Thu, 8 Jan 2009|
Chief Bobby Halton discusses the major stories of the week, including a pair of multifatality fires.
Hello I'm chief -- Holton and welcome to fire and hearings we can review. For the week of January 5 2009. This week -- being brought to -- FDIC. The fire department instructors conference which will be held in Indianapolis. This year April 20 through 25 at the Indianapolis convention center FDIC dot com is open and registration spaces -- filling fast. This -- we can review starts with too closely related stories Sunday in Richland New York firefighters and Oswego county. Had the grim task of removing the bodies of eight people including children. The fire currently under investigation. However one civilian was able to escape. Fire investigators report -- -- sadly. That once again. They discovered there were no working smoke detectors. This two story home on a very similar note firefighters in Paris Texas were faced with a fast moving fire which was fueled by donated clothing -- -- homeless shelter. Early Monday morning. Fire chief Ronnie grooms tells us the fire still under investigation. However it appears that began in a pile of donated clothing. Residents of the homeless shelter attempted to fight the blaze by throwing pounds of water onto the clothing. Residents of the shelter expressed but the fire grew extremely quickly. And the people tried to exit as fast as they could however the smoke which rapidly grew was disorienting. And impeded people's ability to escape. All five of the victims. Were on the second floor. Reports state that approximately 28 individuals. Were -- the end of the 42 bed shelter when the fire broke out. The shelter is a Mountain View of the resources available to the homeless in Paris Texas which is approximately 100 miles northeast of Dallas. These two stories drive -- important points for all firefighters to keep in the front of every conversation. That we have with civilians and commercial property owners as well. First and foremost. We can never emphasize enough the importance of having working smoke detectors both photovoltaic. And I agonizing and every single room. If not possible to have both at least -- photovoltaic. Detector should be -- every room where people live and work. Secondly we can never stop insisting that civilians exit immediately. And never attempt to fight a well seated fire. This is a battle they cannot win. Although firefighters are well aware a dynamic fire behavior which is generated by the polymer based fuels we face today. The public is still woefully ignorant of this growing threat. Firefighters across America remember the deep sorrow they all felt on January 23. 2005. When a fire in the Bronx today known as the black Sunday fire claimed the lives of two of New York city's bravest. Curtis may run 46. And John below 37. Jumped to their deaths that day while fighting a fire in a Bronx apartment complex. Following a mayday call firefighter -- the fellow Brothers appearing at the windows of the top story of the tenement. Shortly after hearing these calls for distress firefighters begin to jump to avoid the tremendous heat which was threatening to burn them alive. While the firefighters below assembled to throw letters and attempt to rescue the trapped firemen. One by one the New York City fireman -- approximately forty feet. Three of these heroic fireman would suffer tremendous injuries and -- gratefully survive. Tragically too would not. The trial was begun this week in New York City to determine culpability of the manager of the building. In which these brave firemen lost their lives. Fire engineering will be watching closely as we're deeply concerned that code enforcement. And proper enforcement of those codes is always at the forefront of our fire prevention activities. Our final segment this week involves the continue reduction fire safety across America. -- cities and towns continue to face declining revenues due to our current economic situation. The fire service seems to be being laid at the altar of sacrifice. We -- in Camden, New Jersey. Firefighters there are saying that cost cutting measures will endanger themselves. And the citizens. Have sworn to protect. However fire chief. Joseph Marie of Camden, New Jersey denies that any lives are in danger while acknowledging the public safety may be affected. During multiple emergencies. When the city would have to rely on mutual aid. The city of Camden is consolidating eleven companies into five companies and creating three roving task forces. Prior to these cutbacks at least two companies responded to every fire. Under the new plan a task force would be deployed. And there would not even be enough manpower. To do latter operations or engine company operations. According to firefighters spokesperson. Larry Smith. Larry Smith is a third generation -- firefighter. And is speaking boldly against these ill advised reductions. Fire chief -- hands were tied what is proposed budget was denied to quote the chief. The fire department did not get the budget it asked for. The chief continued. I take serious objection to anyone who says I'm less concerned about public safety or fire safety. Because I've dedicated my life to fire safety in Camden. And quote. We believe the -- -- sincere we also believe the modifications. He's been forced to make to the response profile and Camden are high risk. And increase the danger to both the firefighters -- the citizens of Camden. And related story the situation in Philadelphia which we have previously reported on continues to received significant attention. Firefighters in Philadelphia continue to protest. Against the mayor. Not -- budget cutting plan. On January 6 seventh Philadelphia fire companies ceased operations. Citing a decline of structure fires and a shrinking population. They -- they -- announcing that he hopes to save the mayor hopes to save ten million dollars by as he calls it decommissioning. Five companies and two -- companies using charts and graphs the mayor feels that -- cuts are justified. Local 22 -- -- IFF has shown clearly using an internal study that the closings are flawed. And -- the mayor is being given bad information by his own people. Quoting union president Brian McBride the mayor is getting sold a bad bill of goods from the fire commissioner that his plan is safe. Despite legal attempts by the union to block the measures closures this Tuesday occurred in seven Philadelphia companies. Stopping providing fire protection to the citizens. That the union stated those engine companies responded to. The union gave the statistics. That. 5761. Fires 6016. Medical calls and social calls for assistance. Where serviced by those companies last year alone. Residents who live around the close -- company eleven also expressed their disapproval of the plan. Better news comes to us from Austin Minnesota. -- the council voted unanimously to return to 24 hour stuff. Firefighters schedule had been altered has responded only during the day stations were closing at 10 PM and reopening at 7 AM. Fire chief Dan Wilson supported the schedule he stated that most of the fire departments incidents occurred between 7 AM and -- I am. And refreshing voice of common sense council member Dick -- Cole stated that he had no idea. But the firefighters schedule had gone away from 24 hours staffing. He stated the council did not vote against 24 hour coverage. Expressed that was a lot of confusion. Among city leaders as to how the council interpreted a letter from the -- Austin union president Troy -- anger expressed. Concern over the coverage as not being best for the community. And so despite continuing cuts in fire service protection across America we do find an occasional bright shining light of common sense. We extend our congratulations to the company clear headed and well informed members of the Austin city council for reversing this dangerous situation. Far engineering. Is 100%. Behind. Compliance staffing in regards to the 1710. And the 1720. And FPA standards. Our engineering wishes to express its deepest condolences. For the family and friends of firefighter John C Myers of the union chapel volunteer fire department. In Pittsburgh Oklahoma. Firefighter Myers was killed when a pickup truck he was riding in collided head on with another vehicle while fighting a grass fire. Tragically the operator of the other picked up was the son of firefighter Myers. Witnesses at the seems sensible conditions were so thick that visibility was next to nothing. That the two pickups literally collided head on. Our deepest sympathies to the Myers family the community of Pittsburgh Oklahoma and all the members of the union chapel volunteer fire department. -- final note please remember that nominations. For the ray Downey courage and valor award close the fifteenth of this month. This year the award as always they -- down in medal will be presented an FDIC and it carries with -- a 35000. Dollar cash award. Please go to FDIC dot com or fire engineering dot com and -- -- where the fire fighter today for America's most prestigious award. -- -- -- For fire -- we can review that's the news and remember. Be careful out there.