Falling Power Line - NH

Fire marshals are looking into what started a large apartment building fire in Nashua.

Fire officials said the three-alarm fire erupted around 5 a.m. Saturday on Chestnut Street.

"We had heavy smoke showing. There was a report of people still in the building," Deputy Fire Chief Steven Galipeau said.

Fire officials said they worked quickly to make sure everyone made it out of the building.

"They woke me up. My son hollered at me that the building is on fire," fire victim Anna Frost said.

Frost said she was not injured in the fire, but her cat is still missing.

It was not immediately known how many people live in the two-story building but firefighters said three people were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. One firefighter was treated as well.

Fire officials said they lost the use of one of their fire trucks when a power cable that had been melted fell on the truck, charging it with electricity.

Firefighters said the flames started spreading to a nearby home causing some minor damage.

"It could've been a lot worse. If the wind had been howling, who knows where it could've gone from there," Galipeau said.

Galipeau said he is crediting his crew with keeping the flames from spreading and causing more destruction.
Story by / NASHUA, N.H.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 03, 2011
Explosion damages fire engine during warehouse fire. - FL

Hillsborough County firefighters responded to a 3-alarm fire at Electrical Engineering in the 6100 block of Hartford Street in an unincorporated part of the city between Progress Village and South Tampa.

One fire truck was damaged as firefighters battled the blaze at Electrical Engineering Enterprises, 6115 Hartford St., authorities said. The property is near Progress Village, east of Tampa.

"There was an explosion shortly after they arrived and they didn't have time to move the truck," said David Travis, an interim assistant chief with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

Travis said the company refurbishes transformers, a process that requires gallons of mineral oil, as well as propane tanks to power forklifts.

Some of the materials in the warehouse made battling the blaze a tricky endeavor for firefighting crews from Hillsborough County.

“There’s a lot of material, combustible material inside the facility including mineral oil, mineral spirits and other materials like that,” said David Travis with Hillsborough County Fire and Rescue. “They also had some propane tanks which caused several explosions. It made it quite challenging.”
From WTSP-TV: / From / From WTVT-TV:

Please buckle your seat belt

April 03, 2011
Stolen fire equipment recovered - CO

This video report from KRDO-TV Ch. 13 shows what happened:

The Peyton Volunteer Fire Department has recovered the equipment that was stolen from one of their fire truck earlier this morning. Interim Fire Chief Sharon Brown says that the fire hose, couplings, nozzles, pike poles, and a tackle box containing small extraction tools were all found dumped along side Oak Brush Loop.

A man driving to work spotted the fire hose lying along the roadway. He later heard about the theft on the news and called the fire department to report where he had seen it. The missing equipment is valued at around $5,000.

"That may not seem like a lot of money but we're a small department and every little bit counts," Brown said.

At about 3:45 a.m. firefighters were dispatched to a a home on Oak Brush and while they were inside, they spotted a man stealing the equipment. They chased after him on foot but weren't able to stop him.

It was dark outside when the theft occurred and Brown says the fire fighters didn't get a good look at the suspect. He's only described as a man in is 20's. He was last seen driving off in a late model, silver or grey dual wheel pick up truck.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 02, 2011

Joe Johnson, a Bloomington, IN Firefighter was injured Friday after training. FF Johnson was carrying equipment down an aerial ladder after training and fell face first to the turntable of the apparatus. He was flown to Methodist Hosptial in Indianapolis where he is in stable condition with C5/C6 fractures and an arterial tear.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 02, 2011
'Patient' steals, wrecks Orange EMS ambulance after wild ride - NC

ambulance after wild ride
Special to the Herald-Sun | Julian Harrison Law enforcement is on hand at the scene of Friday's crash of a stolen Orange County EMS ambulance (rear).

ambulance after wild ride

wild ride

A patient stole an ambulance Friday morning in Chapel Hill and before it was all over, he hit a fire truck, tore up lawns, bumped into three other cars and destroyed a Chevrolet, as well as seriously damaging the ambulance.

The wrecking spree began about 9 a.m. after someone on Deerwood Court called for medical assistance. Deerwood Court is located in a neighborhood near the Chapel Hill Country Club south of Ephesus Church Road.

First-responders, who arrived in a Chapel Hill fire truck, and emergency medical personnel in an ambulance arrived at the residence and were treating the victim when he jumped up, ran out of the residence and stole the ambulance, said Capt. Jeff Clark of the Chapel Hill Police Department.

The odd turn of events is still under investigation.

Clark did not know whether the keys had been left in the ambulance or whether the 39-year-old man stole them from one of the medical staff.

The man drove off in the ambulance, bumping the fire truck, and then driving through the neighborhood in the area of Longleaf, Willow and Emory drives, Clark said.

"He was just hitting cars. He ran through yards, struck a few light poles," Clark said. "Finally he crashed into the car in the dead end of Emory Drive."

The car at the dead end of Emory was a Chevrolet, and it was totaled, according to Clark.

After he crashed the ambulance into the Chevy, the man jumped out of the ambulance and ran away, Clark said.

"There was a lot of workers, AT&T people and public works people in the area, and they directed officers where he went," Clark said.

The officers located the man on Grove Street and took him into custody, and then transported him to UNC Hospitals to be medically evaluated.

The man had some scrapes and cuts and minor facial lacerations but was not seriously injured, Clark said.

As of Friday afternoon, the man had not yet been released from the hospital, but when he is, he will be charged with a series of violations including larceny of a vehicle and careless and reckless driving, Clark said.

Damage to the ambulance was estimated at $15,000. That included damage to both the cab of the ambulance and the box.

This is the second Orange County ambulance to be damaged in the past 30 days. An ambulance on a non-emergency run was damaged when it turned over on its side on N.C. 86 on March 12.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 01, 2011
Firefighter Attacked During Fire - OR

One firefighter suffered a minor injury while responding to an apartment fire late Wednesday night in Government Camp, according to officials.

Firefighters said they responded to a call for help at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday and were set upon by young people as an apartment in the complex where their party was going on went up in flames.

One woman, reportedly trapped on a second floor as the flames spread, jumped into a snow bank to escape the fire. When a firefighter went to help her, he was reportedly attacked by party goers who threw beer cans, water bottles, hard-packed snowballs - and a fire extinguisher.

The fire chief on the scene said the firefighter suffered a minor injury. No injuries were reported from the fire itself. It is estimated that about 50 people were in attendance.

Investigators said the latest details they have indicate an unruly person was ejected from the party only to return with fireworks which were either fired or thrown into an apartment, sparking the blaze.

Police did not say if they had a suspect in custody.

Party goers included skiers and snowboarders and many lost their equipment in the fire. Firefighters reportedly had to restrain some of the party goers from re-entering the charred structure to find their equipment.

Reports indicate either three or four apartment units were damaged in the fire. An investigation into the fire and the incident that started is under way.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 01, 2011

Two firefighters have been injured battling a blaze at a commercial building in Banning, according to a Calfire website posting.

One of the injuries was described as moderate the firefighter was transported to a hospital — and the other as minor. That firefighter was treated and released at the scene.

The first arriving engine on scene reported fire coming from a commercial structure. There were seven units damaged; four units burned and three with smoke damage, according to Calfire. Damage was estimated at $450,000.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 01, 2011
Two injured when ambulance overturns on SR-520 - WA

ambulance overturns

Two medics suffered minor injuries when their ambulance crashed and overturned on SR-520 Thursday evening.

The crash happened just after 6 p.m. in the eastbound lanes just east of I-405.

Video from Air 4 showed one person who was outside the AMR ambulance when other medics arrived being loaded onto a stretcher and placed into a second aid car, and a second crew member also went into an ambulance, but an AMR spokesperson said there were no serious injuries.

There were no patients in the back of the ambulance, the spokesperson said.

The State Patrol says the ambulance was heading to a medical call, but was not running with their lights and sirens on. The ambulance drifted into the far left lane where it scraped the jersey barrier and flipped over. No other vehicles were involved.

Please buckle your seat belt

April 01, 2011
Master stream knocks ladder off of roof at Minneapolis house fire. Firefighter slightly hurt. - MN

At about 1:40 in this video of a multi-family home burning in Minneapolis it appears a master stream knocks a ladder off the roof onto the D side of the building. It is difficult to see. The description with the video says one firefighter was hit in the head. KMSP-TV reports:

One firefighter was injured when water pressure from the hose knocked a ladder on top of him. He is expected to be okay. No other injuries were reported.

Emergency crews said the fire started in the basement and worked its way up through the walls until it got into the attic. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it's believed to be electrical.

Please buckle your seat belt

Return to the current Crashes


Fire Line

Kolbs Home    To NYS Fire Departments    To Teaching and Training Courses    To Fire Reports    Email
To Kolb